Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Outfit of the Evening July 20th

Lee and I had a couple of days away in Whitby in the middle of July, because we had some spare time and we both like it there. Just previously, I'd bought three dresses in the 50% sale on the Scarlett and Jo website and I took two of them with me. The first I wore is this Lollidot border dress. It's very similar to other dresses from S&J, but I find that a) they suit me and b) they feel good when I'm wearing them. This one is slightly different because the top is very thin jersey and the skirt is cotton, but I found that this made the dress much more suitable for the very hot day!

I wore it to go out to eat with black leggings and sandals. I took this picture in our room. We'd booked a room but ended up with an apartment, which was lovely! More on that later though.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Visit to The Orange Tree - 19th July

My friend Laura has been to The Orange Tree in North Yorkshire a couple of times before, and I fancied a trip, so she booked us in on the 19th of July. I picked her up and we drove to Pickering in gorgeous sunshine.

We paid £85 which gave us a whole day, and included lunch, treatments, and access to the grounds and hot tub in the garden. They also give you a room to keep your things in and to shower in.

We arrive around 10 and were offered a hot drink. I was impressed because they had decaffeinated coffee (I don't drink caffeine at all). We drank in the very comfortable living room, which has tons of books for guests to browse through. Then we went through to a very comfortable bedroom which had two beds, and a small shower room. Laura got changed and went for her treatments first. She'd chosen an Indian head massage and a facial. Meanwhile I read my book and also napped for a little while. It was so peaceful! I had the window wide open and it was so warm and breezy and quiet. All I could hear were a couple of tractors and some sheep!

The view from my bedroom window, isn't it lovely?

I had chosen an Indian head massage and a foot pampering session. I was shown into the treatment room which was quite dark and which had nice tinkly music playing. The therapist left the room as I undressed my top half and wrapped a towel around my boobs and sat in a chair. I've never had an Indian head massage before but I really liked it. The oil she used smelt lovely and was really nice and warm which made it all the more relaxing on my neck and shoulders. I'd have liked her to go a bit harder on my neck and head, actually! I was so relaxed I could have cheerfully fallen asleep.

Then I moved on to the bed to have my feet done. I'm always a bit wary of massage beds as they never seem sturdy enough for me, but this one barely even moved! The therapist found me another pillow (I find it hard to lay on my back without getting too much boob in my face) and got one for my knees too.

The foot pampering was lovely - she used exfoliant and moisturiser which both smelt lovely too. Again I was totally relaxed and could have happily napped. At the end the therapist brought me a glass of water and then left me to get dressed.

By this time it was around 12.30, so Laura and I read and chatted for a bit in our room before going through to the dining room at 1. All the food is homemade and vegetarian. We had a delicious mushroom, courgette and Stilton quiche, a salted jacket potato and a delicious salad. For pudding we had orange cake and natural yoghurt, and then more coffee for me.

My hair post head massage!

I had a shower to wash the oil out of my hair and then we went into the hot tub, which is in a small shed so could be used in the winter as well as when the weather is nice. We had the windows open to let some breeze through as it was so warm (around 31 degrees apparently!). The jacuzzi is really warm and it was just lovely. There were two other women in there too. When Laura and I had finished, I sat in the garden reading and drip drying in the sun while Laura got dressed, and then I got dressed and we left around 3.40!

Laura has ME and really likes the Orange Tree because she has a room to sleep in if necessary. I really liked it too, and would love to go back maybe next year. It is quite expensive, but for me it was definitely worth it.

And here I am in the hot tub, look at that beautiful view behind me!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Films of the Month - June

I watched a grand total of two films in June! What a failure! I'll try harder in July for sure.

1. Trainwreck. When I stayed with my friend Von we watched this. I really liked it, it feels like a very feminist film and the main character is beautifully flawed and utterly likeable. I'd definitely go have a drink with her! I really recommend this.

2. X-Men Apocalypse. We went to the cinema to see this with my mum and stepdad. I enjoyed it, but I felt like the ending dragged a bit. I loved Quicksilver, I need an entire film of him!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Books of the Month - June

I didn't read much in June, which was a shame. I got really stuck on the Dream Thieves and it took me over two weeks to read. But anyway, here's what I read.

1) What Was Never Said by Emma Craigie. This is a novel about a Somali girl who escapes from "the cutter", the woman who comes to perform Female Genital Mutilation on girls. It's really quite good and a really important subject. Read my in-depth review here

2) Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky. This is a novel about a set of serious fans who manage to get a suite in the same hotel that their favourite band, The Ruperts, are staying in. They then manage to kill one of the Ruperts. It's got some interesting stuff about fandom and how entitled fans think they are, but it didn't set my world on fire. My review is here

3) The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. I read the first book in the Raven Cycle last year and LOVED it. This is the second, but it draaaaaagged. Nothing happened, there wasn't enough of the fun interaction between the five main characters and although I appreciate it is probably setting up the next book I just fouind it boring. I suffered through it. My review is here

4) Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley. This book is about the civil rights movement. It's set in Virginia and the schools have to be integrated, so ten black students go to a white school for the first time. The heroine, Sarah, is a fantastic character. I did enjoy it and I'd recommend anyone read it. My review is here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What I Wore 3rd July

I just haven't been doing much interesting recently so I haven't had much to post about. I'm also concentrating hard on writing. But I'm hoping to get out some places soon and have more to post about.

Anyway, on Sunday we went to see our friends Leanne and Adi for tea. They gave us some lovely food and it was lovely to see them and chat. I decided to wear this Scarlett & Jo prom dress because I hadn't worn it in ages and I could see it on my wall. It was a bit fancy but I'm usually fancy anyway!

It's got a really nice underskirt with netting, which makes the skirt really poofy but it's really comfortable to wear. I like the navy colour and think it suits me!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Trip to Lincoln

This past weekend was mine and Lee's 11th wedding anniversary. If you remember, last year we went on holiday for our 10th anniversary with family, well I thought this year was going to be much quieter (just a meal out) but then Lee surprised me last week by saying he'd booked a night in a hotel in Lincoln for us! We've been having a rough time recently (not with each other, other stuff) and he wanted to treat us to a nice relaxing time. So on 25th June we set off around 12 to Lincoln. I've never actually been there before!

We stopped close by for lunch and then checked into our hotel room at about 1.40. Even though the official time was 2pm, I often find hotels are ready for you before and if they hadn't have been we would have waited in the bar! We stayed here. We had a king size bed and the room was really nice and came with the added bonus of air conditioning! We had it set to fridge temperature I swear!

We went down to the leisure club and spent a couple of hours swimming and in the jacuzzi. It was a nice big pool and there was a steam room, sauna, and heated loungers too. We then relaxed in the room and each had a bath before setting out to the city centre around 7pm.

We'd planned to go to a certain restaurant and drove round three times trying to find it! It was raining really hard which didn't help, but we eventually found it, and then, they were fully booked. D'oh! There were rivers of rainwater running down the hill, but we walked to a restaurant called Cote which was a French brasserie. As soon as we walked in we were shown to a table, and the hostess took our soaked hoodies to hang them up.

The menu was lots of traditional French food. I ordered a Kir to start with and Lee was pleased to find Orangina on the menu (he doesn't drink alcohol). We shared a garlic bread to start with, and then Lee had half roast chicken with a mushroom sauce and frites, and I had steak-frites which was incredibly delicious. Really well done food, and the prices weren't too bad. The waiter recommended a wine with my steak which was also really nice. Lee had ice cream and I had chocolate fondant. I really really recommend the place if you live near one!

We went back to the hotel and had a drink in the bar; there was a champagne cocktail on the menu made with vodka, elderflower and champagne, so I had that. It was delicious!

In the morning we had breakfast and then checked out. We drove into Lincoln and went first of all to the castle. The Wave of Poppies is there until September and I wanted to see them. It's free to get into the Castle grounds and even if the poppies weren't there it would have been nice to wander around. The poppies are magnificent, though. It was reall poignant to see them, I'm glad I had the chance.

Then we moved the car more into the city centre and wandered around for a bit, I wanted to spend a fortune in Waterstones but resisted! Then my friend Lou and her partner Si came to meet us for coffee which was lovely. Unfortunately we too soon had to leave to come home!

I've never been to Lincoln which is why Lee chose it, plus he'd seen it on a list of underrated places to visit in the UK. I'd defnitely go back and would definitely recommend it!

Relaxing in the hotel room

Rivers of rain in the city centre

My feet got extremely wet!

Lincoln cathedral is huge, much bigger than I thought it would be. 

The wave of poppies from the top of the hill which leads down to them

Close ups

It is really beautiful to see them

This was my present for Lee, I commissioned Emma to draw us and this is the lovely drawing she came back with! Isn't it lovely? Lee really liked it too.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Grrrl Con in Edinburgh

At the beginning of June I went to Grrrl Con in Edinburgh. It was organised by Write Like A Grrrl and Fors Books Sake and was just for women. Lee and two friends came with us and we camped in Musselburgh which was really nice even though it rained a lot.

The conference was excellent - really well organised and I got a lot out of it. There was a talk both first thing and last thing in the afternoon with everyone, and in between times we had workshops in smaller groups. I did "Writing about Sex", and "Magic Realism" on Satirday, and on Sunday I did "Pitch and Plot" and "Writing the Perfect Sentence". The joint talks were really interesting too.

Several of my zine friends were also there which was great; I met my friend Emma in person for the first time, and caught up with Laura, Rachel, Ingrid and Cherry. I also made new friends - everyone introduced themselves and was so friendly. It was a really positive space and I came away feeling really invigorated about myself and my writing.

Here's some photos.

I loved this quote that the first speaker - an agent - used.

On the tables in the cafe were stones with words written on them - it was really fun to play with them! 

I sometimes feel like writing is this, but not at Grrrl Con!

On Saturday evening Lee and I went out to find food, and went to the beach. It was cold but it was lovely to see the sea. 

This was first thing on Sunday morning, ready for our second day. 

And this was the first speaker Denise Mina, she was really funny and engaging.