As I said previously, my mum and stepdad came over for a festive meal. Lee picked them up and took them home so they could both have a drink (he doesn't drink, and they don't really live close enough for a taxi) and I got ready as he went, and then went with him to take them home. I pulled out this dress, I wore it on Christmas Day two years ago but haven't worn it since. It would be a bit OTT to pull out at any other time of the year!
I love the green colour
I pulled out this wrap to put over to go out, it wasn't freezing but just cold enough for it. I've had it about ten years and it always feels really fancy! It's from Evans.
On the 18th of December I invited my mum and stepdad over for a meal as part of the advent gifts I'd done for them, where they had something to do or eat each day. I had planned a festive menu and Lee and I put a lot of work into it. We even got out the wedding china, cutlery and wine glasses, which are so beautiful and which I love dearly.
Here's the table:
Our living room is really small but we both like to have a dining table so it's usually tucked into one corner with just enough room for Lee and I to sit at, but for this meal we pulled it into the middle of the floor. I love the minimalist china - it's plain white with a grey stripe painted across.
We had garlic bread to start with, then turkey and broccoli stroganoff with rice. Then I made this Terry's Chocolate Orange Cheesecake. It is a no bake cheesecake, you just mix everything together and leave it to set. It is really yummy, I'd like to make it again with the dark chocolate orange, or other dark chocolate!
12th December was my stepdad's birthday so we all went out to The Spiced Mango in Wakefield. It's an Indian restaurant but there's some really different dishes on the menu. We all had a starter and a main course and all were delicious.
I wore this Scarlett & Jo dress that I bought in the sale in summer 2015 I think, but had never worn. It still had the tags on! I tend to wear the red one more, but I thought I'd pull out the blue one for a change.
The lace sleeves are a perfect length for me and also provided some coverage outside. It's been really warm for the last few weeks, and it was warm in the car, so I didn't bother with my hoodie. The chiffon on the skirt really makes the dress feel special. I love the swish of it. I also really like this style with the elastic waistband, as evidenced by the fact that I own about seven like this!
As you can see the kitchen still isn't fully done, hence the stuff around me. That's the first project for 2017!
I bought this jumper in the sales in January and had totally forgotten about it until I was looking for something else and found it. It still had the tags on, since it is a festive jumper and didn't get worn before now.
It's very fluffy and left lots of white fluff all over my other clothes, which was slightly annoying. But it is soft and I like the pattern a lot, so I'll probably pull it on a couple more times over the festive period!
I took this picture in a lift in Leeds, I had been out with my friend Laura to the Hotel Chocolat restaurant, which I'd thoroughly recommend. It's a bit expensive, but the food is delicious and the service is always fantastic. We go every Christmas!
Again, I didn't get around to this post last month so you've got a double dose this month. Plus there's loads of films because I tried to watch more in October. So to that end I'm just going to write what I watched to save myself the time of finding all the images!
Harold & Maude - strange film, liked it
Gone Baby Gone - I don't even remember this now so clearly it made a big impact
Catching Fire (Hunger Games 2) - I wanted to watch Mockingjay so watched this first, it's my favourite of the 4
Mockingjay Part 1 - I've seen this before but had forgotten a lot of it, I liked it
Ghostbusters - the new version. On second viewing it's still fantastic
X Men Apocalypse - it's not my favourite of the prequels but it's really good.
Airplane - Lee and I were on holiday and I wanted to see this, I haven't seen it in forever but it's so funny
Rocky - Lee wanted me to watch this and I did quite like it, it's bloody long though
Singing in the Rain - it was a dreary Sunday afternoon and I fancied watching this, I haven't seen it since I was little. It's great isn't it.
Mockingjay Part 2 - I didn't think this was as good as the others in the franchise, but I still enjoyed it Northern Soul - this was fantastic! Netflix recommended it and I loved it. It's about two teenagers in the 70s who get into Northern Soul music. If you like music, watch it
Halloween - it was the day before Halloween so we went with the theme. Jamie Lee Curtis is fantastic isn't she
Angus Thongs & Perfect Snogging - god this was awful. I loved the book, when I read it a million years ago, but the film absolutely did not live up to it. Dreadful!
Beetlejuice - It was Halloween so I watched this. I'm not actually sure I've seen it all before? I liked it
Far fewer films thanks to all the writing I was doing, but I watched:
The Craft - this has been one of my favourite films since I was 15. We are the weirdos, mister
The Heat - spurred on by enjoying Melissa McCarthy in Ghostbusters, I watched this because I've never seen it and I like Sandra Bullock too. It's funny
The Magdalene Sisters - this is a terrifying film but I really recommend it. I saw it when it hadn't been out long and although it's miserable it is worth watching. My book The Ballroom reminded me of it
The Flintstones - never let it be said I don't have diverse taste! I haven't seen this since I was about eight. It's cute.
My Scientology Movie - Louis Theroux is always great and this was really interesting and also slightly scary. I don't get big religious stuff like this
NW - this TV movie was on iPlayer, it's based on Zadie Smith's novel and I really liked it - check it out!
I didn't manage to get this post written in November as I was busy doing Nanowrimo (which I won!) so I thought I'd combine October and November and put all of the books in one. I don't feel like I've read much recently, and not really much I've loved, either. Oh well, I can't always win!
A Place of Execution by Val McDermid
I've never read anything by this author before and Janet said this was one of her favourite books. I did really like it and its setting. It is genuinely creepy.
Remix by Non Pratt
This promised to be amazing but didn't really deliver. My in depth review is here.
The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck
This was a book club book and it draaaaagged so much. It wasn't bad, but it was slow and quite confusing. Everyone in the book club agreed that it was an odd book.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
This was for Sunny Sweet Pea's online book club and I'm so glad I read it. I really loved it! My in depth review is here.
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
This is a YA story about a trans girl, written by a trans woman, and as I'm a big believer in #ownvoices, I had high expectations for this. It lived up to them! It's great. My review is here.
Seed by Lisa Heathfield
Both of Lisa's books have absolutely killed me. They are so good. This is a story about a cult and a girl who lives in one. It's really good. My review is here.
Ballroom by Anna Hope
This was yet another book club book but GOD it was so good. It's set in a mental asylum and a man and a woman meet once a week in the ballroom for a dance there. It is beautiful and interesting, we all liked it at my book club.
Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard.
This is a YA novel about three girls in Brighton. I felt it had its problems. My in depth review is here.
Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill
This is a hell of a book. Like, read it if it appeals but take care of yourself cos it's really difficult to read. My review is here but like I say, there's lots of trigger warnings so be careful.
Cowgirl by G R Gemin
This is a really cute middle grade book set in a working class community in Wales. I liked it. My in depth review is here
Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
This is my book club book again and while it wasn't something I'd have ever picked up I thought it was crafted really well. All the action takes place in just a few hours on Mother's Day in 1924, but the novella is so much bigger than that. I'd definitely recommend it!
In November my friend Sarah and I went away for the night together. We hadn't seen each other in a while and decided that it would be nice to spend a night away having a relaxing time and having no one to talk to except each other. We wanted a hotel with a swimming pool and with a restaurant on site so that we could eat in, so we chose Shrigley Hall Hotel in Cheshire which was about 90 minutes away from where we live. We set off about 1pm and got to the hotel about 2.20.
Check in was from 3pm, so we were early but thought we'd see if we could check in early. We couldn't, so we went into the bar and had a glass of prosecco each. We went back to reception at 3.10, and were told that our room wasn't yet ready. We sat down in the foyer and were invited to have a free drink, so we had more prosecco. There was a wedding on so we cooed over the bride and offered her congratulations, and sat chatting some more. The check-in queue was huge and having just two receptionists wasn't helping. We went back to the desk. The room still wasn't ready at 3.40 and as we'd booked a twin room we couldn't be put somewhere else. They said they'd had a late check out which meant the room wasn't ready.
We had another free drink and sat some more. By the time we got into our room it was about 4.30, 90 minutes after check in. It was obvious the hotel was busy, with two weddings and a lot of groupon guests, but we felt we'd been kept waiting for too long. It wasn't our fault there'd been a late check out. As we went to our corridor housekeeping was still working on other rooms in it, so they obviously were running behind, but even so.
The room itself was nice, with wooden furniture and a big TV. The beds were fine although Sarah's creaked a lot. The bathroom was lovely; very clean with nice free toiletries. We went straight down to the leisure club, which was a feat in itself as the geography of the hotel was very confusing. The swimming pool was in the middle of what appeared to be a medieval Great Hall and although it wasn't very big, it was really lovely. It was really deep at one end and we swam quite a bit. There was a steam room and a jacuzzi, both of which we used. We wished we'd been in the pool for longer, but we had a nice time nonetheless.
We went back up to the room where we each had a bath. I'd taken Lush bath bombs. Sarah had Intergalactic and I had Dragon's Egg I think. It smelt lovely and I had a nice relaxing bath. While Sarah bathed I had some wine and did a face mask which left my skin feeling really lovely and soft and looking good.
Once we were both ready we went down to the restaurant, which was really busy. We were seated quickly and ordered wine (yet more prosecco). The menu had three courses for £29.50 which was fine, and the food was yummy although there wasn't enough of the main course for me. We were also kept waiting for the main course for close to an hour, which was disappointing.
We didn't have breakfast on Sunday, we stopped in Glossop on the way back and went to Wetherspoons instead. We were both very hungover so it helped!
All in all, we liked the hotel but felt the service was a bit ropey which did spoil our weekend a little. Still, it was lovely to spend so much time with Sarah!
In October I joined in a bloggers Halloween swap and received a gorgeous package full of goodies including socks, chocolate, nail polish and jewellery. I decided to wear the jewellery for the comic con we went to, and I added my maple leaf necklace that my mum brought me back from Canada.
I didn't manage to get a picture of the pin I was wearing, which was a shame, but it was this one from Pin Club.
You can't see them very clearly but these were Halloween earrings - a cat and a tombstone! I have three holes pierced in the lobes of each ear, but could only fit earrings in two as they're quite big!
This clip is really glittery and fun, plus it stayed put in my hair ALL DAY which is a huge plus for me.
And here's my gorgeous maple leaf necklace. I got a few compliments on it!
On October 30th we went to Ultra Con in Doncaster, a comic con, held at Doncaster racecourse. There was me, Lee, my friend Sam, my mum, my stepdad, my stepdad's sister and her family. It was so busy that we couldn't possibly stay together, but the whole thing was concentrated in a small area so it was easy to catch up with each other.
We had bought tickets which meant we could get in from 10am. Supposedly. Lee and Sam and I joined the others in a huuuuge queue at about quarter past ten and it was almost 10.45 before we got in. You could buy tickets on the door from 11am.
The first area we came to was all the stalls, selling all kinds of stuff from all different fandoms. Lee and Sam and I walked around this area first. The others went to look at the stage area, where there was a cosplay parade, and a bunch of cars, like a Batmobile and a Delorean and all kinds of stuff.
There were so many people dressed up and they all looked great. I got some great photos with some cosplayers
These Ghostbusters looked SO good! They look so much like the film characters. They just need a Patty!
BB8! I loved The Force Awakens, and BB8 especially.
Some of the masks from Dr Who, I'm not a Dr Who fan but the masks were cool
And so was this Dalek! There was another one, which was collecting money for charity and which moved. It was cool!
Me and Boba Fett. Now let me tell you a thing: I am scared shitless of masked things, especially masked villains. Darth Vader is fine, because there's only one of him, and because you see his face at the end. Stormtroopers scare the crap out of me because there's loads of them and you can't see their faces, so I avoided them all. Boba Fett is a LITTLE bit scary, and when I stepped close he pointed his gun at me and said "No sudden moves!" and I told him off, but anyway, I posed for a photo!
This Predator dude looked really cool, but again was a little bit scary, but he was collecting for charity too so I got a photo.
Finally, Sam did corner some Stormtroopers for a selfie - arggghhh!
I've seen on Twitter before about blogger meet ups for Yorkshire bloggers and have wanted to go. They're organised by Fran at A Style Creative and when she set up a date for the end of October I jumped at the chance to go.
It was held in the new Victoria Gate centre in Leeds, which had only opened a few days earlier. The centre has a huge John Lewis and is really fancy, I liked it and I'd like to go back and look at the rest of it. It links to the Victoria Arcade and the back of Harvey Nichols, which is nice, and it's got a huge car park which is a boon for that edge of Leeds.
We went to Le Pain Quotidien, which is a London based chain and this is the first one in the north. I think I've eaten in it in London, but I wasn't sure what to expect. I liked the decor - cute writing on the wall and nice, casual wooden tables. There were seven of us, and we were seated in the middle of a long table which was perfect.
Le Pain does meat dishes and also has more than a few vegetarian and vegan options, which are clearly labelled on the menu. I think that's great as I have a lot of vegetarian and vegan friends and it's always nice to have new places to go with them.
I chose the vegan chilli which came with guacamole and soya sour cream, and two hunks of bread. It was really nicely spicy and I'd definitely order it again. With this I had a hot chocolate, which was also delicious. It came as a cup of hot milk with a little jug of warm chocolate sauce to pour in, it was yummy!
We chatted lots which was just as well as the service was, I felt, a little slow. It was packed, but it felt like the staff were out of their depth a little bit. But, we had time to sit and chat.
For dessert I chose the scone with jam and cream, and also had a glass of raspberry lemonade. The lemonade was beautifully sour with a hint of mint, and the scone was hot when it got to me. It was also really yummy!
I made an effort and did both my hair and make up, here's my face:
This recipe book was standing up in the middle of the table which was really cute but impeded conversation a little bit!
This is my chilli with the cup of hot chocolate in the background. As I said, totally yummy
This raspberry lemonade was really nice
And here's the really yummy scone
I'll definitely visit Le Pain Quotidien again - I'll have to take Lee as I think he'd really like it.
Way back in October (that's how far forward I've got these posts scheduled!) I went to get tattooed at The Ink Station in Heckmondwike. I've been going to Nini there for a while, but this time Jess did a tattoo for me. I'll post a picture in the next couple of posts. I wore this dress for the first time. It's one of the dresses I found while I was sorting out my wardrobe and it still had the tags on it. I was determined to wear it; I love the layering on the bottom, I needed something without sleeves because my tattoo is on my upper arm.
I love the colour and the pattern on the bodice, and the little drawstring bits. Jess took the photo just after she tattooed me and I took the bodice photo. It's pretty!
My lovely friend Lou organised the first Zine Fest in Lincoln recently, so Lee and I went. It was held at the library which I think meant quite a lot of passing trade, and it was a really nice room. There were around 12 stalls, which wasn't huge but made it really nice. Lee and I were sitting between Emma, who's a friend of mine, and a person with a really AMAZING Ghostbusters tattoo!
Here's Lee behind our stall. We had some really good conversations with people and just had a generally good day! Here's to next year.
I last had some glasses over three years ago so I've needed some for a while, but the cost is so prohibitive that I've been waiting probably a year to replace them. Then I had the choice taken from me because I got up a couple of weeks ago, put my glasses on, and the right arm dropped off. Whoops.
I went to work with them sellotaped together like Jack Duckworth, That afternoon Lee and I went into Specsavers with me wearing my sunglasses inside. I bought my glasses from Specsavers originally, and have been a customer there for about ten years. The sales assistants told me that the spring had broken in the hinge of my glasses, and made me an appointment for more than two weeks hence.
And... that was it... I was like, so what do I do in the meantime??? And they just sort of shrugged. And then said "Don't you have any other glasses???" Well, no, not when they cost me almost £200 per pair I don't. (I have a very complex lens, due to extreme shortsightedness and non-spherical eyeballs). I felt they were rude for no reason and made me feel worthless.
So I had my eyes tested at Boots and ordered a new pair of glasses there. They would have been ready earlier than the Specsavers ones, but due to being on holiday I had to pick them up two weeks later.
I'm not used to them yet - they feel really huge on my face! My other ones were a lot smaller but it seems like the fashion now is for bigger frames. I love the colour. The prescription is stronger so everything looks a bit weird, but I know I will get used to them eventually!
On our last night in Dorset we went out to eat after cooking at home every other night. We drove down into Lyme Regis and parked, and ended up in the French Lieutenant's Bistro, named after the book which was set in the town. The staff were absolutely lovely, and we could see right into the kitchen which I always like. Everything was delicious and fresh.
I had wild garlic mushrooms on toast, tiger prawns stir fried in garlic and chilli, and an extremely delicious chocolate mousse. Lee had mushroom soup, chicken Diane, and homemade brownie with ice cream. I had two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc which I only like with food. The whole thing came to just under £70 which considering we had three courses each I don't think is bad!
Although the building could use a bit of upkeep, the restaurant inside is decorated beautifully. The tables weren't squashed in, either, which made for a really pleasant experience.
The moon was fully out I liked how it was reflecting on the water
And here's what I wore to go out in. This dress always feels so fancy and I like how it looks on me. My cardigan is from H&M, it's basic but perfect for this!
The next day we drove home, it took a little longer than getting there but wasn't too bad. We had such a lovely week and were so lucky with the weather. We had no rain and although it wasn't boiling hot, it was sunny and bright. I feel relaxed and re-energised!
On our last day in Dorset we went to Axminster and Chard, which were both nice little towns. We didn't want to be out for ages so we just had a little wander and had some lunch. I thought I'd show this outfit though, I've worn the skirt before, but this top was new in March and I hadn't worn it yet.
I know cold shoulder tops get a bad rap in plus size circles, because it often seems like EVERYTHING has them, but I like this top. I have an orange one too. It's soft and I like the cut outs because they show off my tattoos. I wore the top tucked into the skirt which is my favourite thing to do with these skirts. This skirt is linted and kind of flouncy, which I like.
I'm standing in the spare room in our cottage here because the light was best. I love this outfit and others like it because they're just easy to throw on but feel super chic.
On the Wednesday of our holiday we went to Seaton, Sidmouth and Beer. Seaton was a nice little town; we ate lunch on the seafront and played in the arcades. We managed to win an X Men keyring for Lee! We drove to Sidmouth but there wasn't much of anything to be seen, except for lots of old people and red sea where the cliff was being eroded into the sea! So we didn't stay there long but went instead to Beer, which is a cute little place with a lovely beach. We had an ice cream and sat for a while before going back to the cottage. Lee made pan haggerty, which is a time intensive dish which is why he only makes it on holiday!
We practically had the beach to ourselves. One of the good things about going on holiday in October is that it's always just us and retired people!
Lee took this photo of me, I'm wearing this Lollidot dress that I wore here, it's very comfortable and was just warm enough for the day.
I liked this modern sculpture on the sea
I will never get sick of taking photos of the beach and the sea, sorry!
This seagull was HUGE!
This was Sidmouth - can you see the stripe of red in the water?
It was really odd - the water looked like blood!
And here's why - the water was eroding the cliff. This has happened in quite a few places on the Dorset coast and will, I'm sure, continue to cause landslides and such things.
At Beer, which reminded me of Robin Hood's Bay, there were loads of boats pulled on to the beach, and paths to walk between them which was useful, because walking on the stones is really hard going!
I really liked Beer, it felt like a bit of a hidden gem. My favourite kind of place!