Monday, December 11, 2017

New bedside tables

In the middle of November Lee and I went Christmas shopping in Barnsley, to one of the retail parks. We wanted to go to th Range and Poundland, and while we were in the Range we looked for new bedside tables.

We were a bit constrained by both size and height. Our bedroom is an odd shape with not on flat wall. One has the door, one has the chimney breast, one has the window, and the other has the steps that lead up to the attic going through it. When we first lived here, we had a double bed on the chimney breast. I used my dressing table, in one of the alcoves, as my bedside table, and Lee used a freestanding table that used to fall over all the time. Then in 2008 we moved the bedroom around. We put the double bed under the stairs going to the attic, and we each had a glass bedside table that had a kind of shelf underneath. They were fine, even when we got a king sized bed about five years ago (six, maybe?). I turned my table around and it was still fine. Because the slope of the wall comes right down on my side to only about the height of the bed, the table needed to be small. It was fine.

Except, I'm pretty messy and I keep a whole ton of stuff near my bedside, including toiletries, medications, books, presents, all kinds of things. There were teetering piles under and near my table, and the cat kept climbing all over them too to try to sit under the table. So Lee and I started talking about getting some new tables with drawers, but obviously mine at least had to be only around two feet tall so that I would still have room for my lamp on top.

There were a few bathroom cupboards that could have worked for me in the Range, but I spotted this one and I really liked it. I like the hearts and the colour. Our bedroom is grey with silver, black, and white wallpaper so I knew it would match. We decided I would have the shorter, wider three drawer set and Lee would have the taller one which has four drawers. When we lifted down my one, it had a mark on top and they didn't have another. However, customer services knocked 20% off for us which was good. The mark isn't very visible and I'm pretty sure I'll manage to mark it myself before long!

We got home and sorted out the bedsides immediately. There was a lot of dust and rubbish around so we tidied up, moved the bed out to hoover it completely, and both put things in our drawers all tidily! I really love how they look and the bed feels cosier somehow? I'm just hoping we both manage to keep them tidy! I'm also glad there was room next to Lee's to keep his guitar too - it was the first one he ever owned and although it's old and knackered it has a lot of sentimental value!

My drawers. The cable extension doesn't fit down the side but it's okay and better than it was

The top of mine - can you see where the wall comes down on the top left of the photo? I've got my tablet, my current book, my lamp and the Hedwig my friend bought for me on there

And here's Lee's side with guitar!

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Easiest Recipe in the World

Lee and I have got in the habit of making some really nice food each weekend together. I'm a terrible cook and often don't know what I want to eat, but I've been making a real effort to choose some things. We made this chicken dish before, once, but not for years, and we've never made hasselback potatoes before.

I feel bad calling this a recipe post because it is SO simple. Seriously, it's the least amount of prep work ever but the pay off is huge. These dishes both really work and would impress loved ones!

Hasselback potatoes: cut through the potato in small slices almost to the bottom but not quite. Sprinkle with oil and lots of salt, and bake the potatoes in the oven for as long as you would cook a jacket potato for, making sure they don't burn at the top.

For the chicken, you need Boursin cheese and parma ham. Cut a slit into the chicken breast and stuff it with a generous amount of Boursin. Wrap the breast tightly in a couple of slices of parma ham. We didn't do this for Lee's as he doesn't eat ham, and it really makes no difference although you may need to spoon more sauce over the breast at the end. Bake for about forty minutes, until the chicken breast is cooked through. It makes its own sauce which is really yummy. I think you can use cream cheese too, but it wouldn't taste like a chicken kiev like this does - the garlic really comes through.

Seriously, easiest dishes ever! But oh so delicious!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Alice Cooper in Leeds

Way back in January, for my birthday, my mum bought me tickets to see Alice Cooper in Leeds in November. My friend Stacey had organised it and there was a reason - way back in the summer that we turned 16, in 2000, we went to see Alice in Portsmouth, where we were staying for the week with my godmother. So we thought that we ought to see him again. We had seated tickets about ten rows up from the floor which were pretty good seats. And we weren't the youngest people there by a long way - there were lots of 20 somethings and teenagers!

We got in about 8.30pm and The Mission were playing, they make a pretty good support band. I have seen plenty worse, anyway! Alice Cooper and band came on about 9.20pm, and played until 11pm ish. There were three guitarists, a bass player, and a drummer, all men except for one of the guitarists who was extremely talented, I really liked her! Alice changes outfits often and he can really sing. They put on a hell of a show and I really enjoyed myself. I wouldn't go and see them every week, but I did enjoy it.

For the last couple of songs Alice's original band came on! The original Alice Cooper! That was fantastic to see too. The very last song was played with both bands on stage and that was great. It was School's Out and it sounded fantastic. Stacey and I both really enjoyed ourselves and liked reliving our teenage years.

I took some photos, they're not great but I'd like them here for posterity.

This was the background for Lost In America which is probably my favourite Alice song

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Books and Films of the Month - October

I read six books in October, all of which I enjoyed. You can see all my reviews on my book blog. I read:

1) Lips Touch by Laini Taylor - fantasy short stories all about a kiss
2) After the Fire by Will HIll - a story about the aftermath of a teenager leaving a cult
3) Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens - one of the Murder Most Unladylike series, featuring young detectives
4) The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths - the 3rd in the Mephisto and Stevens series, I felt this was the best one so far
5) Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison - this is a really hilarious look at the first term at university for two 18 year olds, I really liked it
6) S.T.A.G.S by M A Bennett - set amongst the upper class students of an exclusive school in Northumberland, this is a genuinely terrifying book in parts, really recommended

As for films, I watched LOADS. Lee and I watched TWELVE films during our week in the Dales. In fact, the end film that week was my 100th film of the year. Lee, who is far more of a film buff than me, says he hasn't watched that many this year by far. I'm enjoying making more time this year for films. Here's what I watched:

Oliver! - I haven't seen this in years and had a hankering to. It is a daft film but pretty cute

Dazed and Confused - I had never seen this but I liked it, I liked how it flitted between groups of friends

Wayne's World - Lee and I had been keeping a list of films we wanted to watch on holiday and this was one of them. I know it isn't great but it's been part of my life for so long that sometimes I want the nostalgia kick

Mean Girls - my choice to watch next on holiday. I love this film but when I tried to make Lee watch it before he said he didn't get it and felt like it was an inferior rip off of Clueless, which he loves. This time round he said he liked it better, though

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace - I have never seen the prequels. I'm a huge Star Wars fan, but I'd never seen them. It's okay because the protagonist in Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell hasn't, either. But I want to watch them because I'm writing a zine about Star Wars, so I made notes as we watched it. It's a bad film isn't it. I'd have left Anakin on that planet, myself.

Wonder Woman - I'd been wanting to see this since it came out and it definitely lived up to my expectations, I really enjoyed it

The Maze Runner - I read the book of this four years ago when we were in Benidorm and liked it. I've seen the film before mostly because it has Dylan O'Brien in it and I love him (I'm a big fan of Teen Wolf). It was on Film4 while we were on holiday so I said we should watch it. Lee ended up enjoying it far more than I thought he would and he wants to see the others in the series now

The Shining - Lee wanted to watch this. I like it, but it is a bit scary and I always have to watch the bit in room 273 (or whatever it is) from behind a pillow

But I'm A Cheerleader - another of my choices for our holiday, I haven't seen it in years and liked it

Addams Family Values - since we watched the first one in September. This is my favourite of the two though

Men in Black II - again we watched the first one in September and wanted to watch them all. I like this one a lot - I like the first one best though

Baby Driver - we like Edgar Wright's films but hadn't seen this one yet so watched it on holiday. It was okay - the main character is really good and I liked the music. I would have said that Kevin Spacey's character was really good too but after the allegations of abuse by him came out I've gone off him entirely

Wayne's World II - I probably like this one better than the other one, because I like the festival they put on. Even though the other one has Alice Cooper in it! 

Men In Black III - I can only remember watching this once before, when it was in the cinema, and I didn't like itr because it retconned the entirety of J's back story. I still feel that way, but I did like it

Suite Francaise - I read the book years ago but had never seen the film. It looks stunning and Michelle Williams is great, but the film lacked something I think

The Hunger Games - every now and then I want to watch these films because I like them and the books so much. I don't like Jannifer Lawrence but I think she's good in this

Joan Didion The Center Will Not Hold - this film, about the writer, is directed by her nephew and is on Netflix. It is amazing, it goes over her whole life and talks about the tragedies she has suffered. It is immense, watch it now

Bright Young Things - I don't know why this was in my head but I wanted to watch it. It's like the Great Gatsby, set in the 30s with all the hedonism that goes alongside that. Stephen Campbell Moore is great and there are so many amazing British actors in it