Wednesday, 28 May 2014

BEDM Day 28: London Pet Show

So I appreciate that it has taken an ungodly amount of time to get around to blogging about what I did a couple of Sundays ago - made even worse that I left it on a complete cliff hanger and then just never mentioned it again. My bad.

Way way back at the beginning of the year The Person appeared to me with a gleam in his eye and said...

"Do you know there's a thing at Earl's Court in London called the London Pet Show in May?"

He didn't really need to say anything else. Train tickets and show tickets were booked and it was then a case of waiting for the weeks and months to tick by until the time came for us to get a daftly early train to London to get our Pet on.

Obviously we were attracted by the section called "Small Furries" given our beloved gerbils, so you can imagine how absolutely massively gutted we were to discover that there wasn't even a gerbil stall at Earl's Court. No gerbils in sight. Rats? Yes. Chinchillas? Yes. Rabbits? Yes. Guinea Pigs? Yes. Stupid Hamsters? Yes.

No gerbils = sad faces from us.

Good bloody job I love all the animals then isn't it?

The day basically consisted of me rushing about like a complete lunatic trying to touch and stroke as many animals as possible. It's hard for me to really explain what the point of the show is - I guess you could say it is an opportunity to learn about lots of animals before maybe deciding to bring one in to your home as a pet. However I would say that is an opportunity to touch as many breeds of cats and dogs as is possible.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's a bad thing.

I saw big cats and small cats and cats with big ears and small ears. I saw cats with lots of fur and cats with no fur at all (sidenote: Sphinx cats win the award for being the most affectionate breed of cat we saw that day). And I saw big dogs and held small dogs and saw wiry haired dogs and dogs with soft coats and dogs with no coats.

This guy was only 10 months old and has more growing to do. MASSIVE cat.

And I held a rat and I stroked a chinchilla.

But going mad and stroking all the animals wasn't even the best part.

The best part is contained in this photo here:

Please note my absolutely ecstatic face and Chris Packham's pretty worried face. This is the photo that a very young me has been waiting for for a very long time. 

I have a terrible memory when it comes to my childhood. I don't know why, but where some people can remember what they did for their 4th birthdays, or that time they went to the beach, or this, that and the other, I just don't remember that stuff at all. 

But let's not pull at that thread.

One thing I do remember though is watching The Really Wild Show on the BBC and being mesmerized by a boy with peroxide blonde hair and very wacky shirts. Probably my first ever crush. 

And now I am 31 and instead of watching him on The Really Wild Show I'm listening to him on Desert Island Discs and behaving like a terribly uncool person right in his face.

Hurray for being a grown up.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

BEDM Day 27: Books & books & books

The first part of this year has been a pretty good when it comes to reading. I'm not the world's fastest reader but I do love to read. It just pains me that I can't do as much of it as I would like because life very irritatingly gets in the way.

The count so far is 17 which I think is good going, especially when 2 of those are George RR Martin books which basically count for at least two 'normal' sized books.

And considering the amount of crocheting that 2014 has brought my way so far I'm especially pleased with the total. It still bugs me that I can't crochet and read at the same time.

(Cue someone suggesting audio books....I'm afraid they don't work for me, I can't concentrate on what they're saying.)

There has been a lot of talk lately about books given recent headlines but I'm not going to saturate the world of blogging with another one of those posts.

Instead this is just me giving myself a well done pat on the back for doing a jolly good read over the past five months.

Recommendation-wise I could probably throw some your way...

I feel very good about finally finishing the Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin. These books require a huge amount of dedication. They are simultaneously almost impossible to read due to the incredible amount of characters and at the same time complete page turners, leaving you wanting more and more each time. The pressure that he must be under to produce the next book which has been three years in the waiting, plus the addition of the Game of Thrones series, must be intense.

Books I would wholeheartedly recommend:

  • Heft, Liz Moore
  • The Rosie Project, Graeme Simson (is there a person left alive who hasn't read it yet)
  • The Long Earth, Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter (even a not sci-fi fan like me could enjoy this one)
  • Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes 
Books I would recommend but with a warning:
  • Brain on Fire, Susan Cahalan
  • A House in the Sky, Amanda Lindhout
These books were excellent but did not make for 'easy' reading, especially the latter. 

Books you might want to not bother touching:
  • Ash, James Herbert
I hate to speak ill of the the dead but that book was just awful.

And finally - books you will see me reviewing:
  • Instructions for a Heatwave, Maggie O'Farrell
  • Black Diamonds, Catherine Bailey
On Alex's Blogging Good Read next month!


Happy reading, whatever you choose to read.

Monday, 26 May 2014

BEDM Day 26: A little bit of internet love Part II

I say let us continue to spread around the internet love

(Not like that guys)

So here is some cool stuff I've been reading lately:

Mr X Stitch has been up to some more excellent exploits - if you live in London you should definitely get yourself to his next session at Drink, Shop & Do on 2nd June.

Continuing on the stitchy theme, here is a lovely tutorial for stitching on paper. I've did a bit of stitching on paper when I put together my scrapbook of my holiday to my Dad's house in France. It is all kinds of fun.

Lauren is one of my oldest blogging friends and actually the first special internet friend I met in real life. She wrote a very interesting post about whether or not blogging is on the decline. It's interesting for me as we started our blogs at around the same time so I think feel a little at sea sometimes in this new world.

I'm a big fan of salads but am not particular adventurous when it comes to making them. Enter Chloe with not one, not two, but five excellent recipes to make salads way more interesting than a bit of iceberg with some sliced tomato on top. One that's staying bookmarked for me for a while I come I think.

Another post from Janet this week. Starting to sound ever so slightly fan girly now but what can I do? She keeps writing great posts! 'Why is being photographed without makeup the bravest thing a woman can do?" is a thinker for you.

Miss Pond wrote an excellent Running Manifesto which is something that I should definitely do myself. Or, just steal hers.

And lastly, one more crafty themed post - if you love Doug from the film Up! then you'll love this cross stitch piece featured on Mr X Stitch's blog.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

BEDM Day 22: A lovely cup of tea

Aaah BEDM you were going so well for a minute there. You know what the problem is? I stopped being organised. I stopped having a big block of posts all banked up and ready to go at a moment's notice and then time overtook.

Well I'm pretty sure no-one's really crying about it, so let us move swiftly on without another mention of it again.


I feel as if I'm pretty rough on Tiny Town, the place where I live. I'm always going on about how small it is and how I can't get out of it because there's no public transport and how there's only one street and there's no decent shopping.

But it does have one trick up its sleeve. A little gem which is so hidden away that there are people who don't even know that it's there.

And that is the Best Tearoom on the Planet. Ever.

I'm serious.

My tearoom > Your tearoom

The first time I visited was after a particular stressful and unsuccessful trip to the Post Office trying to post a present over to American Girl. I lugged it all the way into town only for the Post Office to try and charge me £67 to send it to the US. No thanks Royal Mail. Despondent and irritated I decided I would go in search of a lovely cup of tea - the only thing that can fix you in a situation like this.

I had seen a sign for this tearoom the week previously and was intrigued by it - you seemed to enter through a tiny alleyway and I could see nothing at all of what was inside. Wandering down the tunnel, I came out into a lovely little courtyard and I could immediately feel my bad feelings starting to dissipate. Over to my right was a doorway and upon opening it there was an inviting set of stairs leading up before me.

Upon arriving at the top of the stairs I felt transported to another world. This is a tearoom in every traditional sense of the word. We're talking lacy tablecloths and dark wooden furniture, mis-matched teacups and a plethora of teapots (some of which are for sale), 1920s music playing in the background and cakes and scones under glass domes on a sideboard in front of you.

There is no fancy website, or Facebook page, or Twitter account but what there is is a clientele which seems to exist almost solely of returned customers. People who have been there before and have been unable to resist the lure of returning again. The reason for this isn't just the calming atmosphere and the food on the menu (which is lovely by the way) but is the service. The person who owns and runs this coffee shop has to be the single most happiest and welcoming person on the planet. She is so outrageously nice that you just want to stay in her company for as long as possible. I know it's sad to say this, but in a world where people can sometimes be increasingly rude and standoffish, especially in the service industry, Lizzie is a breath of fresh air.

I've been a total of three times and she already remembers who I am and makes sure to say hello when she sees me. When my Mum came up for my birthday and asked me what I wanted to do I knew exactly where I wanted to take her. A conversation between us uncovered that Lizzie had been to Hull University (if there's a link back to my mothership I'll find it you know) and if I didn't like her before, the warmth with which she spoke of my home town cemented her as one of my favourite people in the world.

She even left the above note on our bill when we came to leave. *Heart swells with pride.*

I will continue to return to Lizzie's Tearooms whenever I get the opportunity. Not only because I can't wait to see what teacup I get next, but because it is a place where I can go and just sit back and escape from everything. A place where I can come to terms with the fact that there's only one street and there's no decent shops and there's no public transport. 

A place where I can just drink tea.


Apologies for leaving you hanging in the lurch after my last post. I promise it was fun though. Pinky promise.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

BEDM Day 18 - How Saturday unfolded...

BEDM Day 18 and I'm still holding on - by the skin of my teeth!

One of the prompts was to undertake a photo an hour for a day and I went for Saturday because a photo an hour for a weekday would not make interesting viewing for anybody.

8am - Up at what I think is an unreasonably early time for a Saturday when you're a childless couple. Still the view of blue skies through the window makes me feel good about the day ahead.

9am - The breakfast of champions. During the week it's Cornflakes for me but weekends are for cups of tea and Marmite on toast.

10am - I confess; during the week I sometimes cannot be bothered to make the bed properly, if at all, but weekends are all about taking the time out to do the little things.

11am - A trip to the local Farmer's Market to eat a bacon butty, sit in the sunshine and re-unite a lost child with his parents.

12pm - Time to wander home with peppermint choc chip ice cream in hand

1pm - A trip to the supermarket to buy a ridiculous number of stickers to fill in our Panini World Cup sticker book.

2pm - Checked the post and found that my race stuff has arrived for the Hull 10k taking place on 8th June

3pm - Gerbils know how to relax on a Saturday - this is Tyrion Lannister who has fallen asleep without actually managing to get all the way inside his cottage.

4pm - I went out for a run. It did not go well. Least said about that the better.

5pm - Watching Hull v Arsenal in the FA Cup Final - Hull are somehow unbelievably leading 2-1 after scoring two goals in the first 8 minutes.

6pm - Still watching the FA Cup Final - score is now 2-2 and about to head into extra time...

7pm - ...and it's all over. Arsenal win by scoring a third in extra time and lift the FA Cup...hopes and dreams are shattered.

8pm - A little Saturday treat in the form of a Chinese takeaway. Can't beat it.

9pm - Cider whilst catching up with the latest episode of 24. Quite frankly I needed it after what this day had brought me.

10pm - Shattered from getting up early, going to the Farmer's Market, an absolutely terrible run in the heat and Hull losing the FA Cup Final - it's time for bed at the sinfully early time of 10pm. But we had our reasons, we had something exciting to get up for today...

Friday, 16 May 2014

BEDM Day 16: A little bit of internet love

I'm suffering a little bit from BEDM fatigue at the moment. Hardly surprsing given that I've pretty much blogged as many times in May as I have done for the rest of 2014. My poor little blog brain doesn't know what is going on at the moment.

I've told myself I'll not be too hard on myself if I don't manage to post every day in May but who am I kidding, I am the Queen of self flagellation, there aint nobody that knows how to make me feel bad better than myself.

Anyway, allow me to provide you with some reading material for this Friday night / weekend / time when you're bored at work...

I read this very interesting post on Bonjour Blogger about re-building a community in the blogging world. I have been vocal in the past about how the blogging landscape has evolved since I started blogging and I think it's an interesting topic to think about. Once you throw certain things like money and PR into the mix blogging becomes more about getting hits and watching stats etc etc and less about just sharing some stories amongst some people you know from the internet.

(And yes I did indeed nick this idea from it.)

Yes I'm a crazy person who despite the fact that I am not engaged, reads wedding blogs. So sue me. This wedding on Rock 'N' Roll Bride made me laugh because the bride and her bridesmaids had toy cats instead of bouquets. It's worth clicking on just for the photo of the bride throwing her 'bouquet'.

I still have the last two amigurumi orders on my books to get rid of before I can finally get back to making stuff for me and this is filling me with excitement. Even more so reading some of Attic 24's mandala posts for Yarndale. Even though a mandala has no real purpose I'm definitely feeling the urges to make one immediately.

For some time now I have been loving Sophie's photos over on Sophie in the Sticks. What is incredibly refreshing to see is the variety of Sophie's posts. Her shoots are never just in the same place and she's never just doing the same pose over and over and over again - it makes for a much more engaging read than some other fashion blogs. I wish I could be like her in front of a camera instead of looking like a drunk squirrel. (Whilst you're over there check out this post of Sophie by a field of rapeseed. It's a joy!)

By now I'm sure you've seen the video of the cat attacking the dog which was mauling a little boy. You haven't?! Well allow me to point you in the right direction --> here. Proof, as if it was needed, that cats are amazing.

This cartoon of a gall bladder has been doing the rounds a lot lately but I just love it. Look at his little sad face!

Janet wrote a post about the unreadable books on her shelves. You know the ones - you pick them up, you put them down, you pick them up again, you put them down. What's on your unreadable pile?

And finally: Sarah Millican wrote an absolutely brilliant piece for the Radio Times about how basically shit it is to be a woman in today's society - with special attention to the role of Twitter. It is not often that a fairly short piece can make you laugh and feel terribly sad all in one reading - it just goes to show that she's as good at writing as she is at telling jokes.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

BEDM Day 15: Home Sweet Home

My Mum is good at a lot of things, (obviously, she's a Mum) but one thing she is really good at it is pulling a room together. She does it naturally, without really thinking. She is capable of visualising what she wants to achieve and then she sets out and makes it happen.

She was painting furniture long before the word 'upcycling' existed and every time I go back home she's added something else, or taken something out, or is planning on painting another wall for no particular reason at all.

Sadly I have not followed in her footsteps. I am not really able to formulate what I want to happen into a coherent form that allows me to actually make a start. I am not a creative person in that sense - little wisps of ideas appear in my mind's eye, only to float away before I can get a grip on them.

But I have become determined to do something about it now. I am a little tired of living in a flat which is a mis-match of random bits of furniture that have been collected and gathered and very kindly donated. I love them all, but nothing really makes sense together and it feels a little bit like living in a student flat.

Although there isn't much we can do in terms of decorating, given that we live in rented accommodation, I can make a start on making what I do have in to some kind of coherent 'style' - even if the word 'style' isn't really a word to describe me.

I saw a wedding some time a go which had a yellow and grey theme and I fell in love with it there and then. Of course, as with most things that I like, I have chosen a trend which is hugely popular. It seems to be my lot in life to always be one step behind everyone else. 

Luckily for me however, I'm not swayed by what is popular, merely by what I like. This is handy actually because the sofa that we bought when we moved into this flat is grey. Look at that - I've already made a start!

I'm already making plans for our coffee table, a very kind donation from Heather when we moved into the flat in August. I've seen way too many magazine articles and things on Pinterest of people having fun with spray paint and I need to get in on the action. I have how-to articles pinned on how to tape off chevron patterns and I've eyed up the colours that I want to go for. 

And then I'll be one step closer to living less like a student and a bit more like a grown up person.


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

BEDM Day 14: The Potterer's Weekend

This past weekend was one of those great weekends where you simultaneously do nothing and everything. I think it's the knowledge of knowing that nothing has to be done that makes me so productive on weekends like that. Once things are planned and "in the diary" it becomes a case of fitting it all in, and there's nothing like that feeling that makes me want to hide away and not do anything at all.

But on a weekend where nothing is planned the opportunities are endless and they end up becoming some of the most productive.

Who doesn't love a good potter? Pottering about aimlessly always ends up things being ticked off your list. You might not go about everything in the most logical order but you wander and roam and eventually things get done.

And so this weekend we:

Erranded: Dry cleaning was picked up, cheques were put in the bank, some overdue make-up was bought

Relaxed: We visited my most favourite tearoom in the history of tearooms. It really deserves a post of its own so I won't bore you with it now.

Acted like kids: We have a Panini World Cup sticker book and our new (rather expensive) obsession is buying packets of stickers to fill the pages. I'm even indulging in swapsies at work.

Watched: Eurovision. You will not find a bigger Eurovision fan than me. I love that programme and won't be without it. I completely get that it's not to everyone's tastes but to me it's my childhood. Mum, Dad and I watched it all together every year and if I ever have children I will make them stay up and watch it too. I love it and everything about it and this year was a good year.

Crocheted: A tortoise. Definitely the most complicated amigurumi that I've made so far in terms of construction but I'm pleased that I made it through alive without having to resort to violence. She's really hard to take photos of that get all of her details in but that happy little face is one of my favourites. Only two more animals to make and then I'm free of my orders and the doors to my unofficial shop are closed.

Ran: The Hull 10km is in four weeks and even though I'm resigned to not being able to run the whole thing I am also determined not to give up. I needed to run 6.5km this weekend so I strapped my new toy to my wrist (a Garmin Forerunner 10 if you're interested) and set off. It wasn't perfect and I had to walk a few times but hey at least I started running again after I'd stopped - that's got to count for something, right?!

Reminisced: I saw something very familiar on the new Bulmers advert. Namely my old Halls of Residence from when I was studying at the University of Manchester. That white tower block with the black box on top of it in the centre of the photo above is the lovely Chandos Hall which is where The Person and I met 12.5 years ago. Aaaaaah...

Saved a life: I donated my 18th pint of blood this weekend which made me feel bloody well good about myself. If you don't give blood - you should.

Shifted: All the furniture in the spare bedroom needed a good shift around and this weekend was the first one that it was possible to do so. It still means that if someone comes to stay, we'll have to move a chest of drawers in order to have the room to pull out the sofa bed, but it looks better than it did. Just need someone to come and stay now!

Ate: Everything.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

BEDM Day 13: The King of Sandwiches

I love sandwiches. I'm a bread lover baby. People who don't eat bread? They confuse me.

I go through all kinds of sandwich jags and will quite happily have the same sandwich day after day after day after day. The current obsession is ham and coleslaw - it is all I can think about and all I'm interested in.

And you can never ever go wrong with any form of cheese between your slices. Cheese and salad, or cheese and chutney, or cheese and Salt & Vinegar crisps, or cheese and cheese...

But really there can only be one sandwich that is the king of all sandwiches.

I can only apologise for the quality of the following photos. I was really only concerned with one thing when I was making this sandwich and that was shoving it in my gob as soon as humanly possible.

Step 1...

Step 2...

Step 3...

The BLT is the best of the best when it comes to sandwiches. The crispness of the lettuce, the sweetness of the tomatoes and the slight crunch of the well-done bacon, all topped off with an over generous splattering of mayo.

Nothing could be better....or could it? Convince me...

Monday, 12 May 2014

BEDM Day 12: Walk to Work

As soon as I saw this on the list of topics for BEDM I had a very wry smile on my face.


Take a look at this photo;

I took this photo from my living room window - you see that arrow over there on the far right?

That's where my work is. It takes me about 7 minutes to walk from the door of my flat to the comfort of my office chair.

I'm a lucky devil. Just under two years ago my commute involved walking about five miles a day and a train journey. Just over a year ago I moved to my new job and my commute was a much more pleasant experience as documented in last year's BEDM post on the same topic. A walk of about a mile and a half with lots of lovely views and the chance to see the castle every day.

I know which one out of the three that I prefer...

Sunday, 11 May 2014

BEDM Day 11: Why Ser Jorah Mormont needs to go on a diet

Happy Sunday everybody - I hope that you're all having a lovely time sitting about, drinking tea, watching TV, catching up on blogs, whatever it is you do on a Sunday.

This is a cop out post because I'm not technically blogging here.

Instead I'm going to tell you about somewhere else I've been blogging, over at Helen's blog, Tea in the Tub.

My subject choice?



So go and take a gander at this post and see why it is that Ser Jorah Mormont is currently on a diet.

Bonus Ser Jorah Mormont picture

Saturday, 10 May 2014

BEDM Day 10 - What I lug about a.k.a. take a snoop in my handbag.

Oh yeah, I love a good blog meme. Especially when I don't have much else to write about. I've seen a few of these floating around and figured it was as good a time as any to trot one of these out.

My bag is a Cambridge Satchel Company bag which I guess makes me a proper blogger, right? This little beauty was a present for my 30th birthday from all of my family and it is one of my favourites. I even has my initials embossed on it so you can't steal it 'kay?

1. I've got my Kindle out! This never ever ever happens. I am taking part in Alex's Blogging Good Read soon and decided to get one of the books for that month on my Kindle to take away to America with me. Of course I didn't read it so now I'm stuck reading it on my Kindle. I just prefer real life books I'm afraid. But it works out well for this bag because it is not the most spacious and only the slimmest of paperbacks will fit in it.

2. Little book and pen because you never know when inspiration will strike. Believe it or not, considering that I hardly ever blog, this person has a book in her bag which is pretty much for that purpose. Lists of things I might want to blog are in here, random streams of consciousness are in here. It's not a fancy notebook I'm afraid, I got it free at a hotel once. *Loses blogger points*

3. Vaseline cocoa butter flavour and Extra chewing gum. Because nobody likes dry lips and stinky they?

4. This is practically an antique item now. A first generation iPod Nano. You know back in the olden days when they weren't really that tiny? And you could only get them in black and white? I know right? It's mainly loaded with podcasts because I'm a super non-cool person. I listen to them when I go running because they help to distract me because I kind of find running boring sometimes.

5. Mega purse. American Girl got me this a billion years ago I believe. Loadsa room for notes, little zippy bit for coins and lots of beautiful sections for cards. There's even a pocket in the back where you can put things. I can fit my lovely slim phone in it and then there is a handle that pulls out so you could take it out on its own for a night out. Bullseye.

6. Hello keys. You are lovely and open doors and stuff. Like magic. Please note Pets at Home VIP card - essential for gerbil purchases.

7, The holy trifecta of USB stick, card holder thing and HSBC Secure Key. That is the holy trifecta, right? I don't even know what's on that USB stick...

Oh hey I just realised that this photo doesn't include my phone. That's because I was taking the picture with my phone. You need to just imagine it okay?

Right you nosy lot, you've seen enough, time to move on...

....and show me what's in yours...

PS Awesome bedding is sadly not mine but is Mumsie's.

Friday, 9 May 2014

BEDM Day 9 - Motivation

I should be brimming over with motivation for my running at the moment. I have entered the Run for All Hull 10km which is taking place in just under a month and the closer I get, the motivated I should be - right?

Not really.

I've tried everything I can think of - I've written myself out a not particularly demanding training plan, I've tried to remember everything I wrote in my Guide to Mediocre Running, I've promised to go easy on myself - but nothing seems to be working.

My injuries haven't helped matters either and neither quite frankly has my weight, it is not lost on me that I'm trying to run this 10km weighing a fair bit more than any of my others.

I go through fairly regular periods of falling in and out of love with running. It takes me a while to get back to enjoying it and not minding the sweat and lung burning and tired legs that come as part and parcel of lugging myself around my chosen route. At the moment I'm frustrated with what I'm perceiving as a lack of progress - somehow I seem to be running faster than I used to be able to, but I'm just totally unable to turn that into running for longer periods. If I was training for a 5km I'd probably be happy about now but instead I feel frustrated and annoyed.

I have decided to let myself off the hook for this 10km. I'm not going to be ready in time to be able to run the whole thing, a month just isn't long enough to get to where I need to be, instead I'm going to work on not mentally beating myself black and blue if I have to walk. (No mean feat let me tell you.)

But I need a little extra motivation to get myself to still go out there and run.

So I turned to retail therapy - not often my first choice.

How can I not want to go out running now when I have the opportunity to wear these guys...

...and these guys....

Both are from Adidas and come on the recommendation of Miss Pond - I saw her cool leggings and had to get in on the action.

It may seem weird that someone who feels intensely paranoid whenever they go out and run in public would buy running tights like these but the way I reason it is that if I think everyone is looking at me anyway, I might as well look like a lunatic. Now I can try and convince myself that they're not looking at me because I look peculiar when I run but are actually looking at me because  they are jealous of how super cool I look.

And it almost worked you know - when I got them I really wanted to go out and go for a run straight away.

I didn' know....I felt motivated that's half the battle surely?

Thursday, 8 May 2014

BEDM Day 8 - Local History

As I've mentioned about a billion times before, I live in a tiny place. Tiny.

One main street, not really any high street shops, no train station - but many many pubs.

For this reason I'm always a little bit coy about saying exactly where it is I live. I don't really know why, there are photos of my face on this blog, it could be fairly easy for someone to stumble upon it and realise who I am, but I feel like I can maintain a semblance of anonymity if I don't reveal the exact name of the place where I live.

It felt easier in bigger cities like Hull and Preston - you are one face amongst many and it's easy to get lost - but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that there are not that many people blogging here in Tiny Town, so I feel as if "exposure" is more likely.

Nothing like being dramatic on a Thursday morning is there?

But what with today's BEDM topic being Local History month I thought I would give you all a little clue as to where it is I live:

You get bonus points if you don't resort to Google to guess the answer.

Bonus castle picture

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

BEDM Day 7 - May Day Bank Holiday

This latest Bank Holiday saw me back in the Mothership for a weekend of me and Mum time. I'd actually booked the tickets a long time back because I thought I was going out for someone's birthday but sometimes things just don't turn out like you thought they would. But that was fine, it meant more time for me to spend with Mumsie.

I took no crochet with me, just the ridiculously large hardback copy of A Dance with Dragons, the final book in the Song of Ice & Fire series (a.k.a. Game of Thrones). It is just too big that book, but I knew I was finally coming to the end of it and could get through a good chunk of it on the Megabus journey. I started it on 31 March and have been held back from finishing it sooner purely by the literal size of it - it is just physically difficult to lug around with you. Luckily for those reading it in paperback, it has been split into two books - although I can't lie to you, they're still outrageously large.

Speaking of ridiculously large things one of Mum's friends came round to see her with some spare rhubarb from his allotment. Cue Mum walking in with a heavy duty bin liner that she could barely lift. See picture below (Lily is captured for a size reference).

Mum spent a fair portion of my time stewing rhubarb, but there was still a fairly huge pile left so I was dispatched back to the Midlands carrying what felt like half a stone of rhubarb on my back.

Whilst Mum stewed rhubarb, I drank cider, because I know how to roll on a Bank Holiday. I am not a drinker of 'proper' wee-coloured cider. Not at all the time at least. I am mostly a drinker of namby bamby fruit ciders that basically don't taste of alcohol. I feel like I might as well be drinking a bottle of Hooch, so little have my drinking habits changed over the years.

Question - isn't Apple kind of a given flavour when you're drinking cider?

Obviously there was much Fred and Lily time. Lily was uncharacteristically affectionate with me this trip - normally she just loves Mum but I was honoured to have the pleasure of her company on my lap quite a few times. That top right picture is her watching Pillow Talk on Saturday night with me. (If you've never watched it you are missing out.) 

That's Fred yawning by the way. He's not really fierce.

I didn't just stay in, drinking cider, stewing rhubarb and playing with cats though.

We took a wander in to town where I got to admire Queen's Gardens looking flippin' fit in the sunshine with their newly planted beds and I even took a trip to East Park for a run with a friend. We probably did a little bit more walking than we should have done but at least we were out doing something yeah? Let's call it interval training.

And anyway, who cares about the running when you can see a deer like this little baby down below?

It may not have been a heady Bank Holiday, full of boozing and boozing and some more boozing but it was a Bank Holiday full of things I love:

- Cider
- Reading
- Fred and Lily
- Time with Mumsie
- My city looking pretty
(Not in order of importance)

So a little lesson that sometimes in disappointment, nice things can come.


PS Have you read all the Game of Thrones books? Want to talk about brilliant theories of what might come next if George R R Martin ever gets on with writing another book? TALK TO ME.

PPS I'm not weird, I call her Mumsie because that was what Richard O'Brien used to call his Mumsie on The Crystal Maze. What can I say - I'm a product of the 90s.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

BEDM Day 6 - Passion Projects

I’m not entirely sure if my crochet is a passion project or not. 

Sometimes I feel as if crochet and I have entered into the ‘comfortable with one another’ phase of our relationship. We’re no longer going out on hot dates and thrilled with the sight of one another but happy to spend a night in, watching TV in our scruffs.

Occasionally there is still that whiff of passion that descends. A sudden whimsy to try something new and different. A while ago I was struck by an urge to crochet a flower. Any kind of flower but I needed to crochet a flower. 

And so I did. 

Pattern from here

I crocheted one flower and used it as decoration for a present and another flower for absolutely no purpose whatsoever. It’s currently just hanging about not doing anything which makes me feel bad for him. 

Pattern from here

I still harbour a dream for a flower garland of some sorts – it’s currently just sat in the back of my mind waiting to come to fruition, but I know that once I start on it I will be consumed by the excitement and unable to concentrate on anything else.

Unfortunately my flames of passion have been dampened down lately, due to the, at times, overwhelming numbers of orders that I have had on for amigurumi creatures.

Elephants that I've made in 2014 (pattern from this book)

As I’ve mentioned before, word got out that I could make these animals and word spread fast. I had orders coming out of my ears and the trouble with that is that I just find it hard to say no. I’m the original People Pleaser and I just want to make people like me – for me that means never saying no.

Some of the 2014 output (see this post for pattern sourcing)

It’s got me in a bit of a pickle though. It means that I no longer yearn to pick up my hook – it has instead become something else that I have to do. Coupled that with the fact that I’m really not charging people enough for the things that I’m making and the passion and desire has well and truly been extinguished.

More 2014 output  - Lion from this book / Penguin from this book / Zebra from this book

I have made a promise to myself to just say no and close the doors to orders once I have the last few animals complete and taken off my hands. So once I’m rid of this tortoise, lion, cow and penguin that is it.

And the last of 2014's output. No wonder I haven't been blogging...
Panda from this book / Horse and Octopus from this book

And hopefully by allowing myself some time to stretch my creative crocheted wings I’ll be able to stir up those flames of passion once more.

But I would be interested to know how many people have turned their passion into a work and eventually found themselves burned out?

Monday, 5 May 2014

BEDM Day 5 - Cinco de Mayo

I had never even heard of Cinco de Mayo until I went to see American Girl and Boy in 2008. We ran through the things that we would be doing when I was over – a bit of shopping (the £ to $ exchange rate was amazing back then, almost $2 - £1), a trip to Vegas, a visit to the Grand Canyon, “…and we’ll be out for Cinco de Mayo as well” she added.

Erm excuse me?

I’ll be honest I’m still hazy on the details of what the day was and why we would be going out to celebrate it. You are big grown ups, you can Google that for yourselves.

All I knew was that whatever this was, it involved a night out and I am all on board for that.

My Cinco de Mayo experience can be summed up in a few bullet points:

  • Cinco de Mayo is basically like a Bank Holiday Sunday. People don’t really know why they’re out, you just are out.
  • I discovered that American shots are much bigger than UK measures – there was a close call with a shot of tequila

  •           Watching aghast as two very drunk College girls ‘danced’ in short toweling beach dresses and probably didn’t stay in their own beds
  •           A couple consisting of a very old man and a very young girl. He licked her shoes. I’ll leave it at that.
  •           American Girl threw most of a drink all over a table in a diner.

  •           And the night ended in an empty strip club with me getting a lap dance.
(There are no photos of that.)

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

BEDM Day 4 - Adventures in meatless cooking

One of my Not Really Resolutions this year was to make more of an effort to try out some new vegetarian meals. I wrote that I would eat one veggie meal a week but I allowed myself some leeway, as long as it adds up to 52 at the end then I'll count it a success.

There have been a couple of obstacles in the way of my venture, one such obstacle being The Person.

If I called him a fussy eater he would vehemently deny it and that probably isn't a fair label. He just has a lot more things on his list of Things I Don't Like than I do.

He did not greet my decision to eat more vegetarian meals with masses of enthusiasm, he is very much the meat eater. But he has agreed to go along with it and has been a kind of willing participant in my latest experiment.

The one obstacle that I still have is that the list of vegetables that The Person really doesn't like include some of the bestest vegetables that feature most often in vegetarian recipes - namely carrots, butternut squash and sweet potato.Damn him damn him. When I tell people this there is always a chorus of people that say "Cook it anyway" and yes I agree but for a few small things:

1. I'm not cooking two meals
2. I'm not putting up with a kitchen where two people are trying to cook two different meals
3. Our freezer isn't big enough for me to freeze my lovely carroty/butternut squashy/sweet potatoey leftovers

(Living with a boyfriend can be inconvenient sometimes you know.)

But I've been coping well in my mostly root vegetable existence. I've looked online for recipes and I've had a ton of recipes recommended to me - mostly by you lovely guys. I've scoured through the always overlooked vegetarian sections of the cook books that I own and leafed through the scraps of torn out recipes that I've pulled from magazines. I bought a cheap little book from Tesco that contains lots of veggie recipes - that has been a little treasure trove of ideas, best £3 I've spent in a long time.

I've been trying to go for purely vegetable dishes and not go for meat substitutes such as Quorn or tofu. No particular reason, just trying to see what veggies can do when left to their own devices.

There have been successes and some....less so (falafel burgers I'm looking at you here). But actually on the whole it's all been going well. I'm torn between whether or not it's quicker to make veggie meals rather than meat ones. It feels like there's a lot more prep that goes on - those things don't chop and peel themselves you know. But on the other hand the cooking process is over much more quickly - no-one likes limp veg after all.

I've done well so far at not really repeating anything - the lentil bolognese I've counted for two meals and it will be the same for the aubergine and courgette lasagna. I did think about being very strict and only counting 'new' recipes as part of my 52 I'm doing well as it is, let's not make it more difficult.

The Person and I tend to do one week on and one week off for cooking and as much as he is on-board with my idea (kind of) The Person is not in any particular hurry to cook vegetarian meals on his own steam. So that tends to mean that on my weeks we're having at least two veggie meals.

At the time of writing we are 18 weeks into the year. We have eaten fifteen meals so there's a chance that we'll be having some purely veggie weeks throughout the year to come.

Perhaps my greatest achievement won't be expanding my culinary repertoire but turning The Person into a veggie lover. I'm slowly chipping away at his defences - I could tell he wasn't thrilled at the prospect of the aubergine and courgette lasagna I made this weekend, those vegetables ranking only very slightly above those orange ones I was talking about earlier. Upon finishing his plate I asked him what he thought of it.

"I feel very conflicted. I didn't think I would like it, but it was really nice and I want seconds and I wasn't  expecting it and now I don't know how to feel. It's as if I was kissing another boy and liking it."

Who needs a Michelin star?

Saturday, 3 May 2014

BEDM Day 3 - Not Really Resolutions 2014: Update 1

I was supposed to do this post at the end of March when we were a quarter of the way through the year but somehow something magical happened and we reached the end of April and we're a third of the way through the year instead.

Oh well.

1. Read 12 Classics

We're off to a good ol' start on this front. Not surprising as this is the Not Really Resolution that I don't normally struggle with.

Lady Chatterley's Lover was a bit of a surprise, it wasn't what I was thinking at all. I think with all the fuss that's made about it I thought it was some kind of Fifty Shades of Grey but it's actually a really sad book in a way about the loss of female identity. At least that's what I read into it. But yeah there's a bit of rudey in it too.

Flowers for Algernon is a beautiful book and a slight cheat because I have read it before but it's lovely and it makes me cry at the end and it's only teeny tiny so you definitely have to pick it up.

2. Eat 1 vegetarian meal a week

I'm currently a little behind on this one, it's not quite working out at one a week, some weeks it has been none and others it has been three but as long as I eat 52 I'm calling it a win. I have a whole post for talking about my adventures in meatless cooking though. You lucky devils.

3. Do 1 interesting thing each month

This is coming along very nicely indeed. I got off to a great start in January by seeing the lovely Chloe and continued the meeting up with internet people theme in February by meeting up with Janet and exploring Leicester. March doesn't have a specific post but I went road tripping in America so I think we can call that month taken care of interestingness-wise. April passed by in a bit of blur, I didn't even really do anything for my birthday but I did go to Wembley to see Hull City beat Sheffield United in the FA Cup Semi Final so I reckon that is up there on the interesting scale.

4. Save up to buy a car

Yeah I definitely need to put a plan into action for this one or else it's not going to end well...

5. Finish my Tetris blanket

Not a Tetris blanket

Ugh. I wish. Unfortunately I haven't been able to work on this, much as I would like. As I mentioned in this post back in February I have been making a lot of amigurumi stuff. And if you follow me on Twitter you will see a lot of photos of animals flying off my hook. The trouble is that word got round at work that I could make these animals and orders came flying in. And they just won't stop. This is for two reasons - one being that it's earning me a little bit of money on the side (although I'm not charging anywhere near what I should be for the time it takes) and the other being that I find it hard to say no. In my messed up little head saying to someone "Actually I'm sorry but I'm not taking any more orders" is the same thing as punching someone in the face. What can I say? I'm a people pleaser.

I have decided to be firm and am absolutely shutting up shop so I can make something for myself.


6. Learn something new

Still waiting on this one. Maybe inspiration will strike? Anybody want to teach me something?

7. Sell something at a craft fair

Hmmmm. Not sure about this one. Although technically if I'm selling all this amigurumi stuff doesn't that mean that I'm kind of selling stuff a craft fair.....No?

8. Beat my 10k time

Oh dear.

At the moment this has never seemed further away. I started off the year laid up thanks to a completely random knee injury that occurred in the flat. Apparently I am a person capable of tearing the tendons in my kneecap just by standing still. I don't know what happened. My knee overlocked, there was searing pain, it swelled to twice its size, I was in agony all over Christmas and New Year. I eventually went to a physiotherapist and after paying an ungodly amount of money and being poked and prodded and given homework my knee was fixed again.

I'm signed up to the Run for All Hull 10km which is taking place at the beginning of June. I put a training plan in place and off I went. Running life was good until this weekend when I went trotting out on a Saturday run. The wind was in my hair, a lovely podcast was in my ears, a searing pain was in my left calf....oh hello. I have no idea what I did, I guess I wasn't warmed up enough (although I never warm up before my runs, I don't run fast enough to make it worth warming up) and I definitely didn't trip or stumble over anything. There wasn't a 'pop' or anything dramatic, it just hurt. A lot. And when I thought I might be able to "run it off" I most certainly could not. I hopped about for a little bit and then resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to limp the mile home looking terribly terribly sorry for myself.

I guess I should be grateful that I don't run faster, I could have been even further from home when it happened.

So yes. I'm not running again. Hopefully only for a week, after not being able to walk at all on Saturday I was much improved the day after and every day it feels a little bit better. Let's keep our fingers crossed, yeah?

This does mean that beating my 10km time seems terribly unlikely. At the moment running 10km without stopping seems terribly unlikely. *sulks*


[Don't understand why I'm doing these things? Take a look at this post to see my reasonings behind them.]