Monday, 28 March 2016

March Favourites

Liking, loving, drooling - what did you have for me March?

Snuggly Scarf
I spotted this beauty in the New Look sale. I love that it has a different pattern on each side, blue tartan on one, and grey herringbone on the other. It's long, and snuggly, and I've hardly taken it off since I bought it. This is because for the first couple of weeks in March it was chuffing freezing. Scarf love, scarf life. I'm always a bit sad when it's time to say goodbye to scarf season as I do love it so, but it soon comes round again, especially in the North East of England.

Absolute 90's Radio (Digital Radio)
I came across this one Sunday while trying to escape from the poetry/spoken word bollocks that BBC6 fill up their lunchtime slot with (ugh!) and immediately started dancing around the kitchen to ALL THE TUNES! Since then it's been my go-to station of choice. There's always dancing around the kitchen. And usually belting out the lyrics at the top of my voice. I'm a brilliant neighbour...
Blue Skies
Even though it was still kinda chilly, by the middle of the month there were glorious blue skies to be seen for days at a time. I think I'm definitely embracing it more than ever this year as dog walking in the rainy and grey days? All kinds of misery. Dog walking in the sunshine and the blue blue skies? Let's have a woop! Each day has brought new signs of life as Mother Nature does her thing. Just think, it'll soon be Summer - oh happy days!
Pardon My French (podcast)
I'm a huge fan of Garance Dore. It's kind of hard to describe her these days as she doesn't just do one thing anymore - she's a blogger, a writer, a photographer, a style demon, and most of all she's completely and utterly COOL! I want to be her best friend, she's the same age as me and everything, I'm sure we'd get along like a house on fire, if she wasn't so busy meeting up with celebrities and living a glamorous lifestyle in NYC...ahem. Her latest venture is a new podcast called Pardon My French where she meets up with women that she loves and admires and just chats to them over coffee or dinner. It's funny and warm and wise and it makes me feel like I'm sitting at the next table listening in (dream on, girlfriend). If you like the sound of it you can find the podcast here
I know, it's probably really for the kids (and all the bloggers in the world these days) but I absolutely love Snapchat! My niece is on it too, and so we sometimes send each other silly little messages or videos that no-one else knows about (yes, I am 12). I've un-followed a few people because they were all kinds of dull, but some of the bloggers that I do follow are very funny and it's much more rough round the edges compared to their other outputs. Come on, join in the fun! You can find me on there as clairejens - go on, I dare ya!
That's me done for the month. More blue skies please, April. And some warm sunshine would be kinda cool too. See you there!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Peek Inside...My Bathroom

We've been living in our new house for a year now. I still think of it as new, as we're changing things up slowly and making plans for other rooms that are a few years down the line. When we first moved in we knew straight away that we had to do something with the bathroom. For starters, it was peach. And had a brown carpet (ugh!) and a brown ceiling. It was all kinds of dingy and the shower was at best a dribble and at worst, a few droplets of water. It's not the best before picture in the world, but it looked like this:

You see that shower curtain? It used to cling to you every time you had a shower. Ugh ugh ugh! Big yack.

We had the main work done in July 2015, and I'm not going to lie to you, it's still not entirely finished. Obviously all the building stuff is, but we still have a couple of hooks to add and a lock for the door. We'll get there. Soon...ish. When they were in the middle of the rebuild it was kind of hard to imagine how it was going to look:

We had no shower for a week and had to visit our parents in order to be not smelly. And we had workmen in the house for a whole week. When you work from home, that is hard! But I can absolutely say with all my heart that it was worth it. The new bathroom is an absolute joy! The shower is all kinds of lush, the whole room is brighter and just feels so much more like us. I love it! Go on, have a peek for yourself:

You like it? So much better! I love putting my own stamp onto things that have previously belonged to someone else - so satisfying! Next up is the bedroom and I cannot wait. It's all kinds of beige and blah, and (excitingly!) we're contemplating wallpaper - a first! Watch this space...

Monday, 21 March 2016

Springing into Spring!

The signs of Spring are everywhere at the moment, from golden yellow daffodils to glorious blue skies. I love it all. From here on in I plan on spending as much time outdoors as possible and drinking it all in. Cheers!


Friday, 18 March 2016

'Book'et List

As in 'bucket list' - do you see what I did there? No? Moving on...

When you're faced with a whole library of choice for reading material, it's actually quite overwhelming. Which one do I pick? Where should I go next? Do I start at A and work my way through the alphabet by colour? But what happens if I pick a doozy and it ruins my reading mojo? I can't even.

I am reaching out to you, dear readers, to throw some suggestions my way. Let me know a book or two that you've just finished, or one of your all time favourites, that I absolutely have to read. Share the book love! Or point me to your Goodreads account so that I can stalk your virtual bookshelf.

I am considering going non-library (shocker!) for my next one: either The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt or Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Should I? Which one first? They're both pretty meaty looking, a bit intimidating, and are definitely going to add some weight to my handbag.

Decisions, decisions.

Throw a girl a lifeline, my 'book'et list needs building!

Monday, 14 March 2016

The Beauty Cupboard - Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment

I think there will probably be a theme to the Beauty Cupboard posts which is value for money. A beauty product doing wonders is one thing, but if it's value for money as well? Then it's a double win for me. Next up is Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado.

Photo edited with #acolorstory
This little pot of wonder came into my life on my 40th birthday from Tee. I think I'd saved it to one of my many Pinterest folders dedicated to lotions and potions and she'd been all eagle eyed and bought me it as a special, and generous, gift!

It's only now, one whole year down the line, that the pot is empty. One year! I know you only use a teeny tiny amount of eye cream, but even so, a whole year is excellent value for money! The pot is £20 (I've just done a quick check online) and a year normally has 365 days (except this year of course) which works out at 5p per day. TOTAL BARGAIN!

So on to the product itself. It's definitely creamy, it's really nice to use, sinks right in, has never made my eyes water or feel burny, and in general is a really nice product. It doesn't have any claims like will keep wrinkles at bay, but two people at my new job have thought that I was late 20s in age, so something is working some magic, ha!

It's only the second Kiehl's product that I have used (the other was a serum which I also loved) and I would love to be spendy in a lot more of the range, but sadly it's out of my budget at the moment. One day...

For now, I will continue to scrape what is left out of the tub until I choose a replacement. Any recommendations?

Friday, 11 March 2016

Book to screen - The Martian

I would say I am totally open to reading any book, from any genre, but science fiction is something that I have rarely dabbled in. A long while ago I read 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' by Philip K. Dick but I think that's probably it, until I picked up 'The Martian' by Andy Weir. I half knew about it from a book You Tuber I follow and had seen a review or two on Goodreads, but had no idea what it was about really when I decided to add it to my groaning-under-the-weight-of-books-I-just-fancy-trying bedside table. 

So it's about an astronaut, who is stranded on Mars. In order to survive he decides to grow potatoes. Through sheer resolve and determination he finds ways to communicate with NASA and well, I don't want to give the ending away, so if you want to find out what happens you'll have to read the book. Which is very easy to read. And very funny! This I was not expecting at all. I found myself chuckling out loud several times. Mark Watney (the main character) is a funny guy! Although there is a lot of science-y stuff in it, it's pretty easy to skim over those parts, unless you're a total science geek of course, in which case, knock yourself out. 

As soon as I was finished with the book I knew I had to see the film to see how it was done. Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, and it's directed by Ridley Scott, so it already had a pretty good head start; it didn't come as too much of a surprise that I loved the film. I thought Matt Damon was amazing - his transformation from buff astronaut to skinny astronaut waiting to be rescued was actually quite visually shocking, and overall I thought his performance was outstanding. I loved the way that Mars was depicted - it was stunning and very red. The music added so much and was used in such a clever way that it made me laugh out loud a couple of times. The various spaceships and vehicles were amazing and I wondered out loud to Dave how much it must have cost to build them all for the film (or were they borrowed from NASA? Would they really allow a spaceship to be taken apart and dropped to the floor...? I think not but feel free to correct me if you know better!) The only downsides for me were the added bits at the end - those pesky film-makers never can resist from meddling! But it didn't at all spoil the film, which I thought was ace. Definitely recommended. 

Maybe I need to try more science fiction. Any recommendations? 

Monday, 7 March 2016

Round Our Way - sharing Sunday lunch platter at Canteen and Cocktails

As with all good things in life, I found out about this Sunday dinner deliciousness via a fellow blogger, Carli at The Tea Bee. She had made the trip and followed it up with a blog post that had the most drool-worthy photographs and descriptions of the dinner that had me at hello. I suggested the idea to Dave, and he is generally on board with all food things, so we made a date for Sunday. We even got changed out of our dossing around the house with the hairy dog clothes into something halfway decent so it really was like a proper date, and off we went. 

Destination: Norton.

Adventure: a Sunday lunch sharing platter for 2. 

Details: for £9 each you can enjoy roast chicken, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, cauliflower cheese, roasted carrots and parsnips, green veggies, a Yorkshire pudding each, and some super tasty gravy. For just £1 more you can turn that into a choice of two meats. 

Our experience: we arrived at around half 1 and it was still pretty busy. As a party of two we were quite easy to find seats for and joined onto the end of a big sharing table. Orders were placed and we enjoyed a pleasant social beverage and chitted the chat whilst we waited. We did wait about half an hour for the food, but with so many people there and lots of big groups this didn't seem too unreasonable. Besides it was Sunday and we had no other plans so laid back was our kinda way. Once the platter arrived, it was absolutely worth the wait. Oh my! 

Everything, and I mean everything, on the plate/platter was done to absolute perfection. The chicken was tender and juicy, the carrots and parsnips were gorgeous, the roasties were crunchy and crisp, even the cabbage was delicious! Truly yummy. I loved the way you could help yourself to however much or little you wanted, and could dip in and out and add things, share a carrot here, and nick a bit of parsnip's a novel way of offering Sunday lunch and I absolutely loved it. Fantastic value too for such good fare. It was also very family friendly and there were people with all ages of kiddos there enjoying the foodie delights which is a big plus if you have any littles of your own.  

Any downsides? Nothing at all about the food, I honestly could rave about it forever. Dave found the venue itself a bit noisy which could prove difficult if you have anyone in your party who is hard of hearing and wears hearing aids (we both have family members who have hearing aids so tend to be more aware of that kind of thing). As for me, I'm a bit over the whole enamel plate and tin cup thing but that's only a minor thing, and is more about crockery taste than anything else! Oh, I couldn't see anything for vegetarians either which is not great, but we didn't actually see a menu as knew exactly what we wanted! 

We both agreed we 100% would go back again, and I've already recommended it to almost everyone - any excuse to talk about food! 

Head to the Canteen and Cocktails website to find out more. And enjoy! I'm already envious if you've decided to go - I'm still dreaming about those roasted carrots...

(PS. I didn't take any photos at all as was too busy eating all the yumminess but you can see loads of photos if you go to Carli's blog post which is linked at the top of this post). 

Friday, 4 March 2016

Resolve - version 2

I'm still trying to figure out where February went. It definitely happened, I know that from the calendar, but all I remember from the month was an endless cycle of work, dog walk, eat, sleep, repeat. I hardly saw anyone or went anywhere, and frankly that is pretty sucky. Hence I'm back with some more resolving for 2016. Let's do this thing, March! 

In no particular order, I resolve:

- to make more of an effort to see people. I'm looking at all of you that I've hardly seen this year. I'm sorry, I'm rubbish. I'm busy, but rubbish! I'll be in touch to make some dates with you lovely lot, see you soon! 

- to finally get to the cinema to see a film. I said I wanted to do more of that in 2016 and so far I've have I seen? I'm not even sure I have seen anything. Epic fail. Get thee to a cinema, lady! 

- to be better at making a decent lunch. February was the month of eating whatever I could find in the cupboards and sometimes that was a couple of crumpets with Nutella that fill up no-one. Time to be more organised and make the lunch box a delicious and filling place to be. 

- to apply the same as above to dinners. There's been a few times this month where we've given into the takeaway easiness and it's not always been great or enjoyable. Home cooked meals rule. Be more organised is my March rule. 

- to get through series 5 of Buffy (I know, grown up problems or what?!) I have this anxiety that Netflix will suddenly decide enough is enough and take it away. And I'm so invested, I NEED to watch it to the very end or I will sulk. Big style. And I don't do that hardly ever so when I do it's not very pretty at all. 

- to go somewhere I haven't been before in my local area. I love me an adventure and I definitely love discovering new places. And March feels more like Spring which means blue skies and sunny days and I always want to be outside for them. Oooh where shall we go? Feel free to leave any suggestions below! 

More resolving. For a girl who had no plans to make resolutions I seem to be doing a pretty good job of sneaking them in here and there. How are your resolutions going? Have you added in any new ones?