Category Archives: weekend fun

A little better

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I really hate this time of year, long, dark nights, near constant rain and the feeling of gloom that Spring is so far away. I don’t like feeling cold and having having to wear jumpers and all these autumn leaves are just so slippery. So if you feel the same as me here are some things that have been making me feel a little better lately.

Lush products

I remembering discovering Lush for the first time when I was 17 and on a day out in Nottingham. My best friend and I loved it and I got so excited going in and looking at all the different products. Then the smell got on my nerves and gave me a headache and I didn’t go near Lush for years and years. But recently I’ve really got back into their products, for me Lush is about an indulgent bath bomb. Butterball is my absolute favourite, as it has fleks of cocoa butter in and your skin is so soft after, but I have been experimenting with some new ones and cannot wait to try the sakura bomb.

New shoes

What happened to Clarks?! Seriously I could buy their whole Autumn/Winter range, it’s stylish, funky, smart, comfortable and well made. I cracked the other day when there was 20% off and bought this pair and this pair. What do you think?

Mulled cider

If anything is going to get me through this bleak, depressing time of year it’s mulled cider and lots of it. Hot, sweet, and spicy it never fails to warm me up.

Making lists

I have to motivate myself by making lists and setting goals and at the moment I’m enjoying making lots of lists and seeing what I can achieve by the end of the year.

American Horror Story

I said I wasn’t going to start watching any TV shows as I didn’t want my evenings to get sucked away, but then Netflix tempted me with American Horror Story and now I’m binge watching it. Each season is a completely new story and setting, but has some of the same actors and Jessica Lange is just AMAZING in every season so far.

 

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Bluebell Railway

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Every time my mum visits me we always try to plan action-packed, busy days which usually include visiting attractions, lots of walking and lovely food. For a few years we have been wanting to visit the Bluebell Railway, but as we could only get there via public transport logistics have always stopped us going. But as of March 2013 the line was extended to East Grinstead which makes it much easier to access via public transport, so from Brighton we were able to get a bus there.

For those of you who don’t know the Bluebell Railway is a heritage line where you can ride steam trains through preserved stations in East Sussex. My mum was visiting with her friend Judy, and on Saturday morning we all got up early and caught the bus to East Grinstead station. After getting a coffee in the converted carriage cafe we got a single ticket and rode the line through Kingscote, Horstead Keynes and got off at Sheffied Park. All of these stations are beautiful to see as they have been restored to how they would have looked when the stations were operating. At Sheffield Park we were able to go round a fantastic and informative museum and enjoyed some very interesting demonstrations on the steam train and in the signal box. I definitely know a few more things about trains than I did before. Sheffield park is a great station with a well stocked gift shop and very nice restaurant and ice cream stall. We all found the prices very reasonable, as sometimes at attractions refreshments can be very overpriced.

From Sheffield Park I was expecting to have to get a taxi to Lewes, but the staff at Bluebell informed me there was a bus we could get, so we saved a lot of money. All in all we had a fantastic day. It was great to be able to reach an attraction that had been on my radar for a while and the experience of it far exceeded my expectations.

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Dieppe

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For years I’ve been wanting to get the ferry over from Newhaven to Dieppe, but for various reasons it never materialised until this weekend. A few months ago my friend Sally and I made a pact to go together and managed to organise it very quickly and more important cheaply.

The ferry crossing takes four hours and cost us just £30 return as foot passengers. We had a very calm and relaxing crossing and it really didn’t feel like it took too long. As we were on the 8:30 am ferry we arrived by 1:30 pm so it was nice to have a lazy afternoon to get our weekend started.

Sally and I both had the same agenda for Dieppe; eating, drinking and lounging round the town. This fitted in perfectly with the location and cozyness of the apartment. It seems like alot of people arrive in Dieppe then immediately drive on to another destination, but it really is worth sticking around and exploring. We spent our days dipping in and out of cafes and restaurants, walking up to the castle, swimming in the outdoor swimming pool and wandering around the town.

A high point of our stay was the apartment we stayed in which we found through airbnb. It was the first time I have used them and we were both thoroughly impressed. Though we were super lucky with the hosts we had, Jean-Marc and Dominque were so friendly and helpful towards us. They picked us up from the ferry, gave us a tour of the town and left lovely local treats for us to try in their amazing apartment. Usually when you stay in accommodation when on holiday it’s pretty sparse and lacks any individual character. But this place was a treasure trove of artifacts, trinkets, and collectables all presented in a stylish manner with an amazing lighting system! Each day I would find myself looking at something new which I had previously missed. 

On our last day rain prevented us going on our planned trip to Rouen, so we stayed in watching French films, eating left over cassoulet that we had made the night before along with Neufchâtel (Normandy soft, crumbly cheese) and bread and more wine!

All in all we had a superb trip, I wasn’t expecting to like Dieppe as much as I did and will definitely be going back at some point.

 

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Kyle visiting

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A couple of weekends ago my lovely friend Kyle came down to stay. Fantastic does not even begin to cover how great the weekend was, as with the best visits we ran around the whole time, barely sitting down but having so much fun. The  main aim of the Kyle’s stay was to make an epic salted caramel cake for my office bake off, which will be covered in a separate post, but we were able to fit lots of other activities in.

We spent most of the weekend eating and drinking really well and rather  frequently, as a result I’ve been going to the gym everyday since then! Saturday started off with a hearty breakfast of eggs royale. Kyle is the master of poached eggs, so observing his technique has hopefully improved mine a little. Having someone to cook breakfast with made me make a little more effort. I never make hollandaise when i’m just cooking for me, but I do enjoy doing that little bit more and trying new recipes.

Despite the fact Kyle lived in Brighton for 8 years he had never been on the dolphin derby on the pier, so obviously we set about rectifying that. The dolphin derby is a stall game where you throw balls that fall into holes and your dolphins race. It’s only a £1 and has become a tradition of mine whenever I go on the pier. This time we were lucky and I won, but gave the prize to Kyle to commemorate his first dolphin derby. Next we were going to go on a spinning, bouncing ride, but somehow Kyle persuaded me to go on the booster. The booster is that big ride at the end of Brighton pier that spins round over the sea then holds you at the top for about 5 minutes (though it fees much longer).You get good views from the top, and it’s pretty windy, but when it get going again its spins you really fast which is fun. I always get so nervous when I go on this ride, I enjoy it when it’s in motion but the waiting around 130 foot in the air does unsettle me a little. I’m sure i’ll go on it again though..

After all of the excitement we headed back to the house and started work on the cake. After making the toppings and sponges we made the decision to construct the cake the following day and get on with preparing dinner. I decided to make fondue again as Kyle had never had it, it’s relatively easy to make an feels like a special meal when you have it. If this wasn’t all enough for one day we then raced down to the cinema to watch Richard Ayode’s new film, The Double, which I really enjoyed and would recommend. The strength of the film for me was the highly stylised look of it, which builds up an unsettling feeling of gloom and dread, jarring sound design and great lead performance by Jesse Eisenberg.

Sunday was more relaxed with a morning of cake construction followed by burgers and chicken wings at Meat Liquor then goodbyes. Why do these kind of weekends come and go so quickly?!


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Catching up..

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Argh, I’m poor at keeping up with blogging!  The major change for me that happened a couple of weeks ago is I have finally moved house! This is such an utter relief for me after living in a pretty dire house with awful flatmates for far too long, I have finally managed to find a lovely new place, so am focused on staying positive, moving forward and achieving lots for the rest of this year.

It seems ages ago now, but here are a few things i’ve been up to and enjoying over the past few months.

Love Late Brighton

At the beginning of February in a break between the rain me and my friend Hülya popped to a late night event at Brighton museum called ‘Love Late’. Forcing ourselves to go out in the near continuous rain was a real challenge, but as soon as we got in the door I knew the journey had been worth it. The evening was organised around the theme of Love in view of Valentines day approaching. There were talks about the history of the ‘dirty weekend’, drop in screen printing classes, salsa classes, a big screen showing of Casablanca and a talk from Emily Dubberley about her new book; Garden of Desires: The Evolution of Women’s Sexual Fantasies. For us the best part of the evening was that we could enjoy all of this in costume from the fancy dress box. I have no idea what look I was going for, but think we both, especially Hülya look fantastic. Right before we left we discovered a secret room with a silent disco, so had a quick dance before we left. My only criticism would be I wish the event could have gone on longer, I could have easily stayed till the early hours of the morning, but I’ll remember to get there earlier next time.

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Fondue

After receiving a fondue set for Christmas from my boyfriend’s parents I’ve been getting quite into it. Here is the UK we rarely fondue, I guess it’s seen as being fairly kitch and retro. But since getting this set I’ve organised three fondue parties and everyone loves it. Though to me cheese with bread and wine is a pretty fail-safe combination. I will do a separate post on the set and recipe I use as I’m tweaking it each time I do a party.

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Arundel

In January as part of my bid to get out and about more me and my friend Sally decided to take a trip to Arundel, which is a small town in West Sussex, about 18 miles or just over an hour on the train from Brighton. We spent most of the afternoon looking around the town, popping into antique shops,and having a walk round Arundel park to Hiorne Tower. After all of this we needed a massive roast, a pint of cider and an open fire, luckily we came across The Eagle which fulfilled all of these requests.

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Camera mad.

I’ve gone a bit camera mad lately. For Christmas I receives a Fujifilm Instax 7S which has been on my wish list for a while. This camera is an instant camera that produces credit card sized pictures. The film is not too expensive and easy to get hold of. Mainly for me this is a fun camera to take shots on and share with people. It’s very simple to use and has just four settings (sunny, fine, cloudy, indoors) rather annoying it does flash every time you use it, but I guess you can cover the flash with tape. I’m looking forward to displaying the pictures in interesting ways when I have enough.

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Diana mini

Again I’ve been lusting after one of these for a while but couldn’t justify buying one last year. Luckily they went into the Urban Outfitters sale so no excuses for it not to go into my basket. The Diana mini, is a 35 mm camera where you take square format pictures and also half frame pictures. I’ve read a lot of the camera but really it’s a camera you have to experiment with and see how the film turns out when it’s developed. All those retro lomo filters you see on instagram essentially try to recreate what the Diana mini does. I took this camera with me on my recent trip to Barcelona and am waiting for the film to be developed, my fear is that everything will come out overexposed, but I will just have to wait…

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Olympus OM-2

A couple of weeks ago a work colleague gave me his old Olympus OM-2 SLR camera. I’d been saying for a while that I wanted to acquire an old manual SLR in order to hone my skills. With digital photography you can really get in the habit of taking loads of pictures and not really think about the mechanics of what makes a good picture. I haven’t used this camera at all yet, but am hoping to use it within the next few weeks.

So that’s been some of the highlights from me for the past few months.

 

Blogger book swap

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In October Rosie wrote a post about a  blogger book swap she was organising, curious I put my name down, stated I didn’t want to receive any chick lit and waited for an email with the details of who I was to swap with. I already had an idea of the books I wanted to send, so set about over the next few weeks searching for them in charity shops and online. I found my first selection , David Boring really quickly on ebay and purchased it for 20 pence, bargain! David Boring is a graphic novel that was originally serialised in Daniel Clowes comic ‘Eight Ball’. I first heard about this book after I read this article citing Dev Hynes top graphic novels and bought it on a whim in a shop. I had seen the film Ghost World and really enjoyed it. One thing that equally entices and repels me towards a graphic novel is the drawing style. I really dislike scrawny, scratchy line drawings and tend to lean towards bold graphics and realistic depictions of people.  I really love the way Clowes draws and coupled with the weird, Lynchian plots and likeable anti heros I found this graphic novel hard to put down an have re-read it a few times so hope Michelle, the person I am swapping with likes it too.

The second book I choose was ‘South of the border, west of the sun‘, by Haruki Murakami. If you know me you will know Murakami is by far my favourite author and I devour his books. The reasons I choose this specific book were that it was the first book by him that I read by him , it’s fairly short and it’s not as surreal and more subtle than some of his other works, but provides a good overview to his style. What compels me most about the way he writes is the emotion, imagery and pacing of it. I believe Murakami can be a bit marmite and while I love love the vivid descriptions of cooking spaghetti and talking cats I accept that for some people it simply doesn’t fit. For me all of Murakiami’s books are fairly similar with usually a man looking for a mysterious woman and strange, unexplained events filtering through. His writing style is what really draws me in and often I wish I could read it in Japanese as in English it’s utterly beautiful, so I can only imagine what it reads like in its original form.

my package

I put my package together with a few treats (chocolate, makeup, Brighton rock) and sent it to Michelle. When I received my package it was the week leading up to Christmas, so I delayed opening the package as I didn’t want to have to quickly open it while running out somewhere or coming back from somewhere tired. I actually opened it the day before I flew away for the Christmas break (hello from the Netherlands) and was utterly speechless with how beautifully presented and carefully considered everything in it was, from someone who I don’t know, it really lifted me from my pre-Christmas tiredness and fatigue. Alongside the books I received sweets , a beautiful mug and selected tea bags and a lovely card from Michelle.  The books I received were Apples by Richard Milward and Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland. I must admit I wasn’t  familiar with these books, but i’ve hardly been able to put them down since I started reading them. I finished Apples in a day and am already halfway through Hey Nostradamus. Apples is written from the perspective of quite a few characters, but mainly centres on Adam and Eve two teenagers growing up in Middlesborough. This was an easy read and though alot of the experiences I couldn’t directly relate to I really related to the era and cultural references and what it felt like to be 16/17 and all of the emotions and experiences you go through. Hey Nostradamus is about a high school massacre and is written from the viewpoints of five different characters at different points in time and how the events affected them. I’m excited about the rest of the book and seeing what else happens in it.

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Over  the past year I’ve not really read that many books and getting so into these books has been a great feeling and motivator for me. I’m the kind of person who goes through phases of reading a few books in a row then will get stuck with one book and not read anything for a few months. With this in mind and the good start I have got off to i’m thinking of setting myself a reading challenge for this year, say 15 books and see where I go from there. I’d also be really keen to do more book swaps throughout the year. I think they are a great idea and Michelle’s book taste is really in line with mine. I have my fingers crossed now that she enjoys the selection I sent her and am so grateful to her for taking the time to send me such thoughtful books and gifts and to Rosie in the first place for organising the swap.

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Weekend highlights

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20130422-100436.jpgIt’s amazing what a difference the sun makes. This week the weather has finally got more Spring like, which has woken up Brighton and me from Winter hibernation. Instead of staying in watching films and trying to keep warm I’ve been out and about socialising pretty much the whole weekend and what great fun it was too.

Highlights include having a manicure, something I nearly never do, but I had a voucher so decided to use it this weekend. A cold beer followed (just making sure my nails were dry) then we got down to some serious pie making as we were having friends over for dinner. I made a cheese and onion pie for the main event and Daniël tackled a banoffee pie for dessert, his first time making pie I must add. Despite being thoroughly stuffed we managed to fit in a late-night showing of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ at our local cinema. Sunday was a lazy day with a long lie in followed Sunday jobs (washing and food shopping) but rewarded with coffee and a good catchup with my friend Sally. A really lovely and chilled out weekend which we rounded off the weekend with a large gin and tonic.