February Post Swap

So this month has been a pretty slow month with insane weather interspersed with lovely sunny days and blue sky. Glad to say my health is back on track and I’m feeling much more upbeat. Me and The Bloke had a fab alternate valentine’s night at our fave restaurant Greens in Didsbury. I’ve discovered the Worldfoods supermarket in Rusholme where they sell all of popular asian meals like aloo palak, palak paneer and various daal in affordable tins – bonus!

The Bank Vegetarian WellingtonWe recently went to one of our favourite pubs The Bank (on Mosley St) for lunch, which we don’t have the funds chance to do very often. I had the veggie wellington, consisting of mushroom, spinach, brie and cranberries.

I’ve finally got around to using this Body Shop soap from their Honey Mania range (made using fair trade honey) and it smells gorgeous and doesn’t dry out my skin like most other soaps do.

The Body Shop Soap

 

Really pleased I managed to renew my 3 magazine subs – complete with free gifts – for a really good price using various offers I’ve waited patiently for.

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Here are my top posts of this month:

Old Skool Street Style I’ve become rather addicted to Polyvore’s collage maker.

Why Bad Weather Can Be Good This shows a definite change in my attitude toward the darker months of the year. after all there’s no point having a miserable attitude for half of the year!

Alternative Valentine’s Rules This is me being both cynical and excited about that time of year again, then deciding to share my own ‘rules’.

Please feel free to share one of your own favourite posts of the month with everyone as a comment.

x

 

Breathing Lightly :: Workshop Prep

I do like the idea of this… The writing inspirations, the ideas and the cake. Thought it only fair that I should let my Manchester readers know about this.

a slice of imagination

On Saturday, Rebecca Audra and I will be running our first writing workshop together at Madlab; Breathing Lightly. I’m a bit worried, and mostly excited. I haven’t run a workshop in several months and I’m really looking forward to this one.

Part of me wishes that we had put it later so that we had more time to prepare, particularly in terms of marketing. On the other hand, we hope it will be the first of many, and so it will provide a fantastic learning experience for the next one.

inspirations

We tried to pick a weird and wide range of sources for the workshops – we want to make people think about different ways of writing about the body, and maybe look at finding inspiration in a genre of writing they wouldn’t have before. Each workshop has a very different focus. The morning workshop, ‘Out of Body’ will be more…

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An Interview With…Me!

This is a tag I picked up from Nickie O’Hara at Typecast as I loved her questions and also the opportunity to make up my own questions to ask you all at the end.

Who would you like to dance with and why?

The Bloke (aka my bloke) as he has great hip action (oi, naughty!) and fairly delicate hands for a tall stocky dude. He’d be great in hold, maybe something like a basic Rhumba or American Smooth. He’s kind of coming round to the idea, slowly…

Roller Disco or Ice Skating?

The last time I went to a roller disco I fell and comically could not get up even with help. I’ve learned how to rollerblade OK now, apart from the stopping part. Ice skating terrifies me!

What music do you listen to?

Blues, Northern Soul, 80’s alternative, 90’s R&B, 90’s trip-hop, 90’s/200’s hip-hop, rock, punk, drum & base.

Mayo or Ketchup?

Garlic mayo but ketchup on chippy chips.

How do you evaluate success?

I couldn’t give a damn to be honest. As long as I’m not stressful to be around then I’m a success at being a decent person.

What is your social media platform of choice and why?

WordPress! OK, that’s cheating a bit. Twitter suits my attention sp…

What would be your chosen superpower?

Most awesome and important question ever! I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years and I’d say to re-wind time just for a few moments within my own life time, to put things right for me and others.

Going out or staying in?

Ah, er, going out late afternoon for a mooch about town and a pub tea then grabbing some cans and going home to watch box sets with The Bloke. Gosh I’m rubbish at answering either/or questions!

Who would you like to have a brew and a chat with?

Juliette Lewis, she’s such a lovely, accepting and free-spirited individual.

Who is your biggest female influence?

It has to be my Mam for better and for worse, ha!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

My Mam always used to say “Just do your best kid, whatever the result it’s OK with us.” Hardly optimistic like, but very reassuring. Also “Just be yourself love, never change just to fit in with certain people or you’ll end up loosing yourself.” So true!

Here are my questions for you to answer:

If you could fine members of the public for doing one thing that you find really annoying what would it be?

Which animal do you most relate to and/or would choose to be?

Ideally would you like to live in a town, by the sea or in the countryside?

What genre of films do you like watching?

Name someone you admire and tell us why?

Which sites online are you most addicted to?

What do you think is the best bit of you?

If you could be famous for any reason, what would you want the reason to be?

Happiness is…

Which do you prefer, God or dinosaurs?

So if anyone wants to play then answer these questions, then make your own up to ask the next person and either nominate another blogger or hope with fingers crossed tightly (as I am) that someone is game enough to play tag. Don’t forget to let me know if you’re playing. Tag!

Graze ‘Nibble’ Box review

After finding a voucher code for a free Graze box in Glamour magazine (usually £3.89 free p&p) I decided to sign up and give it a go. The subscription based Graze boxes contain a variety of healthy and tasty snacks to nibble on throughout the day to stop you demolishing a king size snickers when that 3.00pm slump kicks in.

My personal reason was because (as you probably already know) I have a restricted diet (except for cheat days) without dairy or wheat, so I thought it would be lovely to receive a little box of carefully selected tummy friendly treats through the post.

Graze Box review

The website is really easy to use and you get a choice of boxes: Breakfast, Nibble or kids. A choice of delivery frequency: Weekly, fortnightly or monthly (I chose weekly). You have the option to ‘Ban’, ‘Try’, ‘Like’, ‘Love’ and sometimes ‘Include in box’ for every snack! There are also 3 options to show all food which isn’t dairy free or gluten free or vegan so you get the chance to quickly ‘Ban all’ foods in which ever category doesn’t you, rather than trawling through the huge list of snack options Graze offers.

Graze box review

I opened up my (letter box friendly) package to find it  included dark chocolate rocky road, green olives with harissa, their signature brownies and mississippi pistachios. Overall it’s one chocolatey, spicy box of happiness! I know it’s all about variation but when it came to anything spicy or sweet I remember hitting ‘like’ and ‘love’ constantly, haha!

photo 1

Also inside my recycled cardboard box was a napkin, spiky fork (possibly bamboo?), a little booklet all about the Graze team, a list of ingredients for each snack (also checkable online) with vouchers. Each voucher has my code on it which entitles my friends to get their 1st, 5th and 10th box free. I’ll be getting my 5th box free and also £2 off my next box as I shared my purchase on Facebook and Twitter.

This is for you:

DYGQWR6DB

Enjoy chucks!

Note: Please excuse the fairly rubbish quality of my photo’s. I had to use my iPod. I’ve spruced them up as much as poss.

The Closet Confidential tag

This is a tag all about different vloggers and bloggers delving into their personal style history. I picked up the tag (in blogging form) from Amy Mander at A life In Beauty The Write Up. I don’t do vlogs because (even though I can chat for hours – even to myself) my voice makes me sound like a young boy, with a cold, with a mid-atlantic accent. So…

What is the oldest item in your wardrobe/closet?

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My boyfriend recently gave me his old belt he’d had for about 20 years. I love how battered it is with the worn leather and holes that have been punched using a corkscrew, or what ever was at hand over the years.

What is your biggest bargain?

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This bag, inspired by Ed Hardy who was obviously very inspired by Sailor Jerry (a tattooist before he started making rum) was around £6 from Chorlton market. This slogan is much more romantic than than ‘Love Kills Slowly’ one that Ed Hardy favours. I like sailor tatts and street-art so The Bloke tipped me off immediately when he saw it in the window.  It’s so durable and roomy, with little pockets inside. I cart all my heavy stuff around in it.

What is the most expensive item?

Long black leather coat

I bought this with my first wages age 20 to replace my old PVC one from C&A. I’d given up trying to find one cut with a women’s shape in mind and was on the way home, when I noticed a tiny leather shop on Deansgate. I asked the shop keeper if he had any long leather coats and he positively beamed! Turns out he’d had this in for a long while but every one who’d tried it on were either too short or too wide for it. It fitted me like it was made for me, it’s perfect! I tend to wear it with heels and simple jewellery.

What is the cheapest/most affordable item? (that you wear/use a lot!)

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I dore this little Topshop cardi! I’ve worn it so much it’s starting to get a few little holes in it because it’s really thin. It’s perfect for wearing over sleeveless tops and dresses when it’s a little cold or draped over the shoulders and fastened with one button.

What is your newest purchase?

Boots

You can ask me this question every 6 months and the answer will most likely be chunky boots, black one’s. I would like to thank my loved one’s for supporting my long-term boot addiction. These over knee boots were from River Island are really easy to walk and are roomy around the legs but they are tight around my not-so-dainty ankles.

Bonus item you want to share:

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This is a kurti: A long Indian shirt for women (the man’s version is called a kurta) which has come back into fashion in the UK with young people, who are wearing it with leggings or skinny jeans and heels or ballet flats.. I bought this from a stall at the Manchester Mega Mela for under £10. The colour (which I just wouldn’t photograph true) is a deep aqua blue – almost green. Two reasons why I’ve never worn it: Unfortunately it’s made from heavily lined nylon which is really, really warm, yet the sleeves are only 3/4 length and sheer. I’m so mard when my arms are cold! I know the traditional one’s are much lighter. Secondly, I’m not sure what the local Asian people in my area would make of me wearing this. I think I’d get some confused or amused looks from people wondering why the chick with the alternate style has taken to wearing a traditional Indian garment! Maybe for nights out and holidays, which just brings me back to “it’s too warm!” It currently decorates my wardrobe door beautifully.

This Closet Confidential tag idea originally came from Fluer De Force’s Youtube vlog. Feel free to join in!

10 Reasons Why Bad Weather Can Sometimes Be Good

I’m English, weather is a big thing here. I had a massive surge of energy at about 11.oo last night and was really restless. Then I realised it was because I hadn’t gone out in two days. So, no more using the weather as an excuse!

My optimistic guide to bad weather:

rainbow

  1. Fresh air, no matter how gusty is still good for you. If you visit your nearest big park with trees, you can trick your brain into thinking you’re more than a mere 15 minutes away from a motorway.
  2. Rain makes everything lush, so you don’t need to remember to water the forgotten window box that’s somehow still clinging to your windowsill or your folks plants while they’re away or an allotment.
  3. It could be worse, much worse! You could live right by the sea. We’ve all seen the news reports of the flooding.
  4. The country side is always so beautiful no matter how hellish the weather, especially if there’s a nearby pub with an open fire you can run to.
  5. Rainbows! Fairly common but always beautiful.
  6. You get to go bargain hunting for winter waterproofs in the sales. I got a gorgeous deep pink Berghaus coat from one of the outdoor shops on Deansgate. The Bloke also took me to the snow & sports department in TK, full of cozy but very cool clothes.
  7. Extreme surfing dude! No, me neither.
  8. Snow: Snowball fights, snow days off school (even work), snowmen, snow angels, sledging, watching small animals almost disappear into it.
  9. You have the perfect reason to dig out your fancy festival wellies and splash through muddy puddles – while smugly rolling your eyes at women floundering around in heels. Also what a fun way to keep kids entertain for a while.
  10. If all else fails, you can snuggle up to someone and drink mugs of hot choccy while watching the rain lash against the windows and listen to the wind outside.

I’m really glad we have seasons in the UK and so much weather. I mean, when we’re all huddled together under a bus shelter, what else are we going to talk about?

 

 

Finding ‘your people’

I can so identify with this!

livebythepen

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Just a quick one, but still important.

There’s nothing that destroys your soul quicker than hanging out with the wrong people; people who you can’t be yourself around, people you don’t respect, people who bore you or intimidate you. When you find like-minded souls, don’t run from them because its easier to stick with the people you already hang out with. Grab onto them; they are your life raft in a sea of bullshit.

Now click here. (I don’t agree that you should only be friends with people if they push you closer to your goals cuz that’s just using them, and doesn’t take into account whether the other person needs you. Too much of that about these days.But this article has some good points).

Now go and embrace all those people who make you happy that you’ve neglected because you’re stuck in a friendship group they’re not in! Fuck that cliquey shit.

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Alternative Valentine’s Rules

Before I met The Bloke, the thing that used to make me cringe about valentine’s day wasn’t being single (which was a great excuse to go out clubbing), it was that my Mam (with good intentions) would leave a little sickly sweet present on my bedside table for me to find the second I woke up. Nothing makes the heart melt more than a stealthy, gimmicky reminder of the fact you are still alone, again!

pissed-off cat

Now I’m partnered up with someone who, like me, hates the materialistic charade valentine’s day has become (or was it always like this to some extent?) but does want to do something nicer than completely ignoring the entire thing. I agree that you should be doing lovely, thoughtful little gestures for your loved one all year round, rather than some big shoe boating gesture on one day of the year. Trying to be crafty I asked The Bloke “Why not be considerate all year round and do something special and romantic on V day as well?” “Because everyone is doing it at the same time, probably literally. It’s a must, rather than a want.” Agreed! He laughed out loud at this though.

Image: Moonpig.com

Image: Moonpig.com

Our Agreed Alternative Valentine’s Rules

A few days before valentine’s we have our day. This year it’s a night out at our fave restaurant where we’ll either go dutch on the bill or go off who ever’s turn it is to spoil the other taking birthdays, cash etc into consideration.

No cards unless they are silly one’s.

We don’t have to declare our un-dying love in writing. We can convey our love how ever we want, wether that’s over a bottle of wine in the restaurant or over a can of unpronounceable Polish beer back at home.

I don’t have to dress in really uncomfortable ‘sexy’ underwear that’s impossible for either of us to undo and costs a fortune even though I’ll wear it twice a year tops.

We do however, want to make a real effort to scrub up well. Which he really does well, I mean he literally looses 10 years in 10 minutes, just by shaving his head and beard. Not fair!

He knows better than to buy me some pink, fluffy piece of cheap crap that even Barbie would avoid.

On the actual V day we do whatever we would have normally done on that particular day of the week. Because that’s every other couples day to celebrate it…or not.

xxx

Is it just me, or has referring to it as V day made it sound rude? That’s definitely more ‘us’ then.