This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostlyLast weekend I had the pleasure of taking family photos for my good friend Caroline, with her husband Chris and their baby Leo. It was a lovely afternoon and the weather held off for us, meaning we were able to utilise their lovely garden and the natural light of the sun, which had decided to grace us with its presence.

13We got some lovely photos, and having sent them over, Caz and Chris seem to like them too! So I’m very pleased :)

On Wednesday I headed over to Amy’s house for a Bridesmaid dress trying on session. Sarah’s getting married next year and the dress samples had arrived to we piled into Amy’s house, ate fajitas and tried the dresses on. It was good fun to try the different styles on and get our first bridesmaid fix!

Yesterday I turned 32 and we had a nice relaxed day. We headed to Bicester Village for a browse and I got some amazing presents from friends and family. I have some awesome new things to take to Ibiza in 3 weeks and one of my friends even gave me some Euro to take. I’m a very lucky girl!

I also let myself go a little, diet-wise, so this week I’m going to begin training again. Now that my injured hip seems to have recovered, and my tattoo has mostly healed I have no excuses!

Before Sunrise, Sunset & Midnight

Over the past few weekends we’ve had some time on our hands so decided to watch a series of films that we’ve had for a while but never seen. Gary mentioned them to me a while back, and so I bought him all three for Christmas 2014.

Directed by Richard Linklater (his other movies include Dazed and Confused and School of Rock) Before Sunrise (1995) sees a man and a woman meet, by chance, on a train through Europe. They get chatting and eventually get off the train and spend a magical evening together just talking, before they part, promising that they’ll meet back on that train platform in 6 months.

The dialogue is natural and interesting. Considering the whole film is based upon two people just talking, it’s interesting and has your attention the whole time. You’re invested in these people. Ethan Hawke (Jesse) and Julie Delphy (Celine) are of the time period and perfectly cast. Their chemistry is natural – not too much and not too little. By the end of the movie you know you want more.

Before Sunset (2004) continues the story, the couple meeting once more, in Paris. Jesse has written a book based on their first meeting, and it brings Celine to see him. Very quickly they’re back in their conversational swing and familiar dynamic.

You learn whether they met after 6 months and see how their lives have changed since then.

By the end of this movie I knew I didn’t want to wait another week to see the next, so we put the third and final movie on right away.

Before Midnight (2013) (Spoiler Alert!) sees Jesse and Celine on a writer’s retreat in Greece with their two daughters. After having been together since the end of the last movie their lives and relationship has developed and changed. Their lives have moved from the windswept romantic chance meeting, to a familiar long-term couple who suffer their partner’s idiosyncrasies.

It’s actually difficult to watch in parts and you feel like the romantic travellers you’ve grown to love have been sullied by time. However, this movie is so important to the series for this very reason. No matter how these two argue, how their ‘life baggage’ effects them, how their familiarity with each other has broken down walls or how their personalities can clash, at the end of the day they love each other and are perfect and meant to be.

I was once told, by a very wonderful man, that it’s imperfections that make a person perfect. And this movie illustrates that in a great way.

If you like independent movies, you’re a fan of a different kind of romance film or you love to people watch then I’d recommend these movies to you. Go watch them!

This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostly

Firstly I’d like to say well done to everyone for surviving Lost day….. Yeah it passed me by too, but it’s pretty cool.

On 4th August 2015 at 16:23 and 42 seconds the date and time aligned to make up The Numbers from the tv series Lost. People wondered what would happen. And obviously, much like the whole tv series, nothing happened…. So there you go. But, you know, pat on the back for surviving.

The last few weeks have been pretty uneventful – or should I say blissfully uneventful. We were feeling rather burnt out from the busy start to our summer, and have very much enjoyed the lie-ins and chilled out evenings. Catching up on movies and being generally lazy.

Still recovering from my injury and getting my first tattoo (pictures once it’s healed, but hop over to instagram if you can’t wait) has meant that swimming training has halted for the time being. Which is both good and bad. It’s 26 days until my Ibiza trip and I’d hoped to be feeling a little fitter and looking a little more toned by then, but hey. What you see now is what you get!

We’ve had, until this weekend, terrible weather. One of the past weekends was positively autumnal and saw us hunkered down under a blanket, drinking tea and watching movies.

I’ve tried a few new recipes, one from a new dairy free cook book. It’s the kind of ‘dairy free’ book which calls for a lot of dairy free cheese, dairy free milk and dairy free cream. I consider this as cheating in allergy recipes because I could look at any recipe and make those substitutions myself – I do have a brain. But one recipe caught my eye. Boston Baked Beans with Chipolatas and Dumplings. Unfortunately I failed to take a photo before I served it up, but it was so delicious there’s no doubt I’ll be making another pot shortly. It’s definitely an autumnal dish and can see it featuring in regular rotation on my repertoire.

Last night the Book Club met at a local TGI Friday’s to celebrate a few of our birthdays. We have 2 birthdays in June, 2 in July and 2 in August so we took the opportunity to push July and August’s into one and have a meal together. Fantastic company and hearty food – with free desserts courtesy of the Friday’s Birthday Club – AND 4 free huge slices of birthday cake for the birthday girls. We had to stand on our chairs and shout across the restaurant to earn them, but I have little shame so all was good.

11828664_10152876895446511_2124377560263580556_nI even had a cheeky cocktail, called Summer Peach, which had orange sherbet in it. Perfectly refreshing and juicy.

I took my cake home to share with Gary – I was truly stuffed!

So, next weekend is my birthday! I’m turning the big 32 and have no idea what I’ll be getting up to, but I intend to rinse the whole weekend doing fun things :) You only get one birthday a year, after all!

London Film and Comic Con

Last Sunday Gary and I completed our own Back to the Future Trilogy – 3 amazing BTTF related events in the space of 12 months.

We’d already gone back in time with Secret Cinema and seen the movie accompanied by an orchestra. On Sunday we headed to the Kensington Olympia for London Film and Comic Con.

As soon as we heard that Michael J Fox would be attending as part of the BTTF 30th anniversary celebrations and holding a talk with some of the main cast, we knew we needed to buy tickets. I’ve been to a few collector type events, being so close to Collectormania in Milton Keynes each year, and having been an uber geek in my teens this was like coming home!

The Olympia was chock full of stalls selling goodies and the Cosplay turn out was epic.

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After a mooch around the stalls on two of the floors we headed to the auditorium where talks were being held. We decided to stand in line for a free BTTF documentary talk which was fairly interesting, before heading outside again to line up for the BTTF cast talk.

imageAttending along with Michael J Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson were the actors who played the original Jennifer, Principal Strickland, Marvin Berry, Goldie Wilson, George McFly (BTTF2/3) , Dave McFly, Data/Needles (BTTF2/3) and Stella Baines. Each actor was announced as they walked onto the stage, but Michael J Fox received a standing ovation when he walked on.

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And you could tell all the actors up on stage agreed with our applause by looking at the pride on their faces.

It was amazing to hear them talk, and take questions from the audience. We were in there for an hour but it flew by. We even got a little sing along of Earth Angel with Marvin Berry!

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And it was great to hear Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd speak about their experiences during and after making the films. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

Now I probably ought to start working on re-watching the other two films….

Day Trippin’ in Liverpool

Last weekend Gary and I headed up to Liverpool. My Mum had won tickets in a competition for free entry to The Beatles Story and asked whether we wanted to come along. So on Friday night after work, we packed our bags and headed off for the 3 hour drive to the Docks.

We’d decided to stay at the Titanic Hotel which is about a mile from Liverpool centre. Having only been open a year, we’d never seen it before, but were mightily impressed. The hotel was built within an old rum warehouse and decor inside was amazing. Bare brick walls and wrought iron beams were exposed everywhere. The staff dressed in their denim waistcoats, shirts and jeans were very friendly, and checked us in quickly. By this time we were exhausted and just wanted to sleep!

Once on our floor and out of the lift we were amazed by the size firstly of the hallway leading to the rooms, and then the size of the rooms.

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The floor space of our room and bathroom combined was larger than the floor space of our house… no joke. The bed was massive but was dwarfed in the huge room! After a quick Skype with my Mum and a quick Periscope to show people what the room was like, we called it a night and went to bed.

We woke fairly early in the morning, since the night before we’d discovered what looked like a potentially wonderful place to have breakfast. Moose Coffee promised to serve American/Canadian style food, and an all day breakfast. Just looking at their menu made me hungry and we could tell that they would probably get busy fast. We walked down and arrived 20 minutes after opening. We were told there would be a 15 minute wait, which was fine with us. We were the only ones waiting and within about 10 minutes we had our table. By then there were about 5 other parties waiting for tables.

We were sat upstairs. I ordered coffee and a Mighty Moose and Gary ordered OJ and pancakes.

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I was unable to wait to dip into my egg before taking the photo, sorry! My breakfast was a garlic, onion and mustard hash, fried eggs, bacon and warm toast. It was very very good and right up my street.

From here we walked to the Albert Dock and met my parents. The Beatles Story has two locations, one at the Albert Dock and one about 10 minutes walk down the docks. The Albert Dock location was heaving so it was suggested to us to begin our tour at the second location, which is what we did.

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On our walk we passed lots of locks on the docks :D

Starting with the 4D Beatles experience (which was fun, but nothing compared with 4DX) and then moving onto the museum tour. Art work and costumes dominated this part of the Beatles Story.

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This was the view of the docks from the gallery. Soon we were ready to walk over to the other location and the lines had diminished.

Gary and I had visited the Beatles Story before but it was interesting to see it all again.

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From here we grabbed a quick lunch and headed back to our hotel to change for the evening.

My Mum had bought us all tickets to see the John Lennon Songbook, a show of John Lennon and Beatles music played by the Liverpool Philharmonic and his life narrated by Mark McGann. It was an interesting performance and was lovely to hear the music played by an orchestra.

Before we headed to the show we stopped at Yee Rah at Liverpool One, a fusion restaurant we’d eaten at the last time we were in Liverpool and really enjoyed. We made it into the restaurant just as the rain started! I ordered Massaman Curry.

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The meal was amazing. So tasty, and even though it was marked as not spicy it made my ears itch – that’s a sign that it’s just spicy enough! I’ve been craving another bowl of it ever since.

The next day we had a lazy morning in the hotel, breakfast and packed our bags. We then headed to the Philharmonic Dining Rooms where we were having Sunday lunch with my parents. There’s nothing like a nice roast dinner on a Sunday!

Our drive home was fairly uneventful, however we kept ourselves entertained by listening to some of the Hot Dub Time Machine podcast I had downloaded. They’re amazing, if you haven’t heard them.

And so ended our weekend! But the weekend fun doesn’t end there….. we were lucky enough to get tickets to London Film and Comic Con for the BTTF 30th anniversary celebrations next weekend, and we can’t wait! I’ll no doubt be Periscoping and instagramming from the event, so make sure to follow me!

Allergy Food Show & Going Back In Time (Again!)

This past weekend Gary and I headed into London for a packed day.

Firstly we headed to the Kensington Olympia for the UK Allergy Show, a food show dedicated to free-from foods and food allergies. The place was packed and rammed with stalls. We had a really good look around and I was pleased to see some brands I already knew about: Everything But The Cow, Bounce, CoYo and Dream. I had a few free samples, but we got hungry pretty quickly and went in search of food. Despite seeing a few people with tubs of fresh food and carrying pizza boxes walking around, we struggled to find anywhere to actually eat a decent lunch. We ended up going to the specially set up Free From Cafe where we spent over the odds for not much food – at least I could guarantee mine was dairy free!

We left the Olympia and headed to White City for a mooch around the shops, before we made a visit to Five Guys for an early dinner and an awesome burger. Their burgers never fail to impress (I’m over the moon that their about to open one in Milton Keynes!).

We then took the tube and a leisurely walk to the Royal Albert Hall where we had tickets to see Back to The Future Live. If you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know that last year we went to a few BTTF events including the amazing Secret Cinema. This year being the 30th anniversary we had some more fun events to attend! Back to The Future was being shown with the score played by a live orchestra. We saw Pixar Live and Brief Encounter in this way last year, and couldn’t wait to see Back to The Future.

IMG_3257We sat opposite the Hall in the sun for a bit and then headed over to the front of the building where people were crowded around a Delorean. You could have your photo taken inside it for a fiver, but we decided to just stick with snaps from around it!

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And then we went inside. We’ve found some seats that we like to book every time we go to the Albert Hall, lots of room in front of our seats and a great view of the stage.

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The orchestra started by playing the main theme before the movie started. The first half of the movie was screened, with a few additional score pieces played over scenes that didn’t originally have score (these were written by Alan Silvestri, who scored the movie), and then there was intermission. Everyone was really enjoying the movie and you could tell the hall was filled with hardcore fans, with laughter and clapping in all the relevant places.

The second half was started with the orchestra playing the main theme from BTTF3 (set in the wild west), to everyone’s delight. And then the rest of the movie began.

It was a really enjoyable evening, though I was dog tired by the end and attractively fell asleep on the train on the way home with my mouth hanging open…. Gary has photographic evidence. I’m sure he’d show you if you asked….

Back to The Future is one of those films you can watch again and again, which is handy because I’ve probably seen it more than any other film now! And we get to experience it again, in part, mid July when we visit London Comic Con and attend a BTTF talk with Michael J Fox and other cast from the first movie. I can’t wait!

An Impromptu Trip

A couple of weekends ago, not wanting our holiday to end on the Friday and go back to normality quite yet, we decided to take the train to London. We do this semi-regularly but decided we wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t been before, and somewhere outside since the weather was so glorious.

London is wonderful in the Summer. Hanging baskets are full of flowers, people are everywhere enjoying the sun (and street fashion moves up another level). We headed for Borough Market, located underneath London Bridge. Its history goes back to the 11th century and it’s exactly what you’d want from a market like this. Split between two sides of the bridge, one side is mainly produce – breads, fruit, vegetable, meat, cheese, fruit. There’s smoothies and juices, cakes, sandwiches, teas and spices.

IMG_3238Had our journey home not have been so long on a hot train, I would have started shopping. Instead we were good and bought some fresh juices and flavoured breads for brunch.

IMG_3239I also did a little Periscoping!

The other side of the bridge was more produce but also fish, cakes and pastries and food carts. One particular cart stuck in my mind – a German food stand selling raclette. Huge wheels of cheese had been cut in half and then turned on their sides, braced in a special vice and the cut ends melted until bubbling. It was then scooped onto new potatoes and topped with cornichon. Unable to eat that much cheese I was devestated I couldn’t try this – the line was huge and you know that means it’s going to be good. But there was all sorts of other foods and it smelled amazing!

I plan to go back, with a large wodge of cash and a tote bag!

I also want to mention another amazing event I attended the next day. I’ve run the Race for Life for the last 2 years and had signed up this year, only to royally injur myself a few months ago. I still can’t run, but my friend Tash, who I’ve run the last two with offered to take my number and run with another friend Sarah. Sarah was determined to PB this race, and as a non runner had been training hard to achieve this year.

On that freezing cold, wet and windy Sunday morning we huddled under our brolly. Gary and I then stood by and watched as Tash and Sarah smashed their race and both finished with PBs – Sarah finished over 9 minutes faster than the previous year!

IMG_3241This was taken at the end of their race – see how good they look?! I’m so proud of these two, and so grateful to Tash for taking my place.

Here’s to next year!