Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Wednesdays Are For Knitting

I was determined that the Pebble Beach Shawlette was coming to Brighton with me and that it would have a pebble beach photo even though the weather was yucky.

I was also determined that even though my original plan of knitting whilst soaking up the sun on the beach went to pot I would still be casting on whilst in Brighton.  I quite literally only cast on the five stitches it starts with but my mission was accomplished.

Progress to today is at 10%. I'm loving how this pattern is written in clear table form with percentages completed by the side. 

Reading I'm on with The Book Thief. I've heard about it and my daughter bought it as a holiday read so I borrowed it from her. Not sure what I think yet. It's weird. Maybe next week I will have a better idea about it to share my thoughts. 

Yorkshire to Brighton via Eastbourne

Having had an expensive school holiday break to Center Parcs earlier in the year (just realised I forgot to blog about that - belated post coming up) we couldn't afford a summer holiday.  There were other reasons too such as A level and GCSE results amongst other things.  The husband told me instead to think of somewhere we hadn't been before and we could book an overnight stop and make a couple of days of it.

The one place I have always, since forever, wanted to go is Brighton.  I don't know why but I've always had a crazy desire to go there.  We have been to tons of places over the years on most English coastlines but the stretch between Dover and Portsmouth has always evaded us.  Maybe the length of the journey or maybe because years ago we always used to do those holidays where you collect tokens from the sun newspaper and they were mostly Haven sites or British Holidays before they were bought out by Haven (that is going back a lot of years) and they didn't seem to have sites in that little part of the country.  Anyway for whatever reason we never went.

The husband looked at Premier Inn hotels near Brighton and one of the suggestions it came up with was Polegate near Eastbourne.  As that is another place we have never been he booked it.  I wish I'd have taken the time to look on  a map before he booked it as it was right next to a McDonalds and a 24 hour petrol station.  Quite literally 24 hour noise.  No fun when it is hot, sticky, humid and you can't sleep and all you can hear is lorries pulling up at 4am for diesel with their music blaring out.  Anyhow lesson learnt and if there is a next time I would check where he is booking first. It was only £39 for the night though.

The view from the window.
After arriving we headed off to check out Eastbourne.  I had been warned by my dad that it is dominated by the blue rinse brigade.  Just my type of place if I'm honest.  I would much rather that than noisy arcades everywhere. 

Very nice and old fashioned type of seaside resort.  I can see myself coming here again.  Chips on the pier, a walk on the front and soaking in the atmosphere.  Told you I'm an old fart.
What did surprise me though was the lack of blue rinses around.  There were some but the majority of the tourists were foreign.  Lots of Dutch vehicles parked along the promenade and German coaches so it must have lots of appeal.  We also stumbled upon a hippie sort of market/craft fair/singsong thing along the front.  There were some very erm interesting folks around.  I'll leave it at that I think.
Back to the hotel and a nice meal at the pub next door then bed and as already mentioned not much sleep.
Next morning what I had assumed was McDonalds having deliveries was actually thunder and some pretty powerful rain.  No coat, just a brolly which was in the car haha. No good in there. Breakfast in the pub.  I like Premier Inn breakfasts - all you can eat and kids eat free. 
There wasn't a let up in the weather so we decided to just get in the car and set off to Brighton since that was why we had come.  That was a scary journey.  Little did we know what had hit that area earlier.  It was only after seeing the swilling out of some shops in Brighton and then seeing the news when we got home just how bad the rain and hail had been.
It had stopped by the time we drove into Brighton thank goodness. 
£10 for 4 hours parking!!!! Be warned if you are thinking of going there and parking on the front.  I didn't dare get more than that.
Finally the sight I had been waiting for so long - Brighton Pier
When the hell my little man got so tall I really don't know.

We walked to the end of the pier and by the time we got back to the start it was raining again.  Brolly to the rescue.

Rain doesn't bother me too much but I hadn't thought out my footwear at all even when I saw showers on the forecast before setting off from home.  Very soggy feet to say the least haha and the only thing I paddled in the whole time we were there was the pavement.  I'm annoyed with myself to say the least about that..

We walked along the front and saw the unfortunate flash flooding which must have been devastating for the business affected.  There is a lot of work going on which in time looks as if it will make a run down seafront rejuvenated.  We saw an awful lot of homeless people sleeping under arches on the promenade.  I'm guessing by the number we also saw in shop doorways too that there is a big homeless population here.

One thing that was nice to see was the sheer number of rainbow flags outside pubs.  I don't know if they are always there or whether it is because it is LGBT pride this coming weekend but either way it is nice to see acceptance.

Limited time and the rain meant we didn't get a huge amount of time to look around the shops.  There were shops I've never seen in person before like The White Company and Tiger and SpaceNK.  So many others as well and lots and lots of independents which are always nice to look around.  A dripping brolly in a boutique full of lovely things isn't a good combination though so we set off back to the front and got an ice cream, walked back towards the pier, bought some rock and found a chip shop that wasn't the earth just for chips. £4.95 for a box of chips on the pier, £2.20 from Harry Ramsdens over the road.  Then time was up.  The husband left us eating our chips so he could set up his sat nav.  Quite literally to the minute we got back to the car and the little one who is now tall and the husband decided he needed a paddle. I was left to babysit the sat nav and make sure no traffic warden was lurking to pounce while he took him down to the sea.  That's the point I realised I had come all this way and not even touched the sea.  I wasn't a happy bunny with myself although I'm guessing by this picture that it was quite cold. 

So there we have it time to go home to Yorkshire just as the sun came out to play.  Would I go again? Probably.  I think I had built up this fairytale like seaside place in my head that would be perfect in every way.  The reality was that it wasn't very different to many other places we have been to. The beach part I'd say is a cross between Weston Super Mare and Clacton On Sea with a pebble beach thrown in and less arcades.  It certainly isn't anything special in my opinion and I actually preferred Eastbourne but hey ho you can't win them all.  I'd love to come back and have a proper look around the shops though.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

and then there were three

This is Percival

We've had him around 10 days. He didn't have a good start to life being born in somebody's garden. He and his family were eventually taken in by a friend of mine whose relative's garden it was they were born in. Local charities didn't have room so she did a bit of fostering in return for a neutering voucher for the mother.  Mother got neutered as soon as the kittens were weaned and as far as I know was taken in by the lady whose garden she gave birth in.  One went off to a new home and my friend kept one leaving this one needing a forever home. I only had to see a photo to say yes and my husband was won over instantly aswell. 

What difference could one more pet make? We already have two dogs and two kittens who are a year old next month. The answer - a lot of difference. I still thought of Toby and Olly as kittens before we got Percival but in comparison they are adults. The main difference I guess is food and poop. More of both! 

He is quite a confident little chap and took to the dogs almost straightaway. Apart from an initial hiss on the first day he has been very accepting of them sticking their noses right up to him. They don't seem to be bothered in the least bit by his presence. The other cats still won't let the dogs that close.  Just after this picture he rolled onto his back and just allowed her to sniff him. 

The cats on the other hand have been less accepting. Toby is much better with him than Olly and seems to have accepted his little brother. 

Olly on the other hand is probably at a tolerating stage at the moment. He has hissed a lot and generally stayed away from him.  Olly's favourite position is parrot esque on top of my son's shoulder.

The last couple of days though all three cats have been in the same room voluntarily so progress is definitely happening. 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Birchbox UK May 2014 Review

First of all I need to applaud the Birchbox customer services department.  They sent me tracking for my box a while ago but it never arrived and the tracking turned out to be an invalid number.  I contacted them on Thursday afternoon, they replied Friday morning to say another box had been dispatched and it arrived in Saturday's post.  I hate Yodel which is their usual carrier and goodness knows where the original box went  but I'm happy Birchbox customer services sorted it out.
What a box it was as well.  In association with Harpers Bazaar the box is a lot more colourful than usual and unlike previous collaborations the actual box is printed rather than just being a normal box in a sleeve.

and here is what I got.

very rapid coat of this Soigne Nail Lacquer in cerise.  I only used one coat for the photo and it is very messy but I really like the colour and consistency.  You can tell it is a quality product.

Aromatherapy Associates Relax Light Bath and Shower Oil.  This is a tiny one dose sample and I can't see that I would buy it.  First of all it is £39 and secondly oil and bath just do not mix in this house with the number of clumsy males.  We tried some before (a different brand) and no matter how light it promises to be there is always a slippy residue.  Smells gorgeous though.

Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo.  I can take or leave this type of product but if it is there I will use it especially in the summer when my hair frizzes so I tend not to wash it as much. 

I'll be honest and say I'm not a big fan of benefit products and I do prefer waterproof mascara for my stupid watery eyes at this time of year.  However I will definitely use it once the hayfever season is gone.

Imedeen Derma One tablets which are supposed to be anti ageing.  I am a bit sceptical about this type of product and need to do a bit of research before I decide to use them.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser  -  I love this product.  I ran out of cleanser this week and have been using a very old one which probably should be in the bin so when I saw this I was happy.  The idea is you massage the cleanser into dry skin and then wipe it off with the cloth which has been run under hot water.  I used it this morning and it felt wonderful.

Despite some of the items not really being my cup of tea so to speak I really like this box.  The cleanser is definitely my favourite closely followed by the nail lacquer.  Thumbs up Birchbox UK.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Day Trip To Skipton

We took a little trip to Skipton in North Yorkshire on Thursday. 

Two trains to get there

Unbelievably this old clunky train we got from Leeds goes all the way to Morecambe. I don't think I'd be impressed going on a cross Pennine journey on that but just over half an hour to Skipton was fine. 

We went on a boat up the canal and back again

We saw a man on a funny water bike thing having a photoshoot. It was to do with the Tour de France coming through the town this summer

Then we went to find a little cafe for something to eat. First one we walked into that wasn't too busy we were refused service. Apparently it was over 50s only. Empty aswell. I need to learn to read.  As much as I wanted to embrace going to a traditional cafe over fast food we were starving so ended up at Subway over the road. 

We had a little wander around the town and then made our way to a huge park over from the train station where my son could let off a bit of steam. 

I spent a few minutes taking in the surroundings and trying to take a bit of a panoramic view of the hill and beautiful trees. There were a fair few people in the playground with tiny people having lots of fun which was lovely to see. 

Then it was back on the train to Leeds. Posh one this time. Four minutes to get across the station for our connecting clunky train home or thirty four minutes for the next one. We made the four minutes with seconds to spare and home.