Sunday, 2 September 2018

Autumn vibes and taking a step back

Autumn vibes and taking a step back
queens court Leeds

How the hell is it September? I assume there will be a point in my life that I stop treating this month like it’s the start of the year but I can’t tell if I’m still clutching onto my student days or simply have an addiction to new stationery.

This time of year is my absolute favourite. It seems like the summer heatwave has dropped off the face of the Earth (thank God as being both plus size and pale af, summer is not when I’m at my peak) and we’re back to jumper but not quite winter coat weather. And I am LOVING it. I mean, is there anything better than sitting in your flat on an evening with your balcony doors open, a candle burning, wearing a hoody and watching ‘to all the boys I’ve loved before’ on Netflix? No, no there is not.

A change in seasons is definitely what I need right now as the last few months have been very busy, pretty damn stressful and in all honesty, not that cheery for me, and it’s taken me until now to pick up my metaphorical spade and dig myself out of this rut. Behind all the bright and happy Instagram posts has been a gal feeling like a dementor with PMT so y’know, don’t believe everything you see on social media. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some absolute LOLs over the summer, but it’s not exactly seen me at my best either.

But as there’s a new season kicking in, I wanted to put down a few goals for between now and Christmas, just to give me a more accountable kick up the arse.

1. Put myself first a bit more. This isn’t as selfish as it sounds, but sometimes it’s worth remembering that other people have their own agendas and priorities and you don’t have to align to them for the sake of people pleasing. #SorryNotSorry.
2. Remembering it’s OK to enjoy clothes even if you’re not keen on what’s underneath them. I know, mind blowing. It’s genuinely taken me until age 26 to realise that I don’t have to punish myself for not feeling super confident in my shape and size by wearing clothes which aren’t that nice. Here’s to A/W collections dropping which have sleeves instead of side boob.
3. Look after my body a little more. It’s been a summer fuelled by convenience food, meals out and a lot of booze, and my insides have taken a battering, so upping the veg and water, and reducing the tequila should do me some good.
4. Let things go. Sometimes, it’s just better to channel your inner Elsa and let it go. If someone doesn’t agree with you, does it make you a bad person? Probably not. I know this might come across defeatist but if it makes for an easier life to take the high road and not hold onto unnecessary negativity, I’m here for that.
5. Ask the universe more. Yep, I’m now one of those people. I’m a big believer in fate, karma, spirits, and being part of something bigger, and whilst I’m not expecting to look up at night and see a step by step guide to acing life written in the stars, telling the universe what you want really can help. Even if all it does is make you think about what you want on a deeper level, bring it into your conscious mind and make you more inclined to act on it, that’s only a positive, right?

Even just writing this post has felt a little like therapy but I’ll end it here as all I want to do is browse new in on ASOS and plan my little life overhaul. Over and out.


Sunday, 19 August 2018

Afternoon tea at Bertie’s, Elland

Afternoon tea at Bertie’s - Elland - Halifax
bertie's Elland afternoon tea

It’s no secret that I absolutely love afternoon tea and when I was invited to review Bertie’s in Elland, Halifax (about 25mins drive from Leeds), I timed it so that I could take my mum with me as my plus one as we drove back from a weekend away in Chester. We arrived in Halifax a little early so parked up near Eureka (the best kids museum ever) and went for a little explore of The Piece Hall which is full of independent shops before heading to Bertie’s for afternoon tea.

We arrived and were welcomed into the building which is an absolutely huge venue for formal occasions and though during the week, they offer afternoon tea and other food options, it did feel a little like a very luxurious sit down meal. Almost like we had a table for two at a wedding breakfast – and I absolutely loved it as it felt a bit more special.

The staff were very accommodating to our dietary requirements as neither of us eat fish and my mum is gluten free. However, those requirements didn’t mean a compromise on quality at all which I was really pleased about (it’s unusual to go somewhere and for the gluten free bread to be nice!).

All of the teas available are loose leaf and arrive in a glass teapot with a vintage china teacup and saucer. I opted for green tea and my mum went for breakfast tea and we enjoyed both – we drank at least a pot and a half of it each. The staff were more than happy for us to have more hot water or fresh pots of tea too.

bertie's Elland afternoon tea

Our afternoon teas arrived on separate stands with six finger sandwiches, a scone and four mini desserts each, which was a lot! We each had two ham and mustard, beef and red onion and egg mayonnaise finger sandwiches, all of which we both very much enjoyed. Our scones were fruit and came with butter, raspberry jam and clotted cream. I ran an Instagram poll whilst I was there to see where my followers stand on whether jam or cream goes on first and out of my voters, it was a 50/50 split so apparently there’s no right answer!

bertie's Elland afternoon tea

bertie's Elland afternoon tea

bertie's Elland afternoon tea

The desserts were delicious too. Mine were lemon posset served in a jar with a raspberry on top, a red velvet cake, bakewell tart and banoffee pie. I managed to eat the lemon posset and then after that could only manage half of the cakes! My favourite was definitely the bakewell tart which was absolutely delicious. Mum’s gluten free desserts were the lemon posset, a chocolate brownie, pecan pie and Victoria sponge. I must admit, I was a little bit jealous of her brownie!

We were very impressed by our afternoon teas at Bertie’s and it’s definitely worth the trip to Elland for it as it’s an absolute hidden gem. We couldn’t fault the service, the setting or the food and would very much recommend it. We got to have a peek at the ballroom upstairs too and it would be the most incredible event space with a stage and crystal chandeliers. We left feeling absolutely stuffed and like it had been a really lovely treat so we’re keen to go back for an occasion.

Have you ever been to Bertie’s in Elland? If not, you definitely should.


Sunday, 12 August 2018

My experience with a psychic

Leeds psychic and spiritual centre
living room

Well, this is certainly a tangent from my usual post subjects isn’t it?

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a spontaneous kinda gal, it’s just not my bag. I like sticking to plans, having a schedule and I’m only a few steps away from having a Gantt chart of my social life (LOL I wish this was an exaggeration but it’s not), but a few weeks ago I took myself off to a psychic evening with 15 minutes notice and I surprised myself. 

Disclaimer: apologies for the irrelevant photo on this post, I didn't want to take a photo for the 'gram whilst I was in the session.

I’ve always been curious about spirits, the future (though obviously not straying into Ouija board territory as I’m not getting into that shit) and the universe and I’ve wanted to do something like this for a while. In fact, ever since I went to a group reading when I was at university, I’ve wanted to see a psychic or medium again so when I saw that my local spiritual centre ran psychic evenings every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I thought, why not.

I didn’t have a clue what to expect as I couldn’t find much information online but I got there, paid my £12 and was told to go into a room and choose nine tarot cards, each from a different deck. In the room, there were around 15 other people and over the course of the evening, one woman was in the room doing a group reading (Chrissy) and one by one, each person went out to another room for a short five minute reading with a second woman, Diane.

Whilst in the main room, Chrissy, took the chosen cards from each person and without going into a lot of detail, discussed the spirits which were there for that person, told them about things which were going on in their lives, numbers and dates which would be relevant to them and so on. As I’m a bit sceptical, I looked for things which were down to interpretation from leading questions but there’s no denying that some things were a little to specific to be a lucky guess. For example, one guy who was in there had lost his dad 6 months previously and she referred to him by name.

I should say now that at no point was anyone asked their name. Everyone who was there for the first time went in as strangers and several times, Chrissy asked a person who someone was as it was the person they had come with. Needless to say, my curiosity was peaked.

I had my private reading first with Diane and the moment I sat down she asked me who John was – which is my Dad’s name. Without going into details, she told me about how I need to speak to the universe more about what I want but before I do so, I need to write it down and work it out myself. She also made some very correct assumptions about how I was feeling about myself, about work and about my family. I’ll admit, I was very, very emotional, as I always am when I talk about my dad, but I found the reading comforting if nothing else.

Back in the main room, I had my group reading and by this point, it was only in front of a few people (most people left after they had had both their group and private reading). Here, Chrissy said very similar things to Diane about how I need to speak to the universe more. Given I had walked in just before it started and knew they couldn’t have had any cross-conversations, it did make me believe more.

I’m really glad I went to the session as for £12, it was very interesting and regardless of whether or not you believe in spirits, it’s comforting and sometimes you need a stranger to tell you that you need to sort your shit out and work out what you want (though not in as many words!). It’s a bit of a weird situation as you’re not there to be counselled but nor are these people your friends, but they’re still offering advice, though objectively. If you’re curious about spirits, I’d really recommend going to one of the psychic evenings at Leeds Psychic Centre as it’s very cheap and you’re not committing to anything.


Thursday, 9 August 2018

A half year round up

A half year round up

Yes, I know, we’re into August but it’s not too late to have a check in on my resolutions for 2018 is it? I hope not. Every year I use my blog as a place to put my goals for the year out there as it makes me a bit more accountable when it comes to actually achieving them and I like to use the midpoint of the year to ensure I’m on track (even if I am a bit late this time).

Here’s what I planned to do and where I’m at with it.

Do more fun stuff
This is my reoccurring resolution as I like to put it out there that I want to do fun, planned stuff that I’ll really look forward to. So far this year, I’ve seen more of my blogger gals, been to a lot of events, went to London for a Nandos, been ‘out’ out a lot, gone to two gigs and attended my first festival. With all the fun stuff that’s gone in between that, especially when it’s meant catching up with friends and family, I’d say that I’m very much on track with this one.

Improve my living space
As I got some new prints for my flat for Christmas, there’s definitely an improvement going on in my flat as I’ve started to put a bit more time into making my little home more ‘me’. That said, there’s still a bit of a way to go before it looks exactly how I want it to. I’m really enjoying this process though, even the little things like buying myself a bunch of flowers does make a difference.

Own my style
I’m definitely at my most insecure when it comes to my body but I’m starting to come round to the idea that I can still like the clothes I wear even when I’m not feeling it. I’ve definitely stopped trying to defend my style as I know I’m not the classiest or the most feminine of people in the way that I dress but I’m accepting that a bit more. I’ve actually started shopping for clothes that are a bit out my comfort zone (2018 has seen me wearing yellow!) and I’ve started picking things up because I like them the best not because they make me look slimmer than I am. I know, what a ground breaking concept, not dressing to look smaller.

Learn more professionally
So far, so good! The last few months has seen me going to London to Facebook’s first UK agency day and also their Blueprint Live training. I’ve done my first client pitches which was a kick out of my comfort zone and even spoke at a Leeds Loves Digital event. I’m really enjoying the learning curve at the moment as whilst it’s still steep, it’s all great experience under my belt and it’s making me more passionate about social media than ever before.

Going by my resolutions, 2018 isn’t shaping up to be a bad year and whilst there have definitely been some rocky patches, I’m looking forward to the challenges and experiences that the rest of the year brings. How are your resolutions going so far? Let me know in the comments.


Monday, 6 August 2018

A weird beauty experience

northern bloc sorbet

As I had a day off this week, I thought you know what, I’m going to book in a massage and a facial as yo to the freaking low it’s just been payday. I wanted to avoid going into Leeds city centre as it’s the school hellidays holidays so I decided to go for somewhere new in north Leeds. As the address said Alwoodley, I thought it must be pretty nice so I popped my payment details into Treatwell (if you’re not familiar, this is an online booking service for beauty treatments), the address into Google maps and off I went. 20 minutes later, I’m in a residential area and realised pretty quickly that my treatment will be taking place in someone’s house. Nice one Lizi.

Still, I did think that though it’s a bit weird, that working from home isn’t uncommon and I was sure it would be OK. Well, it was an experience. The treatment room wasn’t exactly a calming environment as it was quite frankly, full of junk (even by my standards) but given I would have my eyes firmly shut for the treatment, I decided not to think too much of it. I’d booked a massage and facial which was half an hour of each and started with the back massage.

The massage itself was good – it was firm and worked knots out of my back that I didn’t even know where there. It did get a little odd when the therapist pushed down on pressure points from my feet, up my legs and right up my back as this included my ass. Not quite what I was expecting but I was going with it. I turned over and then it was time for the facial. I was asked to put on a plastic shower cap (the type you get in a hotel bathroom) so that the products didn’t get in my hair, so for a lot of the time, I could just hear rustling. As it happened, my treatment included a scalp massage so I left with products in my hair regardless.

I’m really not sure what products she used or what they did but there were three occasions where she left the room entirely without saying anything, the first two times were for a few minutes, but the last time was for at least 10 minutes. Is that weird? It got to the point where I was starting to wonder how long I needed to leave it before going to investigate whether or not she’d died. Luckily, she returned.

Another thing which I thought was a bit weird for a relaxing experience was when she put a ring light over my face (though I had cotton pads over my eyes, I thought if I opened them I might get blinded) and she went on to squeeze a spot that’s just next to my eyebrow. I don’t think that’s quite what I signed up for but I went with it, mainly as it was too late by this point to object. Whilst I’m all in favour of squeezing spots as I’m the kind of gross person who thinks it’s satisfying, I’m pretty sure the professional line is to leave them be, right?

Just when I started to think the experience couldn’t get any weirder, whilst I had one of the multiple facemasks on, she did a shoulder, neck and chest massage. Now, I don’t want to sound incredibly prudish but I’ve had a few treatments like this in the past and this was the first time that a therapist has massaged between my boobs, going as far down as just below the sternum. Without warning. I’m not a mega touchy feely or body confident kinda gal and I must admit, this was a fair bit out of my comfort zone, especially as it was a fairly firm massage. The rest of the massage bit was fine but it did make me tense up a little every time her hands were below my collarbones as I wasn’t sure if my towel was going to slip any lower!

By the time the end of the treatment came around, I was pretty keen to get out of there and whilst I can’t fault the massage or how my skin feels, I feel like I left with a weird story to tell rather than feeling all zen.

Have you had an experience like this before? Do you think I’m overreacting when I say that spot squeezing is a little too far? Let me know in the comments.


Saturday, 4 August 2018

My first festival

Carfest North 2018
carfest north 2018

Anyone who knows me in person could tell you that I’m not an outdoorsy person, but this summer, I had my first festival experience. And let me tell you, whilst it was fun, my limit is definitely the decidedly middle class Carfest North (aka the charity festival that Chris Evans puts on for Children in Need) and Leeds fest is 100% out of my remit. My mum got day tickets for me, her and my sister for Christmas and having never been to a festival before, I had zero clue what to expect.

After the extreme summer 2018 heatwave, I headed on over to Chester with jeans, tshirts and trainers and it was the night before which saw me raiding the nearest H&M for an emergency sweatshirt and trying on my sister’s spare anorak. This anorak in particular was from when she volunteered at the Manchester Marathon and had ‘marshall’ written across the back. Excellent, well done me.

When we arrived, it was drizzling and though we got there at around 11am, we managed to park pretty close to the entrance – it was very organised in terms of getting people in so there was very little queuing. As festivals go, it isn’t massive but there’s plenty going on throughout the day. Our first stop was the world record attempt at the main stage for the most people stood in the formation of the Scouting logo – the link here is that Chris Evans is an ambassador for Scouts. I’ll happily admit that I only got involved as ‘world record holder’ looks great on my Tinder bio and the purple ponchos we had to wear for the occasion came in handy throughout the day.

As we missed the heatwave, at least it meant that when there were showers during the daytime, we could run for cover – the festival put up extra tents originally so that people could find shade, whereas actually we ended up under there to avoid the rain. As it was cooler, being able to sit outdoors in a breeze but not be a sweaty mess was really nice. We actually found that the vintage cafe, which was in a marquee, was the best place to just relax as it was very reasonably priced (£15 for a pot of tea for two, an Americano and two massive slices of cake, one of which was gluten free). It was outside the vintage cafe that we spotted Chris Evans and my mum was absolutely over the moon to get a photo with him. We ended up back there a second time later in the day too, plus it was a lovely area to wander around the vintage stalls.

carfest north 2018

During the day, there are loads of activities and things to watch including a swing dance class where my mum and I learned the Charleston, a massive parade through the show ground and even a motorcross stunt show. A personal highlight for me was during the parade when the ‘unicorn’ (AKA a white horse with a sparkly cone stuck to it’s forehead) had a shit halfway round. Absolutely magical. The motorcross stunt show was incredible, with the riders doing loads of tricks whilst flying through the air. There’s plenty of other stuff going on too, including a carnival with loads of rides, flower crown making, cactus decorating, sheep racing and some driving experiences.

carfest north 2018

When it comes to food, there was street food in every single area though my sister struggled to find anything remotely healthy as she’s both gluten free and on Slimming World. I however had a gyros from Eat Like a Greek who I’ve seen before in Trinity Kitchen and that was delicious. Other than a gyros and cake, I didn’t end up eating much else but there was pretty much every cuisine going.

The portaloo situation was also pretty good considering it was day three - the story of poo girl from Leeds Fest 2010 had filled me with horror and dread. Even at the end of the day, they were about as clean as they could be, with stewards there ready and waiting with loo roll refills.

As the daytime activities drew to a close, we headed over to the main stage for the music which started around 5pm (though there was a swing band and smaller artists on other stages throughout the day). We managed to get sat towards the back which was fine by us as any closer and we’d have had to have stood which we didn’t really fancy with five hours of music ahead of us. And it was closer to both the bar and the toilets. Pint of cider in hand, we watch Billy Ocean, The Feeling and about half a set from Texas before the heavens truly opened. It was at this point where we relented and left before the Carfest Supergroup and Madness – it was a shame to miss those acts but it was absolutely pouring with rain and we were soaking wet through so made a run for the car.

carfest north 2018

carfest north 2018

carfest north 2018

Overall, it was a fun day and definitely something different. The things we planned in to see and do like the parade and swing dance class were really fun and if I was to go back, I’d aim to see more of the motorcross stunt shows and the general driving on the track. If you’re a massive petrolhead, into vintage or have a family, it’s definitely a great day out and even for someone who isn’t, it was still a fun experience. Would I go again? I think it would depend on the acts who were playing, but I wouldn’t say no – for around £80 a ticket, it’s not a cheap day out but if you’re a fan of at least two of the main acts, I’d say it’s worth it.   

Have you ever been to Carfest North? Would you go? Let me know in the comments.


Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Blogger gals and the best weekend

Cuckoo Leeds Review
Cuckoo Leeds

I love having things in the diary for absolutely ages as when I have something to look forward to, it really gives me a focus. It’s almost like having mini milestone rewards for surviving life. A few weeks ago, I had some of my blogger gal pals up in Leeds for the weekend and it was definitely one of those plans that I looked forward to for ages and it didn’t disappoint at all.

liquor labs trinity kitchen leeds

As it was the World Cup quarter final weekend that Haydy and Hayley were up north, naturally we had to find a great spot to watch the match so we headed straight to Trinity Kitchen – mainly as they were giving out a bottle of beer to everyone every time England scored so we had a couple on them as well as a whole load of cocktails. The atmosphere was really fun and laid back, but after the match we headed down Call Lane to my favourite bar, Cuckoo.

I’ve been to Cuckoo quite a few times as it’s becoming one of those places we go to after work a lot, but because they have really eclectic interiors, lush cocktails and a pizza oven, I couldn’t not take the girls there. We met up with Kellie and Rachel and then the five of us went to drink all the cocktails.

cuckoo leeds

cuckoo leeds

cuckoo leeds

The team at Cuckoo very kindly gave us a bottle of prosecco and some free drinks which was perfect as we could really celebrate Haydy’s new job. We all ordered pizzas too as 5-9pm every day, you can get a free 6 inch pizza with a drink, so I went for the Nacho Lucky Day which is a tomato base, cheese, crumbled nachos and topped with guacamole. FYI guac on pizza is the most underrated thing in the world. And I actually ended up having two of the nacho pizzas as I stayed in there pretty late to watch the second world cup match.

As a bar, it has a very chilled, laid back vibe but something we noticed was the music was absolutely on point. There was a lot of noughties indie rock playing which we were absolutely on board with before it changed to RnB later on in the evening. I can easily spend hours in there as the music and atmosphere are both right up my street. And y’know, I love pizza.

Being the classic bloggers that we are, we all piled into the photo booth at Cuckoo (£3 for four photos in one print and you can pay by card which is very handy) to get some gals photos before we left. I love having physical print outs to keep and having four of my favourite gals in the same city is pretty rare at times.

As the night got a bit later, I ended up staying out with some work friends who I’d bumped into and from then on it got pretty messy, as all the best nights do!

The next day, we headed to Malmaison for Sunday lunch (God knows I needed that) and then to the cat cafe for a couple of hours. I must admit, I’m not a mega cat fan but by the end of it, I was absolutely won over by the four legged cuties they have in there.

cat cafe leeds

As weekends go, it was absolutely bangin’ and I can’t wait for a repeat of it sometime soon. Thank you to Cuckoo too for giving us a booth, free drinks and free pizza for the night too, we had the best time.

What do you plan when you see your long distance pals? Are you all in on a night out or do you prefer to just catch up somewhere more chilled? Let me know in the comments.

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