Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Bristol Cheap Eats Challenge

I love Bristol, to me it's like the capital of the South West. With a vibrant and bustling atmosphere, it is the perfect place to spend a night or two - even better when you can grab a great nights sleep over at Travelodge. Whether you're interested in street art, theatre, museums or fashion - Bristol has it all. However, today I'm going to talk to you about my favourite places to eat in Bristol, and for an added bonus, they're pretty cheap too!

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best places to go to for food in Bristol is St Nicholas' market. Jam packed with food from all corners of the globe, there is definitely something for everyone. From pies to falafel and everything in between, it was the perfect first stop for my day out with Dylan. As it was a super sunny day, we were able to sit out in the sun and bask in the glorious sunshine - something that I feel happens rarely in the South West, ha! Naturally, I went to Pieminster to satisfy my Northern roots in lovely pie goodness.  On a Tuesday, you can get a pie of your choosing (I went with Moo & Blue) with gravy, mash and peas for £6 - which is a pretty good deal, if you ask me! On other days, it's £8.50 which is still cracking if you've got a big pie hole in your heart.

After pie, Dylan wanted to work off the stodge hearty meal, so we walked to another stall in the market and grabbed some cakes to go before wandering over to a sunny spot on the grass by the riverside. We got a slice of vegan Mocha cake and a salted caramel brownie to share, and they were both delicious! Washed down with some freshly pressed apple juice - it was definitely a great choice for desserts.  

Later in the day, we met up with my brother-in-law and his lovely fiancé for a catch up. We were near Broadmead so ended up in The Crazy Fox Coffee Bar, which is a great little spot off the main street. I went with an Assam tea - my favourite - and Dylan has a chocolate milkshake. Well, half a chocolate milkshake, as he ended up knocking it off the side and painting the window in it. No point crying over spilt milk though, and the staff were very sympathetic to us. We ended up sharing a slice of chocolate tart, which was absolutely divine, but my brother-in-law had already taken a forkful before I could get a snap! The Crazy Fox sell all sorts of tasty goods, such as paninis, pastries and cakes so it's great if you need brunch, lunch or just a brew!

Not bad for a quick day out! I don't venture out to Bristol often enough, so a big thank you to Travelodge for getting me to be a tourist in my lovely city! Have you been to Bristol before? 

Chelsea xo

*Although Travelodge sent me on a quest to find some cheap eats, all words and thoughts my own*

Monday, 21 September 2015

24th Birthday Wishlist

With less than one month to go before my birthday, I thought I'd better get writing in case my family are struggling for present inspiration. I'm so nice and thoughtful like that, y'see. I think I've gone a bit crazy with this year's list, as some of the items are a bit pricer (looking at you, leather jacket!) but you only turn 24 once, right? 

First up, two dresses from Chi Chi Clothing. The red Ali dress and the blue Rosa dress look super pretty, and I think they'd be great for a wedding we're going to in November. Clearly I was feeling floral when I picked these two out, but I think both dresses would offer something new and exciting to my wardrobe! 

The Mary Poppins print is something I've wanted in my life for the longest time. I've always had a soft spot for Julie Andrews and Mary Poppins has to be one of her finest roles. I've been attempting to create a feature wall in our spare room/office, with prints and pictures washi-taped onto the wall, and I think this would look very lovely indeed. Another thing I've wanted for a long time is a leather jacket. At least three times a year I ponder about buying a leather jacket, but I'm never sure on what would suit me - collarless, studded, fringed - and have stayed clear of them. This year, I can't take being without one any longer and therefore this Zara leather jacket has found its way onto my list.  

Now, I can't promise that I won't buy The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood or The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness before my birthday, but if I show real self restraint, then I definitely need these books in my liiiiife. Atwood and Ness are easily two of my favourite authors, so I cannot wait to read these new instalments! 

Back in the day, all of my wish lists would include a Pandora charm or two, but I haven't really fallen in love with any new designs in a while. Until they announced rose gold charms, of course. This intricate flower design is just beautiful, and I desperately need it in my life. I also love this gold and silver love heart, as it just looks really pretty. My bracelet needs these charms, stat! 

A sign of growing older, I'm sure, but the next thing on my list is this set of Cable and Cotton fairy lights in the Glow colour way. I'd love these to go in our bedroom, perhaps around our headboard in a totally whimsy Pinterest kind of fashion, and the light grey and oatmeal shades would totally go with the whole look I'm envisioning. As would this snuggly looking blanket from H&M. A good blanket can work all year round, but as my birthday is in October, you just know it's going to be cold enough to warrant a new blanket or two! 

Lastly, this Spot Pinny dress from ASOS is another one that made my 'wedding guest' shortlist. It's completely different to the first two dresses on this list, but it was the first dress that I saw and really liked the look of - I'm just not sure it's really wedding appropriate? Speaking of not really wedding appropriate, what I really want form birthday is this gorgeous short, grey hairstyle. Y'all longtime readers know my plight with hair, and to go grey is my ultimate hair dream - yes, really - so I'd love to try this shorter style out while my hair is already short. Then it won't hurt so much if I need to chop it off and start again... Or at least that's what I tell myself! 

So there we have it, my birthday wish list. A girl can dream, amiright?

Chelsea xo

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Book Club #21 - Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey

One of the first books I checked out of the library was Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. I'd always been drawn in by the cover, and after hearing a few good reviews I added it to my mental TBR list. I was really excited to read Elizabeth is Missing, and nearly started it a few months ago but after some sad family news, I felt it might be too upsetting at the time and picked up other totally-unrelated-to-elderly-people books instead. Then, on a rainy August day, the library wizards emailed me to say I couldn't extend my load, and so I bumped it up to the top of my reading pile. I'm glad I gave Elizabeth is Missing a go, as I really enjoyed it! 

Elizabeth is Missing - Emma Healey
Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud's rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey's disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?
That's a great blurb, isn't it? Poor Maud, but I love a good unreliable narrator, I do. I think the reason this book has been so popular is because almost everyone has been affected by the onset of Alzheimer's, be it a loved one or elderly neighbour. Maud, like many with Alzheimer's, could recall very vivid moments of her past - especially of her missing older sister Sukey - but couldn't keep a linear thought going for longer than a sentence or two, even she had a granddaughter at one point. 

To fight this, Maud writes herself short notes to ensure she doesn't forget anything - but these can become mumbled up or if left without much context, often leave Maud feeling unsettled. In the kitchen, Maud leaves herself a note to not cook anything on the gas hob, but decided that surely boiling an egg couldn't be disallowed and makes one. Of course, in the process of this, she loses trail of her actions, leaves the hob on and goes off - only for her daughter Helen to discover it hours later. I found it all quite believable, having lived with my grandfather while he suffered from Alzheimer's, and Maud's confusing did leave me feeling rather sad in places. 

One thing I have to disagree with, is that Elizabeth is Missing is often cited to be a thriller, which I think is completely wrong. While I did feel gripped by the book, I didn't feel on edge or anything like that, that I would associate with thrillers - but that doesn't make it a bad book at all! If you're looking for gripping, cleverly written book, then I suggest Elizabeth is Missing! 

Chelsea xo
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Friday, 11 September 2015

Ain't no party like a #WeSoFancyDress party

Dylan celebrated his birthday on Thursday, and now suddenly I have a four year old. A four year old - so crazy. Like most four year olds, Dylan is superhero mad, with his favourite being Hulk - which you can imagine had left a devastating effect on my house! The kind folks from Asda heard we were throwing a superhero party, and offered to send Dylan some fancy dress outfits to really get the party started. 

The fancy dress outfits are all really well made, and for £12.50 are a complete bargain! The whole range is full of popular characters - rather than generic weird ripoffs - and of course, this made it difficult for Dylan to choose. He finally settled on Batman for his big day, after much deliberation. We had superhero plates and napkins, also from Asda, and plenty of party food to munch on! I also made a Spiderman cake, but it didn't quite look as good as I had hoped - maybe next year I'll take the easy option and just buy one! 

Thanks Asda for sending us some goodies, we had a blast! 

Chelsea xo

*costumes and party food courtesy of Asda, thoughts my own* 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Holiday Blues

We all know that I've been dying for a holiday, right? After feeling hopeful for a springtime trip to Italy, it soon became evident that I might not travel to far away climates anytime soon. However, that doesn't stop me eyeing up possible destinations, or even booking a sneaky trip or two across the UK. There really is nothing better than spending a day or two at the beach, getting thrown off a banana boat or taking a trip to the neighbouring island - and these are all things I'd rather do somewhere exotic and warm - sorry Weston-Super-Mare, but you cold! Jet2Holidays got in touch with me to send me a little care package, as they know all about my holiday woes - which I guess is just as good as sunbathing by a turquoise sea...

I jest! The package was pretty great - containing all the goodies you might expect to sweep away those holiday blues. Some moisturiser to give your skin some TLC, a postcard, some sweeties, some fake tan and a voucher for pizza! If I can't go to Italy, then pizza is a very close second best! 

The eagle-eyed of you may notice some things are missing. I may have eaten/used them...
I think I might have mentioned a while ago that my dad has a house abroad, and sadly this year he had to sell it due to an injury he had which has stopped him from flying. I mean, how selfish can you get? JOKES. But for realsies, it made me so sad to know I'd never return 'home' and has ignited my desire to go abroad once again. I'm hoping we can maybe pencil in a long weekend somewhere in maybe, March or April - so watch this space! Now, I'm off to lose another three hours on the Jet2Holidays website... 

Do you get the post-holiday blues? Or are you planning to go somewhere nice?

Chelsea xo

*Jet2Holidays kindly sent me these goodies, but all words and thoughts are my own*

Monday, 7 September 2015

Goodbye Summer

One of those rare sunny days in Bath
As weather warnings are being issued up and down the UK, it seems only natural to realise that this is the end of summer. It’s been a blast, sure – those three days we had of sunshine are going to be missed as the days grow increasingly shorter. But it’s not all doom and gloom. If you’re anything like me, the end of summer also means the start of acting normal again. I can sit inside watching Netflix, eating pie and no one can tell me I’ve ‘wasted a day’ just because the sun is out. Not that I let that stop me, of course. Other normal activities include drinking my weight in hot chocolate with squirty cream and marshmallows, buying fluffy bed socks and then ruining them in the tumble drier, having a sort through of all my clothes to put away ‘as the seasons change’ only to discover that September will no doubt have at least three heat waves.

What else will I miss from summer? I went to the beach twice, that was pretty cool. I went to the pier with Dylan and spent a small fortune on Mr Whippy, and then we went to the arcade which I instantly regretted as soon as I caught sight of the Sonic the Hedgehog ride. We played with other kids’ toys on the beach, and jumped on sandcastles and generally caused all kinds of havoc. Dylan has also been on plenty of long walks with various other family members while I was busy selling face creams to the masses.

I’m really looking forward to autumn, as always. Dylan’s birthday, my birthday, going to see Hot Chip, a family wedding and then winter will roll round before we know it and it’ll be mulled cider for everybody. There’s the carnival, fairs and other brightly coloured fun going on, and I can get my fluffy scarf out of its box and feel all snug again on those idyllic family walks we sometimes have.

What are you looking forward to in autumn? Or do you want summer to last a bit longer?

Chelsea xo

Saturday, 5 September 2015

All About The Eyes

I'm adament that I'm going to give contact lenses another go. As someone with no top lip and therefore cannot wear lipstick with panache, it's often suggested that concentrating on the eyes is the way to go. Y'know, in magazines and stuff. Sadly, I also wear glasses, and my need to pick outrageously obnoxious styles means that any eye make I might choose to wear would get lost behind the iridescent purple frame. Never one to let the obvious stop me, I toddled down to Boots with my No7 vouchers in hand, and walked away with a few goodies!  

No7 False Lashes - No7 80th Birthday limited edition eyeshadow palette - No7 Early Defence eye cream
Of course, that hasn't stopped me buying countless eyeshadow palettes. I'm a big fan of nude shadows, as they can be both daytime and nighttime looks depending on how you want to look. This No7 eyeshadow palette is part of No7's 80th birthday range, and it also comes in a smokey colour way. This nude palette pretty much covers all the bases with these shades - there's a coppery gold, silky taupe and even a highlighter shade thrown in too. 

Wearing a jumper already, what even is this weather?!
I mean look at those shades? I love them. I think I was also drawn to this palette because of the lovely gold casing, as it just looks so much more appealing than a plain black one, and I'd much rather have a decent sized mirror like this than one of those see-through plastic windows. 

I've always wanted to try false lashes, for that special occasion - but wearing glasses sort of defeats the object if no one can actually get a good look at them. This set is the intense volume - which I sadly can't find online - but you might be lucky in store! 

Lastly, I have invested in an eye cream - something I'm going to be using regardless of glasses or contact lenses. Whether you see my eye area naturally or magnified by my dense glasses, I think my eyes are a huge giveaway in how tired I am. The rest of my face could look as perky as you please, but the eyes, the eyes, they give it away. This one is in the Early Defence range, which I bought as my age falls into the 20-35 bracket, and I also have the matching day cream. The range helps fight against environmental factors which can age skin, and this is generally my biggest concern. As I commute and work in a city, I don't want any of that pollution lark to age me prematurely!   

Are you a fan of No7? Do you rock a strong eye look? 

Chelsea xo

Thursday, 3 September 2015

There's More To Life Than Books, You Know

But not much more, not much more. I had to squeeze that lyric in there, I do apologise. Anyone with keen eyes may have noticed that the above books are from the library. Over the summer, I wanted to really make full use of my local library, so although I've been buying new books, I've been trying to only read borrowed ones. Which has been about 60% successful, but that's a success all the same. My final four library books are above - although I am currently reading The Interestings and have been for about three weeks, lord have mercy on me. I'm enjoying it, don't get me wrong, but the thing is massive and therefore I haven't been able to read it on the train as it won't fit into my work bag. 

I digress. Once I finish The Interestings, I'm hoping to read Elizabeth Is Missing as that's the first book due back to the library and I can't renew it anymore. Boo, other library users! Then I'll probably read A Monster Calls ahead of seeing Patrick Ness at Bath Children's Literature Festival and then Reasons To Stay Alive. I instagrammed the cover of RTSA when I picked it up, and it got an almighty response on there, so I'm expecting good things. 

Then! When I've handed these all in, I'm going to read The Versions Of Us that my lovely pal Sophie sent over to me to read. I will get it back to you Sophie, you mark my words! If all of this doesn't take up the rest of 2015, then I should only be one book away from my goodreads goal of 25 books. I might have to have a browse of my collection to see what I should read for my special 25th book! Or, you could recommend one! I might already have it, or if not, I'm sure buying one more book couldn't hurt... 

What have you been reading? Are any of these on your to-read list?

Chelsea xo

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

TMTW #2 - August of wind and a bit of rain

Family cinema trip - our anniversary - new library book - perfect Saturday breakfast
Best bit? Having a whole week off to look forward to. I've waited three whole months for this! 

My favourite things: spending the day in Bath with Joe. Dylan learning some nursery rhymes and impressing all the family. Spending time with Joe's brother, who currently lives in China. 

Any regrets? Not booking a holiday anywhere, I'm in desperate need of one. 

What's in store for next month? Joe's nana is visiting, yay! I'm also throwing a birthday party for Dylan and tasking myself with baking a Spider-Man cake. I made him a simple Batman logo one last year, but this time I'm going to go biiiig. Starting my new job and other exciting life plans.

I'm still having a little play around with how I want these monthly posts to turn out, so please don't get all aggro with me if you hate this style! So August saw my internship end, and now I'm having a whole week off doing nothing. YAY LIFE! I spent a really good amount of time with Joe last month so that's probably the main highlight for me - three years of marriage has certainly rolled by super fast! It feels like August only had around three dry days - the rain is never-ending here in Somerset, so I'm hoping we have a nice September ahead of us! 

How did your August go? Any news?

Chelsea xo
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