My Week #30 – Christmas time

my week #30

*Ordering a grown up coffee *Luna loves my bullet journal

*Advent calendar *Our alternative Christmas tree

It’s December! I’m so excited about Christmas this year. We put up our decorations (the tree – seriously need more!) yesterday and it’s all good. After last year’s disaster of the cats eating the tree, we went out and got an alternative one from Hobby Craft. I was a bit anxious putting it up but it turned out great. The cats had a good old sniff but after that they left it alone. Yay! We can have a Christmas tree this year.

Topher managed to score 2 free advent calendars from work so that was great. They’re both Malteaser ones which I’ve never had before. It’s nice to have a guaranteed daily dose of chocolate. This time of year is awesome. I’ve almost got everyone figured out when it comes to Christmas present shopping.

On the Slimming World front, I lost half a pound this week. A little disappointing but I’d really been craving chocolate the past week. On the bright side, I’m still going in the right direction. I’m only 5 and a half pounds away from my lightest weight I was when I did Slimming World the first time so I’m excited to get back to that point as I felt great at that point. Topher made me feel better by showing me how far I’d come. He looked on the NHS website at their BMI chart and compared our weights now and when we first started. 3 years ago I was in the obese section! Now I’m 3 pounds away from being in the healthy section. Woop! Fingers crossed I get there by Christmas.

So not much else going on this week. I had a couple of meetings, one in which I discovered that I’m a complete child when it comes to coffee shops. If theres no fancy red-cup-esque flavours then I have no idea what to order. The photo above was my latte. I’m such a dork! Also, Topher and I went to the cinema (3 times in a week – record!) to see A Street Cat Named Bob. See my review here.

So how was your week? Do you have your Christmas decs up yet?

 

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Film Reviews November 2016

I’ve seen a few films in the last month or so but once again, not as much as I should have done. These are the four that stood out the most to me.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Based in the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is about a young wizard called Newt Scamander who visits New York on his way to Arizona accompanied by a mysterious suitcase full of magical creatures.

I love, love, loved this film. So much. As I said in a previous post, it’s been awhile since I’ve been sitting in the cinema watching a film and all the while thinking over and over, “this is amazing”.

You definitely don’t need to be a fan of Harry Potter to go and see this film. It’s a whole different story that just happens to be set in the same world as the famous franchise. It was interesting to see a wizarding world set in America but I’m really glad it was set in the past for some reason. I think just because so many films these days are set in places like New York etc. and I wanted to see something different. Being based in the 1920s, it was definitely different!

I’ll be interested to see where they take the story next as apparently there’s going to be about 4 other films after this one.

5 out of 5 stars

 

Moana

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This film isn’t out until Friday but I actually saw it last Saturday for a preview offered to Cineworld unlimited members. Topher was working but I went along with Claire and Steve. It’s about the daughter of a Hawaiian chief who saves the world with the help of a demigod (voiced by The Rock) and the dumbest chicken I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but lets just say that it’s almost a week later and I’m still singing the songs from it. Darn catchy.

As you know I’m a big Disney fan so I loved the film but I’m not sure how well someone who isn’t a fan would enjoy it. It’s not normally Steve’s kind of film but he said he was surprised to find that he really enjoyed it. So it’s definitely worth a try. There’s plenty of action and comedy in there and it’s nice to see a another film that empowers young girls. I’ll be dragging Topher along in the next week or so to see it.

4 and a half out of 5 stars

 

A Street Cat Named Bob

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Based on a true story and is also a book, A Street Cat Named Bob is about a busker, recovering drug addict called James who is befriended by a cat who ends up changing his life for the better. It’s definitely a feel good story.

I remember the book came out a few years ago and my mum read it. She tried to lend it to me but I didn’t like the sound of the title. It sounded like a cat going through a rough time and I didn’t like the idea of that. I kind of wished she actually explained what it was really about but oh well. I’m glad I didn’t read it back then as I would have seriously wanted a cat and it was 3 years later we got our babies!

I just wanted to go home and cuddle my cats all through watching this. Bob is such a sweetheart! Fun fact, the real Bob is actually in a few of the scenes playing himself!

4 and a half stars out of 5

 

Dr Strange

film reviews november 4

I’m not usually a fan of Marvel movies but this one was an exception. I didn’t know the story at all before going and that was something I liked. It’s about a former neurosurgeon who is actually called Dr Strange. He goes on a journey to heal his hands that were injured in an accident and stumbles across a whole new world of mystic arts.

The film was certainly funnier than I expected it to be and there was plenty of action and story to back it up with. It’s one of those films that you could sit down with a variety of people and everyone would enjoy it. From the looks of things, it appears that there’s going to be a sequel to this or at least a collaboration with some of the Avengers so I’m not so sure if I’ll be watching those. But as a stand alone film I really enjoyed it.

4 out of 5 stars

 

What films have you seen recently?

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Manchester Christmas Markets 2016

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They’re here! The Manchester Christmas Markets have arrived. It felt like they had been open forever before we finally managed to get ourselves down to them. I would walk past them every Friday but Topher and I agreed to go together so I waited oh so patiently. I know it’s still November but I like to at least go for the first time before December and especially on a week day because it’s so much less crowded!

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So this year, the Manchester Christmas markets have expanded even more to cover more areas of the city centre. I was pretty excited about this until we actually discovered that there where a hell of a lot of duplicate stalls dotted around. I guess they’ve been made bigger to spread foot traffic around rather than add more unique stalls. It’s not the end of the world but don’t kill yourself trying to walk round the whole city centre if you don’t need to. There’s plenty to see in the individual areas.

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Anyway onto the most important subject of the markets. Food! Now I have to say that I’m not the easiest person to cater for due to not eating pork but I was determined to find something other than the cheesy potatoes or beef burgers that I usually get. Topher finds it funny that it’s not really down to religious reasons that I don’t eat pig, or even moral ones – it’s just something I do.

I’m half Arab. I’m not religious, nor is my dad, though that side of the family are on a range from devout Muslim right up to completely westernised. I was just brought up not to eat it and I don’t. I can’t speak Arabic and I don’t look particularly Arab (I’m so pale I look like a ghost next to my cousins) so it’s the one piece of culture I can cling onto I guess. And for those thinking “ermegawhd how can she live without bacon?!” I do quite easily. I tried bacon twice and both times I felt sick for the rest of the day. And I’m not a big fan of pork having accidentally eaten it a couple of times. And the last thing on this particular subject, nothing happens when I accidentally eat pig. In fact, “I don’t blow up if I accidentally eat pork” is one of my favourite Arab jokes to use on people. The reactions are a hoot!

Anyway, back to the hunt for food. There was a pretty decent selection this year. I saw chicken paella that the chorizo wasn’t mixed in but could be added on after and I also found the holy grail of options. Beef sausage hotdog. Topher was right on point when he said this was my reaction:

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Very accurate. Anyway, with giant hotdog (and pretty tiny bun) in hand, Topher got a “currywurst” and we tucked in.

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I enjoyed it though could have done without the chilli inside the hotdog. Luckily it wasn’t too overpowering! Topher enjoyed his currywurst though said it was on the small side so we went in search of the burger stall that we usually frequent.

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It’s safe to say that he was happy with his choice! I went with a traditional mulled wine which was tasty though I sensed less alcoholic than previous years.

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Watching Topher eat his burger, I was reminded why we always come to this stall. The meat is good, there’s lots of choice, the cheese isn’t cheap rubbish and there’s always a good selection of chutney’s to choose from. Definitely recommended!

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So with full bellies, we walked all around town before stopping off for dessert. Of course! Usually I frequent the mini pancakes stand but this year I wanted the whole thing so we headed to one of the crepe stalls. Topher got plain Nutella and I picked Nutella with banana so I could at least say I’d had some fruit that day!

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Delicious as usual, though I broke my plastic fork. They could really use some of those forks that have a knife on the side of them – have you ever seen those? They’re amazing!

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And of course it’s not a trip to the Christmas markets without a stop at the chestnut stall. How is there only one of them? It’s always in St. Anns Square and I never see them anywhere else. Am I missing them?

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Yum!

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So after that it was time to head home and peacefully slip into a food coma. Perfect!

Do you have a Christmas Market where you live? Have you visited yet?

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My Week #29 – Markets and Photos and Beasts

my week #29

*Saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them *The Refuge

*Had a photoshoot for Begin.Create *The Christmas Markets are here!

It’s been a busy week full of work, films and fun. It all started off with the cinema to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. One word: Amazing! I loved it so much and all the way through the film I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I loved it. For once, I’m happy about a film turning into a franchise.

On the Begin.Create front, I had a photoshoot this week with Katya of Katya’s Cake Hole so I now have some pretty pictures to put on my website. Yay! It involved a lot of wandering around Manchester and posing awkwardly while getting heckled by builders! Luckily not one comment was sexist, ha ha!

Yesterday, Topher finally had a day off during the week so we went to the Christmas markets. I was really looking forward to it and we had a lovely day walking around and eating everything. I managed to find a place that did beef sausages for the first time at the markets ever so I happily got a hot dog followed by a mulled wine and a nutella crepe. Still feel full thinking about it.

At Slimming World I lost another pound bringing my total weight loss this time up to 1 stone and 4 and a half pounds. Woop! I’m still 1 stone, 6 pounds away from my target but I’m happy that I’m consistently losing now. Here’s to becoming healthier…minus the Christmas markets and the slice of cake I just ate at Freelance Friday!

As for the C word. Christmas that is, I’m beginning to write my gift list for what I have to buy for my friends and family and after I’ve taken advantage of some Black Friday offers this evening I’ll be able to say that I’ve officially started my Christmas shopping. I’m trying to buy from small businesses as much as I can this year but there will be the inevitable amazon purchases for the gamers in my life so here’s to trying my best. I’ll be making some festive gift guides as usual so look out for those in the next week or so.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

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The Kitchen Nook Gallery Wall

The Kitchen nook gallery wall

So I was at odds today on what I should write about. I didn’t really think I had anything to say. But I remembered that I never showed you the beginnings of my gallery wall in the kitchen. It’s similar to the idea of the gallery wall I have on the landing but it’s more niche. I thought about waiting until we’ve painted to hang things but it’s going to be at least a year or two so we may as well enjoy the prints until then. This is just in the nook where we eat in the kitchen. Technically it’s a kitchen diner but I don’t think it’s big enough to call it that. So a nook it is.

Every print is going to be food related. Topher and I love a good pun and we’ve been collecting them for a year or two now. So far, all but two of them are from the A Beautiful Mess Happy Mail subscription I had last year. And I’ve actually got a few more though they’re proving more difficult to find frames for due to their odd shapes. The other two are from Paperchase.

A small tip for you by the way. Kids, always check the back of the picture frames when you purchase them from a pound shop. As it turned out, the three white ones (and also some that are on the landing) are not meant to be hung on the wall. They’re just for standing so there’s nowhere for them to hang on a nail – the back is completely flat. Oops.

That was easily fixed though. With the help of my trusty glue gun and some string, I made some DIY hangers so that there was something for a nail to catch onto. That and I removed the stands from the back so they would hang flat against the wall. Sorted.

So far we have the following:

Clockwise from left (the middle one is last):

  • I am a Unicorn (from Paperchase)
  • Let’s Taco ‘Bout It
  • You’re kind of a big dill
  • Complex Carbohydrates (literally a bunch of potatoes, bread etc saying stuff like What is my purpose? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life?) – from Paperchase
  • But first, coffee
  • Coffee cup surrounded by sayings like “I have a latte feelings” and “Words cannot espresso.
  • You are the pumpkin spice to my latte

They all make me smile every time I look at them.

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