Cheez Makin’!

Have you ever made cheese? I don’t know if there’s a dirty interpretation of that, I don’t want to know.

So… we made goats cheese over the weekend, it was ridiculously easy…

Cheez Pourin'

Cheez Pourin’

… though a lot of milk makes a little cheese!

Cheez Hangin'

Cheez Hangin’

I didn’t photograph the finished article, we took it round to a friends house and it went FAST! But it was really yum, and, as we are THOSE kind of people, we made bread with the left over whey too, wow, that with the cheese- YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who needs fillers?!

Who needs fillers?!

And, I decided to get my lips pumped up a bit! I know they’re a little uneven at the moment, I’m sure they’ll settle… Yeah. I fell of my bike. Let me tell you, OUCH. I lost balance literally outside my front door (I was so close to home I actually crashed into it!) and went head over heels, yup, I landed on my face.

Thank goodness I was wearing a helmet which stopped my forehead being smashed up, and thank goodness my knees took a little of the damage or I’d probably have bust my teeth.

I got up from the pavement numb, with the taste of blood and the feel of grit (it was tooth) in my mouth, and all I could think was OH GOD, MY FACE!!!!!!!! I cannot believe how little damage I did, I just chipped a bit of tooth, (but it’s ok, I still have it!) and got a few cuts and bruises. I have a MAJOR bruise on my leg which has developed way better than my first picture, I will take another better one to post soon!

So kids, remember, wear a helmet! It looks way cooler than a beat up face any day.

Just-woke-up Puppy!

Just-woke-up Puppy!

I know some people are sensitive to dog winky, and I don’t want to embarass the Stimp with a big ol’ wink picture on my blog (-JEEZ, YOU’RE SOOOO EMBARRASSING-) But you gotta finish things with a cute puppy pic right?

Lots of cheesy love!

Gem xxxxx

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Tattoo time!

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I’ve been researching tattoos today, and I came across some beautiful, some distressing, some funny, and some totally gross things!! People are CRAZY! This one with the birds is really pretty, and so different.

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I really like the lace garter idea!

And when you look at what some people thought might be a useful permanent addition to their bodies, well you really get a nice full sense of the extent of human weirdness! I could go to town on pictures of bad tattoos!

[EDIT: There was a grim tattoo picture here, I removed it because while it was slightly amusing at first, it started to make me feel sick, and I decided to not subject anyone else to it. If you really want to, just google bad tattoos I’m sure you’ll find it!!]

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I don’t think I could go this big with a tattoo personally, but the design is just beautiful… I’m a fan of the no-outline look when it’s done well.

Lots of tattooed love!

Gem xxxxx

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My 2013 in Pictures!

I have spoken to a number of people about 2013, and I sincerely hope that you do not agree with us, but the year was unanimously cruddy for everyone! And I even have a puppy to bring smiles! Which makes me wonder, how bad would 2013 have been without lil’ Stimpy?! (errr, no offence meant to my boyfriend Joe!)

Stimpy dressed as a lion, with his toy lion (I named my lion Splinter when I was about 9 after the Ninja Turtles character)

Stimpy dressed as a lion, with his toy lion (I named my lion Splinter when I was about 9 after the Ninja Turtles character)

Oh come on!! That has put a smile on your face right?! That one was pretty early on, he’s filled out a little now…

You wouldn't catch me dressing up now, I'm a sensible young man don't you know.

You wouldn’t catch me dressing up now, I’m a sensible young man don’t you know.

…and this guy has energy, after a 3 mile run, and 6 mile walk up and around Pen Dinas in Aberystwyth, he was still running around like he’d not lifted a paw!

Gem and Stimpy on a hill!

Gem and Stimpy on a hill!

I got a year older…

Cutting the cake for the 31st time (yeah I was trusted with a knife from a young age)

Cutting the cake for the 31st time (yeah I was trusted with a knife from a young age)

I bought Joe a ham…

Man and Meat

Man and Meat

I climbed Snowdon…

I don't know if I was half way up or half way down!

I don’t know if I was half way up or half way down!

We went to Chester races, and it was SUNNY!!!

I won one!

I won one!

And my little brother turned 30- ouch, and that is a painful sentence!

Jamie and my Auntie Sally having a Mick Jagger-off

Jamie and my Auntie Sally having a Mick Jagger-off

And that is a little bit of my unlucky-for-all 2013! Ahh, so long 2013, bring on 2014!!!

Big new year love!

Gem xxxx

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Then And Now!

I will perhaps tackle the question of “what happened to the last 6 months?!” some time… but do you really want to know? Those winter months are dark, cold, and dull… and nothing too exciting tends to happen in them anyway, right?! Let’s just say I’ve been hibernating and leave it at that for now!

So….

THEN: My Dad’s open heart surgery

NOW:

Over 300 beers you say?!

Over 300 beers you say?!

Dad has made an amazing recovery, and I’m so thrilled to report that he is back to climbing up Welsh mountains, going for 10 mile walks… and attending beer festivals! The above pic is Dad and Jamie (my bro!) at the Winter Ales Festival in Manchester this year.

It’s been fantastic to watch his recovery, and I think that it’s easy to take for granted how lucky we are to have him restored to beyond full health – and for that matter, how lucky we are to have him here at all [insert serious face]

THEN: Livin’ for the City

NOW: Livin’ for a different, and yet the same city!

Joe with his Manchester bromigos Rob and Mart at Cask

Joe with his Manchester bromigos Rob and Mart at Cask

It turns out that all roads lead to Manchester – we leave, we come back. Maybe I should just admit that I’m always gonna end up here…

The Manchester Laydeez at Cask looking like summer despite it being January!

The Manchester Laydeez at Cask looking like summer despite it being January!

…and that I’m gonna have to get my vitamin D from sardines, and a sprayed on tan (see above) for the time being!

THEN: The Team of 2

NOW: The Team of 3!!

Is this the biggest happiest grin you have ever seen?? Oh and the cutest little puppy too!

Is this the biggest happiest grin you have ever seen?? Oh and the cutest little puppy too!

Yep, I have wanted a puppy for a lonnnnnng time, and now I gots me one!! He’s my little Stimpy (yes, named after the cat, but he’s so not a Ren!). I get stopped so often in the street when people want to ask me about him, I can reel off his vitals in an instant… “He’s a Jug, which is a Jack Russell / Pug cross, he is currently 6 months old and I don’t actually know how big he will get, but I do know that he will stay pretty small. And no he is not for sale. And no, you may not take him home with you. And yes, I will notice if you try to steal him.”

Snow Puppy!

Snow Puppy!

I could post about 500 pictures of him…

From Stimpy's shoot for OK magazine Feb 2013.

From Stimpy’s shoot for OK magazine Feb 2013.

But I won’t… oh ok, just one more!!!

Oh don't be shy little Stimp!

Oh don’t be shy little Stimp!

THEN: Babygrows

NOW: Babygrows, Pole, and Beauty…

Yes that is me on the pole, and that is a Bachelor Party in the background, and I am in a bar in Manhattan- HOW INSANE IS THAT!!!! Oh, and the 2 amazing ladies are my NYC pole tutors Roz and Aditi!

Yes that is me on the pole, and that is a Bachelor Party in the background, and I am in a bar in Manhattan- HOW INSANE IS THAT!!!! Oh, and the 2 amazing ladies are my NYC pole tutors Roz and Aditi!

Let’s for now just say that I’m expanding my repertoir a little! Running a t-shirt printing business from NYC with no t-shirts or means of printing them turned out to be just a little bit of a stretch! But it turned out that spinning my ass round a pole was the perfect remedy to a troublesome situation! Well, it dosen’t have to make sense now does it?

I started to learn pole fitness in Manchester over a year ago, and was taught by the wonderful, smiley, and fun Beata! But learning pole from the wtruly insirational and beautiful Diva (Roz) and the stunning Aditi at the words-cannot-describe-how-amazing Sacred in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn…. well it spun my world around!

And if you still don’t gettit, check me out Pole Dancing on the NYC subway!

So the baby t’s are still gonna be a-printing as soon as I get space and equipment again, but on the side I’m gonna be working on achieving some pole ambition! So folks there you go, I’m finally out and I’m proud to say that I’M A POLE DANCER AND I FREAKIN’ LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and the beauty side of things of course! Well as another side project, I’m going to start out a beauty salon in the next few weeks with the most wonderful beautician I have EVER met!! She is just too awesome to put into words… but more on that soon!

Oh yes, and I got a tattoo! But I’ll make you wait for that pic…

So now we’re all good and caught up, it’s onto the next adventure guys!

Lots of love NOW!!!

gem xxxxx

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My Dad and his Open Heart Surgery

This time exactly one week ago, me and My Mum were sitting next to my Dad as he lay sedated and out of consciousness with about 15 tubes and wires coming out of him. He had just been wheeled into critical care following an 8 hour operation to repair the aorta in his heart, replace the aortic valve, and also to give him a single heart bypass. Yep, it was as serious as it sounds!

Through the last 6 months getting ready for the operation, during it, and throughout the week following it, I’ve been typing questions into google daily… from “What foods are best to eat following open heart surgery?” to “what does the nurse really mean when she says that she can’t tell you anything over the phone?!” So I thought that a post covering my experience as the daughter of someone undergoing this sort of procedure, might be useful to anyone else finding themselves in a similar situation to the one I found myself in this week. And sorry this is ridiculously long, and with no pictures… but I’d rather include too much, just in case it is of use to anyone!

I’ll start by saying that, as much as I hope this can be helpful to help someone prepare to go through this, honestly, nothing can truly prepare you for seeing a loved one have a major op! Don’t worry, I’m not being negative here, I’m just saying that everyone’s emotional response to this will be different from mine, and you just can’t imagine it until you’re living it. But stay strong and happy! However hard this has been, it has been a positive experience for me and my family, and has brought us even closer together!

So, a little background… my Dad has a congenital (born with) heart condition that he has always been a little bit aware of, though I’m not sure if he ever thought he’d need surgery to fix it! He is a very healthy 55 year old, non-smoker, he is very fit as he is a keen hill walker, though he has a fairly stressful job, he has a very healthy diet, and he drinks alcohol sensibly (which when you consider that he’s a wine merchant, is quite an achievement!) About 2 years ago, Dad had some bad news about his Dad (who incidentally 20 years ago had a quadruple heart bypass in his early 60’s). My Grandad was in hospital and to cut a long story short, had my Nan not been on the ball and dialled 999 when Grandad could not feel his legs in the night, he wouldn’t have two legs to walk on right now (which he does, all’s well that ends well!). But the news sent my Dad faint, and he went straight to the Doctors about his heart.

Just over a year of tests and Doctor’s visits later, and Dad happened to see the word “urgent” next to his name on a document meant only for the nurses eyes… it was a matter of time before his Doctor confirmed that Dad’s heart needed to be operated on. I was in New York at the time, and I remember saying to Dad “Oh, it’ll be fine, I’m sure it’ll just be keyhole surgery, right??” to which Dad calmly told me that he’d be having open heart surgery, a really big operation.

It’s been a way too long and emotionally painful wait for the surgery to finally arrive, and after 2 cancellations, you don’t get yourself set for it to happen until it already has (as my Grandad said “You haven’t had the operation until you wake up from it!”). So my first bit of advice would be, if you get a date, at least be prepared that it may get pushed back. Dad was originally looking at late April, he had his op mid August… I’m sure that everyone’s circumstances are different, but I think it’s good to be prepared for every eventuality, as building yourself up for something so big really takes its toll. And of course, it’s so important to be kind to the heart and get it prepared by keeping it steady- not stressing it out!

The Day Before Dad’s Op

On Sunday 12th August 2012, I met my folks at the NHS North Staffs University Hospital in the evening. Dad had his own room for the night before his operation, with a lovely view of a pretty sunset. The three of us sat and distracted ourselves with chat of my recent holiday in Nice, we tried to avoid all operation talk! The anaesthesiologist came to see Dad and asked a few general questions and talked him through some of the things that she would be doing, such as the tube she would put down Dad’s throat which would house a camera to help the surgeon conduct the op, she talked about things like the danger to his teeth when she inserted the tube, which I’d never have thought of! (All teeth survived!!) She also explained the running order of things for the evening and following morning, Dad was not to eat after midnight (later than I’d have thought, so he had a couple of nice chocolates to treat himself that evening!) and he would be given a sedative to help him sleep. At 7am he would be woken and would need to shower before being taken to theatre.

A nurse then came in and took a blood sample, at which point we were ready to say goodbye. It was a strange moment, and me and Mum both said afterwards that we were really pleased that we held it together and didn’t start crying in front of Dad! I don’t think it would have done Dad any good to see us upset, so instead I gave him a big hug and a big smile and I think I said “See you on the other side Dad!”.

Mum and I left the ward and walked down the corridor, at which point it was time for tears and hugs… it’s a difficult moment however you look at it, and for us, this was the fist moment that the situation really started to hit home. I went back with Mum that night to keep her company, we watched the Olympics closing ceremony (as did Dad!), drank a few glasses of wine and tried our best to get some rest.

The Day of Dad’s Heart Op

The following morning, the day of the op… we had been told that Dad would be going down to surgery at about 8am, and we knew that we couldn’t phone the hospital until realistically, about 7-8 hours later. I found that thinking about what was happening in theatre was totally unhelpful, there was no point distressing ourselves. I tried my best to distract Mum too- if you spend 8 hours watching the clock, you’ll be waiting a long time! We watched Frasier, and then an episode of Police Squad– both really helped to distract us… we even managed a few giggles! By this time it was coming on for 11am, and I remember thinking, “Well, it looks like it hasn’t been cancelled this time. This is it.” We did The Times jumbo crossword, though we found that our brains were not on top form! We started working on a craft project of making Dad some bravery badges to wear in hospital.

Mum and Dad live 1 1/2 hours from the hospital, so we decided to get out for some air- I think that getting out the house was really important. We went to Shrewsbury which is en route to the hospital, and (from what I can remember!) walked into town, stopped for coffee, and went to sit in a lovely park. We called once at half 3, Dad wasn’t out just yet, no news. We sat on a bench and chatted about non-operation things, and before we knew it, it was time to call back. This time, the nurse told Mum that Dad was out of the operation and into critical care (intensive care by any other name I think), and she could not tell us anything more. We started to feel relief at this point… but couldn’t help reading doubt into the nurses words! We reassured ourselves that obviously they are not allowed to say anything over the phone (we were right) but you really want someone to say more than that! We were thinking “What does ‘I can’t tell you anything’ mean? Is he ok? Surely she’d have said if something had gone wrong?” You can’t help but analyse every detail!

We called round the list of family who needed to hear the news, and then set off to the hospital. I don’t even remember the drive over, or the walk down to critical care… I remember getting down there and walking into this big room, and seeing Dad straight ahead of us when we walked in. I grabbed Mum’s hand, she turned to me and tears instantly started to fall. Nothing can prepare you for that, for seeing someone you love with tubes and wires coming out of them hooked up to machines and fluids. Dad was wearing a gown, and I think a blanket covered him too so we couldn’t see anything going on beneath the cover. He had the tube down his throat, and tubes supplying oxygen into his nose, he was completely out of it (he’d come out of surgery 2 hours ago) and his eyes were closed, though I remember not tightly shut. I was surprised to see colour in his face, and honestly I think he looked better than I’d anticipated, but the reality was distressing- knowing I couldn’t nudge his shoulder and wake him up was tough. Suddenly the reality of what had happened to Dad that day really hit home, this was real now.

As soon as we’d had our moment, Mum apologised (typical Mum!!) to the nurses for getting upset, and the 2 nurses there instantly smiled at us, said Dad was doing really well, and really reassured us, they were just amazing! Just seeing their confident smiling faces instantly let me know that everything was going to be ok!

The Day After The Op

The following day, Mum called the hospital first thing, and was told that Dad had come round from the op so we headed over for a lunch time visit. This time Dad was propped up in bed, and though he was groggy he was surprisingly able to chat with us! He was still in critical care, still hooked up to a load of machines, but he had had his first cup of tea (which apparently was the best ever… I think the first thing Dad remembers was that he woke from the op from a vivid dream that he was in the desert dying of thirst…the dehydration really shocked him. He managed with difficulty to drink a thimble full of water when he woke). He went very queasy when we got there (I suggested that seeing Mum caused love sickness!) but sickness and loss of appetite are both things to expect after an op like this.

He was very stiff and couldn’t move very much at all, he couldn’t lift a jug of water to pour himself a cup, he couldn’t move himself very much in the bed… but he could drink water on his own and lift his legs, the former being important to replace lost fluids, the latter being important for his circulation. He still had 4 big tubes (about 1cm in diameter I’d say) coming out by his waist, and I think one in his neck… these were to drain blood from any internal bleeding that was going on. His surgeon wanted there to be a clear 2 hours without bleeding before they were removed. After about an hour with Dad, we decided to head off as he really needed peace and quiet to help him recover.

We left him feeling very reassured, it was so nice to speak to him! He was clearly very poorly, but it wasn’t even 24 hours since he came out of surgery… so we were overwhelmingly happy with how things were going.

Two Days after the Op

In the morning we’d heard that he’d had a bad night, nothing to worry about, but he’d been very uncomfortable and in a lot of pain (I’m sure Dad would edit this bit and make it sound worse, but I don’t want to cause worry!!). The drainage tubes were responsible for most of the pain… which I can imagine having seen them, the nurse told us that they jab into the body internally, and it’s difficult to lie comfortably. Although he was obviously on painkillers, the previous night they had just not been strong enough, and to make matters worse, the nurses were pushed to the limit with other patients. Without wishing to cause angst, he did say that this night in particular was very tough. He was obviously still groggy and confused, in pain, and meanwhile around him he could hear other patients in urgent situations being saved by the doctors and nurses.

Jamie, my brother, had come over from Wales and was first in today with Mum (max 2 to a bed!) whilst I waited my turn in the critical care reception area (where I tried my hardest to block out the gossipy and indulgent conversation of some young girls who must have been visiting a relative and were talking loudly about what to wear for a funeral!! I mean, come on, have some compassion!!). I was so pleased to finally go in and see Dad looking so much better than I had imagined- the tubes were removed, and so a big layer of pain had been removed too. Dad looked so much happier and more comfortable, we were all so pleased.

While we were there, the physio came around and asked Dad to take some deep breaths to check he was opening his chest out fully, it’s important to get the chest moving to full extension early on. He also had to cough, after the op you need to clear the lungs out (it looked painful, but Dad made no fuss!).

As we were getting ready to say goodbye at the end of visiting, it was time for Dad to get out of his gown and into his pyjamas, so that he could go up to the ward- yep, it was already time to leave critical care! They were planning on lifting Dad from his critical bed to his new bed, but he managed to walk the couple of steps between them- amazing when you consider how close we still were to his op, and the rough night that he’d just had! We said goodbye after this visit in very high spirits.

The Final Few Days Before Leaving Hospital

The next few days on the ward were a little up and down, but mostly up, the most important thing was that Dad was making a good recovery. The only slight blip, was when his heart rate leapt up… a fairly common reaction of the heart to its new mechanics. He was given drugs to bring his heart rate back down, and eventually hopefully the heart will adjust to its repair and will not feel the need to over-compensate in this way!

Dads appetite had been a little bit all over, and I believe that mentally he’s been a little up and down (both of which I could totally relate to last week by the way!) He’s been a little like a pregnant woman I believe… not being able to stomach certain foods, and some things hitting the spot just right! I would advise fruit smoothies, I took them for him from almost day 1 and they were one of the first things Dad could manage.

He has been very tired, but he has not been able to sleep very well since the op so that hasn’t helped things! I would say that it’s like he’s suffering from heavy flu, the body is amazing at healing itself, but it takes time and there are physical and mental effects.

Back at Home!

So, after 7 nights in hospital, and just 6 post-op, Dad was able to leave the hospital on Sunday 19th. (Top-tip here: take a cushion for the journey home to go between the operation wound and the seatbelt! Great advice given to Dad by someone who’d had the same op!)

It’s been the craziest week of my life, one that went by in a total blur, and yet one that I will not forget. I’m still recovering from it, I feel so emotional and tired (like PMT times ten!) For anyone preparing to see a loved one through this op, I hope that my memories of the week have helped in some way… though nothing can really prepare you for what it feels like to go through this, and maybe your experience will be very different from ours.

It was so overwhelming to see the flood of loving concern from friends and family, a time like this tests us, but most importantly makes us stronger for it. And I hope that the same will be true for Dad’s heart, as my Mum always says, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!”

My thoughts go out to anyone going through this, or any other operation themselves, and those standing by the bedside of a loved one. Strength and love will keep you going through it, and you may find that, like me, you come out of the whole experience feeling joy and thanks.

I can’t begin to explain how much overwhelming gratitude I feel towards the wonderful staff at North Staffs University Hospital, from the smiling receptionists, to the wonderful nurses, to the amazing surgeons… thank you for saving my Dad’s life!

I’ll post again with an update on how he’s doing, I heard from Mum today that he had a better night’s sleep last night! Onwards and upwards!

Huge amounts of mended heart love!

gem xxxx

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Friends in the City

BOING!!!!!!!

We went to see our lovely friends-with-kids Jenny and Baden recently, and even got a little peep of sunshine too! The trampoline is so fun, I think Cody must burn about 50% of his daily calorific intake on this thing (minus rainy days!)

Like Father like Son!

We followed the bouncing with cricket- we tried hard to get Cody to have a go with the bat, but he was more interested in knocking the stumps off, and playing Team Captain to the adult players!

The Gang!

And after Jenny and Baden’s we went to Martins for a chilled evening of “splodging” as Mart would put it. And although our achievements for the evening didn’t go far beyond drinking a bottle of red, we just happened to take the best picture ever…

Words cannot describe this one.

Lots of bouncy love!

gem x

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A Country Affair

Frooty Booty!

There aren’t many things that give me as much satisfaction and pleasure as harvesting my own food and guzzling it almost as quickly as it’s plucked from the plant! Check out the raspberries and gooseberries from my folks garden, picked for our breakfast! And in case this all sounds just too lovely, it was p**sing down with rain the whole time, I got drenched, so there’s your karma!

The footpath: those without sturdy footwear need not apply!

And here is proof of the disasterous weather on my walk from Cardington (my parents village) to Church Stretton (slightly bigger town). In Cardington you can buy a pint of beer, but not a pint of milk… so trips to Church Stretton are occasionally necessary!

My very pale, very dirty leg (looking much better now it’s clean and fake-tanned!)

I got completely splattered with mud… you can’t tiptoe when you’re out on the hills, you gotta march on through! Some of these marks were a little yellowy for my liking… I’m just saying that there were a lot of sheep on the hills, and the rainwater probably wasn’t just washing mud onto the path- EWWWW!!! (Or should that be EWE!!!)

Quick, take picture, run!!!

And going into Church Stretton meant crossing the train tracks, it was pretty fun standing right in the middle there- though I kept looking over my shoulder!

And seeing as this post is way overdue thanks to a couple of tech hitches… we’re back around to Shoesday now, so here is a picture of an unbelievably amazingly beautiful irregular choice shoe (On sale end of July as I remember)

I don’t know if I want to eat them or wear them!

Even though these babies would look perfect in the natural settings above, could you imagine the damage you would do to shoe and ankle if you attempted to wear them on the hills? Think these ones would need to be indoor use only!

Lots of natures love!

gem xxxxx

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Drizzle.

Me and Joe with the Birthday Boy after lunch

So here is the people picture from yesterday! I told you it wasn’t just toilets and pimms… there were people too!

And we also happened to catch this amazing meteorological event on camera, it was just coincidence that it was taken at the exact moment that we experienced the mysterious phenomenon that is blue sky and sun! Did anyone else see it? It was an amazing moment, but don’t worry folks, it won’t be happening again…

Happy Summer Everybody!

So that was summer, fleeting, bright, and actually a bit cold (It’s been colder recently than it was on Christmas Day) Oh to escape this weather purgatory! I actually can’t remember how to make normal conversation now, as I only ever talk about the weather. If the sun does come out properly, we will all be quite lost for words!

Lots of drizzly love!

gem x

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Hoppy Birthday!

We went out for lunch for Joe’s Dad’s Birthday, and had such a lovely time at the Old Hall in Sandbach. I don’t have the pictures of people, but I do have the things you’re really interested in- toilets and booze!

The ladies bathroom was bigger than my last flat. No joke.

Never mind the lunch (Mussels, yum!!) the toilets were fabulous- totally picture worthy! But yes, lunch was lovely too, I normally really dislike and form of restaurant chain, but I have been to a few of Brunning and Price’s places, and I really couldn’t fault them… venue, service and food have always been top notch! And I just found out that they have a new place right next to where we used to love in Manchester- well that’s no good to me now guys!

Going for Gold!

And when we got back afterwards, we had a celebratory Pimms… my perfect Pimms’s will have really nice lemonade (oooh, homemade might be nice?! Must try that!) strawberries, cucumber and mint- we came pretty close here (you’ll see there’s no cucumber this time!)With the moments sun we were given yesterday, the drink looked so golden!

We also had Joe’s Mum’s passionfruit cake- so yummy! Victoria sponge with passionfruit and creamy layer in the middle (and yes, you may remember it from Joe’s b’day in January!) So delicious, and somehow even better the second time around!

Ps-I realised I didn’t explain the Blog Post title, as luck would have it, this was the name of a beer on at the Old Hall, so Terry got to have a special Bday beer!

Lots of toilety love! (I hope that’s the only time I get to use that phrase!)

gem xxxxxx

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Mussels, bargains, and trifle!

Glass is full, plate is ready to be piled high!

Me and my Mum have a shopping tradition…nobody can shop like my mum, we always want to go to the same places, we know exactly what to pick out for each other, and we always give each other the best opinions!

I just love the colour of green lip mussels, I like to think that the water they came from was this colour!

Lunch at Estilo in the Mailbox was really yummy- and surprisingly so for the low price (buy one get one free tapas) and we got our fave tipple- a glass of cava! Mussels, sardines, croquettas… all really super duper. We loved it!

Old and New! A Steam train and the amazing architecture of Selfridges at the Bullring Shopping Centre behind

We got some amazing bargains today, and that lovely thing happened when you go to the till, and the price is actually lower than the ticket says! Yay!

DO NOT try to drink this!

Dinner at the Green Dragon with my folks was really great, Mum’s sherry trifle looked delicious, and I tried Dad’s berry brioche- WOW, it was amazing. I just stuck after my delicious salmon, the first time I’ve not had dessert space for a long time!

Lots of lovely day love!

gem xxxxxxxxxx

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