October Potential Reads | Blogtober Day 11

Monday, October 11, 2021

If you follow me on Instagram or read one of my earlier posts you'll know each monthni pick out a few books to potentially read that month.

I don't put any pressure on myself to read these but I try and look to these first when it's time to pick my next book.

Apologies as this is an almost identical copy to what I've just opted on Instagram but needs must. 

I've selected 4 books to try and read this month 

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman  

This has been on my to buy, to read list forever and I bought it last month. I know I'll finish this one soon (tonight?)


Lucky Us by Amy Bloom 

I'm just under half way through this and I don't think I like it. But I'm hoping it picks up in the second half.


The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls 

Set in the 1970s and is about a girl who overcomes adult adversy. Sounded interesting


X - Sue Grafton 

I bought this purely because I'm so close to reading the alphabet and I couldn't find many x books and I love a crime thrillers. I did start this when I first bought it but never went back to it (ahhh this is why i have so many unread books!) It is part of a series and I don't want to read the previous A - Y first. Google says it can be read alone but the others will help  with back stories. I've read a lot of Michael Conneley Bosche series out of order so I'm going to give this a go and I do want to read the alphabet this year. Only three books to go.

Have you read any of these? Or what order would you read them in? 

Sunday Lunch | Blogtober Day 10

Sunday, October 10, 2021

I took my gran out for Sunday Lunch today.  I can’t remember the last time we went out for a Sunday Roast.


There are a lot of places to choose from and I wanted somewhere local but that was far away enough to be able to justify getting a taxi there and back.

I picked The Old Original; I haven’t been to this place since the early 2000s and it’s uphill from us which means a taxi was totally justifiable.

Looking back at the picture I took of the front of the building I noticed the sign states that it was established in 1721 which makes it 300 years old. 


They have a very varied menu with a smaller fixed price option Monday – Sunday and while we were there the Sunday Roast was one of the options on the fixed price menu.

£13 for two courses or £15 for three which seemed like good value before I checked the main menu to compare prices.

In most cases, there wasn’t a direct comparison but as some examples- I’ve based these on the closest comparisons that I noticed:

Fixed price – Leek & Potato soup

Main Menu – Pea and Ham soup £6

Fixed price – 2 Pie options (meat and vegetarian)

Main Menu – Cheese & Onion Pie £10

Fixed Price – Chocolate Sponge Pudding

Main Menu – Chocolate Fudge cake £6

There were also a number of specials available, but I always forget to check the specials boards.

We kept it simple, and both had Roast Beef followed by Apple and Cinnamon crumble with

Custard.  

Starters

We decided against a starter to make sure we had room for the roast beef but the next table to us had leek and potato soup and pate and next time I’d go for one of those. 



Main Course

One thing I wish they’d done was to give a bit more details on the menu. It just said roast of the day and as we sat down, we were told it was beef, but there was no mention of the sides.

I wish I had asked as the meal came with peas and I really dislike them and I hated leaving them but ill know for next time.

There was a lot of food and other than the beef and Yorkshire puddings the best thing was the carrot (and swede?) crush. It was delicious. My least favourite item was the mash (we’ll ignore the peas) It was still nice but I preferred everything else more. 


Pudding

There was a choice of three puddings, Apple and Cinnamon crumble with cream, Chocolate Steam pudding with Custard, or Rice Pudding.

For me, none of the combinations worked. Crumble must be served with custard or at a push ice cream.

We asked for custard, and I asked for my custard on the side, I feel like this must have been an unusual request as they double-checked we really wanted that!

The crumble was lovely, it could have been crunchier on the top (having the custard separate was to help the crumble not get soggy too soon but alas it didn’t matter) It was really cinnamoney, with big chunks of apple and the topping was nice despite not being as crunchy as I’d have liked it. 

Going back?

Yes, we would go back again, we are planning on going with my parents in a few weeks’ time. I’d also say to book in advance, it was much busier than I’d ever expected, and a few people got turned away or got a table if they knew the owner and promised not to linger!

Despite how busy it was, it wasn’t rushed and we didn’t feel like they wanted us to leave. We did go and wait outside to wait for the taxi home rather than staying at the table but I don’t think there would have been any issue waiting inside at the table. 

Whittard's of Chelsea - 1886 | Blogtober Day 9

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Whittard Chelsea 1886

As we have now officially entered the Autumnal drinks season I decided I wanted to have this experience at home.

I think the big thing for me is that I don’t enjoy sweet hot drinks and I don’t like milky hot drinks, so a PSL is often more of a disappointment than a highlight of the season.

I do quite like a Mocha and Costa used to do a spiced apple drink that didn’t have milk at all and while it was sweet, I enjoyed it and always looked forward to it.

Looking through had noticed a few Instagram posts showing Dunkin Donuts ground coffee and other brands, but it was always people in America. I googled it but the cost was ridiculous. I do know they have Dunkin shops in the UK but at the time it didn’t occur to me to go and look in a physical location.

Google led me to Whittards Chelsea ground coffee and this seemed promising, I’ve also been getting adverts for a Pumpkin Spiced tea from another brand and I noticed Whittards had  their own version as well this led me down the rabbit hole of doing a full order to make the order up to get free delivery and a free gift. What did I buy?

Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Flavour Ground Coffee

The description reads:

Conjure up a mug of wickedly warming spices and moreish mellow pumpkin – but be warned, these fang-tastic flavours have been known to tempt those vampires out for a daylight drink…

 The full ingredients list is:

·       Coffee

·       Flavouring (what they are seems to be a mystery)   

·       No added sugars or sweeteners

The reviews are also pretty good. Lots of 5 stars, not many descriptive comments other than I love this coffee, but one or two saying as good if not better than coffee shop coffees as it doesn’t use syrup.

We have a Swan Retro coffee machine, and it works well, being made that way but I’m not really up on my coffee terms. The website lists the grind type as: Omni-gride and is suitable for many different coffee machines, cafetieres, and other such methods.

What I also like is that it lists the preferred way to enjoy the coffee but for this blend, it seems like pretty much anything goes.

I’ve been having it just like an Americano with (oat) milk and I now have a milk frother and setting it to heat and the frothiest setting. I’m guessing that’s a bit cappuccino-like. I’ve been using Barista-style oat milk because that’s all we had in the back of the cupboard. We do usually have skimmed milk but we’d run out and I turned to the long life we had in the cupboard. I do go through a phase of using oat milk and it’s been working well. I’m yet to try it with cow's milk.

The enjoyment factor is there, I prefer it to Starbucks or AN Other coffee shop because it’s not as sweet, there is a sweetness there but I’m not sure if that’s from the milk. Yes, I miss the whipped cream, and do they dust it with something? I could do that myself if I got my shopping list organised.

Halloween Pumpkin Spiced Chai

Website description:

A rich, soft and mellow drink to keep you company as the nights draw in. Brimming with real pumpkin pieces, ginger and cinnamon for an aromatic, creamy drink that will leave you wanting more. We like to make a velvety chai latte, using warmed, frothed milk and a pinch (or two) of sugar.

I haven’t been drinking it this way, I’ve just been drinking it as black tea. I can’t remember the last time I drank tea with milk in but I might try it as it does sound delicious.

This time we do have a full ingredients list but flavouring is also mentioned:

Black Tea, Pumpkin (15%), Ginger (10%), Carrot, Flavouring, Cinnamon (5%), Cloves (3%)

There are only 4 reviews and they are all positive, one mentions they “cook” the tea in milk on the hob to infuse it more. I’m not sure I’d go down that route as I’m not a milk lover but I could see it working well.

As this is loose leaf tea, I did buy some fill your own tea bags as I wasn’t sure if we had a tea strainer but luckily one of my papa’s presents last year was this cute black cat infuser which we found in Kenji. It looks so good in my Halloween cups.

Drinking it as black tea has been very enjoyable, it’s warming, not overwhelmingly sweet and it feels like autumn.

I did pick up a couple of other items, as mentioned I bought the fill your own tea bags, which are exactly what it sounds like. Empty bags to fill with your own loose tea. I’ve used one and it worked well. I’m going to fill a few up to take to work with me.

The other items I haven’t tried yet are Afternoon Tea Loose Tea and standard coffee bags, was a free gift for spending £30. £30 is also the point at which you get free delivery and the amount I spent.

Once I try the other Items I might do a separate post on them or at least share them on Instagram but overall I’m happy with what I go.

It is more than what I would normally spend on tea and coffee. For reference, we get the giant drums of coffee from Costco. My dad’s heard it's made to the same “recipe/blend” as one of the big chain coffee places. I won’t name them as I don’t know how true that is but it’s decent and we get through a lot of it, tea wise we tend to stick to PG with the odd dabble into Twinnings if they’re on offer and the odd fruit or green tea but I do tend to buy supermarket own brands so this was a treat order for me. But It’s probably saved me more than £30 buying coffees out that I wouldn’t have enjoyed as much. This is a long-winded way of saying I think it was well worth it!

S x

Age Concern Books | Blogtober Day 8

Friday, October 08, 2021

Last weekend I headed to Uppermill in Saddleworth, more as somewhere different to go and I’d planned to have a look in a few shops and settle down in a cafĂ© for lunch and to read my book.

As soon as I set off I realised that I’d forgot my book, so my first stop was to Age Concern Charity shop to pick up a book or three.

The last time I went, they had an offer for buy one get one free but that’s finished but it didn’t stop me buying three books.

My first thought was to look for a book beginning with Z in the title as it’s the last letter I need for my Alphabet challenge I’ve stumbled into but more about that in another post.

The Talented Mr. Ripley – Patricia Highsmith

I have vague memories of watching the film of this but honestly, all I can remember is someone sitting in a rowing boat. I don’t think I ever realised it was a book but it’s obvious now I stop and think about it.

This is the book I started to read while I was out, I didn’t get very far but it doesn’t seem familiar.

Alone in Berlin – Hans Fallada

Set during WWII and based on a true story where an everyday man becomes part of the German resistance.

It sounds like a really interesting story and as I was flicking through the book when I got home, I noticed there was a bookmark in the middle, so I feel like I got a bonus.

Worryingly it’s about halfway through so I don’t know if that’s a bad sign that someone gave up on it.

The Shock of the Fall – Nathan Filer

Another interesting sounding read, it was also a Costa Book of the Year in 2013. This paragraph on the back is what sold the book to me:

I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’

I might have a giant stack of books to read but I am looking forward to reading all three of these books.

Have you read any of them? Which one should I read first. I know technically I’ve started The Talented Mr Ripley but I have put it down again to continue with the two other books I’m currently reading!

S x





Ceramic Bowl and Jewellery Trays | Blogtober Day 7

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Last weekend I went to Uppermill and had a little day out to myself. My first stop was Age Concern to pick up a book as I’d forgotten to take mine with me.

As I was headed to the till I spotted this unusual bowl, it was only £1, the glaze is slightly cracked in a few places, but I love the shade of blue and the ombre effect.

Google hasn’t really helped to find anything about the brand. I’ve found three other items on Ebay a bowl for £3, two similar shaped tea light holders but green flecked and they are £9.99 + £3 P&P and a pretty blue bowl for £27.

When I bought it, I wasn’t sure what I’d do with it but I knew it was coming home with me. I’ve put some of my crystals in it and it’s on a shelf in the dining room.

I haven’t tried a tea light in it yet but I might do that over the next few day, I wonder if it gives off any effects with the shape of the bowl.

On my way home I called in to a boutique that had some celestial style jewellery in the window and I they had a lot of cute things but as soon as I saw this tray set, I knew that I wanted it, originally, I didn’t think it was for sale as they had a few dotted around displaying other products on it them.

I also didn’t know if it was a set or not, I would have happily bought the navy one on its own but the more I looked at it the more I realised it was a set. The white dish only has a pattern on one side of it.

It was £12 for the two and in hindsight, I feel like that is too much but I do love them and I’m justifying that I got three ceramic dishes for £13.



S x






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Dotty Red Studio @ Ashton Markets | Blogtober Day 6

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

 Dotty Red Studio @ Ashton Markets

A couple of months ago we discovered that there is an Artisan Market on the last Saturday of the month in Ashton Under Lyne.

We’ve been to two now and they have a lovely mix of stalls, I wanted to share one of the stalls that I bought from each time I’ve been.

When I found out about the markets, I’d spotted Dotty Red Studio’s pins especially the one saying “IT’S TOO PEOPLEY OUTSIDE” I didn’t buy it on my first visit.

On my first visit I bought the Book Lover pin, I was torn between a few but that one was a firm favourite.


I knew I wanted to go back, and I almost missed them as it was busy but luckily, I remembered just as we were about to leave, and I picked up the “IT’S TOO PEOPLEY OUTSIDE” pin. I’d regretted not buying it.


Another thing I couldn’t resist the handmade pumpkin, perfect for this time of year and it has an acorn on it.

 I adore acorns and I don’t know why. There were quite a few choices, but I went with my first pick and I’m so happy that I got it.


I don’t know if we’ll be going to the next Market but I’m sure I’ll be a regular visitor to their stall.

They sell a mix of pins, scrunchies, headbands and other handmade items like the pumpkins and I did see wands with fabric stars which were very sweet.

You can find them on Instagram and I’ve just spotted a post that they’ll have a website in November. I’m sure they will have other ways to buy from them and if you’re in the North West I believe they go to other markets.

The Market in Ashton is run by The Market Co and they currently run markets in:

·       Wilmslow

·       Northwich

·       Urmston

·       Chesterfield

·       Ashton U-L

S x 

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Potential Books | Blogtober Day 5

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Potential Books


Since the start of the year, I’ve been picking out a few potential books to read each month. The idea behind began to get my TPR pile down and even read a few of the books I’ve had hanging around for years.


While I do get sentimental about some books, I’m also equally good at passing books on once I’ve read them.

There are a few books that I won’t ever part with (The Princess Bride is one of them)


I also know I’ve had some books for a long time that I want to read, and I might potentially read but never get round to.

My TBR is growing at an alarming rate, I’d like to blame bookstagram for this, but the truth is myself and my mum keep buying books. Some are influenced but most books we bring home are charity shop finds that look interesting.


My potentials have morphed from books I’ve owned for a long time to books I fancy reading.

This might make it sound like I put pressure on myself to read these books, but I really don’t. As soon as something is expected of me, I put a barrier up and do the opposite. I’m also a mood reader and must really want to read a book before I get engaged with it.


The idea behind my potentials list is to look at these books first before choosing my next read. If I don’t fancy any of them, I find something else.

My reading speed also varies massively month on month. Last month I read two books. Other moths I’ll read over 10 books.


For the most part it’s been working well for me, and I’d say the majority of months I’ve read the books I’ve picked out.

I don’t do roll overs unless I feel like it, it’s my life, my books, my choice. I said this in another post earlier in the month but reading should be enjoyable as soon as it feels like a chore then put the book down. Do something else. Find another book. Don’t punish yourself for not liking a book.


Often, I’ll Park books rather than DNF’ing them. There are some books that you have to give up on (For me Sprinkles in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham - I tried it three times and it wasn’t for me) When I park a book, I might not come back to it for a year (or more) but sometimes you have to be in the mood for a certain genre or if I’ve read a few similar books back to back I need a break.

My good to books seem to be violent crime thrillers or cosy tea shop mysteries with very little in between so it’s good to have a break.


I still need to make my list for October but check back in a few days and my list will be up.

I tend to pick 4 or 5 books each month. If I read more than that it’s a bonus, if I read less well no big deal. There is always next month. I also don’t include books I’m part way through at the end of each month. 

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Working From the Office | Blogtober Day 4

Monday, October 04, 2021

Working From the Office.

My time working from home is ending, well not ending exactly. It’s changing to hybrid working. This means for now I have to do two days in the office and three days at home.


We don’t know how long this will be or if and when they will phase us back to full-time office-based working.

I don’t feel ready, but I’ve had a two-week reprieve and I start back today. I will do another post on how it goes but I wanted to do a sort of what’s in my back post.

This will be my first day back since 17th March 2020 when I got sent home at lunchtime. I did bring a lot of things with me, so I need to take those back and forth with me, but I might not take them all on the first day. Things like my mouse. We’ve moved desks so I’m kinda assuming I will have been given a new mouse or someone can find me one and I’ll take mine with me after that if need be.

The bag

I'm using the Hedgren bag that I used precovid. It's a good size. Has a padded section for the laptop. Plenty of pockets and it's big enough without being too big.

 

First Day Back Items

I honestly can’t remember what I still have at work, my locker was pretty full, but I know I brought a large amount of stuff home with me, but I feel like anything I had at work will have expired and to be honest, it’s nice to have new stuff and be prepared.

·      Wipes – I always have wipes in my locker. I’m messy and I know mine will have dried out and it won’t hurt to give everything a little wipe over.

 Masks - I'm taking a box of masks with me just so I always have them. They said there will be ones left on reception to use but I'd rather just take some. Espousing public transport and they aren't meant to be optional. 

Hand sanitiser - I feel like we've always had hand sanitiser at work and I know I brought by big bottle home so I'm taking a small bottle with me.


·       Pens – I’m sure I will have loads of pens at work, but will they have dried out.

·       NoteBook - again I’m pretty sure my locker contains empty notebooks but it’s been that long I just can’t remember. I also own loads of notebooks and might have bought two new ones, especially for the office.


·       Painkillers / Buscapan / Rennies – I know that I brought my “medical” tin home with me. So time to restock and leave at work.

·       Deodorant and body spray – I feel paranoid a lot of the time, even at home when it doesn’t matter if I smell.

·       Dry Shampoo – a work essential, I always have some in my locker.


Daily Essentials

  •      Hairbrush / bobbles (these will probably live in my bag rather than my locker)
  • phone Cable
  • Power Bank
  • Access pass and lanyard
  •        Work Laptop


The Unknown

·       Laptop charger

·       Mouse


Final Thoughts

I’m so glad we’re not back full time and I’m sure the reality of going back will be a lot better than the scenarios I’m creating in my head.

My main concern is people, people on public transport, people in the office, people in public.

I go out at weekends and it’s mostly fine, but if a shop is too busy, I can just leave. It's not that easy on a bus or tram. Even in the office can I just get up and leave if it’s all too people-y.

I’ve elected to go in on Mondays and Tuesdays. Monday is meant to be very quiet as hardly anyone has picked Monday. Tuesdays a bit more and the peak day is Wednesday and then Thursday and Friday mirror Tuesday and Monday respectively.

I've also realised that I can't carry everything in, in one trip. from the pictures, you can see there are a lot of things. two deodorants and notebooks for example. I always carry on in my bag and I want to leave one in my lockers. I also probably have notebooks at work or can get one from the stationery cupboard. 

So on Monday I will take in most of it but leave out some of the heavier things (the laptop is the heaviest thing but I can't leave that one behind! 

S x


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Am I a Bookstagrammer? | Blogtober Day 3

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Am I a Bookstagrammer?

Over the past few years, I’ve hardly read anything. The odd book here and there and mainly reading when I go on holiday.

At the start of this year, something just clicked, and I’ve rediscovered my love of reading and I’ve been using Instagram to record my reading. As a result, my account has become very book orientated.

Collage of 4 photos. top right a quote, "nothing like  a new pile of books for the weekend. All other photos are piles of books stacked sideways

I’ve always followed bookstagram accounts and I’m finding more and more. I have been in two minds about starting a dedicated account for all things books.

For now, everything will stay on seeingspots_ but maybe one day I’ll move it to its own place.

I’ve always been a firm believer that reading should be enjoyable. You shouldn’t read because you think you should. Comparing yourself to others never helps (in anything in life).

Even comparing myself month on month it’s just not worth it. One month I’ll read 16 books and others I’ll read one.

Collage of 6 photo each with books i've read this year

At this point in time, I’ve read 60 books this year and I honestly can’t believe it, that’s probably more than I’ve read over the last three years.

So in answer to the question, no I’m not a bookstagrammer, I don’t think I’d like to be one. I like an eclectic mix but never say never. Maybe I will move things to its own space one day but for now my Instagram will be a random mix of books, days out. Random things I’ve bought or done.

I feel I will always post a high level of book-related content, but I just love too many things!

Are you a bookish account? Do you follow a lot of bookish accounts? Let me know your favourite people to follow as I love finding new people to follow.

S x

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Happy Halloween With The Perfect Stud | Blogtober 2021

Saturday, October 02, 2021

 Happy Halloween with The Perfect stud.

greyed out photo of a jute bag with happy halloween steph hand stamped in pink ink, over layed with a white boarder and the word the perfect stud in the photo

I first need to say these items were gifted to me by Patty at The Perfect Stud, but I have bought from them multiple times in the past and they do some of my favourite styles of earrings, the huggy hoops.

The last time I ordered from them, Patty contacted me asking if I liked Halloween and would I like to be sent a pair of the new Halloween collection. Yes, and yes please and thank you.

I didn’t know which pair I was going to get, and I was surprised to see she’s sent me two pairs.


Spiders

In the wild, I probably wouldn’t have ordered the spider pair, but I really like them. I know they won’t be for everyone but I’m enjoying how realistic they look.

Having the hoop makes them secure and I don’t feel the need to keep checking they are in or that the back has come off.

Meaning I can wear them for longer as I’m sure I irritate my ears by constant checking when I wear studs and even dangly earrings.





Witch (Please)

These are my favourite of the two, they make me smile when I look at them, they are fun and every time I see them, I think “Witch Please” I’m not sure why, but I always have a chuckle to myself.

The heart shape is cute and fun. I’ve worn them a couple of times and they are just as comfortable as all my other pairs of the perfect Stud earrings.


When I drafted this post, I’d put that I wasn’t going out for Halloween and technically I’m not, but I am going out on 30th October for a meal with my friends and I am planning on wearing an outfit that will work well with this pair.

I have had these for around a month now and they’ve been worn a couple of times each, but I think that I might try and wear them through October along with a couple of other pairs of Halloween earrings that I’ve had from past years.

 Have you got any Halloween Jewllery? I'd love to know what you wear and what you think about these earrings. 

I was not paid or asked to post about these earrings. 

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