Thursday, 24 April 2014

I sit and pine for wasted time

Over Easter weekend I took a trip back to The Wirral to catch up with my friends and family. We had some looovely weather (some of the time at least!) which made a bit of a crazy contrast to Easter weekend last year where I had a day trip out in the snow with my Mum and Dad. English weather, you're full of surprises.

We spent a lot of Good Friday travelling around about a zillion car show rooms as I've decided that after passing my driving test six years ago its probably about time I actually invested in a pair of wheels. After a few hours, my Dad decided we needed a stop off for lunch which I'm fairly certain was really to stop him from having a minor heart attack every time a salesman uttered the words "fancy a test drive?" to me. Having not driven properly since passing my test all those years ago, my Dad was clearly having vivid nightmares about me being trusted behind the wheel of a shiny test car (can't say I blame him... I can barely remember which pedal is which!). 

Anyway, we ended up in New Brighton for our little pit stop. Back when my Mum and Dad were young, New Brighton was a thriving seaside resort complete with an outdoor pool, but for most of my life I've known it as being a bit of a depressing, run down place that had lost all of its appeal and visitors. Over the last few years, they've really put a lot of effort into redeveloping the Prom and there were just people EVERYWHERE. Normally, I get a bit fed up if somewhere is absolutely chock a block with people, but actually this was a pretty lovely sight and it was great to see that the town is regaining some of the glory and atmosphere it had lost over the years.

 (Oh look, that Primark playsuit I keep rambling on about is making another appearance on here already!)

Did you manage to make the most of the sunshine over Easter weekend?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Now the night has fled, just like everything I said

Last weekend we paid the remaining balance of our holiday to Corfu. Hooray! To celebrate, I headed straight to Primark for a wander around their holiday collection and came out with this playsuit. I thought it'd be perfect for wandering around the beach and sipping cockails, and for £5 it would have been rude not to buy it. I didn't bother trying it on in the shop (Primark changing rooms on a Saturday are my idea of hell) so threw it on quickly before my trip to Roast and Conch to check it fit me. A quick trying on turned into a spontaneous change of outfit plans for the night as I decided Primark had done far too good a job with this playsuit for me to keep in a drawer until August. 

The dress has a really nice cut out back too which I wasn't brave enough to show in these photos- it may have got a bit warmer and sunnier this week but I'm not quite brave enough to ditch the jacket just yet. I think this is one of those pieces of clothing that I'm going to have trouble separating myself from (cue doing extra loads of washing just to get this back in my wardrobe that little bit quicker!), its long enough to wear in the daytime but I've already got plans to add it to my going out wardrobe too. So, that's me not taking this playsuit off until mid-October now...

Oh, my hair smells like chocolate

Eating out isn't something I tend to talk much about on this little slice of the internet. Which is kinda strange as its something I spend a slightly unhealthy amount of my life doing, I like to try my hardest to make sure any catch up, activity or day out fits around some sort of nice meal (or cake...) wherever possible. Leeds is spoiling my food obsessed little belly these days, there are so many new restaurants popping up all over the place so my list of places to try is getting longer and longer (perfect excuse to eat out even more!).

My foodie friend Coral and I went for a slightly fancier than usual meal earlier this week at Roast and Conch, a new restaurant run by Hotel Chocolat, as we'd been intrigued by the whole chocolate-food thing since it opened a few months ago. As soon as we walked up the stairs,an incredible smell of chocolate filled the room, so as far as I was concerned the night was off to a great start! 

Most people I've mentioned the restaurant to have greeted me with a confused look of "Why would you want to eat chocolate with a meal?" but its as far away from that idea as you could possibly get! Most of the dishes are infused with roasted cocoa beans and WOW it works- the cocoa is more like a spice when its cooked like this and it gave my meal such an incredible flavour! 

We were given a butternut squash soup as a bit of an amuse bouche (I'm definitely not posh enough to be able to say that normally!) which was really yummy. I picked the burger as my main course because there'd be something seriously wrong if Kaz went to a restaurant with a burger on the menu and didn't order it. Being a massive burger obsessive, I feel I can say with confidence that this was without a doubt in my top 3 burgers ever list (yes I have a list... don't judge me!). But the real showstopper with my meal were the onion rings that came with my burger and the chips we ordered as a side on the recommendation of the girl who showed us to her table who said they were by far the best thing on the menu! They were cooked in cocoa butter and OH MY GOD they were incredible and didn't taste anything like something that you'd find on the shelves of The Body Shop!

Given that I'd wolfed down my whole meal plus the chips we definitely didn't really need (but couldn't have lived without!) in record time, I was saddened to admit that I wasn't going to have room for dessert. It seemed like a crime against chocolate given the restaurant we were in as I can imagine the desserts would have been bloomin' incredible, but Roast & Conch have clearly thought long and hard about this problem so they created a 'Tray of Temptation' filled with every flavour of chocolate you could possibly ever imagine for £1 each. Funnily enough, despite my fullness, I still had room for chocolate and decided I couldn't narrow it down to just one either. I ended up with a salted caramel chocolate (which they gave me two of because it was a bit smaller than some of the others) and a raspberry and milk chocolate cup. Its amazing how quickly I forgot about having a 'proper' dessert.

If you're in Leeds and fancy somewhere a little different and a bit special (or if you've been sent a 20% off voucher through work like Coral had!), I'd definitely recommend a trip to Roast & Conch. It was one of those meals that I'll be dreaming about for months to come!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Funk my life up

You might have seen me mention a few months ago that I've been accepted onto a PGCE course for September. I'm hugely excited as I've wanted to teach (with the exception of a year or two at Uni when I was adamant that I wasn't going to follow the stereotypical view that all English students want to become English teachers...) since I was a small person and used to line up my teddies on the staircase at home and give them a damn fine education. Although, thinking about it, I also used to pretend to be a bus driver with my teddies in much the same formation so I suppose I was always open to other careers!

As excited as I am, I'm dreading the whole living off a student loan lifestyle as after three years of working full time I've become quite accustomed to being able to spend as much as I want on Topshop, burgers and cider (who says I don't lead a fulfilling life?!). To soften the blow slightly, I've been trying to prepare myself now by stocking up on bits and bobs I need for next year so that I'm not running around like a madwoman when I have my last payday trying to buy stationary and a wardrobe full of smart, teacher clothes.

Given that I really struggle with finding smart (but still fun) work clothes that I actually WANT to wear, I decided to do the sensible thing and started out with the far easier task of pimping out my stationary.

I feel like I'm 13 again, when all my pocket money used to go on stationary. Maybe I should buy some scented gel pens too. I'm guessing they still make them, right?! Don't tell me I'm that old...

Scream- Paolo Nutini