Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Lighting the cracks in the road

image: Pinterest

This afternoon I went to the funeral of a 15 year old cancer patient I've known for most of the time I've worked in the world of teenage cancer. It was incredibly sad to be at a funeral for someone so young, but I think every person took away a really positive message from the day. He'd always been a massive inspiration, and will forever stick out in my mind out of all the kids I've had the chance to work with as I'd never met anyone with as much spark and love of life. 

Since being told he wasn't going to get better around this time last year, he had set about pursuing a bucket list, with everything from swimming with sharks to going to his prom being on there. With the help of his friends and family he managed to complete an incredible amount and had some brilliant adventures out of it. Top of his bucket list was to go to America and visit New York, which amazingly he managed to do just a few weeks ago despite being so ill by this point. As a celebration of his enthusiasm to grab life by both hands and achieve everything he could in the time he had, his family arranged for a bucket to be placed at the front of the crematorium. They then proceeded to hand out post it notes to everybody so we could all pledge to start our own bucket lists and make a promise to him to do something new or aim for a particular goal. The post it notes were then going to be put into the coffin with him so we'd all be sure to keep our promises. 

For any curious people out there, my promise was that one day soon I'd make it to America too. Partly for him, but also for my Uncle Stuart who also visited New York before he died back in April. Since both people absolutely fell in love with the place, I feel like its only right I go and see what all the fuss is about someday!

Even at his own funeral he managed to be a huge inspiration, with every single person there coming away from there feeling inspired to go out and live their dreams for someone who couldn't do that for himself any more. 

What's at the top of your bucket list? I'm nosey and would love to know :)

Sunday, 22 June 2014

I'm just trying to put the world to rights

Yesterday was a bloomin' beautiful day. For me it summed up what summer weekends are all about, wandering around, sitting in the sun drinking cider and spending quality time with friends. My lovely friend Coral bought me a voucher for Afternoon Tea at Harvey Nicks in Leeds for my birthday and we finally got around to using it (three months later!) this weekend and so we decided a day of fun around Leeds was in order to make the most of the celebration.

We started off the day in Roundhay, one of my all time favourite places in Leeds, for a nosey around the Farmer's Market, croissants in an awesome little deli and a wander around the park (complete with an ice cream too of course!). Roundhay is one of those places I've always turned to for a bit of city escapism since moving to Leeds as its easy peasy to get to from town (always a bonus back when we were poor students who didn't know anywhere else to get to via public transport!). It seemed as though half of Leeds had the same idea as us today as it was crazy busy, but its one of those places that's so vast that you barely notice the other people at all.

top: Topshop, skirt: Primark, sandals: Topshop, necklace: Primark

After a lazy afternoon we headed back into town for our trip to Harvey Nicks. We've eaten in the restaurant before and I love the atmosphere in there- its fancier than the sort of places I usually visit, there's no denying that, but its not snobby at all and the food is beauuutiful. Afternoon Tea was just lovely, we missed the explanations of what most of the cakes were as we were too busy admiring the pretty stand of treats in front of us, but wowee it tasted good! Plus they get extra points for letting me have a lemonade instead of a hot drink as I'm a peculiar sort of blogger who hates tea and coffee... 

Our final stop of the day after having a lazy wander around a few shops was to The Pour House in Granary Wharf for a cider in the sun. One of my favourite places to sit on lazy sunny days is a patch of grass right by the canal on the other side of the canal to this pub and I've spent many days gazing over there and vowing that I'll visit soon. It beats your average beer garden hands down as its a great place for watching people and the barges on the canal. I've already made plans to go back for food soon...

I love days like this (mostly because its largely revolved around food...). I feel like we packed an incredible amount of stuff into one afternoon but at the same time had the perfect relaxing day to unwind from the crazybusyahhh week I've had. Hope you've all had a good one too!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

I'm a little too young with not enough time

During my laptop free life, I made possibly the easiest, tastiest treats ever known to man and it caused me a lot of sadness to know I couldn't instantly share the joy with all of you chocoholics out there. Fear not, because I've been saving up all of my excitement about these beauties for all this time ready to post about once I had a working laptop at my fingertips. 

I'm talking about Oreo chocolate truffles. Three ingredients, no baking, no fuss, what more could you ever need in life? 

To make these beautiful little things, all you need is:

two 154g packets of oreos (I used the ones with chocolate creme just to add a bit of extra chocolatey goodness)
1 tub of Chocolate philadelphia (they work just as well with just ordinary cream cheese but once again I decided a bit of extra chocolate wouldn't go amiss)
150g milk chocolate

To start, put the oreos in a plastic bag (or whizz them in a food processor if you're fancier than I am) and take out your frustrations on the biscuits with a rolling pin until the oreos are ground into fine crumbs. 
Pour the ground up oreos into a bowl with the cream cheese and mix together until it is all combined. 

Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into a ball. Repeat this until you have used up all of the mixture. 

Put the balls into the fridge for 30 minutes or so. 

Just before you remove the balls from the fridge, melt your chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of water or in the microwave.

You've got a few options at this point. You could easily add lollipop sticks to the balls to turn them into cake pops as this will make the coating a bit more even all over or just leave them as I did and hope that the lucky recipients of these treats are too busy enjoying the taste to notice the imperfect presentation. 
Coat each ball in chocolate and then put back into the fridge for about 30 mins until the chocolate has set. 

Remove from the fridge about 10 minutes before serving, you could even go crazy and cover them in glitter like I did (yes, I was hoping the glitter would hide the parts where the chocolate coating had come off!)

See what I mean about them being easy to make? You'd be crazy not to give them a go! 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

I want someone to be, and someone to drive around town

Whew, this feels strange. I've been stuck in the dark ages for the last few weeks as my faithful old laptop decided to throw a paddy and corrupt the entire hard-drive. I finally had to give in and buy myself a shiny new laptop this week and so after hours in PC world discussing the pros and cons of different models with the salesman (which ended in me just saying "look, I want this one because its purple") I'm back in the 21st century and back in blogland. Hooray.

This weekend, I had a lovely visit from one of my favourites. She brought her car down to Leeds so that we could do something other than spend the day in Topshop (aforementioned new laptop has ruled out shopping from my life until payday rolls around). We ended up in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park since it was a lovely, warm day. I'd been there once before with Mama and Papa T and really enjoyed having something interesting to look at other than a view as we wandered around so thought it'd be the perfect place to head to for a picnic and a bit of fresh air. 

Here's a few snaps of some of our favourite sculptures, we had a lot of fun pretending to be trendy art students trying to make ourselves seem knowledgeable and artsy to the people walking past.

We followed our trip to the Sculpture Park with a night out in Leeds which accidentally turned into an evening of watching the England game as even the most unsporty bars had big screens up. It was surprisingly fun, mostly because none of us had our glasses on so we spent the first 20 minutes or so convinced that we were a goal up... whoops.

(Anyone else feel really nostalgic about The Kooks having re-emerged? I feel like I'm 15 again!)