Thursday, 8 December 2016

My video of Bali

Today I had the day off, and I also have no work to do, so I spent a few hours editing my footage of Bali. There was a LOT of snorkelling videos (fish are very boring to watch back), but I managed to cut it all down to just over 5 minutes - you can watch the video below or click here to watch it on YouTube.

I hope you enjoy it! My favourite part of the video is when I'm with the elephants :)
Travel not to escape life, but so life does not escape you.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Everything You Told Me by Lucy Dawson

I seem to have been writing about books quite often here on PYT, but I have been sent a couple recently and feel like I'd like to share them with you as they have been really good.

Everything You Told Me follows the protagonist, Sally, a normal mum from Kent with two young children and a husband. One morning she finds herself in the back of a taxi, 300 miles away from home. She has £400 to pay the taxi driver and a suicide note in her pocket. But she has no recollection of how she got there - or of the last 10 hours. Sally knows that she wasn't going there to kill herself, but nobody believes her. The story follows the unravelling of the mystery of that evening, as well as discussing normal day-to-day family life, which makes it very relatable.

I couldn't put this book down - I read it in about a week, even though I have been quite busy. It reminded me a bit of The Girl on the Train with the whole mystery and losing of memory, but I actually think I preferred this book, and that's a big shout because I loved The Girl on the Train! It's one of the best novels that I've read in a long time.

And oh, THE ENDING. I did predict the main perpetrator that was involved with the night that Sally couldn't remember, but the ending put a whole new twist on it that I would never have anticipated. The last few chapters were so gripping, and the ending has still stayed with me up until now, a few days after I finished reading it.

I have recommended that all of my housemates read this book, and I definitely think you should too. I literally think I'm going to go around promoting it for the next few weeks - it's out on 5th January but you can pre-order it on Amazon now. I will be making all of my friends and family read this. I just can't believe how amazing it is!!! I think I will be reading psychological thrillers from now on - I've just downloaded another of Lucy's books onto my Kindle.
Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.

Monday, 5 December 2016

#CarnLIVal and Bangor

I have had a very busy weekend this week! On Saturday I went to #CarnLIVal, a blogging event organised by Sam and Katy. #CarnLIVal was basically a festive gathering of bloggers in Magnet Bar on Hardman Street in Liverpool. We were all encouraged to wear our Christmas jumpers (I wore the most garish sweater I own), and as soon as I arrived there were Christmas tunes playing through the speakers. I spent the majority of my time catching up with the other bloggers that I knew, and meeting new ones too. But there were also games (hence the name #CarnLIVal) to take part in. There was a tombola (where I won a bottle of wine!), a picking sticks game, a raffle, a Christmas poem competition, and a jar to guess the number of sweets in. I was the closest to the actual number of sweets in the jar, so I won - and now I have 128 sweets to eat... They might keep me going until next week.

We also had a Christmas quiz which I really enjoyed. I didn't actually get any photos of the event as I was too busy chatting, but I had such a lovely time as always, and I would like to thank Katy and Sam for inviting me. They always have such amazing ideas for events and work so hard towards them - well done you two!

After #CarnLIVal I drove to Bangor in Wales, where my sister is at university. It was her 21st birthday last week so she asked me to go over to celebrate this weekend with her and her friends. We played some drinking games in the flat (including one called chandelier that was lethal), and then went out to a club afterwards. I had a really fun night and enjoyed dancing with everyone and getting to know Katie's friends. They're such a fun bunch of people. Although I've realised that I'm getting a bit old for clubbing - by 2am my back was hurting, my feet were aching, and I could hardly keep my eyes open as I was so tired... Sign of a good night?

Yesterday Katie and I went around the shops in Bangor and I finished my Christmas shopping off. I had such a good weekend with her as always - we get on so well and she's definitely one of my best friends. I think getting older has made us really close as we have got more similar with age, as well as my depression and some of the things that we have been through in the past, as she has been right beside me throughout all of it.

Then I came back to Liverpool to a full Christmas dinner - pigs in blankets and crackers included!
Sister, the greatest gift our parents ever gave us was each other.

Friday, 2 December 2016

The 12 best things about December

1) The excuse to wear glitter whenever and wherever you like
I love that this time of year just calls for glitter and sparkle. I find myself wearing sequinned tops and skirts much more frequently in December; they make me feel like a giant disco ball and I love it.


3) Christmas scented candles
Gingerbread, cinnamon, spiced apple, pine needles... Christmas candles are my favourite type of scent - they make me feel so cosy and excited.

Christmas lights

4) Christmas decorations
Oh, I just instantly feel so happy whenever I see any Christmas decorations - whether it's a Christmas tree or a string of lights, it is one of those simple pleasures in life that never fails to cheer me up.

5) Advent calendars
Who doesn't love eating chocolate for breakfast every day for 24 days?

6) Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve is actually my favourite day of the year - we have a family tradition of going to the cinema to watch a Christmas film, then we go out for a meal, and in the evening we have all of our family friends over for wine and pork baps. I just think it's the most exciting day of the year because I'm still so excited for Christmas, and it feels like a very magical day.

7) Seeing friends and family more frequently
There just seems to be a lot more social events during December, doesn't there? I love that I'm constantly seeing people that I may not have seen for a while and can catch up with them.

8) New Years' Eve
New Years' Eve definitely isn't my favourite day of the year (partly because it represents the end of Christmas), but I do love to spend the time with my family and friends, and I like that it represents a new start. And I always cry when the clock strikes 12 - usually my Grandad or mum set me off.

9) Christmas songs
I know almost all of the words to the majority of the Christmas songs, probably because I have spent so many years prancing around to them.

10) Christmas jumpers
When else can you wear a ridiculously garish item of clothing and perhaps make it look chic with a leather skirt and a shirt underneath? The more sparkle and glitter, the better.

11) The best TV
I love Christmas specials. Especially when they're about home decoration or Christmas baking - I personally love Kirstie's Handmade Christmas.

12) Christmas Day
Well, duh.
The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear!
                           - Buddy the Elf

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Hannah the domestic goddess

This evening we decided to have a meal as a house with my uni housemates, and tonight I was the designated chef. So I thought I'd talk you through what I cooked!

The first thing I gave everyone was a glass of Buck's Fizz, because y'know, it's the 1st of December and nearly Christmas and all that (like you ever need an excuse to drink Buck's Fizz). It was just a £1.99 bottle from Aldi and was actually really good!

I then made Baked Camembert, which I thought I would talk you through how I made it, as it's a really quick and easy starter - but delicious as it's so cheesy and gooey...

You will need:
- Camembert in a wooden box (you can buy these from all supermarkets - I got these from Aldi*)
- Pesto
- Pine nuts/seeds

*This is not a sponsored post for Aldi, I just really like Aldi products...

How to make:
1) Set the oven to around 150 degrees or gas mark 4-5.
2) Take any plastic packaging from around the cheese and mark a cross in the top with a knife.
3) Place the camembert in their boxes onto the top oven shelf (remove the lid), and bake for 15-20 minutes.
4) If you would like to have a pesto camembert, mix the pesto and pine nuts/seeds in a bowl to make a paste, and add onto the top of the camembert after it has cooked for 15-20 mins. Put back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
5) If you stick a knife into the camembert and it comes out messy, the cheese is cooked!

I served mine with bread, carrot sticks, celery, cucumber and crisps, but you can dip anything into it that you feel like. Bread sticks are always a good option.

For the main I made Macaroni Cheese (which I didn't get a photo of because I was too eager to eat it). This is a recipe that my mum and dad have made since I was a child - and I actually thought it was the normal way to make macaroni cheese until I ordered it in a restaurant and was disappointed that it didn't taste the same. Trust me, my parents' macaroni cheese is the best macaroni cheese.

You will need...
- Macaroni pasta
- Campbell's condensed tomato soup
- Red onion
- Cheddar cheese

How to make:
1) Boil the macaroni cheese and a chopped up onion in a pan until the pasta is cooked (10-12 mins usually does it).
2) Drain the pasta and onions, put it back into the pan, and add the tomato soup. It is important that it is condensed so that it has a thicker texture. Cook this on the hob for a minute or two to warm the soup up.
3) Stir in grated cheese. Add as much as you like to make it cheesy as you like (I added about half a block of cheese today. I like cheese).

I served the macaroni cheese with some garlic bread.

And then for pudding. I cheated a bit and bought it as I'm not the best baker in the world. But I bought some Mince Pies and Stollen, which was amazing as it made us feel even  more Christmassy. Most of my housemates hadn't tried Stollen before, but I love it - it's basically a German cake with marzipan and raisins. So delicious.

So there we are; Hannah the (sort of) domestic goddess. I'm not the biggest lover of cooking, but I did enjoy tonight as it was fairly easy and completely not stressful. It was also lovely to spend a few hours just sat chatting with my housemates - before we put the TV on and watched The Apprentice and I'm a Celeb.
Not everyone deserves to know the real you. Let them criticize who they think you are.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Last Night by Cesca Major

It's not often that I do book reviews (partly because most of the books I read are on my Kindle so I can't get pretty photos of them!), but I decided that I would tell you all about one of my most recent reads that I was kindly sent - The Last Night by Cesca Major.

I love Kate Morton books, which are often set in the past and are a bit of a mystery with some romance thrown in, and the blurb of this book seemed to have a similar storyline, so I was sure that I would like it before I even picked it up.

The Last Night follows the story of Irina, a furniture restorer in a quiet coastal village, who one day is given a mysterious bureau to restore by an anonymous owner. As she begins to work on the bureau, she finds objects that unravel secrets from long ago, and the further she investigates, the weirder it gets. It also switches to a girl called Abigail from decades ago, who fell in love over one summer but could not know the terrible events that lay ahead of her, and how her life would change so completely. The book eventually links the two women in a twist that could not be predicted.

If I'm completely honest, it took me a while to get into this book. I did enjoy it all the way through, but it was a slower read than usual for me. And then around 100 pages from the end I really got into it, and couldn't put it down. I loved the ending and thought it was the best part of the novel - I was sad to finish it in the end and leave Irina and Abigail behind (anyone else get really attached to characters in a book?!).

This is definitely a book worth reading, even if you have to be a little bit patient to start with, and I am going to look into more of Cesca's novels to read in the future. The Last Night was very moving yet relatable, and I kept thinking about the story long after I put it down.
Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve.
                           - J.K. Rowling

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Woodbridge Inn, Coalport

The Woodbridge Inn, Coalport, Telford, TF8 7JF

I know, I know, yet another food post on PYT, but I actually think they're one of my favourite posts to write (they are certainly one of my favourite posts to photograph and eat...).

On Saturday evening my family and I went to The Woodbridge Inn to celebrate my sister's 21st birthday. The Woodbridge is situated in Coalport, which is just outside of Ironbridge, right next to the River Severn so it has a lovely view. As soon as we approached the pub we could see that it was decorated all Christmassy, with lots of wreathes and fairy lights on the outside - and the inside was even better, with lights everywhere and two huge Christmas trees. It is a typical old British countryside pub, which was built around 1785, and is the sort of place you go to if you want a more upmarket pub meal.

As it is the end of November, their Christmas menu is now running, which has two courses for £22.95 or three for £27.95. The Christmas menu actually looked better than the normal menu to me, so I decided to choose food from there. To start, I had the battered seabass. It was delicious, although my sister's starter of crispy squid salad looked amazing.

I then had the basil gnocchi with leeks and aubergine. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but the sauce was amazing and you could tell that everything was homemade. I really enjoyed it.

And to finish, I of course had to go for the chocolate brownie. It was very sweet and was served with rum and raisin ice-cream - definitely only for those with a real sweet tooth.

The Woodbridge has a lovely cosy vibe and is the perfect place to visit if you have a special event to celebrate, or if you want a couple of drinks in a little corner by the fire. I wish I had got some photos of the actual pub because it really is so cosy. They also have loads of choices on the menu, so it shouldn't be hard to find something you like. Even my fussy little sister found her regular choice - fish and chips!
You're mad. Bonkers. Off your head... But I'll tell you a secret... All of the best people are.
                               - Alice in Wonderland