Wednesday, 29 April 2015

LYBS: My hometown (part two) - Mansfield In My Eyes

Hello again! 
This is part two of my link up with Let Your Blog ShineIf you didn't see part one on Monday, you can read it by clicking here. Today I am going to give you a bit of a tour of my home town in my own eyes. Mansfield doesn't have the best reputation but there are some lovely places to go and as with most towns, there are some really good spots and some really awful spots. It happens EVERYWHERE! From the many good places, I have picked out my favourite few. Here they are... Enjoy!
Days out.
Berry Hill Park

View of the field and pond (photo taken on 25.04.15)

My Grandparents (Dads mum and Dad) used to live very near to this lovely park and Athletics track. One of my fondest memories of going to the park as a child was with Grandma and Grandad. I had just learnt to ride my bike and we went from their house to the park. I remember Grandad telling me a story about communication towers (there's one just after you enter the park). He said that when he used to work on restoring wireless signals, he used to think they were great big climbing frames. He always had a story to tell and he always had three very interested grandchildren to listen. We always used to get warm sweets from his pocket too... he never went to the park (or anywhere for that matter) without sweets and they always stuck to the wrapper so we had to suck them until the paper went all mushy and soggy! – He was a big kid at heart really even though he always seemed ‘old’. He’d laugh at me saying that now!

As an adult I go there for picnics. It’s changed from what it was when I was little and it doesn’t quite feel the same but it’s a nice place to go and Dan and I have often grabbed a sandwich (usually from Tom, Dick and Harriets) and headed there for a change of scenery.

The lake at Rufford Country Park.
I might as well keep on the theme of Parks and outings with family. Although it is not actually in my home town, it is a very short drive away from my actual home.  Rufford Country Park is somewhere else that has happy memories of family time. I have even taken friends there who aren’t from the area for trips out on sunny days. It has a sculpture park and gorgeous gardens along with historic buildings, great park land, craft/gift shops and delicious food and drink from the cafe. There’s a lake too and many, many hours were spent as a child throwing food for the ducks and running away from the geese. My favourite spot at Rufford is the ford (or what is locally known as ‘the water splash’).  The fenced area is so close to the road that you get to see the water splash over the cars and it’s almost like a game for everyone involved. On a sunny day people can be 6/7 rows deep just waiting for a car (or even better, a van) to go through just a bit faster than the rest so that the water splashes really high! There’s a bridge right opposite and if cars go through at any speed anyone brave enough to walk on the bridge gets wet! I’ve done that walk once and got drenched! It was so fun!
The Sculpture trail.
Since I’ve finished university and moved back home I have taken friends there. Hannah was the first of my uni friends to take a trip with me. Unfortunately we don’t have any photos to hand of that trip. Serena has also been (and while we were there, I phoned Hannah so she is technically in one of the photos). I’ve added a couple of photos but please take note that these photos are a few years old now!

Rufford Park will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where I have the best memories of my paternal grandparents. On the evening that my Grandma died Dan (then my boyfriend) drove me to Rufford because he knew the sentimentality of the place. I took a flower and threw it into the ford and watched it float under the bridge... That night there was a wedding reception being held there... it was almost like the circle of life in a way with the marriage marking the birth of a new life as husband and wife and me being there throwing flowers marking the end of a fabulous long life that my grandma lived. She had been with my Grandad since the age of 12/13 and Grandad died 10 years before she did so she was finally re-united with her soul mate! It made me want to get married there one day (when Dan and I enquired for our big day, they couldn’t cater for all of our guests). Maybe one day we can renew our vows there instead and have a smaller ‘do’!


Possibly my favourite past time and I’ve loved shopping since being a child. Well, I say that I love shopping but my love changes from time to time. I have affairs with different categories. Clothes, makeup, jewellery, specific items, household furnishings but NEVER grocery shopping! I have tried to love it but it still remains a chore! It’s getting slightly easier with the fact my little cousin has a summer job on the checkout! Anyway, my current favourite shops in town are (in no order).
  • TKMaxx
  • Boots
  • Superdrug
  • Next (clothing and home)
  • New Look
  • Haags jewellers – my engagement ring came from there and I LOVE the jewellery Richard stocks and has made.
  • Pandora
  • Martin Wilkinson Jewellers (hello Vivienne Westwood jewellery :D)

Eating out – We don’t tend to eat out in Mansfield too much because we opt for going into Nottingham or Chesterfield depending on what we are doing. However, there are some lovely places to go in Mansfield. Brown’s Bar is somewhere I really like. I went there with my mum, sister, brothers partner and my mother-in-law the afternoon before I got married. We had afternoon tea which was delicious and then more recently I was surprised with a champagne *spritzer for me* breakfast there organised by two of my uni friends for my 30th birthday!

My birthday at Browns


I’ve heard so many good stories about Il Roso and The Red but I’ve not been for a long, long time so maybe they would be options for date nights (yep, we still have date nights even though we’re married).


My ultimate favourite place

As cheesey as this may sound I have got to say that I have two favourite places in Mansfield... My childhood home is one of the places that I have to say is my favourites. I have so many happy memories there and they continue to grow as my parents are still there and although the house has changed a little bit and we have grown up and flown that nest, it will always have an essence of home. (As well as a LOT of my belongings still being in the loft – eeeeek – I WILL clear it out!!!). And last but by no means least my favourite place is right here, at the place I now call home! The place that two old practical strangers from school became friends and fell in love then merged his love of Arsenal, bikes, cars, gaming, lego and batman with her love of music, dance, theatre and flowers, make up,  clothes and monkeys. It might not be everyones ‘cup of tea’ but it’s where we call home! It doesn’t really matter that we’re not in what is perceived as being ‘the best’ town in the world, or even in the country but what I have here is good enough for me and really, what is “perfect”?

I hope you've liked your little Hannah-made tour of Mansfield. I'd like to hear about your hometown too! If you've written a blog about it, pop a link in the comment and I will go and have a read. 

Tell me your top three things to do/places to visit in your hometown in the comments!


Love and hugs.

Monday, 27 April 2015

LYBS: My hometown (Part One) - learn the local lingo (language)

Hello again and welcome to the last LYBS prompt for April.

'My hometown' has changed a couple of times in my life due to studies but the majority of my life, my family home and the place that I now live is smack bam in the market town of Mansfield, Nottinghamsire (UK). There's so much to say about it that there have literally been books written about it but here on my blog I will split it into two bite size chunks for you. This first part is a bit about the geography and history of Mansfield and on Wednesday I will be showing you Mansfield in my eyes and telling you about all of my favourite places to visit! Enjoy :)

The town is surrounded by villages that were once predominantly occupied by miners who worked in one of the pits in the area. Clipstone still has it's headstocks which were the tallest in Europe when they were built. They are somewhat controversial in the local area with some people arguing that they should be demolished with others arguing that they are an important part of our heritage and should be kept. They are currently Grade two listed which means that they are protected. Apparently different variations of language merged throughout generations of pit workers as miners moved to the area from all over England. *There's a fun challenge for you at the end of this post... see if you can talk like you're from Mansfield?
We get a lot of tourists visiting our area due to the popular Centre Parcs holiday village and the famous Major Oak in Sherwood Forest (famed of course because of Robin Hood). The church that I got married in has an oak cross that marks the centre of the original forest (before industry and housing and apparently churches were built).
The Olympic swimmer, Rebecca Adlington is originally from Mansfield (her childhood home is not far from where I live) and after her success in the Beijing Olympics she opened a swimming centre not far from the town centre. One of the town pubs also briefly changed it's name to "The Adlington Arms" as well following her success. Paralympic swimmers Ollie Hynd MBE and his brother, Sam are also both from Mansfield (must be something in the water!)
I feel so lucky that I am really good friends with a member of Cantamus Girls Choir. I have seen her perform lots of times in various concerts and I am so proud whenever I see her sing with the choir. They have won lots of competitions and awards. My friend will leave the choir later this year because she will be going to university but I know she will continue to support them - and so will I!

Whilst I was at university (in Bedford) a lot of my friends thought I was quite northern because of my accent. That being said, I don't typically speak with the local dialect of Mansfield (because my parents used to correct me whenever I slipped up).

Here's the fun bit... Try and pronounce the following mansfieldisms...
Ay up
Be Or-rate


Here's a sentence written in broad Mansfield for you to try:
Ay up mi duck(to a female)/youth (to a male). 'Ow's yer Mam? Tell 'er I got 'er some tuffies an' cobs from shop. Ta-dar.

It means:
Hello friend (it could be a relative). How is your Mum? Tell her That I've bought her some sweets and bread rolls from the shop. Goodbye (to a friend).

 Did you find it difficult to speak like you're from Mansfield? Do you have any "funny" names for standard things like cob for bread roll or tuffy for sweet? I love studying dialects (I think it's something to do with my theatre training). Let me know if you have ever been to Mansfield. Did you visit any of the places I have mentioned?
Make sure you check back on Wednesday for Part two: My town in my eyes. 
 Love and hugs to you all.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Let Your Blog Shine: Your 5 Favourite Quotes and a video!

I have recently joined a group that gives out prompts to make my blog shine. This week my prompt is to post about my 5 favourite quotes. I thought I would incorporate this weeks challenge with mine and that is to include a video in a blog.

so... grab 56 seconds worth of popcorn, select full screen view, get comfy and here is my first ever blog movie!

I generally have a quote or saying that suits most situations and when I really, really think hard about my favourites I find it quite a challenge to narrow them down. They tend to vary and change depending on my mood or situation that I am in. The ones that I like to hear or use most often, or the ones I have used most recently are the ones in the video. I think they sum me up too. I think deep and reflect but I am also quite silly. You might think it is odd that I put "I love you" in there. I have a reason for this. I don't think we tell people enough. Love means so many different things and you can love a pet, a friend, a relative, a cuddly toy and it is a word that doesn't have to be said to be heard or felt if you get my drift. You don't need an excuse to make someone feel loved! It's probably my favourite quote of all time!

What do you think to my first ever video? Would you be interested in more? I did some videoing with one of my friends a couple of weekends ago - I might post one of those up on here if she agrees to me putting her on my blog.

What are your top three quotes? I'll add them to my bank of sayings.

Love and hugs. Hannah.xx

Monday, 20 April 2015

An evening in Bakewell

Hello again!

I've had lots of positive vibes about my return to blogging with a little bit of help from Hannie and some of her lovely blogger friends.

Today's a little jumble of loveliness from a quiet little fish and chip tea by the river in Bakewell, Derbyshire. Bakewell is pretty much central of the Peak District I think and it's not too far for us to get to by car. There's lots of beautiful views of the hills en route and lots of twisty bendy roads when you go the way we went (I'm so glad I didn't drive)! The town is quite well known for its pudding which is nothing like the Bakewell tarts or cherry bakewell a that you can buy in most supermarkets in the UK. You can read more about them (or order one to try here).

Dan wasn't at work on Friday so we visited some of my relatives who have been staying in Derbyshire on a mini holiday for a few days. They went home yesterday so it was a lovely opportunity to get together with them while they were in the area last week. I genuinely felt so awfully ill before we left the house, probably not helped by the fact I had somehow forgotten to eat any lunch. I'm really trying hard to eat regularly as it's something I have found really difficult (partly due to medication and habits from when I was in hospital). Anyway, that aside, the fresh air did me the world of good. We sat on the benches along the river after having a lovely little wander and look in the oldie-worldy type shops. I found a gorgeous little shop that sells scarves in a whole variety of designs. My personal favourite is the one with the vw camper van print on.

A selection of the scarves outside the little shop in Bakewell.

Whilst we sat and ate our "chippie tea" we watched the different wildlife on the river. I have such an irrational fear of birds and although it was ok them being in the river and on the path near the river it was certainly not ok for them to be near me. I really quite like ducks but at one point there was a rather "confident" little so-and-so that came that bit too close and I literally froze. In my head I was having a full blown argument with myself with one side saying: "DO NOT MOVE A SINGLE MUSCLE - you do and that thing is gonna flap and squark and you'll end up having a 'flap attack'. You know you will!" The other voice was the voice of calm saying "get a grip you stupid woman, move your foot a bit and it will waddle off, what harm will a cute little duck do". What did I do? I froze! I was not taking the risk of entering the flap attack mode! NU-UH! The duck got bored and waddled off eventually - I won that one!

This cheeky duck would not leave me alone!

After I finished fish and chips I has a wander to the bridge where people take padlocks. Typically they're couples that mark a date and/or their names in someway or something meaningful to them then they lock their padlock onto wire on the bridge. There were some really lovely engraved ones! Just after I had taken my pictures on the bridge a wedding party arrived. They had a lot of photos taken on the bridge before the happy couple arrived. It was quite exciting to watch. The newlyweds had obviously got a padlock with them to lock on the bridge too. - what a great idea!

Do you have somewhere near to where you live that you like to visit? Have you written a blog post about it? Please feel free to write a comment telling me about somewhere you have been to recently or leave a link to your blog and I'll have a read :)

Love and hugs.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

I AM BAAAACK! Life update.

Hello lovely people!

Ok, I know I didn't last too long at this whole blog malarkey last year. Things kind of got a bit crazy in my world - LOTS of things happened and I guess I didn't know how or if I wanted to share everything that was happening. It was good and bad at times and whilst I find the internet a great place most of the time, it can also be quite daunting and as I am new to blogging I am just not ready to spill every single part of me and my life for the world to see.

All of that said, there are some pretty amazing and fun things that have happened since I last blogged!
Baby Jaxon was born! You might have read my posts on Hannies baby shower and the crochet monkey that I was making for her baby "blueberry". It turns out that she was indeed cooking up a little blueberry muffin to introduce to the world. I have met him a couple of times since his arrival and have seen lots of pictures! He's 9 months old now. (Time goes soooo fast)! You will be able to see posts and updates over on Hannies Blog.
Dan and I had a weekend at Brands Hatch for the BTCC final rounds. If you had asked me a couple of years ago I would have laughed in your face at the thought of staying in a field on a rainy weekend to watch cars whizz around a track but now I am completely hooked. Ok, maybe not so keen on the wet weekend thing but I absolutely LOVE watching the cars and soaking up the atmosphere. So much so that we have got more tickets for this season and I have my own fantasy dream team (yep I really do!).
Brands Hatch BTCC Qualifying 2014. (The calm before the storm).

I became a 30 year old! Correct me if I am wrong *Please correct me* but I think that means I have entered "the middle ages" (frown)! I have found myself buying anti wrinkle products and "firming" creams! I realise now that I don't have the gorgeous, "perfect" skin that my nearly twenty year old cousins have and I am jealous of that but I also think that no-one is "perfect" because we all have a different versions of what we believe is perfection. 98% of me is happy with who I am and that 2% that isn't is just explained in that I am a female and I haven't yet met a female who is 100% happy with herself!
Tears of love and happiness on my 30th Birthday surprise weekend! - I still get overwhelmed at how amazing it was!

I have been given a referral to a more specialist hospital to try and get some progress. This is my third year of having a diagnosis and things are still not brilliant. The support from the Ann Conroy Trust has been incredible and last month I met someone for the first time who lives with the conditions. I was nervous and dreaded the thought of talking about illness *I didn't want to focus everything on the negatives*. Joanne was wonderful, just like a breath of fresh air. We talked a bit about the conditions but then spent a lot of time talking about other things like family and things we enjoy. I think I have a new friend in Joanne, it's great to talk things through with someone who really understands everything that I have felt and still feel from the emotional side to the physical side of things. It was also really good to talk about how it affects our loved ones and how similar it is for them too.
Spending more time with friends has been a big thing for me and Dan. Lots of things have happened in the last few years that have made us really appreciate the love and warmth from our closest family and friends. Sometimes it is easy to become so wrapped up in the negative parts of your world that you forget what fun is but having great people around you that don't need to ask questions or analyse anything makes you realise that you are a human being and that you are allowed to laugh, have fun and occasionally offload when the baggage becomes a little bit too much. - I'm mainly talking about illness here. I am not someone that wants to constantly be asked how I am. I love that my friends don't ask me anymore. They know that if I feel that I NEED to tell them, I will. contrary to what some would believe, I'm not stupid and I don't wait until it's too late to do anything about it. Being ill shouldn't prevent you from having friends over or spending time with them or having hobbies! Finding new skills is actually a gift that comes out of being unable to do some other "normal" stuff! *BIG SMILES* - I think I might be able to write a whole post on this!
Change of hair colour! I have gone and dyed my hair - yep you read that right! If you have read the first post I ever wrote you might remember me talking about how I am possibly the most indecisive person I know. Well I finally decided after about 2 years of toying with the concept that I wanted to go blonde! well ok I'm not blonde, blonde à la Barbie. I've opted for a more caramel blonde which is roughly three shade lighter than my natural medium mousey brown colour. My sister dyes it for me and my regular hairdresser is very impressed with the colour. I started off with the nice'n easy shade 8a but have moved to the shade 8 just because I thought the 8a was too dark.
My updated hair sytle and colour! Out with the side parting and in with the centre!
So far this year I have had two trips to London. Firstly to see Wicked the Musical. (I'm going to blog about the shows I've seen some other time and talk about them in depth, lets face it... they deserve a post of their own!). This was one of my Christmas pressies from Dan. It was our first time driving down which suited me well because I tend to relax more in the car than I do on a train. We went with two of our friends and we saw the matinee which also suited me. I bought a very special little boy a very special present from Harrods while we were in the big smoke too. I was going to order it online but as we were down in the area it was the perfect excuse to go and make my first ever Harrods purchase. I felt very grown up! I have been saving for the gift for a while even though I hadn't known what the purchase was going to be until we got there. My original idea got brushed away when I was actually there and seeing all the other lovely things they had on offer. I can't really go into too much detail about that purchase unfortunately but maybe one day I will be able to! While we were in London we had our first sample of Ben's Cookies. They are literally the nicest, scrummiest cookies I have ever had in my life! I don't normally like cookies at all but Ben's Cookies are big, chunky, soft, melty delicious squircles (uneven circles ie they aren't all uniform so look rustic) of cakey cookie dough that come in a variety of flavours. Again, I had a huge dilemma of choosing which flavour I wanted! I ended up with a white chocolate and macadamia nut one, a hazelnut praline one and a good old standard milk chocolate one. Don't panic, I didn't eat them all at once. I ate the white choc and nut (my fave) one while I waited for the show to start and then bought two home and enjoyed them BOTH the next day! oink oink!
The next trip down was for Dan's Birthday to see Stomp. It was just the two of us going this time and of course we had to have another trip to Covent Garden and Bens Cookies. We went to a really lovely restaurant for lunch while we were there. I had a gorgeous home made quiche (so nice that I bought two home: one for my parents and one for Dan's mum). As the show wasn't until the evening, we did a bit of sightseeing and went to the natural history museum. We've both said we want a day in London just for the museums! The weather in London was beautiful and for some reason the underground made me feel incredibly ill. Well, I wasn't 100% to start with so I think the tube just made things worse so we opted for walking at our own pace for most of the day. We walked and rested and stopped to take things in whereas before when we have been in the big smoke we have merged with everyone else and gone at the London pace! It was truly wonderful to go down a gear and just meander. It's amazing how much you miss when your head is down and you are zipping around. See, this is a "bonus" of being ill! I saw architecture and greenery that I never knew existed in our capital city!
Before the show, we went to Five Guys for some food. It was an experience!!! a gazillion flavours (slight exaggeration) of coke in one self serve machine (can you imagine what that was like for an indecisive me?! - Did I have a weird flavour of diet coke? NOPE I just had diet cherry coke, the type you can buy in a bottle - DOH! Dan on the other hand had Orange diet coke. It didn't smell too good but then again, I'm allergic to anything orange (not an exaggeration)! I recognised someone when we went in... He spoke to me to ask if we knew what we were ordering and I was convinced he looked like he knew me too. - AWKWARD! Then I realised when I sat down that it was Kye Sones from xfactor 2012!! Ok, yeah I know it's a long shot to think he knew me but he was extremely friendly when he approached me and Dan that I could only explain it that it was as if he genuinely knew me/us. Anyway, I tweeted him whilst we were eating (cringe) and said something along the lines of "Sorry if I just looked at you gone out, I thought I recognised you - I was right, I do!" followed by "now too embarrassed to come and say hi". What an absolute dork!
This is what happened next...
Meeting Kye Sones from xfactor 2012.
He was lovely, said that he knew we recognised him instantly when he turned round to talk to us. We chatted for a bit (even though I felt incredibly awkward) and he said he's really excited to be doing lots of music work and that the future looks like it's going to be fun. He told me I should tweet this pic but I still haven't! Blogging it is better, right?
I had a short break away in Cornwall over the Easter weekend, it was my first time staying in a static caravan so I will do a whole write up about that in the next few weeks.... keep your eyes peeled!
I have just got home from spending a few girly days away with one of my best uni friends. - We got up to some fun and took some videos and pictures and I have permission to blog about that too! It's mainly make up related! VERY EXCITING!!!!!! We're also planning a secret project for another of our friends so we're having to be VERY careful! - So much love and laughter to be had!
So, that's about it for updating you. I have a trusty Cath Kidston note book with me now that all of my ideas are poured into. It literally has pages of bullet points and squiggles of ideas! I need to adapt the slower pace again because it's all good and well enjoying the fast life every so often but by 'ek it catches up and that's no fun at all!
If you ever have any questions for me, please write them in the comments and I will reply to them as and when I can.
Love and Hugs.