Any excuse for glitter

I have to apologise for the inexcusable infrequency of my posts recently! After 19 years of living in the bubble of education, I am currently half way through a 6 week summer job – a real one! Working 9-5 after becoming accustomed to morning lectures followed by a nap is proving to be exhausting (I know), but I’m getting better at the whole early mornings thing and honestly enjoying it so much.

BUT.. throughout the past few weeks of 7am alarms and pencil skirts, there has been a distinct lack of grooviness, which was thankfully corrected by this weekend’s Tramlines extravaganza. Having booked Friday off work and made it clear with friends that we intended to wear as much glitter as is possible without actually becoming disco balls, I was so ready.

Let me just take this chance to say Sheffield is i n c r e d i b l e. Weekends like this one make me appreciate it so much- not only is it one of the greenest places known to man, but it’s also one of the friendliest. The atmosphere for the past four days has been amazing and I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many people so happy.

A funky disco set from Mr Scruff in Leadmill kicked off the weekend.. I think this photo just about sums up how happy I was at the prospect of seemingly unlimited gin and glitter-

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The highlight of Friday was an unexpected one. Those of you who know me know that I’m not exactly the biggest rap fan, but I can say in all honesty that I’ve had Dizzee Rascal on repeat ever since his set at Ponderosa. Fix Up, Look Sharp and Bonkers especially had so much energy, and I have well and truly been converted. My favourite photo of the weekend is without a doubt this one of Frankee, proving that she was born to sit on someone’s shoulders and look incredible in the midst of a bouncing crowd.

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Following a night of boogying to Soul Jam at The Harley, we headed back into town on Saturday for a walk through the beautiful Western Park. Jazz was blasting out from the bandstand speakers, including a 1930s remake of Stacey’s Mom which was impossible not to smile to, and the weather was about as kind as it gets in the usually drizzly North. There’s a link here to who I’ve now discovered are ‘Postmodern Jukebox’ if some jazzy clarinet mixed with Fountains of Wayne is what you’re missing right now (of course it is, who are you kidding?).

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What do you mean ‘grim up North’?
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Is any outfit complete without glitter though

Saturday also provided the always-welcome opportunity to relive the Noughties through seeing the fabulous Kelis. Despite warning that she had a cold, she really didn’t disappoint in either vocals or atmosphere and inevitable screams to classics like Milkshake and Millionaire ensued.

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I know quite a few people have complained about prices this year, but for three days and four nights of non-stop, whatever you fancy music in too many locations to list, I really don’t think you could get better value for money. I’ve literally only scratched the surface with this post, and even if you don’t know many or any of the artists playing, it’s worth it just to go into town and drift from venue to venue listening to some of the amazing local music. Just make sure you’re open to anything, ready to have a good time, and of course rock some sparkle..

Sheffield, I love you.

 

 

Any excuse for glitter

Craft and dough

This weekend was my flat-mate’s first proper visit to Sheffield, and so, after a night of partying it up on Saturday, we decided to give her a sample of the best bits of the city yesterday before she returned home to the South.

The day was spent wandering along Ecclesall Road, browsing in Yorkshire themed shops (translating the unfathomable-to-a-Southerner language.. ‘tha’ knows’ may as well have been Mandarin) and relaxing in the Botanical gardens. Before all this though, we went for a lovely late lunch at Craft and dough- an artisan pizza restaurant who also serve a variety of brunch dishes if that’s what you fancy. (We didn’t arrive in time for brunch but if you’re desperate for pancakes they also serve those as a dessert so its never too late!)

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We had cranberry and lemon mocktails to start, which were delicious, and then later on I gave the lavender lemonade a try. The lavender is very strong in this so I wouldn’t recommend if you only like the taste when subtle, but since I love lavender (especially in scones!) this wasn’t really an issue for me.

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Cranberry and lemon non-alcoholic cocktails
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Lavender lemonade

I went for the Piggy smalls pizza, which was covered with smoky bacon, a huge amount of pulled pork, mozzarella, and frazzles. Yes, you read that correctly.. frazzles. The pork is so tender that it falls apart in your mouth, and I think it was the first time that I’ve been so full that I haven’t managed to finish a pizza, which says a lot for their portion sizes.

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(Clockwise from top left): Globe artichoke and napoli salami, Nduja, Beets and roots, Piggy smalls

We ordered some beer battered courgette fries as a side, which were nice but a little too thick for me. The batter was lovely- thin and crispy, and they came with a great spicy chilli dip that gave them a lot more flavour.

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The atmosphere was brilliant- it’s got quite a homey feel to it, great background music, and our waitress was so friendly. The prices were really reasonable- £3.50 for the non-alcoholic cocktails and most of the pizzas are less than £10.

Craft and dough have three restaurants in Sheffield- one located in Kelham Island and the other two on Ecclesall Road and Campo Lane. They specialise in craft beers, and have a great cocktail menu if you’re just popping out for some drinks. It was my first time visiting here since it was Fancie cupcakery, and I definitely plan on going back. I struggled finishing my pizza, so desserts were sadly not an option.. but on my next visit I plan to save enough room to manage the nutella doughballs which sound gorgeous.

Check out their website/menus here or visit their Instagram page- well worth a visit (or two!)

Craft and dough

7 things to do around Sheffield this Summer

Yes, I realise that I’m straying somewhat from my namesake. It feels as though I have two lives at the moment- that in Bristol and that in Sheffield, and since the Steel City is to once again be my home for the next few months, I figured I’d better make the most of my time here!

Relying on student funds means that any trip out is likely to be ‘budget’. This somewhat narrows my options so I’m going on a mission to discover the best things to do in Sheffield for not very much money at all. I’ll make my way through as many of these as possible, achieving maximum fun before returning to Bristol in September!

1. Swim at Hathersage Lido

The idea of swimming outdoors in England wouldn’t usually conjure much enthusiasm from me, but the Hathersage swimming pool is heated and set in such beautiful surroundings that this is my number one ‘must do’ for this Summer. Now to wait for a day when the sun decides to shine…

2. Picnic in the Botanical Gardens

I love Sheffield Botanicals. They hold memories of cherry blossom and ice creams in sixth form lunch breaks, and are the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic. Take a blanket and some strawberries, sorted.

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3. 7th 1940s Wartime Weekend & Vintage Fayre at Kelham Island 

Having not been to Kelham Island for years, I was already meaning to visit this year. Then I stumbled across this event. Taking place on the 23rd and 24th of July, they promise war time music, dance, afternoon tea and antique stalls. What more could you ask for? Entrance is £6 for adults, £5 for concessions and free for children.

4. See an exhibit at Graves Art Gallery 

You’ve got to squeeze some culture in somewhere, right? Graves always seem have something exciting going on, but one exhibit which I would love to see this Summer is ‘The Age of Abstraction’- a display of 1960s and 1970s abstract art from female artists. One for a rainy day!

‘The Age of Abstraction’ is on show from Friday 5 February 2016  –  Saturday 29 October 2016 and it’s free entry to the gallery

5. Milkshakes at The Lucky Fox 

Instagram- satan to anyone who wants to work on their figure but also has no will power or self control. I have seen far too many gorgeous things from this place and have tasted far too few..

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Lucky Fox Instagram

6. A country walk to Our Cow Molly

Another one to save for one of those (sadly rare at the moment) sunny days- an afternoon walk and the opportunity to get semi-lost but in the most beautiful countryside with the end goal of fabulous ice cream and the chance to pet farm animals.

7. Open air theatre from Heartbreak Productions – Sheffield botanical gardens 

You can probably tell by now that I’m pretty fond of the Botanical Gardens. They’re a fun adventure out any day, but watching a play on a Summers evening there has to be one of the highlights of my year. I’ve seen Heartbreak do Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado about Nothing, and every time they have been fantastic. This year they are touring with showings of Ratburger, The Tempest, Murder on the Terrace and The Importance of Being Earnest. The latter is one of my favourite films, so I intend to book tickets ASAP! This is always such a wonderful evening out- brilliant acting in a beautiful setting. Take a picnic, a bottle of wine, and lots of pillows!

 

Do you have special plans for this Summer? As always, comments are welcomed!

 

 

7 things to do around Sheffield this Summer

Oxford wandering and an almost duck attack

I’ve been meaning to visit one of my best friends in Oxford since September. Yesterday I finally made true on my promise and hopped on a train to a place which made me feel as though I had either gone back in time or stepped through the looking glass..

Oxford. The word summons ideas of grandeur and elegance, and rightly so. With almost every new view my breath was taken away. In summary, spectacular buildings, good gardening and dreamy waterways.

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I was promised a good date and oh did Bessie deliver. First I was taken on a tour of the city with facts dropped left, right and centre about the history of the university (why pay for a tour guide when you have your very own Oxford Uni student?), before a wander through Port Meadow, punting, and finally ending the day with stargazing in Christchurch.

The mini heatwave gave the whole day a holiday-like feel and it was wonderful to catch up with one of my favourite people. As well as surprising her by bringing another of our friends from back home along with me, yet another fellow Sheffield-er (hey Frankee) spontaneously jumped on a train and came to meet us in the evening, making for a full blown reunion.

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By the Radcliffe Camera

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Arch goals

Following a walk to The Perch pub by Port Meadow (well worth a visit if only for the wisteria-covered archway) and some unexpected swimming in the river for people who were warned to wear aqua-appropriate underwear, we headed to the Magdalen Bridge Boathouse to fulfil the ultimate Oxford expectation and hit the punts. We managed to get about 10 metres before Frankee called to say she had arrived and was stood at the dock, which meant promptly turning back around to fetch her in a dramatic turn and being hit by several tree branches along the way.

 

Things learnt through this experience:

  • punting is harder than it looks
  • the evening light is best for well lit punt selfies
  • do not feed ducks doughnuts

An especially pushy creature, the duck was determined to follow our boat for the length of our journey once it discovered that we had food. Throwing a small piece of sugared doughnut to distract it whilst we made a (not so) fast getaway is amongst my biggest regrets. It was promptly gobbled, before the duck returned to claim the rest and in doing so ended up flapping it’s way across the punt accompanied by my screams and my friends’ hysterics.

After my heart had recovered from this incident, and our punt session had sadly finished, we headed back into town to collect jumpers and blankets before making our way to Christchurch College to do some stargazing.

Because in Oxford, laying in a bed of blankets watching the stars from surroundings featured in Harry Potter feels completely normal.

The perfect day with lovely people, in a place which I fully intend to visit again at the soonest opportunity.

 

Dress: Topshop, Sunglasses: ASOS, Fringe sandals: Next

 

 

Oxford wandering and an almost duck attack