Monday, 31 January 2011


November of last year I astounded myself by finally completing NaNoWriMo (or, in English, National Novel Writing Month). Of course, by 'completing' I mean I made it to the 50,000 words required. Sadly I never did finish the story itself. If I can be honest, I never had much faith in it as a was cheesy, it was lame, it was oh so over the know, like most fantasy's are. "Mac-fantasy" as Ben calls it. It has sat around on my pc all this time being neglected, only half finished and feeling cold. Poor little novel.

But despite that, it really did feel special to have written all that in a month. Will I be doing it again this year? Hell's yeah! This time I may go down a different route. Perhaps I will go for a completely bonkers string of unrelated bu random events as suggested by the crazy people of the NaNo forums, or perhaps I'll do a crime novel. I've never read crime, so that should be quite hilarious.

But that is not till November, and now we are in January (or, in about eight hours time, February. Indeed, if you are in Australia, it is already February. Happy February, mate!) so why am I waxing lyrical about how awesome NaNo was and how great it made me feel?

Well, whilst lurking around on some random people's blogs, I came accross "National Blog Posting Month" or, in NaNoNese "NaBloPoMo". This isn't just a once a year event, as it turns out...every month is NaBloPoMo. And so I'm thinking...yeah...I could do that. I hate looking at an empty blog with few posts. It feels tenuous, like at any given moment I could throw my hands up and say "yeah, I give in, blogging is not for me". NaBloPoMo. The greatest excuse around for actually, you know, actively blogging!

I shall endeavour to start tomorrow then. Every day for the month of February, you will be blessed with an update. I promise I won't bore you...or at least I'll try my best not to. Should nothing of interest be happening in my life I shall instead take inspiration from the monthly theme (yep, it even gives suggestions for themes, though of course this is not compulsory.)

In other news, I am now going to bore you ^_^. Have had a most unproductive day, although I did start on a rainbow spiral bracelet. Sounds like fun? Well it is! One of my earliest beading projects was a spiral bracelet in shiny shiny emerald green. I did kind of, you know, just give up on it, however, since I got tired of stringing tiny little seed beeds by hand. Now I finally (it only took me two years) invested in some proper beading needles, all those lovely emerald green beads are packed away ready (in hope) for when we move, and all I have are these tiny little plastic beads of every colour, all mixed up and that are of no particular use other than to jumble together and call it a "rainbow". It actually looks rather pretty so far. Sadly, I have mis placed my camera. As soon as I have found it I will take a lovely picture to show you the prettiness of it.

Till later, folks!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Caught with my pants down

Today was a beautiful day. It was crisp and cold but wonderful and sunshiney and all together the kind of day with a 'happy' vibe about it.

Ben, being awesome as he is, recieved a performance bonus in the form of gift vouchers this month so as we had these to spare and as it is the first weekend after pay day we went for our customary "let's treat ourselves" weekend shopping trip. Do note that generally we only ever have one such trip as the crowds in Liverpool get a bit much for us small town folk :p

Ben treat himself to a steering wheel for his Xbox, which he is playing with as we speak (but he's had a few near misses since he keeps looking over to see what I'm writing about him)

Hey hey, my near misses are NOTHING to do with me seeing what you're writing about me and everything to do with me over steering this car!

My Ben is so dedicated and serious about these things ^_^

I on the other hand treat myself to many, many more things. However, I justify them because Ben wants some new cushions. Yup yup, I got all the bits and bobs in that I need for them today, all I need now is the sewing machine, which is coming down on Tuesday ^________________________^ Until then I shall be measuring and cutting and making tiny felt birds to applique onto them. I have decided that applique is my new favourite thing, because I learned how to do blanket stitch and I'm ever so proud of myself.

Being that I've never seriously sewn anything before (ok...lies...I did in secondary school but that was 10 years ago! And it was not good!) I also grabbed myself a new book, Home Sewing For Beginners, which I've already flicked through most of. It's not a very big book and to be honest some of the hand stitches aren't very well explained or illustrated, but since I already know how to do most of them it's not that big of an issue. My biggest issue with it is that it's made to be as a flip chart ie spiral bound and every pade printed landscape, with a large, bulky cover on which to stand it all.

In some ways it's a blessing, and a nifty little idea. I do beading and wire work and sometimes if you're trying to follow instructions from a book or magazine it can be annoying to keep said instructions up and open...but truth be told, I prefer to sit back and relax and read...well you can't really do that with this, it just doesn't sit comfortably, and you can only see one page at a time. It would be much better if projects were printed landscape and the rest was regular plain old portrait, but hey, it's a minor thing.

What I'm most dissapointed in though is that Waterstone's didn't have the book I'd been eyeing up last time I was in there, a little box of ten mini books called How To Sew so on that note, should anyone be stuck for what to get me for my birthday in April *wink wink nudge nudge*

Anyhow, after Waterstone's we went into John Lewis's to pick up zippers for the cushions (since I stupidly forgot to grab some from Aberkhan's with the rest of my fabric) and realised I needed some more pins. I was just taking said pins to the till when I spotted this

At first glance yes it is just a basic sewing kit. A very good one considering it was just a fiver. But look at it. It has a tomato pin cushion. A TOMATO PIN CUSHION >.<
Ok just bear with me, ok? I'm new to all this sewing stuff. Tomato based pin cushions are still cute cool and novel to me. I know, in a years time when I realise EVERY damned pin cushion is a tomato I will feel differently.

But yes. We moved on with our newly bought zippers and sewing kits to have lunch. After seeing the ridiculously humongous queue outside of Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, Gourmet Burger Bar, Cafe Rouge and Yee Rah we finally made our way down the row of restaurants at Liverpool One to Las Iguanas, a Latin American restaurant which can be found in many places, apparently, but no further nor th than Leeds (which sucks, as we will be moving much, much further north).

There was no queue here...but we were told by the very lovely door man that it'd be a 15 minute wait so we thought what the hell and ordered some drinks at the bar. About 5 minutes later we were ushered upstairs where someone was waiting to seat us. Everyone was very happy and smiley and geuninely lovely. The food didn't take too long either and was absoloutely delicious. I personally had the pulled pork Cuban Sandwich with curly fries, and I have to say they were the nicest damn curly fries I've ever tasted.

The whole experience was a bit ruined by the toilets though. And I mean, ok no one wants to talk about public toilets. Unless you are dining at a five star restaurant you don't usually expect much, and you can usually expect to find a cubicle or two with toilet paper strewn all over the floor. This was of course the case, which was a bit of a let down after the lovely food and service (if you can keep things running so nicely front of house you can bloody well keep your toilets clean).

However, as much or as little as you expect from a public loo, you normally expect a lock that works. Hell, even a stall without a least you know not to go in there, or if you're really desperate, to put your bag down infront of the door to stop it from opening. Sadly this particular door opened outwards and the lovely spacious stall was too long even for my legs to reach over and catch the door closed, but thankfully though the lock had been removed (leaving a gaping hole in the door arggh) there was a latch. Not a very well fitting latch, but it kept the door closed all the same. Satisfied that I'd be able to do my stuff in privacy I decided that the facilities would do after all.

Just as I got sat down, the lady who had been in the next stall left the room. As she left the room, the door automatically swang shut behind her, sending forth a gust of air. Which was enough to work that damned latch free and swing the door open wide.

Yeah sometimes I wish I was a man so I didn't have to think of these practicalities of using the public toilet.

In any case, no one saw (thank you sweet Jesus) and I got on with my day. Popped into Superdrug for a new mascarra (possibly the most important buy of the day) and then we came home. I am now looking forward to when my Ben makes me my cheesy chicken for tea tonight ^_^

You're a pain. Shit. Thanks dear, put me straight into the gravel there.

My Ben is funny when he's on the Xbox ^_^

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The reason amongst many.

I like Liverpool in general. I wouldn't have hung around as long as I have done if I didn't. I love the shopping (I'm a girl, I'm allowed to rate a city based on its shopping experience!), I love the night life (although more and more I don't tend to partake in this particular facet of Liverpudlian life!) and I love the fact that it's so damned cheap to live here!

But, like all things I suppose you get what you pay for. The public transport is frequent, and blessedly cheap, but you always end up sat in front of some little scally (for the rest of England, that's a 'chav') who thinks he's king of the world and is keen to shout about it. It's not that the bus companies don't try, it's just that if you're in the position to have to use the system, you've got to share it with everyone else who does too, and they're not all the nice wholesome folk you'd trust to leave your kids with whilst you go to the theatre.

The drink is cheap too, which probably doesn't help to soothe the problems the city has with anti social behaviour, but it does help when you're a student. Sadly, when you're a student in Liverpool, the rent doesn't stay so cheap. I couldn't believe when I left University and moved into this flat with Ben how cheap the place was. I mean don't get me wrong it's no buckingham palace. Hell, it's not even on par with the tiny terraced house my parents took me home from the hospital to. It's really only room for one person. But, you know, being married we live in each others pockets anyway. The really big problem with our flat is the shoddy workmanship.

I feel bad about ratting on my landlord for this, but it really does have to be said. The back of the flat is litterally rotting away. The entire back wall of our bedroom is covered in black rot. It appeared on the jont between the wall and the ceiling about a year ago, out of the blue, and spread. The bathroom frequently leaks into the flat downstairs despite oh...three patch up jobs now? The tiles are blasting away from the wall thanks to, I assume, the damp. There is no window in the bathroom as it is an interior room. There is an extractor fan but it's broken. The lino in the kitchen has gradullay split over time and there are big patches where it has torn away completely. The whole place is riddled with damp in general. There is no soundproofing so we can hear everything our neighbours say and do. We get to "participate" every time they do what grown ups in love do. There is no insulation and the radiators barely let out any heat. We leave the heating on all night to try and keep the place warm in the morning, but within an hour of us turning them off the place is freezing again. In the summer, it is impossible to cool the place down.

By the way, this is not a vitriolic hate filled rant, it is a statement of fact, and a note by which to look back and remember what we've been through when we're old and rich :p

But despite its faults, it's the cheapest rent I've seen anywhere and it's been a refuge when things were really bad. There have been times when the neighbours played up, and we've despaired, but on the whole we keep ourselves to ourselves and we don't look for trouble.

So why then, some of our scouse friends ask us with genuine shock, horror and sheer bewilderment on their faces, do we want to leave Liverpool?

Well, for starts, neither of our families live close by. Mine are in God's very own land (lol) of County Durham, and Ben's are in Kent. It's a long way to travel either way and we do so love our families. We've no ties here and it really does become troublesome trying to attend family functions. It was one hell of a job just trying to make sure the whole family (ie both mine and his) got to stay in the same hotel for our wedding in the middle of February (not exactly peak of the tourist season!) and even then a family friend had to bunk elsewhere after some dumb receptionist managed to muddle up her reservation!

Secondly, we weren't built for city life. I grew up in a town where I could be in the countryside in under ten minutes. If you want to leave town for whatever reason, you find yourself submerged in beautiful rolling hills with old, gnarly trees and golden fields of rapeseed. A place where the hills are topped with tiny little medieval churches. A place where, if you run out of Rabbit food on a Sunday you can go and pick your own and bring your bunny back a fresh treat. A place where there's nothing to do on a Sunday BUT go picking food for your rabbit! I'm not going to pretend I spend every waking moment of my time in the country, but when you live in a city and barely see a speck of grass for weeks, if not months at a time you begin to miss the greenery. Besides, I'm asthmatic and you'd be suprised at just how much my breathing improves when I visit my parents!

But one of the reasons which people here don't seem to click onto is that we're leaving because we're sick of the anti social behaviour here.

Now I'm not saying I lived a life free of such antics before I came to Liverpool. Everywhere has its problems. But before I came here I'd never had someone high on cocaine reach in through my kitchen window, grab a frying pan and try to throw it at me. I'd never had an egg thrown at me from a moving vehicle. I'd never crossed over the road to avoid a fist fight in action when I was just trying to get home. I'd never had to deal with going to the bus stop to get to work knowing that the night before someone was shot there. I'd never had to deal with my neighbour's shunned alcoholic partner asking me to help her break into his flat so she could "get her stuff back". I'd never had my neighbour try to break into my own flat before, whilst I was still in it and listening to them as they tried the lock.

These are just a few things we've experienced here. No I'm not saying we're the worst off but why should anyone have to put up with these things? Despite a select few natives thinking that Liverpool is the best city in the world and it doesn't get better than this...why should we put up with it when we could be living anywhere else?

If someone should find this blog who has never been to Liverpool before please don't get me wrong. There are many, many people here who despair at the state of the place, who enjoy less criminal pursuits than breaking and entering. It has a number of excellent theatres. It has some stunningly beautiful museums and art galleries. The council always manages to put on a nice show during the various holiday's throughout the year and there's no shortage of things to do. In fact I'm very much looking forward to the Chinese New Year celebrations! On the whole if you stick to the city centre you'll find the people more than welcoming. I wouldn't even mind commuting from somewhere outside of the city to be honest. But when you have to live in the suburbs and put up with this kind of crap? Well I'm sorry if I've offended anyone but I've just about had enough and I want to go home!

And so this is why, should any of you be wondering, why this blog documents the end of our time here on Merseyside. I admit defeat. Liverpool, you really were just too much for a small town girl like me to cope with! Now to do the hard work...find a job in the north east of England in the current economic climate, or else we'll be stuck down here for a while longer!

Next time I hope to post more happy things. Mum and Dad are coming for a brief visit next week and are bringing with them my Great Nana's old sewing machine. I really can't wait, I used to hate having to use the sewing machine's at school but I got into hand stitching little bits and bobs and now I want to start making actual useful things which, unless I never want to see the light of sun again, require a sewing machine for the sake of practicality. On the agenda whilst I get used to it, I want to make some new pillow cases (haven't the foggiest where all of my store bought ones have vanished to, apparently our washing machine just gobbles them up for dinner) and some new cushions. Had a funny moment the other day in Asda when Ben saw some on sale and I just ran in there...No! We're getting a sewing machine next week! I'll make us some! ^_^;;

Of course once I've become a sewing machine expert (or at least can sew in a straight line) I have a number of specific items I want to make. Namely, covers for our sitting chairs (so I can wash them properly) and some matching curtains for our next home. In fact I hope to create all manner of things for our next home. I never really felt like this flat was "homely". It's been a refuge, certainly, but it's just a jumble of stuff all thrown together because there's no where else to keep things, and so many hodgepodge things abound. There's no real flow to the design, no theme, not even a colour scheme. There just isn't the room. So I fully intend to fix that when we move! I've already got some idea's but perhaps I'll share them in my next blog.

For now it's nearly midnight and I think our downstairs neighbours have calmed down and will no longer be attempting to break into our flat with their key (yes, that did happen tonight, which is what sparked this little vent of steam) so I shall be heading to bed now :)

PS: Does this count as me having a vitriolic hate filled rant? Naaaah. I was just a little shaken is all :)

Monday, 24 January 2011

Guest writer?

My husband, other wise known as "Bendana" thanks to his one time love and adoration of the bandana, but usually just called "Ben" to those who know and love him best (and all kinds of terrible, terrible things by my good self) once suggested that I should guest write an article on his blog. I can't remember what the subject of said article was, but I recall that he was sat at the computer, tap tap tapping away whilst I hurled abuse at the TV, most likely at some crap Richard Dawkins was peddling (God? Oh No!) or something Panorama was mouthing off about (Video Games? Oh No!) and whatever it is I was ranting on about impressed him sufficiently enough to have him offer up this generous suggestion.

And I graciously declined, for in my head is contained so many many rants like that. I could write a whole blog about each and every one of them. I didn't want to steal his thunder! And I've had so many many ranty blogs and journals and diaries before now, in one form or another. Facebook is full of my rantings. Twitter is full of my ravings. I had to destroy my old LJ with fire. I litterally did destroy an old paper log with scissors and... things (I had no garden so I couldn't fire it up :p)

So I thought would be nice to make a none ranty, none passive aggresive blog for once in my life. Waiting for the right time to do it, I waited and waited but it never seemed appropriate. I even complained to Ben that it would be quite an impossible task. He said;

"Blogs aren't meant to be nice. They're meant to be depositorys of vitriolic hatred."

Well that just threw the gauntlet down. The challenge is set. Already on my first post I seem to be loosing!

But I digress. Welcome, I suppose, to "Adventures with Bex". It's got no real, grand academic purpose, but my life is going through some changes and I would quite like to document it. For posterity as much as anything else. Hopefully, if things go to plan, Ben and I will at last leave Liverpool and return to my very own home county of Durham soon (though it isn't really a return for Ben, who is from an actual 'home county', Kent) and so I figure now is a great time to do the things I haven't yet had the chance, time or incliation to do here on Merseyside and share it with you. Then, when I finally do go home, you can follow with much amusement no doubt our trials and tribulations of forging a new life for ourselves 'up north'.

But above all else, I'm doing it to prove Ben wrong. So from here on in it's all sunshine and daisies and no vitriolic, hate filled rants. Should I feel the inclination to rant, I shall simply do so on his blog ;)