Posted in Musings

Afternoon Tea. (February)

Today the tea that I am drinking is ‘Cherry Rum’ from the Mystery Teahouse in Preston. If anyone’s nearby, I definitely recommend this magical place. I’ve loved it for a few years, but haven’t been for a long while. Ash and I met up the other day and went for lunch because we hadn’t been and because it’s amazing. They do SO many teas, they have an entire wall of them and you can of course drink them in the shop, and also buy them to take home. And so, alongside my vegan wrap with side salad, I had cherry rum tea and just had to buy some for my flat. Anyway, it was lovely meeting up with Ash and doing something calm and good that involved food. Especially as we both love the tea house so much and hadn’t been in so long. I think we’ll do it more. (We didn’t get cake while we were there, so we HAVE to go back…)

I’ve been meditating more lately, I’ve found that it’s helpful for my insomnia. I have an app called Stop, Breathe, and Think which I’ve been using. It has a few great guided meditations, and then you can buy a few more if you want (although you’re not prompted too) I like it, and it’s become a part of my bedtime routine. I want to meditate more in the mornings too, so maybe if I get on with that, maybe I’ll let you know how that goes in my next Afternoon Tea post. It’s part of my whole thing that I’ve been doing lately where I’ve been concentrating on being healthy. I’ve been doing one thing every day that is good for my mental health- sometimes they’re quite challenging, and sometimes more relaxing- and I’ve been doing exercises *most* days because I’ve been feeling very lethargic and wanting to get fit. It’s making me feel more positive too, I can feel myself getting stronger, and of course the happy hormones can’t hurt. It’s nice to be working on myself in a positive way, rather than doing it because of negativity.

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Posted in Musings

Afternoon Tea.

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So here we are again, sitting down with a brew and ready for a catch up. I have determined recently to start drinking some of my ridiculous stash of teas, and so my beverage of choice for this afternoon is caramel tea. It’s been raining so much here over the last few weeks. It’s been cold too, I don’t know if that’s because I’ve got used to the milder weather here and now I’m starting to acclimate, or whether it actually has been colder this winter, but I have felt cold. I’ve spent most of my time wrapped in a blanket and wearing fluffy Miffy pyjamas and reading. It’s been quite nice! That’s not to say that I haven’t been doing other stuff too. I’ve been enjoying going to the pub a couple of times with my friends. It’s weird not seeing them as much as we used to because we don’t live in the same house any more, but it’s also been quite nice to not always be around them because I feel like we get on a bit better now. We have to make time to see each other, so when we do we appreciate it a bit more. That’s what I think anyway. I’m looking forward to raiding Tim’s library for graphic novels. I borrowed Snotgirl vol.1 from him the other day and really liked it, so I’m going to make more of an effort to get around to my graphic novels TBR list. There’s quite a few books on there so I’m going to try and work through some of the ones that I can borrow from Tim in the next few months. I’ve been reading a lot of new books in general, or rather, books that have been sitting on my shelves patiently waiting for me to get around to them for a while. So far this year nothing I have read has been a re-read, which feels quite refreshing. That may change soon though, as I managed to get a full set of the (original covers) Harry Potter books from a second hand book shop- next to my piercing shop- recently. (I also got a piercing…) So I may be reading those soon. Having said that, I haven’t quite decided as I do still have some unread books on my shelves and I’ve been enjoying reading new things. We shall have to wait and see which way my reading whims take us.

keep reading to find out about my book club’s first meeting…

Posted in Musings

Spilling the Tea?

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This year we are ending the Assorted Beverages with Alys series. I’m bored of the ridiculously long name, and the struggle to think of different drinks that I drink. It will be replaced with something that will be almost the exact same content, but with a different name. The whole idea behind the original thing was that it would be as though we were sitting down for a chat and a cup of tea (or whatever it was that I was drinking when I wrote it) so maybe it will be just called Tea Time with Alys. Or Spill the Tea? What do you think? Spill the tea isn’t really a phrase used in the UK, and although it seems an appropriate phrase, I’m not sure as everything I’ve read about it seems to suggest that it’s used in the context of gossip and bitching about people, rather than just having a chat. Anyone who is in the US, lemme know! This is the first one, so if I’ve decided on a series title by the time this is published, you will know it, but if I haven’t then you can let me know what you think it should be called.

I moved back to uni yesterday and it was lovely to walk through the door to a tidy flat, thank you to past me, who cleaned up before she left. Of course, it’s a mess now, because I am SO lazy about unpacking suitcases, so it’s just open on the floor waiting for me to want the things inside it and the motivation to unpack. On the plus side, only one of my plants died in the last two weeks, and I was expecting it to already as it wasn’t doing too well before I left anyway. So that’s definitely a plus. Most of them are actually doing really well and I’m so happy. I know that it sounds a bit silly to say that my plants make me happy, but it’s true. It’s good to have other living things around, especially as I’m not allowed to have any pets in my flat. (The mouse that lives in the walls doesn’t really count as a pet, no matter how much I’d love for it to be my little friend.)

I suppose we should talk about new year’s resolutions.

keep reading!

Posted in Assorted Beverages With Alys

Maltesers Mocha with Alys

Since I last wrote I visited Chester and had a lovely time, I ate my advent calendar one chocoloate at a time (and on the correct days), came home for Christmas, went to Ikea, and you know, did Christmas. It’s been a nice little holiday. For the last few months I’ve really been struggling with my mental health and particularly with feeling guilty for not being better. I find it difficult to accept that although I fought really hard for my place at university and succeeded, I am most likely going to fail the year because of my mental health. It makes me feel guilty because I know that other people worked really hard and vouched for me to stay at uni, and yet here I am failing anyway. In hindsight I should have suspended for another year to let myself get better, but I didn’t think that I needed it. I thought that I would be okay with just the summer, but alas, it is still a problem. But I have to remember that I HAVE got SO much better. It just takes more time than a few months! I haven’t had a panic attack in such a long time now though, so I’m definitely making progress. I suppose that I have to stop feeling guilty for prioritising my health, because when you phrase it like that it seem obvious that that’s exactly what I should be doing.

keep reading!

Posted in Assorted Beverages With Alys

Cinnamon Hot Chocolate with Alys (I became a model)

Autumn is on its way out and Winter is coming! I did try to resist the Christmas spirit, but I actually don’t care anymore. It’s Christmas! (nearly) and this year I don’t feel like waiting until December to get festive. So my fairy lights have been set to Twinkle and I am happily eating a mince pie while I write this.

The best thing about this time of year is the food. I love Chrsitmas food. Lebkuchen, stollen, speculaas, apparently all the german food. Mince pies are pretty good too, and all of the food that you eat when it’s cold. Stews and soups and pies and all of that good stuff. It makes you feel all warm and snuggly inside. I’ve probably been overdoing it a bit on the Christmas food since I last wrote, but I don’t care, it’s tasty and festive and I can eat what I want.

I went on a visit to York for Alex’s grandad’s 90th birthday, which was lovely. We went for a meal and then I stayed for a while. It was nice to have a break and see everyone again. We went around the Christmas markets, which are deceptively small in York. I remember going when I was little, and it seemed so much bigger then, but perhaps that’s because I was much smaller! I bought some lovely handmade gloves on the market, which was great because that’s actually what I went for. They’re lovely and warm, knitted gloves with fleece lining. I like them a lot. They go quite well with my yellow scarf, that I am still very much in love with, even though it deposits fluff over everything that it ever comes into contact with. I suppose that’s the price of having a soft scarf. I’ve been knitting a new scarf aswell, it’s a beautiful purple colour and it makes me happy to see it growing as I spend more time on it. I’ve always liked knitting things that are simple like that because I don’t have to worry about incresing or decreasing stitches, that’s where I usually make mistakes as my concentration slips. It can be almost meditative to knit scarves, even cable knit ones like the one I’m making. It’s nice.

Since I last wrote I became a model for a day!

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Posted in Assorted Beverages With Alys

Hot Tea with Alys

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It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Sorry about that, I’ve been busy. This last week was reading week at uni, which essentially is a week without lectures so that you can get some reading done and catch up/ get ahead before essays are set and deadline season begins. I didn’t do as well as I wanted on that front, but I did get a chunk of reading done, so it wasn’t too bad. On the other side of things, Alex came for a visit this last week and it has been really nice. He came up at the weekend and then we went out for Halloween! This year we had drinks at my place beforehand because hey, we don’t live together any more! It was quite weird, but it was nice too. My place is quite small, but it was nice to actually have the room full of people and music and Halloween decorations. I was an evil pixie/demon/devil thing this year. (Essentially, I wore a black dress with some red wings from Poundland with lots of red eyeshadow as countour all over my face.) It was a good night. I’m getting older though, the hangovers are getting a bit more disruptive these days, I may have to reassess what my alcohol limit is!

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Posted in Assorted Beverages With Alys

Hazelnut Mocha with Alys

Image result for dallas buyers club

I watched Dallas Buyers Club for the first time. I cried. I don’t think you understand. I cried A LOT. Do you remember when I watched RENT for the first time? I cried that much. And this time I was in a public cinema, not even in my bedroom watching a film with my partner. I literally had tears spilling off my face and by the end of the film my entire face was wet, also the sleeves of my jumper. It was really really good. The screening was part of a film festival that my university does every year that is about education of mental health issues. (we’ll talk more about that later) and was followed by a short discussion about the topics and the film in general. It was a very good thing. I wouldn’t say that it was a good experience, or rewarding or any of those sorts of things, they don’t seem like appropriate words. It was enlightening, I suppose is a more appropriate word. The film is about a man in America who contracts HIV. It follows his life from slightly before his diagnosis and then afterwards. The story is ostensibly about the struggles of Americans to find and fund the medications that they need in order to recover, and simply live with HIV. It shows how the FDA and big pharma only look out for themselves and their businesses, rather than caring about the patients that they are selling the drugs to. This film is set in the past, but things have not changed much today. These things are companies, they are looking to make a profit and they will charge as much as they think that they can for the life-saving drugs that people need. If a person has something like HIV, a condition that can only be managed, not cured (as of yet) they can charge whatever they want. I did learn that today, in the UK, people who are diagnosed will have a normal life expectancy, but those people who contracted HIV in the past have a much lower life expectancy because of the number of drugs they have, effectively, been testing over the years. The long term effects of those medications are not yet known about as even now we are still learning what happens to long-time survivors. That aspect of the film makes me angry. HIV sufferers need these drugs and they’re dying every day from lack of access because of healthcare systems and the commercialisation and privatisation of them. They literally cannot afford to stay alive.

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Posted in Assorted Beverages With Alys

Strawberry Mirinda with Alys.

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The last couple of weeks have been nice. It’s been nice to take some time to really settle in and figure out some new routines. I’ve been drinking lots of water and eating a lot of fruit. I’ve got used to the sound of loud trains going past in the middle of the night. I’ve left the flat almost every single day and that’s been tiring, but really good. If you didn’t already know, the outside is good for you. It feels like it’s properly Autumn now, it’s been cold and rainy with the occasional sunshiney day and it’s wonderful. It would be even better if I had a proper coat rather than just jackets here with me, but I’ll go home soon and get them. Ash gave me some fairy lights that she wasn’t using, so my room is lovely and cosy now. I’ve cracked out the autumn candles too because they smell like coffee and caramel and my kitchen is in my bedroom. It’s good to get rid of cooking smells. (And to replace them with more food smells…)

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Posted in Assorted Beverages With Alys

Tea in a Pumpkin Mug With Alys

moving house, emma bridgewater, succulents, mug, pumpkin, halloween

These past two weeks have been very busy.

I have moved house, finally! I moved into a studio flat in student accommodation and it’s actually really lovely. I have my own little kitchen and my own little bathroom and it’s really nice to have this space to myself without having to share it in the slightest. It is nice to have my own self-contained little place that I can make my own for the next year. Ashleigh is just across the road and on my second night here I popped over for a brew, which was nice because I didn’t have a kettle until my third day. As I write this, my boxes are strewn around me after a visit from my parents and all I did was stop to get my kettle and my mugs unpacked. I have a lovely cup of tea.

I’m not looking forward to going back to uni and lectures over much, but I suppose that’s what I’m here for and I only have one year left. I’ve already started on all of my reading and making notes on some of the books, I started over the summer so that I could get at least a little bit of a head start. Being on a dual honours English course makes for a lot of reading each week, so I’m glad that I did that for future me. I’m sure that she’ll be grateful. I know her pretty well, and I think she’ll be pretty grateful at any rate. (If you want to know what books I’ve been reading this month and what I thought about them, come back on Friday for the monthly book chat)

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Posted in Assorted Beverages With Alys

Vanilla Caramel Tea With Alys

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Since I last wrote, a lot has happened.

I spent a lovely day in Manchester with Ash and Tom. It had been a little while since we were all together and so it was really nice to get out of the house and see them. It was just quite a nice day.

Then my aunt visited for a few hours and we talked a lot about books and feminism and fox hunting and psychology. It was really interesting and nice to see her. We don’t see each other very often at all, usually only a few times a year, because we all have our own lives and just get on with it. But it was lovely. She brought me a book aswell, which is great because we quite often have similar tastes in books, but also seem to know different books. She’s always good to get book recommendations from! She brought me a copy of Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’, which has been on my reading list for a very long time. I’ve read it and loved it and made notes, but I’ll talk about my thoughts on it later. It was lovely to see her and I’m looking forward to seeing how her book club gets on!

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