Weekend Wanderings

If you follow my Instagram, you may have noticed that this weekend was my birthday. It was a lovely weekend, full of celebrating with family and friends. My mother took me out to afternoon tea at our favorite tiny tea shop on Friday afternoon and Fiancé took me out for soup dumplings and noodles Saturday night. I even had a little celebration during my Saturday morning rehearsal with the cast of the show I’m currently in. And the director gave me a lovely little potted plant a card because she’s a dear friend of mine as well.

But by Sunday, most of the festivities were over and things were quiet. It was a lovely day and I had nothing planned after getting coffee with Fiancé at our favorite little shop. So I decided to go to a barre class downtown.

Now, the last couple of weeks have been an upheaval in my barre schedule because my regular instructor is out of town and the gym seemed to have trouble getting a substitute for my normal early-morning Tuesday time slot. So I had actually gone more two weeks without a barre class. Needless to say, I was missing it, so it didn’t seem a hardship to take some time out of a Sunday and squeeze a class in.

I discovered that the second location of my gym happens to be only a short walk from a train station that is closer to my home than the one I usually go to. So I took the opportunity to get in a little walk in the sunshine while I went to my class. I walked through a neighborhood I don’t usually see. After a few blocks of small restaurants and nail salons, I found myself on a block of row houses that was quiet. But nestled in with the homes, on the corner of one block, I found the most adorable little Japanese market.

It’s called “Hana” Japanese Market, which means flower, so I took that as a sign that it was meant for me to stop in on my walk. I was still a bit early for class and only had another five minutes on my walk, so I had the time to dawdle a bit and explore. Inside, it was cramped and amazing. Tall wire shelves held treasures of prepared foods, candies, and even a tiny section of beauty products. I explored some lotions and creams from a brand that uses fermented soy as a star ingredient, as well as some multi-packs of daily face masks. But it was at the back of the store that I found my true quarry: Green Tea KitKat.

Now green tea KitKat was something I resisted for a long time. Of course, I’ve never been to Japan, so it wasn’t readily available anyway, but apart from that, I had conflicted feelings about it. You see, as much as I love all things tea, I am a staunch believer in chocolate. Real chocolate. Proper chocolate. With actual cocoa in it. And white chocolate, to my mind, is not chocolate. So green tea KitKat combined one thing I love (green tea) and one thing I do not (white “chocolate”). And that left me very confused. I was perfectly happy not to seek them out and address that confusion.

Then, my future sister-in-law and her boyfriend went to Japan to visit his family and came back with treats for Christmas. And everyone got a green tea KitKat in their stockings. Of course, Fiancé immediately turned his nose up at it, so I had two green tea KitKats! And they were glorious. Creamy and sweet, but with a pronounced green tea bitterness. Yum. Of course, they’re not easy to get if you don’t live near a Japanese market. I idly considered ordering some off Amazon, but I have a strange mental block about ordering food from Amazon (and the god-awful crumpets my mother ordered did nothing to dispel this).

So we return to the present scene: Lady Elizabeth on her quest, having found the display of green tea KitKat. Cue the triumphant music. I snagged two bags of the little green gems and paid, conversing lightly with the thoroughly pleasant woman running the cash register. Now that I know this market is here and so adorable, and now that I know the walk to this gym location is not only short, but enjoyable, I’m sure I shall return.

I hope everyone had happy weekends!

Weekend Excursions and Excitement

I had a lovely weekend. Boyfriend was gone for the evening on Friday visiting his parents to pick up some things they had for him, so I went to my mother’s for the evening. We decided to start watching Orphan Black and I introduced her to the wonders of sheet masks. We took a scary selfie and sent it to Boyfriend. My mother was doing the Psycho stabbing motion. Because we are silly. It was nice to just hang out and be low-key with her without either of needing a medical procedure. The next morning she had an early appointment, so we just had a bit of tea and toast before heading out.

It was nice to get home at a decent hour, as I had a baby shower to attend later that afternoon and felt like getting ready at a leisurely pace. I got a manicure last Monday that lasted all of two seconds without chipping, so I finally got around to removing my polish and decided to use my extra time to give myself a little manicure. I was feeling fancy, so I put on some dubbed anime (so I wouldn’t have to look at the screen) and did my first attempt at a “blush” or “cheek” nail, which is a rather lovely soft pink central gradient nail. I used my standard translucent pink, Ballet Bare from Sally Hansen, with a lovely coral color (Tiddly by Butter) as the gradient. It took about an hour of leisurely effort because I made very sure that the various coats were dry in between steps. And I became rather absorbed in Fullmetal Alchemist in the process. I emerged with lovely, spring-y nails that have so far lasted me three days, despite the fact that I did them by my very non-professional self, and used the nail products that have languished in my bathroom cabinet ignored for the last year.

The baby shower was lovely and I got to see a lot of friends whom I see not nearly often enough. And when I got home, Boyfriend had returned from his trip with exciting new things. The main thing he went up to get was an antique vanity that his father decided I should have because I would put it to good use. Unfortunately, one of the mirror supports is slightly cracked, so we had to stop in the middle of putting it together to see if it needs to be repaired, but it really is a lovely piece. I was hoping to share photos of my new vanity setup, but I suppose it will have to wait. Boyfriend also brought back some lovely floral china plates that he saw and immediately knew I would love. It’s nice to be with someone who understands you.

The rest of Saturday was quiet, and our Sunday morning was rather boring as well, save for the wild winds that were going on outside. Boyfriend took a trip out to the store so I could cook for the week ahead. Tech week for my play started yesterday afternoon, so I spent the morning cooking breakfasts and lunches for the week so I can be healthy and still very, very busy. I now have a freezer full of healthy breakfast burritos, brown rice, and a fridge full of poached salmon and cucumber salad. And I got home from rehearsal last night with just enough time to do a bit of a clay mask and a sheet mask before falling into bed.

Today I’m back at work, but I have a few errands to run before rehearsal tonight. The errands mostly involve restocking my stage makeup kit, though, so it should be lots of fun!

A Most Lovely Weekend

This weekend, our housemate finally moved out, leaving the house to the two of us! Ever since we made the decision to stay in the house, I’ve been looking forward to this weekend. And now the house seems… a bit empty. But that’s mostly because the housemate owned most of the furniture on the first floor of the house. So we have to move some things around and buy some new things, which we haven’t gotten around to.

After aerial class Saturday, I found myself just so exhausted (housemate literally left with a bang when he slammed the front door at 5:30 a.m. when he left for the last time) that after we got a delicious lunch, I passed out on the bed while watching my first episode of Agent Carter on my laptop. More on that later, but I’ve gone back and watched more and am enjoying what little I’ve seen. After waking from my nap and cleaning up, we went to a going-away party for a friend that was nice. It was good to reconnect with some friends I don’t talk to much anymore.

Saturday was dismal and pouring rain most of the day, so there wasn’t a lot of time to get outside, but the up side was that Sunday was beautiful. We went to the farmers market for lunch, took a nice long walk, and then worked in the garden. I managed to clear out another small bed in the back of the yard and plant some peppermint and lavender seeds. I’m hoping to see sprouts soon!

Other than that, we’ve mostly enjoyed the quiet of having the house to ourselves. We can cuddle in the loveseat left downstairs and just generally enjoy each other’s company more, I feel like. It’s going to be a lovely year.

A Lovely Relaxing Weekend Morning

After many weeks of hectic weekends, I had my first quiet Friday evening at home in a while. I’d just gotten a call from a director casting me in his play, so I knew I didn’t have any more auditions to attend for a while, and I had no plans until Saturday evening. I stopped at the store on my way home from work and picked up some supplies, and made a lovely dinner en famille, complete with a lovely bottle of Bordeaux.

The next morning, I could wish that I might have drunk a little less the evening prior, but I was not feeling too poorly. Rather than sleeping for hours past the alarm and staying in bed until 10, I set an alarm earlier, and sat up in bed for an hour or so, reading articles and drinking a glass of water to rehydrate. Then I slathered on some face cream because I was feeling a bit dry, and went downstairs to help Boyfriend make waffles.

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While he cooked the waffles, I had a big glass of green juice and made a cup of tea with milk while I read a new book. Actually, it is an old book, Enchanted April, but it is new to me. The juice flushed me with fluid and electrolytes and just enough sugar to perk me up while I smelled the waffles from the other room.

Soon enough, all the waffles were ready, and a dabbed one with butter and drizzled it with syrup, and then made a second cup of tea. Breakfast consumed and relaxation achieved, I looked at the clock. It was just after 10 a.m., a time at which, on previous weekend mornings, I might still be lounging about it bed. But this time, I was ready to start my day, well-fed, hydrated, and eager to get moving.

Weekend Adventures and Concoctions

This weekend was the last of my little holiday, so I decided to make the best of it. I got up Friday and dressed to go out, only to discover that my boots had a broken heel. So after three years, I would have to go shopping for a new pair of boots. Boyfriend and I ended up at the mall on Sunday, where I tried on nearly every pair of brown leather boots without too much of a heel. I settled on what is essentially the boots I bought three years ago, with slightly updated styling, and in brown instead of black. I am a creature of habit.

Saturday I decided to do some concocting. In addition to bottling the final two batches of mead and cider we had in the cellar, I decided to whip up some experimental cosmetics. I tried my hand at making my own cold cream. While the recipe isn’t quite finished yet, I managed a successful second batch, based on the classic Galen recipe, only with grapeseed oil instead of olive.

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My other experiment is a bit more out-there. Inspired by the brand Vintage Tradition, and also the packet of leaf lard I found in the bottom of the deep freeze, I decided to make myself a lard-based face cream. I rendered the lard, and then mixed it with grapeseed oil to make it softer, along with some sea buckthorn oil, carrot seed oil, and lavender essential oil for skin benefits. The rendering lard smelled pretty awful, but at the moment it smells mostly of carrot seed oil, which isn’t as bad as the lard, but not so great.

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It cooled to a creamy white color, with a nice soft consistency. I’ve been using it for two nights now, but it’s probably too soon to say if it’s having any effect. If nothing else, it’s certainly an old-fashioned way of taking care of my skin.

My other event this weekend was a decision I made. I’ve decided to abandon my stretched earlobe piercings and downsize to a traditional earring style. I think it will fit in more with my current personal style. While out shopping for boots, I also picked up some nice understated stud earrings to help with this. It was an eventful weekend, and a productive one.

A Full Breakfast

Weekends are for errands and long walks and lounging with a pot of tea. And for big breakfasts. This weekend, I decided I’d make myself and Boyfriend a full English breakfast.

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An English breakfast consists of bacon and eggs and toast, but also grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, and a pool of baked beans. And it is washed down with copious amounts of strong black tea. I had mine with a little milk. Often, it includes sausage links as well as bacon, but I decided to limit myself to one breakfast meat.

Our Saturday morning was wonderful. I dragged him out of bed a little after 8 a.m., to bundle up for a walk around the lake near our house. I wrapped up in fleece leggings, a long skirt, a thick cabled wool sweater, my vest, a scarf, my boots, and my crocheted ear warmer and found myself toasty warm, other than a bit of nip at my nose. It was chilly and clear and very quiet. There were a few runners out. Even some of the geese were still sleeping. Boyfriend was not too pleased to be up and about at that hour, but it was a lovely start to the day. And I knew he would appreciate what we had in store for us when we got home.

When I got home, I threw the rashers of bacon in the oven to bake. I got a pack of nice thick-cut bacon from a local farmer. Eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, butter, and milk were all also from nearby farmers, and I had a loaf of homemade bread in the freezer. I tipped the tin of beans into a small saucepan and put it on a low flame to warm up while the bacon cooked, and washed up the veggies. When the bacon started getting sizzly, I started frying up the mushrooms and then tomatoes, and turned the beans up a touch so they started to bubble. I toasted the bread and spread it with plenty of butter. And lastly, the eggs went in the pan to cook gently in some butter.

While all this went on, I boiled the electric kettle and made a pot of Assam tea and laid out my tea tray. Everything came together beautifully, and by shortly after 10, we had our plates. I poured some tiny glasses of orange juice because Boyfriend likes it, and I thought a small glass could do me some good in the dead of winter. We devoured our breakfasts, some of us faster than others, and I sat and sipped tea and finished The Secret Adversary, which I’d started the day before. By the time it hit noon, I felt invigorated with the walk and sustained with food and tea and was ready to run some holiday errands!