Hiatus

I have not been at all active on here or on Twitter for the past month and I think it is likely to stay this way. I have decided to have a semi-permanent hiatus on blogging. I enjoyed elements of blogging but I have to concentrate on my PhD. I’m leaving the door open to start blogging again in the future but this looks unlikely to happen any time soon.

Thanks to everyone who has supported my blog, spoke to me on Twitter, and met me in real life!

What I think about blogging

It is a Sunday evening. I’ve had my dinner, I’ve got a glass of red, and I’m thinking about blogging.

I started blogging in May as I was looking for a hobby that didn’t require any money and that I could do from the comfort of my living room. But, to be honest, I haven’t enjoyed it as much as I thought I would.

It goes through peaks and troughs: sometimes I am at every Twitter chat in existence and I read lots of other blogs but I’m currently in a bit of a slump. I’m feeling similar with YouTube – I subscribe to a lot of channels and I used to really love catching up with videos but, more and more, I’m finding myself to be frustrated or bored with the content. This is partly because I have a very strict budget so can’t buy many clothes or new beauty items so huge hauls aren’t interesting to me and I end up thinking ‘Who needs this much stuff?!‘.

With my own blog, well I don’t think I have much to say. I never found ‘my niche’. I’d really like to write more about my PhD and life as a researcher but I know that isn’t interesting to everyone. Plus readers who are within the academy tend to want to put a blog to a name and I use a pseudonym. So I feel a bit lost and it is making me not want to write.

Going to the Bloggers Blog Awards was such a good experience. I loved meeting other bloggers and everyone was so friendly, yet it didn’t leave me inspired, more frustrated with my lack of committment to my blog.

What does this mean for the Lisabeth Westwood blog? I’m not sure yet but I’m not ready to quit. I guess just watch this space.

My Lazy Saturday Photo Diary

I have been a busy bee over the past few weeks! The academic year is well under way and I’m teaching (!) so I’ve been a bit lax on the blogging front. So rather than not posting, I thought I’d do a bit of a photo diary of my Saturday.

9amLisabeth Westwood coffee

My day began, as all my Saturdays do, with a cup of black filter coffee in bed. I like to chill out with a coffee and a book to ease my way into the day.

10amLisabeth Westwood coffee tshirt

I then got up, ready, and dressed. I love this t-shirt, my friend David bought it for me years ago but it does mean that lots of people stare at your chest trying to read it!

fullsizerender-10

I went for pretty minimal make up. Look at the state of the blusher – I think I’ll have to invest in some new stuff soon!

10.30am

I had decided that I wanted to have a cooking marathon so I settled down with my cookbooks to find some recipes to try. This beef dish looked so great and pretty easy but I ended up being boring and making spaghetti and meatballs instead!

11am

Having seen the state of my make up earlier I decided to treat myself. I headed to Superdrug picking up the MicroEyeliner and a lipstick in 05 from Rimmel – it is a lovely dark pink shade with a hint of shimmer. And I got a translucent powder for £1. Being a PhD student I don’t often get to buy make-up so I got over excited and swatched pretty much every lipstick they had on my hand.

12pm

The recipe I had chosen for lunch came from the Meatless Mondays cookbook which has LOADS of recipe ideas. They tend to be more indulgent side than the Madeline Shaw but I found a recipe for Tuscan bean soup. Doesn’t look very good but it tasted delicious!

1.30pm

Lisabeth Westwood

Then it was Bake Off time. I love it when they do the historical episodes so I chilled out with some cookies and a cuppa. That show is proper comfort watching, it just makes me happy.

2.30pm

Lisabeth Westwood

I got given loads of books when one of my friends left Leeds and they are all easy-going, romance-y type novels. So I picked one of those up and huddled down on my sofa for a good couple of hours reading.

4pm

Lisabeth Westwood work

But then…I had to work 😦

6pm

After I did a couple of hours work , I called the boyfriend and watched 10 Things I Hate About You. The soundtrack to that film is pure 90s perfection and I have a bit of an obsession with Julia Stiles’ films like Save the Last Dance.

My day was not exciting but that is honestly what I do on a weekend by myself. I usually save up all the fun stuff for when my boyfriend is visiting but I do enjoy staying at home reading and making lots of food.

 

My Day at the Bloggers Blog Awards

So my first blogger event was the Bloggers Blog Award on Saturday 1st October!

I was very nervous as I wasn’t going with anybody and I had never met a blogger in real life before but it was SUCH a good day. The awards were organised by Hayley at Tea Party Beauty and she did an amazing job! Everything ran so well and was a lot of fun so props to Hayley!

The day started off in a very relaxed way. I read a book and had a coffee in bed until it was time to get ready. I wore a Zara tartan dress and my favourite black leather boots from Office: it was nice to get dressed up for a change! My weekends tend to be more of stay at home, make loads of food, and watch TV kind of days so I was so excited to be out and about.

The awards took place in Canal Mills in Leeds so it was super convenient for me. I felt a little bit guilty because some people had come from hundreds of miles away and I had just popped in a taxi. The venue was really cool and there was tons of space, and they seem to do lots of different events there so I’ll definitely check it out again.

Lisabeth Westwood bloggers blog awards

When I got there, we had a couple of hours to grab some drinks and mingle. That was the bit I was the most nervous about as I had to just go up and chat to strangers but everyone was so nice! I met loads of amazing bloggers who were so interesting, wrote really cool blogs, and lots of them were there by themselves too so we ended up making little groups. As I write under a pseudonym, it was quite weird to have to introduce myself by my blog and real name! I met lots of really friendly and welcoming people but big thanks to Arash, Amy, and Becky for chatting to me when I was all alone!

The awards themselves were great: well done to all the people who were nominated and those who won! I took the opportunity to shove a cupcake in my face without anyone seeing me – it was lemony and delicious. I managed to not get buttercream on my nose or cake in my hair: winning at life.cupcake-wine

After the awards were over, it was time to do some more chatting and then draw the raffle. I didn’t win anything and there were so many good prizes 😦 I’m so envious of the person that won the Urban Decay lipstick case, I would have never had to buy a lipstick again!

raffle.jpg

Not my lucky numbers

The event came to an end and a bunch of us went to the Belgrave Music Hall for burgers and a beer. I had such a great day and evening – it was totally non-scary and I will definitely be heading to some more bloggers events in the future and next year’s awards!

 

I’m an Auntie!

In the early hours of Sunday morning, I became an auntie for the first time.

I have an older sister and for years neither of us were keen to start a family. But, all that changed this January when she announced that she was expecting! She had a little baby girl who came right on time and is the smallest, sweetest thing in the whole world. Am I a tad biased? Absolutely.

My sister and her boyfriend live in Brighton which is a long, LONG way from Leeds but I wasn’t going to miss the chance to meet the little one. So, I coughed up a hideous amount of money for a day return and spent 9 hours of yesterday on a train but it was totally worth it for my first cuddle.

I’d never held a new-born before and she is so tiny that I was afraid of hurting her. But I got used to it and we had lots of cuddles without her making any fuss. I can’t wait to visit in a few weeks with my boyfriend who is similarly unfamiliar with children and I can pretend to be all knowledgable.

When I was a child, I didn’t have much to do with my aunts and uncles. They either weren’t around very much or had their own grandchildren to look after. I don’t want that to be this case with my little niece: I’ll be the one dragging her round castles and trying to teach her French and Latin.

I wish I could show you all photos but her parents want to keep her off the internet so you’ll have to take my word that she is insanely cute. Can’t really believe it, I have a niece!!!!

Lisabeth Westwood graduation freshers

How to Survive Freshers’ Week

8 years ago today I moved to university and my life changed forever.

That sounds pretty dramatic and it wasn’t a change that happened over night but going to university was a big deal for me and my family.

I loved university. All of it. The best bit was making loads of new friends and gaining independence and all of that started in Freshers’ Week. Freshers is a scary time: you have moved somewhere new, you might be away from your family for the first time, or anxious about making new friends. But it was, for me at least, a wonderful experience.

Lisabeth westwood freshers

This was just as I was moving into my room. It was messy already!

Moving day isn’t just big for you

My parents drove me down to university for the first time. It was a four hour drive and then they helped me unload and move into my student halls. What I really regret though is getting them to leave as soon as I was settled in. I’m sure it upset my mother, even if she has never mentioned it. We all knew I did it because I was excited to start my new life but I didn’t think about how my parents were feeling with their youngest child leaving home. So I’m not saying make your family stay with you all day long but don’t forget that their lives will be changing too.

Introduce Yourself

I was so nervous to meet my new flatmates. I had found most of them on FaceBook beforehand so I knew their names and their degree subjects but that didn’t make it less scary to say hello. Everyone feels that way too! So just bite the bullet and knock on a few doors. My mum had brought me some biscuits and a bottle of wine so I had something to share with people and make it less awkward, and it really worked! I lived in a flat with 8 people and some of them have turned out to be – so far – lifelong friends.

That First Night Out

The first day (and Freshers more generally) can be overwhelming with all the new people and events going on. I decided to throw myself into it and my flatmates immediately decided to join a pub crawl that was happening that evening. Whether you drink or not, these events can be a good opportunity to meet people and explore the campus or town. I did make the mistake of not eating enough beforehand and then drinking so maybe stop by the supermarket on the way to university to pick up some pizzas or easy dinner bits.

Freshers’ Fair

Societies can be a great way to join groups and find new interests. That being said, I never actually joined any! But that doesn’t mean I didn’t go to the Freshers’ Fair and sign up to every mailing list going. I was still receiving emails from the Music Society when I graduated having never gone to a single event! Also, the fair can be a good place to score free pens, food, and vouchers.

Above All, Enjoy Yourself!

However you choose to spend your time; whether you already know people from school going or know no one; whether you are an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in the middle (that’s me!) have a wonderful time. Don’t feel pressured to do anything you aren’t comfortable doing and be yourself. My undergraduate degree was a great time in my life!

Lisabeth Westwood graduation freshers

Graduation!

Lisabeth Westwood love rouge cupcake

My Lazy Saturday and the Three Best Cafés

I like nothing better than spending a lazy Saturday drinking coffee and eating delicious food at coffee shops.

I’m lucky that there are some lovely independent cafés in my local area. Love Rouge Bakery, The Bowery, and Whites are all on the same street and all serve great food and great coffee in a relaxed environment.

Love Rouge Bakery @LoveRougeBakery

51 Otley Rd, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3AB

Lisabeth Westwood Love Rouge cafeAs the name suggests this café bakes wonderful cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and more for your delight. They also make cakes and cupcakes to order for special occasions. I go there a lot for the cake: there are a HUGE range of cupcake flavours and always a layered cake or two. But today I headed there for breakfast and it was oh so good.

I have a sweet tooth (their maple syrup and bacon pancakes are delish) but today I went for savoury waffles, poached eggs, veggie sausage, and a little dressed salad. fullsizerenderI love to go there on a weekday afternoon and settle down in one of their comfy leather sofas with a book, slice of cake, and a flat white. It has a really chilled vibe and the staff are lovely. Their hot chocolates are great to take-away on a cold, winter morning.Lisabeth Westwood love rouge cupcake

The Bowery, @theboweryarts

54 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 2AL

Lisabeth Westwood Bowery cafeThis is such a gem. It houses a gallery, shop, and a coffee shop that does lovely lunches. They even run short courses and workshops on creative writing, sewing, and drawing, amongst others.

It is a quiet and relaxed café with the best coffee in Headingley and some amazing sandwiches. The manchego and chorizo focaccia sandwich is to die for – I wish I had a photo but I always eat it as soon as it arrives.Lisabeth Westwood bowery cafeI love to buy the Sunday paper and spend a long afternoon reading and drinking so much coffee. Their range of cakes isn’t that extensive so if you want a sweet treat, then I’d recommend the Bakery instead.

Whites, @whitescafebar

9 Otley Rd, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 2UJ

Lisabeth Westwood whitesThis coffee shop/restaurant/bar is cool and is always full with such a diverse clientele. They host regular events and gigs in the evenings but their lunches are a great shout.

Their Eggs Benedict is delicious with the perfect poached eggs and their coffee is pretty decent too! I like to come here after work for a beer or a glass of wine to relax after a long day surrounded by lots of people meeting up with friends…or going on dates (they are always fun to watch!).

I’m slowly making my way through all the cafés in Leeds. Let me know if you have any amazing coffee shop recommendations for me to visit!