Monday, 14 January 2019

Me on Monday

I'm heading into the week with a fairly blank canvas and one new experience to try.  

I am also determined to do at least half an hour sewing each day if I can.  There's a new quilt underway made with some lovely Kaffe Fassett fabrics that were a Christmas present, I just have one more block sequence to sew into a square and then I can start putting it all together into a quilt

So what is the new experience?  The thing I signed up for and then instantly thought 'I'm not sure about this'?  Barre Fitness.  I have visions of tutus and pink tights, silk ballet shoes and me gliding around the floor like Dame Darcey Bussell but fear the reality may be more like the Dawn French episode of Vicar of Dibley.

The class is being led by the lady who takes my Zumba Gold class and I asked her to tell me honestly if it would be too much for an old girl like me but she assured me that I will be fine.  Also, no leotard, footless tights or ballet shoes are required. Meet me back here this time next week and we will see how it went.  There are apparently several reasons why it is good:

1. Low impact, less chance of injury
2. It is great for toned legs, trimmed arms, tightened waistlines and lifted bottoms (it'll be a miracle if that one is true!)
3. Gives you good posture and flexibility
4 You don't get sweaty

Honestly girls, you won't recognise me next week, what with all the skinny legs and arms, clothes falling off me because I've lost inches off my waist and bum.  What do you mean, 'you may have to go more than once'?

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

One photo - Twenty words

A whole day to myself! 
Time to open up my new fabrics and get started on a new sewing project.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Me on Monday

Wish me luck this morning.  It's Leo's first session at pre-school where he will be staying without Mummy or Nanny.  The only problem is that the time of his session clashes with a health visitor home visit for Rosie so his mummy can't take him.  It's going to be Nanny who leaves him there on his own.  I'm hoping it will be fine but there is nothing worse than leaving a child who is crying and insisting on going back home with you.  It will be fine.  It will be fine. That's what I need to keep telling myself!

Did you have a good weekend?  We had a very productive Saturday, dismantling Christmas and packing everything away in the loft.  Plus a sorting out of the airing cupboard.  Those Marie Kondo programmes have a lot to answer for!  (We only have one single bed nowadays, and that's now a guest bed so hardly ever used; why do I need 4 different single duvet covers?) I have tried to be ruthless/sensible about what I keep and what can be repurposed into dust sheets for when we decorate.

Sunday?  Traditional roast with all the trimmings, lamb this week, followed by jam roly poly and custard.  Perfect comfort food for cold winter days.  Rachel, James, Leo and Rosie came to join us and Leo then spent the whole afternoon going through a box of bits left over from when I did scrapbooking.  He was fascinated by the cutters and stamps, the stickers and the buttons.  And I think that he may have reached the age where we can do a bit of crafting when he comes round.  Could this mark a phased return for me to scrapbooking? 

So what does this week hold?  Well, this is the first time since Rosie was born that I have days to myself and I've no hard and fast plans.  I did have a pack of fabric for Christmas along with a pattern for an Accents Quilt and up until now I haven't even taken it out of the cellophane - I know, how restrained eh?  Wait a moment, let's get opening ...

Ta dah!  I fancied some colourings that I wouldn't normally choose so this is a lot darker than my normal fabric choices.  Now they are released from their packaging I can't wait to get going.  Paul is out for two days this week and I can be home on my own making as much mess as I want without anyone commenting on how much of the dining room I am taking up.  Or the fact there are lots of off cuts on the floor, and there's no room on the table to eat a meal ...  

Friday, 4 January 2019

Time to pack Christmas away

It's January the 4th, not quite 'Twelfth Night' but I can feel myself wanting to take down the Christmas decorations.  I love when we put them up and enjoy seeing all the lights and glitter, but I'm equally ready to pack them away once we are in the New Year.

I started watching a new series on Netflix, called 'Tidying Up with Marie Kondo'.  She's the Japanese woman who is the queen of decluttering and tidying.  My husband sat down and watched an episode with me and that resulted in us going out to buy a new shelving unit for the garage and a day of sorting and clearing by him.  Amazing how much seeing someone else's clean and tidy household can prick your conscience!

So I've decided that this is the year I address the old Christmas decorations that don't get to see the light of day but stay in a box in the loft.  The ones that have sentimental value.  I asked my husband to go up to the loft and bring down anything left up there that is Christmassy and while he was playing squash with our son I've been going through it.  There have been tears.  You see, my mum loved Christmas and her Christmas tree was her pride and joy.  She would have different colour combinations each year and every year we would go up to London and she would buy at least one new decoration for that year.  And those decorations have been in my loft since she died 20 years ago.  There are boxes within boxes and as soon as I opened it up and saw my Mum's handwriting 'Fragile, handle with care'  I felt a wave of emotion as I remembered how lovingly she would wrap each one in tissue paper to stop them tarnishing before they came out again the next year.  Sadly, despite having been in a box, some of them had broken, and some had tarnished quite badly.  So it was easy to make decisions about which to keep.

This one's a keeper

Some were decorations that the kids had made when they were little

So they were keepers too 

My mum was not a hoarder, if she knew I had held onto so many broken things or things that were well past their best she would give me a stern look and say 'Deborah,' (she was the only person to call me by my full name!)  'what are you holding onto those for?'  So I've decluttered and these rediscovered decorations will be added to my existing ones when the tree comes down tomorrow and next year they will be enjoyed rather than hidden away in the loft.

Are your decorations down yet?  Aren't our houses going to seem bare once they are all packed away?  

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Sentence a Day in December

How to sum up December with just one line a day?  Read on ...

Well when you start the month looking like this

things can only get better eh?

Day 1 - Dressed up to take part in a murder mystery dinner party - don't think I'll be booking myself in for a perm any time soon!

Day 2 - A day of recovering from the night before - having your 91 year old mother in law over for lunch is not the best way to get over a late night and a few glasses of wine.

Day 3 - My least favourite way of spending a day - appointment at the dentist and while that doesn't take all day, the most part of the morning was spent worrying about the visit - my favourite part of the day?  That conversation that started 'everything seems to be fine and healthy, nothing to do today, see you in six months for your next check up' - phew 😌

Day 4 - My one free-ish day of the week (am spending much time going back and forth to help out with my daughter and her new baby and trying to keep big brother occupied!) 

Day 5 - Baby/daughter/grandson sitting is exhausting work - big brother is very enthusiastic with his loving of his sister (not to mention a tiny bit heavy handed)

Day 6 - Zumba!  Really enjoyed the class today, I think I needed to work off some energy in a fun way before getting back into my 'mum' role of looking after everyone else.

Day 7 - New restaurant opened in town and we were lucky enough to be offered an invitation to go and try a selection of their starters for free - plus unlimited wine, the perfect end to the week!

Day 8 - Catching up on things around the house, cooking dinner in advance for tomorrow and an Indian take away in the evening watching the semi finals of Strictly Come Dancing.

Day 9 - Early birthday celebrations for Paul with family over for dinner - exactly a year ago we tried to do the same for his 60th but we had a snow blizzard, trains weren't running and roads were gridlocked so only the family who could walk round to our house were able to come, thankfully the weather was much milder this year.

Day 10 - Party morning at pre school for me and Leo, we both came home covered in glue and glitter, a good time was had by all

Day 11 - Managed to escape for a bit of Christmas shopping this morning, I'm trying hard not to do it all on the internet with the intention of supporting local shops, but time is running out!

Day 12 - Paul's birthday! Lunch out at the new Thai restaurant in town.

Day 13 - Bought myself a new silly Christmas top to wear for the Zumba Christmas party next week.

Day 14 - Wiggle Wiggled with Leo practising our Christmas moves and songs.

Day 15 - An afternoon of friends popping in for tea and mince pies followed by an evening out with 4 other couples for our annual Christmas get together.

Day 16 - A day to ourselves, time to relax, wrap presents and prepare ourselves for the week ahead.

Day 17 A trip to see Santa, it was a tight squeeze to sit in between two car seats with a large snowman toy on my lap

Day 18 The 21st anniversary of losing my mum, no matter how many years go by it's still a hard day of memories.  But we did have a nice lunch out with friends at the new Thai restaurant.

Day 19 A day of cooking dishes to freeze in advance of Christmas - the freezer is now officially full and I just have to remember that when I go food shopping, there is no more room!

Day 20 Christmas Zumba!  My new festive t shirt had it's first outing

Day 21 Another energetic day, this time in the company of a dozen excited toddlers - Wiggle Wiggle Christmas Party - Leo had an amazing time (and Nanny loved seeing him so full of fun and excitement)

Day 22 Son and Daughter in Law popped in to exchange Christmas gifts, they are hosting Christmas Day for her siblings and partners (she's one of 6 children so that is quite a crowd!) so we won't be seeing them until Boxing Day.

Day 23 Spent the evening at friends - my friend Mandy has her birthday on Christmas Day so she always celebrates a couple of days in advance.

Day 24 Collected turkey and generally got myself into a pre-Christmas tizz trying to be super organised.

Day 25   The calm before the storm ...

Day 26 Boxing Day - we had everyone here for a day of eating up leftovers, long dog walks, eating too much chocolate and playing games - 91 years between the oldest and the youngest in this photo.

Day 27 Took mother in law home, tidied house then met friends for a drink in the pub in the evening

Day 28 A quiet day, putting furniture back where it should be, restocking the fridge, vowing to eat more healthily from now on and planning a relaxing night in.

Day 29 I may be becoming slightly obsessed with the jigsaw puzzle I had for Christmas, haven't done one for years and had forgotten how much time you can spend on it.

Day 30 Sunday - almost feels like a normal weekend, except it's the last Sunday of 2018!

Day 31 New Years Eve - Indian takeaway with friends, watching the fireworks at midnight on the tv, lots of fizz to drink and didn't get to bed until gone 1.30 am 😴

So that's it for 2018 - a truly eventful year - now let's turn the page and see what 2019 has in store for us!  

Monday, 31 December 2018

Me on Monday

The last Monday of 2018!

Well, it's been an eventful, exhausting but exciting week since I last blogged.  Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a 2 year old is magical, I didn't realise just how much Leo would understand this year but boy he has embraced Christmas spirit with both hands and is was just so lovely to watch.

So my Me on Monday photo will actually be 'Me on last Tuesday' - just before our guests arrived we managed a civilised photo

Paul's mum didn't feel up to joining us on Christmas Day but we convinced her she'd feel better for going out and having some company on Boxing Day.  Plus we had the added incentive of having her meet baby Rosie for the first time.  Of course there had to be a family photo to mark the occasion.

91 years difference between the oldest and the youngest in this photo!  We were right, as soon as she saw the baby she visibly looked brighter and better.  Not to mention the fun of  watching big brother Leo running around like a whirling dervish.

I do hope that everyone had a good Christmas, it was so lovely to have everyone here together and I am incredibly thankful for the family that I am blessed with.  

So today marks the last day of the year and we will be seeing 2019 in with some friends who are coming over for a take away Indian meal accompanied by champagne for when Big Ben strikes 12.  

It's been a funny old year.  If I were on a reality tv show they would probably describe it as a rollercoaster ride!  It had some amazing highs and some devastating lows.  There was a family holiday to Center Parts in January, that big birthday in March, news of Rachel's pregnancy in April, a weekend in Bologna, retirement in May, news that our son and daughter in law were moving closer to home in June, a fabulous week at Lake Garda in July, a weekend in Suffolk in September, the stress of R's pregnancy related illness in October, Rosie's safe arrival in November and here we are at December.  

You'll notice that August is missing in that list and I hinted at problems in this post. We should have been looking forward to another grandchild in February but our daughter in law miscarried in August.  It was totally heartbreaking and was so very hard to deal with, even though statistics tell you that it happens to something like 1 in 4 women, if you are that 1 it is devastating.  

I don't want to leave this post on a low point, and as I said in that post in August, life isn't just about good things, everyone has a good old mix of fortunes, and the strength of friends and family support carries us through the bad times ready to embrace better things when that tide has turned.  

Thank you for visiting my blog this year, for your comments and support.  I'm intending to be a better blogger next year and planning to join in some new regular blog subjects so watch this space!  

Happy New Year!

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Housework dodging

My husband thought I was joking when I said I wanted a jigsaw puzzle for Christmas (and a jigsaw roll up mat to keep little toddler fingers off my hard work) but I really fancied having something that I could spend an hour or so here and there while having a coffee.

I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying putting it together!  It's been so many years since I did a jigsaw (Leo's Peppa Pig puzzle doesn't count!) This is how far I've got

And this is what it should look like when finished

The picture is a map of the United Kingdom with drawings of landmarks to show the different cities.  So it's actually a bit educational too - I have such bad geographical knowledge so I'm learning a lot about where the different landmarks are.  Who knew England had so many castles?  And they all look very similar ...

But it's so compulsive.  Did I say I wanted it to do a bit here and there whenever I walked past it on the table?  I lied.  I spent an hour non stop this morning and only had a break because it was lunchtime.

There'll be very little hoovering done over the next few days 😉