Monday, 18 September 2017

The signs are there

It's coming.  The clues are all around us.  On entering our local Tesco at the weekend, we immediately saw a mountain of selection tins of chocolates - begging us to take them home.  What is it about selection tins that you don't think of at other times of year?  They are a sure sign that Christmas is (according the the shops) on its way. 

 Of course with 2 tins on offer for £7 we kindly liberated a couple of tins and have given them a good home.  Hidden away in the spare bedroom to keep us away from temptation.  Because I know that the minute that seal is opened, just one little chocolate covered fudge will never be enough and I'll be back in Tesco buying more.  Those damn marketing people know me so well ...

So what else has happened since we last met? Well, I  did get going on the binding on the quilt.  It's not quite finished because as soon as I pick it up to do the hand stitching in the evenings and lay it on my lap, Coco appears, jumps up and makes herself comfortable on it.


The growth mindset sentence of the week at work is

"Embrace challenge; persist in the face of setbacks.”

My greatest challenge this weekend?  It was the first Fitsteps exercise class of the new term after 6 weeks summer break.  Turns out going for long dog walks doesn't keep you quite as fit as a full on dance class.  Setbacks?  Could not remember any of the routines all the way through so ended up facing in the wrong direction more than once.  But persistence pays off and we all ended the class on a high note.

Have a good week!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Time for change

It feels like summer has packed its bags and vacated its room ready for autumn to take up residence.  In fact, it feels like autumn has turned up early and has been told to go and find a seat somewhere, have a drink and wait until everything is ready for it.  I know that in England we can sometimes have all four seasons in the space of 24 hours, but it really does feel autumnal these days.  Autumn needs to look in its diary and realise that it isn't officially expected for another couple of weeks!

Sunday was a prime example - we woke up to fog, I spent at least an hour wondering if I could get away with surreptitiously putting the heating back on, then the sun broke through and all was well again.  It's hard to know what to wear at this time of year isn't it?  I'm having a wardrobe crisis at the moment which is not being helped by Facebook.  Those who use the app will know that every morning it shows you a post from that day at some point in the past.  This date 5 years ago, 7 years ago etc.  The main thing I notice from this is that I am still wearing the same clothes now that I was then - I had suspected it was time to make room in my wardrobe for a few new bits and there's the proof!  I don't know whether or not the imminent arrival of my 60th birthday next year is linked in any way but I'm determined to update my style a bit.  I've started following a couple of new 'fashion for the over 50s' blogs and Instagram feeds for inspiration and am on a mission to keep up to date.  We've had a few new shops open in town, we already had Fat Face and White Stuff and I have to be honest and say that my wardrobe is top heavy with things I've bought from them over the last few years.  Then Joules opened its doors and a few striped sweatshirts joined the wardrobe along with some of their lovely colourful scarves.  Hot on Joules' heels was Mint Velvet, not a label I'd bought before but as if fate was sending me a message my niece got a part time job there and I had the perfect excuse for going in for a browse.  It coincided with their end of summer sale which also coincided with me buying a pair of trousers and a top.   Time for a proper wardrobe stock take I think.

So, what else has been going on?  Well, back in the spring I started making a new quilt - this weekend I finally got around to putting all the layers together.
Just need to get around to making some binding to edge it all off nicely and it'll be ready for those autumn evenings.

What's the most embarrassing thing that happened to me this week?  I was quite literally floored by a blueberry.  It was the first full week back at work and we always have a fire drill first week of term.  One of the jobs that the secretaries have to do in a fire drill is to take all the registers out to the field to make sure that all students are accounted for.  I bundled a pile of registers into a bag and went out the door of the office.  Next thing I knew I was falling down, knee first, followed by wrist and bent fingers.  Crashed out on the floor in front of tens, no make that hundreds, of students in the main corridor.  The good news was that I had the perfect excuse to stay in the warm, dry office instead of hanging around in the chilly air over at the school sports field.  Bad news was I had a seriously bruised hand which swelled ominously at the base of my fingers where I had bent them back as I hit the deck.  It was kind of ironic that this meant that on the following day which was our wedding anniversary, I couldn't get my wedding ring on - it was the first time ever in 37 years that I hadn't been able to wear my ring!  Once the corridor was quiet and empty I went out to see what I had slipped on and there it was, a very squished blueberry - who'd have thought such an innocent fruit could cause so much pain!

Just before I go I wanted to share something with you, something to think about as we start a new week.  Our school is very keen on students learning Positive Mindset.  We have many motivational messages posted around the school like 'if plans A and B didn't work, the alphabet has 24 other letters in it' - I think it's a great idea, teaching people how to turn a negative into a positive, sometimes the best way to learn something is to make a few mistakes along the way, the important thing is not to give up.  So we have a weekly statement and I thought it may be nice to share them with you, sometimes it's just something to make you stop and think about for a minute.  This week's offering is 

“Your effort and attitude determine everything.”

So with that in mind, I'm going to get those scissors out, cut up that binding, sew it on the quilt and get that project finished!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Is this what normal is?

I know you'll find this hard to believe, but we didn't have a wedding this weekend.  Who'd have thought?  It was a normal weekend.  Doing normal things.  Like the 'big weekly shop' and having Paul's mum over for Sunday lunch.  Ironing.  Lots of ironing because apparently the ironing fairies don't pop in and help you out when you're busy doing other things.  How mean of them!  

So what else happened this week?  Well, after his early party on Monday, Leo's birthday was on Tuesday.  Where has that year gone?  Oh my goodness, they say that time flies as you get older and it's certainly true.  Or maybe it's just that a heck of a lot has been crammed into these last 12 months?  

Jon and Sophie went off on their honeymoon Tuesday - they've always gone for the budget option on holidays up to now.  Camping, hostels, air bnb, inter railing etc.  They've had some fabulous times and experiences but have never really treated themselves to a bit of luxury.  So they are making up for lost time by going to a very swish hotel in Bali.  I don't think they have ever stayed somewhere that sculpts your towels into swans when you come back from dinner, or turn back the bed covers.  Certainly they've never had a private villa with its own pool.  I've been tracking their Instagram adventures and it looks like they are well and truly making the most of their time there and really experiencing the environment.  There have been photos of temples and statues, processions, forests and rice fields.  Not to mention monkeys and trying the delights of coffee made with beans which have passed through mongoose.  That last one made me shudder a little bit, but Jon does love to try the local delicacies and most of all, unusual coffees!

Wednesday was spent doing my childminding duties for that little one year old rascal.  It wasn't very nice weather so all my normal ploys to get him to have a little sleep - long walks in the buggy - couldn't be put into place so it was a long day!  In the evening I went to a farewell dinner with my workmates to say goodbye to the person who used to be my boss at work.  I'd said to Paul as I left that I doubted I'd be very long, but then we all got talking, and laughing and remembering funny things that had happened in the office over the years and I finally arrived home just before midnight.

Then back to work on Friday for a training day.  I was not looking forward to it until the teacher in charge of Food Technology sent me a Facebook message to tell me that she was making lemon curd muffins to bring in for break.  My absolute favourite.  Suddenly things didn't seem too bad.  

Whilst it has been amazing to have such a busy and exciting time over the summer, I do have to say that  'normal' is feeling quite good.  And just as I've got used to normal, it'll be time for a little Italian adventure at the end of the month!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

What a weekend!

We certainly can't say that this summer has been uneventful over here in Deb's World.  Last week I shared photos of the legal part of our son's wedding - this week I can share photos of the celebration that they held for family and friends.  There was a Mexican theme to this one (they are not the most conventional of couples!) and Sophie's mum managed to track down a Mariachi band and arranged for them to come onto the dance floor after Jon and Sophie had done the official wedding 'first dance'.  They had absolutely no idea what was coming and these photos capture the total shock on their faces as the band came into the marquee

After getting everyone up on the dance floor to some absolute classic sounds, they took the party outside to entertain those who were sitting on hay bales.  I don't think many people can say they have experienced being serenaded by a mariachi band with the sun setting behind them - what memories!

And of course there would be no traditional wedding cake - they had a multi coloured jelly 'cake' (can't begin to explain the concerns about removing jellies from moulds onto a glass display stand in the heat)

Can you believe that we had such brilliant weather for both weddings?  Oh my goodness, England does not have a good reputation for reliable summer sunshine and we have had a particularly bad spell of weather this month but we were so lucky.

You'd have thought that was enough celebrating for one weekend wouldn't you?  Oh no, we still had a birthday party to go to.  A day early as his first birthday is actually today but as it was a Bank Holiday weekend, it seemed the perfect time to wish Leo a very happy birthday.
His mum made him a beautiful cake
And after spending hours making it and moulding that lovely lion for the centre piece - his first reaction was to pull off the lion's head and eat it.

Jon and Sophie popped in to say hello before going home to pack for their honeymoon and were desperate for him to open their present a day early.  It was a play tunnel that connected onto a pop up tent.  He loved it.


I can see him having a lot of fun in there!


So that's it - all the celebrations over, what a 12 months it has been!  I think it's now time to let life settle and get back to normal - although I can't quite remember what 'normal' feels like!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Wedding number two

What's better than a wedding in the family?

Two weddings in the family!

Our son got married on Saturday in the first of two celebrations.  This one was the legal ceremony

 

that was held at Clissold House which is very close to where they live in London.  It was a lovely ceremony and, as you can see, the bride and groom were amazingly happy and smiley all day!  We went on for a fab lunch in Hackney and it really was a wonderful day.  I feel so incredibly fortunate to know that both my 'kids' have found partners who fit so well into our family and make them so happy.

The best bit about the wedding?  The fact that we get to do it all over again next week!  That's when the marquee celebration for all friends and family will be there.  The land it is on isn't licensed for weddings - hence the legal ceremony at a registry office this weekend.  So Paul was roped in (excuse the pun) to put up the structure yesterday as it has to have time for guy ropes and poles to be adjusted to make sure it doesn't collapse while we are all having our dinner!  But please don't imagine a typical romantic styled wedding marquee with white canvas and twinkly lights - that's so not them, oh no, this is more a festival feel location - fancy wedding chairs?  Forget that and picture hay bales covered in quilts.  Oh, and did I mention the Mexican theme?  Remember me stressing about making Rachel's wedding cake and being thankful I wasn't going to be responsible for Jon's?  Well I have just been talked into helping out with it - only this time it isn't actually made of cake ... watch this space!  They are both quite unconventional and the day is going to be quite unlike your normal wedding party.  

Which seems a good point at which to end this blog post as, according to my to-do list for today, I have a piƱata to fill with sweets.






Monday, 7 August 2017

Through the keyhole

Remember that tv show where they showed you round the inside of someone's house and you had to guess who lived there?  Well, as I typed 'what does a hornet look like' into a well known search engine, I wondered what people would think of me if they just looked at my recent search history.  Trust me, it is completely random! 

Why was I looking for hornets? (although I was not really looking for them, we suspected we had one in our conservatory) My husband is not bothered by any flying insects.  I, on the other hand, am a wasp magnet and they will find me wherever I happen to be, and no amount of flapping around with my arms will get rid of them.  Apparently, this is lesson one in the how to avoid wasps manual.  Flapping gets them all riled up and makes you more attractive to their vicious little stinging machines.  'Just ignore it, it will go away' says the husband.  'Easier said than done' I yell as I run off in the opposite direction.  He calmly stays where he is, waits for the stripy enemy to land and with a flick of the thumb and middle finger, swats it into submission.  So, when he appeared perplexed by an unwanted visitor in the conservatory last night, I knew it was time to really worry.  He's never phased by anything like that so when he said, close the door and don't let Coco out here, I knew it was more than just a wasp.  It was still there this morning, twitching it's stripy body and flickering its wings.  Once we had formally identified it (neither of us like to kill any insect and prefer to simply re-home them elsewhere) the step ladder and rolled up newspaper was moved into position and a few minutes later we were hornet-less.  Now we can all relax.

Talking of ladders, last night I was also looking for this


It's known at the 'milk ladder' and is a method for introducing milk into a baby's diet when milk intolerance is suspected.  At the end of last year, Leo was failing to put on weight and certain evidence in the nappy department (I won't go into details, some people may be reading this while eating their breakfast) suggested he had either allergies or intolerances to something that Rachel was eating which was coming through in her milk.  The likely culprits were either egg, milk or soya so she's been on a restricted diet and he's come on in leaps and bounds.  About 3 months ago they had to challenge the egg aspect and give him some cake which had cooked egg in it.  He had a bad reaction, so much so that he now has an epipen just in case he is accidentally given something that has egg in it.  She's introduced soya into her diet and that hasn't had any bad effects. The next thing to challenge was milk and he's started on a 12 step programme to introduce egg.  First thing is malted milk biscuits (which he loved) then digestive biscuits (which he loved) and tomorrow he can try mini muffins or cupcakes so I've been searching for egg free recipes.  If there is anyone out there who know of a good recipe, let me know!  

Another recent search was for this
Rachel had a couple of hydrangea heads in her wedding bouquet which led me to eye up the shrub we have in our garden but I wasn't sure if we would ruin the plant by cutting some to bring indoors.  Some flowers prefer to be left where nature intended.  Fortunately, all seems ok and I love the way these look in the dining room.

Other recent searches include Lyme disease (hypochondriac in me suspected a random insect bite on husband's leg) Wedding readings (R is doing a reading at J's wedding and still hasn't decide which one to do) Online take away menu for our local Thai restaurant, (friends came over on Saturday night) Lightroom tutorials (just downloaded the programme on the computer and tendonitis exercises.  This gives an impression of a limping, hungry, health worried, speech giver who plans to take pictures of her dinner at her son's wedding.  What does your history say about you?   


Thursday, 3 August 2017

There under false pretences

I did something I never thought I would have to do yesterday, which resulted in a shopping trip today to buy something I wouldn't normally buy.  Yesterday I found myself ringing up a local physiotherapy practice to book in for a ...

Sports therapy massage.

Yes.  Me. The most un-sporty person I know.  Turns out the sports masseur is on holiday but before I had chance to put the phone down, I found myself being booked in with an osteopath.  That morning.

On arrival I thought I was bound to be discovered as a fraud and marched out with a 'you've never seen the inside of a sports hall, go on, be off with you' but I meekly took my clipboard with questionnaire attached to it, rated my pain between 0 and 10 and circled an outline of a body to show where it hurt.  

Before the ink from my signature was dry I was called into the treatment room and asked to describe why I was there.  I wasn't limping, bleeding or bandaged and there was no obvious injury on show.  Because, in my unprofessional opinion, I am suffering with 'flip flop ankle'.  Happens from time to time when I'm on holiday and living in flip flops all the time or if I've been walking the dog in flat soled shoes with no cushioning in the foot.  A lady I work with snapped her achilles tendon a couple of years ago and I wondered if that was preceded by an incident of flip flop ankle so thought I should get it checked out as I cannot get out of bed without ouches, groans, limps and moaning about excruciating pain.  After an hour or so of walking around it goes completely but apparently this can be a bit annoying, so I was marched (delicately) to the physio. 

Now, it hadn't crossed my mind that the examination may include looking in depth at my feet and I'm not a great one for having my feet touched - especially by strangers.  I felt ridiculously proud to be told that I had 'good arches' only to then be told that he could feel a real tightening of the muscles there which may mean plantar fasciitis is about to start.  That sounded much worse than flip flop ankle.  Further examination of my calf confirmed that the muscles which lead to the achilles from there are really tight too and he wanted to concentrate on deep tissue massage there.  Whilst doing that he mentioned that he also liked to include acupuncture in treatment as it speeded up healing and was good for pain relief.  Would I be willing to have a few needles put in, just for a minute.  My brain screamed 'no' but my mouth said something along the lines of 'if you think it will help, then that's fine'.  Stupid mouth, it should wait for the brain to catch up sometimes.  A 'few' apparently means two rows of three down each calf and four around the edge of the achilles tendon.  TEN.  On each leg.  Well, the thinking about it was worth than the actual doing it and a minute isn't that long is it?  

So I'm trying not to wear completely flat, uncushioned soles but obviously need something suitable for walking other than my tatty 10 year old trainers so today I've been out to buy some smarter lightweight trainers.


 

They are extremely comfortable, with memory foam insoles and it's like walking on a springy mattress.  Let's hope my ankles appreciate them.  We're off to Rome in September and there's a lot of walking to be done, I need to be fixed by then.  It'd be awful if I had to be seated in a bar somewhere for a couple of hours every lunchtime while my feet recovered wouldn't it?