Monday, 17 January 2022

Me on Monday

 It was a 'getting back to normal routines' week last week.  

  • Nice easy Monday
  • childminding Tuesday 
  • and Wednesday 
  • Zumba Thursday 
  • a meal out with friends on Friday

Cheers to the weekend!

So, where does this Monday find me?  

Remember the Boxing Day that we never had the day after Christmas?  It's now rescheduled for the 30th and in an attempt to revive the Christmas spirit I'm going to get a few little gifts for everyone so a little bit of retail therapy will be going on later today.

Monday also finds me engrossed in the UK news headlines at the moment.  I don't think I have ever been so cross with the people supposedly in charge of us.  Every time you think it can't get any worse, it does.  Aargh!

Monday is on the diary for being the first day of my seriously stepping away from all those post Christmas treats that 'needed to be eaten up'.  I have my meal plans ready for each day and will be trying hard not to supplement all the healthy food with chocolate delights.  I did say 'trying' to - there's never any guarantees 😉

Come back next week and see how successful I was!


Monday, 10 January 2022

10 on the 10th

 Today I'm joining in with 10 on the 10th, hosted by Leslie.

This month's collection is 10 prayers, wishes, hopes and goals for the next year.  I'm not good with New Year Resolutions so maybe this will be a better way of thinking about things I would like to see happen in 2022.

  • It goes without saying that first on the list is my hope that my family and friends all stay safe and well in the coming year
  • I intend to speedily return to my per-Christmas weight; having Paul in isolation meant we were indoors for 10 days with too much chocolate covered temptation
  • I am hoping that we can get to go to different places each month, even if it isn't far away, it would be good to find 12 new places to visit
  • Our son gifted us a voucher for a hotel website and my goal is to find somewhere to go for a night away hopefully sometime around my birthday in March
  • Last year we did a lot of socialising in the month before Christmas and then nothing in December - it was all or nothing! This year I intend to make sure we go out for one meal a month even if it is just lunch out in a pub.  Obviously this will not help my second comment ...
  • This year we plan to replace the flooring in our conservatory.  This has been on the 'to do' list for the last two years.  It HAS to happen in 2022
  • I really hope that we will get to go overseas on holiday this year - we used to go away at least twice a year before 'you know what' changed everything 
  • I desperately hope that this year we find a way to live with this virus in a way which allows us all, but in particular the young, to live our lives to the full, to socialise and learn in a more relaxed way
  • Over the last few months I feel like I have lost something in my blogging, so my goal for that is to find a bit of momentum to make better blog posts
  • Lastly, I would like to challenge myself to read a little more.  I'm not sure I could manage two books a month, but maybe 18 over the year?  I probably ought to investigate the Good Reads website.  Would I find anyone I know on there?
So that is my ten.  I actually found this harder than I thought I would!  I'll be interested to see what other people choose for their 10 on the 10th.

Sunday, 9 January 2022

One Photo - Twenty Words


Christmas was two weeks ago, so I shouldn't have been surprised to see that Tesco was already selling Easter eggs 😬

Monday, 3 January 2022

What I've been reading - the December edition

 Are you the kind of person who likes to escape for a while with a good book?  I find that I have to read at least one chapter of a book before I turn off the light to go to sleep and I know how much I appreciate book recommendations so thought I would start to note down books that I read each month too.

The book that our book club chose for December was quite expensive to purchase even on Kindle (I guess that means it had only just been published in the UK) so I went rogue and chose my own December read.

I wanted a book that would be a nice easy read and the book I chose was One Day in December by Josie Silver

 It follows the story of Laurie, who looks out of the window of a bus and catches the eye of a man at the bus stop.  She feels a real connection with him but then the bus drives away and she spends months hoping that she will see him again.  (at this point I wondered if this was going to be 'my kind of book' or if it was just going to be a romance story with a predictable happy ever after storyline)  Later that year, her best friend Sarah introduces her to her new boyfriend with whom she has fallen in love.  Laurie cannot believe it when it turns out to be the man from the bus stop.  She's desperately upset because as she gets to know him through Sarah it seems that he was the kind of man that she had imagined for so many months.  Of course she can't say anything to Sarah, and it seems that Jack doesn't remember their brief encounter.  

The story takes you through ten years of friendship, love and loss.  It was easy to read and I couldn't wait to read 'just one chapter more' each night to see how it would all end.  I was not disappointed.


The next book was I Know What You've Done by Dorothy Koomson.  

Imagine opening your front door to find one of your neighbours on the doorstep, who has been violently attacked and who thrusts a book into your hands just before collapsing claiming that 'I know what you've done'.  That's how the book starts.  After the ambulance has taken Priscilla to hospital, Rae is shocked to find that the book is actually a journal of information that Priscilla has been compiling about all her neighbours.  She knows that she really should hand the book to the police, but in flicking through the pages she sees her husband's name and decides to hold onto it and discover what secrets have been written down.  And it seems that everyone in the street has something to hide!  But, will the person who tried to silence Priscilla now try to silence Rea?  Let's just say that you don't know what goes on behind closed doors, and who knows what secrets your neighbours may be keeping! I really enjoyed this book and was kept guessing right up until the end.

So those are the books that I ended the year with and our book club has already chosen January's book.  It was the one I voted for so hopefully it will be a good one.  

Watch this space!

Friday, 31 December 2021

A sentence a day in December

I hardly dare wonder what December has in store for us this year, fingers crossed that this year our Christmas will go ahead as planned but last year taught us that you should never assume.  Let's see shall we?

Day 1 Had Max here for the day he is very 'into' Paw Patrol and PJ Masks and luckily his cousin Leo has given me a lot of his toys that he doesn't play with any more - Max is one happy little boy! 

Day 2 Zumba!  Paul went into London to meet up with some old work colleagues but said that it felt very different there since all the covid restrictions were put in place, a few of his old 'haunts' have closed now.

Day 3 Lunch out with our friends at a pub close to where Jon lives, we didn't realise but he and Sophie were there too with their friends but in a different part of the pub, he noticed us just as they were leaving!

Day 4 Put up our decorations, Jon and Max came to visit in the afternoon, then we baby sat Daisy while Rachel took Leo and Rosie to Leo's drama class show

Day 5 Rachel and family came for Sunday lunch, kids are full of pre-Christmas excitement

Day 6 A productive day - overseas mail sent, postage stamps bought and ticked a few more presents of the 'to buy' list - all from local shops (I am trying really hard to shop local this year and avoid Amazon at all costs!)

Day 7 Had Rosie here for the day, she kindly posted the few cards that I have written into the post box for me - which made the people sitting outside the little cafe opposite the post box smile as she insisted on doing them one at a time!

Day 8 Max came for the day, we went into town to buy him some winter boots and instead of us taking him home, his mum came and collected him in the afternoon which meant I got an unexpected cuddle with Olive.

Day 9 A bit of a 'self care' day today, Zumba in the morning and a hair cut and colour in the afternoon

Day 10 Went to my favourite Thai restaurant, The Giggling Squid, for lunch with two ex-work colleagues - delicious!

Day 11 Busy day prepping food for Paul's birthday meal tomorrow then an evening out to celebrate the 30th birthday of a friend's daughter - I was a bit hesitant about going but decided to go a little late and leave early to try and minimise any risk.  They had asked everyone to take tests before they went so hopefully they did, we tried to keep our distance from people as best we could!

Day 12 Paul's birthday - 64!  Had an absolutely lovely day with all the family here, it felt like the Christmas we were denied last year

Day 13 Made some sausage rolls to freeze - why is that something I only think to do at Christmas? Went into town to collect a delivery from a local store, Coco had her pre-Christmas groom

Day 14 Rosie was here for the day, she was in an artistic frame of mind today and we have got through many sheets of drawing paper

Day 15 Max's turn to be here today - our last childminding day for him of the year as he has big plans to see Santa next Wednesday

Day 16 Last Zumba of the year - was good fun and nice to dress up with a bit of Christmas colour and sparkle to get in a party mood

Day 17 Tackled some Christmas wrapping - every year I say I will do a little at a time and every year I don't!

Day 18 Wrapping is done!  What a sense of achievement - babysat Leo and Rosie in the evening while Rachel and James went out for a meal.

Day 19 Rachel and Jon both got to have their booster vaccinations!  Looked after Daisy while Rachel and family went to visit Santa in his grotto.

Day 20 I've been saying for ages that Paul's hearing is deteriorating and today he had a hearing test.  Started constructing a gingerbread house for the children to decorate tomorrow.

Day 21 Leo and Rosie were here today in happy pre-Christmas spirits - we decorated a gingerbread house, played Christmas bingo, and watched Shrek, it's so lovely to see how excited they are

Day 22 My sister and brother in law came over this morning - none of us are great Christmas fruit cake lovers but my mum always used to make a cherry and almond ring cake at Christmastime so I decided to make that as a substitute to have with our coffee.

Day 23 Popped over to Jon's to deliver our Christmas gifts - Max's excitement level is growing by the minute.

Day 24 Collected turkey in the morning, started a jigsaw in the afternoon and went to Rachel's for Christmas Eve supper

Day 25 Christmas Day at Rachel's - what a lovely day we had!  It more than made up for the disappointment of last year.

Day 26 Boxing Day - ended up being a walk in the woods with Jon and family (after negative tests) rather than a family get together in their house as Rachel and Rosie tested positive for Covid in the morning

Day 27 What a difference a day makes - Paul tested positive this morning, but I am still negative, he'll be sleeping in the spare room tonight!

Day 28 James and Leo tested positive today, it's not looking good for me is it?  Still negative at the moment.

Day 29 Went into town to have a quick look in the shops to see if I could find any bargains - came home with a new sweater :-)  Still negative!

Day 30 Realised that we do not have enough lateral flow tests for me to test for another 6 days and also for Paul to test from his day 6 onwards - managed to track down a pharmacy that had some, seems there is a bit of a shortage locally! Still negative.

Day 31 Still negative!  Jon and Max came over to help take Coco out for a walk in the afternoon - I think it may have been a little bit of an excuse to give Mummy and Olive a bit of peace and quiet!

So, not only another month over, but another year!  It's been quite an eventful one and we could dwell on the bad bits but I'll concentrate on the happy times.  Birthday celebrations, a holiday, Jon's house move, the arrival of baby Olive and family get togethers.  We have much to look back and be thankful for!  But oh, wouldn't it be lovely if 2022 was a little bit more 'normal' than 2021 was?

Ready for the 1 Second a Day video clip?

So not only the end of another month but another year! 
Wishing everyone health and happiness in 2022 - Happy New Year!  

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Wednesday, 29 December 2021

The unwanted Christmas gift

 You know what's coming don't you?  

But before we get to that, let's concentrate on the lovely Christmas Day that we had with Rachel and her family!  It more than made up for last year and we had such a lovely fun time with them.  

The plan was for us all to go round to Jon's the following day, negative tests permitting.  I anxiously watched ours first thing in the morning, then happily let them know we were negative.  However ... Rachel and Rosie had tested positive so that immediately changed our plans as they had to go into isolation.  After a bit of discussion about whether or not it was safe for us still to go, we decided that we would still go over to see Jon and his family, not to go indoors at all but go for a walk through their local woods instead.

Which turned out to be a very sensible decision as guess what?  The following day Paul tested positive! So did James and Leo!  Government rules say that we had to test daily for 10 days as we had been in contact with Rachel, and that is the only way we found out as he had no symptoms whatsoever.  

So he is now in isolation, and I am still testing daily but let's be honest, it must surely only be a matter of time if five out of the six of us are now positive!  Fortunately, it seems to be affecting them mildly.  The children are bright as buttons and full of energy, the adults just seem to have mild cold symptoms.  Coco is very confused as to why it is only me doing the walking duties and she'll be even more confused if we have to start relying on friends and neighbours to step in when/if I succumb!

I'm not sure what is making me more anxious at the moment, taking my daily lateral flow or thinking about getting on the scales to see how much damage all my extra chocolate intake has done!

Saturday, 18 December 2021

A year of reading

 There is nothing like a good book!  Something to take your mind off the news, a place to escape.  I belong to the online book club organised by Leslie - you can also find it on Facebook under the name Come Read With Me.  I am so pleased that I discovered it as it has encouraged me to read books which I would never have picked out for myself.  Do you find that you find a 'type' of book you enjoy and then keep going back for more of the same?  Well I have to say that my reading list has become much more varied than usual and I'd like to share with you a little buffet of ten books that I read and enjoyed this year, just in case you fancy dipping your toe into finding something new.

  • Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well by Mary Kay Andrews  Such a lovely story!  You go through all the emotions with this one.  The Eudora we meet in the first chapter is quite different to the one that we see in the last.  Who would think that an elderly lady, and several others, would have her life transformed by the quirky young girl who moves in next door.  If you fancy something a bit different, please give this one a go!
  • The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate.   This is set in Louisiana in 1875 and 1987 and based on the 'Lost Friends' advertisements in newspapers from freed slaves searching for their loved ones.  This book opened my eyes to a period of history I knew little about.
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.   Now you have to use your imagination in this one!  Nora is deeply unhappy and finds herself in the Midnight Library at midnight on the last day of her life.  Here she has the chance to pick out books based on things that have happened in her past and magically try out other lives she could have lived.  We all have times in our past where you wonder 'what if I'd made a different decision?' and Nora gets the chance to explore this.
  • The Four Winds by Kirstin Hannah. This is set in Texas in 1934.  The story of Elsa Martinelli and her journey to try and support her family after a natural disaster ruins life on the family farm.  She leaves in search of a better life in California but finds herself amongst thousands of others.  Her strength in surviving all that life throws at her is inspiring.
  • The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth.  The story of twins, Fern and Rose.  Fern likes routine, she doesn't like change, she avoids crowds and Rose has always taken care of her.  But Rose discovers that she is unable to have a baby, so Fern can only think of one way she can repay Rose for all that she has done for her in the past.  However, is Rose the thoughtful sister we have been led to believe?  At what point does caring for someone become controlling?
  • The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict.  The true story of a black woman who has to pass as white in order to become J P Morgan's personal librarian and help him curate his collection of rare books and paintings for the Pierpoint Morgan Library.  I really enjoyed this book.
  • Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney To be honest, at first I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this one.  But I am so pleased I kept reading because I did get a bit of a surprise at the end!  It seemed a bit far fetched to believe someone would believe that they have mysteriously won a weekend away in a remote location but that part is necessary for the rest of the story.  I knew nothing about the condition of 'face blindness' but it is totally relevant to the storyline.
  • You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry. The story of Poppy and Adam and their tradition of going on holiday together once a year despite taking a dislike to each other when they first meet 12 years ago.  Over the years their relationship changes, and then 2 years ago it all went horribly wrong.  Can one last holiday mend everything?
  • What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriaty  Imagine falling off an exercise bike at the gym, waking up in hospital and finding that you have forgotten the last ten years of your life.  Not only that, but the person who you appear to have become is nothing like the person you were 10 years ago.  Could remembering how she used to be give her the impetus to change how she has become?
  • The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews.  This was our last book club read.  It was short and sweet and I can imagine it being turned into a short Christmas film.  Lots of feel good vibes and even if it was a little predictable, it was a feel good read and perfect for pre-Christmas reading.
So that's my list!  Not all were book club reads, some were recommendations I picked up along the way.  I've tried to share a varied subject matter and trying to choose ten has made me realise just how many books I read this year!