Monday, 10 December 2018

Me on Monday

The one in which my husband almost ages 6 years overnight

Well, we finally got the tree up and today's Me on Monday looks a bit like this

We had a busy weekend which ended up with an early birthday celebration for my husband. Our son came over and so did our daughter and her family coming out for their first 'proper' outing with baby Rosie.  

The birthday boy got to choose the menu so I cooked lasagne, garlic bread, caprese salad with avocado, and red onion, baby tomatoes, olive and red pepper salad.  Choice of two desserts: panettone bread and butter pudding and apple tarte tatin with ice cream.  Not to mention cake.  I was doing so well, everyone enjoyed dinner and mid afternoon we had a coffee and the obligatory birthday cake with the traditional song followed by the blowing out of the candles.  I had bought two candles, one number 6 and one number 1.  Only I hadn't.  I had bought one number 6 and one number 7.  Ooops!  A slight alteration helped by a sharp knife cutting off the end of the 7 and the proper age was reinstated!  

After an exhausting week helping out with baby Rosie and that little rascal of a big brother, I was so looking forward to going out on Friday evening.  A new restaurant has opened up in town and they were having a special pre-opening evening.  Tickets were available via an email 'lucky dip' and we were lucky enough to get an invitation.  It is a Thai restaurant called the Giggling Squid.  There was much wine to drink and so many samples of their starter/canape menu.  All for free!  The food was fabulous, my favourite was the salt and pepper squid with sweet chilli sauce.  Or was it the chicken satay sticks?  Or maybe the duck rolls with hoi sin sauce?  Don't make me choose - it was all lovely!

Saturday was spent putting up the tree and getting back on top of all the things I've been neglecting while I've been round at Rachel's.  We decided that as I had been busy in the kitchen preparing for the Sunday birthday lunch I had earned a night off in the kitchen and we had an Indian takeaway.  I have definitely eaten well in the last three days and may have to be a little more cautious over the next week, bearing in mind all the Christmas over indulging that is just around the corner.

So what does this week hold?  Well it is the pre-school Christmas party this morning so I am anticipating much glittery craftiness and maybe a special snack table of tasty treats for anyone under the age of 3.  This is Leo's last session in Tree Tots, after Christmas he will be going there on his own rather than have mummy/nanny staying with him.  I wonder how that will go down?  It's another 'first' for them to tick off his growing up list.  Seems hardly any time at all since I was dropping his mum off for that first solo visit. How 30 years can fly! 

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

November - a sentence a day

When you come downstairs in the morning and see that the roof of the conservatory looks like this
you can tell there has been a heavy frost overnight!  

Welcome to November

Day 1 What a wet and miserable start to a new month, definitely a day for staying wrapped up warm indoors

Day 2 Actually started to make plans for meeting up with friends before Christmas - our friends who moved to Belgium 7 years ago will be back so our 'old' routine of a group get together can be reinstated this year!

Day 3 'Children', partners and grandchild all dropped in early afternoon, friends over for a meal in the evening - busy, busy day.

Day 4 No rest for the wicked - family Sunday lunch!

Day 5 Guy Fawkes night - although most people had their firework displays over the weekend - we had a very unhappy dog who did not like all the bangs and crashes.

Day 6 Leo had an appointment at the allergy clinic and the consultant thinks that the skin prick tests shows that maybe his allergy to eggs is reducing - Fingers crossed.

Day 7 I know it isn't exciting but it's a job I've been putting off for ages so probably needs recording - I defrosted my chest freezer - now feeling very virtuous!

Day 8 Met up with the girls I used to work with - I miss the girls but not the office politics!

Day 9 Another day, another meet up with old workmates, this time for morning coffee with people who left about 4 years ago.

Day 10 Curry night - our friends have just returned from a 'round the world' trip; their photographs were fabulous - it was clearly a trip of a lifetime.

Day 11 Remembrance Sunday, fortunately the torrential rain stopped and the sun came out in time for all the memorial services all over the country - went to see Bohemian Rhapsody in our local cinema in the evening.

Day 12 Paul has been going through his wardrobe and sorted out a lot of things he no longer wears so we popped into town in the morning to drop four bags of clothing at a charity shop then treated ourselves to lunch out at a local tea shop.

Day 13 Felt in a baking mood this morning so got the cake tins out and made a chocolate sponge cake with jam and vanilla butter cream in the middle.

Day 14 Went with R to take Leo for his blood test, he didn't even flinch when they inserted the needle, what a brave boy 💙

Day 15 A day to catch up on my chores and do a bit of internet Christmas shopping.

Day 16 Treated myself to a manicure - the last one had stayed looking lovely for 5 weeks, the girl at our local salon does the best gel manicures.

Day 17 Have ticked a few more to do things off my leading up to Christmas list - cards are now bought, I got them from a 'pop up' charity shop where 100% of the proceeds will go to the charities rather than buy from a high street shop where only a small amount goes to the actual charity.

Day 18 Preparing myself for the next few days - stocking food cupboards with things a 2 year old will enjoy!

Day 19 Day went by in a blur, can't remember what went on!

Day 20 My little house guest arrived for his stay at nanny's while his mum goes into hospital to have his baby sister.

Day 21 Baby Rosie arrived safely!

Day 22 Took Leo to meet his little sister, fortunately he seemed very impressed.

Day 23 Rosie and her mum came home from hospital - we returned Leo to his family. (In the interests of full disclosure, a bottle of wine was opened within minutes of returning home to a quiet house!)

Day 24 Caught up on all the things I should have done while we had Leo staying here.

Day 25 Our first Sunday on our own for months - seemed slightly weird just setting the table for two!

Day 26 Ordered my Christmas turkey from the butcher, had my normal dilemma about the size I need and came home wondering if 7 - 8kg will be enough; it happens every year and we've never yet run out of turkey by the end of Boxing Day.

Day 27 Popped into town to do a little bit of Christmas shopping; I'm trying to buy more from local independent shops this year if possible.

Day 28 Hairdressers for a cut and colour, came out feeling years younger - they say having grandchildren keep you young - they lied 😉

Day 29 Went to a different Zumba class to my normal Tuesday one - why is it that getting myself out of the house to go to an exercise class is such an effort?  I know when I get there  I will thoroughly enjoy it so it shouldn't feel like a chore.

Day 30 Actually wrote my Christmas cards - now I just need to wrap my gifts that are going overseas and go to the Post Office to buy the stamps; am trying so hard to be organised this year!

Farewell November ... time to start the Christmas countdown

Monday, 3 December 2018

Me on Monday

Let's start with Me on Saturday shall we?

If you ever hear me thinking about having a perm, please remind me of this photo!  

We went to a murder mystery dinner on Saturday and to add to the fun, we decided to dress up a bit.  The story was set in a theatre and so we embraced our inner 'luvvies' and dressed a little more flamboyantly than we normally would!  It was such a fun evening, none of us guessed who the murderer was although my character was under suspicion for much of the dinner.  

Anyway, the wig is off, my hair is washed and styled normally and Monday sees me in jeans and trainers scrabbling around on the floor of the local pre-school group with my little partner in crime, Leo.  His mummy is far from being fit enough to join in the fun (12 days after having a caesarean!) so I am doing the honours.  It's going to be a busy week trying to help out now my son in law has to go back to work.  R can't drive for six weeks, even if she felt able to, so there will be much going back and forth helping out with getting Leo to and from the childminder and taking him to pre school and his 'wiggle wiggle' song class.  I have a feeling I'm going to be very tired by the end of the week!  Fortunately we have had an invitation to a new Thai restaurant which is opening in town this weekend.  So we will be off to 'The Giggling Squid' on Friday evening and I think I'll have earned a nice glass of something chilled and food that someone else has cooked!

I am trying hard to be organised for Christmas in between all the helping out.  Cards are now written, I have a lot of presents bought, turkey is ordered and I have about half a dozen list of things to do and when to do them.  And in the midst of all that, Paul has a birthday next week!  

Me on Monday afternoon will not be so smiley - I have a dentist appointment and yes, I know it is just for a check up but that won't stop me fretting about it.  Send positive thoughts my way - please!  

Monday, 26 November 2018

Me on Monday

The physically and mentally exhausted edition

Well, what a difference a week makes!  Baby Rosie arrived as planned on Wednesday and we are all of the same opinion that she is absolutely gorgeous (we may be a little biased). 👶

They were discharged from hospital on Friday afternoon and are now at home getting used to the dynamics of their new little family.  I've found myself uttering comments that are the kind of thing my mum would have said, and the sentences start with 'when I had you, they kept me in for five days' and I do honestly feel that after a caesarean, 48 hours in hospital is a little too short a stay.    

Leo was definitely missing his mum and dad and was so excited to see them again.  We ended up having him to stay for four days and after dropping him back off at his home, we just collapsed in armchairs - toddler watching is hard work!  I've been doing various bits of shopping for them so they don't have to venture out and dropped off a full roast dinner at lunchtime so that they didn't have to worry about cooking.  R's husband has this week off work and will be doing all the running around - he has the delights of pre-school today and will be taking part in his first 'wiggle wiggle' class on Friday.  I think he's just beginning to realise that staying home looking after a small child is harder work than he thought!

Little Rosie arrived weighing just 5lb 4oz so is only just filling out the 'tiny baby' sized clothes but hopefully she will catch up - let's not forget, she shouldn't really be born for another 3 weeks!  Today while Leo and his dad are at pre-school I am going to keep Rachel company as Rosie was born with 'tongue tie' (so was Leo, so it wasn't a big surprise) and a midwife is coming to snip it to help her feed better.  

People have mentioned sharing a photo but I'm a bit nervous about sharing something on my blog as anyone could see it but I have shared a picture this morning on Instagram.  My account there is private but if you would like to see it, send me a friend request and I'll add you to my list.  I'm there with the name debs14 - it'd be nice to be friends with you over there as well as here!


Meanwhile it is now just a month until Christmas and I'm realising that, like Father Christmas, I need to start making lists.  Please tell me that I'm not the only one who hasn't really done much shopping at all yet!  I have one friend who'd bought all her presents by the end of October!  We have a family tradition that we don't put our tree up until the weekend nearest my husband's birthday so I have 2 weeks to start thinking about that - when do you decorate your house?

Saturday, 24 November 2018

She's here!

I meant to come and pass on the good news earlier but a certain young man has been staying here and there hasn't been a spare moment!

Our little Grandaughter, Rosie, was born on Wednesday, weighing a tiny 5lb 4oz and already the image of her big brother.  

Let me tell you, Wednesday morning seemed to go on forever; I couldn't settle to anything and must have checked my phone a million times.  There was a slight hitch to start with, the hospital had not ordered in a match for R's blood (she has an unusual antibody so they had to be prepared in case she needed a transfusion) so instead of being first on the list she had to wait.  But it was worth waiting for and at 11.31 she was holding her baby daughter for the first time!  

Mum and baby came home yesterday afternoon and we reunited Leo with his family once they had settled in.  I think he was really missing them, although it's nice to be with nanny and grandad, it's not the same as being with mummy and daddy! Not to mention your little baby sister.

I will wait until I have been given the ok to share some photos, but can assure you that she is gorgeous.  Yes, I am biased but when I asked Leo what he thought of his sister after we took him to visit them, he proudly announced 'She's gorgeous nanny, gorgeous' so it must be true!

Monday, 19 November 2018

Me on Monday

The 'Feeling kind of anxious' edition.

I don't think I've been this anxious on a Monday for many a month.  By the end of this week, our 2nd grandchild will be born.  

It feels like this has been the longest pregnancy on record - it certainly hasn't been straightforward.  A couple of months ago my daughter developed a condition called cholestasis which means her bile acids have risen and that can be very dangerous to the baby especially towards the end of pregnancy.  They deliver baby between 37 and 38 weeks ideally and she has known for a while it would be by caesarean.  She has a date booked but if she goes into natural labour or if baby shows signs of distress, it could be any day before that.  

All very stressful especially for someone who is of an anxious disposition at the best of times!  I am living on tenterhooks and every time I see her name flash up on my phone I think 'this is it!' and I am ready for my little house guest to arrive for his sleep over.  

So please keep us in your thoughts this week and I'll leave you with a photo of the only person in the house who is remaining cool, calm and collected.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Tasty Tuesday

It is a universal truth that when you have a lot on your mind and dozens of things to do, the best form of therapy is to take half an hour off and do some baking.

Can I interest anyone in a slice of chocolate cake with jam and buttercream filling?

Monday, 12 November 2018

Me on Monday

These Mondays are coming round really quickly at the moment!  

Hopefully this Monday night will be less stressful for poor old Coco than last Monday was.  As it was Guy Fawkes Night there were still fireworks going on somewhere close to us.  We were downstairs and she was just pacing up and down and staring at me with a really sad expression on her face, so even though it was only 8pm we headed upstairs to the bedroom to watch tv there and she spent the whole time laying on the top of the bed on my lap.

So apart from the embarrassment of the car park fiasco I mentioned in my last post 😳 what else did last week hold?  A couple of get togethers with people I used to work with.  One at the local pub with the group of girls who I worked with in the office and one morning coffee with two people I worked with about 4 years ago.  Both get togethers were fun, and showed me how quickly life can move on.  I caught up with all the news and office gossip in the pub but it was very different not being part of that scene on a daily basis.  It made me realise that I do miss the people but not the work and office politics!  The other get together was very different as they had left years ago and so we didn't discuss the school at all, but caught up on the news of what we are all doing now.

Last night we went to see Bohemian Rhapsody at our local cinema - it was SO good!  Of course it meant that I had the song 'Don't stop me now' in my brain all the way home but that's not such a bad thing!  If you like the music of Queen you really should go and see it.  

That's my advice for the day and now I need to tackle todays boring job - shredding what feels like 10 year's worth of old receipts and invoices - that's the trouble with 'tidying up the study' you find all manner of stuff that you don't need but daren't just put in the bin.  Are we overcautious do you think or are you a 'shredder' too?  I'm giving myself incentive by saying that after 5 mins of shredding I can do 5 mins of blog reading, that's a reasonable challenge isn't it?

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Midweek madness

I am officially losing the plot.  Seriously.  Midlife madness maybe? 

The week started off well.  Popped over to Chelmsford on Monday to look for ideas for birthday gifts for my husband - had a successful trip and was home in time to look after Leo while his mummy went for her monitoring at the hospital.

Tuesday I agreed to go with Leo and his mummy to the hospital as Leo had an appointment at the allergy clinic.  Parking is a nightmare at the hospital, and worse at the moment as they have building works going on which are taking up some spaces there.  So the plan was that I would drive and if we couldn't find anywhere on site to park I would drop them off and then drive into town to park in the shopping centre car park.  No parking places at the hospital so we implemented Plan B.  I parked the car and rushed back to the hospital to meet up with them.  We ended up being there quite a while as the consultant ran some skin prick tests which needed 15 minutes to develop and then a second consultation.  We left the hospital and walked to the shopping centre.

We got back to the car and I realised that the parking exit fee machine was on a different level to that which I was parked on.  I left Rachel to strap Leo in the car seat and put the buggy in the boot of the car while I went up to the next level to pay the exit fee.  So far so good.

The machine rejected the ticket that was issued when I arrived.  I thought maybe I'd put it in upside down so turned it over and tried again.  Still got an error message and the machine returned the ticket.  Tried inserting it again - machine rejected it.  How frustrating.  So I pressed the intercom button to speak to someone somewhere in the depths of the car park and the guy asked me what time I arrived.  I looked at the ticket and said 09.32.  He told me to insert £1 payment and then he did something that made the machine issue me an exit ticket and all was well.  

But something was niggling at the back of my mind.  The ticket I had been issued on arrival didn't look quite like the one on the instruction details on the machine, it had no black strip down the back of it.  Obviously it had been misprinted when it was issued.  

We got home and still something was puzzling me.  And then I realised what an idiotic thing I had done.  Oh the embarrassment.  You see, I couldn't have arrived at 09.32 because Leo's appointment was at 10.20 and we didn't leave home until about 9.35. And the reason I had parked on my own was because by 10.15 we were still looking for a space in the hospital car park.  I couldn't have been issued a ticket at 09.32.  No, the reason the machine rejected my ticket was because ...

... it was the one that was issued by the car park in Chelmsford the day before.

We've all heard of baby brain haven't we?  Well, let me tell you that it would appear that Nanny brain is a thing too!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Me on Monday

The 'where did that weekend go?' edition.

I feel I've been chasing my tail this weekend and am off for a bit of retail therapy in Chelmsford once I've pressed the 'publish' button today.

I had relaxed plans for Saturday, we were having friends over for a casual supper in the evening so I had made the lasagne on Friday night ready to reheat, a simple red onion and tomato salad to go with it, and a selection of breads.  All I had to do was make a lemon meringue pie for dessert in the morning.  

My husband was out in the morning - he does volunteer work over the Country Park that is behind where we live and it had been chosen to be part of the Queens Commonwealth Canopy campaign.  It was quite a big deal for the park to be acknowledged so the great and the good of the local area went for the official tree planting and the 'Friends' volunteers were also invited to be involved in the ceremony.  When he got back I had a text from my son to say he was popping over in an hour.  Then my daughter rang to say that as this was probably the last time she'd be able to see her brother before the new baby arrived, they would pop in too.  Then a text to say 'do you have anything we can have for lunch'. It was obvious this wasn't going to be a quick visit and I was thankful I was so organised in advance.  Everyone arrived and then my son in law got a message to say his dad had been taken ill while on a short break in Suffolk.  It sounded serious so he quickly left to go up to be with his mum.  This obviously meant that my daughter was now without a car.  Which inevitably resulted in her staying all afternoon, having a quick dinner, getting Leo bathed and ready for bed here and then me driving her back home an hour before our friends arrived.  So my nice relaxed, organised day went totally off script and I was only just showered and changed in time to put dinner in the oven to heat before our friends arrived.  I am never going to think I have everything under control again - fate will always conspire against me! 

So - my daughter has the date for her baby now and I'm not going to share that date anywhere for exactly the same reasons mentioned in that last sentence!  However, I can say that it is within the next three weeks - watch this space.  

We had a very scared Coco here on Friday night - I've never seen her like that before.  We have a cricket field almost next to our house and they were having their annual Fireworks Night.  Only this year they had moved where they were letting the fireworks off and it was right near the boundary rather than on the opposite side near the park.  It honestly sounded like it was happening in our front garden.  Poor old Coco ran upstairs and was cowering under the desk in the study.  Hopefully there will be nothing that loud or prolonged on the actual Guy Fawkes Night tonight.

Anyone else feeling like this at the moment ?

Many thanks to Snapchat for reading my mind.  I feel like I'm spending too much time thinking about all the things I want to get done and not enough time actually ticking anything off the list.  One thing I've been talking about doing for ages and constantly finding a reason not to do it is to defrost the chest freezer in the utility room.  There.  I've put it out into cyberspace now.  You all know it's got to be done.  So now I can't get away with not doing it this week.  But I don't think there'll be time today ... 

Saturday, 3 November 2018

October - One sentence at a time

October - it's the month where you have to admit that autumn is here.  Frost on the grass in the mornings, central heating kicking in, snuggling under a quilt to watch the tv in the evenings and cooking lots of comfort food.  
Day 1  A trip to Hobbycraft for a small length of fabric ended up with a bit of early Christmas shopping in a totally different shop.

Day 2 A neighbour came round for a cup of tea and we had a crafting afternoon - great fun.

Day 3 Met up with a couple of old school friends in the evening for a fantastic Indian meal - time flies when the three of us get together!

Day 4 Our little munchkin was here again today

Day 5 Finished the blanket I've been making for Leo out of an off cut of fabric that my neighbour gave to me.

Day 6 Decorating a few more doors - it seems never ending but the end is in sight.

Day 7 Everyone here for Sunday lunch

Day 8 Made the soup that I'm going to be sharing in Leslie's blog hop

Day 9 Went to The Pantaloon's production of As You Like It - I never knew Shakespeare could be so funny, this theatre company are amazing, I had tears of laughter running down my face at times.

Day 10 Hair cut day - always feels so nice to be neat and tidy again!

Day 11 Looking after Leo today

Day 12 Decided to treat myself to a luxury manicure - boy have I been neglecting my nails

Day 13 Evening at our friends sharing an Indian takeaway and maybe a little too much wine.

Day 14 Invited out for Sunday lunch (this never normally happens, I'm usually the one in the kitchen!)

Day 15 As my daughter had a growth scan this morning I was given the pleasure of accompanying Leo to his pre-school group - needless to say I was the oldest person in the room!

Day 16 After an exhausting hour of Zumba the tiniest bit of decorating was done

Day 17 Went to the funeral of my Auntie Brenda.

Day 18 Went into town with Leo, did my weekly shop, (plus a bit of unexpected sales shopping)  then an afternoon in the park feeding the ducks.

Day 19 Very happy to discover that the green in the top that I bought yesterday perfectly matches the green of the trousers I bought recently

Day 20 Cracking on with the decorating, all neutral walls painted and now onto the end wall which we are painting a much darker colour.  (excuse patchiness, this was the first coat and I'm thinking it may need three to get a good finish)

Day 21 Sunday routine resumes with 91 year old mother in law, daughter and family here.

Day 22 Took Leo to pre school as they were going on a nature walk and his 33 week pregnant mummy did not feel up to chasing him around the woods while picking up leaves and sticks.

Day 23 Our very scruffy looking dog went for her 6 weekly groom and came home looking pristinely white and tidy - that won't last long!

Day 24 Last bit of decorating done, new lampshades in place and I can't tell you how pleased I am to have this finished.

Day 25 Day started at 1am when I woke feeling awful, everything hurt, I was hot then cold, mind galloping along at 100 mph; not the best way to feel on the day I am looking after Leo.

Day 26 Woke feeling much better, must have been a 24 hour virus - or something I picked up from those little darlings at pre-school!

Day 27 Met up with friends in the evening for a meal in a traditional old countryside pub - made a nice change from eating in a restaurant, a wood fire burning in the bar and a friendly relaxed atmosphere (my husband would also add 'unusual local ales on tap' but I was happy with my Hendricks Gin & Tonic)

Day 28 Clocks went back an hour so in theory we had an extra hour's sleep - only no-one told Coco and she appeared in our room at her normal time - I guess it isn't just parents of small children that don't get to appreciate the extra hour!

Day 29 A catching up on housework day 

Day 30 Halloween themed Zumba today, ended up with a mix of looks - Skeleton legs, cat eye mask and witches hat - must put more thought into it next year!

Day 31 And so another month bites the dust - happy halloween!

This month I am following the rules (didn't realise I was posting on a different day to everyone else, nor was I adding the link - doh!) so please join in or check out the blogs of the others who are jotting down their daily diaries this way!

Monday, 29 October 2018

Me on Monday

Oh I'm in a dilemma this Monday.

I only have 24 hours to sort myself out something to wear for a Halloween themed Zumba class tomorrow.  I thought I was sorted.  I'm not really a fancy dress kind of person so didn't have anything to hand.  But when I was shopping last week, I had a look through some accessories and picked up a couple of things.  

Exhibit A

A witches hat headband.  Nothing too exciting there eh?

And then my 'seemed like a good idea at the time purchase'. Let me know when you notice the big mistake.

Exhibit B

Skeleton leg tights.  I thought I could wear one of my husband's black t shirts to wear with them.  They do look fun when they are on but first mistake I noticed was that for Zumba I obviously have to wear dance trainers.  Which will totally cover up the bones of the foot which is the most interesting part of the tights.  Then the most potentially embarrassing mistake is that these are tights.  Not leggings.  And not even very opaque tights once you put them on.  So when I reach up and the t shirt moves up with me, whoever has the misfortune to be in the row behind me will have a grandstand view of {ahem} my behind.  And no one wants that I can assure you.  So, how do I fix this?  Do I wear leggings under the tights to obscure any unfortunate views?  Can I even get the tights on if I'm already wearing leggings?  Should I start the class barefoot so people can at least see I have some novelty tights on rather than just a pair with silver stripes down the front?  Help!

So what else does this week hold?  Well, tomorrow my daughter will be given the date that they will deliver her baby - that seems so weird.  I had a planned C section with my son and remember being booked in for 5 March and driving home feeling very strange that I actually knew the exact date.  They still haven't decided on a name which is crazy because they've known since 20 weeks that they are having a girl, it shouldn't take that long to come up with something surely!  Any suggestions?  

Right, time for me to get to grips with those skeleton legs, I think it's time to take a pair of scissors to them and see if I can unpick the toe seam and then just pull them further up the leg so the toe bones show above my trainers.  Sounds like a plan ... watch this space ... 

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Tasty Tuesday - A souper blog hop

No doubt about it, there is something very comforting about a steaming hot bowl of homemade soup, especially if you're feeling under the weather or if the weather has taken a turn for the worse.  Leslie has organised a blog hop for people (Did you arrive here from Lysha's blog?  If so - hello and welcome to my blog!) to share super soup recipes now that Autumn is here - so this is my contribution.

I have a few favourite recipes but thought I would choose something that people may not have tried before.  I must admit that this recipe comes from my friend Julia; she invited me for lunch one day and when she told me what we were having I was a bit dubious but pleasantly surprised!  This recipe is for 

Courgette Soup 
aka Zucchini Soup 
(for those on the other side of the Atlantic!)

Now bear with me as I know it doesn't sound very exotic and maybe a bit underwhelming but please give me the benefit of the doubt - it's easy to make, doesn't cost much, cooks quickly and tastes delicious.  Are you ready?

What do you need?

2 medium sized courgettes
2 small onion or 1 large one
1 clove garlic 
1 small potato 
about 1/2 litre of either chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper
Cheese - grated 

How do you make it?

  • Chop onion and slice courgette, make stock with boiling water
  • Fry onion until soft and translucent 
  • Add courgette and crushed garlic 
  • Peel and chop potato into small cubes
  • Add to pan along with stock
  • Simmer for about 20 mins.  Have a coffee, read a chapter of a book, browse the internet while you are waiting.
  • Blitz the mixture until it is smooth, if you think it needs a bit more liquid add some boiling water until it is the consistency you like.
  • Season generously with salt and black pepper.
  • Pour into bowl, with a large handful of grated cheese on top (I use Cheddar or Gruyere)

It is pure comfort food and while you'd think courgette soup would be a bit bland, the skins of the courgettes give it a lovely peppery taste.  And as the cheese melts into it - oh yum!  I like to eat mine with a hunk of sourdough bread or a crusty roll.

Please do follow the links to learn some new soups - rumour has it that the cold weather is returning this weekend so I think the timing of this blog hop has been perfect!

Monday, 22 October 2018

Me on a Monday

And this Monday I'm going on a bear hunt.  Or so I've been told.

So once again I've been talked into going to pre-school today.  I'm too soft for my own good - I'm sure Grandads are allowed to go, maybe we could take turns?  

Why am I going in Leo's mummy's place?  Because this week they are going on a nature hunt which could, apparently, turn into re-enactment of the story 'We're going on a bear hunt'.  Dress code - wellington boots and coats. Accessories - bag to fill up with leaves and twigs.  Environment prediction - muddy.  Now why on earth wouldn't a 33 week pregnant woman wouldn't want to go on this trip?  All the slippery, squelchy mud with accompanying slip hazard, the constant bending down to pick up leaves and sticks, the possibility of having to suddenly run after a wayward 2 year old who goes off in pursuit of a squirrel ... I can't imagine why she asked me to go in her place 😉

Still, at least it will get me away from the decorating for a couple of hours eh?  I've been wittering on about the landing project for weeks now and finally we have not only started it, but almost finished it.

The walls are very neutral and we just have the contrast dark blue wall at the end which needs one final coat.  We're then planning to reupholster the chair that is usually in the corner to give the whole area a focal point.  

Right, my partner in crime will soon be dropped off, I've got my wellies and bag ready 
Wish me luck!

Monday, 15 October 2018

Me on a Monday

I'm actually writing this post on Sunday as I know I'm not going to have much time to myself on Monday.

You know by now that the person using up much of my free time at the moment is a certain young munchkin called Leo.  Well, Leo's mum has two hospital appointments on Monday which will take up much of the morning so guess who has been invited to accompany Leo to his pre-school morning? Nanny Deb.  Must remember to wear appropriate clothing that is suitable for sitting on the floor and a bit of messy play (not my normal Monday wardrobe)

So last week you saw me trying to understand the plot of a Shakespearean play.  I didn't have high hopes for it bearing in mind it was being performed in a school hall (not always the most atmospheric of places) and it was not one of the plays I ever studied at school so I wasn't totally sure of the story.  Well, thank goodness I was wearing waterproof mascara because I honestly had tears of laughter rolling down my face at times!  It was so good.  The cast were brilliant and added in just the right amount of modern drama and improvisation.  If you ever come across The Pantaloons I would really recommend you see a performance.  I think their next shows will be A Christmas Carol and we probably all know the storyline of that one!

Last week I took a little time out for myself in between all the Leo time and had a much needed hair cut and colour and then a manicure.  I don't often have a manicure but I am so pleased that I did, I think my own well being has been taking a bit of a back seat recently and I needed a little bit of pampering.  It's very easy to overlook yourself when you are busy taking care of others.

It was unusual for me not to be in the kitchen serving up Sunday Lunch to four generations of family this week.  Our daughter in law had to work this weekend so our son rang and asked if we'd fancy going over to their house and he'd cook lunch.  Well, I did not have to think twice over that one - yes please!  

Will we ever progress with the decorating of the landing?  Who knows?  Now I've got gloriously manicured nails I can't see me doing much without the aid of a pair of rubber gloves so it's down to my husband to get his hands dirty now.  We have the paint.  We have the brushes/rollers/masking tape.  We just need to have some time when there isn't a little two year old running around trying to 'help'.

We also need the enthusiasm.  I had some spare time yesterday when in all honesty I could possibly have painted another skirting board but instead I got out the sewing machine, chopped up some fabric and made a little bag for Leo to keep his random treasures in.  All those bits and bobs that are essential to take out with you when you are two.  A conker, a Thomas the Tank Engine, a car, crayon, ball ... When he knows we are about to go out, he goes round gathering up all little things to take with him.  And then drops them one by one when we walk to the car.  Now he has a bag to put them in.  (And I still have unpainted skirting boards!)

Have a good Monday!

Monday, 8 October 2018

Me on Monday

You'll find me this Monday morning doing what I did 45 years ago, desperately trying to do my homework before a lesson the next day.

For all the world's a stage and the men and women merely players. 

Or so William Shakespeare tells us.  And this week the stage in question is the one at the school where I used to work.  The Head of Drama also runs a performance company called The Pantaloons that is putting on a comedy Shakespearean production of 'As You Like It' to raise funds for new equipment in the drama studio so I thought I would channel my inner A Level English Literature student and get a ticket.  But although I read many a Shakespearean play in my school years, this is one I never had to study so I'm having to do a bit of background reading/homework.  (We once had a wonderful teacher in about the second year who told us that if we ever found William Shakespeare a bit intimidating, to just think of him as Billy Waggledagger.  A silly anecdote but one which sticks in my mind!) 

After a bit of culture I did some more painting on our upstairs landing.  Only one door frame and a few bits of skirting board left and then we can actually do the fun bit - painting the walls a different colour!

Last week involved a lot of babysitting for Leo while his mum went to the hospital for monitoring - every time he's here I'm reminded that I'm not as young as I used to be!

I started this blog post with memories of my school days and that's how it will end too.  One of the highlights of last week was a meal out with a couple of old school friends.  We've known each other since we were 11 - which is very scarily almost 50 years ago 😱 It was so good to meet up with them, we try and get together about 4 times a year and as soon as we get chatting the years fade away and it's as if we were back in our old needlework classroom gossiping away.  It is good to make new friends throughout your life, but just as good to keep those lifelong friends close too.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

A Sentence a Day for September

Ah, September.   At the beginning of the month you found me in sunny Southwold - oh how I love that town.  But let's not jump ahead.  What does September mean to me? Well ...

Not only is it one of my favourite Earth Wind and Fire Songs ...


... but the month in which I got married in 1980.  Before you do the maths, yes looking back on it, I was very young!  But back then, we were just the average age, how times change eh?

So, what did September 2018 hold in store for me?


Day 1 Bags out, clothes sorted, all packed and ready to go for our long weekend in Suffolk

Day 2 Drove to Orford, for our first Airbnb adventure - the accommodation was absolutely lovely, stopped off on the way at Waldringfield for a delicious Sunday lunch at the local pub. 

Day 3 Visited Southwold in the morning, coffee and cake on the pier then travelled down the coast a little to Aldeburgh for the compulsory fish and chips out of a bag sitting by the sea wall.

Day 4 A leisurely journey back home stopping at Woodbridge on the way - all in all, our first weekend away with Coco was a great success, now where should we go next?

Day 5 The lady who owned the studio in which we stayed had left delicious homemade cake for us and inspired by this I checked out her blog when I got home and found a recipe for lemon and poppyseed cake - next thing you know - tah dah!!!

Day 6 Our 38th wedding anniversary - wow that sounds a long time ago, who am I kidding is WAS a long time ago!

Day 7 After a day of doing a few diy jobs over at our daughter's house {helping prepare for Leo moving into his big boy bedroom} we had friends over in the evening which was the perfect excuse to crack open my 'souvenir' from our weekend away.

Absolutely delicious served with ice, lime, fresh raspberries and a sprig of mint

Day 8 A day of tidying up the study which had become a bit neglected (my husband cannot be trusted to keep on top of filing paperwork, that in tray was overflowing - not any more!)

Day 9 A traditional roast lamb for dinner followed by apple pie kind of day; added to two dog walks and a lot of knitting.  

Day 10 Over-enthusiasm resulted in a secateur related accident in the garden which curtailed my front garden pruning ... for today - in the words of Arnie "I'll be back"

Day 11 A meal out with friends I used to work with about 8 years ago, how time flies when you have lots of news to catch up on {healthy eating intentions went out the window when I found myself ordering the cinnamon dusted mini doughnuts with warm chocolate and salted caramel dipping sauces 🍩}

Day 12 The follow up optician appointment shows that the patch of 'dry eye' that I had has gone - that warm eye pad must have worked a treat.

Day 13 The gardener has arrived to dig up our front lawn to replace it with new turf - we had a very excited young grandson come to inspect the digger.

Day 14 Front garden all re-turfed and looking tidy again - now let's try and keep it that way!

Day 15 Went out for a Tapas lunch - so delicious 

Day 16 Family here for Sunday lunch, love having everyone here for dinner even if it does mean a lot of cooking.

Day 17 Decorating at my daughter's house - even though I was working on my own I managed to get the whole nursery done.

Day 18 Despite having had a full body work out yesterday I still managed to get to my Zumba class and survived the whole hour.

Day 19 A productive day sorting and tidying around the house, not the most exciting way to spend a day but it felt good to have those jobs we've been putting off all done and dusted.

Day 20 Our day for having our grandson - he loves collecting conkers when we go out for a dog walk so if the 'old wives tale' that they deter spiders is true, we will be a spider free zone for the rest of the winter! 

Day 21 Fitted wooden blinds to our bedroom window - it's a bay window and it's 2 metres wide so definitely a two 'man' job - followed by a fab meal out to celebrate a friend's birthday.

Day 22 Our daughter has been diagnosed with Cholestasis caused by the pregnancy and will need 3 hospital visits a week from now on to monitor the baby and have extra blood tests; a hospital visit this morning confirmed that the baby will be delivered early at 37 weeks so our new grand baby will be here sooner than we expected.

Day 23 Four generations round the dinner table today with ages ranging from 91 👵 to 2 👶

Day 24 A sunny day trip to Cambridge today; it's my favourite place, I love the history and atmosphere of the town.

Day 25 Woke up with a very bruised ankle after stubbing my toe on the stair gate yesterday (not sure how a toe injury can show damage on your ankle!) but still managed to do an hour of Zumba class.

Day 26 Went 'scrumping' for apples and blackberries on our dog walk today

Day 27 Our day for having Leo here - his favourite game at the moment is either 'chase' - where he wants you to run around after him - and hide and seek, where he sits under a quilt in the lounge and waits for you to realise where he is!

Day 28 We had Leo here again in the afternoon while his mummy went to the hospital for blood tests and monitoring so we decided to go and feed the ducks 

(The heron didn't stay too long - an over excited dog and a small boy shouting 'feed duckies' seemed to scare him off)

Day 29 Got cracking on a blanket for the new baby - plush fabric is so soft and lovely to work on

Day 30 Popped over to our son's house in the evening - turns out they have just signed up for gym membership so he's trying to convince my husband that he needs to join him on the squash courts once a week!

Thanks to Leslie for introducing me to this fun monthly project!  Why not join in as well next month?