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 😉

Monday 24 December 2018

Me on Monday

The Christmas Eve edition

I bet I'm not the only person who's been searching the internet for cooking times for turkey this morning!

And yes, that is an excel spreadsheet showing exact times for everything that needs to be cooked - it seems a bit excessive but without a timetable things have been known to get horribly delayed or even worse, totally forgotten about.  You open the fridge a day or two after Christmas and find some speciality side dish you picked up in the supermarket and forgot to cook!  

So we picked this little beauty up just after 8am this morning.  We are lucky enough to have  an excellent butchers in town, he's a bit more expensive than supermarket meat but I've learnt that it is well worth every extra penny.  The turkeys are from a local farm and the quality is amazing.

We went to friends last night for their annual pre Christmas get together.  They had suggested getting there for 5pm for drinks and nibbles and we thought we'd probably be home by about 8.  We all had such a good time, I was quite surprised when I looked at my watch and saw it was 11pm!  

Today's plan is to relax and prepare for tomorrow.  I hope that everyone has a healthy and peaceful Christmas, let's try not to stress too much over cooking a perfect dinner, but enjoy time spent with those we love.  Happy Christmas!

Friday 21 December 2018

A tale of two tops

Up until a couple of years ago I had managed to avoid buying Christmas jumpers of any kind.  Then suddenly, they became a trend.  There were charity days of 'wear your Christmas jumper to work' and even Save the Children hosted an official Christmas Jumper Day.

Then I retired and I discovered that the Zumba class I now go to uses any excuse for a themed class and of course Christmas is a perfect reason!  But the jumper I bought for work wasn't quite appropriate for an hour of dancing

Can you imagine how hot you'd get in that?  I also didn't fancy buying a fancy dress elf costume to wear - although I am the right height for that kind of thing 😉. I wasn't sure what to wear for a festive hour of exercise.

Whilst shopping in Tesco last week I saw they had 25% all festive clothing and look what jumped into my trolley

Ho Ho Ho - pour the prosecco!  

Perfect!  Nice and roomy for a bit of salsa and belly dancing.  I may even wear it for a pre Christmas drink with friends at the weekend but with a nice pair of black trousers rather than Zumba leggings!

The grey jumper got an outing this morning as I took Leo to the Wiggle Wiggle Christmas party.   I've never seen him so excited - he had the time of his life.  And I burnt off as many calories trying to keep up with him as I did the day before at Zumba!

Have you succumbed to Christmas clothing this year?  There are some lovely pieces out there and I'm very tempted to buy something a little bit more classy to put away to wear next year.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Trend setting

Well who would've thought it?  I actually seem to have inadvertently bought something today that is ahead of the game.

I found myself on the Pantone Colour of the Year 2019 webpage this afternoon and was immediately taken by the colour they have chosen, Living Coral.  I also loved the colour palette that they are recommending as being on trend for the new year.

Rewind a few hours to me browsing round the shops in town.  Knowing that my mother in law will be gifting me some money for Christmas I headed for White Stuff where they have their pre Christmas 50% sale.  A few weeks ago I had bought a navy cord skirt with colourful motifs sewn into it.  

'I've got lots of things I could wear with that' I thought.  However ... once home I realised that I don't.  I have one top that goes well with it but the other things I thought of either weren't the right colour or the right length to wear with a skirt.  The motifs are bold and pastel colours don't look right for it.  I knew exactly what I was looking for.  

I had seen this top

but at £42 it seemed quite overpriced - don't you agree?  It's only made of cotton jersey, no fancy fabric.  But today with £42 crossed out and £19 written in red on the label I did not hesitate to buy it.

And now look - it is so similar to the Living Coral colour!

I have mentioned in the past that I've been trying to introduce new colours and styles to my wardrobe now I don't have to stick to an office place dress code.  I've found a few new blogs that I follow and one in particular is Jodie's Touch of Style.  She has a fun format where she takes one look and styles it between herself (over 50) her step mum (over 70) and her mum (over 80).  I've definitely been more brave in my colours and mixing and matching patterns since reading her blog.  Obviously, being based in the US some of the trends are not in our UK shops but it's good to pick out a few pointers.  There's also Gail at Is This Mutton?  It wasn't until I'd been reading her blog for a while that I realised that she lives in the next County to me - I wonder if we've ever passed in crowd and not realised?  One blog I really love and whole heartedly recommend is UK based Midlife Chic - it's so interesting, lifestyle and fashion.  Nikki has been involved in the fashion industry for years and works alongside brands whose target audience is 'midlifers'.    She gives an honest opinion of styles, tries on the clothes and shows you what they look like on a 'real woman' - if you have an interest in fashion please do head over and check them out.

Monday 17 December 2018

Me on Monday

The one where I am ready to pick up the pace for the next week

We had an unexpected day to ourselves yesterday, just Paul, me and Coco.  It couldn't have come at a better time.

We had been out the night before with four other couples for our annual Christmas get together; it was nice to wear my new glittery dress and slap on some make up.

What you can't see in this photo is how horrible my left eye looked in real life.  I woke up Friday morning and the area of my eye between the bridge of my nose and the pupil was completely bloodshot.  How did that happen?  I have no idea.  How typical though, the day before we were going out for a big Christmas meal.  An early morning visit to the pharmacist for a bottle of Brolene eye drops was hastily added to my agenda and fortunately it had started to recover by Saturday evening.

When Paul's mum called to say she wasn't feeling up to a trip out to see us for Sunday lunch we kitted ourselves ourselves out in walking boots and coats and took Coco for a lovely long walk.  There had been a frost overnight and the sun was rising in the sky, melting the frost and making a slight haze just above ground level.  Beautiful.

Came home, put a lovely shoulder of pork in the oven to roast and went upstairs armed with tape and scissors to continue wrapping presents.  All too often I find myself doing this the day before Christmas Eve and it stresses me out because with all good intentions, it's a job that takes longer than you think it will.  But I am happy to say that every present that I have bought is now wrapped and now all I have to do is 'pretty them up' with a bit of ribbon and bows.

I've also now updated my 'to do' lists, my 'to cook' lists and my 'to buy' lists, all carefully fitted in around helping out with Leo this week.  I may (no, I cannot lie, I did) have a little post lunch nap and feel so much better for a day of just doing what I want to do rather than running around after everyone else and while that feels a little selfish to say, I think a little bit of self care will see me better able to help everyone else in the long run.

So where does Me on Monday find me today?  All geared up ready for a trip to a nearby garden centre to take Leo and his mum and sister to visit Santa.  I think we are all a little bit excited!  

One week to go ladies - how are your preparations going?

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!