Thursday 30 January 2020

A bit of a knit

I knew it!  Knitting is officially good for you!  Don't take my word for it - it was reported on the tv last night.  On a programme about keeping healthy, Easy Ways to Live Well, so it must be true.  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was researching ways to keep his brain healthy and improve his memory and was advised to try knitting.  Now, I am not sure that knitting improves my memory; how many times do I go upstairs and wonder 'what did I come up here for?' and I guarantee that I will often come back from the supermarket with something essential missing from my bag if I don't take a list.  Actually sometimes I write a beautiful comprehensive list and then forget to put that in my bag!

But I'm happy to believe I am exercising some part of my brain by doing something I enjoy so I shall keep my needles busy.  My latest project is something else for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge (where Max spent his first few days).  These are called bonding squares.  The idea is that one square is kept next to the baby in their cot and the mum keeps the other one next to her skin.  The squares are swapped round regularly so baby always has the smell of mum next to them to help with the bonding process.  It's a lovely idea isn't it?  Obviously, they get through a lot of squares as they are sent home with the baby once they are well enough to go home as a little keepsake.

They are very quick and easy to make and I'm going to finish off the second blue one and then do a couple of white ones too.

Now Paul may think that I'm just sitting down knitting and watching tv, but really I'm doing a work out for my brain.  

The other thing they were showing last night was belly dancing, and I was doing a bit of that this morning at Zumba so I have been exercising everything from top to toe today.  No wonder I'm exhausted!

Sunday 26 January 2020

The Fab Four

Do you like The Beatles?  They broke up before I was really taking an interest in music but I guess everyone knows their music no matter how old - or young- they are.  I have a confession to make, I don't really like them.  Which puts me in a minority I know!  

We have a group of friends we see from time to time, the men all play badminton together and us wives all get on well so it's nice to do something as couples now and again. There is a music venue in town which hosts tribute bands.  Now I'm not a great lover of tribute bands and neither is Paul so we have declined a couple of evenings out where they have been to see Coldplay and Oasis tribute acts as neither of us likes the original bands let alone a tribute to them!  But Paul likes the Beatles, and enjoys playing a lot of their songs on his guitar so we decided to go with the group to see 'Imagine The Beatles' act on Saturday.

Here's another confession - I was not looking forward to it.  It's an odd venue based in an old pub called The Half Moon.  A very old pub; apparently it dates back to 1642 when it was a coaching inn.  It's a pub that I've never felt comfortable in, I can't explain why, it just gives me an uneasy feeling when I'm in there.  And the area which hosts the music acts is in like a cellar, with no windows and is painted black from top to bottom.  As someone who is probably verging on claustrophobic (don't even think about asking me to get in a lift!) it's not my choice of a fun, relaxing night out.  But everyone else was up for it, Paul wanted to go and so I decided it was time to take a big brave breath and push against my comfort zone, after all that was one of my intentions for the new year.

So with music I don't like being played, in a place where I feel uneasy, you may think I'm here to say it was awful.  But I'm here to tell you that it was actually a good night out, and I am pleased that we went.  I didn't actually 'see' much of the band, when you're only 5' 1" you mostly see the shoulders of the people in front of you when it is a standing venue, but I could certainly hear them and of course, everyone knows the lyrics to sing along with 'John' 'Paul' 'George' and 'Ringo'.  And we stood under a very welcome air conditioning unit so I didn't overheat in the crowd and have a panic attack! All in all, I'm marking it down as a success and proof that I can, and I should, try things that I don't initially want to do.

I'm still pretty sure the Half Moon is haunted though.

Monday 20 January 2020

Things my children learnt this weekend

OK, so they are not exactly children any more (aged 33 and almost 30) but they aren't too old to learn something new.  (One of these stories involves me having to bite my tongue so that I didn't say 'I told you so' see if you can guess which one it was.)

'Child 1' went with her family to Jump City yesterday.  A giant indoor trampoline park, they have a quiet session for toddlers mid morning and Leo loves going there.  All was going well until R got to the end of the circuit where there was a high jump down into a well of giant foam cubes.  Which was when she learnt that she doesn't bounce back like she did when she was at school. 

'Child 2' learnt that once a baby has learnt to roll over, they are no longer safe on their changing mat.  Even if you are right next to them, and only bend down to pick up a clean nappy, they turn and roll off in a split second.  Next step, emergency Sunday doctor's appointment to have a thorough check over.  Max is fine, his dad may take a little longer to get over the shock and guilt. I think he may now realise that sometimes I am not being an over anxious nanny when I mention things, and that accidents can happen in a blink of an eye especially when you have a very active baby.

Today is a sentimental one for me as it marks the anniversary of losing my Dad back in 1989.  Such a long time ago, in fact I've lived longer without him than with him which is so hard to comprehend.  When I opened the blinds this morning, it felt like he was smiling down on me

Have a good week x

Saturday 18 January 2020

Alternative worlds

When I started this blog I couldn't think of a name so thought I would just call it 'Deb's World', a view into what is going on in my life and a place to share my hobbies.  In 2019 I discovered that there is another Deb's World, but that one is on the opposite side of the world to me, in Tumbarumba, Australia.  But there were many similarities - the other Deb is a similar age, is early retired, has been married for exactly the same amount of years and welcomed a new grandchild into her family last year.  If you read back through her posts (and I recommend you do!) you will see that she has had a pretty eventful life.  She's just returned home after a long holiday in the UK, to find that although the bushfires have burnt through her home town, her home is safe.  

She ends her blog post today with the following quote which really resonated with me, so I hope she doesn't mind me sharing it -

Life is amazing. 
And then it's awful. 
And then it's amazing again. 
And in between the amazing and awful it's ordinary and mundane and routine. 
Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. 
That's just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life.  And it's breathtakingly beautiful.

L.R. Knost

Isn't that the truth?  

Have a good weekend x

Monday 13 January 2020

New beginnings

Well, that was an eventful week - but I feel we are starting this week in a better place, so let's take a deep breath and move forward. It has been so nice to know that M-I-L is being looked after and not dread that phone call to say she has fallen again.  An added bonus was that Jon came for the day on Saturday with Max while Sophie was at a friend's baby shower, so he was able to pop in and see Grandma in her new home.  Before they visited Max very kindly took us out to one of my favourite restaurants for a Thai tapas lunch - which was very generous of him, bearing in mind that he couldn't eat anything as the only food he's tried so far has been broccoli and avocado!  It may be a while before properly join in but he was very well behaved and almost got a finger in his dad's massaman curry!  

One very nice thing that did happen last week was that we booked a holiday.  Rachel and family invited us to join them again this year and we handed over all decisions to her, in some ways it was really nice to have someone else do everything, I'm not always good at relinquishing control!  She did a lot of research, talking to friends who have used family friendly websites and asking from recommendations from the 'Mummies page' on Facebook and narrowed it down to a lovely resort in Sagres, Portugal.  We know the Algarve well as my sister has a home there, but Sagres is just that little bit further along so it's a new place to explore for us too.  I suspect that a little bit of babysitting may be involved but give us a glass of wine and a balcony to drink it on while watching the sun set and we are more than happy to oblige!  In anticipation of time spent around a pool I have already ordered a couple of new swimsuits.  That should give me the impetus to get back on the healthy eating regime (now I've finished off all the Christmas chocolate).

Reading through other people's blogs from other parts of the world it is weird that some are battling snow and ice on one side of us and on the other side of the globe they are experiencing the hottest temperatures ever.  Here it is just mild and damp, the kind of weather where a dog can leave the house spotlessly clean and return with mud splashes up to her 'armpits' (except dogs don't have arms, but leg pits doesn't sound right does it?) maybe getting a white dog wasn't such a good idea!

Friday 10 January 2020

One photo Twenty words

I'm a day late in posting this, we had planned to spend yesterday viewing care homes for M-I-L with the view to moving her at some point soon.  On our return home from viewing three homes we had a call to say she had taken another fall and the decision of 'if and when' has now been made for us.  I think that we all realise that the time has come and whilst it is sad, she's lost all confidence on living in her own home on her own.  It will be reassuring to have her quite literally five minutes walk from our house and knowing she has someone keeping an eye on her 24 hours a day.  

So from one generation to another:

One photo: Twenty words

It's amazing how, with the right people on the job, clearing up one mess can make a whole new mess.

Monday 6 January 2020

What's in the tin?

I'll tell you what is in the tin - the last few remaining Quality Street that no one likes.

The flat toffees that pull the fillings out of your teeth and the chocolate covered coconut that looks like it will taste like a Bounty bar but doesn't.  And do you know what will happen if I do not take that tin and empty it into the rubbish bin?  I will eat them.  Even though I don't like them, they will be like a siren call to me to finish them up.  Willpower, where are you?

So here we are at the first 'proper' week of the new year, the one where I will hopefully remember what day of the week it is.  Decorations are down, and I'm feeling that annual new year urge to go through my wardrobe and donate anything I haven't worn in the last year to the local charity shop.  If I remember correctly, it was this time last year that I discovered Marie Kondo and had the most effective tidy up of the house we have ever had.  Things may have slipped slightly since then but hopefully this year will be a breeze in comparison!

We have a new year project - we have a spare bedroom at the back of the house which Paul has taken over as a room where he can play guitar, do sketching or painting or just listen to his music.  We've kept a single bed in there for when his mum has been here to stay over but we have realised that those days have gone now, she really doesn't like to leave her house.  So the bed will go, more storage will be bought, new carpet, wooden blinds to replace the curtains I made by hand when we moved in 28 years ago (we've had our money's worth out of them I think, especially as I made them out of an old remnant of fabric!) and a fresh coat of paint.  I think you can see that I will have little to do with this project other than give an opinion on what colour we choose for the walls!  

Is anyone else watching the new drama Wisting on BBC4?  Oh it's good.  It's a Norwegian crime drama and Paul and I are both absolutely hooked.  If the idea of subtitles puts you off, it isn't totally subtitled.  One of the crimes he is investigating results in some FBI agents arriving to assist, so all the scenes the Americans are in are spoken in English!  I would really recommend it.

I think it's time to put the kettle on, make a cup of tea and browse some holiday brochures. It's our 40th wedding anniversary this year so the perfect excuse to explore somewhere new.  Paul's been taking Italian lessons for two years now so I think we have narrowed down which country we will be visiting - well, he has to put it into practice doesn't he?


Friday 3 January 2020

And so the new year begins

I know we are only three days in but how is 2020 going for you so far?  

I've saved myself heaps of money since Christmas - mainly because I haven't been tempted by the sales emails that arrive in my inbox on an almost hourly basis!  How easy it would be to be tempted by all the 'bargains' that 'you can't afford to miss'.  There was one thing that I knew I wanted to buy in the sales and that was a new winter coat.  I have a lovely black puffer coat from Joules with a big fur edged hood which I bought a couple of years ago and whilst it keeps you so warm and toasty (it is the equivalent of going out wearing a duvet) it isn't exactly smart if you are going out.  I wanted something that was a little more classic in style, not bulky, and not black.  So you can imagine how pleased I was to find a lovely Burgundy coloured coat in the Mint Velvet sale.  It's a colour that I love and which seems to suit my colouring and just to make it perfect - it was reduced by £100!  Happy days!

It felt like we were hit by one virus after another since mid November (I blame the grandchildren!) but yesterday I felt like we may both have turned a corner.  I had a long overdue appointment at the hairdressers this morning and a new hairstyle is just what I needed, it feels so nice to have the highlights back in and the natural grey ones hidden again.  In a moment of madness I said the words 'shorter and layered' and before I could change my mind I saw about 3" of hair disappearing from the ends - boy does it feel better!  

I feel like I always wear the same dress when I have my hair cut but the truth is that my hairdressing salon is quite often very cold in winter.  It's on the first floor of a building that dates back to the 1700s and let's just say that in those days insulation isn't what it is now! So I often wear a thick denim dress with a long sleeve t shirt beneath and hope that I'm not sitting next to one of the draughty windows.  

I signed up for a one week 5 Minute a Day Abs challenge on a WhatsApp group that my Zumba teacher has.  I'm a day behind and finding a couple of the exercises she has chosen to be, shall we say challenging? Burpees are not for me at my advanced age and energy levels.  But I'm sticking with it and by the time I've caught up tomorrow I should have the same washboard stomach that the teacher has - shouldn't I?  😉 What do you mean, I may need to do it for more than one week?

The intention to try different recipes from my monthly Delicious magazine is going well.  We are trying to have less red meat and are incorporating one vegetarian day a week and more fish into our diet.  Last night's meal was sliced sweet potatoes and cauliflower florets coated in olive oil and roasted in the oven for 10 mins, then you mix together garlic and maple syrup.  Put 2 pork chops on top of veg, pour over garlic/maple syrup mix, add an apple that has been cut into quarters and roast for 20 mins more.  Then crumble stilton cheese on top of chops and return to oven for 5 more minutes. Yum!  Plus also the bonus of using up the last of the leftover Christmas cheese.  

Doesn't it seem like one day creeps into the next at the between Christmas/New Year period?  It certainly doesn't seem like a Friday today - but it is and we have friends coming over tonight for drinks to make up for not seeing them on NYE so I probably ought to be giving the lounge carpet a hoover instead of typing up a blog post but isn't it funny how easy it is to procrastinate when housework is involved?

How have you spent the first week of the new year?

Wednesday 1 January 2020

A sentence a day in December

OK, ok, I know I'm always early for the Sentence a Day meme but I like to post my month at the beginning of the next one - just call me a rebel 😜

December?  Where has this year gone? Where has this decade gone? So as we now enter the first month of the roaring 20s, this is how the last month of 2019 panned out here.

Day 1 Lazy Sunday - everyone else is posting pictures of their Christmas trees on Facebook, we wait an extra week until the weekend before Paul's birthday #familytradition

Day 2 Shopping in Cambridge, another few bits ticked off my list

Day 3 Posted my overseas mail (post office was suspiciously empty!) Christmas Jumper day at Baby Sensory, Rosie and I both joined in with the theme

Day 4 The childminder has been taken into hospital, so we were called on for emergency child care day today - and Paul was up in London so wasn't here to help!  The most needy 'child' was Coco who always seems to need more attention when the children are here.

Day 5 Zumba in morning, the instructor had certainly taken her multi vitamins this morning, boy did she work us hard!  And just when I was exhausted enough, more childminding in the afternoon ... 

Day 6 A day to myself, shopped in town in morning (another couple of presents bought, my plan to shop local if possible is working) and made sticky toffee pudding to freeze as a substitute for those of us who don't like Christmas pudding, oh, also wrote all my Christmas cards! Out for dinner with girlfriends in the evening and we all turned up in glittery outfits #onlysupposedtobeonesentence

Day 7 Paul went up to London with our son so I spent the day wrapping presents and making mince pies - meal out at my favourite Thai restaurant with four other couples in the evening- forgot to take a photo so you will just have to take my word about how delicious it was!

Day 8 It is a family tradition to do the tree decoration on the Sunday closest to Paul's birthday so guess what we did today?

Day 9 Started making the first of many 'to do' lists for the lead up to Christmas Day

Day 10 Last ever baby sensory for Rosie, classes stop once you turn one - the lady who takes the class was in floods of tears saying goodbye to her 'graduates'

Day 11 Birthday cake making, catching up with the ironing, blitzing the bathrooms, holly wreath buying, busy busy busy kind of day

Day 12 Paul's birthday oh, and voting for the General Election

Day 13 Went to watch Leo in his first nativity concert - thank goodness for waterproof mascara, it was SO cute

Day 14 Woke up with laryngitis, voice has gone completely - Paul seems remarkably pleased 😏 - spent the day cooking two lasagnas (one veggie and one meat), sausage rolls and a tarte tatin for family dinner tomorrow.

Day 15 Everyone over for Sunday lunch and then over to my nephew's house late afternoon to celebrate his son's 16th birthday

Day 16 Had my oven professionally cleaned - it looks brand new and I think we should now live on stir-fries so that it stays that way

Day 17 Looking after grandchildren day and it rained almost all day so no afternoon dog walks to fill in some time!

Day 18 Did some more cooking to put in the freezer - today's offering was mince pies

Day 19 In case you were wondering, an hour of Zumba dancing while wearing a sequinned hat and feather boa leaves you with a hot head and an itchy neck!

Day 20 Wrapped the last presents and made another food list ready for the last minute shop on Monday

Day 21 Popped over to Jon's in the afternoon to hand over presents and went to friends in the evening for pre-Christmas drinks and nibbles

Day 22 Should have had a Fake Christmas Day with mother in law as we won't be seeing her on the 25th but she was too poorly to come over

Day 23 Vegetable shop! I was in Tesco at 8am and home before the crowds arrived, now to find a place to put everything.

Day 24 Christmas Eve - tidying the house, prepping vegetables, laying the table and discovered a present hidden behind a cushion that should have been taken over to Jon's - there is always something that gets forgotten.

Day 25 Christmas Day - it went by in a blur

Day 26 Boxing Day - went over to Jon's for a delicious buffet lunch - he and Sophie are such good cooks, it's a real pleasure to have them cook for us!  Lovely to see the cousins playing together.

Day 27 A day of doing not very much at all - finished reading my book club book, sorted out a jigsaw into straight edges and middle bits, and watched two episodes from my Greys Anatomy DVD.

Day 28 Signed up for a 'Totally Abs - 5 minute a day workout' course being run by my Zumba teacher on WhatsApp #seemedlikeagoodideaatthetime

Day 29 A quiet day of Sunday lunch just for two, a bit more jigsaw puzzling and a nice long dog walk

Day 30 Five minute abs workout is not as easy at it sounds, I've been doing it for two days now and my stomach still does not look anything like my teacher's.

Day 31 New Years Eve - stayed home as we seem to have picked up another virus (blaming it on the grandchildren!) managed to stay awake to see the new year in, and ended up with Coco practically in bed with us as she was so scared of all the fireworks going off near to where we live.  

So 2019 is a wrap, and here's the 1 Second a Day clip to show how December looked over here in Deb's World (There were issues with this earlier, so please excuse if this doesn't play!)

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