Monday 22 April 2024

Me on Monday 22 April

 What a lazy week I had last week! Having Daisy here meant we took it in turns to go out so we didn’t leave the two rascals home alone together. She takes her house protection duties very seriously and would bark at every noise she heard which would have annoyed Coco.


So I have to say that I shall be making up for it this week ๐Ÿ˜Š

Although first thing on the calendar is a dentist appointment which regular readers will know is very low down on my list of how I like to spend my time! Fortunately I have a lunch date with my friend who is an author once that ordeal is over. Tuesday is haircut day and picking up my new prescription sunglasses. Hopefully that won’t jinx the weather and I will be able to get a lot of use out of them ๐Ÿ˜Ž

I have been able to crack on with my crochet which had taken a bit of a back seat and I have regained my enthusiasm for getting it done.  

We’ve been watching the Netflix version of Ripley.  Have you seen it? I was a bit hesitant as the book is one of my favourites and I also really enjoyed the Jude Law film version. This one is definitely different and the fact it is filmed entirely in black and white definitely increases the sense of menace. But I’m not sure I liked it as much as the original. Whilst I like Andrew Scott as an actor, he did not really feel right as a young American in his mid twenties and I really didn’t like the casting of Eliot Sumner as Freddy, maybe being the non-binary child of Sting helped secure the part! There was just no comparison to how the character was played by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Have a good week!

Monday 15 April 2024

Me on Monday 15 April

 Happy Monday!  My intention to try and blog a little more frequently has been hampered by a small visitor who is here while her family are on holiday in Dubai.


Yes, Daisy the Daschund is back, and Coco is sulking.


Daisy may be small but is pretty needy.  Doesn't like being on her own and likes to spend as much time as she can sitting on your lap.  One of the by products of having a mum who works from home!

Paul’s been very busy tidying up in the garden. Last year I planted some new tulips to add a different colour and I am so thrilled with them


The orange tones make a nice change to the reds and yellows we already have.

So this week finds us trying to console Coco with the fact Daisy is here for the whole week! We’ll be staying close to home as I’m not sure it would be fair to leave them both home alone. Daisy takes house protection duties to another level and I think her yapping every time a car went past would drive Coco mad!

Today the weather is horrible, what a difference a day makes.  What a good job Paul got the tidying up done yesterday when it was t shirt and shorts weather! I thought we had a day to ourselves but just had a message from Jon to say it’s inset day for Max and were we busy this morning. We all know what that means! Lucky I did some baking yesterday as Max’s tummy always feels hungry as soon as he arrives ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a good week!

Monday 8 April 2024

Me on Monday 8 April

 I’ve been missing in action this week! After a lovely busy Easter weekend I woke at 5am Tuesday feeling distinctly unwell. I will spare you the details ๐Ÿ˜ณ I spent the whole day in bed either shivering, sleeping or running a temperature. I even had a dramatic fainting episode when I tried to get out of bed to quickly! Happily it seemed to be a 48 hour thing and as the week progressed I gradually got better and needless to say, everyone kept their distance from me.  Luckily the weather has had some lovely spells of dry warm weather and it’s been lovely to wander around noticing everything waking up from the winter.

 





I am definitely hoping it is well and truly out of my system and luckily I am back to eating again as I am meeting a friend for coffee this morning. You know you are feeling better when the words ‘almond croissant’ don’t have you heading to the bathroom!

We are playing catch up with childcare this week as we couldn’t help last week and at the end of the week we have Daisy coming to stay while her family jet off to Dubai.  Don’t tell Coco.  

I didn't waste my time last week though, I am on a decluttering challenge!  I follow Dilly from Sort Your Life Out on Instagram (search for declutterdollies), and she is doing a 30 day April challenge over there.  You have one particular area of your house to tackle every day plus I am also throwing away an increasing number of things every day.  One on the 1st, 2 on the 2nd etc.  So by the end of the month I will have got rid of over 465 things!  They don't have to be big things, but every one thing helps.  I think by the end of it I may be resorting to very small items! So far I have a very tidy cutlery drawer, my baking tins are neat and tidy, my saucepans stacked neatly, appliances all clean and working, Tupperware boxes all have lids that fit, glasses shelf looking very tidy, and my baking ingredients all stored together in a neat and tidy manner!  I've been like a woman on a mission - do you ever feel like that?  Do you do a spring clean?  Please tell me I'm not the only person whose home has certain areas that accumulate clutter!

Saturday 30 March 2024

What's been on your calendar in March?

 


Now I may be biased, because March is my birthday month, but I think it may be one of my favourite months!  The days get longer, the sun rises earlier and sets later, splashes of colour appear in the garden tempting us with the thought that spring isn't too far away.  So, let's join in with Australian Deb Here and see what was on my calendar this month!

M

My birthday!  I know I already mentioned it but this birthday is a significant one - I am now eligible for my State Pension! Not to mention my free bus pass. After all those years of paying into the system I can now get something back ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

A

Altering the clocks to move forward an hour always takes a little while to get used to.  It takes me a while to stop thinking what the time would really be if we weren't on British Summer Time!  

R

Rachel arranged tickets for us to have a girly night out to see a 'Lost in Music' concert at a theatre in a nearby town.  It was so much fun, we sang and we danced all night! All the 70s disco classics, I was still singing them when we got home.



C

Childcare increased this month when our son and his wife had a couple of days away.  I had wondered how it would go as we hadn't had both their children here for a sleepover before but it went surprisingly well. I certainly slept well the day after, oh to have the energy of 4 and 2 year olds!

H

Healthier eating resumed as I only had three meals out. However, with Easter at the end of the month I have to confess to probably consuming more chocolate than can be considered healthy!


Here I am enjoying my belated lunch with Jon. Tucking into the most delicious pasta dish, radiatorre pasta in a tomato, mascarpone and chilli sauce. Accompanied by a nice glass of vinho verde ๐Ÿ˜‹ One to one time with your children when they are grown up is very special and I am so lucky to have time with both mine this month.

So just about time to share a brief roundup video, one second everyday




Tuesday 26 March 2024

What I've been reading in March

 The first book that I read this month was The Trial by Robert Rinder.



Rob Rinder is well known in the UK as Celebrity Judge Rinder and not necessarily someone you would expect to be a writer of fiction.  However, I fancied something a bit different and as the book was only 99p on kindle, what did I have to lose?

Heroic policeman Grant Cliveden suddenly collapses and dies whilst walking towards the courtroom at the Old Bailey. An autopsy confirms that he has been poisoned and with the whole country in shock, the guilty party needs to be found as soon as possible.  

Circumstantial evidence points to one likely candidate, Jimmy Knight who was seen with him earlier in the day.  Finding a convincing case for his defence will be hard especially as this will be trainee barrister Adam Green's first case and will be the case he is judged on to warrant him gaining tenancy after his training.    The more Adam investigates the case, the more people he finds who may have a wish to see Cliveden dead and the less he feels that Knight was the perpetrator.  

I was pleasantly surprised by this.  Not all tv celebrities are good authors but Robert's legal knowledge and background shines through the story and by the end of the book you definitely know that people are not always what they seem!

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Next up was this month's choice for the online book club I belong to. How to Stop Time by Matt Haig



Tom Hazard may appear to be just an average man in his 40s but actually he has been alive many hundreds of years more than that.  He has been born with a condition, anagaria, and actually only ages one year every fifteen. He belongs to a group of fellow sufferers known as the Albatross Society, who help one another move on before their secret is discovered.  One thing he must not do is fall in love.  The one rule that Tom has broken.

We meet Tom in a job interview where he is applying to become a history teacher in a school.  For Tom was born in 1581 so can teach his students from first hand experience in so many historical moments in time.  But Tom is far from happy and desperately searching for his daughter who may still be alive if she has inherited this disorder.

The book goes back and forth through time and I have to be honest and say I didn't really enjoy it and I haven't finished it.  In fact when Rachel lent me a book her friend had lent her, I didn't hesitate to put the 'How to Stop Time' aside and start something new straight away. 

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This book was a different thing altogether!  I picked it up and read solidly for two hours, I was engrossed from the first couple of pages.


Millie cannot believe her luck when she is offered the position of housemaid for Nina and Andrew Winchester and Nina's daughter Cecilia.  Recently released from prison and on parole she feels that her past will ensure that she never has the opportunity to better herself.  Throughout the story the author does not reveal why Millie has been in prison, all we know is that she really, really doesn't want to return there. It is only when she moves into their mansion that she realises that things are not as she thought they were.  Nina is clearly unstable, making a mess in the house overnight for Millie to clean up, telling lies about her daughter, and generally making Millie's life as difficult as possible.

Nina's mental health continues to decline as Millie and Andrew grow closer.  Right up to the point when Andrew tells Nina that he no longer loves her and she should leave.  Maybe life is about to become a whole lot easier and happier for Millie.  Maybe she is about to get the second chance for happiness that she thought was going to be elusive.  Or maybe there is a reason that Enzo the gardener takes her to one side and tells her she is in terrible danger.

This really is a page turner, a 'just one chapter more' book.  From the prologue you know that the story will end with the police asking questions about a body that has been found in the attic.  

I read this book in two days.  I kept thinking that there must be a twist coming and I thought I had an idea about what that may be.  Reader, I was wrong!  There is a sequel and I had to track it down.

The Housemaid's Secret by Freida McFadden


This book continues following Millie who has been helping women escape from abusive relationships with the help of Enzo.  However, Millie and Enzo have gone their separate ways and in order to fund her education in becoming a social worker she finds herself being offered a job working as part time housemaid for the very wealthy Douglas and Wendy Garrick.  

From the moment she meets Douglas he explains that his wife is very ill and should not be interrupted at all during the day if her bedroom door is closed.  The penthouse apartment is immaculate but Millie is suspicious by the lack of interaction with Wendy and the fact she can sometimes hear her crying in the bedroom.

After discovering blood on a nightgown in the laundry, Millie cannot help but knock on the bedroom door to insist on seeing for herself that Wendy is not being injured by her husband.  She is shocked by what she sees and helps Wendy hatch a plan to escape from the relationship.  All seems to have gone to plan until Millie realises that Douglas is a dangerous man to cross.

There is definitely no way I could guess how this book would end, all I can tell you is that the female characters all have a side to them that you are not expecting!  There is a third book in this series, it’s not available until later this summer otherwise I would been downloading it straight away!





Monday 25 March 2024

Me on Monday 24 March

 Hello!

Well we survived our weekend childcare but it’s left me feeling a little like this 


Out of all the cute cuddly toys that Max has, this bright blue sloth is the one he likes to take to bed!  I wonder if it's because it has lovely long arms and legs to cuddle you with?  Both children behaved very well, Olive asked 'where is mummy?' from time to time but considering she is only two she was 

happy to just know she was going to see her the following day.  Mummy and Daddy crammed a lot into their night and days away and they both said how lovely it was to have time together as a couple.

So Monday finds me recharged after a quiet Sunday and hopefully my delayed lunch with Jon will happen on Thursday - fingers crossed!  Of course the week ends with the start of Easter weekend not to mention bringing the clocks forward on Sunday.  We have been invited to Jon's for Easter Sunday lunch and I suspect there may be a few Easter eggs received by all the children.

The bright sunny weather at the weekend wickedly tricked me into thinking it was time to cast aside my winter wardrobe, only to discover while walking Coco that the sun was masking a powerful wind with a chilly bite to it.  But the good thing is that I went through my chest of drawers to rediscover warmer weather clothes and was ruthless in getting rid of a few things that have either not been worn for a year or so or which have really seen better days.  I was prompted by one of those photo memories that Facebook like to send you every day.  This one in particular was from eight years ago and I am wearing a new Boden t-shirt.  I then came across it in the drawer, eight years older, quite faded and a little out of shape (a bit like me ๐Ÿ˜‰). I had received three new tops for my birthday so was determined to remove and recycle at least three old ones.  Mission accomplished, plus when the weather does get warmer I have a very neat and tidy drawer to go to.

Today we have someone coming to repoint our patio paving - by the time warmer weather returns properly we shall at least have a tidy and refreshed patio on which to enjoy al fresco lunches.  Then of course the big post winter garden tidy up begins, that should keep us busy!  

Monday 18 March 2024

Me on Monday 18 March

 So my first post as a pensioner!  I'm happy to report that it doesn't feel too bad so far - my friend Sally sent me a great card which said 'People our age are so much older than us' which summed it up so well.  



As often happens, things did not go completely to plan and I didn't get to have my lunch out with Jon as he was unwell.  Their family have all succumbed to a virus which gives you a high temperature for 24 hours and then three days of total tiredness, Max and Olive have been sleeping for over 12 hours every night!  So we have postponed as I don't really want to share their germs.

We went for cake and coffee at Rachel's which was lovely and she has passed a book onto me that a friend lent her. It is so good I read it for two hours without break while Paul watched the rugby last night so I am almost half way through!  I shall give a proper review on my book reading post at the end of the month - I just hope it continues to be as gripping for the rest of the book.  

I don't actually have too much planned for this week but need to pop out and find a couple of gifts to go with the children's Easter eggs.  I prefer to buy them a token small egg and a book or something rather than a huge chocolate egg-stravaganza ๐Ÿ˜‰

I'll need to conserve my energy for a bumper batch of childcare at the weekend involving a sleep over with Max and Olive on Friday and an evening of babysitting on my own the following day.  Followed by a Sunday of doing very little I hope!

How's your week ahead looking?  

Monday 11 March 2024

Me on Monday 11 March

 Hello! Here we are on yet another Monday. 

When I left you on Friday I was nervous about the craft afternoon. I should not have worried, they were a lovely bunch of ladies and they were very complimentary about my crochet! It turned out I knew three of them, although I hadn’t seen them for about 20 years when our sons all played football together. So we had a lot of mutual friends and quite a few years of catching up to do. 

Friday evening at the Lost in Music concert was wonderful.  So much fun; I knew all the songs and remembered all the words so had a marvellous time singing along!



There was a lot of Earth, Wind and Fire, Gloria Gaynor, Diana Ross - all the classic disco sounds. There was a lot of dancing in the aisles ๐Ÿ˜Š

Now in case you’re wondering about my daughter’s World Book Day costume, she did an amazing job. She ran into town and found a fleece hoody with teddy bear ears on the hood, and a pair of fleece leggings in the same colour greatly reduced in a sale. She popped into Poundland and found a red dog collar, tweaked the ears of the hoody into a more canine shape and used a brown eyeshadow to paint a patch over one eye. Apparently Rosie couldn’t believe her eyes when she came into class, not only was the secret reader her mum, but she was dressed as the dog in the story!

This is my birthday week, and on my birthday my son is taking me out to lunch. One to one time with your kids when they are grown up is precious and I’m so thrilled that he’s organised it. I feel very blessed.  So this is my last pre-state pension post - Doesn't that make me sound old?  I certainly don't feel like a pensioner so I'm convincing myself that you are only as old as you feel ๐Ÿ˜‰



Friday 8 March 2024

Let’s sit and have a cup of coffee

 


Thought I would share a picture of the lovely coffee I had when we last went up to Cambridge, sadly my barista skills are not to this standard!

Just a quick post today as I have to leave for my crafting lunch in an hour.  I am ridiculously nervous about it, the sensible side of my brain is saying 'don't be silly, it's just a group of craft loving ladies getting together to share their interests' and the other side is saying 'but I only know one other person there and I have no idea how these things work, do we just sit there and knit/sew/crochet?  Will they be comparing work? etc etc'. I haven't even got together all the things I need to take with me.

So let me just share an amusing thing that happened to my daughter this morning.  Actually, I think everyone else is finding it more amusing than she is.  At the school that her children attend, the reception class finish each day with them all sitting on the mat and listening to a story.  Every now and again there will be a 'secret reader' who will be one of the children's parents.  The idea is to surprise everyone so it has to be kept secret.  My daughter put her name down to join in at the beginning of term and today is the day that was allocated to her.  She's chosen to read one of Rosie's favourite books 'Ruffles and the teeny tiny kittens' about a puppy who has four little kittens come to stay and how they upset his routine and want to play with his most favourite thing which he does not want to share.  

Now, yesterday was World Book Day, but at this school they have their 'non uniform' days on Fridays so the children have all dressed as their favourite book characters today.  As my daughter took Rosie to the door, all dressed up in her Isadora Moon costume, the teacher took her aside and whispered 'What will you be dressing up as?' What?  'All the teachers have dressed up too and I'm sure you'll want to join in'. 
What a panic.  Of course she hadn't realised that she would be expected to dress up, and she certainly doesn't have a dog or cat costume hanging around at home!  It will be interesting to see what she can pull together!  

Thanks for popping by!

Monday 4 March 2024

Me on Monday 4 March

 Welcome to the start of a new week.  I've got a nice relaxing day ahead of me, which is well needed as we had all the family here yesterday to celebrate a hundred years of birthdays, and here's a cake to prove it!


I had the same problem with those chocolate numbers that I used to have when using alphabet stickers on scrapbook pages, you never seem to have quite the right ones that you need and have to improvise - with an 'o' in place of a zero in this case!  It was a bit of an early celebration; my son's birthday is tomorrow and mine is a couple of weeks time. 

I'm trying something new on Friday.  A friend of mine is hosting a crafting lunch with a group of people she used to work with, kind of a 'knit and natter', and she has asked me if I'd like to join them.  I was so pleased to be invited but as it is getting closer I'm wondering if my crochet will be up to their standards of crafting!  I'm sure it will be fine.  

Then in the evening I am going to a concert of 70s music with my daughter.  I'm so looking forward to it but what a dilemma, what should I wear?  Ideas will be gratefully received!

Have a good week x 

Friday 1 March 2024

#WBOYC February 2024

 


It's a leap year so we get an extra day in February, although it's still the shortest month of the year.  What was on my calendar?  

F

Finally finishing my Wasgij jigsaw.  It is really hard to complete a jigsaw when you don't know what the picture is!  (Confession time, I did have to google the solution to get started but from then on I tried to do it without any further clues)



E

Easting and drinking, what a good job I didn't make any new year's resolutions to eat sensibly and healthily all the time!  Nine meals or lunches with friends.

B

Booked a vineyard tour.  Jon and Sophie bought us a voucher for a vineyard tour, wine tasting and sharing cheese board as our Christmas present so as soon as the 2024 dates were released I booked us in for a few months time.  I didn't even know we had a vineyard anywhere near us!  I will report back when we have been.

R

Resisting the urge to do my crocheting as quickly as possible (my usual way of working) so that I can properly enjoy the process of making my next blanket.



U

Unsubscribing from marketing emails.  You know how you get 10% off your first order if you subscribe to online companies?  Then they bombard you on almost a daily basis trying to entice you to buy things you really don't need.  So rather than have temptation filling up my inbox, every morning I am unsubscribing to each email I didn't really want to receive and boy has the amount of emails I am receiving reduced and now I only see special offers from companies I really want to buy from!

A

Ashamed of the state of my nails, honestly they have never been in such bad condition.  I haven't had a professional manicure for so long.  This was well overdue and I am now loving my nails and waving my hands around as much as possible so they get the attention they deserve! They even match the jumper I was wearing to the appointment.



R

Researching somewhere to go for a long weekend with Coco once the weather settles down and spring arrives.  We narrowed it down to the Kent coastline and now have a cottage booked for a few months time.

Y

Yearning for a rest after half term childcare duties.  Either they are getting more energetic or I am getting older ๐Ÿ˜‰

So that's it for another month.  Thanks to Deb at the other Deb's World for organising this round up and let's end on the 1 Second Everyday video of the month.




Monday 26 February 2024

Me on Monday 26 February

 It's all back to normal this week with half term being over and childcare back to its usual (shorter!) hours.

So tell me, did you start today with breakfast cereal?  I ask because today's historical info is that this is the day in 1852 that John Harvey Kellogg was born.  Little did they know how his humble cornflake would change the breakfasts of so many generations! My cereal of choice this morning was a bowl of his company's Fruit'n Fibre, with a generous helping of sliced banana on the top.  

Was last week good for you?  I started mine with meeting up with my friend which was lovely.  Then a whole day of Leo and Rosie where we enjoyed making things with some air dry clay and they then had great fun constructing a den out of four dining chairs, every cushion we possess and all my crochet blankets.  It kept them quiet for ages ๐Ÿ˜€



I managed to get a bit of crochet done this week while binge watching One Day on Netflix.  I had already read the book so was prepared for how it ended, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

We finally sat down and browsed the Airbnb site to find somewhere to go in this country with Coco in May, so if anyone reading this knows the Whitstable area in Kent, let me know any places we should visit while we are there!  

So how is this week looking?  Well later today we are planning a trip to a gallery near us where Paul's art teacher has a painting in an exhibition.  Then not too many plans for the rest of the week other than meeting up with some people I used to work with for lunch on Thursday.  I will have done my Zumba class earlier in the morning so won't feel guilty if I succumb to a dessert!

February seems to have gone in a flash and March is just around the corner now - spring is on its way! Have a good week x

Friday 23 February 2024

What I've been reading in February

Both books this month were recommended by Gail at  Is this mutton?

First up, The Secret Pianist by Andie Newton



This is set in the French town of Boulogne sur Mer during the time of the German occupation.  A British RAF plane comes under fire while flying over the town and forced to abandon its cargo of spy messenger carrier pigeons.  One of the birds is found by Martine, one of three sisters living in the town.  She is excited about the opportunity to feed information back to the English but her sisters Gaby and Simone are hesitant to draw attention to themselves.  

Gaby comes to the attention of a German Commandant who orders her to teach his daughter to play the piano.  When their neighbours discover this, they are tarnished with the 'bad French' reputation for supposedly assisting the Germans.  Martine convinces her sisters that they must take advantage of having a means to give information to the British to locate German U boat pens.  They find a way to disguise messages on sheets of piano music and release the bird at the dead of night.  But have they been successful in their plan to help the resistance or put themselves into greater danger?

I really enjoyed this book.  It was well written and I have a vivid picture of the sisters in my mind as I read the story.  You find yourself emotionally involved in their plight and the narrative really takes you to occupied France and the difficulties for the people living in the small towns.

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The next book was very different, My Sister's Baby by Louise Guy


This is the story of three sisters. Mandy suffered learning difficulties following a childhood illness which meant that her parents had to pay her far more attention growing up which has led to a strong feeling of resentment from her sister Toni.  Liv found herself in a life threatening accident which resulted in the need for a kidney transplant. Her sister Toni was the only member of the family to be a suitable match and she did not hesitate to be her sister's donor.

Toni and her husband have been unsuccessful in having children despite rounds of IVF and Liv would give anything to be able to help her sister just as she had helped her when she needed a kidney.  So when Liv finds herself in a situation where she could help Toni fulfil her dream of becoming a mother, she breaks all the rules and decides to offer Toni a baby to adopt.  The baby is born at home with the help of a doula to avoid questions in a hospital and in order to make it look as if baby Ruby is Toni's actual baby, she falsifies the birth certificate by entering the wrong names of the birth mother and father.  

Things then start to go wrong, Toni is not finding motherhood as fulfilling as she expected, she is constantly worried that Liv will change her mind and ask for the baby back.  Not only that but she finds it hard to bond with the baby and cannot wait to return to work.  Not long after, the secret of what Liv has done is discovered and Liv finds herself being blackmailed.  She can't tell the police as that would mean admitting the fraud she has committed.  

I have to be honest and say that I figured out the story behind Ruby's birth before it was revealed but it didn't stop me enjoying the book!  My heart went out to Mandy who is aware that she is seen by some to be a burden and how her sister Toni dislikes her.  I didn't like Toni especially regarding her treatment of Mandy and how she quickly decides that after all these years of being desperate for a baby, motherhood is not for her after all.  Her lies to her family and husband trip off her tongue too easily.

I enjoyed both books, thanks to Gail for the recommendations!
 

 

Monday 19 February 2024

Me on Monday 19 February

 Hello to the start of a new week!

How can a TV show help name your baby?  It was this day in 1985 that the first episode of the TV soap 'Eastenders' aired.  Little did we know that this programme would influence the name that we gave our daughter when I fell pregnant at the end of that year.  We didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl so struggled to find two names that we both liked.  For a girl we narrowed it down to two, Michelle or Rachel.  But as Eastenders became increasingly popular, the character of Michelle Fowler became so well known and we realised that our baby would quite possibly be referred to as 'Shell' or 'Meesh'.  Said in a cockney accent!  Which is why she was named Rachel instead. Of course that became 'Raych' as she got older, why do people always have to shorten names?  

It's half term this week so our routines are altered.  We'll have Leo and Rosie all day on Tuesday but won't have Olive or Max as their aunty from Brooklyn, New York is over for a week and they'll be spending time with her.  

We had a momentous event at the end of last week.  We went to Cambridge and when we got to the 'Park and Ride', Paul was able to use his bus pass for the first time!  What a novelty.  It was a lovely sunny day in Cambridge, while Paul was browsing book shops and artists suppliers I happily browsed the shops and managed to find a couple of things for him to give me for my birthday.  Then lunch at our favourite Aromi Sicilian restaurant.  A nice way to spend a Friday.

It's all about the Italian restaurants this week as we met up with my sister and cousin at a 'new to us' Italian in a village midway between where we all live.  It was so delicious and rightly deserves all the great reviews it gets from people who live in that area.  So I ended the week with food, and I'm starting this one with food. I'm meeting up with a friend I met at my first job back in 1976 - my waistline needs me to stop organising social events which involve eating and drinking!




Monday 12 February 2024

Me on Monday 12 February

 Does everyone have their eggs, flour and milk ready for Shrove Tuesday/pancake day tomorrow?  How do you like your pancakes?  Small and chunky like American pancakes, or thin and delicate like a French crepe?  What about toppings - do you drizzle with honey and sprinkle blueberries and sliced strawberries on them, or a more traditional lemon juice and a sprinkle of caster sugar?  We have Leo and Rosie here on a Tuesday and they have already put in their requests for American style with honey or Nutella on them.  I will have my lemon and caster sugar ready for my thinner version!

I need to have a week of eating less after last week which included two lunches out and friends over for Sunday lunch yesterday.  However we will be ending the week with dinner out with my sister and cousin to a new to us Italian restaurant but maybe 6 good days out of 7 will be fine!

We had absolutely torrential rain here last week, the water on the lake rose really high and there were several pockets of flooding on the roads nearby.  It was a good excuse to stay indoors and get my jigsaw finished - gosh it was a tough one.

Not to mention my crochet coming along nicely, I'm definitely enjoying this one and intending to slowly enjoy each new part rather than impatient to get on with the next part.  I'm dreadful at rushing through things to move on so am really having to restrain myself to just do a little bit every day and not even look at what the next square is all about.  I'm only printing the pattern instructions as I need them instead of downloading them all en masse.  



Random piece of information this week is that it is Darwin Day.  I'm not sure it's something I will be celebrating and we didn't get round to organising an oriental meal for Chinese New Year this year either.   However, Pancake Day will always be celebrated here!  Have a good week x



Monday 5 February 2024

Me on Monday 5 February


Although we have lots of daffodil leaves peeking through the ground, there is just one solitary flower standing sentry in the front garden.  Come on sunshine, let's see if we can entice a few more to open up and show off their petals!

 After a full on week of helping out here, there and everywhere, it was nice to have a weekend with very little on the calendar.  Just a meal out as a belated birthday celebrations for my friend whose birthday is Christmas Day and for Paul whose birthday was on 12 December.  As December is always super busy they decided to celebrate at the beginning of the year when things are somewhat quieter.  

It was nice to catch up on doing some baking and a few more rounds of my crochet this weekend - square number two is now complete!  I'm trying to pace myself more with this blanket.  Normally I start and then can't wait to have it finished but I'm going to take my time over this one and enjoy the process more than just wanting to see what the end result is!

So today sees me meeting up with my friend Sally.  We were really close friends after meeting back in 1986 when we were both expecting our first babies and that friendship has continued despite her moving away when her husband changed jobs.  Not too far that we couldn't still meet up but too far for a couple of hours to just have a cup of coffee.  Now she has retired too we have picked a point half way between our homes and will be meeting for lunch and I can't wait!  I haven't seen her in person for almost a year so we have much news to share and lots of grandchildren photos to share.

I shall be ending the week as I start it with lunch with a friend that I go to Zumba with.  Although we see each other every Thursday, there isn't time for a proper chat before or after class so we plan to have a nice leisurely lunch putting the world to rights.

Without giving the impression I do nothing but eat and drink, we also have friends coming for Sunday lunch next weekend so I really need to think about what I will be cooking. That's not a chore though, I enjoy looking through cookery books.

Nearly forgot my random piece of information; it was this day in 1924 that the Greenwich Time Signal (six short 'pips' to mark the start of the hour) was introduced. I feel that in honour of this, I should schedule this post to go live exactly on the hour of 8.00 am!

Is spring starting to come into sight where you live?  I think it is gradually creeping closer here, thank goodness.


Tuesday 30 January 2024

What I've been reading in December/January

I wasn't able to get hold of December's book club choice, I think it is later being published over here, so I downloaded the kindle version of the book that I had voted for instead.

Nineteen year old Jill Moss disappears near the Utah/Arizona border leaving a multitude of opinions as to where she may be or what may have happened to her.  One person knows the truth.  Norma Gallagher, who was part of the search and rescue operation, found Jill, safe and hiding in a cave. She confides to Norma that she had run away from her abusive boyfriend Jake Willis, fearing for her life if he should ever find her.  Wanting to keep Jill safe, Norma helps her reunite with her parents in California, keeping her whereabouts secret from the police, the press and most importantly from Jake.

Five years later, the disappearance of Jill makes headline news again when Jake is arrested for her murder.  Norma is conflicted, she knows he didn't murder her but to give that information to the police will divulge where Jill is hiding and potentially put her in danger.  

The trial approaches, press interest is reignited and public opinion is demanding retribution.  Jill's family refuse to come forward which means that Norma has to make an important decision.  Does she stay quiet to ensure Jill's continued safety from violence, or does she tell the truth, meaning that an innocent man does not go to prison?  Jake may be an abusive, violent man but he isn't a murderer.  Furthermore, would telling the truth put her, Jill and her parents in trouble for concealing information from the police?  What would you do?

My second book was The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka .



Katrina and Nathan are cowriters of a bestseller book.  They have a contract to complete a second in the series but between the completion of the first and writing the next, their relationship breaks up.  Dramatically. Neither will have anything to do with the other. There is no backing out of writing another book together even though they have spent three years avoiding each other.  After a lot of coercing from her partner, Katrina finally gives in and agrees to get the book over and done with.

To honour their contract they return to the house in Florida where they wrote the first book with the express intention of getting the second book written as quickly and painlessly as possible.  The book flits from 4 years ago to present day and you can feel the tension between them in the present day gradually ease as the book progresses.  The reader doesn't know exactly what has happened between them four years previously except at the time of book one, Nathan was married and Katrina was single, although the publisher, Chris, is obviously interested in her.  In the present day, Nathan is divorced and Katrina is engaged to Chris although it is quite obvious that he is very controlling in their relationship and something dramatic must have happened while writing the first book.

It feels as if Katrina and Nathan are living out their emotions through the dialogue of the characters in the book and in the chapters set in the past we gradually piece together what has happened at the time they wrote the first book. Was that chapter of their lives just a rough draft for their future?

I have to be honest and say I didn’t love this book. It was OK, but I felt it dragged in a few places.  I never felt that ‘I must just read one more chapter’ compulsion, at about 75% of the way through I simply wanted to find out whether Katrina had just vastly over reacted about something in the past and why Nathan couldn’t forgive her.  It did get very good reviews on some sites so maybe my expectations were just a bit too high!



Monday 29 January 2024

Me on Monday 29 January

 It's still January - how can that be?  It seems like Christmas was months ago!

According to my book of random facts, it was this date in 1942 that the first episode of Desert Island Discs was aired.  Where guests are invited to choose eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury that they would enjoy if stranded on a desert island.  Brian Bilston, the author, has written alternative ideas with a play on words for a dessert island choice, the last verse is this 

"It's a family eclair

Don't it make your brownies blue

In the gateaux

Brรปlรฉe-vous"

Can you think of more? 

We had all the family over yesterday and it's so lovely now Olive is old enough to join in with all the games the others like to play.  She is turning into quite a little character now, I love this age and even though she is now two, I don't see many 'terrible two' incidents.

There's a bit of life admin on the cards today.  We had an appointment with a local solicitor to prepare our Lasting Power of Attorney paperwork.  It's one of those things we've been meaning to do for ages as we know it's better to have it in place before you need it, so when you do need it, one phone call should be all that is needed to implement it.  All that legal work is thirsty business so we popped over the road to a little Italian deli for refreshments


As you will see, the thought of a bite of Sicilian lemon tart was too hard to resist before I remembered to take a photo ๐Ÿ˜‰

The rest of the week is going to be busy with Leo and Rosie sleeping over on Wednesday night due to their mum and dad both having heavy work commitments and Rachel having to be away overnight and her husband having a very early start the next morning.  Much easier for them to sleep here rather than them being dropped off here before 6am on Thursday! 

After that it is a nice social end to the week with afternoon tea with friends and then a nice meal out at the weekend.  I think I shall probably need it after an unexpected sleepover midweek!

Have a good week! 

Friday 26 January 2024

#WBOYC January

 

The first WBOYC of the new year and the twelfth one that I have done in this format ... time for a new look next month maybe?  In the meantime, in what seems to have been the longest month of the year, we've reached the last Friday in the month and are ready to share what we have been doing.

J

Jigsaw puzzles and January sales.  My daughter gave me a couple of jigsaws to keep me occupied - one down and now the more difficult one to go.  I didn't actually buy much in the sales - I use the mantra of if you had the money and you didn't feel the urge to buy it before the sale, do you really need to buy it now just because it is on special offer?  But I did succumb to a rather lovely Katie Loxton bag which I know I will use a lot and is in a different colour to the rest of my handbags.



A

After far too long a gap since our last meeting, I had lunch out with an old school friend.  She is still working and had rather too many health issues for us to get together last year, so we are both hoping that this lunch would be the start of getting back to our regular meet ups.

N

National Theatre productions have started to be live streamed via our local Arts Centre so we went to see 'Dear England' to get the atmosphere of a London Theatre without having to embrace the somewhat unreliable winter train journey into London.  It was so good; the time flew by and it was great to find something that both of us thoroughly enjoyed.



U

Unhappy news from the family of an old school friend to say that he had died really made me stop and take stock.  I'd known him for 60 years, our claim to fame was that he'd been my partner on stage at the Royal Albert Hall in a schools country dancing festival and he was genuinely a lovely person.  

A

As soon as my friend Sal retired we made arrangements to meet up for a midweek lunch.  She really was my best friend when our children were small.  We met at ante natal classes and just hit it off so well.  The bonus being that our husbands got on well too.  I was sad when they had to relocate due to their jobs changing.  Not hundreds of miles away, but far enough not to be able to get together so easily.  She is happy to say that she is a few months younger than me so not at official retirement age yet, but she finally took early retirement from her job and we quickly made plans to meet up at a half way point for a long lunch.  Here's to many more!

R

Routines - getting back into them after Christmas is quietly comforting as life gets back to normal.  I did have intentions to declutter a room a week but have only really managed to do two and so that would mean there were two weeks where I failed miserably at sticking to my intentions!

Y

Yay!  We booked a holiday!  After much deliberation we have booked to go to Mallorca.  We last went there about 20 years ago and have very happy memories.  We aren't ones to return to the exact place we have been before, so as our previous holidays were on the north and east coastlines we are going to the west coast, to a resort called Puerto de Soller.  There's some nice walks around there and an old tram which takes you to the town of Soller and it's not too far to the capital, Palma. It's nice to have something to look forward to because, between you and me, I've had enough of dark mornings, early sunsets, and drizzly damp weather. 



I guess it is time to share the 1 Second Everyday Video clip!



Please also pop and see what Australian Deb has been up to in her summertime January.



Monday 22 January 2024

Me on Monday 22 January

 Hello! 

Welcome to a brand new week - hopefully not quite as chilly as the last one was!  I know that we Brits are renowned for our obsession with the weather but boy has it been cold.  It's not so much the temperature on the thermometer, it's the wind chill factor.  I made a silly mistake on Thursday when I went into town for a few bits.  I was planning on parking in the multi storey car park, nipping into M&S and Boots and coming home.  About 3/4 of a mile from town is a lay by where you can park for free for two hours; normally it is busy but that day there were a few spaces so I thought 'it's better for my health to get a few more steps in, plus I won't have to get involved in any traffic'.  It wasn't until I had locked the car and started walking that I realised that although I had gloves with me, I hadn't taken my hat or scarf as I wasn't expecting to be walking far.  Boy did I regret that!  On my way back from town I passed this board outside a cafe ...


Dogs welcome, People tolerated!

That made me smile.  Other things that made me smile this week were these ...



A few years ago I was inspired to try my hand at knitting socks so I have a small supply of the warmest socks I own.

Also who could resist a note like this one from Leo



The message inside tells me I am 'The best Nanny ever' so that definitely made me smile.  

My random piece of information for today is that it was this date in 1927 that the first football match was commentated on radio.  The Radio Times published a plan of the pitch marked into squares so that listeners could follow the match.  It is thought that this may be the origin of going 'back to square one' as this was the box that the ball would land in if kicked back to the goalkeeper.  Some think it relates to earlier games like snakes and ladders but I like the vision of people listening intently to a radio commentary and following along with their pitch plan in the magazine.

We are trying something new this week, our local Arts Centre has a live showing from the National Theatre of 'Dear England' a play about Gareth Southgate and how he went from being known for missing a crucial penalty to being the manager of the England football team.  Now I'm not the biggest football fan, although I do watch our national team, but the play gets good reviews and I do want to support our local Arts Centre.

So while I was hibernating last week, I did get on with my crochet and I now have a completed centre square to share.  I have even given away a couple of completed blankets to Rachel and Jon, now the weather has turned cold our grandchildren enjoy sitting in their car booster seats and being tucked up under a lovely wooly blanket.  I now have a clear conscience about starting a new one ;-) 


Today my main plan is to go into town and book a holiday ... watch this space!

Monday 15 January 2024

Me on the 3rd Monday of January

 I'm starting this post with a picture of some daffodils in a vase on my hall table



They are pretty, they make a room feel cheerful and they bring a glimmer of hope that spring will soon be here.  I kind of feel like that is exactly what I need right now. 

The information from my book of verses for every day of the year tells me that on 14th January 1966, a certain David Robert Jones changed his name.  The name Davy Jones had already been popularised by my favourite Monkee and so David Robert Jones became David Bowie, who would later also become Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke and Aladdin Sane.

This bit of random information regarding change seems appropriate as I type this for last week was bookended by two shocking emails, both from members of the group of school friends with whom I meet up with annually.   The first email contained the sad news that one of our group had died after many rounds of cancer treatment.  Although not unexpected, it's still shocking when it happens.  I had known him 60 years, having first met at primary school.  It hits hard when one of your friendship groups goes far too soon.  The second email was from one of the 'boys' (can you still be considered a boy/girl when you are 65?) who was in my class at secondary school for seven years, telling us that he was changing gender and also changing his/her name.   That takes a bit of getting used to as well.  It was a shock for me, so how on earth his/her wife and son reacted must have been earth shattering.  One thing that has lifted my heart has been the outpouring of support and compassion from the rest of our group. 

So yes, this week starts with me feeling a bit unsteady.  I don't have much planned for the week which is a shame as I feel that not only do I need something to take my mind off things but also that I should not be wasting my days.

I am sorry that my Me on Monday post is subdued, but the idea of blogging is to note the good with the bad, and I can't make things like a shiny Instagram post sharing only the best. I think a nice quiet afternoon of crochet will relax my mind so expect a blanket update very soon!