Sunday 26 November 2017

Where I am

I'm in Australia! Flew via Hong Kong into Sydney. Seen the Blue Mountains. Travelled the Great Ocean Road and now on to Melbourne.

Normal blogging service and a holiday blog(s?) will resume on my return to the UK. (12th December jet lag permitting)

Thanks to my son and DIL for house sitting.

Can't work out how to add photos here on my mini iPad but check out my Facebook page for better updates.

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 1/11/17

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at
Pop over there to see other posts and if you want to join in add the link to your Hodgepodge blog post to the Linky List at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

1. What does/did Halloween look like at your house this year? Did you decorate? Pick pumpkins? Carve pumpkins? Expect trick or treaters? Wear a costume to a party or event? Make a costume? Feel glad you didn't have to come up with a costume? Cook a Halloween themed treat? Eat all the leftover candy?
Our house didn’t look any different from the day before.  Halloween is still very low key here in the UK compared to the USA although it does seem to grow each year.  So no pumpkin for us and it seems that deterred any trick or treaters knocking at the door.  There were quite a few posts on social media warning them not to knock on doors that didn’t seem welcoming or have a pumpkin outside.  So I bought treats in case anyone knocked but now I have to eat them although hubby and the (grown up) kids are clearly already helping!
2. What are you waiting for? Elaborate
Waiting on a couple of bits of news and of course taking off for our Australia trip. 8 days to go!
3. Do you wish you were friendlier, braver, more creative, more athletic, or something else? Explain.
I definitely wish I could be most of those things but I’d settle for a bit more confidence.  At my age I don’t feel the need to be athletic and I can be creative when I put my mind to it.  But confidence to talk easily with strangers or just tackle situations would be good.
4. When it comes time to paint are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you hire someone? What was the last paint job completed at your house? What room most needs painting now? How do you feel about wallpaper?
A mix of both.  We’ve painted our two spare bedrooms ourselves as they’re small and had been recently replastered so were easy to do.  The hall and stairs need doing and we will get someone in to do that.  I like wallpaper but paint seems easier to change.
5. What is one specific thing you felt gratitude for in the month of October?
Reconnecting with friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  I usually wait for a call to join in with a get together but this time I took the initiative and invited them here.  We had a good evening catching up.
6.  Insert your own random thought here.
I might not have been Halloween ready but this little munchkin was:

Saturday 28 October 2017

Review: Before I Let You In

Before I Let You In Before I Let You In by Jenny Blackhurst
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I found this book quite confusing. Written in several POVs it was hard to follow at times. The characters weren't particularly likeable and although that's not vital for me to enjoy a book I didn't feel invested in any of them.

Some events weren't covered in enough detail and some things just didn't seem plausible. The ending wasn't a great surprise but should have had more depth. It didn't live up to the hype.

View all my reviews

#SoCS - 28/10/17

It's Saturday so it's SoCS time hosted by Linda.

This week's prompt is: “which/witch/wich.” Start your post with the word “which” and try to fit the word “witch” in somewhere if you can. Bonus points if you use a word that ends in “wich.” As an added rule this week, you will lose all the points you’ve ever earned if you type “which witch is which” anywhere in your post. Have fun!

Which brings me to the subject of halloween or rather witch.  It all leads to the same end.  A night of madness.  Sorry to my friends the other side of the pond.  Halloween is still not a big thing here in the UK although every year it seems to get bigger.  It's easy to buy a pumpkin and many stores will be selling costumes and other paraphanalia.  I don't get carried away with it at all although I usually stock up on some halloween inspired chocolates or sweets so that I can reward those who are brave enough to come to the door to Trick or Treat.

It will probably provide another excuse for fireworks.  We've recently had Diwali and next week of course it's actually Bonfire night.  Personally I'll be glad to see the back of all the fireworks.  I don't mind an organised display - our local council kindly organises one just over the other side of our common so we can see most of it from the bedroom window or just by walking out on to the common by our house.   We just can't make plans to go out in the car that day as it's almost impossible to come back and find a parking space despite those attending being encouraged to travel on public transport.

I'm tired today, it's been a busy week, but I have the luxury of being cooked for by my son and DIL  We'll miss that when they move out shortly but at least today we won't be resorting to a sandwich for dinner.

Friday's Fave Five on Saturday!

Fridays are a time to look back on the week and share our blessings.
If you want to join in or check out the other participants pop over to our host Suzanne's blog at Living to Tell the Story

Well I didn't get here yesterday but I still enjoy looking back on my week and finding some blessings.

1)  Unseasonably warm weather.  We've had some lovely days this week and although the leaves are still changing colour and dropping the temperature was definitely not autumnal.

2)  A great community at church.  We usually stay after Mass for tea & coffee.  It's a good way to start your Sunday.

3)  Lots of Nathan time.  I got a call on Tuesday to see if I was able to go over - Vicky needed to be at work and Becca was exhausted so of course I went.  I took him out for a long walk so that Becca could sleep.  I was already booked to go on Wednesday as it was their 2nd wedding anniversary and they had lunch plans plus a visit to a spa in the afternoon.  I took my DIL Elizabeth with me and we took him out for a long walk again and we had a great time.  He ate his lunch (broccolli) and took a bottle.  We played for a bit and then when he started getting grumpy I managed to get him to sleep again.  Of course he woke up just before they arrived home so as they walked through the door he was screaming.  It was probably a tummy pain because immediately after we left he filled his nappy!  I think his timing was spot on but his Mummies probably didn't agree!
This photo was taken last week when Nick was there with me.

4)  A catch up with former work colleagues.  I usually rely on one of them to sort out a get together but I decided to take the initiative and invite everyone here for a change.  I asked 8 people thinking at least one or two wouldn't be free but of course they all accepted!  That's when it's handy being part of a big extended family - cooking for big numbers doesn't phase me.  We had chilli and rice followed by Eton Mess, plus:

5) Generous friends - one of my regular lunch ladies had offered to make an apple crumble for the get together.  I'm usually bad at accepting or asking for help but on this occasion I'd accepted her offer.  Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, she'd let the crumble overcook (it was a bit crunchy around the edge but perfectly edible) so she'd brought a chocolate pudding too.  It was nice to catch up and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening.  We plan to catch up again just before Christmas after our trip to Australia but I think I'll suggest the local pub for that. 

Hope you're all enjoying your weekend.

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge 25/10/17

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at
Pop over there to see other posts and if you want to join in add the link to your Hodgepodge blog post to the Linky List at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

1. What's surprised you most about your life or life in general? 
It doesn’t always go to plan.
2.  Sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, a baked sweet potato, a bowl of butternut squash soup, a caramel apple or a slice of pumpkin have to order one thing on this list right now. Which one do you go for?
Probably a caramel apple or maybe the butternut squash soup.
3. What's a famous book set in your home state? Have you read it? On a scale of 1-5 (5 is fantastic) how many stars does it rate?
Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins.  I have read it and I’d give it a 4 out of 5.
4. There are 60 days until Christmas...have you started your shopping? How do you stay organized for the holidays?
I have started my shopping (a necessity this year as we’ll be travelling from mid-November to mid-December) and I make lists, lists and then more lists!
5. October 26th is National Tennessee Day. Have you ever lived or spent any time in Tennessee? Is this a state you'd like to visit one day? The top rated tourist attractions in Tennessee are-

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Gatlinburg area), Elvis's Graceland (Memphis), Birth of the Music Biz (Memphis and Nashville), Dollywood (Pigeon Forge), Tennessee's Military Heritage (many battlefields), The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's home), The Parthenon (Nashville), Oak Ridge American Museum of Science and Energy, Chattagnooa and the Tennessee Valley Railroad, Downtown Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, The Titanic Museum (Pigeon Forge), The Museum of Appalachia (Clinton), and The Lost Sea Adventure (Sweetwater)
How many on this list have you seen? Which one on the list would you most like to see?
I haven’t spent any time in Tennessee and I think it’s unlikely that I will although it does seem to have a lot of attractions.
6.  Insert your own random thought here.
I feel like I’ve rushed this post – it’s almost Thursday now here in the UK.  I’ve had two busy days babysitting Nathan.  It’s a lot of fun and I love doing it but it’s hard work!  But when you get to look at this cute face how can you say no?

Friday 20 October 2017

Friday's Fave Five 20/10/17

Fridays are a time to look back on the week and share our blessings.
If you want to join in or check out the other participants pop over to our host Suzanne's blog at Living to Tell the Story

1)  A meal out with hubby.  We went to an Italian Trattoria in the Queen Elizabeth Park (Olympic park).  The kids were out and it was a spur of the moment decision.  We got the bus into Stratford and then walked through the park to the restaurant.  For once I remembered to take some photos although not until we were half way through our shared starter:
Pizzetta with mozzarella, broccoletti & sausage
These were our main courses:
Potato gnocchi with radicchio, Naples sausage and white truffle oil

The lasagne tasted much better than it looked in that picture.  I forgot to take pics of the desserts but Nick had Espresso Affogato (Ice cream with coffee) and I had Tiramisu.  It was a nice meal and there are several bars and eating places at that end of the park.  However we did feel we were a bit old!  It was a nice evening and people were sitting outside but they were mainly a lot younger than us!

2)  The generosity of spirit people have.  As we walked back to the station after our meal we passed hundreds of people who were doing a night walk in aid of Dementia sufferers.  There have been a number of memory walks organised by the UK's Alzheimer's Society.  Of course this is a cause close to my heart as both my Mum and her sister succumbed to this awful disease in recent years.  Support for these, and many other charitable events is amazing, especially when everyone is starting to feel the effects of our Government's austerity measures.  I didn't get any pics of the walkers but I did snap this poor quality pic of the London stadium and The Orbit.
3)  A good report on my brother's health status.  He has been undergoing treatment for myeloma which has been successful and he's been told they will now go ahead with a stem cell transplant.  This will give him a better chance of staying in remission for longer.  Thank goodness for our NHS.

4)  Lunch with my former work colleagues on Monday.  It's been a while since our previous lunch so it was good to catch up.

5) A quiet week overall - managed to get quite a bit of reading done!

Have a good weekend.