Monday, 24 September 2018

Family Fun

Well I've been AWOL again but spending time with family so all good.

My son and his wife and of course Grandson Noah arrived from Nottingham on Friday so we also had our other son, wife and Grandson Rory here for dinner.  We couldn't get a hat trick because Nathan goes swimming on Friday afternoons and later dinners don't work so well for him now that he's that bit older.

Naturally I spent most of Friday getting things ready, changing beds etc etc - yeah you know the boring housekeeping sort of stuff that hubby thinks happens by magic.  And I baked.  Well sort of.
I made this:
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Brownie Crust begins with a fudge brownie and then tops off with a simple, delicious no-bake cheesecake with lots of chocolate chips.

Well my version of it.  And the base gets baked.  I forgot (as usual) to take a picture so I got this from the Bake of Break website where the recipe came from.  The link to the recipe is here.

My American DIL made it when we were away with all the family recently and everyone loved it so much we were all asking for the recipe.  She was a bit embarrassed to admit it's make with a brownie mix for the base and the topping is really simple too.  Who cares?  It's delicious.  Even with half the recommended amount of sugar.

Anyway Friday passed in a blur so I didn't get to do my regular Friday posts and then on Saturday, after a lazy morning we all travelled south of the river to the home of our niece Natalie.  Natalie and her partner were hosting a party for her Mum, hubby's sister who will be 60 next month.

Now I realise for my mostly American followers that quoting south of the river might seem confusing.  London is divided by the river Thames.  It meanders from west to east right across London and then eventually meets the North Sea.  It is quite a physical divider and although many south Londoners may travel north, particularly for work, north londoners are less likely to travel south.  This is partly due to crossing points often being very busy and not always conveniently sited.  In central London there are a lot of bridges crossing the river but as you come further east we only have two tunnels fairly nearby and then a bridge and tunnel crossing a bit further out.  Transport links have improved but they're still not great.  Especially coming home late at night.

Anyway we ventured south and the journey was fine.  And it was a lovely gathering although it was raining all day so we were confined to the house and a hastily bought and erected Gazebo on the patio.  It was such a shame as we have had a lovely long hot summer and this was one of just a few weekends where the weather was horrible.  It didn't spoil our enjoyment though and it was lovely to have all our 3 grandsons there plus most of the other siblings' grandchildren.  The girls were very outnumbered.  There were 2 girls and 8 boys from our extended family and then 4 more boys from Natalie's inlaws. 

It was a little bit hectic at times but the kids were well behaved considering they were a bit penned in.  We might not want them looking at screens all the time but sometimes they come in handy!

Sunday was just spent lazily at home enjoying spending time with Noah.  They didn't leave until after lunch today so we had a nice long time with them.  We're now looking forward to next month when they're planning on coming down for a week.  They change so quickly when they're babies that it's good to see them as often as possible despite the distance.

We didn't get a picture of our 3 together but we did get this one of the 2 younger ones which is lovely.

Noah on the left, Rory on the right.
And for those who remember me talking about Natalie's little girl Poppy who was very poorly until they diagnosed and started treating her genetic condition, here she is fascinated with Noah.  She has just started nursery now and is quite the chatterbox.
 Tomorrow we're with Nathan all day as usual.  I just love family time.

Monday, 17 September 2018

I'm a blogger who blogs.

I noticed this title come up in my reading feed today:
Are you a blogger who writes or a writer who blogs?

I think I'm a blogger who blogs.  Of course I know by blogging I'm writing but I have no real ambition to become an acknowledged as in published writer.  I write here for various reasons, mainly because I enjoy it and it provides a sort of journal but also because I love the interaction with other bloggers.

I also have fits and starts.  Some months, particularly like April where I'm following a challenge, I'll blog most days.  Then there are quiet spells when I'm either too busy to get on the laptop and blog or I just don't feel there's anything worth blogging about.

I'm having a better spell at the moment but that was mostly facilitated by having a bad leg and not being able to get out.  That's changing.  The leg is improving, slowly, and today I managed to drive the car without it being too painful so I no longer feel housebound.  Yesterday hubby and I also managed to successfully babysit Nathan and will do so again tomorrow, one of my regular days.  I'm not doing Thursday this week though as I don't think I could get him upstairs yet on my own.  Stairs are still proving a bit of a challenge.  Today in particular as I probably overdid it a bit yesterday.  Two steps forward one back!

That also happened with new meals.  I made a lovely mushroom and ricotta filo tart at the weekend.  I've never used filo pastry before and yes I confess, it was shop bought not homemade.  Why would you make your own?  Have you seen how difficult it is?  I looked up a recipe that gave the instructions but more or less told you not to bother and wished you good luck at the end!

Anyway the tart was delicious and I remembered (in time) to take a photo.

So that was a step forward although I won't be making it too often as it has a lot of butter and Hubby needs to get his bad cholesterol level down so we're working on that.

Today I attempted another new recipe, a prawn curry.  Well that was a step back, in fact a giant step back.  It was edible, just, but not one I will be repeating.  Not sure what went wrong but definitely needed a stronger curry powder as even I thought it was bland! (I used mild as I don't like things too spicy.) I also overcooked it so the prawns were too chewy.  In fact it was just a disaster so I've binned the photographic evidence.  Actually it didn't even merit a photo being taken.

But today wasn't a total write off.  We managed to drop off and collect Hubby's CPAP machine for its annual service at the hospital.  We (ha as in the royal "we" as Hubby did both trips for this) also got the car through its annual safety check.  We thought we might have to get at least one new tyre but they all passed and we got the garage to replace one of the brake lights we knew wasn't working.  We were going to attempt that ourselves but they're a bit tricky to get to and neither of us are that hands on.  

We also secured a new window cleaner.  Hopefully she will turn out to be more reliable than the last one who just stopped coming.

I mentioned a few weeks back about securing some label holders for drawers online well today I actually got 2 of the 3 sets of drawers kitted out with the holders:
I'll get things organised even if it does leave a blister on my hand from tightening the screws!

Tomorrow we're back on Nathan duty so I think I should get an early night plus I've done enough waffling (writing?) on this post!



Friday, 14 September 2018

Five Minute Friday - 14/9/18 - Crowd



If you want the full details of how this works click here

The main idea though as you've probably guessed is just to write for 5 minutes on the prompt which today is CROWD  (and if you want to check out other posts click here)

This is my attempt: 



I am not good in crowds.  I definitely don't like feeling out of control and in my experience that's what I am when in a crowd.

I distinctly remember one New Year's Eve (probably about 1981 or 82) when a group of friends decided to celebrate in central London in Trafalgar Square.  I'm not sure how I was persuaded to go but I did.  It was extrememly busy and crowded but it was bearable until just after midnight when everyone began to disperse.

There was a sudden surge in the crowd and you just had to go with the movement or risk being trampled.  Our group was separated and it was definitely scary.  Especially give that I don't remember mobile phones being common at the time.

Eventually some of us were able to get together and make our way home but since then I've never felt the need to celebrate New Year anywhere other than at home or at a friend's or family member's house.

I'm not a lover of fireworks so I'm just as happy to watch it all on TV, raise a glass of fizz, wish hubby a Happy New Year and retire to bed. 

Well that was my five minutes but I did spend some time checking some things such as when mobile phones really became popular and also the year - it must have been 1981 because the following year 2 people were actually trampled to death when crowds got out of control.  If I had been wary of going before, that would definitely have made me more sure of my decision to stay home.


Friday's Fave Five - 14/8/18

 

It's Friday again so time to look back on the week and count our blessings.  This bloghop is hosted by Susanne at Living to Tell the Story.  Pop over there to join in or read other contributions. 

This hasn't been the best of weeks (still struggling with the injuries from my recent fall and now a rotten cold) but that's when it's good to find the positive things and I am thankful for these:

1)  A meet up with friends.  One of my friends hosted a coffee morning in aid of Motor Neurone Disease on Saturday and there were several other friends of mine there.  Plus lots of yummy cakes.

2)  Visits from Nathan and Rory at the weekend.  Both quite brief but it's always good to see them.

3)  No fracture to my tibia!  This was such a relief on Monday.  My knee is still sore (as is the elbow if I overdo it) but I can now get up the stairs reasonable well.  Still working on getting down  more that one step at a time but in my house it's easy to get lots of exercise in.  Thanks to everyone for your good wishes and prayers.

4)  Technology.  Had a couple of video calls with Nathan this week.  He always seems so excited to see me and of course I love seeing him, especially when I haven't been able to get over to look after him.  He's not talking yet of course but he does manage bye bye!  Often when he probably means hello lol.  A couple of videos were shared too that were lovely.  Rory was having a lovely chat with my brother-in-law (don't you love it when young babies first start to make noises?) and Nathan was jigging away in his highchair to (another annoying song) Gummy Bears.  The song is one of those that gets in your head and sticks but he was so funny the way he was moving to the music.  Let's just say he's got a good shoulder shrug going lol.  Plus there are always loads of photos of Noah to oo and ahh over.  His Mummy and Daddy are excellent at taking lots of photos and sharing them.

Facetime with Nathan

Noah

Rory - I could hug and kiss him all day

5)  That the UK doesn't really suffer from major weather events well at least not to the extent that other countries do.  Hurricane Florence looks pretty devastating.  They should give them more dangerous sounding names.  Florence is too nice for a storm that is going to wreak havoc and probably claim lives.  If you're reading this I hope it means you're safe.

Have a good weekend all.




Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Ragtag Daily Prompt - 12/9/18 - Feast

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Click on the image for the Ragtag site

Today's prompt is Feast.  This is rather apt as this week I have been trying to get back into the swing of trying out at least one new recipe a week for my 18 in 18 challenge.  I actually planned for 4 new recipes and so far we've actually had 2 of them and I even remembered to take pictures!  (Although I won't win any prizes for presentation.)

Yesterday we had a mediterranean lamb hotpot and today we had a chicken stir fry.


The lamb dish was delicious and will definitely get repeated.  I also enjoyed the chicken dish but hubby wasn't overly impressed.  Maybe because he actually did the cooking of it.  

I feel like I've gone 2 steps forward and one back as although my leg is no longer in a support I've now gone down with a cold. Consequently I managed to prepare all the ingredients for the stir fry but hubby did the cooking.

I also had a light bulb moment while getting everything together.  I seemed to have mislaid my tablespoon measure.  I hunted high and low to no avail and decided it would turn up eventually.  I was racking my brains as to when I had last used it when I suddenly remembered using it to measure out stain remover powder when doing some washing.  I checked to see if I had left it in the tub and there it was!

I'm not sure (having watched my Mother succumb to Alzheimer's) whether I should be worried that I left it in the tub in the first place or relieved that I (eventually) remembered where it was.

Anyway not exactly a feast but both were washed down with a glass of wine so I'm satisfied.


Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Ragtag Daily Prompt - 11/9/18 - Orange


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Click on the image to go to the Ragtag site

Today's prompt is Orange.

I started off thinking I don't like orange.  Well I certainly don't like oranges and I'm not that keen on most citrus fruits.  Consequently I wouldn't have orange juice with my breakfast.

Then I realised I have these orange cushions in my lounge where I spend a lot of time.
The picture is poor but the cushions do work well with the colour scheme of the room.  However they are the most uncomfortable cushions ever.  They are just too puffed up.  Most of us remove the cushions when sitting on the sofas.  (We also have a 2 seater with matching cushions!)  So the cushions often end up on the floor or lobbed behind the sofa.

I also decided to inject some colour into my wardrobe recently when I updated it.  I still had a lot of work style clothes and a lot of blue and black.

These found their way in:

As did quite a lot of new things. 

I've yet to wear the trousers as they're quite a heavy cotton and we had such a long hot summer that they would have been too warm for me even though they are cropped.  Then I spent the last 3 weeks wearing a support on my leg which severly limited my choice of outfits.  It was shorts, shorts or shorts!  Not strictly true as I did have 2 pairs of loose trousers that just fitted over the support but thankfully it has been warm enough for shorts.  The weather has definitely changed now though so I will have to get some wear out of those before it gets too cool.

I'm also a fan of these:


I love having fresh flowers in the house and brightly coloured ones especially.

And now I'm off to prepare some of these to accompany our dinner.

Monday, 10 September 2018

No Fracture! 10/9/18

I'm free!  I no longer have to wear this monstrosity.


I had my follow up appointment at the fracture clinic today and new x-rays revealed NO FRACTURE!

What a relief.  Although the knee is still painful and I haven't been discharged - I have to go back in 6 weeks but in the meantime I can start moving about on the leg and bending the knee.  It felt quite strange walking without the support having had it for almost 3 weeks.  I'm hoping to resume looking after Nathan next week, at least on Tuesday when Nick will be able to go with me and do the lifting and carrying.  I don't think I'd be able to get Nathan up the stairs just yet.  Of course I don't have to take him upstairs to change him but I usually do, a) because the changing table, nappies etc are up there and b) it sometimes helps to have a change of scenery and toys, particularly if it's a rainy day and we haven't been able to get out.

I took a taxi to the hospital but managed to get home by bus.  There were only short walks to and from the bus stops and I took it slowly.  I might even try sleeping in my own bed with Nick tonight - I've been sleeping in the spare bed so that he wouldn't knock my leg during the night.  We'll see how we get on.

My poor Fitbit must have felt redundant these past few weeks.  I nearly left it off but decided to keep it on just to see how inactive I was.  Last week there were several days when I managed less than 1000 steps.  Hopefully I'll be able to see a gradual improvement now.

Thank you for all your good wishes and prayers.  Much appreciated.

Of course now I'll have to start working on my to do list again!

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Review: Camino Island

Camino Island Camino Island by John Grisham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, but Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars.

Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. Very few people know that he occasionally dabbles in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts.

Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer’s block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous offer of money convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Bruce Cable’s circle of literary friends, ideally getting close enough to him to learn his secrets.

But eventually Mercer learns far too much, and there’s trouble in paradise as only John Grisham can deliver it.


If you like Grisham's books, as I do, this one will not disappoint but it probably won't blow you away either. Grisham's written so many novels now that it's hard to imagine him writing a dud and this is definitely not a dud but I was able to put it down without thinking "just one more chapter".

Essentially it's the solving of a daring heist but it also explores the murky world of rare books and collectors who don't always care where their acquisitions come from or how they were obtained.

View all my reviews

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Bird - Ragtag Daily Prompt - 8/9/18

Click on the image for the Ragtag site.

Well the prompt for today made me immediately want to think of something other than fluffy flying creatures.  I'm not into birds and I certainly don't have lots of pictures of them.  I did have a budgie for a pet once but of course, like most pets it predeceased me.

Interestingly, in checking out the slang definitions for bird (to make sure my lateral thinking was correct) I found it means a lot of things I never knew! Some of them I don't want to know but anyway I'm waffling.

The term I was checking out was prison.  Mainly because I feel like I have been imprisioned this week due to my injured knee but I did escape this morning.  A friend of mine was holding a coffee morning in support of Motor Neurone Disease.  Hubby dropped me off and I was able to catch up with some old work colleagues and people I've met before through my friend.  There was a lovely array of sandwiches snacks and cakes but I managed to be restrained.  It's surprising how hungry I still am considering I'm sitting around doing nothing physical so I dread to think what the scales are going to show on Monday.

My daughter picked me up and brought me home so we were able to have some catch up time with  Nathan and both his Mummies.  I've missed seeing him this week so even though Grandpa is his favourite person it was still lovely to see him.  He was looking very grown up today.

So there you have it, nothing to do with birds.  Just a bunch of waffle.  What I do best.


Friday, 7 September 2018

Friday's Fave Five 7/9/18


Friday is the day for looking back over the week to remember things to be grateful for. It's hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story. Pop over there to find other participants and all the guidelines for posting.

Here are mine for this week:

1) Happy with my own company. I'm doing as I'm told and wearing the support on my leg and avoiding weight bearing as much as possible. That means I've been housebound all week and on my own for the last 3 days while hubby's been at work.

2) Visits from Rory. He had to go to the local clinic for his second set of jabs this week so he was here on Monday and he came with Mummy and Daddy for dinner on Wednesday. He definitely brightened up my week. He's so cute!


3) Facetime with Nathan. He seemed pleased to be able to see me on the phone although of course conversation was limited. He's getting good at bye bye though and apparently he cried when we disconnected. Not seeing him all week has been hard but his Mummies have been keeping us updated with pictures and videos.


And of course so I can't be accused of not being fair here's a photo of Noah. Can you guess what family pets they have?


4) Blogging time. Having to sit has given me the perfect excuse to get some blogging done. This will be my 10th post this month, almost as many as the whole month of August and more than July. Although of course quantity doesn't necessary mean quality lol!

5) A hubby that can cook. We've eaten easy meals this week, no complicated cooking involved but I haven't had to worry about cooking at all.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get out to a friend who is holding a fundraising coffee morning and Rory might pop in for another visit on Sunday - our local area is holding a jumble trail so that will break up the weekend nicely for me and then on Monday I have my follow up appointment for my knee. Thankfully it's been warm enough to wear shorts this week!

Have a good weekend all.

Five Minute Friday - 7/9/18 - Rain





Well I've only joined in with this a couple of times and that was a long time ago but I'm determined to blog more regularly so this seemed a good bloghop to get back into.

If you want the full details of how this works click here

The main idea though as you've probably guessed is just to write for 5 minutes on the prompt which today is RAIN (and if you want to check out other posts click here)

This is my attempt:


When I think of rain I often think of a summer holiday we spent on the west coast of France.  We were camping with one of hubby’s sisters and her family and the weather had been lovely.


One afternoon I noticed that many of the French campers were digging trenches around their tents.  We didn’t know why but they were very intent on this.


I insisted that we needed a trench too.  Hubby was not so keen, especially as we did not have a proper spade like the seasoned French campers did – just a small child’s spade.  Watching him trying to complete the trench was quite interesting!


However, later that afternoon we began to understand.  Suddenly the wind came up from nowhere and before we knew it we were in the middle of a terrifying storm which lasted well into the night.   

We were so glad we’d dug a trench although we were still frantically moving everything into the middle of our groundsheet and lifting up the edges to keep things dry.  Thankfully the bedroom areas had built in groundsheets so that was okay but it was very scary.  We were hanging on to the sides of the tent to stop it blowing away.


The rain came in torrents and with it hailstones the size of golf balls.  Evidence of these was visible in the form of small dents on cars the next morning.  The lightening was also amazing and took out a tree at the bottom of the site.


It didn’t put me off camping but made me think more carefully about what we packed and how we stored things in the tent.
Image courtesy of Pinterest



Thursday, 6 September 2018

Bark - Ragtag Daily Prompt - 6/9/18

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/wednesday-prompt-sobriquet/
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Today's prompt is bark.  Well the saying goes "his bark was worse than his bite" but in the case of these two that might not be true.

Meet Ness and Joe.  These greyhounds now belong to my son and his wife.  They are quiet in that they don't bark very often although they are noisy when charging around the house or up and down the garden.  They don't do that very often either.  Contrary to what you might think, greyhounds do not need a lot of exercise as they will have been trained to do short bursts of running but at a very fast pace!  

When they first got them they were very quiet and not at all playful.  Now, although they still spend the majority of their time lazing around they are, particularly Ness, more like pets.  They often bring them with them when they visit us and they are no trouble.  Apart from the fact they are big and take up a lot of floor space when they lay down!  They don't curl up like some dogs do - they spread out.

Generally they don't bite but, having been trained to chase a furry object, there are certain things to watch out for which is why they are never off lead when taken out.  Rabbits, cats anything small and furry that moves and they would be off like a shot.  Fluffy toys for the baby are also kept off limits.  We've moved on from baby gates to dog gates!

They have been very good around the new baby in the house though, sniffing around him but mostly ignoring him even when he cries.  Hopefully that will continue as Noah grows up and becomes more interested in them.