Friday 31 August 2018

Friday's Fave Five - 31/8/18

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)  Spending time with family.  We have just had a week away with hubby's extended family and all of ours.
Taking a family picture on the stairs is becoming a tradition.  Especially with 2 more additions this year. (Our 3 are at the front with (l-r) Rory, Noah and Nathan.)

2)  Yummy food while we were away, we were 40+ so it's not easy cooking for that many people but we managed some lovely meals and on the Saturday evening the younger generation waited on our generation which was really nice.

3)  Chocolate brownie cheesecake.  One of my DILs made this for the Saturday evening meal and it was delicious.  I will be copying the recipe.

4)  Co-operation.  So many examples of this during the week away.  It's so nice to see family members helping one another out and just getting on with each other.

5)  Thankful I'm retired.  I'm currently sporting this:

so I'm glad I'm not having to deal with a work situation.  Hopefully my tibia won't actually be fractured and I can get rid of this next week.  You can read the whole sorry saga here.

Have a good weekend all.  I'm hoping to get to the hairdressers for a long overdue appointment but other than that I will be taking it easy.

I'm back!

I have just spent a lovely week with our extended family.  This is the 6th year we've been away to a converted Oast House in Kent.  The weather wasn't as lovely as we've been having but when you have good company, good food and plenty to drink who cares?

The only downside is that the internet service is rubbish.  The phone service is even worse.  You have to almost hang off the end of the balcony to get a signal and with everyone using wifi on their phones the response times are sooooo slow.  I spent a fair amount of time each day placing shopping orders for food so I decided that blogging would wait.

But as I'll be sitting down quite a lot at the moment hopefully I'll be up to date with all your news etc quite quickly.

Just had a holiday and now I'm sitting down?  Well yes because I'm stuck with this at the moment:

Normally I am full of praise for our NHS but in this instance it's been like a comedy of errors or definitely a farce.

I fell over at my daughter's house the Tuesday before last.  My right knee and elbow took the brunt of the fall.  X-rays seemed to reveal no problems but to be on the safe side I was provided with the lovely accessory you see above and told I would get a call from the fracture clinic to confirm everything was ok or not!

I hadn't heard anything by the Friday when we were due to go down to Kent so I rang the hospital at around 11.30 to try and find out what was going on.  I was informed that I should have attended an appointment at 10.30 that morning.  Umm well I would have if I'd known about it.  When I asked to rearrange it I was told the department would have to decide if they would rearrange considering I had "missed" my appointment.  Excuse me?  How can I have missed an appointment I didn't even know about.

Well it was rearranged but then I got a call later that day (after I'd left for Kent) telling me that it was the "virtual" appointment scheduled for 10.30 but clearly running VERY late.  Confused yet?  I was.  Seems the central booking office isn't clear either.

Anyway I was advised that I have a "possibly" fractured tibia so I should continue to wear the support, rest it as much as possible and I would get a clinic appointment after my return from holiday.

Today when we got home I had an appointment letter for....the 10th September.  But....when I tried to see if I could bring it forward I was told that it had been cancelled and I'd been discharged.  What!?

A phone call soon had the appointment reinstated but I'm none the wiser as to whether the leg is fractured or not so I have despatched an angry e-mail to try and get some answers, including how much weight bearing I should be doing.  In the meantime I will just sit.

Thursday 23 August 2018

Review: It Takes One to Know One

It Takes One to Know One It Takes One to Know One by Isla Dewar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Charlie Gavin was abducted as a baby. He didn’t know who he was or where he came from. His mission was to find himself. And when he did, he decided to spend his life finding other lost souls by opening the Be Kindly Missing Persons Bureau.
Martha Walters, his assistant, has had her fifteen minutes of almost fame and failed. Now, dealing with her guilt and pain, she lives with her mum and dotes on her young daughter. Charlie appears to be a man who is a loser and dreamer, but, hey, his office is near her house, she can lie in of a morning, take her kid to school and the work isn’t too heart-breaking. Or is it . . . ?

This is what I call a "nice" book. It's easy to read, nothing bad about it but it's not a masterpiece. It provided an enjoyable interlude. Was a bit hard to follow in the middle - too many characters introduced but not detailed enough to be able to keep track of them.

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Review: Then She Was Gone

Then She Was Gone Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

She was fifteen, her mother's
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty - and meeting her completely takes Laurel's breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

I enjoyed this book but part way through it became very clear what had happened to the missing Ellie and I was initially disappointed that the book didn't keep me guessing. However, I didn't give up on it because I still enjoyed it, especially the way the characters are developed and how the author gives depth to them and the way they react to their circumstances. It's not just a what happened/who dunnit sort of book where often events just follow one after the other. Here you get the dynamics of a broken family and how they struggle to cope with a tragedy and work their way through it.

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Friday 17 August 2018

Friday's Fave Five - 17/8/18

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)  Cooler weather and rain.  The heat of recent weeks has been unbearable at times but this week it's been much cooler and we've had much needed rain.  The garden is looking better.

2)  Online shopping!  I have a couple of sets of small drawers from IKEA that I want to put in the room I'm now referring to as Hubbies Den.  It was a bedroom but I want it to be more multi purpose and for him to have his office stuff in there.  My plan is to use the drawers for things like staples, paperclips and various other office supplies but I know that hubby will need to know what's in the drawers. 

IKEA MOPPE mini chest of drawers 
So I managed to source some label holders online, ordered them and they arrived today.  I love it when things like that come together.

3)  Ladies lunch today with my former work colleagues.  It's been a few weeks since we got together so we had lots to catch up on.

4) Recipes that worked!  It was my turn to host the lunch so I did a chicken dish I hadn't done before.  (Chicken cooked in a creamy sauce flavoured with mustard and with mushrooms and leeks.)  Easy to do and it tasted delicious so I'll be making it again.  Plus pannecotta with a raspberry sauce for dessert.  I'd never made that before and I was a bit nervous about using gelatine but they set nicely and tasted great. But....I forgot to take pictures!  There was enough leftover for hubby's dinner and he gave them a thumbs up too.

5)  No good week is complete without Grandchildren time.
We caught up with Rory last Sunday.  He is becoming much more smiley.
And Nathan is doing lots more "cruising" and loves this song

Needless to say the novelty has worn a bit thin for me lol.  But his excitement at it is just adorable to watch.

Have a good weekend all.


Wednesday 15 August 2018

Review: Keep You Safe

Keep You Safe Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you enjoy a moral dilemma and are a fan of Jodi Picoult you'll probably enjoy this book.

When single mom Kate O'Donnell's daughter Rosie contracts measles it's her worst nightmare. Unvaccinated due to an allergy, Rosie's condition quickly deteriorates. Kate believes that Rosie has been infected by a school friend Clara, who went down with measles just before Rosie. Clara's mother Madeleine had chosen not to vaccinate her and had sent her to school when she was unwell although she did not know it was with measles at the time.

Finding herself in debt and having to take unpaid leave from work to care for her daughter, Kate is persuaded to sue Clara's parents for a lack of duty of care. The case gathers a lot of media attention and creates debate about the rights and wrongs of not vaccinating. It's particularly prominent on social media thanks to Madeleine being the author of a tongue in cheek blog on Motherhood.

It's a hard situation for both families and there's an unexpected turn of events towards the end.

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Saturday 11 August 2018

Review: Anybody Out There?

Anybody Out There? Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anna Walsh is officially a wreck. Physically broken and emotionally shattered, she lies on her parents' Dublin sofa with only one thing on her mind: getting back to New York. New York means her best friends, The Most Fabulous Job In The World™ and above all, it means her husband, Aidan.

But nothing in Anna's life is that simple anymore... Not only is her return to Manhattan complicated by her physical and emotional scars – but Aidan seems to have vanished. Is it time for Anna to move on? Is it even possible for her to move on? A motley group of misfits, an earth-shattering revelation, two births and one very weird wedding might help Anna find some answers – and change her life forever.

It's been a while since I read a Marian Keyes book so I didn't connect this one with Watermelon, however although it's about the same family this is Anna's story and can easily be read as a stand alone.

It's chick lit at its best. Funny in places, sad in places but (mainly) credible. At the start of the story Anna is recuperating at her family home in Ireland after an accident. We don't immediately learn much about this accident or where her husband is. We don't even know Aiden is her husband.

We're drip fed information and initially I wasn't sure I was going to be drawn in enough to keep me interested considering it's a long book - 592 pages. I wondered where it was going and then there's a revelation and I was hooked.

Judging by the reviews you'll either love it or hate it but it's not a fluffy romantic read and I enjoyed it.

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SoCS - 11/8/18 - Bodily Functions

It's been a while since I did one of these posts but you can find out how it all works here on Linda's site.

The SoCS prompt for today is Bodily Functions and host Linda kindly pointed us in the direction of a post that listed a variety of these albeit under some weird and wonderful names.

You might be thankful that I’m not going to choose any of those because some of them could be very embarrassing.  I’m actually going to talk about lactation although that could prove embarrassing too.  "Lactation is the production of milk by mammals through their mammary glands."  It is a natural process and one that is vital but before anyone jumps on me I’m not here to discuss the merits of breast feeding v bottle feeding.  I’ve been on both sides of that fence and now firmly believe that the mantra should be “fed is best”.

I attempted to feed my firstborn and succeeded for about 3 weeks until she continued to vomit such large quantities of milk back that one doctor thought she might have pyloric stenosis which would only require a “minor” operation to correct.  Trust me, no Mother of a newborn considers the prospect of ANY operation as “minor”.  Surgery on a tiny infant is not something to be blas√© about.  Fortunately a second opinion determined this was not the case and that I should persevere.  After finding my baby in a pool of vomit in her cot my plans to breast feed went out the window.  Switching to bottle feeding wasn’t an easy decision but it worked for her. 

Babies 2 & 3 were both breast fed.  I’d like to say it was easy but getting feeding established is a painful process.  Throw in a bout of mastitis and a reaction to the antibiotics that were prescribed and I’m amazed that I managed to continue but I did and compared to mixing up bottles of formula and sterilizing bottles etc it was easier, although of course you do feel chained to your baby at times.

But, as usual, I’m digressing from the main point I wanted to make that, although in the UK breastfeeding is promoted, often to the point that Mothers who can’t manage it or choose not to do feel they have failed, we Brits are not actually very accommodating of feeding Mums.

I watched a TV documentary on this subject recently and it seems that many people do not feel comfortable around Mums while they are breastfeeding.  Covering up or doing it out of sight seemed to be the requirement.  And yet many Brits would be happy to go and sit on a beach where topless sunbathing is the norm and seeing pictures of scantily clad women in newspapers and magazines is totally acceptable. 

I currently have a daughter and 2 DILs who are breast feeding my grandsons.  I hope they will continue until they are ready to stop and not because they find it socially unacceptable and difficult to carry on.

It’s a normal bodily function and they should not be made to feel ashamed of it or embarrassed when doing it.

Friday 10 August 2018

Friday's Fave Five - 10/8/18

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)  Rain!  It's been badly needed and this week we've had quite a bit.  My grass is looking a bit greener and hopefully it's reduced the risk of forest fires.  We've also seen a reduction in temperatures so I've felt I could actually get on with jobs at home - although I haven't been here much because:

2)  Time with Grandson Noah at the weekend.  Hubby was at a music festival so I took myself up to Nottingham on Sunday and stayed until Monday.  Sunday was spent at with my DILs family - her parents have a lovely garden and had laid on a delicious afternoon tea.  And of course there was Noah time!

3)  A catch up with a family member on Tuesday.  Hubby and I visited in the afternoon and ended up staying for dinner which was nice.

4)  Babysitting Grandson Rory on Wednesday.  He was so good for us.  I fed him twice and both times he settled afterwards and was asleep in his cot when my son and DIL returned.  They were impressed.  Unfortunately he woke 3 times during the night - he obviously wasn't impressed at being left at home while they went out lol

5)  My usual 2 days with Nathan.  They were back to back this week (Thursday & Friday) which was hard, especially as it's been wet and we couldn't get out for walks, but he is such a pleasure to look after.  We had a lovely reading session yesterday.

We're reading "I love my Granny" but of course it gets translated to Nanny.  He also has "I love my Grandad" which we translate to Grandpa.

I am so blessed to have such lovely grandchildren and to be able to spend time with them on a regular basis.  

Have a good weekend all.

Saturday 4 August 2018

And... it's August! (18 in 18 July update)

Well we're now in August (how?) so here is my 18 in 18 - July update

1.   Bake once per month (bread/cake/biscuits) FAIL
2.   Plant new flower bed and child proof garden  NOT YET
3.   Sort out magazines. Still need to catch up on reading them!
4.   Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal)  FAIL
5.   Eat at 4 new-to-me restaurants  PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED
6.   Complete the A – Z  blogging challenge  PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED
7.   Plan a family weekend away for next year NOT YET
8.   Walk at least 3 times per week  FAIL
9.   Visit my brother  NOT YET
10.               Visit my cousin  NOT YET
11.               Visit the beach  PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED
12.               Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year)  Still on track.  In July I read:
The Simple Truth - David Baldacci
The President is Missing - Bill Clinton & James Patterson
The Lying Game - Ruth Ware
Guilt - Amanda Robson &
Those Who Lie - Diane Jeffrey
Details and Reviews can be found on my Goodreads site.
13.               Keep my bullet journal updated  Doing better
14.               Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes) FAIL (July has been my worst blogging month so far this year.)
15.               Take more photos  FAIL
16.               Update my wardrobe . Previously completed
17.               Do more crafting – update on blog FAIL
     18.               Try out a new recipe each week FAIL

Oh my goodness that does not make good reading. But here's my defence. We had visitors for 10 days. Which was lovely but of course it does throw normal routines out the window. It has also been VERY hot. Yes I know it's summer but for virtually the whole of July the temperature has been in the high 20s or low 30s. (C) On the 27th July we hit 34 degrees C. I do not function well in the heat. We do not have air con. We have fans. Portable fans that get moved around the house depending on where we are. It has not been the weather for slaving over the stove trying out new recipes. It has been the sort of weather where you don't want to be doing anything energetic.

The journey over the Nathan's house has been very uncomfortable. The trains are air conditioned but they are also so crowded that you don't really notice it. They are supposed to be switching from diesel fuelled trains to electric powered trains which will have more capacity. The switch was supposed to happen at the end of the summer. Now they are talking November. In the meantime the extra trains that used to run during the rush hours have been withdrawn which actually means a reduction in capacity, hence more crowded trains and shorter tempers in the heat.

But there is an upside to this. There was a time when I could not use public transport. Anxiety prevented me from being out of my comfort zone. Now I'm happier to take the crowded train than go by car. It's not a pleasant journey but the trains are usually reliable and run to time. Door to door it takes an hour. In the car it's far less predictable and I can't drive and read! Reading makes the journey pass quickly and I haven't missed my stop. Yet!

Friday 3 August 2018

Friday's Fave Five - 3/8/18

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.

I thought I'd missed a couple of weeks here but it's actually been 4 weeks!  So here are my five things to be grateful for this week:

1)  I'm here! We had a busy few weeks in July and last week I wasn't well and spent Friday evening at A & E but am pleased to report our NHS served me well, and the UTI that was diagnosed seems to have gone and I'm feeling fine.

2)  Rain!  We had quite a lot of rain last weekend and it was cooler for a few days but now we're back to really hot weather again.

3)  Ticking a few things off my to do list.  Of course it's a never ending list but it always feels good to tick some boxes.

4) Grandbabies.  I've seen Nathan and Rory this week and will catch up with Noah this weekend.

5)  Not having to work in this heat.  It has been quite unbearable some days (30 C/86 F) but being able to take things slowly and not rush anywhere makes it easier to cope with.  And air-conditioned trains to get to Nathan on the days I look after him help.  

Not a particularly exciting week but I did get more blogging done which was also one of my aims.

I'm off to Nottingham on Sunday for an overnight trip to see Noah.  Thankfully the car has air con otherwise it would be a long hot drive.  Have a good weekend all.

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Check before jumping to conclusions!

This is really a postscript on yesterday's post about the bed not being collected.  When I went to get ready for bed last night I realised there was a message on my iPad from the person interested in it.  The message hadn't come up on my phone as the battery was charging but was very low at the time.

Anyway I'm pleased to report that because I'd missed the message last night we re-arranged for this morning and the bed has now GONE!

Phew that's a relief except now it means I have work to do.  Well maybe when it's a bit cooler.  Despite the rain and thunderstorms at the weekend we still seem to be in the middle of a heatwave with temps of 30+ degrees being forecast for the weekend.  I am so glad I don't have to go to work.

Oh and in case you're missing baby photos here's a lovely one of Rory smiling.  He's taken a bit longer than Noah to give proper smiles but I think it was worth the wait!