Friday 29 March 2019

Friday's Fave Five - 29/3/19

It's Friday again and time to count our blessings for the week. This meme is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story. Pop over there to find out more and see who's taking part.
Here are mine:

1)  A weekend away with Hubby and all his siblings and partners.  We stayed in the Mill Hotel in Sudbury, Suffolk and we had a lovely weekend.  Getting all 14 of us together is quite a challenge but we do manage it fairly regularly and it's always lovely when we do.  For some pictures go here.

2)  Coping with my "Toilet Demon" (the toilet demon is the monster that says in my head "you'll need the toilet" whenever I'm confronted with a situation where that might be tricky so things like using public transport, sitting in the middle of a theatre row, going for a walk in the forest.  The effect can range from mild anxiety to a full blown panic attack.) 

On Saturday the plan was to go for a 5 mile walk in the countryside.  This is often a nightmare for me and I almost didn't go but I decided to go for it and I was actually ok.

3)  Lots of time with Grandsons Nathan & Rory.  I had 2 full days with each of them.  Tiring but lovely.  I'm so lucky to be able to watch them so closely as they develop.

4)  A clean bill of health for my teeth.  (Well apart from needing a good clean.)

5)  A successful shopping trip today, including lunch out.  I needed to get a present for Nathan - he's 2 on Sunday, plus food for the weekend.  I had a lovely mooch around one of the nearby retail parks and managed to get everything I needed.  I also took a break for lunch.  Nothing fancy, just a toasted sandwich and a slice of Millionaire's shortbread at the supermarket cafe but I often tend to just grab a sandwich and eat it at home.  It was nice just to sit and recharge my batteries before doing the food shopping.

The weekend is also looking good - all my Grandsons will be together on Sunday for Nathan's party.  Can't wait!

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Wednesday Medley - 27/3/19

The Wednesday Medley is hosted by Terri over at Your Friend from Florida.
The questions usually start with the National Day and follow on from there. No rules and there is no obligation. Link up if you want to over at Terri's site and see who else is joining in the fun.

Enjoy a cup of “joe” with all of your friends named Joe, Jo, Joette, Joey, Joseph, Josephine, Johanna, Joann, Jodie or any variant of the name Joe every year on March 27th, National Joe Day.

1. Who is your favorite "Joe/Jo" and what can you tell us about him or her?
I have 2 nieces who answer to Jo. (One is a Joanne, the other Joanna.) They are both lovely young women and great mothers.

2. Who were you named for and do you or did you know that person?
I wasn't named for anyone. My parents just liked the name.

3. Do you have a middle name and do you like it/use it?
No but I often wish I did. I'm happy with my name but I don't particularly like it when people shorten it to Wend, especially people who don't actually know me very well.

4. Have you ever named your car? Tell us about it, please!
No. The car is a car!

5. Tell us the name of a fictional character you have never forgotten and why you remember it so well.
Wendy from Peter Pan - it's believed that J M Barrie created the name but that's not actually the case.

6. Share something random with us about your week.
Hopefully this week won't turn out to be random. Last week was far from normal and quite hectic. I'd like some peace and quiet this week although we do have Grandson Nathan's 2nd birthday party to look forward to on Sunday.

Thanks for visiting.  Hopefully I'll have more time for returning the favour this week!

My poor neglected blog!

Oh my goodness.  A week without a post, my poor blog must be feeling neglected.

Yes it's been a hectic week!  I did 4 days of Grandsitting last week - Nathan on Tuesday & Wednesday and then Rory on Thursday & Friday.  Rory's Daddy had gone off to walk in Scotland with his brother and some friends so Nana had to step in.

Of course it's lovely spending so much time with them but 4 days back to back is very tiring.  But I survived and more importantly so did the babies.  Rory did end up flat on his back at one point - he's starting to pull himself up on furniture - but he was more shocked than hurt. It happened in a blink of my eye and he has a very loud scream.  I was very relieved to confirm there were no bumps or bruises.

We went walking in the park.

The squirrels came up very close!

He loves his food!
Thankfully after all the babies we were away for the weekend with all of hubby's siblings and partners.  We stayed at the Mill Hotel in Sudbury which is a very pretty spot.  It was lovely not to have to cook or think about all the things that need doing at home but being part of a group of 14 is not particularly restful.  Especially when you throw in some walks, a mooch around the town and a lovely meal in the hotel Saturday night.  I'm not complaining though.  I really enjoyed it and I took some photos!

Flatford Mill
Suffolk countryside - River Stour

The Mill Hotel

Main course - Calves liver & Bacon on mash & veg

Dessert - sticky toffee pudding

View from the bedroom window


Flatford Mill
I should have had the foresight to re-arrange our dental appointment on Monday morning though.  It was a 9 am!

Thankfully no work needed on my teeth, apart from a good clean up.  Does anyone like going to the dentist?  Yep I think that's a rhetorical question!

Yesterday we were back with Nathan as usual except we ended up staying later as Becca was unwell so it was quite a long day.

Today I have Rory while Daddy has his driving lesson.

Then I will be chilling!  Or trying to work on my A - Z posts.  As usual my forward planning has almost ground to a halt and now I'm starting to panic about being ready for next Monday.  If you haven't a clue what I'm talking about check it out here.

Well that's me done for now.  Hopefully I'll get to the Wednesday Medley later.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Wednesday Medley - 20/3/19

The Wednesday Medley is hosted by Terri over at Your Friend from Florida.
The questions usually start with the National Day and follow on from there. No rules and there is no obligation. Link up if you want to over at Terri's site and see who else is joining in the fun.



1.  The first spring flowers are usually daffodils, dandelions, lilies, tulips, iris. and lilacs. Which one of those choices is your favorite?  Have you seen any yet?
I think daffodils are my favourite.  They are so cheerful.  Of the above I've seen daffodils, tulips and iris in my garden.  Fortunately no dandelions yet and I don't have any lilies or lilacs.
2.  What is your least favorite thing about spring?
I don't like it when the clocks go forward and we lose an hour of sleep.
3.  Okay, what puts a spring in your step?
Seeing my grandchildren.
4.  What is your favorite springtime song?
Never really thought about that.
5.  What really says spring to you?
When all the flowers start blooming in the garden and the nights start getting lighter.
6.  Tell us something random about your week.
We often get lots of excuses from our rail operators as to why trains have been delayed.  Today I heard a new one.  I was travelling to my daughter's when the train came to a halt between stations.  The driver announced that there was a swan on the track ahead of the train.  We waited and he then announced that it didn't seem to want to move and he had contacted railway staff to organise getting someone to come and move the swan!  My heart sank as I thought that would probably take ages and I really didn't want to be stuck on that train.  Fortunately by edging the train forward the swan seemed to get the message and moved.  We were probably only stuck for about 10 minutes but it felt like longer.

Monday 18 March 2019

A - Z 2019 Theme Reveal

A to Z 2019 

Today's the day for revealing your theme for the 10th A - Z blogging challenge!

Drum roll please .......

My theme for this year, my 5th time of participating, is......No theme!

I'm trying something different this year.  I've got over half my posts drafted and I'm trying not to panic about how close the 1st of April is getting but hopefully I'll be ready at the start of the month.  I want to have time to do more visiting of other participants this year.

Talking of which you can find out more about the challenge here

Actually my posts relate to "Conversations in my head" so expect waffle and nonsense as usual but hopefully there will be a thread holding it all together.  

Wish me luck!

Friday 15 March 2019

Friday's Fave Five - 15/3/19

It's Friday again and time to count our blessings for the week. This meme is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story. Pop over there to find out more and see who's taking part.

Here are mine:

1. Catching up with all 3 grandsons this week. We went up to Nottingham on Sunday until Monday to catch up with Noah and his parents. Poor thing is teething and he wasn't his usual cheerful self but it was still lovely to see him.

On Wednesday I had Rory here while his Daddy had a driving lesson and he has perfected crawling - he moves very fast! Nappy changes are also a challenge as he doesn't want to stay still for a second.

I've looked after Nathan on Thursday and today this week so that's been tiring but he's talking more and more and he's becoming obsessed with kicking a ball around.

I think you can probably tell I love being a Nana and with my 3 grandsons I'm definitely blessed.  Hubby quite enjoys it too as you can tell from this pic.  

 (Sorry for the old pic but we don't get all 3 of them together very often.)

2. Flowers in the garden. I've had daffodils, tulips and irises blooming in the garden and I have helibores giving a great splash of colour. Spring is definitely here.

3. Lunch with friends last Friday. It had been a few weeks since we'd got together so it was good to catch up.

4. A hubby that cooks. I was really tired tonight after getting back from looking after Nathan so it was nice that hubby was happy to take on cooking dinner.

5. I'm writing this while watching Comic Relief. Watching the projects that are supported by the funds raised by this charity makes me very aware of how fortunate I am to have a roof over my head, the ability to put food on the table and to make my own decisions to name just a few blessings. It's a bit harrowing to watch some of the films and sad that we have to be having fundraising events like Comic Relief to raise funds for these causes.

Have a good weekend all.

Wednesday 13 March 2019

Wednesday Medley - 13/3/19

The Wednesday Medley is hosted by Terri over at Your Friend from Florida.
The questions usually start with the National Day and follow on from there. No rules and there is no obligation. Link up if you want to over at Terri's site and see who else is joining in the fun.




National Good Samaritan Day is observed on March 13th.  This day is also known as Good Samaritan Involvement Day. This is a day for unselfish actions to help those in need and to celebrate kindness.
1.  When did someone come to your rescue and can you tell us about it?
I'm sure there are probably lots of occasions but the ones that spring to mind are the AA when I've had car problems.  I've been very glad of my membership over the years.
2.  When did you help someone out of a jam and can you tell us about it?
I can't think of a specific instance but when I was working there were lots of times I had to deal with health & safety incidents including chasing a fox out of the assembly hall and removing a dead rat from the playground.   There are some aspects of my job that I do NOT miss! lol
3.  What are your thoughts on being a good Samaritan?  Some states (like Florida) have even passed Good Samaritan laws so you don't get into trouble with the law for trying to help someone.
I'd like to think I'd always step into help someone if necessary.  I've trained as a first aider in the past so I'd hope if I ever needed to perform first aid I wouldn't hesitate.  
4.  Thursday is National Pi Day.  It's a fun play on the date 3.14.  Will you have some pie to celebrate?
Definitely won't have pie on Thursday - we had lots of pie on Tuesday - we had dinner with my daughter and her wife and we had chicken pie followed by apple pie for dessert.  (The supermarket had a special deal on pies.)
5.  Did you know that Pi is the most studied number in mathematics?  Are you good with numbers?
Yes I am pretty good with numbers.  I did maths to A level at school and even considered studying it at university.
6.  Tell us something random about your week.
I've seen all 3 grandsons this week!  I'm a happy Nana! 
Noah - we visited him on Sunday

We saw Nathan on Tuesday but I stole one of his Mummy's photos taken at our nearby Discovery Centre - he loves "The Tiger who came to Tea" book!

Rory - at my house today while Daddy had a driving lesson.  

Saturday 9 March 2019

Review: Origin:

Origin: Origin: by Dan Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.

Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself... and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery... and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.

I have enjoyed all the Dan Brown books I've read and this one did not disappoint. It's another roller coaster of a ride with Professor Robert Langdon chasing the answers to codes and riddles to save the day. This book is set in Spain, predominantly in Barcelona and portrays a battle between religion and science.

I think you either love or hate Brown's writing. I love it and this book is definitely chilling in its subject matter.

View all my reviews

Friday 8 March 2019

Friday's Fave Five - 8/3/19

It's Friday again and time to count our blessings for the week. This meme is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story. Pop over there to find out more and see who's taking part.

Here are mine:

1) Impromptu shopping trip and lunch out with Hubby last Saturday. We went to our nearby Westfield shopping centre. We wanted to see if John Lewis had beading wire. No I haven't taken up a new craft. Hubby's hearing aids have thin tubes that have to be cleaned out regularly. They came with a couple of very thin pieces of plastic that poke through the tubes to do this. Hubby had lost one (they're very thin and flimsy) but when he asked about getting more he was told they didn't supply them but beading wire or fuse wire were good alternatives. Anyway we couldn't find beading wire but we did stop for lunch and it was a nice outing. We didn't stay out too late though as West Ham were playing at home in the late afternoon and the centre, which is next to the Olympic Park and stadium, was starting to get busy.

2) An easy babysit. We babysat Rory on Monday but Daddy was able to put him to bed and we didn't hear another peep from him. And we were fed!

3) Nice weather with Nathan. It's been a bit mixed this week. Sunny, rainy, windy, chilly. But on the days when I was looking after Nathan there was enough time with good weather to get out for a walk to the shops. It breaks the day up if we're able to get out. Of course it's better if we can get to the park but I'll take a trip to the shops over being cooped up indoors. (And thankfully, although it's an uphill climb going it's all downhill on the way back!)

4) This view from my bed.

Before you think what's so special about the window and chair. Let me explain. I wanted to show you what I could see through the window but the lighting was all wrong.

So I had to take the picture from the window - this is what I can actually see when sitting in bed and looking through the window.

5) On International Women's Day it seems apt to be thankful for all the lovely women in my life. I had a great Mum and Mum-in-law and although I have no sisters I've been blessed with lots of great sisters-in-law. I have 3 wonderful daughters-in-law but I'm especially proud of this lovely woman - my daughter Rebecca.

Have a great weekend all.

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Wednesday Medley - 6/3/19

The Wednesday Medley is hosted by Terri at Your Friend from Florida. Pop over there to join in or to check out who else is taking part.


1.  Are you able to pass by a plate of cookies and not take one or are you a bit of a 'Cookie Monster'?
I am definitely a cookie monster.  Pass a plate of cookies? No chance. If I'd known it was National Oreo day I might have bought some!
2.  Tell us about your favourite cookie. Have your tastes changed since you were a kid?
As long as there's chocolate involved I'm happy.  I don't think my tastes have really changed.  I've always had a sweet tooth.
3.  Enquiring minds want to know if you are a dunker and, if so, do you dunk in milk, coffee, or tea?
I'm definitely a dunker, usually in tea but occasionally in warm milk.  Never coffee - I don't drink it.
4.  It is that time of year and they are selling them on every corner and in front of every store!  Do you buy Girl Scout cookies and if you do, which is your favourite?
Selling cookies or biscuits as we would probably say here in the UK doesn't seem to be a big thing for our girls, who are also known as Guides rather than Scouts.
5.  Raw cookie dough.  Yay or Nay?
6.  Please tell us something random about your week!!
This is a fairly normal week for us.  Both of us went to look after Grandson Nathan on Tuesday and I'll be there again tomorrow.  Today has been chore day - washing, tidying, etc.  Friday I'm having lunch with friends.  The only different thing so far was babysitting Grandson Rory on Monday.  We arrived early enough to spend some time with him before bedtime but Daddy was able to get him to bed before he left  for a meeting.  His Mummy had gone to a book club meeting.  Once Rory was asleep we didn't hear a peep out of him.  One of the easiest babysitting we've done, and dinner was provided too!  He was still asleep when his Mummy got back.

Thanks for the questions Terri.

Friday 1 March 2019

Review: Because We Are Bad: Ocd and a Girl Lost in Thought

Because We Are Bad: Ocd and a Girl Lost in Thought Because We Are Bad: Ocd and a Girl Lost in Thought by Lily Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a child, Lily Bailey knew she was bad.

By the age of 13, she had killed someone with a thought, spread untold disease, and spied upon her classmates.

Only by performing a series of secret routines could she correct her wrongdoing. But it was never enough. She had a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and it came with a bizarre twist.

This true story lights up the workings of the mind like Mark Haddon or Matt Haig.

Anyone who wants to know about OCD, and how to fight back, should read this book. Immerse yourself in a new world.

I think most of will have some idea about OCD and probably like me know it often involves sufferers having compulsive habits and routines. Lining things up. Checking things multiple times. Obsessive hand washing.

Many of us will not know or understand what leads to these compulsions. Lily Bailey's book enlightens us.

It's her story of how her OCD began when she was only a young child and how it developed. Her efforts to cover it up and how she received treatment to enable her to come to terms with it and cope. It certainly gave me a better understanding of OCD.

It's hard going at times because of its honesty and Lily was still quite young when she wrote it. (22) Some reviewers felt she should have waited until she was older before writing her book but she had reached quite a turning point in her life so I think it was quite good timing.

View all my reviews

#AtoZ Challenge 2019 - time to sign up!

It's time!

Sign ups for the 10th A to Z Challenge are now open.

Click here to find out more. 

I'm in.  This will be my 5th year of participating.  Hopefully I'll be a bit more prepared this year - I already have some posts drafted.  It's good fun and a great way to connect with other bloggers.

Sign ups will close on 6th April 2019.

19 in 19 February Update

March is here so time for a review of how February went for my 19 in 19.

1. Be more organised, plan ahead and waste less time
I'm trying! Really I'm trying. Reading isn't a waste of time is it?

2. Work on the garden
Still not much to be done yet but I did get the grass cut.

3. Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal/outing)
Checking back it looks like we only managed one outing this month - a walk and a Pie & Mash lunch. I'll have to up my game!

4. Eat at 6 new-to-me restaurants
Still 5 to go so I think I'll have to combine this with #3 in March!

5. Complete the A – Z blogging challenge
Sign up opened today so I'll be making sure I do that and I have done a bit more prep.

6. Family weekend away for my birthday - in June
Woo hoo! Have booked the accommodation. A big tick on my to do list!

7. Look after my health – eat well, sleep well, play well
This is looking better. I realised that my Fitbit wasn't always correct when recording my sleep and then I also realised that I could edit the sleep log. Now I'm getting nearer to have at least 7 hours most nights although I'm still waking up quite a bit. Switching to decaf tea at the end of the day has also helped though because although I'm still waking I'm finding it easier to get back to sleep.

8. Visit my brother
At some point!

9. Visit the beach
When it's warmer!

10. Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year)
Still on schedule for this. In February I read:

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold - John Le Carre
Look for Me - Lisa Gardner
The Chosen Ones - Howard Linskey
Why Mummy Swears - Gill Simms
The Hourglass Factory – Lucy Ribchester
The Queen of Bloody Everything – Joanna Nadin
The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae – Stephanie Butland
The Search – Howard Linskey

As always, details and reviews can be found on my Goodreads site.

11. Keep a journal
This still needs work - it's not an established habit.

12. Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes)
I managed 25 posts this month so definitely on track with this.

13. Organise/Take more photos
I did some organising this month but this is a huge task. I have broken it down into areas so I just need to pigeonhole the time to carry on with it.

14. Update my clothes/accessories/make up etc regularly
I'm planning on sorting out some of my summer clothes in the next month or so - I have several pairs of trousers that need shortening.

15. Do more crafting – move the sewing machine!
We've moved the sewing machine! It's a start. Although the room it's in is a bit of a dumping ground for the stuff I've earmarked to donate/dump. Two steps forward one back for now.

16. Try out a new recipe or do a bake each week
We're still doing Hello Fresh so we've had new recipes most weeks. I also prepared a Lamb casserole with apricots when I had friends for lunch at the beginning of the month plus a chocolate tart which I hasn't made before. I realise some might view using HF for new recipes a bit of a cheat but for me it's as much about trying as in tasting new things as it is about cooking.

17. Visit/see Noah every month
They came to us this month - our son was taking part in a half-marathon at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park. It was a hectic weekend with them and the dogs here plus we had a get together with the other two Grandsons and parents on the Saturday. Of course I wouldn't have it any other way!

18. Make progress on the house plan
Need to chase up the roofer. Note to self!

19. Lose 19 pounds
Still 1 down 18 to go. I need to take this one more seriously.

Not a bad month overall, especially as we have also managed to rearrange furniture in the house. Something I've been meaning to do for a long time. As usual there was a lot of Grandparenting going on.

The google group I set up for the readers in our family seems to be a hit. We had a lot of interaction about the books we read in January and one of my DILs beat me to e-mailing around yesterday to look at our February reads. Hopefully the enthusiasm will continue. One of the nice things I like about it is that one of hubby's sisters can participate in it. She (and her husband) is blind but she reads a lot of books. We often overlook that although they are very proficient with e-mail and computers they can't use Whatsapp. We have a Whatsapp family group that is a constant chain of messages nearly every day. We have to make a point of making sure they are included especially if it's anything important. With the book group being on e-mail it's easy for her to let us know what she's been reading and I know she enjoys being part of it.

Friday's Fave Five - 1/3/19

It's Friday again and time to count our blessings for the week.  This meme is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story.  Pop over there to find out more and see who's taking part.

Here are my five for this week:

1)  Extra time with Grandson Nathan - he was here for a bit on Saturday and we took him for a walk around our local community garden. 

2)  A night out with family and friends.   This was at our local social club and was organised by one of hubby's sisters.  It was nice catching up with people.

3)  Having a decent lawnmower.  Our grass was quite long but I managed to take advantage of this lovely mild spell of weather and get it cut.  The grass itself was still a bit wet but it wasn't that hard getting it done.

4)  I've been reading a lot about snow on other people's blogs but here we've had the mildest February since records began.  We were able to get Nathan to the park with his ball and he loved running around.  We didn't even need coats.  We've also got lots of bulbs coming out in the garden including Daffodils, Irises and Snowdrops.  

5)  The blogging community.  I love that this community exists and even if I don't get around to responding to everyone's comments I appreciate them all.

Have a good weekend all.