Friday 24 May 2019

Friday's Fave Five - 24/5/19


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. 

Well I guess my first blessing is that I'm here this week!  I was AWOL last week so here's a combination of the last two weeks' blessings:

1)  I finished this in time for Grandson Noah's first birthday:

I must admit, having two of these on the go (the other one is for Rory) I did get a bit bored with it from time to time but I was determined to get them finished for their birthdays so that was one of the reasons I didn't make it here much in the last couple of weeks.  Every spare moment has been spent knitting.

2)  We celebrated Noah's first birthday with a family tea at his other Grandparents house:

He had lots of new toys and of course there was cake!

3)  I've seen all 3 Grandsons this week having my usual days with Rory and Nathan.  Fortunately I can manage to get both of them to nap for a while during the day:

Rory's cot doesn't have a drop down side so it's really hard to transfer him into the cot once he's asleep without waking him.  I came up with plan B

Nathan fell asleep while we were out at the shops.  I couldn't find his sunhat so we made do with one of his swimhats!  He actually kept it on. (A blessing in itself!)

4)  A husband that not only cooks but provides breakfast in bed.
Mushroom, Bacon & Cheese omelette

5)  The right to vote.  We take it for granted of course but I know that life is very different for women in some countries.  

We had the chance to vote in the European Parliament elections this week.  In theory we would not have been doing that because by now we should not have been part of Europe - well the European Union but of course Brexit drags on and on and on and ...........

Now we face the prospect of a new Prime Minister.  Will it help?  I'm not convinced.  It was difficult to know who to vote for given that when we do finally Brexit all the MEPs elected will be redundant.  But, it's still a possibility that there could be a second referendum on the matter and those MEPs might be there for a while!  On the basis that I voted to remain originally I voted for the Green party because they definitely want to hold a second referendum.

Apologies, this is turning into a political rant and I'm supposed to be counting my blessings.  Have a good weekend all!  I'll be seeing all three Grandsons together on Sunday so mine is guaranteed to be good.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Wednesday Medley - 22/5/19

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.

We're skipping ahead to Friday's National Day today - it's all about the Road Trip!

1. Have you ever done a spur-of-the-moment road trip? Where did it take you?
I don't think I have done a spur of the moment trip - I'm too much of a planner.

2. If time and money wasn't an issue, what roads would you choose to travel and how long would you be gone?
So many options! A trip across the USA would be good but New Zealand is also tempting and we only saw a very small part of Australia when we visited. I couldn't be gone too long because I'd miss the Grandkids too much.

3. When you go on a long road trip, what snacks and beverages do you take? Do you pack a picnic? Does the back seat turn into a nest?
As long as I've got water and chocolate I'm good. But it depends on the trip as to what we pack. Could be a picnic or we might find somewhere to eat lunch. No nest on my back seat.

4. Please tell us about something interesting or strange you have seen on the side of the road.
I don't think I've ever seen anything particularly strange.

5. Who does the driving when you head out in the car? Do you stop in the rest areas along our Interstate highways when you have to use the facilities, or do you choose a fast-food restaurant or gas station instead? Not TMI... inquiring minds want to know!
I usually do the driving - hubby suffers from sleep apnoea so he gets tried easily when driving. Once I need a facility I'm not fussy about where it is. When you've got to go ...... 


6. Please share something with us about your week so far.
It's been a busy week already but counting the weekend I've seen all 3 grandsons so a good week for me.

Sunday 19 May 2019

Where's Wendy?

Psst, Alice here.  (If you're new here and don't know about me check this post out!)

It's all ok here.  Wendy is fine but those grandchildren of hers are keeping her very busy.

This past week she had Rory all day Monday
 and then Nathan on Tuesday. 

They're lovely but tiring (even when Grandpa helps out) and I haven't had the heart to bother her when she's got home.

I did think the rest of the week would be quiet, particularly as Nathan was away with his Mummies on Thursday so Wendy had 3 days free, except she was busy finishing this:

Having knitted a blanket for Nathan (which took her ages!) of course she had to provide one for the following grandchildren, except the next two came along together and very quickly after Nathan.  So she's been working on two blankets for a while but, as a special event was looming, she had a deadline to meet this week because, Noah's first birthday was last Friday!

Of course that meant a trip to Nottingham this weekend so it's been very quiet around the house.  All I've heard is the clicking of knitting needles and, while they were away animal noises.

No I'm not going mad, there is still a cat in the house who is making herself very much at home.

Which means this blog has been very much neglected.

I'd like to say normal service will be resumed now the blanket and other pressies have been delivered to Noah but as Rory will be one in two weeks time there is now another blanket needing to be finished.

You might have to put up with me a bit longer!   Apologies though, Wendy won't let me comment on your blogs or reply here to your comments.  I can't imagine why.  Anyone would think she doesn't trust me!

Friday 10 May 2019

Friday's Fave Five - 10/5/19

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.

Yay I'm here two weeks running. That's something to be thankful for but as for my favourite five they are:

1) Good news on a matter involving my daughter. I don't want to say any more just yet - don't want to jinx things (and no another grandbaby is not on the way - at least not as far as I know!) Hopefully I'll be able to reveal more once things are a bit more definite.

2) A long weekend. We didn't do much at all but sometimes it's just nice to have down time.

3) A hubby that cooks. We're back to our Hello Fresh deliveries this week which of course are easy to prepare but when hubby takes over it makes my life even easier. Much appreciated especially after a long day with Grandson Nathan.

4) Reading time. I've managed to find quite a bit of reading time this week.

5) A renewed desire to get back to walking regularly and keeping my step count up. Partly helped by better weather although this week hasn't been the best. Having said that I'm off out now for a short walk as I'm home alone today.

I hope you have a good weekend and if it's appropriate Happy Mother's Day on Sunday! (We celebrated back in March here in the UK.)

Review: They All Fall Down

They All Fall Down They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
She knows there’s a killer on the loose.
But no-one believes her.
Will she be next?

Hannah had a normal life – a loving husband, a good job. Until she did something shocking.

Now she’s in a psychiatric clinic. It should be a safe place. But patients keep dying.

The doctors say it’s suicide. Hannah knows they’re lying.

Can she make anyone believe her before the killer strikes again?

Cohen drip feeds information so it's hard to get a handle on what has happened to leave Hannah in a psychiatric clinic, but there are frequent references to Emily, her baby so you know it's dark. But nothing, and no one is quite as it seems.

I didn't manage it in one sitting but I did finish it within a day - it's gripping!

View all my reviews

Wednesday 8 May 2019

Reflections on the A - Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary Reflections badge

Part of the A-Z Challenge involves doing a reflection post on your thoughts on the challenge once it's over.

As usual The Team have been helpful and given us questions to  give us some pointers on what to think about so here goes:

1. What did you love about the challenge this year?
What really pleased me was that this year (my fifth time of taking part)  I felt I did more creative writing.

The idea for the posts came to me last year.  I wanted to do something that felt more like writing as opposed to writing about topics.  I didn’t want it to be a story that had to be followed from start to finish so I ended up with: “Conversations in my Head” with a muse called Alice who was loosely based on Alice from Alice in Wonderland.   I tried to include references to the story when I could but Alice had a habit of taking on a life of her own!

I wasn't as prepared as I'd hoped to be but I definitely felt less pressured this year as I had prepared at least half of my posts in advance.  The rest were all ready before they were due.  In previous years I have been known to "wing it" and that's hard.

2. What would you change about it?
I don't think I'd change anything.

3. What was the best moment for you during this year's challenge?
That was when I'd written my last post and scheduled it to post!
4. What is the best comment your blog got during the challenge, and who left the comment?

I has some lovely comments and I'm not going to pick just one and upset all the others! 

I still didn't have enough time to visit other blogs although I did try and get around to everyone who left me comments.  I did feel that I probably wasn't the only one finding it hard to do visits and I didn't have many new visitors to my blog.

I'm aware though that I didn't always leave comments on the A-Z post of the day and I don't have a great social media presence.

5. Will you do the challenge again?

6. Was it well organized and were the hosts helpful? (Did you fill out the after survey?)
Yes, Yes and Yes!

7. How did you and your blog grow, change, or improve as a result of this challenge? Did you find new blogs out there to enjoy?

As I stated abote, the posts for the challenge were different from what I usually post and were well received, even from regular followers.  Researching the posts took time but now Alice has been unleashed I'm sure more posts in the future will feature her.

I did find a few new blogs but I need to spend more time on working through the Master List.

8. Were you on the Master List? (If you did the challenge last year, was it better this time without the daily lists?)
I was on the Master List and Yes I prefer not having to worry about daily lists.

9. Any suggestions for our future?
Keep up the good work!

10. Any notes to the co-host team? A word of thanks to Jeremy for all his hard work on the graphics? A picture with your A to Z shirt, if you ordered one?
Well done to the team, including Jeremy.  Haven't got a T-shirt.  (Not sure if you ship overseas.)

Umm Wendy, don't I get a say in this?
No Alice.  I'm reflecting, which means I'm not listening to you!

Review: Home

Home Home by Harlan Coben
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For ten long years two boys have been missing.

Now you think you've seen one of them.

He's a young man. And he's in trouble.

Do you approach him?
Ask him to come home with you?
And how can you be sure it's really him?

You thought your search for the truth was over.
It's only just begun.

Another good thriller from Harlan Coben. Two missing boys, two devastated families. Then one of the boys is spotted and the chase is on to find him and solve the mystery that lasted over ten years. But things are never that simple and with the story moving from London to the USA and other places we're kept guessing as to whether the boy spotted really is one of the missing ones. And what else are we missing?

View all my reviews

Review: The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Capitol Building, Washington DC: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon believes he is here to give a lecture. He is wrong. Within minutes of his arrival, a shocking object is discovered. It is a gruesome invitation into an ancient world of hidden wisdom.

When Langdon's mentor, Peter Solomon - prominent mason and philanthropist - is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that his only hope of saving his friend's life is to accept this mysterious summons.

It is to take him on a breathless chase through Washington's dark history. All that was familiar is changed into a shadowy, mythical world in which Masonic secrets and never-before-seen revelations seem to be leading him to a single impossible and inconceivable truth...

Well I've read all the Robert Langdon series now. I liked this one because it's set in Washington and I've visited there so the buildings and monuments were familiar to me.

It's another fast paced chase to decipher codes and symbols and defeat the enemy. Yes critics will argue that the series are all too similar but that didn't stop my enjoyment of this book.

View all my reviews

Wednesday Medley - 8/5/19

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.

This week Terri has gone with Mother's Day which is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of May in America, Terri's home country.  Of course we've already had Mother's Day here in the UK, back on 31st March.   Hasn't stopped me from joining in though.

1. Where did your mum grow up?
The East End of London.

2. Tell us about her siblings, if she has/had any. Did you have a favorite aunt or uncle?

Mum was the eldest of 4 siblings and was probably the most responsible of them all.  Only the youngest still survives.  I saw a lot of my Aunts & Uncles while growing up but I'm not going to upset any cousins by naming favourites!

3. What is ONE of your favorite memories you can share with us of your mum?

Impossible to name just one.  Mum and I had a very close relationship and I know that a lot of how I act today is based on her good examples.

4. Please share a picture or two of your mum with us.

5. Let's not leave out the grandmothers. Share what you will.

I only knew one of my Grandmothers (my maternal Grandmother) and grew quite close to her, especially towards the end of her life as she came to live with my parents and I was still living at home.

My Mum was a fantastic grandmother to my kids, especially when they were young but I can't leave out my Mother-in-law who was also a fantastic lady and a much loved Grandma to my 3 and the other 20 grandchildren she had.

6. Do you have any special plans for Mother's Day? 

This year it co-incided with Grandson Nathan's first birthday so our focus was on him.

We did have a nice family lunch the week after.

Thanks for the questions Terri.

Sunday 5 May 2019

19 in 19 - April update - Alice style.

Now that the A-Z writing challenge has finished does that mean I'm allowed out on Sundays?

Oh hello Alice.  I wondered when you might resurface.  You've been very quiet this past week.

Well I thought you might want a break.  Wasn't that kind of me?

Yes it was Alice.  It's been a busy week and I really wouldn't have needed you wittering on in my head too.

Wittering on!  I do not witter.  Anyway isn't it time to do your 19 - 19 update for April?  It is now the 5th May you know.

Honestly?  I'm not sure there's much to update.  April was such a busy month what with babies, visitors and then completing the challenge.

Well that's one thing for updating for starters.  There must be more!  Lets have a look.

Ok Alice.  Anything for a quiet life!
1. Be more organised, plan ahead and waste less time
I think you were definitely more organised in April.

It was a case of having to be with the challenge & visitors.  But yes I think you're right I was more organised.

2. Work on the garden
You bought & planted flowers!

I did.  And I organised getting the shed roof repaired.
So 2 for 2.  This is going well so far.

3. Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal/outing)
Actually we managed 2 nights out that I can remember.  We went out for his birthday and then last weekend we ate out on Saturday.  

You're on a roll.

4. Eat at 6 new-to-me restaurants
Well we ate out a few times during the month but none of them were new to us.

What about the pub with the girls and Nathan?
Well it's like the pubs from last month - we're hardly likely to go there again.
But surely that doesn't matter?  You included a restaurant in Skegness last year that you'll never see again.
Fair point Alice but I'd like to think there's at least a chance of revisiting a new restaurant.
That's silly.  What if you don't like the restaurant?
Ok.  You win, this time!

5. Complete the A – Z blogging challenge
No need to get that excited expecially as half the work was mine!

6. Family weekend away for my birthday - in June
No progress here Alice.

I'll put my thinking cap on.
Just no nasty surprises please.

7. Look after my health – eat well, sleep well, play well
Well I think this month was quite balanced, apart from you keeping me awake Alice!

8. Visit my brother
At some point! 

He'll have forgotten what you look like.
No chance.  We're friends on Facebook.

9. Visit the beach
We're off to the South of France for a few days next month so this one will get done then!

Ooooo goodie a trip away.
I haven't decided if you're coming yet Alice.

10. Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year)
Well this is one I know you'll get through.

Well I hope so.  I'm still on track, ahead of shedule in fact and April was a good month.
I read:

A Widow for One Year - John Irving.  4/5
Liar Liar - M.J. Arlidge 3/5
Where the light gets in - Lucy Dillon 4/5 
Still Me - Jojo Moyes  4/5
My dear I wanted to tell you - Louisa Young 4/5
Accidental Heroes - Danielle Steele 3/5
The Fallen - David Baldacci 3/5 
End Game - David Baldacci 3/5

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

11. Keep a journal
Well this still needs work but I can see slight improvement.

Thanks Alice.

12. Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes)
Well I nearly managed every day thanks to the A-Z challenge but some of my regular memes got missed some weeks.

A good effort!

13. Organise/Take more photos
Hmm that pile of photos and albums behind the sofa are gathering dust!

Alice do you have to reveal so many of my secrets?

14. Update my clothes/accessories/make up etc regularly
I've pinned up the trousers that need shortening!

Yes and they've been sitting on the sewing machine for over a week now.

15. Do more crafting – move the sewing machine!
Shall we say "No comment" on this one?

Well I guess that's better than a sarcastic comment from you Alice.

16. Try out a new recipe or do a bake each week
I really don't think that all these Hello Fresh meals count for this Wendy!

17. Visit/see Grandson Noah every month
We missed him in April.  But we'll see him soon as it's his first birthday this month!

Maybe if you spent less time drooling over his photos on Lifecake you'd get more done?
But I miss him Alice!

18. Make progress on the house plan
Woo hoo.  Roof works done.  Now on to the works that need doing in the kitchen.

You mean more banging and crashing?  It was very scary when those men were on the roof!

19. Lose 19 pounds 
Did you even get on the scales this month Wendy?
Umm it seemed a bit pointless when I knew I wouldn't like what they registered.
Yep time for walkies!
I'm not a dog Alice.
Maybe you should get one.
Now that's the best thing you've said all day.


Friday 3 May 2019

Friday's Fave Five 3/5/19

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.

Well I only seem to be making it here fortnightly at the moment so a few good things to catch up on.

1) An overnight visit from one of hubby's sisters and her husband. They were travelling from France where they live to Belfast in Northern Ireland. They stayed with us overnight last week and we went out for dinner. It was nice just being the 4 of us to have a proper catch up. Often when we see them it's at a much bigger gathering so harder to have a quiet conversation.

2) I finished the A-Z blogging challenge! This involved posting every day in April (except Sundays) using the letters of the alphabet for prompts. I was a little bit more organised this year and had quite a few posts pre-scheduled before the start of the month and got the rest finished and scheduled during the month so I didn't feel like I was playing catch up as in previous years. This was the 10th year of the challenge and my 5th time of taking part.

3) A successful first day of looking after Rory now that both his parents are back at work. I'll be having him on Monday's until after the summer holidays and then I'll add on another day as hopefully by then Nathan will be at nursery. So I'm currently grandsitting 3 days a week but there are several Mondays that I won't be needed as we have 2 bank holidays this month, plus we're away one week and his Mummy will be home from the end of July through to the end of August so hopefully I'll survive.


Isn't he just too cute?!

4) Company for a few days:

I have my daughter's cat here. I miss having a cat but with regular visits from my son's greyhounds it would be impractical for us to have one of our own.

5) Lazy days. On my free days this week I've been quite lazy. Of course there have been the regular chores to do but I haven't tackled any additional jobs or been out and about. I decided that with 3 working days I needed the down time. I'm thankful that I can do that.

Also thankful for a long weekend thanks to the May Day bank holiday on Monday. No plans as yet although we're being promised cooler weather. Hope you all have a good weekend.

Wednesday 1 May 2019

Wednesday Medley - 1/5/19

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.

Today is May Day.  More information on that can be found on Terri's site.
1.  Ahhh... May Day!!  Happy May!  Did you celebrate this when you were a child by dancing around a Maypole or leaving flowers on someone's porch? Will you be celebrating a special occasion in May?
I don't remember doing anything special for May Day but we do have a bank holiday on the first Monday of May so that makes a nice break.
This month we'll be celebrating my daughter's birthday and remembering my Mum who passed away on that day in 2012.  We'll also be celebrating Grandson Noah's 1st birthday!
(There are so many other things being celebrated today that I
think we need to give them some attention, too!)

2.  National Mother Goose Day was founded in 1987.  Can you name a nursery rhyme that would fit your life as it was in 1987?  If you are a youngster and not yet born in 1987, you may pass, of course, but do you have a favorite nursery rhyme?  HERE is a list of nursery rhymes.
I probably had lots as my firstborn was almost a year old in 1987.  And now I'm on to Grandchildren and we've started all over again although it's more action songs like "Wheels on the Bus" or "Head, shoulders, knees and toes"!

3.  National Chocolate Parfait Day is also honored on this day. Parfait means perfect in French. Tell us about a perfect day, in your mind, and would/could it end with a chocolate parfait?
Probably a walk by the sea or in the countryside with hubby, followed by time with all the family and of course it would finish with chocolate!

Image result for image cartoon chocolate maxine grumpy old woman
4.  National School Principal's Day was founded to celebrate these school administrators who support and guide quality teachers and staff to provide productive learning environments for our children.  Did you have a good Principal when you were in school? Do you remember his/her name?
I remember my high school principal as an elderly, rather old fashioned lady.  Small but with a fierce demeaner.  She was Miss Cruttenden.  I was fortunate to work with a few very good principals too.

5. And perhaps the most important one is Silver Star Service Banner Day which honors the sacrifices of the combat wounded, ill, and dying service members from all branches of the military.  Do you have family members who have served this country in uniform? Tell us about them, if you will.
My Dad served the UK.  He entered the army at 16 to escape working in the coal mines.  It enabled him to train as a mechanical engineer but  I'm not sure if he realised that he would then be caught up in WW2.  (He was 22 then) One of my regrets is that I didn't get to talk to him much about his experiences (he passed away when I was 22) although he didn't like to talk about it much - he was one of the many soldiers fortunate enough to be rescued from Dunkirk.

6.  It's Hump Day! How is your week going so far?
Busy as usual.  I have 3 days of Grandsitting this week but today is a free day so I'm relaxing and having a "me" day!

Thanks for the questions Terri and your visits here.