Friday 23 August 2019

Friday's Favourite Five - 23/8/19

It's Friday so time again to look back on the week and find five favourite things.  This meme is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story.  Pop over there to find out more and see who else is taking part.

Well I missed last week and I really should be packing at the moment but it's good to catch a quiet few minutes with a cup of tea and reflect on the week.
Here are mine for this week:

1)  Very thankful that my American DIL chose to make her home here in the UK with my son.  They've just got back safely from visiting her family in Vermont and I missed this little one.  But thankful that I get to see so much of him.  He was clearly excited about going on the plane.  He didn't sleep through the whole flight.  His parents were not happy.  He also required several nappy (diaper) changes!  Glad I didn't have to share that experience.

 2)  Noah time!  We spent Saturday & Sunday with him (& parents) in Nottingham.  It was a few weeks since we'd seen him and he is much more mobile now.  And sleeping better!
This picture was taken this week after his first haircut.

3)  And of course I can't leave Nathan out.  Was thankful to be able to help his Mummies out this week with an extra day of grandsitting.  He's been unwell with what's probably some sort of virus.  Mostly he's fine but keeps throwing a high temperature so no nursery for him.  He does love playing with his new water toy and his speech is coming on in leaps and bounds - we'll have to be very careful what we say in front of him from now on!

 4)  My organisational & cooking skills!  We're about to go off on our extended family holiday trip to Kent and I co-ordinate the shopping.  I've also prepared a bolognese sauce for tonight's dinner.  Yesterday was busy!

5)  Finding time to enjoy my new bench in the garden - and that glass of wine!

 Cheers!  Have a good weekend.  (Now I'm off to pack!  Apologies if I don't make it around to your posts this week.  Wifi at the holiday home is not great and it will be hectic - but fun.)

August challenge - up to Day 22!

Anddddd another catch up!

How can it be almost a week since I was here.  Well a weekend away (visiting Noah in Nottingham) followed by two days back to back with Nathan (he's got some sort of viral thing going on - he seems generally fine but his temp keeps going up) and since then planning for our extended family holiday!

Planning and doing online shops for all the food takes A LOT OF TIME!  They don't call me Mrs Organised for nothing but I'm not feeling very organised at the moment. But bolognese sauce is prepared for tomorrow night, my ironing is done, shopping orders are placed for tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday sooooo a few moments free to be here.

Apologies in advance for not catching up with you.  It's been a whirlwind week and next week (starting tomorrow) will be family time.  Also the wifi at the house isn't great.  I have to find just the right spot to keep on top of the shopping orders.  However the weather forecast is looking good and all my grandbabies will be there so what's not to like?

Right now, Day 17 of the challenge was: Picnic.  Here is a picnic bar:
Picture taken from Tea & Sympathy blog       
I have never eaten a picnic bar.  It contains nuts.  I am not allergic to nuts, I just don't like the texture of them and try to avoid them.  Even those wrapped in delicious chocolate.

I also possess one of those lovely picnic baskets - the sort that hold your plates and cutlery etc in place and has space for your food.  I don't have time to take a picture.  Trust me, it exists.

Day 18 was "My Hands"

There - done!

Day 19 was "Movement"

That was Monday.  I certainly moved - here's the evidence:

Day 20 was "Two"

Well I could be artful and repeat my two hands but instead I'll give you my two feet!

Hmm not a pretty sight but I'm trying to get this done as fast as I can and at least I can take my feet together.

Day 21 was "Right Now"

Well of course that was yesterday.and I didn't take one photo yesterday but let's pretend this was then and not today

Well someone had to drink the wine that wasn't needed for the bolognese sauce!

Today's prompt (22nd) is "Clouds"

I think I was in the Olympic park when I took this.  It was a couple of years ago.

Woo hoo all caught up!

My plan was to prepare the posts for the next week in advance and have them scheduled to appear on the relevant day.  I'm now working on Plan B - another catch up in a week's time!

Friday 16 August 2019

August Challenge - catch up!

The idea of this challenge is to post a photo a day during August in response to the prompts.

For full details go here.

I said at the start I would be doing this challenge my way so today we have 3 days in 1.

Wednesday ran away with me and yesterday I did an extra day with Nathan as he's been a little unwell this week so couldn't go to nursery. By the time I got home I just wanted to chill in front of the TV after dinner.

So here's the catch up:

Day 14 - Favourite smell

I have lots of favourite smells including food cooking, chocolate (of course), babies, flowers, but for my photo here's the perfume I usually wear:

Day 15 - Intentions

Another hard one to photograph. I started the year with another list of intentions so here's the logo for that. Full details and updates can be found by clicking here.

Day 16 - Number

I love numbers. Maths was my favourite subject and I still love doing number puzzles. But this year my focus has been on this number.

Or actually not. Big birthdays are just that, a number.

And now I'm up to date.   Prompt #17 tomorrow.

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Wednesday Medley - 14/8/19

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.

The National Day today is V-J Day (Victory over Japan in WW2). Here are Terri's questions and my responses:

1. I'm sure many kids today have no idea what V-J Day is all about. Did you have a loved one who fought in WWII?

Yes my Dad was in the army during WW2.

2. The iconic sculpture from the famous photograph of "The Unconditional Surrender" has been defaced recently because of the #metoo movement. I know we can get very political about this subject, but just keeping it in the spirit for which it was created, what are your thoughts? 

Well of course I googled this and it seems the sculpture is based on a photograph taken in Times Square, New York on VJ day. Given that it's been reported that the woman was unknown to the sailor it's understandable that it's been tagged with the #metoo slogan.

3. Terri's grandson, Tristan, loved playing a game called "Axis & Allies". It was quite complicated, took up the entire dining room table, and was not something Terri wanted to play (Grandpa understood it and played though). Can you name three Axis countries and five of the many Allies (okay to look it up!)?

Well I don't remember them being referred to as the Axis countries although it makes sense. It was a lot easier to name the Allies.

4. Terri was surprised to learn that most historians agree that WWII began when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Others say it started when Japan invaded Manchuria on September 18, 1931. And some scholars suggest WWII is actually a continuation of WWI, with a break in between. Have you ever visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii or any other WWII memorials around the world?

Interesting that there are differing opinions but unfortunately with conflicts still going on around the world today you can understand why. I've not visited Hawaii or any major war memorials.

5. Calvin Graham was only 12 years old during WWII when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He won a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart before the Navy found out how old he was. (God bless him.) Terri doesn't know any 12-year olds today who could qualify or get away with something like that. Times are so very different now but (in the US) we do have ROTC in high schools. Do you know anyone who started in ROTC and went on to enlist in one of the services?

No I don't. You have to be 16 to enlist in the armed forces in the UK. I think my Dad was probably 16 when he enlisted so that would have been in 1935. He joined the army to get away from working in the coal mines in Yorkshire.

6. Please tell us something about your week so far.

It's another fairly quiet week although there are quite a few things on my to do list which I'm slowly working my way through. Mainly linked to our family holiday at the end of the month. 

Tuesday 13 August 2019

August Challenge - Days 12 & 13

The idea of this challenge is to post a photo a day during August in response to the prompts.

For full details go here.

Well I said at the start I would be doing this challenge my way so that includes putting two days together! We were looking after Nathan yesterday and were invited to stay for dinner.

Stay for dinner / Go home and cook a dinner we hadn't even shopped for?

That was a no brainer. We stayed but of course that meant we got home a lot later and I was too tired to blog.

Anyway, yesterday's prompt was "5 things About Me" and today's prompt is "Last Year".

I'm not good at promoting myself and hard to think of things I haven't mentioned before but here goes:

1) I'm all about family and this is mine:

2) My favourite colour is blue, there is a lot of blue in my wardrobe and of course I love to wear jeans. I'm all about comfort when it comes to clothes. Despite what you might think there was no memo sent around to wear blue for the family shot above, it just turned out that way!

3) I love to dance but my body has other ideas these days, especially my knees. I was wearing this, about this time last year after a nasty fall and my knee still isn't quite the same.

4) I'm paranoid about developing dementia/Alzheimers so I try to keep my brain busy with puzzles, crosswords etc. Here are some I did yesterday:

There are a couple of crossword clues still eluding me!

5) My favourite season is spring. I love it when the clocks go forward and we start getting longer days, the weather gets better but not too hot and the garden starts coming into bloom.

Now as for last year, apart from the knee incident above it was pretty good. Actually it was really good - these two joined the family giving me a hat trick of grandsons:

And today it's 3 years since these two tied the knot:

Happy days!

Sunday 11 August 2019

August Challenge - Day 11

The idea of this challenge is to post a photo a day during August in response to the prompts.

For full details go here.

Today's prompt is "hopes".

Hmm how do you photograph hope once let alone more than once?

A bit of lateral thinking and waffle needed here!

Of course I'm sure we all have hopes and dreams.  Photos to match? Well here we go:

Our wedding day back in June 1984.  We all hope we've got the right partner on our wedding day and although we might look a bit different now, 35 years on, I think we got it right!

We also hoped for children and they came along in rapid succession - we had 3 in just under 4 years and they certainly kept us on our toes.

But look how well they turned out:
They've done us proud and of course they've all made us Grandparents.  Something else we hoped for.

Hopefully at our family gathering at the end of the month we'll be able to update our staircase photo.  This is last year's:

Saturday 10 August 2019

Drumroll please! (And August Challenge day 10)

Why the need for a drumroll?  Well according to my post list, this will be the 1000th blog post here on blogger!

Goodness.  How can so much waffle come out of one person?

Interestingly I have just been scrolling back through some posts (I was looking for a picture) and it was good to revisit some memories.  It wasn't until I came back to prepare this post that I realised it was going to be #1000.

Although it's just a number (as I keep telling myself having had a big 0 birthday this year).

I was looking for a picture of an outfit as that's the prompt for today's August Photo Challenge.  Sorry but you're not getting a selfie of my current outfit which is still my nightdress!  Time flies when you're blogging.  I was up before 8 but I put the kitchen to rights first, then made some tea and then sat down with my laptop. (And I'm still here lol)

I'll get dressed at some point and the most important thing about the outfit for the day will be comfort!  That's what matters these days.  Gone are the working days when I had to look smart thank goodness.  Now I can wear what I please.

But to fulfill the challenge for the day here is an outfit:

It was the outfit I had for my eldest son's wedding back in 2016.  Funny what you find when scrolling back through blogs!  The shoes did not make it through the whole day and I don't think I've worn them since.  We're doing a jumble trail (yard sale) again in September.  I think they will be included in my items to sell.

I also found the post I wrote just after the brexit referendum.  It's depressing to think that over 3 years on and we've still not left and are no clearer on what Brexit will actually mean for this country.  The political situation just gets more farcical by the day.

I understand that, as a country, we (although not me) voted to leave and that decision should be respected.  However, I don't feel we had enough information at the time to make an informed decision.  Sometimes we have to admit to making mistakes and retrace our steps.  Unfortunately it seems unlikely that will happen (as in a 2nd referendum) and frankly if it did and we were to remain in the EU I don't think we would hold as much power within it as we've had before.  The other 27 countries must be sick of us by now.

Right now it's looks like we are definitely heading for leaving on the 31st October without a deal.  The trouble is most of us don't understand what that will actually mean in the day to day scheme of things.  How will it affect us?  Will there be issues with getting goods into shops, continuity of medical supplies etc?  I've just been reading this article by the BBC on this.  Might need to stock up on canned fruit and veg.  And not travel anywhere.

Of course we will survive this.  Hopefully in time to come we might even be able to look back and laugh about it.  But right now it doesn't seem funny at all.  And while we might have laughed at Boris Johnson in the past with all his gaffes and the jokes made about him, we not laughing about him now.

I think we just have to hope that in this current game of calling one's bluff, the EU blinks first!

Friday 9 August 2019

August challenge - Day 9

The idea of this challenge is to post a photo a day during August in response to the prompts.

For full details go here.

Today's prompt is "ground"

Well I was going to take a picture of my feet on the ground but it's raining, hard. So here is the ground:

You can just about make out my fairy lights at the bottom of the garden.

Friday's Fave Five 9/8/19

It's Friday so time again to look back on the week and find five favourite things.  This meme is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story.  Pop over there to find out more and see who else is taking part.

Here are mine for this week:

1) Lots of time with Grandkids.  I babysat Nathan on Friday, we looked after Rory all weekend and then I had Nathan as usual on Monday.  Yes it's exhausting but I am just so grateful that I get to spend to spend so much time with them and hopefully make lasting memories for them.  I only grew up knowing one set of grandparents but I know what impact my Mum and hubby's parents have had on my kids and I want that for our Grandkids.

Looking forward to seeing this munchkin next weekend.  It's too long since we've seen Noah and he's doing so much more.  We try and see them as often as we can but I'm glad that his other grandparents live much closer and he sees lots of them.

2)  Blogging more regularly.  Last month I didn't blog a great deal but, thanks to a challenge, this month I'm getting back into the habit of blogging more.  I like exercising my brain in different ways and blogging is part of that plus .....

3)  The support from the blogging community.  I'm grateful to all of you that follow my blog and leave me lovely comments.  Responding to all the comments is difficult at times and I'm not sure if replying to them on blogger gets picked up by everyone but I do appreciate them.

4)  Time to sit in the garden.  My garden's looking good at the moment and it's been nice to have time this week to get out there and just relax.

5)  Sort of sticking to a diet.  Hubby and I have been trying to eat better the last week or so.  Less carbs, less food lol.  Hopefully the scales will look better on Monday!

Well the diet went out the window today as it was my turn to host lunch for my friends but no plans yet for the weekend so hopefully not too much damage done.

Enjoy your weekend whatever you're up to.

Thursday 8 August 2019

19 in 19 - July update

Well we're a week into August already so I need to update on July before I forget what happened!

1. Be more organised, plan ahead and waste less time
July was a busy month with ongoing birthday outings and Grandsitting.  I think I was fairly organised but there was still a bit of time wasting going on.  I really should delete time consuming games from my iPad lol

2. Work on the garden
Not too much work to do at this time of the year but I've been keeping the grass cut and my new bench is now assembled and in place as well as more plants.

3. Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal/outing)
We had a whole weekend away together in July, in Broadstairs, which was lovely and we enjoyed some good food.

4. Eat at 6 new-to-me restaurants
We tried 1 new restaurant while we were away - an Italian Pizzeria - Posillipo.   It was good food and reasonably priced.  It was also quite busy (a good sign I guess) so it was a bit warm.  It overlooked the beach which was nice.  We also ate in one of the hotels but we arrived quite late and ended up having more of a supper than a dinner and missed dessert as we didn't realise they'd stopped taking orders :(

5. Complete the A – Z blogging challenge

6. Family weekend away for my birthday - in June
It was lovely! Read about it here.

7. Look after my health – eat well, sleep well, play well
Well I did all of those things in July but not sure it was great for my health! (or #19)

8. Visit my brother
At some point!

9. Visit the beach

10. Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year)
I'd read  42 books by the end of July so way ahead of schedule.  In July I read:
The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley 2/5

The Girl Before - J P Delaney 4/5
Shelter in Place - Nora Roberts 3/5
After the End - Clare Mackintosh 3/5

So only 4 books completed but I also started 2 others from my hubby's finished pile:

The Shock of the Fall - Nathan Filer - seemed interesting to start with but then it became harder to engage with.  It's a debut novel about one man's descent into mental illness, following the death of his brother in childhood.  It's written in the first person and as his mental health deteriorates, understandably, it became a harder read.  I like a challenge but reading the same books as Nick isn't a challenge I feel I need to complete, especially when I'm not enjoying them.

The second one was Sweet Tooth - Ian McEwan.  The blurb says:   "Once again, Ian McEwan's mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self."  Well I didn't find it witty and it didn't draw me in enough to persevere.
I hate not finishing books but I have enough book challenges going on without adding "read the sames books as hubby" to the list.

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

11. Keep a journal
This is still not working.
(Yep that's the same comment as last month but August has started a bit better.)

12. Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes)
Well July was worse than June!  You may have noticed I've opted for a challenge in August which will hopefully boost the number of posts this month.

13. Organise/Take more photos
I'm going for a tick on this one last month.  I organised my digital photo display to include the recent photos we had taken with all the babies.  Previously it had photos following Nathan from birth to recently so it was time for an update.  Took me ages to sort it out - finally realised the family photos were too large in size for the digital viewer so I had to resize them all.

14. Update my clothes/accessories/make up etc regularly
Hmm - maybe come the end of summer I'll get around to this again.

15. Do more crafting – move the sewing machine!
I shortened some trousers!  That counts as crafting in my book - and I used the sewing machine after having to oil it again.

16. Try out a new recipe or do a bake each week
I'm not sure how well I did on this as my bullet journal wasn't up to date but we were still using Hello Fresh for some meals so most of them would have been new.

17. Visit/see Grandson Noah every month
We failed this month!  They came down to London on the weekend we were away but we have a date set for this month and we'll also be together at our family gathering at the end of the month.

18. Make progress on the house plan
Still on hold. Nathan & his Mummies have re-evaluated their situation and things will definitely happen soon (the house they are renting has been sold) but we're still waiting to see what that means for us.

19. Lose 19 pounds
I am back at square 1.  But that's better than where I have been.

Well doing these updates each month has convinced me of two things:

1)  It is good to have goals and challenges
2)  I need to be choose them better.  Some of them are too vague and not easily quantifiable. 

Food for thought for 20 in 20.  Oh no, I'm not giving up!

August Challenge - Day 8

The idea of this challenge is to post a photo a day during August in response to the prompts.
For full details go here.

Today's prompt is "curved".


There you go.  Lots of curves.  This is a lovely wooden toy that my Grandson Nathan has.  Apparently it's full of possibilities most of which I'm yet to discover.

It makes a good ornament too with all its colours.

I will admit to stealing that photo from the internet. But not this one:

(Although I might have stolen it from his parents.)  Interesting hat?

Review: Believe In Me

Believe In Me Believe In Me by Susan Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Leanne and her family have many issues, but they're still family. Their crazy but idyllic home in the rural hamlet of Ash Morley is a place where friends can drop in at will, and outsiders whose lives have been shattered can find shelter.

When the opportunity arises to foster a child, ten-year-old Daniel Marks, Leanne is quick to open her doors. But her generosity is about to be put to the ultimate test.

Because Daniel's father is in prison for a gruesome murder.

Everyone deserves a place to call home, and a family to care for them, but will Ash Morley still be safe once Daniel enters their lives?

This was the first book I've read by Susan Lewis but it's unlikely to be the last. It follows Leanne & her extended family as they get to grips with family issues in a somewhat idyllic location. Then a foster child, Daniel, is thrown in to the mix, whose father is in prison for murdering a young child. Daniel is convinced his Dad is innocent. And Leanne comes to believe this too.

It skates over some of the formalities around the foster care system and the legal system but it's a good yarn, well told. If you like a feel good story that jerks tears along the way you'll probably enjoy it.

View all my reviews

Wednesday 7 August 2019

August Challenge - Day 7

The idea of this challenge is to post a photo a day during August in response to the prompts.
For full details go here.

Today's prompt is "human".

Ok well I'm human so I thought I'd take a selfie and post it but I'm rubbish at doing that and I'm definitely not looking my best today and yes if that makes me vain then I must be human.  Anyway you can have these pics instead of my 3 favourite little humans!


Wednesday Medley - 7/8/19

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. 

The Medley this week is all about "Lighthouses".  Here are Terri's questions and my responses:
1.  Let's start with a number! How many lighthouses have you visited?
I have no idea!  We've been to the coast a lot so I've seen a few but it's not something I've kept count of.
2.  Have you been inside a lighthouse and did you walk to the top?
Yes I have and got right to the top where the lamp was but again don't ask me where lol
3.  Do you seek them out when you are traveling the coastlines or are you not that big a fan?
I don't actively seek them out but I don't totally ignore them either.  This was one we saw when in Australia in 2017 - it's on Cape Byron, the most Easterly point of Australia.

4.  Do you have a favorite scripture or another reference to share with us concerning a guiding light in your life?
Well I'm not great at quoting scripture and apart from the obvious answers I think my conscience helps to guide me - between right and wrong.
5.  If you don't collect lighthouses when you travel, is there something tangible that you tend to collect as a souvenir when you are on vacation or a road trip?
I'm not really a collector, especially since my Mum passed away.  She collected pigs.  Lots of china pigs, many of which were piggy banks (money boxes) but all sorts really so when we were away we'd often look out  for a different pig for her.  I inherited the collection but they're really not my thing.  I kept a family set but then donated the rest to the school I worked in at the time to sell at a school fete.

6.  Please share something with us about your week.
I was out at the supermarket earlier and the radio was playing.  The DJ mentioned it was Lighthouse Day!