Sunday 29 December 2019

19 in 19 - Final round up

Well I missed doing an update in November and it's almost the end of the year so here is an overall round up.

1. Be more organised, plan ahead and waste less time
I was definitely more organised at the end of the year.  Being involved in a Christmas dinner for 12 has that effect.  That was a lot of work but it did get me back on track with planning etc.  Hopefully that will carry through in to 2020.

2. Work on the garden
There's not much to be done out there at the moment but overall the garden is looking better than it was at the start of the year so I'm taking that as a win!

3. Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal/outing) 
Well we did get out for lunch recently but only because we had been invited by friends! Definitely need to work on this one next year.

4. Eat at 6 new-to-me restaurants
I definitely achieved this thanks to my holiday with my cousins.

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
This has been a bit up and down over the year.  Honestly, episodes of mild depression/anxiety make this one so important but also so difficult to manage.  My self awareness on this definitely helps but lack of motivation is my enemy.

8. Visit my brother
I failed this one.  I have two brothers and I have seen one of them a few times this year.  I honestly can't remember when I last saw my eldest brother.  That saddens me which is why this was on my list.  However, with a 12 year age difference, we have never been really close.  I probably wouldn't notice this so much if I hadn't married into a family that is the opposite of mine.  Hubby's family, huge as it is, is close.  Which makes me feel guilty that I don't have that closeness with my own family.  BUT that is a two way thing and I have often felt that I've been the one making all the effort.  SO I will not be putting this aim on my 2020 list.  If it happens all well and good but I'm going to try very hard not to let it bother me.

9. Visit the beach


10. Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year)  Yay!  Done!  I've just finished book #69. Details and reviews can be found on my Goodreads site.  (Or you can use the tag book review to find them here on the blog.)

11. Keep a journal

Another fail.  Although I have been jotting down something I'm grateful for most days.  That's a start.

12. Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes)
November saw an improvement, things slipped again in December.  I'm going to blame that on Christmas and not get disheartened.

13. Organise/Take more photos
I took some photos at Christmas!  Not many, not enough. NEEDS IMPROVING!

14. Update my clothes/accessories/make up etc regularly
I did buy a few new things in the run up to Christmas but, as I've said before, this aim is too vague.

15. Do more crafting – move the sewing machine!
I finally finished a knitting project that had been on the go for way too long!  I still have a few things in progress that I'm going to try and finish before I commit to anything new.

16. Try out a new recipe or do a bake each week
Thankfully our Hello Fresh subscription  helps with trying out new things and I did bake a cheesecake for Christmas using a recipe that had been passed down in Nick's family.

17. Visit/see Grandson Noah every month
We managed a day visit in November and Noah and his parents are arriving later today and staying for a week!  Definitely in need of time with him.

18. Make progress on the house plan
I've written before how some of this was delayed by the uncertainty of whether my daughter and her family would need temporarily housing with us.  Fortunately they did not need a Plan B with us but that's no real excuse for us just dragging our heels.  We need to get moving on this in 2020.

19. Lose 19 pounds
Well this was an over optimistic challenge.  Hopefully I haven't gained anything over Christmas so that at least I haven't gone in the wrong direction.  Maintenance will be the aim for 2020.

Overall, if this was a school report, the comment would definitely be "Could do better!"  Has it put me off? No, but as I've said before some of these aims were just too vague.  I'm already working on drawing up a 20 in 20 list but it will definitely be a bit more specific than this one.

Watch this space!

Review: The Secret Santa

The Secret Santa The Secret Santa by Trish Harnetiaux
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A lavish party. An isolated mansion. Two hosts who will do anything to protect their secrets.

When husband and wife Henry and Claudine organise their firm’s Christmas party in a remote mansion, they expect it to be a night to remember.

But the festive mood quickly turns sour when a sinister gift is unwrapped in the Secret Santa gift exchange.

As heavy snow traps the guests inside the mountainside lodge it quickly becomes clear that one of the party is out for revenge.

It’s no longer just about enduring the evening. It’s about making sure you get out alive.

A lavish locked-room mystery with a seasonal edge, THE SECRET SANTA is packed with twists that will keep you guessing until the final page.

When you can put a book down for over a week and then only finish it because it's a book club read you know it's not good. Not sure why I didn't like this book but I just didn't.

View all my reviews

Saturday 28 December 2019

Christmas Round Up 2019

Phew it's been a busy few days.  Monday was spent going over to my daughter's house and collecting the chairs they'd hired for Christmas dinner.  I also had to sort out a puncture which was annoying but done fairly quickly.

Tuesday we got everything together to take with us.

Things like extra plates, bowls, large cooking pots etc.  Basically anything that was going to be needed for the Christmas dinner that the girls didn't have!

It took a while, but eventually we set off.

Nathan was so excited to see his Grandpa.  He also thought it was hilarious that we all had the same PJs for Christmas.

The Doctors set we bought him was a definite hit.

After present opening on Christmas morning it was full steam ahead with dinner prep.

Catering for 12 takes a lot of work but it was definitely worth it:

Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and I think Vicky was pleased with how it all turned out.

Boxing day was definitely quieter and yesterday, after returning the hire chairs we headed home.

We managed to video time Noah and his parents.  Noah clearly had a good time with his other Nanny and Granddad - they wore him out lol

And Rory seems to have got over the jet lag that had him waking in the early hours of the morning!

So we all had a good time.  I hope you did too!

Friday 20 December 2019

Friday's Fave Five - 20/12/19

Hey it's Friday and I'm here!  Time to look back and reflect on the good things from the past week.

This meme is hosted by Susanne over at "Living to Tell the Story".  Pop over there to see who else is taking part.

Here are mine:

1.  Time with Nathan and his Mummies on Sunday.  We spent some time planning for Christmas.  We will be spending Christmas with them (from Christmas Eve to Friday) but some of Vicky's family will be joining us for Christmas dinner - we will be 12 plus Nathan.  (And a dog!) What a difference a year makes though:

2018  Nathan was not impressed with Father Christmas!

2019 He definitely looked happier to be there!

2.  Being relaxed about Christmas.  I still have a few things to get out and buy tomorrow and a few jobs to do but I'm not stressing about it.  It also may shock a few of you but I haven't (yet) put any decorations up.  I will do some of that tomorrow but I won't be putting up a tree.  Partly because we will not be here but after we get back Noah and his parents will be coming here.  They will be here for a week.  Putting up my tree would mean rearranging the furniture in the living room and thus less space for Noah to move around.  Their dogs will also be here and they need space too.  So this year the tree will stay in the loft.  Hubby is very happy about that lol.

3.  A hubby who is on my wavelength.  Following on from the decision not to put up a tree we have also decided not to buy each other presents.  Christmas can be so commercialised and I like to try and remember why we are celebrating.  Plus deciding what to give each other ends up being stressful and difficult.  We are fortunate to not want for many things and it feels like we are just buying each other something for the sake of it.  Therefore we are not buying each other anything and hubby is certainly relieved by this decision.

4.  Safe flight for Rory and his parents.  They flew to Boston this morning and have arrived safely.  They now have a 3 hour coach ride then an hour's drive to Barre in Vermont to celebrate Christmas with his American family.  I miss him already but I'm grateful that they decided to start their married life here in the UK.  Hopefully he might spend some of the journey like this:

5.  Organisational skills.  Vicky is quite stressed about the prospect of 12 for Christmas dinner but for me it's just a roast dinner scaled up for a bigger number.  Having married into a large family, cooking for large numbers is no longer intimidating for me - provided I have planned ahead.  I'm good at thinking through the logistics such as how we will all sit, how much crockery, pans, cutlery food quantities etc we need and planning a time frame.  I also take the attitude that, if things don't go to plan or aren't quite right, this is a family event and people should be supportive and not critical.

So it's almost time to start the festivities.  I hope that all of you have a lovely time, however you are spending or celebrating Christmas.

Friday 13 December 2019

Friday's Fave Five - 13/12/19

Hey it's Friday and I'm here!  Time to look back and reflect on the good things from the past week.

This meme is hosted by Susanne over at "Living to Tell the Story".  Pop over there to see who else is taking part.

Here are mine:

1.  The right to vote even if it didn't feel like I was making any difference and it was a dreadful night.  Of course now that the Conservatives have won the election, with a much larger majority than, I think, anyone thought they would, hopefully Brexit will get done.  Personally I voted to remain in the EU and I think the referendum was badly handly but, it has to be respected.   Only time wil tell if it will be a good thing in the long term.

2.  Wonderful nieces and nephews.  Nick's parents had 23 grandchildren and they have all grown into lovely young people.  This week one of them donated her stem cells which had been matched to someone who needs them.  She had signed up for the registry fairly recently but a match had already been found.  Hopefully the recipient's health will improve thanks to her.

3.  A night out with former work colleagues.  We usually do lunch taking it in turns to host but it was proving diffiult to find a day that worked for all of us so we opted to go out one evening instead.  It was good to catch up.

4.  A Christmas Concert.  Our DIL sings in a choir and they always do a carol concert in December.  We attended it last Sunday with our son, Rory, plus Nathan and his Mummies.

5.  Being able to look after Rory for an extra day this week.  He's had a rotten cold and cough and his parents took time off last week.  I was able to step in for an extra day but thankfully he's better now and back at nursery.

I'm also grateful for duvet days - the extra day with Rory and catching his cold left me feeling exhausted yesterday and today so I've taken it easy.  I'm grateful that I can do that.

Thursday 12 December 2019

Decision Day (or maybe not!)

Yep I've been AWOL again.  I've had 3 back to back days looking after Rory.  Poor thing has had a rotten cold and cough so no nursery for him.  He had conjunctivitus last week so Mummy and Daddy had already taken time off work so I stepped in this week and did an extra day.  He's gone to nursery today.  Hopefully he'll be ok.  He was a lot better yesterday in himself but still very runny nosed and dribbly.  He's just cut his canine teeth though so not that surprising.

Anyway I was thinking of just having a duvet day today.  Catching up on here, reading your blogs and just generally recharging my batteries.  BUT, I will have to get myself out at some point to VOTE.

Yes election day is finally here in the UK.  I think we're all sick of hearing about it and just want it DONE.  Although as to what the outcome will be - watch this space.  It's really hard to predict, although that's still happening.  It has been a very dirty battle with lots of smear tactics employed. 

There have been a number of live debates on TV plus various interviews but I must admit I haven't watched a lot of it.  I think we may well end up with a hung parliament, i.e. no party with an overall majority.  Then it will be a case of negotiating who will do deals with who to get some sort of Government in place and goodness knows how long that will take.

Or we could just be back to a Conservative Government.  Heaven help us!

My own local area has been Labour forever (not factually checked that but it's certainly feels like it) so if I didn't drag myself out of bed to go and vote it probably wouldn't make a great deal of difference but that's not the point!  Women went through horrendous ordeals to get the vote for women in this country and to not exercise your vote is just not acceptable.  Especially if you then want to have a say in the debate.  If we all opted for the "my vote won't make a difference" stance we would be a hell of a mess.  Personally I think it should be compulsory to vote as it is in some countries.  

I'd also like it to be able to be done online and for all those out there who claim that it could be subject to hacking, tampering etc are you really sure that paper ballots are that much more secure?

Right enough of the soap box for now.  Time I got my act in gear.  One of our local bars is holding an all night session for people to watch the results as they come in.  Personally I think I'll have an early night and try not to have nightmares about what I might wake up to tomorrow!

Saturday 7 December 2019

Friday's Fave Five - late again!

I seem to be making a habit of posting this on Saturday! This is the third week running I've been a day late but it's still good to look back and reflect on the good things right?

This meme is hosted by Susanne over at "Living to Tell the Story".  Pop over there to see who else is taking part.

Here are my 5 for this week:

1)  Time with Nathan on Saturday.  We babysat while his Mummies went to the theatre.  It was during the day this time so it was good to be able to have time with him awake.  I miss looking after him now he's at nursery as we don't see him quite as often.  He is getting so talkative now although sometimes it's a bit of a challenge to work out what he's saying lol.

2)  I finally finished a crafting project that feels like it has been on the go FOREVER! Enough said.

3)  Good train services.  I usually drive when I look after Rory but there were works going on at their building which meant parking was restricted.  I opted to take the train this week so I'm grateful that there were no hold ups/cancellations.  The trains run frequently too - every 10 minutes.  (It also meant an increase in steps on those days due to the walks to and from the stations!)

4)  The safe arrival of baby Martha.  This is the second daughter for one of Nick's nephews.  She was a couple of weeks early but both Mother and baby are doing fine and are now at home.  It's always a blessing to hear a new baby has arrived safe and well.

5)  Motivation - this week I actually took some steps towards getting rid of some of the things we had left from doing the jumble trail (yard sale) back in September.  I posted some items on one of our local freebie sites and washed a load of clothes that can now go to a local charity shop.  These things had been stored away so that they weren't getting in my way but they definitely need to be gone!

Hope you've all had a good week and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Saturday 30 November 2019

Friday's Fave Five - 29/11/19

Well I'm giving in and posting a winter picture this week - this morning it was really frosty!

Once again I'm a day late but it's been busy this week.  Taking a breath and looking back on things to be grateful for is what this meme is all about though.  Pop over here to see other participants.

Here goes:

1)  A successful shopping outing on Saturday.  I left some birthday shopping until the last minute and my local Westfield was BUSY.  Once again I omitted to check if there was a football game on at the stadium which is part of the same complex.  DUH. 

2)  A trip to Nottingham to catch up with these 3

These lovely pics were taken at the wedding of my DIL's sister but we were in Nottingham to celebrate Amy's 30th birthday.  Her parents had organised a surprise get together at their house for her.  It was a long day for us and we probably spent more time travelling than we did with them but I'm glad we went.  I know they appreciated it and of course we love catching up with Noah.

3)  Coping with 3 early starts this week.  I had my usual 2 days with Rory, which require an early start but I also did another morning where I had to be there even earlier to take over from Mummy when she went off to work and then drop Rory off to nursery. (Daddy had been away overnight.)  I was also fortunate with the weather again.  We had quite a few showers this week but there were enough dry spells to get Rory out in the buggy. I love my days with him but they are long and tiring.  Needless to say on the very early morning I went home and didn't do much for the rest of the day lol!

It's no hardship getting him to eat though! lol

4)  Grandparents tea at Nathan's nursery.  We were able to go with Nathan to his nursery and have tea on Friday.  He was so excited about it.  It was nice to see where he goes.  The staff were all very welcoming and friendly and of course we got to spend time with Nathan.  We stayed for dinner with his Mummies too so a lovely afternoon.

He especially loves spending time with his Grandpa.

5)  Finding things!  I am pretty obsessive about keeping track of things like socks.  It really frustrates me when I end up with an odd one.  That happened earlier this week.  One of my socks went missing and I searched high and low.  In the end I gave up hoping it would turn up eventually.  Yesterday when I was taking some clothes off the airer what did I find?  Yep the errant sock.  Sometimes it's little things like that I'm grateful for.  I like things to be ordered.

Hope you're all having a good weekend.  I've just enjoyed watching Strictly Come Dancing while I was preparing this post.

Belated Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

Thursday 28 November 2019

Review: The Flower Girls

The Flower Girls The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose.

One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.

Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.

And The Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again..

This was a creepy, unsettling read. The subject matter, (the killing of a child) is dark and although I thought the ending was going to be predictable, and in a way it was, there was also an unexpected twist that I didn't see coming.

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Saturday 23 November 2019

Friday's Fave Five - on Saturday! 23/11/19

Yes we still have some leaves on the trees and lots on the ground - I'm being very careful when out walking because when it gets damp those leaves can be slippery!  Anyway I'm a day late but better late than never when looking back over the week and finding things to be grateful for.

This meme is hosted by Susanne over at "Living to Tell the Story".  Pop over there to see who else is taking part.

Here are mine:

1)  It's been another reasonably quiet week so lots of time to catch up on reading and TV.

2)  Lunch with my best friend and our hubbies.  This was a belated birthday treat from them to me.  My birthday was back in June but what with holidays and just life in general, we hadn't got around to tying down a date for this until now.  So on Tuesday we met up at a local Greek restaurant that we both like and had a long, leisurely lunch.  Good food, good company.  What more do you need?

3)  Being able to deal with unexpected expenses.  Our car went to the garage this week - the parking sensors had developed a fault.  Of course there's usually something else that gets picked up on the health check, like a couple of light bulbs (that I did know about) and a tyre (that I didn't!).  However the car is now back with us and all sorted.  The bill was more than I expected but I am just grateful that we're able to deal with things like this and not have to worry.  

4)  I've started to get ready for Christmas.  This might not sound huge but it is to me.  When I was working, and in particular when my Mum was still alive but in the latter stages of Alzheimer's, Christmas was just a huge stress for me.  I always enjoyed the actual Christmas time but the lead up would drive me nuts.  Since I've not been working, and Mum is no longer with us, I've gradually become more relaxed about the whole thing and try to not leave everything till the last minute.  (I know some of you may have been planning for far longer than this but trust me this is good for me!)

5)  An evening with friends.  Yesterday I got together with 3 former work colleagues at one of their houses.  We usually meet at a pub or restaurant but one of them invited us to her home.  We had a yummy Indian takeaway, wine and lots of conversation.  It was good to catch up!  (But getting home VERY late meant I didn't get this post done yesterday.)

Today has been productive and I'm looking forward to tomorrow - hopefully will be on time next Friday to reveal more on that.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend all.

(Yes I did just do a post without mentioning any of the Grandkids! But can't resist posting this pic of Rory - he was at a birthday party of one of his nursery friends today - I'm assuming he didn't want to take the hat off lol) 

Thursday 21 November 2019

Waffle or Twaddle on Thursday

I was determined to do at least one blog this week that wasn't related to a meme or a book review.  I looked at my stats and realised that this months were down on last.  I've clocked up 13 posts so far, this will be #14 (assuming it gets finished and posted) but they are mostly memes or book reviews. I've been doing lots of reading this month.  It sometimes feels like a guilty pleasure.

As does sitting for several (ok many) hours today watching The Crown.  I've justified it to myself by also ticking off the following today:
  • Car delivered to the garage to get a couple of things checked out
  • New rose bush planted
  • Washing done and dried (or at least drying)
The car has parking sensors that, usually, prevent me from hitting anything when I'm parking.  Recently thay had developed a fault.  Instead of giving a series of beeps everytime I put the car in reverse it just started screeching at me.  It made me realise how dependant I'd become on them though.  Anyway hopefully by tomorrow the car will be fixed and I won't be (gently) bumping into anything.

Regular readers will know that we planted 2 new rose bushes earlier this year.  I do love roses.  Well one bush has thrived, the other did not.  Fortunately the company I purchased them from offer a guarantee and they lived up to it.  I e-mailed them last Thursday with photos of the two bushes.  I had a reply within a day to say that a replacement would be despatched and it arrived on Tuesday.  I call that good service.

As for getting the washing done, that's hardly a challenge with an automatic washing machine and a tumble dryer.

I have done a few other things this week - ordered Christmas cards, which arrived today.  I like to support the Alzheimer's Society so I often get cards from them.  Part of me wants to move towards sending e-cards but part of me worries about charities losing an important source of income.  There are also quite a few people on my card list that I know I couldn't send e-cards too.  Many are older friends, or former work colleagues and at this time of year I always fear that a Christmas card might herald the news that someone has passed away.  But that's human nature.

I'd also ordered personalised baubles for the little ones.  They arrived today.  So another thing ticked off my list.  Of course the to do list never seems to shrink.  It just keeps rolling over.  But that's because there are always things to do, even if you are retired and make time to watch TV and read books! Oh and Grandsit and waffle of course.

Review: The Doll's House

The Doll's House The Doll's House by M.J. Arlidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A young woman wakes up in a cold, dark cellar, with no idea how she got there or who her kidnapper is. So begins her terrible nightmare.

Nearby, the body of another young woman is discovered buried on a remote beach. But the dead girl was never reported missing - her estranged family having received regular texts from her over the years. Someone has been keeping her alive from beyond the grave.

For Detective Inspector Helen Grace it's chilling evidence that she's searching for a monster who is not just twisted but also clever and resourceful - a predator who's killed before.

And as Helen struggles to understand the killer's motivation, she begins to realize that she's in a desperate race against time . . .

I'm really enjoying this series. This was another page turner with a few red herrings along the way that built to a satisfying ending.

View all my reviews

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Review: Pop Goes the Weasel

Pop Goes the Weasel Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The body of a middle-aged man is discovered in Southampton's red-light district - horrifically mutilated, with his heart removed.

Hours later - and barely cold - the heart arrives with his wife and children by courier.

A pattern emerges when another male victim is found dead and eviscerated, his heart delivered soon afterwards.

The media call it Jack the Ripper in reverse; revenge against the men who lead sordid double lives visiting prostitutes. For Grace, only one thing is certain: there's a vicious serial-killer at large who must be halted at all costs . . .

The subject matter is pretty grim but Arlidge has developed the main characters in this series well. It's another page turner with twists and turns along the way. I enjoyed it.

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Review: Eeny Meeny

Eeny Meeny Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The girl emerged from the woods, barely alive. Her story was beyond belief. But it was true. Every dreadful word of it.

Days later, another desperate escapee is found - and a pattern is emerging. Pairs of victims are being abducted, imprisoned then faced with a terrible choice: kill or be killed.

Detective Inspector Helen Grace has faced down her own demons on her rise to the top. As she leads the investigation to hunt down this unseen monster, she learns that it may be the survivors - living calling cards - who hold the key to the case.

And unless she succeeds, more innocents will die

I've read a couple of later books in this series so it was good to see how it started. It's a gritty thriller, not for the faint hearted. The premise (2 captives being given the choice of who lives and who dies) is not new but it's done well and I didn't want to put the book down to see how it ended.

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Saturday 16 November 2019

Review: The Christmas Party

The Christmas Party The Christmas Party by Karen Swan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Declan Lorne, the last remaining knight in Ireland, dies suddenly, an ancient title passes with him. But his estate on Ireland’s rugged south-west coast is left to his three daughters. The two eldest, Ottie and Pip, inherit in line with expectations, but to everyone’s surprise – and dismay – it is the errant baby of the family, Willow, who gets the castle.

Why her? Something unknown – something terrible - made her turn her back on her family three years earlier, escaping to Dublin and vowing never to return. So when Willow quickly announces she is selling up, her revenge seems sweet and the once-close sisters are pushed to breaking point: in desperation, Pip risks everything to secure her own future, and Ottie makes a decision that will ruin lives. It’s each woman for herself.

Before moving in, Connor Shaye, the prospective new owner, negotiates throwing a lavish party at the castle just days before Christmas – his hello, their goodbye. But as their secrets begin to catch up with them, Ottie, Willow and Pip are forced to ask themselves which is harder: stepping into the future, or letting go of the past?

A lovely feel good festive read. Just what you need when the nights have drawn in and Christmas is coming.

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Friday 15 November 2019

Friday's Fave Five - 15/11/19

It's Friday so it's time to share 5 things I'm grateful for this week. This meme is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story. Pop over there for more details and to see who else is taking part.
I'm still using the autumn picture as our trees haven't completely shed their leaves yet but it has definitely been colder this week.  It's been a quiet week but here are my 5:

Fresh flowers in the house.  I do like to have flowers even if I buy them for myself.  

2)  2 good days with Rory.  He is generally easy to look after but it certainly helps if the weather is dry enough to get out which is was.  On Monday we took him to one of my sister-in-laws for a bit and he was on really good form.

3)  Noah is taking steps.  It's hard not to compare Noah and Rory as there is only 2 weeks between them and I know it's been hard waiting for these first steps when Rory has been walking for what seems like ages now but of course they all develop at different rates.

4)  A colour and hair cut.  Always sure to make me feel better.

5)  Time to sit and read.  A guilty pleasure which I indulged in today.

And a bonus one - I'm grateful for our national health service.  All my blood tests came back fine which was a relief but my blood pressure is still too high so my GP has added in another medication.  I'm glad I don't have to jump through insurance hoops to get this sorted and one bonus of turning 60 is that I don't have to pay for prescriptions any more.  

We have a fairly quiet weekend which I'm also thankful for.  Hope yours is a good one!

Thursday 14 November 2019

Waffle on Thursday - 14/11/19

Life can be strange at times.  

My daughter bought me this book a while ago.  I probably should look at it more considering I'm often a glass half empty kind of person.

I decided to look at it Tuesday night and this was the page I opened.  (I tend to open it at random pages rather than read it from start to finish.)

It has some odd things in it although some of them would make me happy but one of those would have had me confused (Sadie Hawkins dances) if it wasn't for one of the questions in this week's Wednesday Medley which I'd just done and scheduled to post the next day!

"Sadie Hawkins' Day. Also known as Turn-About Day. On this date in Dogpatch, Judge Hawkins declared a race between the town's eligible bachelors and the spinsters (including his daughter, Sadie) with the prize being matrimony. Nowadays celebrated as a day on which the girl asks the boy to the big sock hop."

Being in the UK I had never heard of such a thing.  The only "Turn-About Day" I was aware of was leap day - 29th February.  You live and learn!

Here's something that makes me happy:

Not sure how impressed he is with his new hat!  He managed to lose his other one while his Mummy had him out at the shops at the weekend.

And how cute is this?

Wedding guest Noah

And this:

Pirate Nathan

I'm blessed.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Wednesday Medley - 13/11/19
If you would like to join in with the Medley click on the picture above.

1. Sadie Hawkins' Day. Also known as Turn-About Day. On this date in Dogpatch, Judge Hawkins declared a race between the town's eligible bachelors and the spinsters (including his daughter, Sadie) with the prize being matrimony. Nowadays celebrated as a day on which the girl asks the boy to the big sock hop.
For those of us who are single: Any special plans? Is a restraining order and a monitoring anklet hampering you from finding true love? N/A - been happily married for 35 years.
For those of us who are in a relationship: Do you have any words of encouragement for the single ladies? Advice on removing a monitoring anklet?

I think love comes when you least expect it so maybe don't try to hard to find it. 
2. Today is Indian Pudding Day. Colonists to America substituted cornmeal which they called "Indian flour" in their recipes for hasty pudding. Indian pudding fell out of favor in the late nineteenth century with its long cooking time.
Are you a crock pot, electric / gas range, microwave cook? Or do you go to restaurants or order take-out / delivery? 
All of the above (except electric cooker - ours is all gas) - we both cook but we do like to eat out occasionally and we like take out/delivery if we're feeling lazy.  Not keen on fast food though although an occasional burger has been known to be consumed! 
Bonus question: Vanilla ice cream is listed as an optional topping. Is it really optional?
Depends on the dessert and if custard or cream are also available. 
3. National Education Support Professionals Day recognizes the unsung school heroines: Bus drivers, cafeteria ladies, secretaries, crossing guards, custodial workers...
Anyone special to whom you want to give a shout out?
I think they all need to be acknowledged.

4. Dear Santa Letter Week. Remember writing to Santa Claus for a doll or a book or credits to Google Play to download MP3 songs and apps to your smartphone?
Now we are adults and understand the true meaning of Christmas. What did you wish for when you were little? Did you sit on Santa's lap at the department store for a photograph? What do the little ones in your life ask Santa to bring?

I don't remember too much about when I was little but mine usually wanted whatever was the latest craze at the time. 
5. Happy 20th Birthday, Lando Norris! Lando is a Formula 1 race car driver.

Who took you out on the road when you were learning to drive? Did your road test with the examiner go smoothly? What was your first destination driving solo?

I had lessons from a driving school although my Dad did take me out a couple of times.  He also accompanied me on my first drive of my new car - a Ford Anglia that required double declutching as there was no synchromesh on 1st gear.  How many of you know what that means? lol  
I've been driving since I was 17 (passed 1st time) and have no idea where my first solo destination was. 
Bonus question: Ever dream of driving a race car? Or a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500® with the Predator 5.2L 32 valve V-8 DOHC engine capable of producing 760 hp and 625 ft / lb of torque?
Nope, never been a fan of flash cars.  It just needs to be able to get me from A to B and carry all the stuff I need to get there. 
6. Please share with us something interesting about your week.

We had to pay a return visit to hubby's sister on Monday as he had left his phone there last Friday.  On the way out I nearly left without mine!  I don't think I shall hear the last of that for a while after criticising him for being so careless lol.

Saturday 9 November 2019

19 in 19 - October update

Well at least I'm only a week behind on doing an update this month!
Not that there is a great deal to report, but here goes:

1. Be more organised, plan ahead and waste less time

October wasn't the best month for this.  I had some sort of virus for several weeks.  I went from having an irritating tickly cough to the opposite where I was coughing up stuff.  I'll say no more.
2. Work on the garden
I got the grass cut at some point and have bought some bulbs to plant but the weather has not been great.  Thankfully at this time of year there isn't too much to be done.

3. Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal/outing)
Well we did eat out last weekend but it was very much a spur of the moment thing and the food at one of our local pubs was not great.

4. Eat at 6 new-to-me restaurants
We didn't manage anywhere new this month.  I need to check how many I need to do before Christmas to complete this one.

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
As mentioned above not the best month healthwise but all my blood tests came back ok.  Just keeping an eye on my blood pressure right now.  Really don't want to have to mess around with new medication.

8. Visit my brother
Well he didn't make it to my cousin's party so still a fail on this one.

9. Visit the beach

10. Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year) 

I'm still excelling on this one.  Currently on about to start book #64.  As always, details and reviews can be found on my Goodreads site.  (Or you can use the tag book review to find them here on the blog.)

11. Keep a journal

A slight improvement here and I've been trying to do a gratitude thought each day, not always successfully.

12. Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes)
October figures were up!

13. Organise/Take more photos
This was a fail this month.

14. Update my clothes/accessories/make up etc regularly 

As I said last month this is not a good target.  I know that some of you will be putting away summer clothes and bringing out winter ones.  My clothes just stay out all year round - you never know what weather to expect here!

15. Do more crafting – move the sewing machine!
Does making up a birthday hamper for my DIL count as crafting?  I'm going to say yes!

16. Try out a new recipe or do a bake each week
What was I thinking with this one?

17. Visit/see Grandson Noah every month
We had a visit from Noah in October and we actually babysat him and Rory together.  That was an experience (read about it here).  If anyone expresses a wish for twins tell them no! lol.  We're going to see them briefly this weekend and we have a trip to Nottingham planned before the end of the month.

18. Make progress on the house plan
What with not feeling great and helping the girls move this is still very much on the back burner.

19. Lose 19 pounds
I think this one should have been "Do not gain any weight" and then I could say I'm on track!

Doing these updates is a bit depressing as I'm not hitting many targets but as I reflected last month that's partly because the targets weren't great to start with.  I'll definitely be trying to make next year's targets more sensible.  I'm definitely not giving up on the whole idea though.  Plus I even had an idea for next year's A-Z challenge so that's a positive thought to end on.