Friday 28 February 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 28/2/20

Yes it's that time of the week again - it's come around very quickly - but time to look back and find 5 things to be grateful for.  Our host, Susanne, can be found here along with a linky to other bloggers taking part.

Phew just making it on time this week!  Here goes:

1)  Relaxation time.  Last Sunday we viewed a house in the morning but then the rest of the day was free.  After a few hectic weeks of getting the house ready to sell it was most welcome.  Can't even remember what I did but I know I didn't do much!

2)  Back with Rory.  His Mummy was on half term break from school the week before so I hadn't seen him for a week.  He was his usual cheery self and on Wednesday I had a long day with him, including putting him to bed and he was as good as gold for me.

3)  Still 3 goslings!  It was dry on Wednesday so I managed to get Rory to the park.  It was two weeks since we'd been but I was relieved to see the 3 Egyptian goslings are doing well and beginning to look less fluffy and more feathered.

4)  Time.  We have a lot of things to work through in the house but I'm fortunate that I don't have a job so I have the time to work through them gradually.  This week I've cleared out my fridge and store cupboards.  One advantage of our house is that we have a cellar and I keep a lot of extra foodstuff in it so it's rare that we ever run out of anything.  When we finish something in the kitchen there's usually a supply in the cellar and then I top up the cellar when I go shopping.  The downside to this is that sometimes I stockpile things and then they go past their sell by date.  Well now there is nothing that is past its best and I won't be stockpiling for now because we hope to move.

5)  Cooking a new meal.  It's ages since I've got out a recipe book to do something different for dinner but I made a dish with liver yesterday and Lyonnaise potatoes.  Nothing particularly special or complicated but it made a change from our HelloFresh meals or one of our usual fallback pasta dinners.

Well that about sums up my week.  Busy but quiet if that makes sense.  We've seen 3 houses now (including 1 today) but they are not ones we'll want to view again once ours sells.  We have a couple more lined up for tomorrow and some next weekend.  We also have some more viewings here tomorrow which the Estate Agent will manage.  Just keeping our fingers crossed that someone will like our house enough to want to buy it!

Have a good weekend all.  We'll be having a quick catch up with Grandson Noah.  Can't wait.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

20 in 20 - Photo of the Week #8 - 23/2/20

Not a very exciting picture this week:

This is inside my cellar.  Actually it's a terrible picture but the story behind it is that at the back of that alcove on the floor is a box containing my Vax machine.  Until today that box had been in one of our bedrooms.  Fortunately it was tucked behind a screen but still it wasn't an ideal place considering we have people viewing our house.  First impressions count so I was determined to get that Vax box moved.  Of course it required shifting stuff around in the cellar but I was pleased to have got it done!

On a brighter note:

I have lots of daffodils in my house at the moment.  I'd like to say they were home grown but unfortunately not.  I have some in the garden but not enough to be able to cut and bring inside.  This house selling game is keeping me busy!

Saturday 22 February 2020

Friday's Fave Five (On Saturday 22/2/20)

This weekly challenge of remembering things to be grateful for is hosted by Susanne over at "Living to tell the story".  Pop over there to see what it's all about and who is taking part.

I should have done this yesterday, actually I should have done it a week ago but regular readers will know it's been kind of busy around here.  But.....better late than never so here are the five things I'm grateful for over the last week or so:

1.  A night out with friends.  We got together last Friday.  It had been a while since I'd seen this particular group of friends so that made it even more special.

2.  Time with Nathan and his Mummies.  We babysat for them last Saturday and Nathan was good for us.  He took a while to settle to sleep but he didn't make much fuss and was still asleep when they got back.  We stayed overnight so we had more time with them as we hadn't seen them for a few weeks.

He is getting so grown up.


3.  Getting our house ready to sell.  Yes that's what's been keeping us busy.  I'm grateful for the motivation to do lots of tidying and decluttering and for good weather on the day the Estate Agent came to take photos.  We were able to get our grass cut and the photos turned out well.  It's now on the market and we've had quite a few people come to view it already.

4.  Cover for house problems.  We had a problem with one of our toilets this week but I was able to make an appointment for a plumber to come the next day and it was fixed straight away.  Phew.  Not great to have a non functioning toilet when you are expecting prospective buyers to your house!

5.  Still finding time for me despite all that's going on.  I found time to watch some TV, do a bit of reading and get my hair done this week.  

And loving getting pictures of these two who got together last weekend.

Happy weekend all!

Thursday 20 February 2020

20 in 20 - Photo of the Week #7 16/2/20 & The Moving Saga Update #2

Well I'm combining 2 posts here as time is short!

It's been busy here this past week or so but we are now officially up for sale!  Our house is the middle one with the red door. 

These window boxes are now on my front window sills.  Of course this meant a trip to the garden centre.

The stairway leading down to our kitchen needed some work.  We'd had to take the tongue & groove panelling off at the bottom and had never got round to reinstating it.  It was definitely a mess.  Now thanks to a handyman recommended to us the panelling is fixed, it's had a lick of paint and looks so much better.

And the room that we now refer to as Hubby's den (which has served as a playroom and a bedroom in the past) now has new curtains.  The old ones practically fell apart when I took them down to wash so we had to get new ones and opted for a new pole system too.  Thanks again to our handyman for getting the pole up.

We've also been busy doing more decluttering and tidying and managed to get our lawn cut (despite the wind and rain we've had) so we decided we  were ready for the estate agent to come and take pictures for marketing the house.

As of today the propery is live on the web and we already have 3 viewings arranged!

I am definitely on a runaway train!  We also have 3 properties to view.  1 on Saturday and then 2 the following Saturday.  The market is definitely picking up and I think good houses are going to sell quickly.  We were hoping to view one house but when I rang on Monday to try and arrange it I was told it was already under offer.  (I hadn't realised it had had an open day last Saturday.)  That of course bodes well for our sale but makes it harder to find the right house to buy.  Hopefully, as we will be mortgage free and therefore "cash buyers" we will be more attractive to potential vendors and more likely to have an offer accepted.

Thankfully it's half term this week so I haven't had Rory to look after.  I miss seeing him but it's nice to have the rest, especially when we've been working so hard in the house.

Thank you for all the comments on my posts.  Apologies for not replying to all of them.  I'm finding it hard to keep up at the moment.  I am visiting and reading blogs but I don't always have time to leave a comment.   It's amazing how tiring looking at houses online can be, not to mention how time consuming! 

Sunday 16 February 2020

Where did the weekend go?

Goodness me, it's almost Monday and I haven't had a chance to blog all weekend!  I didn't even get a Friday Fave Five post done.

Friday was a busy day with work going on in the house.  I had to make two trips out for paint - once to get some testers so we could try and find the right match for our hall and then the second time to actually get the paint.  (Note to self, when we do any decorating in our next house, keep a note of paint colours!)  In between I was still decluttering/tidying.  In the evening I met up with some friends for drinks and food at our local pub.  It was nice to relax and unwind.

Saturday was more work in the house and then late afternoon we went over to babysit Nathan so his Mummies could have a night out.  It was lovely to see him as we hadn't been for about 3 weeks.  He was ill at one point and then I wasn't well.  Then we'd been in contact with Rory when he had his tummy bug so didn't want to risk passing that on, even though we were fine.

Anyway we're all well at the moment.  Let's hope it lasts.  Nathan was on good form.  He's so chatty now.  He let me put him to bed without too much trouble although it does take him a while to settle down to sleep.  

We stayed the night so that we could spend time with them all today but we got home in time for a late lunch then it was back to work on the house.  We've decided to bite the bullet and tell the estate agents we're ready to put the house on the market.  I'm really beginning to believe we will be moving house and trying not to freak out over it.  It's hard - we've been here almost 27 years!

Let's hope it doesn't take us too long to find the right house for our next home.

Wednesday 12 February 2020

How did it get so late? 12/2/20

Well I'm determined to try and keep up with blogging regularly but this is going to be a very quick post.  It's time for bed really as I had a very long day with Rory again today.  I started at 8 am as usual but had to wait until Daddy got home (about 7.15pm) because Mummy had a parents evening at her school.  They obviously decided to schedule all their parent evenings on Wednesdays as this is the 3rd one in a row.  Still I shouldn't complain, I can have a lie in tomorrow which is more than Liz can.  Except I can't either as I have to drop the car off for its annual service!

Fortunately the weather was better today and after his 2 hour nap (for which I was very grateful!) I took Rory to the park.  We saw the goslings again and they were on the move today, still looking healthy although I think one is smaller than the other two.  When the sun was out and the wind dropped it was quite pleasant although still chilly.

I let Rory have a swing which he loved.

Yes he is wearing Santa joggers.  They still fit!

He was as good as gold for me, letting me feed him, bath him and get him to bed just before Daddy came home.  It's hard for them on nights like this not to see him when they come home but if he sees them just before he goes in his cot he gets so excited and then it puts his whole routine out.  And he has a good routine.  Once he's ready for bed he has a bottle of milk while I read him stories.  Then he gets a very quick cuddle before going into his cot and usually he makes no or very little fuss before going to sleep.

Fortunately hubby was home before me and had dinner ready just as I walked through the door which was lovely especially when washed down with a glass of wine.  I think I'd earned that!

Tuesday 11 February 2020

20 in 20 - Photo of the Week #6 - 9/2/20

Woo hoo, week 6 and still on track!  I've added in Sunday's date in the titles of these posts to help me remember which week I'm working on!  One of the things I find hard since I've given up work is remembering the actual date - probably because I'm not writing it all the time as I used to.  I don't have any trouble (usually) remembering what day of the week it is but the date often eludes me lol.

Blogging regularly helps, but now the January challenge is over I'm having to work harder at posting most days again.  (Although someone did helpfully point out that it will soon be April and I'll have the A - Z Challenge to keep me busy!)

Anyway enough of the waffle, here is this week's photo:

One of the joys of trying to move is clearing out all our junk.  The above are old computers etc that we had accumulated over the years.  Today they have been to our rubbish and recycling centre.   Our box room has visible floor space!  It's very satisfying making progress.

I've also sorted out even more loose change to cash in and found out where to take all the old foreign coins and notes we had too.  Various charities will take them but Marks & Spencer's Bureau de Change counters will take them and they donate to a Breast Cancer charity.  Westfield the shopping mall close by has a big Marks & Spencer  with a Bureau de Change so that's an errand I'll be running later in the week hopefully.

Now for a gosling update.

We had a terrible storm at the weekend - the main parks in London were actually closed on Sunday - so I was a bit concerned when we rounded the path in the park on Monday and spotted the adults all tucked up on the grass.

However on walking a little bit further this collection of fluff came into view.  Phew!  Still 3 goslings and they are definitely increasing in size. 

Rory was very excited to see them as poor thing had been indoors since last Wednesday - he went down with a tummy bug which he unfortunately shared with his parents and then the weather was awful so I think they were all suffering a bit from cabin fever by Monday.  Thankfully they are all fine now.

Sunday 9 February 2020

The Moving Saga Update #1 - 9/2/20

Well sometimes it feels like 2 steps forward 1 back lol

We have decided on an Agent - we went for the one charging the middle fee but who reckon they can get the best price for our house.  They're a local family fun business so we trust that they know the area well and can deliver.

That's given us a good idea of what our budget is for the new house.  Our aim is to come out of the process without dipping into any savings which should definitely be achieveable even though we're not exactly downsizing.   Hopefully there will also be money left over to cover any works that might need doing on the new place.

We probably will end up in a small house in terms of number of bedrooms but hopefully not in living space.  We also need plenty of storage - we have so much stuff!

Of course we're trying to declutter as much as possible but it's really hard.  Especially when hubby discovers a collection of photos dating back to when he took his photograhy more seriously and had even made a darkroom in our first house.  Of course he doesn't want to part with those photos!

We've continued to work on the box room today.  I want to try and clear the floor space so that it's just a nice tidy storage area and you can see that it could be a small single bedroom, or an office, or if anyone's feeling ambitious it could be turned into a nice ensuite to our main bedroom.

Am I sounding like an estate agent?!

Anyway I managed to empty out 2 boxes of books - these are now on shelves here:

Of course at some point they will need to be packed up ready to move but for now they're better there than in boxes cluttering the floor of the box room.  See 2 steps forward 1 back!

We have also managed to gather up all the redundant computer equipment we had just hoarded away.  Old desktops, broken laptops, printers etc which are now ready to take to our recycling centre.  This is part of our council's rubbish and recycling centre.  I'm not sure how good they are at recycling but it will definitely be good to get all of that stuff out of the house.

I hate just throwing stuff away but sometimes it is hard to find the right places to recycle things.  I have found that the optician that is opposite the end of our road takes old glasses so I have a bag of those to deliver this week sometime.

Yesterday we spent some time exploring an area that might be a possibility for us.  It's not too far away (20 minutes in the car) but it has lots of the things we want.  I think it would work, Nick still needs a bit of convincing.  We'd definitely get more for our money.  

At the moment though our focus is on getting our house ready to market.  We have someone coming hopefully at the end of this week to do a couple of jobs that really need doing and we have a bit more tidying and cleaning to do before we are "photo ready" and ready to go but we're getting there.

Saturday 8 February 2020

Book Review - Secrets She Left Behind - Diane Chamberlain

Secrets She Left BehindSecrets She Left Behind by Diane Chamberlain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One afternoon, single mother Sara Weston says that she’s going to the store—and never returns. In her absence, she leaves her teenaged son alone with his damaged past and a legacy of secrets.

Keith Weston nearly lost his life in an act of arson. He survived—but with devastating physical and emotional scars. Without his mother, he has no one to help him heal, no money, nothing to live for but the medications that numb his pain. Isolated and angry, his hatred has one tight focus: his half-sister, Maggie Lockwood.

Now the person Keith despises most is the closest thing he has to family—until Sara returns. 

I really enjoyed this book once I got into it. It follows Maggie Lockwood as she is released from prison having served a year for arson. Maggie had set a fire to help her firefighter boyfriend look good in the eyes of his bosses. When she realised there were people in the building she tried to stop it but a careless cigarette set off the blaze killing 4 people and injuring others.

Returning to her small community, Maggie is supposed to do 300 hours of community service but finding a placement proves difficult. Many of the residents would rather Maggie had rotted in jail.
One of them is her half brother, Keith who was badly burned in the fire. Maggie's family set up is complicated. Maggie and half-brother Keith shared the same father, Maggie and her other half-brother Andy share the same mother.

On the day Maggie is released Keith’s mother Sara goes missing.

With flashbacks told from Sara’s POV giving lots of background information, the story follows the ongoing drama of how Maggie tries to come to terms with her situation and how Keith copes with his mother missing. Then a newcomer to the area Jen, separately befriends both Keith and Maggie with almost fatal consequences.

I hadn’t realized this was a sequel to Before the Storm until after I’d finished it. It probably would have helped to have read that first but much of its content was covered in this second book. It’s an easy read and it’s not obvious straightaway who Jen is or what her motives are. Sara’s secrets and what happened to her are also revealed bit by bit.

I liked that it also had a realistic ending rather than tying up all the loose ends and everyone being happy.

View all my reviews

SoCS 8/2/20 - (un)pack

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “(un)pack.” Use “pack” or its opposite in your post. Have fun!

These prompts are provided by Linda - go here to check out all the info and see who else is playing. 

Well this is an apt prompt for me.  We've decided to move house so hopefully (if we can find a house we'd like to move to and someone to buy ours and we can get to completion day without killing each other) we will soon be doing lots of packing!

But of course before we can get to packing we need to throw out anything that doesn't need to be packed which means going through all our clutter and even unpacking some boxes.  I wrote about a box I unpacked this week here.  Yep this was a very apt prompt!

Please feel free to leave any packing tips in the comments.

Friday 7 February 2020

20 in 20 - Photo of the Week #5 2/2/20

Now we've decided to move house I need to seriously sort and declutter.  I made a start this week in our box room that served as an office space at one point but more recently has become a dumping ground for anything we didn't know what to do with.  It's a really useful storage area because it has shelving on both sides but .....once the shelves were full things began to pile up on the floor.

I knew that somewhere in there was this box of books.  They are ones I kept from when our kids were little and I've been wanting to dig them out for ages now that we have grandchildren.  There are some lovely ones in there, including the complete Winnie the Pooh, Wind in the Willows and lots of other favourites.  I'm looking forward to reading them to the grandchildren.  Especially as now they are on a bookshelf where they are easily accessible.  (2nd shelf down)

Friday's Fave Five - 7/2/20

Friday is the time to sit back and reflect on the week and count our blessings and share them over at Susanne's site here.

Here are mine:

1)  I've definitely had some sort of flu like virus although I wouldn't call it flu.  I've been left with a cough and what someone coined as virus fatigue.  I don't have to do very much without feeling tired BUT I am feeling better than this time last week so I'm grateful for that.

2)  Being more assertive.  So I started feeling really unwell after a very long day with Rory last Wednesday.  I hate letting my son down because if I can't have Rory one of them either has to take a day off work, which can be problematic, or they have to arrange an extra day at the nursery which costs them money.  Normally I try and soldier on but I knew it would be too much to do two days with him this week so I agreed to do Monday as Nick joins me so it's much easier but I told him I couldn't do all day Wednesday.  I did go and pick Rory up from nursery as neither Liz or Michael could get back in time.  I also fed him and put him to bed but that was manageable.  Especially as he is so good for going to bed.  I was pleased with myself for being upfront and putting myself first for a change.

3)  Progress on the house move.  We've had 3 agents in now and we've decided which one to go with.  This has also given us an indication of what we can afford to spend so now we can start narrowing down where we want to go.  We've also found a handyman to come and do a few bits and pieces that really need doing.

4)  Reading time.  Being tired is a good excuse to rest and read.

5)  A good shopping trip.  I managed to combine a few things when shopping today.  I recycled all the glass bottles that had accumulated in the cellar.   I cashed up all the loose change we'd been saving - almost £50.  I got the food bits I needed plus some bits for the house. 

Took a bit of thinking this week as it's been quiet.  I'm currently hoping that neither Nick or I go down with the tummy bug that Rory and his parents have had the last couple of days.  We're supposed to be having lunch with Nathan and his Mummies on Sunday.  It's been a few weeks since we've seen them so I want to be ok for that.  

Enjoy your weekend all.

Monday 3 February 2020

Review - Lies Lies Lies

Lies Lies LiesLies Lies Lies by Adele Parks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daisy and Simon's marriage is great, isn't it? After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three. And so what if Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes - Daisy's used to it, she knows he's letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And that happy little family of three will never be the same again.

In Lies Lies Lies, Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks explores the darkest corners of a relationship in freefall in a mesmerising tale of marriage and secrets

A real page turner. Told alternately from Daisy and Simon's POV it follows the fallout from an accident that changes their lives dramatically.

View all my reviews

Sunday 2 February 2020

JusJoJan 2020 - Reflections

The Just Jot it January challenge was hosted by Linda here.

This is the 7th year of the challenge although I was late to the party only doing my first attempt in 2017.  I find that towards the end of the year keeping to a blogging schedule rather goes out the window.  My stats certainly show that - I only managed 7 posts in December 2019.

So a new year often brings a new enthusiasm and determination with regard to blogging but having the Just Jot It prompts really helps me to focus and actually achieve an increase in activity.

I managed to blog most days, mostly following the prompts too but there were a few occasions where I doubled up on prompts because I'd missed a day or two.  It was a struggle at times - life does have a habit of getting in the way - but overall I'm pleased with how things went.  I even managed to suggest a prompt in time for it to be one that was used.  (Change)

Sometimes I didn't feel my posts warranted trying to draw in new visitors so I didn't leave a link on Linda's site.  I often felt I didn't visit other participants as much as I should.  There were a lot of people taking part.  It's time consuming.  But it's usually interesting so I was glad when I did find time to visit some great blogs.  I was also grateful that a lot of the participants use Wordpress as their platform so I could at least click the like button to record my visit if I was short on time and not able to leave comments.

It was also gratifying to get new visitors here leaving comments so thanks for that.

And of course a big thank you to Linda for keeping this going.

Review: The Giver of Stars

The Giver of Stars The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

England, late 1930s, and Alice Wright — restless, stifled — makes an impulsive decision to marry wealthy American Bennett Van Cleve and leave her home and family behind.

But stuffy, disapproving Baileyville, Kentucky, where her husband favours work over his wife and is dominated by his overbearing father, is not the adventure — or the escape — that she hoped for.

That is, until she meets Margery O'Hare, a troublesome woman — and daughter of a notorious felon — the town wishes to forget.

Margery's on a mission to spread the wonder of books and reading to the poor and lost — and she needs Alice's help.

Trekking alone under big open skies, through wild mountain forests, Alice, Margery and their fellow sisters of the trail discover freedom, friendship — and a life to call their own.

But when the town turns against them, will their belief in one another — and the power of the written word — be enough to save them?

Really enjoyed this book although it's quite different from the previous Moyes books I've read. Set in depression era America it follows British woman Alice as she tries to adapt to her new life with her husband in Kentucky. Finding it difficult, when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

There is much opposition at first but gradually the team of women start to make a success of the library until disaster strikes and things look bleak. But the women are not easily defeated. A very heartwarming story.

View all my reviews

Saturday 1 February 2020

SoCS - 1/2/20 - Choices

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “choices.” Base your post on the subject of making small, uneventful choices. Enjoy!

These prompts are brought to you by Linda G Hill.
Go here for links to other participants plus info on #SoCS
Hmm, uneventful choices.  Well I think we make those all day long except sometimes they can't be uneventful.  For example I could have chosen to stay in bed this morning but I chose to get up instead.  Now that's a small decision but it's certainly not uneventful.  Now I'm up there are things to be done!  Choices to be made.  Do I shower first or wait until after breakfast?  Do I prepare breakfast or wait and hope that Hubby will volunteer to take charge of that.
Lots of choices and some are impacted by the choices others make.  If Hubby chooses to have a lie in chances are I'll be making breakfast!  Which could be eventful, although probably not.

Too many decisions for this time of day.  (I'm hungry with all this talk of breakfast.  Not a good state to be in when making choices!)

20 in 20 - January update

1. Fill out weekly/daily planner
This has started well and I do feel more organised.

2. Garden projects: Get window boxes for front garden plus big planters. Stepping stones for rear garden.
My plan is to start on this once Spring arrives.

3. Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal/outing)
Well we managed a meal out early in the month. Can't take the credit for planning it though - Nick's suggestion to eat out.

Then I persuaded him to go the the Winter Lights which I blogged about here.

4. Eat at 6 new-to-me restaurants
Two down - our meal out mentioned above was at a Chinese restaurant in nearby Stratford called the Sichuan Grand. It has quite a varied and interesting menu, if you like offal, pig's trotters, shredded jellyfish and gizzard amongst others. It also helps if you like your food hot, as in spicy. We did manage to find things we thought we might like and my lamb dish with ginger and spring onions was lovely. Nick struggled a bit with the heat of his lamb dish even though it was only marked with 1 chilli. (I dread to think what a 3 chilli dish would taste like!) We also had starters - pork ribs for me, pork belly with chilli and garlic for Nick. Confusingly our main courses arrived before the starters. This was due to the business of the restaurant apparently. It was busy and there were lots of Chinese people eating there which we took to be a good sign. The delivery guys were also in and out all the time for take away orders.

Overall I enjoyed my food and the interior of the restaurant is nice but.....we probably won't go back as the choices on the menu were a bit limited for me.

The second new to us restaurant was the pizza restaurant we went to on the date night Franco Manca

5. Complete the A – Z blogging challenge
This happens during April - watch this space!

6. Plan Family weekend for my birthday
I might scale this down to a day out somewhere nice. Staying somewhere not only gets expensive it's also a bit stressful for the kids with their young families.

7. Take up an exercise class (pilates)
Bruised ribs from a fall in the bath have delayed this.

8. Plan a road trip/holiday with hubby.
Well I've floated the idea of having a few days away during the February half-term break as I won't be watching Rory but we haven't got any further than that.

9. Visit the beach
At some point!

10. Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year)
On track for this. I've already read 7 books this month. Full details can be found on my Goodreads page here.

11. Keep a gratitude diary
I'm struggling with this one. I might add this into my daily planner.

12. Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes)
Well I've been taking part in the Just Jot it January Challenge so I've done a lot of posts this month. Now I have to keep it up!

13. Take a photo each week and blog about it.
I've managed to do this every week this month!

14. Read 12 books on my TBR pile.
I managed one this month - it was Cilka's Story which was a christmas present. Feels like a bit of a cheat as I already had a big TBR pile but where else was I going to put a book I'd been bought until I read it?

15. Finish knitting WIP (blanket of squares)
This hasn't even seen the light of day this month!

16. Try out a new recipe or do a bake each month 

I made a spiced chicken dish this month. Was really easy and we both liked it so I'm sure it will get cooked again.

17. Visit/see Noah every month
Well Noah and his parents were here from 29th December until 4th January so a tick for this month. Need to get a date in February set up.

18. Get damp treatment done in house
Hubby was looking into this but now we've taken the decision to move we'll probably leave that for a new owner unless it takes a while to sell the house or it seems to be deterring buyers. I wrote about deciding to move here.

19. Maintain weight
Just managed to achieve this in January.

20. Be kind to myself. Whilst I think it's good to set myself challenges sometimes life gets in the way or I just have days where I really can't be bothered. I need to accept this and not be hard on myself when things don't go to plan.

I've practised this in January. The first few days of the month co-incided with a visit from my son, DIL and Grandson Noah. Hard to keep to daily routines with guests in the house. I also fell in the bath and bruised my ribs which meant being active was a bit of a challenge. I just accepted this and didn't fret about it or let myself become too frustrated. I also said no to a couple of things at the end of the month because I wasn't feeling well and put myself first for once.

Well I think that was quite a good start to the year overall but I suspect if I looked back on last year January would have been ok too and then things would start going downhill. (Yep that was the case although I'm pleased to note that the family book review e-mail group I set up is still going strong although my DIL deserves the credit for that - she's usually the first one to e-mail round with what she's been reading.)