Friday 30 October 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 30/10/20

Thanks to our host Susanne for reminding us to be mindful each week and find five things to be thankful for. You can join in by clicking on the link below:

Living to the the Story  

The picture above is very apt - been sweeping up leaves on and off all week.  None of them from trees we own - there are 2 close to our driveway that, thankfully, seem to have shed all their leaves now but there are also plenty of leaves in the garden from our neighbours' trees.   Winter is definitely coming.

Despite all the leaves and rain every day this week, there are still things to be glad about:

1)  I saw Nathan and his Mummies twice this week.  Technically we should only be meeting people outdoors now but we can provide essential childcare.  Hospital visits of course fall into that category but so do breaks for their mental health in my book.

2)   I finally found a soap dish for our downstairs shower room.  I ordered one from Marks and Spencer first but it was much too big.  On the website the picture is like this - looks pretty standard.

Until you see if with a standard bar of soap in it.  I mean who has soap almost 4 times the normal size to use?  (Yes the dimensions were on the website but not immediately obvious.)  Needless to say I shall be returning it.  I then ordered one with my online food shopping that was perfect in size and a quarter of the price.

3)  No quibble refund policy from Lakeland.  Again I ordered some things online but one of them wasn't quite what I needed.  I contacted them and explained I didn't feel comfortable visiting the store nearest to me to return it as it is in a very busy shopping mall but I was happy to post it back.  The nice woman I spoke to told me not to worry - she would arrange a refund (which I've had) and when things were better and I could visit the store I could just return it then.

Well of course I will return it at some point but I bet there will be a lot of things that never get returned.  Another issue for retailers thanks to Covid.


We finished unpacking boxes!  Well some things are now in different boxes or just in the empty bedroom but all the boxes supplied by the removal company were empty and piled up in our garage.  We contacted the company yesterday and today they came and collected them.  The man was very impressed at how organised we were.  We were just able to open the front of the garage and transfer them to his van.  Job done!

5)  We managed to get the IKEA furniture assembled:

This unit is in Hubby's office/den.  He's been having fun (?) this week filling it up with his things.


This bookcase fits perfectly just inside the dining room without taking up too much space and it has all our cookery books in it.

So not much out and about this week - it has rained everyday.  I did get a quick walk around the lake earlier in the week but it is very muddy.  But I do feel we've made progress in the house.  We've also had delivery of a shed and they will be coming to install it in just over a week's time so that will also enable more progress.

I think I'll be having a rest this weekend!  I hope you enjoy the weekend too whatever you're doing.

Thursday 29 October 2020

Wednesday's Hodgepodge on Thursday! 29/10/20

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is hosted by Joyce over at "From this side of the Pond".  Pop over there to see who is playing and how to join in.  If you do join in, remember to visit your neighbour on the Linky List.  Have fun.

Well I'm a day late but here goes: 

1. Boo, boo-hoo, make a boo-boo, boo(ze)...pick one and tell us how it relates to life lately. 
Boo-hoo probably.  Restrictions are getting tighter and tighter here in the UK as Covid numbers rise.  Makes it harder to see the kids.  Can't see the ones in Nottingham at all and should only be seeing the others outdoors.  Tricky with all the wet weather we've had and little ones.  We also heard yesterday that one of our eldest son's dogs had died during the night.  Quite unexpected, probably a heart attack or stroke the vet thought but a shock for them.  Joe was only 8 years old.  RIP Joe.
Also boo(ze).  Our consumption of wine, red in particularly, has definitely increased!

2. Do you like the color orange? Would we find this color in your home? Your wardrobe? Peach-pumpkin-tangeringe...your favorite shade of the three listed?
It's a colour I can take or leave.  I think I have 1 "orange" top in my wardrobe and I do have orange cushions on my brown sofas but of the 3 shades I'm definitely more in favour of peach.

3. October 28th is National Chocolate Day. What's the last chocolate something you tasted? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being out of this world delicious, how would you rate it? 
Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles Box 200g
One of these and they are definitely a 10 on the scale.  I try and limit myself to one at a time - but I don't always succeed lol.

4. Life is like a box of chocolates or so says Forrest Gump's mama. Would you agree? Aside from the pandemic fallout tell us one way this saying has played out in your life. 
Well we had no idea whether our youngest son and his wife were having a boy or a girl in either of their pregnancies, each one was a surprise.  (Come to that all my children were surprises - no gender reveals from scans in those days!)

5. As October winds down tell us three things you loved about the month we're bidding adieu. 
  • We got to meet Grandson #5, Miles, before restrictions made it impossible.  Those precious early cuddles may have to sustain us for a while.
  • Getting more settled into our new home.
  • Exploring our local surroundings.
6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Well despite the sadness mentioned above, and the current restrictions, we are actually doing ok.  We have much to be thankful for.


Friday 23 October 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 23/10/20

Thanks to our host Susanne for reminding us to be mindful each week and find five things to be thankful for. You can join in by clicking on the link below:

Living to the the Story  

1)  Refund from the gas supplier - we had overpaid on our old house and a cheque arrived in the post this week.  Hopefully this house will be cheaper to heat but time will tell.

2) A visit with Grandsons Rory & Vinny - we had them and their Mummy and Daddy here for Sunday lunch last week - they hadn't seen the house.  Rory loved running around the circuit of living room to dining room to kitchen to hall and....repeat!  We had to close some doors lol.

3) People who work with the homeless and those in need - there is a couple from our old area that collect unwanted clothing etc for a homeless project and help out with a food bank.  We had some stuff to get rid of and we thought it might be too far for him to come but he was collecting other stuff nearby so he came to us on Monday and took some clothes and some food.  The amount of people relying on charity and food banks is increasing all the time.

4) A visit with Grandson Nathan - his Mummies had a hospital appointment so we looked after him on Tuesday.  We played a lot of hide and seek and we also joined in with Cosmic Yoga for kids.  Well we tried.  I didn't think I was being particularly energetic, mainly using my arms and upper body and not jumping up and down but my Fitbit recorded it as a 15 minute aerobic session lol.  I'll take that!

He's getting so grown up looking!

5) A good use for social media - our dishwasher has developed a fault that requires expert intervention so I searched within our local Facebook groups and found several recommendations for the same repair guy.  He's coming on Monday. 

Today I'm also thankful that we managed to get the things from IKEA we've been waiting for which means tomorrow we can (hopefully) get the units etc assembled and make some progress on tackling the last boxes we have to unpack.

It's the little things.....

Speaking of which can't leave out Grandson Miles:


Or big brother Noah:

Have a good weekend all.


Thursday 22 October 2020


Today has been a tiring but productive day.  Good to see progress!

I was up fairly early to take delivery of our online shop.  We spent yesterday evening planning our meals etc so hopefully we now have everything we need for the next week.

After that I got some  washing done and then I tackled the garden.

This is the view looking out of the kitchen or dining room window.  You can see I've got the bird feeder set up now and our bench is now where it will enjoy some sunshine .

This is looking back at the house.

And this is looking down the side of the house to the other section of garden.
I spent time tidying the paved area at the end today and cutting back the lavender that is in the raised beds in the corner.

Looking much better!  And one thing I like about this London borough - we have a brown waste bin for garden and food waste.  They only collect fortnightly but so much easier than having to book it as we did in the old house.

These pictures show the chaos that still remains in the studio.  I've now got the exercise bike from my daughter but there are also ordinary bikes in there and gardening equipment.
It's a mess but it will be good when it's sorted and it does look out onto the garden.  We've ordered a shed but it will probably be a few weeks before it's delivered and installed.
Once the shed is up we can move stuff out from here and the garage, then the ordinary bikes will be able to go into the garage and we'll be a little bit more organised.

Another couple of things I've achieved have been sorting out the alarm system and one of our TV sets.  

We had the alarm system checked and it's all working fine.  We can even alarm parts of the house during the night which is reassuring.  I don't feel unsafe in the house but the layout is more vulnerable than our old house so the alarm is definitely a plus.  I even managed to program one of the keyfobs into the system today.  We discovered one of the fobs wasn't working and assumed it was the battery.  I changed the battery but it still didn't work.  It looked fairly new compared to the other fobs so I checked and found the system only had 3 fobs set up but I was able to set the 4th fob up without setting off the alarm!  Progress.

As for the TV, well that was a bit embarrassing.  It was working fine in the old house but seemed dead here.  We changed the fuse in the plug.  We located the remote.  We found the alternative buttons on the side of the TV but nothing seemed to work.  After speaking to a repair shop and planning to get it looked at I decided to do one last check for any other buttons!  Just as well I did.  There was a small on/off switch hidden away that had obviously got into the off position during the move.  I'd have felt really stupid if we'd dragged it all the way to a repair shop for that lol.

Social media and the internet can be a pain at times but it can also be useful.  Thanks to a recommendation from a local group I've also got a repair guy coming to look at our dishwasher which has gone wrong.  I did try and check for any obvious problems with it but according to the instruction manual the light that's flashing indicates a problem that needs to be fixed by an expert.  That I am not!

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 21/10/20

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is hosted by Joyce over at "From this side of the Pond".  Pop over there to see who is playing and how to join in.  If you do join in, remember to visit your neighbour on the Linky List.  Have fun.  

1. Just your weekly mid-week reminder that it's fall y'all and it's my favorite. I love nearly all the flavors of fall but let's weigh in with an either or today...pumpkin or cranberry? hot apple cider or pumpkin spice latte? cinammon or maple? apple or pear? ginger or sage? carrot or butternut squash? Yes you have to choose. What's a favorite dish made with one of the flavors listed here? 

Ok, I have to choose?  Well I'm not a fan of pumpkin or cranberry but would go with cranberry.  I really wouldn't choose either the cider or the latte.  No thank you.  But I'm ok with cinnamon, apple, ginger and carrot.  An apple crumble would be good.

2. Do you miss traveling? In this season of almost no travel do you think you've grown anxious or fearful about traveling again? Or has all this staying home not going anywhere made you restless to get out and see the world? What book have you read or what movie have you watched that has inspired you to travel? 

I'm not sure that I really miss travelling but I hate the fact that I don't have a choice in the matter.  I don't particularly like doing the drive to Nottingham but visiting family at the end of the drive makes it worthwhile, except now they are in a higher tier of lockdown than us and we can't visit.  I'm not sure that books or films have inspired me to travel.  Our furthest adventure (Australia) was because we were invited to go with my daughter and her wife and our first Grandson.  I said yes before I started to think about it too deeply.

3. A time you felt like you were 'flying by the seat of your pants'? Explain. 

Don't all new parents go through that at some point?  That time when you're alone and entirely responsible for your baby for the first time and  you have no idea what you're really doing and what "that" particular cry means?

4. Do you struggle with road rage or are you more of a 'Sunday driver'? Do you like to be 'in the driver's seat (literally and/or figuratively speaking) ?

I don't struggle with road rage but I don't think I'm a Sunday driver either.  If I'm driving from A to B for a reason I just like to get there.  I always prefer to drive than be a passenger and yes that probably is literally and figuratively.

5. Something you've recently 'put the brakes on'? 

Drinking wine springs to mind.  We've definitely drunk more since Covid restrictions came in and I'm aware that it's not particularly heathly.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

We had a parakeet in the garden earlier.  We put our bird feeding station up in the garden earlier this week and today is the first time I've seen it being used.  It will be interesting to see how that goes - there are a lot of parakeets around so we could be seeing competition over the food.

No pictures I'm afraid though - it's raining today, again!

Saturday 17 October 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 16/10/20

Thanks to our host Susanne for reminding us to be mindful each week and find five things to be thankful for. You can join in here

Well Susanne mentioned in her introduction this week about the definition of habit being when something has been done so often that you don't even really have to think about doing something.  I haven't managed that yet with the Friday Faves - I don't even always get here every week and this post is probably going to tick over after midnight.  But I am here and here are my 5:

1)  Meeting Grandson #5 in person.  We went to Nottingham last Friday (hence no post last week) and stayed over until Saturday.  He is gorgeous!  And yes of course I'm biased.

Glad he likes my blanket!

2) A visit to Nathan & his Mummies in the week.  With another baby on the way they are being very careful about not mixing with others due to Covid so it's quite difficult for them, especially as Nathan is home all day and not at nursery.  Hubby and I both went which meant he could keep Nathan entertained while I did more practical stuff.  This week we tidied and organised the room that will be the new baby's room so that was a big tick on the to do list.

3)  More progress with our unpacking etc.  We're waiting on some IKEA furniture before we can sort all our books out but a lot of the boxes have now been unpacked.

4)  A step closer to getting my date of birth corrected on the Government's records. (I wrote about this here)  My daughter's friend who is a solicitor came by earlier today and certified the copies of my birth certificate and passport which I can now send in and, hopefully, get this mess sorted once and for all.

5)  An easy evening with Grandson Nathan.  Bit of a false alarm with his Mummy tonight (she's fine) but I had to go over and put Nathan to bed.  He was so good for me.  He made no fuss when his TV programme finished.  Let me take him up and clean his teeth.  We read 2 stories and then he settled down with no arguments and went to sleep.

So that's me done and now I'm off to bed!  I'll try and get around to reading your posts tomorrow.  Have a good weekend all.

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 14/10/20

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is hosted by Joyce over at "From this side of the Pond".  Pop over there to see who is playing and how to join in.  If you do join in, remember to visit your neighbour on the Linky List.  Have fun.

I've missed a couple of weeks thanks to moving but things are settling down now so here goes: 

1. Let's start things off right...Wednesday is National Dessert Day. What are we having? How often do you  make/serve dessert? Store bought or from scratch? 
Well we don't often have dessert as such but we always have what I would call luxury yoghurts in the fridge and ones named salted caramel or tiramisu definitely count as a dessert to me.  I like to make a dessert if we're entertaining (well back in the pre Covid days) and I have time otherwise I'll buy something.  Dessert is my favourite course.

2. Slow as molasses, icing on the cake, that's the way the cookie crumbles, have your cake and eat it too, half-baked idea, that takes the cake...which phrase might be applied to something in your life in recent days? Explain. 

That takes the cake I think.  I've been trying to sort out changing our address with all the various utilities, banks etc. now we've moved.  Dealing with the Government proved the hardest - somehow they have changed my date of birth on their records.  I now have to get a copy of my birth certificate certified and sent to them!  

3. Something that's 'easy as pie' for you to do?

Following on with the moving theme I'm going to say follow instructions - you know the ones that come with self-assembly furniture or appliances etc.  I never jump straight in.  I read the instructions and follow a plan.  I know that some people find that quite hard lol.

4. Are you someone who likes to 'sugarcoat' news you think might not be well received, or are you more of a tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may? Do you like to receive your news the same way you give it? 

Well I once tried sugar coating the news that our dog had been euthanised by the vet by telling the kids he'd been put to sleep.  My eldest son went away, thought about this, came back and said, "You said the vet put the dog to sleep?  But the dog's dead right?"  Of course I replied yes and his response?  "So the vet killed him then."  Now I tell it how it is and that's how I like to be told.

5. Something you did recently that made you feel like a 'smart cookie'? 

I got our wifi and cable TV up and running and when we had trouble getting signal in some parts of the house I fixed that too.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Obviously there are big things to sort out when you move into a house, like doing all the notifications and getting the wifi sorted but then there are the little things.

We have a vanity unit in the shower room and the handles were quite worn and actually sharp to touch in places.

I managed to source a new set on the internet that are very similar and that could use the same screw holes.  They arrived this morning and voila:

This could have gone under #5 too!


Tuesday 13 October 2020

Getting to know the area

Well I thought moving house was exhausting but it seems settling in isn't exactly restful either.

I can't believe we've been here 3 weeks already but of course the arrival of two new grandsons rather threw any ideas of routine out of the window.

We still have boxes to unpack and jobs to do but we're making progress all the time.  Just slowly!  We're learning how to work things, where to put things, where to find things etc etc.

And then we realise that actually some things work better when stored elsewhere and we have to learn all over again where they are.  

It's been very wet since we arrived but we did take advantage of a couple of dry spells to get out and explore.  We're on the edge of Epping Forest and a five minute walk or so from woodland and Highams Park and Lake.

The last pic was taken on Sunday, the others were taken last Tuesday.

We're looking forward to exploring more of the forest.

We've also managed to get our wifi working throughout the house - Nick's den as we refer to it is in the top part of the extension to the house and had poor reception due to the 9 inch thick wall but we've sorted that now.  We've also got reception out here:

This studio will be my hideaway when I want some peace and quiet lol.  The former owners used it as a home office.  I've got my bureau out there plus my sewing machine and I will have an exercise bike out there when we pick it up from my daughter.  She has bought herself an all singing and dancing exercise machine so no longer needs her more basic bike.  We also need to get an ordinary shed for our garden stuff - things like the lawnmower, tools, etc which for now are sitting in the studio. 

But of course all these things take time.  Just notifying everyone that we've moved is taking up a lot of my time.  Especially at the moment with many call centre/admin staff working from home.

Yes of course some of these things can be done on line and are easier than others.  It doesn't help when the main Government department (HMRC) have your date of birth incorrect on their records.  I spent ages online trying to set up a "Gateway" account to update our address only to be told repeatedly they did not recognise me.  When I eventually got through to a human being on the phone he spotted the problem but wouldn't actually tell me.  But my telling me I need to send in a certified copy of my birth certificate it became obvious what the problem was.

Just another little chore to add to the to do list.  Fortunately my best friend's daughter is a solicitor so she will be able to do the certifying for me.

We've also managed a trip to Nottingham at the end of last week to meet Grandson Miles and just in time.  Nottingham are now under tighter lock down restrictions due to Covid and we would be breaking the rules now by visiting them.  So glad we went!


Sunday 4 October 2020

Getting to know the house!

Yep moving into a new house comes with various challenges.  Like the fact that there are 6 external doors and one internal door that lock with keys.  7 different keys!  We're gradually getting familiar with which key works for which door.  Some are easier to spot than others.

Then of course there is the key to the outside post box.  We only have one key for that.  No spares.  We've found a sensible place to keep it.  We just need to remember to check the box regularly.  Or maybe not.  In our old house we were in the middle of a terrace - houses either side and no side entrance.  Here we are semi-detached.

So in this picture you can see our front door, the garage to the left and then the gate into the garden.

This pic is taken from inside the garden and you can see the wet patch left by this parcel.

I have no idea when it was "delivered" (as in thrown over the gate) - no delivery card was left, or that this might even be a thing.  Of course I have heard of various delivery services being creative about what they consider to be a "safe" place to leave a parcel if you're out but in our old house they would usually leave it with a neighbour or in the porch. 

Now I know that I not only need to check the mailbox, I need to stick my head out the side door and check behind the gate! Yes getting to know a new house is a steep learning curve.

Fortunately the package inside the soggy box (a wall bracket for our TV) was fine.


Friday 2 October 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 2/10/20

Thanks to our host Susanne for reminding us to be mindful each week and find five things to be thankful for, especially at times like these when things are so busy, unsettled and scary.  You can join in here

Well I've missed a couple of weeks, it's been a busy time, so here's a catch up.

1.  We're in our new house.  We've been here just over a week now and we're gradually getting through the 100+ boxes of things to be unpacked.

2.  Two new grandsons!

My youngest son Michael with Grandsons Rory and new arrival Vinny

Daughter-in-law Amy with Grandsons Noah and new arrival Miles.

They were both early arrivals, especially Vinny but are both home now and the big brothers are getting used to having a little one in the house.

We babysat Rory while Mummy & Daddy brought Vinny home so we got to have cuddles with him.  We're making the trip to Nottingham next weekend to meet Miles.  Can't wait!

3.  Flowers!  Two of Nick's sisters came the day after we moved in and brought sunflowers

These were delivered courtesy of my daughter and her wife.


Fortunately I was able to find a vase!

Nick also brought me roses.  I have been spoilt!

I've also got some plants from the garden from friends.

4.  I managed to cut the grass on Tuesday.  The previous owners of our house moved out over a month ago so the grass was very long.  Tuesday looked like it was going to be dry and although it had rained in the morning it brightened up in the afternoon and I got the mower out and cut the grass.  Just as well I did because we were out all day yesterday babysitting Grandson Nathan and today it has rained non-stop!  It will need doing again as soon as we get another dry spell as I didn't cut it very short but it looks better than before.

5.  Better sleep.  In the run up to the move I wasn't sleeping well at all but since we've been here I've been sleeping better.  I still tend to wake at some point during the night but it's been much easier getting back to sleep.  Consequently I don't feel quite as exhausted as I did although all the unpacking is pretty tiring lol!

So that's my catch up.  It's beginning to feel like home here.  We've done a lot of unpacking but still quite a bit to do but no rush. 

Have a good weekend all.