Thursday 31 December 2020

Goodbye 2020 & here's to 2021!

When I posted my last Friday's Fave Five we were still on course for a family Christmas.  We were all so looking forward to getting together as a family.  It would have been the first time the new babies met each other - and the first time all the aunties and uncles would have met all of them.  It was going to be wonderful.  I had the house prepared, tables borrowed and so on.  It was so exciting.

But Covid numbers were rising and there were rumours of the 5 day Christmas break being reduced and we were being asked to be sensible and use our common sense.

Then on 19th December London was locked down, again, due to rising Covid cases.  Christmas was cancelled.  We had gone from Tier 2 to Tier 4 in just a couple of weeks.  We were (and still are) on a Stay at Home order. 

This of course meant my son and his family would have to stay in Nottingham.  Thankfully they were able to see his in-laws who live nearby and who they are in a support bubble with so their Christmas wasn't totally ruined.

We then had a dilemma.  We had formed a support bubble with my daughter and her family so we could still see them but that would mean excluding my younger son and his family.

After much debate and soul searching and, given that we have all been really careful during the whole pandemic but particularly in the week or so leading up to Christmas, we settled on spending Christmas Eve at my daughter's house, doing presents, big dinner etc and then my son and his family came here on Christmas day and stayed until the next day.  We all agreed we were using common sense.

It was wonderful having them here after hardly seeing them but it was heartbreaking when they went home, not knowing when we will be able to see them properly again.   We did get out for a walk while they were here:


As you can see we still needed our wellies and poor Rory kept saying "I don't like it" when he was sinking in the mud lol.  He only fell over once bless him but we were glad of the foresight of taking wipes to clean up his hands and the all in one waterproof suit!

We managed to use the large turkey I'd ordered in anticipation of there being 8 adults for dinner and couldn't subsequently cancel.  Nick's turkey broth was excellent as usual although it never tastes the same twice as there is no recipe to be followed.  His turkey curry went down well too.

I don't think we've finished all the parsnips though.  I ordered 2 packs of the honey roasting parsnips as on the left in the picture.  I intended using one with our meal at our daughter's and one at home with our son and family.


Unfortunately the supermarket only supplied 1 of the ready prepared pack.  So they substituted with ordinary parsnips as on the right.  6 bags of them!  Just one bag was probably more than the prepared version but 6!  The good thing is that I've grown to like parsnips over the last couple of years but not by that much lol.

But now Christmas is done and we're about to see in the new year.  My decorations are still up and will probably come down at the weekend.  

2020 has been the strangest year of my life and it's been hard not being able to see family and friends as we would like but, we have all stayed well and although those who work may have found that working from home isn't all they thought it might be they do still have jobs.

We have moved house and gained 3 grandchildren.  That's how I'm going to remember this year and hope that 2021 is even better.

Wishing you all a better, and healthy year to come.

Wednesday 30 December 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 30/12/20

The Hodgepodge reached a milestone last week of 400 posts.  Many thanks to our host Joyce at From this Side of the Pond for all the time and commitment she gives to this lovely meme. 

I've missed quite a few weeks over the last few months but I couldn't miss the last one of the year.

1. Tell us about your favorite moment or share one of the bright spots from the year we're leaving behind. 

Despite that thing I don't want to mention 2020 has been a memorable year for us for 4 good reasons:

We moved house and we gained 3 more grandchildren. You're probably bored of seeing pics and hearing about them but I just have to share this pic - the collage was put together by my DIL and is the wallpaper on my phone

2. What do you wish you'd known at the start of 2020? Elaborate. 
That the pandemic was coming?  I've been doing an annual list for the past couple of years as in number of things to do during the year, e.g. 18 in 18, 19 in 19 and so of course I prepared a 20 in 20 list.   I didn't feel it was a particularly ambitious list but I was soooo wrong! lol

It hasn't put me off doing a 21 in 21 list but it's going to be very basic and take into account where we're at now.

3. Best book you read this year? If you did not read any books this year, what's the best thing you ate all year? We've all eaten, right? 
Oh I've definitely eaten!  I got hubby walking most days when we were really locked down on the promise of chocolate if we walked.   Well now we just have the chocolate anyway.
As for reading.  I had fits and starts and found it hard to concentrate on anything heavy.  However I did meet (and surpass) my reading target and looking back my favourite book was probably The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  It's one I've intended to read for ages because it had such good reviews but this year I also decided to read 12 books from my To Be Read pile so I finally got to The Book Thief.  I was not disappointed.  

4. The Pantone Colors of the year for 2021 are ultimate gray and illuminating yellow (a bright shade)...are you a fan? Would we find either of these colors in your home or wardrobe? 
Definitely not in my wardrobe, especially now I've let my hair go back to it's natural colour (white/grey) and when we were looking at houses we saw so many that had used a grey and white theme throughout that I think I'd like to do something different here.  

5. If you were/are making a list of 21 things to do/accomplish in 2021 what is one thing that would be on it? 
Ha well I've already said I'll be doing a list but it is hard to know what to put on it. I try to have things on it that are either achievable or at least measurable.  However I did have "be kind to myself" on my 20 in 20 list which proved to be very apt as the year turned out.  For 21 in 21 I think I'm going to include "be positive".  I'm often a glass half full kind of person and I envy those who can always see the good in things and look out rather than in and so on so I think I need "be positive" on my list!

6. Insert your own random thought here:
2020 has certainly been the strangest year of my lifetime.  But it could have been so much worse and for that I'm grateful.  Condolences to anyone who has lost loved ones this year and for anyone unwell best wishes for a speedy recovery.  Happy New Year doesn't quite have the same ring to it at the moment so I'm settling for being glad that this year is almost done and wishing you all a better year to come!

Sunday 27 December 2020

20 in 20 - Final round up.

Well we're almost at the end of 2020 and I'm sure for many of us it can't come soon enough! Here's my final summary of my challenges of the year:

1. Fill out weekly/daily planner
Well this has suffered it a bit over the last few weeks but I have a shiny new book ready for 2021 so I will keep at it! ❌

2. Garden projects: Get window boxes for front garden plus big planters. Stepping stones for rear garden.

Well of course moving house changed all of the above. In my last post I mentioned the shed arriving. That's now full of our gardening equipment. We've also had the outdoor security lights replaced. Nothing much has happened but it's that time of year when the garden doesn't require much attention. ✅

3. Plan a lunch date/date night with Nick once a month (theatre/cinema/meal/outing)
Oh goodness this is virtually impossible during the current pandemic. Of course we have had spells when we could have gone out but given we are not so young anymore and we've had 3 pregnant DILs to consider we have been very cautious about being out and about. So this is a definite fail.❌

4. Eat at 6 new-to-me restaurants
The final total still stands at 3.❌

5. Complete the A – Z blogging challenge
Done ✅

6. Plan Family weekend for my birthday
Next year? ❌

7. Take up an exercise class
Not happening! ❌

8. Plan a road trip/holiday with hubby.

9. Visit the beach

10. Complete my reading challenge (52 books for the year)
Done! Currently on book #72. Full details can be found on my Goodreads page here. ✅

11. Keep a gratitude diary

12. Blog at least once per week (plus regular memes)
November and December were not good months for blogging. Overall I've done as much blogging as last year but I haven't done as well with original posts as I'd have liked. ❌

13. Take a photo each week and blog about it.

Well I managed 38 out of 52 and I did take more photos, I just didn't get around to putting them into a blog. ❌

14. Read 12 books on my TBR pile.
Completed! ✅

15. Finish knitting WIP (blanket of squares)
Well I didn't touch my blanket of squares but I did make a blanket for each of the 3 new grandbabies that I had no inkling of when I set this objective so I'm giving myself a ✅

16. Try out a new recipe or do a bake each month
I made sausage rolls for Christmas. Does that count? This was another ❌

17. Visit/see Noah every month
Of course this has been out of our control but it hasn't made it any easier to cope with.

18. Get damp treatment done in house
This became redundant when we moved house!

19. Maintain weight
Not sure what Christmas might have done with this but giving myself a ✅

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.
Ha! If only I'd known in January how true this would turn out to be! ✅

Overall looks like 7/20 (35%) but of course the pandemic, moving house and new babies did have a big effect on 2020.

Well hindsight is a wonderful thing and had I known in January how the year was going to pan out my targets would have been very different. I've decided to go ahead with 21 in 21 but it's going to take some thought to allow for this continuing pandemic.

20 in 20 - Weekly Photo #38 - w/c 20/12/20

Christmas didn't go to plan for many of us this year but we spent it with these guys.  It was wonderful.

Saturday 19 December 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 18/12/20

Well when I sat down to prepare this post it was still Friday but the clock has since ticked over into Saturday.  A gap of 2 weeks again since I posted.  Days are flying by at the moment but that's why it's good to just stop for a moment and think about the good things going on (especially during these difficult times) and join in with Susanne at Living to tell the Story (and others) and share.

1)  Despite an absence of 2 weeks this post will bring my total posts this year to 241 - the same as in 2019 so that's a positive for me.  2019 was my best blogging year for a while so to equal that feels like an achievement and maybe, just maybe, I might get a couple more posts done before we welcome in 2021.

2)  Being part of the blogging community.  I was looking back over my last couple of posts just now and it was lovely to see lots of comments on them.  I haven't had much time lately to respond to them or leave comments elsewhere but I definitely appreciate knowing that I'm not alone!  

3)  Stamina.  We're still spending quite a bit of time at our daughter's house helping out with the new baby, the toddler and a Mummy who is still recovering, especially now our daughter is back at work.  At work being in the top floor bedroom and therefore in reach of the toddler who actually has been quite good about that, at least while Grandpa is there anyway.  With the travelling there and back these have been quite long days so I'm glad that I've been coping with it all but it is very tiring and I sit down in the evening having good intentions about posting a blog or at least visiting blogs but usually find myself falling asleep in front of the TV or just going to bed early.  Things are improving though and Ella is still being quite a good baby.  And of course it's lovely having time with her while she's so little. (Although she's gaining weight really well and seems heavier every time we go!)

4)  Covid restrictions are still being relaxed here in the UK for a short period over Christmas (23rd to 27th December) so we will still be able to get together as a family.  There has been a lot of debate about the wisdom of this, I could/should probably write a whole post about it.  However, we can get together with all our kids within the rules and it will give us the first opportunity for all the grandchildren, especially the new ones, to be together since I can't even remember when.  (Possibly back in February!)

5)  Plans coming together for Christmas - such as we now have a new fridge and freezer.  Hubby's hifi system is now set up and our TV is on the wall.  We have a new bed frame and the mattress is due to arrive on Sunday.  This will help with sleeping arrangements.  Online shopping making things easier.  My Christmas decorations are up!  My cards have been posted.  My to do list doesn't seem to get any shorter but I'm definitely ticking things off!

We even have lights outside.  Not a huge display but I felt the need to do something.  Our new area has lots and lots of houses that are decorated.  One road has even set up this:

We'll enjoy taking the little ones for a walk next week to see some of the displays.

Well, definitely time I was off to bed.

In case I don't get back here again before next week I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas, hopefully with those you love.

Friday 4 December 2020

Friday's Fave Five - 4/12/20

Friday's Fave Five is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story.  It's a lovely reminder to sit down and think back on the week and find things to be grateful for.  Pop over to Susanne's site to see who else is taking part.

I last posted here 3 weeks ago.  We've had a busy time and were away from home for 2 weeks and I just didn't have the energy, or time really for blogging.  I haven't even really kept up with what others have been posting so apologies for that.

BUT, I do have lots to be thankful for as follows:

1)  A Granddaughter!  

 More photos here

Ella Susan was born on 17 November.  I keep joking that she's either going to be a Princess, bossing all the 5 grandsons around, or she'll be a complete tomboy and wanting to join in with them all.  Time will tell.

2)  Thanksgiving dinner with our son and our American DIL

Our DIL provided us with a lovely meal.  Rory was really excited to see us and we had a lovely time.  And cuddles with Vinny!

3)  Coping with Nathan.   His Mummies were in the hospital for several nights after his baby sister Ella was born so we moved in to their house and looked after Nathan 24/7.  It was the first time we had looked after him overnight let alone several days and nights but he was actually ok.  Of course there were a few tears when he wanted Mummies but generally he was much better than I'd anticipated but of course regular Facetime/WhatsApp video sessions helped.

He was happy to be bathed but hair washing definitely didn't happen.  Probably just as well - look at his lovely curls!

4)  Lockdown is over, a vaccine has arrived and we can get together with the family at Christmas!

We're still being very cautious and trying to stay safe but, all being well, our eldest son and family will be with us for a few days at Christmas and the others will join us.  Can't wait!

5)  Beautiful flowers from my daughter and DIL

A thank you for having Nathan and then staying to help out when they first came home with baby Ella.  Sadly Vicky's Mum died some years ago and of course at a time like this she is sorely missed.  Ella's middle name of Susan is after her departed Grandmother.

We were there 2 weeks in all so I'm also thankful for sleeping in my own bed now.

Have a good weekend all.