Sunday, 17 January 2021

21 in 21 - Photo of the Week #2 - 17/1/21


I'm slipping already as I should be on to photo #3 by now but anyway these were taken a week or so ago after we had finally sorted out the beds in the bedrooms.

Guest room #1 

(With our old bed in it.)



Our bedroom

(With our new Kingsize bed.)



Guest Room #2



 The lovely light fitting that creates all those shadows!

We now have 3 functioning bedrooms although when they'll ever see any guests is anyone's guess.

All of them need work, as in a coat of paint at least plus curtains in our room and the bigger guest room.  The blinds on the window at least give us privacy but they don't block out the light.

I'm looking forward to the pandemic being more under control so that we can actually get out to choose things like paint etc.  Some things are just not the best things to buy online.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

#JusJoJan / #SoCS - 16/1/21 - First thing!

 

Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “first thing.” Start your post with the words, “first thing” and go from there. Bonus points if you end your post with the last thing. Have fun!

(If you want to join in with the challenges go here.)

The first thing I'm going to say is that for the Just Jot it January challenge a post can be anything, including just a jot.

Well this post is just going to be a jot.  We've had a really lazy day.  Didn't get moving very quickly this morning at all.  Then this afternoon we headed over to my daughter's and we had a meal with them.  It was provided by a chef that's taken to preparing meals that are delivered ready to just finish off and serve.  You literally just heat things in the oven or the stove and then just plate them up.  Delicious.

It was nice being there and just enjoying the children rather than trying to get jobs done for them but even so I'm tired.

So that's my jot.  Now it's time for bed and this is the last thing I'm doing!

Friday, 15 January 2021

Friday's Fave Five - 15/1/21

 

Thanks to Susanne at Living to tell the Story for this reminder every week to sit back and think about our 5 favourite things from the week.

Here are mine:

1.  Online shopping & deliveries.  Under a "Stay at home" lockdown means shopping can be a challenge so I'm very grateful for being able to order all our food shopping online and get it delivered.

2.  Our regular visits to my daughter and her family.  It really breaks our week up a bit and stops me going totally stir crazy.

3.  Exercise videos and podcasts.  It's been a very wet week here so getting out to walk hasn't happened much but I've managed to keep my step count respectable.

4.  A video chat with my cousins.  Hopefully that will be a more regular thing now we've all got our head around the technology lol.

5.  Post deliveries.  The local postal service has been struggling due to staff either being sick with Covid or isolating because of contact with it so we haven't been getting our post very regularly.  We've had deliveries the past two days though so hopefully things are beginning to improve.

So another week in lockdown is almost over.  It looks like this lockdown is going to last for a while but with the vaccine being rolled out hopefully things will start to get better.

Have a good weekend all.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

#JusJoJan - 14/1/21 - Neighbour


Regulars here will know that we moved house back in September.

Our new neighbours all seem very friendly - what we've seen of them.  We have talked to a couple of them - at a distance.  It's so difficult at the moment.  One of the neighbours who actually lives around the corner but whose garden adjoins ours at the back stopped and said hello as she was passing.  We had just got back from somewhere so were outside the house. The problem is she was wearing a hat because it was cold, a mask because we're told to, and it was dark.  Not sure I'm going to recognise her in daylight and without the hat and mask!  I'll just have to keep smiling at everyone who goes past the house and risk getting labelled as the mad woman that moved in during lockdown.

Failing that I'll just have to spy on her garden to try and spot her and risk getting called nosey parker lol.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 13/1/21 / #JusJoJan

From this Side of the Pond

One size fits all again today - taking part in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, kindly hosted by Joyce at From this Side of the Pond

and using it as my Just Jot it January post as hosted by Linda here

1. When were you last a guest at an event or in someone's home? Tell us about it. Do you enjoy having guests in your own home? 

Well that's hard to remember.  It feels like we've been locked down forever but when restrictions did lift a bit in the summer one of my friends that's part of our "Ladies lunch" group hosted an outdoor, socially distanced lunch.  It was a warm sunny day and we were able to sit in the garden and enjoy good company and good food.  Not sure when we'll be able to do it again but I'm so looking forward to having them here in our new home.  I do enjoy having guests.

2. What has you 'tied up in knots' currently or recently? Are you any good at tying actual knots? 
Dealing with this pandemic.  Socially bubbling with my daughter and her family means we can't see my youngest son and his family.  It's been hard having to make that choice but we went where we felt the need was greatest.  It's still hard though.  
 
I'm not very good at tying knots but I do usually have the patience to untie them.

3. What's something you've been wanting to do and have decided 2021 will be the year you 'take the plunge'? 
I'm afraid nothing immediately springs to mind.

4. Something in your home that's old? Something new? Something borrowed? Something blue? 
Well a lot of the furniture is old but we have bought quite a few new things since we moved, the latest being a new bed for our bedroom.  We've always had a standard sized bed but this time we went for a King size.  I'm enjoying the extra space!  I was struggling to think of something borrowed until I spotted a book on my bedside table that I'm currently reading - Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, borrowed from my DIL.  Something blue - lots of my clothes.  Blue is one of my favourite colours.

5. Share a favorite quote, a verse of scripture, and/or a bit of wisdom for couples getting married in this challenging and seemingly unpredictable season we're currently/still experiencing. 
Well I'm useless at remembering quotes or scripture but one piece of advice that I think is important for couples is never go to sleep on an argument.  Arguments left to fester can be harder to overcome.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 
 
I love grandsitting: 
Taking selfies, not so much lol.

 

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

#JusJoJan - 12/1/21 - Sing

 

To find out more about the Just Jot it January challenge go here.

Today's prompt is "Sing"

You want me to sing?  You really don't!

 

Monday, 11 January 2021

#JusJoJan - 11/1/21 - Letter

 

Today's prompt is letter.  To find out more about the Just Jot it January challenge go here.

I'm beginning to forget what a letter looks like.  Our postal service is really struggling to cope at the moment.  They are short staffed due to the current Covid situation.  Consequently we haven't had any letters for over a week now.  Fortunately most things are taken care of electronically but....

Today I finally contacted a local  GP service to register and was told the process is:  

They mail out registration forms to us

We fill them in and mail them back. (Or hand deliver them I think.)

They then contact our former GP for our records.  (Thankfully that bit is done electronically!)

Hmm we might not be registered for a while.   Although that might not be a bad thing as I'll be due a repeat on medication in a couple of weeks so that will probably go through my old GP and then I'll have 3 months to sort out switching.

Hopefully we won't fall through the net when it comes to being called for the Covid vaccination.   I think a lot of that is being done by text message.  Fingers crossed.

Watch this space.

Review - The Thursday Murder Club - Richard Osman

The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club, #1)

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves
A female cop with her first big case
A brutal murder
Welcome to…
The Thursday Murder Club

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?

Well I'm a bit torn on this one. It's a nice cosy read - think Midsomer Murders meets Miss Marple except Miss Marple has a gang of residents in a retirement village. The group meet once a meet to discuss cold cases but then they're presented with an actual murder.

It all gets a bit silly at times although in a funny sort of way. I just felt the author was trying to be too clever with the plot lines - there are lots of them to keep track of. And characters. It also switches between 1st and 3rd person POVs which didn't really add to the narrative.

I didn't hate the book - I got through it in two days - but I certainly didn't love it. Unfortunately I think some books by well known celebrities don't always get the rejections an unknown writer does.

View all my reviews

 

Sunday, 10 January 2021

#JusJoJan - 10/1/21 - Cheese

 

For full details of the Just Jot it January challenge go here.

We have a lot of cheese in the house at the moment -  left overs from the Christmas order which was made when we thought there would be more people to eat it.  And a new batch this week - my hubby was gifted a subscription to a cheese company - they send samples out each month.  This month there were 5 english cheeses we hadn't had before.  Fortunately we like cheese so it was a good gift idea.

Of course one of the best versions of cheese is in this pic:


 Nice cheesy grin from grandson Noah lol.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

#JusJoJan/#SoCS - 9/1/21 - Sky's the limit


 

Ha, if I'd know what the prompt was going to be yesterday I would have saved my winter sky pictures

Although the full prompt for SoCS is:

Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “sky’s the limit.” Write about something that has or seems to have no end. 

(If you want to join in with the challenges go here.)

Well of course I could waffle on for ages about the current pandemic which shows no signs of having an end but that would be very depressing and I've opted to try and be positive this year.  Instead I'll describe this scenario for you.

My grandson Rory loves to play with cars.  For Christmas we bought him some small matchbox style cars and a road playmat.  He was in heaven!

This morning my DIL sent a video of him playing with them - on the kitchen worktops:

As you can see he has them all in a line around the edge of the worktop and he was taking one or two cars from the front of the line, moving them to the back of the line and then moving the line along, AND repeat.......

He was also singing to himself and had been doing it for about half an hour.  I don't know how long he went on and on with this game but am so pleased he loves his present. 

Should we be worried about his obsessive behaviour lol?

Friday, 8 January 2021

Friday's Fave Five - 8/1/21

 

Thanks to Susanne at Living to tell the Story for this reminder every week to sit back and think about our 5 favourite things from the week.

Well it's been a quiet week but there are always things to be thankful for and here are mine:

1)  A surprise invite to see Rory and Vinny last Sunday (and my son and DIL of course) including dinner.  Rory was very excited to see us and Vinny is really smiling and cooing now.  This was just before our lockdown started and Rory went back to nursery.  Not sure when we'll see them again.

2) A good week for blogging.  I've managed to blog every day so far in January.

3) Despite being in a national lockdown we are still able to be in a support bubble with our daughter and her family.  This means we can still see them in their home (or ours) and help out and were there twice this week.

4)  Back to a more normal routine.  The Christmas decorations are down and there's no pressure to get stuff done.

5)  We're well and healthy. The Covid situation in the UK has gone from bad to worse this week and we're now locked down again.  The NHS  is under severe pressure and is struggling to cope.  

And when things feel really hard there is always this:




Nearby open space to walk and clear my head.

 

 

Thursday, 7 January 2021

#JusJoJan - 7/1/21 - Caught

 

Well time has caught up with me today - we spent the day at my daughter's helping out with the kids and the house.  It's a full on day for both of us and we were a bit later home than usual.

Fortunately hubby cooked our Hello Fresh meal (Lamb & Aubergine curry) and then I finished my online shopping order ready for tomorrow and then we just chilled in front of the TV.

Now I'm off to bed so this is my jot of the day! 

Details of the Just Jot it January challenge can be found here.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Review - In the Dark - Cara Hunter

In the Dark (DI Adam Fawley, #2)

In the Dark by Cara Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive.

No one knows who they are — the woman can't speak, and there are no missing persons reports that match their profile. The elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

And that no one is as innocent as they seem ...

In the dark is a very dark story. There are lots of twists in the plot and a lot of characters to get your head around. Some reviewers complained about the number of characters but a book that follows a police investigation of a gruesome crime is bound to have lots of characters. And when it becomes linked with a previous unsolved murder cue more twists and more characters.

The book kept me interested and guessing but I wasn't completely sold on the ending.


View all my reviews

 

#JusJoJan/Wednesday Hodgepodge - 6/1/21

 From this Side of the Pond

One size fits all today - taking part in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, kindly hosted by Joyce at From this Side of the Pond

and using it as my Just Jot it January post as hosted by Linda here

1. What advice would you give yourself as we begin this new year? 

Try not to stress too much about the pandemic, take each day at a time and ditch the guilt.

2. If you could throw a themed party for yourself what would the theme be? 

I have absolutely no idea, especially as I hate being the centre of attention.  That brought to mind an idea that everyone should be masked then no-one would recognise me but wait, we're all wearing masks at the moment anyway!

3. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20- 21.

Still living at home (in London's East End) but engaged to be married.  That wedding never actually happened thankfully!

4. What's on the menu at your house this week? 

Well we've got 3 days of Hello Fresh meals so haven't had to think too hard about the menu.  Plenty of food in my new fridge and freezer so the other days will take care of themselves - especially as hubby does most of the cooking here.

5. What should you do more of this year? Less of? 

More of? Staying in touch with family and friends.  When we had our first lockdown in 2020 I made a point of phoning family and close friends so that I spoke to someone most days.  As time went on I got really lazy at that.  

Less of?  Eating chocolate.  Again we started off well by trying to make sure we got out for a walk each day during lockdown and if we did the reward was chocolate.  Now I'm just eating chocolate anyway.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

These questions are good reminders right now as we've just started our 3rd national lockdown and are having to "Stay at home!"  Of course this will be tougher as the weather is not so good for getting out for walks and we know that this will last at least until mid February.  

In keeping with one of my intentions for the year and being positive, at least two vaccines are now being rolled out. And I keep getting lovely photos of these little ones to brighten my day:

How can I not keep smiling?
 


Tuesday, 5 January 2021

#JusJoJan - 5/1/20 - Lockdown 3

 

Well the rumours were right.  We are now in our 3rd national lockdown here in England as of last night.  All non-essential shops are closed, we have all been told to stay at home, work from home unless we can't and all schools have moved to online learning except for vulnerable children and those of key workers.  We can only exercise with our own household or 1:1 with someone outside our household.

These circumstances will be reviewed in February.

Thankfully we can maintain our support bubble with my daughter and her family.  And staying at home is no real hardship.

We will get through this.  

Another bonus?  My hair is completely back to its natural colour so no worries about roots  coming through!  Not sure how good the short cut will look after a few more weeks though.  But then who is going to see it?

Monday, 4 January 2021

#JusJoJan - 4/1/21 - Fingertips


 Go here for details of the Just Jot it January challenge.

This pandemic has caused so much grief and upset but honestly, Hubby and I've come off lightly so far.  Yes we aren't able to see family members as we would like and our social lives have been severely curtailed but we're well and working family members still have jobs.

I'm lucky in that I'm no longer working.  If I was I think I would be hanging on by my fingertips.

As a school business manager I had responsibility for the health and safety of the school.  During this pandemic that would have been a nightmare.

Teachers (and the wider school staff) have come in for some (in my opinion) very unfair criticism during the pandemic.  Very often schools have been referred to as closed but in actual fact they have remained open the whole time providing on site teaching for vulnerable children and children of key workers while having to grapple with new technology etc to enable them to remotely teach pupils who have been "home schooled".

The suggestion that with schools "closed" teachers have had an easy time of things is farcical.

What is even more farcical, not to mention dangerous, is that they have been expected to put theirselves in danger by continuing to work without the benefit of PPE, social distancing or other measures being put in place to protect them.

As an employer there is a duty of care to your staff to provide a safe working environment for them.  That's why we've seen screens going up in shops etc, PPE being provided and distance markings appearing on the ground.

I'm not sure  I could have signed off on a risk assessment that left school staff inadequately protected.  I probably wouldn't still have my job because of that.

As I'm preparing this post there are rumours beginning to circulate that our Government is meeting today to consider a national lockdown until possibly April.

If the science backs up that this is needed then we have to accept it.  Yes it will be hard but with vaccines being rolled out there is light at the end of the tunnel.  

Most of us have no life experience that compares to this situation.  We're too young to have lived through a war that directly impacted our lives.  Maybe anyone who's been imprisioned might have known what the loss of liberty would feel like.

I think my fingertips will be getting a lot of exercise on my computer keyboard and on my phone.  I'm very glad of the touch typing course I did way back when life was simpler.

The priority has to be staying safe and virus free until the vaccine programme does its job and we can defeat this invisible enemy.  Let's hope 2021 is the year that it will happen.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

#JusJoJan - 3/1/21 - Servant


Wasn't sure where to go with this prompt but then I thought I'd share my recent experience with Royal Mail - they're a servant of the Queen after all.

If you've been following me you'll know that we were hoping to have a family Christmas together with all our kids.  The plans got scuppered which left me with presents here for my son and his family in Nottingham.

I also had his wellies!

My son and DIL were sensible in that they ordered presents for their Secret Santa recipients to be delivered here.  So far so good.

But he also ordered a pair of wellies in anticipation of being here for muddy forest walks.

Wellies are heavy!  But he might need them.  And who knows when he'll be able to get down here next or we'll be able to visit them?

Anyway, like a good Mother, I have parcelled up their gifts and the wellies.  The parcel is, understandably, heavy!

Now the one thing I do like about Royal Mail is that you can buy and print off postage labels online.  Great for letters and small packets that will fit in the post box that's 50 yards up the road.  Or even the priority posting box that's 1/2 a mile away.

But parcels.  They need to be taken to a post office, or in some cases a delivery centre.

Except, oh wait, they now do collections from as little as 72p.  Yes that's right prices start at 72p.  Well I thought that was at least worth checking out.  Of course I expected it to be more than that given the cost of sending the parcel but it actually cost me 72p! 

They're supposed to collect it on Monday.  Phew, another job ticked off my to do list!

Now where's the servant to take down the Christmas tree and decorations?

21 in 21 - Photo of the Week #1 - the parakeets are still here!


 

 


On Friday I spent some time refreshing my bird feeding station.  We've has so much wet weather the seed, peanuts etc that were still in the feeders were not fit for consumption.

I took all the feeders in and gave them a good clean and then restocked them.  The poor birds must have felt very neglected (although several neighbours have feeders too) and I wondered if they'd return.

I didn't have to wait long.

Yesterday we even had some smaller birds ( a robin and a couple of tits) brave the feeders once the parakeets had moved on.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

#JusJoJan / #SoCS - In the corner.


Well it's been a while since I did a SoCS post and today I'm combining it with Just Jot it January. 

Check out Linda's site here for full details of how these work.

Ok so SoCS means I just write about the prompt without any planning etc.  The prompt for today is "in the corner".

Well I did have my Christmas tree in the corner of my living room.  But then while we were still anticipating being able to have all the family here for Christmas we decided to work out how we would seat 8 adults and 3 toddlers down for dinner.   This involved putting up the folding tables we'd borrowed and playing musical tables and chairs.  It also involved moving the Christmas tree!

Yep we moved the whole thing.  You're probably thinking how mad was that?  But actually it was quite easy.  We have wooden floors.  I'd had the foresight to put a cloth under the christmas tree stand.  (We're talking artificial tree here - I've had it for years but it still looks good and trying to be eco friendly it's not going anywhere until it really needs replacing which is not yet!)  Anyway we managed to slide the Christmas tree across the floor and park it next to one of the sofas.

It wasn't an ideal location but it allowed for the best seating arrangement.

But then everything changed.  We went from Tier 2 to Tier 4 of restrictions in less than 2 weeks and were essentially locked down.  "Stay at home" we were told.

Of course it was a huge disappointment but we made the best of it and bent the rules slightly but nothing went in the corner!  I was not moving that tree again! 

Personally I'd like to put Boris Johnson in the corner and keep him there so he can't make any more mistakes.  Not my corner of course but I'm sure 10 Downing Street must have some nice dark corners tucked away somewhere that he could be hidden in.  Although I expect most days he'd like to find his own little corner to get away from dealing with this horrible situation.

Speaking of corners.  Why is that spiders always seem to  hide in corners making it hard to trap them with a glass and piece of card so that you can catch them and then release them outside?

Right I'm waffling.  Time to stop!



Friday, 1 January 2021

Friday's Fave Five - 1/1/21


Thanks to Susanne at Living to tell the Story for this reminder every week to sit back and think about our 5 favourite things from the week.

Well firstly Happy New Year to everyone.  I suspect there might be a few less hangovers this year with less parties being held but there was certainly no shortage of fireworks going off here at midnight last night.

Here are my 5 from last week

1)  We got to celebrate Christmas with my son, DIL and 2 grandsons.  We're in lockdown again and although we're only supposed to see our support bubble indoors (which is my daughter and her family)  I can also form a childcare bubble with my son!  Yep the rules are a bit daft.  But we were all very careful leading up to Christmas, virtually isolating, so we didn't feel we posed a risk to one another.  It was lovely to have them here as we hadn't seen them properly since we celebrated Thanksgiving with them.

2)  A beautiful gift from my eldest son and family:


 I love doing puzzles and this one will take pride of place somewhere once it's completed.  I also have a matching fridge magnet of that pic.

3)  Something to look forward to.  Our younger son and his family gifted us an overnight stay with dinner at a venue in Saffron Waldon where we've been before and really enjoyed.  It's valid for a year so hopefully we will be able to use it later in the year.

4)  A second vaccine approved for use!  This definitely gives me hope that we will be able to plan that getaway.

5)  A lovely meal on New Year's Eve - this was gifted to us by my daughter and her family.  It came all prepared in various pots and trays (supplied by Brown Butter Dining) and all we had to do was heat things and assemble.  It was delicious.  My photos don't really do it justice. (And I really should do some cropping before I post them lol.)

Pretty bowls 

 

For delicious white onion soup

My starter of Chicken Liver parfait, onion jam & brioche toast


Nick's starter of Burrata, roasted squash, truffle pesto, puffed rice & seeds

 

Main course of Beef Wellington, pomme anna, ragu stuffed onion, winter greens and a red wine sauce

And finally dessert: Apple Tart Tatin with a toffee sauce and Creme Anglaise


All washed down with a nice red wine!

Yummy!


JusJoJan #1 - Speech

 

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

Each day Linda will post a prompt and then the idea is you jot something down.  It can be whatever you like but for more guidance on how this works you can check out the rules by following the link above.

In previous years we've had the prompts a bit in advance but 2020 had us all reeling a bit (or a lot) so we're going day by day this time around.  That makes it a bit more of a challenge to get posts done on time if there are events coming up that might interfere with blogging.

Ha events coming up?  Who am I kidding?  I'm in London where the Covid rates are rising alarmingly and we're all on a Stay at Home order.  Not much change there from most of 2020. (It wasn't quite that bad but it's beginning to feel like it was.)

Anyway of course I have time for blogging.  What else am I going to do?  Well if you check out my 21 in 21 you'll see I do have some ideas.

But I'm starting to waffle which is the nature of this blog and today's prompt is "speech" so let's get back to that.  Another thing I'm trying to do in January is to follow a literary calendar that was published by The Guardian/Observer newspaper (and online of course).  The idea is to feed your brain.  The calendar will "take you into magical realms of poetry and prose, argument and imagination.  It will transport you to some places you always wanted to explore, but couldn't find the time, and to others you never knew existed, where you will find strange and wnderful things."

Still with me? Well today's link was to Maya Angelou reading her poem "And Still I Rise" (see I got to speech eventually).

You can listen to it here and if you're interested you can check out the calendar here.

 

21 in 21


I’ve been doing this type of list for a few years now.  2019 didn’t go too well so I tried to have a more realistic list for 2020.  I could never have imagined the scenario that unfurled (a global pandemic!) to scupper my plans.

But I am not defeated.  My life goes on so I’m going for 21 in 21.  It’s been difficult deciding what to put on the list though.  We’re currently locked down tight and although a vaccine is being rolled out (and it looks like a second one will get approval very soon) it will be some time before we are in anywhere near normal circumstances again.

I’ve decided again that the list needs to be specific but it also needs to be attainable.  In some ways it’s more about habit forming than achieving big things.  That’s something I need to work on.  Before we moved, back in September 2020, our main focus was on getting moved.  There were lots of things to do and it kept us motivated and busy.  After the move things changed.  Grandbabies started arriving which of course kept us occupied and there were things to sort out in the new house.  However, it’s been difficult to establish any sort of routine and, I know you’re all probably screaming “just go with the flow” but that’s not me.  I like to be organised.  I like there to be a plan.

I’m very conscious of wasting a lot of time on mindless things.  (Social media and puzzles/games immediately spring to mind.)  Of course I know that some of that is not a waste of time at all.  Keeping my brain exercised is just as important as keeping my body exercised, and nourished, not just with food.  But there’s the thing.  I haven’t done a great job of exercising my body or nourishing it particularly well.  Of course with little options for socialising, particularly at the moment, it’s hard to be motivated to make an effort but I’ve decided I must.

So here is my list for 21 things to do in 2021.


1. Fill out weekly/daily planner. This should keep me on track with things I need to do. I did reasonably well with it last year but there’s always room for improvement. 

2. Pamper myself each week (e.g. take a relaxing bath, paint my nails etc.) Too often I just shower, dry my hair and go. This is what I meant by nourishing my body.

3. Weekly date night with Nick – set aside one evening to do something together e.g. watch a film, play a game. Hopefully later in the year we’ll be able to do things outside the house too.

4. Raise my average daily steps over the year to 6800. Yes I know everyone goes on about 10,000 steps a day but according to my Fitbit my average for 2020 was about 6300. I think increasing it by 500 steps a day is a realistic target.

5. Complete a walk each week. Upping the step count is one thing but some weeks I haven’t got very far out of the house. That needs to change.

6. Do a session on the exercise bike once a week. I have used it about twice since we acquired it from my daughter. As it’s unlikely that exercise classes will be running again any time soon, or that I’d want to join one even when they are, I need to take matters into my own hands – or legs!

7. Read 12 books on my TBR pile. I’ve not added many books to this pile in 2020 so hopefully this will continue to reduce the pile.

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

9. Do the Friday’s Fave Five meme on my blog each week. I went for keeping a gratitude diary last year and it just didn’t happen, but I did manage to do this 43 weeks out of 52 and it does make me think about the good things in my life.

10. Blog at least once per week. (This means an original post not jumping on the back of a meme.)

11. Take a photo each week and blog about it. I managed 38 photos last year so room for improvement.

12. Complete the A – Z blogging challenge.

13. Try out a new recipe or do a bake each month. This didn’t go too well in 2020 but I’m looking into a baking subscription my DIL uses where they send you a kit each month to do a bake. Yes that might sound like cheating but my challenge my rules lol.

14. Lose 12 pounds. Last year my target was to maintain my weight and I more or less did that, although a few pounds crept on at the end of the year. This year I’ve decided I need to be a few pounds lighter at least. (Despite #12 on the list lol)

15. Buy a new car. This should be a certainty. We live just outside the London wide area which, from October 2021, will be known as the ULEZ (ultra low emission zone) and our car, which is fairly old and has a diesel engine, will not meet the emission targets being set. This means that every time we enter the zone we would have to pay a fee. No sense in that so we’ll be looking to change our car for one that meets the new requirements before October.

16. Visit/see Noah & Miles as much as possible. Visits were very limited in 2020 and we’ve only seen Miles once! We have to do better this year, pandemic permitting.

17. Visit the beach. I’m sure we can get there at least once in 2021 even during a pandemic!

18. Have a weekend away with Hubby. Of course a week or two would be even better but again this will be pandemic permitting.

19. Make a plan of what needs to be done in/bought for the house and put into action. This will need to be done with Hubby and needs to be Covid safe to do.

20. Garden projects: Make a list of things to do/buy, prioritise and action.

21. Be positive! Typically I’m a glass half empty sort of person but I’ve decided I need to try and be more positive about things. 2020 was a horrible year but we came through it relatively unscathed, in a new house and with 3 more grandchildren. Not easy to quantify this one but hopefully it will help overall with all the other things on the list!