Friday 31 December 2021

Christmas 2021

We made it!  All of us together for Christmas.

Clockwise from bottom left: Daughter Rebecca, Grandsons Nathan, Noah and Vinny, Sons Michael and Matthew, Grandson Miles, DIL Elizabeth, Hubby Nick, DIL Victoria, Granddaughter Ella, DIL Amy, Me and Grandson Rory.

We had a busy week leading up to this - Matt, Amy, Noah and Miles arrived on Friday 17th so we had lots of people in the house on various days - including gingerbread baking days:

Tower building sessions:

And then there was Christmas dinner to prepare which needed a plan:

And seemed to turn out ok

Photos to take - very challenging:

And of course these to do:

And edible presents:
This was from our friends from Vermont (DIL's parents).  It was a work of art which we all enjoyed.

It was so lovely to have them all here together although it was a bit hectic at times.  We even managed to sleep them all here on Christmas night and we enjoyed Boxing Day together as well.

Matt and his family returned to Nottingham on Monday and the house has been considerably quieter this week.  I've been catching up on the washing having guests generates (remind me never to contemplate opening a B & B lol) but also taking time to relax.

Now it's time to welcome in the new year.  We'll be having our usual quiet night in, watching a music show on TV.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2022.

Friday's Fave Five - 31/12/21

It's the last Friday of the year so time to look back and list some blessings from the last week or so.  This weekly event is hosted by Susanne over at Living to Tell The Story.  Pop over there to see who else has taken part.

1)  Firstly I'm grateful that we've made it to the end of the year with neither Hubby or me getting Covid.  We're also double jabbed and boosted so hopefully if we did get it we'd be ok.  It's still looming over us and life is not back to normal but staying Covid free is definitely a blessing.

2)  We got to celebrate Christmas with all our kids and Grandkids!  There was some concern that extra restrictions were going to be put in place the week before but thankfully it didn't happen.  I think even if they had restricted gatherings we would just have gone ahead anyway.  Our Government doesn't have a good track record for leading by example at the moment so I'm sure lots of people would have just ignored them too.

3)  We had plenty of food.  There have been some difficulties with supply chains over the last few months and rumours of shortages but I managed to get everything we needed.  

4)  It's been nice to have a quiet few days once everyone went home.  The run up to Christmas was busy but the last couple of days I've been able to relax in some peace and quiet either catching up on TV or reading.

5)  I'm grateful that we didn't choose to downsize when we moved last year.  We were able to cope with having everyone here, not just for Christmas day but also staying over so that no one had to drive home Christmas evening and we all had Boxing Day together too.  Hubby and I did end up on an airbed downstairs which isn't something I'd want to do regularly but I think most of us got a fair amount of sleep!

I'm going to do a separate post about Christmas with some photos but for now Happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday 21 December 2021

4 more sleeps! Help!

Only 4 more sleeps as the children would say until Christmas.  How can that be?  It was only the beginning of December a few days ago wasn't it?

Despite trying to be more organised this year I feel like I'm failing miserably.  For starters I bought my Christmas cards really early intending to send them out at the beginning of this month.  They finally got posted yesterday which meant paying extra for postage.  I was really cross with myself for that.

But it's been a busy few weeks and the kids have taken up a fair bit of time.  Last week I was helping out with Granddaughter Ella and then helping to set my DIL up in my daughter's empty house so she could isolate from my son and grandsons because she had tested positive for Covid.  Fortunately she hasn't been too unwell and by staying in the empty house she's kept hubby and kids Covid free.  However we had to gather together the basics she would need to be in the house and get it there.

We did manage to fit in a visit to one of Hubby's sisters though so that made a nice change.

But then there was a mad dash to get our house ready for my son and his family.  I had it in my head (and diary) that they were arriving last Sunday.  Fortunately we had a conversation last Thursday when it came to light they were planning to arrive late on Friday.  Cue frantic housecleaning, bed changing, shopping etc.

Of course it's lovely having extra time with them and the two grandsons.  They are with us for Christmas.

Hopefully we will have all our 3 children and their families here for Christmas Day and they will probably all stay over for Boxing day too.

I say hopefully because the dreaded Covid had mutated into a new variant which is spreading through the UK and particularly London at a very fast rate.  It seemed likely that even tougher restrictions might be imposed before Christmas but today it was announced that isn't happening.  We are still being really careful.  My DIL who has Covid will finish her 10 day isolation period on Christmas Eve.  Cutting it fine.

As of today, all of us except her have had our booster jabs.  This should protect us from being seriously ill if we catch the virus but won't necessarily stop us catching it.  We've been testing before we've seen each other and trying not to go anywhere that's busy or crowded but it is making us all a bit stir crazy.

We had fun today though as my daughter and her family came over and the 2 older grandsons, Nathan and Noah, baked gingerbread biscuits.  Not gingerbread people but gingerbread dinosaurs.

Oh and a couple of hearts!  Their decorating skills need a bit of work but they were edible!  And tomorrow we'll get to decorate the second batch when Grandson Rory will be here.

I think I might do the sausage rolls and mince pies without any help though.

It still feels like there are a million and one things on my to do list and the shopping list keeps getting added to - I have an online order that's for collection Thursday morning and a turkey order for the afternoon but I keep thinking I'm going to forget something.  If I do we will just have to go without whatever it was.

I doubt I'll get here again before Christmas so I would just like to wish you all a healthy Christmas and I hope that however you are choosing to spend the festive period you enjoy it.  

Saturday 11 December 2021

Friday's Fave Five - 10/12/21

Well it's Friday oops Saturday so I'm a day late joining in with Susanne and friends over at Living to Tell the Story looking back on the week and finding 5 things to be grateful for.  Yesterday was quite a busy day because:

1)  My daughter and her family have bought a house!  This has been such a long time coming and not without it's ups and downs but they finally completed the purchase yesterday and can now look forward to settling in after Christmas and making it their home.   

2)  The power of antibiotics!  Poor Grandson Vinny developed impetigo last weekend but thanks to the antibiotics and cream prescribed by Thursday he was able to go back to nursery. It's been a tough few weeks for him and I've helped out where I could but his parents have had to take time off from work too which is not easy for either of them - Mum is a teacher and Dad has just started a new job.  We're all hoping he stays well for a bit now.

3)  A new router from our internet/TV provider.  This should improve our broadband speed and I managed to connect it up quite easily today.  Re-setting the internet extenders we need in the house to ensure access in all areas was not quite so easy but I got there eventually.

4)  A catch up with some old friends last weekend.  

5)  Getting into the Christmas spirit.  I finally got our Christmas tree and some decorations up this week and tomorrow afternoon we will attend a carol concert that my DIL's choir are singing at.

It takes me a while to turn off all the lights at the end of the day!  And my nativity scene looks a bit muddled since Nathan has been here.  He likes moving the people and animals around!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend all.

Friday 3 December 2021

Friday's Fave Five - 3/12/21

It's Friday so time to join in with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and recall the good things from this week.

1)  I'm finally feeling well!  I've finished my antibiotics and I definitely have more energy.  I've been back to babysitting duties this week too.

2)  We survived storm Arwen which hit the UK at the end of last week.  In fact in London we were hardly affected by it although we did have rain and quite high winds but nothing compared to some areas of the country.  In the worst hit areas a lot of damage was done and many homes lost power.  In fact some homes are still without power a week on.  I'm very grateful we are not in that situation.

3)  A hair cut!  My hair had got quite messy as it really should have been cut a few weeks ago but being unwell meant that didn't happen.  But I got it done yesterday and I'm pleased about that.

4)  I baked a cake!

Banana bread.  It doesn't look great but it tastes lovely.  I can't remember the last time I baked a cake but we often end up with over ripe bananas that go to waste and this week I finally got to make use of some and baked.  Hopefully it might spur me on to do some more baking especially with Christmas coming.

5)  I spent today catching up on some cleaning that's been neglected over the past few weeks and now I'm ready to put up the Christmas decorations this weekend.

Enjoy the weekend.

Sunday 28 November 2021

Back to walking - 28/11/21

Firstly thank you for all the kind comments on my last post.  

I'm feeling much better and today hubby and I managed to get out for a walk around the lake.  It was freezing cold but we have warm coats and added hats and gloves.  We left it a little bit later than we intended - the sun had disappeared although it had been lovely and sunny earlier but it was just nice to get out in the fresh air.

It's also wellie time again as the ground is quite muddy and, at the moment, covered with leaves.  We're so lucky to have the lake and woodland on our doorstep.

Other than that it's been quite a lazy weekend although we did babysit for our daughter and her wife last night.  Ella took a little bit of time to settle and woke during the evening but Nathan, probably because he was later to bed than usual, was asleep within 10 minutes of getting into bed and we didn't hear another peep out of him.  We weren't too late home either.

Now I'm catching up on Strictly Come Dancing.  Would more could you want?

Friday 26 November 2021

Friday's Fave Five - 26/11/21

Sleet is forecast for tomorrow so this snowy picture seemed appropriate today.

Joining in with Susanne at "Living to tell the Story" to list five things I'm grateful for today.  At the time of writing, Susanne's post with the link to others taking part wasn't up but the link above will take you to her site and hopefully you'll be able to find her Friday Five and linky for this week.

1.  Well firstly I'm thankful to be here.  Actually that's a bit over dramatic.  I'm currently getting over a sinus infection and before that I probably had tonsillitis but yes once again I've definitely not been feeling great.  I'm on a course of antibiotics now and I've been taking things very easy.  It seems to have been one thing after another and I was probably a bit run down after a spell of visitors here and providing childcare for some of the grandchildren.  I also wasn't great after my Covid booster last weekend.  But since starting the antibiotics I am feeling better and even a bit more motivated.

2.  Catching up on blogs.  I have been so down in the dumps I wasn't even bothering to read any blogs.  Well I rectified that today.  I have read loads!  I've still missed loads and I didn't stop to leave comments but hopefully I haven't missed any earth shattering news.  You are such a mixture of people that I follow and I will be back to leaving comments soon.  For starters there are those of you that join in with this meme on Fridays - a great bunch of people and thankful to Susanne for keeping it going.  Most of you are far more upbeat than me and definitely more mindful.

Then there are those people that are down to earth and tell it like it is.  No punches pulled there but that's refreshing too, even if I don't always agree with an opinion.

Some bloggers are following a challenge and their blogs are so informative and interesting - it feels like you're with them on their travels.  Others are very creative, either in things like crafting or just in the way they write.

And then there are those of you that always leave me a comment which is another thing I'm grateful for.

3.  Well this happened a couple of weeks ago now but it was such a wonderful day I have to post about it.

We finally managed to have a family gathering of my husband's family.  Nearly everyone was there including all 18 great grandchildren.  5 of those (including our 3 youngest grandchildren) were lockdown babies so hardly anyone had met them.

Trying to get group photos was EXTREMELY challenging lol

Our 3 little ones: Miles, Ella & Vinny.
The older 3: Nathan, Noah and Rory.
Me with daughter Rebecca and sons Matthew & Michael.
And it was just before Ella's 1st birthday so of course there had to be a birthday cake!

We got all the great grandchildren sat down but only realised afterwards Miles was missing - sleeping!

And then we added in the parents and cousins

You had to be quick before the littles started to escape!

Sadly hubby's parents are no longer alive but they would have been so proud to see this gathering.

4)  Progress on a crafting project:

This will be a blanket for the newest great grandchild which my daughter, 2 of my DILs and myself have contributed to.  We've all crocheted granny squares and I was tasked with sewing it together.  Except I haven't got all the squares yet!  I might be making a few more than my allocation.

5)  We had a visit yesterday from Nick's eldest sister and her husband which was nice.  We're gradually getting people over to see our new house that we've been in for 14 months now!  We had a nice catch up and they also brought over a chair they no longer wanted having recently downsized.  I'm hoping it will make it easier to rock my grandchildren to sleep when needed or maybe just rock myself to sleep!

Have a good weekend all.

Friday 15 October 2021

Friday's Fave Five - 15/10/21

Yes it's me!  I'm here after several weeks' absence.  Although I've been in a bit of a mental fog the past few weeks I do still have lots to be grateful for so I was determined to join Susanne and other blogging friends over at Living to tell the Story today.

1)  Nice weather.  It's definitely been chillier recently - the heating is on in the mornings and evenings - but this week we've had dry days and some sunshine.  Perfect weather for enjoying the changes to the trees now that autumn is here and checking on the cygnets at the lake who are almost swans now.

Ella wasn't overly impressed lol.

2)  A new roof on the downstairs extension.  Our dining room, part of the kitchen and the utility area of our house are an extension to the original house and have a flat roof.  When we moved here we knew one of our urgent jobs was to replace the roofing material and we finally got that done this week.  (Grateful again for the good weather so that the works could go ahead and not need rescheduling.)

3)  I got my flu jab this week and today I've had the invitation to book my Covid booster.

4)  A night away.  One of our presents last Christmas from our youngest son and his wife was a voucher for a night away, including dinner and breakfast at a pub with rooms that we had stayed at years ago.  The pub used to be owned by the parents of the chef Jamie Oliver and although it has now changed hands it was still very much the same.

Set in a village in Essex it's a peaceful setting and it was lovely to get away and feel like we were doing something normal again.  For dinner I had mushrooms in cream on focaccia bread, followed by lamb shank with new potatoes and veg and then hubby and I shared a sticky toffee pudding dessert.  I'm not used to eating 3 courses though so I was very full!

5)  Books and bits for the grandchildren.

After a lovely full English breakfast at the pub we drove to Saffron Walden, an old market town and had a good mooch around the shops, many of which were charity shops.  I nabbed some books for me and some cars and puzzles for the grandkids.  I also got myself an umbrella as mine collapsed on me recently.  I also had to buy a couple of folding bags to carry it all in as Hubby bought a few bits too.

We stopped for tea and cake (too full from breakfast for lunch) and then we headed home taking the country route rather than the motorway.

Although it was short it was a lovely break.  

Now I'm looking forward to a lazy weekend and then preparing for guests next week.  Our American DIL's parents are coming for a visit and they will be staying with us.

Hopefully I'll have time to visit some blogs and catch up with news as I'm also thankful for the lovely comments I got on my last post.

Have a good weekend all.

Sunday 10 October 2021

World Mental Health Day - 10th October 2021


It's been weeks since I posted here, mainly because I haven't felt the motivation.  I've felt rather flat recently.  Nothing actually wrong physically but mentally definitely not in the right place.  I'm finding it quite hard to get back into normality.  I'm naturally quite introverted so although it was hard not being able to see family during the lockdowns being stuck at home wasn't that hard for me.  But then it's easy to disappear down a rabbit hole.

Life is a little bit hectic at the moment, our house is definitely becoming like a creche several days a week and the past few weeks it's also felt like a launderette as both our son and daughter have had problems with their washing machine and dryer.  It's been quite full on and I have been quite tired as my sleeping hasn't been great.

Looking back on my Facebook posts this was something I posted 5 years ago today. 

 I need to revisit this but another image posted by a friend was this one which is definitely helpful.

Another friend posted about the things she does for her mental health and that made me realise I need to focus and be more proactive.

On the plus side hubby and I enjoyed our first trip into Central London this week.  We had a lovely afternoon tea here.  It was delicious and was actually a Christmas gift to us from our daughter and her wife for 2019!

I even remembered to take some pics!  We had sandwiches, followed by cheese scones and then pastries on the theme of English biscuits and finally sweet scones. And of course lots of tea!


Friday 27 August 2021

Friday's Fave Five - 27/8/21

Friday already?  Time to look back on the week and find the favourite things and then share over at Susanne's site: Living to Tell the Story.

1)  My bowel screening test came back clear.  It was a routine test so I wasn't expecting any surprises but still good to get that confirmed.

2)  My new Fitbit arrived and I'm getting used to it.  It has more features than my last one which I'm gradually getting to grips with.

3)  We had these little guys here this week:

Miles seems fully recovered from his bout of Covid and Noah enjoyed an adventure with his Daddy while he was here.  He took him on the cable car across the Thames or as Noah put it the "flying car".

4)  My son, DIL and Rory and Vinny arrived back safely from the US.  It was lovely catching up with them again this week too.  We even managed a picnic lunch in the garden.

5)  We survived the sleepover with Nathan last Friday.  He did wake up around 3am and I had to snuggle in with him but he was fine in the morning so we're definitely putting it down as a success!

Definitely a family focussed week, my favourite way to spend time.

Have a good weekend.