Saturday 31 December 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 31/12/22

And I'm a day late....again!

I am actually struggling a bit at the moment.  Tests indicate I haven't had Covid but I've definitely had something for the last couple of weeks.  I am still struggling with a cough and generally feeling under the weather's been a full on Christmas.  Today is the first day that we haven't got any company here or anywhere to be so I'm definitely resting and trying to recharge my batteries.

But, as always, there is lots to be thankful for so a big shout out to our host Susanne for reminding us every week to sit and reflect.  Find out more here.

1.  A lunch with friends on the Monday leading up to Christmas.  It was my turn to host our "Ladies Lunch" and I really enjoyed catching up with my friends as I'd missed the last one.  I'd made an effort with my cooking but nearly had a disaster with the main course - I was layering the food into a large round pyrex dish when I knocked it and the whole thing broke in half!  Cue total chaos and panic for a few minutes as I scrambled to salvage everything.  Fortunately I coped and my friends are the sort that when they arrived mid chaos they were all keen to pitch in and help so I'm extra grateful for friends that I don't have to stand on ceremony for.

2.  More motivation this year - I actually made a Christmas pudding, a Christmas cake, mince pies and sausage rolls.  I'm usually relying on shop bought ones but it was good to be productive even if at one point I didn't think the cake would get iced!

3.  A lovely family Christmas.  We had my daughter and youngest son and their families here on Christmas day and they all stayed over for boxing day.  Our other son and his family arrived late on Boxing day and stayed until yesterday so of course it was lovely having all the family together. They were all here on Thursday and we just about managed to get a picture of all the grandchildren together:


They do like playing a game together.

Ella was not going to sit with all those boys on her own!

The television provided a way of calming them down lol.

4. A pantomime trip - on Wednesday Nanny and Grandpa took the 3 older grandsons to see Aladdin at a local theatre.  (We took one parent of each too!)  

They all seemed to enjoy it and it wasn't too scary for them.  Not sure Grandpa was fully engaged though lol.

5)  A get together with extended family yesterday.  We met up at the social club we're members of.  It was lovely to see most of hubby's siblings and some of their families in a nice relaxed environment.

And that's Christmas done for another year!

We will probably do our usual thing of staying home and watching a countdown to the New Year on the TV tonight.

I hope you all had a lovely festive time and wish you all a Happy New Year!

Friday 16 December 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 16/12/22

3 weeks MIA.  Definitely time to look back and think about the things I'm grateful for and join up with others at Susanne's site - "Living to Tell the Story".

Susanne has a Christmas themed picture up on her post but the snowy one is apt for me right now - we had snow!  Lots of it (well for London) at least 5 inches fell from late afternoon and into the night last Sunday.

Tonight my garden doesn't look a lot different (although a few more footprints) because it has been so cold that the snow hasn't melted.  It's supposed to be a lot warmer by Sunday so we'll soon be at the slushy messy stage but for now it is still very icy underfoot.

Nathan and Ella were happy to be outside in the snow

Vinny wasn't so keen

The park near my son's flat.

Of course on Monday it caused total travel chaos and many schools were closed.  This country seems to come to a standstill every time we have more than a dusting of snow.

However, I am grateful for:

1)  Being able to stay at home in the warm and not worry too much about the cost of heating the house.

2)  Delivery drivers who are still working and delivering parcels and food.

3)  Living on a main road - we had to scape snow and ice off the drive to get the car out but once we get on the road it's all good - helps that we're on a bus route too - the road was passable fairly quickly on Monday.

4)  Grandchildren - seen 4 of them this week including time with just Rory on Thursday as he had an early finish at school.  Don't often get time with him on his own.  I had Vinny on Wednesday as usual and he had a very rare tantrum with me.  I told him that he could have one more episode of whatever show he was watching before he had to go home, not realising that the episode contained 2 stories.  I stopped the show after the first story and he had a complete meltdown - turns out the credits rolling after both stories signifies the end.  Silly Nanny!  Well he was not a happy bunny.  He ended up in the car with no shoes on and very grumpy.  I won't make that mistake again lol.

5)  A productive day today - I finally got round to making a Christmas Pudding and my Christmas cake now has marzipan on it.  Hopefully I'll get the cake finished tomorrow.  I also made a banana loaf using up the bananas that were very soft.  Yes I'm sure that some of you will have made cakes and puddings weeks ago but I can't remember the last time I did homemade ones so I'm grateful that this year I've found some motivation.  My Christmas tree was also up just after the 1st of the month.

Have a good weekend all.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 25/11/22

Well I'm still going for an autumn look here as there are still plenty of leaves around.  Our host Susanne is already looking Christmassy.

Check out her blog here for more info and participants.

This week I'm thankful for:

1)  Family time - last weekend we celebrated Ella's birthday with all 6 grandchildren at her party.  It was held at a centre called "Role to Play" and there were lots of themed areas where the children could dress up plus a seating area for adults and room for the children to sit and eat after playing.  I didn't get a lot of great photos, especially of Ella - had to take a screenshot from the video I took of her blowing out her candles.







2)  More decorating done!  Not by us I hasten to add - our neighbour had a decorating business and although he's now retired his 3 sons have carried on the works.  We had the office and our bedroom painted so all the upstairs rooms are now done.

They also did some touching up in the downstairs bathroom following the installation of the extractor fan.

This will probably be the tidiest this room ever looks!  Need to find a lampshade. 

We haven't put our bedroom straight yet so I'll post pictures of that later.

3)  Thankful that we didn't downsize when we moved - we were able to sleep in one of the spare rooms this week while the decorating was being done and the other room and landing had a lot of stuff in them.

4)  Perseverance - our internet extenders weren't working properly since we had the alarm system changed but on Thursday I managed to figure out reconfiguring them again.  Took a while but got there eventually and now the internet signal is better around the house.  I also had to reconfigure the wireless set up on the printer.  That took even longer but again, with perseverance, I finally got it to work.  I hate giving up on things.

5)  Postal Christmas cards ready to post!  Usually I am much later than this but with the cost of postage being so high I was determined to have them ready so I could use 2nd rather than 1st class post.  With the decorators in I used that as an excuse not to do much housework this week and used the time to get my cards done.

Bonus item:  We're off to our younger son's soon to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner - our DIL is from Vermont.  Originally they had only invited friends but as a couple had dropped out we got invited to go.

Hope all my American friends enjoyed Thanksgiving and everyone is having a good weekend.

Thursday 24 November 2022

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 23/11/22

It's been a while since I joined in with one of these and I'm a day late but here goes:

1. Have you ever been on a cruise? If so where did you go and how did you like it? If not, do you have any desire to take a cruise someday? 

Yes I've been on a cruise up the coast of Norway which was lovely.  The scenery was beautiful and it was great visiting various towns without having to constantly unpack and repack our cases.  

2. Tell us about your Thanksgiving plans...are you hosting? cooking? eating out? turkey or some other main? is it stuffing or dressing in your house? homemade cranberries or cranberries in a can? are pies on the dessert menu? what kind? what are your 'must have' sides? Tell us one thing you're especially grateful for this year.

No Thanksgiving plans for us here in the UK but I expect our American DIL will have something planned for my son and 2 grandsons.  Unfortunately, as she is a teacher, they cannot make a visit home to her family at this time of year.  We did all manage to get to Vermont in 2018 when Grandson Rory was just a baby and DIL was still on maternity leave.

I'm grateful that this year we're all fit and well and although Covid is still about life has returned to a lot of normality.

3. If someone approaches you and asks for money do you give it to them? Do you drop money 'in a tin cup' that belongs to a person on the street? Do you have a specific charity you support during the holiday season and/or year round?

We support quite a lot of charities year round that includes one that works with the homeless so I'm less likely to put money in a cup on the street although hubby often will.

4. Have you started decorating for Christmas? Is your tree up? Shopping done? Wrapped? 

No, no, no and no!  Although in the UK many people do not start decorating/putting trees up until 1st December at least.  I do have my Christmas cards ready to be written - just need to remember where I put them!

5. Create your own acrostic using the word THANKS. 

Thanksgiving isn't a holiday

Here in the UK

Although the sentiment is appreciated and

Nothing should be taken for granted

Kindness is important

So Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

A chaotic week here - 2 bedrooms being decorated so house is upside down and I have an extra day of Grandsitting tomorrow thanks to a teacher training day.  Who said retirement meant an easy life? lol

Oh and the biggest thanks go to Joyce over at "From this side of the pond" for hosting the Hodgepodge each week.  Visit her site to see the regular participants.

Friday 18 November 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 18/11/22

Well once again I've missed a week here so today I was determined to join up with Susanne and others and think about things I'm grateful for during the last week (or two!).  You can find out more over at Living to Tell the Story.

1)  Time away with extended family.  Regular readers may remember me going to Kos in 2019 with 3 of my cousins.  Last week the four of us got together again, but this time with our husbands too and we spent 4 nights in Tenbury Wells which is near Worcester.  We rented a house and had a great time exploring the area and then relaxing back at the house each night, playing games, drinking wine and generally having a good time.

Enjoying our evening meal

L-R Pat, Me, Julie and Jill
Martin (Pat's H) Simon (Jill's H) Nick (my Hubby) and Pete (Julie's H)
Oh and Beanie - Jill and Simon's dog!

Standing on the bridge over the river Teme (the second fastest flowing river in England) which divides Worcestershire from Shropshire .  Pete Nick and I were in Shropshire, Jill, Pat and Martin were in Worcestershire.
We were lucky enough to get an impromptu tour around the pump rooms by one of the council workers located there.
2)  Last Saturday I got my 4th Covid jab.  I felt a bit rough later in the day and my arm was quite sore for a couple of days but glad to be further protected while Covid is still out there.

3)  Granddaughter Ella turned 2!  (Yesterday.)  We collected Nathan from school and then joined Ella and her Mummies for birthday cake.  I didn't get any decent photos with the cake but she's having a party on Saturday so hopefully I'll get some better ones then.

Although she was a bit bemused by it all lol.

4)  Back to the knitting group - we met up on Wednesday evening and it was nice to have some adult conversation after having Grandson Vinny all day.

This is my current WIP
A nice easy pattern that is knitted on 10 stitches.  I started it ages ago but hadn't done much but did quite a bit on Wednesday evening and more since.  

5)  Hubby has recovered well after his minor op and he's now had eye tests and hearing tests done this week.  He needs new hearing aids so hopefully that will improve his hearing. I might have to be careful what I say in future.

Have a good weekend all.

Sunday 6 November 2022

Z - A Challenge 2022

Oops, I seem to have fallen a bit (ok a BIG bit) behind with this challenge so here is a big catch up!

Starting with:

U - Unique to my blog.

Well I think my use of Alice is different although not unique.  (Find out more about Alice here.) 

Over the years I have tried to include different things e.g. for a while I made use of "10 things you didn't know last week" which was a regular post on the BBC website but that was discontinued.  I also tried writing about 5 news items each week and for a while I made Wednesdays into Wendysdays but......the familiar theme here is inconsistency.

I'm not great at sticking with things.  This challenge is another example of that.


T - Ten Year plan

Ha, I often don't have a 10 minute plan let alone a year or ten.  After the last couple of years we've had with the pandemic I'm not sure anyone might bother with a ten year plan, especially with the state of our country's politics and economics.  


I know all about SMART goals.  It was something that was covered when I was doing the School Business Manager's qualification.  In a work environment they can be quite useful.  In my life not so much.  When I was crazy enough to give myself a list of challenges for the year (19 in 2019, 20 in 2020 etc - see above) I tried to make my goals SMART but (hmm supposed to be sticking to Zero excuses in this challenge) the pandemic threw a big spanner in the works and I didn't even set out a list for this year.

R - Recommend

If you're wondering what this is all about I recommend you check out the A-Z site here and the blogs of the organising team.  They put such a lot of hard work into the A-Z challenge every year.

Q - Questions for visitors

Hmm not sure visitors coming to my blogs would expect to get a grilling from me.  Of course it might be useful to find out how they landed here or what they think of my blog.  Maybe I could adapt my comment box to try and address this.

P - Priorities

Well clearly my blog hasn't been a priority lately!  My priority is definitely my family which now includes 6 grandchildren.  We also have a large extended family so keeping up with them is another priority.

O - Open

I think I'm quite an open person and what you see is what you get.

N - Never blog this

That's a tricky prompt.  Of course there are some things I wouldn't include in my blog - graphic images and real life horror stories spring to mind.  Other topics (e.g. politics or religion) can be contentious but I believe in free speech and the right to express our opinions.  

M - Motivating

I am often lacking in motivation.  Sometimes I think I need a good kick up the backside.  I have good and bad spells but battling anxiety can take a lot of energy.  

Phew that's brought me up to date with the prompts from the challenge!

Hopefully I might summon up enough motivation to keep on track from now on but don't hold your breath lol.

Friday 4 November 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 4/11/22

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself last Friday as I was getting over a nasty tummy bug so I didn't get here to post so I have 2 weeks of faves to look back on today.  Thanks to our host Susanne for reminding us every week to find the good things in our week.  You can find other posts here:  Living to Tell the Story

1)  Time with our eldest son and his family.  They arrived the Sunday before last and were here until last Friday.  They were out and about quite a bit but it's always so lovely to have quality time with them all.

2)  A halloween party.  My DIL organised a party for all the cousins while they were here - they do love getting together.  We had it at my house but it involved very little effort on my part and it was lovely to see the Grandkids enjoying themselves so much.

3)  Hubby had his minor surgery at the beginning of last week and his recovery has gone well.  Such a relief to finally get it over and done with as it had been postponed a couple of times due to his fall and then an infection.

4)  Grateful that I've felt better this week and able to get out for a couple of walks.  We're in "Welly" season now though.  We've had lots of rain over the past week or so and the forest is very muddy.  The water level in the river was also the highest I've seen it yesterday.

5)  Grateful that Granddaughter Ella seems to be improving - she had another visit to A & E this week which involved an overnight stay here for Nathan.  Fortunately they didn't keep her in.  Thankful that we live close to them now so we're able to help out.

Have a good weekend all.

Friday 21 October 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 21/10/22

And it's Friday again.  How did that happen?  I've only just managed to get around to all the blogs linked to last week's Friday Five.  Thanks to our host Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story for keeping us on our toes on Fridays to pause, take a breath, and think about the good things from the previous week.

1)  Saturday I was up and out early to try and catch sight of my younger son.  He was doing a 50km run through Epping Forest which is the forest near our house.  The run started near our old house followed the forest past our lake, then on through the forest to Epping, and then all the way back to the start!  He does love a challenge.

I managed to catch sight of him and take a picture.  Well he caught sight of me as I was chatting to a dog walker!  Anyway I saw him.  

Hubby and I were both hoping to catch sight of him on his way back but unfortunately he missed a turn and ended up running down the other side of the lake to where we were sat.  Fortunately he was able to link up with the route at the bottom of the lake and made it back to the finish.  

2)  On Sunday we started off with a lazy morning then Hubby and I decided on doing a walk in Chingford.  We took the train to Chingford station and then walked up to a view point and then a loop through the forest.
This is an obelisk which is on the meridian line which runs through Greenwich.  Hopefully Hubby is pointing north!

This is looking south and you can just see the outlines of buildings in the city of London.  Unfortunately it was too hazy to see them clearly.

This was a bit further on looking down onto the reservoirs near us.

We were hungry by the time we got back to Chingford so we found somewhere to have some lunch before heading home by bus.

3)  1:1 time with grandson Nathan on Monday.  Unfortunately Granddaughter Ella was in hospital Sunday night as she was very wheezy again and needed steroids and nebulisers.  She came home on Monday evening and is a lot better now but on an inhaler regime and antibiotics.  Anyway Nathan had a very disturbed night - he woke at 12 and didn't get back to sleep until 3 am.  (He was being looked after by a family friend, a favourite of Nathan's but of course he wanted his Mummies.)  Long story short, he didn't go to school so Nanny had him for the day.  We played a lot of games!

I'm thankful that we're retired and can help out our families when needed.

4) A quieter end to the week - after Nathan on Monday and then Vinny on Wednesday it's been nice to have a couple of days with no demands on my time to be able to relax a bit.  I even got some crochet and knitting done:

The knitting group are making poppies for a Remembrance Day display in the church where they meet.  These aren't finished yet as they need their black centres.  I tried out the knitted pattern (on the left) but I think I will stick to doing the crochet ones - they're quicker to make!

5)  Another job crossed off the to do list:

I finally moved the plaque with our house number on it so that it's visible.

Previously it was hidden by the rose bush!

It's currently stuck on with some heavy duty suction tape which avoided the need for drilling holes.  Hopefully the tape will be as good as it's supposed to be otherwise there will be another job to add to my to do list lol.

Now I'm off to make up beds ready for the arrival of our elder son and his family (and dog) on Sunday.  They will be staying this week as it's half-term break.

Have a good weekend all.