Friday 27 May 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 27/5/22

Yes it's Friday again and this week I'm here on time to share my five blessings from this week and then link up with Susanne and other like minded bloggers.

Here we go:

1)  A Ladies Lunch that became a Ladies Supper this month.  It's been a while since the four of us (all former work colleagues) got together.  Sadly one of my friend's husband died in February so making arrangements to get together have been a little bit tricky.  But it was great to catch up.

2)  A visit to my brother and sister-in-law on Monday.  Again we haven't seen as much of each other thanks to the pandemic and various bouts of illness between us so it was lovely to catch up with them again over lunch.

3)  On Wednesday I joined a Knit & Natter group that meets locally.  I decided it was time I started making new friends in the area and this seemed a good way - you know how I love to waffle and I can also manage to knit and crochet.  The main group meets in a local church during the day on Wednesdays which of course is no good for me as I have Grandson Vinny on that day but the main organiser has tried to set up a spin off meeting on Wednesday evenings in the local pub.  There were only 5 people there including me but the others were very friendly so it was a nice way to pass an evening.  It's also only about once a month but I was pleased with myself for getting out and meeting new people.

4)  Last Sunday hubby and I enjoyed a lunch out at a place called the Melting Point.  Hubby has been there a few times either for a snack or lunch but I hadn't been.  Hubby was worried that I wouldn't enjoy the food - the owner is Turkish and lots of the dishes are tapas style but actually the menu is more extensive than he'd led me to believe and, although there were plainer things on the menu, we opted for a selection of tapas dishes, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  We'll be going again.

5)  Lots of social outings to be thankful for then but finally I'm thankful that, despite all the doom and gloom at the moment with the war in Ukraine and the economic crisis that so many of us are facing, our family all seem to be in a good place to weather the storm. 

Have a good weekend all.  I'm off to buy cake!

PS as an added bonus - I had a short day on Wednesday with Vinny - his nursery were having a pre-jubilee party so he was allowed to go to that in the afternoon.

Not sure he quite knew what to make of it all!

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Book Review - Thrown by Sara Cox

Thrown: The laugh-out-loud novel of friendship, heartbreak and pottery for beginnersThrown: The laugh-out-loud novel of friendship, heartbreak and pottery for beginners by Sara Cox
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"Becky: a single mum who prides herself on her independence. She knows from painful experience that men are trouble.
Louise: a loving husband, gorgeous kids. She ought to feel more grateful.
Jameela: all she's ever done is work hard, and try her best. Why won't life give her the one thing she really wants?
Sheila: the nest is empty, she dreams of escaping to the sun, but her husband seems so distracted.

The inhabitants of the Inventor's Housing Estate keep themselves to themselves. There are the friendly 'Hellos' when commutes coincide and the odd cheeky eye roll when the wine bottles clank in number 7's wheelie bin, but it's not exactly Ramsay Street.

The dilapidated community centre is no longer the beating heart of the estate that Becky remembers from her childhood. So the new pottery class she's helped set up feels like a fresh start. And not just for her.

The assorted neighbours come together to try out a new skill, under the watchful eye of their charismatic teacher, Sasha. And as the soft unremarkable lumps of clay are hesitantly, lovingly moulded into delicate vases and majestic pots, so too are the lives of four women. Concealed passions and heartaches are uncovered, relationships shattered and formed, and the possibility for transformation is revealed."

This book is about 4 women living on the same housing estate being drawn together through a pottery class. They all have their own issues but by coming together and making new friends they all manage to move forward in their lives.

It's a bit twee in places and I'm not sure the time line is always accurate. The idea isn't exactly original and I'm always wary of books by well known people (Sara is a radio and TV presenter) who suddenly turn their hand to writing.

Having said all that it's a nice easy, feel good read and it's not too long. I enjoyed it.

View all my reviews

Sunday 22 May 2022

Is it Sunday? 22/5/22

Yep it's Sunday so over a week since I last posted here.  You could be forgiven for thinking I'd fallen down a rabbit hole with Alice.

I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for blogging this last week or so but it has been a busy time.  Getting the bedrooms straight after the decorating took time and then last weekend we had all the grandkids and their parents here on Saturday for an early birthday celebration for Noah and Rory.  Noah turned four on Tuesday and Rory will turn 4 on 1st June so last weekend was the nearest we could get to both birthdays for a family get together.

It coincided with the Eurovision song competition which 2 of my DILs are very keen to watch and enjoy.  To the extent of having European flavoured drinks and snacks.  This meant we ended up with 2 of the 3 families staying overnight.  The grandchildren were actually quite good at going to bed and sleeping, although they were up early the next morning.

Of course it was lovely to see them all together but it does get a bit hectic and then there are beds to change, extra towels etc to wash after they've all gone home.

It's a bit tricky getting a decent photo of all 6 grandchildren together.  This was probably one of the best ones:

Another thing we managed to do this week was deliver the blanket I'd worked on with my daughter and 2 of my DILs for Maya.  Maya is the daughter of one of Nick's nieces.  Another cutie.

So what with straightening up the house, visiting family, babysitting grandkids and so on, blogging has definitely been taking a back seat.  I haven't even been doing as much reading as I usually do.

Another time stealer has been games on my phone.  I'm sure most of you can guess the main culprit there.  Well tonight I've deleted them.  I'll probably relapse and add it back at some point but for now that's one less thing to take away blogging time.

Today has been a nice relaxed day.  We walked down to the lake and then into the park as it was the Highams Park festival today.  There were fairground rides there, a display of classic cars, live music and lots of stalls either promoting local organisations or selling food.

The weather was lovely today so lots of people were in the park and the queues for food were long everywhere so we decided to walk into town and had a nice lunch at a place called The Melting Point Bistro.  Nick has been there quite a lot but it was the first time for me.  Won't be the last either.  We had some lovely tapas dishes and some wine.

That's two good meals I've had this weekend as on Friday our Ladies Lunch group became a supper occasion and our host cooked a lovely salmon dish accompanied by an aubergine dish both of which were delicious.  Finished off with a fruit flan and of course washed down with wine, although not too much for me as I had to drive home.  The company was also good so a very enjoyable evening.

So lots to be thankful for this week although I didn't get around to doing my usual Friday Fave Five post.

Now I'm off to bed with a new book on my Kindle.  Have a good week all.  Hopefully I'll get around to visiting your blogs and leaving some comments!

Friday 13 May 2022

Friday’s Fave Five - 13/5/22

Composing this on my phone and racing against the click for it to get posted before midnight! Currently babysitting Nathan and Ella - see #2 below.

Anyway it's Friday so time to link up with Susanne and other grateful bloggers here.  These are my 5 for this week:

1) the weather was nice for our yard sale- warm and sunny. We didn't get rid of lots of stuff but it has focussed us on things we need to deal with. Hopefully we'll be able to donate some things to charity.

2) my daughter. It's her birthday today. She is definitely a blessing to me.

3) following on from last week the door in the freezer is fixed but it seems that iron manufacturers don't want you to replace the flex at least not the brand we had. Getting in to the iron proved very difficult. So one problem solved but thankfully the iron has now been replaced 

4) a lovely albeit brief visit from hubby's sister and husband last weekend. This is the couple that live in France so visits had been limited during the pandemic and we hadn't seen them since last November 

5) a successful trip to a new to me retail park. I was able to get presents for grandsons Noah and Rory who will both turn 4 in the next couple of weeks, some glue for a jigsaw puzzle I want to frame and a new handbag.  I love it when things go to plan.

Have a good weekend all.

Friday 6 May 2022

Friday's Fave Five - 6/5/22

Is it Friday again already?  And May as well.  Time seems to be flying by.  But Friday is the day when we take a breath and look back on the week to find 5 things to be grateful for.  Then it's over to Susanne's site here to share with other like minded bloggers.

Here are mine for this week.

1)  A family party.  One of hubby's nieces had organised a surprise party for her partner who turned 50 last Saturday.  We were dithering about going but so glad we did.  The guest of honour was very surprised to find so many people waiting for him when he arrived home.  The weather was lovely and although we were the only ones there from our generation it was good to catch up with some of the younger generation.  

2)  Decorating finished (for now!) and rooms are back to normal.

I still need to get curtains for the second room but they're now on order.  We had a good outing to IKEA this week and picked up the bedside tables you can see in the picture above plus the lamps in the other room and of course a few more bits and pieces we weren't even looking for!  We also managed to move one of the units out of the bigger bedroom and have put it out in the garden room.  This meant that the storage unit we had out there that was very similar to this one:

 is now redundant.  It was taking up a lot of floor space so that will be going out in the yard sale we're doing on Sunday.  It was very satisfying getting everything straight and doing some organising and decluttering at the same time.

3)  Cygnets on the lake.

Hard to see the cygnets in these photos as they were in quite a sheltered area of the lake and I couldn't get very close but there are 4 cygnets.

4)  Lots of things sorted out with internet shopping:  for example our iron needed a new flex - it's got very twisted in places and Hubby was concerned that the coating on the wires might wear away and cause a hazard.  Of course he left it to me to actually resolve the problem.  Likewise with a shelf front in our freezer.  Hubby managed to break it a few weeks ago but I managed to order a replacement this week.  I love him dearly but he's not good at practical things like that.  (It will probably be me that fixes both of these when the parts arrive lol.)

5)  Another productive shopping trip today - I didn't get the curtains for the bedroom as the store didn't have the right size but I picked up a few other bits and pieces plus plants and compost for the garden.  I then spent time this afternoon potting everything up.  There are no flower beds in the garden but we do now have some pots on the patio with plants that will hopefully add some colour when things bloom.

As mentioned above we're doing a yard sale on Sunday so we'll be busy tomorrow getting everything sorted and ready to put out and we also have overnight visitors tomorrow - Hubby's sister and her husband are over from France.   It's been an age since we've seen them so looking forward to that.

Have a good weekend all.

Thursday 5 May 2022

A-Z 2022 Reflections post

Reflections 2022 #atozchallenge

Alice, I need your help.

And why would that be Wendy?

Because I've got to do a Reflection post for the A-Z challenge and it would be good to have your input.

Oooh goody!  It's about time you did a new post.  Your readers must be thinking you'd fallen down a black hole and taken me with you.

No such luck Alice.

Anyway the A-Z team have given some pointers on things to include so I suggest we just work our way through them together.

Hmm that sounds boring and a bit like hard work Wendy.

Don't be rude Alice.  The A-Z team put a lot of hard work and effort into making the challenge a success and they are to be appreciated. Anyway this is the list:

  • Give consideration to how the A to Z Challenge impacted your blog.
  • View your stats to see how the last 30 days changed your blog view numbers.
  • Make an observation about how many comments you got on your April posts.
  • Contemplate what you learned from making posts during the Challenge.
  • What gave you the idea for your Challenge Theme, if you used one?
  • Did any blogs you visited in the Challenge make a lasting impression on you?
  • Perhaps meditate on how to express your thoughts about the Challenge this year.
  • Give an opinion on any of the three #AZchat events from this year.
  • What impact did the Challenge have on your social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)?
  • Rumination about the A to Z Challenge can help the team improve!
  • This year included a deliberation to find another graphic person after the loss of Jeremy. Muse about the imagination and talent of Anjela.
  • What is your impression of the A to Z Team?
  • After much cogitation, let your pensiveness reflect in your post.
  • Did any dreams or goals you set come to fruition during this April Challenge?
  • Please tell everyone if you picked up any sweet merchandise this year.
  • Hmm well some of that is easy Wendy although there won’t be any meditating going on here.  And the challenge had no impact on your social media as you don’t do Twitter and you keep your blog completely separate form Facebook and Instagram.

    As for chats?  Do you mean to tell me now, when it’s far too late that we could have been chatting with other people about the challenge during the challenge?

    Well yes Alice but I felt that was a bit beyond me and I’m not sure if the timing was right.

    You just didn’t want to let me have a voice did you?

    Well that might have been a bit tricky Alice as only I can hear you.

    Ok.  Point taken.  Now what about your stats whatever they are?

    Short for statistics Alice.  The blogging platform provides details on things like page views, comments etc and mine were definitely up for April but as I really only blog for my own satisfaction I never really take any notice of them.

    Right.  Moving on.  I think the new graphics person did a good job.  Hard stepping into someone else’s shoes.  Actually Wendy you’re right.  The whole team do a great job.  But how do they find the time?  You’re retired and have lots of time but still struggled to get the posts done on time once you caught up with yourself.

    Well taking a holiday during the first week of the challenge wasn’t ideal and yes I was winging it most days after that.  And once again I haven’t managed to visit as many other blogs as I feel I should have.  I did manage to visit people who’d left me comments and I have started working my way through the sign up list.  There just never seem to be enough hours in the day.

    Gaining more grandchildren hasn’t helped Wendy but at least you had me to provide your theme and give suggestions, even if I was just resurrected from 2019.

    Yes but now I’ve resurrected you I don’t think you’re going back into the recesses of my mind anytime soon Alice. 

    Oh no Wendy.  I’m here to stay which I know will please many of your readers.

    So there you have it.  A reflections post done in the style of my A-Z posts.  This is my 8th completed challenge, once again by the skin of my teeth on quite a few days.  Forward planning is still not my strong point.  However, enthusiasm for blogging has revived and satisfaction gained from doing more than just waffle or doing regular memes.

    Thank you to everyone, old and new, for your visits to my blog and the lovely comments.  Apologies if I haven’t made it back to your blog yet, I’m working on it.

    As for Alice…..well you definitely haven’t heard the last from her.

    Links to all my A-Z posts can be found here.