Friday 24 November 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 24/11/23

It's Friday!  Time to look back and be thankful for the good things over the past week.

Susanne is our prompt and host for this.  You can find out more here.

Here are mine:

1)  Family time last weekend.  It was Granddaughter Ella's birthday and all of us got together for that.  I posted about it here.

2)  Enough dry weather to be able to get out for walks most days.  The ground is still very muddy but I don't mind that.

3)  More volunteers at the Food bank.  Many hands make light work as they say and definitely true there, especially when the delivery from the council arrives and it all has to be sorted and stored.  Also on days like yesterday when we have to clear everything out from the Church to the storage area as there is a function at the weekend.  Most weeks some things are left in the Church but full clear downs mean the storage area has to be organised to make space for the extra items.  2 volunteers had returned from last week and there was another new one yesterday.  Hopefully they will all stay.

4)  Many of you will know one of my DILs is American so yesterday was an important day for her although here it was a normal working day so they will celebrate Thanksgiving at the weekend.  But she posted these pictures from Grandson Vinny's nursery:

I'm thankful that they have great childcare for our Grandson.

5)  A knit and natter session this week.  The previous one was cancelled as only a few of us were around so it was good to catch up and enjoy a good chat with like-minded people.

This weekend will be quieter for us.  Hope you all have a good one especially if you're still celebrating Thanksgiving.

Thursday 23 November 2023

Happy Thanksgiving! - 23/11/23

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.  

Hope you're all having a great day.

Monday 20 November 2023

Weekend Recap - 20/11/23

Well it was a busy one!

Our eldest son and his family arrived late on Friday.  The grandsons were all ready in the PJs and they both settled reasonably quickly in their beds.  Miles seemed to think it was the morning as he'd been asleep in the car and took a little bit of convincing that no, it was still time for him to be in bed lol.

Saturday we met up with our other son and his two boys plus of course the birthday girl Ella and her brother and parents.

We went to the Museum of London in Docklands where there is a play area for the kids with soft play and other activities.  They all seemed to enjoy themselves.  After the session finished they had a quick visit in the museum before heading to a pizza restaurant just a few yards away.

It's hard getting 6 little ones to pose for a photo but this is probably the best one taken between us!

Here are a few others from the day.

Not obvious from the photo but Noah and Rory chatted the whole way from the station back to our house!  Vinny tagged along too.

We brought Rory and Vinny back to our house as I was babysitting them in the evening as their Mummy was singing in a concert and Daddy was going to watch.  We fed them but then I took them back to their house to go to bed.  They were so tired out from their busy day that they were asleep within a very short time and I didn't hear another peep.

On Sunday we had them all at our house for lunch except Nathan who had swimming lessons.  But by late afternoon they had all gone home so I was able to relax in front of the TV for the evening!

Looking back on the comments from my last couple of posts (thank you for all the birthday wishes for Ella and other kind words) there were a couple of questions that I'll answer here.

Yes John we do still play Kerplunk although the version we have is not as robust as the one my children had.  It takes a while to assemble and is best done by an adult!

Marie, we do gather elsewhere for the big extended family gatherings but the group we had at our house was just Hubby's generation and we were a couple missing so only 11 - I can cope with that.

Carla, the pig I made for Ella was named Maisie in the pattern book I used so I kept to that although of course Ella may decide differently lol.

And finally for Linda, this is the pattern book I used

It quotes Louise Crowther on the front but it's a David & Charles book - there are others and the website is

Despite my struggles to complete Maisie I already have the wool to make George the Dog - on the right.  But first I have lots of knitted squares to sew together to make a blanket. 

Finally, on a slightly sad note, I'm not sure if any of my readers now go back to the time when I was originally on Yahoo and then Multiply before finally ending up here who may have known "Benni".  Her actual name was Theresa and although she hadn't really blogged much in the past few years she was very active on Facebook posting photographs she'd taken.  Unfortunately she died suddenly last week.  Thankfully there was a post on her page notifying friends - some of my blogging friends have just stopped blogging without any explanation which is a bit disconcerting. RIP Benni.

Friday 17 November 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 17/11/23

Well Friday is nearly over so I need to get my skates on and get this post done before I turn into Cinderella!

Susanne keeps us on our toes, reminding us to look back on the week and find the good things.  You can find her blog here.

These are mine for the week:

1)  A lovely meal with Hubby's siblings last Saturday.  We were the hosts and it went very well.  I blogged about it in more detail here.

2)  I finally finished the knitted pig I was making for Ella's birthday.  She turned 3 today and we will see her tomorrow for a family celebration with all the grandkids.

3)  A decent pair of wellies that are comfortable and waterproof.

As you can see my walk today involved a lot of mud.  I walked around the lake and thanks to all the rain we've had the paths are VERY muddy.  Wellies are a necessity so I'm glad of a comfy pair.  I'm also glad that we can access the rear of our house from outside so I don't have to carry the boots through the house!

4)  A nice couple of hours with Ella on Wednesday.  We spent ages "playing" Kerplunk.  

She was more interested in just dropping the marbles down the chute than really playing the game but it kept her occupied for quite a while and then we moved on to Playdough.

5)  Noah and Miles are here for the weekend!  (And my son and his wife of course and not forgetting Ness the greyhound.)

Looking forward to us all getting together for Ella's birthday tomorrow and then on Sunday our station is celebrating 150 years of the railway being here.

Hope you all have a good weekend too.

Monday 13 November 2023

I'm done with cooking! 13/11/23

This was the setting for our meal for Nick's siblings on Saturday - we emptied out the living room and used folding tables, our dining room chairs and the new folding chairs I'd ordered so we could seat everyone comfortably. 

The dining table was used for drinks and nibbles.

The menu consisted of:

Velvety chicken liver parfait (posh word for pate lol)

Followed by Fruity lamb tagine with couscous

Finished with Chocolate & coffee truffle pots accompanied with crisp orange shortbread.

Except I forgot to serve the biscuits with the dessert so we had them with tea and coffee afterwards.  

We also had cheese and biscuits ready but everyone was too full.

The pictures above are taken from the recipe book I used.  The only photo I took was this one of the empty dessert pots! (I didn't have enough coffee cups but the glass dishes saved from shop bought desserts worked just as well.)

It was worth all the hard work though as everyone seemed to enjoy their food and we had a lovely evening.  One sister and her husband stayed overnight but they left fairly early on Sunday morning so Sunday was a nice relaxing day of doing nothing once all the clearing up had been done.  So glad I have a dishwasher.

Today I've been busy finishing Maisie!

Just in time for Ella's birthday on Friday.

I had previously bought more wool to make another animal but I found assembling the body quite a challenge so I'll probably use the wool to make more clothes for Maisie.  Thankfully as Ella is our only granddaughter I can get away with that option.

I also managed a walk today as it was dry although very windy.  So a good weekend and a good start to the week.

Hope your week started well too.

Friday 10 November 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 10/11/23

Time to look back on the week and remember things to be grateful for.  Hosted by Susanne, you can find our more and check out other participants here.

My five are:

1)  A 40th birthday celebration for our DIL Vicky.  We went for lunch last Saturday with our daughter Becca, Vicky, Nathan and Ella plus our younger son Michael, his wife Elizabeth and their sons Rory and Vinny.  We went to an Italian restaurant in nearby Loughton.  The staff were really good with the kids and the kids were well behaved and we all had a good time.

2)  A quiet day last Sunday.  It had been a hectic few days before, looking after Nathan and Ella while their Mummies were and then out on Saturday so it was good to have a day just relaxing at home, catching up with some TV and reading.

3)  My tumble dryer.  We've had a lot of rain this week so not a good week for drying washing but I needed to change both our spare beds this week and I'm glad I could get all the bedding dry and ironed.

4)  Companies that have goods in stock and provide quick delivery - it's out turn to host Hubby's siblings and their partners tomorrow for dinner.  There will be 11 of us and thanks to a couple of breakages and chairs being loaned out long term I realised we didn't have enough chairs.  I managed to find a supplier online that could deliver in 48 hours at no extra charge so we now have enough chairs.  They're only basic, folding chairs but they'll store in the garage and we'll need them again at Christmas and future family visits.

5)   I'm grateful to be sitting here composing this post.  It's been a hectic day preparing for the sibling meal tomorrow.  Regular visitors here will know that Hubby does most of the cooking here but when it comes to entertaining I like to be more involved.  So I'd planned a menu where the starter and dessert could be prepared in advance but of course as usual I underestimated how long things would take to prepare.  I feel like I've been on the go all day - from first thing this morning, being up and ready for the groceries to be delivered (Another thing to be grateful for - not having to make a trip to the supermarket!) to clearing the lounge to make space for tables, cleaning floors etc.  But the food is prepared and the house is ready so I was able to sit down and relax and prepare this post.

Tomorrow will be busy but I'm looking forward to it.  Hope you all have a good weekend too.

Wednesday 8 November 2023

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 8/11/23

Joyce comes up with the questions each week - check out her blog and find other participants here.

1. Are you too hard on yourself or not hard enough? Elaborate. 

I certainly have been hard on myself in the past and I probably still am at times but I'm also working on being kind to myself.   I often have high expectations or say yes too often so I'm also working on saying no and trying not to feel guilty about doing that.

2. What's the role of gratitude in your life? 

Thinking about what I have to be grateful for keeps me grounded and helps keep me in a more positive frame of mind.

3. Where do you get your news these days? How much attention are you giving it currently? 

Various places - we still have a newspaper on Saturdays but mainly I get news on the TV or internet or occasionally we might pick up a free paper when we're out and about.  However I am giving it less and less attention, particularly at the moment when it's all so grim.

4. Do you like potatoes? Last time you prepared potatoes in some way? Which of the following is your favourite...baked potato, mashed potato, french fried potato, sweet potato, hash brown potatoes, roasted potatoes, or potato salad? 

I love potatoes in any shape or form.  Hubby does most of the cooking here but I probably most recently "cooked" chips (french fries) - putting something straight from the freezer in to the oven doesn't really count as cooking!

5. Are you a veteran? Are there any veterans in your family? Will you do anything special to honour them on Veteran's Day/Remembrance Day this year? 

My Dad was a veteran.  He joined the army when he was 16 to escape working in a coal mine but then served during WW2.  I'll be wearing a poppy for remembrance.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Going back to gratitude, I seem to be in a bit of a blogging slump at the moment so I'm grateful for people like Joyce who keep posting memes every week that are fun and easy to join in with.

Monday 6 November 2023

A Walk in the Park - 6/11/23

I walked in the park today - didn't need the wellies for that although I think they were repairing a burst water main at the end of my road as there was a lot of water being pumped out of a hole and pouring down the road!

Anyway here are a few photos of the autumn trees in the park with a lovely blue sky

And the sun setting beyond the park

And the lake.

Thanks to the clocks going back last week I need to be starting my walk earlier in the day!

Sunday 5 November 2023

Walking on Sunday (5/11/23)


Today was the first day this week that I got to do a proper walk.  It's been a busy week - I didn't even find time to do a Friday Five post again, although I have visited the blogs of those who took part and as usual there were lots of good things going on.  Apologies for the lack of comments.

On Monday I had a Diabetes Prevention Programme session.  It was good to get back to a face to face session - I missed the last one when we were away and doing the catch up over Zoom just wasn't the same.

Tuesday I did an extra session at the Food Bank and then had Ella in the afternoon. 

Wednesday was a quiet day which was needed because we had Grandchildren Nathan and Ella here from Thursday morning until just after dinner time on Friday.  It was my DIL Vicky's 40th birthday on Friday so she and my daughter Becca went away overnight to celebrate with some of their close friends.  We decided to have the children here rather than at their house but with hindsight we probably should have at least gone there to sleep.  I ended up sharing a bed with both children and needless to say I didn't get a lot of sleep!

Yesterday we (us, Becca, Vicky and their 2 children) all met up with my younger son, his wife and 2 boys for lunch at an Italian restaurant.  We've been there before and the staff are very good with the children so although not the most relaxing of meals it was still nice to all be together.

Today has been a quiet day (phew) although there are currently lots of fireworks to be heard.  I was determined to get out for a walk though and thankfully I missed the heavy shower we had this afternoon but we have had a lot of rain this week so it's:

Welly time!

The cygnets are almost fully grown now - the male swan will soon be chasing them off.

I couldn't see the other adult swan at first then found him at the bottom end of the lake where someone was feeding the birds.

The swan family were actually in one of the few sunlit areas on the lake.

I did get rained on a bit while I was out but after I got back there was a real downpour so I was lucky to avoid that as it hadn't been on the forecast I'd looked at.

I walked for just over an hour so probably covered about 3 miles - picking my way around the worst of the mud slowed me down a bit!