Friday, 13 October 2017

Friday's Fave Five - 13/10/17

Fridays are a time to look back on the week and share our blessings.
If you want to join in or check out the other participants pop over to our host Suzanne's blog at Living to Tell the Story

Autumn is definitely here - we've even had to resort to putting the heating on a few times recently but the leaves are turning and soon I will be moaning about having to sweep them all up.  But for now I'm thankful for:

1)  My Friday Pilates class.  I'm enjoying the torture lol  although it's a "gentle" class so it's not supposed to be too difficult.  I'm still struggling to identify all my different muscles and get them to work but I come home feeling a sense of satisfaction.  It's an hour of "me" time that doesn't feel a guilty pleasure and it gets me up and out early with the rest of the day still ahead of me.

2)  Visas granted for Australia!  This is just an easy online application for a tourist visa but hubby has a couple few minor driving fines from years ago that he decided he needed to declare.  My application was processed almost immediately with a positive response.  His application disappeared into the ether and we waited.  Until the next day!  But all was fine.  Phew! (We've watched the TV shows on Australia's border controls.  They are fussy about who they let in!)

3)  A house with room.  Now that Son & DIL are progressing towards their own home they are starting to accept any offers of furniture from other family members.  I currently have an extra single bed in what is supposed to be my sewing room plus a chest of drawers in the lounge.  I've decided that all works on my house are now on hold until they move out and take all their stuff with them.  Seriously it's not a problem for us (yet) and I'm just so pleased for them that so far things are going well.

4)  Nathan time - I was there on Wednesday again this week.  He still seems to be showing the symptoms of teething but I think it might be a while before any teeth make an appearance.  I got to babysit him while my daughter went to get her hair cut.

5)  Ticking off the to do list!  I haven't made lots of progress this week but the things I have done had been causing me sleepless nights.  Like the visa applications, renewing our travel insurance and sorting out the medical cover and booking in hubby's CPAP machine with the airlines.  Little things but very necessary things.  Oh and our leaking fridge got replaced!  And I ordered Christmas cards.  Thinking about Christmas this early is unheard of for me but I need to be ahead of myself as we won't be back in the UK until mid December from our trip.  Now I'll just have to find time to write them lol.

Hope you enjoy your weekend.  We were at a family gathering for our Godson's 21st birthday last Saturday.  Very busy.  This weekend looks like being quieter.


Review: Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body

Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body by Sara Pascoe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was fortunate to see Sara Pascoe at a local venue before she became famous and on TV A LOT.

This book is written in the stand up style I witnessed. Long, funny monologues. But with a lot of science, common sense and personal insights thrown in. It's hard to categorise the book but it's definitely a must read, especially for men. Yes it's written from a female perspective but, as Sara rightly points out, better education is needed on how our bodies work, what makes us do the, sometime stupid, things we do and how our emotions come into play.

It also made me thankful that I've grown up in a developed society although we're still very much a work in progress.

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 11/10/17

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at
Pop over there to see other posts and if you want to join in add the link to your Hodgepodge blog post to the Linky List at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

1. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your sense of direction? 1=can't find my way out of a paper bag and 10=if I've been somewhere once I can find it blindfolded ten years later.
I’m probably an 8.  I think I have quite a good sense of direction although I did get lost navigating my way through IKEA today lol
When was the last time you looked at/used a map you could hold in your hand? (phones don't count!) 
Not recently but I do still keep a map book in the car and we’ve been on walks where we’ve used real maps – more reliable than the phone signal!
back east, down south, out west, up north
Choose one of these directional expressions and tell us why you chose it.
Up north.  London is often considered to be south so everything else must be up north!
2. Did you do more talking or listening yesterday? Is that typical? Describe your yesterday in one word.
Probably about 50-50.  Typical on a day when hubby was at home and the kids were around for dinner.  Yesterday - marking time.  Sorry I know that’s two words but I couldn’t think of one word to sum up my day of waiting for a new fridge to be delivered – late morning became 5.15 pm.
3. Time, money, water-power-resources, opportunity...which one on the list are you most guilty of wasting? What might you do to change that?
I can be guilty of all those at times although I probably don’t waste too much money and I’m definitely more conscious about wasting resources than I used to be.  I’m working on not wasting time, or feeling less guilty about it when I do.  I’m also trying to be better at saying yes to opportunities.  
4. Did your family take regular vacations when you were a kid? Tell us something you remember about a family road trip from your own childhood.
We tended to just have an annual summer holiday – we often went to a holiday camp by the sea and often that would be with other family members.  I can remember one year travelling in a convoy and one of my uncles, who was definitely a joker, giving us cards with the letter T and P on them.  He told us to hold up the T if we needed to stop for tea and P if we needed the toilet!
5. If you could grow anything you wanted, what would you grow? Why?
I always wanted to grow my hair.  I always felt long hair was more versatile but mine always seemed to get to just past my shoulders and then stop.  These days I’d probably prefer to grow some scented flowers.
6. Insert your own random thought here.
We could be empty nested again by Christmas.  Son and DIL have had their mortgage approved so another step towards having their own place. Exciting times. 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Friday's Fave Five - 6/10/17

Fridays are a time to look back on the week and share our blessings.
If you want to join in or check out the other participants pop over to our host Suzanne's blog at Living to Tell the Story

A day late but at least I'm here and have things to be grateful for:

1) The chance to see the flat that hopefully my son and his wife will be moving to.  It's a really nice flat with 2 good sized bedrooms and the current owner seemed a really nice person.  The kids had offered to pay the asking price but another bidder had offered slightly more.  Turns out the other bidder wanted to buy the flat as an investment and intended to let it out.  The owner wanted to sell to people who would live in the flat and the kids' offer was enough for her to buy the house she wants.  Refreshing to find someone that's not just out to get as much money as possible from a sale.  Of course lots could go wrong between now and completion but we're keeping our fingers crossed.

2) A visit from one of our DILs friends which meant cooking a Sunday roast.  With Liz being American and both of them having made lots of overseas friends on their travels we are often a base or visiting point when they come to London.  Last week her friend wanted to experience a Sunday roast dinner so we had beef with all the trimmings.  We don't actually always follow the tradition of a roast dinner on Sunday but it's nice when we do.

3)  A lovely supportive online book group.  We signed up for doing book swaps at the beginning of the year and we have just done our 3rd one.  A new book, some comfy socks and chocolate treats.  What's not to like?

4)  Living in a country that doesn't have REALLY extreme weather.  Snow already Suzanne?! Brrrr

5)  Nathan time!  I spent the day there on Wednesday and then Nick joined us for dinner.  I love spending time with him even when he's a bit grumpy.  He's doing quite a bit of dribbling and not sleeping well so we're on the lookout for teeth.

I hope you've all had a good week and are enjoying the weekend.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge 4/10/17

Wednesday's Hodgepodge is brought to us courtesy of Joyce at
Pop over there to see other posts and if you want to join in add the link to your Hodgepodge blog post to the Linky List at the end of Joyce's post and don’t forget to visit at least your neighbours on the list.

1.  Have you ever spent time on a farm? Tell us a little bit about it. Have you ever grown your own pumpkin? Been on a hayride? Driven a tractor? Milked a cow?
I’ve spent very little time on farms just the odd visit here and there.  My French brother-in-law’s family were farmers so I’ve been there and my school worked with a Christian community that established themselves in Sussex.  They had farmland but also a furniture making business so that they were self-sufficient and the school would make regular visits.  I’ve also taken the kids to various “open” farms but I’ve never done any of the things on the list.
2. What's something younger you would like about you now? 
Hopefully the way I’ve raised my family.
3. What are three things you'd like to do more often?
Be more productive with my time.
More crafting.
Getting out and about.
Three things you'd like to do less often?
Procrastinate/Waste time.
Checking/deleting e-mails.
4. What's on your nachos?
I seldom eat nachos.
5. What's the most random thing in your purse or wallet? Does it need to stay there?
Someone gave me “An Angel in your Pocket” charm and as I don’t always have something on with pockets but very seldom leave the house without my purse the Angel is in my purse.
6.  Insert your own random thought here.
Answering #3 reminds me of the battle I constantly have with myself.  I have good days when I’m really organised and productive and get loads done or take myself out.  And other days when I just please myself and very little gets done and then I feel guilty at the end of the day.  Then a little voice pipes up saying “you’re retired, it’s ok” but I guess it’s because I don’t really see myself as retired.  I stopped working.  It’s different.  I need to work out a long term plan and maybe a bucket list.  Maybe tomorrow lol.  Today I’m off to spend time with Nathan and his Mummies.  Far more important.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Book reviews (A couple I missed)

The Perfect GirlThe Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead. In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe's former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.

Unfolding over a span of twenty-four hours through three compelling narratives, The Perfect Girl is gripping, surprising, and emotionally complex—a richly layered look at loyalty, second chances, and the way secrets unravel us all."

I enjoyed the way this story unfolded showing us in flashbacks what had happened in the past – how the 14 year old Zoe had driven a car, not knowing that her drinks had been spiked and been involved in an accident, killing 3 other teenagers. She had spent time in a young offenders institution and after her release she and her Mother had made a new start.
The new start included a 2nd marriage for her Mother and Zoe gained a step-dad, Chris, and a step-brother, Lucas. The past seems to be behind them but when Zoe and Lucas are preparing to perform at a concert one of the victim’s parents storms into the concert hall and creates a scene.
The same parent turns up at their house later and this sets off a sequence of events that lead to Maria’s death.
The present is told through various POVs and although it was interesting to see how the story unfolded and the way Zoe and Lucas conspired together to provide enough evidence for Chris to be prosecuted for Maria’s death there wasn’t a great deal of suspense or depth to the book. It was an easy read but not a great read.

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The DressThe Dress by Jane L. Rosen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Legend has it that every season there is one dress. The dress that can make your career, ignite a spark with that special someone, or utterly transform your life. For Felicia, who has been in love with her boss for 20 years; for Natalie who has sworn off men since her ex dumped her – for them and for others, life is about to change.

And all because of their brush with the dress of the season, the perfect little black number that everyone wants to get their hands on…

A lovely light fluffy read that takes various characters and weaves a story from them all linked by the LBD. Great escapism.

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