Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Video of Thomas in Playground

Wish I could bottle his laugh. 

Especially like the way he says take the picture  'woman' :)

Sunday, 23 October 2016

October - Week 3

The week started with another physio session for Thomas. This time he spent 45 minutes on his tip-toes; walking on his toes, jumping up and down on his toes, balancing on his toes, walking up stairs on his toes, you name it, he did it on his toes. You can tell by his face that it hurts and a couple of times I had to look away when his baby blues pleaded with me. Not that the physio is a monster, he's very nice, but it's definitely a case of being cruel to be kind. The problem is getting Thomas to do the exercises at home. It doesn't help that I'm a big softy either, so Mark has to take charge - of both of us!
I didn't think his request for  gingerbread man/cat was too much to ask after the session and we sat in the car for 15 minutes while he enjoyed his treat, then it was back to school.
We went to Manchester this week to an art gallery. We'd been invited to a VIP event which means you get a glass of champers, nibbles and a sneaky preview of an exhibition, obviously in the hopes you're going to part with some cash. We couldn't make the date so we went on Tuesday instead. There was no VIP treatment although we did get a coffee and a private viewing and I did part with some cash. I can't show you what I've bought as they won't release it yet so I had to come home empty handed. While we were there we nipped into Annies for breakfast, my favourite new place to eat.
The week flowed pretty much as it usually does from then on. Look away now if you're not ready for Christmas Chatter. As well as buying myself some hand cream and a couple of balls of wool from Bury, I also bought candy canes and a Christmas cross stitch. I've written lots of lists this week and I'm feeling pretty organised, on paper at least.
I've also gathered all the crochet up and washed it ready to send off to Knit For Peace. This package will have 2 baby cardigans, 1 blanket, 1 poncho, 1 bunny rabbit cuddle blanket and 3 dolly cuddle blankets in it.

These are the dolly cuddle blankets. I've made them using the heads I crocheted a couple of weeks ago. I decided against the spiral dolls for the time being because although they're easy they're a bit fiddly and time consuming to sew up and I need to clear my wardrobes of all the crochet to make room for Christmas stuff (sorry, there's that word again), so a quick granny square and a tube for arms seemed a better option.

I've also carried on with the sorting out and took this pile of stuff to the charity shop. 

I'm in 'thinking ahead' mode at the moment so bought Pumpkins and a couple of candles from Lidl for Halloween. The pumpkins were a bargain at 79p each and I bought Amy and Thomas one each so there'll be no arguments on the creative front!
 I've also bought fireworks for Bonfire night and I'm in the throes of organising Thomas' birthday party.
At the moment we are in our van having a few days away for half term. We managed to find somewhere near Lytham so once again I'm a happy caravanner and so are Amy and Thomas. They spent ages in the park yesterday afternoon whizzing down the zip wire. 
And pushing each other on this swing. I have a cracking little video of Thomas but I can't post it because wifi isn't brilliant but I'll pop it on the blog in the week. 
And that's been my week really. Nothing too much out of the ordinary. Housework, crochet, children, Bury, shopping with Mum - it's all pretty much the same week in, week out, but it's what 'life at number 38' is like and as far as I'm concerned it's all pretty good stuff :)


Sunday, 16 October 2016

October - Week 2

It's been a bit of a medical week at Number 38. My uncle finally had his heart bypass on Monday and is doing well. So much so that he was discharged from hospital on Friday. 4 days exactly from being taken down for the op to be discharged. Amazing.

Thomas had his first physio session. It lasted one hour and he was certainly put through his paces but the physio made it lots of fun for him. Somehow learning to juggle was incorporated into the session and there was plenty of laughing as the balls went flying all over the room. Another exercise was to bend down on one leg while holding a cup of water on a book. I'm proud to report Thomas didn't spill one drop. It wasn't easy though and some of the exercises hurt him which was hard to watch but he gritted his teeth and persevered bless him. 
Amy also went to see the Doctor and has to have some blood tests. The earliest appointment we could get was in 2 weeks time, then we need to make an appointment to see the Doc a week later, so we'll be well into November by the time we get the results. 

This week I've been crocheting a jacket for a baby boy.
And I've also been adding granny squares to the poncho.
Which I managed to finish off at the van. That's one of the best bits about the van, there is always time to crochet.
I did put the hook away for a couple of days this week to concentrate on the house. Although I've been keeping up with my daily routines it suddenly felt untidy behind the scenes. This is a wardrobe clearing session. I've also gone through drawers, the airing cupboard, the medicine boxes, the bathroom cabinet and the book shelves. It feels better but there is still a fair bit to do.

It's a good job I'm doing it though because I've started to buy bits for Christmas which need to be hidden away. This will be the first year in 16 years that the big jolly man won't be visiting Number 38. I have mixed emotions about this. I'm sad because that part of our life has been and gone, but pretty upbeat because there is now an official present budget :) As usual there will be little surprises and I bought this bottle of dried ingredients for making brownies and these little bottles of hot chocolate flavours for Amy from Wilko.  
Sienna had another sleepover and we took her to Bury on Wednesday. Very inconveniently she woke up early and needed feeding, so my browse around The Works came to an abrupt end with no purchases. We hot footed it over to our cafe, where the ladies passed her around while we sorted out the bottle, water, milk, muslin etc etc. Then we took turns to eat while the other fed her. Brought back awful memories of when Amy was little and we never seemed to get a meal in peace!

We've all been to the caravan for the weekend, including Amy and the dogs. Mark set it up Thursday and we all went over Friday after school. I've missed it. It was only a short visit but it was good to get back out in her. It's been 7 weeks since we were last at Blackpool and the seasons have definitely changed.
Saturday evening we drove down the front to see the illuminations and then headed home with fish & chips. 
I tried to get a picture of a train tram passing, but ended up with this instead.
We arrived back home today about 2pm which gives me plenty of time to sort myself out and settle down for an evening with Mr Poldark, a glass of fizzy, carried carefully all the way home, and a champagne truffle or two.

This week is the final one before half term. Things to do this week include another physio session on Monday, carry on tidying behind the scenes in the house, finding the Halloween decorations, start organising Thomas' birthday party and to do a little bit more for Christmas.

We've also managed to find somewhere to go next weekend so I need to get organised for another van trip.

What have you all been up to?


Sunday, 9 October 2016

October - Week 1

Monday brought some good news. The Doc rang with the results of my second blood test and after lowering the dose of the tablet all seems well again with my kidney function. I must admit I'd let the twice yearly blood tests slip a little, pushing it to 8/9 months in between each one, but I shall stay on track now and go every 6 months.

Crochet project this week was this little cardigan. Just need to wash it and it will be added to the pile for Knit For Peace.
I've also finished the blanket and added a few extra rows at the top and bottom to make it oblong.
I've spent a lot of the week while I've been sat crocheting thinking about Christmas. This week I've been concentrating on games which have become a favourite part of Christmas Eve at Number 38. I've come across a really simple one where a story is read which includes lots of the words LEFT and  RIGHT. Somebody starts off holding a present and every time the words are said the present has to be passed either left or right. Whoever is holding the present when the story is finished gets to open it. 

Sienna stayed with us Friday night and we've now added a travel cot to our collection of baby things. I'd forgotten just how much noise babies make even when they're asleep. It was like having a little piglet at the end of the bed with the amount of snuffling and grunting she did in her sleep.
My Prima magazine arrived this week and I decided to try a rosti-topped chicken recipe from it. I shan't be bothering again. Mine didn't look anything like this and when I made it I realised it was basically a chicken pie filling with grated potato on top. The filling was OK but I'd have preferred it inside pastry, so next time I'll just make a chicken pie.
There was a major catastrophe at Lidl this week. Their ovens weren't working and the bread and cake baskets were bare so I had to forgo my vanilla crown! I did spot this lovely tin though, pretty enough with nothing inside it, but the added bonus is it's full of shortbread.  
Mark went down to London again but he was under strict instructions not to bring any Turkish delight back with him. Instead I chose 2 bags of chocolates from Thorntons when I was in Bury; Cappuccino and Sicilian Lemon. I have one of each every night and if I'm feeling particularly generous will pass one over to Mark. It's like feeding a donkey strawberries though because he shoves it all in at once whereas I nibble mine to savour it. 
We took Mum to Wythenshawe hospital today to visit her brother who is having heart bypass surgery tomorrow. He should have had it done last week but for one reason and another it was delayed. Hopefully it will happen tomorrow so that he can start on his road to recovery. It amazes me how a heart bypass has become such a 'run of the mill' operation with a stay in hospital of no longer than 5 days expected.

Other snippets of our week can be seen on Instagram and include:

Amy dying her hair pink. She was aiming for a candy floss colour but it didn't work and she's spent most of the weekend washing it out. It might not have taken on her hair but what it has done is left an imprint of pink on  my cream leather sofa where she's been sat. Not that easy to see on the photo but it's actually quite vivid. 
I did another charity shop drop off and was pleased to see Thomas' wedding jacket I'd donated a couple of weeks ago set up on display as I often wonder if clothes just get all dumped together for a 'cash weigh in'.
I've started to buy ingredients for the Christmas cake which gets made on Stir Up Sunday which for anybody who's interested is on 20th November this year.
And I finally got around to sorting out my crochet and knitting patterns into some sort of order. Basically I've stuck a photo and printed off a pattern which I've inserted into a cheap photograph album.
I have a busy week ahead of me. Thomas is at physio on Monday. Amy is at the Doctors on Tuesday. Sienna is sleeping over again Tuesday night and won't go home until Wednesday evening. Thursday I need to pack and organise for a weekend away in the van. Friday I'm going shopping with Mum then straight from school will be setting off to Blackpool for the weekend. 

I wasn't supposed to be doing this, but the monthly took too long and I forgot some things so I think weekly on a Sunday will be better.

Hope you've all had a lovely week. 


Friday, 30 September 2016


Goodness September, have you really been and gone already? I shall be sorry to see you go this year. You've brought an autumn nip to the air over the past couple of days but for most of your stay you've given us plenty of warm and sunny days. But it's time to move over now for October, so until next year.....

So, what did September bring to Number 38. 

Well, torn between missing posting little snippets of my day but not wanting to get too tied down to the laptop, after my last post I decided to have a go at Instagram. Mark set it up for me as I'm rubbish at things like that so all I do is take the photos and post them. In fact I've accidentally managed to 'Like' some of my own posts which looks very narcissistic! Anyway, if you look on the right hand side of this page you'll see photos. I'm not sure if you have to officially follow me or whether you can just look at them on here but I put 2 or 3 up on a day if you fancy popping by to have a look. 

Thomas went back to school quite happily. I can't believe he's in Year 6, I want my little boy back right now! He's settled in really well, in fact it's the best start to a school year we've ever had. The first few weeks can often be fraught for both him and the teacher while they get to know each other but touch wood, so far we've had no issues.
He seems to be getting more independent as the days go by which is a good thing and one of his requests has been to walk home on his own. I'm not prepared for him to do that because it's too far, but I've signed a form which allows him to leave the playground unattended and walk down to the corner where one of us waits for him. He loves doing this, it makes him feel really grown up and I think it's a good step towards getting him ready for secondary school. 

One day he staggered down with this pile of books from Year 5, every one filled to the brim with work. The orange are English, blue are maths and the rest are made up of science, learning journal, spellings, dictation etc.  No complaints from me about teacher's not putting in the effort. 
He may have got a tick for his use of alliteration, metaphor, simile and onomatopoeia, but I don't mind admitting I had to look up the last word. This past month he's been focusing on verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbials, determiners, modal verbs etc. etc. Thank goodness the lad knows what he's doing, because I certainly don't.
Amy is enjoying college. Her timetable is pretty good, the only full day she puts in is Friday, the rest of the days are made up of late starts, early finishes and on Tuesday just one lesson in the afternoon. The classes are small, less than a dozen students in each and she's made friends with a few girls. There are some gaps between lessons but she quite happily takes herself off around Manchester for coffee, shopping and has even visited a couple of art galleries.

There was a bit of a gulp when we realised her travel card was going to cost £225 but having looked into it, it's actually a really good deal. For this price she can have unlimited travel, 7 days a week covering a huge area. Compared to paying £3.20 for a daily ticket the major outlay makes it worthwhile. 

Sienna has had a few sleepovers during September including a 3 night stay while mummy and daddy went to a  hotel.
I think she's slowly moving in with us actually. Matthew and Sophie have bought a few things for us to keep here and we provide the nappies, wipes and milk when she stays which means they don't have to bring everything with them when she comes. We've not really got the space for all her stuff but it didn't stop me from buying this vibrating musical bouncy chair mainly because she now weighs 12lbs and my back kills me from holding her all the time.
We've had 2 birthdays this month. Aunty Edith turned 93 on the 14th, although I don't think she looks anywhere near that old. We took Sienna over one evening and even though she was a bit grouchy Aunty wasn't for letting go, eventually rocking her to sleep. 
And Joan also celebrated her 86th birthday. We took Sienna to see her as well but she struggled to understand the Great Grandma connection and I think she thought the baby was Mark! She kept asking if 'he' was OK and did 'he' have everything he should have, bless her. Here she is eating a piece of birthday cake with not a care in the world. 
Thomas has been to the physiotherapist to have his heel lift fitted and he now has one of these inserted into his shoe. Thankfully it doesn't seem to bother him. The physio seems to think that he may be able to 'train' him to walk a little differently so we have around 6 weeks of appointments, twice a week ahead of us starting in October. In the meantime he gave Thomas a simple exercise to do, which is to walk on an imaginary tightrope with his foot straight in front of him rather than out at an angle.
 I went back to the Docs about my blood results and kidney function to be told quite matter of factly, "one of the tablets you take is known for causing kidney damage". I always choose this Doctor when I actually  need to know something important because he's like Doc Martin and just comes right out with it. Anyway, my BP readings were fine so the dose has been lowered from 8mg to 4mg. As long as my BP remains OK I can stick to the lower dose and he's pretty sure the next set of blood tests will come back normal. I don't think I was in there for more than 3 minutes!

Looking back, I seem to have crocheted rather a lot this month. Another 3 jumpers have been sent off to Knit for Peace. My favourite is definitely the bobble one. It's such an easy stitch to do but really effective. 
I've also mastered shaped crocheted long sleeves at last! Knit for Peace sent a lovely e-mail acknowledging receipt which is really good as sometimes you do wonder if things arrive. 
I may also have purchased even more wool during a trip to Bury for a little bit of blanket making.
I've tried to master this stitch before but for some reason I couldn't. No idea why because now I've got to grips with it, it's very simple.
My new found skill means I've also been able to make a bunny cuddle/comfort blanket. I've got a blue one on the go which will have a teddy head.
And here has also been a little bit of doll making going on, so as well as all the above a few of these will be in the next package I send. 
After a few weeks of not reading my bookworm seems to have bedded in again. The nights drawing in and the school routine means we are all in bed at a decent hour and for me a couple of chapters of a book is an excellent way to wind down at the end of the day. 
My daily housework routine has been fairly easy to stick to. In fact only having one room a day on my list means there's plenty of time left and I find myself doing extra jobs that I would normally turn a blind eye to. Of course not being on here as much helps as well. 

There have also been a few save the difference opportunities this month, mainly on end of season sale items and I've been able to add a few £'s to the jar, although I seem to be the only person who doesn't have a new £5 in my purse. 

Shopping sprees have been pretty sparse this month with my main purchase being a new pair of ankle boots. I've also welcomed Autumn with a shelf re-vamp courtesy of The Range.
Mark went down to London to do something with watches and brought goodies back with him.
The little box was full of Turkish Delight which I absolutely love, but although the colours were pretty it was disappointingly tasteless. Never mind, the hot chocolate more than makes up for that.
We didn't manage to get away in the van during September and the sites we wanted to visit at half term are fully booked which is really disappointing. Never mind. We're going to Blackpool for a weekend in October and I've also booked Chester for a weekend in November. I'd really like to take the van out at Christmas, maybe to Bolton Abbey, but I think that will be a last minute booking depending on the weather. 

And I think that's about it for September. Next time I post it will be Halloween which is scary - in more ways than one! 

Hope you've all been keeping well. Do drop by for a chat and a catch up. Look forward to 'speaking' to you. 


Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Is it really the last day of August? Exam results, college enrolment day and new school uniform hanging neatly in Thomas' wardrobe is a sure sign those lazy hazy summer days are all but over for another year.

So, what's been happening at Number 38 over the past few days.

Well, Amy's GCSE results came though. She did really well with A*, A and B grades, but in all honesty the maths grade totally outshone all the others because she got her much coveted C, which means that she never has to do a maths exam again. YIPEE! I don't know who was happier, her or me.

She'd chosen to have her results e-mailed to her and after a fraught morning they finally came through early afternoon. Within half an hour of receiving them she'd been up to her bedroom and gathered up all the maths paperwork she could find read to throw in the bin.
She enrolled at Manchester College yesterday and now embarks on 2 years of A Levels in English Lit, Psychology and Creative Writing. Tomorrow we're going out for a meal to celebrate her success.

We managed to sneak in another break at the van for a few days. We went last Friday and came home yesterday. It started fine with our usual swingball and connect 4 challenges.
Then it all went a bit skew whiff. We bought Thomas a scooter and within 15 minutes he'd fallen off it, twisting his ankle. An hour later when he still couldn't put his foot on the floor we made our way to A&E. Thankfully, after an X-ray the verdict was a bad sprain. As he was struggling to put any weight on it this meant we were pretty much based at the caravan for the final 2 days. We're pretty hard core at Number 38 though and not being able to walk is a minor issue, so we converted the back of the van into a 'sick bay' and turned the TV around for him to watch. 

Then me and Mark set ourselves up outside and watched the world go by over tea and cake. He's still struggling a little bit when he walks but it's getting better every day.
I'm not sure whether he'll look back on the summer of 2016 and think "ooh, I remember all those lovely days we spent at the van" or whether it will be more along the lines of "flipping heck Mum, do you remember the summer of 2016 when you kept dragging me off the Xbox to go to the van and I ended up in A&E again".

On the crafting front ponchos have been washed, buttons sewn on and they've been sent off. 
I also crocheted a twiddle muff which is a double thickness muff with buttons, ribbon and beads sewn on the inside and outside. 
They're given to Alzheimer sufferers so they have something to fiddle with, giving their hands and minds something to focus on. I sent this off to Knit for  Peace but when you type twiddle muff in the search engine it's surprising how many hospitals use them.
I did plain crocheting on the inside but for a bit of extra texture I crocheted bobbles on the outside.
My hands aren't used to being idle and after a couple of days off I was itching to get something on the hook again. We managed a trip to Cleveleys before Thomas sprained his ankle where I bought some wool including a lovely ball of multi-coloured yarn.
I decided to crochet a little top. I made it up as I went along but it's basically 2 blocks of crochet, then the sleeves are picked up and blocked and a scallop edging was added for a finishing touch. I think it looks quite cute. Mark says it reminds him of Noel Edmonds and Swap Shop and he's suggested I crochet a pink Mr Blobby one to go with it. Cheeky bugger. 
We also had a walk around the garden centre just down the lane and  I've decided Budleia is definitely on my list of plants to buy next year. No shortage of butterflies or bees over on the Fylde coast. This buddleja davidii 'White Profusion' was covered in them.
I've also taken to my books again and have read 2 since my last blog post.

On the house front, I've been keeping to my daily rota when I've been here. There are no more breaks on the horizon now until the end of September and with Thomas back at school on Monday my routine should be easy enough to keep to from now on. I've decided to do regular clear outs for the charity shop and this is the first haul. I think it will be mostly books and clothes I donate and I don't expect I'll have something every week but I'm aiming for regular drop offs rather than letting stuff build up.
I fear I may have tempted fate with my last post. I needed to have some blood tests done last week and unusually the Doc rang me with the results. Apparently my cholesterol, liver, thyroid, sugars etc are OK but my kidneys seem to be misbehaving. I have to go and see him next week where hopefully the first thing they might do is change some tablets around. We'll see. I refuse to google anything to do with it. Ignorance is bliss.  

And apart from that all is well at Number 38. I have a lot of catching up with blogs to do again so I'll be popping by to say hello to you all over the next couple of days. 

Thank you for all your comments. I haven't really been on here very much which is why I've not replied but I will be popping on now and then so if you want a 'chat' drop me a line :) 

Until the 30th September......