Tuesday, 24 March 2020

24th March 2020

I have been quietly crocheting away in the background the past couple of weeks and have made these baby blankets

Pink for a girl
Blue for a boy
And mint, lemon and white for those who don't want to stereotype!  

Sienna visited last weekend and it could be a while before we see her again. We see her maybe every 3 or 4 weeks usually and I always notice a difference in her, so I'm expecting big changes when all this if over and we can get together again. 
Thomas' school closed before the official shutdown as did Amy's Uni. Workbooks and online sessions have been set for both of them. Thankfully neither of them are in 'critical' education years. My nephew's graduation has been cancelled and his sister should be taking her GCSE's this year. Not massive things in the grand scheme but when the importance of working towards these goals has been drilled into them since day 1 of their education and dire warnings given if you don't achieve, to have them snatched from you must be really disappointing. 

I've made soup to keep the veg intake up as I'm in an at risk group and feel I should be making a more concerted effort than usual to keep healthy. 
And Thomas bought me this for Mother's Day.
I'm finding the lock down rules a little ambiguous regarding the caravan. We can queue with the masses for food, take daily exercise in a park and pick up a take away should we want to, which we don't. But it seems we aren't allowed to get into our car and drive to the van even though w'ed come into contact with nobody apart from each other. Fire regulations mean caravans have to be 6 metres apart anyway and the site is that quiet we often walk around it without seeing anybody. This is a photo taken at the weekend. Don't get me wrong, we don't want to visit the beach or go shopping. We're fully self sufficient when we're there apart from the fish and chip run which we could happily go without. But rules are rules I suppose. 
Hope you're all keeping well and for those of you who don't have to go to work and are self-isolating aren't finding it too hard to keep occupied.

Monday, 16 March 2020

16th March 2020

Hello Everybody.

Things are ticking over as usual at Number 38 even with the 'C' word on everybody's mind. Amy's uni has closed but Tom's school is still open. I can understand their thinking about the knock on effects for working parents but it really does feel like they're carrying out some sort of experiment/playing Russian roulette with younger people. Personally I think it should be a parental decision not a government one.

Mum has an appointment at hospital on Wednesday. She's anxious about going and equally anxious that not going will hold things up. We did wonder if it would be cancelled but she's had a reminder through this morning so we shall carry on with it. We're both in an at risk group so the sooner we've been and got it over with the better. 

The sun is shining today, the sky is blue, the birds are singing and the french windows are open. All feels well with the world, even if that's not actually the case. 

Hope you're all keeping well. Look after yourselves. And don't forget there's a lot you can do with the good old fashioned potato if you can't get hold of pasta. xx 

  Image result for wink emoji

Sunday, 1 March 2020

1st March 2020

Morning Everybody. Just stopping by to say thank you for all your comments - I hope you don't mind me not answering everybody individually this time. 

I don't want to go into too much detail at the moment but we are waiting on some results for Mum who's spent the last 6 weeks having several tests done. She reads this blog sometimes, so at the moment that's all I'm going to say apart from the fact it's obvious we both have a very dark sense of humour in these sort of circumstances and it's never more apparent than when we're sat together in hospital waiting rooms!  

Even if I'm not commenting as much I'm still reading along with you all so I can keep up with your news. 

Hope you all have a lovely Sunday. Happy 1st March to you all. xx

Sunday, 23 February 2020

24th February 2020

Even though Amy wasn't with us on her actual birthday she's been home for the weekend and we've had a lovely time celebrating with her. The tables games were fun and she managed to win all the clues for her birthday present which she was really happy with. We left the date open for her to choose when she wants to walk the alpacas and she's decided to wait until Uni finishes for the year and the weather is better. Sounds good to me. 

The cake went from the messy looking dogs dinner to this. Not a bad effort even if I do say so myself. And the most important thing is it tastes nice. We've eaten some, saved some and will send some home with Amy when she goes back tomorrow. 
There are things happening in the background here and my heart really isn't into blogging at the moment. That combined with a real lack of what to blog about means I'm going to be quiet for a little while. I'm not putting any time limits on how long, but for now there'll be fewer posts. But brace yourselves for lots of crochet, jigsaws and van photos when I return ;)

I'll still be popping over to your blogs to say hello but for a little while it's TTFN from Number 38. xx

Friday, 21 February 2020

21st February 2020

We went to Tom's GCSE options evening last night. There was a bit of a kerfuffle because he'd mistakenly been given the red booklet in class instead of the blue one so so we needed to sort that out, but we got there in the end. 
Unfortunately for him, he was right about German and he does have to carry on with the subject. Adding salt to the wound, at the moment he does one lesson a week but this will triple to 3! In fact out of the 9 GCSE's he'll take he only gets to choose 2 of them. Then when he does hand his choices in he has to have an interview with the Head of Year to make sure they think he's capable of getting good grades and also to make sure he's not chosen something 'easy' when he's capable of doing something 'harder'. None of it really sounds very option orientated to me, but there you go. 

I was looking up pressed flowers on good old google yesterday and stumbled across this tip. Instead of squishing them between heavy books for a couple of weeks you can place them between some paper or kitchen roll, pop that between 2 plates and zap them in the microwave for 1 minute or a little longer if required, and hey presto you've got yourself a dried flower. Why are things so obvious when you know about them! 
I've made Amy's birthday cake. It's in the naked cake style which I love because it's very forgiving lol. It's a 3 layer sponge filled with jam and buttercream and covered with a thin layer of buttercream. Tomorrow I'll top with chocolate and berries. It looks a a right dogs dinner in this photo but trust me, this is a scary stage I've worked through before and it always turns out fine. If not, then Tesco is just round the corner!  
I did a double take when I opened the box of eggs. I've never seen such brown ones. Think my free range birds had flown abroad for a holiday before they laid. 
The troops are off out to watch Birds of Prey tonight and Amy will come home with them. I need to do a few little bits for tomorrow afternoon when Matthew, Sophie and Sienna pop round and then a couple of finishing touches for our meal. It'll be nice to have her home and it's a good start to Tom's half term.
While they're out I'm going to have a soak in the bath using my new bubbles. Then I'm going to make myself a fuzzy navel and hopefully find something good to watch on TV. 

I've a busy weekend ahead of me so probably won't be back on her until Monday, so I hope you all have a lovely weekend. xx

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

19th February 2020

It was our shopping trip to Manchester today. Mark dropped Tom at school then walked the dogs while I did a quick tidy before we set for the station. Amy was out last night celebrating her birthday with friends so we'd arranged to meet her later on at the shops rather than at our usual rendezvous of Victoria Station. Here's the birthday girl looking lovely as usual. 
And here's the birthday cake I'm aspiring to make for her this weekend.
Usually I go shopping with money in my pocket but no real idea of what to buy, but this time I'd written a list. Nothing excessive, just a few 'I'm worth it' treats. Mark had gone off to do some business so while I was waiting for Amy I had a look in Waterstones, Paperchase and a mooch around M&S where I bought this bubble bath. It's the Florentyna collection and smells lovely but it was the bottle top that caught my eye and sealed the deal. 
When Amy arrived we headed across the road to my favourite row of shops. Everything I love is here. It's as though it's been built especially for me. 
First on the list was Hotel Chocolat, which probably comes as no surprise. I'd had a quick glance at flavours before I went so I knew I wanted Raspberry Pannacotta and Cherry Deluxe but I didn't just want it to be a grab and pay experience. I wanted to visually soak up all those delicious chocolate treats and hang around long enough to accept one of their delicious samples they always appear with lol. So I left my 3rd choice until I got there and finally settled on a white chocolate passion fruit. I was obviously in a fruity mood today! 
Next stop was Whittards. Today they had Rhubarb & Custard and Salted Caramel samples. I tried both, just to be polite ;) but had already decided I was buying a tin of chili hot chocolate. A few years ago when Mum stayed with us after her operation we watched Chocolat together and one scene showed Vianne making hot chocolate with chili. We decided to give it a go and it's become a favourite. I just love that little kick you get from it. Amy chose Salted Caramel.
In exchange for our e-mails we also became members of the Whittard Taster Community and were given some tea samples. Early Grey, Chelsea Garden and the loose leaf is Passionfruit and Mango Green Tea. 
We popped into Body shop and Amy bought a lovely scent while I picked up this gorgeous rose exfoliating soap. I've bought this before and it literally leaves you squeaky clean. 
Then it was over to Afflecks which wasn't what I expected at all. Not sure I'd say to people "ooh you must go" but on the other hand I'd definitely visit again. It's set out over several floors and is a mish mash of corridors and little stalls selling crystals, retro clothes, vinyl, artwork etc. 
We actually ran out of time in here, I'd sort of forgotten we had to get back for Thomas and we did end up missing our train  - oops, but I managed to buy a couple of things. This lovely heart shaped dish.
And a little notebook made from... wait for it... elephant dung! It measures just over 4x3 inches so it's small but the paper is lovely and would be ideal for pressing flowers. Not sure you can read the card but all sales support the Elephant Foundation for elderly and disabled elephants in Sri Lanka. 
And that was it. We had a brew and a quick bite to eat in Afflecks. It's always good to catch up with Amy. She really is good company and fun to go out with, but time was running out fast and we needed to get home. Next time we need to go when Tom is on holiday so we're not as rushed. 

Hope you've all had a lovely day. xx

Monday, 17 February 2020

17th February 2020

Considering Manchester is known for its rain, I can honestly say the storms haven't really brought anything more than what we're used to where we live. We had a bad hour Saturday evening where the heavens just opened and it bounced down but that's been about it. 

It just so happened in that hour we were at Sainsburys so got caught up in it. Thomas wanted to buy an Xbox game and I'd not been out all day so tagged along to have a look around. Nothing caught my eye but I didn't want to come home empty handed so I picked up this little pot of daffodils. The pot reminds me of Angel Strawbridge's Potagerie design which I love. Sainsburys sell some of her range but it's quite expensive so something smaller and similar for £1.50 suits me fine. Especially as I'm saving my money for a trip into Manchester on Wednesday.
Just while we're on the subject of flowers, look at my tulips. Aren't they gorgeous. When I catch them out of the corner of my eye they remind me of poppies. 
I went to church yesterday morning then spent most of the afternoon doing the jigsaw. Last year I decided to only buy 500 piece puzzles because they're easier to do and I can clear them off the table quicker. But I loved this picture so much I made an exception. I finished it tonight and will pick up the crochet again. My hobbies are causing me problems lately. The wrist is fine now but my shoulders are killing me from stooping over the table. Old age is creeping in! 
It's Amy's birthday tomorrow which means this time 20 years ago I was pacing up and down the hospital corridor trying to walk off the early stages of induction pains. It would be another 24 hours before they would decide to take me to theatre where it would finally, thankfully, all be over lol. She's in Uni tomorrow so we won't see her but we're meeting in town on Wednesday for shopping and birthday coffee and cake. 

Hope you're all staying safe and the weather isn't causing you any major problems.  xx

Thursday, 13 February 2020

13th February 2020

Had a trip to Asda today to buy this Peruvian Milk Chocolate. You can buy Peruvian dark chocolate pretty much anywhere but I don't think Amy likes it so the milk chocolate was a good find. 
While I was there I treated myself to a reed diffuser. They had a few choices of scent but I went for Sugared Plum. They're so pretty and the box they come in is lovely, well worth the £3 I paid. 
Just across the road is Home Bargains. I needed to kill some time before picking Tom up so had a walk round and found the pink vase and some self inflating balloons for Amy's party. Well, it's not a party as such. Matthew, Sophie and Sienna are coming in the afternoon for cake and then I'm doing a meal for us in the evening with a few table games with clues that will (hopefully) lead Amy to discovering what her birthday gift is.
My wrist is much better but I'm not taking any chances with the crochet just yet. I've put all the wool away and got a jigsaw out instead to keep me occupied. Today I managed to do most of the church tower. It may look easy enough when it's pieced together but those spires gave me no end of trouble! 
We're planning a trip into Manchester in a couple of weeks so I've been writing a list of shops I want to visit and what I want to buy. Hotel Chocolat, Lush, Whittards, Paperchase and Waterstones are on the list. And if we go on a day when Amy isn't in Uni I'm going to ask her to meet us so we can have a mooch around Afflecks Palace. I've never been but Amy goes quite often and says I'd like it. I've had a look on line and the shops seem slightly weird but wonderful so I need to go and take a look. 

Hope you've all had a great day. xx

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

11th February 2020

We don't really celebrate Valentine's Day but I think Saint Valentine is sending me subliminal messages to love myself because I was drawn to these gorgeous coloured tulips this week.
Blue blanket is now finished and I've started another. I'll be using the two pinks and white for this one. I'm going to have to wait a few days before I do any more though because my wrist is really bad. Even picking up a cup of tea is painful. The repetitive wrist action is obviously becoming a problem and I'd be really upset if it got to the stage where I couldn't continue at all, so I'm going to have to be really strict with myself and rest for a few days. It's so frustrating, especially as my mojo has returned and I have so many things I want to make. 
Amy text me at weekend. She's won employee of the month at work. It's based on who receives the most positive reviews from customers and she came top of the list. I expect it's all that fist bumping she does lol.

I went for coffee with my friend today. She has a stay in hospital coming up soon with her little boy so I wanted to see her before they went in. We met in M&S at The Fort and while I was there I popped into Asda to pick up an alpaca mug I'd seen for Amy but they didn't have any in stock. On a whim I went into TK Maxx to see if there was anything in there and would you believe I found this cuddly toy. For some reason it was slap bang in the middle of an Easter display and although I've no idea why it had been placed there, it's as though the universe knew I was on a mission and decided to help me out. 
It was wearing a rather odd hat which wasn't doing it any favours, so I've removed that and added pom poms. Ponchos and pom poms always remind me of South America, so they're a nod to Peru which is where alpacas originate from along with Paddington and his marmalade!

The weather is pretty horrid here at the minute. Very windy with lots of rain and hailstone but as yet no snow. Best place to be is definitely inside all warm and cosy with the fire on. Hope you all have a lovely week. xx

Saturday, 8 February 2020

8th February 2020

We went to Bury yesterday. I've not been for a while and I'm running out of wool so I wanted to stock up. I had pastels in mind for baby blankets and the stall on the market didn't fail me. 
I also picked up some little teddy buttons which I'll be sewing onto the fronts of baby hats I'm making. All these plans I have of what to make - I think last year's apathy for crochet and crafting has been well and truly left behind in 2019. 
The blue baby blanket is coming along nicely and I'm hoping to have it finished this weekend. Just one more heart section to do then the border. 
It's GCSE option time for Tom. They did a trial run at school yesterday. There are 3 pathways and he's in the top one which means there are certain subjects he has to take - maths, English, triple science and depending on what school decides, quite possibly German which he's not happy about. He definitely wants to do history, engineering and was thinking about geography but spotted health and social care so circled that instead. 

He had me laughing about that choice though because he said he thought it would be a medical/first aid based course and would come in handy for the police. Turns out it's childcare related and would involve bringing a fake baby home to look after so he scrubbed it out quickly lol. It may well be geography after all. 

I've booked tickets to see 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' at The Lowry in July. Amy loves anything 'drag' and it's based on a true story. I don't make a point of watching anything like this but when she's home she has me hooked on RuPaul. I'm really looking forward to going. I love the theatre plus there are no reclining seats so I'll be comfy! 
The weather is glorious here today. It's a little breezy but quite warm and the sky is blue. While I was hanging some washing out I noticed the clematis has started to burst into life. Spring is definitely coming. 
Hope you all have a lovely weekend. xx

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

5th February 2020

It seems ages since I've been on here but it's only 3 days! I guess when you post nearly every day even a short break can seem like a life time. 

There's still not much to report from Number 38 but there are some plans for this month. There's Amy's birthday, a night out with friends, coffee with another friend, a trip into Manchester with Amy and I'm hoping to fit in a couple of days out with Mark if we can synchronise ourselves. Then there's just 4 more weeks before the caravan site opens for the season which I'm really looking forward to.

Amy has settled back into university and has just received 2 very good exam grades so is in very high spirits at the minute. 
Thomas had a fantastic time at cadets last week. They went to HQ and were finger printed, breathalysed and locked in the cells. Then they were given a demo on how to arrest somebody who didn't want to be arrested. This involved the police using riot gear and an older volunteer being forced to the floor, tied up and carried into a cell. By all accounts he played his part very well, kicking and shouting all the way. 

Events are coming in thick and fast now he's passed out. Tomorrow and Friday he's helping out at a concert, in a couple of weeks he's off to Cheshire for an LGBT & Youth workshop and in April he'll be taking part in a St George's Day parade and then helping to patrol the community events afterwards. 

As well as Amy's birthday it's Sophie's this month and there are also 3 children who I'm sending token gifts to so I've been wrapping presents today. Isn't the cat paper sweet. I need some more for Sienna who's cat mad. I picked it up in the WHS discount unit we've got. They have some really good things and I only paid 20p for 2 sheets and 2 tags. 
My wrist seems to be OK at the moment so I've started another baby blanket because I need to have something on the go when I sit down. I'm making this up as I go along so I get the chance to do a few different stitches.
Mum's at hospital for a scan tomorrow so that will take up a good chunk of the morning but it needs to be done so that any next steps can be thought about although fingers crossed there won't be any.

I've somehow managed to get myself on the church cleaning rota. It only takes an hour and is every 6 weeks so hardly a massive commitment but the lady I'm doing it with wants to meet at 10am on Saturday which is quite early for me on a weekend! I was thinking it would be an evening job but not to worry. 

I've had my hair cut today although I nearly didn't bother because when I walked in she said it was looking lovely and made me sit down so she could show me how it was falling at the back. It didn't feel it very lovely. It felt dirty, heavy and shapeless, but it just goes to show even when we think we're not looking our best, how that isn't always the case in other people's eyes. 

And I think that's about all really. I'm becoming hopeless at keeping up with other people's blogs mainly because I'm really trying to cut down the time I spend on the laptop. I pick it up to catch up with everybody and 2 hours later I'm still on it watching crochet or cake decorating videos. But I will catch up with you all in the next couple of days. In the meantime, hope you're all keeping well. xx