Wednesday, 31 January 2018

January 2018

2018 started quietly for us, a meal, some bubbly, watching the fireworks on TV and at Thomas' request jigging around the lounge to Auld Lang Syne. After the meal Amy went off to a party at her friends, so it was just the 3 of us again.
       
The decs and the decks have been cleared and the house is back to normal. The dark nights still call for candles being lit and it seemed a shame to relegate the ornament Mum bought me to a box in the shed for a year so I've kept it out. I'm not ready to relinquish winter just yet, but with the slightly longer days and the blossom tree that Sadie embroidered for me in full view, I'm reminded that spring will be here before we know it. 
      
I'm trying to consciously eat a bit more colour and the post Christmas herbal teabags are featuring heavily although you can't beat a good cup of tea and a piece of Christmas cake. And even though I'm happy for Mark and Amy to eat some truffles in the interests of my weight, that's not to say I've had the willpower or inclination to totally abstain.
      
The one and only planned job for the year has already taken place with the lounge being decorated. Our decorator is out of action at the moment with a bad shoulder and after a rather eye-watering quote from another we decided to do it ourselves. I was on glossing duty and we both did the painting and wallpaper. We've also had to have the shed roof re-felted thanks to a visit from Storm Eleanor.
                                     
I made a NY resolution this year to make myself more of a priority and to do the things I like doing. 2017 slipped through my fingers and I don't want a repeat in 2018. There are some behind the scenes things I'm doing but I'm also re-embracing the jigsaws and books which I lost interest in. So far I've read 3 books and completed a jigsaw. 
  
The crochet is always a constant and I've posted 6 baby blankets off this month. The hexys are out again and I'm in the throes of making flowers. I've finally mastered how to sew a heart on the machine that looks like a heart and made some tiny baby quilts.  
  
The family are all well and touch wood, so far we have all remained flu-free. Amy has just finished her mocks at college and has officially accepted a place at Salford University. Thomas is still enjoying school, made all the more fun this month by him dissecting a sheep's heart in biology. And Sienna is now mobile with the help of her walker. 

   
The weather has been cold and I've spent a good part of the month in battle with Mark over the central heating dial! Thank goodness for cosy crocheted blankets. There has been the odd dusting of snow and a lot of wind, rain, hail and even thunder.   
Flowers are still a weekly treat - roses and the first of what will no doubt be many bunches of daffodils. There is also a primrose sat on the coffee table. They always remind me of Mother's Day. I know I gave my Mum plenty when I was younger and I've received a fair few myself from Amy and Thomas. Such sweet little plants.
    
I've also been baking cakes for those cold but snuggly 'glad to be inside' afternoons
                              
So, is this the beginning of blogging again? Well in a word Yes. After a break of 4 months, writing my Christmas post and having a chat with you all, felt like coming home. Pus I needed to look something up on the blog and got engrossed in how much we'd done and how much Amy and Thomas have changed over the past 5 years and suddenly it seemed a shame not to keep a note of things. So I thought I'd do an end of month round up this year. Life pretty much ticks over the same each day but it'll be nice to make a note of a few things each month. And of course if you do stop by it's always lovely to have a catch up. 

And in my typical fashion of all or nothing, I've also set up a new blog called Snapshots of Number 38. It's just a daily photo of something that makes me happy or that I have a thought on. There are no comments switched on, it's more a photo album with a tiny bit of blurb to go with the picture.
Hope January has been good for you all. I know a lot of people are glad to see the back of it, but it's become one of my favourite months mainly because it's a long one and follows the rules of time by going slowly :) Come February and the days just seem to fly by. 

Until next time. 

xxx

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Just in case.....

Just in case anybody pops by for whatever reason then 
all the gang from Number 38 wish you a 
Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

We hope 2018 is a good one for you all. 

A few photos

Me and my boy

Butter wouldn't melt....

...don't be misled - this is the result of her 
getting drunk last week and falling over

Mark is still under the thumb haha

Still eating chocolate - but not as much - honestly!

Still crocheting

Still caravanning - we have a permanent pitch next year

Still baby minding every week

Still going to Uni - Amy got unconditional offers from 
Salford and York her top 2 choices and 
will be going to Salford in September

Still enjoying school and growing up fast

Still best friends....most of the time

Still visiting Joan

Still got the doggies
 

Still here plodding on coming up for five years after the HA.
Still not mastered the art of selfies!

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas. 

xxx

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A Fond Farewell

Well, we're back at Number 38 after having a lovely 3 weeks away in the caravan. There has been sunshine, rain, wind and storms but we've loved every minute of it. We've walked miles, picked blackberries, played baseball, tennis and there have been endless swingball tournaments. There has been shopping, a trip to the cinema and the discovery of a new park. We've had visitors - Aunty Edith and Ken one day and Matthew and Sienna another. While I had the baby the troops went to Blackpool Dungeons and then Matthew and Thomas went up the tower and did the skywalk. Thomas might be unsure of a lot of things but unlike me heights isn't one of them and according to Matthew was quite happy up there. 

I have cross stitched, knitted, crocheted, read and eaten far too much cake and ice-cream but nowhere near as many chips as Mark and Thomas! 

We have given serious though to pitching the caravan next season and if we can get the spot we want have decided to go for it. There's a couple of reasons for this, the main one being that I've not been in the van half as much as I'd have liked this year. If we pitch it, jumping in the car and driving down the motorway to it waiting for us all set up will be so much easier and I'm sure we'd spend a lot of weekends over there.  The other reason is from a health point of view, we get so much fresh air and exercise when we're over there we all feel tons better for it and want to keep building on that if we can. At the moment there is a waiting list but I have my fingers and toes crossed they will be able to accommodate us. 

So, that's our main 2017 holiday over already. There are just 3 weeks left until Thomas goes to high school and this week there is uniform to buy plus a whole load stationery they supposedly need so I need to crack on with that.

Then on Saturday me and Amy are off on the train to York to look at the university to see what she thinks. 

The following week the decorator is coming to do the kitchen. I wanted it painted before school and college started so that the first week Amy and Thomas are back I can go through all the cupboards and give it a good sorting out. So lots of bits and bobs to do over the coming weeks.  

And now for other news. I decided on holiday that I'm going to hang up my blogging hat. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, but winding it up and moving on feels right for me. 

Maybe it's because we're at a new point in our lives with Thomas getting older and starting high school and Amy at college thinking about university, but one of the reasons I started it was as a diary for them both after I'd had the heart attack - just in case.....My thinking was that at least they'd have some memories and photos of what we'd done. Now they're both older I feel that I've achieved what I set out to do and that it's 'mission accomplished'. 

So the decision has been made but before I go I want to say a big thank you to you all for stopping by to read and for leaving comments. I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of our conversations and I've never had anything but the loveliest words from you all. I really do feel like I've made a lot of friends over the past 4 years. You've made me laugh, been there to assure me that the drama that often goes with children is all quite normal, helped me through the tough time of  losing Tom with your supportive words, shared stories of relatives that have gone through the care system like Joan and inspired me to do lots more than I ever would have done if I'd never found you all. Of course, I know where you all are so I will still be popping over to have a chat with you on your blogs.

And for anybody who's interested I'll still be posting photos on instagram and have no plans to stop this any time soon, so you'll be able to see what we're up to.

Thank you all for making my blog a lovely place for me to visit. It's a part of my life that I'm so glad I've documented and I will always treasure it. 

With love to every one of you, from myself and the gang at Number 38 

xxx



Sunday, 23 July 2017

Photo 55

Tomorrow we are off to the van and I can't wait. I've not been in it half as much as I would have liked to this year. There will be trips home for various reasons during our 3 week break but the majority of the time we will be over on the Fylde coast.

Plans for the first week include walks along the front, tennis, pitch and putt etc. The second week I'm trying to make it more holiday-ish so maybe a couple of days out and possibly a show and the third week back to our routine of lazing around taking each day as it comes.

The internet isn't brilliant where we are so to reduce stress levels of "why won't this bloody thing load", I won't be blogging. But in the spirit of my 'photo a day' I will be posting on Instagram which comes up on the blog anyway.

And feel free to leave a comment on here if you fancy as I shouldn't have a problem using my phone to 'talk' to people or to keep up with what you're all doing.

Right, off to finish my packing now which to cover all eventualities includes a full winter and summer wardrobe because after all this is a British seaside holiday and brollies and sunglasses will probably both make an appearance at some point over the next 3 weeks! 

See you soon. I'll bring you all a stick of rock back :)

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside!
I do like to be beside the sea!
I do like to stroll along the Prom, Prom, Prom!
Where the brass bands play, "Tiddely-om-pom-pom!"
So just let me be beside the seaside!
I'll be beside myself with glee
and there's lots of girls beside,
I should like to be beside, beside the seaside,
beside the sea!
xxx










Saturday, 22 July 2017

Photo 54

We never did go strawberry picking. Typically we can sit here most weekends with nothing to do, yet when we do want to do something other things crop up.

Never mind, I haven't missed out, I've just been buying them from the supermarket instead. I bought a punnet from Lidl on Thursday and I've had a bit of a strawberry fest today. 
It started with breakfast - natural yoghurt, blueberries, figs, walnuts and strawberries. Delicious.
Then I made a small pot of jam to take to the van with us for those homemade cream teas that are very much part of any holiday regardless of where I am. 
And I kept half a dozen to one side and whipped up some cakes.
Not bad from one punnet at a cost of £1.39.

In between the baking and jam making, the rest of the day has been spent playing Monopoly. Thomas has just bought 3 hotels, Amy has a stash of money that keeps growing and I've got houses on Bond St, Regent St and Oxford St which should bring me £450 every time somebody lands on them. Can you believe nobody has landed on them yet. So frustrating!

Hope you've all had a lovely Saturday. 

xxx

Friday, 21 July 2017

Photo 53

Second day of the summer hols and Thomas is full of a cold. Sienna started with a sticky eye yesterday afternoon so I'm wondering if she's passed something on to him. Not that he really went near her but they were in the car together on the way to park. Mind you, it could be the fresh air and outside germs that he's not used to!

Anyway, it was Middleton today with Mum and he wanted to come with us. He sold some games and skylander figures a couple of weeks ago and got a voucher for them so he took that with him. He wanted to go off on his own while we did our shopping which I was fine with, so off he set with his voucher, £2 and my phone. When we met up he'd bought a poster, a Wii U Game, a sausage roll and a drink. The fact he's confident enough to do all that is brilliant. Before anybody has visions of him wandering around on his own in somewhere like The Trafford Centre, Middleton shopping centre is very small and a good place to start your first solo shopping expeditions.

Back home I very conscientiously entered all my expenditure on a spreadsheet I set up at the beginning of July. I've been meaning to do this for years - no exaggeration. I start off well but within a few days I get bored and stop or lose receipts and don't know where I'm up to, but this month I've stuck to it. 

Oh. My. Goodness. I've bought 'nothing' but have so far managed to spend £362 and the only proper bill in there is 2 weeks of shopping. What an interesting exercise and what an eye opener. If you asked me what I spend at Lidl I'd reply about £70 but not really think about the top up shop I do at the butchers, Iceland or the bits I buy from Bury. If you asked me if I've bought anything out of the ordinary, I'd say no, because already I've forgotten about the teacher's gifts, Thomas' prom outfit and bits for his bedroom when we decorated. If you asked me have I been out, I'd say, just for a meal with my friends, but that meal, plus coffees with Mark, Amy and Mum has seen me hand over £50 this month. 

It's very interesting when you think you don't spend any money how much you do actually spend and on what.

There have been a few 'no spends' as well, she says, feeling all virtuous. No flowers this week because we're at the van and the lisianthus I bought a couple of weeks ago have been cut down and are still pretty. Plus I keep cutting what seems to be a never ending supply of sweetpeas from the garden.

No chocolate because after happily munching my way through all my birthday treats I've decided to take a break from the sweet stuff for a while.

Nothing from The Works because as well as having a break from crafting, I also have several books in my reading pile that I need to work through. 

And no wool, because I've two balls in my stash and that's all I need at the moment to finish my poncho.

Actually, if we could all just forget about the £362, I'd say it's been quite a frugal month so far!

Do you keep a tally of what you spend, try to and fail, or not bother at all? 


xxx














Thursday, 20 July 2017

Photo 52

First day of the summer hols YIPEE! No lie-in because we were on baby-minding duties BOO! - to the lack of lie-in not Sienna. 

I made a point of not organising anything for the next few days, I was just going to let Thomas enjoy the first few days of the holidays at home. At 12.30 he came out of his room and said those fatal words "I'm bored". 

Sienna was asleep so we spent half an hour trying to make an origami swan, as you do, then resorted to good old fashioned paper aeroplanes. After she'd woken up and been fed, I made him get dressed, bundled them into the car and we went out to Heaton Park for a couple of hours for some fresh air. He's hard to get out of the house but enjoys himself when we do go out although I'm not sure he'll tell me he's bored again any time soon.

We had a lovely walk around, went to visit pets corner, made a plan to go back and hire a boat on the lake when we don't have Sienna, picked up a leaflet for treetoptrek which he's really keen to do and treated ourselves to ice-creams.

It was a really nice afternoon and I'm hoping there'll be lots more fresh air next week over at the Fylde coast.

Thank you for all your lovely comments yesterday, you are such a lovely bunch of bloggy friends.
   

  

   

xxx