Sunday, 29 January 2017

January - Week 4

I've gone very high tech this year with my blog and added several pages, the latest being 'Charity' where I'm going to post photos of all my makes in 2017. So far there's nothing on the book one as I'm still wading through Few Eggs, but no doubt there will be a long list by December.

Talking of Few Eggs, it's taking me far longer to read than I thought because I have to keep breaking off to google. Two things in particular I'd never heard about were the Bethnal Green Tube disaster in 1943 when 173 people were crushed to death and a bomb that hit a school in Petworth in 1942 which killed 28 children, the Headmaster, a teacher and a nearby laundry worker.
It's true when they say a picture is worth a thousand words because the children were buried together and seeing a photo of that long grave with all the tiny coffins lined up is heartbreaking. 

I seem to be all over the house this week with projects. I had to drop Sparky at the groomers so while I was there I popped into Asda and spotted some butterfly pillowcases. I buy a lot of pillow cases for sewing projects as they work out a lot cheaper than material which means I have more pennies to spend. One is being made into little bags, the other will be used for quilting.
I also bought this fabric from Lidl. It cost £2.99 and is 100% cotton. Again, a couple of pieces are for bags, the others are for a quilt.
I'm still knitting and crocheting in the evenings and this week I've made the second gown and also worked this little crib up. 
After a lot of looking I finally managed to find a video which showed how to make angel wings. They're really simple to do and take less than 5 minutes to hook up.
Thomas won an award at school this week for 'superb behaviour'. Most of his awards are for good behaviour and it's nice to know his teacher recognises this, but I always think it sounds as though he's generally a little ratbag and has actually managed to be good for a week! They really need to add "as usual" on the end. Here he is looking like he's been dragged through a hedge backwards. Lord knows how he'll go on at High School with the tie, he hates having it right up to his neck but the Head at what will hopefully be his new school is a stickler for uniform. 
No shopping with Mum this week, she didn't feel like de-icing the car. Can't say I blame her, it's been really cold here again this week. But she did come down yesterday for a brew and a drive over to Dunelm with us where I spent the grand total of £4.48 on lace and wadding. 
The lilies from last week have opened and smell wonderful. 
Unfortunately, while Mark was closing the blinds he balanced the vase on the carpet and it fell over and I now have a lovely yellow stain. A top tip for any future lily pollen calamities is don't touch it, certainly don't try to sponge it up like we did because it spreads like wildfire, just get some sellotape and it lifts off straight away. 
Yet another book has been added to the stash. This is about a boy called Harry who every time he dies returns as a child with all the knowledge from his lives previously lived.
We are addicted to poached eggs at the moment. The best thing is I can't make them but Mark can, so it's become his job to provide breakfast at weekends.
I went to my physio appointment on Monday. After pressing down on either side of my spine it was declared I have very tight muscles. Thank goodness he didn't ask me to turn over to repeat the exercise on my tummy - the diagnosis would have been completely different! These are the exercises I have to do. Have I? Well, I'm trying but it flipping well hurts to do anything when you've got a bad back so it's not going too well at the moment. 
I've got a busy week ahead of me. Sienna is staying over Tuesday and Wednesday, I'm out with friends on Thursday, going to the theatre on Saturday with Mum and Amy and there is something nice happening on Friday that I can't write about because Mum is involved and she reads this - but I've written about it just to keep her guessing for a few days. 

I've not been on here very much this week, sometimes it's nice to have a break from the laptop isn't it, so I hope you're all keeping well and enjoying yourselves. 

Have a lovely week. 


Sunday, 22 January 2017

January - Week 3

January is still rolling by at a gentle pace and there seems to be plenty of time to do the things I want to do rather than have to do. 'Wants' are jigsaws, knitting, sewing, reading, TV and eating truffles. The 'haves' covers everything else involved with looking after a family and running a house. 

When I think about it there is a lot of routine to my days but I like that - knowing what I'm doing and where I'm supposed to be makes life easy and the added bonus of routine is anything different thrown in is always welcome. 

The week started with a lovely surprise package in the post from Sue at Our Quiet Life at Suffolk. It was a thank you for finding her a game she'd been looking for. There is a beautiful cross stitched fridge magnet, a notebook with my favourite coloured flowers and the sweetest teddy picture which I'll stitch for Sienna's Christmas card this year. Thank you Sue :)
It's been all about knitting here this week. I thought I'd have a change of charity for 2017 and I'm knitting for angel babies again - something I did several years ago. This is what I've made so far. A gown, 2 angel wraps and an angel. 
The charity I'm knitting for asks that 2 of each item are made so parents get an exact duplicate of what baby was given which they can take home for their memory boxes. I wrote a post back in 2013 which you might like to read.

I'm still making things for Knit For Peace, although I won't be doing as much this year. Rather than blankets I've decided to knit some  baby sleeping bags. This is what I'm aiming for.
This is what I've got so far. It may looks like a hot water bottle cover for a giant but I'm confident it will turn out fine one it's sewn up and has the straps and buttons added. 
My new jigsaw is proving a lot easier than the last one. There is colour definition for a start which is always helpful. It's called Bicycles in Amsterdam - somewhere I would love to visit one day. I don't have a bucket list but I think I should definitely start a 'now the children have now left home, let's do this' list. 
Thomas went back to school on Wednesday, still coughing a little bit but a lot better than he was. Matthew had got tickets for the City match yesterday and thankfully he was well enough to go. It's too long a story to go into but Matt's work connections meant they were given complimentary tickets and passes to a VIP box. Thomas was really excited. He loves a bit of the high life and couldn't stop talking about them having a waitress who kept bringing them drinks and food - not that he had anything!
There was an added bonus of a goodie bag waiting for him with a scarf and a shirt signed by Kevin de Bruyne. They both had a brilliant time and it'll be something Thomas will always remember. 
Other snippets from this week.

Sienna came on Saturday. We're having her at the end of the month for 2 nights so we weren't asked and we didn't offer to have her overnight this time. Photos of her smiling are very thin on the ground - she's a serious little character.
Mum and I went on our usual weekly shopping trip although this week was a little different as we were both looking for clothes. I bought myself a cardigan and a pair of jeans. I've not worn jeans for years and they're a lovely fit although I have to confess I'm scared of washing them in case they shrink! I mentioned to Mum that I was going to treat myself to a nice lipstick in a gold case and when I found one she very kindly bought it for me. It's far too nice to be shoved in a make-up bag so it's on display on my bedside cabinet. 
I bought some cod from the fish market in Bury and we had chippy tea Number 38 style. It was delicious and even Thomas cleaned his plate, so it will definitely be on the menu again.
Flowers from Lidl this week were lilies and I also picked up this primula to add a splash of colour to the kitchen.
I was a glutton last night and after our quota of truffles got out some stilton and port that my brother had bought us for Christmas. When I opened it I said to him "oooh that's fancy" and in true man style he replied "it's only from Aldi". I'll have to pay a visit o see what they've got. I love gifts that look fancy but don't cost the earth. 
Tomorrow I'm going to physio. I decided just before Christmas that I'd struggled with my back long enough so self-referred on-line. Only it got lost in the system so I had to do it again last week. This time when I rang to make sure it had gone through I was given an appointment straight away. I'm surprised I can get in so quickly and even better it's at the local health centre which is literally a 2 minute drive away.

It's trying to snow here at the moment. There's just a very light fluttering but if it does come down heavy it will definitely stick as it's dry.

This afternoon is dedicated to more knitting and possibly a film. Sadly the truffle stash has gone so it's not a totally perfect way to spend Sunday - but it could be a lot worse!

Hope you are all enjoying your day. As always, thanks for popping by, it's lovely of you to drop in for a catch up. 


Sunday, 15 January 2017

January 2017 - Week 2

Oohh it's been cold here this week. The sort of cold that has meant we've had the fire on and Wendy has taken on the role of 'cute dog by fireside'. 
And the sort of cold that meant we finally had snow, even though it was short lived. We had a fluttering Thursday and Friday evenings but it was all gone by the mornings. Ah well. I think I'll just have to accept that once again, my yearnings for snow days aren't going to be fulfilled.
We've had some lovely moonlit evenings as well. This tree is just a couple of houses down from us. It's a bit spooky looking but it also reminds me of The Magic Faraway Tree and I'm sure Moon Face and The Saucepan Man would be right at home living here. 
The days have quietly ticked over this week with the usual routine of school, housework and hobbies. The slower pace of life is very welcome and for a change the days are stretching out nicely rather than whizzing by. 

I had a trip to The Range one afternoon where I toyed with the idea of starting a family scrapbook but the thought of playing catch up overwhelmed me so for the moment I'm shelving the idea. Instead I bought myself a new cup and a couple of trays which will be perfect for sandwiches when I do an afternoon tea. 
Jigsaw fever has taken hold again and I make no apologies for the fact a lot of time has been spent at the dining table doing this which I finished on Friday. 
I knew I'd want to start another one so bought this set of 4 from The Works when I was in Bury. They're only 500 pieces each and I've passed one on to Mum for her to do. I was going to use my Christmas gift card but I had enough points on my loyalty card to buy it and I still have a few left over. Mum chose the cottage and I think I'll start with Bicycles in Amsterdam. 
The truffles have been re-stocked.... by both of us! Great minds think alike and all that..... At Number 38 getting the chocolates out is the equivalent of cracking open a bottle of wine and we even have dry days :) 
One of the things on my 2017 list was to keep track of money and I've done a mid-month calculation of what I've spent so far. I could probably break these headings down further but for now this is fine.
Food £173 - My main shop is at Lidl but I top up with some things from Iceland and Tesco and I keep the £1 shop in business buying cheese & onion crisps for Thomas! I budget around £350 for food a month so I'm pretty much on track here, which is good to know. 

Cleaning items, kitchen items and dogs £22 - this covers extra items I can't find at Lidl or I know I can buy cheaper at Wilko, plus poop bags, chocolate drops and food for the doggies. 

Household items £39 - So far this month I've bought a new iron, shower curtain, bed sheet, a small kitchen knife, sandwich trays and some cake forks. The forks and trays should probably go under personal treats as there was really no need for them, they just took my fancy!

Medicines & Family toiletries £16 - I don't usually spend anywhere near this much in a month let alone 2 weeks, but I needed to re-stock a few medicinal items. I also bought vitamin tablets to give Amy and Thomas a boost and there's a small pack of nappies in this for Sienna.

Personal treats £25 - I have a certain amount each month for bits and bobs. So far I've bought a couple of make-up items, shower gel, chocolates, a new cup and been out for a coffee with Mum.

Vets - £75 for Sparky to have his bald patch seen to!

So, in 2 weeks a total of spend of £348. I'm hoping the next two weeks will show £0 for household, medicines and vets, although Sparky needs a haircut. It's been interesting seeing where the money has gone and I'll try to make it a fortnightly job. Having the index box to just shove receipts in so I can keep track is a big help as well. 

* Add another £4 to personal treats for wool I bought yesterday. I have a project on the go again!
On the family front, Thomas isn't too well. He has a hacking cough and although he says he doesn't feel too bad his chest and ribs are hurting. Hope it isn't what Mum had, she was really poorly with hers for a couple of weeks. 

I've not seen Amy since Friday evening as she's stayed at her friend's house all weekend. Her first week back at college went well, especially as she had an extra two days off because one of her tutors was ill.

And that's about it really. Just the usual humdrum days of family life. But humdrum is perfect at the moment. I like a bit of excitement and drama in my life but the older I get the more I think it's far too overrated!

Hope you've all had a lovely week, whether it be humdrum or otherwise. 


Sunday, 8 January 2017

January 2017 - Week 1

This week has been all about getting back to normal. The Christmas decorations and the tree are down, although it's funny how quickly things become part of our surroundings isn't it. It only registered on Thursday that the bauble wreath was still hung up on the bathroom door!
We had a little hiccup with Amy on New Year's Day when she had a terrible pain in her left shoulder and ribs which was worse when she lay down. She persevered through the night but by Monday morning she needed to go to a walk in centre where she was diagnosed with costochondritis. It's not serious but it is painful. At the moment she's on paracetamol and ibuprofen and it seems to be easing off which is good, as some people can suffer with it for months.  
On Tuesday Thomas went back to school quite happily. I think he was ready to catch up with his friends and discuss latest Xbox tactics. He's grown so much since September that I've had to kit him out with another full uniform and new shoes. He had his final physio session in between Christmas and New Year but has to go back in February for a check up just in case he needs more help.
Sparky also needed to go to the vet this week. He's been nibbling at his leg for a few days and has a rather unsightly bald patch. After a check up there's nothing obviously wrong with him but he had the obligatory jab vets like to give and is on a course of steroids and piriton. I tell you, it's like GlaxoSmithKline here at Number 38 this week. 
There's been no quilting or crocheting this week. I'm just not feeling it at the moment plus I'm enjoying the house being tidy which isn't the case when the sewing machine is out, but I have finished the cross stitch. 
I've also got my birthday jigsaw from Mum back on the table. It's not an easy one, there are lots of shades and my brain tends to lose the ability to differentiate between colours after a while but I'm enjoying doing it. 
And other snippets of the week

My choice of flowers this week were tulips and daffodils and I've also been given 3 hyacinth.
I've had to buy a new iron as it's not been reaching its temperature for a while and then the steam element stopped working. Typically when I was ironing one of Thomas' new school shirts it decided to spit a load of brown gunk all over it then gave up the ghost.
I made flapjacks. Not sure if I'll repeat this in a hurry. They were easy enough to make but it was like wrestling with a crocodile to get them out of the tin, bits were flying all over the kitchen. 
I'm still finding truffles in the wardrobe :) I had a glass of cava one evening but I'm rubbish off drink lately and I've decided the one glass I drink isn't worth feeling like I do pretty much as soon as it's gone, so I'll not bother in future.
But sometimes I want to sit with a glass of something different in the evening so I bought these instead. We had the ginger beer at Christmas and it certainly hits the back of the throat. The Elderflower and Rose is really nice as well even though it's quite a sweet drink.
I went shopping with Mum on Friday and dropped a load of rubbish at the tip and 2 bags of stuff to the charity shop. Then on Saturday Mark needed to go to Blackburn so I went for the ride and a look around the shopping centre. 

And that's pretty much it this week. The weather has been wet, dull, grey and foggy but that's fine. It gives me 'permission' to stay indoors and just potter around doing what I like although I've also made a point of going for a walk 3 or 4 times. 

Hope you are all well and have enjoyed your first week of the New Year. 

Until next Sunday. 


Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year!


As usual mine started with a grateful thought that 4 years to the day I'm still here to see another year in. In fact it's the first thing I've noted in my Thankful Diary.
It also started earlier than usual with this little monkey waking up at  7am although what a great way to start 2017 with a new member of the family.
Last night was a pretty quiet one although we did stay up to welcome in the New Year. Mum came down for a couple of hours which was nice and I did a bit of a buffet, although to be truthful we are all fed up of food now. In fact the noisiest part of the evening was when we pulled the party poppers, in the Xbox room with the door shut just in case they woke Sienna up! This is the first year Thomas has mastered this skill. I wonder if we all look like this when we pop them!
I've decided to take an index box with me into 2017. I know lots of people keep journals and bullet journals seems really popular, but they seem a bit all over the place for me, although I'm sure they make sense to the people using them. I'm a simple creature and wanted something that can be flicked through in a minute while adding and discarding thoughts, projects and ideas as quickly as they flit in and out of my mind. Of course I wanted it to be pretty so spent an hour fixing strips of sticky backed fabric to the top.
The week between Christmas and New Year has been a slow and easy one with lots of PJ days and reading. I love my new book Few Eggs and No Oranges. It's nearly 600 pages but already I wish it were twice as long. I shall never complain about lack of sleep again. Those poor people in London mustn't have got a decent nights kip throughout the whole of the war with the amount of bombs dropped and yet they carried on regardless with their lives. 
I didn't get anything crafty for Christmas so I bought a cross stitch from The Works which I've made a start on. There is something very relaxing about cross stitch. Maybe it's because it requires little thought; it's just a case of following the pattern and letting the teeny tiny stitches turn into something pretty. I think I might have to change the yellow flower to another colour because Sadie's husband asked if it was an egg and every time I look at it now that's all I can see :)
Me and Thomas have also spent a few hours playing this new game. If there's a skill element to it, it's evaded us so far. It seems to be a cross between noughts and crosses, boxes and those little puzzles where you have to move the tiles to make a picture. The idea is to end up with 4 coloured balls in the shape of a square which isn't as easy as it sounds. My balls were black and I'd won again, hence the look on his face. 
And so to my thoughts for 2017. Once again there are no resolutions being made but there's a bit of re-affirmation in some areas of my life.

Family - I'm very happy and content and it feels good to be able to say that. Changes are afoot with Amy and Thomas as they get older and their desire for independence grows. As a Mum I want to be able to give them their freedom while still keeping us all connected together. I hope that makes sense. I know what I mean, not sure if it's come across how it should. 

Home - the housework rota is working well so I want to continue with that. I also want to make our home a comfortable haven and as relaxed as possible for all of us. On the practical front there's a fair bit of decorating that needs doing this year. 

Health and Exercise - diet and exercise need looking at again - it is New Year after all :) Also regular BP checks are on the list, (I can do these), and of course no putting off my blood tests in future. I'm also aiming to get out and do a bit of walking every day. 

Finances - to try and keep track of my monthly spending. I start off fine but lose my way after a couple of weeks. 

Crafting - to continue crocheting and sewing which gives me pleasure and also helps others.

Hobbies - to make time for a new one in calligraphy, an old one in reading and to pick up with the jigsaws again. Cross stitch might feature more regularly as well. And of course, to continue to blog weekly.

Fun and Leisure - my beloved caravan will feature a lot under this heading and we've already booked holidays for this year. We're still members of the National Trust and I'd like to visit some more places. There is a theatre trip booked in February with Mum and Amy and this is something I'd like to indulge in more often. 

And I think that's it really. Nothing mind blowing, as I say just re-affirming what's important to me and what I'd like to do over the next few months. 

I went to a wedding years ago and the vicar said to the couple, "I'm not going to wish you endless days of sunshine, because without some rain you can't flourish" so I'm also taking that thought with me into 2017. Life is not always perfect. There will be good days and bad days but the older I get the quicker I'm able to get over the bad days because it really is a waste of my time dwelling on things. 

Anyway, I hope 2017 is a good one for all of you and that you all have enough sunshine and rain to keep you healthy and flourishing.

Happy New Year to All of You from Me, Mark, Amy and Thomas.