Thursday, 31 May 2012


I met my mum and sister in Birmingham today again. Amy is going to her 6th form leavers meal tonight and she bought a VERY short dress last night. I feel so old!!!!!!! But she's tried it on and keeps tugging it down! I bought her some fashion tights today that were reduced to a pound and the pattern is similar to the top on the dress. She wanted some underwear and jewellery to wear with it- so a trip to Primark was in order today. I can obviously be trusted to buy underwear! I saw several pieces of jewellery that might be suitable and a white bead bracelet that looks good with what I had on today! So a couple of bracelets were 3 pound. There was also this lovely bag reduced to 3 pound. It will be ideal to take my stuff on the train on the way down to Cornwall. We had an estate car last year and managed to fit everyone's luggage in it (4 cases). The 'new' car won't fit everything- so we will need to take some cases on the train this year. I also found a lovely mug for Emma- I love tea, which has Union Jacks on.

We've invited my family to a 'Jubilee garden party' on Monday- so hoping for nice weather. My niece is cancelling plans she had with her friend- so it needs to be a bit more fun that it was originally going to be, so she isn't sat there wishing she was at home!!!!!!!

My local little Tescos had it's Jubilee stock replenished today- so I had some more bunting and a couple of little flags to put in the gardem. I lost the first flag somewhere between Tescos and the bus stop- so someone else had a real bargain this morning. It wasn't there when I walked back!

My sister bought Holly a card to give to Guy on Fathers Day- when she was buying her cards. We have a very dear couple of weeks in June- Guy's birthday, my dad and my uncles the next day, Fathers Day, my sils birthday and my nephews birthday. So we tend to buy the shop out when we stock up. She also had to check we hadn't bought the same cards -as we have very similar tastes. She bought a 'dad' mug for her 'ex' off Kimberley- and it had a little Union Jack tag on that would be perfect for scrapbooking. I was under negotiations for a different tag to be taped over the incriminating hole left if I had the tag!!!!!!!!!! There is no love lost between anyone in our family and ...........him!!!!! But think I might have to get Guy the mug set- so I can have the tag- that's not unreasonable is it!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012


The cupboards are a bit bare at the moment and I saw the prompt after I've had my daily walk past Tescos! I could have treated myself to some nice goodies all in the name of this challenge!!!! So I've decided to take a photo of the Jubilee assorted things that have made it home after Guy's last shop. I asked him to get me something Jubilee/bunting wise if he could-as I'd left it too late!

He found some fabric bunting- and even called the manager over because he thought the price must be wrong! They'd sold all the cheaper stuff to people more organised than us. He knows how obsessed with tins I am - and he got me a PG monkey tin and a Lovehearts tin. Even the bread was Jubilee!!!!!!

We were thinking of having a family party at some time over the weekend- just to mark it in some way. I haven't checked the events going on in Birmingham yet- but there are 4 days of celebrations!

I did a spot of people watching again at the bus stop today. The 'residents' have moved into summer plumage.

Cagoule lady has a fetching waterproof in Cream and Pink.
The 88 ladies were down to single lady today- so no problem getting past on the pavement. I think it's the missing lady who is the slower one anyway!!!!
Asimov man is in summer plumage too- crimplene trousers have given way to cotton- and a slogan t shirt. He also has a new book by George Martin. It's funny how I guessed what it was before I almost cricked my neck checking I was right!!!!!!
The glamour model was in summer finery too- and causing lots of men to veer towards the kerb watching her walk along. She is a very pretty blonde girl and always looks immaculate- and is obviously a draw for the male drivers today!

On my way home I saw a very cute little tot trotting along in her school summer dress. I was just thinking how sweet she looked when she let out a torrent of abuse at her brother- with some very 'grown up' language!!!!!!! She was only about 4!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


My dh has been storing his various tool boxes in assorted places in the house- as he's working on the bathroom. I have at various points removed them back to the shed- but they creep back. Now as he hasn't touched the bathroom in weeks- this morning I've dumped the boxes back in the shed!!!!!! Yesterday he emptied the storage shed where the deckchairs and cushions are kept and found an old extension cable reel that had fallen apart. Rather than throw it away- he's kept the cable!

He has a week off next week and I'm hoping to sort the garden and get this shed emptied and organised.

I looked at all the tacky bunting in Poundland a few weeks ago and thought I might buy some to do something on Monday. I left it too late and they seem to be sold out everywhere. Last night Guy found some in the Co-op - but it's fabric and cost a fortune. So we now definately have to do something and keep it for any further British events!!!!!

Monday, 28 May 2012


The garden spade is waiting for someone to have enough energy to dig out a new bed down the entire length of the garden. It's been so hot that no one is that keen on making a start. To be honest it will be easier when we next have a downpour and the soil is easier to turn. That's our excuse at the moment. It's still really hot outside at 6.37pm. The little boys next door have been splashing in their pool- and it always sounds so tempting. Our dog loves jumping into the smallest bit of water- and we bought her- her own paddling pool. But she acted like she thought we were trying to drown her- so that wasn't a great success!!!!

We had Emma's school report today- they have never been really over the top with praise before. But this one is her best one ever. She has mainly A's and B's for all the points in each subject. She is selective mute outside the house- so she has C's for asking for help/advice. But I could have burst with pride reading this one. It said she'd had a really good year and was improving on staying on track. Lots of positive remarks. It's amazing what the right teacher can do with her. Unfortunately (for Emma - not for her- sure she's absolutely delighted) she's going off on maternity leave- so Em will have to get used to another teacher. Apparently she will say goodbye to this teacher now. That probably sounds like nothing- but it is a HUGE achievement for Emma.

Yesterday- I almost wished that Emma was selective mute at her grandma's house. She announced LOUDLY that she preferred my mum to grandma- who we were visiting for her birthday! That nanny spoilt her and grandma didn't. Ever wished that the ground could swallow you up and transport you away from a situation!!!!!!

Sunday, 27 May 2012


This prompt could have been included for this house. We've been in the house so long that all the jobs we did with a view to making it saleable- are now due to be done again and we are still here!!!!!! The bathroom is the second bathroom we've put in and we had a real disaster with it. It was down to the last TWO tiles needing cutting- this being one. Not the cut my dad would have advised! My dad used to do all this sort of job for us- so things DID get finished. But he has such trouble with the nerves in his hand he can't even do buttons up anymore. Whether that comes from a life of cutting bricks by hand and bricklaying for his entire career is anyone's guess.

I have made 'rumblings' of getting a 'real' man in to finish the bathroom! My nan always used to say that when my dad had done diy/decorating around the house. That it was if a REAL man had done it- the fact that he was a bricklayer by trade and came from a decorating household didn't make him a real man!!!!!! So it's an expression that is used around here for a job that has been done well!!!!! I am going to post the photo on facebook and that MIGHT get his sister to comment!!! That might also provoke him into finishing it because we don't need a REAL man in!!! It has now been in progress for over a year- so I think it's time that someone finished it off- and if this wasn't such a silly cut I would have tried myself!

We went over to Guy's parents today for 'bangers and mash'- they'd had some speciality suasages delivered! It was lovely to eat outside for the first time this year- and they have a beautiful garden to look out on and an electronic canopy to sit under! It is supposed to put itself away if it gets too windy!

Our garden is almost ready to dig out a bed down one side to make a pebble bed- for my lovely new plant pots! The red and white plants are flowering in the JUBILEE planter- but the blue are nowhere to be seen!

We had to pop into Marks on the way to get his mum's cards and pressie (nothing like being ready!) and they had a 20% off tops- so a couple of the tops I've been stalking every morning before work- are now in my wardrobe!!!!!!

Have to apologise to Anne that I can't get into the comment part of her blog- but have loved the photos of your parents arriving, don't they look lovely in the parent mobile!!!! What a great service too! Hope Rhea gets some wonder medicine soon and that she enjoys your parents visit too!

Saturday, 26 May 2012


These are my favourite toiletries- have a feeling I've used them before. I love the smell of them.

Boring- filing must be one of the most boring jobs.

I was kept entertained during my lunchbreak- by these poor souls being catapaulted into the air attached to some sort of big elastic bands- the opposite of bungee jumping. Our building is quite tall and they were flying past the staff room window. They even had to pay 50 pound for the priviledge!!!!!!

They have an award every week for a staff member and I was really touched that they chose me this week. They thanked me for doing all the overtime, for coming in and getting on with the work without moaning!!!!!! and my coup de grace- managing to lock the safe before I left!!!!!! I'm quite well known for putting the code in before it's ready!!!!!!

Thursday, 24 May 2012


The manager had taken some marshmallows in today for the 'treat corner'! I'd bought everyone cookies- so there was a lovely elevenses today! I'm not allowed to have a phone on me at work- let alone a camera, so when I got home the cotton wool balls sprang to mind!
I'm confusing everyone at work- because I'm normally in at weekends- so they are thinking that the week has flown by. I had a lovely day at work today- all the customers were pleasant because of the sun!!!!!!!


When we were doing the bathroom we lived in Ikea. They had some little glass vases and a range of different colour flowers. I bought one in all the colours to change each time I change the towels! I have a lovely bright yellow one (not this one!) and I am still trying to find a bright yellow bath mat- for yellow week!!!!! I can't do something sensible and buy things in colours I already  I saw some lovely shower gel in a bright yellow- that will probably be gone before yellow week matches. I have to use a white bath mat!!!!!!!  I've seen one in Marks that has pom poms in different colours - which would be ideal for lots of different weeks- but I'm too stingy to pay over 20 pound for it!

Emma's guide was back today- although she still looks poorly- so I felt like I had loads of free time. I had enough time to get home, eat lunch and sit in the garden with my kindle for 40 mins.

I am reading Accident by Linwood Barclay and trying to race the kindle battery to finish it. It keeps yelling at me telling me to charge it- but I want to find out what happens before it gets the cable!!!!!! One downside to a kindle! Mine doesn't last anywhere near as long as they suggest- but then I use it for longer that 30 mins a day too! (Usually!).

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


It's not a very restful time around here. Amy is extremely stressed about her AS levels this week. Biology- one of her stronger subjects didn't go well on Monday and she has the major stress factor tomorrow- her Chemistry. The school have been very helpful with her- and hopefully it will be a learning tool for her- that parents 'do' actually know what they are talking about when they say it's probably time you started your revision!!!!!!!

On Thursday she was extremely upset- so we popped out to Boots to get some herbal stuff to try and help her have a relaxed and restful night. It seems to work. She only took the night time stuff to try and help her sleep on Thursday. Taking the pressure off about getting grades for Uni has also reduced the stress levels.

She doesn't think it's a good idea to look for a job between June and September this year!!!!!!  Even though this summer she should have finished her exams and be starting Uni if things had gone according to her plans.

I'm only on day 2 of my 6 day working week and already thinking that I could never do my job full time again. I don't know what else I'm qualified for! I had a phone call at 7 this morning to say that Emma's travel guide was off sick- which meant that rather than dropping Emma locally with the guide at 8ish- I had to take her all the way into school and then back into the city to work. I'd never caught a bus from there- so wasn't really sure where the stop was! I was in a part of town I've never been before!!!! We had a few 'characters' in today- made one of the girls cry and another smashed one of the screens in the banking hall- so not a very restful day. Nothing as strange as folk as they say. I was a bit late leaving- as I had to answer the phone when I should have been walking out of the door! I had to catch a couple of buses to collect Emma- and one took forever to arrive. I was in a panic that I wouldn't get there in time!

She's off again tomorrow- so I'll be late again.

Monday, 21 May 2012


This reminds us of our old cat Shola- she had the same haughty look, as if she was destined to live somewhere like Buckingham Palace. She lived to be a grand old lady and I don't think she ever forgave
me for marrying 'her' Guy!

Sunday, 20 May 2012


 Unfortunately there is nothing minimalist in our house- so the most minimalist thing is the new lavendar that has a  new planter to himself. I planted him when I got back from my crop today. The last lavendar made an attempt to dominate the whole garden- it was beautiful but left no room for anything else! So hopefully the planter will keep him contained! Guy has worked so hard on the garden- the vicious wild rose is no more- and it's all been chopped into a bin to take to the tip. I've planted most of the new bedding plants and a new hanging basket. The one side of the garden is almost ready to make a new pebble border so that the planters have a new home. We've planted a 'Jubilee' one in red, white and blue IF they all grow at the same time!

Last night I got in from work and was absolutely exhausted- I saw the prompt, but fell asleep before i took a photo. So most of the evening disappeared in a cloud of zzzzz's! I was up early this morning- as I was going to a crop. So I have taken my interior shot there! I sat and shuffled papers around and didn't really get anything done. But I did love looking at all the pretty things everyone was buying. There are some gorgeous papers out there! I treated myself to some Union Jack ribbon for either  a Jubilee page or one from when we go to the Olympics.

I managed to get Guy Water Polo tickets- and we will need to travel down from Cornwall and back in one day. The train tickets are booked. It's not really the event I would have chosen- but I forgot to try and get tickets on the swimming day- and these ones were quite reasonably priced. Guy just wanted to see the whole Olympic village really- and say he'd been. So think it will be a good day. We've got first class train tickets to London- so free coffee and biscuits!

I've also booked the tickets to Cornwall for 4 of our holiday party. By travelling back on the Saturday rather than the Friday we've saved nearly 150 pound. So we've got an extra day on holiday (luckily I managed to get the Saturday off work anyway)

I've got the chance to work every day next week until 1. I've grabbed the chance. I was going to bank my hours- but think I'll ask to be paid, so that we can have an extra meal or somethinsg on holiday. I should also have my training during those hours and be able to take the test I need to pass this month. Guy was saying that I will be able to work in the garden when I get back.

But I'll probably just have time to grab some lunch, take Holly out and run to get Emma off her bus- and then probably collapse in a heap at the end of the day. I only have one uniform- so I will have to wash and iron that too!

Amy has her Biology AS tomorrow- she was very stressed about the Chemistry on Wednesay. But she has decided that Biology has to be the priority- then she'll give Chemistry her best shot- but not stress about it. She'll give it up as a subject- so won't be taking the A2. She's also accepted that Uni is not the only way to get through life. She has the option to try again if she chooses to, she could try OU as an option- but any job she gets will be great experience and a learning curve. All is not lost- because she's found Chemistry a harder hurdle to clear than she hoped.

So I'll be working 6 days this week- a real shock to the system!!!!!!!!! I'm a part time part timer usually!

Friday, 18 May 2012


A nice easy prompt today. We've bought a bit of colour for the garden and it's starting to look a bit prettier. I had to include this little chap for flower- don't tell him he's a weed, he's doing his best!!!!!! I think they are quite cute - especially when they turn into dandelion clocks! I actually did a study in A level Biology on symbiotic plants- using dandelions in the experiment. I don't think my results proved any major scientific breakthrough mind you. The teacher was impressed with the way the lettuce think he might be cultivating dandelions now!!!!!! This little chap is destined to say bye bye when the next major weeding session takes place!

Here's a few of the other 'real' flowers in the garden.

I think the internet is a fantastic thing- it puts you in touch with people you've never met and in most cases probably never likely to meet. Fate is also a wonderful thing. When I woke up yesterday I hadn't really given the subject of flamingo's much of a second thought!!!!!! I was shopping and found a pair of shorts which are really pretty and for an animal/bird obsessed girl- perfect. They have a small flamingo print on them. I looked around for a flamingo tshirt without success. I posted here and on facebook and had some lovely replies and offers to look around. One lady sent me to a link for a band website that had flamingo t shirts- and I would have bought a mans size if they'd had a small in stock.

This morning I bought Emma's Take a Break magazine- and the fashion pages have a section saying 'Everyone is wearing Flamingo's'- how weird is that! There were at least 2 options on there that I liked!

Then someone messaged me on Facebook with a link to Dorothy Perkins Flamingo t shirt and gave me a 20% discount code. Not only that- but yesterday we looked in there as mum had a voucher for her birthday and she couldn't see anything she liked. She gave me the voucher to pass on to one of the girls. So I got 20% off and the voucher- it ended up costing me 4 pound! So Emma has her beach outfit sorted.

We had a bad evening- with Amy getting extremely stressed about her AS Chemistry exam, her chances of now getting into Uni and about finding any sort of job without a degree. I think the upshot is that she is going to have to give up Chemistry.
Again- I got some wonderful advice online when I was in a whirl round of panic- knowing what to say to Amy for the best.
I rang the school this morning and arranged for the Chemistry Head to speak to Amy and to the Head of Year. They have been very helpful- suggesting options for another A level , a BTEC or nightschool and reaaranging a school timetable to give her free time. They did give an option that I hadn't thought about- which was IT. We weren't impressed with the course when we looked at her options- but being as though she will need an extra A level- it's something she could pick up I'm sure. It also gives her another avenue through Uni.

The Chemistry teacher is staying behind with her tonight to go through the exam questions she's struggling with and her friend has offered to come over tomorrow to do the same. I think realising that it's time to let Chemistry go- will also be a good thing. The Head said that we have to get her to take one exam at a time and not stress (!!!). So- fingers crossed for Amy that everything goes well and when this lot of exams is over- the school will look at next years timetable and see what is an option for her.

Thursday, 17 May 2012


I really wasn't sure what to take today. I did meet my mum in Birmingham and had planned to take a 'group' of people somewhere- but it was raining when I got there. So these are some meerkat sweets that my sister sent for me via mum, because I was so poorly with a cold on Sunday she felt sorry for me!

We had a lovely day- we both needed to get shoes and a handbag for my cousins wedding next month. My mum and I, have already picked the same colourway  for our outfit and now we've only bought the same handbag!!!!!! I bought it because it was reduced to 10 pound and was the colour I wanted! My mum bought it because it was the perfect match for her shoes. She seemed to have dismissed it- so I paid for my shoes and handbag- AND a summer jumper in a pretty pink. Then she tried some MORE shoes on and liked them- and this handbag was the perfect match. It was bigger than she wanted- but as it matched so well she bought it. My parents have been invited to the day time- we're only going to the night time, so it's more important that my mum is happy with her handbag. If I don't use mine for the wedding- it's still a lovely handbag.

We seemed to get a lot organised quite quickly- soon time for lunch! I also bought Emma some t shirts from Primark- it's nice for her to get some new stuff quite cheaply.

I HAVE A REQUEST- if anyone shops a lot and happens to see a pretty baby pink or white t shirt with a FLAMINGO on it- could they let me know where they saw it?!!!!!!!! I bought Emma some lovely shorts - which are mint green, but have pink flamingos on them. They probably sound horrible- but will be lovely on the beach. BUT me being very picky - I now want to find a t shirt that probably doesn't exist. I might even resort to a tshirt transfer print!!!! I had one a couple of years ago which would look nice- but she needs slim girl size!!!!!

These are a few of the flowers that are out in the garden at the moment- grouped together.

I've signed up to do the Big Picture 31 Things class- which is a project to scrapbook/journal everyday items. It starts today and the first word is jewellery. I love that my mum is so attached to her wedding and engagement ring. They've been married 50 years, almost and her rings show that they have been worn and treasured for all that time. My engagement ring needs mending- and it's something I really must afford one of these days- but I don't think it's still going to be going strong after 50 years- the settings need extensive work now. Maybe I need a new one for our silver wedding. We didn't pay a lot for it- although it was just what I wanted. So I thought I might do a scrapbook page on my mum's jewellery and how much it means to her. Then I need to take a photo of my wedding ring- which is my main jewellery, apart from the necklace that Amy bought me for Christmas that I have worn every day since!

Then just because they are cute- Flo's puppies on day 2. She looks like such a proud mum- even though she's a baby herself. Kate promised to email me a camera photo soon- rather than the mobile uploads I've captured from facebooK! She makes me laugh because she 'lovingly' calls her mum and aunt 'fossil' one and 'fossil' two. They are so lucky to have arrived in time to see the puppies born.

But the name reminds me of how much a fossil I feel.My new phone turned up yesterday- and although I have figured out how to make and receive calls and texts and have been ON the internet on it- I can't do anything else yet. For some reason I thought I'd pick it up!!!!! The manual is tiny and honestly not much use. We can't get it to load a google account. My new contract isn't due until the end of May and we're not sure whether it has something to do with why we can't get things set up. I did have a text today saying that some part of the bundle was delayed. But it annoys me that I am so technically challenged. I need to wait for Amy to be through her revision and exams and for it to co-incide with a good mood episode and ask her to make sure it's all set up and explain it to me!!!!! I could get Suzi's blog up on it this morning- but couldn't open it up. So think I'm almost there!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


I have tried to get a candid shot of the girls since they got home from school- but they have an inbuilt antenna and aversion to the camera. We all went out for a meal on Sunday- and I did manage to catch Amy and my niece Kimberley immersed in something on the iphone!!! My dh also got Kimberley one of the kids colouring pages and crayons as a joke- and she sat there colouring!!!!! To continue with the taking a photo a day I have been taking photos of the flowers that are coming up in the garden.

My new phone arrived today- so now I've got to learn how to use it! I have managed a call and a text so far. I need to look up my password for google and facebook!

My friends dog had her puppies early this morning- she had 4 cute little bundles of fur.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Portrait of a stranger

Unfortunately I've already come back from my stranger mingling hour (at Emma's bus stop). I do sometimes people watch there as you see the same ones. We tend to get there earlier than we need to- so I have at least 15-20 mins to people watch!

 Asimov man fascinates me- he carries a hessian bag, with a clipboard poking out of the top and always reads very old paperbacks on the Asimov strain. He wears teacher type crimplene trousers (teachers from my era - not now)
Bob the builder- waits for one particular bus with his dayglo jacket and various tools!
The '88' ladies- try not to get behind these two. They walk at snails pace and block the entire pavement- so that you can't get past unless you play dodge the car in the road!
Smiley lady- she seems to know everyone and is always so happy and pleasant and tries to strike up a conversation about anything- which always makes Emma scowl.
Cagoule lady- she'd be happier striding up mountains than catching the bus into the city every day.
Schoolboy- he always runs across the busy road every morning and makes huge lorries stop for him with a cheeky wave!

If I'm in daydreaming mode I will sit there wondering where they work- where they are off to!!! In fact this morning I didn't even hear one lady talking to me! Emma gave me a sharp dig in the ribs!

Anyway- I didn't have my camera with me and wouldn't have asked any of them if I could take their photo anyway!!

So today's 'stranger' is my friends dog. She's  an old schoolfriend who now lives in Portugal. Her pretty dog got out and went for a walk on her own - when she shouldn't have, a few weeks ago. She was acting a bit fussy and putting on weight. A vet came out and confirmed that it was a phantom pregnancy. Yesterday they took her for an ultrasound and THAT vet confirmed that there are at least 5 puppies that are due TODAY!!!!!!!!!

She announced it on Facebook by saying which friends were earmarked for a puppy! I can have first pick!!!!!!!!!! lol- if she lived locally and Holly was a more sociable doggy dog- I WOULD be there reserving one. I would sooooo love a puppy. So she's going to put puppy cam on and keep us all informed. Her mum and aunt are arriving today aswell (they are in their 80's).

When the puppies arrive- all the local dogs are 'invited' to a line up to see if they will take on parental responsibility!!! Apparently she only got out for 20 minutes and her husband found her trotting along on her own - with no other dogs around.

It's 30 degrees out there - so poor girl is uncomfortable.

I haven't seen Kate for years- but she was the sort that got you into all sorts of scrapes . She was the one that got me into a sound check and then the concert, dressed in her British Airways uniform when I should have been at school. She worked at a posh hotel and got us in for a look around when the Duran Duran boys were lounging around the pool! She's lived all over the world doing different sorts of exciting jobs she's now the managing director of a marketing and pr company- so she gets to opening nights and posh dinners, famous vineyards etc. She really is the one from my school that you could imagine living that sort of a life.

Monday, 14 May 2012

That's so...............ME!

I'm not really sure that I've got the right take on today- but this is a real 'sign of me'. Where ever I am there will be some form of reading material. My kindle now lives in my bag incase I find myself with an unexpected 10 mins to delve into a book. This is my latest library book pile. I have read most of them- but need to read another because 6  more books are in transit. I also having some bookshelves that need  pruning- so need to read some of my older books and find them a home.

But if someone was to come into my home- they would be able to tell the 'me' corners of the house- books, scrapbooking, recipe books. My friends dad now saves me his True Crime/Murder magazines- so I have a fresh source of reading material!

It's Monday- What are you reading?

This week I read a couple of good books.
London Belles by Annie Grafton was the first in a trilogy that I've managed to read out of sequence. It wasn't my favourite of the series- but think it's because I already know the characters well- and this book was setting the scene for the stories I already knew! But she is one of my new favourite authors of books set around the second World War.

The other book joined my favourites list- The Beach Cafe by Lucy Diamond. It was set in Cornwall and
follows the staff of a newly inherited cafe. It was a really warming story and I can't wait to discover this authors other books.

The book I am reading now is not a chick lit as I expected - the review is here.
View the full version of this book online

The Playdate: A Novel

You leave your kids with a friend down the street. Everyone does it. Until the day it goes wrong.For the past few lonely years, Suzy has been the only one to reach out to her neighbor, single mother Callie, and her frail daughter Rae. Suzy welcomed them into her large, apparently happy, family, and has been a rock and best friend to Callie. But it’s time for Callie to find her own way, and going back to work is the first step towards rediscovering her old confidence. But why does she find it so hard to tell Suzy about her new job? And who will look after Rae while she’s gone? Callie’s return to work precipitates a chain of events that reveal the isolation, turmoil, and dark secrets behind the doors of a seemingly peaceful neighborhood. The Playdate is a gripping psychological thriller—a chilling evocation of modern life, where seemingly longstanding friendships are superficial, and overwork and exhaustion lead parents to make impulsive decisions about the care of their children. This is a debut thriller from a striking new talent readers won’t soon forget."

It sounds really interesting- just not the frothy book I thought I'd reserved at the library. I am trying to get the library pile down- so that I can read a few of the older books on the shelves- so they can be 'released' back into the 'wild'! I need to clear a little more space.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Portrait- Mum

My sister is able to drive again now- so we all went out tonight for a meal. My mum treated everyone- so we tried to get there first for the drinks round and the dessert! They had a chocolate brownie pizza dessert for sharing- and Emma wanted one of those. I wouldn't try it again!

We went to the same pub that Guy and I went to before we got married. I couldn't believe that you have to pay for parking there now, although not on a Sunday. I've never seen a pay and display pub carpark. I can't even imagine why people would be parking there apart from to use the pub. It is in the countryside- so maybe people use it and go for rambles?

Saturday, 12 May 2012


This was a really tough one for me. Very few photos of me survive the editing process. This is the latest photo taken of me (not a self portrait) that was posted on MY facebook wall by someone else. So it's out there via a 'friend'! I am suffering with a head cold today- and as hardly any photos of me exist- there are going to be even less of me with a head cold! So afraid I'm cheating today.Hope it still counts Anne!!!! It was taken in Southport.

I've got a Saturday off work- and I had a cold last time I had a Saturday off. I think it's time for me to start taking some vitamin C.

I'm hoping to go and get some red, white and blue plants today- to show willing for the jubilee. We have 2 huge planters still to plant up. One is waiting for a lavendar bush and the other one will eventually have a camelia in it- but think I'll use it for the bedding plants until later in the season. Guy is officiating at a gala again tonight. At one point he was at the swimming club practically every spare minute with my daughter and coaching. Since she gave up competitive swimming, we see more of him, but they have been short of help recently - and he doesn't usually need to be asked twice.

The secon chance Olympic tickets go on sale this weekend. He would LOVE to see one of the swimming sessions. I think they are released on Monday. But even if he gets tickets- it would be smack in the middle of our holidays!

I have just ordered myself a new phone- mainly so that I will have internet access to check this challenge on holiday. How's that for dedication!!!!! I was expecting it to be delivered yesterday- but no sign yet. I hate waiting in for parcels- especially one with a 7am-9pm delivery slot!

Friday, 11 May 2012


My initial thought this morning was to use one of our wedding photos, swiftly followed by one of the twins. We only have a couple of photos of them on the day they were born- as I think I was a bit out of it and Amy was rushed into special care. So although they are very precious photos- they also bring back painful memories even now!

The other UNFORGETTABLE member of our family is Holly. We have said since the day we got her- that she is one of those dogs you will always remember. She is a mile a minute dog - who thinks she can join in with everything and go everywhere with us. She adores going in the car- and goes into motorway mode until we arrive at the destination.

We had 2 cats when we got married - and I really wanted to have a dog. Finally dh said he'd been thinking that we ought to get a dog for Emma- to give her a friend. There had been a tv drama on where a dog reached into an autistic boys life and produced an amazing relationship. Now I really, really wanted a puppy - as I've never had one. My childhood dog was another stray that we took in. As soon as dh even mentioned the 'concept' I had him at the dogs home- just to look, for research purposes.

She was dog number 7- and was in the pen you could see as you walked down the ramp to the kennels. She had a VERY descriptive statement on her pen- saying she loved to play and deserved a lovely new home. She was also the only dog who had a member of staff playing with her and hundreds of toys in her pen. The other dogs had one or two at most. The other thing that pulled on my heartstrings was that she was 'free' - because she'd been there a while. Even so- I was prepared to walk round all the other dogs- though I'd got upset seeing all the homeless ones in the first pen. But my husband was STUCK to the outside of Holly's pen- and he said- 'This is the dog for us'.

What she was- was utterly amazing!!!!!!!! She was playful and we wanted one that Emma would find fun. We took her out of the pen- and went into a 'get to know you' pen- and she was in absolute overdrive with the huge tub of toys. They asked us to take the girls in  to meet her the next day- and she came home with us just before Christmas even though they say they don't allow that!!! We think she was probably too labour intensive to keep amused! She walked out of the dogs home with a toy- and she still has that one now!

When we first had her- she wanted to play all day long. It was as if she wanted to make up for lost time. It still makes me sad to think that someone else had her and gave her up. She was found wandering by a very busy road in Birmingham. She has some anxiety issues that probably come from the time she was a stray. We also get some glimpes sometimes of things that she is frightened of. But she totally accepted us as her new family and has shown utter devotion from the moment she came home.

She looks up adoringly at my husband- and watches for him to come home. She runs to get a toy to present to him, then she gets excited and leaps on the settee to have her tummy tickled. My fil is amazed at the utter devotion she shows. She knows a lot of words- she listens to everything, trying to hear the trigger words which mean walk or play or food.
The first photo is the best of the bunch today- as she gets so excited most of them are blurred!!!!

The one below is her swimming with a tree in January! She is about to discover that dogs aren't designed for backstroke!!!!

She also has a special affinity with Emma. When Emma is in a tantrum- she rushes in and sits by her and licks away the tears. She manages to calm her down quite often. She senses that Emma needs special attention and wades in there- when everyone else would love to be running in the opposite direction!

She is so lovely to have around- she makes EVERYONE smile every day. She loves life and leads it to the full. She expects that every shopping trip will provide a new toy for her- because what are shops for!!!!!!! She's not the brainiest dog- she'd rather be playing. But she loves you unconditionally and that is a truly amazing feeling!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Sandy 131:365

A book I've had on the reservation list at the library turned up this week and it fits in with the theme for today. I USED to have a mug that matches the coaster and snack tray and it was one of my favourites. I bought it in Cornwall last year. Emma doesn't take care with mugs etc and we suffer a lot of breakages. I have tried persuading her to use the sturdier ones and try to hide mine on the upper shelves. But she likes pretty mugs too!!!!! So my pretty mugs tend to have a fairly short life, unfortunately.

This photo is my friends dog Roxy- on our recent day trip to Blackpool! She loves the beach and digs in the sand. She found a tennis ball and then searched for rocks in the sand.

One day I really must live nearer to the coast!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Woolly 130:365

I've been pondering this one all day. I loved Helen's lamb photos- and I have been keen to go out and find some lambs to photograph for weeks. But Guy is working really long hours and I work Saturdays- so there haven't been as many opportunities to go and find some! The fields by my parents usually have loads of lambs- but they aren't in the fields by the roads this year. We also saw hundreds of lambs on the way down to Southport last month- but not so easy to jump off the motorway with a camera! Anyway- these little ty beanie babies the girls had for Easter have come into their own again. To be truthful- the girls weren't keen on them- and they've been living in the kitchen wondering where to rest their weary heads!!!!!!!

I saw Shimelles latest class on Jo's blog this morning and really don't know how I missed it. It's called Cover to Cover- and she suggests working on our 2012 album. So I toddled off and signed up for the class and have read the prompts I missed and the bonus video and feel really inspired. My scrapbooking has fallen a bit by the wayside this year- and wanted a project that would make me want to scrapbook again.

I also felt inspired by Anne's huge pile of photos earlier this week. I also scrap more when I have new photos to scrap.

So later tonight- I'm going through this years photos so far, making a note of the events that need scrapbooking and all the photos I'm going to need. My 365 photos are going to have an album of their own- but some of those photos will obviously be in the 2012 album too. So I am looking forward to getting a nice pile of photos back from Costco- hopefully tomorrow! The man there knows Guy by name- and always goes to get our photos no matter who is waiting around the kiosks. It pays to be a good customer sometimes!!!!! He knows our orders because I tend to order photos in different sizes for scrapbooking. They do the larger photos quite cheap and sometimes I'll use 9x6 photos. I also print out collage prints of an event. So that is tonight sorted.

Emma is angling for another day off school- she had a bad night last night that I somehow managed to sleep through (dh had to get up!). But I was sooooo short of sleep I think I would have slept through an earthquake. I also slept without the covers- and beginning to think that I just don't like heavy tog duvets- unfortunately dh likes to sleep under tropical conditions and likes the heaviest tog available. I did try to swap the duvet over to a quite thin one- but he noticed!!!!!!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


I tried to get some photos of the rose bushes in the garden- which are the only things that are prickly- but the thorns look very underwhelming!!!!!! I then thought of a hedgehog. I wish I'd been at mum's today- as she has hedgehog ornaments in the garden and a shoe cleaner hedgehog. Holly has a hedgehog toy- but couldn't find that today. So the only hedgehog I could find was in one corner of one of Emma's animal books! I do have some Country Companions stamps- but I couldn't find those either!

We do often get hedgehogs in the garden- but haven't seen him for a while.

This is the best thorn photo- with one of the garden meerkats underneath it! I took advantage of the lovely weather to plant some colour into the garden today. It's the garden recycling day tomorrow- so lots of weeding bags ready for them aswell.

We didn't have a great start to the 'working' week. Emma was coughing all night- so she needs a couple of days off school to see if she can battle through it. We had a text from Amy's school to say that due to flooding and no heating - the school was closed today. She managed to spend the day revising for her chemistry A level.

Guy had a bad earache all weekend and had to try and get IN to see a doctor. He turned up in person to make an appointment. He's got some spray to use for a week, then drops for a week, then he's got to go back .

The car was broken into- he's not sure whether they actually stole anything. The glove box was emptied over the floor. Luckily his sat nav was in the house. Think all the cables were in the car- so they may have gone. He thinks that after we got back last night and had to empty the car of the shopping he may have forgotten to lock it- as they hadn't smashed the window. We did have a spate where there was a lot of vehicle crime here- hoping this is an isolated incident.

Monday, 7 May 2012


We went to see my mum and dad this afternoon and I knew she had some plants in woven baskets. This was the view from my OLD bedroom window. Close up of the basket below.

I really didn't have a great nights sleep last night. I woke up at 3 , 4 and then 5 am- and it wasn't down to Emma. I decided to just get up that last time. But I was looking forward to a lie in this morning as we didn't have any plans!

We took Holly's game over to show my parents- as my dad is absolutely besotted with Holly. She bounds in to say Hello, checks to see if they've put any left over roast meat in her dish (she has her own there!) and then runs to sit by grandad- because he WILL go and get the treat jar.  They thought her game was really clever- even though Holly is still using the brute force tactic. She is JUST beginning to figure out that the other side of the game has to move in a different direction. Holly was busy playing in the ball park when others were queueing in the brain queue!!! Guy's dad was saying yesterday what a lovely dog she was- but just too energetic for him to manage. They had hoped to share the care of my sil's dog- but they picked one very similar to Holly and they are just too lively.

It's Monday - What are you reading?

I've read some great books this week.

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins Sweetshop of dreams by Jenny Colgan was a real pleasure to curl up with. I didn't think it was quite as good as the Cupcake Cafe - but still a really charming book. There is a Christmas cupcake book coming out later this year and it will have to go straight on my tbr list. It's on the library reservation list already!

Yesterday's Sun by Amanda Brook - I wasn't sure whether to give this one 3 or 4 stars. The fact that once I'd settled into it, I couldn't put it down until I found out what happened persuaded me to give it the extra star.

Hidden Treasures by Fern Britton is written by a former daytime tv presenter. I read her previous book- but thought this one was an improvement. She wrote about life in a quaint Cornish village (a sure way to draw me in) and the experience of having a new tv series being filmed there. It conjured up images of the cast and crew filming in Port Isaac.

I wasn't so keen on Toys by James Patterson. I think I tend to like the series he writes recently. This one was a futuristic book- which really isn't my scene. I hadn't read any reviews before getting this book- which would have told me that it wouldn't be my cup of tea!

I have just started to read London Belles by Annie Groves. She's a fairly new author to me- and this is actually the 1st book in a trilogy where I have already read the later books. It's about life during WW2- a saga type book. Reading a review of this one I was saddened to read that the author died on New Years Eve last year. A new Christmas book in this series was planned for later this year- and I'd put that one on my virtual wish list.

I have a great library pile to get through and it's made me want to get round to that reading time of the day!!!

Sunday, 6 May 2012


I've been busy weeding the gardent today. Everytime I plan to spend time in the garden- Holly thinks I'd be better playing ball with her. She brings her ball and drops it infront of the section I'm working on. This ball met an unfortunate accident with the lawn mower that Guy was using. Holly was absolutely distraught. She sniffed the front of the lawnmower which obviously had the accident scent on it- and then brought the 'victim' carefully over to show me!!!! Then Guy took her over to see his parents who live near a massive park- and forgot to take her lead with him- so she had a big car ride- but no treat at the end.

I bought a new lavendar plant yesterday and managed to plant that today. I used to love watching the bees flying round it last year- but it was taking over the garden. So we are starting again with a smaller version.

I'm absolutely shattered now- so we're going to have fish and chips later. That will be a treat!

Saturday, 5 May 2012


Holly has a 'rough' coat. Her head and ears are lovely and silky to stroke- but she has a wiry type coat with an eiderdown undercoat!! This is her 'football' face- which isn't quite as bad as her 'rugby' face- where her ears go right back when dh is adding to the commentary. He's USUALLY a bit calmer when he's watching football. But Holly finds it boring because he's not paying her attention. So she's just popped out to chat to the little dogs next door through the fence. That actually entails them yapping at her- and her issuing a really deep 'woof' trying to convince them that she's a fully grown German Shepherd whilst her tail is wagging against the patio window!

I've also taken a catch up photo today. I thought I had 'bright' to catch up- but think I may have made that word up. So I'm using the bull for 'symbollic'.

He's wearing his 'summer' coat to symbolise the Jubilee and spotlight on Britain during the Olympic year.

"Welcome to Bullring's Bostin British Summer. This summer we're putting the spotlight back on Birmingham...The Bull has got a Bostin British Summer outfit, and you’ll find a range of Jubilee-inspired products in the shops along with everything you need for your summer wardrobe"

He had a winter jumper at Christmas!!!!

He was placed there when the new Bullring shopping centre was opened. They regularly involve him in the celebrations and he has his photograph taken with loads of tourists!

Friday, 4 May 2012


This is our evening cuppa. Dh has a cup of 'smooth' coffee! I don't tend to drink coffee in the evening.

I've caught up with the ironing today- so could have taken a photo of lots of smooth clothing!!!!!!

Thursday, 3 May 2012


Guy went to Costco on his way home from work last night- and bought me this beautiful hanging basket for the garden. I love flowers and these include my favourites in the garden. The winter hanging baskets are still doing really well- so this one will  sit inbetween them on the spare bracket!!! It wasn't raining yesterday and I did take make the most of it by doing a bit of gardening. We have a lot to do to bring it back into line- but this will add a much needed instant hit of colour. At the top of the garden the rhodendrum is flowering for the second time this year. The glorious weather we had fleetingly in March confused it- and it is busy flowering again now. It really struggled last year and is one of the oldest plants in the garden- but it's looking great this year! It's lovely to see the colour start to appear in the mainly green garden.

I've been a bit preoccupied for the last few days. My Branch Manager was going to do my annual review on Saturday- but ran out of time because the branch was very busy. She asked me to come in during the week to get it done. It's normally done by the line managers- so I imagined that they were about to address my lack of sales recently!!!!!!! Anyway- I got there today and it was my line manager that was doing the appraisal. Not only that- they gave me a really positive review. They are going to start providing more support/training.

I had a little bit of time to wander around the shops before I caught the bus home and treated myself to a new skirt and a tshirt for my holidays. I was kicking myself- because I found a cream lacy cardi in Marks this morning and couldn't make up my mind whether to get it before I started work. It was half price in the sale- and by the time I made up my mind that it was ok to treat myself they were sold out on my way home!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


This one had me stumped today. I'm not really a fan of futuristic things. I read a book yesterday that was futuristic by James Patterson- Toys! I really struggled with it!

Then I remembered the futuristic look of the new library in Birmingham due to open next year. The boardings proclaim that they are rewriting the library and rewriting the book. There has been a huge fuss that they have spent so much money on a new library- when there is a functional one in the city centre already and a lot of the existing ones are either late Victorian or 60's monstrosoties that need urgent updating. I know of 2 library buildings that have been shut due to urgent building work. (read that as the buildings are too dangerous to be open to the public). The existing one In the city isn't a pretty building- but I guess it's debatable whether you consider the new one 'pretty'. I think it's wonderful actually that Birmingham sees libraries as being a part of our future. I think the new one is designed to be multi functional.

Had a disaster with the quick and easy tea last night. I was going to make a tuna and sweetcorn quiche using a pre made case. I smashed the case to pieces undoing the packaging- then the can opener broke and I couldn't get into the tins of tuna! So a quickly rearranged tea- chicken pasta bake!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


I've had an education today. I've heard of grunge in scrapbooking- but I'm not intentionally a grunge style scrapper!! I also thought I knew what a grunge style dresser was like! Googling Grunge brought up images of Johnny Depp in Grunge style clothing- so I borrowed that image!

-Has a dirty guitar sound, strong riffs, and heavy drumming
-Guitars usually tuned to a lower key
-Commonly used guitar distortion and feedback
-Draws heavily on Punk
-Lyrics are typically angst-filled, angry, frustrated, sad, fearsome, and depressed
-Some people dont like Nirvana because they were the most popular band and overshadowed bands like Alice In Chains and Soundgarden

-Take as little effort as possible on appearence and dress for comport and affordability
-Reject the idea that one must always purchase the things that one wants or needs from others
-Like obscure indie bands, but disown those bands when they sign to major lables
-Never follow trends

Now I thought I could take a photo of the guitar strings- but I've just used the wrong TYPE of guitar. Amy's electric guitar is  still stored under EMMA's bed! Anyway- by the time I'd got an image that grunged up a bit- I didn't fancy digging the correct type of guitar out- so forgive my ignorance!!!!!
I also found a 'grunge' wallpaper for the computer screen- which I quite like!!
Now I usually dress for comfort so maybe I could have qualified for grunge aswell- although I didn't think my clothes were particularly what I perceived to be grunge!!!!!