Friday, 25 July 2014

Happies - on a Friday

It’s been another busy week but one filled with sunshine, fevers and plans.
July is always a busy month for us...2 birthdays and an anniversary makes for a busy time. Add to this week a small child with illness (I am VERY thankful for calpol!) and the heat (I’m not really complaining but it makes it hard to sleep).

So, joining in with Gillian, these are the things are the things that have been making me happy the last couple of weeks.

Birthday presents
I was, once again, really lucky to receive some fantastic presents from the ABO and the girls. Amongst other things
Some shiny new saltwaters...

I am also looking forward to my Learn to Crochet course in August. The ABO booked it for the same day as my friend, S, who is the brilliant knitter.

It was also the ABO’s birthday this week. Our plans for a quiet, child free, lunch were scuppered by illness (his and BigRs) but there was still room for cake...
A James Martin Cherry cake no less. It was very good.

The garden
The weather has been so good; I’ve spent quite a bit of time outside. There’s always something that could be done. I still have bedding plants to put in; I must’ve weeded the place they’re going to be planted at least 3 times but still no plants. Maybe if I wait long enough they’ll grow so big in their trays that they’ll plant themselves?
LittleR cannot get enough being outside. Even if you’re just off to the bin she’s off to get her shoes and is bitterly disappointed when you come back in and shut the door. In honour of the ‘heatwave’ we bought a new paddling pool and with the sprinkler and some very cheap water pistols it’s provided a lot of entertainment for all of us.
When I go out to water the plants in the early evening, I like to take in the remnants of the fun the garden held for us that day.

I’m also excited to see that we have chillis! I’m not sure how long this one needs to ripen. The little coloured card that came with the plant showed green yellow and red chillis on the plant. I guess if we hang on we might get a red (hotter?) chilli....we’ll see.
I’m still a little sad that the blueberries are not yet ripe but I guess we have a few more weeks yet.

I’m still guilty of trying to cram in too much during nap time.
But this week I forgave myself.
For the first time I made jam. Strawberry first and then raspberry. It took one evening and then one nap. I was amazed I didn’t ruin the saucepan. Then I was amazed it set. I did have a CJ style moment with a jar leaping from the fridge in a last minute burst for freedom a couple of days later. I did think about taking a photo but as the ABO had just mopped the floor I had to resort to stealth to clear up. It looks like jam. It even tastes like jam! A success, I will be doing it again.

Looking at my feet
This goes back to the birthday presents but also noticing where I have been.

I love these tiles. I went to a meeting in the School of Education...some of the University buildings have beautiful original features (sadly not the building I work in which is a 70s monstrosity).

And new nail polish. I love this turquoise colour.

And seeing my new (home applied sadly, pedicures really are my guilty pleasure) pedicure in my exceptionally battered Birkenstocks in the garden.


Thanks so much for all you comments recently...once again I will get round to answering and commenting on your blogs very soon.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The end or the beginning :: days 98-101

Day 98
Beautiful splash of blue in-between the yellow. Love cornflowers.

Day 99
A day off, the first day of my part time working. It felt like a weekend as the ABO was off and we were with the children. We had a few jobs to do, and had that accomplished feeling when they were all done.

Day 100
A summer visit to Harlow Carr, we’d literally just missed Joan Collins and Robert de Niro (together? I don’t know) and....Ant & Dec!

Day 101
The start of Le Tour de Yorkshire. I wasn’t that enamoured I have to say. I was grumpy that it was going to make it difficult on my birthday weekend and the fact it just felt restrictive with the road closures. We thought we’d try and go close to the A61 to see if we could get parked and maybe watch the cyclists whizz by. Well imagine our surprise when there were barely any cars on the road and Chapel Allerton was almost a ghost town (not Caffe Nero, the queue was out. of. the. door.). We ended up going home to watch the race on the TV and spot local places. The crowds were busy along the main routes near us (and practically along the whole route over the weekend) and it would’ve been impossible for BigR (and me for that matter) to see anything.

Team working my birthday cake, a Victoria sponge. It was very, very light. We decided to put jam in the middle, keep it traditional, and let it be able to last a few days longer (as the ABO was away with work) rather than decorating with cream. This practical abstinence led to the addition of ice cream!

Well, I completed my 101 days. I think I’ll join in with Gillian and celebrate the happys in each week. I’ll aim for Friday (and after my disastrous attempt at scheduled posting) at some point in the week there will be a post!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

A preview of things to come

Tomorrow BigR goes on her nursery school leavers trip to a farm. The ABO is away with work this week. So tomorrow will be a day for me with LittleR. This is how it'll be from September on Thursdays and Fridays. I'm looking forward to giving LittleR some undivided attention but I'm almost overwhelmed with possibilities of things I could do (especially in her nap time). I don't want to 'waste' the day by heading just to the supermarket or just continually collecting toys from the floor but equally I feel I could fritter the time away. Is that really a problem? Having nothing to show for a few hours where I only have to consider the needs of one child? I'm sure I'll get used to having time at home and slow down a bit but I can't get over the guilt of not doing anything (like cleaning) or having any plans.

The last time I felt I've this was when I had finished my PhD. It was complete. I'd done it. Submitted it. Had the viva. Sorted the corrections. Printed it. Bound it. Had it put in the library. It was done but even so I still felt as though I should be doing something. It took a while to settle into the rest of my life after my PhD and maybe it'll take a while to get used to being (as I got told today) "not part time  it's less than full time"

Friday, 4 July 2014

A year in books :: July

I had (yet another) bumper month for reading in June. I think not much being on TV accounts for it really. I really like football but I'm a club not country kinda girl (plus England were woeful) and can read whilst its on...

So this months books were:

After You'd Gone - Maggie O'Farrell... I loved this book. I so enjoyed the interwoven story and her writing style really brings the characters and the situations alive. I have to say once again it made me cry, but I was truly moved by the writing.

The Bones Beneath - Mark Billingham...Tom Thorne back again and this time not in London. Definite twist to this one and of course you have to suspend a little bit of belief but a thoroughly good read. I think of David Morrissey as Thorne and it's a good fit. I hope he films some more of these.

A set of 3 short stories by Simon Kernick - super fast and superb story telling. This was billed as 3 interlinked short stories in the sort of way you would 'tune in next week to see what happened' (says Kernick) each being published a week apart. I saved them til they were all there and could be devoured in one go!

The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith...this arrived on my kindle serendipitously just as I finished the 3 Simon Kernick short stories. I'd forgotten I'd preordered it. What a great story and good writing. It's the second Cormoran Strike novel from JK Rowling who is writing here as Robert Galbraith. I really enjoyed the first novel and this continues on from that some months later. Cororan Strike is a really interesting character but more than him is his 'assistant' (for want of a better expression), Robin without whom he couldn't function (figuratively and literally I think we'll see in coming books). So in spite of his fractured personal life he manages to get to the root of the problem where others fail.

So for July's choices:

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson

OxCrimes - various... Suggested by Ailsa am looking forward to this and also to seeing if it gets me into any new authors.

And then if I have any time/effort left in me...

Stay Alive - Simon Kernick...we'll see how I get on with this one. Another crime novel. I really like his quick paced style. Short chapters, keeping the action moving. It's a real book (so I can take a snap of it), as opposed to being on my kindle. So I need to carry it with me and also have the light on to read it. It might take a bit longer this one...

Joining in with Laura

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Holidays, Praise and Colour (in various guises) :: days 87-97

Only a few days of this challenge left. I'm still amazed I kept it also means that it's nearly my birthday, which means cake. Yum. I'm trying to decide what I want. The ABO offered to make a lemon tart but as I'm the only one who likes it (and there are limits with lemon tart even on your birthday) maybe we'll have something else, a Mary Berry Victoria sponge perhaps as its very family friendly. BigR is currently obsessed with how old everyone is and then telling anyone who'll listen. And that Mummy is older than Daddy. are the last 10 days. I'm hoping to keep this up but following Gillian's example of a weekly round up of happiness. 

I will, also, get around to commenting on everyone's blogposts...thank you for reading mine here.

Day 87
:: A Saturday morning trip into Leeds with enough time for a coffee and to leave before the busyness descends

Day 88
:: Packing for our midweek break. I am always amazed at how much is required by two small people for 4 days!

:: Taking control of the nursery bear's holiday with us...

Day 89
:: Seeing months of preparation turn into an well organised and thought provoking conference….Before running from the building to go on our hollibobs.

:: Picking up pine cones from the forest floor.

:: BigR and LittleR sharing a room for the first time.

Day 90
:: My first ride on a bike in 25 years. Hilarious!

:: Holiday treat - having a pedicure. It’s not something I get done very often. I paint my own toenails (usually the same colour all summer) but a foot massage and a professional polish is a real treat.

Day 91
:: Taking both the Rs swimming. Little R loving being able to stand up in the water!

:: Cupcake decorating by BigR.

:: Chalkboard colouring. 

Day 92
:: Pottery painting by BigR

:: The first BBQ of the summer. BBQ always seem like a good idea but then seemingly (in our house) take ages and encourages flies and wasps to appear like magic. This time we got it right…cook it outside and eat it inside!

:: Goose and duck feeding overlooking the lake.

Day 93
:: Homeward bound but not until after another dip in the pool

:: The relief of your own bed after being away (even if the bed was very comfy!).

Day 94
:: The excitement by the girls as Grandma and Grandad arrived.

:: A(lmost) nite off. It’s amazing how only putting one child to bed frees up your evening.

:: A perfectly cooked steak with peppercorn sauce.

Day 95
:: An early night with a good book in preparation for a week of 4.20am wake ups

Day 96
:: The ducklings again. They’re much bigger!

:: Praise after well received teaching.

:: Coming to the end of a really well written book.

Day 97
:: Conference feet. The coffee was only fair.

:: Beautiful roses in my garden.