Happy Friday 10.06.16

Due to the fact that we are firmly entrenched in revision season at the moment, the last two or three weeks have been very quiet and uneventful, so there has been little to report. However, there have obviously been some highlights, so here’s a little round up of some of the things that have sparked joy recently.

1. A family trip to watch “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” in Nottingham a couple of weeks ago. Everyone knows it’s a great, if very surreal, film, so we were intrigued as to how they would carry this off on a stage, but, of course, it was brilliantly done, and the flying car was suitably impressive! The cast was extremely strong – Lee Mead and Carrie Hope Fletcher had the lead roles, so they were obviously fantastic, as were Shaun Williamson and Michelle Collins. It was a “truly scrumptious” afternoon out!

2. The garden is continuing to look beautiful. The bluebells and tulips have now gone, but have been replaced by stunning peonies and bedding plants, which are all adding some very welcome splashes of colour.
Peonies Plants
3. Talking of the garden, our herb garden is absolutely flourishing, which we are so happy about. We have so many different kinds of mint (for D’s speciality mojitos!!), plus different thyme plants, oregano, fennel, curry plant, lovage, chives, parsley, rosemary, sage and elephant garlic. I love being able to use our own herbs in cooking and some of them have been flowering recently, so also look so pretty.
Herbs2 HErbs1 Garlic
4. One thing that has been wonderful over the past week or so is the weather. It has been so warm (even hot at times!) and sunny, that it has been a joy to spend time outside. The photo below is of our last meal together before B headed back up to Lancaster on Sunday to start his week of exams. Eating outside and early morning walks definitely make me smile!
GB
Dogs
Lottie
5. I have been to Derby Theatre twice in the past week (have I ever mentioned what a fabulous theatre it is, putting on such a huge and diverse range of productions? – I absolutely love it). The first was with D last Saturday for a Stage and Screen Night performed by Derwent Brass. I’m not sure if it’s down to my northern roots, but I love a good brass performance, and it was such a great night. Their programme was in three sections – a tribute to the production of “Brassed Off” which took place at the theatre last September and was just so, so good, then a swing section, followed by pieces from musical shows and films. It was all brilliant, but special mention should also go to Seren Sandham-Davies, who was in “Brassed Off”, and made three appearances throughout Saturday night’s show, playing the flugelhorn as she did in last year’s show, but also singing two songs. Honestly, her voice was truly amazing.
6. Since receiving the two cookbooks I had requested for my birthday, one by Madeleine Shaw, the other by “The Body Coach” Joe Wicks, we have been trying out so many of the healthy recipes – and absolutely loving them! I like to have a good breakfast to start the day, so have been really enjoying the Lemon and Blueberry Overnight Oats, the Mango and Chia Seed Pudding, the Porridge with Pistachios and Pomegranate Seeds and the Lime and Coconut Porridge with Nut Crunch. For our evening meals, we have had some really delicious meals as well, but the highlight for me was the Cheesy Chorizo Chicken and Spinach – wow – so tasty! We are really enjoying trying out these new recipes which are so delicious, whilst also being very good for you, and are suitable for all the family.
Porridge Fritters Breakfast Berries
7. To go alongside this, I have been doing lots of workouts at home. Now, I can’t honestly say that I always enjoy them at the time – they don’t particularly make me smile – but I always feel so good for doing them afterwards and I definitely feel fitter. I have been doing a mixture of HIIT workouts, with some exercise ball and arm exercises thrown in for good measure, so hopefully it is all doing me good.
8. Me second Derby Theatre trip of the week was on Tuesday with a great friend to watch “The Mousetrap”. I do think that it is odd that, despite the fact that it has been running for so many decades, I don’t actually know anyone who has seen it, but I would definitely recommend it. This touring production was extremely well performed, and it really does keep you guessing until very near the end. I obviously can’t say anymore, as I am now part of the special “Mousetrap Club”, knowing “whodunit” but being sworn to secrecy by the “murderer” at the end of the play.
9. With the stresses and tensions of revision, exams and D continuing to work crazy hours, our little family has made me very happy this past couple of weeks. I love it when we are all together and we know that we are there for each other, especially when we need a little more support than usual.
10. My last one this week is a little holiday that I booked a couple of weeks ago for me and G for October. She gets two weeks for half term, so we are going away for the first week of it for a lovely girly trip, celebrating her 16th birthday whilst there, and allowing her some downtime before GCSE work really kicks in until the following summer. We are so excited and already on a countdown!
That’s about it for this week. Let’s hope that the beautiful weather continues, then at least we can make the most of being at home and get outside whilst work commitments prevent us doing much else.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Dawn

A Birthday Post

Well, I’ve still been crazily busy with work so decided that I would do a slightly different post this week, focusing on the lovely day I had on Sunday, which was my birthday.

It was a quiet but nice day, starting with opening my presents. B had come home for the weekend, so we all sat in our bed together whilst I unwrapped my lovely gifts. You will see from the photos below that a lot of the presents that I had asked for centred around a health and fitness theme (well, I’m 42 now, got to try to stay healthy in my old age!), and I am thrilled with all of them. However, I was also lucky enough to receive lots of other lovely gifts, all of which were so thoughtful and suited me perfectly – so thank you so much to everyone who was so kind and generous to me.

Books

Fit Weights Gifts

Bottle

Charms

B then made me breakfast in bed, accompanied with some Moet et Chandon which was rather nice! We followed this by a family dog walk, as the weather was so much better than we had expected. D had then booked for us to go out Sunday lunch, to The Jinnie Inn at Rolleston on Dove, which was delicious.

Breakfast

By the time we had fully stuffed ourselves with lunch, it was almost time to take B back to the train, so I then had a very lazy, relaxing afternoon, poring over my new recipe books, planning my healthy meals for the week – whilst drinking more champagne!

FiG DB

A chilled but lovely day!

Happy Friday 06.05.16

It’s eventually Happy Friday time again! Not that there have been any reasons for it not to have been for the past couple of weeks but I’ve just been so busy with work that I haven’t had chance to sit down and gather my “happy” thoughts! But I’m back, so let me have a think:

  1. The first fire-pit of the season has to feature this week. It was lovely to get back out in the garden one evening a couple of weekends ago, and sit around the fire, toasting marshmallows and drinking gin and tonic, of course!
  2. A couple of weeks ago G and I went to see a local amateur production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which I really enjoyed. I think that this is an incredibly difficult show to tackle, as the songs seem so challenging, and the cast were unfortunately blighted by some sound issues at the start, but I thought it was a great performance,so it was a lovely night out.
  3. I am currently loving all the colour in our garden – it’s just so pretty and bright. The tulips and bluebells have lasted for weeks now, which I didn’t expect, so it’s looking lovely.
  4. Along these lines is the amazing blossom which is out everywhere right now. I love to see the pink or white blossom against a bright blue sky, and there is so much of it in our area – just beautiful.
  5. I bought a couple of new dresses a week or so ago, which I am really pleased with. They were in the sale so were an absolute bargain, but I love them, as they are just every day dresses, so I should get lots of wear out of them.
  6. Reading has continued to feature highly, the most notable books being “To Kill a Mockingbird”, which I re-read for book club, amazing myself by how little of it I remembered from studying it for GCSE; “The Cry” by Helen Fitzgerald – loved it; and I’m now halfway through “Stranger Child” by Rachel Abbott, which is keeping me very intrigued.
  7. Morning walks! When the mornings are as beautiful as they have been recently, there is honestly no better way to start the day than with an early morning walk with the dogs. They are so excited to wake up and go straight out for an adventure and it is an invigorating way to begin the day.
  8. My guilty pleasure- The Real Housewives of New York – is back! This really is my winding down, switching off treat – usually whilst ironing at the moment, as I haven’t had time to just sit. Those women are just unbelievable!
  9. D and I had a great night out last Sunday at the All-Star Standup Tour in Derby Theatre. Four comedians, who have featured on such TV programmes as “Mock the Week”, all performed, and it was a brilliant night. Gary Delaney, Sean Hughes and Pete Firman were hilarious anyway – the least said about Jarred Christmas the better, to be honest – he did NOT go down a storm with the Derby crowd!
  10. The last one has to be the weather! After the craziness of last week, which gave us rain, hail and even snow, this week’s warmth and sunshine has seemed even more glorious. Long may it continue!
Apologies for the lack of photos this week – I have some lovely ones which I will hopefully be able to add in at some point but, for now, they just aren’t working! Arrrgghh!

I have a lovely weekend ahead, meeting a friend at Stowe tomorrow, then brunch with two of my sisters at Trentham Gardens on Sunday. What treats!

I hope that you all have a great weekend.

 

Happy Friday 15.04.16

Well, it’s almost the weekend again – which is ALWAYS a good thing! We have got nothing planned, so I imagine that most of the time will be spent pottering (which I’m more than happy to do!). Hopefully, we will have some good weather, so that we can get the dogs out for some more lovely spring walks, so here’s to a happy weekend!

But, before that, just a few of the things that have made me smile this week:

  1. The garden is slowly springing into life again, after our crazily wet winter. The lawn is still very, very wet,  but the flowers are beginning to bloom, which is adding some beautiful colour all over the place. I am particularly loving my tulips, which I planted in the autumn, and the bluebells, which are just so fabulous.

Garden

2. After re-painting our sitting room a few weeks ago, there was just something which I felt wasn’t quite right. I hadn’t been able to put my finger on it, but then I realised that it was the wooden coffee table and nest of tables. The shade of wood just didn’t blend in well with the new colour on the walls, which made them look quite dull, so I decided to paint them! Of course, they had to be white, so I spent a few hours transforming them, and I’m so happy with the result. This is a very light, bright room, as it  has two large windows, so the white furniture just seems to fit in there really well, so I am now far happier with the whole room.

From this –

Coffeetable1

to this –  Coffeetable2 Tables

3. As well as enjoying the beautiful blooms in the garden, I have been loving having fresh spring flowers in the house too, especially daffodils and, my favourites, tulips.

Tulips

4. We have eventually seen quite a lot of the sun this week, which has made walking the dogs far more pleasurable. However, it also helps that Honey has started behaving herself much more whilst we are out too. She has been going through a phase, for the past few weeks, of pulling dreadfully on her lead, and continued to do so even with a new anti-pull lead. However, I have been walking Lottie off her lead a lot more in the past week, which I thought might make Honey worse, but it seems to have had the opposite effect, which is great – and a lot less painful for my arm!

Walk2 Walk1 Lottie2 Lottie1

5. We had a lovely day last week when two of my close university friends came over for the day with their children. It worked out so well – the children all get on well together, so they entertained themselves for the most part, which gave us hours of time to chat and catch up, which was so nice – and overdue! It was so good to see them and spend that time together.

6. We had a really fun family night on Friday! We spent the evening playing a new family game on the X Box together, which was very entertaining, then watched an episode of our new favourite series which we ALL enjoy, Vera, ate lots of snacks, and then all slept downstairs in the sitting room together. The evening went so well that we said that we would do it again next time that B is home from school for the weekend!

7. Saturday saw us all taking a trip to the swimming pool together. As usual, it was really quiet, so we almost had the pool to ourselves, which was great, so we had a lovely time.

8. We then continued the family fun by having a “food night” on Saturday evening. We went shopping together, but each had a budget to buy our own food for the evening. This meant that we were all cooking at the same time, but making different meals – it was interesting to see what we all chose to make and how we handled the budget to make the most of the money to get what we each wanted.

9. G organised a fabulous surprise for me, which was so thoughtful. She made up a scavenger hunt around the house and garden, which she knows I absolutely love to do, and then the prize at the end was an early birthday present of a quilted Barbour jacket! I had absolutely no idea that she was going to do this, so it was a complete  shock, but so amazingly lovely.

10. Talking of G, she had two friends over this week, staying for a day followed by a sleepover, and, I have to say, she has the most lovely friends. They get on so well, and are so friendly and polite – it makes us very happy that she has such great people in her life.

So that’s it for this week. I hope that you all have a great weekend, whatever you are up to.

 

Happy Friday 01.04.16

As it was Good Friday last week and we were away, I didn’t get around to writing my Happy Friday post, so this is a quick round up of the things which have made me smile over the past two weeks.

  1. B came home from school for his birthday weekend – it was actually his birthday on the Monday, but he wanted to come home for the couple of days before, which was lovely. So we celebrated two days early, first with G and B completing the Closer to the Edge high ropes adventure course. This is located in Markeaton Park in Derby and is a great facility – it was very well organised and structured, and the children really enjoyed it – especially the powerfan descender and the zip wire! We then went on to Cosmo for his birthday meal, which went down very well with all of us.

Climbing Ropes

GeorgieBen2. It makes me so happy to see the spring flowers coming up in the garden – this week it has been the turn of hyacinths, but my tulips are very nearly there as well, so I can’t wait to see them bloom in the next few days.

Hyacinth

3. The train journeys that B has started taking to and from school are fantastic, I have to say – they make a huge difference both financially and time-wise – and he really enjoys them, feeling very independent and mature. He has a few journeys under his belt now, and is very calm about the whole thing, even when there are three trains and a suitcase involved!

4. As I mentioned, we were away for the Easter weekend in Norfolk, which was as lovely as ever. We are so grateful that we have the house there – it really is the perfect getaway!

5. The weather was better than forecast whilst we were away, so we had some lovely walks – or runs, for the dogs! We seemed to experience every kind of weather apart from snow over the few days, but we certainly made the most of the glorious sunshine.

Tilly

6. We also had quite a competitive time over the bank holiday weekend, as, when the weather wasn’t so good, we stayed in and played LOTS of games – Blokus and B’s new game, Scattergories, being the favourites – lot of fun!

7. Reading has also featured highly for me the past two weeks, especially with having some time away. My recent favourites have been Harlan Coben’s Hold Tight and Louise Douglas’ The Secret by the Lake.

8. During the evenings, after the children have gone to bed, D and I have been continuing to watch The Good Wife, which we are loving. I think we’re about halfway through the final series though, so the end is in sight!

9. On Wednesday, we popped into the Chinese supermarket in Derby, which was so interesting. I have never seen so many different kinds of noodles! We bought some Chinese sweets for G and B, which were really good, and then some curry paste and noodles, so we had Chinese chicken curry with rice vermicelli noodles for our dinner, which was sooo good!

10. One of the absolute highlights has to be the fact that we – eventually – completed the sale on a second house we owned in Norfolk this week! We bought it, with my sister and her husband, five years ago, to renovate and then sell on. The renovation part went really well. Not so the selling! It has therefore been rented out in the meantime, but we have, at long last, managed to sell it, which I am so happy about.

So the Easter holidays continue – I’m loving the lazier mornings, not having to get up at 6.30am but being able to stay in bed with a cup of tea and a good book, whilst the children lie in, so yes please to another week of that!

Have a great weekend!TillyHoney

Happy Friday 18.03.16

Well, I didn’t quite manage to come up with a list of ten things that had made me happy last week – one of those weeks, you know? So here’s a few of the highlights from the past fortnight:

  1. B making it home on the train on his own from school! Three trains were involved in the journey, but it all went swimmingly well and he arrived at his final destination looking very grown up and pleased with himself.
  2. D and I had a great night out a couple of weeks ago at The Lancashire Hotpots gig in Derby. Just like last year, it was such a fun night, with lots of singing and dancing along with the hilarious songs.
  3. I then had a lovely Mother’s Day – it was so good that we could all be together for it. One of the highlights was the huge brunch which was cooked for me – so delicious!

Brunch

4. G was out at a friend’s party last Friday after school until about 9.30pm, so D and I took the opportunity to have a lovely Caribbean meal (G isn’t keen on spicy food so we tend to avoid it when she’s eating with us) followed by a few episodes of The Good Wife. It was nice to have some time for just the two of us without work interfering, as it usually does during the week.

5. We then had an early start the next day, as it was B’s Parents Morning at school, so we drove up to Lancaster for that. It was a really good morning – apart from suggesting that he puts more effort into chemistry and physics, the reports were so positive and lovely, and it was great to meet his teachers, who we obviously don’t usually see.

6. The weather this week definitely deserves a mention! It has felt so much more spring-like and we have seen far more of the sun, so this has certainly cheered up the dog walks.

7. I had a great night out on Tuesday with two really good friends, first eating in Zizzi, before then going to watch a performance of “Look Back in Anger” at Derby Theatre. Honestly, I have never seen a poor production at this theatre, and this was no exception – the performances were truly amazing, and the direction by Sarah Brigham, was, as always, fantastic – very gritty, intense and thought-provoking.

8. I’ve devoured more great books over the past couple of weeks – I seem slightly obsessed with psychological thrillers at the moment – so I have loved Samantha Hayes’ You belong To Me, Sinead Crowley’s Can anybody Help Me? and am currently reading Sophie Hannah’s Kind of Cruel.

9. I have been thankful for the fact that my work allows me to be there to look after the children if they are unwell, as G has been for the past two days. She has had a temperature, with very sore head, throat and ears, and has not been able to go to school, so I’m grateful to be able to stay at home with her, providing cuddles, drinks and lots of soup.

10.Short hair! I decided this week, after deliberating for a while, to have my hair cut short, and I am really pleased with it. I haven’t had it this length for a very long time but I just felt ready for a change.

So, we are hoping that G starts to feel much better soon, as we have a family weekend ahead celebrating B’s birthday, which is on Monday. He is coming home tonight, then he and G are doing the “Closer to the Edge” activity in Markeaton Park tomorrow, followed by a meal at B’s choice of restaurant, so it should be fun.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Happy Friday 04.03.16

It’s been a pretty quiet week here, in part due to the fact that D has been suffering from the dreaded “man flu” – I think that we are all pleased that it now seems to be on its way out and he’s getting back to normal! Thank goodness for small mercies.

Tealight Tulips

Anyway, here are just a few of the things that have made me smile this week:

  1. I bought some lovely new tealight holders for the newly decorated sitting room last week. They are grey glass and are so pretty – I’m really pleased with them.
  2. A couple of weeks ago it was daffodils, but this week it’s tulips! I absolutely love them and am looking forward to having them brightening up the house for the next few weeks.
  3. Last Friday saw D and I heading out with some work colleagues for a meal and drinks. It was a good night – lovely food and great company – although I am grateful for the fact that we had to get back in good time for G and her friend, as I know I wouldn’t have been able to stay out until after 3am like the others!
  4. So this was followed by a very quiet weekend, which was no bad thing. I think that we are all grateful to have one like this every now and then to get on top of things and relax, without having a huge to-do list or lots of places to be/go.
  5. The weather is definitely improving (apart from Wednesday, which was absolutely freezing!) and I am certainly feeling much more like spring is in the air on my dog walks now – hurrah!
  6. Since my recent bout of de-cluttering and organising in the house, I am definitely feeling so much happier with it. It suddenly seems so much easier to keep it tidy, so I am loving coming downstairs in the morning or back from work or even going from one room to another and seeing everything so tidy and organised.
  7. I had another trip to the library last week and stocked up on some more great reads. This week’s so far have been Kill Me Again by Rachel Abbott and Until You’re Mine by Samantha Hayes. Fantastic, both of them!
  8. After completing my training course a couple of weeks ago, I had my first morning of proper volunteering at the hospice this week. I have been assigned to the craft table, which I am really pleased about, as it will give me something very definite to do. Everyone was very friendly – it was just a shame that it was very quiet when I was in on Tuesday morning, so there wasn’t as much to do as there will be going forwards.
  9. I made two rash purchases this week – new cardigans which I saw in the sale! One is great for work – a lovely green which looks good with black – and the other(which I’m wearing right now!) is big, soft and snuggly, so perfect for home. Very pleasing buys!
  10. We have a lovely weekend ahead, which we are very excited about. Not only is B home for the weekend (first time coming on the train, so we will all have everything crossed today!), which is lovely in itself, but D and I are also going out on Saturday night to see The Lancashire Hotpots (just hoping that it is as fantastic a night as last year!) and then it is Mother’s Day. What a perfect weekend!

 

Happy Friday 26.02.16

Well, this has been a rather mixed week – lots of positives, but also a few days of having too much on my mind, which has made it more testing than perhaps it should have been. But it’s “Happy Friday”, so I’m going to focus on some of the things which have made me smile:

  1. D and I had a lovely meal out at The Book Café in Derby last Friday evening. It is one of my favourite places to pop in for a drink during the daytime, but we had not previously visited at night. But it was great! We enjoyed a very nice cocktail when we first arrived – a Book Bellini for me – and then had a delicious meal, accompanied by a rather lovely bottle of Chardonnay. The atmosphere was perfect – there was a good mix of people there and live music being performed throughout the evening, which we really enjoyed, so we will definitely be returning soon.

Dan Reserve

2. My sleepy, cuddly “bookends”! Just how adorable?

Dogs

3. Saturday night, being B’s last night at home before returning to school, became “family night”, so we treated ourselves to a Chinese takeaway, whilst watching a couple of our favourite “family” TV shows – Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and Death in Paradise.

4. B was good enough to make his famous pizza for us before leaving on Sunday – and it really was delicious! A wonderful going away gift!

Pizza

5. Tuesday turned out to be a very productive day, as I decided to paint the sitting room. When we had the room renovated about 18 months ago, we painted the room a warm, mellow yellow, which I originally loved, as it was so light and bright during the day, but really cosy in the evenings, when we have the woodburner lit. However, I decided that I’d like it to look a little more up to date and fresh, so we went for a colour best described as “greige” – a mixture, obviously, of grey and beige. We are really happy with it – I managed to paint two coats on the whole room whilst G was at school, so it wasn’t at all disruptive, and it has freshened the room up well.

Before –

Yellow

After –

Grey2 Grey1

6. To add the finishing touches to the sitting room, I managed to find both a canvas print for the main wall and some new cushions, to tie the colours together, which I’m really happy with.

7. All my mornings this week have begun in the same way – with a cup of tea and a great book in bed. This week’s fabulous read has been Until You’re Mine, by Samantha Hayes. I love this as a way to start the day – although it does mean that my morning exercise sessions have been completely forgotten!

Book

8. My next one is really quite mixed. On the one hand, I am so grateful that I have a husband who works so hard, and I appreciate that so much. However, the fact that he has been working ridiculously hard – one night getting home at past 1 o’clock in the morning and then leaving again at 6.30am, cannot be sustained, and does worry me.

9. Hurrah for some proper winter weather at last this week! We have had some extremely cold but beautiful, sunny, frosty mornings,, which I just love, so my dog walks have been so much more pleasant.

10. The final one for this week is that B has been so much more communicative than normal! We usually hardly hear from him whilst he is away, but we have had calls every night this week, which has been lovely.

So, that’s it for this week. It’s felt like a pretty long one, so we are all looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend.

I hope that you have a great one, whatever you have planned.

 

Happy Friday 19.02.16

Here we are at the end of yet another week – and that’s half term just about gone, which is such a shame. But we’ve had a good week, with lots of lovely highlights along the way:

1. Of course, number one has to be having B home for the week. D collected him from school last Friday and they had a good journey home, so we had a really lovely long first evening together – what a joy!

Sign2. Love was in the air on Sunday – Valentines Day! D and I don’t make much fuss about this but we had a nice day (despite the fact that D was working for most of it) and loved our small gifts to one another  (we had both got mugs, as we do drink A LOT of tea together!) and enjoyed some pink fizz in the evening.

Mugs

3. We have had a really quiet half term week compared with others, as we had a few chores to fit in, but have had a lovely time nonetheless, filled with plenty of relaxing for the children (who were ready for a break), playing board games (I love the fact that they still enjoy this so much) and watching films in front of the fire. Simple things!

4. I completed my hospice volunteer training this week, which came with mixed feelings from the whole group, I believe. The sessions have been so well-structured and thought-provoking, that we have all really enjoyed them, so, although this means that we are now closer to actually making a start on our volunteering, it was very poignant for us all, as we have shared a lot over the past few weeks and now know that our paths may not cross again.

5. I made a cheeky purchase of these lovely bowls during the week – aren’t they pretty? G and B didn’t really understand why I liked them so much, but they just caught my eye immediately – and they were more than happy when I filled them with nibbles!

Bowls

6. Once again, books feature on this week’s list. I first read “The Betrayal” by Laura Elliot, which I would definitely recommend – an entertaining, thought-provoking psychological thriller, and I am currently halfway through “The Secrets We Keep” by Jonathan Harvey, which is written in a very different style but is completely intriguing as more and more small details are slowly revealed about the disappearance of the main character, which is riveting. We had a quick trip to the library on Saturday, so I have a lovely pile of books ahead of me!

7. Daffodils! I just love daffodils (almost as much as I love tulips!), so it’s so lovely to have jars of them dotted around the house at the moment. They add a wonderful splash of colour and are a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.

8. I lit my new sandalwood candle for the first time this week – and it is beautiful! I adore the smell of sandalwood (when I had my soap making business a few years ago, this was always one of my favourite fragrances) and the ceramic pot it is in is lovely too – a very good buy!

Candle

9. It has been lovely to see the children getting on so well together this week. There have been a couple of tiny spats between them, but for the vast majority of the time, they have had a great time together, and have really made the most of the week before B heads back on Sunday.

10. D and I are now looking forward to a Friday night out, which doesn’t happen very often! We are going to The Book Café in Derby for a meal, drinks and live music, which I am so looking forward to. Hopefully it will feature in my Happy Friday list next week!

I hope that you all have a great weekend, whatever you are up to.

Happy Friday 12.02.16

Well, we reach the end of another nice week, so here’s a little round up of some of the things that have made me smile over the past few days:

Salad

  1. A variety of food! This seems like such a simple thing, but it is one that most of us in this country take for granted. At the moment, I’m trying to eat healthily during the week, so I loved the lentil-based salad I had on Friday, but then weekends are for some treats! Chocolate brioche for breakfast anyone?

Brioche

2. G has developed a sudden interest in baking this week, and has made two cakes over the past few days – the chocolate chip one below at the weekend, then a red velvet one on Tuesday – and they have been enjoyed by all!

Cake

3. I had a lovely day out in London on Sunday, which was a real treat. Since my friend returned to the UK last year after several years of living in Europe, we had been talking of meeting up in the capital for the day, but the occasion of her birthday prompted us into action! We had such a lovely day – my trains were on time, so we met up as planned, and filled the day by sitting in cafes drinking tea and catching up, with a great theatre trip in the middle. As it turned out to be so easy to meet up, I’m sure that we’ll be doing it again!

Station

4. As I mentioned, we went to the theatre in the afternoon, at Kings Cross Theatre, to see The Railway Children (http://railwaychildrenlondon.com/). It was a fantastic production, so cleverly and uniquely performed and directed, with fabulous performances from each and every one of the cast – including the real steam train, which was very impressive! A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, without a doubt!

Suitcases Signs_1 Signs_3 Signs_2

5. So, bizarre as this may sound, another thing that has made me happy this week is cancelling our summer holiday! We had booked to stay in a beautiful, luxurious gite in the south of France in July, but, for a number of reasons (mainly the costs, which were adding up with expensive flights, car hire, food, etc., and the situation of being left with no one to look after the dogs after we were very badly let down by our dog-sitters), we just didn’t feel as good about it as we should have done, so decided to cancel it. Strangely, when I then went to remove it from our online calendars, which we use for everything we have planned, I spotted that I hadn’t even put it in the calendar, which maybe says a lot? Anyway, as soon as we had made the decision, and also decided that we would go to our beloved Norfolk instead, I felt so much happier!

6. The added bonus of cancelling our holiday to France means that we can now go to Carfest! Well, D and I can go, as the children will be in France staying with their exchange family, but again, this seems a little like fate, as D had bought the tickets for Carfest North after not being able to buy any for Carfest South, where we have been for the past four years, not realising that we would be in France that weekend. Hurrah!

7. An amazing thing that happened this week, which has made me so happy, is that I have re-established contact with an old university friend, whom I haven’t seen for about 9 years and who is now based, with her beautiful family, in South Sudan. I was so pleased to find her via her blog, which I used to contact her, and then received the most lovely email back. It’s so good to find someone from your past again, isn’t it? And I will make sure we don’t lose touch this time!

8. I know that this one features every now and then, but you can’t beat finding a good book to raise your spirits, and I have read two this week (largely thanks to my train journeys to and from London!). The first, which I read for my book club, was The Tea Planter’s Wife, by Dinah Jefferies, which I really loved. The descriptive writing in it was so vivid, and I found the story was certainly intriguing enough to make me want to read more – and I didn’t at all predict the ending, unlike some members of my book club! Secondly, I am reading The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne. I have not quite finished this but am enjoying it so much- it’s definitely one of the most unputdownable books I’ve read in a long time! The intrigue and cliffhangers at the end of almost every chapter are fantastic, and I can’t wait to find out the ending.

9. My de-cluttering continues, so I was very pleased to take 12 bags of clothes, shoes and bags to the recycling centre yesterday. It’s so great to feel that everything is now so much more organised. I still have some areas to tackle, but I’m getting there. (If anyone knows of any school/organisation/family that would benefit from a carrier bag  of pencil crayons, felt tips, pens and pencils, please do let me know though, as I don’t want to just throw them away.)

10. Last but not least, the children finish for half term today, which is lovely. It’s only been a very short half term, but we are all looking forward to B coming home today and us having a nice week together.

Have a great weekend  everyone!