Monthly Archives: March 2015

A very special Saturday

Some days, you just know, are going to stick in your memory as so special and such fun – and last Saturday was definitely one of those!

The day started with D taking G and B to the gym, so I had the house to myself to do the fourth day of Adriene Mishler’s 30 day yoga challenge. I am still really enjoying this and it’s a lovely start to the day. Saying that, the sixth day, yesterday, which focussed on abs, was particularly challenging – especially today, when laughing or coughing cause great discomfort – to say the least!

This was followed by the most lovely champagne breakfast – the height of luxury, decadence and yumminess! I had bought this as a gift for one of my closest friends for her 40th birthday, which was a couple of weeks ago. She bought me a spa day for the two of us for mine last year, so I decided to repay the favour by treating us both to breakfast at the brasserie, which is situated on the balcony at the rear of Bennetts iconic department store, in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter on Irongate in Derby. You get a three course breakfast, with a choice of three or four options for each course, with plentiful tea/coffee/juice and, of course, champagne. I opted for a starter which I had tried before – granola with dried fruit and yogurt, which is delicious, then went for the full English breakfast. Having only recently started eating meat again after not doing so for 18 months, it was the first time in a long while that I had sampled a full English, and it did not disappoint. It included bacon, sausages, black pudding, tomatoes, choice of egg, fried bread, mushrooms, hash browns and toast, and everything was cooked to perfection. This was then followed – after a slight pause, as we were both so full – by apple parfait, which is a lovely light end to the meal. It also has to be said that the service was absolutely fantastic. It is my fourth visit for a champagne breakfast there and I have always been served by the same waiter, who is incredibly polite, attentive and has a fantastic memory, remembering our orders without writing anything down. So we both had a great few hours together, catching up on each other’s news and enjoying a real treat.



As a complete contrast to this, D and I then had a rare night out – at The Lancashire Hotpots! If you don’t know them (and you really should –they are absolutely hilarious and so entertaining!), they are a comedy folk band from St Helens, recording songs about Lancashire and British culture, using plenty of Lancashire dialect. We came across them a couple of years ago and just love them (being Lancastrians ourselves) but it is the first time we have seen them live. It really was a great night out for us – the kind of thing that we never normally do – but we had the best time. The venue was The Flowerpot in Derby, a pub with a great performance area in the back. They were a little later starting than we expected, but when they did, it was two full hours of pure fun – we haven’t sung so loudly, danced so much and got so hot on a night out in, what, maybe 20 years?!? We are still talking about it now – surely the sign of a fantastic night?


Fortunately, especially with the clock change, Sunday was a quieter day, but it really was such a wonderful Saturday – one which I will remember for a long time.

Happy Friday 27.03.15

Birthday cards Flowers Reading Tea

Wow – how this week has flown by – and by the end of the day, the school Easter holidays will be upon us. Much as I love routine, I am always ready (as are G and B, of course!) for the break from it, and for the opportunity for more flexibility and lazy mornings.

Anyway, here are ten things which have brought a smile to my face this week.

1. My new lexpress drinks frother from Kitchen Craft. I’ve recently discovered the joys of Chai tea (thanks initially to Starbucks’ Chai Tea Latte!) and I decided that it would be great with frothy milk. It is brilliant! It was a real bargain, is so easy to use – literally taking ten seconds maximum to froth the milk – and is being enjoyed by not only me but also D, who can now have frothy coffee, and the children, who have been using it in milkshakes.

2. It is our first spring in this house, as we moved in last summer, so it is really interesting to see how the garden comes alive again, and which plants are shooting up in which areas of the garden. I’ve particularly liked the splashes of colour from the little bunches of spring flowers which have appeared – so pretty.

3. Reading! I’ve had a couple of afternoons this week when I’ve had workmen here for short periods of time – not long enough to do anything particularly meaningful with my time – so I did spend half an hour one afternoon sitting reading my new book, something which I never, ever do normally (I usually feel far too guilty and self-indulgent) and it was so lovely.

4. B’s birthday! B turned 12 last Saturday so we had a lovely family day. He had had a sleepover with his friends on the Friday night, which they all seemed to enjoy, but after they had left, it was just the four of us. He opened his cards and presents, then we went shopping as his birthday money and vouchers were burning holes in his pockets and while there, we ate at Ed’s Diner. We’ve never been there before but we all loved our meals, the “American diner” experience and the friendly, helpful staff. Then it was back home to watch a film. Nice day had by all, especially the birthday boy.

5. “Lie to Me” – Dan and I are working our way through this great programme on Netflix (we are currently about halfway through season 2) and are loving it. It stars British actor Tim Roth as the lead character, Cal Lightman, an expert body language scientist, and he is brilliant. He is so subtly absolutely hilarious but does seem to become a little more unhinged in each episode, so we’re intrigued as to how he’ll end up.

6. Sunshine – this has been very welcome indeed this week. Despite the fact that the mornings have still been pretty nippy (to say the least!), it has been lovely to enjoy the sunshine – and have to wear sunglasses for driving! It puts everyone in a much better mood and makes you believe that summer is on its way.

7. Yoga – I have done yoga of various sorts over the past 4 years and have always loved it, but I sometimes just get out of the habit of doing it. However, I recently came across Adriene Mishler and her 30 Days of Yoga challenge, which sounded really interesting, so this week I’ve signed up for it (it’s completely free, and you get an email and new video for each day, although all the videos are also on You Tube). I started on Wednesday, so have done days one and two so far, but I absolutely love it. Her manner and instruction really appeal to me – she seems so lovely – and it is a great way to start the day.

8. As well as doing his grade 4 piano exam this week (phew – we’re all glad that’s over!), B performed in a small, informal recital at school on Wednesday. It was lovely – a great opportunity for those who have private lessons outside of school, or who play instruments which don’t naturally feature in the usual orchestra or swing band, to perform and show what they can do. He played very well indeed!

9. Our woodburner! We keep thinking that we won’t be using it much more for a while, but then the evenings have been so chilly, that we are still lighting it every night (B makes a fabulous fire!) and loving it.

10. The puppies! They are just so good, cute and give the best cuddles. We have had some lovely walks in the sun this week and they love playing together so much, it’s great just to stop and watch them. They make us all so happy.


Have a fabulous weekend!

That Sunday Night Feeling

We all know that feeling – the Sunday night blues – when the fun and relaxation (unless you have spent the whole two days ferrying children around!) of the weekend is almost at an end and a week of work/study/demands is within sight. Whatever you have done over the weekend – seeing family and friends, a short break away, family time or just simply having time to do very little other than catch up on some reading and tea drinking – it is hardly surprising that people begin to feel anxious and a little despondent as this time begins to reach its conclusion. In fact, anxiety about the looming working week officially starts at 4.13pm on a Sunday, according to a poll.


However, we seem to have got into a habit of planning really lovely Sunday evenings, which end up being so enjoyable that we don’t even think about the impending week. Hurrah! They generally consist of one of two activities, the first being a family movie night – all snuggled down together, the woodburner roaring away, huge bowls of popcorn (especially now that we have recently discovered the joys of making our own candied popcorn – so bad but oh so good!!) and a great family film. The only challenge to me with this one is staying awake! The second one, which we enjoyed last night, does involve the children having homework to finish off or doing their own things in their rooms – some time alone for me and D, enjoying a bottle of wine and lots and lots of yummy cheese, again in front of the woodburner, and usually an episode or two of our current Netflix series (currently Lie To Me – brilliant!). Both options are so lovely and relaxing– either family time or adult time, both of which involve all the dogs snoozing in front of the fire with us – and they really have stopped all hints of the Sunday night blues.


I have to say that I do look forward to a healthy juice for breakfast on Monday morning though after the popcorn or cheese excesses of the night before! It’s all about balance, right?


Happy Friday 20.03.15


And so it begins.

I’ve been intending to keep a gratitude journal for so long and have never quite got round to it, so I decided that this would be a great place to do so, by celebrating ten things which have made me happy during the week on Happy Fridays. I do believe that being more mindful about the little things which bring you joy and happiness can really improve your outlook on life, and documenting them can only help that (I hope!). So here goes:

  1. A family trip to G’s school show last night. She wasn’t in it, but the school always put on such fantastic performances and it’s amazing to see the amount of talent in such a relatively small school. And I always love a good musical!
  2. A little project I undertook this week to transform a smallish tea tray into one that now has pride of place on the coffee table, to keep everything neat and tidy. It was pretty simple but I’m really pleased with the transformation.
  3. Wearing our family ring. One of my sisters mentioned this to me this week – my Mum and all four of us daughters have the same ring, but I don’t wear mine too often, as it’s gold and I wear more silver jewellery, but I have really loved wearing it again this week. Happy memories of a fantastic mum, who passed away 9 years ago.
  4. Lighter evenings! I’m loving it still being light at 6.30pm. I’m always ready for the new season when it comes around – and spring starts tomorrow, right?
  5. Gardening- I spent a couple of hours this morning out in the garden, tidying up and turning over the soil, in the warm sunshine. I love how this has two benefits – it makes the garden look much better and is a pretty god work out!
  6. Progress on the house. We modernised a lot of the downstairs of the house before Christmas and have decorated the children’s bedrooms, but we have had our bedroom and the dining room re-plastered this week, which means they can shortly be decorated.
  7. Maths Challenge! Not my performance in it, but G was part of a small team representing her school this week at a Maths Challenge competition and they did so well, coming 7th out of about 35 teams. Very proud moment.
  8. A new nail varnish I bought earlier in the week. It’s not quite the shade I wanted but I still love it.
  9. Mother’s Day – of course! I had a lovely day – beautiful cards from the children, a lovely breakfast in bed made by G (cinnamon swirl pancakes and bacon – amazing!), very thoughtful homemade gifts and a surprise lunch out at one of my favourite places, The Pear Tree Creperie. They gave all mums there that day a primula plant to take home which was a lovely touch.
  10. Organisation! I do love a good, achievable “to do” list and this week’s went well, despite being much longer than usual, with various documents, payments and currencies being needed for upcoming school trips. So satisfying to tick things off!

Have a great weekend, everyone!