Monthly Archives: February 2016

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?


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!


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 –


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!


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.


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!


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!


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:


  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?


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!


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!


4. As I mentioned, we went to the theatre in the afternoon, at Kings Cross Theatre, to see The Railway Children ( 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!

Happy Friday 05.02.16

So we are at the end of yet another week – and it has been a good one, with lots of reasons to smile. Here are just a few of them:

  1. I had the most lovely weekend with my sister in Norfolk, which is going to take up a few points this week. Let’s start with the weather – Saturday was absolutely glorious, with bright, blue, huge Norfolk skies and so much sunshine.

Marsh22. We made the most of the beautiful weather by going for one of our favourite walks. It is about 6 miles long and takes in a mixture of country lanes, wild common land and coastal path (where we spotted these pretty snowdrops!). The only difficulty was how hot we became, quickly shedding coats and scarves and enjoying the warm sun.


View Marsh Church3. Dog friendly eateries! There are quite a number of places in north Norfolk where the pooches are welcome, so we took advantage of one of them about two thirds of the way through our walk, stopping for a very welcome drink at Deepdale Café, where Lottie and Honey behaved beautifully (it wasn’t that Tilly didn’t, but I had left her at home with D and G!).

4. We then returned to the cottage for a delicious lunch of homemade soup (thank you, Christine!) and bread, before having a few hours drinking tea, eating chocolate and reading – the most perfect way to spend an afternoon (it may have involved a little snooze on my part, too!).

5. Saturday evening saw us heading out for a meal to The King’s Head in Bircham. We had decided against getting a taxi, mainly because they were crazily expensive, so we just had one delicious Hendricks and Fever Tree before a nice meal. The starter wasn’t the best but the main course was very good indeed, and it was a lovely evening.

Me Chris

6. Champagne! What a fabulous way to end such a perfect day! As we had only had one drink whilst out, we indulged in some champagne when we got back home – whilst sitting in our PJs watching Casualty – lovely!

Champagne7. Sunday made us realise how lucky we had been the previous day, as it was VERY wet and miserable. We managed a walk around the village though, before heading off to visit my niece and her boyfriend in their flat in Cambridge for lunch. They made us a delicious meal, and it was so nice to see them and where they are now living, which is absolutely lovely.

8. Wow – seven points just on the weekend! (It was that good!) However, on to other things, D made me very happy with the orchid that he bought for me on Monday. We love orchids, especially because they last so long, so I’m loving seeing this in the bedroom when I wake up each morning.


9. It has been a week of great progress in lots of areas this week, which is making us feel very positive – all good! For example, I’ve only got one more session of week two of Couch to 5k to do, which definitely counts as progress.

10. The final one for this week is my continuing hospice training. The sessions are so interesting – they are full of fascinating information and really make you think, and some of the other people on the course have amazing stories to tell. I will really miss the training when it is done and we are all volunteering in our different areas.

So, almost the weekend, and I have another lovely one planned, with a quick trip to London scheduled for Sunday to visit a friend for her birthday, with a theatre trip thrown in, which should be great.

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!