Thursday, 31 December 2015

Goodbye 2015 - Welcome to 2016...!


Well, the past 12 months have been another roller-coaster ride but thankfully there's been decidedly more ups than downs. With rather more medical woes than I could ever have imagined, 2015 was, at times, both a physical and emotional challenge, but thanks to the support from my wonderful family and friends (and a wide variety of NHS specialists) the year has ended with a more positive outlook for the future.

Socially, I've been to so many new places that my geography has improved enormously. I've enjoyed lots of day trips here, there and everywhere, and been treated to the fabulous Britishness of 'afternoon tea'. Further afield I've travelled to Wales and enjoyed my seventh holiday in the Canary Islands! I've been introduced to the concept of pub quizzes and have been fortunate enough to have been on the winning team on more than one occasion. I've accepted awards on behalf of a local community project that I volunteer for on two separate occasions and I've also discovered a new and exciting genre that I can merrily indulge in - Steampunk.

Financially, things have taken a dramatic turn too, with a brand new job in addition to the freelance work I was already doing. Technically I've successfully completed several DIY tasks all by myself and have finally dragged myself into the 21st Century with a new smartphone. I'm pleased that I managed to achieve everything on my 'To Do' list for 2015, so for 2016 I've set the bar even higher. I now begin a brand new year full of excitement and anticipation, wondering what wonderful new adventures the next twelve months will bring... Happy New Year!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas Cobwebs...


What better way to blow away those Christmas cobwebs than to take a long, sunny walk, and it's even better if you can take a mate along with you. The week between Christmas and New Year can be a strange period; especially for those off work and who have therefore lost their usual daily routine. Personally, I like to get out and about, weather permitting, so when the sun decided to show it's face this morning that's exactly what I did.

Although it's always lovely to walk my favourite route, it was especially nice to be acting as tour guide for a chum. As we walked through countryside, beside a river, we saw plenty of wildlife including robins, finches, herons, ducks, swans and seagulls. The locals clearly take Christmas very seriously as they'd decorated a random tree beside a footpath with an array of sparkly baubles - as you do! Being close to a railway track meant that the inevitable train thundered past, and when we reached our destination I could finally enjoy all things boaty.

The pub lunch was extremely welcome and the delicious sarnies and chips, washed down with coffees, sustained us during the return trek. Having fun doesn't necessarily have to cost a lot of money, you just need to do the things that make you happy. It's even better if you can share your enjoyment with a friend.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Pole-axed by The Green Fairy...


When first you get into Steampunk, you very swiftly learn that absinthe plays a large part in your new hobby, so in order to fully embrace the genre it's essential to partake of the aforementioned liquor. However, at 55% abv absinthe is to be partaken with extreme caution!

Christmas Day seemed as good a time as any for my first dalliance with the Green Fairy, so after the conventional festive revelries were all done and dusted I tentatively poured myself a large tot of the decadent emerald booze. Obviously, I'd researched the appropriate serving suggestions and although my modern kitchen is sadly not furnished with a traditional absinthe glass and spoon, a wine glass and a tea strainer seemed to suffice. As I gently dripped the ice cold water onto a heap of sugar (no cubes in the cupboard) I witnessed the 'louche' and mentally prepared myself for this new experience.

Quite what happened a short while after that remains a mystery, but I woke (regained consciousness?) on Boxing Day with a stonking headache and a strong licorice taste in my mouth. I'm not entirely certain whether or not I enjoyed myself, but it was something I'd never done before and I can now tick it off my list of new things to try in 2015. Here's to many more firsts in 2016!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Fabulous Family Festive Fun...


I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I love my daughters so much I could burst! Yes, I know most mums (and dads) feel the same about their offspring, but my girlies really do make me feel enormously proud that they've turned out to be such wonderful young ladies. They arrived at lunchtime bearing lovely, thoughtful gifts and some stunning home-made chocolate cake.

We ate sweetie things, crispy things, jammy things and filled rolls. We pulled crackers, told daft jokes and wore silly hats, because that's what you have to do at this time of year. The afternoon whizzed by, and far too soon it was time for them to go and spread their Christmas joy further afield.

My babies are all grown up now, but for a few wonderful hours it felt soooooooooo good to have them back home with me. Ahhh... makes you feel all mumsy again ... Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy...


When my faithful old office chair sadly went off to the furniture scrapheap in the sky on a Saturday afternoon, I was in need of a replacement fairly pronto. I'd seen the adverts on telly about the Argos same-day delivery promotion, even at weekends, so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

Within 2 minutes of visiting their website I found exactly what I wanted for just under £20, and 2 minutes later I'd made my purchase and had bagged a £3.95 delivery slot between 7pm and 10pm that very day. A text confirmed my information and within two hours a second text alerted me that my brand new chair was en route! Indeed, by 9pm it was on my doorstep, just hours after my old one broke!

Eager to assemble my new toy, a quick glance at the instructions was all that was needed and in a record-breaking nine minutes I was able to sit down in comfort at my computer once again. Sometimes the internet is a wonderful thing.


Friday, 4 December 2015

Carry on Canaries...


OMG, where do I start?! Just returned home from a whole week of Spanish sunshine and pina colada slushies and I'm already checking out prices and dates for my next holiday. With my old school chum as my co-hort it quickly turned into 'Two Go Mad With a Selfie Stick' as we took every opportunity possible to capture every fabulous moment for posterity. 

The rooms were spotlessly clean, the drinks were plentiful, the entertainment was rather good, the staff were the friendliest people on earth and the location was perfect. We bought new shoes (obviously), trawled around 'tat' shops giggling at rude bottle openers, put the world to rights laying on sun-loungers on the beach under the stars and decided that midday was officially wine o'clock.

It's amazing what a bit of sunshine and a few palm trees can do to two fifty-somethings, as we re-lived our teenage years, albeit with slightly greyer hair and much more disposable income. It may be some time before my liver recovers...