Allotment Week 1

I got the email I was waiting for, the previous owner had handed over the keys for the shed and greenhouse.

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So I went to collect them and have a good look at what was inside.

It was a pleasant surprise, the previous owner was an elderly gentleman so everything is usable and useful although not very organised or tidy. The first job will be to de-clutter and clean up then we can see exactly what needs replacing or repairing. I did notice he’s left an old welly boot so I think I might plant in it so he’s still with us.

The greenhouse is in a good condition, just a clean up required.

It’s lovely to have a workable plot and to start planning what I want to plant and where. This year I’m keeping things simple. Vegetables I’ve grown before and we use on a regular basis, get plants established and sort out the fundamentals of the plot. I’d like to have a flowered seating area and a wildlife/pond area. Lots of planning and digging ahead.

Here’s to a good growing year.

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Scrapbooking

I’ve started the year as I have the last few years, looking through the 50 things list and updating what was completed the year before and what I could/should do this year to get closer to achieving as many goals as possible.

One of the goals is to start a scrapbook, it’s not something I’ve ever done before and having had a quick look at scrapbooking it’s terrifying !

All the different books, papers, cutters etc, where to start or even how. It’s easy to understand why people avoid crafting. It’s complicated and all the ‘help and tutorials’ make everything look easy and theirs always turns out perfectly however the reality isn’t always that way. It can be tricky, messy and not always straight, but they will be our memories.

So to start with I’m going to collect everything together in a special tin. All tickets, stubs, photographs, anything from days out, events and holidays. Then I can organise and start to plan how to put them together. Until then I can explore ideas and maybe perfect a few techniques or even just some straight lines.

Reading Challenge 2018

I didn’t quite manage to finish the 2017 reading challenge, I was let down by ‘Epic Romance’ and ‘published this year’ – all the other categories I completed and found a couple unread authors I will be reading more of.  Here’s the link Reading challenge 2017 – update

Now for the new challenge.

  1. A book with more than 500 pages.
  2. A book with a number in the title.
  3. A book by a female author.
  4. A popular authors first book.
  5. A book with non-human characters.
  6. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit.
  7. A book from your childhood.
  8. A book with a colour in the title.
  9. A graphic novel.
  10. A book by an authors you’ve never read before.
  11. A book you own but have never read.
  12. A book the was originally written in another language.
  13. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read.
  14. A book with bad reviews.

I have a couple of ideas from a few categories but any suggestions are always welcome.

Happy reading.

My recent break away

This year, for the first time in many years I wasn’t working over Christmas and Oscar was away with his dad so I decided to treat myself. I bought myself a three day break at a hotel with spa, which fitted in with my 50 things project. I looked around at different sites, hotels and spa’s but finally found one I liked the look of.

Crewe Hall – part of the Qhotels group – A grade 1 listed hotel. From the moment I turned into the tree lined driveway I knew I had made the right choice.

Being a solo traveller I was a little apprehensive but the staff couldn’t have been friendlier or more helpful. Check in was quick and simple and I was assisted to my room with my bags. And what a room it was….

The old building is spectacular inside, beautiful rooms and ceilings, stunningly decorated, especially with all the Christmas decorations.

I spent the first afternoon wandering around the maze-like hallways, discovering more and more rooms, the library, Malt bar, chapel and numerous reading nooks with plenty of comfy chairs.

I was bought vouchers for Christmas, so after a relaxed buffet breakfast on day 2  I headed down to the newer wing which has the spa, and booked a few treatments, a facial, a body exfoliation and massage. It was relaxing, luxuriant and if I’m really honest I felt a little guilty at enjoying the me-time.

I spent some time in the gym and plenty of time swimming, in the sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. It was lovely sitting pool side reading in the warmth whilst looking at the snow outside.

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It was a perfect break, a time to recharge and catch up on some reading in beautiful surroundings.

A trip to be repeated…. hopefully.

An update

In October we decided to take a short break away to Blackpool, it’s always been one our favourite ‘guilty pleasures’.

We did all our usual activities, saw the lights, into the tower for a dance around the ballroom and a laugh at the circus, made a wax hand at Madame Tussaud’s, a day of swimming at the sandcastle and the highlight….. getting soaked and terrified (mostly me) on the rides at the pleasure beach.

It was a very cold week but good to spend some quality time together.

November arrived with a couple of surprises, a permanent job (in a place I enjoy working with lovely staff) and a new allotment.

As you can see it’s been well looked after and is in a decent condition, unlike the last one. This one is a family affair, myself and my mum. So you can look forward to some allotment blogging in 2018.

A day out in Liverpool for a look at the Grayson Perry dresses in the Walker Art Gallery.

I attempted a little craft project with a few balls of wool I had kept (after my clear out – Bye-Bye knitting needles) and created  a huge pile of pom-poms and created a bedroom rug, it looked pretty good for about two weeks but the constant foot-fall soon took it’s toll and some of them started to ‘shed’ so I’ve moved it to a different part of the room, where it will get less wear. I will replace a couple of the worst affected.

December arrived, busy as December always is. A few birthdays, a night out with friends and Christmas with the family.

A hope you’ve had a lovely time and 2018 is a happy and healthy year for you.

xx

 

Audio-books

I’ve never been much of a music fan, I listen to the radio but more for the chat between songs than the music itself. However, there are times when music helps soothe the nerves or calm the soul.

Where I’m working they have the radio on all day, the problem is that different people have different radio stations on, although neither is loud it can be ‘just noise’.

So I invested  in some noise cancelling headphones and downloaded some pod casts, they were great but most are very short and working an eight hour day you need a bit more. Then I came across Overdrive, an app which allows you to link your library card and download E-books and audio-books directly from your local library.

I noticed a few Jo Nesbo books that I’d been wanting to read for a while and these were my first. I really enjoyed them. I could dip in and out of them as required plus they were longer stories so lasted a couple of days. Then I noticed the Harry Potter books, again longer stories but books I had read some time ago. Once again, well produced and lovely to listen too.

I recently heard Stephen Fry talking about audio-books as he also has started listening to them whilst walking/exercising but something he said made me think. He said ‘I’m listening to books I should have read, the classics and such’ and I this is what I’m going to do. All those books I’ve been putting off because they looked ‘heavy’ or ‘difficult’.

So I’ve been through and bookmarked a fair few and downloaded the first ready for Monday morning, and I’m starting with The Hobbit, because I’ve never read any of the books or seen the films (for the same reason) because they look like hard work, but someone else can do the hard part, I’ll just listen.

So what do you think ? Cheating or clever ? Have you listened to any ? What books/series do you recommend ?

Bye-Bye knitting needles

Earlier this year I found myself quite stressed with all the job and routine changes happening, so I went back to knitting as a way of ‘relaxing’ but found I couldn’t keep track of a pattern and was getting more and more stressed.

Whilst I was working part-time I had found a local craft group, who were very supportive and most crafted for charity.

I had a sort out of my craft material, which was slightly terrifying, and I donated 3 bin liners full and lots of books to these lovely people, safe in the knowledge that the babies in special care will have tiny hats and cardigans and some local hospices will have blankets, shawls and monetary donations from all the goodies I gave them, so lets think positive, less stress and a good deed done.

I have kept a few balls of wool and the appropriate knitting needles just in case, at some point, I’m tempted to make something but for the time being I’m going to limit my creativity to photography and I’ve still got a huge cross stitch project to finish.