Monday, 30 September 2013

Strictly Autumn

You can always tell when autumn is upon us because Strictly starts. Oh, how I love Strictly, I'm even hooked on It Takes Two, the weekday spin off which brings us all the news from behind the scenes (saddo alert!).
I must admit, I wasn't overly impressed by the line up for this series, but then again, so many celebrities have already taken part that the selection process must be getting pretty tough.
In saying that though, I throughly enjoyed this weekend's shows.  There are quite a few people who may not be the best dancers (yet) but they certainly put on a performance.  And I was particularly impressed with Natalie Grumede who abused her poor husband Tyrone in Corrie.  After that storyline, it's probably good for the public to get to know the real person, she is nice you know.  As my husband says when I get involved in Corrie storylines - 'It's not real!'
So yes, I'm looking forward to snuggling up on the sofa this autumn.   Let's face it, we all need a bit of glitz and glam on a Saturday night even if you are wearing your PJ's and slippers.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Golden Times!

Last week my parents celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary.  50 years – wow what an achievement!  I’ve got 37 more years to go!
Mum didn’t want a big fuss, so they went away for a week to the Isle of Man where they went on honeymoon all those years ago.

They had a lovely time, but we couldn’t let the moment go unmarked, so on Sunday, my brother and his family and my auntie and uncle went out for a meal.
It was a lovely occasion, the food was excellent and our waitress was the daughter of my brother’s best friend so the service was brilliant too.
We’d sent Mum and Dad off on their hols with some spending money, but surprised them with some more personal gifts at the meal.
And then came the cake. Months ago, my sister-in-law and I had decided that this would be personal too.  So I made a fruit cake and on a visit to my parents, surreptitiously switched it to the boot of her car so she could decorate it.  I say she, my sister-in-law iced it, and was director of purchasing and operations, but my 14 year old niece designed the cake and did all the “art work”, including making all the decorations herself.
The result was beyond words! Well, it brought a tear to my eye and to my Mum’s too.


But not only was the result a family affair, it was so personal.  My Dad grows sunflowers and has lots of potted plants on the patio, and the pair of them like to sit on their little bench with a cup of tea.  My brother also has a new dog, depicted at the bottom, getting intotrouble as usual and breaking things!

I know it’s not very British to boast, but what a talent that young girl has!

And it was a wonderful day, one we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Close My Eyes – Sophie McKenzie

A good friend, who knows my taste in books, bought me this book for my birthday. And I have to say I could hardly put it down.  The book is the author’s debut adult novel, although she has written over 15 novels for children and teenagers.  I first heard about it when it was listed in Richard and Judy’s summer book club.
It’s the story of Gen who gave birth to a still born daughter eight years ago.  She was told by the doctor and her husband that the baby was so badly disfigured, she would be better not to see her. 
It is perhaps because she has never had any closure that she has struggled to get over the loss of her child and hasn’t been able to conceive since, despite courses of IVF.
Then one day a stranger turns up on her doorstep and tells her that her daughter didn’t die at all, and worse, that her husband knows.
Gen begins a journey to uncover the truth, even though she no longer knows who she can trust, least of all her husband.  It’s a journey fraught with danger, which threatens both Gen’s life and those of the people who try to help her.
This is an absolutely brilliant book, with fantastic plot twists which keep you turning page after page. I kept promising myself I would only read one more chapter but the hooks at the end of each chapter were just too enticing to let me put it down. 
I can’t recommend this book highly enough.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Moving On

The lovely Teresa Ashby posted about back to school
I agree that as a child I never relished the thought of going back to school, I didn’t have a big group of friends, was pretty much middle of the class academically and was no good at sport – not much to look forward to then.
As I became older I began to enjoy studying more and relished the challenge of a new academic year. 
In my last job I ran a distance learning course at a law college, so September always felt more of a New Year than January.
So now I like September.  To me, it’s a time of fresh starts – of opportunities and new beginnings.  
BUT, I do agree with Teresa about the school uniforms.  It really winds me up that the “Back to School” uniforms are on sale even before the end of the summer term.  And if that’s not bad enough, I walked into a card shop the other day to be confronted by a bank of Christmas cards!  I think the world has gone bonkers.
Today, though was a momentous occasion as my eldest started high school today.  Doesn’t he look smart in his new uniform?  Hope I can pay off that second mortgage it cost! 

I know he doesn’t look that happy in this picture, but that’s because he won’t smile for photos any more now that he has a brace – sad hey?  But he was positively bubbling up with excitement – has been packing his school bag since the weekend and got himself up and showered at 7am this morning.  Can’t see that lasting too long.
But he came back today full of enthusiasm for his new school, which I’m really pleased about because he’s not overly keen on the academic aspect of school.  Sports, not a problem but lessons – well that’s different.  But he’s a confident little soul and I’m really pleased for him.  Another milestone marked.