A nice surprise

It’s been a fairly quiet week this week, with things just steadily ticking along at work and at home. But there was one nice surprise to this ordinary week.

On Wednesday I arrived home from work to find that my eldest daughter had arrived home from London for a few days. I hadn’t really expected to see her until Christmas, but both the theatres that she works at were closed for a few days as they were in between shows, so she decided to come back home for a few days.

We didn’t really do much whilst she was at home. I was working during the day, but it was nice to sit together as a family and have a meal and just to watch TV together on a night. It was nice to catch up with the things that are going on, that you often forget to say in a phone call. Sometimes when she rings I am at work or busy with things, but by the time I am free to talk to her she has had to go to work. It was nice just to talk about ordinary everyday things.

She did however do the Park Run with me on Saturday morning. when I say we ran together, we went to the run together, but she runs much faster than me, so finished the course much quicker than me. It was lovely at the end for her to be waiting for me with her friend.

The other thing that is now really good is that my two daughters get on really well together. As they are not in the house together all the time, they seem to irritate each other much less than they did. In fact my youngest daughter knew that her sister was coming home and had managed to keep it quiet. It was nice to see them chatting and laughing together – perhaps its true that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

My two girls are very different and haven’t always seen eye to eye, but I know that they are always there for each other. I don’t have a sister, I only have brothers, so I’ve never had that kind of relationship. I am close to my youngest brother and I hop as the girls grow up, that no matter where they are, they will keep a close bond and know that they can rely on each other.

As for the photo above, it’s not of my girls, but they and anyone who has a sister, or more than one daughter knows exactly what it means!

Marvellous Majorca

As I wrote my last blog, I was sitting on a sun bed by the pool at a beautiful villa in Puerto Pollensa in Majorca. We have been to Majorca for the last three years because it is such a pretty place and we feel able to relax and enjoy ourselves there. It is the first time that we have been without our children and the first time that we have stayed in a villa. Unfortunately I have now returned to a cold, rainy and windy England, but thought I’d let you know what I got up to on my travels last week.

Old Town Pollensa

On Sunday morning we took a trip up to the market in the Old Town of Pollensa. This is a beautiful market square, surrounded by lovely old buildings and a church in the corner.  The stalls sell lots of beautiful fresh fruit and veg, cheese, cured meats, olives, nuts and sweets.

As we were staying in a villa we bought some lovely fresh fruits and salad to put with our barbeque later on. I also bought some olives, which I love and some very brightly coloured jelly sweets.

We walked up the Calvari Steps, which are 365 steps up a very steep hillside, leading to a tiny church. There are pretty little houses on the way up the hill and there were also a couple of buskers playing acoustic guitars which sounded lovely It was extremely hot, but the view from the top was amazing. It was made more worthwhile as I felt able to treat myself to an iced coffee with cream and ice cream when I got back down. I’m pretty sure that the walk had burned all the calories off!

Soller

Soller is a beautiful little town on the west coast of Majorca. To get there you have to drive along the  very twisty roads that run through the mountains. Although the journey feels quite treacherous, it is definitely worth the drive.

We had breakfast and a wander through the town, before taking the tram down to Puerto del Soller, which is such a beautiful coastal area with a glorious beach and harbour. It was very hot by this time, so after a short walk, we went for ice cream, in a restaurant overlooking the bay and just watched the world go by.

Alcudia

We visited the old town of Alcudia during the evening to have a meal. The town itself is set in a medieval castle, so is inside the walls. It is a lovely setting, particularly on an evening as it starts to get dark. There are lots of restaurants to choose from and there is a lovely atmosphere, sitting outside within the impressive walls of the city.

Walking and snorkelling

Both me and my husband really enjoy snorkelling. This is something that I have come to enjoy fairly recently, over the last few years. I tried scuba diving when I was younger, but found that I didn’t really like the feel of the mask and breathing apparatus. I had a go at snorkelling when we went to Majorca. The water there is so warm and clear that I found I really enjoyed it. Another thing that it also did for me was to slow my breathing down. When I was struggling with anxiety, I spent the majority of my time breathing really fast and sounding out of breath. Once I had my head under the water, all I could hear was my breathing and it helped me to concentrate on that and deliberately slow my breathing down, which really seemed to help.

This year we walked to Cala de Boquer, which is about a 45 minute walk from Puerto Pollensa. It’s quite a rocky hilly walk, but if you set of early enough, you  can get there before it gets too hot. There is nothing there at all except for a beautiful rocky cove and obviously the sea, which is full of fish and great for snorkelling.

The other walk we did was to Cal San Vicente. This is quite a hilly walk, again to a beautiful cove with a soft sandy beach. There are a couple of restaurants here and sun beds on the beach. The sea, again is crystal clear and great for snorkelling.

Mosquitoes, car hire and fish bites

Just a couple of things that you might want to be aware of if you are thinking of going to Majorca.

We hired a car from AVIS and met the rudest person I have ever met behind the “customer service” desk. She told us we had not hired a 7 seater vehicle and that there wasn’t one available unless we paid an extra 25 euros per day. Luckily we had booked through Villa Plus, who managed to sort it out for us with a phone call. Having read reviews about Avis, this appears to be a bit of a ploy to get extra money from customers.

I have been to Majorca several times, usually in July and August. I have never been bitten by mosquitoes, but this time I had a lot of bites. I understand this is more common in September, so be prepared if you go at this time. Some of us had bites, some did not, so it appears mosquitoes like particular blood types, scents etc. It certainly didn’t spoil my holiday, but it is a bit of a pain when you are scratching and spotty.

For some reason whilst I was snorkelling this year I was bitten/ stung by something in the sea. This has never happened to me before. It was a bit of a shock and felt like I had been cut by something. After the initial mark, which swelled up a bit, there were no other effects. I understand that there are no dangerous fish or jelly fish on the island so there was no panic.

Not sure why I was so attractive to the hungry wildlife this year!

Something for everyone

Whilst we were in Majorca, my youngest daughter was also there, but in Magaluf, on her first holiday abroad without us. She also had a great time, but a completely different holiday to us. We’ve certainly recovered quicker than she has and I think the most of her holiday was spent partying. She returned home safely despite this, so that’s a relief.

If you’ve not been to Majorca I would recommend it. It’s a very scenic island with lots of lovely coves and bays. It does get busy in some areas, but this depends on where you go and what time of year. It is certainly one of my favourite places and the other bonus is that it is a really short flight and you can get there so quickly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tempus Fugit

Yes it’s true my blog is late again. The reason I used the title tempus fugit  is because it is generally translated as time flies, which is just my clever way of saying that I’m late writing my blog. There is no real excuse or reason, other than time really does fly. So here is a catch up of what’s been happening over the last few weeks that I’ve missed telling you about.

Kynren

Kynren is an outdoor performance on a massive scale held in Bishop Auckland in County Durham. Someone told my husband about it a few weeks ago and we decided to book. What a great decision that was.

The venue is a purpose built stadium with tiered seating. The whole performance takes place in the valley and hillside opposite the stadium seating. There were over 1500 people  involved, all locals who take part voluntarily.

The performance was amazing, literally the history of Bishop Auckland told through the eyes of a young boy who travels back in time. There was music, battles, history, dancing, digital backdrops and pyrotechnics.

The organisation of the whole thing, from parking up to leaving was superb and we had an absolutely great evening.

Family fun day

Do you ever go to a family funeral or wedding and see people that you’ve not seen for months, or sometimes years? At those events everyone says “We must get together soon” and for some reason you never do, until the next funeral or wedding.Well this was how family fun day began.

A friend of ours, not actually related in any way decided that instead of promising to get together, he would arrange a family fun day. Four years ago, we had the first one, on an August Bank Holiday weekend, where we turned up at the rugby club, played rounders, races tug of war and had a number of quizzes. It was a great day and has just taken off.

Each year extra people get invited and some that have been the years before no longer come, but it always a really great day, with lots of banter and laughter. It is lovely just to get together for no other reason than to spend some time together.

A wedding invite

On bank holiday Monday we were lucky enough to be invited to the evening reception for a friends wedding.  It was a beautiful evening, in a lovely venue.

When the invitations came out you were asked to choose a song that you would most likely get up and dance to. We chose “oh what a night” by Franki Valli. We had only just arrived at the venue when the song was played, so we were straight up to dance. It was a real pleasure to share the celebration with their friends and family.

A late summer break

So after spending a few days back at work after the extended Bank Holiday Weekend, it was time to set off on a cheeky week away in the sun. Just as everyone was getting their children ready for setting off back to school after the summer holidays, we flew off to Majorca for a nice break, with my brother, his wife and two of our friends.

As I write this we are a few days in and I am sat next to the pool at the villa, enjoying a sandwich in the sunshine. We have had a lovely few days, in Puerto Pollensa, doing a bit of Walking, a bit of snorkelling, lots of eating and drinking. I’m not really a sun worshipper as I am mostly pale and freckley , but it’s lovely to be sat out in the fresh air, nice and warm with a cold drink in my hand.

Hope to write my blog on time next week, but until then…..cheers!!

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A Lottery Dream

Just recently some friends and I got talking about what we might spend our money on if we won the lottery and also about the things that we would like to do when we retire. I find it fascinating how different we are and what we think would make us happy if money was no object.

Some wanted new houses or very elaborate home improvements, some wanted to buy a fancy car. I don’t have particularly expensive tastes and I’ve never been a big fan of “things”. My house is somewhere that we live as a family, where people can come and feel comfortable. It does need some refurbishment, but it wouldn’t be anything particularly swanky or expensive,

I don’t particular wear a lot of jewellery and I’m not really into designer clothes. I do quite like a nice pair of shoes, but I’m not sure I’d spend my full pension or lottery win on shoes!

My ideal way to spend the money, would be to travel and see all those places that I’ve not been able to see, either due to lack of finances or lack of time. There’s lots of places in America that I’d still like to visit, Canada, Iceland, Switzerland, Lapland, in fact there is plenty of the world that I’ve not seen. A lot of the holidays that we have had have suited us as a family and it’s only been very recently that me and my husband have started to visit some of the places that we want to see, that the girls may not have been particularly interested in.

The other thing that I would love to do is to be able to book and see lots of different musical theatre shows, without having to worry about the cost. It would be lovely to travel to London, Broadway or Las Vegas to see different shows every few weeks. I am very lucky in that I do go to the theatre fairly often, but tend to book things that I’ve seen before, or that I have a pretty good idea that I am going to like. It would be wonderful to be able to book something without having to think about paying a lot of money for something that I end up not liking.

To be fair there are very few musical theatre shows that I haven’t enjoyed. Even those where I have thought it wasn’t my particular cup of tea, I’ve enjoyed watching just for the sheer spectacle, the costumes or just seeing the wonderful talent of the performers. I love a good show or a concert and I would certainly be able to fill my time with these things.

Who knows, I might even be wearing a new pair of shoes !!

 

 

Time Flies

I can’t believe that we are already on Wednesday and that I have not got round to writing my blog again this week. I also can’t believe that it is the middle of August already, where does the time go?

This week it will be my eldest daughter’s 21st birthday, the last milestone birthday of the year for us as a family. It has certainly been a year for milestone birthdays, with me being 50, my youngest being 18 and my eldest being 21. That certainly wasn’t planned in any way, but it has made for a very busy, exciting, if not slightly expensive year.

This week also sees the week, where my youngest daughter will receive her A Level results. She is not particularly concerned about this, as she does not wish to go to university and has already found herself a job, but I do feel for all those other students and parents out there, who are anxiously waiting to see what Thursday will bring.

Making Progress

Over the last couple of weeks I have felt really motivated to keep up with my running and also to keep on with the healthy eating. I certainly feel much better for it and feel that I am definitely making progress with my fitness.

On Tuesday I attended at my usual Slimming World class and it was the evening to award the “Woman of the Year”. The people who had been nominated talked about what had been the defining moment that brought them to lose weight and what a difference that it had made to their lives.

It was very inspiring to listen to their stories and very moving too. It certainly got me thinking about the difference losing a couple of stone and increasing my exercise has done for me. Interestingly, some of the women had no photos from when they started losing weight, which said a lot about the lack of confidence that you can have when you are overweight. I certainly felt that I didn’t want to appear on photos. I’m still not the most photogenic person , but don’t completely hate having my photo taken anymore.

Hopefully I’ll keep up the hard work and continue with the progress. I’ll let you know how I get on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographic Memories

As this week has been a fairly ordinary run of the mill week, I decided that I didn’t want to bore everyone with that, so I thought I’d bore you with something else instead. Recently, due to the family celebrations we have had in our family, we have looked through lots of photographs. This got me thinking about how important photographs are, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite ones with you.

We have so many photographs, that it was difficult to pick just a few, so I tried to go for the less obvious ones and some that were not so recent. I’ve only picked six, as I really could have gone on forever.

So as they say on TV, in no particular order, here are those that made it through to the final six:

001 (2)This photograph is of me and my three brothers. It must have been taken some time in 1970, as my youngest brother was born in December 1969 and he’s the baby on the photograph. For those of you that were around then, This was the typical family photo of the day, taken by professional photographers. Everything is so relaxed these days, but we look very formal. We are all still smiling so that’s a good thing. When I look at this photo, it makes me smile that I had the exact same haircut as the boys!

IMG_2238This photo was taken at my brother’s wedding in October 2017. We had an absolutely fabulous time at the wedding and I could have picked lots of photographs from that day as there were so many good ones. The reason I picked this one of me, my sister in law and my friend was because it captured a moment of laughter, brought about by someone saying “I think you’ll need a wind angle lens”, when we asked to have our photo taken. The looks on our faces say it all!

003 (2)This looks like a really bizarre photograph, which of course it is, but there is a story behind it. One weekend, me and two of my very good friends were working together and had one of those moments of silliness. We decided to make a Christmas card for the rest of our colleagues. The lady with the big stick on teeth, is my very closed friend who died over 18 months ago. Myself and my other friend are wearing masks of her face and Christmassy headdresses. It seemed very amusing at the time and this photograph sums up what it was like working together as a team. It may not be funny to anyone else, but I guess you had to be there.

10485523_10152230028534499_8521081042482113921_nStrictly speaking this is a selfie rather than a photograph, but it brings back great memories, as it was taken in July 2014, the night we all went on holiday together. It’s the last time that all eight of us went together. We had a really great time and it was good to get that time together as a family.

625591_10151330243894499_1209778002_nThis was the first time that I had seen my eldest daughter take a main part in a show. She had been in many things before this, but when she played Christine in Phantom of the opera, I realised for the first time that she was going to be able to pursue her dream of being a performer. I had never been so nervous in my life when she first cam on the stage. I don’t know who took the photograph, as it appeared on Facebook after the show, but I am very grateful to whoever did, even though they probably shouldn’t have.

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I’m not sure that the young people in this photograph will appreciate me putting this on as they are now very grown up and sophisticated. This was taken on a family holiday, when we used to go as a big group. They were great holidays for all of us and a very special time. On this particular holiday we all had T-shirts and were “Clampitts on tour” on the back. I’m sure that whoever shared the campsite with us were mortified when we all turned up. We had some great laughs and my children have wonderful memories of these holidays.

Hope you like the photos. I’m sure that you all have favourite photos that mean so much to you and I’d be happy to see those that bring back memories for you.

An eventful week (2)

So the second part of the week was spent celebrating our youngest daughters 18th birthday. It’s really hard to believe that she is eighteen already! When we used to go on holiday in a big family group she was always the baby and now she’s an adult too.

Celebration cocktails

On Thursday it was her actual birthday and we had a bit of a lazy day at home then celebrated by gong into Leeds for cocktails. There were a couple of friends and one of the mums who I am also friends with. We had a few cocktails together and then the young ladies went of to celebrate whilst me and my friend returned home. I’m definitely not cut out for partying until the early hours any more.

Party time!

On Friday evening we had the official party at our local country club, which sounds much grander than it actually is, but it was a great venue for her to be able to celebrate with her friends.

Early in the evening the family guests began to arrive and I was a little concerned when there were very few friends there. However I was reliably informed that no one goes out that early and true to form about 1 1/2 hours later the friends began to drift in and there was a steady stream of them for the rest of the evening.

They were a great bunch of young people. They probably drank too much, but there were no problems and they all seemed to enjoy themselves, which was the main thing.

The food consisted of take away pizza, mozzarella sticks, garlic bread and chips, followed by tiers of donuts. I was a bit dubious when she told me that this was what she wanted, but it actually worked really well and certainly as much easier than preparing loads of food that no one eats.

At the end of the night the younger ones went off to party some more and yes older folk went home to put our feet up.

It was great to see the young people enjoying themselves and was good to get the family together too. I may be biased but I’m really proud of how she has grown up and what a lovely articulate and sociable young woman she has turned into.

The only downside to this week is that I have  probably eaten my body weight in donuts and pizza and really need to get back on the healthy eating, but for this week, life was not about eating lettuce and fruit, but about spending time as a family and celebrating their achievements.

 

An Eventful Week (1)

On Monday my husband, youngest daughter and myself travelled to London for our eldest daughters graduation from The London College of Music at The University of West London. She has graduated with first in BA hons in Musical Theatre. Last week I mentioned how she had overcome the initial let downs and has worked hard and been so determined, that even though I may be biased I honestly believe that she deserves that achievement.

Proud parent moment

The graduation ceremony took place yesterday at Wembley Stadium, which in itself is a pretty impressive place. I’ve never been to a graduation ceremony before. Other than my sister in law, who I didn’t really know when she was a student, my eldest daughter is the first person in the family to go to university.

The ceremony ran like clockwork, from registering, collecting gowns, having photos taken to entering the Great Hall, it was obviously meticulously planned. The actual walking across the stage was a “blink and you might miss it” moment, but was still worth the wait.

Afterwards the graduates were allowed out onto the terrace to take photos, which was great. Then it was into central London with some friends and their families for a meal in the Coppa Restaurant next to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Afterwards the young people went off to party and us older folk went back to the hotel for a well earned rest.

It was a great day, marred very slightly by one of the mum’s not being very well at the end of the night, so I wish her a speedy recovery.

I want to thank everyone at the University, who has tutored, encouraged and inspired my daughter through the last three years. Particularly the group of friends who have been an inspiration, support and an endless source of entertainment for me.

I’d also like to wish them all the best of luck as they begin their new journey out in the big wide world. Continue to support each other as you’ve done over the last three years and you won’t go wrong.

Here’s  to the future, embrace it, whatever it may bring.

Everything Happens for a Reason

So today the tickets arrived for my eldest daughter’s graduation. I am so excited. I can’t believe it’s finally here. I also can’t believe how quickly the last three years have gone by.

I remember going to all the auditions with her and her not being offered a place anywhere. I was heartbroken, but she handled it much better than me. She believed that something would come along that would be right for her and would come at the right time.

Her favourite saying has always been “Everything happens for a reason”. I have always told her that this is true, but she has been much more faithful to this than I have ever been. I try to think that things happen that are meant to and that in the future we will find out the reason why. Sometimes this is not so easy.

It’s hard to understand the reason why someone dies or falls ill, especially when they are very young. It’s hard to understand why there can be terrorist attacks or big disasters like the Grenfell Tower.

I have worked for many years with the most vulnerable people in our society who have been treated horrendously by those who should care for them the most. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve asked myself how people can be so cruel and if everything happens for a reason, what on earth could be the reason behind this type of behaviour.

I wish I could say that I was going to give you the answer, but I can’t. I only know that it has helped my daughter through some difficult situations over the years. She did get offered a place at university, not the one that she had originally thought of going to, but the one that when she’d visited she really liked instantly. There were others that were more popular or more high profile, but she knew what she was comfortable with and where she would fit in. She’s had a superb three years, met some great people, had some great experiences and come out with a first in her degree. Maybe that was the reason she got turned down for the others.

It’s certainly helped her over the last few months of auditions, where she accepts rejection as part of her development and chance to practice her skills.

When I discussed with people at work about whether “Everything happens for a reason”, some were very sceptical, saying that things just happen by chance and that there is no big master plan.

What do you think??

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nasty Germs and Trashy TV

For the last week or so I have been suffering from some virally type thing which has given me an awful cold and a chesty cough. I spent a few days coming straight home from work and then going off to bed as I felt so terrible. As a result of this I have not done any exercise at all and have not eaten anything that you could describe as healthy. I guess that some weeks just have to be written as a lost cause. So what do you do when you feel ill and can’t be bothered?

Guilty Pleasures

As my daughters got to be teenagers they began to watch what I can only describe as trashy TV. These were things that I considered myself far too intelligent to watch and thought that they were a waste of time. Reality TV, which bears no resemblance to reality at all. Young people with perfect bodies, hair and teeth, who’s sole purpose is to look good. Judging people by how they look and if they can attract someone of the opposite sex (or the same sex), rather than on any achievements or personality.  However, I seem to have become obsessed with one of these very programmes – Love Island!

It originally started when we were on holiday a couple of years ago. We would often come back in from having a meal and a few drinks and it would be on the TV. My first reaction was that it was a load of rubbish, but I found myself being drawn in to watching it. Soon it started to promote discussion with my daughters about people’s morals and the importance of looks above any kind of substance.

Now my youngest daughter and I watch it together. I even wait for her to come home from work rather than watch it before she gets in. It may be trashy TV, but it is one thing that brings us closer, at least for the 7 or so weeks that it’s on. It doesn’t need me to think in any way and sometimes that’s just the kind of entertainment I need. Sometimes I feel as if I should make some sort of apology for watching this. It goes against everything I have taught my girls over the years, but for some reason I can’t help myself.

We also watch Hollyoaks together, which again promotes a lot of discussion between us, quite often about sensitive subjects. Sometimes it’s just nice to spend half an hour together watching TV and chatting. My husband despairs at the stuff we watch together sometimes, but I really enjoy that time.