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 !!

 

 

A strange old week

A sad start to the week

Unfortunately Monday began with a funeral, of one of the lovely gentlemen that I know from church. It was certainly a drop back down to earth after the really exciting and amazing things that have been happening over the last few weeks.

For some unknown reason I woke up on Monday with a croaky voice and by Monday lunchtime my voice had gone completely and I was down to a whisper. It took until Wednesday for my voice to come back again. It was really hard work trying to continue as normal when I couldn’t speak properly, but I’m sure that there were a few people that enjoyed the peace and quiet.

Pride comes before a fall

On Tuesday I went to my usual Slimming World Meeting and was delighted to find out that I have now lost 2 stones. I was really pleased with this result and even more so, having seen someone that I know that I had not seen since before Christmas. They immediately mentioned how much weight I had lost and how good I was looking. This certainly made my day.

For some reason over the next few days I started to eat sweets, chocolate, crisps and all those things that I’ve managed to keep control of over the last few months. I have absolutely no idea why and as I write this blog I am still vowing that tomorrow will be a new start. I have given myself a good talking to and a reminder to be proud of what I have achieved so far, but never to be smug or complacent about it.

A trip to the theatre

On Wednesday evening two of my lovely friends very kindly took me to the theatre in Leeds to see Evita. This was my birthday present from them. We went to Gino Di Campo’s restaurant in Leeds for a lovely meal first.

I had never seen Evita on the stage before, only the fil version with Madonna. The production was excellent, really grabbing the attention. All the performers were really powerful singers and the dancing was impressive. I recognised quite a few of the songs and putting them into context in the show was great.

I don’t think that Evita will ever be my favourite musical, but I really enjoyed it and I’m glad I’ve finally seen it. It was certainly good to see something that I had not seen before.

 

A Late entry

Apologies that I am writing a day late this week. I had quite a busy weekend and was out late yesterday evening, so didn’t have chance to write it yesterday.

A walk in the park

My husband and I went to visit our eldest daughter in London on Friday. It was a beautiful day and after we had parked up at her house we walked into Ealing to meet her from university. We walked through the parks and it was great to see all the children, young people and families in the park as they had finished school. Seeing everyone out enjoying the spring like weather and being out in the fresh air.

Later we went to the university to see the dance and musical theatre society show, which my daughter had helped to put together and choreograph. It was really impressive and again great to see young people working hard and loving performing. Another proud mum moment.

On Saturday I went to Gunnersbury Park and took part in Parkrun. At one time I would have never turned up at an event like that on my own, but having taken part in parkrun over the last few months, I had the confidence to turn up and know that the organisers and volunteers would be helpful and supportive. It was a really good run in the park and although I didn’t beat my quickest time, I actually ran all of it, rather than having to walk parts of it.

A walk on the canal

Yesterday my friend and I walked 12 1/2 miles on the canal in training for the moonwalk. We’ve managed to do a few training walks so far, gradually building up the distance. This is the longest one that we’ve done so far.

Again it was a lovely day and we walked at a fairly decent pace, managing to complete it in just under 4 hours. We are pleased with our progress and have a few more weeks of training before the big event on 13th May.

Menopause the musical

Last night I went with a couple of friends to see “Menopause the musical”. This was set in a department store, where four women “of a certain age” meet. They then begin to tell the tale of what happens during the menopause. the songs are all rehashed from well known songs, but with the lyrics changed to include references to the menopause.

There are only four women in the show, but they all had cracking voices and different slightly clichéd personalities. It was no great musical masterpiece, it was all very tongue in cheek,  a great laugh and there were certainly a lot of things that rang true. My particular favourite was a song called “My Thighs” sung to the tune of My Guy.

I know that the critics haven’t really rated it, but if you go with an open mind and a sense of humour you’ll probably enjoy it, especially if you are of that age.

I’m just a mum!

Proud mum moment

My youngest daughter took part in the school production of Billy Elliot at Woodkirk Academy this week and what a production it was! It had sell out shows every night.

The children and young people who took part were so talented and put their hearts and souls into the singing, dancing and acting. It was so good to see young people in a good light, compared to many of the things we see in the media everyday. From the performers on the stage, the orchestra and the back stage crew, the children were an absolute credit to their school.

Both of my daughters have been involved in productions at the school over time and I can honestly say that they have been some of the best performances that I have seen. I have to pay tribute to all the staff who are involved too as it would never happen without their hard work.

I couldn’t begin to pick out particular performers as they were all so good, but I have to say, even if I am a bit biased that my youngest daughter showed an aptitude for comedy timing that I didn’t know she possessed. Definitely a proud mum moment.

The performances, of all the children, in my opinion would rival any professional production. Considering that the oldest performer on the stage was eighteen years old, that’s pretty impressive.

Moving moments

Billy Elliot is one of those shows that has you laughing one minute and crying the next. It tells us a lot about family and community, but also about how it is sometimes really difficult to be different and that it’s okay to dream of a future that is out of the norm.

I absolutely love the show, One of the most moving moments for me is when Billy shows his dance teacher a letter that his mum wrote for him before she died. I can never listen to the song without being moved to tears. At the end the dance teacher tells Billy that his mother must have been a very special woman and he replies “No, she was just my mam”

Says it all really

A day for mothers

Today in the UK it was Mothering Sunday, or Mother’s day as it is more commonly referred to. It is a celebration of mothers, but also these days families as a whole.  I spent a lovely day with my husband, two daughters and extended family, at my sister-in-law’s house, where we all had lunch. It was lovely for us all to be together as we haven’t done that for a while. It was made even better by it being a glorious spring day. This allowed for sitting in the garden during the afternoon, chatting and relaxing. I couldn’t really ask for anything else to make it a perfect day.

It was so lovely to have both my girls home this weekend and to see them together, having grown into two very lovely young women (in my humble opinion). I am so proud of them both and feel very fortunate to have been given the privilege  of being a mother.

The eldest one has now gone back to London now, but will be back home in a couple of weeks for the big 50th birthday party. Can’t believe its so close now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A woman of a certain age

What are we waiting for?

As I get nearer to 50 I have begun to realise that people expect certain behaviour from you as you get to “a certain age”, as demonstrated by the following conversation at work this week:

Male colleague: I need a haircut

Me: I’m trying to grow mine a bit

Male colleague: I think when women get to a certain age they shouldn’t have long hair

Me: Well what’s a certain age?

Male colleague: Well I know how old you are because you’ve invited me to your 50th

Me: So what’s classed as long hair

Slight pause, followed by an explanation of who he knows, how old they are and how long their hair is!

The thing is that I feel more confident, less stressed and more free to do some of the things that I’ve put off for years whilst waiting to lose weight, waiting until the children are more independent, waiting until I can afford or waiting until I retire.

Things to stop wasting your time with

My daughter posted an item on Facebook  20 Things You Should Stop Wasting Your Time Doing In Your 20s. I looked through it and I realised that a lot of the things that are still relevant to me and some of my friends of a similar age. It’s sad that we let our insecurities and self doubt restrict our lives.  I’m certainly still guilty of a lot of things on the list – namely

Feeling the need to justify your choices

Looking for reassurances that you are enough

Letting other people’s fear dictate your decisions

Talking about improving your life but never doing anything about it

Never leaving your comfort zone

Keeping your life cluttered

Deciding you’ll only do things when you have money or lose weight

Being afraid to ask for help

Sound familiar to any of you?

So part of this year’s plan of action is to start and shake these things off !

The girls

I was really lucky to be able to go to London with a couple of lovely ladies from work to see “The Girls”, this weekend which is the musical based on the Calendar Girls. It was a brilliant show, funny in some parts and very moving in others. It is written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth. The script and the music seem to go hand in hand to create a retelling of the story in a new way. It is based on a true story involving a group of women from a Yorkshire Women’s Institute, who raise money for a sofa at a local hospital, where one of their husband’s died. They do this by creating a nude calendar. Very brave ladies who went against convention for a great cause.

The really great thing about it for me was the women in the show. Not only did they have great voices and superb acting skills, but their bravery in baring (nearly) all live in front of an audience was impressive in itself. The show talks a lot about women’s roles in life, what’s expected of women by their partners, children and society in general. It also teaches us a lot about ourselves. How we put on a brave face or try to be something we are not to fit in with others. One song especially struck a chord with me – “What age expects”- I’m not as old as the lady in question, but this line certainly says it all

“Don’t be the colour of your hair, be the colour of your heart”

Absolutely! And its no one else’s business how long that hair is !

Harrods – What a disappointment!

And finally just a little bit of a moan.

One of the things we wanted to do whilst in London was to visit Harrods. We had a few things that we wanted to buy. So off we went with our overnight cases, having checked ot of the hotel this morning.

Initially we were turned away from two exits and told to go round the building with no explanation from the slightly snooty security staff. I know I’d had a good night out but I didn’t think I looked rough enough to be refused entry.

On the third occasion we were directed to the next door on and were handed a bag drop card. We went to the bag drop and were told that our bags would be scanned and then we could leave our bags for £25 per item. The consolation was that you then receive a £25 voucher to spend in Harrods. Lovely, we thought, great for security and nice to wander round without the bags. Also fair enough that they charge you to leave your bag if you just wander round and don’t spend anything. Sadly this is not the case (excuse the pun) You have to spend £50 to get £25 off, so unless you spend £50 each, it costs you £25 each to leave your bag.

Come on Harrods, this is a really elitist system. If you’re concerned for security, I am more than happy to have my bag scanned and check it in.  I don’t mind paying for the privilege and getting some of the money back, but £25 is a joke.

My feeling is that it is not about security at all, but about making a bit of extra money, or just putting the average, non millionaire visitor off entering your store!

 

Moan over. After all it’s been a great weekend spent with lovely people doing things that I love most. Here’s to the next one ladies and here’s to all “women of a certain age” who refuse to be tied down by other people’s opinions of them. I certainly intend to be one of them.

 

 

 

 

Thank you for the music

A Party Playlist

As part of the planning for my 50th birthday party , I have been starting to devise a playlist. I thought that this would be an easy task, just to pick some music that gets people up on the dance floor. However, It wasn’t as easy as I thought. I know that a lot of the people who are coming won’t have seen  each other for some time, so I wanted to have some “background” music to allow people to catch up with each other and chat. The plan then is to have this music until we have food, followed by music for people to dance to. Still not an easy thing to do as there is so much music that I love to listen to, that makes me happy, that makes me want to dance or makes me want to sing along. So how do you start to choose the right music for the occasion ?

A meaningful playlist

Music is such an important part of my life and always has been. In making a playlist, I wanted to choose music that has meant something throughout my life. Music reminds me of past events, both happy and sad. There has been music played at weddings, parties, celebrations and also at funerals. There’s the music that just has the words that I need at that moment in time. When I hear that music again it takes me back to the emotions that I felt, offers some peace or allows me to take my mind elsewhere. Music can help us to express ourselves, whether through singing, dancing, daydreaming or sometimes having a good cry.

I can’t say that I have a particular taste in music. As a child I remember my parents and brothers listening to various things, from classical to reggae to heavy metal music. I was a teenager through a big part of the eighties and love that era for it’s music which I still listen to now. I love to listen to musical theatre soundtracks. I have gone to church most of my life and have favourite hymns and religious music.  As my children have grown up, we have gone through various stages of liking different music and I have listened to them all with an open mind, although I have begun to sound a bit like my mum, when I say things like “It’s a bit loud” and “It doesn’t have much of a tune”

So what have I chosen for my playlist?

Here’s just a taster:

Rick Astley – Never gonna give you up- from when I met my husband

Journey – Don’t stop believing – Just says it all really

Scissor Sisters – I don’t feel like dancing – Reminds me of my girls being in pantomime when they were little and always makes me want to dance

Michael Bublé – Feeling Good – Another song that my daughters did a dance routine to which made me so proud and is always uplifting

What music would you choose that marks important events in your life?