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.

11222689_10206924951859591_8324028927852098422_n

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

As life goes on

I promised myself at the start of the year that I would write a blog every week and that it should reflect on the things that I have achieved in the course of the year, making each week count , being positive and seeing a good side to things

As I started to write my blog this week, (which is late again for no apparent reason, other than I haven’t got round to doing it) there has been another terrorist attack in the UK, this time in London.

This blog has certainly been a challenge this week. I could find some lovely things to write about my week as I normally do: It was my husband’s birthday and we went out for a lovely meal and to the cinema; I visited my brother and his family and we spent a lovely weekend with them; My youngest daughter has had two interviews this week and has been offered a job and my eldest daughter has gone on holiday having finished her final year at university.

So there are a lot of good things going on in my life at this moment in time, for which I am most grateful, but it is hard not to feel sad and preoccupied with the awful things that are going on in the world and what will have to happen to change these things. Its hard to write a blog about my everyday life without it sounding trivial or unimportant.

Last week I did focus on some of the good things that came out of terrible tragedy and again this week there were amazing acts of bravery and selflessness. There were communities that stood together and refused to be divided by the acts of a small group of individuals. The concert held in Manchester to raise money and pay tribute to the people who had died or were injured was a great way of showing support and defiance.

But one mistake I did make was to read through lots of comments made on social media. I generally try to avoid reading people’s political rants and scathing comments about the emergency services or using what is going on as a platform to generate hatred, but for some reason on Saturday evening I found myself reading social media as the events unfolded in London. What had happened was shocking enough, but some people’s reactions to it were horrendous. I accept that everyone is entitled to an opinion, but I wonder whether some of these people have any heart, compassion or an ounce of intelligence to put on some of the things that they did. But then again, more fool me for wasting my energy in reading them.

So I close my blog this week with hope that there will not be another event like this in the near future, or even at any time and that those groups of people who are teaching tolerance and coming together win out over those who want to cause harm and distress to others, whether that be through their actions, lack of actions or words.

Here’s to a happy and peaceful week.

Where’s my Blog?

As this was a Bank Holiday weekend, I did think that my blog might be a day late, but for some reason it’s actually two days late. It certainly feels like this will be one of those weeks when I am constantly on the wrong day. It certainly feels like it has been a long week. There was so much going on that it was sometimes hard to believe that it all happened in a week.

A sad day for Manchester

It was shocking to wake up on Tuesday and hear the news of the terrorist attack at the concert in Manchester. You could not help but be moved and feel great sadness for those involved. As the news unfolded during the day, there were some terribly sad scenes of people who had been injured and terrified when they should have been having a safe journey home after a great night out.

I think what was also extremely important to show, was all the good deeds that came from such a terrible incident. People who helped strangers, protected their own children and other people’s children, those who took drinks and staff for the emergency services and people who gave their time and skills for free.

Whatever is behind these terrible attacks, whether we apportion blame to the individuals, a particular group or whether we blame the government doesn’t really matter. It certainly doesn’t help those involved. However those good deeds, acts of random kindness, people doing the right thing, may help Manchester, the victims and other places, where terrible things have happened, to heal and move on.

The Play That Goes Wrong

On Friday night my husband and I went to the theatre to see “The Play That Goes Wrong”. I originally booked it as I was given theatre tokens as a gift, so I decided that I would book something that I wouldn’t normally go see. I am definitely a musical theatre fan and have only ever been to see a couple of plays. I have usually found them quite interesting, but I am definitely waiting for people to burst into a song and a dance at points.

However, this play was very different. It was so funny all the way through. there were no dull moments, or waiting for something to happen, it was full on from start to finish. It was very old fashioned physical comedy. There was no real swearing or smut involved, just the occasional double entendre. It was a really good night and my sides were aching when we left the theatre, from laughing so much.

A BBQ weekend

It was really nice over the weekend to be invited to a couple of barbeques. The fist was an invite from work and it was really nice to spend the afternoon in the sunshine, with a few of the people from work, having a laugh and chatting about things other than work.

On Sunday we went to my sister in laws for a barbeque. It was a lovely still afternoon and quite warm. We spent the afternoon chatting as a family and also being entertained by my niece’s five year old step son, who was a bundle of energy and kept us all on our toes.

Back on the plan

I started back on the healthy eating this week and felt much better for it. I’ve also carried on walking and doing a bit of running, so certainly feel back in the swing of things. On Saturday I went to park run, but did a different one to the one that I usually do. It was a really lovely run in Oakwell Country Park. We used to go there a lot when the girls were younger. The grounds there are beautiful and it makes me realise how many lovely places there are that are so close to home that we get out of the habit of visiting.

 

 

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.

Making Progress

Worth the work

My husband has finished decorating our eldest daughter’s bedroom this week. The decorating didn’t take long, once we had sorted everything out and packed it all away. We bought a lovely sofa bed and some very minimal furniture just to finish it off. I decided not to put all her bits and bobs back out, but just a few selected items, to make it look like her space. It looks so much tidier and much more grown up than it did before.  She’s due home on Saturday, just overnight so I’m hoping that she really likes it.

Three Dresses Later

After much searching, I’ve finally found the perfect dress. It’s the third one I’ve bought. The other two were okay, but just not quite what I was looking for. However I’ve got this one now and it is everything I wanted. I also found a lovely pair of shoes in my daughter’s wardrobe, which she bought for prom. They’ve been boxed up ever since, but go really well with the dress, so I’ve decided to borrow them.

The other dresses will come in handy anyway as I’ve got my youngest daughters eighteenth birthday and my eldest daughters graduation, both in the same week in July, so will need something to wear for these.

Still going strong

I’m still managing to stay off the coffee, even though we are a couple of weeks in to Lent now. It’s really helping me to stay off the biscuits and cakes too, which can only be a good thing. I’ve managed to do plenty of walking this week and a couple of runs, so that’s helping me to stay on the straight and narrow. I walked nine miles with my friend this morning. This is as part of the training sessions for Walk the Walk (moonwalk) which is getting closer. We’ll have to do some longer walks as the weeks go on, but we are really pleased with our progress so far.

 

 

Sentimental Stuff

The clear-out continues

Have you ever started a bit of a decluttering session and it’s ended up aa a sentimental walk down memory lane? I have continued sorting out my eldest daughters bedroom in the loft this week, but ended up looking through lots of things that she had saved which brought back lovely memories.

There were dozens of programmes from shows that we’ve seen, school photographs and year books, mementos from performances that she’s been in and places that we’ve visited and lots of birthday cards (even one valentine’s card) It took me much longer than I anticipated to sort it all out and box it up, as I kept taking photo’s of things and sending her messages about the things I had found. It was actually a lovely afternoon and I loved being reminded of some of the past. I started again this morning and finally managed to sort it all out today and pack it away ready for decorating.

When you just can’t bear to part with something

I reported last week that I had decluttered the loft and one of the things that I had intended to throw out was my wedding dress, It was very dirty around the bottom and had something spilled on it from when it was worn as a fancy dress outfit. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but eventually agreed that it would go to the tip. I wasn’t really one hundred percent sure, but had to be ruthless and decided it had to go. On Monday morning I got a text from my husband saying was I sure that it was going to the tip. I then had second thoughts and asked him to hang on to it. when I got home it was back in its bag in the loft. Neither of us could actually get rid of it. I guess we’ll get rid of it the next time we have a clear out….. or maybe not!

A coffee-less week

So as Lent started this week, I decided that I would give up coffee. I don’t drink loads of coffee, but when I do I like it quite milky and I also quite like something with it like cakes or biscuits, the idea behind giving up coffee is that I cut down on the milk and hopefully any cakes or biscuits that I might be tempted to eat. To be fair I quite like a herbal tea, but it doesn’t really go with a chocolate digestive!

 

 

Ups and Downs

A personal Best

I went to Parkrun again on Saturday. I know I keep banging on about it, but I can’t tell you enough how much it’s encouraged me to keep on running. As well as being lapped by the fastest runners, I also get lapped by parents running with double buggies, adults running with small children and people running with dogs. Despite all this there is constant support from the marshals and a tail runner to make sure that no matter how slow you are, you always have someone with you. I hit another personal best this week, at 45:10, still at the back, but still determined.

A healthy eating lapse

My healthy eating plan went out of the window for several days this week. The first reason was due to comfort eating. I haven’t done this since the start of the year, but for some reason I allowed other people to undermine my confidence and make me feel miserable. Before I knew what had happened I had called in the supermarket on the way home and was tucking into a full tub of Ben and Jerry’s. This was then followed of two days of eating sweets and biscuits which made me feel rough. I know that comfort eating is not the answer, but still occasionally slip back into these habits without even thinking about it.

The second reason was that on Saturday I spent the afternoon in Leeds with some lovely friends from work, as one of our lovely ladies is leaving. It was a great afternoon and although it’s very sad that someone is moving on, it was lovely for us all to get together and spend some time away from work. It wasn’t great for the healthy eating plan (I’m not sure you can count cocktails as part of your 5 a day) but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m now back on track ready to face a new week in a positive frame of mind.

Decluttering

I spent my Sunday afternoon decluttering the attic bedroom. This was occupied full-time by my eldest daughter prior to going to university. She’s been gone for three years now and there are things stored in there that haven’t seen the light of day in all that time.

To be fair there were things that haven’t seen the light of day for a lot longer than that. This included the following:

  • A pair of ski salopettes belonging to my husband (we haven’t been skiing for over 20 years!)
  • My wedding dress (we’ve been married 26 years, but it did have an airing about 6 years ago when my eldest daughter went to a Tim Burton themed party as “The corpse Bride”)
  • Several pairs of shoes belonging to my youngest daughter (She absolutely had to have them, but wore them only once)
  • Various blow up air beds (some of which don’t actually inflate anymore)
  • Spare rolls of wallpaper and carpet (none of it which matched any of the wallpaper or carpet that we have now

Thankfully we agreed what would be taken to the tip, what we were keeping and what would go to the charity shop, which now leaves space for more useful items and after a coat of paint will make a lovely bedroom again for when she comes home, or a guest bedroom for anyone else who wants to stay.

A bit of a mixed bag all in all, but here’s to next week, whatever it brings!

Short but sweet

When I started this blog in January I wanted to make sure that I had something to write about each week. I didn’t want it to be boring to look back on in a years time. So here is just a short snippet for this week:

Today was the first training session for “Walk the Walk” in May. It was a six mile walk around Hardcastle Crags, which is a lovely part of Yorkshire. The weather was mild, but dull and it was quite muddy in parts. It was lovely to spend a couple of hours with my husband and my friend, walking and talking and made even better by a café on the route.

What was really great though was to see families out walking with their children. Last week I went to Ikea to look for furniture and saw families virtually dragging children round there. I’m afraid I’m not very tolerant of children in heelies or running round playing hide and seek. I apologise to those who have no choice to take their children to places like this at the weekend, but children always seem much happier being allowed to climb on rocks, paddle in puddles and stamp through mud in their wellies. In these days of gadgets and non stop entertainment, it was good to see children out and about, enjoying the simple things in life.

The route we took today includes a part of the world where we spent time when we were younger. It was lovely to see my husband pointing into the distance and explaining to my friend how, 27 years ago, he proposed to me on the banks of the river, down on one knee in the freezing cold and knee deep snow.  Valentines Day goes uncelebrated in our house, as a protest against commercialism, but it’s nice to know that deep down inside, he’s still an old romantic at heart.

Image result for hardcastle craggs

A work in progress

I am what I am

As you’ve probably realised already, I am not a slim lady. I am overweight, a larger lady, although one of my friends once described me as “rubenesque”. Afterwards she came and apologised to me as she felt that I might be offended. I have to say that I wasn’t. I am aware of how I look and sometimes this bothers me and I decide to do something about it. Other times I feel that I am who I am and my confidence in other areas of my life makes me forget about my weight. It is because of this that I have been a “yo yo dieter” for most of my adult life. I am like a lot of women with a weight problem and have tried all sorts of ridiculous diets. I’ve spent a fortune on books, foods and gadgets in an effort to lose weight and keep it off. I have wasted far too much time in the quest to have the perfect body, which in all honesty I’m unlikely to achieve and which probably doesn’t exist.

Will this year be different?

This year I am trying to put a stop to this and eat healthily and exercise because I want to and because I enjoy it, rather than spending a few weeks starving myself followed by weeks of just eating far too much. We are now 6 weeks into the new year and I am still doing well. Normally I’ve given up by now. However, I’m not saying I’ve been perfect. I have enjoyed nights out, I’ve had meals out, followed by dessert. The one thing I haven’t done so far is to just to completely blow it all because I’ve gone off track once.

The other thing that is really helping is running. I never thought I’d ever say that!  When I say running, I’m not talking about sprinting, but a slow plod, a jog, sometimes interspersed with a walk and a slightly faster jog.  I’ve always enjoyed walking, but I have continued with run together and have also been doing parkrun on a Saturday morning. The support of these groups is amazing and I am improving my fitness as well as losing a bit of weight, which can only be good. Long may it continue.

How could I be offended?

I accept that I am not model slim, but it is more important to be healthy and happy. At this moment in time I am remaining positive that I will continue to lose some weight, but living life for now, rather than waiting until then.

I looked at some of Ruben’s paintings on the internet. They involve some very shapely women, along with some religious painting and slightly scary artwork.

As a matter of interest the urban dictionary has the following definition of rubenesque:

“Applied to a woman who has similar proportions to those in paintings by the Flemish painter Peter Paul Ruben; attractively plump; a woman who is alluring or pretty but without the waif-like body or athletic build presently common in media.”

How could anyone be offended by that?