Everyone’s Talking About….

Well another month has gone by and a few things have changed. We have had another baby in the family, which is always a lovely thing.  She is my great step-niece (if that’s an actual thing) I haven’t met her yet, but from the photographs she looks beautiful, so it will be lovely to see her. Unfortunately last night my brother told me that she is in hospital, so I’m keeping my fingers (and everything else crossed) that she is okay.

My eldest daughter has returned to live at home, after working abroad for a few months, she was really unhappy, so is now back with us. It’s nice to have her home, but I’m sure it won’t be long before she finds some work again.

A trip to Portugal

As our daughter was working out in Portugal, my husband and I decided to go out and visit her for a few days. We stayed at the Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa in  Albufeira. The hotel was really lovely, set in really beautiful grounds with a really big pool. The rooms were really nice and we had a room overlooking the pool. We only had breakfast there, which was amazing. There was some much delicious food to choose from, both healthy and not quite so healthy.

When we left the UK the weather was amazingly hot, so arriving in Portugal to an overcast, but warm day was a little bit disappointing, but as the day wore on, the sun came out and it stayed hot, but quite windy for the rest of the days we were there.

Albufeira was quite nice, although quite a busy place. We only got to see a small part of it over a few days, so it’s really difficult to give a proper opinion. Maybe we’ll go back one day and see a bit more of it.

Everyone’s talking about Jamie

On Sunday afternoon I went to see Everyone’s Talking About Jamie. This was recorded from the theatre, but shown at the cinema. I have heard some of the music from it previously and knew that it was about a sixteen year old boy who has the dream of becoming a drag queen.

I was absolutely blown away by the show. Everything about it was absolutely amazing, from the set, the singing, acting and dancing. Everyone who was in it was so talented. The story has you laughing one minute and crying the next. It is a really feel good show, but with the message that you should follow your dreams and accept people for who they are.

I have to say that I would love to see this live now at the theatre, so I’ll add this to my “must see” list.

 

 

 

 

Diary of a Wimpy Woman

This week I have been feeling a little bit sorry for myself as I have had cold, a sore throat and now a very annoying tickly cough. Normally I don’t bother about this kind of thing, but I think it gave me a reason (or an excuse depending on how you look at it) not to do the 10k run that I had signed up to. Basically I wimped out and talked myself out of doing it. I feel a bit annoyed with myself now, but at the time, I just couldn’t summon up the enthusiasm to do this.

Blood Brothers

On Saturday evening I went to see Blood Brothers at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford with my husband and my friend (Funnily enough I wasn’t too ill for this!). I have seen this show quite a few times, but it never loses its appeal. I love the story and the songs are absolutely amazing. The acting and singing from this cast was brilliant and it never ceases to amaze me how the characters change from the first part to the incredible ending.

There are some superb characters within the show. My husband loves this show and always says that he would love to play the part of the narrator. I’d love to play Mrs Johnston. The only chance of this happening is in our own kitchen when we have the soundtrack on and we sing along. It doesn’t hurt to dream!

A nice winter break

So today my husband and I (I sound like the Queen!) have travelled with a couple of friends to Center Parcs at Whinfell  Forest, for a short break. It is quite cold, but its lovely to be out in the fresh air and away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Today is the first day of the Christmas period for them, so there are lots of lovely twinkly lights and Christmassy things around. It’s a bit early for me, but it actually looks lovely and has a really nice feel to it.

 

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 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.

 

 

 

 

2017 – The year I am fifty

Just like millions of other people at this time of year, as New Years Eve approached,  I started to think about what resolutions I should make for the New Year. And, just as I have done for many years I know that I will make them and break them within a matter of days, if not sooner. So why should this year be any different?

This year I will be 50!

It’s hard to believe. It seems like only yesterday that I was running around after my two young daughters, then suddenly I turned around and there they were, women in their own right, with their own dreams and aspirations, their lives stretching ahead of them. I must admit that I panicked at first. I love my husband to death, but I did wonder what would happen when we were on our own. I never had any doubts that we have a strong relationship, but could it pass the “empty nest” test? At the moment only one has left and is in third year at University and will probably not return. The other is in the last year of sixth form, making decisions about her future.

My husband and I have already started to enjoy the freedom that grown up children bring. Having holidays and weekends away without children was pretty new to us.  I’m positive that as I head towards 50 our lives will not be the same.  Not worse, not better, just different. He’s already 50, by the way and seems undaunted by the fact.

Reflections on years gone by

I think I am very blessed.  As I have said already I have a lovely husband (almost 26 years married) and two beautiful daughters (no bias there at all). I have had a stable job for almost 27 years and could officially retire in 3 years. I think I’ve been a sensible (some would say boring!) person, but have enjoyed life, not taken too many risks and always tried to do the right thing. Planning the things I was going to do when I retire kept me looking to the future and got me out of bed on a morning.

Things changed over the last year or so. Just after Christmas 2015, very suddenly, I lost a close friend who was a year younger than me. Another close friend was diagnosed with cancer shortly afterwards. I decided that “when I retire” was no longer the time to do things, but that I should do them now.

Here’s to the future

So as I head towards 50 I started to think about the things that I could do this year to make a difference to my life and possibly to others too. I wanted different resolutions. I still need to lose weight, get fit and all those other things that I promise myself every year, but I wanted this year to be special.

I was chatting to my brother who has recently published two books and I jokingly said “I think I’ll write a book”. He suggested I write a blog and promised me it would be easy.

So this it the first of my resolutions – To write a blog. No one may ever read it, but at least I’ll have a record of what I achieved. It also means I’ll have to make sure that my life is interesting enough to have something to write about.

I already have some holiday and travel plans (watch this space) and am planning a big party for my 50th Birthday, which is in April.

Why “50 the musical”

Well I love musical theatre! I always say that if I won the lottery I would spend the money just going to the theatre. I would see all those musicals that I haven’t had the time or money to see yet.

I like to think that setting my 50th year to music and dance would make it more exciting! I’m not sure who is going to play the part of me as yet, I’ll give it some thought.

Of course I’ll be seeing some musicals this year and no doubt telling you all about them in my blog.