Saturday, 29 June 2013

Challenge Update - June

My 2013 challenges are:-

1) Watch one old film each month.

2) List five items on Ebay each month.

3) Have a date night with Mick each month.

I think I must know all the famous quotes from Casablanca, there's so many, though Play It Again, Sam, probably the most famous quote of all, is a misquote and is never said in the film. Though I know all the quotes, I'd never seen the film. I rectified that by making it the film to watch in June. I didn't know the story behind it at all before watching it, so didn't really know what to expect from it. I really enjoyed it, the story thoroughly held my attention, the acting was superb and the characters varied and interesting. It's definitely a film which has stood the test of time.

The Ebay selling is still going well, though I'm surprised that I'm keeping this challenge up as it's quite time consuming photographing and listing everything. I think I've set myself a realistic target of five items each month, that way, I don't get too fed up of doing it. It is good when things sell though and you see the Paypal balance increasing.

Our date night this month was a meal in the local pub. I'd hoped to do something a bit different, a day out somewhere or a place we hadn't been to before, but we've had a bit of a hectic month. My dad has been in hospital for surgery, he's home now but still not properly right so will have to go back in the near future. We've been visiting him whilst he's been in hospital and running my mum around here and there which has really eaten in to our time, but we're only too happy to help out. We enjoyed a couple of hours to ourselves though and the food was delicious.

It's been another month which has sped by and I don't think July will be any different. We go away on holiday to Cornwall in three weeks so I'll have plenty to do getting ready for that, though I'm really looking foward to it. My challenges in July will have to be completed at the beginning of the month, a challenge in itself.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

An Old Favourite

I'm back to reading my Gervase Phinn books. There's five in the Dales series, of which I'd read the first three. I had found the fifth one in a charity shop but couldn't find the fourth book, Up and Down in the Dales, for love nor money. I found one on Ebay, and though it was a little more expensive than I would have paid for it in a charity shop, I decided to buy it.

I'm nearly at the end now and it's been another good read. I'm pleased that I've still got the fifth book to go at.

Another book I've recently read is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I really enjoyed this book, and it did keep me wanting to read more, though I have to say that not a lot happened in it. I usually read in bed before I go to sleep, so I enjoy books which are light reading and this is one of them. I lent the book to my mum and she enjoyed it too.

It's not long until we go away on holiday now, and I usually take a few books with me. It's one of the things I really enjoy about my holiday, having time to sit and read. I've got quite a few magazines stacked up which I bought when they've been on offer, but I haven't got round to reading them yet, so this year might be the year when I catch up with those on holiday rather than reading lots of books, we'll have to see.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Ghostly Goings On

Eleanor and I went to see Ghost The Musical on Thursday evening. To be honest, it wasn't a show I was particularly keen on seeing, but Eleanor had been wanting to see it for a while so we bought the tickets as part of her Christmas present last year. I love the film but wasn't bothered about seeing it live on stage. It turned out to be a fantastic show and I'm so pleased that I got tickets.

The lighting, special effects and stage trickery were amazing. The film has people walking through doors, objects moving of their own accord and spirits leaving bodies, and I wondered how on Earth it could be recreated on the stage, but it was fantastic, all these things happened, and more, which left me open mouthed.

The acting and singing was excellent. In my opinion, the star of the show was Wendy Mae Brown who took the role of Oda Mae Brown. She brought the character to life just as Whoopi Goldberg had done in the film. She had the audience in fits of laughter.

The show was on at The Grand Theatre in Leeds. When I posted last month about going to see Blood Brothers there, I had a comment about the inside of the theatre. I had intended to take some photos so that you could see how beautiful it is, but even before the show and during the interval, the lights were so low that taking any decent photos was out of the question. Eleanor managed to snap this one of the stage before the performance though.

Eleanor loved the show too, she hasn't stopped talking about it since. If you get a chance to go, I would definitely recommend it.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

It's All Over Now

It's been like Revision Central here for the last few months. Daniel's been taking his A levels and Eleanor has been taking her GCSE mock exams, followed by Science module exams which count towards her GCSE's.

Eleanor's last exam was last week, and Daniel sat his final exam, Physics, today. He's not home yet so I don't know how he feels it's gone. It's nerve wracking as a parent, though both Daniel and Eleanor are pretty calm about exams, which is a good thing.

Daniel got offers from the five universities he applied to, which he's had to whittle down to a first and second choice, but he'll need very high grades for them to take him. He's hoping to study Physics with Astrophysics.

A Level Results Day is on 15th August, so we've got quite a while to wait yet to find out how he's done. Fingers crossed.

Friday, 14 June 2013

All Aboard

We spent a lovely evening last night watching Eleanor and her drama group in Musical Express, Destination: West End. It was a show of songs and dances from leading musicals.

There was a good selection of songs from different musicals and Eleanor sang a solo, Another Suitcase In Another Hall from Evita, and a duet, I Know Him So Well from Chess, as well as odd solo bits here and there, and of course, she sang with the company too.

The last couple of songs from Grease, Born To Hand Jive and Greased Lightning, got the audience joining in, whilst all the performers took to the stage and sang their hearts out whilst jiving along, the show really ended on a high.

There's another performance tonight, another next Saturday in the local church, then auditions and rehearsals will begin for the big annual production which is performed at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds. This year's show is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, so I'm looking forward to that.

Monday, 10 June 2013

It's Sweet William Time

Look what I found in the supermarket yesterday, yes, it's Sweet William time again.

I love these flowers, they're relatively inexpensive, this bunch cost just £1.50, and they smell divine.

I keep saying that I'll grow some myself. I've actually bought a packet of seed but haven't got round to sowing them yet. If I get a move on and sow them soon, they'll flower for me next year.

Wouldn't that be something to look forward to?

Friday, 7 June 2013

Magazine Treats

I've tried to cut down on the number of magazines I buy as some of them are really quite expensive, and at one time, I was buying them even though I couldn't find the time to read them all.

Earlier on this year, I took out a subscription to Radio Times magazine, purely because there was an offer on, six issues for £1. It turned out to be a really good deal, as I was offered lots of other magazines at reduced prices. Some of the offers were three issues for £3, some were three issues for £1, and the best deals of all were free copies of certain magazines.

I've had plenty of magazines dropping through the letterbox just lately, yet I haven't forked out much money for them. It's a case of cancelling the subscription straight after the price of the introductory offer is taken from my bank account, so that I don't incur any further charges for keeping the subscription going.

The Simple Things is a magazine I've heard a lot about on blogs, I was eager to have a look at it myself. It's usual price is £4.99, but this offer was £5 for three copies. I wouldn't even pay the reduced price again, I didn't think much to it.

The English Garden and Homes and Antiques are magazines which I've read before and I enjoy them both. Each of these offers were £1 for three copies, I've still got another two of each to come, something to look forward to.

Countryfile was a freebie. Again, it's a magazine I've read before, there's always interesting articles to read in this magazine.

Simply Crochet was a new magazine for 2013. I paid £5 for the first three copies, which were ok, but I wouldn't pay the full price of £4.99 per issue.

Magazine subscriptions can also be bought with Tesco Clubcard Vouchers and you get a good deal. I used to take out a subscription to Gardener's World Magazine this way, but cancelled the subscription when I found I didn't have time to read the magazines properly.

I think it pays to look for deals on magazines, some are so expensive that popping two or three in to your shopping trolley can significantly increase your bill.

I'd be interested to hear which magazines you enjoy reading.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

In Bloom

It's nice to have lots of colour in the garden now that the sun is shining. It took a long time for some things to flower this year owing to the cold start, and some things are really late. My tulips are still in flower and my lilac was about a month later than it usually is to bloom, still, better late than never as they say.

The tulips are just starting to fade now. I planted Queen Of Night, an almost black variety, which were underplanted with these white anemones. They looked very good together.

This is aquilegia vulgaris, a plant which I bought, but I have other aquilegias in the garden too, mostly ones which self seeded, though I've also got some McKana Hybrids which I grew from seed.

This aquilegia has just popped up this year. It's a very pale pink, almost white, which is quite unusual as all the self seeded aquilegias in my garden have always been either purple or pink, it's nice to have something a bit different for a change.

The chives are in flower at the moment and the bees are loving them. I don't use many herbs in the kitchen but this is one herb which I use quite frequently.

I love the chives' cousin, the ornamental allium. I've had these in the garden for some time now but the numbers have dwindled, I really must buy some more as they're such a stunning flower. I believe these are Purple Sensation, but I'm not totally sure.

My dicentra, or Bleeding Heart, was very late to flower this year. The blooms are just starting to fade now.

Foliage is also looking good at the moment. I love the rich colour of these heuchera leaves, I'm not sure which variety it is. As you can tell, I'm not very good at labelling plants or keeping notes, I must do better.

It's good to see that summer has arrived at last, long may it continue.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Eleanor's Photos

Since I got my new camera, Eleanor has commandeered my bridge camera and has been busy snapping away. I'm quite impressed by some of the photos she's come up with, she's definitely got more of an eye for photography than I have, and she isn't afraid to mess about with the settings either. I thought I'd show you a few of the many photos she's taken.

This first lot are taken in the local woods when she took Archie for a walk with Mick. She had Mick climb a tree and dangle his legs to get Archie in to the pose she wanted. I thought it very clever, but it's a good job it was Mick with her and not me, you wouldn't catch me climbing a tree.

The next ones are taken at Lotheron Hall when we went over the bank holiday weekend. I really like the one of the tree with Mick and Archie in the background.

She's taken lots of photos of Archie. I don't suppose she can resist that cute smushy mushy face.

Do you have a favourite?