Friday, 15 February 2019

Blooming Lovely

I love having flowers in the house, especially at this time of year when there isn't much blooming outdoors. They do cheer me up whenever I glance at them.

I start the year off with daffodils, they're a favourite as they're such sunny flowers and cheap as chips to buy in the supermarket. I love them at the bud stage when they offer so much promise of what's to come.

They don't take long to open up. I usually buy a couple of bunches and cram them all together in one vase as I think they look lovely en masse.

Hyacinths have a very strong perfume which some people love and others can't stand. I'm in the love camp, though I'm in the minority in our house. I have to stand my ground when I pick up the pre planted bulbs in the supermarket as Mick isn't keen. Here they are just at the start of their blooming period.

And this is what they look like once they're in full bloom, so many individual flowers making up each stem.

Another favourite are tulips. They're in the shops soon after Christmas but I usually wait until I've had my full daffodil enjoyment before moving on to these. I just love the array of colours that they're available in, it's so hard to make a choice.

I can never resit taking photos right inside the flower, it's like a kaleidoscope.

I have an amaryllis growing at the moment. This was bought prepotted just after Christmas. Sometimes the flower stem grows without any foliage showing itself but this time there's plenty of leaves. So far it looks as though there's only going to be one flower stem, though others can pop up later so that might happen.

Usually, I dispose of an amaryllis bulb after it's flowered but last year I thought I'd save it and see if I could get it to flower for a second time. I repotted the bulb not long before Christmas and it's taken quite some time to get to this stage. No buds as yet, just leaves, so I'm waiting to see what happens.

It's a great time of year for cut flowers and indoor spring bulbs. I noticed that stocks are in the shops now so I might treat myself to some this weekend, especially as I wasn't treated to any flowers for Valentine's Day. Oh well, it just means that I'll have to treat myself instead.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Out For A Walk

It was windy on Sunday but nowhere near as windy as it had been on Saturday so we got wrapped up and took Archie for a good walk at Lotherton. The sun kept trying to put in an appearance, but so did the rain, though there were only a few spits.

The hall itself is closed during January and February for cleaning but they still offer guided tours. We only go inside if we don't have Archie with us, so that isn't very often.

This little chapel dates back to the 1100's and services are still held there.

Dogs must be kept on leads in some parts of the estate so we always have a walk through the woods so that Archie can have a good wander and sniff about without being confined. It's nice for him to have a bit of freedom, he's always good and never tries to run off.

It's quite muddy at the moment so we kept mainly to the paths. The wild garlic is just starting to poke through the ground and when I accidentally stood on a shoot the pungent scent filled the air.

There's lots of moss covering fallen trees, I think they look attractive. When you look at moss really closely it's like looking at a miniature world.

Someone's been den building. I remember building dens myself when I was a child. We had a small common at the bottom of the street where I grew up and I'd spend hours there with friends. We had lots of fun making dens, climbing trees and playing hide and seek.

Can you see the face on this tree? A leftover from Halloween I believe. There was the outline of a bat on another tree.

There's lots of leaf litter covering the floor. Archie loves to run through fallen leaves, I think he enjoys the noise they make.

This garden is known as the William and Mary garden. It has a sunken pond which is a favourite with children, especially at frogspawn time as it usually fills up with tadpoles. There's a door right at the end of the wall which leads through into what used to be the kitchen garden.

There were quite a few people about on Sunday, particularly in the children's playground. The weather can keep families indoors during the winter months but a whiff of anything close to a fine day brings them out so that children can let off steam and adults can breathe in some fresh air.

We're lucky to have a choice of places close by where we can exercise Archie and enjoy our surroundings. Lotherton is a great place to visit during summer but there's plenty to see and do there during the winter months too.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

A Planning Update

I've posted a few times previously about my Filofaxes, my most popular post being A Tour Of My Filofax Crimson Malden which I wrote back in 2014. I found a binder I love in my Malden and a planning system which works for me so little has really changed since then but I thought I'd do a little updated tour anyway.

I actually use two Filofaxes and I also have an A4 size journal so I'll show you around each of them.

My Malden is personal size and has been in constant use since 2013. I wrote about buying it in my It's Here post. As you can see, six years of constant use is now showing, it's more bashed about and worn in than in either of the two previous posts I've mentioned. I've used leather cleaner on it but it doesn't really lift the dirt, I don't know what else to try.

Inside the cover are slots for credit cards, though I don't keep any bank cards in here myself, I use these pockets for business cards, stickers, notes, etc.

The diary I use is a week on two pages. I always buy the lined version, it keeps my writing neat and tidy, though there wasn't much going on during that first week of the year. I use a Bic four colour pen and colour code my diary, black for general, red for appointments, green for holidays and blue for birthdays. I used to use a second pen with a further four colours when Daniel and Eleanor lived at home as I had more categories to keep track of but I've managed to streamline things since then.

These are the tabs in my Notes section. My To Do list consists of little things that I'd forget about if I didn't write down. I don't list everyday jobs, just the things which I don't ordinarily do. The same for Shopping, I don't write a shopping list but I keep a note here of anything out of the ordinary that I don't want to forget to pick up whilst I'm out. I also keep a note of things I've ordered that I'm waiting for here too. I don't speak to Daniel and Eleanor every day so I keep track of anything I want to ask or tell them when I do speak to them. I also keep some sticky notes in the Notes section, I use these a lot if I need to jot something down, they're really handy as I can lift them out and move them to other sections.

The Project section contains notes about my blog, I don't really plan posts but I jot down ideas here. I often set myself little challenges and keep track of those here.

The Information section is quite busy, there's everything here from holiday planning to information about holidays I've already taken, the books I've read this year and books I want to read, even a list of the charms which Eleanor's got on her Pandora bracelet so that I don't duplicate any.

I use a different planner for household finance so the Financials section is more about personal spending and Eleanor's student finance and accommodation fees as well as information about Archie's vets fees.

The A-Z Address section speaks for itself but I also keep lists of books in this A-Z section too. I have a list of all the books I've read during the current year in my notes section but I keep lists by author's name of all the books I've read since I started keeping a record back in 2012.

I have a clear pocket right at the very back where I used to keep coupons but I don't take my Filofax out and about with me any longer so I don't use this any more. There's two pockets in the back of the Filofax where I keep bits and bobs.

I've left out the personal information but you can get an idea of how I use this Filofax.

On to my Chameleon which is A5 size, I use this for household and financial information.

The credit card slots inside the front cover hold business cards from people who have done work on the house for us, it's good to have their numbers handy.

The first section is banking. I have a list of everything I need to pay each month, either by direct debit or an amount I put aside for things such as petrol, Christmas or housekeeping. I keep a running tally of what's coming in or going out of the bank accounts.

The next section is where I keep a note of which utility suppliers we're with, the deal we're on, when it ends, how much we're paying etc. I also keep notes here of household appliances we buy, the model numbers, how much they cost, where we bought them from and the date etc.

I also have a Christmas section in this Filofax where I keep my Christmas card and present list. I keep a record of what we've bought, when, who for and what it cost.

There's a credit card wallet at the back and a pad, though I don't use either of these.

Again, there's a lot of personal information in this Filofax so there isn't a lot I can show of this but it will give you some idea of how I use it.

I've been using an A4 notebook as my journal since 2006.

This book is undated so I write in it as and when the mood takes me but I've been reconsidering the way I journal just lately and have come to a decision. More on that at a later date.

Nikki from Notes of Life blog made this beautiful leather Traveller's Notebook for me last year. You can read all about it in my Traveller's Notebook post. I must confess that I still haven't started using it, I'm still considering the best way to add this into my current planning system.

I've got a Homecube which holds some of the pens and stationery I use.

It doesn't hold everything though, I could definitely do with more storage.

I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of my planner system. Tell me, do you use a planner? If so, what type of planner do you use?

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Knit Baby Jacket

I've finished the Knit Baby Jacket by Yarnspirations Design Studio. This is a free pattern on Ravelry.

I'm really pleased with how it's turned out. It's knit wholly in garter stitch which makes a squishy fabric so it's lovely and cosy. I've used Sirdar Snuggly Crofter which was a dream to knit with, so soft, though I did come across a knot in one place which I always find annoying.

The baby is only three months old at the moment but I've knit the 6-12 month size as Eleanor won't be seeing her friend until she comes home again at Easter. It should last her throughout the summer months, I'm sure there'll be plenty of chilly days where she'll need a woolly to keep her warm.

It was an easy pattern to follow which I'd recommend.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

The Child

The Child by Fiona Barton is a book I'd seen on a Kindle deal. I'd heard nothing about it before but the blurb interested me sufficiently for me to download it. I'm glad I did as it was a very good read.

"When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers it's impossible to ignore.

For one woman, it's a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her.

For another, it reveals the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered.

And for the third, a journalist, it's the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

The Child's story will be told."

I enjoyed how this book was written, short chapters each from the different women's point of view. All quite separate at the start but gradually merging until they were all part of the same story.

It's a book which kept me reading wanting to know more. I'd definitely recommend it.

If you want to see what else I've been reading lately, you can find a list in the sidebar.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

What I'm Watching - January 2019

TV and film that I've been enjoying this month.

The new series of Call the Midwife is currently showing and I'm really enjoying it. It's such a lovely gentle programme for Sunday night viewing, though I admit I usually record it and watch it later. This current series is set in 1964, just four years before I was born. It's hard to imagine how things were back then when we look at the advances in all areas of life since. There's some new faces this time and lots of the old familiar ones too.

Cold Feet was my favourite programme when it was first shown towards the back end of the 90's and into the new century. It had been off our screens for thirteen years when they decided to bring it back in 2016 and I wasn't sure it would work, but it does. I'm enjoying it as much now as I did back then.

If you read my post about Netflix you'll know that we've got a one month trial at the moment. I still haven't explored everything on offer but I have watched Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. I'm fascinated by true crime, what makes a person kill another human being, and it was quite chilling hearing Ted Bundy's own voice discussing his crimes. However, Netflix's warning not to watch this alone is a bit over the top. In my opinion it's a mediocre documentary with very little new material to that which has been offered in other documentaries which I've seen in the past.

Me Before You was my favourite of all the books I read in 2016. I don't often go to the cinema but I went to see this film when it was released not long after I'd read the book, and it's premier on Channel 5 was on Sunday night. I recorded it and watched it on Monday afternoon. The book is far superior in my opinion but I enjoyed the film for what it was and would recommend it. If you missed it, it's being shown again on Channel 5 on Friday 1st of February at 11pm.

Have you been watching any of these? What else have you been watching this month?

Monday, 28 January 2019

A Blustery Weekend

We didn't do much at the weekend, not only was it cold but it was blowing a gale too. I could have quite happily stayed indoors but when you've got a dog, hunkering down and hibernating isn't an option.

It was the Big Garden Birdwatch over the weekend and though I didn't take part this year, we decided to take Archie to RSPB Fairburn Ings for a walk. There were plenty of birds to be seen there. We just managed a quick walk before the heavens opened and it poured down.

The wind picked up a pace on Sunday so it was a bit foolish of us to head over to Pontefract Castle for a dog walk as it's quite open and we nearly got blown away. We didn't stay long but it gave Archie a chance to stretch his legs and get a bit of fresh air, though it was a bit too fresh for my liking. I didn't take many photos as my hands were nearly dropping off with the cold but you can read more about the castle and its history in A History Tour In Four Parts, a post which I wrote back in 2013.

Today has dawned sunny and bright and the wind has dropped but looking at the forecast I think we're in for a week of frosty and, possibly, icy weather.

Friday, 25 January 2019


We've been umming and ahhing for quite some time now wondering whether to get Netflix. We've subscribed to Sky for a very long time, mainly for the sport, but we also have our phone line and broadband with them so we do get quite a good deal, but I often hear people mention the programmes they've watched on Netflix that they've enjoyed so we thought we'd give it a go.

So, what I'd like to know from those of you who have Netflix is what programmes can you recommend? I haven't started watching anything yet as we only signed up last night so I'm open to all suggestions.

We've got a one month trial so we'll see how it goes, whether we want to continue with it after that remains to be seen.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Auntie Mavis

My Auntie Mavis died last week, she was my dad's only sister and would have been 90 this year. She was suffering from Alzheimer's and passed away in her sleep.

My dad is the youngest in his family, there were between eighteen months and two years between each of his siblings. Walter was the eldest, then came Mavis, George was next and then my dad. Both Walter and George died in 2011, the same year that two of my mum's brothers died too.

Mavis and my dad weren't particularly close, they didn't see each other very often but my dad got a bee in his bonnet last year about wanting to go and see her in the nursing home where she was being cared for. She didn't know him when he went, owing to the Alzheimer's, but I think he's glad now that he made the effort.

My mum came from a big family, some of her brothers and sisters have died but she's still got two sisters still living. My dad is the only one still here from his family, Walter's widow died last year, she was the last of his sibling's partners who was still living.

It's terribly sad seeing the older part of the family dwindle but then we hear the news that one of the younger generation are expecting the patter of tiny feet, life goes on.