Wednesday 22 July 2015

Challenge Update - July 2015

My 2015 challenges are:-

1) Read one book each month.

1a) Read Agatha Christie books in chronological order.

2) Watch films from IMDb's top 100 movies of all time.

3) Support charities.

I'm early with my challenge update post this month as I won't be around at the end of July. This also means that July has been a short month for progressing with my challenges, but I have managed to meet them once again.

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley was a free book on my Kindle. I don't think it's a book which would have caught my eye if I'd had to pay for it but I loved it. The setting in Cornwall is described beautifully and the story, spanning two time periods, kept me thoroughly interested. It's a book I'd definitely recommend.

The Big Four was my Agatha Christie read for July. This is a Poirot novel but has a different feel to it than other Christie books. Poirot is involved in seeking an international group, The Big Four, who are set on world domination. I enjoyed this book and I'm now interested to see how the change of style in this book affects her next one.

I only got round to watching two films in July.

I knew I'd heard of Snatch before but I couldn't place where from. It was when Vinnie Jones, the footballer, popped up that I remembered it was his follow up to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (which I haven't seen either). Snatch isn't a film I'd choose to watch but it was watchable and kept me interested.

Grave Of The Fireflies is a subtitled Japanese animation which tells the story of two children, brother and sister, trying to survive during the Second World War. I had no idea at all what the film was about when I put it on but I was glued to the screen. It's terribly sad and I think the fact that it's in animation makes the story even more harrowing. I'd recommend this film.

It was Eleanor's birthday on the 15th of July and she received lots of presents, she's never gone without. I decided that this year, one of the presents I'd buy her would be a gift for someone less fortunate. I decided to buy the gift from Good Gifts as this company guarantees that your money buys the actual gift you have chosen. Eleanor's lucky, she's had the opportunity to go to school and will hopefully be carrying on with her education at university so I thought a good gift to buy would be text books for a school. This will help allow children in Africa to go to school, giving them the chance of a better future. There's lots of different gifts to choose to suit all pockets and the recipient gets a little card detailing the gift which has been bought on their behalf. I have to say that Eleanor was thrilled with this, she loved the idea that text books had been bought on her behalf for children less fortunate than herself.

The Big Issue Foundation helps enable people who are homeless take control of their lives and earn a legitimate income. The magazine is published on behalf of and sold by homeless or vulnerably housed people. They buy the magazine for £1.25 and sell it on for £2.50. I'm a big fan of helping people to help themselves, and besides, the magazine itself is a good read. This week's copy has an interview with Andrew Flintoff, something Mick will be reading when I've finished with it.

This will be my last post for a while, on Saturday we go on our summer holiday. This year, we're staying much closer to home travelling just an hour away for our first week. We're staying in a cottage in Pickering which is handy for days at the Yorkshire Coast and North York Moors as well as being very near to the Dalby Forest which Archie will love. We're staying in a cottage in Northumberland for our second week. I've only been there once and that was on a school trip thirty five years ago so I'm really looking forward to it. We should have wi-fi at both cottages but I'm looking forward to a fortnight away from all stresses so I doubt I'll be using it. I'll see you all in August.

Monday 20 July 2015

Photo Medley - July

I'm a little early with my photo medley post this month, there's still another eleven days of the month to go, but I won't be around at the end of July so here's a round up of the photos I've taken so far this month which haven't made it on to the blog. There aren't many.

I sowed two kinds of sunflowers this year, the tall ones didn't make it but these dwarf ones, Big Smile, are flowering away. I won the seeds in Mitzi's giveaway last year on her Lazy Days & Sundays At Willow Cottage blog.

Daniel arrived home from university at the start of the month with all his stuff, he's gone back to York now for the summer but left most of his belongings behind. I've got them until September.

A beautifully wrapped gift from a friend. I'll tell you more about it in a future post.

We celebrated our Silver Wedding Anniversary on the 7th of July. These beautiful roses were delivered in the morning before we set off for our day out. Sadly, they're no longer around, roses don't last very long at all.

Another surprise parcel in the post, the RAK (Random Act of Kindness) which I wrote about in my last post.

Thank you to those people who said they'd like to play along with the RAK. The two names chosen at random are Cheryl from My Little Piece Of England and Pam from A New Life In Wales. Can you both please let me have your addresses and I shall get a surprise parcel out to you sometime between now and the end of the year. I'm hoping that with this timescale, you won't be expecting the parcel when it arrives and it'll be a surprise.

Friday 17 July 2015

I Received A RAK

It was at the end of last year when Sally from Crafty Northerner asked if anyone would like to receive a RAK, a Random Act of Kindness. It's no wonder then that after I'd put my name down and said that I'd love to receive one that I promptly forgot all about it. I'm glad that I did as it was a lovely surprise when I received a parcel at the start of the week. Inside were some beautifully wrapped goodies and a lovely card.

So what did I get? Well, lots of lovely, happy things. Some sheepy socks - so cute, a badge - already pinned to my coat, some paper drinking straws - these remind me so much of my childhood, especially drinking yucky warm milk through them at school. I shall find something much nicer to drink through them this time.

I also got this cute little angel pad. I love the cover, it's just the sort of mishaps that happen to me.

Archie wasn't left out either, Sally's beautiful black labrador, Anni B, sent a treat for him too. She must know the way to his heart is through his stomach. I'm having to ration them otherwise they'd be all gone by now, he's such a greedy hound.

Thank you so much Sally, I'm thrilled with everything.

Sally asked that anyone participating should pass on the love by offering to send a RAK themselves so would anyone like to play along? Please leave a comment letting me know if you'd like to take part and I'll pick two names at random who will receive a little happy gift in the post sometime between now and the end of the year. Again, I'd ask that if you want to participate, you should be willing to pass on the love again and offer to send a RAK yourself. Go on, you know you want to.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Sixteen Going On Seventeen

Happy birthday to my darling Eleanor.

No longer sweet sixteen, seventeen today.

She's spending her birthday in school but she's going out in to Leeds tonight for a meal with her friends to celebrate.

The above photos were taken last week. She went on a residential trip to Leeds Beckett University from Wednesday until Saturday and had a brilliant time. Those who attended were split in to four groups according to what they're interested in studying at university and then they got to choose from a number of workshops in the field they're interested in. Eleanor took workshops on Molecular Biology, Physiology and Physiology of Pain and Clinical Skills. In the evenings they did team building activities as well as having a barbecue on the first night, went in to Leeds City Centre for a meal and to the cinema on the second night and spent the third night in the student union building having a meal and disco. They also had photos taken, complete with props, in a photo booth. I've cropped the above photos but she was with lots of new friends she made, many of which she's keeping in touch with, which is nice.

She had a wonderful time and loved the whole university experience. I think she got a lot out of the residential.

Happy birthday, Eleanor. I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

Friday 10 July 2015

Jesus Christ Superstar

Thank you to everyone who left good wishes for Mick and I on my last post on the occasion of our Silver Wedding Anniversary. We had a lovely day and I was thoroughly spoilt. Mick had a beautiful bouquet of red roses delivered to me first thing in the morning.

He also bought me a gorgeous angel pendant, made from two hearts which join together to make the angel form with a halo and diamond encrusted wings, really unusual and I love it. He knows I don't wear silver so it's in gold, and to top it all off he bought me my favourite chocolates. I bought Mick a watch and we got lots of cards and gifts off family and friends.

We did end up going to the Dales afterall, it was quite dull for most of the day but the sun did put in an appearance every so often. We didn't get home until quite late, had a quick change of clothes and then headed out to a restaurant for a meal. We spent a lovely day together.

On Monday evening, the day before our anniversary, Eleanor, Mick and I went to see another show at Leeds Grand Theatre, this time it was Jesus Christ Superstar.

It was the opening night and there were lots of spare seats in the theatre so we had our tickets upgraded which was a nice surprise.

I hope the rest of the shows are sell outs as it was a fabulous show and they deserve to be playing to a packed theatre.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Silver Wedding Anniversary

It's twenty five years ago today that Mick and I said our vows and became a married couple.

When I look back over the last quarter of a century and everything that's happened since that day back in 1990 it seems so long ago, yet on the other hand it doesn't seem two minutes since I was walking down the aisle.

Mick's taken some time off work so we're spending the day together, just the two of us. We were hoping to head off to the Dales but the weather isn't looking too good so we probably need to move to Plan B, whatever that may be.

Now we're looking forward to the next twenty five years together and whatever that may bring.

Saturday 4 July 2015

Home For Summer

Daniel's just finished his second year at university and as he's changing accommodation again, last weekend was his moving out date for the house he's been sharing with five friends. He doesn't move in to his new house until September so I thought I might have him home for summer this year but that's not to be, he stayed from Saturday until Wednesday and then went back to stay with his girlfriend until he's able to move in to his own house.

His girlfriend has also changed accommodation but there was only the gap from Monday until Wednesday when she was without anywhere to live, and as she's American she doesn't have parents here to go home to so she came to stay with us too.

Daniel may not be home for Summer, but all his university paraphernalia is. These are the boxes taking up room in my conservatory, there's more upstairs in his bedroom and it's even spilled out on to the landing.

Goodness knows what the pink wig's for, I daren't ask.

One thing which Daniel doesn't bring home any more is his washing, he's become very domesticated as well as independent over the last two years, something I thought I'd never see. If it's done nothing else, university has certainly taught him how to look after himself.

Thursday 2 July 2015


2008 - 29th June 2015.

Eleanor's bunny, Sammy, died on Monday. We're all so upset. It was only February when his brother, Monty, died. Even Archie seems to be missing him, well, both of them. When he goes in the garden he looks for them, but of course they're not there.

RIP beautiful bunny.