An easy challenge. I didn’t actually go out to buy myself any flowers but noticed these at our local store. As I remember them growing in my Grandparent’s garden I thought they would be lovely to have in the house. They looked beautiful in the house for a couple of weeks.
I realised though that I am lucky and I do often have flowers bought for me. Just as the Sweet Williams were coming to the end of their life, Kathryn bought me some beautiful roses as a present to remember my Mum. Mum would have preferred the munchies!
A week later, I was pleasantly surprised to come home from work to find some flowers had been delivered to me. They were a lovely present from my brother, Richard, his partner, Graham and Graham’s parents to celebrate my 50th birthday. It honestly feels like a birthday never coming to an end!
Last weekend, the house was a bit bare without any flowers so I thought I would make this challenge a regular one. This bunch of carnations found their way into my basket.
There is nothing nicer than giving though and as there were plenty of flowers, I shared them with Kathryn.
I don’t often watch TV. If I’m honest, the remotes baffle me and take a lot of working out. Also I’m rarely in control of the remotes so I don’t even get to choose what is on the TV. If the soaps are on, I can normally catch up with them easily even when a character has been brought back from the dead. Every now and then I like to watch a drama series. I tend to do that on catch up at my own leisure. I do like to watch the Christmas films no matter how awful they are. Christmas Trees and Santa have a place in my heart and I’m so excited when they start advertising the Christmas Channel.
It amazes me that whilst I grew up with 3 channels, we now have so many channels but most of them are duplicates (plus 1 and even plus 2) and films are repeated so much. I don’t want to watch people fighting to buy junk, so called celebrities locked in a house and countless quiz shows.
After flicking through the channels and finding You’ve got Mail and Back to the Future on about 6 channels (nothing wrong with either of these films I must add), it was decided to try the Amazon Prime site. Now I’m scared of this site as not all is free and I worry I will spend somebody else’s money to watch a film I fancy so I tend to stick to Netflix. Anyway as it was Saturday and Hubby had controls, it was decided we would buy a film and chose The Intern. I was happy about this as I liked both the main actors, Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro.
There are quite a few American actresses I like watching and Anne Hathaway is certainly one of them. People might not have have rated her Yorkshire accent in One Day but I loved her anyway and I loved her in Les Miserables.
A few weeks ago, I had been told about a song that Barbara Streisand performed with Daisy Ridley so I searched to listen. Now Daisy Ridley was one of the reasons I went to the cinema with the family to watch my first ever Star Wars movie. I have turned out a big fan of both Daisy and Star Wars which was a surprise. I did have a few people saying you can’t see the new Star Wars film if you haven’t seen the rest but I have given birth to children who, if they enjoy something, will be so knowledgeable that they can teach you everything you need to know. This meant I didn’t have to waste my time watching parts 4 – 6 (or whatever number the first three films are now!) and enjoyed the film so much. Anyway sorry for the digression, lets get back to Anne. The recording I watched was At the Ballet (from one of my favourites, The Chorus Line) and Anne was singing in it. I do love Barbara but I was so blown away with Anne’s part. The song was put on my iPod and I enjoy singing along to that.
As for Robert DeNiro, I was late in discovering him. It was in Meet the Fockers that I probably first enjoyed watching him. I know that he won an academy award for supporting actor in The Godfather Part II but I’m not that cultured.
I don’t take much notice about the critic’s view (as far as I’m concerned we are all different people and what I enjoy as my pastimes might all be different to another person. If something is truly dreadful, the majority of people would agree. Look, I like trashy Christmas movies but don’t enjoy trashy programmes with celebrities). The film was perfect viewing for a Saturday evening and, I forgot to mention that once sat down to watch TV, I am well known for falling asleep, but this kept me awake. I even left the ironing so I could get myself drawn into the story.
It is about Ben, played by Robert DeNiro, who is a widowed 70 year old. Retirement isn’t so great especially as he is a widow so when he sees a advert for Senior Interns, he applies.
Jules, played by Anne, is a successful founder and owner of About the Fit, an e-commerce start up where Ben becomes an Intern. Jules’ investors decide it is time to find an outside CEO to take some pressure off Jules which she is opposed to.
Whilst trying to keep her distance from Ben who has been assigned to her, Jules slowly finds Ben as someone she can trust and share her thoughts with.
You can’t help liking Ben’s character and he certainly gains the respect of his younger colleagues. Ben is certainly a man who believes in tradition and still wears his suit to work. He’s old and trusted briefcase goes with him too and the fact that he shaves everyday meets astonishment from his colleagues.
Whilst he might have old fashioned ways, he is still struck by how Jules has started her business and how much she cares in it and how she shares her ways with her staff.
Now I know I can actually watch a film without falling asleep, I can look forward to watching a bit more.
I love cooking and I have a few challenges to do with cooking. Host a MacMillan Tea Party, bake a cake you have never tried before, buy some kind of baking machine, make and document something with it and many more.
I never enjoyed cooking at school but once I had my own kitchen to cook in and a copy of Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course (well used as you can see), I was on my way to making wonderful roasts, quick pasta dishes, Monday night curries with leftovers and beautiful cakes. I discovered Mary Berry and when the children came along, I made traybakes to put in their lunch boxes.
My favourite cake for birthdays is still the good old Victoria sponge which my daughter also makes a mean one too. Baking with the children was always a favourite thing and my son does experiment now and again.
Nothing beats a homemade meal or cake and it is also very therapeutic. It certainly can calm me down after a stressful day at work although sometimes I might just go for the good old fish and chips from the local chippie! I really think cooking lessons should be prescribed by Doctors!
I had friends who always insisted that Birthday and Christmas presents should never be a household item including cooking equipment. I might object to a vacuum cleaner but I never minded to some new piece that I could bake with. A few years ago I did say I did not want another thing for the kitchen. However this turned up and I happily accepted it!
My daughter’s boyfriend, Aaron treated me to some wonderful birthday presents for my 50th birthday. One of them was a subscription to the Bakedin Baking Club. It has been wonderful. I have now received three boxes which have a recipe inside with step by step instructions to cook.
There is also bags of ingredients weighed out in numbered bags.
All you need to do is add a few ingredients which are normally in my cupboard, a baking tin and bake. Cherry Crumble Squares were today’s delight. I quickly whizzed up the cake mixture in my processor, poured into the prepared tin, added the cherries and put in the oven for 10 minutes whilst I made the crumble. The crumble was then added to the top of the cake mixture and returned to the oven for a further 30 minutes.
The cooking smells were delicious and I couldn’t wait to try. When cut the cherries had sunk to the bottom and I did wonder if I should have washed and dried before I put on top of the sponge mixture but overall it didn’t take make any difference to the taste which had a lovely spicy taste from the cinnamon. This had been included in bag 4 with the self raising flour.
We served it with custard and cream as a dessert and it was a big hit. The instruction card comes with all the ingredients and weights that is included in the kit so I will definitely be baking this again.
My next box has arrived and I can’t wait to bake this.
As previously mentioned in my About Page, I started running three years ago. I started slowly by following the couch25k programme. I must admit that whilst I built myself up to run for 30 minutes, I rarely achieved the 5k. After running a lot in May, I have pushed myself to go further which is a good thing as there are a few running challenges to complete. Today I managed a tick on Challenge 25 – Change your running route one day.
Not very adventurous, I normally run round the block a few times. I change the direction and that is when I am being daring. I also keep to quite a flat surface and do not cross busy roads. After joining the Strava community, I try to sign up for a monthly challenge and this month was completing 10k. I thought I would combine this with changing the route. So first thing I had to do was to turn right instead of left, cross the road at the traffic lights and head towards the sea. It was very pleasant and I was soon at what I thought was half way. Quick look at my phone and I had only run 1.8 miles. Knowing I wanted to achieve 6.2 miles I thought rather than go back the same way, I would change my route again to make it longer. I found out the reason I stick to the same route. If I ever got tired, I was not far away from home. 2 miles from home feeling I could not run any further did not seem fun to me. I realised that this was psychological and I had to overcome it.
One of the things that helps me with my running is my music. I always start with a walk to George Micheal’s version of Feeling Good. Then I go onto my running play list which has a mixture of songs that I love. I was really needing something to keep me running when Tony Christie’s Is this the Way to Amarillo came on. Just the inspiration I needed. One of my Mum’s favourites so I felt she was spurring me on. On the home straight, I was further inspired by Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger, Aston Merryfield’s Get Stupid and the one that kept me going to the end was Keep on Running by The Spencer Davis Group.
I was overjoyed at managing to actually clock up 6.5 miles and overcome some fears along the way. Not forgetting the most important – another challenge ticked off.
I have set myself further goals now – I will change my route once a week. Now just trying to find the courage to sign up for the Great South Run. Actually running it will mean another tick. Both my Husband, Chris and Daughter, Kathryn have run it. They are both competitive – I would be happy to do it in 2 hours.
I wouldn’t run now if I hadn’t starting running with the couch25k so would highly recommend it to anyone starting. If I had started trying to run without this programme, I would have given up.
Well I finished my reading challenge for June on 30 June and have been trying to write a review. That has been challenging in itself. Once happy with it, I will share.
I love the excitement of choosing the next book to read. I had bought the follow up to Me Before You written by Jojo Moyes, After You, but did not want to read that before I had seen the film so I chose to read a book I had bought when it was on special last year, Summer of ’76 by Isabel Ashdown.
This appealed to me for so many reasons
Everyone talks about the hot summer of 76 (well us who have experienced it). I was only 10 at the time but I do remember not being sent home from school whilst the students from the local senior school where only too happy to taunt us because it had been too hot for them and they were allowed home early.
It is based in the Isle of Wight – just across the water from me – and a place I would have spent some of my summer holidays.
The main character, Luke, is due to go to Brighton Polytechnic after the summer holidays. Again, Brighton was another childhood favourite of mine and somewhere I have really enjoyed going with my children and where I was going on an adventure with my friend Karen.
I have been reading the book for a week and just like my holidays in the Isle of Wight, the book is following a slow pace. Each chapter starts with the temperature in Fahrenheit. I wasn’t impressed with the May temperatures at all but now I am in June and it is 91° and I want that now! There is also a secret that is waiting to be told which is likely to increase temperatures again.
I am enjoying reading about the food and music from the era. Luke’s mum is trying to make her own wine which brings back memories of my dad brewing his own beer. Luke is also working on a holiday camp which is somewhere I would have stayed at during my visits to Isle of Wight.
Once finished, I can finally start After You because I finally went to see Me Before You last night. Me Before You was the first book I read by Jojo Moyes.
To say I enjoyed it seems so wrong as the subject isn’t something you would talk about openly. Whilst tissues are needed for the book, there is certainly a great deal of real life and humour. Lou, one of the main characters, is just so fun and loving. I knew I would not be disappointed with the film because when I saw interviews with the lovely Emilia Clarke, I was so impressed with how she was the perfect Lou that I had read about. I loved so much about Lou but especially her shoe collection. Wouldn’t it be great to have those lovely shoes and to have the nerve to wear them – mind you, I do wear bright pink skechers. I also remember my daughter wearing woolly tights and wellington boots on a summer’s day so hearing Lou describe her favourite things with her stripey tights at top of her list did put a smile on my face.
Sometimes when I watch a film after reading a book, I can be disappointed. This film was everything I imagined and the cast were fantastic. It is an extremely sad story and there will be always be strong opinions around the subject. I could never express an opinion on the subject but I do think the story allowed me to see sides to everybody involved in the decision making. I am looking forward to reading After You even more now.
I do love my kindle but challenge number 6 is to read my daughter’s 10 favourite books in paperback. I have been given the collection and will also be choosing something from that very soon.
As mentioned in my about page, one of my favourite things is my Kindle. That is no secret but here are my reasons for loving it:
It fits into my bag and can easily be brought out to read if I am hanging around waiting.
Nobody knows what I am reading.
It doesn’t take up much room when I am travelling so not adding to luggage allowance when I am flying.
It is so easy to download books.
I said it was easy to download – nobody but me knows how many books I have. Let’s say that if I get stranded somewhere, it will be many years before I run out of reading material!
There are a few things I miss about having a physical book. Opening the first page of a book is such an enjoyable experience. Going into a bookshop and buying a book (yes I sometimes feel guilty about contributing to the closure of small bookshops. You’ve Got Mail is one of my favourite films). I do sometimes wander in to look at the books. One of the things I miss most is not having books as presents. I do get vouchers to buy but sometimes someone buying you an unexpected book is just an enjoyable experience.
That said, my daughter is a very keen reader, (at 20 years old, she only reads proper books. She has to carry her books in her own hand luggage!) and she often gives me the money with strict instructions on what book I have to buy with it.
Challenge 5 is to read a book every month of a genre you don’t/ don’t often read with June’s book chosen by her and August by her brother.
Challenge 6 is to read her 10 favourite books in paperback.
The June book chosen by her is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and is a book for teenagers. I started reading it a week ago and was given a quick brief about the book by my daughter. The main character of the book is Cath who is an identical twin, horribly shy and writes fan fiction. Not really understanding fan fiction, I did have to put it into the search engine. From what I understand it is where fans of books write there own stories of characters or scenes. I think that if it had been around when I was a young girl, I would have enjoyed writing stories about the characters of Mallory Towers although it would not have taken the same route as Cath’s characters.
In Kindle terms, I am 62% through the book and I would have liked nothing more than to finish the book today but unfortunately I have other things I have to do (guiltily watching ELO at the moment). I will certainly finish it by the end of the month though. I am enjoying the book and I do like most of the characters. There are a few characters that I haven’t got to like or meet yet. Maybe my opinion will change. I will hopefully review it later.
Challenge no 50, and should hopefully be the last of the challenges ticked off, is on the 6th June on your blog, write about how you found being 50. I thought that to begin with I should try to sum up how I felt about turning 50.
When I was 30, I had a three year old and a young baby so it never felt old. At 40, I didn’t feel a lot different. When I thought of being 50, I felt I was getting old. I didn’t feel it; I was fit, healthy and positive. In fact, I still felt like I was 25 but the number itself seemed frightening.
One thing I was certain about was that I didn’t want any big or surprise party to celebrate my birthday. In the end, I opted for a holiday in the sun with my Son and Daughter. We flew to Lanzarote two days before my birthday so birthday celebrations actually started a few days before that. My last day of 49 reading by the pool was perfect.
The big day came and apart from having my daughter singing Happy Birthday to me at 3.30 am, it didn’t feel any different. After opening so many presents from my wonderful children, and with my 50 badge proudly on, we set off to take the boat across the water to visit Fuerteventura. The weather was glorious. We enjoyed shopping in Correlejo, walking bare feet on the sand dunes then jumping through the waves at the beach. The journey back on the boat was very memorable watching the crew run around with sick bags as the ride was very bumpy. This is not something they tell you about when booking the excursion!
We were not affected by the boat ride and walked back to our hotel stopping for one of the many delicious ice-cream we enjoyed on holiday.
The good news is 50 is only a number and I still feel good. I am still able to put on my trainers and enjoyed running along the beach on holiday, I even took on a few of my challenges:
1 Learn how to skip – I managed 5 – will try to improve!
47 Buy and use a nail varnish colour you wouldn’t normally – note the lovely ring!
I am having the longest birthday and enjoying it too. It will come to the end in a just over a week’s time when I will be enjoying celebrating with my friend who will be 50 in August. Looking forward to sharing that adventure with you.