Tuesday 30 November 2021

Day 622

Day 622...

So we have a Tuesday and another Tuesday where I worked a full day rather than my usual half a day and a day when, yet again, restrictions are being reinstated!

Well work was pretty standard. There was lots of admin and banking for me to catch up on as there is a lot happening at the moment. We are approaching the beginning of  the month when pre-school fees are due. We have a Christmas party at the end of term but parents need to help towards the cost and payments are due by Friday. We also have a Christmas concert in a couple of weeks and have just started issuing tickets, for which we also charge a small fee. And then we have the Christmas Raffle which is drawn in just over a weeks time so I am busy not only coordinating the sale of tickets (all done virtually) but also promoting it on social media and via newsletter to parents.

Once home my attention turned to my new Christmas lights that I'd bought yesterday. As the snow had cleared overnight I could now get them all set up in my courtyard garden. We have a low wall that surrounds our garden space and these lights sit beautifully in the walls and are, I feel, a rather classy affair.

They are battery operated and have an in built timer so once switched on they will stay on for 6 hours and then switch off for 18 hours and so on; perfect!

At the end of the day Simon and I headed down our gym for a weights workout and today I remembered to wear some gloves! As the weights are metal they are extremely cold to the touch and I was finding that as my hands got colder it was triggering 'Raynaud syndrome' in my finger ends. So I dug out my gloves from when I used to go running (well more a bouncy walk than running) and they worked brilliantly.

Back inside and as I was cooking dinner I remembered to power up Spotify to find the latest track to be released by White Lies - I Don't Want to go to Mars. Suffice to say it has been on repeat since it's launch at 7pm...a fantastic track and one that we were lucky enough to hear live a few weeks back when we saw them at Bournemouth.

And that is where I will end it for today...I feel the need for a rant about the current 'restrictions' but as it is late I am going to leave it for when I have more time as now my priority is to stop, chill, perhaps a little jigsaw time, a cuppa and some very dark chocolate.

See you tomorrow.

Monday 29 November 2021

Day 621

Day 621...

And we have a Monday and as usual it was a non-work day for Simon and I. Ethan was back at work after a week off, although as he is still working from home it made little difference.

The day started off very relaxed and that set the tone for pretty much the rest of the day. We sat with a coffee or two and enjoyed watching a You Tube presentation all about the 'fast pass' system employed over the years at Walt Disney World and other Disney parks. Absolutely fascinating and very enlightening on how these systems are developed and implemented; totally appealed to the geek in me.

We also had a phone call from our 'ground-works' crew apologising about not being able to get to us yesterday! Obviously the change in weather had impacted what they were able to do and we appreciated that circumstances were out of their control. But they have said they will get to us this week as soon as the weather allows! Fingers crossed we can get everything sorted this week so that maybe, perhaps, with fingers and toes crossed we can finally take delivery of our new electric car next week!

We then took a short drive out through our, still snowy, village to our local Lidl...

...where we picked up a few bits and bobs along with some more Christmas decorations! Well, they were just too good a deal to pass up; some outdoor, battery operated snowflake shaped stake lights. So I bought three sets to go in our courtyard garden. And bonus when I got home and went to test them I found that they came supplied with batteries!! I've not been able to put them out today as the snow has lingered about for most of the day but with milder weather for overnight forecast I should be able to get them in place tomorrow afternoon.
New lights!!!
After a spot of lunch I decided to have a quick tidy around our 'cupboard under the stairs'. We have a large cupboard space in the kitchen that is great for housing cleaning stuff and more but always seems to be overcrowded and awkward to get to things. A few weeks ago I'd bought some new storage boxes from Ikea specifically for re-organsing this cupboard but hadn't had the time. Well in about half an hour this afternoon I'd cleared out what we no longer needed, swapped over storage boxes and created extra space; so much so that I can now walk into this cupboard which I could never do before. Mission accomplished.

Th rest of the day was spent in a very chilled and relaxed manner; Simon was happily creating more digital art and I was happy to potter with my Christmas jigsaw.

Back to work tomorrow!

Sunday 28 November 2021

Day 620

Day 620...

Another Sunday and a bit of an earlier start than usual. This was for two reasons; one we were due to have the ground-works completed today ahead of the electrics being installed for our electric car charging point and two we had more Christmas decorating to do!

As Molly and Dan were heading back down South today just after lunch we wanted to use the morning to complete all the remaining bits of Christmas decorating. Yesterday evening we had managed to complete the decorating of our Disney Christmas tree along with putting out a lot of various ornaments that I have collected over the years.

Disney themed Christmas tree

This Mickey Mouse Christmas stocking is probably one of my very first Disney Christmas purchases and has been well used over the years. Ethan adopted it when he was little but now it is simply hung as a decoration...guessing it is around 25 years old at least!
Just a few of my Disney ornaments...love this Christmas Carol playset - too cute!

Even R2D2 is getting all festive!
We then had two further trees to decorate this morning...

Black and silver themed tree that lives in my hall

We call this our quirky Santa tree that sits in our dining area

More ornaments to compliment the quirky Santa tree
...this tree in my dining area started out many years ago with a few 'quirky' Santa's by the designer Gisela Graham. I just fell in love with the unusal style and have, over the years, bought ornaments to match.

It was then time to see Molly and Dan off on their way home; the next time we will see them now will be Christmas!

By now it was early afternoon and we had not seen any sign of our ground-works team appearing and Simon and I had commented that if they didn't turn up soon they would run out of daylight. At that same time I commented that it had gone very grey...about twenty minutes later we had snow...a pretty decent amount of snow!

And suffice to say, of course, no ground-works team ever appeared - first job of tomorrow will be to chase them and find out what's happening and when!

We then had a very relaxed afternoon with Simon doing some digital drawing and me making a start on my first Christmas jigsaw this year.
One edge piece missing - argh!

And to round out this Sunday evening it was keto pizza time...

...while looking out into our very festive garden!

See you tomorrow.

Saturday 27 November 2021

Day 619

Day 619...

Well it is rather late in the day and I've still got stuff to do so this may be a quick post.

The morning started with breakfast and snow...yes we had snow this morning and for a while it came down quite heavy leaving everywhere looking very festive. 

As Molly and Dan had arrived home yesterday Simon had decided to cook up a treat and he'd made a batch of waffle mix so that this morning we could have Mickey waffles for breakfast.

Mickey waffle maker

Mickey waffles!!!
The first job of the day was to help Molly and Dan load up Dan's car with some of Molly's stuff that we hadn't been able to take with us when she moved out a few weeks ago. Thankfully the snow had stopped but everywhere was very slushy and very cold.

We then decided to carry on working outside as we were already cold and put up our Christmas lights. I have had to come up with a slightly different way of doing things this year as our new windows will not let me feed cables through as I've done before so I am having to use just the two outdoor sockets that we have. But I've been able to get the majority of lights plugged in and so my back garden is looking pretty festive.

Although I did have a slight mishap when I accidentally cut through a cable (thankfully not plugged in)...oops! This meant I was one set of lights short so I then had the brainwave to re-purpose the lights that are normally hung along the front of the house. I'm not able to put any along the front of the house this year as we don't have any outdoor sockets that side of the house.

The finished results;

Then this afternoon we dropped Molly off at her old kickboxing academy as she was helping out with their black belt grading as we then collected our grocery shopping before heading home to carry on with more Christmas decorating.

Back home and we had a few bits to finish off outside before me and Dan spent a couple of hours assembling my three trees; one in the dining area, one in the hall and my main one in the living room. We have all the decorations out and now have the task of deciding where they should go and decorating the trees...think this maybe a job for tomorrow!

And with a much deserved Indian take-away that was our Saturday.

See you tomorrow.

Friday 26 November 2021

Day 618

Day 618...

It's Friday and the start of what, on paper, should be a busy weekend!

But it was my usual Friday in work and it was filled with admin, banking, emails and an online meeting thrown in just for good measure; a day with lots achieved.

Arriving home, and with a coffee poured, it was back onto the laptop as I needed to complete an email to my deputy manager as part of our handover, as well as complete a couple of newsletters to send out. With the work stuff completed I was then able to finish off my online grocery shopping as we are picking it up tomorrow afternoon, a day earlier than normal.

Then it was back to more pre-school work as there were a ton of updates that needed applying to the online learning journal system that we use and that took way longer than I thought it was going to. But I have managed to get everything work related that I wanted to get done, done this evening.

Last weekend we brought down all of our Christmas decorations out of the loft and today it was time to move them out of Molly's old room and downstairs ready for the aforementioned busy weekend ahead.

Molly and Dan are home for the weekend (still travelling as I type this) and there are two reasons for them coming home this weekend. One is that Molly is helping out at her old kickboxing academy with their black belt grading and although she isn't grading it has always been the responsibility of non-grading black belts to assist at gradings. Molly had helped out at the first part of the grading a few weeks ago and had said she was happy to come back and help out again at the second and final part of the grading.

The other reason...and if we're being honest the most important reason...is that this is the weekend that is on the calendar to put up our Christmas decorations...

See it is literally on my calendar (as it is every year!)

...and despite no longer living at home I am not allowed to decorate without Molly! Over the years it has become the ladies of the family that have taken the lead with the Christmas decorating and for now it is staying as one of our traditions...a girl thing if you will...that we want to continue with.

So to get everything done this weekend, in the hours that are available, it is going to have to be a bit of a military style operation I think. We have coordinated collecting our grocery shopping with when Molly is at the black belt grading already so that we have as much time as we can to devote to the Christmas decorating. After all we have outdoor lights to put up plus we have three Christmas trees as well as numerous ornaments and other decorations around the house, so getting our house decorated is never a quick job!

Hopefully tomorrow I will have pictures to share of what we have been able to achieve - wish me luck!

See you tomorrow.

Thursday 25 November 2021

Day 617

Day 617...

And we have a Thursday and another full day in work for me...in fact my second of three full days this week which is not my usual working pattern.

It was a straight forward sort of work day with the usual admin bits and bobs; updating the banking, responding to emails and drafting a couple of newsletters.

It's a busy old time at pre-school as we are about to start with all things Christmas. We have a concert to rehearse, festive baking activities planned and a Christmas party to round out the term and never mind our Christmas fundraising activities too! So part of my day was getting newsletters prepped to remind our parents of all the things that are happening and when.

We are also having a bit of a tidy and re-organisation at pre-school so part of my day was going through a few cupboards to get them better organised and more user friendly. We still have more work to do but we have started and are aiming to get a little more done each day.

I stopped by the post office on my way home to send off my Christmas gift exchange parcel that I am involved with as part of the Disney Dream Girls podcast family group. And as luck would have it the person I've been paired with in the US messaged me overnight to say that she too had posted her parcel to me! Let's see how long these parcels take to travel between the US and the UK...I wonder who will get theirs first?!

At home and with a freshly poured coffee I sat down at the laptop and carried on with a little more work. I had an email to write that I'd just not had chance to do earlier but wanted it to get sent today. And as it is payday tomorrow I'd got all the payslips to organise for the team. 

And on a personal front I managed to rearrange our dentist appointments as we'd had a reminder for our upcoming visit next week but we decided that we could afford to move it till after Christmas. 

But we also have a little positive news as the company who we approached about doing some electrical work for us to enable us to have a charging point for our new electric car have given us a date....Sunday!! So this Sunday will be very busy as they are coming to dig up part of our car parking area, lay some ducting and re-tarmac ready for the electrics to be installed at some point next week. Finally it looks like we will be in a position to actually take delivery of our new car...it could be an early Christmas present!

Our day was rounded out with a very chilly trip to our gym and I did remark to Simon that I may need some gloves as the weights are very cold and as I suffer a little with Raynauds I could see a couple of my fingers begin to turn white!

Well that was my day and while I've been typing Simon has been cooking up a little secret project...that may get revealed tomorrow!!

See you all then.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Day 616

Day 616...

The middle of the week has rolled around once more and today we were back to my usual half a day in work and half a day at home.

My work morning was pretty standard, a chance for me and my deputy to catch up, the usual banking and admin bits and pieces along with emails to write and respond to. We are busy organising our Christmas raffle and have just received a prize of tickets to a local pantomime, which is fantastic but then we realised the tickets were dated before we were due to hold the raffle! A quick change of plans and an email sent out to let everyone know that the raffle is being brought forward a week, which resulted in a flurry of people wanting to buy tickets!

On the way home I stopped off at my local Lidl for a few essentials for home as well as some wrapping paper for pre-school. We have a Christmas party at the end of term and we always give the children a present...well we have the presents and now need the wrapping so that we can get everything prepped way ahead of time.

And talking of wrapping that was the first thing I did when I got home. The Disney Dream Girls podcast has a special group page on Facebook called our 'Family' page and last year we did a Christmas gift exchange and this year we have decided to do it again. I have drawn a lovely lady in the US and we have chatted over messenger to figure out our likes and dislikes so that we can send each other a little Christmas surprise. Nothing too expensive as the postage overseas can sometimes cost more than the gift! But this is all about making connections and spreading a little Disney love. I have bought a few bits and pieces over the last week or so and had a collection of some Disney items along with some quintessential English treats. I wrapped every piece up individually, lined a box with some old Disney store packaging, threw in a few Mickey sprinkles and then wrapped the whole box before sealing it in brown paper. It is now already to go, I've even bought and printed out the postage so just need to get to a post office in the next day or so to send it on its way.

I then had a couple of work emails to deal with along with a rather lengthy one to send out. I'd also got a payment to make which involved three phone calls; getting cut off once, being told I needed to speak to a different department but that I would have to hang up and ring again and then finally getting through. Twenty minutes later the payment was made!

It was then time to do a little prep work ahead of recording this week's podcast with my friend Michelle. We actually managed to get two shows recorded; one for this coming Sunday and another special show for our Patreon supporters.

And now I need to stop typing, make a cup of tea, grab some chocolate and settle down to watch the start of the newest Marvel series, Hawkeye!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Day 615

Day 615...

Today was Tuesday and it was back to work today and it was a full day in work rather than just my usual morning as I was working extra to cover a colleague's absence.

So it was a day of admin, emails, banking and even some time working directly with the children. Suffice to say it was a productive day in work.

But once back home I picked up a couple of work emails which meant that I spent the next hour or so doing yet more pre-school work! But I also had some time to get a little online retail shopping done as I made a start on some Christmas present shopping.

Before I knew it Simon had finished work for the day and so it was time to head down 'our gym'...probably one of the coldest days so far. But with the garage door closed and a small fan heater going it actually wasn't too bad.

And that was this Tuesday but this time 36 years ago it was a Saturday and was the start of Simon and mine's partnership as this was the day we met in a local nightclub. A night out that was completely unplanned; I'd had an invite to go out but I was in two minds and my dad made the decision for me telling me to 'go out'. It then turned out that the person I was out with that night knew Simon and that was how we met. We danced the night away and that was the start of what we have today; my best friend, my soul mate and we get stronger together as time goes by.

With that I shall sign off and see you all tomorrow.

Monday 22 November 2021

Day 614

Day 614...

Another Monday and another day when lots of things got done.

But as Ethan is on holiday from work this week and both Simon and I don't work Mondays we actually had a very slow and steady start to the day for a change.

After breakfast my focus was on tidying around the dining area of our kitchen as I needed to create space for one of my Christmas trees that will be going up this coming weekend. At the moment I have a very large wicker basket living in the space where the Christmas tree goes and so this needed to find a new home. Inside the basket is our collection of photo albums that I am very slowly going through and creating digital copies of. So the basket was emptied, cleaned and relocated upstairs to Molly's old room and all the albums were dusted and also moved upstairs. I also had a lot of loose photos that needed a new home so I took the chance to go through them and throw out a lot of packaging and old frames that were no longer needed. This in turn meant that I could store them all in a large Disney store bag which means that they are neat and tidy and were easy to move upstairs as well. With the basket and photos out of the way I could then have a good clean around.

That 'quick' job took a little longer than I'd anticipated so as the middle of the day rolled around we decided to nip out for a walk in the beautiful, but chilly, November sunshine. A walk that took us 3.2 miles in 59 minutes.

After a spot of lunch it was time for Simon to head off for his opticians appointment; just a check-up which proved to be successful with no change to his prescription. While Ethan and I ventured outside into the chilly afternoon in the search of Christmas lights...otherwise known as entering the shed!

Last year we had stored all our Christmas decorations away in our garden shed rather than in the loft space in our garage which meant getting to them this year was a lot easier. But we did have to empty a lot of the contents of the shed in order to get to everything! The aim of this afternoon was to see exactly what outdoor decorations we had, check to see if they still worked, bring inside the Christmas trees ready for next weekend and then work out which lights we could use and how.

Now in previous years all of my various Christmas lights have had cables fed through windows and doors to be plugged into sockets indoors but because we now have new windows and doors that are sealed units this is no longer possible. So I needed a plan to get as many lights working as I possibly could. 

We have two outdoor electric sockets which means that I can plug in two extension leads, these leads will then sit inside weather proof boxes to which all the lights will then plug into. This is a system that I've used in the past for just the three blow mould decorations that I have which have relatively short power leads and need to be run off an extension. But this year I will need to run two extension leads, each with four sockets, so that I can power the majority of my lights. 

This meant I needed to order an additional weather proof box and an extra extension lead, but first I needed to figure out what size box I would need. This meant measuring all the various plugs as they are all peculiar shapes and sizes to ensure that the box I ordered would be big enough for some of the more unusual shaped plugs! I also had a couple of 'taller' plugs which I had resigned to being too big for any box I could find until Simon reminded me that the extension lead and plug could lay on their side and therefore fit the box - doh!

But I will still have to scale back a little this year as I only have outdoor sockets in the patio area, which is where the majority of the lights will be, but I won't be able to have any along the front of the house as there are no outdoor sockets there. Although I do have a call to put into my electrician so who knows!! I have also thrown away one set of string lights as the transformer was cracked and unfortunately the function control switch was so close to the start of the lighting that it wouldn't have reached the weatherproof box and wouldn't have been safe. This does of course mean that once I have extra outdoor sockets installed (maybe this year but definitely by next Christmas) I will be able to treat myself to some new lights!

Back inside for a well deserved coffee and the next job was the ironing! Whoop!

But by the end of the day I had achieved all that I had wanted to; another productive day. Although writing this blog this evening was interrupted with a little candle emergency...well the candle wasn't so little...and emergency might be over stating it...although the description by the boys in the house was 'the candle has exploded'!!!

Maybe not quite an explosion but a crack had somehow appeared and had caused all the liquefied wax to ooze out...not only onto it's stand but onto the unit it was stood on and then onto the floor. In fact it had splattered onto the floor! The large sections that had begun to solidify were easy enough to pick up but it was the sections that had harden a bit more that were a little trickier to budge. But with a little elbow grease, a pallet knife and some isopropyl alcohol it was all cleaned up and thrown away! Such a shame as it was a cranberry scented one and made everywhere smell very Christmassy!

And with that excitement out of the way I need a cup of tea!

See you tomorrow.

Sunday 21 November 2021

Day 613

Day 613...

The day started off like most Sundays do with a trip to Asda to collect our weekly grocery shop. Slightly infuriating as their app wasn't working properly so I couldn't 'tell them I was on my way' but when we got to the store the colleague on duty recognised us and we seemed to get our shopping before anyone else...obviously pays to be a regular!

After we'd returned home and put all the shopping away we decided to have an afternoon out in Nottingham and popped online to buy ourselves some cinema tickets.

Arriving in the city we were greeted by their annual Christmas market; so nice to see it back as last years had to be cancelled at the eleventh hour, although they haven't got the ice rink as in previous years.

Everywhere looking very festive and busy
We had the obligatory look around Primark and was able to pick up a Christmas present as well as a pair of Disney slip-on sneakers for me. In fact they are the same as the pair I currently have which I use for around the house, so wanted a back-up pair for when they fall apart!

We then went in search of coffee, finding our usual Caffe Nero to pop into, and remarked how much busier it was today than past weekends. On our way back to the car we decided to visit Forbidden Planet, not somewhere we visit that often and was an impromptu decision to do so with the aim being to have a look for possible Christmas presents.

And then I saw the section of Loungefly bags, the large amount of Disney Loungefly bags and then I saw just the cutest one and fell in love with it straight away. I picked it up and then put it back as I just couldn't justify what I deemed to be a frivolous purchase but Simon had other ideas. He insisted that I bought it...I said okay but only as an early birthday present...

How cute?!
We then headed just slightly out of the city centre to a small cinema that has been in existence since 1935. It is a great venue and with prices that are not as steep as the major chains and it was our first time in a cinema in forever. Although to be fair we were never regular cinema goers and only ventured out when something really compelled us...like a Star Wars or a Marvel or maybe a Pixar movie. 

But today it was Ghostbusters Afterlife; we'd seen a few reviews online that were really positive and remarked how much the fans were liking the movie so we decided to give it a go. Both of us are eager to make the most of opportunities to do 'normal' things like this before we are faced, yet again, with more draconian and intrusive measures especially as we hear about more lockdowns across europe along with the horror of vaccine passports and even worse mandated vaccines. But for today we were able to enjoy a little escapism.

And this was a good film, in fact we both absolutely loved it. It respected the original movie and honoured the ethos of films made around the mid 1980's. It was a great ride, it had all the effects you needed, a fabulous cast, it had laughs and it also made us both cry. I would recommend anyone to go see this movie, take some tissues with you and then stay till the very end...the very end of the credits...don't be fooled by the 'post-credit scene' stay a little longer!

And there we have a very enjoyable Sunday. See you tomorrow.

Saturday 20 November 2021

Day 612

Day 612...

Another Saturday and another busy day.

We started out with a local contractor paying us a visit to assess the situation regarding our need for a separate electrical supply being laid from the house to the garage. They seemed confident that it would be a straight forward job but the tricky part will be scheduling his part with the installation of the charging point. So at the moment we have just one contractor who can do all parts of the installation for us in one go...and so while it's going to cost us more than we were hoping it's looking like the best, and possibly only, option.

Next job was to touch up a little paintwork around the house; not a major job just a chance to paint over a few patches where we'd accidentally used a matt paint rather than a silk version. And then we started on a big clean through the house.

As the plan is to start our Christmas decorating next weekend I wanted to go through and make sure everywhere was clean and tidy so that we can just get on with the important task of decorating!! One of the biggest jobs was to move a lot of my Disney ornaments and Department 56 houses, clean the surface they sit on, clean the ornaments, lay the snow blanket and then put everything back where it belonged.

Disney at Christmas

More Disney at Christmas

Department 56 - Dickens Village

Dickens Village

Dickens Village
All of the above items stay out all year round because they are just too nice to hide away but to make them more festive at this time of year the snow blanket appears.

The only room left to tidy is the dining room as I need to create space for a tree and at the moment the spot where the tree normally lives is a little cluttered! But that will have to wait for another day.

So with keto pizza made it is now time to find a movie to watch. See you tomorrow.