27 March 2017

Mother's Day, Teeth and Gifts

I had a good mother's day with some lovely presents - smellies and a lovely pretty keyring from my daughter, and a gorgeous soft teddy bear with "Best Gran Ever" bracelet round his arm from my darling grandson.
My daughter took me to lunch a couple of days beforehand because she had forgotten to book anywhere, so last Thursday we went to one of my favourite lunch venues. My grandson had had a pupil assessment meeting that morning, he had glowing reports from his teachers so it was a combined early Mother's day and "Well Done Mr Teen" lunch.  

Most of yesterday was spent sitting in the garden with family enjoying lovely warm weather. I can't sit for long though before thinking, "that needs pruning", or "that bit needs tidying" so up I get up and reach for the secateurs. I'm my own worst enemy!

I've been eating way too many hot cross buns, I love them.

On the same day as our lunch I had a check up at the dentist while my daughter was at school with my grandson. My dentist was pleased but made, in her words, "one minor observation" two molar teeth, one at each side of my mouth, or to be more precise, the gums around the molar teeth, are slightly inflamed, due to me not cleaning thoroughly up to the gum area. Both are crowned and I'm not getting into the tiny gap between the crown and gum. So following instructions I have been more diligent, actually ruthless to the extent whereby they are hurting ever so slightly, but my dentist did say not to worry if they bleed a bit, it will take a few days for the inflammation to subside, mmm sounds like a line from a comedy film!

A parcel of goodies is on its way to my daughter and her partner in Australia. Some Easter eggs, Lindt bunnies, a huge bar of Cadbury's milk chocolate, star mix, soft drumsticks and some marshmallows. I think they are all available over there now but are quite expensive, so I send a few each year, I enjoy sending them, and my daughter loves receiving them.

Today's weather is warm and sunny so I am going to sit in the garden. I wonder how long I can last before spotting something that needs tidying or pruning! :-)

15 March 2017

A Good Read

The Devil’s Acre by Matthew Plampin
1853, Colonel Samuel Colt expands his gun-making business into England. He acquires a riverside warehouse and sets about converting it into a pistol works capable of mass producing his patented revolvers on an unprecedented scale - aware that the prospect of war with Russia means huge profits. 
Young, ambitious Edward Lowry is hired by Colt to act as his London secretary. Although initially impressed by the Colonel's dynamic approach to his trade, Edward comes to suspect that the American's intentions are not all they appear. Edward becomes romantically involved with Caroline Knox, a headstrong woman from the machine floor - who he discovers is caught up in a plot to steal revolvers from the factory's stores. 
Among the workforce Colt has gathered from the mass of London's poor are a gang of desperate Irish immigrants, embittered refugees from the potato famine, who intend to use these stolen six-shooters for a political assassination in the name of revenge. As pistols start to go missing, divided loyalties and hidden agendas make the gun-maker's factory the setting for a tense story of intrigue, betrayal and murder. 
Good story and characters. Excellent descriptions of Victorian London from the notorious “no go” slums to elegant affluence.

10 March 2017

Creams And Genes

When I first started this blog my intention was to talk about all things related to becoming a pensioner, a senior citizen, but then, as often happens, my mind started darting about all over the place and I blogged about all sorts of things that just popped into it! 
During a conversation recently with a group of mixed aged women - my daughter and her friends, and myself and my friend D who is a couple of years older than me, the subject of concessions for senior citizens came up, free bus travel, cheap cinema tickets etc., and one of the younger women, looking at my friend and I, jokingly said “See there are some compensations for being old” I laughed because I’m used to this kind of friendly banter, but for a nano second I was taken aback, because in my mind I don’t think of myself as old, and I certainly don’t feel old, most of the time I feel 30!! Except when I've walked the dogs, done a bit of housework and some shopping!
Later I started to reflect on the demise of youth, the passing of time, the wrinkles, the cellulite, the loose flesh under the arms that keeps moving long after I have waved goodbye, diminishing energy levels, looking in the mirror and seeing my mother, and worse of all being invisible! It's like I went to bed aged 30 and woke up the next day clutching a bus pass wondering how the heck did that happen. It would be very easy to become depressed about the whole ageing process but life is too short to dwell on something that I have no control over, so instead I try to make the most of what I have. 
I have always looked after my skin by using moisturisers. Over the years I have used a wide variety of creams - night creams, day creams, time delay creams, anti-ageing creams, eye creams. 

They all claim to do more or less the same thing - nourish, replenish, rehydrate, strengthen and firm, reduce the appearance of wrinkles. I don’t use expensive ones and usually stock up when they are on special offer. I like Boots time delay range, I like the smell.

When I was younger I cleansed and toned my face religiously every night but
now I use this face wash in the shower and face wipes at night. 

I also like the ANEW range by Avon, it has a nice smell too.

I'm pretty sure my complexion has benefited from the use of moisturisers over the years. But how would you know for sure if the anti-ageing and firming creams live up to their claims? could be your skin would age well anyway. The only 100% effective way of knowing would be to treat only half of your face, and who wants to do that!! 
One thing I am immensely grateful to my mother for is inheriting her genes, she was 94 when she died and her skin was still beautifully soft.
I know a lady who is 67, she has used expensive creams all her life but her face is quite wrinkled. A good friend of mine is 71 and has always used expensive creams, her complexion is beautiful, hardly a wrinkle in sight. 
My youngest daughter has only ever used good old Nivea cream and her skin is beautiful, as is my eldest daughter's. 
Moisturising helps, but I do believe that it's mostly down to genes.
What do you think, what is your regime, do you use moisturisers, do you use expensive ones?

6 March 2017

A Good Read

The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman by Louis de Bernieres
Set in an imaginary Latin American country the novel's political themes parody the worst excesses of the Pinochet government of Chile, the collapse of democratic social order in Uruguay in the 1970's and other dirty wars of the 1960's to 1980's in Southern and Central America.

In the village of Cochadebajo macho philosophers, defrocked priests and reformed (though still active) prostitutes live in cheerful anarchy. But this unruly utopia is about to be interrupted when the demon-harried Cardinal Guzman decides to inaugurate a new Inquisition, with Cochadebajo as its ultimate target.  
Cardinal Guzman lives extravagantly and immorally, due to the discovery of his having fathered a son, and his loathing of the poor shanty-dwellers who live below his palace. He has an army of fanatics who are all too willing to destroy bodies in order to save souls. His clergy and the corrupt military set out to destroy the heresy of the countryside, and in doing so the hypocrisy of his faith and his promiscuousness is revealed, as is the hypocrisy of religion in general and the Catholics in particular.

I tried a few times to read this but couldn't get into it. I'm glad I persevered though because I did enjoy it. It's quirky, full of very funny characters (had to make notes of who they all were!), and a brilliant plot. It was rather gruesome at times (think the Crusades). 

3 March 2017

A Nice Day Out

I love being a grandmother and love my grandson with all my heart so when my daughter and her husband want to have a weekend away I gladly take over responsibility for him. I know my daughter appreciates it and always says thank you but I don't expect it. So imagine my surprise and delight when she took me out for a spa day yesterday to say thank you for a few extras I have done over the last few weeks. 
Our day started with a divine back and shoulder massage (just what I needed to remove some knots in my shoulders) followed by a facial. I just love the smell of the products they use. We then headed to the swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. I did a few lengths in the pool and then relaxed in the jacuzzi and sauna. We finished the day with a glorious cream tea - cheese and caramalised onion sandwiches, ham and tomato sandwiches, the most delicious mini macarons, mini eclairs, a huge slice of red velvet cake and gorgeous scones with jam and Rodda's clotted cream. All washed down with the the best pot of tea I have had in a long time. I had a lovely time, my daughter is a darling. 

1 March 2017

Budding and Shooting

shoots shooting
buds budding
catkins dangling
birds singing their little hearts out
 and I've heard a few woodpeckers pecking 
Spring can't be far away

In a few weeks time the floor of this wood will be a carpet of sweet scented bluebells.

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