Friday 5: Reasons I’m Proud of Myself This Week

Now I know nobody likes a show-off, but I’ve had a FAB week this week, and I’m really rather pleased with myself.  If you don’t want to read my shameless gloating, feel free to stop right now – I shan’t be in the least offended.

1.   I’ve lost 5 lbs on the first week my healthy eating/exercise regime – am SO pleased to see a tangible result already.  Now to keep it going …

2.   I went to the first lesson of my beginners crochet course by myself.  I wasn’t looking forward to it much, but I had a really nice time, learnt to do some crocheting and met some really nice women, including one who I really hit it off with and I think might become a new friend.  What’s not to like?  Am looking forward to next week’s lesson already.

3.   Went swimming this morning.  I had arranged to go with two friends, but they both cancelled, and it would have been so easy to use that as an excuse not to go, but I forced myself out of the house, went to the Leisure Centre, swam 20 lengths, and felt really good about myself for actually doing so.

4.   Sticking to my no-alcohol September.  A long summer of holidays, socialising and generally having fun meant that I was drinking more than I wanted to be.  So I decided to have a dry September.  Tedious, yes.  Am I feeling healthier?  No, not particularly.  Is it good for me?  Without a doubt.  And I am sleeping better.  And it’s good self-discipline.

5.   Can’t think of a number 5.  Oh well, it will have to be a Friday Four.  That kind of works, doesn’t it?

Friday 5: Things I’m A Bit Sick Of

Time for a Friday 5 – feels like ages since I last did one.

1.   CATH KIDSTON.  It’s just all a bit …. TWEE.  And overpriced.  In my humble opinion.  I know there are many, many people out there in blogland who will disagree with me, but hey ho, it would be a boring world if we all liked the same things, wouldn’t it?

2.   KEEP CALM & CARRY ON.  Oh God, I am SO sick of this – it really is just everywhere.  My son informed me yesterday that there’s even a Keep Calm iPhone App, for goodness’ sake.  And most of the derivations aren’t even amusing.  Go away.

3.   BACK TO SCHOOL DISPLAYS in supermarkets.  They’ve been up since the beginning of July, and I don’t want to look at them any more.  Take them away.  And DON’T replace them with Christmas things, thank you.

4.   SCAFFOLDING in my driveway.  The neighbours had some work done on their chimney which necessitated putting up scaffolding in our already-very-narrow shared driveway.  Although the work was finished last week, the scaffolding is still up, and I can literally only JUST squeeze my car through, with about two inches on either side.  Which is rapidly becoming tedious.

5.   MY BROADBAND.  However, since starting this post, I have had a telephone call from Tesco, my broadband provider, informed me that AT LAST they have fixed my crappy speed.  And touch wood, it currently seems to be much improved.  Whether it stays that way or not, only time will tell.

What are you a bit sick of at the moment?

Friday 5: Favourite Kitchen Gadgets

I’m not a huge lover of all sorts of different gadgets in the kitchen, but there are several things that I couldn’t live without, and are used on a VERY regular basis.


1.  Garlic Twister

I saw one of these being demonstrated on a trip to the Good Food Show several years ago and thought it was so good, I had to buy one.  Unlike a lot of  impulse purchases, though, it’s been worth it’s weight in gold, and is so simple yet so effective.  And really easy to wash up as well – a quick rinse under the tap and it’s done.  Also works brilliantly for chillis and ginger.

2.   Ikea Clippy Things

I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t use one of these for closing some sort of packaging.  Whether it’s crisps, rice, pasta, frozen chips or bread, they come in all different sizes and are immensely useful.

3.   Moulinex Moulinette

Mini chopper with a BIG motor.  Great for making breadcrumbs out of the last stale bit of bread to put in the freezer, or chopping herbs, and about a million other things that I can’t think of at the moment.   Vereeee useful.

4.   Lemon Shaped Timer

This is probably the most useful present Ashley’s mother has ever given me.  Without my trusty timer there would be a lot of kitchen disasters in my house – please tell me I’m not the only person who puts something in the oven then completely forgets about it until a horrible burning smell pervades the house ….

5.   The Dishwasher

How did we manage before dishwashers?  Well, that’s a bit dramatic, of course I’d MANAGE without it, but I wouldn’t bloody want to!!


What are your kitchen essentials?

Friday 5 : Jobs I Really Wouldn’t Want

1. Teacher

I’m not a lover of children, particularly en masse, and particularly when they belong to other people.  Therefore, being surrounded by and responsible for 30 of the little buggers on a daily basis is my idea of hell.

2. Pilot

I am a terrible flyer, really REALLY don’t enjoy it at all.  So being a pilot wouldn’t be for me.


3.  Member of the Royal Family

Now don’t get me wrong, there are doubtless some perks here.  But seriously, all that tedious ‘duty’ (can you even IMAGINE how BORING all that smiling, nodding, shaking hands and looking interested in things you couldn’t care less about is?) must be awful.  Not to mention the fact that every single thing about you from your choice of shoes to your eyebrows is written about and criticised in lengthy and graphic detail by the media.  No thank you!


4.  Dog Walker

I don’t like dogs at the best of times, and just the thought of having to pick up dog’s poo in my hand  (notwithstanding a plastic bag barrier) in order to dispose of it in an appropriate waste receptacle makes me retch, frankly.


 5. Dustbinman

Yes, I should probably say Dustbinperson, but I’ve never yet seen a woman doing that particular job, so I’ll stick with ‘man’.   I think it’s an awful job, particularly now that they only empty the waste bin once a fortnight, and we’re not allowed to put the rubbish in sacks, it has to go directly into the wheelie bin – which in summer is effectively like an oven.  By the time emptying day comes around, the whole bin is crawling with maggots – disgusting.  Those poor men have to spend the whole day dealing with these health hazards – it’s a horrible way to have to earn a living, and I take my hat off to them.

Are there any jobs you’d really hate to do?  I’d love to know.

Friday 5: Things I’m Looking Forward To About The Summer Holidays

Every year, my sister-in-law Amanda writes on Facebook on the first day of the summer hols “One day down, 63 days to go” (or words to that effect).   It wasn’t so very long ago that I used to kind of dread the long 9-week school summer holidays, but over the last few years, I’ve started to really look forward to  the end of term in July, so this week I thought I’d list some of my reasons why.

1.         No alarm clock = no nagging!  There can’t be a mother in the land who doesn’t spend at least some portion of every schoolday morning saying, on repeat:

“Hurry Up!  Have you cleaned your teeth/put your homework in your schoolbag/brushed your hair/made your bed?  Eat up your breakfast, or we’re going to be late!”

Or is that just me?  No?  Thought not!

So, although I’m an early riser by nature, I always look forward to the more laid-back start to the day, and as Will gets older, he loves the lie-ins.


2.         No Very Little Work!

As I’m lucky enough to work in a school, I don’t work during the summer holidays.  And I always scale my eBay sales right back during the school holidays as well.


3.         Spending Time With Will

As he gets older, despite the odd pre-teen tantrum, Will is great company and we have loads of fun together.  We both love the cinema, the library and/or bookshops, going out for walks, cooking, and he even enjoys coming to car boot sales with me sometimes (though not so much the early starts!).


4.         Holidays

Over the last few years, we’ve evolved into a pattern of a fortnight in Greece at the start of the summer hols, and 10-days in Spain with my parents at the end.  Lucky us!  We’re doing this again this year, and as usual, I’m really looking forward to it.


5.         Back To School Again

Because there’s only so much leisure time a person can have before it becomes tedious!  Nine weeks is plenty, and despite having really enjoyed the hols, I do breathe a sigh of relief when September rolls around and it’s time to get back to work and back to my daily routines.

Friday 5: Telling It Like It Is – The Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Philip was in the headlines this week after making an inappropriate comment to a lady about her dress whilst on a visit to Bromley.  At the age of 90, the Duke can clearly still deliver a witty one-liner, and I like to think that one day what are currently referred to as his ‘gaffes’ will become better known as amusing quotations.  Some of his lines rival Oscar Wilde for sheer pith and wit.

So in honour of our esteemed Queen’s Consort in this Jubilee year, I’ve picked some of my favourites for this week’s Friday 5:

1.   In 1967, when asked whether he’d like to visit the Soviet Union, the Duke replied  ‘I would like to go to Russia very much — although the bastards murdered half my family.’

2.   At the height of the recession in 1981, he commented  ‘Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.’

3.   ‘People think there’s a rigid class system here, but Dukes have been known to marry chorus girls. Some have even married Americans.’ In 2000.

4.   To the Aircraft Research Association in 2002:  ‘If you travel as much as we do, you appreciate the improvements in aircraft design of less noise and more comfort, provided you don’t travel in something called economy class, which sounds ghastly.’

5.   Lamenting the rate of British tax in 1963, Prince Philip noted that  ‘All money nowadays seems to be produced with a natural homing instinct for the Treasury.’

And just because I can, and because it’s my very favourite of all, here’s one more, which says it all:  “You can take it from me, the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”  Love it!

Friday 5: Amazing Properties For Sale in Devon

I do love a bit of property porn, and when I ‘ve got five minutes to spare, you’ll often find me on the Rightmove app on the iPad, scanning the local property supplement or flicking through the property section of the Sunday Times.  Well, my husband is an estate agent (when he’s not being a hotelier!), so it runs in the family, I guess!

Anyway, for this week’s Friday 5, I bring you a selection of a-MAY-zing properties currently on the market within 20 miles of where I live in Devon.

1.  Exeter City Centre

Regular readers will know that I am not a lover of rural life, and would very much like to live in a town or city.  This house caught my eye because it is right in the centre of Exeter, our nearest city, close to the Cathedral.

Lovely exterior, and the centre piece of the interior is this former chapel.  I’d have to redecorate as it’s not to my taste at all, but it’s a great space.

Added bonus of this rather large garden as well.

2.   A Castle In Dartmouth

Yes, in this upmarket seaside town, you can own your very own castle.  (But only if you’ve got £2m to spare …)

Lovely windows – and great views over Dartmouth harbour, too …

3.  Stoke Fleming

If you’ve got a little more in your pocket, you may want to consider this gorgeous new build on the edge of Frenchman’s Creek (who knew that was even a real place?).

Words cannot explain how much I love this house, it is SO my type of place.

Look at that view, and it’s got a bit of a Mediterranean vibe going on, don’t you think?

The inside is stunning, and sensibly, they’ve kept the pool indoors.  I’ve never understood the whole outside-pool-in-the-UK thing – strikes me as a total waste of money.

4.   Dartmoor

Moving away from the coast now, I’ve chosen a rather nice 6 bed Grade II listed farmhouse.

It comes with 25 acres of land with a river running through the middle and a whole host of outbuildings, including this courtyard of barns just ripe for conversion (holiday cottages?  I need something to keep me busy if I’m going to live in the countryside again!)

The farmhouse itself looks pretty good inside, as well:

I don’t go a bundle on farmhouse style kitchens, but this one I could live with.  A bargainous property compared with some of my other choices, at only £1.8m!

5.   Churston Ferrers

Finally, I had to include this one, as it made me laugh out loud when I came upon it.  I’ve christened it the Footballer’s Wives house, and I still struggle to believe it’s in Devon – it screams ‘Essex’ so loudly from every over-decorated room.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking …

If anybody would like to join in with Friday 5, please feel free, and do let me know in the comments so I can come and visit.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!