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Joyous July

We are well into August now so it’s more than time that I wrote this. Someone suggested after reading this that I have a charmed life. I don’t nobody has – that’s why it is important to keep remembering all the good things that happen. Even if they are tiny they mount up and counterbalance those things I wish were different.

I’m fairly sure everyone has things they wish were different but those things are not always within our power to change. So onto the things that made July joyous – maybe I should stop this alliteration habit but it is too too tempting.

D my fabulous podiatrist sorted out my foot – I know this makes a regular appearance in my posts but D is a genius and worth every penny. My foot will never completely recover from two surgeries (One of those things I wish was different but can’t change.) but D keeps me comfortable and minimises the damage.

My sister’s puppy Millie remains a joy. She loves unconditionally and is so very affectionate. She’s always thrilled to see me.


I’ve been rereading the non Chalet Elinor M Brent Dyer’s for the simple joy of immersing myself in another time and place especially while enduring the discomfort that is my commute.

I saw the Chest Physio – who knew there was such a thing. It was a really positive appointment and we discussed ways of trying to prevent from becoming as unwell as I was last winter. I have several strategies to try next time I have  a cold or am allergic something. We also have a plan to try and prevent my colds becoming chest infections or worse next winter.

I went to a talk on How to Read a Dress at the London Fashion and Textile Museum. It was fascinating and nowhere near long enough. Afterwards I went for a delicious dinner at Taz with the friends who had accompanied me.

Unexpected long weekend – what more can I say. I didn’t have any plans I just relaxed and it was blissful

My “godsister” K got married. It was a beautiful wedding as usual I am not going to share photos of people so this is a photo of the delicious dessert.


They had a Wedding Barbecue the next day which was also great fun.

I had the opportunity to go and see Information for American Servicemen in Britain which was one of the funniest plays I’ve seen in a long time. I laughed so much. It was fabulous

Once again there have been many Flowers. They never fail to raise my spirits.


There was a post work dinner and gossip with the girls

I invited friends for dinner as it turned out I invited so many friends who could come it turned into a bit of an impromptu party.

I had my hair cut and coloured – my lovely hairdresser took a day out from her maternity leave to cut my hair an dmy sisters. It was so nice to see her again and my vanity was appeased – she is an artiste.

There were Millie kisses – if you’d told me at Christmas I’d be letting a dog lick my face I’d have laughed at you.

My big nieces had a really splendid school report. I’m very proud of her.

I have my own copy of one of the rare Mabel Esther Allan’s Swiss School. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Inspired by Swiss School and the fact that I am spending the summer in London and I’d really rather be in Switzerland. Austria or Italy I reread Mabel Esther Allan’s Swiss and Italian holiday novels to transport myself to the lakes and mountains I am craving.

I also own a copy of Mara Kay’s incredibly rare A Circling Star – Thanks to the Margin Note Books reprint.

A chance word from the aforementioned chest physio led me to try Epsom Salts in my bath. I had always thought Epsom Salts were an old fashioned remedy superseded by modern medicine. I was wrong. They don’t cure me but they are an incredibly effective temporary pain reliever. I was astonished I could almost seethe swelling going down in front of me.

I was having a vey fraught day in the office so at lunchtim I removed myself and foung perfect peace and calm in the park for half an hour.

Fabulous dinner at the Real Greek

Good career news – I can’t elaborate because it would be tempting fate it was very pleasing.

I finally saw an American in Paris with H and L. I am still not quite sure what I thought of it. The acting, singing and dancing were all superb. I enjoyed the Gershwin but fundamentally the plot annoyed me.

A potentially excellent opportunity – again I cannot elaborate but it could be life changing in its way. I have my fingers crossed.

I received my annual performance related bonus aka Good girl money. This is not vast riches indeed many in the private sector would turn up their noses at it but it makes me happy and I’ve saved it for next year’s awfully big adventure.

I went shopping in Canterbury with my Mum. The market stalls delighted me.

We drove on to Tankerton for lunch and then to Whitstable. Whereupon it turned into a truly British day out by the sea – it poured with rain. However we were brave and undaunted we walked along the front anyway and then shopped in Whitstable in complete defiance of the rain. We concluded it in the traditional way with ice cream in the car.

Things were quite challenging so I took a Mental health day just for me. I did absolutely nothing I should do and simply read, embroidered, watched TV and wrote. It was bliss.

My big nieces is 9 – how did that happen! As is the family tradition we had a birthday tea for her on the Sunday. Then we all went to the park the dog included.


I concluded the month with a delightful dinner out with my chums.





Jolly things in June

I admit it it's now almost the end of July and my time management leaves much to be desired but better late than never. I regret there do not seem to be as many photos as there should be.

I've become an avid fan of Apartment Therapy in my quest to tame my flat and my stuff! One of the pieces of advice is that now and again when you have a free weekend day you should have what they call 'Suck it up Saturday or indeed Sunday.' The aim is that you make a list if the chores and errands you have been putting off and get on with them. I can't say the process was awfully jolly but the results were. By Saturday evening I was relaxing in an immaculate flat. There was an awful water mark in the middle of my heirloom oak dining table made by a spilt cup of hot tea which I was very upset about. However I purchased a so called "miracle" cloth from Lakeland and much to my surprise it was just that. It took some elbow grease but the unsightly mark has completely disappeared. I wish I'd taken before and after photos.

I love Peonies they are among my favourite summer flowers and they are in season and therefore semi affordable in June. I might have bought a few bunches… I wish I could grow them but my attempt to grow them in a pot failed. If I ever have a garden I will try again.

My sister's puppy continues to be utterly adorable. Hugs from her always make my day. She also had her stitches out and lost the despised cone of shame. Poor Millie had an accident at the end of May but happily she's making a good recovery. Just look at her basking in the sun minus that ghastly accessory.

And here she is composing her scathing Trip Advisor Review because the hotel facilities definitely don't meet her expectations. A mere one paw instead of the five she is accustomed to.

We had a lovely grown ups only family dinner at our local Indian.

I found a few more of M Pardoe's Bunkle books. They are not particularly realistic children's thrillers from the 1940s and 1950s but there's a wonderful sense of place and a wealth of domestic detail that provides a slice of social history I'm certain the author didn't plan. They are a splendid way to disengage from ones commute.

I finally own my own copy of The Conch Shell. This is a reasonably scarce Mabel Esther Allan set in Cornwall and I've spent years trying to acquire a copy at a price I can afford. Finally I managed it. It's a lovely gentle family story set in Cornwall and it's a splendid comfort read.

Mum and I had a Call the Midwife TV evening. We've started watching again from the beginning and it is fabulous.

Lovely Thursday dinner with the usual suspects.

I've booked an awfully big adventure for next year… I'll blog about it when it happens but I've something splendid to look forward to.

The election result was not exactly what I wanted but better than I feared. It's not made my professional life and easier but I was irresistibly reminded of one of my favourite poems "Sometimes" by Sheenagh Pugh.

At the end of May disaster struck my elderly PC expired and worse my backup was corrupt. I feared the worst and thought all my photos since 2007 were lost forever but a local computer repair business saved all my data and I'm so grateful.

I refreshed my outdoor plant pots

My SiL's had a big birthday, so obviously there was a correspondingly big birthday party's. Large numbers should be celebrated with friends, Prosecco and cake so we did.

A splendid parcel from S.

I had a glorious swim

There was an afternoon spent playing with my nieces.

We had the First barbecue of this year. The weather stayed fine and we did not have to shelter under the awning.

Lovely evening read in the park note the beautiful Peonies and the equally charming men in uniform. This was followed by dinner out with the girls.

I had a very successful trip to the chest clinic. All the numbers are much better and my lungs are stable again. I've been put back on annual review.

Took smallest to the theatre to see her first ballet. The Northern Ballet's Three Bears. She was so very proud of being a big girl and having an outing 'just wiv my auntie."

There was a delightful dinner at K's and snuggles with Millie cat.

Father's Day afternoon tea

I had enormous hugs from smallest.

Picky dinner and a second evening rewatching Call the Midwife.

I met E for Lunch and made friends with Monty her canine house guest.

I had a feline house guest as Millie cat came to stay in my luxury pet hotel for a week.

Then I attended K's hen do.

Sister's at The Chalet School arrived. It's a pleasant and believable fill in and it enlivened a dull commute.

Flowers from K

I can't explain too much because it's someone else's story to tell but it fell to me to try to reorganise a non transferable, non refundable event for someone who is very unwell indeed and thus couldn't go. I was dreading the phone call as any changes are completely against the company's policy but the person I spoke to was kindness itself. They bent over backwards to reschedule the trip even though they didn't have to. Their kindness and consideration helped me to bear something quite terrible. Once again I was reminded how many more nice people there are than nasty ones and my faith was restored.

Magical May

Once again I’m posting very late in fact it is almost the end of June – whoops! Time management is definitely not my forte.

As always the first Wednesday in the month was spent watching TV with my Mum while consuming a picky dinner on trays. We finished the latest series of Call the Midwife – about three months later than everyone else but never mind. It was a little sad coming to the end but it was the happiest of happy endings with wish fulfilment and everything. Of course there’s the Christmas special to look forward to too.

I took my sister’s puppy Millie for a walk in the park. Millie and I are very fond of each other. and we had a simple lovely time.


I’ve been struggling with terrible seasonal allergies to the extent that I’ve been attending a specialist clinic at the hospital. My GP saw my desperation and prescribed the magic bullets aka Steroids to make me feel better. They worked and my life suddenly improved.

I saw Carousel at the Coliseum with Mum and my sister. We took Mum as her Mother’s Day present. It was fabulous. Katherine Jenkins and Alfie Boe were simply superb and I confess to shedding a tear or two at the end.

I had an enjoyable dinner with K and H. 

There was a glorious walk in St James Park 


I also caught up on some good TV – Grantchester, Broadchurch and The Durrells.

There was an amazing moon. Sadly the photos didn’t begin to do it justice and there’s no point sharing it with you because I couldn’t catch the moment at all.

There’s been the simple joy of rereading LM Montgomery’s Anne. I’ve always loved entering her world. Anne reminds me that even when things are far from easy there is still happiness to be found if you look for it.

I walked in the park one evening. The light was fabulous.

Mum and I had a delicious breakfast at Dishoom. I love the pattern on the crockery.


I went to The Kensington Dolls House Festival. I bought this tiny book.


My Dad bought me a delicious Curry at the Star

I have new jeans. They fit and they flatter me and didn’t cost as much as I expected.

There was a lovely dinner at the Chinese Buffet with the grown ups in my family.

I’ve found a new author – she’s a Children’s author but Emma Carroll’s Letters from the Lighthouse is a work of genius.

I received a truly splendid parcel from S 

 There was an evening of perfect calm and peace.

Damien my lovely podiatrist sorted out my sore foot.

Mum made me these for my Dolls House aren’t they amazing? As a Chalet School fan it’s only right the dolls should have copies.

I met H in Oxford and saw the musical of Dodie Smith’s “I Capture the Castle”. It was amazing and I was absolutely captivated. Afterwards we wandered around Oxford and there was a Rainbow but I  fear the yellow crane is much more visible in the photo I tried to take.


Not so pleasingly our favourite restaurant was closed for a private function, however someone H knew recommended a little Italian in Jericho. It was well priced and delicious. Definitely a good find. We’ll be going there again.  

I had a glorious swim in an almost empty pool with water that was the perfect temperature with a proper hot shower afterwards its not often I get the whole combination at the local pool.

I met  R after work for the first time in ages. We sat in the park and put the world to rights.

My ceiling fan, every year as the summer begins to kick in I give thanks for the decision I made to install a ceiling fan in my bedroom I am sure it is the only reason I get some sleep once the temperature rises.

A peaceful lunch break in the park reading

Flowers in the park


Chatting and gossip with the usual suspects

For the first time since I had the first ankle surgery way back in January 2015 I managed a proper long drive. I went from London to Chesterfield and back again. I feel as if I have my freedom back!

The purpose of this epic trip was to meet H and spend the Bank Holiday weekend exploring. We were based in Chesterfield but on the first day we took ourselves to Hardwick Hall. I liked the sound of Bess of Hardwick but it takes some confidence to affix your initials to your new house for posterity. I loved the little owl statue in the gardens.


The following day was spent at Chatsworth. It was very grand and ostentatious and I clearly am getting old because I found myself thinking about the central heating bill and how draughty it would be. One of the State bedrooms had a bath in a cupboard. I was rather taken with that but I fear I don’t have enough space in my own bedroom to emulate it. As always I preferred the gardens. The Lupins were magnificent as were the Rhododendrons.  We were too early for the Peonies which was a pity I love Peonies. The plants were smothered in buds so I think they must be impressive. I wished my nieces and Millie dog could play in the cascade too. It was full of dogs and small children having a fabulous time.


I managed to fix my elderly Sat Nav – which was joyous. I forced it to update and then discovered the main problem was a faulty charging lead. All sorted for less than £3. This is good as I have every intention of driving far more and far further now that I know I can. Before they know it some people will find me on their doorstep.

Finally I’m typing this on a brand new PC. I hadn’t been able to blog on my old one for at least two years. It was just too slow. Then in the middle of May disaster struck and it would not turn on at all. It was too old to be worth repairing it so I have a new one and the speed amazes me.

Amazing April

It’s not May yet and I’m posting already. I feel I deserve some sort of fabulous award for this. I’ve had a really good month. Spring is well on the way and it may not have always been as warm as I might like but there’s been blue skies and sunshine bnearly everyday.

I began the month with a delicious dinner and a gossip at H’s in SE23.

Then I headed home to meet D who was coming to stay. There was more happy catching up.

I went to a Dolls House Fair with my Mum and bought a few more bits to liven up my tiny house.

I survived my annual performance review at work unscathed. I’m always afraid that this will be the year I get found out…

I was really nervous about having my hair done by a different hairdresser – mine is on maternity leave but B who was recommended by 3 of my friends gave me an ace cut and colour in time for my birthday.

My colleagues gave me some lovely birthday presents which were a complete surprise and very apt.

I had a picky tea and I watched Call the Midwife with my Mum.

I was very lucky and had lovely warm sunny weather for my birthday. I went to a Dolls House shop in Steyning in Sussex to buy a few bits for my house.

After lunch we went to Arundel for a rather nice afternoon tea. I admired the Castle and browsed a lovely second hand bookshop.

I enjoyed a wonderful Birthday dinner in a local Italian restaurant ending with this rather lovely pudding.

I had some truly amazing cards and parcels. There are compensations to being older than I ever intended to be…

A came to stay. I’ve not seen her for a year and it was so good to see her.

As it was a very big birthday I had a very big birthday party. It was truly amazing. We hired a cruiser that had been to Dunkirk and I celebrated my birthday with a cruise on the Thames with my family and friends. I was able to see so many of my friends. I loved it.

I had more than a fortnight off work which meant I had some peace, quiet and calm for rest, life admin and Spring cleaning. I also caught up on my reading.

I spent a Day in town with big niece visiting and photographing tourist attractions for something she was doing at school. 

I took big niece to her first ever evening performance. We saw the ENB’s My First Cinderella at the Peacock.

Big nieces had a sleepover at my house afterwards and the following morning we watched Swallows and Amazons in our PJs. Very lazy and a simple delight.

I played with smallest niece and Millie my sister’s puppy.

L came to stay and we had a delicious dinner at the Turkish restaurant.

I put up my Easter decorations. I always like an excuse for decorations.

Surprise belated birthday flowers from my friends.

On Easter Saturday I went to Greatstone with my friends K, S and L we wandered along the beach then went to the Pilot Inn at Dungeness for lunch. Then we went on to explore Rye. We had a lovely afternoon tea in a tea shop that was completely timeless. It was the kind of place the Girlsown heroines I love reading about might have patronised for afternoon tea or morning coffee.

We had a lovely Family Easter complete with the now traditional Easter Egg hunt. We’d even found Easter Eggs for dogs so my Millie could join in. I received some delightful eggs. My favourite was the one big niece made for me.


I had a lovely morning in Manor Park with smallest niece then played with Millie.

Very peaceful TV day with afternoon tea on a tray.

I’ve been taking advantage of the better weather to go for walks around the local park.


Apple blossom 


I had an unexpected delightful parcel from New Zealand.

I had a lovely walk along the Thames before work

Coffee, dinner and gossip with the girls.

My friend K’s cat also a Millie came to stay. I always enjoy Millie!s visits.

Some of my friends came over for homemade pizza. We had a good evening and I was able to catch up with someone I’ve not seen for ages.

Marvellous March

I meant to blog on the right day for once but it didn’t work out that way. On Friday afternoon I was getting on with my to do list and mopping up the week’s tasks before going home early because it was Friday and payday when I heard a voice that should have been 400 miles away. A colleague I like and respect who is on secondment in Scotland appeared and wanted to know who was coming out for drinks. I hastily revised my plans for housework, grocery shopping, blogging and an early night. After all the dust would still be there tomorrow. (Confession – it is still there). Instead I spent the evening in a Southbank watering hole with a lot of former colleagues. Je ne regrette rein.

In a way it sums up what makes me happy if you look at my entries there are definitely themes that include friends, delicious food, flowers, books, pets and kindness. March is no different except that spring is on its way and the increased warmth and light is an additional source of happiness. I thrive on light and warmth.

So here are the things that made me happy in March:
There was a lovely picky TV dinner Mum and I shared while watching Call the Midwife. I do love that programme.

E was in London for a meeting and we had lunch together afterwards.

Smallest niece baked me a special cake which she smothered in smarties and chocolate buttons. It was delicious and made with so much love.

I have a new to me mobile phone. There was an unfortunate incident with the old one involving the loss of a decades contacts. Now I’m recovering from this terrible trauma and have began the process of recovering all my contacts it’s quite nice to have a phone that actually works properly.

I had a belated Christmas gift from L and K in the form of posh afternoon tea. We all attended in ladylike garb, sipped tea, nibbled cake and gossiped freely. Such fun!

I treated myself to a bath in the middle of the day one Sunday. I’d forgotten how decadent it feels to soak in a tub full of hot water and scented oil at 2pm. Pure self indulgent bliss. I must remember to do it more often.

My Mum laid on a fabulous Sunday tea because an old friend from my primary school days was joining us. It was a strange blast from the past. It was nice to see her but we have little in common anymore which felt very peculiar.

I was brave enough to make three difficult phone calls. I dislike calling anyone I don’t know and I really hate it if I have to have an uncomfortable conversation but I did it and felt so much better when it was done.

I finally bought a new case for my Kindle as you can see it isn’t very sophisticated but it amuses me. I also bought a case for my new phone.

I bought an amaryllis bulb in the post Christmas sales. I thought for weeks it wasn’t going to do anything but then it burst into life and was spectacular. 

My sister’s Cav puppy Millie spent the whole weekend with me.

I took her for lunch with the K’s and she enjoyed playing with Mr C and he with her. Turns out puppies can ride on swingboats and in toy tractor trailers.

I had lunch with S and C. I don’t think about I’ve seen C for four years and it was so nice to see her again. We promised each other we won’t leave it another four years.

I visited the school where I am a governor and they have ducklings. I was instantly besotted and when I got to hold one that was it my day was made. They are so soft and fluffy but have surprisingly big cold feet.

I expended a little effort and revamped the pots in my front garden. I’ve achieved a big impact for minimal cash and effort which is most pleasing.

I also met M for coffee. M is an old uni friend and I’ve not seen him for ages either. It was lovely to catch up with him too.

Wandering in the park one lunchtime.

The Watermill Theatre’s Murder for Two. I went on the spur of the moment at the behest of my friend S. it was fab. I absolutely loved it.

L came to stay

I went to Oxford and lunched with H at Al Shami.

I saw some glorious tiles at the Ashmolean Museum.

We watched Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Oxford Playhouse. I love Noel Coward and it was perfect Light frothy and very amusing.

My godfather’s Seventieth Birthday party

Magnolia trees I love magnolia blossom and this month has been full of them.

I looked to one side on my morning commute and there was a beautiful tabby cat basking in the sun on a window sill. It was gone in a flash as my train hurtled through the suburbs towards town but it was a lovely moment.

The calm composure of my colleagues as all hell broke loose around us. The 22nd of March was a dreadful day and we were too close for comfort but there was something infinitely reassuring in watching the contingency plans kick in and that they worked. We were sad but safe. Other people were not so lucky.

My new dolls house furniture. I’ve been carefully working on furnishing my little house.

A delicious dinner at K’s, congenial company and best of all (sorry K) Millie cat cuddles.

I had a completely free Saturday and decided to spend it in glorious lazy self indulgent solitude.  I’d not been feeling great but with unusual insight I realised that I wasn’t ill simply tired and that was something  I could do something about. I’d been reading in Marjorie Hillis’ eponymous book “Live Alone and Like It” and it has a section about how to plan a weekend day or a whole weekend entirely to oneself without feeling lonely or low. I planned with great care so I purchased a small packet of my favourite Rose and violet creams and a Lush bath melt for a truly sybaritic day. I began the day by making tea in my Granny’s teapot and eating a pain aux raisin for breakfast. I found the fab macaroons my sister had brought me from Paris for an afternoon treat. I’ve decided to try and plan in one every 4-6 weeks because it did me so much good. Although next time I will fine tune my planning and arrange a blow dry, manicure, massage or facial or perhaps a trip to the sauna and steam room to enhance the day.


It was Earth Hour that evening and I decided to mark it. I turned off every light in the house and the TV. I have a new respect for those who spent or still spend their lives without electricity because I couldn’t see to do anything.  Luckily I have a kindle so I could read although it did feel a bit like cheating.

Mother’s Day pizza at my parents. A chance to thank my mother, play with my nieces and cuddle Millie dog.

Ranunculus – aren’t they pretty. A £1.25 post Mother’s Day bargain.

I am loving the longer days. Light evenings suit me.

Lunch in Lincoln’s Inn Fields

Lunch with colleagues in Iberica.

Walking in St James Park.

S’s birthday party they gave us free cake.

The drinkies after work with old colleagues I mentioned at the beginning of this admittedly lengthy update.

Frozen February

Very belatedly it is time to write about February.

I went for a lovely walk in the park with E from book club one lunchtime. We had a lovely catch up.

There were Snowdrops in the park.

I met A for lunch which broke up a dull work day nicely.

A good visit to my grandmother. She wasn’t aware of who I was but we talked about her memory book and she was quite animated.

I cooked a roast dinner for K and H.

There was also a very productive visit to the chest clinic – sorry about the awful pun. It was follow up after the January episode and the consultant had several positive suggestions to improve my situation. He is sure I have had what the media is calling the 100 day cold.

My sister acquired a gorgeous puppy. This is Millie a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. In this photo she’s eight weeks old.

I received a splendid belated Christmas present from A.

There was more snow and I went to Hampton Court to see my friend H. To be honest it was too cold to enjoy the palace but we had a splendid catch up and delicious pizza.

My parents returned from Guadalupe and we went out for a jolly nice curry to welcome them home.

I had a lovely calm slow Sunday breakfast.

Unusually I had nothing planned for a Saturday and I spent a lovely peaceful day pottering around the house, running a few errands and curling up with a book and TV.

I batched cooked slow cooked lasagne.

On the advice of the chest consultant I have began swimming again and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

My reliable albeit elderly car passed its MOT first time – cause for celebration

I have a new battery for the aforementioned elderly car. It had been a bit temperamental of late and it turned out the battery was the one the manufacturer installed in 2004. It really didn’t owe me anything. Replacing it means it starts first time every time. 

I successfully negotiated with Sky and reduced the cost of my package from £46 to £28. This was most satisfactory.

Lovely Wahacca dinner with L

I thought my car might not meet the new emissions standards for London but I finally made myself face the problem and checked. It turned out the car meets Euro 4 standards and I have nothing to worry about.

My Mum’s Dolls House which was made for her by my Grandad has been beautifully restored by a family friend. I played with it as a child and I’m as thrilled as she is to see it restored to its former glory.

Leaving work in daylight – it may not seem much but it’s lovely to leave the office before the streetlights come on.

D the genius podiatrist sorted out my sore foot.

I bought these lovely rainbow tulips as a present to me.

I went to K’s for cocktails and saw R. There was also a good opportunity to make a fuss of Millie cat.

I went through my clothes. I threw away lots of old socks and tights that haven’t fitted properly since the swelling in my ankle went down. I have no idea why I kept them so long. However the grand sort out meant I found clothes I’d forgotten owning and I feel as if I have lots of new things,

My brother’s kebab birthday dinner – mine were made with halloumi and apple crumble which we all love.

There was delightful Snail mail from L.

I made fabulous pancakes for Shrove Tuesday. A couple of years ago I made the worst pancakes ever they puffed up like Yorkshire puddings in the pan. I still have no idea what I did wrong but I was convinced I couldn’t make pancakes but it turns out I can.

Jolly January

I haven’t posted for ages and it is about time I did. January seems a long time ago because it was. It was a very quiet month but at least this year it didn’t include major orthopaedic surgery. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to avoid hospital but we can’t have everything. So without further ado here are the things that gave me joy in January.

My flat always seems so much bigger, brighter and fresher when the Christmas decorations come down and I give the place a good clean. It’s compensation for the loss of the lights. I spent New Years Day and part of the 2nd restoring order and calm to my home.

I started the new year with a crisp new Vera Bradley laptop backpack to carry my work tablet around in. It may be a small thing but anything that brightens up the dark cold mornings helps.

I also found a section on the Vera Bradley website that explained how to wash the old ones and as my new washing machine has a cold cycle I tried it out and my faintly grubby bags and backpacks are sparking clean again.

There was a lovely dinner out with the girls to mark the new year.

We celebrated my sister’s birthday a week late with Chinese takeaway.

Mum and I watched the Christmas Call the Midwife and the last GBBO with a delicious picky dinner in front of the TV.

Unfortunately the bad cold I’d had on and off since November turned out to be pneumonia. It’s a very girlsownish illness to have but I don’t recommend it. It is about as much fun as you might expect it to be. I was actually signed off sick for longer than when I had surgery. On the bright side I received amazing and swift care in hospital when I realised I might be a little more ill than I thought. St Thomas’s £22m A&E refurbishment was worth every penny from my point of view. Happily antibiotics and steroids were effective and I went home the same day. I had pretty fabulous follow up care from my GP too.

I have had some lovely flowers to cheer the month. Ranunculus, Anemones, Hyacinths and Amaryllis.

There was snow and I was able to enjoy it in the best way watching it from inside a warm cosy flat.

K came to cheer my sick bed and cooked me a delicious dinner.

I bought my first bunch of daffodils of 2017.

I went to see Rent my belated Christmas gift from S. I absolute loved it. The staging and costumes were fab. The play itself was just incredible and a reminder of the bad old days when HIV was a death sentence. We’ve come so far.

I have Hamilton tickets for next year which is so exciting. 

D was in London and we arranged to meet for lunch and a catch up.

I found this super shop front in Percy St.

There was a Brick Lane Curry with K and H.

Cuddles with my smallest niece.

I’m much older than I planned on being later this year so I’m having a big party to celebrate. As part of this I ordered some very fancy invitations. I do like posh stationery.

Death in Paradise is back on TV. I do enjoy it. Crime Drama set in the warm sunny Caribbean to liven up January what’s not to like.

I watched The Halcyon too. WW2 is my favourite period in history although if I’m honest I’m not sure how long this drama will hold my attention.

D my fabulous podiatrist sorted out my sore foot.

I bought a Lumie alarm clock. I’m still reserving judgement on whether it makes it easier to get up. I think the gradual light helps. It’s not as if I’ve ever been a morning person.

I found reduced alostromeria in M&S I can hardly ever afford enough flowers to fill my late Great Aunt’s crystal rose bowl but these cost £1.77.

While working from home I took myself for a lunchtime walk in the Winter Gardens. They are only a 15 minute walk yet somehow I never go and they are so beautiful.

My parents treated me to a delicious dinner in a local Italian.

I took my car for its annual bath – actually it might have been longer than a year since I last took it to be cleaned. I don’t think it has ever been so clean. I’m surprised it didn’t fail to start from shock. With all the Christmas tree needles gone from the inside and the moss removed from the trim it became quite respectable. I may increase the schedule to six monthly washes. 

I found all these books I wanted to read in the Red Cross shop for £7.