Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NaBloPoMo 29

Still dying of my cough, an early start into London in the frost. Had to stop and buy cough medicine at the railway station Superdrug. I still always thing of an aspirin with a cape when I say that.

Couple of meetings, running away at the end to the next as they overran, then a training session, where I'm pleased to say people got as excited as I did.

Evening engagement cancelled, so back home on the train to buying woodstain for the garden and delicious beef stroganoff.

Happily, tonight's chores included sewing goodies for Christmas and adjust some work gear for Tom. I love it when my chores coincide with my hobbies.

Monday, November 28, 2016

NaBloPoMo 28 Ross

Up early to a drive to Oxford. Had to stop at Winchester to buy a tyre gauge and pump when a tyre warning light came on. All sorted quickly enough and back on the road.

Morning spent working from a coffee shop with wifi enjoying the snippets of others academic conversations. An informal one on one between manager and staff from a museum, full of office and museum world gossip. "Well she raised my hackles when I knew her at the British Museum. Very school marm-ish" Some ad hoc film reviews, and a conversation in German about a social policy essay. Which I only got the gist of as the title of the essay was always mentioned in English. German students studying in Oxford maybe?

Afternoon at a workshop, then a long walk back to the park and ride car park due to a coach breaking down on the corner by Carfax Tower. All the buses were messed up so I just kept walking.

Then home along to Southampton and the Mayflower Theatre, for an evening with Ross Noble. I laughed and laughed and laughed. I cried and coughed with laughter. His surreal wandering comedy was a great tonic, even if Southampton did decide to throw him a curve ball by having a blind man, a transitioning transgender person and an adherent of S&M amongst the people he picked for a chat. Oh and the extended section about Morph trying nipple clamps....

Sunday, November 27, 2016

NaBloPoMo 27 advent

After a huge breakfast and saying goodbye to our friendly hosts, we went to mum and dad's and tried to make ourselves useful. Tom pruned trees and helped fix toilets and ironed curtains for rehanging. I made covered for pots of jam and ironed shirts and helped with PowerPoint presentations and made sandwiches and hung washing.

Mum and I had a good chat in the afternoon, then Tom, dad and I went to the annual advent carol service. Very strange being there without Mum, and Dad being sat up the front in his reader's robes. These things change and stay the same all at once. I handed out service books this year whilst Tom lit candles.

Roast chicken for tea after, having come home to Mum and Verity nursing the poorly hedgehog. Hope he's alright. Then a drive home in the dark, cleaning the kitchen and making packed lunches.


via Instagram http://ift.tt/2gzH5dq

Saturday, November 26, 2016

NaBloPoMo 26 car

Got up early for a Saturday, and madly painted the floor surface of the decking whilst it was dry. The special decking paint has grains in it to make it non-slip. Seems good so far.

Then it was emptying the car, packing warm clothes and exploring a new bit of the M25, as we were off to collect Verity from uni. Mum's been poorly with a bout of vertigo, so Dad had asked if we could get Verity, allowing him to stay with Mum, and cover one of her craft workshops at church.

We going to come down on the Sunday anyway for the annual advent carol service, so it was no big deal.

The journey was smooth enough, and it was interesting to see the Royal Veterinary College campus at Potters Bar where she is studying. It was very beautiful, set in the autumnal countryside with a mix of old and new buildings.

When we'd stacked up the car with Verity's things, we stopped for a bite of lunch in a pub. Very nice.

Another smooth drive to Westbury, checking into our b n b and the way, unpacking some of Verity's things before she went off to her boyfriend's.

Then an afternoon with mum and dad, mum the worst patient in the world, pottering round. I'm glad she was feeling better.

We went on a late night stroll to try and stretch our legs. I pointed out buildings that had sprung up since I had left home.

Then after an evening chatting, we went back to our cosy bedroom, Tom delighting in the terribly brash wallpaper. Giant red goldfish on a black and silver background in the bathroom...

Friday, November 25, 2016

NaBloPoMo 25 food.

An day in the office for me. Then home to go out for dinner at a new bar/restaurant called the Tramstop in Portswood.

Ben and Laura joined us. We supped on a mixed sharing platter with halloumi, olives, dips, falafel, beans in tomato sauce to start, then I had macaroni cheese. Everything was very competitively priced. The starters and the drink selection was excellent. My macaroni cheese wasn't cheesy or seasoned enough sadly. One for drinks and nibbles only in future I think.

After we'd finished up, we went back to Ben and Laura's to admire their decorating and for a drink. I so love having these guys as friends.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

NaBloPoMo 24

Worked from home again today as I had a hospital appointment.

Weighed myself. Pleased to be down to 74kg. Slow progress, but some progress.

Hospital appointment was ok, just a chat with the consultant. Stupid lady parts. Next step is another scan to check my tube.

Tom and I went to the cinema afterwards. Just needed to do something to take my mind off everything. 5pm is a good time to go. Had the cinema to ourselves. Saw Dr. Strange. Entertaining in the mindless kind of way Marvel films often are. I find the action and fight scenes hard to watch - from a physical perspective. My eyes have a hard time tracking what's going on.

Stopped for a bit of shopping on the way home. Tom made tasty lamb chops and black dahl for dinner.

We then caught up with Westworld and cracked all the walnuts we brought back from France.

If I get the chance, I'll make biscotti with them as Christmas presents.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

NaBloPoMo 23

Worked from home today. Still dying from my cough.

Worked on my work secret santa present and watched lots and lots of Mad Men. Adore the clothes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

NaBloPoMo 22

The new car had to got back to the garage today as it was making a buzzing noise and a whining noise.

I walked from Shirley to Portswood to my chiropractor appointment across the bottom of the common. Lots of wet mushy leaves, passing mid morning runners and dog walkers.

I killed time having a bacon and avocado sandwich and a cup of tea in Tragos as I walked faster than I thought I would.

Then back home for tidying and sewing before going to help a friend from Church with her computer.

Monday, November 21, 2016

NaBloPoMo 21 Brighton

Used some random annual leave today to go Christmas shopping in Brighton. Think there are only two things left on the list now.

Brighton was less cheery in the rain then when we visited for my birthday in September. And parking is very expensive.

However, once Tom and I finished being grumpy because it was morning and got to mooching around the Lanes, we had more fun. I particularly liked when we tried to buy all the things in the well stocked Oxfam bookshop.

I was restrained and only bought an advent candle for myself.

We lunched in style at Riddle and Finns http://www.riddleandfinns.co.uk/ on sashimi, Atlantic prawns, an enormous crab and lemon sole. What a treat. So much protein, I couldn't eat this evening.

We made our way home through bad traffic, and Tom went off to PCC. As I'm currently escaping that particular joy, I worked on my secret Santa present for work. A gaggle of church people came for a drink post PCC which was lovely, and now we're tucked up in bed.

NaBloPoMo 20

We had a lovely day today, mainly playing games with Ethan, then chatting to Jess and Andy whilst he was napping. I got lots of knitting done too. I like seeing them as happy parents, and seeing little bits of their house change as they gradually do it up.

As they had fed us lots of delicious food, we stopped for a walk around Oxford in the way home in the dark. I liked seeing all the fancy buildings lit up. Who knew Oxford had a castle?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

NaBloPoMo 19 old friends

Today I got up gently, helped Tom put away some washing, had delicious left overs for lunch, picked up a parcel and took old clothes to the charity shops.

Then we packed up the car and drove to Leighton Buzzards to see Jess and Andy and little Ethan. I enjoyed the orange trees contrasting against the grey skies on the drive up.

We've had a pleasant evening chatting and catching up, discussing Ethan's progress and the perils of home ownership. There's even been cheese and port, and I finished a Christmas pair of socks.

Friday, November 18, 2016

NaBloPoMo 18 flamily

Today I let the roofers in to replace the flat roof above the kitchen. Can't tell much I the dark when I got in, but looks like they did a good job.

Just in the office today, but had a good time with the colleagues that were in.

In the evening, Tom had started preparing tasty dinner, but was on call for work and got called away, just as dinner was served, so unfair. I've put a plate on the side. Hopefully, he'll be able to eat some.

Ben, Laura, Ellie and Andy came to eat dinner, and we had great fun quizzing, playing with the Google Cardboard headset I picked up yesterday, and chatting away. It was nice to have the company, and I love my siblings and friends get on so well. Can't wait for Verity to come to stay in Jan as well.

NaBloPoMo 17 Huddle

So, sometimes because of my job I get to do cool weird things. Today I was at the Mindshare Huddle for techy marketing types.

Alongside the interesting talks I went to, I picked up a lot of swag, and saw some strange things.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

NaBloPoMo 16

Today was another working from home day, still poorly, with endless episodes of Mad Men on in the background to keep me company. I love the little details they pause on to drive home the period, the Drapers not picking up their rubbish after a family picnic, or kids being asked to fix alcoholic beverages for parents.

I also love the fashion. I wish I was taller so I could pull off the Joan look from the earlier series.

I picked up my new car today. Well new to me. I think the dealership realised how badly they'd messed up the collection on Sat, as a bunch of flowers, a teddy and a photo shoot voucher awaited me. The car is another Golf, black this time, and it drives well. Golfs are the essence of a car distilled, all the bits you need, all functioning well, no frills, no hassle.

Then in the evening, as I was feeling better, Tom and I went to get a few Christmas presents, and settled in to watch Humans after. I love that series.

NaBloPoMo 15: sick

Today I had completely lost my voice, so worked from home feeling sorry for myself, waiting for my car to be picked up. Nothing else to report there.

Then in the evening, we went to see Tom's mum and step dad. She's just had her second hip replaced, and it was nice to see her pottering around with only one stick already. Perks of getting it done young? Phil had made a nice dinner and we had a good old chin wag.

Terrible weather on the way home across Dorset. Lots of fog.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

NaBloPoMo 14

Managed to get the old car valeted for £40 and they even shampooed the seats all at 5pm on a Sunday.

Then on for tasty dinner at Louisa and Darling's and trying not to get eaten by their boisterous puppy.

Today I was in High Wycombe for work. Started losing my voice at lunch time, and felt proper sorry for myself when I got home. Tom, bless him, had a hot toddy waiting and a tasty dinner.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

NaBloPoMo 13 Hedgehogs

After a slightly uncomfortable night on the sofa, I went to cafe church with the family. Dad was leading, and it's interesting watching him adapt his leadership style for this more informal setting. We made various poppy crafts, and my favourite were the wax crayon and sugar paper poppies that unfold when we put them in water - made for a nice visual during the two minute silence. Good old capillary action. Instructions here

Then I wondered home as Tom was coming to join us for lunch, and I was on 'taking things out of the oven duty.' I took advantage of the kitchen table being clear to sit up to the table - always a win.

Our lunch was interuppted by a knock on the door, where a vague aquaintance of my mum's stood with a little hedgehog wrapped in a sweater. The might turned out to be only 300g, far too small to hibernate, so Mum got out her hedgehog cage, found some straw and cat food. It's not winter if Mum's not overwintering a hedgehog.

Meet Pedley:

Saturday, November 12, 2016

NaBloPoMo 12: Parents

I had a horrid time with my car, so I turned it around by flower arranging for Remembrance Sunday with Emma and her daughter Kendra who were excellent helpers, then going back to Westbury to celebrate with my family. Tom was on call, so we were a man down, but we had an excellent time, and I stayed up till two in the morning putting the world to rights with my mum.

NaBloPoMo 11 London again

In London for some more meetings today. Had a delightful evening. Went to dinner at Comptoir Libanaise, a Lebanese restaurant in Marylebone with my oldest friend from school and her partner. Tom came up too.

I had time to kill between work and meeting everyone, so walked round the front of Buckingham Palace and the back of St James Palace, and peered at the Christmas displays along Piccadilly and Jermyn Street.

Here are some of my favourite bits.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

NaBloPoMo 10: walking

Work was nothing to write home about today, as I was in an office all day.

In the evening, after arranging some birthday flowers for a colleague, Tom and I went for a long walk to Woolston.

It was one of those evening walks where you just have a need to walk, get fresh air, and be outside. As we marched off with no real desire to be anywhere, we realised we were headed to Woolston. I suggested a pre dinner aperitif, and Tom remembered Olaf's Tun, the micro-pub or self titled, 'craft ale he'd

So we ended up there, had some very reasonably priced beer under some way to bright lights, then walked back to a late dinner. The place had a warm welcome though.

We got back to it just before it caught on the bottom of the casserole dish. Score!

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

NaBloPoMo 9

I woke up at stupid o'clock this morning, checked my phone to see the US election results, and felt sad. We'll have to hope Mr. Trump makes good his promise to unite the nation and represent all peoples. My phone was pinging all morning with friends messaging each other their dismay.

I was driving into London today to run a session on social media for some people who work in education. Surprisingly the drive all the way up the M3 was ok, and I made good time for once. I think the session went well, and then I borrowed a hot desk in their office and managed to rip through a large chunk of my to do list.

After a less successful drive back in which I was busting for a wee, I ran in at home, used the loo, and ran out again to go for a walk. I stopped to have a look at the work the gardeners are doing on the front garden and was pleased. I think we've managed to find a half decent contractor for once, and they're making good time.

Then I went for a walk up the road to Portswood, aiming to buy flowers for a friend's birthday. I didn't manage to get any, but I picked up some Christmas presents and a few other bits. It's very helpful that shops open in the evening. I don't know when I would do my shopping if they didn't.

On the way to the shop, I noticed a billboard for a new model of Mercedes taxi. It was quite surprising to see a billboard for this in a city. I wonder how they picked their site?

Once I was back, I started tidying as Tom came home from a church do. We did some tidying together, then I paid for my new car insurance before bed. My stomach still isn't good, so I tried wearing totally unsexy support pants to bed to see if it helped. It did a bit, so I managed to get some sleep after all.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

NaBloPoMo 8 Waiting

Traffic was awful today in Southampton - I'm not sure why. It took me ages to get to the railway station.

Once I got into London, I had meetings, ran training, grabbed lunch with a new aquaintance/friend and worked some more.

There was a hug queue to get into the tube station on the way home, and I missed the ideal train home. So more waiting.

I actually managed to get a seat on the way home, so I good do some work until my laptop battery died. Had to bite my tongue to avoid giving unsolicited social media advice to two women who clearly had a new interior design company.

They were of that middle-aged, skinny, posh, blonde persuasion, all bespoke irregularly shaped business cards with pink edges, discussing vigorously about whether a company Christmas card was a good idea. I'm very much of the start with your audience, not your supposed product, school. *Sigh*

Monday, November 07, 2016

NaBloPoMo 7

Today I drove to Kent,  sat in my car for a conference call, worked damn hard but still didn't get everything done, then went to see a colleague and her baby. He was delightful, and I liked watching her be a mummy. It was so good to talk away together. I wish I could have stayed for longer. It's hard when your friends are far away.

After a long drive home, we went for dinner at Dee and Sam's. Sam had made a very tasty roast beef with all the trimmings, and they were complimentary about my chocolate chestnut roulade. They're fairly new friends of ours from church, and I'm enjoying getting to know them. We ended up staying till midnight, in that perfect whirl of we-just-don't-want-the-putting-the-world-to-rights-to-end.

I'm a bit worried about my stomach at the moment as I have had some stretchmarks appear, even though I've managed to lose some weight recently. I scared myself to sleep googling what was wrong, and I'm now convinced I've got a tumor or hernia or Cushings syndrome. If I get anymore, I'm going to go to the doctors, but I'm not convinced right now.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

NaBloPoMo 6: On my own

We waved the Belgians off at 9am-ish this morning. Tom was on call, and after his breakfast went to look at a fault, so I had the day to myself. I'd missed the earlier morning service I normally go to at church, but I decided to go to the later service. I was roped into doing some photocopying, and had a nice coffee time catching up with people from both services.

I find the later service at church hard personally. The lack of structure gets to me, and it reminds me of painful past memories with the modern music. I felt especially cheated today where we started singing a great old hymn, but only got through two verses before we went back to the more modern stuff. But overall, it was better than it has been for me at this kind of service for years, so that was positive.

It reinforced how important singing is me in my church experience. How great songs and hymns help reinforce my little faith. How much I struggle with Jesus is my boyfriend songs, especially when they're played slowly. I wish I could find a pianist to help the earliest service, as not all the good songs are on the CD we use for that service.

The rest of the day I spent running errands in town, and starting a little Christmas shopping. It's quite nice to have a day to yourself every now and again. I did a little sewing and a little housework too.

Tom came back about 8:30pm, so we had a spot of dinner together and caught up on a few TV programmes before bed.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

NaBloPoMo 5: colour

After getting up oh so gently, and joining our guests for breakfast, three of us went to run errands and buy some groceries. It was fun to watch someone else doing what I do in foreign supermarkets, stocking up on useful essentials that are hard to find at home.

They are definitely my favourite kind of guests as they had made themselves a tasty chicken soup yesterday, (and cleaned the kitchen!), so we had the start of a good lunch.

We decided to show them one of the local highlights, Mottisfont, in the afternoon. I've visited many times before, but was delighted to see some different rooms in the house that I usually miss, as well as the fabulous Autumn colour. I think my highlights were inducting our guests into the hallowed tradition of the National Trust cream tea, and the very tame robin in the walled garden.

The evening brought a dinner of fish pie and chocolate chestnut roulade, accompanied by a soundtrack of fireworks booming. Then an early night for all, the fresh air having tired us out.

Friday, November 04, 2016

NaBloPoMo 4

Today I was in my usual office for a meeting. I enjoyed all the glorious Autumn colour on the drive in. It feels like it has been a spectacular Autumn. Better than normal.

In the evening we enjoyed sharing our favourite micropub the Butcher's Hook with our visiting friends, and our favourite restaurant, Dock O the Bay.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

NaBloPoMo 3 - cake

Today I was in London for a big team meeting.

I like travelling into the capital, looking at people's back garden's.

Here's the birthday cake from today's session - we had two birthdays in the room, and my team are delicious over achievers.

We've got guests staying this weekend - friends of Dad's from France - it's lovely to chat to them comparing cultural differences and seeing Southampton through a visitors eyes.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

NaBloPoMo 2 bookcase

Today I woke up feeling pretty good. Tom and I have bought one of those Lumie alarm clock and light combos. Whilst we haven't woken up feeling full of the joys with the light, when we do get up, I don't feel quite so crap. And I definitely feel more wakey in the car on my commute, or at my desk at the office.

It was off to head office today. I enjoyed doing the rounds saying hello to everyone I know from the various teams, and got offered cake and a desk rather than having to use the hot desks which was lovely. I had one formal meeting and lots of ad hoc meetings.

I didn't get to eating lunch today as I had so much to do, so ate it in the car on the way home. Traffic was bad, and I didn't make it back in time to chat to the landscapers who are starting on Monday. Must remember to let the neighbours know.

When I did make it back, Tom had made tasty enchiladas, and Jon and Hannah joined us before dinner, before helping us remove all the books from the bookcase in the study, move the bookcase few inches to the left, before putting all the books back. All because the curtain rail and the bookcase can't be in the same bit of space. They were so helpful, and we reordered the books by genre and author name.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

NaBloPoMo 1. Mental health

I nearly forgot about this. But then I remembered and prioritized, as it's delightful having a window on my life stretching back over the years.

Today I worked from my 'home' office, the one I am officially assigned to. I worked on lots of bits of tech support and some planning for next year.

In the evening, I had dinner with Tom before he went to a church event, and I spent the evening doing bits of housework, before watching Mad Men and doing some more work as I was chasing a deadline.

Today's prompt: when you're having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do to help yourself?

My mental health can be quite varied. I've had incidences of deep depression in the past, and of racing anxiety, and of magical thinking. Sometimes I'm not aware of my irrationality, sometimes I can see it, but can't do anything to  stop it, sometimes I can shake myself out of it.

So how well I look myself in these situations depends on that self awareness. Sometimes I let myself have a day of wallowing where I don't push myself and usually sleep lots, then try and get on with things as normal the next day. Sometimes I try and talk to others to test if what I'm being anxious about is realistic. Sometimes I prioritise knitting or going for walk to try and focus on something outside of my head for a while.

Recently I've been struggling with a low level background depression where nothing seemed good and that I was good for nothing. I tried to combat this by organising lots of extra lovely things to do, and buying some new clothes that made me feel more confident.

I don't think I enjoyed all I planned as much as I might have if I'd been well mental health wise, but now that the worst has passed, I do feel like they helped me feel happier.