Autumn 2019 - Cold and Flu Season

It's head-cold and mild flu season in our house at the moment. Luckily, before I succumbed to the warm whisky with honey and lemon to chase my head cold away, we'd managed plenty of other things, and I must give a shout out to the local pharmacy's own-brand 3-in-1 head cold medication, which treats the symptoms including a chesty cough, stuffy nose, aches and pains and a delightful inability to control your own body temperature. Alas, it also contains caffeine, so it doesn't aid sleep and a couple of sleepless nights at its peak matched my Rudolph-esque nose to tell anyone who met me that I had plague for a few days! I seem to be past the worst of it now though, and we've managed to do a few more fun things, although a couple of lazy days at weekends have been extremely enjoyable.

We did finally make it to the Museum of the Moon Exhibition, which we missed in Liverpool last year, but caught up with, in Warrington this week.

I was able to attend the opening event of the Smithdown Lit Fest in Liverpool at Ullett Road Unitarian Church, where author Ashley Dyer was in conversation with Ann Cleeves (who writes both the Vera and Shetland series'). I went with Mum, and we managed to get a seat right near the front, just behind the minister, who was friendly, knowledgeable and very welcoming (he was also serving drinks at the signing afterwards).

As well as a signed copy of Ann Cleeves newest book, The Long Call, which is the first in her new Two Rivers series, I also managed to get a signed copy of Ashley Dyer's, Splinter in the Blood too. It was a hugely enjoyable evening, and I'm looking forward to more events both at the festival and also at the church, which makes a spectacular venue!

I've also finished re-reading Tooth & Nail by Ian Rankin, it's the third Rebus novel, and it's set in London, which was apt, as I have had to travel to London for work! I'd forgotten how fast-paced the end was, I was reading it over breakfast at my hotel when my taxi arrived mid-way through a chase through the National Portrait Gallery I'd walked past the day before and I was unreasonably cross. Luckily, managed not to let on to the taxi driver - after all, he wasn't to know! I did manage to finish it over lunch though before I, like Rebus, caught the train back up north.

We made it to the cinema to see the Downton Abbey film, hopefully not a spoiler, but there is a plumber in the film, who is played by the actor who plays Sgt Harrison Burns in the Archers! He is not remotely how I pictured him when I listen. Little Bit didn't fancy going, so we dropped her with my Dad and took Mum to the cinema with us. Beloved didn't like the look of any of the trailers, but Mum and I were nodding and saying "ooh, that looks good", she may have to invest in a Cineworld pass so she can come with me to all the films Beloved doesn't fancy!

I also started watching Good Girls on Netflix after it was recommended at work. I'm enjoying so far, but not had much time to watch recently!

I made baklava! I used the recipe from 200 is Plenty Sweet, which is a staggering 105 calories... for all 16 pieces! I know. Now, mine didn't turn out so well as the ones on Elif's Instagram account, but I really enjoyed them! I am intending to have another try at making them, but probably in a couple of weeks when I have less travelling to do for work. The rest of the food I've been making has been lazy comfort food!

We celebrated our Wedding Anniversary with dinner out and an Afternoon tea the next day. We went for the Rustic Afternoon Tea at the Dormouse Tearooms in Daresbury, which comes with a little more savoury, including quiche and pork pie - it's really good value and there was more food than we could eat, but it was wonderful!

And I made a hollandaise sauce from scratch! We had a lazy brunch at home, and our go-to brunch food is Eggs Royale, like Eggs Benedict, but with smoked salmon instead of bacon or ham. We toasted muffins, and served them with a little cream cheese, some avocado, wilted spinach, smoked salmon, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, then topped with pomegranate seeds and sliced fig. 4 of my 5-a-day in one meal!

And, no pictures, but we made a lemon meringue pie... well, we had all those egg whites leftover from making the hollandaise. LittleBit helped by making the shortcrust pastry, using her newfound "rubbing" skills, having made a crumble at school (and very nice that was too, scones next week!) Whilst I made the lemon filling and the meringue - my piping skills leave a lot to be desired!

We got to see the Museum of the Moon installation whilst it is on tour in Warrington too. It's a 7m inflatable replica of the moon, the scale (according to the board by the entrance) is approximately 1cm on the blow-up version, to 5km on the moon itself!

There was quite a lot going on outside including lights, music (some interactive) and food stalls, but we'd already had tea, and a very long week (LittleBit had been on her first High School Residential and was absolutely wiped out) so we headed home where some of us fell asleep watching The Bake Off on Catch Up.

As I mentioned earlier, I had to travel to London for work a couple of times. I have an aversion to escalators, particularly the downwards ones, after a fall when I was about 7, as a result, the Underground is best avoided, apart from those stations I can guarantee stairs at (Paddington, Waterloo and one I can't remember the name of near to the office of a company I don't work at anymore, are the ones I remember - well, sort of). So, I usually either spend a lot of time trying to work out tortuous bus routes, spend far too much on taxis, or, if I have time and it's not raining old women and sticks, I walk.

During my last two visits to London, I have walked from Charing Cross to Euston, through Trafalgar Square, past China Town and the Palace Theatre (sadly not enough time to go in and see the show), and finally up Tottenham Court Road with all those shops and restaurants - one of which, a bookshop was advertising a visit from Margaret Atwood for her newest book, if it had been the same day, I'd have rebooked my train home!

And on the most recent trip, I walked from Euston to Paddington with a detour through Regents Park in the morning, before cutting up Baker St (again, no time to stop) to get back onto the right route. Took about 20 minutes longer than it should have done because I kept stopping to take pictures and watch the squirrels.

221B Baker St - it's even at Sherlock's address!

Apart from all the food, I've been crocheting again. Not finished anything yet, but working on a sort of shawl/scarf thing, I saw a picture online, but when I clicked on the link it wouldn't take me to a pattern page, or a page I could buy one from, although it did try to sell me lots of other things, so I screengrabbed the picture and I'm having a whirl at winging it. This may end badly, and I think my yarn choice may leave a lot to be desired, however, so far, it's looking alright - if you ignore the sides, which will be hidden in the finished object. Think I've got them straightened out from this point on.

I also made a mini, table-top bookcase. I ordered it online and it came in pieces with the most random and not entirely complete instructions, but it did come with a screw driver. And I managed it, all by myself. Probably shouldn't be quite as proud of putting together a basic bit of flat-pack, but I am.
At full stretch, it's wider than my side table, but, it is keeping my books neat and it'll stop me spreading it fully out. It's made of bamboo and it feels quite sturdy considering I built it!

and finally, LittleBit pranked us! We were running late one morning, and hadn't heard her alarm. We thought she was still in bed, and went in to wake her up to find this... 

Which on closer inspection was her styling head and some throw cushions! She was up, washed, dressed and downstairs having already eaten breakfast and giggling to herself! It's much funnier in hindsight than it was at the time, although maybe not for her, she thought it was hilarious there and then!

I wasn't expecting this sort of behaviour until she was a teenager! What's the best prank your kids have pulled on you?


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