Monday, 22 February 2016

Travelling or going on holiday?

I'm excited, Again. Tomorrow morning Lovejoy and I fly to Mexico for two weeks. Oh yeah. However, according to some this is not travelling this is going on holiday. Is there a difference? Do I need to be away for months at a time with just a backpack to be classed as travelling? ? I don't know and I don't care. I have always wanted to go to Mexico. Also yes we are going all inclusive, aargh no I hear you cry. Will it be Benidorm in the Caribbean ? I don't care. I have never been all inclusive and I have never been to Mexico and I am not a travelling snob. It's all a new experience to me and I'm going to embrace it. Whoop Whoop.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

My Lovejoy and the three Dudes

My Lovejoy
Many years ago before I knew him and before he became a responsible citizen working in the criminal justice system my husband was an antiques dealer. These were what I always refer to as his Lovejoy years. For those of you who don't know Lovejoy was an antiques dealer played by Ian McShane in the BBC comedy-crime-drama of the same name. During his escapades within the antiques trade Lovejoy also had great success as an amateur detective helping the local police solve crimes. Great fun.

Anyway due to my Lovejoy's past experience in the antiques environment part of our retirement plan includes a little buying and selling. With this in mind a few weeks ago we decided to set off on our own antiques road trip with a view to coming home with a haul of exciting stuff we could sell on at a profit. Whilst undertaking this venture we also thought we would kill two or three birds with one stone and visit our mother's and some friends en route.

The trip didn't quite work out as planned. First port of call was Lincoln where Lovejoy's mother and brother live. We perused a few auction room's where Lovejoy poked around with great enthusiasm and I stood around freezing wondering when we could go to the pub for a nice lunch. I'd done my research and watched numerous episodes of antiques road trip, flog it and bargain hunt and this was not my idea of an antiques centre. Lovejoy told me to get a grip as this would be where the bargains were to be found. However, clearly not because we came out empty handed.

We then went to York, on the way up to Newcastle and North Tyneside where we stayed a couple of nights with friends. During this leg we visited Tynemouth Station Market, (this deserves it's own post at some point). This is more like it I thought, lots of fab stalls with a huge array of products alongside specialists in antiques, crafts, collectables and jewellery. However, most of the time we were too busy chatting and enjoying ourselves that again we came away empty handed.

The final stop was Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent where my mum lives. During this leg we decided to visit Nantwich a lovely ancient town dating back to Roman times. The town is full of Elizabethan buildings due to Elizabeth 1st rebuilding the town following a fire.  Wandering around we came across a quirky little antique shop down a side street and found the three Dudes.

These fellows were hiding on a window sill up a near vertical rickety flight of stairs and needed climbing gear to access them. Now these would not be everyone's cup of tea and although not antiques and with no knowledge of age or history Lovejoy was keen and I was excited that we were actually going to buy something so in a flash they were ours for £18.

I also bought this small Doultan vase because it was pretty and I liked it and as a girl born and bred in the potteries I just couldn't resist.

Lovejoy the TV character had a reputation as a "divvie" within the antiques trade a person with almost supernatural powers for recognising exceptional items as well as distinguishing genuine antiques from clever fakes or forgeries. Lets hope my Lovejoy turns out to be a divvie, time will tell.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Is it 5, 7 or 10 ?

Today's lunch ( I fancied some chocolate and a glass of wine)
I have always been a fruit and veg kinda gal but even I had difficulty in consuming the recommended daily amount of 10 portions that experts now suggest is the optimum amount to significantly lower the risk of premature death.

That is until I acquired a Nutri Bullet. I love this piece of equipment. It's small, powerful and leaves nothing unblended meaning I'm consuming everything I put in it. It's also easy to clean which means I'm much more likely to carry on using it.

Apparantly veg is 4 times healthier than fruit and the protective effect increases with higher consumption. The message is that humans are deigned to be Omnivorous: a handful of nuts, seeds, fruit/veg and the occasional antelope. So with that in mind I have one of these most days for lunch and I have the antelope for dinner over the course of the week lol.

Don't get me wrong I love chocolate, desserts and wine but I figure increasing my intake of fruit and veg is no bad thing.

Green Smoothie ingredients

Spinach/Kale/Broccoli...  depending on what I have in or a mix to get more veg lol
Banana/Avocado... again depending on what I have not both though otherwise it will be too thick
seeds, nuts
coconut water/water
1tsp Matcha or wheatgrass powder

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Breaking Bad and Baking Bread

I don't know if it's because I'm no longer working or the constant questioning from some regarding what I'm doing with myself in retirement but over the last few months I have found myself reflecting much more critically on my creative output. I find thoughts along the lines of... what have you done today? what have you done this week/month etc invading my thinking.

I have been especially hard on myself during January with an induced sense of panic and anxiety that I'm wasting time.  After pondering this extensively I realised that I'm not quite the lost cause I thought I was as it just depends how I  view my activities. I realised I have achieved much more than I was aware of, for instance blogging. When I was at work blogging was just a desire now I am actually managing to get to grips with it and  post something reasonably regularly. Also I have been honing my bread making skills by baking all of our bread. According to my family my bread is much improved.

My biggest achievement this month however is watching all seasons of Breaking Bad lol. I'm not going to write anything about Breaking Bad because I'm sure all of you know it well and if you don't and you're interested you can have a look. Suffice to say after refusing to watch it for ages because I didn't think it was my thing ( I need to keep more of an open mind I think) I finally relented and after the first episode I was hooked. Now I feel bereft at coming to the end and need to find something else to get my teeth into when its dark, cold and windy outside.

I do have a few other achievements during January however the most significant is the realisation that it doesn't really matter what I do or don't do with my time as long as I feel happy and contented. I so do.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The planning has begun

Today we had our appointment at STA travel and Sarah the young girl who saw us was brilliant very knowledgable and enthusiastic with a wealth of experience for one so young. She was also very patient and put our minds at rest that STA were not just geared around students and backpackers but were dedicated to helping all travellers whatever their age to plan their own personal adventure tailored to their own particular circumstances.

It's too early at the moment to book any flights as the RTW combination of routes are not released until March also we need to do lots more research into where and what we want to include, we did however leave with lots of brochures and information and a definite idea as to the first leg.

We will be popping back every 3-4 months to see family as I know I will miss children and grandkids and we both have aged mothers who although both pretty active with no ill health are obviously not getting any younger. The first leg will take in Australia, New Zealand, some of the South Pacific Islands and Indonesia. As I said I am beyond excited however this is not until 2017 and there is a whole lot of year to enjoy before then.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Round The World in God Knows How Many Days

The World is my Oyster
I'm excited. Tomorrow we have an appointment with someone at STA  travel in Reading to discuss our RTW trip. Apparently STA have over 35 years of experience in helping plan RTW trips. Mind you the girl on the phone sounded very young I hope she won't be expecting a couple of backpackers. One of the reasons for taking early retirement include lots of traveling while we still have the energy and inclination to do so. Taking an extended trip for maybe a couple of months to visit Australia New Zealand Vietnam and Cambodia was top of the list. We have now decided to take the plunge and do a RTW trip in 2017 so we need lots of help and advice although we do have a pretty good idea of where we want to go and what we want to see. One of the main decisions will be whether we rent our house out or whether we can afford to do it without taking this step. As I said I am beyond excited, however, I am mindful of finances and unless I win the lottery there is going to be a lot of saving and less general spending to fund this trip. Trips and holidays have always been very important to me so I have always had the mindset of less stuff equals more travelling etc.