Marching towards the Sunshine

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I REALLY want to believe that there is far more good than bad in this world, though ‘ll be honest I’m find it hard.  After all; bad news sells, everyone loves a scandal, the pantomime baddie gets all the best reviews, you know the drill.  Still, I for one love a feel good story, a random act of kindness and they’re all over Facebook and Twitter right now,  which is heart-warming to see.

IMG_6969  IMG_6979IMG_6980 Arch, Scarlett and I performed our own ‘Happiness Mission’ last month when I heard of an old friend’s daughter who was very ill in hospital, and so decided to pay her a visit with a bag of goodies to cheer her up.  Just days after her 9th birthday she’d been transferred over to the LGI for surgery, as an emergency case, and we found ourselves back on Ward 42 – though this time in a visiting capacity.  Archie was particularly excited to see so many familiar faces (although I made it clear we weren’t stopping!) and imagine his surprise when he found a very pretty albeit  poorly little girl in his bed.  I’m thrilled to say that the patient is now back home and doing well and hope that  our cheery visit and bag of tricks might have played just a little part in her recovery.

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This month, just as I learn to manage my pain better, I’ve had a tooth extraction (my first ever and I hope to goodness never to be repeated) and a cancer scare (all a bit sudden – but just yesterdayI had confirmation that it’s NOT – phew!), and only one trip to A&E with my soldier (AND he was seen in double-quick time as he was oozing his insides)…. See, I can always find a silver lining!  I’ve cried at more than one soap (happy and sad tears – I’m an emotional wreck of late – damn hormones),  I’ve enjoyed a few glasses of fizz (both celebratory and medicinal, but have given up counting) and found myself wearing a particularly bright red lippy (the jury is still out on that one)!  One of the lowest points of the month was getting a crumb or something equally annoying stuck beneath my space bar.  I’ve never used my hoover attachment with quite such dedication or force, but with so little success. *sniff*  It is still driving me truly BONKERS – touch-typing IS A NIGHTMARE with a defunct space bar!!  One of the many excuses for my tardiness – but that’s my lot.

I shouldn’t complain.  I’ve heard woeful tales of friends battling much bigger demons of late and my heart goes out to each and every one of them.  I can only apologise for my ignorance.  Sometimes, too busy cocooned in my own little drama, I unintentionally lose sight of those around me.  So, in the throws of the school Easter hols when tempers are often frayed, and glasses of wine regularly ‘super-sized,’ I urge you to think of those around you, as I am.   It’s amazing what can be hidden behind a smile.  Don’t be too quick to judge.

In the meantime, let me skip you through the things in March that have tickled my taste buds, put a spring in my step and a smile on my face… and that includes the first few days of sunshine this year which have given me some much-needed solar-power!

 

MUNCHY SEEDS

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I discovered these delicious new (or at least to me) snacks on a trip to London recently. I’d not heard of ‘Munchy Seeds’ until now, but  have fast become a fan.  The business plan stems from a New Zealand sheep-farming family, with 4 children who were very much encouraged to munch on seeds instead of putting their hands inside the sweetie jar.  As a relatively health-conscious mother myself I can totally see their appeal.  They’re a wonderful balance of health and naughtiness with the vital nutrients that seeds contain and perfectly hit the spot when I need something to tide me over.  I’ve been particularly drawn to the sweet ones, (although I can recommend the Chilli Bites with a good glass of wine) and sweet or savoury – the flavours are equally moreish.  

 The ‘Choccy Ginger’ beauties are  my particular downfall.  A proper little packet of heaven I assure you.  They’re ridiculously tasty enrobed in a really good dark chocolate, and, whilst there’s an element of yin and yang, I’d take these dangerously tempting morsels over a regular chocolate bar any day.  IMG_6743 (2)

They do tubs too, and, whilst, by my own admission, I’ve never been brilliant at sharing, or holding back for that matter, (at least where snacking is concerned), the tubs are particularly useful.  Great to keep in the car or a travel bag.  Or if you snaffle them all – just shrug it off as ‘seeds’ – it’s all good!

I’ve even managed admirably eating/chewing on just one side.  Where there’s a will and all that!

 

THE MERITS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Now, I’m averaging about 2.5hrs sleep a night at the minute .. and, when I do, with my jaw purposely open ajar, there’s a lovely wet patch of dribble when I awake from my slumber. – Who said middle age was meant to be attractive!!  Anyway, my lack of sleep has seen me catch up with a whole host of friends this month, normally at silly o’clock.  On a typical Friday night/Saturday morning I’ve; seen in several inebriated pals – had some very bizarre conversations, witnessed a break up and a birth …. so there’s something to be said for being awake and responsive at 2.30 am!  Massive CONGRATULATIONS on the later- as I know the new Mummy normally reads my blog (not that she’ll have much time right now!).  I can’t believe that I haven’t been around to wet your little man’s head yet – but I will … just as soon as life permits.  I can’t wait to meet him and congratulate you all.

 

TOP TUNES

I love the aptness of music and as I thrummed the steering wheel of my bus in angst on the way to the LGI this month Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDK9QqIzhwk  played on the radio and I couldn’t help thinking how appropriate it is for Arch and me!  I cranked up the stereo and sang it from start to finish with Archie bobbing about(completely oblivious to the real drama he had the starring role in) in my rear view mirror!

My song of the month is Charlie Puth; Only One Call Away!  I’ve heard it a squillion times on the radio and it always makes me smile in a melancholy way.  That too was playing when I was driving my gorgeous soldier to A&E and I think this song totally sums up our relationship.  It reduces me to tears whenever I hear it, I love the lyrics, the tune, oh his voice is stunning and it’s totally ‘singalongable!’  I’ve only just seen the YouTube video and he’s a seriously cute geek  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxuY9FET9Y4  Makes me want to be back at school eyeing up the boys and wearing lycra … obv!!

 

GREASE

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Sticking with the musical them, I must mention our family trip to the theatre at the beginning of the month.  It might have been at a lesser known theatre (Lawrence Batley, Huddersfield), and an amateur production.  but Grease was most definitely the word.   We knew one of the leading actresses, Alex Goodhall-Munroe (not the Alex Munroe of stunning jewellery fame – though those two should TOTALLY get together)… ‘Our Alex’ used to be one of Archie’s Angels and headed up the cast together with her talented sister Isabelle, a fellow blogger,  found at http://www.isabellekategm.co.uk/ Isabelle Kate

Alex is a dancer/actress/sensational singer.  A very well-cast Rizzo.  Alex Rizzo

When she sang ‘There Are Worse Things’ … I broke out in goose bumps.  Having been in the industry myself, I’m a harsh critic (read that as Simon Cowell-esque) and, whilst not one to offend and I would have smiled sweetly even if Alex hadn’t blown me away, – but WOW, she was note perfect.  I wish it was more provincial shows like this that had talent scouts for major West End or Broadway shows in the audience.  This gal has stage presence and is one to watch.  I know Alex wants to follow her dreams and, if her performance that night was anything to go by then SHE MUST!

 

LITTLE SPOON

I have a new girl crush.. Reese Witherspoon (Little Spoon) is just SO gorgeous and her LA home is fabulous … As I embark on a major house overhaul (oh where do I start) I look at her wonderous surroundings and dream.  My humble abode and MAJOR budget have such restrictions.  We’ve still to find £squillions to continue to adapt the house to fit our family’s needs now that Archie’s medical care is ramped up.  I absolutely love her decor (which I  might struggle to pair down for a Leeds suburb – mind) and I seriously want a sunken trampoline!  Almost as much as Scarlett does after our sunny Easter Monday in Robert’s Park, Saltaire!

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Take a look at the Witherspoon-Toth residence here.  http://www.vogue.com/13419190/reese-witherspoon-birthday-home-tour-shop-the-look/?mbid=nl_032216_Daily&CNDID=38777461&spMailingID=12790257&spUserID=MTIwODMxNjU0OTE2S0&spJobID=703593629&spReportId=NzAzNTkzNjI5S0

Funnily enough Scarlett and I caught the end of Legally Blonde last month and we both thoroughly enjoyed it!

In short, Reese is stunning, has great taste, is a fab actress, has 2 dogs (if she’s a dog-lover she simply has to be a good person) and she loves bees … what’s not to love!

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INDEPENDENT WOMEN

I’m proud of my regular girl crushes and that I still plenty of impressive female role models to hold a torch to.  I hope I myself prove to be one one day.

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My lovely and talented girlfriend Ann Marie and I had the opportunity to attend he International Women’s Day event at Harrogate Conference Centre hosted by  the lovely Christa Ackroyd (an old friend of my Mum’s) and we were weren’t disappointed.  It was a very full day of networking, inspirational speeches, and making friends,  fuelled only on Harrogate Spring Water, nervous energy and a pocketful of business cards!  We came away with stacks of contacts, business proposals and very sore feet!

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Of all the wonderful and very humbling speakers I personally saw on the day, I was particularly struck by the gentle, but powerful, and incredibly inspirational talk given by endurance athlete Ness Knight.  For such a pretty and diminutive young thing- she packs a real punch and most definitely takes ‘can’t’ out of the equation.

 

CELEBRATIONS

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Mother’s Day this year wasn’t easy – but my children were the sweetest and most supportive they could possibly have been.  For me it was all about the thought and the effort, rather than the expensive or grand gestures, and the homemade gifts and cards and not forgetting breakfast in bed (with beautifully written menu) were absolutely priceless.  My Mum would have been hugely proud of her grandchildren’s best creative efforts, as was I.  I couldn’t be more proud of my brood. xxx

 

As we celebrate the merits of reading on World Book Day when I ushered my very own Big (but not necessarily so) Bad Wolf and TinTin

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I can highly recommend the three fabulous books of the five I read this month, all quite different but with equal ranks of brilliance; 

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  each has their own merits and I’d say grab yourself a brew and read one.  Without too many spoilers take a look at my reviews and decide which one to tackle first.

The Mill Girls of Albion Lane http://bit.ly/1TS7vXI

Wickham Ham http://bit.ly/1Qrgr02  and

The Living http://bit.ly/1S30KMH

 

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Easter has been a funny one year – indeed my children are still in the throws of their Easter Holiday – despite the bank holiday break being a distant memory.  As a special treat I took the children into Leeds to Hotel Chocolat and to meet Beau Bunny.   A delicious and fun Easter treat.

 

GOT THE DECORATORS IN!

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So the tail end of March, and for the forseeable, will be all about trying to update my home and make it more pleasing and live-in-able!  De-cluttering, re-decorating and generally jujjing up for the first time in years!  Massive thanks to my lovely gaybours for their very generous donation of a paint voucher they won and the equally lovely team at Turner & Wood who have not only honoured the voucher, despite me having had to sit on it for some time, through illnesses, upheavals, loss and hospital time which pretty much plagued my life last year!   Here’s to a lick of fresh paint in all areas of my life from now on.  I have to say I am particularly fond of the wonderful Farrow & Ball range and Stony Ground is just perfect for the feature wall in my kitchen!

 

CROWNE PLAZA LEEDS

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Speaking of re-vamps, I had the pleasure of being invited to the relaunch of the Crowne Plaza Leeds, after it’s incredible £1m refurbishments and electrical overhaul following the horrific Boxing Day flooding.  It was hosted in style, with a welcoming speech by Marco Frik, General Manager, who explained a loss of £1.2m in revenue as a result of the aftermath,during it’s 9-week closure to carry out essential works.   The hotel is certainly looking resplendent now and, celebrating with bubbles and a delicious fayre of the finest foods, I’m hoping business contacts have been very much reignited.  It was great to see such an impressive turn-around, to speak to the management team and to rub shoulders with Louis O’Reilly the lovely Irish Doorman that I remembered from ‘back in the day.’  My gorgeous date Lady Rach, and I, found ourselves specials of the day, teeheehee …  of course we had to be!

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I loved the new running station in the hotel foyer – a perfect example of bringing the hotel up to speed.  A Map highlighted different running circuits in and around the city together with healthy refreshments. For me, there were strong hints of Nike and the Mel Gibson/Helen Hunt film What Women Want.  Massive well done to the team at Crowne Plaza Leeds on an impressive rebirth.

Is it me or do my days/weeks/months get ever fuller?????

OK … away we go into April already … and this red lippy’s fooling no one! xx

 

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