Category: Life and Living

Friday Feeling [18] – I’m Ju to the Di

A bit of fun for today’s Friday Feeling.

Dame Judi Dench, aged 82, Shakespearean actor, theatre performer, Oscar nominated, Academy Award winning, Queen Elizabeth playing, James Bond legend and OBE…

…rapping with Lethal Bizzle.

Dame Judi Dench and Lethal Bizzle

Yes, you read that correctly.

Words can’t do justice to how fab it it, so I implore you to watch the clip!

Go Judi!

Have a great weekend and thanks, as always, for reading. x

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5 things I say regularly when I’m driving

Great news today that, thanks to a Royal decree, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive. It’s impossible to comprehend such a level of sexism being acceptable in a modern day society, but obviously Middle Eastern countries operate differently to those in the West. It’s worth celebrating; Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women aren’t currently allowed to hold a driving licence. Who knows, it may be the start of further equality in the country (but let’s not hold our breath).

The UK government recently announced that learner drivers in England, Scotland and Wales will now be allowed on a motorway in a dual control car (i.e. with a driving instructor). Personally I’m amazed it’s taken this long for the rules to be changed. Motorway driving is quite different from normal road driving in terms of pace, speed and distances, and it seems ludicrous to me that a new driver is allowed onto such a potentially dangerous highway without any previous hands on learning or supervision.

My little sis passed her test in December last year, and bought her first car in January. She announced a few weeks back that she’d recently been on the motorway for the first time “by accident” but “it was all ok” because she “recognised all the road signs” Phew, eh?! Now, not everyone is as much of a dolly daydream as my sis (sorry Jess!) but there are people out there with little road awareness behind the wheel of a potential killing machine that puts everyone on the road at risk. Dramatic? Yes. True? Very.

5 things - the driving edition

I’m not a particularly patient driver, the fact that I’m always running slightly late means I have no patience for people who dilly dally on the roads, but I do always drive safely and with full awareness of what’s going on around me. Which is much needed because some people either a) don’t have a licence, b) have forgotten how to drive, or c) think the rules of the road don’t apply to them.

My recent experience of driving in Greece, on our day out in the Mani Peninsula, was exactly that – an experience! Apart from the fact that the steering wheel and gear stick were in the wrong place, the mountain roads coupled with the craziness of Greek drivers made for some hairy times! Greek drivers think nothing of overtaking on a bend on the edge of a cliff when a truck is coming in the opposite direction and I admit that a couple of times I just held my breath and expected the worst. The taxi driver who took us to the airport said that it’s because local people know the mountain roads so well, and know what they can and can’t get away with, but surely they don’t know what’s coming the other way?! He was also quite disparaging of drivers from other countries, so I guess we all have a higher opinion of ourselves on the road than that of other people.

Here are 5 things I can be heard saying on a regular basis!

“You’re welcome”

This is dripping with sarcasm, usually shouted at someone who has failed to acknowledge that I’ve given them right of way and let them through. Rudeness – both on the road and in everyday life – really gets my goat. There’s no need for it.

“Got no indicators?”

Often aimed at, but not restricted to, BMW drivers (sorry to generalise, but they do seem to be the worst offenders). Seriously, how difficult is it to flick the little purpose built, conveniently placed stick so that the rest of the world knows which way you’re planning to go?

“You could get a bus through there!”

People who drive a small car but think it has the dimensions of a tank. Know your vehicle and know what it is and isn’t capable of! Don’t wait for a gap the size of 3 lorries to carry on your way.

“Put your foot down, love”

People who drive below the speed limit. What is that all about? The fact you’re in a car suggests you have somewhere to be, so why not drive at the allowed limit and get there a little bit faster? There is no excuse for driving more slowly than you’re allowed to on most general roads.

“Are you fucking kidding me?”

The amount of people who drift into the wrong lane, cut you up, blast their horn when they’re in the wrong, gesticulate wildly or just act like knobheads on the road is unreal. So it makes me feel better to shout. Not at them. Just about them. It’s purely a rhetorical question for releasing anger!

Do you drive? Do you enjoy it? Do you get cross at people like I do?! I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

 

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Friday Feeling [17] – love before status

In the embodiment of the saying “love makes the world go round” a Japanese princess is giving up her royal title in order to marry the man she loves.

In Japanese tradition, if a female royal marries “a commoner” she must renounce her Royal status. Annoyingly, male royals are allowed to marry whoever they choose without having to give up their status, but that’s a rant for another day.

Such is Princess Mako’s love for her boyfriend of 5 years, that she believes it’s worth giving up the rights she was born with in order to be with him. That’s the power of love.

Princess Mako and Kei Komuro

All together now, awwwww!

Read the full story here.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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The last “first”

It’s been a year today since my Dad died. A whole 12 months. That’s a long time. A lot happens in 12 months. Things change. People change.

This is the last “first”.

We had the first week after he died, then the first month. Getting back from the first holiday without him being at the end of a phone wanting to know everything in detail. Then there was my birthday, with no phonecall from him pretending to have forgotten how old I was, the first Christmas without him, swiftly followed by what would have been he and his wife’s wedding anniversary. The first birthday in March, and his wife’s birthday in April. The husband and I moved house – a major life event that he would have been so proud of. Our first return to Stoupa, a place he loved so much but didn’t make it back to before he died due to chemotherapy.

And now, today, the first year of him not being here anymore.

Loss

It hurts. I know it will always hurt, but today I’m thrown back to that last day so vividly; the early morning phonecall from his wife telling me I needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible; the panic at the build up of traffic as I tried frantically to get there, close family around his bedside, the kindness of the nurses during the long long hours that followed. Hearing his breathing slow down and holding his hand; wanting him to stay for selfish reasons but willing him to go so he wasn’t suffering anymore. And the emptiness afterwards, when he’d breathed his last and we talked to him and cried – as much for ourselves and our massive loss, as for him.

Today is also my wedding anniversary. Rotten timing eh? I’m thankful everyday for the husband. The support he’s given me during this past year has been immense. He’s ace.

So it’s a day of smiling and sadness, all intermingled, as I think of the two most important men in my life now and always.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

 

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Friday Feeling [16] – school friends

With this week marking the start of a new term and “back to school” in the UK after the long six weeks holiday (RIP quiet roads and stress free commutes to work), I’m sure that there are kids – and parents – across the country who are worried about going back to school or starting a new school, the potential for bullying (such a problem, which is seemingly getting worse), or even just not making any friends.

Imagine then being a young immigrant from Syria, coming to the UK and starting school in Manchester; knowing no-one and not knowing what the attitude towards you will be in view of the negative press that refugees receive. Pretty stressful eh?

Praise then for 12 year old Jack, who saw new boy Rani sitting alone and invited him to join his group of friends. The boys bond over a love of sports and Jack helps Rani with his English skills proving that, despite their different upbringings and backgrounds, friendship can bridge gaps. Aw!

Jack and Rani Educating Greater Manchester

Watch Jack and Rani being interviewed on This Morning with Ruth and Eamonn.

The boys are also featured on new TV series Educating Greater Manchester, which follows teachers and students at a secondary school in Greater Manchester, aired Thursdays at 9pm on Channel 4.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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A perfect summer’s day

Hey! I’m back from my week in Greece, more on that later in another post. It was so nice to land on Sunday afternoon and be met by warm sunny weather, rather than the usual shock to the system when you’ve been in warmer climes. Even better was having an extra day off in the form of Bank Holiday Monday to soften the blow of being home, and yesterday was gorgeously warm and sunny in Birmingham. Yesterday was everything that every weekend was supposed to be in summertime, but has mainly failed miserably due to our rubbish British weather.

I had a lazy start to the day, a leisurely walk to the shops for breakfast supplies, and ate a sausage and mushroom sandwich. Then I pottered around in my garden, trimming bushes and hedges, pruning my overgrown climbing roses, watering all my plants that were thirsty after a week with no love or rain, and repotting rose bushes and french lavender to give them more space to grow.

It’s been so long since I’ve been able to spend any length of time out there because of the rain and general non-summeriness. I’ve probably not had a proper potter since the beginning of July. I was in my element; it’s exactly how I hoped to be spending my summer days. In truth I’d written off any chance of it happening as summer draws to a close (boooooo) but it was great to have a last hurrah.

Sunglasses in the garden

I’ve loved populating my green space with pretty stuff. These ornamental ladders came via a well timed trip to HomeSense, after I’d spotted similar on Pinterest.

Ornamental ladders

I’ve stacked them with pretty lanterns and solar lights from Poundland; they have such lovely garden bits and pieces.

Garden ornaments

These lightbulb shape multi-coloured solar lights were last year’s Poundland, from the Charlie Dimmock garden range (there’s also a blue and yellow one hidden from view)

Solar lightbulbs

These are my favourite garden ornaments though; Easter Island head planters from B&Q with blue grass “hair”. We call them Bert and Ernie (Bert is on the left with the emo sweepy hair and Ernie has the big forehead!)


In the evening we ate Chinese takeaway in the last of the sun and then watched the last two episodes of Game of Thrones season 7, catching up on the one we missed last week while we were away, and yesterday’s season finale. No spoilers, but I was slightly disappointed; previous seasons have led to big expectations!

How was your bank holiday?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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Friday Feeling [15] – a distraction from the horrors of real life

I could post today about the horrors in Barcelona. But what would I say? I would say that the world can be a horrible place. I would say that terrorists are evil people with a strange comprehension of what is right and wrong. I would say that I can’t imagine how the families of those innocent people caught up in a religious and political war must feel, and how they will ever put themselves back together. I would say that it’s scary how places many of us may have visited, or wanted to visit, are being targeted by these inhuman scum; that it could have been any of us caught up in another senseless tragedy.

But most of us already know those things. And saying them again doesn’t change it. We can only keep good people in our hearts and hope for better days ahead.

In the meantime, have a chortle at my favourite panda video. Because I truly believe that it’s impossible to be truly sad whilst watching pandas being…well…pandas!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Friday Feeling [14] – Cycling Without Age

It’s a sad fact that as people get older and less mobile, they’re less likely to get out and about; especially if their family isn’t around or they’ve had to move to a residential home.

Cycling Without Age – a volunteer staffed initiative based in Falkirk – aims to change that. Young, fit and healthy volunteers are taking elderly people out on 3 seater rickshaw style bicycles around the local area and countryside.

How amazing is that?

Look at their faces!

Cycling without age Falkirk

You can read more about it, including a link to the BBC 3 Amazing Humans film that was made about it here.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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5 things I discovered last week

Life’s an education, as the saying goes (unless I just made that up?) and last week was no exception! I made new discoveries, refound old discoveries and created a new and tasty drink!

  • Aidan Gillan who plays Littlefinger in Game of Thrones was also in Queer as Folk (I used to love that show…)
  • Cherry lambrini adds a whole new dimension to Pimms (don’t judge me, this was the result of a Good Housekeeping article although they suggested cherry juice rather than alcoholic cherry wine, but still)
  • My stripy jeans still fit me, and are perfectly acceptable work attire (benefits of a casual office)
  • The Bob Marley song “Don’t Worry” is actually called 3 Little Birds (this one blew my mind a little)

Bob Marley 3 Little Birds quote

  • The Money Pit still makes me laugh like a drain, especially this scene – Tom Hanks does comedy so brilliantly!

Tom Hanks The Money Pit

What did you discover or rediscover recently?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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Friday Feeling [13] – your new confidence icon

We all have a crisis of confidence sometimes; especially in the age of social media where we’re bombarded with perfect pouts and perfect outfits and perfect people ALL. THE. TIME. And we all wonder sometimes whether our outfit might need a little bit more pizazz to make it more interesting, or if it needs toning down a little bit so it’s not quite so OTT.

Enter Baddie Winkle – an 88 year lover of clothes who doesn’t care if she’s overdressed or undressed. She’s everything I want to be when I’m 88 (hell, she’s everything I want to be at 39!) – bold, bright, and sassy AF.

Baddie Winkle

If you feel your insta feed would benefit from a bit of Baddie’s inimitable style, you can follow her here – along with her other 3.1 million fans!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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