Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

1 May 2019

Celebrating The Quiet Ones

Six years ago, practically to the day, I wrote about the shiny people that pass through your life.

You know the kind of people I mean.  The ones that shine so bright in your eyes that they seem to attract the sun itself.  They sparkle (in a non Twilight vampire kind of way). They are the ones who flit around, directly their "in favour spotlight" on person after person, who each falls in love with their shine, only to then be left in the cold.

You can spend years without realising with these people in your circles, having once or twice experienced that glow and (most of the time unconsciously) seeking it out again at all costs, like an addict craves heroine. 

They are the human equivalent of Fool's Gold.  They do not provide you with real love or friendship other than what they want to offer.

I have had two of those shiny kind of people in my life, one of whom broke my heart and inspired my original blog post.  Looking back in retrospect, I broke my own heart.  He was never mine and he never loved me.  He loved my love for him.  I wasted far too many years pining for something that didn't exist.

Today however, I want to talk about the quiet people in your life.  

You do not  have to have the loudest voice or the biggest personality to have a major impact on someone's life.  Sometimes it is the quiet, unassuming people that are a constant in your life that you will always carry in your heart.

Four years ago today, we lost my wonderful step dad.  He was more than I could ever have hoped for.

When I lost my own dad at eight, I knew that no one could ever replace him.  When my mum married a year later to this nice man with the kind eyes who seemed to adore my mum, I was still understandably wary.

Yet he never tried to be my dad.  He just immediately and forever treated me like his own daughter.  He was a quiet man with not too much to say.  He was laid back, so much so we used to joke he should have wheels on his head.

He would have done anything for me and I knew that I could always count on him.  I never called him dad.  He understood why.  But I loved him like he was.  He was my H and I knew he would have stepped in front of a truck for me. 

What I remind myself of constantly now is to remember the people that stay with you.  They quietly walk by your side and stand by you.  They are the most important people that will be in your life, when all the glitter and sparkle is put aside.

We must always remember not to take advantage of their good nature, and take the time to thank them.

Thank you H.  You meant the world to me.

25 January 2018

How do our eating habits differ by region?*

It is safe to say that Britain is a nation of foodies.  66% of UK adults describe themselves as passionate about food and drink with  50% saying that they are passionate about home cooking.
Us Brits spend a small fortune on food – a combination of takeaways and restaurants or luxury food from the supermarkets. On restaurant bills alone, the average Brit spends about £44 per week. But what does our money get spent on? Designers of bespoke kitchens in Sussex, Harvey Jones, have taken  a look at the UK’s eating habits by region.

Takeaway lovers

According to a survey by Payment Sense, the average Brit spends around £9.75 on eating out or takeaways for themselves at least once a month. Annually, this works out at £117 per person.  Only once a month isn't that bad though is it?
Although Bristol is named as the Takeaway Capital of the UK with approximately 279 takeaway restaurants, it is Leeds that appears to be the greatest lover of the takeaways. with 77% of Leeds folk admitting to having at least one takeaway a month.
This love of ordering-in isn’t reflected across the whole Yorkshire region however. Just 25 miles away, only 25% of people in York regularly dine on takeaways.
The Chinese cuisine is a favourite across the whole country. Only 3 out of the 30 cities questioned didn’t crown Chinese as their favourite takeaway – and of all individual respondents asked, 35% voted Chinese as their favourite.
Indian comes a close second with 24% of the votes – and Indian stole the crown as the number one favourite in Aberystwyth, Coventry and Wolverhampton.

Eating out

Although I suspect this figure comes more from the larger cities, apparently the average Brit can spend around £288,000 in their lifetime eating out at restaurants.   I find this figure hard to believe.
Whilst Millennials are expected to eat out more than any other demographic, the average Brit now eats out twice a week with pub grub stealing the title as their favourite option. 18-29 year olds spend double the amount of other demographics on eating out – with an average spend of £88 per week; possible perhaps if you include drinks!
London is the city of eating out according to The Chronicle, with the capital consuming the most Indian, Chinese, Thai, fish and chips and pizza meals at restaurants than any other city. 
Birmingham is also known as the Curry Capital with 43% of residents claiming curry restaurants are their favourite, and 34% of Londoners seem to agree. Glasgow prefers authentic Spanish tapas (14%), while 14% of Edinburgh folk love Sushi.
Pub grub is one of the most popular choices in the UK – and Liverpudlians couldn’t agree more; 49% would choose traditional pub food.

Home cooking

With busy work schedules and family life, dinner time at home has become far less formal and structured than in previous decades. Sitting down around the table for dinner every night has become an impracticable practice. In 2017, just over 20% of British families said they sat down to dinner together once or twice a week, and one in five have their ‘family meals’ whilst sitting in front of the television. 
According to Statista, 64% of people enjoy cooking, whilst 55% describe cooking as something they have to do but don’t. There has also been a 10% increase in the number of people preparing meals from scratch at least once a week from 2005. But which regions are most likely to cook homecooked meals?
Judging by how much London, the South West and Northern Ireland eat out, we can assume that they are the regions that are least likely to stay home and cook meals. However, Scotland, Wales, the North West and North East were the regions that appeared to eat out the least, leading us to the assumption that they are more likely to stay home and prepare home-cooked meals more often.
The kitchen, for many, has become the heart of the home meaning we now tend to spend more time there. Now that open-plan living is on the rise, cooking a meal doesn’t have to be a lonely task; you can prepare a family meal in your kitchen whilst spending time with the family. Or entertaining friends.

*Collaborative piece

23 February 2017

Safety Tips for the Elderly At Home

Following on from my post last year about safety tips for the elderly in winter last year, today I wanted to talk about how the elderly can be safer in their homes, particularly when living alone.

This is a subject that I often ponder; particularly as I have a 76 year old mother myself who is thankfully mobile, independent and very capable of looking after herself.  But this is not always the case, particularly when people get to 80 and above and are living alone.

There are many things that can be done for an elderly family member to live safely on their own by just making some small changes to their home, and by putting routines in place that can keep them independent and not feeling reliant on their family.  This can mean so much as many elderly people would do anything to avoid being a burden.

Safety Proof Your Home
Six out of ten falls occur in the home.  Our home is our safe space and we rarely think about the dangers of falling.  Ensure that all floor surfaces are non slip, perhaps putting matting in strategic places if you do not want to go to the expense of changing your flooring (but tape them down so that they are secure).  Any wiring should be tired away and keep away from the floor surface.

One hazardous area for falls, particularly when you are elderly is the bathroom.  One idea would be to put safety bars in next to the toilet and the shower.  Many homes have a bath which is precarious to get out of at the best of times, let alone when you are elderly, perhaps unsure on your feet and have the challenge of climbing out of a bath.

How about looking at a wet room cost?  Having a one level room with perhaps a seat in the shower could be invaluable.

Share Your Keys
When my mum is home alone, she always locks the door to the house, which is important for security.  But if your relative is living alone and has a fall, it is imperative that you and the emergency services if needed can gain access.  I would recommend giving a copy of the house key to at least three people as many have busy lives and do not always have access to their phone at the right time.  An alternative would be to have a lock box outside of your door, with your family and your local doctor being given the code.

Check in with People
As I have said earlier in this post, the last thing that elderly people want to be is a burden.  But a simple call from a relative each day, even to just say hello is so beneficial; particularly if they worry about calling you as they don't want to bother you.

Interaction with fellow neighbours is also important and can be a great mutual support system.  We  have a neighbour who needs a little extra help and I know that the visits my mum pays her make all the difference.  

Create an "All Weather" Kit
As we all know, we can never rely on the weather in the UK.  One day it is sunny, the next we could have four inches of snow.  A good idea in the winter months would be to stock up on tins, make sure that there is a working flashlight and that medication is kept in good stock.

Many elderly people have to take a plethora of pills every day.  A list kept in the kitchen or somewhere easily accessible of all medication that they are taking is important to ensure that they do not run out and thereby preventing any emergency trips to the pharmacy.

I hope that these tips and ideas have been helpful.  Our elderly relatives are often though that have looked after us throughout our childhoods and these small tips and ideas can go a long way in ensuring that they can maintain a happy, safe and independent life in their twilight years.

*Collaborative post

30 December 2016

Happy New Year!

I am writing this blog to you sat in my room in a house in Kendal with the same friends that I go on holiday with each New Year.

Times change, the world turns, lives move in different directions but in the end, we all remain the same to each other.  Friends that have stood the test of time.  We are all different in many ways, but the bond we have holds us together and I hope always will.

I am never more myself than I am with these people.  This time together at New Year is like a long slow exhale, my shoulders relax to a point where I realise how tense they were before; I am silly and happy.

We all revert to the same college years mentality, despite never actually all going to school together.  Sharing a meal, arguing about what film we want to watch next, throwing death stars at each other after one too many beers.

Death stars by the way is a game we came up with during our New Year break a couple of years ago.  Freezing the chocolates of the Quality Street box that you don't like and then throwing them at each other.  Like I said, reverting to college years mentality.

These people accept me for who I am.  They do not want to change me nor want me to change.  

Every year we hear so much about New Years resolutions.  They all revolve around changing yourself in some way.  Whether it be stopping smoking or losing weight; changing our character and resolving to be "a better you".  What is a better you exactly?  What is wrong with the way you are now?

There is nothing wrong with making these resolutions but it is important that you are wanting to make these changes for the right reasons.  Are you happy in yourself or it is society or those around you that think that these changes need to be made?

Changes have to be made when you are ready to make them, should they need to be made in the first place.  I plan to stop smoking next year.  This is not a New Year resolution.  It is plan that I intend to implement at a point that I am ready to do so.  

There is nothing like the pressure of feeling like you have to accomplish or start something by a certain date to put you off completely.

How about this for for New Years resolutions that we all need at some point?  Be good to yourself.  Remind yourself to put yourself first more.  Realise that although bad things can happen, you have been through bad times before and you have got through them.  You will get through them again.

Cherish your family and friends.  Bring yourself closer to the people who love you for the way you are, not the ones who wish to change you.  Realise that some relationships cannot be saved and move on.  

I wish you all a very happy New Years Eve and a very happy 2017.

Vicky xx

12 December 2016

Where the Heart Is

Memories.  They are the most precious thing that we have.

One way that we remember our memories is through photographs.  Now that we are in the digital age, photographs can be taken by their hundreds, edited to enhance the clarity and be uploaded to the world. 

When I was growing up, photographs were taken with film.  Something about having something physical to hold and put in a photo frame means so much more than looking at a photograph on a screen.

One of the best Christmas presents I ever received was a photograph album of me, my dad and my mum from the first seven years of my life, before we lost my dad.  It is precious to me beyond words.  

I thought that I would share some of those photographs here today.

Whilst I have shared some of best kept photographs I have here, unfortunately, these photographs taken decades ago can degrade and fade; as have many in my photo album of memories.  With this in mind, one of my ideas for a Christmas present for my mum (who isn't too internet savvy as and such, only sees the posts I show her) is to restore and blow up some of my photographs.  I want both a restored original and also a digital copy so that these photographs will last a lifetime.    

I decided to contact and hire local professionals in order to make my idea a reality and I decided to use the internet to find the best professional in my area and received several quotes back within a few days.  

I cannot wait to get my photos back and give my mum a surprise that I know that she will love.  On a side note, just how beautiful is my mum!!

19 June 2013

10 Day You Challenge–Day 2

Nine loves in my life – this one should be easy!
  1. My family but especially my mum who look amazing for her age and is just as daft as I am.  Sometimes we laugh until tears roll down our faces.  She is a friend as well as my mum.
  2. My friend family.  My close friends I love just as much as family.  We are a jigsaw puzzle that you maybe think won’t work, but we fit together perfectly.
  3. The people I work with, especially my friend Wendy.  If you are spending the majority of your week at work, getting along with the people you work with is a necessity.  I am lucky enough to have a boss who looks out for me and my colleague who is the perfect match to share a room with. 
  4. Writing/blogging.  This has come to mean more to me than I ever thought it could.  Especially when I receive messages saying that something that I have wrote, or a picture of myself that I have shared, has given someone else confidence to do the same.
  5. Formula One – on race day, my heart beats to the drum of a Formula One car. 
  6. Red lipstick.  Red feels like confidence to me, and when I wear red lipstick, I feel that I have an extra spark about me.
  7. I love films. especially action and sci fi movies.  Horrors rarely scare me although you do get the occasional one that will find me hiding under the bed clothes at the end of the night.
  8. The path I have put myself on.  I have come a very long way from the girl I used to be, and I am really looking forward to what lies ahead of me.
  9. My dogs, especially my little dog Ellie, whom I inexplicably have nicknamed Sausage Monkey.  I adore that dog.
So there you go! nine loves in my life!

30 May 2013

52 Lists - Week 5

This is a series of weekly posts. The idea does not belong to me and I have borrowed from Moorea Seal Becky Brown of Does My Blog Make me look Fat? is also doing these lists.
The idea is to post a different list each week to share with your readers and each other.


My family, and I include my friend family in that too.  I cherish the people that I love in my life.  They are my backbone when times are tough and people who will celebrate my happiness with me when times are great.

A special mention for my mum - for being just as silly as I am and being as much of a friend as my mother.

Another special mention for my best friend Vicky who has been there and stuck by my side through thick and thin.  She is amazing and I am very lucky to have a friend like her.

My determination - some call it being stubborn, but that determination is what helped me to quit smoking, stop me biting my nails and hold my ground in an opinion when I wanted to, but shouldn't, back down.

The psbloggers community - without whom I am not sure I would ever have found body confidence.

Twitter - yes, I did just say Twitter.  But joining Twitter helped me to find my voice and give me the confidence to really say what I thought.

Having a boss at work who I know has my back.  A very rare thing.  To also have a friend who shares my office who is just like me is another miracle.

For living in the UK.  We may moan about how badly off we are, but compared to others, we are so lucky.

Living in the 21st century as a woman.  Although we definately have a way to go in some areas, certainly when it comes to the issue of rape still being associated with how we dress by some, I am very grateful that I don't have to fight for the right to vote and that I am not a classed as a second class citizen.

My new philosophy of saying yes to everything.  It opens up a world of new possibilities.

My health.

A full time job that keeps the wolves at bay (just about!).

My new (much late in the game) lack of tolerance for all things negative.

12 December 2012

An Xmas Meal in Red, White & Blue

 Last night was a family tradition.  Three female generations of my family out for a Christmas meal.  Myself, my mum, my sister and my niece.

The date was planned, the food decided on; the only thing left was of course, the outfit!  I always start with the shoes, as that is my favourite part of any outfit, and that of course takes me on to the handbag.

The bag is from Next a few months ago, I can't resist a pretty red bag, I think it was around the £30.00 mark.  The shoes are from Primark. Originally they had a canvas tie to them but I didn't like it so replaced with a bright red ribbon.

Next comes the dress.  Now under my new "As little black as possible" rule, I went shopping in the Dorothy Perkins sale a couple of weeks ago and uncovered a navy blue dress with white bows on.  It was love at first sight and upon checking the price, £10.30, I practically snatched their hand off.

The complete was completed when I found a bright red cardigan from Primark, my first ever Primark purchase.  Again, for £6.00, I was thrilled to get another bargain.  So I am, dressed up for the night.

The tights went, didn't
go with the shoes!
Sorry about the bad quality of the picture on this one
Hair up for a change, I'm practising still

Click my heels and away to Oz!!

Lovely bow print, shown off by the girls!
We were joined this year by some friends of my mum's and together we all enjoyed lovely food, all dressed up to the nines.  I had my usual starter, Chicken Liver Pate followed by Salmon with Prawns and then Tiramisu.

Upon returning home I decided to take one last picture, I wasn't going to include it as you can tell the glasses of wine had been consumed, but it made me giggle so might have the same affect for you.

The cheeky "I've had wine on a work night" look
Do you have any family Christmas traditions?