January 1, 2019

It is nearly the end of another year. Normally at this time I indulge myself with a mental review of the past year and look forward optimistically to the new year- 2019. Unfortunately this time around I cannot find much optimism in the new year or a new anything given my mum's diagnosis and prognosis and how much of 2019 she will actually see. So rather than look forward I have decided to look back at the wonderful things that happened in 2018.

Being positive in times of great stress isn't easy. When getting out of bed in the morning can seem overwhelming and every effort is needed just to be - well then, say a prayer and believe that holding it all together is sometimes all you need to do. 

So, here are my top 5 things I loved and embraced in 2018:

1. Family and Friends

2. Retirement

3. Summer of sport

4. Writing

5. Travels

1.Family & Friends: Don't you think family is THE most important aspect of your life? I know I feel that way. And all my life my Mum and Dad hav...

December 20, 2018

It has been far too long since I last wrote a blog – so much for “free” time post-retirement! I have not had a spare minute and any spare time has been spent writing my novel – I am up to Ch19 and soooo excited about the way it is working out. I have found that writing is such a good outlet for my creativity and am enjoying every minute. Actually that’s not quite true – I am at an impasse right now and wrestling with how I want the heroine of the piece to interact with the protagonist and it’s rewrite after rewrite at the moment. But I know a moment of inspiration will appear sooner or later. Or maybe I’ll just write the end and work backwards from there!

But I digress – this blog is about another exciting event in life – the expansion of this website to include my photography. I am working again with an inspiring young web designer – Beki – and together we are creating some beautiful things.

As a preview, here are my top 5 things I love to take photographs of:


July 2, 2018

In my last blog I mentioned early retirement and the opportunities to travel that might open up with all this “free” time! Well, taking myself seriously, Mr B and I took ourselves off to the fair city of Dublin, Ireland. Primarily, it was to see the great Billy Joel in concert at the Aviva stadium, but we decided to make a long weekend out of it – Billy was epic by the way!

We took a flight with Aer Lingus from Manchester early Friday morning. Priority security and boarding (together with cabin bags only – am I getting good at capsule packing or what!) made the flight so much easier and stress less. And before we had chance to settle into our seats we were landing and through customs and out into the sunshine. We took the 757 bus into the city (I would recommend this mode of transport – 7 euro for a single journey and the stops are regular and the trip comes with a map to see where you need to get off.) Our hotel – The Hilton Garden City – was happy to take ou...

June 21, 2018

This last few weeks have been so busy! We did manage to get away on a wonderful Med cruise early in May, but since then it’s been all go with every day packed with places to go and people to see. And so, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and even think about writing the next blog – but here I am, with a couple of hours to kill and ideas a plenty.

Work: For the last 18 years I have been teaching Tax to budding accountants and enjoying every minute of it. Being freelance I have had the opportunity to travel and have been privileged enough to work in Dubai and China as well as Manchester, Liverpool and who can forget, Milton Keynes! But there comes a time when work stops being fun. When student attitudes reduce one’s level of patience to zero in seconds flat and when technology and paperwork overshadow the joy of actually standing in front of a group of eager students and imparting knowledge and understanding.

Retirement: The idea occurred to me one freezing co...

April 13, 2018

A good friend recently encouraged me to continue to write and to hone my skills and I really appreciated that positive attitude and “can do” spirit she exuded toward me. It got me thinking about the influence of strong women both in the world at large and in history, but in my life too. I have been blessed over the many years of my life with the presence of strong women, from teachers and advisers to Head Girls, from work colleagues to close friends; women I have loved and looked up to for their dignity and their ability to simply get on with life, for enduring and surviving while at the same time encouraging and supporting those around them.

I am not a feminist per se; I do firmly believe that as 50% of the human race we, as women, deserve respect and equal pay for doing the equivalent job as men. But at the same time, I like to have the some would say old-fashioned courtesies given to the female class such as having the door held open for me, being given the...

March 13, 2018

When I started this blog, it was never my intention that it become a travel blog and yet faced with the deep snow and howling winds brought by the “Beast from the East” I find myself ever more thinking about the warmth of the sun and happy times on vacation. Our trip to Barbados in early January seems such a long time ago now. Life has taken over and following the stress of work – writing and marking exam papers -  I decided that rather than write about the hazards of winter or the stress of university, that I would brighten everyone’s day/night by sharing my top 5 joys on taking a cruise. 

They are:

  1. You get to see a new beach every day (what’s not to love!)

  2. The sunsets are amazing

  3. Being with friends

  4. Sail away parties are a great way to start the evening

  5. You see some of the most beautiful places in the world

Be ready for some sunshine, sea and sand, beauty and fun.

1. A new beach every day

I think you know by now that I love a beach...

January 27, 2018

January can be a tough month – this year has been no exception – the snow to start with! What’s with all the white stuff? Excellent if you are under the age of 10 and off school as a result, but any well-respecting adult only likes the sight of snow on a Christmas card or through the living room window when a log fire is burning and there is a decent film on TV (or catch-up – you choose!) unless of course you are a skier in which case – go to Europe and sky their slopes! At least they know how to handle the stuff; not like in the UK where 0.5 inches of white fluffy precipitation causes chaos and mayhem! But I digress!

So – let’s talk about how to survive this dark and dreary month with my top 5 tips:

  1. Comfort blanket

  2. Comfort food

  3. Make some new year resolutions

  4. Fill the house with spring flowers

  5. Fly south for some sunshine

I have to say that some of the above might contradict each other – as in eating comfort food (which by its nature te...

December 21, 2017

Blog 7: Life can be stressful – so my top 5 tools for dealing with it!

The four weeks since my last blog have passed in a blur of stress; work stress and the heart-breaking stress of dealing with my dearest Mama and the painful journey she has been through with her battle against cancer.

To help me through the worst moments I am blessed with an amazing support network - primarily Mr B, but also close friends who have been there to listen and encourage me, to brighten my day with flowers and to wipe my tears when it all gets a little too much of a load to bear. “Thank you” are insufficient words to express how grateful I am.

I have also had the assistance of a truly wonderful lady – Lisa LaFleur – a life-coach who has helped me to deal with the stress in a practical, sensible manner. She has listened without judgment and she has given me coping strategies which I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I am indebted to her for her love and kindness.

Website: w...

November 15, 2017

Have you noticed that the nights are drawing in, the clocks have gone back and it’s now getting dark by 4:30! Tell me about it! Then there is the threat of a cold winter looming large on the front pages of the newspaper and we all fear that half inch of snow that can bring the whole of the UK to a grinding halt.

The Americans have the snow schedule down pat – they just stay home ‘til the snow plows have been through and it’s safe to venture out! Schools are closed, and the kids are happy, work is closed for the day and everyone is happy! But no – we English, we venture forth in cars not fit for driving in snow and ice, wearing our best high heels (fashion before safety – always!) and we sit in a queue and curse the fact that we got out of bed!

But I am getting side tracked……the changing of the seasons has led my mind down the track of THE END OF TERM!!! I am not exactly counting the days – but hey! And thoughts lead not to Christmas (don’t do it!) but to some w...

October 22, 2017

There are so many fridge magnets out there that make you cry or laugh out loud, smile to yourself and buy for your best friends/sister/mother - but here are my top 5:

1. “I’m still hot, it just comes in flushes now” - in other words – MENOPAUSE!

2. “I try to watch what I eat…. but I’m not fast enough” – in other words -  Chocolate and the only perfect remedy for the first issue!

3. “Would you like to speak to the man in charge, or the woman who knows what’s happening?” – in other words – Men and why don’t they ever listen?

I think there’s a theme developing here!

4. “I’m on the gin and tonic diet – so far I’ve lost two days!” – enough said!

5. “I used to have a handle on life, but it broke” – as a post-menopausal woman careering towards 60 years old with the brakes on full, always battling my weight and gin intake, this is my personal favourite!

I love fridge magnets and all manner of witty sayings and quotes. Sometimes they are funny, sometimes pithy and sometim...

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