Lessons, Limoges and Lilliput Lane

George Orwell’s house in Notting Hill

This week has been a little hectic. The Bloke has had a week off, we’ve been organising a bajillion things at once and trying to spend some quality time together, and I’ve been desperately trying to keep on top of my daily checklists. It’s been a mixed bag of fun and stress all rolled into one busy package.

But, we’re never too old to learn new things, and this week I have learned a lot.

A raspberry in a glass of prosecco makes it taste less like what I imagine unwashed feet do. I must be the only female I know who doesn’t like it, but it’s almost palatable with a raspberry.

Upgrading on a travel West Midlands train is a pointless waste of money.

I make a mean French Toast, after trying it out for the first time last Sunday. My buzz was cut short, however, after my friend informed me that her 11 year old regularly makes it for herself. Continue reading

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The Annual Bloggers Bash 2018: Venue Announcement!

Looking forward to next year’s Bloggers Bash?

I am. It’s one of the highlights of my year – this will be my fourth year of attending (I’ve been to every single one) and I credit this event with being one of the biggest inspirations to pursue a different career path. The people that I know from the Bash have become valued friends, and have been instrumental in developing my confidence as both a writer and as a person.

In case you haven’t already seen the post, we have a date (May 19th), and we have a venue: Continue reading

Thoughts with Grenfell Tower and London

I happened to be on Twitter in the early hours of Wednesday morning and saw reports coming in of a massive fire in a tower block in London. At the time, it was on one side of the building, spreading quickly and it was possible to see people flashing their lights from their rooms to let the fire services know that they were still in there. By the morning, the fire was still raging and had consumed almost the entire building.

The feeling of utter helplessness watching those images was overwhelming. Stories surfaced of truly awful things that people had had to experience to try and save themselves, and there are already confirmed deaths and a large number of people still missing.

In any tragedy of this magnitude I always try and seek anything positive, and was hugely uplifted by the endless reports of the local Londoners and then the nation who immediately opened their homes and started donations of money, food and clothing to the survivors who have lost everything that they owned. I cannot possibly imagine what the survivors must be going through, and I’m so proud of the way that everyone has pulled together in their support. This is what we do best.

As always, my thoughts are also with the brave firefighters who risked their lives to tackle the blaze and try and save those inside. I know from conversations that I’ve had with my fireman friend over the years that what they experience every day are stay with them for the rest of their lives, and we as a society are forever indebted to them for what they do…

My love and thoughts are with everyone affected…

A Day in South Kensington

The other week The Bloke and I attempted to take advantage of a ticket sale from a train company. It went a little wrong, but we still decided to use the offer and have a day out in London, as we haven’t done that for a while.

We decided to spend the majority of the day around South Kensington – it’s a beautiful (and very expensive) area with several museums and it’s one of the few places in the city that we haven’t explored as much as we would like. We were on the train at ridiculous o’clock, as usual, and by the time we arrived at Euston the weather was fairly clear and sunny, so we took advantage of the early morning to get there before the madness of tube travel at the weekends began. On the way there I discovered an image on Pinterest of a ‘thin house’ on Thurloe Square, opposite the Victoria and Albert museum, so this was our starting point. We found it and then spent some time just wandering around the streets, admiring the private parks and the beautiful town houses and flats, along with the statue of Bartok, followed by breakfast in a local Pret a Manger (where I’m CERTAIN that we were sitting across from Julian Lloyd-Webber, although I didn’t have the nerve to go and say anything to him). Continue reading

Attack in Westminster, London

For most people getting home, they’ll be hearing the news of the attack in London this afternoon. With four people dead (including the attacker and a policeman) and twenty injured, my thoughts are with the people involved, their families and friends and the city of London. It’s a beautiful, diverse and incredible city and as always I have nothing but the upmost respect and admiration for our police force, fire and ambulance services, and for everyone who rushed to help the victims without any thought for their own safety…

Suzie in the City

After a truly brilliant weekend with a lovely bunch of bloggy friends, I prepared myself for the trip back to Birmingham. As Sacha lives quite a distance from me (three trains and a tube connection), I thought that I had everything organised, and as I had made it relatively unscathed (despite the unexpected detour) I was at the station with what I thought a spare twenty minutes until the first train of my journey was ready to leave. The main part of it was from London Euston, and I thought my train left at 1.00pm, only to discover that it was actually at 3.40pm – the train the day before had been that that time instead.

That meant that, by the time I arrived at Euston, I had about three hours to kill before my train left. So, as it was a glorious day, and I’m never one to miss an opportunity to be a tourist, I purchased an all-day tube travel pass and went off on a little jolly around London, setting myself a challenge to see as much as I possibly could in the time limit. Continue reading

What a Carry On!

I predicted that I would be shattered, but nothing prepared me for just how much my feet would hurt on the train heading back home.

Those of you who regularly follow the blog will know that I’ve spent the past three days in London, touring all the Carry On sites of interest outside Pinewood Studios. As an early birthday present for my mum, who is quite possibly the world’s biggest Carry On fan, I mapped out loads of the blue plaques, grave sites and filming locations in and around the London area.

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As an extra gift, I had managed to purchase a print from the extremely talented British Comedy and portrait artist Steve Lilly (@Stevelilart), who just happened to live about ten minutes away from me, which I gave Mum when we arrived in London. She loved it!

It was exhausting, but we pretty much managed to cover everything I had planned.

On the first day we visited Maidenhead Town Hall, which was used in several of the films, and walked just around the corner to the high street, where a few of the scenes from Carry On Camping was filmed. Continue reading

A Carry On Adventure…

Carry On films

I’ve been looking forward to today for what seems like months.

My mum turns 60 this year, and to celebrate my sisters and I, along with our partners, were planning on going away for a few days. Unfortunately, we left it a little too late to book, and most of the spaces have gone.

However, I came up with a plan…

My mum is the world’s biggest fan of the Carry On films, and indeed all British comedy sitcoms from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. While I was born in 1981, I was raised on re-runs of things like Bless This House, George and Mildred, On The Buses, Terry and June and Robin’s Nest to name a few. While I’m not a particularly huge fan of most of them, my affection for the Carry On films rivals my mother’s, and it isn’t uncommon for a visit to her house to be accompanied by at least one of the films in the background, particularly around Christmas time. We have different tastes – my favourite is Carry On Don’t Lose Your Head, while hers is Carry On At Your Convenience, but we’re both quite content watching most of them (aside from Carry On Emmanuelle and Carry On Columbus – we both refuse to acknowledge their existence). Continue reading

10 Inexpensive Things to See and Do in London

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London is known for being one of the most vibrant, interesting and, ultimately, most expensive cities in the world, and The Bloke and I are lucky enough in that we get to visit several times a year.

There are certainly no shortage of things to experience, but many of the more popular attractions can be quite costly. Last weekend, as our budget was tight, I decided to plan an adventure around the city that consisted of free or inexpensive things to see and do. It turned out to be one of the best trips we’ve ever had!

Note: The key to saving money is to plan specifically in advance what you would like to do and see – buying tickets for things or aimlessly wandering around until you find something will usually result in spending money that you hadn’t budgeted for. It may also be a good idea to pack a lunch in advance to save money on food during your trip. Continue reading