Saturday, December 26, 2015

My Poor Abandoned Blog!!

Happy Christmas!!!
The trouble with Christmas is that its a long time coming and every year we all fall for the hype. I was concerned that we would not have 'enough stuff' for guests over the festivities, in the end we have plenty and some!! 

We have had a good Christmas season, it kicked off for me with a surprise visit to a mini Christmas  market in WGC, followed by a beauty evening in John Lewis, where I won second prize in the raffle and Karen won top prize!! Made it a good night when you add to it a nice glass of Mulled Wine.

Next we met up with Mums Brother and his wife, Uncle Roy and Auntie Peggy. We met at Ayletts Garden Centre in St Albans .We agreed to meet at 12, when we arrived they were already there. Walking through to the cafe, we nearly passed a stall serving free mulled wine, we only 'nearly' passed it, I stopped and got a glass for each of us, fortunately although the others all tried it, not one of them liked it, so as I hate waste I had no alternative but to drink it all.

Tom drove home!!!

We added to our collection of Christmas decorations, this little fella was made by pupils at Lakeside School in Welwyn Garden City so the proceeds are going to a worthy cause. 

Next dad treated us all out for Christmas Dinner at the Beehive in WGC.

Carl and Tom accidentally wore matching tops!!!

Next it was girls night out , we went back to our usual haunt The Crooked Chimney. We usually have the same waitress every time we go, she had been there for the past 12 years. This year she asked for Christmas day off, she has three children and gave them plenty of notice, they said no :(  so she decided to call it a day. Its a real shame, she has been there through loads of different and somewhat odd managers,such as the one who said that even if we booked Christmas meal we could not have crackers or decorations as they couldn't afford them!! Ever since then we have taken a selection of our own cracked and table decorations!!!

So it was a sad farewell to Amanda, what a huge loss she is to their business. 

In the mean time the prodigal son returned and moved back in. It was really fantastic to see him again.

Next night out was with our best Holiday Friends (mark 1) Rick and Dina, they did us a fantastic evening meal a lovely Chinese, followed by 'some' cider, resulting in the below photo!!!

Next we had Sunday tea with our other holiday friends Malc and Debs, another great evening featuring the saucepan game and lots of laughs!!!!

Christmas eve and we had the Reeves over, the usual combination of loudness and fun was had by all including Bobbie who was excited for Santa to arrive!!!

Finally the big day arrived and we opened our presents with Dad and Harry in attendance, Beth and Harry headed off to Stevenage for dinner leaving lunch time for the rest of us!!!

So that's our action packed holiday season........ so far!!! Looking forward to new years eve now !

Happy New Year!!!!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

A life time ago!

I am sorry to say that our holiday now feels like a lifetime ago. We have been back for a little over a month and the whole experience is like a dream. We have had our usual mix of issues over the past weeks, with both Laura and Dad being unwell. Both are now on the mend. 

I can hardly believe that Mum passed away two years ago tomorrow, where has that time gone. On the one hand it seems like an age ago and on the other two minutes ago. One of the good things about having an IPhone is that it allows you to save your text and Whats app messages. I was looking through the other night and found the last few from Mum which was a big bit of a tear jerker. We are lucky to have such great friends and relatives who all have helped everyone over these past few years. We will never forget her  and think about her every day .

It was nice to be able to hang one of my Remember Me Angels to keep Mum close at hand all over Christmas. This morning we went to Mass, which was said for her. I was very impressed with Father Norbert who did most of the mass in speech and sign language. I am in awe of anyone who can do that, its like rubbing your tummy and patting your head as far as I am concerned!!

So what else has been happening? I have been sorting out Christmas presents, I had a marathon wrapping spree yesterday and we put the decs up so I was able to store the presents under the tree. I am trying to get the spare room sorted out so that it is all set for the return of the Hong Kong wanderer. We mainly use the spare room to store clothes so I need to get the bed in to position where it can be slept in. I am just about there. We are all looking forward to him coming home for a few weeks. I am looking froward to the school Christmas dinner and the Christingle service, I really feel that Christmas has arrived once I have been to those two things!!

I would like to wish two of my friends Happy Birthday, Karen and Fran, I hope you both had a lovely day.  Sorry that this was a quick update, I will have more time now that I'm a celebrity is over for another year!!! Have a great week.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Remember Me Angels - Going from Strength to Strength

This last week I have finally received my Business Logo. I am very pleased with it! I wanted something that reflected the sensitive nature of my business. My customers all seem to find that having a memorial is comforting so I feel that this logo hits the spot. I am really grateful to all my friends who have helped to spread the word and get my name out there. Please keep on spreading the word!!
Thank you!

Well back to my holiday which now seems like a million years ago!! Part of our time in Hong Kong was spent at Disney including a stay in Hollywood Hotel. We had never stayed in a Disney Hotel so it was fantastic to finally experience it!

We took a train to the park, which was decked out Disney Style.

The excitement started from the moment you stepped on board!

We arrived at our destination station which was right on the entrance to the Park. We had to take a shuttle bus to our hotel. It really felt like Florida Disney, hot weather, shuttle buses and Disney music. It was fantastic!!

Our Hotel was lovely, it had a good pool and huge bedrooms.

Lots of things were modern with typical Disney styling but I was surprised to find that the TV was one of the old style with the huge back to it!!

The one thing missing from the room was a bottle opener, so I had to buy one from the onsite Disney store!

We had our entrance tickets and made our way to the park. The walk to the entrance could have been straight out of Florida. 

Once inside we spotted the castle, it was tiny!!! I was shocked. small but perfectly formed. 

Overall the park was pure Disney, but dinky!

The best bit there was Toy Story land which had lots of places for photos. None of the rides were big fast moving ones so perfect for small children or adults of a timid dispositions .

Halloween was on the horizon so there were lots of Halloween balloons and decorations.

We found that some of the decorations were exactly the same as Florida Disney. Over all the park was a mini version of the ones in USA. In some ways it was much nicer. It was no where near as busy, no queues for anything. Only two rides had fast passes and they weren't needed. I was really impressed with Toy Story land and had a go on all the rides in there. There was one ride that was really a white knuckle ride and I only managed one go on it, once was enough (it was the car ride from Toy story) I went on the parachutes, slinky dog and everything else! My favourite ride was a version of the run away train combined with the yeti ride, again no queue so I went on time and time again. I was really pleased that we went, we enjoyed the park and the hotel. I had thought that perhaps I was now too old for Disney but as soon as you get into a park that magic comes flooding back. 
This week we are finally experiencing winter, yesterday we actually had a covering of snow, it was a curious situation, no frost this season so far, just straight into a covering of snow!! I hope you all have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Strange Food in Taiwan!

Taiwan was quite an experience. The American chain 7-11 is very popular out there, so we felt quite safe going in there for drinks and snacks. What I was not prepared for was the awful smell!!
In Taiwan they love boiled eggs, cooked in a really pungent 'brown water'. So every 7-11 has vats of brown bubbling water containing stinking boiled eggs!!

The eggs are treated as an on the go snack and people were just fishing them out and bagging them up, much like we might buy a hot dog.  It certainly made the shops very different to the 7-11 store in USA and Hong Kong!!!

Another delicacy is the aptly named 'Stinky Tofu' One evening we went to Shillin Night Market, it was a fantastic vibrant place with lots of interesting stalls and street food. We decided to eat out and choose whatever took our fancy. One thing that didn't was stinky tofu. It is the vilest smelling food in the whole wide world, how people actually eat it is beyond me. The tofu is marinated in brine made from fermented milk, They add all sorts of other stuff according to their own particular secret method. The closest I can come to describing the smell is a cross between week old spilt milk that has been festering in a warm car and sewage. It is vile.

It doesn't even look appetising !!I was glad to get out of close contact with that.

We did manage to find some lovely food and some very nice stall holders.

Sweet potatoes were big!, the potato balls were served with powdered peanut and cinnamon sugar. They were lovely.

Tom had an omelette kind of thing, he really enjoyed it and the lady was lovely, so he went back for another one!! 

We had a smoothie made to order to include whatever fruit we wanted!! I was surprised at just how many plastic bags were used, the smoothie was already in a cup but they put it in a bag as well!

Once we had finished our wandering around we spotted a stall selling toffee covered fruit. We decided to give it a go.

The skewers looked delicious, like our traditional toffee apples. It was a bit hard to understand exactly what was under the toffee. We did manage to identify, strawberries, plums, pears and grapes. We decided to go for strawberry.

They were very nice! Carl was a bit quicker to eat his and when he got to the very last fruit he had a bit of a surprise, it was a tomato!!! We all had a tomato! I love tomatoes, but I couldn't bring myself to eat it covered in toffee!

So my useful tip of the day - don't go near stinky tofu and be suspicious of toffee covered fruit!!!
Have a lovely week.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The next steps!!

We stayed for three nights in Hong Kong before flying out to Taiwan. I was looking forward to this part of our trip, we took a taxi to the airport with Carl for our early morning flight with China Airlines. I was really impressed with the airline, the journey was only a short hop on a par with an Easy Jet trip in Europe. The huge difference was that it was a fully serviced flight with tiny pillows and a meal and free drinks and everything!! It was great!!

As we touched down Taiwan experienced an earthquake. A fairly strong on 5.6 on the scale. The country seems to be fairly used to them and they weren't phased about it. We continued to feel the aftershocks later in the afternoon. 

We were so lucky to be able to meet up with our dear friend Raymonde who was spending the month in Taipei with her husband Colin. It felt really weird to go half way around the world to meet up with someone who lives two miles away!!!

Our hotel was in the Zhongxiao Xinsheng area of Taipei, which was dominated by the University of Taipei. It seemed that just about everyone had a motorbike/scooter of some sort. The hotel was in brilliant position right next door to one of the underground stations.

Raymonde took us on the underground and showed us around lots of the wonderful places. The buildings were fantastic. The city was spotlessly clean and really puts the UK to shame. 

It was  really good to have a 'local' guide. Raymonde had been to Taipei quite a few times and was able to show us all the dodges!

We went to a lovely little eatery where we ate like the locals, Bowls of Ramen Noodles with tempura prawns and vegetables. I was really impressed with the tempura sweet potatoes. It was a very nice meal, tested our novice chop stick capabilities though!!!

After dinner we took a look around the local shops and markets. There seemed to be loads to look at, I loved all the figures and cartoons which seem to be very big in Taiwan. 

For some reason EVERYONE out there insists on having their photos taken with this finger sign. It looks stupid but is clearly very big in Taiwan!! Well when in Taiwan, best do as the locals do!!

We really enjoyed our introduction to Taipei. Thank you Raymonde for getting us off to a fantastic start and for spending time with us!!

The next day we went up Taipei 101, the building you can see in the photo above. 

My little business venture is going well, I have landed a couple more commissions this week, its really exciting. I hope that it continues to gradually grow and then one day I will be able to give up work and become a millionaire!! (OK just to reduce my working hours would be a win!)

          Please check out my website - Here

          Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday !!