Sunday, 7 June 2015

Anniversary Ice Creams

Today is my wedding anniversary so we went to the seaside and ate ice creams. I've known him longer than I didn't know him. I hope I know him for much longer....

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Hey Ho, It's Back To Work I Go!

As I have mentioned, my girl went off to University last October. When I became pregnant, we were in the fortunate position, financially, to have a few options about childcare. I enjoyed being a nurse, but did not relish juggling shift patterns with looking after a baby, whilst my husband's career was demanding and involved evenings/weekends/night time call-outs. 
It seemed easier all round for me to become a full-time mum, and barring a bit of voluntary work, that's what I have done for the past nineteen years. 
With the prospect of no-one at home to actually mother ( no jokes about the old man, please!), I began to think about what I should do. I had started volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau last spring, but my heart was always with nursing. However, after so long away, I wasn't registered anymore but after a conversation with a lovely friend who I had trained with, many moons ago, I began working as a Healthcare Assistant on the Manchester Health Bus. I loved this as the hours were flexible and the work felt very worthwhile. 
Unfortunately, the funding for the bus ended so I was back to square one. Then an opportunity came up for a couple of days a week at a health centre, working as a healthcare assistant. Happily, I must have interviewed well, as I got the job and now work Monday's and Thursday's. 
It is odd to be the new girl at my age! Computers leave me rather stumped and the jargon of the modern health service can be incomprehensible. However, patients are the same, illnesses are the same and being part of a team is starting to feel rewarding. My pay coincidently matches my daughter's monthly rent in Durham almost exactly, which is a help!
So, after almost 20 years when I hung up my uniform, I'm back. With the help of my young, and not-so-young, co-workers, I am feeling more confident with each working day. At the age of 49, I feel that I've got a new lease of life. Work should not define us and I have never felt the need to apologise for being a 'stay at home home mum', every family is different and what works for one, may be disastrous for another. However, it feels good to be facing new challenges, learning new skills and becoming part of a team again.
So here's to change at any age and although I am an empty nester, I'm far from depressed about it!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Tales From The Tearooms; Fig and Sparrow

One of the advantages of the teen being back from Uni for a week, is being able to visit a few nice places for lunch. She enjoys a good cafe as much as I do and it's a lot more fun than eating alone. The Fig and Sparrow in Manchester's Northern Quarter is a super little eatery which also sells an eclectic selection of homewares. We had the spinach and feta parcels with salad, which were delicious and an ideal portion size. Some places do enormous portions and I much prefer smaller sizes so room is left for cake. Saying that, we didn't have cake today...again. Being good is almost killing me!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Little Bit of Orla

I really like rummaging in Homesense for bargains. There are two branches nearby, in Manchester city centre and at the Trafford Centre and I always come away with some really good buys. Today, I bought some Emma Bridgewater soaps, some lovely stationery, an Orla Kiely type mini jug and then I spied a gem...the Orla Kiely "Home" book for only £9.99. Considering it sells in Waterstones for £30, I was very chuffed.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Tales From The Tearooms: Tinderbox, in Paperchase, Manchester.

Every time I go into Manchester, I intend to visit the top floor of Paperchase after spotting a very cute looking coffee bar on one of my visits. Today, I finally remembered, so me and Isobel ( back from Uni on a post-exam week break) climbed up to the second floor and it was well worth it. The green tea was very good, the goats cheese focaccia was delicious and the actual place was a cool oasis in this part of a little bit of the Northern Quarter had migrated down to St Mary's Gate. The cakes looked gorgeous and very Italian deli-like with delicious looking cannoli on offer. However, we've slightly overdone the cakeage this weekend, so will have to wait for another day.....

Saturday, 2 May 2015

I'm Baaaaack!

Well, I've been away from the blog for quite a while! Since I last checked in, my daughter has gone off to Durham to study classics and I got an actual paid part time job. As the last time I worked was 20 years ago, this is a rather big deal for me! Just two days a week, but enough to keep me out of mischief (and out of the shops of Manchester).
I've been reading a few blogs recently, as well as falling in love with Instagram ( I'm on there as @ecotogni). Rather than getting bogged down reviewing every book I read, I'm just going to dip in and out with things I have like; books, clothes, places etc.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

July Reads

I went away to the US this month so I always like to take 'lighter reads' I can finish and leave at the hotels. I took five such books with me..

Linwood Barclay and Harlen Coben write thrillers that are real page turners, their latest books are just the thing for by the pool or waiting around at the airport. 'Never Saw it Coming' was a bit of a thin storyline and according to the sleeve notes, it grew from a short story...and that did show. However, for a quick, exciting read, these authors are hard to beat.

The three books by women authors were a mixed bag. I really enjoyed Mhairi McFarlane's 'Here's Looking At You'. Anna endured a rubbish time at school and was bullied terribly because of her weight with one boy in particular being very cruel. Several years later, she is now an academic and had shed her teenage weight when she meets her nemesis again. I'm sure you can guess the rest, but McFarlane writes with warmth and humour. I was really rooting for Anna and as a light, holiday read, I can recommend this one.

I loved the original Bridget Jones books, this one sees our heroine older, with two children, but no wiser and she is now on her own ( no plot spoilers!). However, I was a bit underwhelmed by this, what was kookily endearing is now just annoying. There are a few funny bits but this was no great shakes.

Gill Hornby's 'The Hive' was another annoying read. The plot concerns a year in the life of a group of women whose children attend the local school. All the clich├ęd characters are here, and although it was very funny in parts, I thought the plot was a bit daft and the extended metaphor of the queen bee, worker bees and the hive, was laboured. Hornby does write well but I think her talents were wasted here.

Our book club choice this month was Ernest Hemmingway's 'A Farewell To Arms'. I had never read any of his books before and I really wanted to like this..but I didn't. I know he was a reporter and his style of rapid prose was revolutionary in the 1920s, but I didn't enjoy it. The language was very dated, the characters were unlikeable and I thought the horrors of war are far better captured in other works of literature. I was assured his later books are better, but I'm not in a rush to read anymore anytime soon.

Finally, we read Colm Toibin's 'The Testament of Mary' as part of our short story group. This novella takes the story of Jesus' life from the viewpoint of his mother. It is beautifully written and did make me think, however I was a bit uncomfortable with the premise that much of what happened actually didn't and nowhere did Mary talk about his birth. So I can see why the Catholic Church didn't enjoy it! I thought the parts that dealt with Lazurus returning from the dead were interesting but in the end I could not separate what I believe from believing Toibin's version.