Thursday, 28 January 2016

In which the auntie addressed her weight

I am a chubby auntie, I have been chubby for a long time. I know why I am chubby, I like food, wine and my sofa in no particular order.

So, in the interests of trying something new as I have done all the usual, I now fall asleep listening to a lovely lady who tells me to stop eating my own body weight in crap.

Knowing my luck mradventures/auntiegwen will be the one who loses weight! I shall keep you posted.

Friday, 22 January 2016

What's in a name?

I have been in that London for 3 days for work. On Wednesday morning I was part of the education team, by the time I left at 5 I was in workforce development. My job didn't change, in fact 50% of my job title is education. I expect I have a confidentiality clause somewhere that says I am not allowed to tell you about this, but I guess you know what I am thinking, I am thinking it quite hard.
Most people understand the term education, I don't properly understand workforce development my own self and I'm it, I expect I will get to understand why workforce development is a better term for what I do in time.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

The law of Sod

January is always a fairly blah month for us, we are usually exhausted and skint due to the excesses of Christmas. This year mradventures and I for the very first time have decided to do a dry January. We are doing plenty fine on it, possibly because January tends to be the month where we just don't seem to go out, we are quietly contented upon the sofa. 
We have a few things in the diary to go to, we have been invited to a 40th birthday do next Saturday, we can do that.
We have another dinner out on Wednesday 27th, again not a big issue.
But the real kicker?
Beautiful Baby Daughter found out yesterday she has got a job, that's a great thing, it doesn't make me reach for the bottle at all. BBD is going to be working in an extremely fancy cocktail place that is being opened on Friday 28th of January, 
As they have over 80 cocktails on the menu with 40 kinds of gin, they are inviting family and friends on Thursday 27th for a free trial night.
Yes indeed, free cocktails a few days before the end of dry January.
The law of Sod indeed.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

The first non gold tree in 23 years....

 Catherine wanted to see pics of our first non gold tree. Always happy to share, this was the tree himself brought home, it was manhoosive! When the net came off it was over 6 foot wide. 
We gave it a severe haircut and we managed to fit the sofa back in the room.
 It was really lovely to have a real tree again, first time in 23 years. So we started to decorate...
And I kept going...
And going...
It's like I can't help myself
 I'm going to stop soon
 It was a bit OTT
But I loved it
It was quite a sight, 
And took up a lot of room
It looks like we didn't pay the leccy bill but I just love candles
I kept the silver theme much to The beautiful sons chagrin - he doesn't like change
 But I liked it, so did mr auntigwen as due to the candle heat, he could switch the central heating off and that gives him a disproportionate amount of pleasure, I expect being married to me he takes his joy where he can!
My lovely big children
With the boy wonder and the lovely G who tamed the big son
And with our beloved Granny, mr a's gorgeous mammy. It was a fab Christmas x

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Things I love in my house

I am desperately interested in interiors and home decor at the moment, I've always liked it but I find I am spending more and more time looking at house porn,  maybe its displacement,  I have given up all hope of improving myself so have turned my attention to the house, it can't answer back or complain.

 I recently joined  Instagram and man, there are some lucky people with some gorgeous houses on there, I am spending way too much time lusting over these pristine interiors. 

There are some things about my house I love, when you are immersed in the über glamorous world of  interior design it's easy to forget that you have some special, amazing and unique bits in your own. Let me share 3 things I love in my home.

This is my TV stand, it is a fully functioning treadle Singer sewing machine. It belonged to my great aunt Sarah, it's was her 21st birthday present back in 1929, it was given to me over 20 years ago when she died and I know I will always have it in my home. The candles are everywhere, I have masses, literally money going up in smoke but I always have one burning somewhere.

This is our memory board, it's magnetic and I bought it from my favourite homeware shop Lavender Blue, in Market Harborough. It has photos, tickets from planes, metros, gigs and trains, boarding passes and our marathon medals, it is a lovely big chaotic jumble of us.

Last but not least, our humble garden shed, mr auntiegwen/mr adventures and eldest beautiful daughter built it, he and I painted it and I take full credit for the bunting, the bunting does not please himself, he refers to it as 'a bunch of rags tied to my good shed'. I up cycled the pallets and added the hydrangeas in planters and the candles. I think it looks fabulous.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

auntiegwens guide to 1 night in Glasgow

As some of you will know, I grew up in Glasgow and still I think of it as home although I haven't lived there since 1987! And yes I am fully aware of how old that makes me sound, thank you very  much. 3 years ago I was fortunate enough to get married and we (I) chose One Devonshire Gardens as our venue. 

I love this hotel and we our intention was to spend each of our wedding anniversaries there. We have only managed to do it on our third attempt! We have stayed there quite a few times now and to us it will always be special, the service is impeccable yet friendly, the surroundings grand but homely and it is just a stroll away from Byres Rd with its great shops, good bars, fantastic restaurants and not forgetting the independent cinema and the Jewel that is Oran Mor.

This  time we opted to eat outside the hotel and we headed to Cafe Andaluz on the recommendation of the lovely lady who served us in Time and Tide which is a gorgeous interiors shop at the top end of Byres Rd, I couldn't pass it by, just my taste, I wanted to buy everything, I gave it my very best shot! 
At Cafe Andaluz we had the pre theatre menu of 3 tapas plus pud for £15 and a bottle of cava. I had the aubergine and manchero bake, the goats cheese and marmalade and donated my 3rd to himself, he ate meaty things, I have not a notion what they were. For pud we were going to have half of each other's but my meringue and raspberry was too nice to share so I ate it all! 
Suitably revived and replete we meandered back to the hotel. I would say that of all the rooms we have stayed in at this hotel, it was our least favourite, by no means was it bad, it just wasn't as good as the others, it didn't have the wow factor for us, judge for yourself, it was a but busy for your auntie. The bathroom was nice though.

The  hotel which is part of the Hotel du Vin chain provides bathrobes and slipperstoiletries are Miller Harris and smell citrusy which I like and rooms have iPod Bose stereo thingies and Nespresso machines ( quite frankly I would rather have a kettle, no point in wasting fancy coffee on me, I have instant tastebuds, himself loves them, we have one at home, I never touch it) 
Breakfast is good and was included, not sure it is ever worth the extra as I have coffee, toast, yoghurt and I'm done. Himself had eggy things this time, if I don't eat it I tend not to notice nor care, if it's pinchable by me you have a chance of a description. We paid £165 for 1 nights b&b so not the cheapest but when you love you love, don't you?

auntiegwens guide to 3 days in Kraków

When I first met mr auntiegwen aka mr Adventures he said the thing he most wanted to do was travel. He had spent 20 years with his previous partner who wouldn't, so the most he ever got was a week in Cornwall in dog friendly accommodation, he can get himself worked up about the standard of dog friendly accommodation, quite frankly, I encourage it when I think he needs to let off a bit of steam.
I have spent the last 23 years holidaying with my offspring, I have done the gamut of trying to placate fretful babies to grumpy ' I don't want to be here teenagers' with some glorious and memorable holidays in between.
 As 2015 was the year that my youngest child was already 18 and could be left home without social services being concerned we decided to have as many trips as we could.
Our penchant is for a city break, we like to be able to walk a lot, we always use public transport as I am a big fearty about driving abroad and we will go anywhere we can afford. This seems to mean we go everywhere in the winter! We have had some fantastic breaks in gorgeous cities in feck it's cold temperatures, I suggest thermals and good boots, we are not glamorous travellers, no little black dresses and high heels for us, himself finds they don't go with his beard.
Anyhoo, Kraków, it's a beautiful city and visiting in December you find it very sparkly and twinkly which suits your auntie just fine. We got cheap flights from Stansted into Kraków and it was a very cheap zloty ride on the train into central Kraków and our hotel was literally across from the train station and a few minutes walk to the old town market square. We stayed from Thursday tea time till Sunday evening, so we had 3 nights but 4 full days. Mr auntiegwen aka mr adventures is also blogging about this trip but over HERE.
We stayed at the Puro hotel, very modern, you work the lights, heating, tv from a tablet. Rooms have colour change lighting and probably the most unusual thing for me was the bathroom being glass walled, even as someone who has been seen naked by my travel companion, I was slightly disconcerted by that until I found the privacy curtain! Very contemporary design in grey and ochre. Good size rooms and very helpful reception staff but a downside for me was that you had to go down to reception  area to access the free fancy coffee machine, I would have much preferred a less fancy kettle in the room and not having to get dressed before my caffeine.

We found our way to the market square courtesy of himself having a fancy phone app called 'Here' and we meandered round having some mulled wine and local delicacies such as watery soup for me and huge sausages for him, I got a bit of the fear that I would be a very hungry auntie this trip due to my vegetarianism. The market square is beautiful and the oldest one still in use in Europe. There are stalls selling gorgeous handmade glass decorations, lots of food, souvenirs and even a working blacksmith.

The next day we explored the area around the castle, we saw a tour group with a British flag saying ' Kraków free tours' we were sorry we had missed the first part as Ela the guide was tremendous, she was so good we joined her for the afternoon walking tour of the Jewish ghetto, mr auntiegwen was beside himself with excitement, free, walking and history all in one go! The castle and area surrounding it are full of charm, cobbled streets and beautiful architecture which remained intact despite WW2, I expect having the Germans occupying had to have some upside. It must have been so odd for the citizens of Poland to find themselves invaded, their country ceased to exist, they got rid of the Germans at the end of the war only to find themselves occupied by the Russians for next few decades!
                  In the afternoon we walked to the Jewish quarter with Ela from Kraków free walking tours and as the afternoon progressed we had our minds blown by the ruthless efficiency the Nazis employed to remove the Jewish population from Kraków. Schindler's List was filmed around here, we finished up at the Heroes of the Ghetto square with its very moving chair memorial. Tour finished we headed up to Oscar Schindler' s factory museum and in the evening we remained in the Jewish quarter and on Ela's recommendation we sampled the student bars where we added a good few decades on to the average age, I got quite fond of the cherry vodka and himself the bison grass vodka, we even ate the famous zapikanka, theFrench bread pizza the students invented, first time I have ever had cucumber and ketchup on a pizza, probably the last too! 

Next day we were picked up at the crack of sparrows and headed for Auschwitz  and Birkenau, our guide for the day was a high school history teacher who got the balance spot on, it's hard to explain how vast Birkenau is as how it was set up to kill as many people as quickly as they could, it's not an enjoyable day out in the traditional sense but I'm glad I went,  our guide Adam really knew the subject well and encouraged us to think why we were taking photos, which is why I only took one of the famous 'work will se you free' sign. 
We ended up back in the Jewish quarter and back in student bars drinking vodka, we did manage a padlock on a bridge though, we always want to do this but we never seem to travel with a padlock! Himself bought some in a supermarket!
Our last 2 days we walked, took photos and ate, we drank vodka and just enjoyed the beautiful  architecture.

You should go, it's very cheap to eat and drink, the people are very helpful and you can navigate your way round easily. You should definitely do a free walking tour, drink cherry vodka and visit  Auschwitz, it fairly puts your life problems and issues into perspective. Pro secco is around £3 a bottlein supermarkets there too, that might be an incentive to visit all by its own self, no judgement from your auntie.
They also have lots of interesting outside lights and cobbled streets, which seem to be the thing I photograph the most, especially lampposts, I could do a book on lampposts throughout the world, in this post I have restrained myself, you're welcome. 


Thursday, 7 January 2016

Well, that's 2015 gone

Hello dearest reader, if anyone is still with me they should get an award for perseverance.
2015 went too quickly, based on the fact I was rarely at home, it was a truly fab year for your auntie travel wise.
We did Paris in January, Copenhagen and Malmo in February, I went toDeutschland to visit  Eldest Beautiful Daughter in March, April saw us at the villa in Turkey,  May was Brittany, June I had a spa break to Ragdale Hall whilst himself went walking and we also had a cheeky week at the villa which was lovely as I was made redundant.
July saw me start a new job and in August we spent a gorgeous weekend in Harrogate for my last birthday as a forty something! September saw us both in Deutschland visiting EBD and in October I was back in Turkey with my lovely friend auntielou and husband, this celebrated mr auntielou's 50th, their 25th wedding anniversary and both of us had our youngest child leave home for university. In October I also had a scary moment speaking at a big conference. November saw me in Leeds and Belfast for work. December was Kraków and we also fitted in 3 trips to Glasgow over the year to visit family, unfortunately sad visits as my parents become frailer and frailer. We did manage to get to the hotel we got married in and celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary so we did have a very happy new year.
2016 sees a huge birthday for me, lots of work related travel, a dry January, having to lose a mountain of weight, house doing up and I am going to try and blog like I used to blog. Not sure how entertaining it shall be as I have nae weans chez auntiegwen but I do have himself, who is trying to keep the weird factor fairly high.
So now I know how to add photies from my fancy Christmas pressie iPad, there will be no stopping me!
What have you lot been up to?