I hope everyone has had a good week so far. I have been on a few adventures over the past week so I thought I would do a post about it.
Downton Village/ Bampton
We went away for a mini holiday which was lovely and one of the places we visited was the village that is used for Downton Abbey. We are massive Downton fans in this house so we were very happy to have a nosy around the different venues. The places we visited were the church, the entrance to the hospital and Mrs Crawley’s house.
Upton House was a National Trust property we visited and it was a lovely place to visit. Sadly the upstairs and the library were not open for viewing but I did get a little sneak peak of the library and it looked amazing. My favourite part of National Trust properties is the library.
At the hotel where we stayed there is the Gin Pantry which does gin tasting experiences and gin blending. We chose to do the gin blending and had great fun smelling all the different botanicals and then choosing which ones to use for our gin. The man who ran it was brilliant and we learnt a great deal about gin blending. Our gin is rather Christmassy I think and as we are both organists we called it Organ Cypher. A little in house joke that us organists know well.
Waddesdon Manorand Afternoon Tea
The best place we visited was Waddesdon Manor which was owned by the Rothschild family as a weekend retreat that was used for 14 weekends a year. It was amazing, the building was incredible and the amount of beautiful things inside was just fantastic. There was so much to see inside and out and we spent all day there exploring. We also had a very yummy afternoon tea whilst there with so many teas to try. My favourite was a very light and refreshing white tea.
Now it is back to dissertation writing and work but hopefully more adventures will happen soon.
I thought it was time to share what I have been up to outside of reading this week as it has been rather an exciting week.
Dissertation writing continues and I am still enjoying it so that is a good sign.
I met up with my two best friends for the first time in nearly two years and we went to Worcester to do the elephant trail. It was so much fun and so lovely to spend time with friends again.
I have also been to the safari park this week and it was wonderful to see all the animals. I haven’t been to the safari park for over ten years so it was wonderful to see everything again and the new addition of the Red Panda. My husband loved the Red Panda and bought a massive cuddly toy of one. I had a little elephant toy.
At the weekend we had a get together with my husbands side of the family which was wonderful to see everyone. It was an evening of good food, drink and excellent conversation.
It was so nice to get away from teaching this week and go on some adventures. Hopefully, we will be going on some more soon.
I thought it was time for an update on life outside of books. The usual things continue such as teaching and studying but I have been fitting in some other adventures as well.
Paint by Numbers
Yes I have another paint by numbers which proved to be useful whilst my husband was watching the Grand Prix. This one is an Eeyore which my friend very kindly sent me.
I’ve recently completed a virtual walking challenge and now I am trying to walk 1,000,000 steps for a sponsored challenge by Diabetes UK. This has involved going on some beautiful walks which at times have been a bit muddy. I love going on different walks as it is fun to discover new places and get out of the house.
We spent the day in Worcester today and tried to find all the elephants. Sadly we didn’t find them all but we had great fun and rewarded ourselves with pizza. There were also some strange creatures in Worcester which looked great. It was a lovely day and I went to my first bookshop in over 18 months.
So what have I been up to during lockdown that isn’t reading wonderful books.
Over these last few weeks I have been doing a lot of studying and assignment writing but I must admit I am rather excited that soon I can begin work on planning what I want to do for my dissertation. The freedom of choosing my own topic is both exciting and terrifying!
I have been regularly practising the piano and trying to do at least half an hour a day and I have been loving it. I must admit that for a few reasons I had fallen out of love with the piano and sometimes music in general but lockdown has done me some good and I have fallen back in love with it all. The challenge of learning new pieces is fantastic and the memory skills that had lapsed are coming back and it is all falling back into place. The Ukulele also continues and hopefully this year I will finally manage to take an exam.
Exercise and Walking
Exercise is still going and I am loving it. I am a complete kettlebell addict and I also love latin dance workouts. I am now finding myself looking forward to my exercise which I never thought would happen. It is a perfect break from studying and teaching and I love how each week I am getting better at the workouts and stronger. We continue with our walking but only when it isn’t raining. I am no good when it is raining as it sets off my asthma. I also love a good dance workout with glow sticks and the disco ball.
I have now been planning all dinners a week in advance for over a month and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I no longer have to think what to make for dinner each evening but know exactly what I am making. This planning means I am trying lots of new recipes that we have never had before which has been great fun.
Not much going on really but I have been very happy. I have realised that usually I spend my time racing around from one job to the other and it is rather nice to have a quieter time which doesn’t involve so much racing around.
I haven’t done one of these posts for a while so I thought I would post an update of what I have been up to.
We have been trying to do more walking again but I must admit if it is too cold I tend to chicken out. This was taken the other day where the water splashed up from cars had frozen on the hedge.
Over the last four weeks I have been exercising 5 days a week and trying out lots of different workouts on the platform Own Your Goals and I must admit I am thoroughly enjoying the Latin Dance workouts and the other dance workouts. I always tend to stick to strength training so it is nice to mix it up a bit. When I did a later workout I got out the disco ball and the glow sticks and really went crazy. I workout in the conservatory so the neighbours might have been wondering what was going on if they noticed.
We have been trying new recipes over the last few weeks because I was desperate for some different meals. We have tried a smoked trout pasta bake and this included me trying a cheese I had never tried before which was Emmental. We have also tried spaghetti puttanesca which is definitely a new favourite in our house.
The rest of the time has been taken up with studying and music and teaching.
We took part in our first Zoom quiz on Saturday and it was great fun. It was so good to have some social fun, even if it was online. Our team came 7th out of 9. The rounds consisted of:-
Our best round was Abba. I thought I would share the Shakespeare questions with you all and see what you all think. They are all cryptic clues to different plays.
Farce of mistakes
Everything’s satisfactory which terminates satisfactory
Honourable duo from a city of love
Greek statesman, sovereign of a Phoenician city
The subjugation of the fishwife
The trader of Veneto’s capital
The sequel to “The Life and Death of King Richard 2nd”
The convivial consorts of Maidenhead’s neighbour
Priam’s son and Calchas’s daughter
Pumbaa’s friend from the capitol of Greece
I have been getting into my piano playing and I am thoroughly enjoying the new challenge of the pieces. I am hoping I get good enough to do the grade 6 exam this year.
I have finally got back into my exercise and I must admit after a big kettlebell workout on Tuesday I am still aching. I have also started watching the series The Expanse from the beginning whilst using my exercise bike.
We have almost finished the first series of 24 and I must admit I am thoroughly enjoying the show and I think it is really cleverly done.
So there is my week. I hope you enjoy the Shakespeare questions.
I am so happy that I have finished and submitted my assignment, I am hoping to celebrate by getting to read some fun things and not things about Ancient Roman funeral rites.
This week has mainly been spent on the assignment and teaching but I have managed to fit in some other things as well.
I haven’t really managed any of my fitness due to time constraints but I have managed a few long walks and on one of them we met this lovely pony who came over to meet us. My husband is allergic to horses and ponies so he couldn’t make a fuss of the pony but I made sure I gave the pony lots of nose scratches.
I’ve managed a bit of piano practice and it has been a welcomed relief from studying. I am learning two of the grade pieces and I am absolutely loving the challenge. One of the pieces is by Chopin and I must admit I have never really been a fan but I think this piece is going to convert me.
Today has been taken up by moving approximately 3 tonnes of logs from the drive to the log store at the back of the garage. This was a long process and I must admit when we finally moved them we rewarded ourselves with a hot chocolate and I promptly fell asleep on the sofa.
We have just finished the TV series Spooks and I must admit I was left a bit shell shocked by the last ever episode. We have now started the series 24 and I must admit I am hooked already. Oh and I have also been watching the Masters Snooker as I do love snooker.
Welcome to the first This and That Thursday of 2021.
I will be honest as we are back in Lockdown yet again I am doing the same old things but I have had some highlights.
Before Lockdown I popped over to see my cousin and dropped off his Christmas presents. I obviously did not go in but thankfully the two dogs came out of the house to see me and I had lots of fuss off Daphne the Shar Pei and Daisy the Westie.
The Christmas decorations were all taken down this week as well which I never enjoy. I always leave it for as long as possible before I take the decorations down as I always find it so depressing and the house always looks so bare once they are down.
This week has involved lots of nice walks and I have been getting back into my exercise by doing lots of cycling on the exercise bike and strength workouts. It has been nice to get back into fitness but I must admit I am finding it harder to get back into the healthy eating after Christmas and New Year.
Today I have spent nearly all day researching and writing an assignment. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find a reference that you know exists but you can’t find it! An hour later I found the reference and managed to write a bit more of the essay.
For Christmas my husband got me the game 51 Worldwide Games. This has been great because it has meant we have lots of games we can play together. I must admit I am a little bit obsessed with the fishing game and the darts. My old headmaster would be proud of my new found darts skills as during a school summer fair he tried to teach me how to play darts but I made more holes in the school gym wall than the darts board.
Piano and Ukulele
I have just started looking at the new Grade 6 piano syllabus and have chosen some pieces to learn and I must admit so far I am really enjoying the new challenge. I’ve been practicing the ukulele again and I am determined that 2021 will include some ukulele exams.
So there is my week so far. I hope everyone is having a good week so far.
I hope everyone is ready for Christmas and has had a magical Christmas Eve so far.
I have been following Father Christmas’ journey on NORAD as I do every year and it always amazes me how many presents he delivers.
So what have I been up to this week?
Well, this week I have had no teaching, which has been a nice break to get the final things ready for Christmas. I have also had a little break from studying as well so hopefully I will be refreshed to restart in the New Year.
I have been busy wrapping presents and doing the final preparations for Christmas so hopefully tomorrow will be a nice relaxed day.
Today, I have spent a big portion of the day making my first ever Yule Log with the recipe from Highclere at Christmas and thankfully it does look good so hopefully it will taste good when we try it tomorrow.
So there is my week. I hope everyone has had a good week so far.
I haven’t done a This and That Thursday for a while so I thought I would do one this week.
The studying and teaching is still going and this week I was really pleased to find out my two students who had completed their music exams at the beginning of the month had passed with a merit and a distinction. In these difficult times where their lessons have been online via Zoom since March it was an excellent result.
So here is what I have also been up to…
Yes, we have been getting the house ready for Christmas. I love decorating the house for Christmas and I would have a Christmas tree in every room but my husband reigns me in so I just have 3 instead. Here are a few snaps of the house so far as it isn’t finished yet.
The walking continues, we have been sticking to local walks recently and only averaging 1.5 miles but I always struggle at this time of the year with my asthma.
I’ve got back into my fitness again and have been enjoying my regular workouts on my exercise bike and doing some strength training. I have also come to realise that I really hate ab work on the floor so I have been trying out some standing ab workouts and have found I much prefer them and the aching I feel the next day shows that they must be doing me some good. I also treated myself to some Christmas leggings for my workouts through December.
So there is my week. I hope everyone is having a good week so far and managing to stay safe in these weird times.