My 2019 in Music

I opened Spotify a few days ago to put some music on while I was in the car. A new playlist had popped up and it was a recommended one from Spotify that is my top tracks from this year.

I saw Les Miserables (Staged Concert and the UK Touring Cast) and Come From Away this year so figured they’d feature somewhere in there.

The Playlist

(The full list is here)

  • My Lighthouse by Rend Collective
  • Come From Away (Original Broadway Soundtrack – yes the whole thing)
  • joy by For King and Country
  • Pioneers by For King and Country
  • Burn The Ships by For King and Country
  • God Only Knows by For King and Country
  • You’re Welcome by Dwayne Johnson (Moana)
  • My Shot by Lin-Manuel Miranda (From Hamilton)
  • Amen by For King and Country
  • Let It Go by Idina Menzel (Frozen)
  • Where You Are by Christopher Jackson (Moana)
  • In Summer by Josh Gad (Frozen)
  • You’ll Be Back by Jonathan Groff (Hamilton)
  • Fine Fine Life by For King and Country
  • I Just Can’t Wait to Be King from The Lion King (1994)
  • This Is Me by Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman)
  • Fight On, Fighter by For King and Country
  • Try Everything by Shakira (Zootropolis)
  • I’ll Make a Man Out of You by Donny Osmond (Mulan)
  • Fix My Eyes by For King and Country)

Clearly I may need to branch out a bit and listen to some other soundtracks or albums – I seem to be stuck on 2 or 3 ones all year!

Books Read in 2019
This post includes affiliate links

We’re into December now but I might still add more to this list but here are the books I’ve read in 2019. Each title has a link to Amazon should you wish to buy it and a link to the author’s own website. Hopefully, all the info is correct so you can always try your local bookshop instead.

Books I've Read in 2019

On The Road to Here by Robert Kugler (Amazon)

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher (Website/Amazon)

The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay (Cockleberry Bay 1) by Nicola May (Amazon/Website)

A Village Affair by Julie Houston (Amazon/Website)

The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm by Erin Green (Website/Amazon)

6 Caledon Street by D. van de Merwe (Amazon)

The Cottage at Hope Cove (Hope Cove 1) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

Escape to Oakbrook Farm (Hope Cove 2) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

Summer at the Old Boathouse (Hope Cove 3) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

Whispers at the Bluebell Inn (Hope Cove 4) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

The House on Lavender Lane (Hope Cove 5) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

Friends Like These (Friends Like These 1) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

Friends Like These by Hannah Ellis

Christmas With Friends (Friends Like These 2) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

My Kind of Perfect (Friends Like These 3) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

A Friend in Need (Friends Like These 4) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

Always with You by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

Christmas Spirit by Nicola May (Website/Amazon) – Also released as Christmas Evie

Beyond The Lens (Lucy Mitchell 1) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

Beneath The Stars (Lucy Mitchell 2) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

Goodness, Grace and Me by Julie Houston (Website/Amazon)

An Off-Piste Christmas by Julie Houston (Website/Amazon)

Coming Home to Holly Close Farm by Julie Houston (Website/Amazon)

Coming Home to Holly Close Farm

The Bookshop of Hopes and Dreams (Hope Cove 6) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon)

Meet Me in Cockleberry Bay (Cockleberry Bay 2) by Nicola May (Website/Amazon)

Origin by Dan Brown (Website/Amazon)

Summer at Hope Meadows by Lucy Daniels (Website/Amazon)

Christmas at Mistletoe Cottage (Hope Meadows) by Lucy Daniels (Website/Amazon)

Springtime at Wildacre (Hope Meadows) by Lucy Daniels (Website/Amazon)

Snowflakes over Moon Cottage (Hope Meadows) by Lucy Daniels (Website/Amazon)

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin (Website/Amazon)

The Cosy Seaside Chocolate Shop by Caroline Roberts (Website/Amazon)

Coming Home to the Loch (Loch Lannick Book 1) by Hannah Ellis (Website/Amazon) – Finished! Now waiting for Book 2 that’s due at the end of December and can be found here.

That works out at 8651 pages this year according to Goodreads. (I’m not quite sure how that works out if I was reading Kindle editions though!)

Decorating and Storage
#AD #Shurgard #Storage

Back in around June sort of time, Chris and I started talking about the things that needed to be done around the house. In November, we will have been living in this house for 10 years. We’ve had a lodger, a foster son and a baby over those years so as you can imagine, some rooms really need some TLC.

We started with the kitchen as in my mind, it took the least amount of furniture moving to get started. In theory, it would be simple. Because of the windows, units, worktops and the radiator, there’s less wall space that needs to be painted. I’m not sure my painting skills are the best but I got started and we worked on it. Around Jaxon’s birthday we put a hold on the decorating and realised that now in October, we really ought to get it finished so that we can start other projects that need doing.

At the same time, across the Summer, Our Sidekick decided that the time had come for him to move out. It was either going to be moving to university or moving in with his girlfriend but he wasn’t really sure. In the end, his plans changed but moving in with the girlfriend was one of the things he was going to do pretty soon. 

With a paintbrush and the tester point, I set about cutting in around kitchen units where possible. We’d settled on colours after a debate about which shade of green to use but hadn’t got as far as buying bigger tubs of paint. 

I worked around the room, mostly focusing on the walls that didn’t involve moving too much. For instance where I just needed to move the toaster or the kettle to be able to paint the wall.

Having paused for Jaxon’s birthday it was time to focus back on getting the rest of the room finished. With Our Sidekick moving out, we left it a month or so in case things didn’t go to plan and he wanted to move back then we wanted to start thinking about moving Jaxon into the bigger bedroom but first, it would need painting.

As excited as I was to get Jaxon moved into the bigger room, we needed to get the kitchen finished so this week we’ve been shuffling things around. This week, Our Sidekick’s room became a drying room for the washing that normally goes on the airer in the kitchen (it’s also become a storage room for Chris while he figures out what he’s taking on his trip in a few weeks time). Chris then moved the bookcase and the freezer into the middle of the room so that I could work on treating and painting both the walls.

The plan made sense but then it went to pot, around Tuesday, I had run a load of washing as normal but the tumble dryer wasn’t working, no problem I’d just try it again maybe there was too much in it. Well after 3 or 4 different combinations and one load of washing stinking like a damp dog. We came to the conclusion that the heating element in the machine had gone and that’s why it wasn’t warming up enough. (YUCK!) This is the second time we’ve had a problem with this machine so decided that it might be better just to replace it instead of try and get it fixed. (When the call out is £70-90 then you’ve got the cost of parts on top, it soon adds up that a new machine might be cheaper/better value).

With the expectation that our new machine would be delivered on Friday, we came up with a plan, we needed to get the freezer corner of the room finished so that the freezer and bookcase could be moved back into the corner along with the old machine being moved out from its current space. When I got home from Community Group on Thursday night, Chris had managed to move the furniture around which was great. I then spent some time, cleaning and treating the wall behind where the washing machine lives as it was a bit grotty and needed some TLC.

In our case we’ve been able to shuffle around bits within the same room or into other rooms in the house but sometimes for bigger projects, you might need to move things out completely. Maybe even think about hiring a storage unit (You can even use the storage calculator on Shurgard Self Storage Harrow‘s website to see how much room you would need). When it comes to painting our living room, I’m really hoping that we can get away with moving it into the middle of the room, otherwise a storage unit might be the way to go unless we can get some really dry/warm days on the forecast and leave the sofa in the garden for a few days!

Right, well back to the painting and finishing up the kitchen. TTFN!

Hello October

I thought it was a few weeks that I hadn’t written a blog post then I realised the last time I wrote was when we were in Copenhagen (or had just got back). And that was August!

So what’ s been happening. Well, Jaxon went back to school in September and I’ve been trying to get back on track since some days I’m properly focused and other days I’m really not.

I’ve been working on a number of knitting and crochet projects but it feels like just as I clear one there’s another one pops up – I guess I will get there in the end! (And be able to share what I’ve been up to too).

I’ve also been working on the Equinox Crop test knit for Truly Hooked. The yarn from the neckline to the colour change is the Trance yarn from Truly Hooked – I absolutely love it and it’s for charity so there’s a donation towards Mind too.

Jaxon started swimming lessons a few weeks ago. I had been wanting to get him into lessons for a while given how scared of the water he seems when Chris and I take him swimming. He’s doing lessons with Edge Swim Gym, the team there are so lovely, in his class, there are two assistants in the pool with the kids so if any of them get stuck or just need that extra bit of help then they are there to help which is great. In fact, on Jaxon’s second lesson he got his Puffin Award which is being able to swim 50m with aids (like a tummy band and armbands). (Yes one very proud Mummy here!)

In September, I had two adventures in London. The first was to run an errand for Chris (but then I had a bit of a wander before catching the train back) and the second was to go to London with Mum to see the staged concert of Les Miserables.

On my first trip, I found a branch of Ole and Steen. When we were in Copenhagen, we frequently passed a branch in the train station but had resisted purchasing as it was pricier than other options. I bought a Cinnamon Sharing Slice and brought it home to share with Jaxon when he got home from school. Like the Ondsdagsnegl we had at Sankt Peders Bageri, it was more cake-y than pastry but that made it even yummier!

Our second trip was very exciting. Mum and I have seen Les Miserables a couple of times now in different formats, we were excited to see how the staged concert would work. Without too many spoilers, it was amazing, as we expected it to be. Michael Ball, John Owen-Jones and Carrie Hope Fletcher were amazing as we expected them to be. Matt Lucas and Katie Secombe as Monsieur and Madame Thenardier were epic too and so funny! They’d added so many ad lib bits which just completed added to it.

This last week it has been Fiver Fest here in Bedford. I’ve stopped by épanoui, The Store, Rogan’s Books and The Pavilion. You can find out more information about it here.

I’m sure there’s more that has been happening along the way but going to move forward now and fill in the gaps later.

Our Danish Adventure: Day Two

Each year we end up going somewhere different for our summer holiday. We’d look at a couple of ideas but still wasn’t sure where we wanted to go. When Chris asked me and I said I didn’t know, I showed a map of Europe to Jaxon and got him to pick. Originally he picked Oslo but in the end, we settled on Copenhagen. So here we go, our Danish adventure.

Day Two started with trying to find breakfast. There was the option to have breakfast in the hotel but it was kind of pricey per head (we’d come to realise everything is a bit pricier than the UK anyway!).

We headed to the 7-Eleven (which was our corner shop of sorts). We were able to get breakfast which was about 70-80DKK in the end so about £7-9 for all three of us. We’d look at the price of things we knew from home. For instance, 2 bottles of Coke Zero (500ml) were on offer at 36DKK. That’s about £4.50ish depending on the currency exchange. Two bottles that size at our local supermarket in the UK is around £2 maybe?

Following breakfast, we needed to get some wet wipes so we found a pharmacist (Apotek). The packet of baby wipes worked out at about £3 – I think that’s more than even a packet of named brand wipes in the UK. We’ll note for us go to Lidl for wipes too if we need them (or pack them before we leave the UK). Another thing we had to navigate was that although we just wanted to pay, we still needed to take a number and wait our turn.

Our first attraction of the day was Den Blå Planet. There’s a courtesy bus that runs from right outside Central Station to the front door of the Aquarium and you get a nice tour of the city on the way. While we were on this trip we found that Netto and Lidl are both here in Copenhagen and that maybe one of them would be cheaper (Lidl won this in the end).

We spent around two hours in the aquarium. I’m sure we could have spent more but Jaxon was still feeling the effects of the very late night and so was throwing a strop at every opportunity when he didn’t get his way.

There were lots to see both inside and outside the Aquarium. In the first two areas, there were lots of smaller tanks with smaller fishes and other creatures to look at too. In the third area, it was a rainforest area with tanks of tropical fishes. In one tank there were Piranhas and opposite were these really big fish. They were easily the same length as Jaxon and about double or triple his width.

Following Den Bla Planet, we walked to the metro station at Kastrup St and took the metro to Kongens Nytorv. We got lunch at Magasin du Nord (Department Store). We ended up with fresh bread from the bakery (which I think was an Ole and Steen concession) along with sliced cheese from the food hall/supermarket bit. (When we were in France, we found that sliced bread and presliced cheese or ham was often a cheaper way to feed us a quick lunch than buying premade sandwiches).

There was a bit of a breeze but we sat outside and ate our lunch while watching the world go by. We also looked at the buildings that were all dressed up ready for Copenhagen Pride which was the Saturday we were in the city. Next up we headed to Kastellet and Den Lille Havfrue (The Little Mermaid). We took the bus again which meant we got to see more of the city that we would have missed on the metro, which was lovely.

I was excited to see The Little Mermaid and knew it has quite of a lot of significance to the city of Copenhagen, both historical and political. It did, however, feel almost anti-climatic. We’d walked about a mile from the bus stop, through Kastellet to find her and then that was it. Maybe I was tired or something but it felt a bit like “Oh and that’s it?”. At this point, Jaxon was desperate to play Hide and Seek, so I hid behind a tree – very obvious and easy to spot but I could still see him and he got to play which helped him focus again on where we were going next.

At this point my plans ran out, the challenge with exploring with Jaxon is knowing when enough is enough and we just need to go back to the hotel and chill.

Chris came up with our next stop. We headed to the Guinness World Records Museum. Outside the Museum, there is a statue/mannequin of Robert Wadlow who holds the record of being the world’s tallest man ever at 8ft 11.1 inches (that’s 272cm!) – the current tallest living man is 8ft 2.8 inches. Even with Jaxon sat on Chris’s shoulders they were still only up to Statue Robert’s chest. (Chris’s shoulder was in line with Statue Robert’s hip!).

We had good fun exploring various exhibits and hands-on bits you could take part in. After this, we headed back to the hotel to relax as we were all getting tired and feeling it from our long day the day before. We attempted to find something for Jaxon to watch and in the end settled on what looked like the Danish equivalent of CBBC.

You can see the video of our adventure here.