A Croatia holiday perfect destination – the Pearl of the Adriatic

Croatia is a fabulous holiday destination from the UK
Croatia The Pearl of the Adriatic

A holiday to Croatia in the Adriatic Sea

As usual there has been a large gap between posts – I can totally agree with all retirees who claim they are busier than ever! My OH has commented recently that he does not know how I found time to work full time! I need to put pen to paper to tell you about how fabulous a Croatia holiday is.

I have been busy with a fabulous Croatia holiday. We absolutely love this country and have only seen a small part of it. My interest in the country stems from my love of football (well that’s a surprise!). During Euro 1996 the Croatian National Team entered a team for the first time following the Baltic crisis. I thought they were a great team, some great players including Davor Suker and Slaven Bilic, once manager of West Ham.

At the time I said to John – I want to visit there some day and watch that team play!

A holiday in Croatia

It took a while but in 2010 we finally got to visit. We stayed in Dubrovnik in a fabulous hotel called The Grand Villa Argentina, just outside the iconic City walls. A beautiful hotel in a stunning location. Most hotels in Croatia are not located on beaches but have naturally formed bathing platforms on rocky outcrops next to the sea. This hotel has a fabulous pool on the edge of the Adriatic and breakfast is served on an outdoor terrace. A fabulous recommendation for a Croatia holiday.

Croatia holiday Swimming Pool at Hotel Argentina Dubrovnik

Croatia holiday Lounging on my sunbed by Hotel Argentina pool

During our trip we visited the small town of Cavtat 14km away by boat . A trip recommended by friends. On arrival it was love at first sight. A small resort built around 2 horseshoe bays, which are visited by spectacular yachts, the quay sides are edged with fabulous restaurants and cafe bars serving great local beer, wine, cocktails and produce.

Croatia holiday Dining at Ciparis restaurant Cavtat Croatia

Having stayed in this resort 4 times now, we find it perfect. Dubrovnik itself is very busy and crowded within the walls during the day from visiting cruise ship tourists. Cavtat in contrast is laid back, picturesque and less busy. There is a great crowd there, a mixture of the locals and tourists. Disliking karaoke and traditional English bars. I love the European laid back Cafe culture. Many of the tourists who stay here are 40 plus but that does not mean it is dull. In the bars at night a lot of the locals come out to drink and eat, many young in their 20’s. It has a real ‘trendy’ vibe and the locals are so friendly. Visitors are enthralled by their fabulous manners and chat.

Croatia holiday There are top class yachts to be seen in Cavtat harbour

Even though I am addicted to football, I really dislike the loud, brash English football shirt wearing tourist, I don’t mind seeing football shirts being worn, after all football is a great conversation opener, but I dislike the loud, drunken behaviour that sometimes goes with it.
On 3 of our visits now there has been a football tournament on. 2 Euro’s and a World Cup. In Cavtat, all the bars and restaurants put up outdoor TV screens when games are scheduled. The sound is unobtrusive but visitors and locals alike can watch games. I have enjoyed watching the Croatian National Team play whilst visiting there. The locals appear in their team colours with  their flags. They are quite vocal but not too rowdy, although it is handy that you cannot tell what they are saying, but it all looks friendly enough!

Croatia holiday Croatians are patriotic about their football team

They have lost 2 tournaments when we have been there, but here is the difference that makes me warm to these fabulous people even more. There are no histrionics, tears or acts of frustration, they just shrug their shoulders and carry on their normal business, continuing to enjoy their evening and chat as if nothing had happened. I commented to one of the waiters how well they took defeat. His reply was “tomorrow is another day, the sun will still shine!” A great response and attitude.
Croatia is a lovely place, with wonderful people. Don’t be put off by their dour faced exteriors – engage in conversation and they come alive – great wit and humour. Getting to know them is a highlight of any Croatia holiday.They appreciate you visiting their wonderful country – after all tourism is their biggest earner! The views and scenery are delightful, a lovely mixture of the clear Adriatic , framed by Mountains, beautiful flowers and Pine trees. Friends always comment  how beautiful it looks when they see my photographs on my social media pages.

Croatia holiday much of the coastline is framed by pine forests

Why have a Croatia holiday?

It is an ideal destination for the over 50’s who wish to experience a chilled, relaxing holiday with beautiful scenery and a friendly welcome.

And finally I cannot end without mentioning the beer and wine! I think two of their local beers Karlovacko and Osujszco are 2 of the best I’ve ever tasted, plus their red wines aren’t bad either, Plavac and Dingac. Such a pity they don’t export, although I know M&S stocked a Plavac for a while.

I really recommend a Croatia holiday if you love fabulous scenery, Cafe Culture and clear waters.

If you’re tempted to visit how about looking at some recommendations from Trip Advisor

If you’ve visited or are planning a trip what are your thoughts – let me know your experiences I’d love to hear from you

If you want to know more about how I am loving life in retirement read more

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Using Social Media Over 50 and in retirement


Thoughts on using Social Media over 50

My love for Social Media

Using Social Media Over 50 is becoming more the norm but I think I’m addicted  – At least that’s what my nearest and dearest tell me! My husband says he always have to talk to me over the lid of a laptop or tablet, but when he wants some titbit of information he encourages me to get on my computer thingy to see what I can find out. He is 57 and doesn’t engage with social media independently despite my encouragement, nor my brother who is 66. In fact he is distinctly suspicious of the whole idea of Social Media. They only hear the negative experiences of social media e.g. cyber bullying, hacking. I can’t preach enough about what a marvellous invention it is. Since I’ve retired I’ve found it to be invaluable – life changing in fact. I have used it to keep in touch with friends and family, keep up to date with news , help me prepare for a house move and indulge my favourite hobbies and save money.

Using Social Media Over 50 has benefits


To expand on this I will give some personal examples: • Keeping in touch with family and friends: Since retirement I have now joined the ranks of ‘ladies that lunch’ . Making times and dates to meet up is so much easier using social media – we use Facebook and Twitter so when arranging a day, time and venue we use group chat facility. We can all converse together, chat and make decisions of where and when – often the choice of venue is something one of us has seen advertised on a social media posting. Before using this medium of communication it would take a whole round of telephone calls to arrange – doing it this way saves time and money – can all be done timely and painlessly. • Keeping up with the news – I find Twitter to be super fast at posting any breaking news items – almost on the spot news – information is shared as soon as it happens. My husband will tell me something newsworthy and I can more often than not – reply “Yes – I know I saw it on Facebook/Twitter last night!” I’m a huge football fan, my team is Manchester City, and player injuries, gossip, team announcements are all announced first on social media. • I am moving house and with also being newly retired I see this as the perfect time to declutter and finally organise my life and home. Never having been the best at this I needed some resources to help me and boy have I found some and it’s all on YouTube – this seriously is my latest addiction. There isn’t a single bit of information that cannot be found on there. There are video demonstrations about everything to do with organisation. I am now subscribed to some great channels, who have provided me with fabulous hints and tips. A lot of the advice on storage and organisation are done on a budget too – so vital in retirement – we all want to see our hard earned money go further – I have now even found a fabulous new way to fold clothing in drawers for maximum usage of space and making clothes more visual – no more rooting looking for that one top you know is buried somewhere! My new mantra is “creating order leads to a more productive lifestyle which in turn leads to feelings of calmness and peacefulness”

Have I convinced you

So, I hope you’ve got the message – Social Media is not just for the young! To all of you retirees – go on give it a go – don’t be scared it really is your best friend and helps save you money – there is no need to buy a daily paper – the information and articles you want are all here. My local paper The Manchester Evening News publishes all its headline stories first on Social Media. There is a definite place for Using Social Media Over 50

Would you like to read an article I wrote for a Communications and Media Company

Are you a social media addict like me or do you feel that it’s not cool in your 50’s and retirement to engage in these platforms of communication? Let me know your views I’d love to hear from you.

If you want to know more contact me:

I am always happy to spread the word


Weight gain around the middle during the menopause

My feelings about weight gain in the menopause

Weight gain around the middle

Like many women of my age weight gain around the middle has caused me to hate the shape my body has taken on in recent years. I have become the stereotypical middle aged, menopausal apple shape and I detest it with a passion.
I hate weight gain around the middle

I am only 4 foot 10 inches and have been petite most of my adult life. I felt that things started to change in my 40’s for me when I stopped working shifts and became a full time University student to study for my Masters Degree in Health Sciences. It was a great 2 years, studying at home sat in front of the computer for hours not having to dress smart. I could slob about in track suit bottoms. Then I would travel to the University every week along with my colleague. We were sponsored by our employer to attend and retrain. We were staying in a hotel every Wednesday night, eating in the pub, regular breaks in the University refectory. Within 3 months I had gained a stone and a half. No running up and down a busy Neonatal Unit burning calories. From that time onwards I was never able to lose this weight and despite taking up running, going to the gym and paying a Personal Trainer it stayed and I have continued to gain weight. It got worse again when I returned to shift work at 50, again for my role. I then returned to nights, days, 13 hour long shifts, short 7.5 hour shifts. Sometimes working nights and day shifts in the same week. This I feel totally knocked my metabolism off kilter. This coincided with the menopause.  Weight gain around the middle has blighted me and nothing helped me shift this. I can lose 7lbs and then  plateau. I have tried Slimming World, Weight watchers and an Extremely low calorie diet, living on liquid replacement drinks of 450 calories a day. This did help me lose 1.5 stone, but it didn’t stay off too long after my husband came out of work and took over the cooking. His Desperate Dan portions contributed to more weight gain around the middle.

What I have done to try and lose the weight

18 months ago my GP advised me that I had to try and lose weight due to a medical problem. She had great empathy and prescribed me Orlistat, a fat binding tablet to help me. She and other medical colleagues have all said that due to my hormonal state and irregular shift patterns I could not maintain a steady Cortisol level and this was inhibiting my chances of losing the weight. I was informed by my GP that in some people these tablets do not work. Well yes, you guessed it I was one of the people they did not work for. I lost my usual 7lbs and that was it. If you’re not familiar with these tablets they bind to fat and help you excrete 25% of your fat intake in your stools. (Sorry for those of you with weak stomachs!). It also involves eating a low fat diet or the side effects are very unpleasant!


So here I am half a stone lighter but stuck! I feel I need a miracle worker. I am surrounded by colleagues who are losing weight for fun on slimming world and I’m not.

I am very interested in clothes and fashion. I regularly get compliments on my appearance. I have to say I work hard at buying clothes that disguise my weight gain around the middle. However they are not the clothes I wish to wear. I long to wear the lovely body con dresses worn by Lorraine or Ruth Langford. Sadly it’s not to be, to add insult to injury I also have big boobs! Fitted jackets are also problematic.

This week I decided to go shopping to buy some dresses for summer and a couple of social events I have been invited to. This was an unmitigated disaster on the whole. Changing room mirrors are brutal as we all know. I came away with nothing that I really wanted, no smart dresses, just a couple of casual tops for my summer holiday overseas. I came home feeling very low indeed.

But I am a very positive person – my cup is always half full, and I found some positives. I went to a charity ball this week and wore a cocktail dress that I have had in my wardrobe for a couple of years it had only had one previous outing. I admit it was tighter than when I last wore it, but overall I was happy with how I looked in it.
Dressing to disguise weight gain around the middle

I then thought about where I had got this from. It was from a design brand called So Fabulous, I have a few of their pieces that I buy online from Fashion World. Reflecting on this I realised that all my favourite dresses were purchased from that website. Other brands I have purchased from Fashion World that suit my shape are Joanna Hope and Closet.  This provoked me to have a browse and sure enough I found several that I liked. I ordered them and when they arrived I was delighted with them. There is light at the end of the tunnel – hallelujah! Thank you for this fabulous company.

They are a mixture of dressy and casual and are fabulous. They were a pick me up and made me happy about myself again. My best dresses tend to be A line and I have accepted, that although this shape is not top of the fashion charts at the moment, they suit me and can make me look OK and disguise weight gain around the middle. The message is find a style that suits and stick to it. It’s no point squeezing myself into a body con dress just because I want one if it’s going to accentuate my middle! My pet hate is ill fitting clothes.

There are other fashion brands that I can always turn to such as Wallis and the wonder that is Pepperberry, by Bravissimo for ladies with big boobs. Their clothes are worthy of a blog post of their own.

Now I have decided on my personal style that doesn’t mean I am going to give up the quest for weight loss. I have a new strategy, after much soul searching I realised that I was probably consuming more wine and beer that I cared to admit. If I put my hand on my heart I was not counting these empty calories in my diets. I was probably consuming the equivalent of a day and a half’s extra calories per week. This is one of the pleasures and vices of my retirement. Lots of lunches with friends plus lazy evenings in front of the TV without the worry of an early start for work.


So I am abstaining from alcohol for the next 4 weeks before my holiday and following a slimming world diet. Watch this space and see if there is anything to report on this front. Onwards and Upwards.

Have you got any tips for weight loss in the menopause?
Or is there a go to fashion style you favour for your body shape?

I’d be interested to hear from you



Are trainers acceptable footwear for women over 50?

Comfortable shoes are a must over 50 - trainers can look fabulous depending on how they are worn

Comfortable footwear is essential for most women over 50

Comfortable footwear is an essential for many women over 50. Years of heels and working as a nurse takes it toll on feet. Trainers provide the most comfort  so my question is what makes trainers acceptable footwear. On the face of it the answer to that question is a resounding NO!

Is this because the statement conjours up images of slovenly women wearing shell suits and dirty trainers with unwashed, untidy hair.

This is a subject I’ve thought about a lot in the past 12 months and  think I have come to the conclusion that trainers are acceptable footwear for this age group of women.

When I was younger I was very fit and active, regularly going to the gym and walking a lot. Even having a spell of running ompleting the Manchester 10K road race in 2007. My one and only race at this distance at the grand age of 47! I was very proud of that achievement, however since then I have been less active for various reasons and ashamed to say that I carry a few more pounds than I’d like to.

Many reasons for this include I developed a chronic back problem, an occupational injury, I received physio and medical advice, encouraging me to continue to be active apart from running. At work my role and hours changed, crippling shifts had a negative impact on my lifestyle – a contributing factor for taking Early Retirement. I also developed Plantar Fasciitis – an extremely painful foot condition. After a Podiatry assessment the advice was to wear trainers, specifically running trainers,  at work due to spending the whole of my 13 hour shift on my feet. A prescribed reason to make trainers acceptable footwear

Are trainers acceptable footwear

Uniform policy dictated that they must be plain black or white with no obvious logo – a difficult task. They were a godsend providing so much more comfortable at work. I then bought a second pair to wear at home. After all when I fretired my aim was to be more active

Whilst purchasing my trainers I saw that there were so many attractively coloured designs available this got me thinking what makes trainers acceptable footwear for a woman of 55.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned in any of my posts that I am a shoeaholic -probably owning around 70 pairs at any one time. So thinking about footwear is something I do a lot! I have a vast array of comfortable smart shoes . Increasing age increases the need for comfortable shoes.  Could trainers look smart or stylish.

However I began to look at what women of my age were wearing on their feet. On trips to London and The Lake District I noticed more and more that trainers were being worn. What finally clinched it for me and finally made me decide that they are suitable was our recent winter holiday to Fuerteventura in January.

Its not the type of footwear but how they are worn that make trainers acceptable footwear

So what decided it for me was how trainers were worn, by that  what they were worn with. Spanish women over 50 wear trainers, brightly coloured ones too. I noted that mature women from other European countries wear them with style and panache. One particular lady, who looked in her 60’s daily came for a coffee at our hotel coffee shop with her husband.  Wearing bright yellow trainers bordering on fluorescent she looked fabulous. She had grey hair cut in a shapely bob, each day she wore a light mac or a loose black and white tunic with a chic scarf and large sunglasses. Also wearing black cropped trousers. I was envious of how stylish she looked  bright trainers enhanced her look and style. It was this stylish mature lady that convinced me  I could go ahead and buy more trainers colourful ones too!

Bright colourful trainers on holiday make Trainers acceptable footwear

Trainers acceptable footwear for this over 50

So ladies over 50 the key is what you wear your trainers with rather than the trainers dictating the style – bin the baggy tracksuit pants. Wear them with style and pride and most importantly with COMFORT! In conclusion this makes Trainers acceptable footwear.

I bought my trainers on holiday and luckily had a pair of black cropped leggings and a loose black tunic t shirt. I wore them one day and think I looked alright! and I am my biggest, harshest critic. I’ve included a photo for you to make your own judgement. More importantly I had no pain or discomfort in my feet and really enjoyed my daily walk around the resort and along the sea front.
 Trainers acceptable footwear with the right clothes

I would be interested to know your thoughts or opinions on my blog. Comments are very welcome and I will try to reply to each one.

Alternatively if you wish to email me

I am always happy to review any product that you feel is appropriate for the over 50’s women or the retiree.



Moving House – Tips for survival and sanity

Moving House How I survived

Moving house is recognised as being very stressful

Moving house is recognised as a very stressful event this describes how I coped. I started this blog at the end of last year and was enjoying the process. As well as starting to blog I was in the process of arranging and preparing for moving house. Contained in this post are my hints and tips for moving house.

If you have read my bio and earlier posts you will know that I took retirement from the NHS last July at the age of 55. I wanted to enjoy life rather than continue in the throws of tiredness and lack of sleep that my career was turning my life into. I took flexible retirement, where I collected my pension and could return on reduced hours. I now continue in my role on a 12 month contract of much reduced hours of 60 from 150. This provides me with a much improved and joyful work-life balance.

As well as the decision to retire Mr Fitz and I  also decided to move house. We had lived in the same house for 30 years, since we got married.

We approached the move with much trepidation – 2 of the main questions we asked ourselves were:

  1. Where to move to?
  2. What if we didn’t like our new home.

This was a huge decision for us after so many years of happiness in our previous home. I won’t dwell on why we decided to move, however in a  nutshell the area was declining rapidly and we felt that house prices would soon plummet because of this, and secondly and more importantly  I could invest some of my pension pot into bricks and mortar, rather than it stagnating in the bank.

Once we made the decision to put the house on the market and an Agent had been selected to act on our behalf we then started to look seriously at properties we liked. I have to say I had become an almost obsessive browser of www.rightmove.co.uk since December 2014.

The act of selling and moving house is not without it’s trauma – we immediately had viewings and in fact had 16 in total before we agreed a sale at a much reduced price, we had lost a sale at a slightly more increased price somewhere along the way due to confusion between ourselves and our agent – allegedly!

Having people view your much loved property is an experience in itself. 3 generations of a family would regularly come and browse, politely express interest, ask if we could sell privately without the use of agents and then disappear into the sunset. One viewer thrust her young baby into her husbands arms, demanded that he stand outside in the front garden then charged through the house. As she was leaving she then admitted she wasn’t selling her home or moving house at present she just wanted to see what houses in this area looked like! Blooming cheek…..

In the meantime whilst starting our serious search, we had looked at a couple of new builds. One was the last on available on an established estate and had been sold the day before we made an enquiry. We then looked at a new build on a development on the early stages of development . We loved the show home and wanted to commit to buy a plot. We were informed by the representative that she didn’t know when any more of the show home models would be built, how much they would be and we were asked to purchase a house that didn’t have a show home anywhere in the area. We left to consider our options, feeling very demoralised and frustrated – we naiively thought that buying a new build would be easy. When discussing this with family – my nephew, who himself has previously owned a new build said we may have had a lucky escape and he would never buy a new build again. Well his words have stayed with me as he was so correct. In fact very few more have been built on the development and it looks a forgotten site. So glad we didn’t get what we thought we wanted at the time. I am a great believer in Fate and this reinforces my beliefs.

Following this unsuccessful viewing my husband tried to cheer me up and suggested we have a drive around a few local areas for inspiration, rather than using the website. He drove around the areas I had been thinking of but nothing inspired us enough. He then drove to a different area, still close by and drove through an estate that is around 20 years old that we remembered being built and really liked at that time. I hadn’t considered this. It’s a little off the beaten track, away from Manchester Metrolink routes and only one daytime direct bus route. However, it was love at first sight. It was the isolation that we fell for – horses in fields and farmland surrounding the Estate. Bliss – just what we wanted.

So this answered our first question – Where to move to?

Whilst our sale was progressing I ‘stalked the estate’ I knew every property that was for sale – many sold very quickly. We had decided to purchase a detached property – our first. There was one house we really liked and I had my heart set on it – but one evening logging onto my saved properties on the aforesaid web site I saw the dreaded ‘Sold Subject To Contract’ message on the property listing. I was crushed yet again, there were another couple of detached houses in our price range for sale but not as nice as this, the garden aspect was a big want for us. We had lived with a sunny house and garden all these years and did not want to sacrifice this on moving house.

However, fate played it’s hand again and the next day another detached property came onto the market, and all things considered it was probably better than the one I originally set my heart on, in the fact that the garden was much better and had a south facing aspect.

In a nutshell we successfully made an offer and bought this property.

As for advice about anyone moving house here are my tips for a smoother, preparation and reducing stress are:

  1. Be organised – I had a project book in which I documented conversations with everyone I spoke to by telephone regarding services etc. I documented names, dates and times of conversations. These were useful when things that were promised weren’t delivered. And I did have to refer to these notes on more than one occasion!
  2. All contact with solicitors and Estate Agents were via email or telephone conversations were confirmed with an email and filed in folders in my Email. Despite keeping records we did encounter communication problems with our chosen agent.
  3. Plan ahead – make contact with service providers well in advance e.g Sky. BT, Utilities.
  4. Use the internet – my best friend, to research how to do things, there is a wealth of information out there which I successfully utilised
  5. From my internet research I found a very useful tip regarding packing. I allocated each room in the new house a colour. Boxes were labelled with tags of that colour and were also numbered. On removal day I blu tacked a corresponding tag on room doors and my fabulous removal men duly obliged and set boxes down in correct rooms.
  6. As I packed each numbered box I listed its contents on a template I had made on my PC. This was invaluable at the other end when trying to find things! Especially when we decided to nip out for a pub lunch on our second day in the house and my husband asked the question “do you know where my tan leather shoes are?” I could duly oblige and locate them in a  jiffy
  7.  I used the impending move as an ideal time to renegotiate my Sky, phone and internet contracts. I was able to get discounts on all 3. I used the argument that as I was moving it was a good time to maybe change my provider. It worked with all 3!
  8. There is a lot of negative press around Solicitors but I have to say ours was exceptional. Kept us updated with any new information, always available to answer any queries and didn’t provide us with a hefty bill.
  9. You hear people say that you must pester your agent and solicitor all the time to keep the process moving. Having now had the experience of a house move – I echo these sentiments entirely. My best friend was my smart phone so that I could fire off emails to all concerned whilst I was out and about and on the go. I did try to keep some humour in my messages so as not to alienate anyone. However, I do think my agents must have dreaded logging in each morning to see what my latest daily email contained. It was necessary though as my buyer was very slow at moving the purchase along, despite paying lip service that he was very keen and wanted to move in as soon  possible, he kept raising issues that slowed the process down. Gentle pressure on my agent was vital – I don’t think we would have completed yet if I hadn’t. So the message I’m sending to you is – Be Persistent, Firm, and Humorous!
  10. Our move was arranged for 4th December – not the run up to Christmas I’d imagined in July when I finished full time work, I envisioned baking foodie presents and cakes for friends, all presents and cards wrapped early – not having everything boxed up before and after the move. I’m posting a photo of my Christmas prep!
  11. My kitchen was only just fully functional the week before Christmas due to storage issues! I had hoped to have completed the move by the end of October.  Ah well there’s always next year.
  12. On the day of the move as well as the colour coding of my boxes I kept a few vital supplies with me. I would recommend doing the same. I had a bag of supplies I needed which I will break down and then I kept certain items in the car, so they didn’t get thrown into the back of the removal van.
  13. Contents in my bag for the day, not including my handbag, were:
    • Kettle
    • Milk
    • Tea, coffee, sugar and cordial
    • Mugs for us and removal men.
    • Biscuits – one friend advised me to provide good quality biscuits – always go down well with the removal boys!
    • Passports and walletts
    • Black bin liners
    • All purpose polish and dusters and washing up liquid.
    • Soap
    • Loo roll
    • Hand sanitiser
    • Hand and tea towels
    • Blu tack
    • Room planner, coloured post it notes, sharpie pen
    • Paracetamol
    • Pen, Project book
    • Laptop with charger
    • Mobile phone charger
  14. Objects in the car:
    • My dog’s ashes! (strange I know) I plan to bury them in my new garden. These were precious to me and I did not want them lost or damaged.You’ll see from an earlier post that I had only recently had to have him put to sleep.
    • Our duvet and pillows – this would keep them clean and ready to be put straight back on the bed – the day is extremely tiring and you want  a minimum of fuss once in.
    • I also packed a small travel bag with items necessary for an overnight stay in a hotel – clean underwear, nightwear, change of clothing for both of us and toiletries. Again so that there was no rooting around in boxes, no matter how well labelled they are, to be able to get to bed and start again the next day. Also if the dreaded worse happens and you hit a snag on the day that stops you moving in to your new property – and Yes! unfortunately that can happen, at least if you have to find a hotel or beg a bed at a friend or relative, you have what you need immediately to hand.

Needless to say the move went well, our removal company and the men who came were very helpful, they even helped me reconnect my Sky TV box! We did have a blip and a delay when the funds for our purchase seemed to get lost within the electronic banking system did not arrive at our vendors for solicitors for a couple of hours. This was  a nervy time – my Removal men sat in the van outside our new property and were given cups of tea by one of our lovely new neighbours and my husband and myself were sat in a pub close to the vendors Estate agent awaiting the go ahead. A very long hour and a half! I have to admit I was close to meltdown, but it all happened eventually and our move was complete. We moved our belongings in and then took a 5 minute walk to our local for a meal and a couple of glasses of much needed beer and wine. We were exhausted. The pub landlord sold us a couple of bottles of beer to take out and even provided a bottle opener as we weren’t sure where ours was! We encountered so much friendly assistance in various ways that day and are so thankful for it taking the stress out of moving house.

To answer our initial second question -What if we didn’t like our new home?

Not a problem we absolutely love it! and manged to get it the lounge and bedroom fully set up and cosy for Christmas. I had booked measurement for blinds prior to our move – I cannot reiterate enough that preparation in advance is so important. This reduced delays and allowed the settling in period to be reduced to a minimum.
image My husband – King of his new Castle


Festive finishing touches – presents under the tree

I didn’t know I could love a house and it’s surroundings so much. So, after all the hard work and occasional pain – we are in and gradually getting fully settled. I will write again about storage and organisation methods that I have used in a future post.

I welcome any comments or stories you have about your experiences of selling, buying and moving house.

Feel free to contact me by email


A Blue Moo’s views – 3 Things I’ve learned about Manchester City FC w/e 22nd Nov 2015

  1. When we are bad we are awful Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: “Today we did it all wrong – the performance, the way we defended, the way we went forward. It was a fake night, a fake game. It is difficult to understand.

    “If we meant to do it on purpose we couldn’t have done it that badly. We tried to make changes and have some options to score. We tried to fight but continued making so many mistakes with the ball.”

2) Yaya Toure has a problem with multi tasking – in my opinion he rarely has a good game when he is Captain. This week against Liverpool he was totally ineffective.

3) Sergio Aguero was worth every penny – nothing new here but still felt I needed to say it. “Sergio, Sergio!”

World Prematurity Day is an annual event in November

World Prematurity Day – a personal tribute


On World Prematurity Day I just had to give it a mention after working in Neonatal care for around 30 years. Even though retired I still work some part time hours in the field. In fact I am writing this brief post as I have a brew in bed post night shift!
Throughout my time it has been a privilege to work with such fine specimens of humanity – the babies!
When I’ve told people what I do many people have commented “oh that must be hard” “that must be sad” but no. It’s quite the contrary –  it’s uplifting and inspiring.
These little beings that arrive at the most inconvenient times, many weeks early are as tough as teak. Parents and families are scared of their small size and shiny skin, many looking like little skinned rabbits in the early hours after birth. Those of us who care for them aren’t, we know they are strong, tough, durable and will fight to do what’s necessary to cling to life. Sadly some don’t get to stay here but have to join the heavenly band of angels, but the majority make it in the end.
They have my utmost respect and I am in awe of them and families facing Prematurity.
Many of the babies I cared for in my early career are now parents themselves, some are fine big rugby players, clever, talented adults.

Parents as well cope with more than they think they can. Premature births often happen when a mother of family also have another traumatic event going on – these preterm babies don’t care! Mother can be days away from a house move, death of a close family member, another child already in hospital. The birth of a tiny, frail baby is another burden they fear they cannot cope with – but they do! They manage to deal with a whole host of things whilst still managing to visit daily, sometimes for a stay of over 100 days. They do remain sane and come out smiling.

The professionals who work in the field, support these fragile tiny bodies as if they were a family member, they listen to stressed parents, wipe away tears of sadness and laughter, encourage parents to have some ‘me’ time. These professionals also grieve with bereaved parents and celebrate with parents as tiny milestones are reached.

I salute you all today – please feel free to contact me with any comments

Diary of an imperfect mum

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Diary of An Imperfect Mum

A Blue Moo’s Views – 3 Things I’ve learned about Manchester City week ending 15th November 2015

  1. I really miss the Premeiership and Manchester City during International Breaks
  2. The wonderful. silky skills of Sergio Aguerro may be on display in the next game at The Etihad versus Liverpool

Sergio Aguero holds up a Manchester City shirt with his old No 16 on the back as he signs them for fans

  1. It doesn’t only rain in Manchester – the City players involved in the Argentina versus Brazil game in Buenos Aires had their game cancelled minutes before kick off due to torrential rain

Image result for argentina vs brazil postponed due to rain

Pet Bereavement and a lasting keepsake

The loss of a pet is devastating

Pet Bereavement hits as hard as the loss of a loved one. This is how I coped with the loss of my Border Terrier and the lasting keepsake I had made. I have been married for 30 years and for 29 of those years I have owned dogs. Firstly a lovable Westie, Paddy, who lived until he was 15.  And until a month ago a beautiful Border Terrier called Murphy who died aged 14.
My beautiful four legged friend Murphy

On both occasions we had to make the agonising decision to ‘put them to sleep’ or euthanasia. With Paddy, we had to make the decision in an emergency and the end of his life was fraught, a crisis. I remember just standing sobbing, I never held him in his final moments. Following his death and whilst preparing for my next puppy I read a chapter on Pet Bereavement in a breed book which said that when it came to the final goodbye, it was better a day too soon than a day too late. Those words have always stuck with me.

When I got my beloved Border Terrier my heart melted, he was the most adorable, loving puppy and I always vowed that his beautiful, sweet life would not end in a crisis.
My beautiful boy as a puppy

Murphy was a ‘people’dog – this term was described to me by one of the Vets we saw through his lifetime. He developed digestive problems around the age of one and used to have attacks of severe abdominal pain and then blood in his stools.  This was finally diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), after a history was taken about his habits and personality. Where, Paddy would happily play and roam around the garden on his own for hours, Murphy just wanted to be with me or my husband and attacks were brought on by separation anxiety or by some stressful occurrence. He was scared of cats! and one attack followed a cat hissing and scratching him when out walking. He could be a real drama queen! He always had to eat a prescription diet and occasional steroid treatment. I never though for a while that he would live to an old age, but he did! Once myself and my husband were at home a lot more due to changes in jobs, this settled down.

However,in the past 12 months he started to decline gradually with lack of mobility and change of habits -he began to slowly lose his spark.  I took him for regular Veterinary check up’s and I chose to take him to the same vet in the practice, a wonderful caring lady called Lynne. In June when it seemed clear to me that time really was catching up with him, we had a chat and came to a mutual agreement that once he was not able to manage the stairs and was living mostly in one room of the house e.g. he had no quality in his life we would say goodbye. Murphy always followed us everywhere and slept with us,if he couldn’t do any of these things he was just existing.

Finally at the end of September we knew the time had come – he was looking unhappy and his bones and joints looked to be really troubling him.

Leading up to this I knew I wanted a keepsake to remember him by. I didn’t have anything like that from Paddy, I wasn’t an internet user when he passed over so had no awareness of what was available, if anything in 2001. I searched for Pet Bereavement keepsakes as well as consider his sensitive disposal. Paddy was buried in our garden by my husband, as I have said earlier, somewhere he loved. This time around this was not going to be an option, aside from the fact he didn’t like to be alone outside, we are in the process of selling our home and moving.

Pet keepsake

I chose www.a-lastingimpression.co.uk to make my keepsake. This is run by a lovely girl called Hannah. I had a silver charm made of Murphy’s paw print which I now have attached by a jump ring to a Links of  London bracelet. Hannah sends you a kit which comprises of a special cloth and paper, with which you take a paw print. You then return this to Hannah and she makes a rubber stamp that she stamps into the charm. I had this made in June, again as I didn’t want to have to do this in a crisis.

The service from Hannah, was so helpful and she has excellent communication skills. My finished charm is beautiful – the print looks so like Murphy’s paw -I know those pads anywhere! She also returns the original stamp she has made in case you should lose the charm and need to have a new one made. Now that he has gone, I am so glad I had this done. I treasure it.
The lasting impression of Murphys paw print

Rossendale Pet Crematorium

As Murphy’s condition was declining I planned what I would do with his body. I rang the Crematorium office and discussed options. Again, I received  great understanding and advice, when my voice was cracking with emotion, they were very empathetic.  My husband and myself decided we would have him cremated and have his ashes to return to us to take to our new home. I was informed that collection days at our vets were early on a Tuesday and a Friday morning. This then meant if I was planning the end of his life I wanted it to be on a Monday or a Thursday afternoon, so that he would not be lying alone in the Vets for too long.

When the fateful day came, it was on a Monday, in fact our 30th Wedding Anniversary! Not the way we planned to spend the day, but on that day it was all about his needs not ours.  I won’t go in to too much detail, apart from the fact that this time I hugged and kissed him till the end,  as it’s still very painful to us. I still shed a tear every day. However, the service from my Veterinary practice, particularly Lynne and Rossendale Pet Crematorium was excellent. His ashes were delivered back to the surgery on Friday and I brought his remains back home. Inside the box was a printed copy of a beautiful and apt poem that is displayed on their website.

If it should be

If it should be I grow frail and weak,
And pain should wake me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle can’t be won.
You will be sad, I understand,
Don’t let your grief then stay your hand,
For this day more than all the rest
Your love and friendship stand the test.
We’ve had so many happy years,
What is to come will hold no fears,
You’ll not want me to suffer, so,
When the time comes, please let me go,
I know in time you too will see,
It is kindness you do to me,
Although my tail it’s last has waved,
From pain and suffering I’ve been saved,
Do not grieve that it should be you,
Who has to decide this thing to do,
We’ve been so close, we two, these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.

Anyone who has been through the loss of a much loved pet knows how raw and painful this is. It’s losing a member of the family, in fact I lost my best, most loyal friend.

If you wish to know any more here are the links to the websites of the Keepsake company and Rossendale Pet Crematorium



Also if you wish to contact me about anything in this post or share memories of your beloved pet I would love to hear from you