Hello 46, who dis? | Life Update

Hello 46, who dis? | Life Update

Ok so having a birthday in lockdown was definitely different than normal, but actually, it was pretty great.

It started off with a lie in, which is a rarity as our Daisy dog needs drugs at around 7am every day… but just this once, M got up, gave her her medication and came back to bed – we figured she wouldn’t starve if she got her breakfast a couple of hours late!

I mostly asked for donations to Newton Community Fridge for my birthday this year, but M got me some beautiful gifts too! These were some shoes, some gorgeous beauty products AND the most amazing portrait of Daisy Dog – especially commissioned – I am a lucky girl. Even Daisy herself got me an M&S voucher!!

I then came downstairs to a birthday banner and some balloons!! I mean…. 46 or 6 you decide… birthdays in our house are still an EVENT!!!

After a rather standard dog walk, we commenced our 1st birthday activity. Originally I said I wanted to go to the beach, but the weather was rubbish, so we downgraded our beach and sea experience to a trip to Pennington Flash to have a look at the water. Except, when we go there, it was blustery and not really the kind of day for gazing wistfully at the H20. But the car ride and a brief glimpse of something other than our living room was a welcome change.

After this, we had a journey into St Helens to collect some food from one of our favourite eateries, Vigour. We ordered over the phone and collected by arrangement. We wore our masks and gloves and the whole process was stress-free as the floor was clearly marked every 2 metres. We did see quite a few people wearing masks, but unfortunately, most of them were sitting on their chins for some reason?!?!

After that we came home and chilled out – finishing the day with a FaceTime family call to cut my birthday cake – lovingly made by M and complete with cute birthday decorations!!

What a great day…. I was worried it was going to be a bit flat, but I had a wonderful day… thanks to everyone… to my family for the donations and to my husband for giving me the best lockdown birthday possible.

G x

p.s. I don’t really have many photos of my birthday, I just spent the time enjoying it.

It’s ma birthday!! | Coronavirus

It’s ma birthday!! | Coronavirus

Yes it’s true, today is my 46th birthday… aren’t I lucky. I am sure anyone and everyone that experienced a birthday or similar special occasion will remember this years event as an unusual one.

Lockdown has certainly has it’s up and downs, but one amazing thing that happened in my local community is that people bandied together and did some AMAZING things to support their friends and neighbours.

So for my birthday I would like to support one such amazing band of people, namely Newton Community Fridge. This is exactly what you think it might be;

No Questions. No Judgement. Nobody Should Be Hungry

Newton Community Fridge

So I know this is super cheeky of me, but if you have a spare £ then please consider donating, if not then please consider sharing this post so other people know about the amazing community fridge.

So this is me….46 and whilst i’ve hated the lockdown, I am still here safe because of it.

Happy Monday everyone! and thanks…

Gill xxxx

I realised I knew nothing | Black Lives Matter

I realised I knew nothing | Black Lives Matter

Hi! I’m Gill, a white woman, living in a borough where just 1 in every 47.2 people come from a Black, or otherwise ethnically diverse background. My primary/junior school was 100% white and my high school experience had a single Chinese girl that join my maths class for the final term.

Once I started to work and critically, once I could drive, I started to get out and about a bit more, experiencing different cultures as I went. But I realise that after all these years I thought I was informed, it turns out – I am really, really not.

I realise that racism has always been there – but those of us not directly affected by it have somehow grown to live with that particular mistreatment of people – and I don’t know how or why? I realised that I don’t know enough. That I have cultivated my social media without ever consciously thinking about it, which means I follow more white people that anything else. Again, I don’t know why.

IRL I treat people as equals, I am firmly anti-racist as I do KNOW that racism is bad and I genuinely don’t understand people that judge based on skin colour. BUT and it’s a niggly, annoying but… my lack of education and lack of cultural diversity in social interactions was wrong. So what could I do?

I believe that education is the key for me, so I have set about trying to find some people with good info to read. I’ve searched for good films to watch and good dramas to binge on from black creators. I have also reflected on a trip M and I took to Alabama in 2006, where we visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum and I remember the stark image of the “colored” water fountain next to the one for white people.

If I was going to recommend 3 things to watch or read I would go for:

  • Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams. A great story about a black girl, living in London, who experiences poor mental health after a breakup (of sorts). This book was great and showed me some of the day to day issues that young, black women face.
  • Selma – a film starring Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo about the march from Selma in Alabama to Montgomery organised by Martin Luther King. This was an eye-opener for me as I sort of knew about this story in the abstract, but I had NO idea of what happened in reality. It made me cry to watch it and so it should.
  • I may destroy you – a drama on BBC about a late 20s black girl, living in London. I am only halfway through, but so far it’s a tale of how vulnerable someone can be in the blink of an eye. Be warned if you are thinking of watching, it does contain some sexual violence.

All I can really do is try harder, be more educated and speak up when and where I can. I am consciously trying to follow and listen to more black influencers, creators and activists to not only to see but to hear – really hear. You see, it DOES affect me – I have never been afraid of the police, I was taught to go to them for help. I thought it was the same for everyone… it’s not.

Black. Lives. Matter.

G x

It got worse before it got better | Pupdate

It got worse before it got better | Pupdate

Of course, when we adopted Daisy, we had no history, we knew she was originally from Romania and came to the UK via Manchester and Cheshire dogs home. We were told Daisy was 7 1/2. We had no other history and as we had adopted our previous dog Peggy under similar circumstances, we weren’t too worried.

We had Daisy just about 8 months before she started to become unwell and now we’ve had her 18 months, we have been to the vets WAY more times that we had bargained for.

Her health took a turn about a month ago and WOW it has been really tough to go through the worry, especially through the lockdown. We’ve been backwards and forwards to the vets, had test after test, various strength of medication BUT I think we are finally at a stable place.

Daisy has stopped howling for the most part, yes the most silent, quiet and unassuming dog started howling. At first, we thought it was separation anxiety, due to the fact that we currently are always together and so when we went to our office on Monday morning (2 floors up from her) she would spend the morning howling. But then she howled when we were with her… we couldn’t work it out. Turns out she had high blood pressure, which the vet thought could be giving her a headache 😩

Actually, now might be a good time for a list of what she’s currently got going on:

  • Blind
  • High Blood Pressure (2 x tablets a day)
  • Thyroid Issues (1 x a day)
  • Cushing’s Disease (2 x tablets a day)
  • Osteoarthritis (2 x tablets a day)

She’s on 7 tablets a day and is limited to very short walks during the day – no longer than 15-20 minutes. This was quite an adjustment for us as we slowly realised that Daisy is basically a poorly old lady who the vet thinks is at least 12 (not 9 which is what we thought).

She’s not a pupper that is ever really going to have any adventures with us. No long walks, no big beach scrambles, in fact, Daisy can’t go much further than 1/2 mile without the risk of hurting her little legs. If we try to walk her further than that, she starts to slow right down and then at home, she literally yelps in pain OR she shakes her legs when she tried to walk or put weight on them. That would be the arthritis then…

But after all the vets visits and various additions and trials of medication, she seems to have stabilised. She’s enjoying the short walks a bit more and definitely seems brighter in herself. Thank god for that.

We had a rough old time there for a while and all 3 of us got a bit fed up. Things have improved though and we are managing Daisy’s symptoms and we are just dealing with the fact that she regularly pees in the house – washable pee pads for the win!

But what a sweetheart Daisy is… despite everything, just an utter joy..

A Traumatic Week with Daisy | Pupdate

A Traumatic Week with Daisy | Pupdate

If you follow me on social media, you might have seen that I posted earlier this week that Daisy Dog hasn’t been well.

Daisy has never been a high energy dog, but when she first arrived she was quite scampy and would run around sometimes. Then in August 2019 we noticed she was drinking loads and she was eventually diagnosed with Cushing disease. She’s been on 4 tablets a day since and whilst she’s still poorly, we have been able to manage it with the medication.

However, over the last few weeks, and perhaps because we’ve have been with her 24/7 we have started to notice a few more things that weren’t quite right. Namely

  • She was bumping into things
  • When she was resting, her legs were shaking
  • She was unsteady on her legs – so if we lifted one up to put her harness on, she would fall over
  • She was struggling to walk. Excited to go out, then wanting to come home after about 10-15 minutes.
  • She had a hard lump on her jaw

We had chatted to the vet a few weeks ago about the walking issues and our vet thought she might have Arthritis and gave us some tablets – but they made things a bit worse as they upset Daisy’s tummy and made her a bit miserable.

But as things hadn’t improved, this week, we asked our vet to take a look at her and so we experienced our 1st Coronavirus vet visit. This basically entailed the staff being in full PPE, us handing Daisy over at the door, M waiting outside in the car, the vet calling with the news and then M collecting Daisy from inside the vets waiting room, once the staff had left the area.

M arrived back from the vets with potentially devastating news.

  • Firstly, the vet is convinced Daisy is much older than we were led to believe when we adopted her. What we were told suggested she is 9 now, but the vet thinks she potentially as old as 12.
  • It’s likely she does have Arthritis, the vet thought her gait and age strongly suggested this. The vet also said she would probably in pain when she was walking or going to the loo, as arthritis makes it harder to move around.
  • Daisy also failed the 3 eyesight tests they did on her, which suggests she is either blind or has very limited eyesight. She might see shadows.
  • Whilst drawing blood, the vet also noticed that Daisy’s hair hadn’t grown back since the last blood test 6 months ago. Which suggests she also had Thyroid issues.
  • Finally and the scariest thing was that the vet was worried that the hard lump on Daisy’s jaw was cancer. She said it was hard to confirm without general anaesthetic, but if it WAS cancer, it was inoperable. Which was the worst news possible and when M got home, there were many tears.

BUT our trauma for the day wasn’t over. M and Daisy had been back from the vets about 30 minutes and Daisy was resting on her cushion when we noticed she was bleeding from the lump, like a LOT. We called the vets, who told us to put pressure on the wound, which we had already started to do. The vet advised us to put hard pressure on the wound for a minimum of 2 minutes. Luckily Daisy is a very docile animal and so even though she clearly wasn’t keen, she let us hold some kitchen roll against her jaw till it stopped bleeding.

M went back to the vets for a collar and some anti-biotics. We were all a bit traumatised. Poor Daisy – she’s been a bit unwell for months and she’s such a cuddly sweetheart, we would hate it if she had been in pain that whole time.

But… after some of the blood test results, it seems there might be a slight chance that the lump on her haw could have been an abscess. Without a biopsy, it can’t be confirmed, and even if we DID do that, it’s academic as it would be inoperable.

We’ve had a dreadful week, with dreadful news – we hope for an abscess, and at the moment, she does seem to be a bit brighter so you never know. She is on some serious drugs though, so I imagine that really helps too!

We love our Daisy Dog and I hope more than anything, that she can stay with us a while longer. M and I have been through this before and we have learned that as long as she seems happy in herself and isn’t in pain – then 10-minute walks, 2 tonnes of medication and sofa cuddles it is.

Thanks to anyone who send love our way – we really needed it this week.

G x

Birthdays in Lockdown | CoronaVirus

Birthdays in Lockdown | CoronaVirus

Over the last week we have two birthday’s within the family. My husband Michael turned 47 and his mum turned 82. Lockdown birthday’s were definitely a new and different experience and they definitely forced me to be creative.

My husband is the kindest, most generous person you could ever mind and he felt weird about getting gifts for his birthday, so he asked his family that if they were thinking of getting him something, then instead he would prefer if they made a donation to a local food bank. I mean… he’s the best…

But I still wanted to make fuss of him if I could – so I organised a series of small suprises.

  1. The first one was simple. I got in touch with his work friends and asked the to change their backgrounds to a birthday or party theme when they were on their daily video calls the last day he was in work before his birthday. He was VERY surprised an a bit tickled.
  2. Of course, the night before his birthday, I pretended I wasn’t tired and then hand threaded a birthday banner and blew up some balloons ready for the morning. Birthday standard in our house!
  3. Also, a few days before his birthday, I got in touch with our lovely neighbours and asked them if they would very kindly, but a Happy Birthday message in their window for him. BOY did they not disappoint me!! They went above and beyond and again, he was tickled PINK!!!
  4. The final thing was that we had organised a FaceTime family get together and all M’s family wore red at my request and his mum actually wore the “family” fascinator – which was very very much appreciated!

I did make him a cake too, but it was the very definition of a cake fail! As it turned out it tasted OK, but looks AWFUL! I was going for a buttercream, drip cake type of thing.. .which I did… but only if you imagine someone basically flicking watery buttercream at a chocolate cake and then drizzling not quite enough chocolate at it….

But as I said, it was also Michael’s mum’s birthday too and I think she was expecting it to be a bit “meh”. But as it turned up, all the important people turned up to wish her happy birthday through the window – all co-ordinated so they didn’t meet and no-one coming into contact with anyone. She had a birthday cake made and delivered on the step by one of the visitors and then in the evening, we had a family facetime. She said it was lovely and much better than she had been expecting.

I really do hope I get to live to my 80s and still have a unique experience.

Lockdown has it good days and bad days and I have learned to live through both and just go with it. I hope you are ok if you are reading this and not having the best day, I can only tell you that tomorrow can be a clean slate..

Take everyone, stay safe and stay home

G x

One cool thing a month | Lifestyle |CoronaVirus

One cool thing a month | Lifestyle |CoronaVirus

At the start of this year, I decided I was going to do one cool thing a month throughout 2020 and I was SO looking forward to it as I knew it would force me to go out and try new things. Not so much a resolution but more sort of mantra for the year.

In January I decided to try swimming as this was something that was sort of restricted to holidays, despite the fact I live within spitting distance of a public swimming pool! I went along to my local pool and enjoyed it so much that I signed up for swimming lesson and swam every week from January to early March.

In February, I decided to try Floating at a Spa in Altrincham – 60 minutes of sensory deprivation floating in capsule, which I thought I would love, but couldn’t quite get in to.

In March, I booked for us to have a tour of an Amazon Fulfilment Centre, which meant we would get to see how the operations side of how Amazon works…the geeky side of me was really interested. But at the end of February, we had an email from Amazon that due to the ongoing issues with the CoronaVirus in Italy, they were cancelled all tours. A sure sign things to come.

So my “One Cool Thing A Month” activities now appear to be surviving through a Global Pandemic and at the very least, staying sane. I have never baked, cooked and cleaned so much in my life – the lockdown has turned me into a 1950’s housewife!

So for the foreseeable, I am going to think of “One Cool Lockdown Activity” per month.

During March, I think the 1 cool thing I did was cook. Hear me out. Before lockdown, I was a lazy cook, firmly in the camp of “often can’t be arsed”. This resulted in us eating out, takeaways and the occasional home-cooked meal. But since lockdown, I have cooked almost every night – peeled, chopped, cooked, baked and scoffed all manner of lovely and mostly healthy food. Only this morning, I made us a full English Breakfast, unheard of in our house! We just really miss going out for Breakfast!

Anyway, I need to go and think of one cool thing for April to do…. ideas on a postcard, Tweet, Instagram Comment, DM or you can just email me…

Hope you guys are all ok, Stay Home. Protect the NHS.

G x

Free Quiz |CoronaVirus

Free Quiz |CoronaVirus

So it seems that Video Call Quizzes have become a real thing whilst we are all confined to our houses and in my house, we have hosted 4 so far.

So just in case, you were looking for new quiz questions or rounds, I thought I would share the ones we have been using. Hope you enjoy and happy Quizzing!

Quiz 1 – Easter Lockdown Quiz

Round 1  – General Knowledge

You can download the question sheet from here: Easter Quiz 2020

  1. Which veteran actress links Queen Victoria and James Bond (Judi Dench)
  2. In technology, what does the abbreviation VCR stand for? (Video Cassette Recorder)
  3. Which poet described a Host of Golden Daffodils (William Wordsworth)
  4. What is the city-state called where the Pope lives? (Vatican City)
  5. What colour do you get, if you mix together Pink and Blue? (Purple)
  6. Whereabouts on your body are your Molars? (Your mouth)
  7. Who was the 1st man on the moon? (Neil Armstrong)
  8. Who is the current 1st lady in America (Melania Trump)
  9. During World War II  there was an American Airbase in the North West of England. Where was it? (Burtonwood)
  10. What nationality is Pop Sensation Justin Bieber? (Canadian)

Round 2 – Famous Faces 

Send images of the following people and the players have to put them in Age order. 

  1. Beyonce (38)
  2. Phillip Schofield (58)
  3. Oprah (66)
  4. Billy Connolly (77)
  5. The Queen (93)

Round 3 – Split into 2 

For quiz teams with anyone under 70 in their team 

Treasure Hunt

  1. Find something purple.
  2. Find something that is older than the youngest person in your team. 
  3. Find something sparkly. 
  4. Find something with the number 1 on it. 
  5. Find something that you didn’t have before lockdown. 

Round 3 – For the over 70s – The 1970s 

  1. In 1972, which swimmer won 7 gold medals at the Munich Olympics? (Mark Spitz)
  2. Who was Astronaut Steve Austin also known as (The Bionic Man/The Six Million Dollar Man)
  3. Which Swedish pop group won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974? (ABBA)
  4. Why was Evil Knievel made famous in the 1970s (American Stuntrider)
  5. What year did Elvis Die? (1977)

Round 4 – Connect the Answers 

This round has 5 questions and each of the answers is linked together by a common theme. Answer all the questions correctly and then guess the theme. 

  1. What do you call it when you wrap up wool? (Ball)
  2. Another word for when someone is making a lot of noise (Racket)
  3. Something  you might do when you greet a King or Queen ( Bow)
  4. Which animal uses sonar to navigate (Bat)
  5. What is a shortened version of the word Internet? (Net)

Theme  – Things you use to play sport. 

Round 5  – What are these Nursery Rhymes? 

  1. HDSOAW (Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall)
  2. TBM (Three Blind Mice)
  3. TGODOY (The Grand Old Duke of  York)
  4. HDD (Hickory Dickory Dock)
  5. JAGWUTH (Jack and Gill went up the Hill)

Quiz 2 – Lockdown Quiz

You can download the Quiz Sheet from here: Lockdown Quiz

Everyone will need a piece of paper and a pen. 

  • There are 5 rounds. 
  • 1 x Picture and People Round (5 pts)
  • 1 x General Knowledge Round (10 pts)
  • 1 x specialist subject round (5 pts)
  • 1 x Picture and Places (5 points)
  • 25 points max. 

Round 1 – Picture Quiz 

WhatsApp 5 x pictures to everyone, one at a time. 

  1. Ed Sheeran
  2. Mo Farah
  3. Claudia Winkleman
  4. Ed Sheeran
  5. Michelle Obama

Google a relevant picture and save them on your phone. Give the answers at the end of the round. 

Round 2 – General Knowledge 

(Ask these questions directly and give answers at the end of the round)

  1. How many sides does an Octagon have? (8)
  2. What is the capital of Wales? (Cardiff)
  3. What is Focaccia? (A Type of Bread)
  4. Which football team plays at Carrow Road? (Norwich City)
  5. In which city in America are the Bellagio and the MGM Grand? (Las Vegas)
  6. Which TV programme featured the cafe, Central Perk? (Friends)
  7. In Snooker, how many points is the black ball worth? (7)
  8. What is the French word for Bread? (Pain)
  9. In 10-pin bowling, what is it called when you knock all 10 pins down? (A Strike)
  10. Who is the Prime Minister of Canada? (Justin Trudeau) 

Round 3 – Specialist Subject 

If your quiz participants are in teams, you can ask each team to pick a relevant specialist subject. If they aren’t, you can ask for people to vote on which subject they want the next 5 questions to be on. 

  • Social Media
  • Fishing 
  • Sport
  • Retail 
  • Pot Luck 

Social Media Questions 

  1. Which social media platform has a white ghost as it’s the logo? (Snapchat)
  2. On which social media platform are you limited to 280 characters? (Twitter)
  3. Which social media platform is the movie “The Social Network” about? (Facebook)
  4. Which social media star competed in Strictly Come Dancing in 2018? (Joe Sugg)
  5. Which YouTuber has the most subscribers? (PewDePie)

Sport Questions 

  1. What city should have hosted the Summer 2020 Olympics? (Tokyo)
  2. What is a Birdie in Golf (-1 par)
  3. What sport is Michael Bisping known for? (MMA)
  4. In which sport do teams compete for the Stanley Cup? (Ice Hockey)
  5. In which race does Bechers Brook appear? (The Grand National)

Fishing Questions 

  1. Can you identify this fish (to be WhatsApp), Rainbow, Trout
  2. What is a reel used for in fishing? (Stowing Fishing Wire)
  3. Which Angler presents the Tv Programme “Total Fishing” (Matt Hayes)
  4. What is the name of the industry magazine that is popular with people that like to fish? (The Angling Times)
  5. In Fly Fishing, what is used as bait to catch a fish? (An artificial lure/ fly)

Retail Questions 

  1. In retail, what is a BOGOF deal? (Buy one get one free)
  2. Which retailer is TK in the UK and TJ in the US? (Tk/TJ Maxx)
  3. Which online retailer was started by Jeff Bezos? (Amazon)
  4. What is the name of the Shopping Mall in Sheffield, which is similar to The Trafford Centre? (Meadowhall)
  5. For Jennifer’s 30th birthday, Gill got her a handbag. Which city was she shopping in when she bought it? (New York)

Pot Luck  – Goodies & Baddies

  1. Which planet is Dr Who from? (Gallifrey)
  2. In the James Bond Films, which animals were the villains traditionally pictured stroking? (A Cat)
  3. In the Marvel comics, what is Thor’s nasty brother called (Loki)
  4. In the Wizard of Oz, where was the witch from that wanted to steal Dorothy’s Ruby slippers? (The West)
  5. Who was Superman’s alter ego? (Clark Kent)

Final Round – Pictures and Places 

Name the following places

  • Wembley Stadium 
  • The Liver Buildings, Liverpool
  • The Eiffel Tower
  • The Houses of Parliament 
  • The Statue in Mesnes Park, Wigan (Sir Francis Powell)

Google a relevant picture and save them on your phone. Give the answers at the end of the round

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