Which Watch?..


I have recently become a very novice runner and I wanted a tracker watch to record my stats and look at my routes and be GPS friendly and be worth the money, oh, and to look ok on my very skinny wrists.  It is an absolute minefield out there!  It actually took me a shorter period of time to make an offer on my first house than to pick a watch.  I do like value for money and I had a few quid ‘spare’ on Amazon to put towards a super new shiny wearable watch with pizzazz.  I did have a tracker which was ok for my stepping needs – a Jawbone Up.  I loved it, very basic but did the job.  However, this year (as I started my beginner running) after the company went bankrupt a year or so ago, the app finally gave up the ghost.  Typical.  The scandal of it all is that Jawbones are still for sale.


I set out on my search for a new tracker/watch.  The first thing that I looked at was the brand.  There are so many out there to research.  Apple, Fitbit, Garmin, Huawei, Polar, Samsung, Tom-Tom etc etc.  Aaargh!  I instantly decided against Apple as I had Apple mobile phones then, after changing to Samsung, Apple decided to take money out of my account for the use of itunes which I had never even used.  Once bitten and all that.  I prefer being back with Android.  I finally narrowed it down to either Fitbit or Garmin.  Fitbit looked more stylish for smaller wrists but Garmin seemed to have more to offer for a more reasonable price.


I actually picked the Fitbit Charge 2 – I thought, ‘what is there not to love?’  However, to have an accurate GPS recording of any walks/runs, you had to take your phone with you.  For the extra bit of money to pay now, I did not see the point in this.  In the summer, having to carry an inhaler and maybe a car key plus bottle of water, where was I going to put my phone?  This made me rule out all trackers that had connected only GPS.  This also put me in a slightly higher price bracket…


I am a total bargain hunter, I always have been, and this runs through everything that I buy; clothes, food, shoes, gifts, everything.  So this is also a factor into how long I took pondering over trackers.  Now that I wanted GPS, though, this ruled out too low a price.  I didn’t want to go too high.  I am never going to give up running as I now love it and hate it in equal measures, but what if…


The final factor is how it would look.  I loved the look of Fitbit Charge 2, it is fairly slim plus there are loads of variety of new straps if I fancied a change.  Oooh lots of colours! More decisions to follow?  However, on further inspection, it transpired that Charge 2 doesn’t have GPS away from a mobile phone – noooooo!  The Fitbit Verso was also good looking but was quite a bit of extra money for no GPS too.  I finally narrowed it down to a toss-up between the Fitbit Ionic and the Garmin Forerunner 35.  There are endless reviews online about both and it took me ages to trawl through the good, the bad and the ugly.  I even went into Argos to try them on – quite big on the wrist but I plumped for the Forerunner.

I ended up buying the Garmin Vivoactive 3 hah!  I am loving it.  To be fair, I expect I would have loved any of them as, despite what this post may reflect, I am quite easily pleased.

Love Mandy x

P.S. Come on England!


Supermarket Stress…


There is definitely something awry.  I have occasional anxiety,  I think that that is what it is, in certain everyday situations.  I am not anxious about being anxious, though, but I wanted to write about it just in case it becomes a ‘thing’. 

Today, I went to the supermarket with my daughter for a general food shop. It was a pleasant enough start, I bought a hanging basket and a pineapple plant to decrease snoring (apparently) – yes, I bought into the hype.  We looked at clothes and items that we will never need to buy including a cactus toothbrush holder.  Daughtershine is back from university for several weeks and it was amazing to see my trolley fill up with food that I had not placed in there!  Hmmm.  We bought Amber a crinkly newspaper toy – a replica of one she had as a puppy.  It will probably last 2 hours only.  There was a taster lady trying to sell sweet potato falafel bites and she asked if I wanted a taster.  Of course!  However, when she chopped the falafel bite in two and placed it onto the cardboard plate, it touched her dirty tea cloth and the knife did not look too clean.  Bleurgh.  The three packs that she talked me into having (three for the price of two) were dumped before the till.  I bumped into someone I know – three times – bumping into someone when feeling unbrushed is virtually guaranteed.

On a side note, I am unable to deviate from going up and down the aisles in the ‘correct’ order.  This is probably linked, somehow, to my occasional anxiousness.  I can only go up and down and not miss out or aim for the middle of the shop in a disorderly fashion. How people can just scoot up and down the middle aisles backwards and forwards is a mystery to me!

We picked up strawberries, carrots, chicken, a few LM items and a drink each.  Towards the last half a dozen aisles, I just wanted to be out of the shop.  I had had enough and wanted to rush to get out.  I did continue because I needed the pesky bread aisle, and could not go straight there in case I needed other items before that!  I could not go out of order!  As Dani was with me, I was ok but I rubbed my hands which I have noticed that I have done before, very occasionally.  I had a mild overwhelming feeling (is this possible?) and there was too many items to pick from and I needed to get out.  Have you ever experienced this?  Am I abnormal?  (Kind responses only, please!)  I know that in the bigger picture that this is nothing.  Just a little blip.  However, I did have a similar feeling not very long ago in a different supermarket when I was on my own and I didn’t even make it to the last few aisles – I just took my trolley and paid and needed to get out into the fresh air.  I felt teary and had to leave.  So this is a bit about me, probably strange but definitely true.  I thought that I would write it down to keep a check on any future supermarket happenings!  It might just be a time of life thing, I guess. I might go and have an internet browse now to see if others have felt this.  I might do internet shopping next time, but is that really the answer?

Thanks for reading.

Mandy x

J Words…

I have not written a post for more than a week eeeeek so here is one for today.

I am writing about my favourite words beginning with each letter of the alphabet in no order at all.  This goes against my orderly mind but I am going with it.  Today is the letter ‘J’. 

Jackal In Your Mind…

This is my number one track to listen to whilst driving by Francis Dunnery, of course… 

I’m sick and tired of love troubles
Searched my whole life to find my perfect girl
And then when she shows
I realise we come from different worlds
Her with her money
She’s never had to work for anything at all
And me I was born to work for each and everything I own

She say: pack all your troubles and leave me
I say: the argument’s over now everything’s fine
I feel like a jackal
She says silver bells and pretty clothes they often make me smile
But nobody could afford the way you held
Then kissed my mouth goodbye
I wanted to trust you and I wanted you to trust me
Swear that you need me all of the time
I know I’m a jackal in your mind

I’m sick and tired of love’s sorrows
Facing all the things that I really want to hide
The child in me grows
It lives its life and feeds on my insides
Never showing, it never had a chance to see a happy time
My parents it seems were hell bent on destroying all my pride

They say: pack all your troubles get out of here
I say: I can’t bring my friends round I’m scared what they’ll find
And they’ll think I’m a jackal
She says silver bells and pretty clothes they often make me smile
But nobody could afford the very first time we met and you said hi
I wanted to kiss you and I wanted you to kiss me
All those moments long lost in time
Now I’m just a jackal in your mind
Jackal in your mind
Jackal in your mind

It is such a powerful and haunting song.


It was another J word that I could think of that I like! Mmmm.


I love my jeans.  I think that 501s are a favourite.  Jeans are just my go to thing to wear on most occasions.  Dress up or dress down – perfect attire for an ageing rock music lover!  And very comfortable.  I saw some on sale at the County Show last week and wish that I had bought some new ones.


I will write a post about this separately in the coming weeks but a big shout out to Rising Brook Runners (beginners) – I now have a love hate relationship with running/jogging and wouldn’t change it for the world.  I love my new trainers and I am thinking of investing in a Garmin tracker.  Any recommendations will be gratefully received…  If you are a couch potato and are thinking of having a go – just do it!  It has changed my shape and my mind and widened my social circle.  What’s not to love?


My big brother, John Peter.  My dad is called Terence Peter and his brother is Robert John.  My granddad was also a Peter.  Anyway, John is 8 years older than me and I always looked up to him in my younger days.  He was born on Christmas Day 1963.  He was my idol.

My mum says that the loudest scream she ever heard was when John accidently hit me with a garden spade; I still have a tiny scar on my forehead.  I don’t remember.  I do remember him skating on thin ice on the canal when walking home from school and I told on him!  He doesn’t let me forget that!  He left home when he was 16 to join the army and has travelled all over the world.  I loved his tales from Scotland and The Faulklands and Norway.  He was an excellent skier and won awards.  I did visit him in Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Germany, all great holidays that have given me great memories.  Cyprus was beautiful and my first holiday abroad at 16.  John was a great host taking us all around the island.  I saw the best road sign ever in Cyprus; Slow – grape juice on the road!  I still have the photo somewhere, I will have to dig it out.  In Germany we visited Bergen-Belsen – a place that will stay with me, it was an eerily quiet place where the birds had no song.  When I visited John in Northern Ireland, I stupidly told him the incorrect airport arrival details so he had to rush from one end of Belfast to the other to make sure that I was safe.  Oops! 

Nowadays my big bro loves a game of golf and a beer or two on a Friday night.  He is happily settled with Linda, Matt, Meg and Tilly the chihuahua.  He has worked hard all of his life, a Morgan trait, I believe.  We need to go out for a catch up soon although he does see OH on some Friday nights out.  Big loves xxx     


I love a good laugh but I am hopeless at re-iterating jokes.  I usually laugh in the wrong place or say the punchline before I have told the joke correctly.  We went to see Kevin Bridges last week at Stafford Gatehouse and he was absolutely brilliant. He has such a unique style and fantastic timing and he is so different to anyone else that I have seen.  He did a joke about the family waiting in for a Friday night takeaway before the days of Just Eat.  Hilarious!  I can’t even write down how funny it was without messing it up so I will definitely leave the jokes to the professionals and move on… 

Japanese words… 

Japanese is the ninth most spoken language in the world.  My beautiful daughter loves the Japanese language and culture and wants to go and live in Japan for a year.  She wants to eat Japanese food and have Japanese babies!  Her future son has a Japanese name – Nowaki.  Her future daughter, however, is Esther! As a result of her Japanese love, I now know some Japanese words;

おはようございます ohayou gozaimasu – Good morning!
konnichiwa – Hello / Good afternoon!
お名前は何ですか? o namae wa nan desu ka – What’s your name?
です …desu – I’m…
suki desu – I like it.
arigatou gozaimasu – Thank you.
どういたしまして douitashimashite – You’re welcome.
gomen nasai – I’m sorry.

じゃあまた jaa mata – See you!
お元気で  o genki de – Take care. 


I have faith in the British justice system and have worked within the service for 30+ years  I love my job and have recently had a ‘5 minutes with’ published on the intranet and hope that it reflects my passion and personality

Jane X2, Julie, Joan and Jackie!..

Two of my oldest and bestest friends are called Jane.  Carpet Jane and Tall Jane!  They are both very dear to me and have a piece of my heart.  I have known both since school days but did not become friends with either of them until after school. 

Carpet Jane…

I love this woman!  She was my best friend in days of singledom when we first discovered drinking.  We actually met and became friends at Pat Knight Commercial, a Youth Training Scheme in 1987.  We used to go out pretty much every night of the week for what felt like years, even if we could only afford a lime and soda!   We had many a good night down ‘the vill’, night clubs, day trips and between us we have a fair few tales to tell of life and men!

I met the biological father of my daughter in 1997 and subsequently introduced Jane to his brother, Carl.  I thought that they would hit it off and have a few laughs.  They are still together now and are happily married.  I love seeing their social media posts of their latest travels, adventures and ups and downs of daily life.  I don’t see Jane as often as I would like, such is life, but I hope that she knows that I am always here.  One of my biggest regrets in life is that I did not go to Jane and Carl’s wedding.  It was a hard time of my life when I had split up with Dani’s dad and I just could not go through with it.  I didn’t want to see him.  I wish that I had have gone, Jane looked stunning on her wedding day. Let’s go for a walk up the Wrekin soon, Jane!

Tall Jane…

I love this woman too!  We became great friends when, as barmaids at The Star, Penkridge, I gatecrashed a 2 week holiday to Halkidiki with Jane’s sister Lyn and her friend Mandy.  It was a fabulous holiday and I still laugh about the handbag and losing my hat in the sea and the people that we met.  It was such a long time ago now.  Jane went to Ireland and loved it so much that she stayed; she soon made lots of friends and climbed the retail career ladder.  She has, in the last few years, returned to England to live with her parents as she has a beautiful 2 year old daughter – Lily. It is a funny old world as I am now Jane’s manager at work whilst she is settling back into life in England.  I don’t suppose that she will stay too long as she wants to find a home to raise Lily in and needs something more stable than the hmcts can offer right now.  She is a very clever lady and so I am sure that it won’t take her long to climb a different career ladder when Lily is a little older.  It is so nice that I see Jane at work and I cherish each moment.  She is a strong, kind, gentle and beautiful friend. 

Julie…(and Joan…)

Whilst I am waffling about ‘J’ friends, I must also write about Julie.  I work with Julie, too, and she is one of the nicest people that I have ever met.  She is kind, thoughtful, funny, caring, a fantastic mum to three adult children and I know that I can tell her absolutely anything without her judging me.  I am honoured to call her a friend.  I am very sad that she will be retiring later on in the year but long may our friendship continue.  Julie is very attractive and does not look her age at all, it is hard to believe that she is leaving me!!  I hope that you all have a Julie in your life.  Haha!  Typing this has reminded me of another ‘J’ friend – Joan!  Joan is lovely too, a kind and caring lady who makes me laugh.  The particular incident that has just sprung to mind is when Joan and a few others met for lunch and Gill was discussing her partner (now husband) called Roger.  Joan said quite loudly, ’everyone needs a good Roger’.  Haha. 


Also, whilst I am still waffling about ‘J’ friends, I cannot not mention Jackie.  Jacqueline – Jackie – was my best friend at Middle School and we continued to be friends thereafter although we did lose touch a little over the years.  We used to walk to school together and have tea at each other’s houses.  She enhanced my Middle School experience.  With thanks to social media, we have grown closer again.  Over the last few years there are 5 of us from Middle/High school that get up to shenanigans together.  We had such a good time at Birmingham German Market and, more recently, going to see Go West.  In July, we are going to Let’s Rock in Shrewsbury featuring 80s groups such as China Crisis, Brother Beyond and Go West again  – I can’t wait!    Life has taken weird and wonderful and very varied turns for all 5 of us.  Jackie has two lovely grown up sons – James and Jordan – and loves them dearly.  Jord is very special to her, though, and due to being bullied because he was a little different Jackie decided to homeschool him.  He actually attempted suicide and thank goodness he was unsuccessful, it was such a stressful time for them; heartbreaking.  Jackie’s decision helped Jord to grow in leaps and bounds and Jackie is such an admirable parent for doing this.  She currently has problems of her own and lives in constant pain with various ailments but she is a rock to her family and friends.  She is so kind and caring.  She has now found true love and I hope that it all goes very well for them both.  I admire Jackie every day; her strength, selflessness, honesty and love for others.  She has also turned into a batty cat lady and loves her cats as if they were children!  I would never have guessed this all of those years ago at PMS as she was not an animal lover but I think that she has 7 now!  I can’t wait to see Jac  in July with Lizzie, Sara and Jo (another ‘J’ with another story for another day) xxxx

G’night all.

Love Mandy xxx

Z Words…

Why Z?  Why not?  I thought that I would challenge myself and go to the end of the alphabet for a change.  Thinking of Z words that I like is quite tricky but here goes… (in reverse alphabetical order to shake things up a bit!)


I do like a snooze.  Since I have started running, I have found out my old Up24 Jawbone band, downloaded the app and recorded my very much beginner running patterns and also my sleep patterns over the last 4 weeks.  Last night I had 7 hours 22 minutes sleep.  According to the app – between 7 and 8 hours kip is best and sleep consistency is essential including at weekends!  I am not sure why it is essential, I will have to look into this more.  I had 2 hours 5 minutes sound sleep, 5 hours 17 minutes light sleep, I fell asleep after 4 minutes and woke up once for 9 minutes.  The app has helped to regulate my sleep patterns to a certain extent but I am generally a night owl and do not like mornings.  I try not to sleep for too long  now at weekends because it is recorded in black and white.  I suppose that I can pretend that I am charging the band if I have a lie in 🙂 


– just kidding!


My new favourite place to eat in town.  It has only been open  for a few months but I have visited a Liverpool branch with my lovely friend Vic previously.  The new Stafford restaurant and has a cosy ambience and a delicious menu for vegetarians.  We last went on my birthday (I actually, twice that week; once with OH and Sonny Jim and once with Vic!) and I can still envision the starter – mouthwatering bufala caprese with fresh pea shoots, the main – a super zucca salad and the dessert (both times) featured chocolate.  I have just downloaded the menu again whilst I am typing this and I need another visit very soon.  Mmmmmm.


An obvious ‘z’ but true nevertheless.  They are graceful and beautiful animals and eac one comes in a different pattern of black and white stripes to the next.  Unique.  My daughter loved them when she was young and had posters and t shirts with them on.  She is unique too so it is very fitting.  There are three species of zebra; plains zebra native to eastern and southern Africa, Grevy’s zebra from Kenya and Ethiopia and the mountain zebra from Namibia and South Africa.  Their striking stripes are due to melanocytes that determine the pigmentation of their fur.  The melanocytes transfer melanin into some of the hair which makes the black stripes whereas the mon melanin hair appears white.  Fascinating facts! 


The 10 point scoring tile in scrabble.  I am a total scrabble app  geek and it is always good to get the Z and stick a ZO or a ZA onto the board especially if you can get triple points horizontally and vertically.  Bonus.  

My shameless scrabble stats are (since March 2016) –

1321 wins

1154 losses

1762 bingos

Best word score – 212

I love it!  It is a good stress reliever and less harmful than smoking.  I play pretty much every day although some days I have one turn and others I might have 10 games.  Crazy scrabble lady.  If you don’t take a turn within 24 hours, you can be nudged by the opponent and they could force a forfeit.  

I cannot think of any more ‘Z’s to mention. 

Night night for now, zzzzzzzzzz…


Love Mandy x

No Chocolate May…

Today is 1st May 2018.  I have made a pact with some of my work colleagues – to go chocolateless for the whole month of May.  It is going to be hard.  I am totally addicted.  I can polish of a big whole nut in seconds.  What have I done?  What have I signed up to?  Eeeeek. 

It was Dawn’s brainchild, I guess.  Then Katie ‘agreed’ as she is off to Mexico soon.  Ali wasn’t far behind and then Jane, Kate, Julie, Joycey and Mel jumped on board too.  We have all been to Boots to weigh ourselves today, sealed the weight slips with a fiver each in envelopes and put them all in the safe.  Whoever loses the most weight will win the money.  If I win, which I doubt, although I will try my hardest, I have decided to donate half of the money to charity and I will probably buy chocolate with the other half!

It will do me good.  I want to lose weight, I want to be a bit fitter and happier with how I am.

A young lad is sitting on a park bench eating a chocolate bar. The man sitting next to him looks over and says, ‘eating too much chocolate is bad for you.’ The boy looks over and replies ‘my great granddad lived until he was 101.’  The man replies, “and he ate lots of chocolate?’ ‘No’ says the boy, ‘he minded his own business!!

I have given up chocolate for a month.  A.  Whole.  Month.  What have I done?  I thought that I would share – if I write it down it is a record of my aim and I am less likely to break it.  Mmmmm break – ‘have a break have a Kit Kat…’

I will keep you posted.

Love Mandy x

Leave Me A Link and I’ll Share Your Page!!

Dream Big, Dream Often

As most of my followers know I am big into helping other bloggers gain more exposure. My goal has been to grow a community of like-minded people and I am part way to my goal.  I am bringing back the open call to leave a link and I’ll share it for you!!

The basic rules are simple: leave me a link to your page.  I’m not sure it gets much simpler.  You can leave as many links as you want and I’ll cycle this post from day-to-day so more people can jump on board.  The link post I’ll create will publish on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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‘Immaculate’ is probably my favourite Francis Dunnery song.  I love the tune, the lyrics,  his voice, the imagery, the nostalgia and the tingles that I get every time I listen to it.  It is hard to pick a favourite song as it can depend on the mood, the season, the weather, life events, the time of day or night.  But, for me, ‘Immaculate’ is right up there – one of the soundtracks of my life.  I highly recommend that you listen to it, it might just become one of your faves too.  It featured on the album ‘Tall Blonde Helicopter’ in 1995 and I have just loved it ever since.

Francis is a tall, blonde, balding Cumbrian who I have seen on numerous occasions at gigs.  He is an amazing guitarist, writer and presence.  I might have I mentioned him in some of my previous blog posts… 

Moved outside of the circle,
And my mind is tired and my neck’s half worn
Someone told me I’m different
As I hold on tight to the things I own
Look what’s sewn in my lining
As I let go all of the things I own

Where no flowers die
Where no walls are needed
Where no hurt can grab ya

Grown inside our mind
Affirmations on where we’re going
Don’t take no notice of what the man said
Cos immaculate is sitting in your head

Moved outside of the circle
And my mind is tired and my heart is worn
Someone says that I’m different
As I hold on tight to the things I own

Where the angels fly
Where no homes get broken
And we’re all together

Grown inside our mind
Affirmations on where we’re going
Don’t take no notice of what the man said
Cos immaculate is sitting in your head

If only I could tell you that you are what you believe
The hurting would be over and we would both be free
If only you’d believe me when I said you’re beautiful
The images would manifest and beautiful you’d be
If only I could show you what immaculate could be
The negative would perish and the positive would be
If only you’d allow yourself to hear what I’ve just said
Then pretty soon you’d realise that immaculate is sitting in your head

Moved outside of the circle
And my neck got broke and my mind got blown

Francis and his music has been, and is, such a big influence on my life.  So much so that I called one of my early poems, ‘Immaculate’.  I hope that you like it… 


How I remember the shimmering sea,

The brown sugar sand and the warm breathing breeze.

How do I tell you of the way that I feel

On this immaculate day?

Already a memory; the apple crumble beach

And the laughter of children running freely

How do I know how you feel about me?

How much I wanted to stay

Brought back down to earth, back to reality

Like a kite without breeze by the shimmering sea

So long ago now, a distant memory

But forever in my heart you will stay.  

This must have been written on a beautiful sunny day with my daughter running around on the sand.  They grow up so quickly.  

Enjoy every moment.


Love Mandy x