Bank Holiday outing #Countrykids

Who can resist going out on Bank Holiday when the forecast is dry?  Yes, you’ll have the traffic to contend with and trouble parking but it’s usually worth it!

So as it was forecast dry we invited my son and grandson to a trip to Roath Park in Cardiff. (DIL was working!) I made up a picnic to take with us and we headed off with the balance bike, picnic, teddy, toy cat and ball in tow! We found a parking spot and headed to the park.

We’ve been to Roath Park many times, it’s great for everyone, gardens, greenery, paths, kids playground and the lake with all it’s wildlife.

Ashley rode his balance bike, he’s still very slow on it so please don’t all shout that he should be wearing a helmet… I know.. Daddy is getting him one!!

We took some stale bread to feed to the ducks, geese and swans. Ashley held some out for the swans but when they came near he dropped it.

We headed over to the playground, it was very busy, Hubby took Ashley up to the big slide and he insisted on going down head first! At the bottom he shouted ‘again’ so his daddy took him back up. He also liked bouncing on the jiggly see-saw – well until he saw his bike! He climbed on and we were off again!

roath park

We found a nice spot and a bench to have our lunch then headed off to a bit of lawn to have a kick about but Ashley was having none of it. Now that he can control the bike on his own there was no getting him off.

We had a lovely few hours at the park – sunshine and fresh air!

What were you up to over the Bank Holiday? If you were out and about why not link up:


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Week 18 #Project365 – 2014

The week started with a quick visit from the Salesman/Owner of a local double glazing company to tell us that the doors we ordered had arrived and they’ll be fitting them on Wednesday.

Well Wednesday came and  Hubby noticed a big van parking on our next door neighbour’s drive.  Hubby went out to ask if they had the right address as it was the same company we ordered from. It soon became apparent that they were at the wrong address and not only that they had also mistakenly measured up for our neighbours back garage door and front door and not our 2 back doors!
This meant they had 2 doors that were not needed and neither would have fitted ours.  They measured ours and said they would reorder them – they weren’t looking forward to telling the boss!!
How can they get it wrong you ask?? Well our house name and the next door have similar names – were are * * House and they are * * Farmhouse.

Still their mistake meant we could still go to the cinema – Orange Wednesday this week was Locke.  A very unusual film as 99% of the film is just one actor in a car driving down the M6 to London. The film revolves around him having telephone conversations with his boss, a colleague, his wife, his sons and the woman who is having his baby. When I read the synopsis I wondered how the film would hold your attention for nearly 90 minutes but it does.  The only thing I REALLY didn’t like was his welsh accent – it didn’t sound like any welsh person I know or have ever heard!  It’s not like him being welsh had anything to do with the storyline and the actor isn’t welsh..
Hubby wasn’t keen on the film but like most men he has doesn’t like listening and prefers a bit more action.  I really enjoyed it (except for the welsh accent!)

Hubby had a job interview for a local food distribution warehouse. What a bloody joke! It was via an agency (enough said) they couldn’t guarantee any hours. You could be called any day to go into work at some point that day. You would then work until the orders were done and then you’d be sent home.  There was no minimum hours for the week. So I guess this is what they call a Zero Hours Contract.  They wouldn’t tell him the hourly rate for the job either.
They called later the same day to offer him the job but after we discussed it he decided to turn it down. How can you take a job where you never know if you’re working from one day to the next, never know if you’re working 1 hour or up to 10 hours, or not know the hourly rate (this was only going to be revealed at the 2 day UNPAID induction).  We’ll just have to keep going on the job hunt.

Lovely surprise this week – £80 gift vouchers from Britmums and Morrisons. I’m taking part in #MorrisonsMums.  I’ve done the shopping and really looking forward to cooking over the weekend. Hope you’ll look out for my post. Can’t decide if I’m adding my  recipe for Pizziola Sauce or BBQ Ribs.

Also had a quick trip to Newport city centre. Big changes going on where the bus station / multistory carpark and John Frost Square used to be. The hoardings surrounding the square now show artist impressions of what it’ll look like. Newport really needs this too as at the moment it’s a shit hole full of charity shops,  payday loans, pound shops, banks and closed down shops!

Today we had a visit from our oldest son and grandson. We all sat in the garden while Ashley played with his big plane and rode on his balance bike for the first time without being held up!! Woop!!!

newport, balance bike,

From top: 

  • This door should now be white!
  • Shopping done!
  • Orange Wednesday
  • Clever boy on hiss balance bike.
  • Newport before and (Hopefully) after
  • 3 generations and a toy cat!


Check out my other Project 365 pictures so far.

If you’d like to read more about the project please click on the 365 badge

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Are Pen Friends a thing of the past?

On a UK TV programme on the weekend a woman was united with her pen pal who she has been writing to for over 50 years. Imagine all those letters flying back and forth from the UK to the USA. Thoughts of family, growing up, getting married, the losses you endure all shared with someone you’ve never met.

I suppose in these days of Social Media we all share thoughts like this with comparative strangers. For goodness sake I share this blog with the World Wide Web!!!

To some younger people this may seem ‘odd’ to write letters to someone you don’t know, but when I was in school in the 60’s and 70’s we were encouraged to write to people in other countries. There was a company in Finland (I think) that worked with schools all around the world. You paid a small fee and they sent you names and addresses of other members that you could write to.

My Uncle Billy was curious and also joined the PenPal club, he started writing to a girl in the Midlands and they eventually met and married.

At one time I wrote 4 different pen pals:

A boy whose name I cannot recall. He lived in Greece and although his english wasn’t good we managed to get by for about a year. Unfortunately there was an earthquake near his home and I never heard from him after that. I hope it was just losing my address and nothing untoward happened to him. I did try writing to him but never did get a reply – perhaps his house was lost in the earthquake.

A girl called Tarja Tamminen from Finland. We wrote for a few years and she sent me a cup and saucer in the post that I still have today.

A girl called Annique Debondues from Hallouin in France she always wrote in French and I had to translate her letters. It certainly made me better at my french studies!

Lastly a girl call Peytie Purdue (or Perdue..) from the Alabama area of the USA. I loved getting letters from her. Most were on funny shaped paper and she once wrote in a circular fashion on a round shaped notelet! She was very gregarious and seemed very outgoing, talking about going out and boys. She was so much fun!

But of course over time the letters are sent at longer periods and eventually dried up as we all grew up and left school.

I wonder where they are today? What did they do with their lives? So if you’re reading this and you see your name above and remember writing to Susan Jordan, leave me a comment to say Hello after all these years!!

So dear reader – did you have / do you have a pen pal? What is your experience? I’d love to know!!

Reminder of what your children were like

One thing I love about blogging is that you end up following other blogs and come across some diverse and interesting postings.  One such posting landed in my inbox today from This Mummy Loves, it is a guest post titled Top 10 Toddler Phrases and Almost Certain Facts.

It makes interesting reading and reminded me of my own 2 sons C and L  when they growing up. They have both left home now and leading their own lives and C has a son who is just coming into toddlerhood! He’s nearly 17 months and I witnessed his first ‘paddy’ yesterday!

So this is my thoughts on some of the Top 10:

Your toddler will learn the word ‘why’.
I think all children get to this point. Why this, why that, why, why, why,  gawd it’ll drive you nuts! I agree that sometimes you feel like saying ‘because I said so’! Son L was the worst for this. C was slow to talk and ended up in speech therapy for couple of years. He was and still is a quieter boy.

Your toddler will have a tantrum.
Oh yes they certainly will and at the most embarrassing times. Middle of shops, in the street, playgroup, tumble tots…. you name where and it will happen.  C wasn’t too bad, despite not being able to express himself vocally..but L, well that’s a very different story! He’s the one that the ‘Terrible Twos’ never left and he’s now 27!
There were many times when something triggered him off and he would hunker down in a ball and scream his head off. I remember one such moment in the middle of a department store, I got so fed up of him I said ‘I’m going to leave you here’, he said ‘don’t care’. So off I went.. I walked out of the store and stood by the door hoping he would come running out..a few minutes later he came out wiping his eyes and said ‘solly’. It was tough standing outside and I felt like a very bad mummy but it was that or drag him screaming and kicking out and perhaps regretting a final action. – Oh bad mummy….

Your toddler will not (in most cases) get off of their bed by themselves.
I can’t remember either of my boys having this issue but can certainly remember that I did. I can still remember sitting on a top bunk and screaming for mum to get me down.

Your toddler will become obsessed with babies.
L never got obsessed but C did. He absolutely loves babies and still does (he’s 29!).  He had to touch and try to cuddle any baby. When he was about 5 or 6 he was playing on the green at the back of the house with some of his friends. It was nearly lunchtime and I went out to get him in. Everyone said they thought he had gone home… it was a heart in the mouth moment..where is he? My next door neighbour and I went in search of him,  a woman a few doors away said she saw him knock the door of a house just up the road. I went and knocked and a woman answered, I asked if she had seen C. ‘Oh yes, he’s here in the conservatory with my 2 year old playing’.  She had asked him if mummy knew where he was and he said yes!! I was so relieved to know he was safe. The woman was happy to have him there as it meant she could get on with things while they played. He visited them regularly after that.

Your toddler will ask what things are and what you are doing, and often.
I think this follows on from the ‘Why?’ It leads to what?, when? how? where? Questions, questions, questions… it becomes relentless! You have to get very cunning to move their attention to something else!

Your toddler will make you see the world in a way that you had forgotten.
Like they say “ain’t that the truth”!  I totally agree, your children make you take a look at stuff you’ve forgotten about, they make you stop and stare. It’s something we should all do more often. Come down to their height and take a look at what they see.. Isn’t it wonderful!!

The final line of the post says ‘it really is a wonderful world.’ Which reminded me of Desiderata – it’s old and hippy but says lovely things about the world.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920

So thank you This Mummy Loves for memories relived!!

Blog name change

Hello readers of Sue’s Musings,

I’ve been playing with the idea of changing my blog name for a while. All my photos are watermarked with Soosie Wales so I’ve gone with that.

I also thought that Soosie Wales can also mean Soosie wails!!

So why change?? Well I started the blog as a bit of a rant where I vented my frustration with job hunting. Although I’m still on the hunt for a  job, I find I spend more time posting my photos for #Project366 and Recipes.  The blog has become a bit of an eclectic mix of opinions, photography, recipes, reviews and travel.

So welcome to my world – hope you stay a while.

Soosie Wales.


Do you know how to budget?

Well do you?? Do you know how to manage your money? Compare the incoming to the outgoings?

Yes – then well done I hope you are coping well. I hope you’ll carry on reading though, maybe you do it differently.

NO – then read on and hopefully my tips and advice will help you.

Background to the way I budget

About 25 years ago I had a friend who always seemed to have a little money to spare.  We had taken our children to the park and she asked if hubby and I would like to go out for a meal with her and her hubby. I had to said no as the mortgage was due to be paid the same week. She couldn’t understand why I didn’t put money away each week for bills as that was what they did.
We went back to her house and she explained how they balanced the books.  It was just so obvious once she explained it!

First steps

  • Get the past 12 months bank statements out. If you do paperless banking download them from your online banking access.
  • Make a list of all your bills and regular payments.  Write down on a pad at first.
  • Go through the statements looking for payments you’ve missed. Don’t forget some things are paid quarterly or yearly.
  • Go down your list working out how much you pay each one for the whole 12 months.
  • Write the total next to each item on your list.
  • Double check again for any missed payments – perhaps there is something you pay by cash regularly. Write down any thing else you find.
  • If you are not familiar with Microsoft Excel or any other spreadsheet software keep using your handwritten notes.
  • If you are familiar with Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet software, transfer all the data to a spreadsheet.  (see below)
  • Feel free to add anything to the list. You may want to add credit card payments, loans and petrol costs too.


  • Add up the totals into one grand total.
  • If you are paid weekly divide the total by 52.
  • If you are paid monthly divide by 12.
  • The divided total is the money you need before you think about food, clothing, entertainment etc.
  • The list (if in excel) should look something like this:  (Your list will have different items and sums on it of course!)
Mortgage 6000
Electric 700
Gas 650
Phone 120
Mobile 150
Broadband 240
Contents Insurance 300
Bulidings Insurance 300
Council Tax 2000
Water bill 500
TV Licence 100
Satellite TV 400
Car Insurance 350
Car Tax 160
Car Servicing 200
Dentist 100
Central Heating cover 200
RAC 100
White Goods Insurance 150
TOTAL 12720
Weekly 244.61
Monthly 1060

Quite a shock isn’t it!!

On to the income

The next step is to work out how much you have coming in.

  • Make another list with all your income streams on it, wages, child benefit, other benefits, tax credits etc.
  • If you are paid weekly work out how much you get weekly and likewise do the same if you are paid monthly.

So now you know the 2 totals you will have an idea of how much you need to put aside for essential bills. The money left is what you have for food, clothing, entertainment etc.

my wages 1000
his wages 1500
child benefit
tax credit
TOTAL 2500
Essential bills 1060
Money left 1440

Putting essential money aside

  • Open a separate bank account
  • Arrange the transfer of Direct Debits, Standing Orders to this account.
  • Set up a standing order to transfer the weekly or monthly essential bill money to this new account. Set it up for the day or so after you are paid. If the weekly or monthly total is an odd sum as it is in my table above, round-up the sum – for example £250 week and £1200 a month.

You are now set up with your budget.

The money left each week or month is for the day-to-day living costs.  Hopefully you’ll have enough to put some aside for savings too.

This sounds like quite a long-winded way of doing things but it really doesn’t take long and you will reap the benefits. All you have to do after the first time is to review it monthly to ensure you have sufficient balance, then do the budget again 12 months later.

Before I did this we had no budget and just lived week by week and were often overdrawn and using our overdraft but within a month or so we never went went overdrawn again and never used the overdraft from that day to this.

I hope you find this useful and I welcome any comments you may like to add.


ShowOff Showcase


I’ve just returned home after attending the funeral of my nephew Cole.  He was only 3 weeks old, he was born with a heart defect and despite all the medical help available the decision was made to let him pass away. His poor little body couldn’t take any more.

It was so sad seeing Daddy carry the coffin to hearse. No parent should have to go through what my niece and her boyfriend had to go through today. It’s just devastating. Besides being only 3 weeks old they have also had to wait for a further 3 weeks for the coroner to release the body.

The service was brief and they chose some lovely prayers and uplifting hymns.  There were lots of the family and friends in attendance so they both had lots of love and support. Daddy was very strong just a few tears and I can’t help feeling that the day will eventually catch up with him, especially when he and Mummy are back at home on their own.
I think sometimes we feel we have to strong to save other people’s feelings but we shouldn’t, showing feelings and sadness shows you have strength in knowing that you will be supported through the bad days and the good.

My heart bleeds for them both and for the closer members of the family.

The defects were picked up in an early scan and they were offered the option of termination but decided against it. I’ve had 2 children and know how hard it is to bring up and support 2 healthy children and – personally – I can’t understand anyone choosing to have a child that they know may not survive or if they do will need extended health care for the foreseeable future.
Please don’t think me heartless.. It’s just my personal feelings.  I’m against abortion of healthy babies but there are circumstances when it would be my only option.

May you never have to attend the funeral of your own children- it really is so very sad.

10Q: Reflect. React. Renew. Life’s Biggest Questions. Answered By You.

Have you heard about this site? I can’t remember how I got the details last year but decided to take part as my life was a bit off kilter at the time.

Basically, you are asked 10 questions – 1 per day – and you answer them in any way you want. The answers are stored away and you are sent them just before the 10Q starts again the following year.

I’ve just had an email with the answers I gave last year. It makes interesting reading.

This time last year my oldest son had already moved out to live with his girlfriend and she was pregnant. I documented my thoughts and worries on this subject and although I was worried at the time in the fullness of time their son was born and he is now 9months old and as cute as can be. 🙂

I also documented that I had been treated for depression and that I was coming off the medication at the time. A year on and although I have my moments, my brain is pretty much functioning as it should – thank goodness. Depression is not a healthy state and if you – dear reader – think you may be suffering, please see your GP as it ain’t going to go away on its own.

One of the questions was about a world event that affected you – did you realise it’s a year since the Columbian miners were rescued – time flies eh?

Another question was what would you like to achieve in the next year – well I wanted to achieve a getting a job and other than a short stint at M&S last christmas I haven’t achieved that. I’m still looking for a job but perhaps not as avidly as I was a year ago!

Final question was – When September 2011 rolls around and you receive your answers to your 10Q questions, how do you think you’ll feel? What do you think/hope might be different about your life and where you’re at as a result of thinking about and answering these questions?

Well I feel much more positive than I did a year ago, perhaps that’s to do with coming off the antidepressants, but I’m also sure it’s knowing that my son is happy and my grandson is healthy and much-loved.
We are not as well off as we were when I was working but we make ends meet. The mortgage is paid and although we have our ups and downs hubby and I still get on ok.

I will be completing the 10Q again this year. It makes you think about your life and world in general, helps to put things into perspective.

So if you’re up for it too just go here –

It starts 28th September but don’t worry if you missed a day or two you can catch up.

Where was I on 9/11?

I was going to start a Silent Sunday this week especially as it’s the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I’ve decided instead to document what I was doing and my thoughts of that fateful day.

I was working as the staff trainer for LloydsTSB IT Service Desk. I had been running training sessions as normal. We had come to the end of a session and I decided we had earned a break it was about 2:20pm. When we came out of the training room I could tell something was going on. Several people had the internet on their screens – an action that was frowned upon at the time.

My friend Sion came up to me to say that a plane had hit one of the Towers in New York. It was being reported on the Guardian website, I went to his desk and we refreshed the site – it took a few attempts as all news sites were being overloaded at the time. It eventually refreshed and then showed the pictures of the second plane. We couldn’t believe it, word quickly spread around the office and the phone calls to the office gradually just faded to a trickle – it was weird as we had calls in the queue all the time for months. This was the around the time Lloyds and TSB were merging systems.

The rest of the afternoon was spent looking at the news, everyone from management to new trainees were all talking about the consequences of what was happening. News of the hit at the Pentagon and United 93 broke and the harsh reality of what was happening started to sink in.

When the news broke about the Pentagon my first thoughts were for my friend Sion, his father worked in Washington for the British Embassy. He tried to reach his father on his mobile but got no reply. He rung his mother but she hadn’t heard from him either. It wasn’t until Thursday 13th that Sion found out that his father was alive and well. He had been evacuated but couldn’t call home as there was no mobile or phone connections. I was so relieved that Sion had heard this good news.

At 5pm I left work for what I thought would be the last time. I certainly felt that there would be no world to return to the next day. When I arrived home my husband and sons were watching the news feed on the TV. Hubby was going to go to the gym but had heard the news unfold on the radio and turned on the tv to see it all unfold. ‘Have you seen what’s going on?’ he said. I told him I had seen it in work and listened on the radio on the way home.

I’m pretty sure we watched the news for the rest of the day, watching in disbelief the horror of what happened to the world that day. Of course the world didn’t end but the world as it was certainly did.
Everything now is about security when flying, although this makes you feel reasonably safe I’m sure that if there were to be other attacks they wouldn’t use hijacked planes again. This was proved when London was hit on 7/7/2005.

I’ve been watching some of the anniversary programmes and even 10 years on it still seems unbelievable that all this happened. I hope I never have to see the likes of this happen again.

Thoughts and prayers to all those lost and affected on 9/11 – Much respect to the heroes of the day. Love to those that survived. XX