2016: the roundup

Shamelessly nicked this from Jenni

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before

I snorkelled. It was one of the best things I’d ever tried. I started aquafit classes & discovered an exercise class I smiled the whole way through. I came to absolutely adore taking the dog out for a walk. 

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next this year?

I don’t remember making any resolutions. Perhaps I did. Obviously, if I did, I didn’t stick to them. This year I just want to learn more stuff & be more active. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A dear friend in Australia, my partner-in-crime 2009, had a beautiful baby boy. A wee brother for her oldest boy. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

I just learned that a good friend’s husband died in the past week. I am so, so sad for her. Mr Mac’s grandmother, Alice Cox, died at the age of 95 just before Christmas. She was one of the loveliest ladies I have ever known. 

5. What countries did you visit?

Oh, good grief! I had a fabulous year for travelling. I went home to Scotland; to London, England three times; Trafoi, Rome & Milan, Italy; Colmar, Fontainebleau & Reims, France; Gran Canaria & Barcelona, Spain and last but not least, the Maldives for a wonderful 25th wedding anniversary celebration. 

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Self-discipline. I would love to love to get out of bed of a morning. 

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

6th Feb. It was my silver wedding anniversary. Mr Mac and I spent a night away at what has fast become a favourite spa hotel in Lugano 


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Recovering from back surgery. I had most of a disc in my lower back removed in Dec 2015. I was left with very little strength in my legs & numbness in my feet from nerve damage after the operation & was unable to walk for a while. It’s taken me most of the year but I am almost back to my fitness level from before the op. 

9. What was your biggest failure?

Reading. This internet business is really curtailing my reading. I want to read more. Also, keeping in touch via email (more detail than FB or Twitter updates) with my far-flung friends. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Aforementioned back surgery. A couple of horrible colds, one of which I’m currently fighting. 

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A retractable lead for the dog. 

12. Where did most of your money go?

Travel, baby. 

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Travel, baby. In particular, going on our holiday to the Maldives. 


14. What song will always remind you of 2016? 

Cake by the Ocean by DNCE. God help me, I loved that song. 

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier. I am no longer in pain from the herniated disc in my back. I love my dog more than life. My boys are grown & life is good. 

b) thinner or fatter? Marginally thinner. Coz of the dog-walking innit. Not a conscious decision, I promise you. 

c) richer or poorer? Richer, I think. 

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Reading, aquafit, making the most of every day. 

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?


18. Did you fall in love in 2015?

Only with my surrounds & my life again. 

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Rake! An Australian dramedy about a lawyer who is a complete mess in his personal life. Mr Mac and I binged watched nearly four series over the past couple of months. Hilarious and engaging. 

20. What was the best book you read?

Funnily enough, because I don’t usually read memoirs, Troublemaker by Leah Remini. A fabulously gossipy read about Leah’s experiences in Scientology. I recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in the Hollywood cult.

21. What was your favorite film of this year?

I haven’t watched a lot of films this year so I’m going with Rogue One

22. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I don’t remember and 46. 

23. What kept you sane?
My sense of humour. The dog

24. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Possibly the main characters, Cleaver Greene & Barney in Rake. Also, the usual suspect, Mr Clooney & his mate Prez Obama. 

25. Who did you miss?

All the friends I don’t get to just drop in on for coffee. I wish I could see more of my friends more often. P

26. Who was the best new person you met?
The English mastiff, Sami, who I met at the dog park. 85-90kgs of pure fluffy doggo cuddle. I’d bring him home with me if I could. Oh, and Ferdinand, Odin’s Bernese mountain dog bff. Oh, and Polo, the greater Swiss mountain dog and Snoopy the French bulldog puppy and…

Happy New Year!

The Macs visit Westminster Abbey

The family are visiting from Australia. This year we made a quick trip to London between Christmas and New Year. It was as delightful as you’d expect. I’ll tell you more about it as I attempt to revive this blog in 2017.

Happy new year, all y’all.

A few days later…..

19907342788_58a9c7ab68_oI had to give up on the daily photo thing. These summer days were flying past me and I simply wasn’t able to keep up.

Since my last post I have:

  • Spent a glorious nine days with my brother, sister-in-law, Hannah & Liam, travelling Switzerland and doing ace touristy stuff.
  • Been to France on a people-smuggling trip (I was delivering an au pair to a friend, don’t panic) and stayed in a fabulous hotel for a night.
  • Taken delivery of a new Mac, Odin the boxer puppy who is as cute and soft as can be as well as deaf &/or willful.
  • Been miserable with my leg which is not getting better despite everyone’s best efforts.
  • Found the most amazing spa in Zürich which I intend to frequent with an alarming (for Mr Mac’s bank balance) regularity this summer.
  • Sweltered in Switzerland’s hottest, sunniest summer for years.

So, apart from the leg issue, you can see, it’s all been good. More about all of it later.


365:181 Pilates Studio (Plus bonus Odin!)


This is what physio has done to me. I am now the owner of a load of plastic crap which I imagine I’ll use faithfully for a month and then chuck in the cellar, sick of the sight of it, in another six months.

The red band is for doing arm exercises while I hold my torso perfectly still, tightening my stomach muscles and pelvic floor.

The green ball is for doing a nigh-on impossible exercise: lie on the floor with your feet on top of the ball. Keeping your shoulders on the floor, lift your butt & back up so they make a straight (but diagonal) line from your knees. Lift one leg up and move the ball back and forth with the other leg. At the moment, the muscles I need for this exercise are practically non-existent so I do it with both feet at the same time.

The black roll is for massaging my leg. I lie on top of the black roll and roller myself up and down it. It’s a killer, I can tell you! Even my physiotherapist warned me against how uncomfortable it would be. I also need a lot of upper body strength which I don’t have.

Apart from the massage rolling thing, my physiotherapist tells me that the exercises she has given me are all pilates exercises. I am thinking of trying a class. Just thinking, mind.

In the meantime, my leg, even though it’s getting better, still hurts. Oh, woe is me.

Luckily, I have this wee guy to to look forward to. His kennel put new photos of the puppies up yesterday. Look how gorgeous Odin is!


His litter name is Dusty and all of his brothers and sisters are named with a D too. Oh, the cute! I can’t wait until our next visit. And then, eventually, he’ll come home and grow big and love us all forever.

365:179 Pints of Mojito


Mr Mac found a new product at the supermarket- Mojito cordial mix! Since we’re still enjoying the most glorious weather in the Village of the Damned, we decided to have mojito evening out on the balcony, whiling away the time before dinner. I had no control over the cocktails, Mr Mac is our resident cocktail shaker and maker. I was (pleasantly) surprised when the mojitos came out in pint glasses.

Trouble is, with the warm weather and the delicious taste of mojito (white rum, lime, brown sugar and mint- delicious!) they’re way too easy to drink! Barman, bring me another!


Yeah, yeah. Just as soon as I’ve finished with Twitter.


Dinner was bbq-grilled chicken breast sandwiches with a spicy mayo. We’ll do that again.

365:178 A Perfect Day


We’re having more glorious weather. Mr Mac spent the morning at a motorbike course while I lounged about on the balcony, reading and lazing. I also indulged in a bit of red kite gawping, as one of the red kites which nest near us did its soaring-on-thermals thing right in front of our house. Of course, I didn’t think to make a video of it until way too late.

I did, however, manage to snap a little of it having a dogfight with a crow. The crows chase the red kites away from their nests. Even though they’re not even half the size of the kites, the crows really let the kites have it.

It’s a bit hard to see the birds in the video but at least you can hear a little of the red kite whistle.

365:177 Spotlight on Sunny by Keris Stainton


Such a gorgeous afternoon on the balcony, I decided to spend the afternoon reading one of my best friends’ novels.

After winning a local film competition, Sunny and her best friends Kitty and Hannah are off to do a film-making course – in London! Sunny can’t believe her dad has let her come on her own (even if he has asked her to phone every day…) Sunny is loving the film-making classes and hanging out with their new friend – lovely, funny Will. Sunny knows that these things don’t fit with the future her parents want for her and she starts to wonder what she really wants. And that’s not even the biggest thing on her mind – there’s also the big secret she’s hiding from her best friends…

Spotlight on Sunny is a delightful story for younger teens. It’s funny and cute and celebrates diversity, friendship, family and growing up.

I insist you buy it for any teens you know*. And look out for Keris’s new novel for older young adult readers coming out in September, Counting Stars, which I have read and is also fabulous.

*Because it deserves a wide audience and not because I’m supposed to be Keris’s research assistant for the next novel in the series which means a trip with a BFF!

365:175 The Chair of Torture (With apologies to any Odontophobes)


It was time to get my filling replaced. In a previous appointment, she had already extracted the remains of tooth which I’d had the root canal done on over eighteen years ago. That was such an easy appointment, I wasn’t worried at all about having the filling redone.

The worst part of the filling was having the injection in the gum. Actually, I’m starting to wonder if I even needed it, the actual filling bit was such a non-event. Of course, if I hadn’t have had the anaesthesia, it would have killed me, wouldn’t it? Murphy’s Law and all that.

Anyway, now I just have to have a cleaning done and I am back on track like a normal person who regularly goes to the dentist.

In hindsight, I don’t know what the eighteen years of worry was about.

But ughh, a cleaning though. Am I right?