Tuesday, 3 January 2017

I'd forgotten how good time off was...

I have finally come to the end of the longest time off since I started working for Peter in the summer... 7 work days or just under 2 weeks off work!! I'd forgotten quite how blissful lie ins could be, or how wonderful not to shower/dress/move off the breakfast chair until past 11am (one day until past 2pm!) could be.
It's back to work for me tomorrow, so nose to the grindstone again! But I thought I'd share some pictures of my Christmas, before I gradually begin stripping the place again. I'm usually quite blue at this time of year, but I'm hoping that hygge will carry me through. A good blend of outside walks and indoor treats to keep me happy. That, and a regular dose of hot chocolate.

My gratitude journal/commonplace book this year.

I finally... finally!!!... finished the Mermaid's Tail blanket. Tail & all!

Girls' night out at the Liverpool International Horse Show.

Three children and two guinea pigs.

Sarah has set the table for me several times this Christmas... the owl napkins are her own property, and beautiful.

We bought Settlers of Catan as a family game & it worked well. I must plan to play it more often.

After losing two guinea pigs this year, the two we have left have been very well loved.

Nisse at Christmas... traditional hygge!

Even my rubbish bag on Christmas Day was seasonal! And very full!

Top wish for everybody I know.

More nisse, this time girls, and my favourite Advent Calendar this year. I'm considering putting the months across the bottom until September, when I can start again.

Christmas tree, oranges, orange juice... Christmas smells beautiful x

Our stollen, made to Delia's recipe, lasted until yesterday, when the last part of it was fit to be thrown away.
I hope your Christmas was as peaceful, full of laughter and joy as ours was. It's an early start for me in the morning. I have to say, I feel more excited than nervous at the thought of getting back into my black chair. That's a lovely feeling after years of pre-school nerves.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Small Claims proposal needs some small actions off you!!!

The Insurance man from BIBA on BBC Breakfast this morning was on about Whiplash claims again...

You do know there's been a 41% fall in whiplash claims, don't you? I know he never said so, but there has. To hear how the Insurance industry rave on about it, you'd think every day we put in a claim for whiplash. We don't. And a decent lawyer will not put in any risky claims for whiplash because they know it gets laughed out of court.

The other little insidious clause in the government's proposed reforms is to raise the small claims limit to £5,000. Like £5,000 is a small claim. That means 90% of accidents including accidents at work and on the road would effectively not get free legal representation. They'd have to go to court facing the insurers who, you can bet your bottom dollar, will be fully lawyered up. Are you cross yet? Cross enough to act?

Here's what to do:

1. Read this website http://www.feedingfatcats.co.uk/

2. Send Liz Truss a tweet @trussliz and say you don't like the proposal

4. Write to your MP. The letter below gives you ideas what to say, but change it to make it personal

5. Share this post on any and every social media. Tag the person you know would want to act as well. The consultation ends 6th January. Let the government know what you think.

Dear................. MP
On the 17th November the government announced its plans to prevent people who are injured through no fault of their own from having free access to an independent lawyer by increasing the small claims limit from its current £1,000 to potentially £5,000. Innocent injury victims will be forced to fight insurance giants on their own to get compensation for their injuries.

The insurers talk about whiplash and fraud being behind the need for these changes. However, the statistics show that whiplash claims are falling and fraud (even on the insurers’ figures) affects less than 4% of all claims. Yet, these changes will impact on every motorist and minor injury PI claimant. That cannot be fair.
Increasing the small claims limit will place justice beyond the reach of thousands of people and just make more money for insurers who are already posting record profits.

As I understand the situation, these changes to the small claims court can be brought in with no debate about them in parliament. This is not right, as many of the people who will be denied access to legal representation will suffer because of it.

I am calling on you as my MP to lobby for these changes not to go ahead without proper consultation and parliamentary debate. I am asking you, and your fellow MPs to stand up for the Little Man against Big Business and to fight for justice. I would like to see questions asked at Prime Minister's Questions and the Ministry of Justice's plans to be opposed at every turn. I would love a debate to be held and the very process of sliding in these reforms on the back of another headline to be questioned.

Please stand up for our legal rights and oppose any changes to the small claims limit. They will have a big impact for both claimants and the personal injury lawyers who work for them, many of whom work in that area because it serves people who cannot afford or who are not able to speak for themselves.



Yours sincerely,


I'm not going to stop talking about this until you tell me you've done something. Please.



I've written this post because I work for Peter Kneale Solicitor. We're a very small personal injury firm in Liverpool. The people we act for couldn't afford to pay us, and we don't want to take their compensation. If proposed reforms go ahead, these people will be up against the might of corporate Insurance without a friend to stand by them. That's not fair. Won't you stand by those who need your help? Please act and protect justice now.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Wednesday Wind Up; December is nearly half through.

There are so many people eager to see the back of this year. I must admit, I am one of them. I just feel trapped under a large boulder at the moment. No one thing, but lots of little things, just getting to me, making me feel on edge, worried, stressed. And i don't do stress well.

To the wind up.

What am I reading this week?

I am back on the Hardy again. It struck me that I only have this novel and then Tess and Jude the Obscure to read and I will be finished with the novels. So, The Woodlanders it is, almost exclusively until I am finished and then... well, probably some light romance or a good old murder for Christmas.

What have I watched this week?

I watched the first part of Rillington Place with Tim Roth playing Christie earlier this week. we have the last two parts saved up to watch, so later on this week may be a space to watch them. We also have the interview episode of the Apprentice on tomorrow. I love that episode, every year, because it lays the candidates souls bare. Mind you, I have an interview for a second job tomorrow, so it may be a bit too close to the bone for me!!

Where have I been this week?

Work, work, work. Oh, and the markets at Manchester, but I posted about those. Long, dark, cold nights don't encourage me to get up and go out. I went to choir practice on Monday. That just feels such a release of happy feelings, especially when you have a song in harmonies and it fills the church. Love it. I should find a choir, but I want a posh Rock Choir, really. I want my music to read and pop songs to sing.

How has my spending gone this week?

I signed up today for Hibernate 2017 at Beauty That Moves. I did it last year and it was beautiful; a pause from life. I wasn't very good at keeping it up, but the weekly readings gave me a clue what to do. This year I've shared the cost with an absolute stranger on Facebook. We'll be in the closed group together, so that will be a wonderful way to get to know someone else.

What are my WIPs this week?

Mermaid blanket. And I have a Christmas Tree garland that I could finish in an evening if I just put my brain to it. Lorelai has... or may have... another chest infection. I am too wound up to do anything intellectual, so crochet it may be tonight.


Any Other Business

Just Christmas... wrapping, cooking, baking, shopping, trying to keep my head above water. I am getting a walk outside every lunchtime, just 10 minutes or so, to get air into me.

And apologies for no pictures today. You'll just have to close your eyes and imagine it all.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Current Market Value: Priceless time with a fast-growing daughter.

I had a whole afternoon in Manchester with my beautiful daughter. The Christmas Markets are on,  and Sarah's never been. We had a good time, not least because there was a goodly amount of stopping for refreshment. Sarah's happy as long as there's a bookshop on the itinerary, and I was warmed by gluhwein and a pint of Kronenberg. How tired were we? Sarah slept on the way home, just after saying she'd had a brilliant day, and could we go again next year!

My new friend....

Yes, I have what it takes!!! My final Chase from the beginning of the year is in the new book!!!

Prize fund was actually £60,000 between 3. I have had such a good year after being on TV and radio.
Being named in a book is the icing on the cake!
I had a mint tea and a portuguese custard tart as my afternoon treat.

The French macarons caught our eyes... and several came home with us!

I did promise I wouldn't post a picture.... but I expect I forgot.
Hi Sarah! You are too beautiful and look too happy here to not be put on the blog! 

Friday, 9 December 2016

My life is a whirlwind... but today I am slowing down.

Have you ever had one of those weeks? I don't need to ask; of course you have. And December is the worst for being busy, racing, living by lists, having too much to do and too little time to do it.



Mr AJ (Peter Kneale Solicitor) has an exam on January 6th. It's about Roman Law and he has me typing up revision notes. For the past two weeks I have been over familiar with the paterfamilias, with the law on legacy, inheritance, the potestas, the ius civile and all sorts of obscure things that I never thought I'd need to know about. I don't need to know about them, truly, but I type slowly and one word at a time, the same way I read, and so typing becomes a form of learning, because I have to read and make sense of it as well as just follow his voice.

Add to that a family still heart-broken over the death of a cute guinea pig; a solicitor's firm still wondering what government changes will do to our business and those across the country; and teenage children suffering from existential strife and we have enough on our plate.



And it's Christmas time. I find myself behind again on the lists I so carefully wrote in advance in September (1. Complete the craft presents by November 15th. 2. Write and post cards by Dec 10th 3. Book a  delivery slot for grocery order.... as if)

My 12 days of Christmas person will be getting her parcel early next week, my card swap people (I ended up in about 3 this year) haven't been sent off yet, reading blogs has been a distant memory and my house... oh God my house... has had Christmas layered over the dust, rather than the Annual Christmas Clean happening before I decorated. I am slobbing it this year, and no apologies.

I think that may be my mantra for 2017. No apologies. I am what I am, and if you don't like it, tough. I've cut most of my self-imposed obligations down to none this year. I don't need to go anywhere, do anything, be anyone for anybody except myself. I love carol services, so I will go to the children's services at Liverpool Cathedral because them I can sing loudly for all to hear. I love baking, so I will make a stollen and some mince pie cupcakes. I don't like making a fruitcake, but I like decorating it, so I have bought a cheap fruitcake and some blue icing to make the design I saw in a magazine last year.. or the year before.

My parents are coming to me this year, because I actually love Christmas at home. Even if they weren't, I'd be doing Christmas at home because I am tired of the massive (25) person Christmas that last year saw me eating my whole dinner off a plate balanced precariously on my stomach since there was no room at the table. That was pudding course as well, BTW.

And when my copy of the Radio Times finally appears (we subscribe, and subscribers get their copy last, it seems) I shall sit with my highlighter and underline all the things that I want to watch. And no apologies for what floats my boat.



Lordy, I am sounding assertive at last. I hope to be able to grab time between now and the end of the year to look back and forward and set goals for 2017. And to reflect on what I have achieved and what has been lost. But time has a habit of slipping past, as we know..... if I don't make it here again, then I'll wish you all a blessed and peaceful Christmas and a contented and prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Do you cycle? You need to read this article

If you or anyone you know cycle regularly then you need to read this article

Government whiplash crackdown would also hit legitimate claims from cyclists say campaigners

Car crash (CC licensed by stephalicious via Flickr).jpg

This is wrong, yes? If you agree, then you have more things to do:-

1. Write to your MP. You can use the letter in this blog post http://angeljemscitycottage.blogspot.co.uk/…/want-to-stand-… as a template. Don't forget to say you cycle.

2. Sign the petition. If 10,000 sign, we get a response. If 100,000 sign we can push for a parliamentary debate on an issue that at the moment can just be passed with no argument. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/173099 takes you to the petition.

3. Share this post on any social media you're on. The more people who know what is proposed, the better. £5,000 doesn't seem like a small claim to me.

I am writing this post because I work for Peter Kneale Solicitor. We handle a lot of claims for less than £5,000. We don't think it's fair that people who are injured through no fault of their own would have to face the power of the insurers in small claims court without having experience and legal know-how on their side. It's denying justice to the people who can't afford to pay. And that's not fair.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Want to stand up against Small Claims Changes? Here's another thing for you to do...

Have you signed the petition against small claims changes? Go and do that... and then write to your MP. Here's an example of what to write:


Dear ………………………. MP,
On the 17th November the government announced its plans to prevent people who are injured through no fault of their own from having free access to an independent lawyer by increasing the small claims limit from its current £1,000 to potentially £5,000. Innocent injury victims will be forced to fight insurance giants on their own to get compensation for their injuries.
The insurers talk about whiplash and fraud being behind the need for these changes. However, the statistics show that whiplash claims are falling and fraud (even on the insurers’ figures) affects less than 4% of all claims. Yet, these changes will impact on every motorist and minor injury PI claimant. That cannot be fair.
Increasing the small claims limit will place justice beyond the reach of thousands of people and just make more money for insurers who are already posting record profits.
Please stand up for our legal rights and oppose any changes to the small claims limit. They will have a big impact.
Yours sincerely,



Send it off, and wait. If enough of the general public act and react, we may get the decision reversed when it is made, and at the very least will have shown we have a voice. If you, or anyone you know has claimed for an injury, you need to share this post and write this letter. Your access to Justice is being threatened by Big Business and there's still time to shout out about it. Do it now!!!