dear diary :: a new dawn, a new day…

As the title above I am reminded of the song lyrics this morning, ‘it’s a new dawn, a new day’…….the bin men are coming so I know the world is slowly returning to normality. A little sad to see everyone’s wheelie bins are out stuffed to the gills and some overflowing – maybe this will change over time as, like many bloggers, we begin to consume less and hopefully packaging becomes more recyclable. With the perils of climate change upon us surely this has to come soon.

There are fewer cars on the drives this morning as neighbours return to work and I feel quite grateful that I have the time to sort out my mess of a house and with the help of my trusty checklist entitled ‘getting back to tidy’ I can bring order back into my life once more, or at least come close to it….. probably the latter.

To help me along I bought one or two cleaning products and as it is very blustery here today I can throw open the windows to bring in some fresh air. I have taken note Sadie of your tip for using Grapefruit essential oil and that is on my list when I next visit our wholefood shop in town – until then I will make do by diffusing some lemon. I can’t wait to get the house smelling clean and fresh and the decorations put away. I have also been able to get the brushed cotton duvet cover and large white bath towels out on the line for a good blow.

My two daughters and the grandchildren will be travelling back from their short holiday in Norfolk today. I shall be glad to see them home safe and sound, like any mum I worry when they are driving about on the roads, everyone is in such a rush these days you take your life in your hands getting from A to B safely. The number of accidents we see now on the A1M when we drive up to North Yorkshire increased dramatically last year and hold ups were a common occurrence.

I thought I would take a few pictures of the lovely Christmas presents I received this year – my friends and family know me so well so everything I received I really love. Sorry for the blue picture quality the light inside is not so good at this time of year.

We are pretty light on presents at our house – as some readers may already know our family take part in a ‘Not so Secret Santa’ so only one gift is bought for each member and this year we reduced the amount down to £25 each rather than the previous £50 to take into account everyone’s changed circumstances. This skin cream by Liz Earle and the handmade glass star was my gift from Santa.

One of my daughters bought an unexpected present for us as a thank you for all the help we gave them to move house just before Christmas – theatre tickets to see the Alan Ayckbourn play Absurd Person Singular. We tried to get to see this before Christmas at the Bingley Little Theatre but could not spare the time, so we are delighted to be going.

DH bought me another subscription year to Country Living and the first issue came with a free china mug designed by Sophie Allport. He also bought me another of the ‘good as gold’ journals from WH Smiths – I use them as my year books filling them with all sorts of notes and cuttings for things I want to save.

I have already started writing and pasting in ideas and notes for January and have found a nice marmalade recipe to do in a few days time.

I had some lovely litle gifts from my friends – a set of white dishes just the right shape to hold an avocado, a handmade glass ornament lovingly wrapped in a piece of stripey cotton fabric and a very large bag of mixed pine cones, fir branches and cinnamon sticks. Wonderful.

One of my other friends always gives us one of those charity donation cards where a donation is made in place of a present. This is also very welcome by me – there must be many people who need the donation more than I need a present.

One or two bloggers have mentioned slow January….I can only hope this is the case. It is rather a hefty month for birthdays here…. six in all at the last count, four family members and two good friends. On the 20th it will be little Freddie’s 1st birthday so that will warrant something a little special, and mum will be 94 the day before. As well as the birthdays we will be hosting our Burns Supper event with our closest friends so we will be going up to Scotland for a few days and bringing back the haggis with us.

I have a cot duvet cover to make and we also need to finish the pantry shelving and do some DIY jobs in my daughter’s new house – coat hooks, curtain poles and renew the shower curtain and bath sealant.

Not looking quite so slow for us then!!

I would however like to think I can snuggle down in January, a little hibernating sounds good to me. Relaxed days by the fire reading or knitting, sketching out plans for shaping the year ahead, browsing through gardening books and maybe, dare I hope, planning that new kitchen or cottage.

And now to other matters – for anyone following along with my health challenge I will be adding this to the bottom of each post.


Creating health and wellbeing

So what of my health challenge – my first day today – after much reading it is evident that to restore your body to good health it has to start with the mind….the brain is in control of everything, I am told, and to calm the brain so healing can begin the brain waves need to be at certain frequency.

We have 5 different types of brain wave: Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, each one has a normal frequency range in which they operate. It is the Theta waves that are most beneficial due to the deep levels of relaxation they facilitate so the body and mind can easily restore itself during and after illness, as well as after mental burnout and physical exertion.

Sounds like I need lots of these then.

With this in mind then meditation is first on my list to practice each day during January. Attaining deep relaxation without going to sleep is not easy. There are so many books and information on the subject though and it is not difficult to find something that will work for you. It might just be sitting and switching off for a few minutes, for me I am choosing to use a guided meditation tape, which is about 30 minutes long and I will block out some time every day, probably during the afternoon.

Alongside of course we are going to be eating healthier food. We are still in the process of eating through the ‘junk’ foods left from Christmas. I shall give away some Christmas cake to my daughter, hide the chocolate biscuits and limit the cream crackers to a couple a day.

We are starting the healthier meals today with a green soup for lunch made yesterday. Dark greens like spinach have plenty of health benefits – helps bone maintenance, lowers blood pressure, protects against eye disease and reduces cancer risk; cooking them in a soup preserves many of the vitamins and minerals too. You can pack a lot of spinach into a soup – more than you can easily manage on a salad.

We will have the soup with bread today but as we go along this will reduce in favour of adding extra chopped vegetables to the soup and some kind of beans for the protein.

My breakfast is low fat organic yoghurt and blueberries followed by a little no sugar museli with fruit and seeds. The blueberries are particularly good for those antioxidants we need.

I am drinking green tea in the mornings, besides reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease, green tea benefits the whole body, contains catechins, antioxidants and can help reduce abdominal fat. It increases the metabolism so if you sip green tea before a workout, the compounds in it increase fat burn during aerobic exercise.

During the afternoon I will switch to ginger tea for the anti-inflamatory properties and will only drink one cup of ordinary decaffeinated tea with milk after our evening meal.

Tonight’s evening meal will be a broccoli and cauliflower bake with potatoes cut lengthways into thick slices, covered in a little olive oil and rosemary and baked in the oven. We are feeding both daughters and partners and the grandchildren so it is something we can all enjoy.

It goes without saying that I will be reducing any cakes, biscuits, pastries, crackers and crisps as I work through January – this is not meant to be a change in eating habits that becomes far too difficult to maintain rather a slow and gradual transformation that is sustainable for the long term. Failing at the first post by restricting myself too much is not a good idea….phasing out (the bad) and phasing in (the healthier) in a more considered way is my plan and I am sticking to it!

I had intended to take body measurements and weigh myself this morning but in the rush to get my day started I forgot. Will do better tomorrow.

It may be a very short post tomorrow as my daughter and grandchildren will be staying until the car is fixed so my attentions will be elsewhere. xx

PS: this post is completely unedited today so apologies for any spelling, grammar and improper apostrophes! Must get my skates on now and get going.

24 Replies to “dear diary :: a new dawn, a new day…”

  1. What lovely gifts you received and the added treat of theatre tickets is wonderful. It sounds like a very busy January you have ahead of you but also a fun filled one.

    Driving causes me quite a lot of anxiety these days. People seem to have a thing about wanting to be in front yet are unable to go any faster due to speed restrictions or get any further because of the volume of traffic. It makes me wonder if the way the drive is worth it when we all pull up at the traffic lights together!

    You seem very focused and determined with your health and well being plans. Lack of will power is something I struggle with. Have a lovely visit with your family. xx


    1. It was lovely to receive the tickets because we had missed the opportunity to go before Christmas.
      It is difficult to drive these days as there is so little road to drive on now – even the main roads are filing up with parked cars everywhere as more and more people have 2 or 3 cars to one house. x


  2. Some beautiful and useful gifts there Vivien. I like your new mug and the W H Smith book especially. What glue do you use to stick your cuttings into it? I hope you enjoy the play. I haven’t seen a play in years and must get back and do that again! Good luck with your health challenge. I am still eating Christmas food to avoid waste (my excuse!) and will gradually introduce healthier foods as we run out of the unhealthy! x


  3. Love the idea of accounting your getting healthier actions on the second half of the post.

    Regarding cakes, biscuits and pastries, how about saving them for special occasions? That makes them more special, cuts any guilt, and gives you treats.


    1. If some readers are not following along it makes it easy for them not to have to read on. I generally only have a few biscuits in the house – not usually cake or pastries and once we have eaten the backlog from Christmas we probably won’t have the urge to eat any.


  4. Your presents are so lovely and clearly gifted with thought.
    I look forward to reading of your progress with your health challenge. X


    1. I was going to try to make a lot of the recipes at especially the Instapot ones. I made kalua pig with cabbage (first time I ever cooked cabbage) and it was ok. I need to up my seasonings. Considering I tend to live on peanut butter sandwiches and frozen dinners (the cheap ones even) this is a step in the right direction. Thanks for the ongoing inspiration to keep making healthy steps forward.


      1. I like most vegetables but not fennel that is really not my taste. I didn’t used to like celery but can now eat it cooked but not raw. Our tastes seem to alter as we get older. Glad you enjoyed the cabbage – it is very healthy especially the dark green leaves and also red cabbage.


  5. Sounds like you are heading into a busy busy January more than a slow one! Best wishes for your health transformation and I hope your family visit goes well.


  6. I would love a slow, slightly hibernatory (is that a word, even?) January, but I can’t see it happening. Magazine subscriptions are such a lovely present, aren’t they! We gave Mum one this year for Christmas and I’m thinking I might ask for one for my birthday, if hubby is stuck for ideas. I look forward to following your health challenge throughout the year, thank you for sharing it 🙂


  7. A brilliant post my dear. Thank you for your efforts and best of the new year to you and yours. I do enjoy your blog……………….cheers.


  8. Your gifts are really lovely and so thoughtful too. I specially love the two glass ornaments which are beautiful.
    Wishing you well in your drive towards a simpler and healthier 2020 and I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.
    Happy New Year.


  9. Lovely gifts–all well-considered. Have a lovely dinner with the family tonight. I know you will be happy to have them all gathered around the table.


    1. It was a very late meal – the family found the drive home more tiring and busy than going because everyone was back at work and the lorries were back on the road. The good thing is that they came home safe and sound.


  10. Lovely post and a happy new year to you too!
    It looks like you have started the year with lots of positive good intentions and long may they continue.
    I look forward to following you into the new year xx


  11. Such a lovely post. It is always lovely to receive gifts that we really want or love. Your approach to your health and what you eat and is exactly in tune with mine. Changing things slowly is the best way, I hope it all works for you.


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