It feels like winter again here – we awoke to a dense grey landscape of fog this morning and I could easily have pulled the covers over me and stayed put. There was no wind but the damp coldness seems to penetrate through to the bone and after a jaunt around town for paint samples, plastic water pipe and screws I was glad to get back home and in the warm.
It is perhaps just as well no gardening was undertaken this weekend as the little shoots springing up here and there are better off hidden and protected by the dead leaves and stems of last year’s plants which I leave for this reason. Our garden is 700 feet above sea level here with the Pennine hills looming above us at about 1600 feet over the ‘Isle of Skye’ road (a local name – you can read about it here) …..and Holme Moss not far away at about 1720 feet. So we know about cold and chilly weather and I can guarantee we will lose some of the plants over winter.
I bought a nice little terracotta planter from B&Q for my friend’s birthday. I would have planted it up with herbs but couldn’t find any so I bought 3 pots of dwarf bulbs instead. I took it round to him later in the afternoon, rang the doorbell and stepped away. He was delighted with his gift and once the bulbs are over he will be able to grow herbs in it.
Before tea I looked at the February task list to see which of the tasks remained – anything without a satisfying tick against it is rolled over to the March list – to my surprise there were only 3 tasks out of 28 not completed (two of which are craft related and not urgent by any means).
Sand down the DAS clay tags I made
Cut out the interfacing for the tablemats and tack together
Email the new owner of the caravan site by our cottage
I like to have my plan of action mapped out for the month in my year book. I assign a few pages each month for jotting down any tasks and ideas, books to read, websites to browse…..whatever takes my fancy. I stick in cuttings from magazines of recipes, decorating ideas that catch my eye or a new beauty product I might try. It is basically a catch all. Each year I begin a new notebook and the old one is placed on the shelf for reference. This month will be all about Mother’s day and preparations for Easter and I have no doubt a lot of gardening notes.
And birthdays…….. there are lots of those in March.
I am not sure how much longer we will have Master Freddie with us but I know I am going to find it hard when he goes back to nursery; I have got so used to having him here and taking him for walks. He is an absolute joy.
Must go and get some sleep now ready for the early start tomorrow. x
Try as I might I do find it difficult to keep breaking off a project once I get started and often I just keep going to the detriment of everything else. I am by nature a completer finisher, a role that made me perfect for my work submitting claims to the legal aid agency; I know some people struggle with the finishing side of things but my problem is often the not finishing as I hate loose ends.
So apologies that I have been absent these last few days – missing in action – so that I could concentrate fully on the tasks I had set myself….to get to the bottom of the laundry basket and complete the subsequent ironing pile and also to get our finances up to date, receipts entered and bank statements balanced, so I could run a year end report.
Both tasks are now complete and I am back on a straight edge…. vowing not to let either task build up again. Famous last words though I think.
The house is also looking tidier than it has since Christmas and every room has had a quick flick of the duster and been hoovered. I even treated myself to a few flowers from Sainsbury’s – I couldn’t resist this little brown parcel of pale pink tulips. I love that they have packaged them in compostable brown paper rather than cellophane.
On Monday I had a few jobs that needed to be done before we leave for Scotland. We are hosting the Burns night supper again this year for our friends and invitations had to be written and delivered before we go. I will buy the haggis while we are up there as there is plenty of choice and some Scottish potatoes which have a lot more flavour.
I had lemons to use up too so I decided on making lemon curd. Both my daughters asked if I would make some for Christmas but I just couldn’t fit it in. Today seemed like a good day to get this done once I had stripped the beds and got the sheets out on the line to blow before the worst of the weather was due to arrive after lunch.
I chose the recipe from this book I found in The Works a couple of years ago. It has less sugar (equal quantity of butter and sugar) than some recipes that have double the amount of sugar to butter.
It is one of the most enjoyable things I make – the smell is heavenly and of course the jars wouldn’t be the same without a few hand stamped labels. No need to put a date on as it won’t last that long.
DH made two batches of soup to use up some of the veg and so we can take some on the journey and put some in the freezer. He also made a curry for tea and some extra to take with us.
My final task of the day was to make apple and sultana cake as I have a freezer full of cooked apple that I need to use up.
Once baked I wrapped half to take with us and put the other half in the freezer. You will find the recipe under recipes in the menu bar.
I am not sure what the weather will be like in Scotland – we have had numerous floodline warnings in the last few days as the tides in the bay are very high at the moment and once again the road where the two people were swept away last year has been closed.
I have a few blogs to catch up on now so need to get reading and the next time I write it will be from bonnie Scotland when we visit our cottage (caravan). For new readers you might want to read the tale of our cottage in the menu tabs above.
creating health and well being
I have been much more mindful in the last few days – noticing what I eat, how much I exercise and how stressed I feel. Even though you know you should do something it is hard to find the time in our busy lives to just do it.
My visit to the physio last Friday was a) the best £40 I have spent in a long time and b) already having an effect on my knee. I was quite hesitant about going as I had a bad experience with a physio at our local NHS clinic who made my neck far worse than it was after a whiplash incident. But I needn’t have worried the lady I saw was brilliant. She has given me a set of very easy exercises to do – I can even do them watching TV in the evening – nothing dynamic but will just give the relevant muscles a wake up call.
After only a few days I am already starting to feel the benefits.
The meditation sessions also feel like they are having a positive effect – I will take my blood pressure before and after so that I can visibly see if this is the case. If nothing else I think it has been quite beneficial on my digestion and I am sleeping better too, not that I had a big problem with insomnia but occasionally I could spend an night when the worries just crowd into my brain and keep me awake.
January so far has been a busy time for us and is set to continue. I confess that we had a couple of days with quick meals because we were home late – egg and chips one night followed the next evening with some caribbean veggie pasties. If nothing else eggs are good for B12 and iron and the pasties have turmeric in them and we had a heap of fresh cabbage to accompany them. This was offset though by our nourishing homemade soups at lunchtime and we have kept off the biscuits and crisps so not all is lost.
So far my growing list of healthy adjustments looks like this
drinking green tea in the morning and ginger tea in the afternoon
a Braeburn apple a day
a meditation session once a day
a few easy exercises for my knee
homemade soup most lunchtimes
healthier meals in the evening with plenty of veg
It takes time to make even small adjustments and get used to doing them and even longer to educate DH into doing the changes (he still makes me ordinary tea some days) but little by little changes are happening.
I was up, showered and raring to go today. I had a few tasks I wanted to tick off my list and nothing and no-one was going to get in the way. Everything was going quite well; I was making up the guest bed and our own with the freshly ironed linen, DH was in the garage having a much needed tidy up and for once no interuptions.
There were a lot (and I mean a lot) of dust bunnies behind our padded headboard which is covered in a heavy grey linen fabric – we sleep against the chimney breast so I think the warmth creates more dust that sticks to the fabric. I usually deal with it by using the mattress tool attachment on the hoover I hadn’t intended to pull the bed out and clean behind it but once I noticed the dust I couldn’t just leave it to fester (does dust fester? – maybe not). As I cannot move the heavy wooden bedframe by myself I have to wait until DH is around to help. Today was such a day.
By the end of the morning the bedrooms were reasonably clean again and I had two more post it notes to move into the ‘Done’ column of my kanban board leaving me feeling quite pleased with myself. The laundry and receipts are still ‘in progress’ and until these are completed I will not be starting any other project for the time being.
In the afternoon I settled down to enter some more receipts – weeks 47 and 48 and then I went through the pile of Christmas cards to make a note of who had sent one to me this year and who had not. When I do not hear from someone for more than a couple of years it is hard to know if they have moved, died or have just decided not to keep in touch – in fact this year I had heard from everyone on my list and a couple extra who were not. So with this task done I can now progress to cutting up the cards for tags, money envelopes, bookmarks or recycling.
Tomorrow we will need to go shopping and I shall have to make a meal plan. DH has only 3 tasks on his part of the kanban board – peel and chop the oranges for breakfast, put up the coat rack in the laundry room (we used to hang them in the cloakroom that is now the pantry) and return some items for a refund that we did not use in the pantry.
I, on the other hand have 6 tasks to complete – make some birthday cards, ring to book my car in for a service, plant the pack of tulip bulbs still loitering on the laundry room windowsill (a job I never got round to before Christmas and they have set off growing without any soil), cut up the Christmas cards, set up a bank transfer to pay off the credit card bill and of course the already mentioned meal planning.
Mmmmm….it looks like I might have to do some delegating.
Whilst out shopping in TK Max last week, buying the fridge storage trays, I came across these little pottery planters that are to hang on the wall. I am not sure where I will hang them but I am thinking to grow indoor herbs or even just as a vase for fresh flowers.
creating health and well being
I did my meditation session this morning as soon as I woke up and before I got out of bed. I am following week 1 of the Mindfulness for Health CD that I mentioned in my previous post; a body scan meditation where you concentrate on the breath going in and out and then feel yourself breathing into all your different parts in turn from your feet up to your head.
Once I was up I remembered to do the weigh in and take measurements. My scales also measure the percentage of fat, water, bone density and muscle as well as weight, but I am not altogether sure what the readings mean – I need to research this.
I was at my heaviest last July and I knew straight away when my clothes started feeling that little bit tight. In my wardrobe I have a mixture of size 10 and 12 clothes depending on style and fit – I always go for comfort rather than stick to one size. The NHS website tells me the ideal weight for my height of 5’6″ is between 8st 3lb to 11st that is quite a wide variation. I think around 9st or just under would be ideal for me – so a few pounds to go.
When I had my thyroid removed the shock to my body caused my weight to plummet to under 8 stone in a matter of days and once out of hospital I had to dash down to Sainsbury’s and find some size 8 clothes so I could go out!
Being dependant on thyroxine it is hard to keep your weight stable as my metabolism is now under the control of my medication – take too little or too much and you have weight gain.
It is not my weight that bothers me as much as muscle mass or lack of it. I feel quite flabby in places and I am an unfortunate apple shape which does not help and my waist measurement is something I would rather not talk about but need to do something about. Any weight gain seems to land on my belly which is not good…. so all the research tells me.
Tonight on’ Trust me I’m a doctor’ they tested two groups of people – one doing brisk walking for 30 minutes and the other group 10,000steps over the day. The group doing the brisk walking had slightly better physical results -so I am on to it. 30 minutes each day round the block at a pace. I might even start tomorrow; but on second thoughts maybe I should wait until I see the physio on Friday.
Today I also had more to drink.
Our meals today were homemade tomato and red pepper soup for lunch and because we were quite tired we had a very quick meal tonight of wholemeal spaggetti, cheese sauce and a very large amount of broccoli to try and introduce a little healthiness! And I didn’t forget the apple.
So all good so far – I think I am slowly getting back on track even though I can’t say that I can feel any dramatic changes as yet.
Thank you for all the encouraging comments and advice – much appreciated. x
They are certainly grey wintry days at the moment that make you want to stay indoors keeping cosy and warm; reaching for a nearby throw and snuggling down to watch a film or read a book. It is the time of year when the weather can take a turn for the worse; windy, wet and often bitterly cold – we have had all three recently and I find myself yearning for a little snow as snow seems far more pleasant and of course pretty. It is the time of year when you just want to ‘bed’ down and only surface as spring appears.
Indoors I am still ploughing my way through the dirty laundry left over from Christmas and when I have washed and put it out on the line to dry it then becomes part of the ironing pile mountain. Each day I do a little bit in the hope I will ever see the bottom of the basket again – wash, dry, iron then put away. The laundry is a very circular task like prepping, cooking, eating meals then clearing up.
It is the same with our finances – each day I am doing a little bit towards reducing the pile of receipts so that I can balance the bank statements; though I know it would be more satisfying to me if I could take one project to a conclusion, but I also know that if I focus on one thing something else will not get done at all.
I am returning at the moment to my kanban board by my desk in the office / craft room. Here I can stick post it notes to a glass notice board that is marked out in sections – ‘To Do’, ‘In Progress’ and ‘Done’.
The idea is that the tasks move across the board from ‘To do’ to ‘Done’. We each have three colums and there should never be anymore than 3 tasks waiting in the ‘In Progress’ section – only when one moves to ‘Done’ can another task be started. I often give really urgent tasks a different colour of post it note like bright pink – too many of those and I know it is panic stations.
This morning DH made tomato soup for tomorrow’s lunch before finishing off the shelving in the pantry. We decided in the end the lowest shelf didn’t really need the strip light underneath – it seems bright enough in there as it is with the two downlighters.
As I write he is doing the last little finishing touches, then it can be given a final wipe down and I can put the storage jars on the shelves.
Then sit back and admire!
I, on the other hand busied myself hanging the washing out to dry and whilst I was in the garden I reached for my camera. Our mahonia is absolutely magnificent this year and providing us with a lovely splash of colour now all the Christmas lights have been packed away.
Most of the garden has bedded down and is ‘slumbering’ nicely but the primulas have come to life and the cyclamen I planted in the autumn continue to provide me with a lot of pleasure each time I go in and out of the front door.
Even the land cress refuses to give in to the cold wet weather and packed with minerals is an added boost to the supergreen soup we make.
If I looked close enough I could see little signs of life here and there – pushing up through the cold, damp earth and decaying leaves.
For all the signs of life in the garden there has been no signs of life down our road today – not one person to nod or speak to. I think it must be hard to be on your own all day and not see a soul so with this in mind I have added ‘call aunty M and my mum for a chat’ to my list.
creating health and wellbeing
I made the physio appointment today for Friday. It isn’t with the guy I had wanted as he is booked until the end of January and I don’t feel my knee will last that long. I am worried to exercise it now and do the wrong ones – I need specific advise from an expert.
I didn’t attend yoga in the end for the same reasons really – too worried I might put too much of a strain on it even though my teacher is good and will adapt postures to suit need.
I did do a meditation session today….yeah! It was difficult at first to quieten down but soon I was drifting away in my own little heaven, like letting soft waves wash gently over you and after doing it and feeling so good I wonder why I don’t do it everyday – who wouldn’t like to feel completely relaxed and on cloud nine all the time. Of course the answer is distractions and interuptions and giving way to a hundred and one other things I feel I must be doing.
At the moment the CD I am listening to came free with this book. The narrator of the seven various meditations has a very calming, unhurried voice who keeps telling me it is OK if my mind wanders or I don’t feel anything in particular. You just feel what you feel, no right or wrong. I am actually looking forward to tomorrow’s session.
I keep munching the apples too and need to stock up with more soon.
My memory though is pathetic – I forgot the weigh in yet again this morning – I am now worried this may be a form of self sabotage, denial even. I do know the reason though – it is simply that my dressing gown is in the laundry system and I have been getting up and dressing straight away so by the time I remember I need to weigh myself I do not want to undress again.
Today for lunch we used up a dish of leftover mashed potato that was in the fridge so as not to waste it – I heated it up in my ceramic green non stick pan and sprinkled over a handful of grated cheshire cheese, cooked a few mushrooms and added a can of baked beans. There was a bit of healthy side to it somewhere I think and it was warming and delicious.
Tonight we are having the remains of the shepherd’s pie with broad beans (steamed of course). Broad beans are packed with protein and fibre as well as being a good source of both folate and B vitamins, and they contain high concentrations of dopamine – for this reason they are being researched as a possible benefit for anyone with Parkinsons disease.
Starting too many changes is not the aim of my game here but I feel that from tomorrow I will make a big effort to become better hydrated by drinking more and see if this makes a difference to my health.
I have never been a big drinker (alcoholic or otherwise) – at work I always had a small china mug, none of these super sized ‘buckets’ for me. Presently I wake up and have to drink a full glass of water to take my tiny Thyroxine tablet and propel it past my gut into my intestine for it to work properly. I then have an hour to wait before food – but I often end up waiting two – I need to know if this is good or bad thing as yet I haven’t read anything that would tell me. I do know that restricting the hours that you eat is beneficial or thought to be – but that will be for me to investigate another day.
After breakfast I have a cup of green tea and another mid morning then it is a cup of ginger tea after lunch. From then on I have ordinary black tea with milk and a mug of hot milk with an added spoonful of slippery elm at bedtime. The slippery elm is good for lining the gut.
You may notice I don’t actually drink any more water other than in my tea so this is what I will try and rectify by having at least one more glass throughout the day.
I desperately need to get down to planning some meals before we have to go shopping again. We will not need very much as our new pantry actually looks stuffed full of food – I cannot believe that so much came out of our kitchen cupboards.
So after just a few days my health and well being changes list now looks like this:-
an apple a day – check
a meditation session – check
green tea, one or more cups a day – check
ginger tea, one or more cups a day – check
a healthy breakfast -yoghurt and fruit followed by museli – I think it is