Friday, 31 January 2014

Welcome to Alexia

... to alexia @ infinitely indecisive

image from

31/365: Narcissi

These have grown from a planter set my sister gave me for Christmas and, once they've gone over, will be planted outside for next year.

I may have to change the focus of my Project 365.  I'd planned that my theme for the entire year would be 'in the garden' but I am starting back to full time working next week so it is dark when I leave home and light fading rapidly by the time I get home.  The opportunities for outdoor daily photos are obviously limited during term time so I may have to move the photos inside - I'm busy puzzling my little brain trying to work out how I can still keep the focus of the photos on the garden theme.  I may just have to buy lots of indoor plants!!  From next week I have 40 new pupils (!!) so will be able to afford it!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

30/365: Cotoneaster?

This is growing in amongst the shrub I showed you yesterday.  It is so overgrown I can't see whether this plant is mine or the neighbours but I like it very much and will take cuttings if I need to.  Is it a cotoneaster?

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Weigh In Wednesday [6]

I've lost another pound making a total of 9.5 lbs since starting. To be honest, I'm surprised with the loss as I thought I would stay the same or put some back on.  It hasn't been a good week food-wise, and I haven't made the best choice of meals so I've gone over my allocated number of calories on most days but have still felt hungry.  Not good!

I've hopefully organised myself better for the next week.  I've started looking at the exercise part of the app I'm using and have come to the conclusion that I need to start using it properly.  I've set my profile as having a sedentary lifestyle which is true for 3.5 days of the week but for the remainder, now I've looked into it properly, I would actually be classed as 'light activity'.  The daily calorie allowance obviously varies between these two lifestyle choices. I've checked on the forum to see what others do in this situation and it seems that one option is to assess my additional activity on the teaching days and to add it in daily as exercise calories earned which will allow additional calories for meals.  I haven't explained it very well but it makes sense to me so I'm going to try doing this for a couple of weeks to see if it stops me feeling hungry but still results in weight loss.

I also need more variety in my meals, especially for breakfast and lunch so I've also found some new recipes/ideas for low calorie meals which I'm excited about trying out over the next few weeks. 

Linking with Weigh In Wednesday.

29/365: In the Front Garden

Moving to the front of the house today, the very small patch of garden has been taken over by this plant.  It has scented leaves and produces a small, very pretty, white flower.  Does anyone know what it is, please?

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Welcome to the Vintage Kitten

... to The Vintage Kitten

28/365: Along the Back of the House

Taken with my back to the garage, looking along the back of the house.  Looks like today's job is to sweep the decking!

Monday, 27 January 2014

27/365: Outside the Window

Taken from inside (because it is too wet out there!!) - looking through the living room doors out to the decking.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

26/365: Raindrop

It's chucking it down again and the garden is waterlogged so I only ventured to the edge of the decking to photograph this raindrop!  I hope the weather improves soon.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

25/365: What's This?

This raggedy looking plant is behind the garage, looking quite healthy but needing to be knocked into shape.  It will need to be moved from its current position if it is going to stay but first of all I want to know what plant it is.  My best guess is rosemary but as I have no sense of smell I can't tell for sure.
Anyone know, please?

Friday, 24 January 2014

Skywatch Friday

Linking with Skywatch Friday

24/365: Jasminum Parkeri

It's too wet to venture off the decking so here's a close up of one of the container plants - 'Jasminum Parkeri'.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

23/365: Casualty of the Storm

He should have been hanging from the fence but I found him down on the decking after the recent storm.  Luckily, nothing was cracked or smashed so he can be repaired.  He's currently laying on the work surface in the kitchen until I get my act together and find the twine to repair him.  And before you ask, I don't know whether he is Bill or Ben!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Welcome to Amanda

... to Amanda @ Graham's Landing

image from images buddy

Weigh In Wednesday [5]

I've had a great week and have managed to lose a further 2.5 lbs making a total weight loss of 8.5 lbs since starting. That extra half pound has taken me down to the next stone (if you understand what I mean) which is a great psychological boost.
I'm still continuing with the slightly smaller meals but am basically eating all the foods I enjoy.  It is a life style change rather than a diet as I seriously want this to work this time.  I have altered the balance of foods in each meal, so less meat and potatoes, more vegetables. I'm also consciously aiming for my 5 a day fruit/veg and usually achieve that easily now.  I think the biggest change has been drinking more water and the weeks with weight loss seem to link with the weeks I have been drinking more.
I'm still recording my daily calorie intake but have switched to an app on the iPad - 'My Fitness Pal'. It took a bit of effort to get it set up but it is now helping me to stay focused.  From my starting weight, height and age my daily calories to ensure weight loss at the chosen rate were set at 1370 per day, which I've mostly been sticking to and it is definitely working.  The daily number of calories varies widely between all the different sites I looked at but 1370 seems to be in the middle of the range the majority suggest and ties in with my doctor's advice. 
The app also records daily exercise but I haven't been using this part of it yet as I haven't been exercising at all.  Hopefully, I can get back into the routine during the coming week.  Watch this space!
Linking with Weigh In Wednesday

22/365: Phormium Flamingo

Showing the base of one of the leaves on the phormium.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Sealed Pot [5]

Back to the normal routine with work so it will be interesting to watch how the budgets work over the next few weeks.

The Sealed Pot 
  • Saving small change in a piggy bank: Last week it weighed 951gms.  Today it weighs 1044gms.
  • Save the Change: £2.88
  • Saving money left over from weekly pocket money: £5.30
  • Saving money left over from weekly food and petrol budgets: I haven't worked out the full savings on the food budget yet but this week I saved £2.32 by using a Sainsbury's 'money of your next shop because shopping would have been cheaper elsewhere' voucher.  I usually forget to use these vouchers so I'm chuffed that I remembered this time!  Total petrol budget spent!
  • Gifts/unexpected savings: Nil

Linking with Saving for Travel

21/365: The Leaning Shed

The shed leans backwards, apparently because of how it was constructed.  I don't know if it is possible to sort it out, something for the men in the family to puzzle over! I'm not convinced that the shed needs to stay as I have plenty of storage capacity at the back of the garage for all the gardening things and removing it would give me extra space for more plants. The final decision is still to be made!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Welcome to Michelle

... to Michelle @ A day in our lives

image from

20/365: Conifer

This is part of one of the dwarf conifers in the corner bed.  I'm undecided whether there is a place for them in the revamped garden, partly because the bottom of each plant is now varying degrees of brown and dying growth but mostly because they are not high enough on the list of likes to be worthy of a place in the limited space I have.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Lucky 7s in 2014: Inside

This week the theme is INSIDE and the daily prompts are:
  • Monday - inside your house
  • Tuesday - inside a box or bag
  • Wednesday - inside a machine
  • Thursday - inside a cupboard
  • Friday - inside a building
  • Saturday - inside a vehicle
  • Sunday - a surprise inside

So here's my selection:

inside my house there is another house!  This is my doll's house,
waiting patiently to be completed.  I still haven't made up my mind
about keeping this - it's not the same without Ced and without the things
he'd planned to make for it.

inside a bag there is a selection of wool waiting for me to learn how to crochet properly.  Somewhere,
there is also a crochet hook and the work in progress.  It's going to be a ripple blanket.

inside a machine - this dishwasher was in the house
when I moved in but I have never used it.  It is going to be
replaced by an integrated washer/dryer.

inside a cupboard - this is the cupboard under the
stairs where I keep the Christmas decorations (at the back)
and my instruments and bags of music for the school bands.
The hoover, mop and bucket just about fit in the front and
above there is plenty of hanging space for coats and bags.

inside a building - this is one of the rooms in Stourhead House, taken in 2012.

inside a vehicle - my car, a Ford Fusion 2

a surprise inside - this is my cornet having its monthly bath in the kitchen sink when all of the insides 
and important little places are scrubbed clean!

Hope you all enjoy these.  I'll be round to check everyones blog this evening.
Linking with Lucky 7s in 2014.  Thanks to KathyJo for organising this.

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Sunday 19th January 2014


Outside my window ... it has been raining but the sun is just starting to shine through and I can see some patches of blue sky. 

I am thinking ... about the best way to organise my day.  I have lots to do - laundry, decluttering, lesson plans to finish, music practice ... and a good book to finish reading!

I am thankful ... for being fortunate enough to be able to afford to work part time hours during term time only, and for the amount of free time it gives me to indulge in my many hobbies and interests. 

In the kitchen ... it is looking very tidy for once.  One of the local shops has a relocation sale and I was able to buy some shiny red storage jars to match my kettle, toaster and slow cooker at a 30% discount - I'm starting to get the 'look' I want in the kitchen, i.e. red and white, and it cheers me up every time I go in there.

I am wearing ...  a mismatch of colours - I should have done the laundry earlier in the week so have just chosen what was clean.  I'm not going out so I won't scare the neighbours with my appearance!

I am creating ... nothing, although I need to sort something out quickly as the sewing bee meets next week and I need something to take with me.

I am going ... to start the next stage of decluttering.  I've changed tactics so instead of clearing room by room, I'm sorting out by different categories. I've already done my clothes and some of the household linen.  Today I plan to finish sorting the linen and any that I don't want to keep will go in the pile for a car boot sale in the summer.  Then I'll start on the masses of paper I always seem to collect so it's going to be a day of shredding and scanning with the aim to hold the majority of paperwork electronically.  I'll only keep the original paper copy where there is a legal requirement for the original. Most of it is teaching material I've kept 'just in case' and never used, so it can go and will free up a lost of space.

I am wondering ... when to start on the next stage of the garden.  The lawn will be removed but I don't know whether it's too early to start digging it up.

I am reading ... 'The Storyteller' by Jodi Picoult.

I am hoping ... that the weather improves.  I'm fed up of getting wet and I'm itching to get out and take some photos.

I am looking forward to ... seeing my garden develop.  I'm doing a Project 365 photo challenge based on my garden and the need to look at the plants every day to choose a subject for the daily photo has opened my eyes to all that is going on out there.

I am learning ... to live my life for me.  It hasn't been a year yet since I lost Ced but I am content with the changes I have made and have lost the 'fear' about managing on my own. Although I still have weepy days I can see that life is working out as I want and that happiness is on the horizon.

Around the house ... I am starting to see the impact of the decluttering and organising and I feel less pressured about it.  Once the unwanted paperwork is sorted I will be able to move the piano from the dining room to the study and create the music room I desperately need - somewhere I can leave the instruments out safely.  Can't wait!

I am pondering ... meaning of life ... holidays ... trips to London ... lesson plans ... new music for band ... all sorts of things, my brain is busy today.

One of my favourite things ... time spent with family and friends.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • Monday: Paper shredding!
  • Tuesday: Teaching + sewing bee in the evening
  • Wednesday: Teaching
  • Thursday: Teaching + friends coming for a meal in the evening
  • Friday: Teaching
  • Saturday: Band practice
  • Sunday: Relaxing at home
A peek into my day ... Decluttering, laundry, lesson planning.  It's going to be a busy day!

A favourite quote for today ...

'Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.'  George Bernard Shaw

Linking with The Simple Woman's Daybook

19/365: Raspberry Canes

Hoping for lots of yummy raspberries later in the year!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

18/365: Euonymus

This is not at it best! In autumn it is a bit of a show-off when the leaves are fiery red and it stands out from all the other plants.  The new growth is just starting to show but for now it is just the stems, which are interesting in their own right.  This image show the cork-like wings on each stem which give the euonymus its other name - the spindle tree.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Skywatch Friday

Taken earlier this morning in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, UK

Linking with Skywatch Friday

17/365: Leucothoe Zeblid

I love the colour of this one.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

16/365: Pieris

It's chucking it down this morning and I didn't want to get wet, so here's one of the container plants which is currently placed just outside the living room doors - the pieris I bought last year.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Weigh In Wednesday [4]

After the big loss last week, I've put 1lb. back on this time. I'm not surprised as I haven't done any exercise at all and have had quite a few calorie laden meals! Only 1lb. gain is actually a relief!!  That makes a total weight loss so far of 6 lbs, which I'm pleased with.

Linking with Weigh In Wednesday 

15/365: Growing Over the Fence [2]

Here's a close up of the plant that is growing over the fence from my neighbour's garden.  It was frosty again this morning but you can see the true colour of one of the berries near the top of the photo.  The flowers, when they appear, will be white.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

14/365: Ice on the Decking

A chilly start to the day - there was ice on the decking. 

Monday, 13 January 2014

13/365: Growing Over the Fence

This plant is growing over the fence from my neighbour's garden.  They offered to cut it back but I persuaded them to leave it, at least until I have some plants of my own established.  I don't know what it is but I rather like it so, if I do decide to cut it back, I'll take a cutting first.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sealed Pot [4]

It was my first week back at work (except for one school) and it has virtually been a no-spend week:

The Sealed Pot 
  • Saving small change in a piggy bank: Last week it weighed 915gms.  Today it weighs 951gms.
  • Save the Change: 68 pence
  • Saving money left over from weekly pocket money: I've finished saving for the books and have 1 pence left over!
  • Saving money left over from weekly food and petrol budgets: I budgeted for refilling the car this week but because I haven't used the car (due to illness) I didn't need to.  I was given a lift to my Tuesday school, didn't attend my Wednesday afternoon school and haven't used the car in the evenings.  All of this means that I have saved the entire petrol budget for this week = £35.
  • Gifts/unexpected savings: Nil

Saving Account

I have decided not to review this aspect of my savings on a weekly basis. I will still be saving as planned and will update when there is something to report!
Linking with Saving for Travel

12/365: Water Butt

Not a particularly interesting photograph but it show the water butt which is currently located next to the shed behind the garage, and is something I intend to keep.  There is also another piece of trellis which is still in good condition and I hope to find a place and use for that as well.
Nothing seems to grow on the square patch of earth in the bottom left of the photo.  This area has been exposed to the elements since August and nothing has grown at all, not even weeds! 

Saturday, 11 January 2014

11/365: Corner Bed

I like this corner bed and plan to keep it.  However, it hasn't been built properly so at some stage will need to be rebuilt.  There is only wood at the front of the structure; the soil is retained by the use of old sacks, but in places just by the fencing panels which are beginning to rot.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Skywatch Friday

Taken earlier this morning at Trowbridge, Wiltshire, UK.

Linking with Skywatch Friday

10/365: Fern

This fern is currently in a container on the decking near the back wall of the house but will be moved to another part of the garden later on.  It'll probably be taken out of the container and planted against the back wall of the garage.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

One Photo and Twenty Words

I'm joining in with a meme organised by Abi at Creating Paper Dreams, where you find one photo and choose up to twenty words to tell its story.

Back to school - that never ending cycle of practicing and performing continues.  Am I happy with this?  Yes, I am!

Little Details: Tiny Flowers

These flowers form part of my Christmas table candle centrepiece - you can just see part of the candle on the right of the photo.  The perfection of these tiny flowers fascinates me; each flower head is less than a centimetre across.  Does anyone know what they are, please?
Linking with Messy Little Details.

9/365: Wall Planters

These two containers are fixed to the wall just outside the dining room so are ideal candidates for planting with herbs for cooking. I'll have to sort out the drainage before I use them - the top one is currently full of water.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

8/365: Hanging Bracket

This iron hanging bracket will stay and I plan to get others as well.  It is currently supporting a bird feeder but this side of the garden gets the most sun so this is where the hanging baskets will eventually be placed.
The bird feeder, which will also stay, was a Christmas gift.  According to the instructions (which I actually read!!), between January and April it is to be filled with the provided sheep wool which the birds will take for nesting material and then after April the container can be filled with wild bird seed and used as a feeder.

Weigh In Wednesday [3]

This is a scheduled post as I have to leave home way too early on a Wednesday to be able to blog about my weight before I leave for work.  I'm now weighing myself on Tuesday evenings and scheduling the post to appear the following day.
It has been a good week although admittedly I think a big chunk of the pounds lost are as a direct result of a few days illness so it will probably even itself out when I weigh next week.  Anyway, enough chatter ... I've lost 4 pounds this week.  That is a total of 7 pounds since starting on December 18th (3 weeks) giving an average of just over 2 pounds per week.
It has been a week of light meals and virtually no exercise so I'm pleased to have recorded a loss.  The biggest learning curve has been keeping a food diary and initially recording the calorie intake every day.  I'm eating the same sort of foods as before but slightly smaller portions and recording the calories has helped me to see where I still need to make changes.  I'll restart the exercise when I'm back to full health.
Linking with Frugal in Bucks.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

7/365: Pebbles

I've photographed all of my outside space now so I'm moving on to photograph the things in the garden that I like and plan to keep, starting with these pebbles:

There are lots of these, running alongside the garage and in front of the decking.  They may be moved at some stage in the future but will definitely remain in the garden somewhere.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Lucky 7s: Week 2: Colours

Today's colour is 'red', my favourite colour.  So wouldn't you think I'd have plenty of choice of 'reds' to photograph ... no such luck!  Here's the best I could manage today - some red grapes.

They may not be the best shade of red, but they are certainly the sweetest grapes I've had for a long time.
Linking with Lucky 7s in 2014.

Welcome to Borqna

... to Borqna

image from

6/365: Along the Front of the House

This is the front of the house where the previous owners gravelled the two flower beds.  Unfortunately it hasn't been done very well and, as you can see, weeds are a constant problem.  At the least this will need to be done properly but I'd like to add some bulbs and a possibly a few small low maintenance shrubs. 
I don't want to create a problem where anything grows out over the pavement so any shrubs will need to have a very contained shape/growth.  Does anyone know if it is possible to have all year round flowers from bulbs?  Answers to this question and ideas for suitable shrubs will be very much appreciated!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Lucky 7s: Week 1: Resolutions

By the skin of my teeth, here are my photos for the week 1 - resolutions.

a glass of water representing my wish to change my lifestyle
- eat healthily, exercise, lose weight and most importantly,
drink more water every day

this represents my biggest aim for 2014 - to get out of
the house more.  Live life while I can!

saving the pennies so that I can stay debt free but still
have and do everything I want to

decluttering - I hope to have this bedroom empty by the
summer holidays so that I can have the little people to
stay for sleepovers

expand my horizons and get out of the rut I'm in, not just
in terms of reading but also musically (that's piano music on
the bottom shelf) and get back to crafting regularly
Sorry I haven't been commenting on many posts but I've been ill so I will try to catch up over the next few days.

Linking with Lucky 7s in 2014.