Friday, 28 February 2014

59/365: Tomatoes

Hanging basket kit No 2 - tomatoes.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

58/365: Strawberries

I bought some hanging basket kits today.  Here's the first one - strawberries.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Weigh In Wednesday

Not such a good week.  I have managed to regain the weight I lost last week - part of my mind thinks that last weeks weighing was inaccurate but the bigger, more honest, part of my brain knows that the gain is a direct result of the Indian takeaway.  And the pizza.  And the Chinese takeaway.  And the sweets.  And the complete lack of any activity because it was half term and I needed a rest!
This means my total weight loss so far is back to 1 stone, 1 pound.  Here's hoping for a better week.
Linking with Weigh In Wednesday.

57/365: Fencing

The fencing has survived the recent storms but is starting to show its age. It will need to be treated before the planting starts - I can't decide whether to stick to brown or to be bold and choose a different colour. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

56/365: Jasminum Parkeri

Tiny new leaves on the dwarf jasmine.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Sunday, 23 February 2014

54/365: Ivy

Waiting to go out in one of the hanging baskets ...

... which can't go up until the brackets are up ...

... which can't go up until I buy them ...

... which I keep forgetting to do!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

53/365: (another photo of) Pieris Flowers

What can I say?  It's the only plant in bloom and it is pretty!!

Friday, 21 February 2014

52/365: At long last!

It looks like they are getting ready to bloom.  About time too!  I'd almost given up on them. This one is so short it looks like it had almost given up as well - the others are a much better height!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Thursday 20th February 2014


Outside my window ... there is a beautiful blue sky filled with white fluffy clouds. It has been raining on and off but in between the showers there is bright sunshine.

I am thinking ... about too many things and not achieving much as a result!

I am thankful ... for continuity and routine.  I've always railed against routine but have come to see the importance of it over the last year - it keeps me going.

In the kitchen ... there is a pile of ingredients on the work surface waiting for me to start cooking.  I am going to do a new recipe for my lunch (courgette and mushroom frittata), start a lentil and vegetable soup in the slow cooker, cook a gammon joint on the hob (part of which I'll slice and freeze and the remainder will be added to a pea and ham soup which I'll cook tomorrow in the slow cooker).  I'm also trying out a new breakfast recipe - Jamaican breakfast risotto (rice, coconut milk, pineapple, banana and sliced almonds) - I'm not sure about this one but I'm trying to add a bit more variety to my diet so it is worth a try.

I am wearing ...  blue!  Skirt, top, jumper, socks (my feet are cold!), slippers - all blue!

I am creating ... lesson plans.  In the last three weeks I have taken on 43 new pupils for individual/group instrumental lessons plus 2 extra classes for wider opportunity music lessons.  The lesson plans are for the class lessons as these new classes are key stage 1 which I don't normally teach so I have to prepare some age appropriate resources.

I am going ... to join in with Karen for a photo challenge which is to shut yourself in a room until you have taken 30 photos. The thinking behind this is that it will make you look and think creatively - it definitely will in my room of choice, lots of white on white photos so a challenge technically as well! We've both opted to do our photos in the bathroom but I've left it too late to start today as I'm expecting friends round later.  Joy, if you read this, do you fancy joining in with us as well? Or anyone else who feels like having a go?

I am wondering ... when the weather will improve enough for the lawn to be removed.  My nephews have offered to do it for me but the ground is way too wet still. 

I am reading ... 'Close My Eyes' by Sophie McKenzie.  I've only read the first chapter so far.

I am hoping ... that things improve fairly quickly.  I am feeling fragile, both physically and emotionally.  I'm still waiting for the results of the pre-Christmas tests from the hospital so in the meantime am coping with the painful episodes without any guidance.  I've phoned for the results but am still waiting to hear back!  It is coming up to a year since Ced died and it has all come back to the very front of my mind.  I feel on the verge of tears all the time and it is an effort to get myself motivated about most things. It may be the first stages of depression, may be normal bereavement emotions or may be my normal low mood for January/February which are always difficult months - probably a combination of all of them.  I've seen my doctor and spoken to friends and family and for the time being we're simply monitoring things.

I am looking forward to ... going to see the stage version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  We're not going until April but Julie is getting overexcited already!!

I am learning ... that I am more capable than I give myself credit for.  My initial reaction when something needs repairing around the house is to panic(!!).  This was always Ced's domain, but I've obviously absorbed some knowledge over the years because for the most part I can sort things myself.  Where I can't my brother-in-law and nephews are always at the end of the phone, ready and willing to help!

Around the house ... I need to do some housework.  Even I can see that the house needs some loving attention!

I am pondering ... some holidays, short breaks and day trips.  I'm quite keen to go on a cruise and have seen a couple which go to Iceland where you also have the opportunity to go whale watching. I can't do anything about booking it yet as I need to sort my teaching timetable for next academic year.  The cruises I'm interested in all leave during term time so it depends on how well I can juggle my commitments and how amenable the schools are!

One of my favourite things ... the quality of the sunlight in between the rain showers

A few plans for the rest of the week:
  • Friday: Photography (30 photos in one room), canal walk if it stays fine
  • Saturday: Girly film night with friends, watching DVDs and eating yummy pizza
  • Sunday: Relaxing at home
  • Monday: Teaching
  • Tuesday: Shopping in the morning and teaching in the afternoon
  • Wednesday: Teaching
  • Thursday: Teaching + visiting friends in the evening
A peek into my day ... Cooking, chatting with friends, reading, watching some TV later tonight.

A favourite quote for today ...
'Don't cry because it's over.  Smile because it happened.' Dr Seuss

51/365: Tracking the Sun

This is one of a series of photos I'm doing to track the movement of the sun and work out which areas of the garden are always in shade.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

50/365: Thorns!

Growing over the fence from next door.  I may ask for this one to be cut back!

Weigh In Wednesday [9]

I should be celebrating because I've lost another 5 lbs in the last week but I'm actually concerned about the rate of loss.  In the last two weeks I think I lost have too much in a short space of time for a long term healthy maintainable lifestyle.  When I look at the total weight loss of 20lbs in the 9 weeks I have been trying to lose weight, it works out as an average of just over 2lbs a week which doesn't sound too bad - I'd be happy with that rate.  However, the reality is that up to two weeks ago the average was a steady 1.5lbs per week and in the last two weeks I have lost 9.5 lbs which is an average of 4.75lbs per week.
The number of calories I'm taking in each day is supposed to give me a loss of 1lb a week so something isn't right.  If it isn't a temporary glitch, then I have either based my daily calories on an inaccurate activity level or I am assessing the number of calories in each meal incorrectly.  I'll watch what happens at my next weigh in but if the extreme rate of loss continues I will have to reassess my approach.
Linking with Weigh In Wednesday.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

49/365: Chives

A tangles of chives.  You can just about make out the parsley leaves in the background.
That's the last of the herbs I bought the other day.  I will be getting sage and rosemary, and hopefully thyme, from my sister's garden and am thinking about getting a dill plant, not because I use it in cooking but because I think it will make a good photographic subject!

Monday, 17 February 2014

48/365: Mint

Mint - I wish I could smell it!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

47/365: Parsley

Moving on to the herbs ... here's the parsley.  I bought it yesterday and will keep it on the kitchen windowsill until the weather improves, when I hope to move it to the aluminium planters which are just outside the dining room doors.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

46/365: Some Sunshine!

In between all the rain showers the sun has peeped through the clouds today.  About time!

Friday, 14 February 2014

45/365: Future Meals!

Not one of my best photos but I have a migraine and need to go to bed so it will have to do for now!  These are some of the edibles for my garden.  I already have raspberry canes and at some future date, as yet unknown, will be getting runner beans, carrots, spring onions and strawberries.  I'm also trying to decide whether to get a couple of supercolumn fruit trees - if I do it will be plums, cherries and apples.  That's three isn't it - oh well!!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

44/365: Future Subjects for Photography!

The criteria for inclusion in my garden is that it has to be edible or photogenic, or both!  Here's a selection which meets the photogenic criterion, waiting to be planted.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

43/365: Ced's Rock

I have always loved the markings on this rock.  It belonged to Ced but will now have pride of place in my garden.

Weigh In Wednesday [8]

image from Google
I've awarded myself a gold star!  My first target was to lose one stone and today, with a huge loss this week of four and a half pounds, I've lost a total of one stone and one pound.  To say that I am over the moon about my progress so far would be an understatement - I'm ecstatic!
So on to achieving my next target which is to lose another stone.
Linking with Weigh In Wednesday

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

42/365: Pieris Flowers (again!)

One Photo and Twenty Words

I dropped it in the bath and pages are stuck together!  Will I ever get to know 'who done it'?
Linking with Abi @ Creating Paper Dreams.

Monday, 10 February 2014

41/365: Signs of Life

A blackbird is regularly visiting to take some wool but I haven't been quick enough to get a photo.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Saturday, 8 February 2014

39/365: Waterlogged

I think the photo says it all ... we've had too much rain!

Friday, 7 February 2014

38/365: Euonymus

Not quite as pretty as yesterday's pieris flowers - there is new growth on the euonymus.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

37/365: Pieris Flowers

Yay!!  The pieris is flowering.  The first lot of colour in the garden!

Welcome to Stephanie

... to Stephanie @ What Adventures Await?

image from

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

36/365: From a Different Angle

It is interesting to see how the view changes completely when standing by the back of the garage.

Weigh In Wednesday [7]

Another pound lost so that is a total of 10.5 lbs in seven weeks, an average of 1.5 lbs a week.  That's at a healthy, sustainable rate so I'm over the moon with how things are going.  It's also purely a result of calorie counting with no exercising at all after the first couple of weeks.
This week I need to reassess my approach to meals and how I allocate the calories during the day.  Now that I am back to (almost) full time working I will have to take packed lunches on three days so I need to start looking for some low calorie options rather than taking sandwiches every day. This week it is really cold so I will be taking a flask of soup for my lunch but I need some other ideas for when the weather starts to warm up. Salads are an option but any other suggestions will be very much appreciated, please.
Linking with Weigh In Wednesday

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

35/365: Skyline

Sorry about the quality of the photo, in my defence I have a splitting headache and it was the best of a bad bunch from today's session!
Anyway, this is a view of the skyline I see from my living room window.  This is the plant which is growing over the fence from my neighbour's garden but I love how I can't see the straight line of the top of the fence and it's how I'd like a lot more of the garden to look eventually, with very little of the fencing on view.  I've still not clarified my thinking on how I am going to achieve this but that's the plan!

Monday, 3 February 2014

34/365: More Pebbles

The lawn is dying off as planned although it looks healthier in this photo than it does in real life.  My nephews are going to remove it for me and prepare the ground ready for planting.  These pebbles will be moved from the edge of the decking (where they are lethal and I twist my ankle every time I step on them) to create a feature somewhere else in the garden, but I don't know where yet!
My nephew's labour for this is another Christmas 2013 gift.  They are also going to create a place for the bins and a proper step so it is safer for me to negotiate the change in levels between the decking, the garden and the path around the garage.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

February's Simple Things

Well January was a bit of a washout and I don't really know why, but I failed miserably!

  • Go the the theatre or cinema Fail - we've booked tickets for March, April & May but didn't actually see any shows or films in January
  • Go on a photowalk I went on a walk but didn't manage to take any photos worth keeping
  • Try out a new recipe or two  Done
  • Read a book by a new (to me) author Fail
  • Go to the next WI meeting Fail - I tried to contact the local rep but she was never in and didn't have an answering machine.  Will try again!

My list for February:
  • Spend time with Tinks and Tweenie during half term
  • Bake some bread
  • Have a film night
  • Learn a new piece of music (instrument to be decided)
  • Visit Little Miss C and Little Miss H

Hopefully, this month will be more successful!

The Sealed Pot [6 & 7]

I didn't update my 'sealed pot challenge' last week so the amounts below are for two weeks. 

The Sealed Pot 
  • Saving small change in a piggy bank: Last week it weighed 1044gms.  Today it weighs 1114gms.
  • Save the Change: £0.88
  • Saving money left over from weekly pocket money: £3.27
  • Saving money left over from weekly food and petrol budgets: Nil
  • Gifts/unexpected savings: Nil

Linking with Saving for Travel

33/365: Dying Leaf

Linking with Silent Sunday

Saturday, 1 February 2014

32/365: Looking Down on Front garden

This is taken from the bedroom window, looking down on the front garden. 
The manhole cover in the top left of the picture is in the neighbour's garden so it looks as if the only one I have to consider is the one by the drainpipe on the left of the photo.
The blue hose running along the bottom of the image is connected to the external water tap, which for some strange reason is on the front of the house and not the back. The previous owners of the house installed the hosepipe which run around the building into the back garden but I plan to have an external tap on the back of the house as well, so that I can remove the permanent unsightly hosepipe. 
There is a lot of wasted space in this part of the garden, with all the planting following (and growing over) the line of the pavement - I think it must be the original planting from when the houses were first built.  I like the plants that are here but they need to be pruned and also moved back away from the pavement.  My sister recognises the plants and knows that they can be quite severely cut back, and will happily produce new growth from the old wood.  They also need to be moved back away from the pavement and then maintained annually to keep a good shape and size.  The good news is that it is now clear that the cotoneaster belongs to me!!!
It sounds like a lot of work but this is the part of the garden that my sister and BIL are going to sort out for me - my Christmas 2013 present from them.