Sunday, 28 February 2021

Weekly Reflections

 Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chats with friends and family
  • a fun photo session with Misses C & H
  • attending the online RootsTech conference
  • appreciating the warmer days
  • getting outside for a couple of walks
  • listening to CDs I haven't played in years ... and still enjoying them
  • enjoying a selection of toasted sandwiches, cooked to perfection using my new microwave grill
  • receiving a couple of thank you cards
  • signing up for some more online talks
  • a long doorstep chat with a neighbour
  • playing a couple of the HP piano pieces (sort of ... needs practice!) 

I am grateful ...
  • for ongoing offers of help
  • for a safe and happy home
  • for online ordering and deliveries
  • prescription medication

Lifestyle Changes
  • Exercise (30 mins minimum every day): achieved 6 days out of 7
  • Weight: 1 lb loss

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Monthly Photo Challenge - Communication

The theme for this month's challenge was 'communication(s). This wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be, so sorry for that. These were all taken yesterday starting with the ones of the girls and the rest I saw on the way home. 

directions on road signs

tactile paving, providing information for the visually impaired

road side markings indicating parking restrictions

mobile phone tower

TV aeriel

Royal Mail post box

telephone lines

the makaton sign for 'horse'



posting letters

landline phone

The challenge is to take photos on the set theme; the photos must be taken during the month (no archive photos), a minimum of five photos but no upper limit, and there will be a new theme every month. 

The theme for March is 'the letter C'. Have fun! 

Friday, 26 February 2021


It's Day 2 of RootsTech so guess what I'm doing today. I stupidly confused myself yesterday by failing to remember that the times on the schedule I was following were EST, not GMT, but I did get to see the two talks I wanted to see. Today I'm focusing on the workshops and information videos dealing with various aspects of genealogy research, in particular understanding the records available in the USA as that's where I need to take some of my research next. 

I'll be going out for a while this afternoon but not until after 3pm. That's when Misses C & H finish their at-home school lessons for the day and I will be able to borrow them to model (in their front garden) for some of the photos I have in mind for my monthly photo challenge. I will pay them in chocolate! That shouldn't take long and once I've finished there I will check out their local shop and pick up some bit and pieces if it's not too busy.

I'm slightly confused about the UK roadmap for moving out of lockdown. I know it's not in force yet and that lockdown continues for another month but has anyone worked out when we will be able to visit places outside of our local area? I'm trying to work out when I will be able to go to the coast.

Thursday, 25 February 2021


Yesterday turned out to be a busy day but I got everything done, so I'm happy with how it all worked out.

Today there are only two things in the diary.  J & R will be here this afternoon to collect their garden stuff that I've been storing while they moved home. 

The biggie is that it's day one (of three in total) of the RootsTech conference. It's online and free to everyone and I'm excited about it. There are a couple of talks I am interested in, both are on this morning, but I should have time to look through the daily timetables to see what else I fancy before they start. 

And that's about it. I hope you all have a good day whatever you are doing.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021


I didn't get round to any blog reading or commenting yesterday so I will be playing catch up later today. Things went wrong very early on and, even though I didn't feel ill to start with, I had to abandon my brekkie and go back to bed. I slept through until midday and thought I'd try a second attempt to eat something, which turned out to be more successful. It wasn't a migraine but I did have a headache and a general feeling of being unwell. I wonder if it was related in some way to the high winds that were battering the house all day.

I settled myself in the living room as I had booked to listen to an online talk about transportation, or so I thought, but I checked my ticket when the talk didn't start and realised that I had the date wrong - it's scheduled for March 23rd, not February, so I still have that to look forward to. I didn't have the energy to do much so I whiled away the afternoon watching afternoon TV (Tenable and Tipping Point), and reading.

Today I feel perfectly fine. I've arranged a couple of WhatsApp calls with L and with J so I will fit my other plans around those calls. I'd like to attempt some photos for the WPSH and my monthly challenge so will do that this morning as part of my walk, and then will take the car out later to pick up some more veggies (as long as the shop is relatively quiet). As long as I get those two things done I'll be happy.

If I do manage to get the veggies I want I'll be doing some more bulk cooking for the freezer this afternoon, ready for next month's meal plan - Sri Lankan Red Lentil Dhal, Shepherdess Pie, and Mushroom & Lentil (sausage) Rolls. Then this evening I'll do a load of washing and leave it dry on the rack overnight while I watch the previous series of McDonald and Dodds on ITV Hub, ready for the start of the new series on Sunday.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Tuesday 4 - Moving

1. How far away are you from where you grew up? Not far away at all. According to Google maps I now live 1.4 miles away from my childhood home.

2. Families sometimes move all over the country. Do you feel that a family should try to stay close together? I'm on the fence with this one. At various stages in my life I have, as have my siblings, lived away from the rest of the family even though our parents remained at 'home'. We weren't all away at the same time but have been spread out with one in Liverpool, one in Germany, one in Portsmouth and one in Plymouth. We have now all returned to live close to each other in the town of our childhood. The closeness of the family has always remained strong regardless of the physical distance between us.

3. How many times have you moved in your life and would you like to share when and where you moved? I have lived in 12 different houses. There were four house moves locally in Trowbridge and one to Torquay during our childhood. Then a move to Plymouth where I lived in the same house for the three years it took to complete my teacher's training, then back to my home town and four more moves over the years as I moved my way up the property ladder. In the end I sold my own home and moved in with Ced, so that was home number 10, still in Trowbridge. The final two moves were as a result of his passing - once to live with my sister and then finally to this home in Staverton, a small village on the outskirts of Trowbridge (although it's becoming impossible to see where Trowbridge ends and Staverton starts!). I have no plans to move again!

4. What brought you to where you are living now and are you happy there? I am happy here now but it's taken time to get to this stage, though that's to do with bereavement and grieving rather than anything to do with the home. I moved because my partner died and I couldn't face staying in a home that was much too big for one person so I sold our shared home and moved in with my sister while I looked for something suitable. This felt like a happy place as soon as I walked in the door and it has felt like my home right from the start. 

Many thanks to Annie for organising the Tuesday 4 questions.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Me on Monday

Me on Monday is feeling contented and ...

... looking forward to quite a few things this week:

  • choir practice tonight, guaranteed to be good fun!
  • an online talk about transportation - "Sentenced to Beyond the Seas" tomorrow afternoon
  • WhatsApp calls with L and with J, and a Zoom meet with P, L and E, all happening throughout the day on Wednesday
  • RootsTech online conference throughout the days on Thursday, Friday and Saturday 

... eager to open the parcels I've received but have put into quarantine. One is a Harry Potter piano music book which I can open tomorrow and the other is one of my treat myself purchases which arrived yesterday (even though I didn't pay for next day delivery), so that's got a few days to go yet!

... resigned to doing some housework today!

... tweaking my March meal plan to make the transition to my new way of eating much simpler. It's currently very reliant on a good supply of fresh vegetables but I still haven't got my head around how I am going to achieve that without stressing so the March plan will end up being a workable compromise. Once that's done I will ...

... finalise my next food order. It's not due until March 1st so I still have plenty of time but would like to get it done sooner rather than later.

... monitoring my meals and reasons for eating, etc. today. This is one of the tasks set at the last diabetes prevention session so it'll be good to have that done and out of the way, ready for the third session next Monday.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Weekly Reflections

Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chats with friends and family
  • gaining some useful information on the diabetes prevention course
  • receiving my first Covid vaccination plus the knowledge that my siblings, one niece with health issues and close friends have also received their first jabs
  • receiving a video of Baby P who is now walking unaided ... there'll be no stopping her now!
  • discovering a new online nutrition group
  • shopping in person, and 
  • picking up a couple of yellow sticker bargains
  • indulging in some online retail therapy
  • looking forward to the annual RootsTech conference next week (family history)
  • our next new song at choir is an arrangement of The Beatles' 'Yesterday' - I love the harmonies in this one!

I am grateful ...
  • to be blessed by all I have in my life ...

Lifestyle Changes
  • Exercise (30 mins minimum every day): achieved, but half-heartedly!
  • Weight: 1 lb loss

Saturday, 20 February 2021


Yesterday turned out to be a jimjam day. I managed a bit of bumbling around feeling busy but achieving very little really, although I did tidy up the kitchen freezer to make room for next week's food from the garage freezer. Whatever was nagging away at the back of my mind is still a mystery - nothing obvious happened yesterday to trigger a light bulb moment so I am putting it out of my mind.

I haven't experienced any major side effects from the Covid vaccination. There was very minor swelling and tenderness around the injection site last night but that had disappeared by this morning so all is good on that front.

I have no plans for today. The forecast promises rain for the next four days so I will be looking for indoor activities and have been racking my brain to come up with something different to do, but with no success. I've decided that it's time for a bit of retail therapy, but shopping online this time. I've been keeping a list of things I need (and a couple of things I don't need but do want!) and have been reviewing the list from time to time, removing some items and adding others, so I think I have now removed all the items that would come under the heading of impulse buys. So, today will be focused on choosing all the goodies on my list ... time to treat myself!

Friday, 19 February 2021


My first Covid vaccination is now ticked off the list. The feeling of relief on reaching this milestone is more intense than I was expecting, but in a good way. My jab was done at the Medical Centre which is the GP run vaccination hub for the town and a very jolly doctor ran me through her checklist and administered the injection. I then had to stay in the waiting room for 15 minutes before I was allowed to leave. The waiting room was monitored by one of the nurse practitioners who, as people left, was constantly disinfecting the socially distanced chairs. When my 15 minutes was up he checked how I was feeling before I left. I don't think they could have done more to put people's minds at ease. I did feel sorry for the volunteers in the car park who were supervising the parking and giving directions to the entrance (which is a huge marquee at the back of the building so that people can queue in the dry). It was pouring down when I arrived on site at 8:30am and they were both completely drenched but to their credit, still cheerful and smiling. 

As I was that side of town I checked out the Tesco Express where, to my delight, I was the only customer. I bought fruit and veg for the next week or so, and was also lucky enough to pick up some yellow sticker bargains - mushroom stir fry for 75p and cooked chicken breasts for £1, both items well under half price. It's the first time I've shopped in person for months, but it felt so good to enjoy those few minutes of near normality.

Back home I used some of the veg to make soups - lentil & veg, and red pepper & tomato - as freezer stocks were getting a bit low. I also prepped the ingredients for a couple of casseroles which will be cooked today.

As for the rest of today, I have this nagging feeling that I have arranged to do something but I can't think what it is and there is nothing in my diary. Once the casseroles are in it's just going to be a reading sort of day, which may change if I remember whatever it is I think I may have arranged to do. I'm tired, not to do with the injection, but because of the lack of sleep on Wednesday night when the noise of the wind kept me awake. We're forecast more rain so it's the perfect day for curling up on the sofa with my book and blanket.

Thursday, 18 February 2021


Yesterday ended up being all over the place but despite that there were are a couple of highlights. Best of all is the news that the blood test was negative for Lyme disease, which was the result I was expecting but it's still a relief to have it confirmed. 

I waited so long for the telephone call from the surgery that I didn't get to the farm shop, which may be for the best. I spoke to H later in the afternoon and he said he turned round and came straight home because when he drove into the carpark there was a long line of people queueing outside the barn. I try one of the supermarkets in town after I've had my vaccination this morning.

While I was waiting for the phone call I tuned in to a Care Vision online Q&A session with a qualified nutritionist, more for something to do rather than looking for specific information. It turned out to be a good move. This was an introductory session to a new series running twice a week about nutrition for health. The Wednesday session will be run as a club type interactive group providing tips, recipes, ideas for tiny changes in nutrition that'll make a difference. Each Friday session will be an in depth look at nutritional advice for a specific health condition. The series starts on March 8th and I plan to join in with the Wednesday sessions plus any of the Friday sessions which relate to my own health issues. I think this is one of those happy surprises, finding exactly what I need at exactly the right time.

So today ... the biggie is getting my first Covid vaccination. As long as I get that done I'll be happy!

Wednesday, 17 February 2021


Let's get the good news out of the way first. Yesterday I was contacted by my GP surgery to arrange the dates and times for my Covid vaccinations; I'll have the first dose tomorrow and the second one on May 6th. I'm so relieved to be given the dates as it feels like a huge step forward even though the reality is that it won't change how I'm living at all - we are still in lockdown and even when those rules are eventually relaxed I have no plans to make any immediate changes to my current situation.

In the afternoon I watched an online session, delivered by a professional genealogist, about how he had researched the truth in family stories about being related to famous people. I wasn't particularly interested in any of the stories but was hoping to pick up some tips on how I can improve my next family history presentation to my own family. I have noted a couple of ideas on how I can make it more interesting for the ones who are hearing the story for the first time - one idea is to include extracts from the certificates and registers relating to some of the key individuals, and the other thing I liked is the way he introduced each new generation, a bit difficult to explain but it's something I can adopt in my own presentation. 

On to today, and it's going to be a busy-ish day. This morning I want to continue with photographing the stuff to go to auction, and also get started on some of the photos for my monthly challenge.  I also need to start my car to make sure it's okay for an early start tomorrow morning. I'll combine that with a drive to the farm shop in Bradford on Avon to stock up on veg and fruit. It'll give the car a much needed run out, and give me some lovely fresh produce to liven up my meals.

This afternoon I'm expecting a telephone consultation with my doctor about the results of my last blood test for Lymes disease and then I hope to speak to J,  L, and my sister - all of them will have had their jabs by this afternoon and I want to see how they got on and how they are feeling.

And fitting in around all of that will be some exercise, reading, Italian practice, and hopefully some family tree research!

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Diabetes Prevention 2

Yesterday's diabetes prevention course was much better than the first one. It took a while to get started with participants slowing things down by failing to listen to instructions but N (the instructor) patiently sorted everyone out and the session got underway. This session was headed 'Eating Well - What Is A Balanced Lifestyle?' and, although I didn't learn any new information, the various exercises made me relate that information to my own lifestyle in a way I haven't considered before, so it was very useful from that point of view. 

One interesting point was that we as a nation are not good at assessing calories. In the first exercise we had to match calorie amounts to photos of food, and then in the second exercise had to assess how long you'd have to exercise to use up the calories those meals contained. I was better at exercise 1 though didn't get them all correct, and was completely useless at exercise 2. The point she was making was that we all underestimate the calories in, i.e. what we eat, and overestimate the calories out, i.e. how much we exercise, so it's something we need to monitor carefully.

Before the next course in two weeks time we are supposed to record all the meals eaten during a 24 hour period and also set another SMART target for an aspect of our current lifestyles we want to improve. 

I already record my daily meals in my food diary but the additional information we have been asked to note will be the most useful to me. Every time we eat or drink in that 24 hour period we are to note:
  • the reason for eating (e.g. hunger, boredom, habit)
  • the amount being eaten (e.g. is it a sensible portion size, too much)
  • what is being eaten (e.g. balanced diet, comfort food, fast food)
  • the type of meal (e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack)
  • when you are eating (e.g. regular meal times, too late at night)
  • where you are eating (e.g. at the table, lap meals in front of TV)
and at the end of that 24 hour period we have to note:
  • how many times did you eat for reasons other than feeling hungry?
  • is your calories in balanced or exceeded by calories out?
  • do all food groups feature in the day's meals?
  • calorie content of each meal.
It'll be interesting to identify my own reasons for eating and identify how often I eat when I'm not hungry as I think I eat at specific times out of habit rather than as a response to hunger. Answering the bullet points listed above and relating those answers to my current lifestyle should raise habits that I will need to address ... the benefits could be considerable.

We also have to set another SMART target. My first target (set after session 1) is to work on a consistent weight loss of 1lb a week and so far that's averaging out to be on target. I think this new target needs to relate to exercise in some way but haven't yet decided what. I'm thinking along the lines of either restarting the couch to fitness course (9 weeks long, I think), or aim for a minimum of 6,000 steps every day increasing to 10,000 steps every day within 8 weeks. I was doing 7,000 steps every day before I had the last migraine so the 10,000 steps is definitely achievable.

The next course is in two weeks time so that gives me plenty of time to sort out what I want to do and to start making some of the changes. I'm feeling positive about this!

Monday, 15 February 2021

Me on Monday

Me on Monday is ...

... juggling plans for today because I've stupidly double booked myself! The diabetes prevention course takes priority so I have to reschedule my appointment with a genealogist but as this is a freebie session it may be that I just have to miss out on the opportunity.

... hoping that this second session of the diabetes prevention course is better organised than the first one was. I've received the link and correct password to the booklet we should have had in the first session so I feel better prepared. I do hope there is more practical information this time.

... continuing with my family tree research. I'm on a roll and, now I have finally found the ancestor I'd been hunting for months, lots of her relatives are coming out of the woodwork.
... choosing my next book to read. After a good start to the year and getting ahead of my target of reading a book a week, I've lost momentum again and am now playing catch up. It seems that no matter how much I like the story I still struggle to want to finish the book - it's the complete opposite of how I used to be.  Grateful as I am for all the books my sister passed on to me, maybe it's time for me to make some of my own choices so I'll have a look online this afternoon.

... looking forward to choir tonight. According to the weekly email, we will be working on You Raise Me Up, Danny Boy, Rhythm of Life, and The Moon. 

... wondering whether it's time to swap Netflix for Disney+. I only want one of them and I've noticed that I'm not watching Netflix that often now so I'm paying for something I'm not using. 

Hope you all have a good day. It's definitely warmed up a little so I'm hopeful for some outdoor time this week.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Weekly Reflections

 Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • finally finding an elusive ancestor in my family tree 
  • chats with friends and family
  • taking part in a Harry Potter quiz
  • hearing that family members have either had their first dose of the vaccine or will have it this week
  • managing to book a supermarket delivery
  • reading the memoirs of people who grew up in my home town and remembering long forgotten people, places, and events
  • rewatching the Harry Potter films

I am grateful ...
  • that the recent migraine wasn't as long lasting or painful as some have been
  • for prescription medications

Lifestyle Changes
  • Exercise (30 mins minimum every day): let's forget about this week. I started well but haven't exercised since the migraine reared its ugly head.
  • Weight: no change

Saturday, 13 February 2021


I spent a good part of yesterday asleep on the sofa and then went to bed early and slept all night. I'm happy to say I feel much better today! 

I missed a call from my doctor's surgery but they messaged to say they will contact me next week to make an appointment for my Covid jab. My sister and BiL are booked to have theirs on Wednesday, so it's good news all round. 

I don't have anything in the diary for this weekend so I will finish watching the rest of the Harry Potter films today and Dancing on Ice and the Great Pottery Throwdown tomorrow. I could do with some fresh air but won't be going out unless it's warmed up out there!

Friday, 12 February 2021

The Simple Woman's Daybook - 12th February 2021


Outside my window ... it's cold and drab but we are promised some sun later on.

I am thinking ... about the garden and how I'd like it to evolve. This year's growing season will still be about getting some of the structural plants in position so I've been browsing through all of the plant catalogues and will soon be ready to discuss my choices with M (my gardener).

I am thankful ... that the recent migraine wasn't as severe as it could have been. I still feel fragile but should be up to eating a proper meal today which will help me feel more human again! I was overdue for a full blown migraine so I'm confident it wasn't triggered by the dietary changes I've been making.

In the kitchen ... I have planned all of March's meals and have booked a supermarket delivery for March 1st. That's later than I really wanted but is the earliest I could get so it means I won't be able to do much bulk cooking ahead of implementing the plan in March. It's not a major problem and just means that the first week of March will see a lot of cooking to restock the freezer meals.

I am wearing ... a blue fluffy dressing gown - I haven't dragged myself out of bed yet!

I am creating ... a revised plan for part of the back garden which I'll post about once I have a clear idea of what I want.

I am going ... to finish watching the rest of the Harry Potter films over the weekend. I'm debating what to watch once I've finished them and at the moment, watching all the Marvel films in order is winning.

I am wondering ... when I will be invited to have the Covid vaccine. My SiL, who's a year older than me and registered with the same surgery, will have her's today so it shouldn't be too long now.

I am reading ... a collection of memoirs, all written by people who grew up in my home town. I recognise some of the names and it's triggering long forgotten memories ... a thoroughly pleasant read.

I am watching ... quite a lot of TV lately: The Great Pottery Throw Down, Would I Lie To You, The Masked Singer, Dancing on Ice, The Repair Shop, Long Lost Family UK, Only Connect, House of Games, and Question of Sport. It all helps pass the time!

I am hoping ... to arrange another family history presentation to my family. The previous one was a success and I'm getting a few hints that they'd like to hear some more. Last time I talked about my maternal grandmother's line and this one with be my maternal grandfather's line. I still have quite a lot of work to do on it but I appreciate the interest of the others so will aim for a mid March date.

I am looking forward to ... my weekly chat with J. It was originally arranged for Wednesday but postponed to this afternoon because I wasn't feeling well.

I am learning ... Italian - not exactly news as I started this back in April 2020 but I plateaued for a while, needing to work on really understanding what I'd learnt so far and now I am moving forward again. I postponed looking for opportunities for conversation with an Italian speaker until later in the year but may revisit that decision now I have a better grasp of the basics.

Around the house ...  it's clean and tidy. Somehow the housework gets done even though it's not my favourite way to spend my time and I can always find something better to do! I'll be starting on a cycle of deep cleaning next week, starting with the spare bedroom which is in danger of turning into a dumping ground even though there is plenty of cupboard space to put everything away properly.  

I am pondering ... on ideas for trips once it is safe to do so. I want to see the sea again - that's number one on the list!

One of my favourite things ... laughter

A few plans for the rest of the week ... 
  • Saturday - watching one or two of the Harry Potter films
  • Sunday - watching the rest of the Harry Potter films
  • Monday - the 2nd session of the Diabetes Prevention course, and choir in the evening 
  • Tuesday - an online talk - 'My Noble Relatives & Other Tall Stories', 
  • Wednesday - a phone call with J,
  • Thursday - the lunch time lecture by The Churches Conservation Trust
  • Friday - a musical offering on BBC iPlayer - Musicals: The Greatest Show
A peek into my day ... I'm still feeling rather fragile after the migraine so I don't plan to do much at all today. I'll try to phone L because I missed her call yesterday and will phone J this afternoon but that's about it. 

A quote for today ... "A goal without a plan is just a wish.", Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry

Wednesday, 10 February 2021


Yesterday turned out to be okay in the end. Despite my best intentions I just couldn't summon up any enthusiasm to get going in the morning so not a lot happened on the photography/decluttering side of things or on signing my will, but I did finally manage to book a delivery slot - the first available one isn't until March 1st, but I should be able to manage until then. I really enjoyed the quiz in the evening; I'd planned to do the pub quiz but I couldn't get the sound to work so I did the Harry Potter quiz instead, scoring 46 out of 50.

Today, the only thing on my to-do list is to sort out the will and then I want to enjoy a quiet day. I didn't sleep well, again, and have a migraine threatening so will be taking it easy until the medication kicks in.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021


I was able to complete my meal planning yesterday and have also worked out a couple of shopping lists so will now have to find delivery slots ... wish me luck on that! I also moved the dining room table and chairs so I can make a start on photographing the items for auction - I've blocked the French doors which means that I will have to use the ones in the living room to access the back garden, so that will spur me on to get the photos taken as soon as possible. I washed the floor while I was at it so just have to fit a backdrop and then I'm ready to go. All being well, I'll start that today.

However, before I start that I need to deal with my will. I received the updated document yesterday so have to check it thoroughly and then, assuming it doesn't require any corrections, find two people to witness my signature. I'll be relieved to get that done.

It's supposed to be dry and sunny today so I'm hoping to take my exercise outside for a change of scene, maybe after lunch. I have some more greeting cards to post so will head out towards the main road and do a loop around that part of the village which should take me about 30 minutes at my current walking pace. I doubt I'll want to stay out any longer than that as, although it's dry and sunny, it is also bitterly cold!

Tonight I have the choice of two online quizzes, one is a general pub quiz and the other is a Harry Potter quiz. I haven't decided which one I'll do yet but I will do one of them. 

Monday, 8 February 2021

Let's Talk About Food

I'm hoping to get the meal planning finished today, which will give me time to organise the next supermarket delivery and maybe fit in a trip out to the farm shop at Bradford on Avon to pick up some fresh veg. It really is strange times when a potential shopping trip for food can raise my spirits!

I've completely reviewed the meals I eat regularly and also checked the contents of freezer, fridge and cupboards to assess how radical the changes need to be. I'm focusing more on the weight loss side of things but trying to incorporate changes that I think will help with the diabetes prevention based on the advice given so far, which is that it's not necessary to give up any foods but to make sensible choices on the inclusion of carbs, thinking about how often certain foods are eaten, how much is eaten in a meal, and how certain foods are cooked.  

I think I'm in a good starting position and the changes shouldn't be too extreme! I think I already have a reasonably healthy diet: I gave up added sugar a couple of years ago, don't regularly eat cakes, pastries or sweets, and I never keep temptation in the form of biscuits, chocolate and crisps etc. in the house. I already do most of my cooking from scratch, bulk cooking where I can so I don't rely on ready meals and although I used to opt for takeaway meals more frequently than was good for me, that's been kept to the occasional treat since we've been in lockdown and is something I'm happy to stop completely if it proves necessary.

So, what changes am I going to make? Well I'm going back to calorie counting which has proved successful for me in the past and for starters will weigh everything as it's really easy for amounts to slowly get bigger and bigger. It'll be a diet based on whole foods with more meat free meals and increasing the amount of fish in my diet. I want to focus on ensuring I am eating the recommended 5-a-day, which is one aspect I struggle to achieve and is why the planning is taking so long! I'll work towards eliminating processed foods, not that I eat a lot of them anyway, although there will always be room for bacon, gammon and ham in my meal plan! It's also important that the changes I'm making don't trigger more migraines or diverticulitis flare ups, and I'll have to rethink if that happens.

I do need to add more variety, hence the recent recipe search. I've found a good selection from my books (Doctor's Kitchen 3-2-1, & Pinch of Nom) and from the internet (Slimming Eats, & Two Chubby Cubs) and will be making full use of my new book, the Carb & Calorie Counter to help with the monitoring. The format of this book also makes it simple to see how to easily make tweaks/substitutions, something which I'm sure I will do as the year progresses (and many thanks to Eileen for the recommendation). I haven't finished calculating the calories where it's not listed on the recipe, so that will be ongoing. If you do have any tried and tested recipes I'd love to hear from you please, especially for easy lunch ideas.

I've decided that I will delay moving to the new regime while I eat the remaining freezer meals and foods that either don't fit it with what I want to do or where I'm not sure of the calories (because I haven't been weighing ingredients!). This will probably take about two weeks and I think it is likely to put a stop to any weight loss for those weeks but it's better to do it now and get it out of the way.

Not food related, but the other essential part of the weight loss is establishing a decent exercise routine. I'm currently aiming for a minimum of 30 minutes every day and so far have achieved this, doing a combination of YouTube videos, walking, and torture time on the exercise bike (it's a tiny saddle!).

So, the big question is ... have I considered everything? If you have any weight loss/exercise tips I'd really appreciate any help you can give me.

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Weekly Reflections

Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • hearing from the Mum of two of the children I used to teach, with videos to update me on their progress. 
  • moving my genealogy research forward following a one-to-one session with a professional researcher
  • taking part in a Harry Potter quiz
  • learning 'The Winner Takes It All' at choir

  • finding snowdrops in the garden 
  • chatting with family and friends
  • starting a re-watch of the Harry Potter films
  • booking tickets for several online talks and one online virtual walk in London - lots to look forward to!
  • a refreshing walk on a chilly morning

I am grateful ...
  • for central heating 
  • that someone invented bubble bath!
  • for all the people who generously share their recipes online
  • the support of family and friends 

Lifestyle Changes
  • Exercise (30 mins minimum every day): achieved 30 minutes every day
  • Weight: 1 lb loss

Saturday, 6 February 2021


It's still dark as I write this and I think it may be foggy but I want to get out for some fresh air today. I need to post a couple of cards, which means heading towards the marina so a stroll along the towpath will fit the bill providing the fog clears. If it doesn't, then a meander along the paths that criss-cross this part of the village will be a good alternative. 

I've discovered that the auction house and the reclamation yard that I'm hoping to use to dispose of the majority of the decluttered items have both now reopened so I can make a start on getting all of that sorted out. I don't intend to visit either of the sites in person (it's silly to take risks this close to having the vaccination) but I can start the process as both businesses now invite applications via email with accompanying photographs so that's my next mini project, starting with the items to send to auction ... another step closer to completion.

Today I'll carry on with printing out the last few recipes I've chosen. I'm dealing with losing the excess weight by calorie counting and am monitoring the daily calories using the MyFitnessPal app. This app allows you to import recipes and it will calculate the  calories per portion for you so I am also uploading all of my favourites. It's a bit tedious and time consuming but doing it now will actually save a lot of time in the long term and will help keep me on track. All the recipes I'm choosing at the moment are for weight loss so I may still have to make additional changes once I know what I'm supposed to be doing on the diabetes prevention side of things. 

As for the rest of the day, a couple more Harry Potter films, some reading, and an early night. 

Friday, 5 February 2021

5 in 5 | February Garden

At the last minute yesterday I decided to do a 5 in 5 post so although it was late in the day and the decent light had been and gone I took these photos using flash. It starting raining as soon as I stepped outside so I took these in less than the permitted five minutes and only took five photos!

These photos show what's currently happening in the garden in February ... not a lot yet, and I got slightly sidetracked by the raindrops! I need to do a proper update post as my plans for the garden have changed.

5 in 5 is the brainchild of Sandie @ Itchifingers. The monthly challenge is to:

1. Choose a location
2. Have your camera ready
3. Set a mobile timer for 5 minutes
4. Take as many photos as you can until the time is up
5. Choose 5 of those photos to share via the link on Sandie's blog on the 5th of the month 

Thursday, 4 February 2021


It's going to be a quiet day today. I didn't sleep well last night and feel completely drained as a result. Considering we're in lockdown there was an awful lot of noise and car doors slamming during the early hours and once I was awake, that was the end of my sleep for the night.

Breakfast first, and then I need to catch up with blog reading and comments. I'm way behind so I wouldn't be surprised if that takes up most of the morning! It's a pleasant way to spend my time, so I'm not complaining! Once I've caught up, I'll do my Italian practice and then my daily exercise. I haven't decided what to do today but given that I'm so tired it'll be one of the less energetic options, so probably walking. 

I have another phone chat with J arranged for this afternoon. Our conversation this week is happening in installments as J has needed to end each call to deal with a work related call. We're usually luckier than this and manage to fit in a long chat but she's very much in demand at the moment so we'll just keep trying- this will be our third attempt this week, so I'm hoping it's third time lucky! 

I tried the Harry Potter quiz last night, the one that was abandoned due to technical issues last week. I really enjoyed it - it's Harry Potter, so what's not to enjoy? - but it was much harder this time. I only scored 56 out of a possible 80, partly because one round (10 points) was all about the Fantastic Beasts films but also because I couldn't name the wood each character's wand was made from. The quiz was supposed to be based on the films so I'd query whether this is actually information from the books and not the films (as I'm sure the films only mention Harry's wand  out of the characters mentioned in the quiz) but anyway I've decided I need to do some serious swatting ready for the next quiz, so I'll watch all eight films again, starting this afternoon. Let's hope I can stay awake!

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

WPSH - 2nd Link Up

It's the end of the second month of the WPSH and time to see what we've all been up to. 

Here's a reminder of the complete list and this is a link to the original post. It's not too late to join in as the hunt doesn't finish until March 31st 2021.

  1. A set of three
  2. Round and round
  3. Peek inside
  4. Glass
  5. A treasured item
  6. Horizontal
  7. An opening
  8. A sign of the times
  9. Weather conditions
  10. Work in progress
  11. Measures
  12. In the distance
  13. Something beginning with C
  14. One of many
  15. Something with legs
  16. A face
  17. Comfort food
  18. Something you do every day
  19. Something yellow
  20. Marking time

Alt A. In pieces

Alt B. Textured

Alt C. Black and white

Please link to your actual WPSH post, not just to your blog. The next link up will be at the end of February.

Monthly Photo Challenge : The Letter B

 The theme for January was 'the letter B'. These are my choices ...

BOATS in the foreground and BALCONIES in the background


BRASS fittings on the boat and more BALCONIES in the background

BRIDGE, BENCH and yet more BOATS


BRICKS - the edge of the canal looking in need of repair

BERRIES or BUDs (not sure which!)

Money box in the shape of a loaf of BREAD

BOW on a kitchen ornament

BEAR and BUNNY (I know it's a hare, but for the purpose of this challenge it is a bunny!)

BUBBLES on hot chocolate

The challenge is to take photos on the set theme; the photos must be taken during the month (no archive photos), a minimum of five photos but no upper limit, and there will be a new theme every month. 

The theme for February is 'communication(s)'. Have fun!