Monday 29 April 2019

Me on Monday

This Monday ...

... I am happy to report that we had a certain young lady joining us for Sunday lunch.  That same certain young lady who scared us all to pieces just one short week ago.

She has her next set of blood tests on Tuesday so we are all crossing fingers that they are ok.

I spent a lot of Sunday checking this route on the computer

Checking the progress of a couple of people I know who were running in the London Marathon.  One of them was the lady who is the head of the Drama faculty at the school where I used to work.  She has never run in a race before, has three young sons aged between 6 and 1, has only just returned from maternity leave to take up her full time teaching role and who did not particularly enjoy sport.  How did she find the time or energy to do all the training?  Her inspiration to run was to raise money for a charity that supported one of her students who died in 2018 aged just 16.   (You can read the full story here.)  It took her a long time but she was absolutely determined to finish and she did so well. However I suspect she may never want to wear a pair of trainers or go for a jog again! When my ex boss ran the marathon last year she lost 7 of her 10 toenails 😱 

So what does this week hold?  Well, that young lady in the top photo is coming round for the afternoon on Tuesday while her mummy has some well deserved pampering time.  Don't tell her brother, he'll be very miffed to find that Rosie's been round nanny's house without him!

Thursday we have voting in our local elections - which is very inconvenient as they use the hall where I do Zumba as a polling station so no exercise mid week for me.  Which is why I fully intent to hit the yoga mat again later today.  Which is why I should stop typing this and jump in the shower, class starts in 45 mins!

Thursday 25 April 2019

Thinking Out Loud Thursday

How can it possibly be Thursday again?  The weekend went by in a blur and suddenly here we are.  So, joining in again with Penny, this is what I'm thinking about today.

I'm thinking how lucky we are in the UK to have such a wonderful National Health Service.  The care that our daughter and family received when Rosie was taken ill on Easter Sunday was amazing.  Scary stuff, but reassuring that things were being thoroughly checked out by not just our local hospital but the amazing Great Ormond Street.

I'm hoping that I may have finally recharged my batteries after having Leo come to stay while his sister was poorly.  He's a bundle of energy

and my house has never been so glittery

I'm wondering if I've got enough energy to go to Zumba this morning, I think it will do me good to have an hour of dancing.  Get those endorphins flowing again!

I'm in awe of all the people about to run the London Marathon on Sunday.  So many charities will benefit from their run - last night I saw on TV an article on the oldest lady who will be running.  83.  EIGHTY THREE!  And there's me, a mere 61 year old wondering if she's got enough energy to do an hour of Zumba.  Oh the shame.

Short and sweet this week - do you have a few minutes to share what you are thinking about today?

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Missing on Monday

I missed my Me on Monday post.  Even if I could have found time to do it, my mind wasn't on blog posting.

We had a pretty traumatic Easter.  We ended up having Leo come to stay with us for 3 days and nights which normally would be lovely but he was here because his baby sister was in hospital.  I've kept brave and strong so far because that's what you have to do when you're in charge of a toddler who started to wonder where Rosie and Mummy and Daddy were but now that the crisis is over I think there is a chance that I may dissolve into tears at the slightest most random thing.

I won't go into details but after a blood test which had very irregular results, there were many consultations with Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and a real chance that she would be sent there for a bone marrow biopsy under general anaesthetic.  

However, later blood tests showed a dramatic improvement and they were allowed home last night with follow up tests next week.  It is possible that it may have been a virus which attacked her immune system but no conclusive answers at the moment.  I don't think any of us have been so scared, whilst putting on brave supportive faces.

I'll be back for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.  Meanwhile, I think a day of doing not very much at all is on the cards.

Thursday 18 April 2019

Thinking Out Loud Thursday

It's Maundy Thursday and we have a long Easter weekend ahead of us so I'm joining in with Penny's fellow bloggers in jotting down what I'm thinking about this Thursday.

I'm shocked and saddened to see the pictures of Notre Dame on the news.  We've been to Paris a couple of times and both times went to Notre Dame.  Such a beautiful, historic, sacred place, I'm sure everyone who has been to Paris has had their photo taken by Notre Dame, I can't imagine Paris without it.

I'm thinking that it's weird that I still think about long weekends and Bank Holidays - now we are both retired, every weekend is a long weekend and there's never any work to go to on any Monday.  Old habits die hard I guess!

I'm planning where I may be able to hide some little eggs to make an Easter egg hunt for Leo when they come round on Easter Sunday.  I need to find safe places where a dog can't reach as Coco does not realise that chocolate and dogs do not mix well.

The Easter Bunny

I'm mentally making lists of things to take with us when we go to my sister's holiday home in Portugal - we've started the 4 week countdown!  

I'm pleased that I've persevered with wearing in my new canvas shoes - they are a lot more comfortable now.  The method that made the most difference?  Wearing them with sports socks!  They stretched the canvas while protecting my feet - must remember that for the future.

I'm relieved that the weather forecast is good for the weekend.  I spent yesterday cleaning the outside furniture and airing the cushions - got the sofa looking nice, turned my back and these two jumped on it before I had the chance to relax and enjoy the fruits of my labours. 

 I should have remembered that old saying 'Never work with animals or children' 😉 

Monday 15 April 2019

Me on Monday

The yoga mat is out again this morning

Three weeks in a row!  

I'm also preparing myself for a couple of hours with Leo at lunchtime while his mum goes out to run some errands, so that'll soon wipe out any sense of peace and tranquility that I gain from the yoga.  He's such a whirlwind of energy, I must find out what he has for breakfast as it certainly keeps him full of beans for the whole of the day.  There must be some secret to all that energy.

We had a fun Sunday yesterday.  We were invited to a surprise 50th birthday party at the local golf club.  I have honestly never seen anyone in such a state of shock as when the birthday girl turned round and saw us all waiting in the restaurant.  I don't think anyone has ever seen her speechless before!  Her family did a fantastic job to keep their plans under wraps.

So what does this week hold?  An afternoon at the local theatre with Leo, his mum and sister watching 'Pongo's Party', a morning catching up with one of my oldest, closest friends, a Zumba class, hopefully the weather forecast will be accurate and we can get a bit of gardening done in the sunshine, and to finish the week we have invited some friends over to share an Indian takeaway.  And that's another week done!

Enjoy your Monday!

Thursday 11 April 2019

Thinking out loud Thursday

This Thursday ...

I'm wondering if I chose the right hair colour at the hairdressers on Tuesday.

You can't really tell by this photo but it is quite a bit different to how it was and the highlights are more of a contrast but I'm sure I'll get used to it soon.

Talking of haircuts ... 

I'm looking forward to getting this young lady to the dog groomers this morning.  Dropping her off on my way to Zumba and hopefully by the time I'm finished, she'll be smart and sweet smelling again.

Talking of looking smart ...

I'm trying to decide what to wear on Sunday.  We've been invited to a surprise 50th birthday party at our local golf club and I'm wondering if the dress I wore for Jon's wedding will still fit me.  After the wedding I hung it up in the wardrobe in Rachel's old room and then forgot all about it until I went in there looking for something else!  It's been 20 months since I wore it, what do you reckon?  

I'm also in danger of being late for my Zumba class if I don't stop typing this!

Linking up with Penny, and looking forward to reading what other people are thinking out loud about today!

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

A couple of people asked for the recipe that I mentioned in my Me on Monday post so without further ado here is my version of the one shown in this month's Waitrose magazine. You can find the original here

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
4 chicken thighs - bone in
2 carrots cut into chunks about 1" wide
1 bunch salad/spring onions chopped
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves
500ml chicken stock
3 teaspoons mustard - I used dijon mustard

50g suet - I used Atora vegetable suet
100g Self raising flour
25g flat leaf parsley, chopped - I probably didn't use this much
190g frozen peas

This recipe is supposed to feed 4, but I suppose it depends on the size of the chicken thighs.   the four that I bought would not have been enough for 4 but fed the two of us just right.

Pre heat oven to 180 C or gas mark 4

Heat oil in flame proof casserole and fry chicken for about 10 mins.  Transfer chicken to a plate and remove skin.

Put carrots, spring onions, crushed garlic and half the thyme into the pan and fry for about 5 mins.  

Pour in stock and 2 teaspoons of the mustard then return chicken to pan.  Season and bring to boil.  Cover and put in oven for 25 mins.

Meanwhile, when stew has been in oven for about 15 mins, start to make the dumplings.  Mix suet, flour, chopped parlay and remaining thyme in a bowl, mix in 1 teaspoon of mustard and enough water (about 50 ml?) to make a soft but not sticky dough.

Divide dumpling mix into 8 and when the stew's 25 mins is up, drop dumplings into stew, cover and bake for a further 20 mins.

Scatter peas between the dumplings then return to the oven, uncovered for 5 mins.


Monday 8 April 2019

Me on Monday

This Monday finds me heading off to yoga again.  I enjoyed last week's class even though it reminded me just how little flexibility I have, but there's only one way to cure that isn't there?  

I'm also determined to finish this little project

Where would I be without Youtube?  I learnt to knit back in the olden days when you learnt by talking to someone else who could knit, so you just learnt their ways of doing things but I've decided to check my methods out with Youtube videos and guess what?  There are several things I've been doing wrong!  Well, not doing wrong exactly, but making life harder for myself than it needs to be and I've also discovered new ways of doing things that give a neater end result.  I've been knitting buttonhole bands wrong my whole life, who knew?
Tune in again next week and hopefully there will be a photo of the finished garment.

I'm also looking to find some new recipes to try from these

I treated myself to a subscription to Delicious magazine this year and try to make a few of the recipes from each month's copy.  I also like the Food magazine that you can get free in Waitrose.  Last week we had a light spring chicken casserole with herb dumplings - wowsers, we will be having that again!  So with Easter lunch in mind I'm hoping to find some new things to try - although 92 year old Mother in law doesn't really embrace straying too far from a traditional Sunday roast so wish me luck.  Maybe I'll have a go at one of the cheesecake specials they mention on the cover!

Right, the weeks starts here, happy Monday everybody!

Friday 5 April 2019

Thinking Out Loud Thursday (on a Friday)

I woke up this morning and found an email from Penny over at Penny's Passion inviting me to join in her Thinking Out Loud Thursdays and it sounded like a fun idea for a regular blog post.  Just a quick look at what I'm thinking about once a week.  

The sun's shining again today so I'm thinking about ...

The garden

The lawn's had it's first cut and it already looks tidier out there.  But the daffodils and tulips are past their best now and I think it's time to don the gardening gloves and spend some time on the flower borders


With sunshine in mind, I'm also thinking about our forthcoming holiday to Portugal.  Can't wait to use this little beauty for our trips to the beach.  Lighting is awful but the gold lettering says Hello Sunshine.

I'm also wondering how to make these comfortable in time for our trip

The were a Mother's Day gift from Rachel, and whilst they are so very pretty, the canvas is really stiff and they need a lot of wearing in.  So if you were to pop round unannounced today you would probably find me wearing them around the house with a pair of sports socks, trying to convince myself that they are softening up.  Any advice on how to speed up the process?

Meal out this evening

I definitely won't be wearing those shoes tonight when we go out with friends to our favourite Thai restaurant - The Giggling Squid. I'm already dreaming about their Thai red curry.  Roll on 8pm!

So that's what I'm thinking about today.  What's on your mind today? 

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Sentence a Day - March

I have a bit of a soft spot for March, after all - it is my birthday month!

Let's see how the days unfolded as I entered the month 'only' 60 and ended it officially in the 'over 60' age bracket.

Day 1 Went to the dealership to sign the final paperwork on my new car

Day 2 Picked up new car - went to a quiz night in the evening with my nephew and his wife and friends where we finished a respectable 5th (had been joint 2nd at one point but the sports round was our undoing)

Day 3 Invited out for Sunday lunch to our son and daughter in laws house - what a treat! (also a good excuse for a run out in the new car)

Day 4 Hired a carpet cleaner and cleaned most of the rooms in our house - feeling very virtuous!

Day 5 My son's 29th birthday - check out the amazing 20 layer cake - Schichttorte - that his wife made for him! 

Also introducing his niece (our granddaughter), her first (of many I am sure) photo on my blog.

Day 6 Went to my daughter's house and helped build an Ikea drawer unit and put together 4 dining room chairs.

Day 7 Diabetic nurse wants a more detailed blood test done - two and a half hours wait at the local hospital 

Day 8 Paul went to Papworth hospital to be told that his sleep apnoea is well under control with the new mouthpiece - relief all round.

Day 9 Drinks in the evening with another couple - my husband met the husband while doing his volunteer work at the local Country Park but I'd never really spoken much to his wife - what a lovely couple, nice to make new friends!

Day 10 Family Sunday, starting to realise how frail my 92 year old mother in law is.

Day 11 Spent an hour at my old place of work talking through the organisation of the annual Awards Evening - lovely to see all my old work colleagues but didn't make me miss the actual work at all!

Day 12 Poured with rain all day, no excuse not to blitz the top of my wardrobe - managed to fill two charity recycling bags with old clothes. 

Day 13 Back to Barre Fitness - did lots of exercises with a small ball between our legs, not sure if I will be able to walk properly tomorrow!

Day 14 My birthday!  Leo went into hospital for his egg allergy challenge and passed - best birthday news ever! 

Day 15 The more accurate blood tests for my possible pre-diabetes came back normal with 'no further action' 😊

Day 16 Went to friends for dinner and 'games night' - was so much fun, haven't laughed that much in ages.

Day 17 Supposed to be going to our daughter's for lunch but she's really poorly so they ended up coming here instead.  

Day 18 Looked after Rosie for a little while while her mummy ran some errands

Day 19 Booked our September holiday - Dubrovnik here we come!

Day 20 Shopping trip to Chelmsford where I bought nothing and my husband got lots - that's not right is it?

Day 21 Zumba!  When I got there I remembered that I'd forgotten to go to Barre Fitness the day before - doh!

Day 22 Knitted a few more rows to the cardigan I'm making for Rosie - in between weekly shop, ironing, cooking ...

Day 23 Invited friends over for drinks in the evening, which naturally meant a mad clean up and lots of housework before they arrived - candles lit, wine opened, and ... relax ...

Day 24 My daughter and family came for lunch; the glasses from last night were washed and lined up on the kitchen window sill - 'how many people came over last night Mum?' "Just Mandy and Richard" - 'so how come you got through 8 glasses?' Prosecco for us ladies, beer for the men to start with, then everyone had glasses of wine - this may be why I feel very tired today.

Day 25 What did we do before youtube?  Couldn't remember how to neatly join knitted shoulder seams, a quick search on t'internet and voila! Perfectly flat shoulders on Rosie's cardigan.

Day 26 Channeled my inner Marie Kondo and helped my daughter totally rearrange her kitchen - very satisfying (although no one knows where anything is any more!)

Day 27 Went to Barre Fitness - not sure if I will continue with this - picked up a leaflet for a yoga class on my way out, maybe it's worth seeing if I prefer that.

Day 28 Bought a pair of summer sandals in the hope that the weather will be good enough to bare my toes when we go to Portugal in May.

Day 29 Went to see The Pantaloons' production of The Odyssey - they are so clever to get so much comedy and current affairs into a Greek epic!

Day 30 Productive day helping at our son's house, husband helping install a loft ladder and me wreaking havoc pruning back shrubs and ivy in the garden.

Day 31 Mothering Sunday - spent the day with my grandchildren/grand-dog
Can't think of a better way in which to end a month!

Have you kept notes of what you've been up to this month?  Why not add your post to the link up.
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Monday 1 April 2019

Me on Monday

"What's that?" I hear you say.
"Exercise leggings out on a Monday?"

Oh yes, this Monday will be finding me trying something new

A class full of sunshine, now there's a lovely thought.  Never tried yoga before so seeing as I am someone who does not have the best sense of balance or flexibility, this could be a challenge too far - wish me luck.

I don't think I'm going to continue with the Barre Fitness classes, so this would be a possible swap. I don't really think they are for me and also the timing isn't great as it's the day before my Zumba class and sometimes I wake on a Thursday to find some of my muscles are complaining about the exercises I did on Wednesday.  We will see.  I'll make a decision later.

It was Mothering Sunday here yesterday and I was lucky enough to spend it with my grandchildren, both human and furry.

The observant amongst you will notice that Coco has discarded her oven gloves for the photo (such a well trained dog, with a talent for cooking Sunday lunch it would seem) Rosie is holding on to her caterpillar toy with grim determination while her brother sneakily tries to snatch her spoon out of her hand.

We saw our son the day before so I had a weekend of family time which was lovely.  

Right!  Time I was lacing up my trainers and heading off for my class - come back next week to find out if I will be returning!