Sunday, 31 July 2016

Weight challenge!

Well after committing myself to getting back into losing weight two weeks ago, I have lost, not as much as I wanted as when we were away I did eat cheese and some chips and chunks of delish crusty white bread!
Friday 29th was our 10th wedding anniversary and we went out to eat, so that added a pound or two, but I said I wasn't going to worry about meals out. So I have lost 2 pounds. How are you doing on your weight loss journey?
Here I am on our happy day. I must find a pic of us both
XX

Sunday, 24 July 2016

What to do about Holidays?

As we have just come back from a super week away in Southwold again. We loved it so much, we have looked at what we want for holidays in the future. Obviously with my arm still in a sling and still being under the hospital, I can't get insurance for a holiday abroad. As soon as I get the green light about my arm we will book to go to Italy by train,  First Class. Something we have done in the past and thoroughly enjoyed.

So this evening we have discussed what we want. Some people we know  have bought a caravan in Suffolk, which is something I thought we might do, which would mean we would always holiday in the same place, which we don't really mind. But there aren't any sites near the coast and also, we would only be able to afford a 2/4 berth, so not that big and there would be the added cost of site fees. For the same costs we can have a week in each month, from May to September, so 5 months, which we are doing this year.

This would enable us to have holidays away but still be able to look after our garden at home. This would suit us perfectly. I have worked out the weeks would average £600 plus expenses eg food. But something we must do is be more organised. This last week we had the car loaded to the roof, obviously we have to take the dog's cage, but do we need her 2 extra blankets and pillow, and as this is a 'Staycation' what we don't  take we can buy, so we need to have a short list of essentials and trim down what we take, this will make it a  lot easier for us.
The beauty of this having a week away in each month is... you don't get post holiday blues, because as soon as you get home and get you're washing sorted, you're planning for your next week away. Where do you go for holidays?

XX

Friday, 22 July 2016

600 and more.... Could that be correct?

We have driven home from our week away at Southwold.. we have had a wonderful week, sunny with high temps, a very comfortable flat in our favourite Suffolk little town.
 But driving home, as a passenger I can look out at the roadside flowers. (weeds to some) But who could think these oxeye daisies are weeds?

 Vetch grows well in Essex and as they grow close to the ground, they suddenly appear in the grass like drifts of purple- blue..
 And  the spots of yellow of groundsel appear as though someone has splashed some paint in the midst of the tall grass.
And it seems there are over 600 species of wild flowers on our roadsides and are the saviour of our wild flowers since hedge rows were cut down. 
Did you know that there were so many species?  I didn't.
XX


Thursday, 21 July 2016

We always can talk about the weather.

I love the sounds of the sea.. yesterday the waves were crashing down onto the beach, spray flying up into the air. We sat having coffee on the pier and watched the white horses on the waves... some splashed up and over us, Nell was quite concerned when a couple of drops landed on her! We laughed at her reaction, anyone would think looking at her she had been shot with way she jumped.

Today it is cooler; we didn't have any storms last night just a very short shower. It was cooler to sleep. What is it with us British, we complain about the rain and then when we have hot sunny weather we don't cope?  Trains were cancelled yesterday on our line to London because the lines and overhead cables were affected by the heat. I like the sun although I don't lie in it and use a sun screen to protect my face, I don't need any wrinkles caused by the sun,  I have enough already. Today Drs are saying we are suffering from a lack of Vit D, the so called sunshine vitamin, as I have just had to have a 4 week high dose of Vit. D, I completely agree. A simple blood test requested by my own GP. showed I had very, very low levels of it and as it is needed to absorb calcium for bone growth I did exactly as I was told and took it religiously every day.
I need everything that promotes bone growth for this b-----  arm!!
Do you like it hot or cold weather?

xx


Monday, 18 July 2016

A perfect day, I did it!!

Today I have walked 1.1 miles, not that far for some people but the furthest I have walked since I tripped over 'nothing' and broke my right humerus.. Ever since then I have been afraid of falling. I kept having nightmares of falling and I convinced myself I would trip again. So I bought a walking stick, a pretty one from a proper shop that sold all sorts of walking aids, so it was sized for me.

It's like a third leg and I have started to walk more confidently remembering to stride and not 'tippy toe' which a physio once told me I did!
So today in the cooler evening air (it was 29C midday!) I have walked along the prom and enjoyed the scents and view of the calm sea, just a gentle ripple up onto the beach. The horizon a straight line 14 miles away... did you  know that , that where ever you look in a straight line, the horizon is only 14 miles away? I only know because Dh was in the navy.
It was beautiful to walk along, just a very gentle breeze; several people smiled back at me, I believe in giving away smiles and sometimes I am given one back. This evening a young man said ;'Good evening;' most unusual, so I replied back, 'Good evening.'
A perfect end to my day.. how far can you walk I wonder?

XX

Don't you just love a bargain??

In May we had our kitchen refurbished with new Shaker styled cream doors with very nice stainless steel handles, as well as new  work surfaces. We had to change the work surfaces when we had new cooker which was a different width to the old phut one.
 
We have green and cream tiles over the cooker so we decided to have red as our spot colour... and this cafetiere is red. We paid £5 from a market stall and it is listed on the M&S site for £19.50! So a real bargain. I suppose it is a seconds or last years colour as this is the cream version.. but wow we only paid £5.. what a bargain.
Have you had a bargain lately, doesn't it feel good?

XX
 
 
 
 
A SILVER WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
 
Yesterday we went to a Silver Wedding anniversary celebration, not ours, DH and I have our tenth at the end of this month.. ten wonderful years for me.
It was a lunch and then an afternoon tea dance! The food was absolutely delicious. My starter was smoked turkey and prosciutto with little cubes of a blue cheese on a bed of salad with a light dressing. I could have eaten it twice over it was so nice. But my chicken in white wine sauce was very tasty too and my fresh fruit tart with cream and ice-cream was to die for too.. can't you tell I am a foody!!
It was lovely seeing Denise and Vic happy and dancing perfectly together and I chatted to a lot of people who I knew and have moved from our home town. So a really super day. Nell had to go into kennels but it was only for the day,  so not for ever, although I expect she will think we have gone to Australia!
Have any of you been married for years and years?


XX

 
 

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Diet coke chicken recipe

Ingredients
Low calorie cooking spray
 1 onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, 1 yellow and 1 green pepper, chopped into chunks
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
 4 tbsp tomato purée
 8 tbsp passata with onions and garlic
 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
 330ml can diet cola
200ml chicken stock
200g sugar snap peas

Method
 Place a large pan sprayed with low calorie cooking spray over a high heat.
Add the chicken, peppers and onion and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Add the diet cola, stock, passata, tomato purée, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and dried mixed herbs and stir well.
Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas, stir and increase the heat to medium-high.
Cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the veg is tender.

Tip: Try swapping diet cola for diet orange, for a tasty change -

Hope you  enjoy this, I love it

XX

Thursday, 14 July 2016

My biggest battle....

... is my weight. In 1988 I was diagnosed with an under active thyroid and although I take medication for it, my dose since breaking my arm has yoyo-ed. It seems my fall did more than break my arm, it upset my body. Consequently I have gain 22 pounds and I was very over weight before it. A lot of my weight gain since my fall is lack of effort to lose weight or even care about my diet... but I am now heavier than I have ever been. What has brought it home to me is a dress ......www.alwayssmiling24.blogspot.co.uk (You can see it here) Yesterday I have made myself a dress, yes with one arm I have managed it, but it was an easy pastern just two pieces with the neck and arm holes faced with bias binding. The style is a loose style, typical for fat women. In the past I have tackled losing weight by denying myself everything and although I kept it up for a week or two, it was too hard and I crashed!! So I have talked this over with DH and have decided on a more sensible approach to losing weight. Using the slimming world plan I am giving myself a target of losing 3 stone/ 42 pounds by Christmas. That works out as 1.8 pounds per week which is achievable for me.
I started today and have eaten well; tonight our evening meal is SW's diet coke chicken. Dh slices yellow and red peppers with it and sugar snap peas and we have it with rice. It is delicious and something I can eat more than once a week..
Anyone out there in blog land struggling too and wants to lose weight over the next 6 months, please leave a comment and together we can do it?

XX

Monday, 11 July 2016

What a lovely, but busy weekend.

We knew my #2 middle son and his wife were calling in to see us on their way home to West Wales from Europe sometime around about now, but I had forgotten the date. (We live about 20mins from the M25) So it was a surprise to get their message, that they were on their way yesterday morning! Fortunately we had bought a good sized half leg of British lamb.

 They had been touring France, Spain and Portugal in their motor home for the whole of June (with their Welsh flag proudly flying from their aerial!)  We hurriedly swapped our bedding back to the front bedroom and made up the back bedroom bed.  It was easier to have them sleep in the back bedroom as we had spring cleaned it for my MIL who had stayed last week. And why we go back is because it's a lower bed so easier for me to get into with my broken arm.
They arrived earlier than we thought so it was coffee and lots of chat... the lamb dinner was a great success and it was very, very delish, a big thank you to my lovely DH... then an afternoon of catching up. It was lovely to see my son as we don’t often get to meet up and when we were in Wales a couple of weeks ago, they were already away. In the afternoon, we did watch Andy win Wimbledon.. yeh!! Well done Andy, we are so proud of you.

 My lovely, lovely man had made a loaf of white bread and a Victoria sponge earlier in the morning so ham sandwiches and crisps and cake went down very well for tea.. then this morning my #1 eldest son and his GF came to see his brother as they haven't seen each other for 3 years.. so a morning of coffee and cake and lots of chat again.. Then when they all went by 12, DH and I swopped back the bedding so we were back in the back bedroom.. 3rd time in 3 days!!
 Then we packed up our lunch and drove to Southend. It was very windy there but sunny,  altho' we could see rain clouds over the Thames in Kent, then suddenly the heavens opened and we too had a very heavy shower. Fortunately we had just had a Rossi's coffee under their awning and we were back in the car.. some people got soaking wet running for shelter as there is none on the prom in the Leigh end; the one that was there has been made into a restaurant! I love Southend!!
We came home in sun showers but what a lovely weekend I have had, great to see two of my sons..So I have had a lovely couple of days, families are great when you can meet up, but I have eaten too much, my diet went out the window.

The sun is shining now after a sharp shower, so no need to water the tomatoes and veg tonight.

Our small veg. patch growing, beans, sweetcorn, carrots, beetroot, radish and lettuce and a lot of strawberries.  Tomatoes are in another bed and potatoes in bags at the top of the garden



 And this is our grape vine, the second year we have had it and we have three bunches of grapes!!! Last year we just had one bunch and they were lovely and  sweet. It hasn't been easy with only one working arm, but DH and I do a little bit each day,  just 15 mins weeding is all I can do, but it is helping to keep the weeds at bay!

Yes my garden is a love of mine. Do you have a garden that gives you joy?

XX

Saturday, 9 July 2016

My first bake for over a year

Marmalade cake... not brilliant, I think I could have used a smaller loaf tin. It smells delicious and we will be tasting it after lunch.
 
The book was recommended by someone in blog land and I had to buy it. Today we have been to town; the library books I ordered were ready for collection and of course we had to have a coffee. We sat outside as it is very pleasant weather and three people I know stopped to chat, which was lovely. They all remembered my name but sad to say I couldn't remember theirs. One a TA, from the school where I last worked, another a parent of a girl I taught 13 years ago when she was 7 yrs old, she was a lovely mum and came into class to help on our painting afternoons. She gave me a hug and it was lovely to hear about her daughter...  and a lady  from our choir that we used to attend. So a really lovely morning. Home now and after our chicken salad lunch and piece of marmalade cake a restful afternoon in the garden reading.. my favourite pastime and something that brought great joy as a child. I learnt about lands that I never visited and got to know friends,  all between the pages of a book... I wonder how many people today prefer reading to TV??

Friday, 8 July 2016

So here I am

I have thought for a while I needed another blog.. after breaking my right arm (humerus bone) 14th April 2015, my craft life hit the buffers as it were and my other blog was built around my craft work. My life as I knew it stopped, but my DB is so good I am surviving.
Recently, I have read so many blogs of how people are saving money, living frugally, growing their own veg, keeping chickens and keeping a strict check on their finances all towards their retirement. Well DB and I are retired, so are we living the good life??? Yes in a way I think we are! We haven't got oodles of money but enough to buy what we want to live comfortably and have holidays and generally we are happy, actually we are very happy.

So the tale of what happened after a very simple trip, when I fractured my arm.

After 6 months of regular appointments, x-rays my bone had not healed. To encourage my bone to grow new bone, I had exogen treatment for three months, November, December and January. It cost the hospital £1800 so my consultant had to request the funds for it. He did jokingly say, if it didn't work the hospital got their money back. I was connected up to a hand held computer that emitted, through a wire, ultra sound waves. it was important that we did it each day the same time for 20 minutes; and we did, each morning at 08:00, even on Christmas day and we got up early on the day of my DB's father's funeral to fit it in.. It didn't work! So March 1st I had surgery to plate and pin my bone. At a follow up appointment the x-ray showed that the pins had fallen out of the plate! My bone after 10months of non use was too soft to hold the pins.. my follow up app. after this was put off because of the Dr's strikes.

When I had the appointment, a week later,  it was late afternoon, so after lunch at home I settled in  my arm chair and went to sleep. DB woke me to say,  we just had half an hour to get to the hospital. It's only 10mins drive but parking can be difficult, but we made it The nurse started to help me take off my navy cardigan, it was saturated in blood and so was my blouse underneath!! Having been asleep for a couple of hours I hadn't noticed anything untoward. The Dr thought it wasn't new blood, and on looking at my arm there was a large swelling under the stitches,  which he thought was blood. He wanted me in then but I asked to go home. So 1st April I was back in hospital for further surgery. This time the surgeon put a rod through my bone, wires crisscrossing from top to bottom of the bone and a new plate and longer pins. The pain afterwards was horrendous, I don't know how I bore it. I slept sitting up bolstered by several pillows with DB awake with me each time I moaned. It partially worked, but then complications on May 23rd, with non use my muscle in my arm had weakened and the bone has dislocated, more pain.
So here I am three and a half months later with my arm still in a support sling and still a lot of discomfort and pain when I move my arm. When I saw the Dr last week, he said there are appears to be some fuzziness on the bone, so this could be new growth!! I have an app. end of September when we will discuss the next move, surgery to put right my dislocation!
Will I ever get my life back??
But today I have cleaned all round the kitchen, although not the floor; cooked a chicken for our tea; and made a marmalade cake! All with just my left hand! I couldn't lift the chicken out of the oven one handed so had to ask DB for help. All this after a full morning, hairdresser 9:15 (can't do my hair one handed), A lovely costa coffee, but not a raspberry almond slice, then a full shop at  the 'blue;' supermarket.. it was  lunch time when we got home, we had smoked salmon, prawn cocktail and salad which was our own lettuce.. tomatoes are still green but growing well.
Where I got the 'umff' from this afternoon, I don't know,  but it felt good although exhausting !! Yeh.... I made a cake, why marmalade you may ask? It was what I had the ingredients for.
So I am making progress, don't you think?