Saturday, 16 September 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 16/9/23

Yes I know it's Saturday but better late than never to look back on the past week and find my five favourite blessings.

1)  The weather has been cooler since the beginning of this week.  Still quite warm but not the oppressive heat that we had last week.

2)  Nathan is better.  He returned to school on Tuesday much to the relief of his Mummies I'm sure lol.

3)  A family orientated weekend.  We babysat Rory and Vinny on Saturday afternoon and also had a visit from Ella.  Then Rory and Vinny stayed here and my son and DIL also came back from being out with US friends to sleep.  On Sunday there was a Picnic in the Park event but it was still really hot so we took the kids to the park for a short while before they headed off home.  I stayed on as I'd signed up to volunteer as a marshall.  Fortunately my duties weren't too onerous - I was stopping cars from entering one of the entrance roads to the park unless they were residents for a while and then as part of the clearing up process I went and took all the various signs down.  It was a nice event but it should have also included a dog show but that was cancelled due to the heat.  People still seemed to enjoy themselves though - there were lots of stalls plus live entertainment.

4)  On Monday evening I was able to play a small part in the rescue of one of the cygnets currently on the lake.  On my usual evening walk I noticed a few people looking over the small bridge at the bottom end of the lake behind the boathouse used by local Scouts.  One of the cygnets had crash landed between the boat house and the metal fencing around it.  It had then managed to get itself wedged under the fence and was stuck.  

We're lucky to have local volunteers that operate a rescue service for swans in particular but also ducks, geese etc.  Someone had already alerted the rescue team and they were on their way but we needed to get the access gate unlocked.  Fortunately I had the number of a local man who is the Chairman of the Highams Park Planning Group and who seems to know everyone.  Predictably he had contact details for the Scouts and was able to get someone to come down with keys.  They arrived just after the Swan rescue team and the cygnet was safely removed.  

It was taken to the Swan sanctuary where it was found to have some injuries to its back from the fence but it will be cared for until it heals before being released back into the wild.  I took an early walk on Tuesday morning to confirm it was from our lake which it was.  Our swan parents are very territorial!

Swans and the remaining 4 cygnets.

5)  I managed to adjust my daughter's Pelaton bike yesterday so that I can use it - also worked out how to get the shoes on and off - harder than they make it look!  It still needs a bit of adjustment but having watched some YouTube videos I've now got a better idea of what needs doing.  I'm not sure I'm ready for any online classes yet - I did 15 minutes on it this evening and my legs felt like jelly at the end lol.  But I thought it could be an alternative exercise for me if the weather isn't suitable for walking.  It might also encourage my daughter to use it too.

And a bonus - Strictly Come Dancing started again this evening!  I do love watching that.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Wednesday, 13 September 2023

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 13/9/23

Thanks to Joyce for the Hodgepodge questions.  To join in or find out more go here.

1. Did you watch any coverage of the 9/11 services on Monday? How do you feel on this day some 22 years after the events occurred? Share more if you want to share more. 

I didn't watch anything this year but I can still remember the day it happened - I was at work initially and someone set up a TV in the school staffroom.  I continued watching when I got home.  It just seemed so unreal that it was a while before the actual horror of it began to sink in.  I still find it hard to fathom how 2 such huge buildings could be reduced to rubble in the way they were and the terrible loss of lives.

2. September 13th is National Peanut you like peanuts? Your favourite dish that contains peanuts? 

I do not like peanuts - I don't like the texture of them but I will "suffer" smooth peanut butter and I do like certain dishes with a peanut flavour but it's definitely not a fave.

3. Something you're currently 'nuts' about? 

I'm not sure I'm nuts about anything right now.

4. Your favourite Peanuts character? There are several quizzes online if you're curious...I took two and got the same character for both so I'm sure it's accurate lol. (Click here for the link)

Well I was never an avid Peanuts fan but according to the quiz I'm Marcie.

5. Tell us about a job you worked 'for peanuts'? 

I worked on a catering stand at a football ground a few times before I was really old enough to get a paid job.  It definitely wasn't well paid and it was hard work.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

We've returned to normal temperatures this week.  Leading up to the weekend it was really hot here and I don't cope with that very well.  Good to be retired and able to ignore anything that needed doing and just try and keep cool.

Friday, 8 September 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 8/9/23

It's Friday again so time to pause and look back on the week and then share our posts over at Susanne's site here.

1)  Well I've posted an autumn picture above but it's been like mid summer here the last few days - we've hit temps around 30 degrees C and I am so glad that a)  we have fans and b) that there is usually a part of the house that keeps cool.  I've also made use of the hand held fans that I bought earlier in the summer.  It hasn't made sleeping easy though.

2)  Being able to cope with sick grandchildren.  Yesterday we were scheduled to babysit Nathan and Ella while my daughter and DIL went out for a meal and to the theatre.  We collected Nathan from school and went back to their house and he didn't seem very well but we put it down to the heat.  He was really hot so DIL gave him some medicine to hopefully bring down his temp.  Anyway DIL left to meet up with our daughter and no sooner had she gone than he was really sick.  Thankfully we've spent so much time with Nathan we were able to cope with him not being well and get Ella to bed and although there were lots of messages between us and their parents during the evening I'm glad that they were able to get to see the play and it didn't totally spoil their evening.  Theatre tickets in London are so expensive it would have been a shame for them not to be able to go.  

3)  I've been glad I'm retired this week with the heat.  I wouldn't have wanted to be working and I've also been able to take it easy and not worry about doing too many chores.

4)  A busy day at the Foodbank yesterday.  We had lots of people turn up and although we had plenty of food for them we didn't have lots of fresh provisions left at the end of the session.  Sometimes fresh food has to be thrown away because it won't keep until the next Tuesday when the foodbank is open again.  

5)  I spent most of my time at the foodbank putting away a delivery from the council and sorting out the storage room, moving a few things around and just a bit of organising.  I also had to keep checking on frozen foods - we put a selection of items out for about 15 minutes but then they have to be returned to the freezers and another selection put out.  One of the longer serving helpers made a point of complimenting me on my organisational skills.  Sometimes it's the little things like that which make your day!

Well time is getting on and, despite the heat, I've still managed to walk a little bit each day so I need a shower before going to bed.  We have a busy weekend ahead so I need my sleep.

Have a good weekend all.

Wednesday, 6 September 2023

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 6/9/23

It's been a while since I participated in the Hodgepodge hosted by Joyce here, but apparently today is National Read a Book Day and as an avid reader it seemed appropriate to join in.

1. It's National Read A Book Day...whatcha' reading? What's a book you want to read? 

I'm currently reading Murder in the Family by Cara Hunter.  I picked this up in the supermarket having read some of her other books.  This one is presented in a very different format though - the story is of a fictional cold case murder being revisited by a TV true life crime programme.  The layout in the book follows the series with details of each episode as they are screened plus e-mail exchanges, chat room messages etc so very up to date with IT/Social media.  If I'd glanced at the interior of the book I probably wouldn't have bought it but actually I'm quite enjoying it.

I have so many books I want to read:

Books on the BBC list I'm working through very slowly.  Details here.
Books I have out on loan from the library (currently 2 unread plus 2 more reserved)
Books on my TBR pile in my bedroom
Books on my TBR shelf in the garden room
Books I've not read on my Kindle app

I probably won't live long enough to read them all lol

2. Which is better...having high expectations or low expectations? Explain why. 

Oh I think I'm going with low expectations here then anything above a target for example is a bonus!  Although I do often have high expectations of myself.

3. Serenity is:  Being at peace with myself

4. What's  the most interesting thing in your purse or pocket right now? 

Well there is nothing in my pockets.

My purse (wallet to my US friends) contains my National Trust membership card which give me admission to lots of interesting places although it hasn't had much use recently.

My handbag (purse)  contains nothing of interest but a particularly daft item for this week where we have sweltering heat - an umbrella.  I suppose it could serve as a sunshade but of course English weather always requires an umbrella to be at hand.

5. What helps you calm down?   A cup of tea.  Peace and quiet or going for a walk listening to music.

6. Insert your own random thought here.   It really is hot here in London this week - good excuse for not doing too many chores and catching up with blogging.

Saturday, 2 September 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 1/9/23

Yes I know it's Saturday but it's been a busy week!  Thanks to Susanne as always for prompting us to look back at the week and find the blessings.  Her site is here.

1)  Firstly I'm grateful for lots of family time this week - not only our immediate family but also hubby's extended family.  We spent the past week in Kent as we usually do and as always it was lovely to catch up with people we haven't seen for a while and to see how the younger generation have grown over the year.

Little ones helping prepare dessert

Making cup cakes

Probably the best of the grandkids

Our family

The best game - sleeping lions

More "helping"


Feeding time

We had a great week despite the weather being a bit hit and miss - we had several downpours and it was a lot cooler than it had been but the swimming pool still got a lot of use and we were able to sit outside quite a bit.

The Venue

2)  Having been away for a week I'm grateful for my appliances - washing machine and tumble dryer to get the washing done and online shopping to restock the fridge and cupboards.  I also took advantage of the fridge being almost empty to give it a thorough clean.

3)  Books, books and more books!  I've done a reading challenge over June and July and managed to read 8 books from my TBR pile.

The Michael Palin book (with the cross) is still a work in progress - it's about his travels through Europe so a different genre to my usual reading.

I also have a few out from the library and I did buy a couple of new ones recently.

4)  Of course we ate really well while we were away but I've managed to not gain any weight over the week so I was pleased about that and now I'm trying to get back into the swing of eating healthily and walking again.

5)  Good neighbours.  Our alarm was triggered on Thursday - not sure how but possibly a bird flying into the bathroom window.  Anyway our neighbour has a key and fob for the alarm so he was able to check all was ok and reset the alarm for us.  We have good neighbours either side of us and the ones across the road from us are friendly too.

Hope you're all having a good weekend - mine's a bit lazy!

Friday, 25 August 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 25/8/23

It's Friday so time to catch up with other like minded bloggers and look back on the week to find the good things.  Our host Susanne's blog can be found here.

1)  A Ladies Lunch on Tuesday with 3 of my former work colleagues.  It was my turn to host.  I made a reasonably healthy chicken traybake dish for the main course but then made this for dessert:

Fruit's healthy right?  It required gelatine which can always be a bit hit or miss but thankfully it turned out okay and was yummy.

2)  A knit and natter session on Wednesday evening which is always enjoyable.

3)  A busy morning at the food bank on Thursday - lots of beneficiaries being helped.

4)  A nice time with Ella on Wednesday while Nathan was out with my DIL.  Although her Mummies didn't thank me for the late nap she had.  But she was so sweet - she just climbed up onto my lap, snuggled in and dropped right off to sleep.

5)  I still managed to fit in some walks this week to work off all those extra calories and yesterday I managed this:

in fact by the time I went to bed I'd done over 15,000 steps.

It probably won't look as good over the next few days but I'll report back on that next week.

Have a good weekend all.

Tuesday, 22 August 2023

Healthy eating? Not!

Well this week didn't get off to the best of starts.  We babysat for our daughter on Sunday evening so I didn't get moving very quickly yesterday morning.   I ended up faffing about and leaving myself no time for a walk before it got dark so my step count was very low.  Is it me or is it starting to get dark much earlier?  I know that logically it should be but August is still a summer month!  I'm going to have to start adjusting my timings.

Today was a better day for steps - I'm just over the 10,000 level so I'm pleased with that.  I also had company here for lunch - my former work colleagues that I meet up with regularly - we take it in turns to host lunch and it was my turn today.

The main course wasn't too bad - chicken, new potatoes and air fried broccoli and cauliflower but, of course, I love making a nice dessert.

I tried a new recipe and it turned out really well.

Of course I forgot to take a photo when it was whole but this is what's left:

Summer berries mousse.

I could try and argue that it contains a lot of fruit especially raspberries but of course the mousse also contains a lot of cream and creme fraiche.  Oh and a biscuit base.  Definitely not on the healthy eating list.  But it was delicious.

Anyway I shall be passing some of the leftovers to my daughter tomorrow and maybe only having another tiny piece.....😉

I did walk for nearly 50 minutes this evening and at a reasonable pace so hopefully I've counteracted some of those excess calories.  Back to the healthy stuff tomorrow.

Saturday, 19 August 2023

#SoCS - 19/8/23

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “the first 3 words of the first full sentence.” Okay, follow me here. This is what I want you to do: 1. Grab the closest book to you when you sit down to write your post. 2. Open it to a random page. 3. Locate the first complete sentence on that page. 4. Use the first three words of that sentence to start your post, then take it from there–write whatever comes to mind. That’s it! Have fun!

Here goes:

Having said nothing on my blog for over 5 weeks this is my 4th post in as many days.  I had a bit of a shock back in May when I was diagnosed as being in the pre-diabetic range following a blood test so I've been focussing on improving my health.

Thankfully in my area there is a pre-diabetic course you can attend that goes through all the details of what being diabetic entails and also how to switch your diet and increase activity levels etc.  It started as sessions once a fortnight, we've now moved to monthly sessions and overall it takes about 9 months from start to finish.

It was the kick up the backside I needed to start eating more healthily.  I was guilty of eating way too many biscuits, croissants, brioche buns, pies, chocolate and red meat and no where near enough fruit and vegetables.  I'd also become a bit of a couch potato and my expectation was for not doing less than 5000 steps a day.  Oh and we were still eating the same portion size as we've always done and of course my weight had been gradually creeping up and up.

The first things to go were all the pastries and chocolate.  Thankfully I mostly do online shops for groceries so it was easy to cut those out.  We're quite good in cooking most of our meals from scratch - not relying on too many processed things but we were definitely eating too much.

I'm also not great at drinking water so I've been trying to do more of that although of course that means more trips to the loo including during the night so my sleep patterns haven't improved.

I've surprised myself at how I'm managing to stick to this.  I thought I would crave things like the biscuits and chocolate but I haven't and I think because we're generally just reducing the amount we eat it hasn't felt too much like a diet.  We also invested in an air fryer so we've been getting to grips with that although I still need to more planning ahead to make sure we have all the right ingredients for dinners.  We're opting for more fish and chicken and definitely cut back on the red meat.

Some weeks have been better than others - last week for example my son and his family were here so we had to be more flexible with meals to suit their boys who are 5 and almost 3.  But my weight is coming down gradually and a recent blood test put my sugar levels back in the normal range.  I'm not going to be complacent though.  These changes are for the long term but an occasional treat won't be fretted over.

The step count is definitely better too.  My aim now is to do at least 7500 a day and most days I get there.  Again I don't beat myself up if it doesn't happen.  Being retired means it's very tempting sometimes to just sit and bury my head in a book or switch on the TV but we are fortunate to live within walking distance of a forest and lake so there are nice places to walk but I'm also happy just walking in our local neighbourhood with music playing in my ears.  A play list of walking songs keeps me at a steady pace. 

However, I suddenly found myself with no enthusiasm for blogging - or even checking on other people's blogs!  It felt quite strange.  I definitely felt out of sorts but can't really explain why.  We did have an ongoing saga with HMRC (Tax office) that was quite stressful and that is still ongoing although it has become almost farcical.  Anyway hopefully I'm back in the swing of things again.

The host site for #SoCS is here. Thanks to Linda for providing the prompt each week.

I will admit to cheating a little bit for the opening 3 words - I did grab the book nearest to me (Please, Mister Postman a memoir by Alan Johnson) but I took the 3 words from the first new paragraph on the random page as they seemed to work well with recent events. 

Friday, 18 August 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 18/8/23

I'm here!  Missed a few weeks so lots I could include but I'll try and narrow it down to 5.

You can join in the fun at our host Susanne's blog here.

1)  The hard work of eating healthily and being more active.  According to my latest blood tests I've moved out of the pre-diabetic range back into the normal range.  I'm still working on the diet and exercise though as it's definitely helping with the weight loss.  Down 9 pounds since I started.  It's been a slow and steady reduction but hopefully it will continue.

2)  Lots of family time last week.  Eldest son and his family were here for the week so it was a bit hectic and the morning starts were a lot earlier than we're used to but you can't really complain if little ones are up at 6am when they've been in bed and asleep since 7.30 the night before.

Ella and Miles enjoying bubbles

Noah, hubby, Miles and son Matthew on their way to see dinosaurs.

What do you do when the game of football is getting a bit heated?
Bring out the icecreams!

3)  A visit from one of my brothers and his wife this week.  We hadn't seen them for a while so it was good to catch up with them.

4)  A long chat with my other brother by phone last night.  He is undergoing cancer treatment and is about to start a course of immunotherapy treatment but he seems to be doing ok at the moment.  

5)  I'm grateful that we are lucky to have no money worries and we always have food on the table etc and that I can now help out at a Food Bank that supports those who are not so fortunate.

Have a good weekend all.

Thursday, 17 August 2023

Helping at the Food Bank

It's a sad state of affairs that so many people in this country are currently relying on food banks.

We have a local Food Bank that operates out of the local church.  It's open on Tuesday and Thursday and recently they were appealing for volunteers so I decided to give it a go.

There are various roles and sessions volunteers can take part in - e.g. there are volunteers who make collections from local supermarkets that support the bank themselves but also have a trolley that shoppers can put donations in.  There are also volunteers who help in the evenings putting those collections/donations away and restocking the storage crates that are used during the sessions.  

They are also supported with food from local allotments and a nearby bakery.

I went initially for a visit and one of the gaps was for volunteers to help out at the Thursday daytime session which works well for me as Hubby is involved in a walking group on Thursdays so it made sense for us both to be tied up on the same day.

I'm really enjoying it.  The bank has been running for over 3 years now so it's well organised and people coming to use the bank have to have a referral.  People can't just walk in off the street although anyone that does would be signposted to people that could help them.  We've had several sessions recently where staff from the local Citizens Advice Bureau have attended and there is also a worker from Christians Against Poverty on hand to help people with debt advice.

Hot drinks and snacks are provided free to the people using the bank and some of the volunteers have been trained as listeners and their role is to engage with users.  The church also provides a "Warm Space" during the winter months.

I'm grateful to be part of this worthwhile venture but sad that it's needed.

Wednesday, 16 August 2023

Where to start?

Where to start indeed!

It feels like an age since I was last here.  I just don't seem to have been spending any time on my computer these last few weeks.  I've just spent a couple of hours catching up on blog posts, making sure I haven't missed any major events.  I've tried to leave a few comments here and there - apologies if you didn't get one.

I've been focussing on eating healthily and getting plenty of walking in and I just haven't felt motivated to blog.  But the hard work is paying off as I've now lost 9 pounds since I had the pre-diabetic blood test result and .... drumroll please - I had another blood test done recently and I was back in the normal range!

I'm still attending the support sessions offered though as it's been interesting and informative and the weigh-ins keep me motivated to keep up the healthy habits and hopefully lose some more weight.

Last week was a bit hectic as we had my elder son and his family here for the week.  Early wake ups as the grandsons are usually in bed and asleep by 7.30 at the latest but consequently awake around 6 am!

I still need to work on my bedtime routines as I'm not getting to bed very early so probably not getting enough sleep.  

They returned home to Nottingham on Sunday so since then I've been doing all the extra laundry generated by having guests - extra bedding, towels etc and getting the beds remade and some housework done.

Today we had my brother and his wife here for lunch which made a nice change.

Tomorrow I will be doing what's become a regular thing of volunteering at the local Food Bank.  I often tend to be in the kitchen making cups of tea and coffee, plus we provide snacks such as jacket potatoes or something on toast.  Nothing too complicated!

Now I'm off to bed and looking forward to reading something easier than the book I've just finished - A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks.  It took me 3 weeks to read - I didn't like the characters or the plot but I hate giving up on a book and it ticked a box on the summer reading challenge I opted to do.

Hopefully it won't be another 3 weeks before I blog again!

Friday, 7 July 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 7/7/23

How can it be Friday again?

Time to look back on the week and list the good things.  Susanne is the host for this and you can find her blog here.  These are the things I'm thankful for this week:

1)  Family time last Sunday - we had both our daughter and our younger son here with their families.  A bit hectic but the cousins do love to get together.  A challenge preparing a roast dinner while keeping the kids out of the kitchen lol.

2) 1:1 time with Rory on Monday - he school was closed for staff training so he came here.  He's really good at amusing himself but we also played a lot of games including Kerplunk and Junior Monopoly.

3)  We had some much needed rain but also quite a bit of sunshine this week.  Today has been really warm again but I've managed to get out every day for a walk, even if just a short one.

4)  A trip to nearby Epping - we got the bus and then the train and then took a slow walk up and down the High Road, exploring the various charity shops.  I found a "Guess Who" game which is another one I'm sure the grandkids will enjoy playing.

5)  Keeping up my motivation for improving my health.  As mentioned I've been out for a walk everyday and I'm still keeping up my exercises for my back and hips.  The pain is definitely less but still not gone completely.  I'm also drinking more water and trying to keep to healthy meals.  Not 100% - for example we should have had a HelloFresh delivery on Tuesday by 7pm.  By the time it arrived at 9.30 pm we'd opted for a Chinese takeaway!  But I have kept away from the chocolate and biscuits and I've also eaten more fruit.

Bonus - it was Knit and Natter on Wednesday evening - I'd missed the last two so it was good to catch up with everyone.  

We have a fairly quiet weekend ahead although we are babysitting Nathan and Ella tomorrow evening.  Hopefully we'll get them to bed but at least it's Saturday so if they stay up late there's no rush to get up the next day!

Have a good weekend all.

Saturday, 1 July 2023

Friday's Fave Five (on Saturday!) 30/6/23

Susanne keeps us on our toes reminding us to look back each week and think about the good things in our lives.  You can find her blog here.

Here are mine for this week:

1)  Another birthday!  Always good to make it through another year, especially as I get older.  It was a very quiet day - I had my first Diabetic Prevention session on the day (Monday) so we didn't make any plans to eat out etc.  The session was from 4-6pm and it took about 45 minutes to get there on public transport so a 3 1/2 hour chunk out of my day.

But hopefully it will be worth it.  I've already lost a few pounds and I'm definitely eating better.  I'm also trying to be more active.

2)  The pain in my hips and back is definitely easier.  I'm still doing exercises everyday as prescribed by the physio.  Hopefully some weight loss will help with that as well.

3)  Lunch with a friend on Wednesday.  This was a former work colleague of mine who unfortunately was widowed early last year.  She wanted some help with probate paperwork so I was happy to do that and she insisted on providing lunch which was lovely.  We also got to do a good catch up on what our families are up to etc.

4)  Lovely flowers from my daughter and her family:

Plus a new container for future use!

5)  Cooler weather.  The heat a couple of weeks ago was really hard to cope with but this week has been much cooler.  Not as much sunshine though but at least I've not been panicking about watering the plants every day.  Although I have watered the tomato plants every day and most of them have flowers on them so hopefully we'll get some home grown tomatoes!

Have a good weekend all.  Happy 4th July to all my American friends.  We have my younger son and my daughter here for dinner tomorrow with their families.  Love getting them together.


Wednesday, 28 June 2023

Wednesday Hodgepodge - 28/6/23

It's been a while!  But today I'm joining in with the Hodgepodge, hosted by Joyce HERE.

1. What's one thing you're excited about in the coming month? 

We don't actually have anything planned for July so nothing exciting going on here.  It is our turn to host a sibling meal so we'll probably try and fit that in during the month.

2. What was your life like when you were ten years old? 

Carefree.  I was still at primary school.  My best friend lived 4 doors down and we were pretty much inseparable.  

3. What's something from your childhood you still enjoy today? 

Reading.  I was always a bookworm.

4. What state (that you haven't been to) do you most want to visit? Tell us why. 

Maybe New Hampshire or Maine - we've done Vermont, New York, Massachusetts Washington DC and Pennsylvania.  But most states would be new to us so really we would be spoilt for choice!

5. Do you like to drive? Tell us how you learned to drive. 

I do like to drive.  I took driving lessons as soon as I was 17 (legal age for driving here in the UK) and passed 1st time.  The one thing I don't enjoy now, after having had automatic cars for some years, is driving a manual.  The car we hired recently in Spain was manual.  So wrong side of the road, wrong side of the car and a gear stick to contend with.  Not my idea of fun.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

We don't do as much driving now as we used to, preferring to use public transport when we can.  We do drive to  the kids who are local as there is no easy way to get to either of them on public transport.  Bus routes aren't always tailor made although they have just consulted on changing the route of a couple of local buses which will make it easier getting to our nearest hospital where parking is a nightmare!  But then parking anywhere in London is a nightmare.

Have a good week all.

Friday, 23 June 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 23/6/23

Well it's been 2 weeks again since I posted so lots of good things to write about.  Thanks as always to our host Susanne for keeping us on track.  Her blog is here.  

1)  I wasn't here last Friday because we were here:

Torreguadiaro in Spain
For this wedding
The groom, Tom is Nick's nephew.  This is the bride and groom, Tom's parents, his 3 sisters and one sister's fiance.

It was such a joyous occasion

We scrubbed up well.

The beach party location the day after the wedding

3 Mrs Jakobs - My sister-in-law on the left - mother-in-law to the new bride.

We flew out very early last Wednesday (7.00 am flight!) and met up with other family members on the beach where we had lunch.  In the evening there was a drinks and canapes reception for the wedding guests in a bar in the Sotogrande resort.

We had a quiet start on the Thursday which was the day of the wedding.  There were just over 100 guests at the wedding and we were taken by coach to the venue - a former monastery up in the hills.  

It was an outdoor ceremony, followed by drinks and canapes while the tables were prepared for the meal - 3 courses including Paella and then a yummy chocolate dessert.

Absolutely delicious!

There was dancing late into the night although we opted to return on the first coach run at 1.30 am!

On the Friday guests congregated again, this time on the beach, for another meal - lots of tapas and lots of wine and sangria.

We had a really lovely time and made it safely home on Saturday.  All of hubby's siblings attended with just one partner being missing.

Tom has given his 3 sisters a hard act to follow.

2)  Flowers in my garden.  We made a trip to a garden centre this week and got some plants for my tubs and planters.  I would have done this sooner but as we knew we'd be away I didn't want to get plants before as we've had a lot of hot sunny weather and they would probably all have died!

3)  The water butt we had installed recently.  I've managed to water the plants from the water butt so far.  It collects rainwater from the roof of our extension.

4)  Despite the blip of the wedding I've been managing to keep on track with the changes we're making to our diet.  I've even lost a about 3lbs in weight so that's encouraging.

5)  Apps.  Especially ones that help track things.  I have a Fitbit that records all my steps etc and I've been using that to log food so I can see what I'm eating.  Plus there is an app to keep track of the physio exercises I was given to do recently.  And now I've discovered that the diabetes prevention programme that I'm starting on Monday also has an app!   It looks like it will be really useful although not all of it is live yet - hopefully all will become clear on Monday.

Have a good weekend all.

Friday, 9 June 2023

Friday's Fave Fives - 9/6/23

Our host Susanne's introduction this week was just the reminder I needed.  She wrote,  "Welcome to Friday's Fave Five!  Our place of encouragement to intentionally practice looking for our blessings and develop hearts of gratitude to God for them.  Why do we do this?  Why after all these Fridays do I still keep posting this if nothing else?  Because gratitude must be developed and continued.  I can so easily fall out of the practice.  And when I do my eyes are no longer looking for the blessings but gravitate to what I don't have, what I feel I deserve, what I am missing, the cup half empty mindset sets in."

I can so easily fall into the cup half empty mindset, especially in a week that hasn't been particularly great.  But there are still blessings to be found, even when we have to look a little harder so here are mine.

1)  Well this is a 2 week list for me and the first one is easy - last week we were away from Monday to Friday with all our family - daughter, sons, wives and of course all the 6 grandchildren.  We stayed in 2 caravans on a holiday site and, although the weather wasn't great, it was wonderful to be with them all and see the pleasure the grandchildren get from being together.  We were on the east coast of England so we were able to walk to the beach a couple of times but it was too misty and windy to stay there for long.  But there were plenty of activities for the kids to do on the holiday site and they just love being together.

Hard to get a photo of all the little ones together - this was probably my best one.

We also celebrated Rory's 5th birthday while we were there too and one evening we took them all out for a meal which was fairly civilised lol.

2)  We had a fairly quiet weekend then Monday it was back to earth with a bump.  The blood test I had done recently as part of my annual blood pressure medication review has revealed I'm in the pre-diabetic range.  Not something to be thankful for but our GP practice provides access to a diabetes preventative programme which I've signed up for and that starts in a couple of weeks time.  So I am thankful that I've been able to sign up for that and it has given me the motivation to start making changes already.  I knew that, despite having fairly healthy meals, I was eating too many sweet things and definitely eating too much.  Thankfully Hubby has been on board about looking at portion control and the timing of our meals - we often eat late which is not a good thing.  I was also good at dropping quite a few things off our shopping delivery that don't fall into the healthy category.

The programme runs over a period of 9 months so hopefully over that time I can get the changes I need to make embedded into our routines and keep myself healthy.

3)  Of course exercise would be helpful but this week my back has been playing up again and affecting my hip.  Thankfully though our GP practice has a Physio on staff and I had an appointment with her this morning.  I now have a range of exercises to do to help strengthen my back and these are set up on an app that you can use to log when you've done the exercises.  Fortunately I quite like technology that tracks things and this should keep me motivated to do the exercises each day.  Again it's been a timely reminder that I need to look after myself more.  

4)  It hasn't been all doom and gloom though - the weather has been good this week - lots of sunshine and really warm.  

5)  Finally, 39 years ago I said "I do" to this lovely man.

and I'm still glad I did!

Oh and a bonus - we received the latest bill from our gas supplier which seemed really high and when I looked into it and got it sorted it was reduced by over £500!  Moral of that story was never trust their meter readers lol.

To find out more about the Friday Fave Fives visit Susanne's blog here.

Have a good weekend all and hopefully I'll get round to visiting blogs soon.  I've not been very present here in blogland this past week or so.