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!