Thursday 29 February 2024

Thursday, 29-02-24

And who did you propose to today?
Evening, everyone.  It's been a pretty rotten day, weather wise - rain, rain and more rain.  I was so glad I didn't have to go out.

The SET class online was, as always, good fun .  There's just enough time between SET and Chris coming over (or me going to hers) to freshen up a bit and change out of exercise wear so that works really well.  
As always, we had a great old natter and laugh over coffee.

Apart from that, the only thing of note was a delivery.  The USB charger for my Kindle Fire was on the blink so I very carefully chose a replacement online yesterday, crossing fingers that I had the correct one, and it arrived this afternoon.  Yes, it was the right one - phew.
I do wish they had standardised thingies that you push in (what're they called? heads?) rather than several different shapes.  I'm sure there's a good reason for the differences but it's confusing for techno-twits like me!

Tomorrow is a bit busier.  It starts with Slimming World, as always, and when that's over, I'm going to drive to the Clock Tower precinct to do the first shop of the new month.  Then it's home to clean, tidy, set the table, get out the wheelchair ramp for the front door and generally make sure I am ready for our Girls' Get Together in the evening.  I'm really looking forward to it.

Hoping your day has gone well, whatever the weather.  Have you had this rain too, or have you escaped?
Take ca\re, sleep well and sweet dreams, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Wednesday, 28-02-24

Good evening, everyone.  How has your day gone?

It's been another fairly lazy day for me today.  I started off fairly busy in the kitchen, prepping and making my meals for today and also prepping some food for when the girls come round on Friday.  
I did actually prep for Friday on Monday but the frying vegetables caught at the bottom of the pan, I thought I could get away with it and added the mince and finished the sauce and then realised it was bothering me.  I won't waste it, I will have it myself, I just didn't feel comfortable serving it to others.
I now have a better version waiting for Friday.  It's a sort pasta thing with lasagne vibes - a mince and veg tomato base, fusilli in cheese sauce poured over the top and baked in the oven until browned.  The others are bringing starter, salad and dessert so that's all I have to do - apart from a vegetarian version for Beth.
I'll likely do pretty much the same thing with the earlier, less satisfactory version and freeze it in single portions.  No way will I waste it just for a few burnt bits

Late morning, I got a message from Lindsey - there was a bit of an emergency and she had to cancel personal training today.  After some message exchanging, I'm going to do PT and SET back to back on Saturday morning.  That should work fine and keeps things up to date - I do SET as part of my Snippets membership, you see.  
A good thing is that I can test if the shake part of my alarm clock works.  Must dig it out tomorrow and set it up.  Fingers crossed.

I do feel nice and tidy now that the lovely Sharon has sorted my hair out for the next six weeks.  I'm so lucky to have her.  It's pretty short this time but it does grow pretty fast.  The next appointment is the week before my Center Parcs break which is great timing!

And I remembered to read the gas meter and send off the numbers.  I don't get a quarterly bill until April but I am very comfortably in credit so no worries.  I wonder how long before they drop my monthly payments again - after all, the heaviest usage will be over by then.  We will see.

Tomorrow morning starts with Thursday's SET online and then Chris is round for coffee and chat.  Depending on the weather, I might pop out to a garden centre and look around but if it's wet (it's supposed to be), I will probably stay in and do some sorting out, etc, etc, etc.

Sleep well, everyone, and sweet dreams.  xx

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Tuesday, 27-02-24

Good evening, everyone.  How has your day gone?  Has it been good?
It's been really pleasant weather here today.  It started cold-ish with a hint of frost and then the sun came out.  So cheering when the sun shines.

Can you believe there's only two more days of February?  Where has the month gone - if feels like I've blinked and missed at least half of it.  But March sounds springlike, the days are getting very noticeably longer and, when we look around, there's plenty of colour again.  Lovely!

Chris and I find that the walk down to Groove warms us up nicely and the walk back is a great additional cool down.  We've been so lucky with the weather for these walks; despite how wet it has been, we have only needed to take a car once.  Groove was really good - a new playlist and new routines.  This block is going to be great!

Once home, I sorted out a finished load of washing and out it went on the line.  Lovely!  It didn't properly dry but not to worry, it's freshened up nicely and is now on the rack by the radiator.

And that's about it.  Some knitting, some housework, some ironing, some telly . . . all the usual stuff.

Tomorrow the lovely Sharon is coming to sort out my hair and it's personal training.  Beat the Street starts too so I might walk out and find a box to activate my card with - and maybe a few more too.  When I say 'find', I do have a map so it's just a case of spotting the right lamp post!  I'll try and remember to take my camera so you can see what I mean.

And finally, note to self - don't forget to read the gas meter tomorrow or Thursday!

The weather has been a bit chilly but so very pleasant today so here's hoping tomorrow is just as nice.  Sleep well.  xx

Monday 26 February 2024

Monday extra!

May as well start as I mean to continue.  Good evening, everyone.  😇

The day started with circuits, first of the new block, and really good!  It was pretty cold outside so it warmed me up nicely.
Later on, I got the downstairs housework done and one batch of washing which I dithered about pegging outside - when I decided to dry it inside, out came the sun but when I thought 'OK, out it goes', it started drizzling.  Eventually, the washing just stayed on the rack and it's still there to finish drying overnight so I can iron it tomorrow.

The biggie was that my new bed base arrived and it's now all set up and made, ready for bedtime.  It's so nice to have a headboard after so long. 
There was almost a problem.  I mentioned taking the old bed and they said 'oh, we're not taking the old one'.  
I said 'oh, yes, you are, I have an email to prove it' - or something like that.  I did too, I checked when they arranged delivery date and time.
After some phoning, etc, they agreed that, yes, they were going to take the old bed away and all was sweetness and light again!  And to be fair, they set it all up very nicely and would have put the mattress on except that I stopped them as I wanted to get the clean valance on first.

And that was it really - mostly just a normal day - mostly!  And I have a dust-free, unbroken, headboarded bed.  And clean sheets.  Yay!

On to tomorrow and I have Groove (walking there and back with Chris as the forecast is good), followed by upstairs housework, washing, drying and ironing.  Nothing at all interesting or exciting.

Hoping you have all had a lovely day.  Sleep well.  xx

Monday, 26-02-24

Morning, everyone.  How are you?  I hope you've all had a lovely weekend.
I have been keeping up with blog reading, just not commenting; back to normal now.

I've been pondering and have decided that, seeing as I'm now waking at a much more civilised hour (usually) and that some of my Facebook admin stuff has to be done in the morning, I'm going to post in the evenings instead after today.  I rarely go out of an evening so it should ease the morning pressure on those days when I have morning exercise classes or Slimming World.  I hate being rushed first thing and I ben I'm not the only one - for so many decades, weekday early mornings were just one thing after another and I don't want to go there again.  😁😄😊

It's been a bit colder round here.  I was most surprised on Saturday to see that we had quite a dramatic frost that looked lovely in the bright sunshine.

I was a bit worried about the lupins because that's how I lost the previous plants - but it was a longer cold snap that time and they seem to be OK this time.

The sun kept shining well into the afternoon - lovely - before the rain returned.

Cyclamen leaves always look gorgeous in the frost and Saturday was no exception.

Sunday morning was slightly frosty but there was also some not-quite-fog hovering and some sunshine before - yup, you've guessed it - the rain returned again.  Ho hum!

What's the betting come the summer there will be muttering of drought, hosepipe bans, etc.

I didn't do much over the weekend.  There was no Saturday exercise class this weekend and really I just chilled and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

The new Broomfield coach trips mailing list came through and I have requested (and got) two more trips, both in August.  One is into London to the museums - Science, V&A and Natural History,- which are all close together.  It's not organised, the coach drops us nearby and picks us up later so nearer the time I will do some 'research' so as not to waste the time.  I haven't been to the last two for decades so there are bound to be changes and there might be some specials I can book.
The other is to RHS Wisley with a cream tea involved somewhere in the day.  I always love my visits to RHS Hyde Hall, as you know, and have wanted to visit Wisley for some time but don't fancy the drive around on the M25.   This way, someone else does the hard work.  

Today starts with Circuits at Shimmy Studio and then I have to stay home for the divan base and headboard delivery between one and three.  It's downstairs housework day anyway so it's really not an issue.  On Friday evening, I am hosting a Girls Dinner (me, Beth, Linda and Julia) and I'm providing the main part of the main course so I might get what I can made in advance and into the freezer.  I'm doing a sort of pasta bake, one mince based and one bean based for Beth, although I bet everyone will have some too - we always do!

Have a lovely day and see you again tomorrow evening definitely, possibly this evening!  xx

Friday 23 February 2024

Friday. 23-02-24

Hi, everyone.  Just to say I'm absolutely fine, just feeling very weary so I'm taking a break from blogging over this weekend.  Back on Monday, for sure.
Have a great weekend, whatever you have planned.

Thursday 22 February 2024

Thursday, 22-02-24

Good morning, everyone.  How are you all today?
I don't think it's raining right now but it is forecast, plus some thundery showers which doesn't sound nice at all.  Let's hope it isn't too bad but I feel for the local children - such horrible weather for them (and their parents) over their half term break.

I decided to take the bus into town yesterday, despite the rain, and I'm glad I did.  It might have been wet but it was nice to be out in the fresh air for a while.
I went to John Lewis first and paid for the headboard so that's all sorted for Monday's delivery now.  Then I headed over to the bedding and got a couple more fitted bottom sheets as the ones I have are pretty battered now.  Just their basic ones which are perfectly good quality, although some of their more expensive ranges were really very lovely to touch and would be cosy to sleep on.  But expensive!!

I did a bit of meandering around a few shops but I was getting wet and decided to head back to the bust - there wasn't anywhere I particularly wanted to go anyway, apart from Boots to get some ibuprofen as I was completely out.

Once home, I had a late breakfast before doing a bit of housework (not the garden room, I wanted to stay inside), making something for taster day at SW on Friday, making dinner (a curry so best to make it early and reheat) and getting the new sheets into the washing machine.  They're now dry and ironed and ready for use (on Monday!)

Personal Training was as good as ever.  I do enjoy the sessions, although Lindsey works me hard at times.  That's what I'm there for so I don't mind in the least.

Today is pretty full although not exactly busy.  I'm going to skip SET class online first thing so I can sort out a few things before going over to Chris' for coffee and chat.  After that, Diane is over and, hopefully, we are popping over to Longacres for lunch and another chat!!
I'll catch up on SET later in the afternoon as it is the one Lindsey records and gets onto YouTube where I can save it in a folder to use any time.
So - a full day but not busy in the usual sense.  Thunderstorms or not, I'm looking forward to it very much.  

Stay warm and dry, everyone, and have a good day.  xx

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Wednesday, 21-02-24

A very good morning to you all.  After a dry day yesterday, it had to break sometime, didn't it, and today I have woken to rain.  It's not cold, just wet!  

The walk down to the hall for Groove yesterday was lovely, as was the session.  We were a bit thinner on the ground because on half term but it was good - Lindsey used an old playlist and routines to ring the changes and it was fun to revisit them.

I discovered that one of the ladies who is in my circuit group and comes to Groove is a keen knitter and is also knitting scarves for Potters and also things for the premature baby unit.  She's also knitting little bees, also for the hospital, although I'm not totally clear why; I will ask Lindsey who told me about it in the first place.  I already had the pattern but hadn't started so when I sat down yesterday I got going.  The pattern is not totally correct, I think, but not to worry, I was able to work it out (I just hope it's not me misinterpreting it) and they are quick to make and very cute

She brought along info maps and cards for this 'thing' that's happening from next Wednesday through to April called Beat the Street, a sort of game to find 'Beat Boxes' around the area and tap them with a card to record that you've found it.  The idea is to get people out and about in the local area, on foot, cycling or wheelchairing and loads of the local schools have got involved.  The map tells you where the boxes are all over town, it's not totally random.
Lindsey is one of the local organisers and, as you can form teams, I joined hers, Shimmy Sheneghans, when I registered yesterday.  
If you're interested, it's
Once home, after breakfast, I did the upstairs housework with particular attention to under and around my bed as I'm getting the new base on Monday.  The under-drawers are now out and empty and all I have to do on Sunday is take off the bedding, wash it all, including the valance, and take off the mattress - I'll sleep in the other room Sunday night.  So, when they come and take the old bed, I won't be embarrassed!!

Today I'm off into town first thing to pay the rest of the bed order in John Lewis.  I'll see how the weather goes; I would prefer to get the bus, obviously, but if it's raining hard, it will be the car.  After paying the balance, I'd like to have a little wander around, rain permitting.

Later on, it is personal training with Lindsey.  In between town and training, I would like to give the garden room a clean.  It doesn't get dirty at the moment so it won't take long to freshen it up.

I have enough to do to keep me happily occupied, don't I?  What are your plans for today?  And what's the weather like your way?
Have a good day, whatever . . .  xx

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Tuesday, 20-04-24

Morning, all.  No rain overnight as far as I can tell, which is a bloomin' miracle!  Now it can just stay that way for a while, please.

They're sending out the new financial year stuff now.  Last week I got info about the state pension and yesterday I got my updated tax code and info about what I still call 'water rates'.  At first glance I did a double take as it seemed to have more than doubled but then I remembered that they have now amalgamated the water and the sewerage payments that have been separate payments for the last however many years.  It's still gone up but 'only' by just under £8 a month, not great but manageable.  And we can't manage without their services, can we?

All I need now in info about Council Tax and I will have a clear view of how much my monthly outgoings will be from April onward.  That will be helpful.  As for income, I can wait for info about the teachers' pension, that's not a problem.  My third little income source may go up or down but it goes straight into savings anyway so no worries.
I'm sure my car insurance will have shot up but I've been saving all year, every since I decided to pay the lot at once rather than monthly, so the money is there and waiting, thank goodness.  

Circuits was so good yesterday but, as I mentioned that yesterday, I won't repeat myself so will just say the sense of achievement lasted all day!  Nice.

The sun came out so I decided to risk it and hang the washing out on the line.  I'm very glad I did as the sun lasted until sunset and the washing dried nicely.
I took my time with the housework and it was all very pleasant.  There's such a good feeling when you sit down in the evening after a nice dinner with a sense of achievement - simple pleasures.

Today, Chris and I will be walking down to the hall for Groove.  Then it's upstairs housework and, perhaps, a garden centre trip later on, if I want.  Nothing too strenuous.  😊

Have a lovely day, everyone.  Take care and stay safe and well.  xx

Monday 19 February 2024

Monday, 19-02-24 - and the rest

Running late so I'll be back later with a proper Monday blog.  Sorreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee . . . 

*  *  *  *  *

OK, back from Circuits and now I have time to write this.
The problem - well, not problem exactly - was that I slept until past half past seven which is pretty unusual but becoming more frequent over the last months.  That's fine, no complaints, but I have a morning routine that rather relies on waking early.  I'll just have to change the routine, that's all - being able to sleep longer is a real blessing and not something I wish out of my life.

I didn't really do very much yesterday.  It was a funny old day, weather wise.  One minute it was sunny and the next it was raining hard.  Today looked as if it was going to be pleasant so I put in a load of washing but it's raining lightly now so out comes the drying rack as soon as it's finished in the machine.

Today, I am just back from circuits.  As it is half term, one of the ladies brought her three boys along, as she did last year on occasions, and it was great to have them there.  Bless them, they joined in most enthusiastically, especially the youngest one, and were a pleasure to have on board.
I was particularly pleased with myself as I managed to do some actual jumps, whole feet off the floor at the same time.  To put this in context, ever since I damaged my calves and ankles just before Dad died, jumping/bouncing/etc have all been no-noes as the strength just hasn't been there to do the action properly and safely.  Lindsey and I have been quietly working away at getting some strength back and it's all coming together.  Slow and steady works.   We still don't know what I did to them but never mind . . .

I'm writing this and then I need to have breakfast before doing the downstairs housework.  Monday has a nice pattern to it nowadays which makes it very satisfying.

I'll leave you with this photo - I bought these alstroemerias about ten days ago and just look how lovely they still are.  Such a good buy.
Have a lovely day, whatever the weather.  xx

Sunday 18 February 2024

Sunday, 18-02-24

Morning, everyone.  It's raining, mild and just starting to get light and I need to dodge the raindrops to get to the freezer in the shed.  I am very glad I did the planting out yesterday as it doesn't look as if I would want to do it today.

This is what I did with them.

This is round the back, in front of the middle bed (for now)
One of the pots at the front.
And the other pot - a nice welcome for visitors.

They're not very colourful yet, particularly the violas but give them a fortnight or so and they should look really nice, I hope.

I need to chuck in some slow release fertiliser pellets as well - I'm not sure the soil I used is that great.

The few that were left just went into the strip at the front.
Not great colour/focus.  Sorry.

And, finally, in the foreground are two of the bulbs I moved from a container I needed to empty last weekend.  I expected them to just die back but one is in bud and should flower soon.  That is an added bonus.

Apart from the gardening, I stayed in and did homey stuff.  I'm still knitting scarves to take to Potters in April - they have a Knit and Natter thing whereby guests can sit in the Orangerie (I think it's there), grab some needles and yarn and knit a square which will then be sewn into a scarf for a charity to distribute to the homeless for winter 24/25.  As I'm doing it at home, I'm just carrying on for the whole scarf rather than making squares that need sewing together and it's really reducing my stash.

I might pop out somewhere today, depending on the weather, but it's much more likely that I will chill at home and just potter around doing bits and bobs that need sorting.  I want to go through my Pinch of Nom books and find some nice recipes to try; I always enjoy going through their books.  I have a friend coming round on Thursday who also does Slimming World so it will be nice to find something for then.

Well, it's getting lighter but the rain is still quite heavy so I'd better not go to the shed in slippers.  As if we hadn't had enough rain already!!  Hopefully, it won't spoil any plans you have for today.  Have a good 'un, everyone, and stay warm and dry.  zxx

Saturday 17 February 2024

Saturday, 17-02-24 and a few garden photos

Morning, everyone.  I'm having a slower start to the day as far as blogging is concerned as I've been having fun in the kitchen concocting something vegetable-y and pasta-ey and spicy for lunch - and now I'm really looking forward to it!
It's dull this morning and it looks as if there was a bit of rain overnight as the slabs are a bit damp.  Still, grab the moment and at the moment it is nice and dry so I'm not grumbling in the slightest.

I had plans for yesterday, didn't I?  However, after getting home from SW and a bit of shopping, it morphed into a snuggle, snooze and sleep day.  I seemed to be very tired so gave in and that was that.  And I have slept well all night too so must have needed it.  I feel great this morning so, providing it stays dry, getting those plants out is top of the list!

I got the next Broomfield Coach trips newsletter yesterday and there's something I would dearly love to go to.  It's first first show in Torvill and Dean's final tour before retiring and I think they are brilliant.  However - very first world problem - I will be at Potters, Five Lakes at the same time so I will have to give it a miss.  Such a hardship < tongue in cheek here > but I'm sure I will survive!

So, on to today.  I've already been buzzing around in the kitchen but am still in my pojs so I think I will have breakfast first, then have my bath and get dressed and then pop out the back to do the necessary and a bit more if the spirit moves.

I look a few photos about an hour ago . . .

Soon to be planted . . .
. . . and ditto.
My mini-daffs are starting to flower.  There's a nice clump of flowers out the front but I haven't quite got the nerve to go out in pjs to take a photo so I'll take one later on.
These hyacinths have been in this spot for ages and ages and I keep saying I need to move them but never do.  However, they are now just too close to the wall and a bush and they were a bit disturbed during the wall repairs.  Also, after what Sooze said last week, I bet there are a lot of baby bulbs clumped together which need splitting anyway - so I'll do that as they die back in a couple of months.

I shall be making my own mint sauce again soon.

Have a lovely Saturday, everyone.  I hope it stays fine for you and that all goes well.  Take care.  xx

Friday 16 February 2024

Friday, 16-02-24

Good morning, everyone.  Friday again and the weekend is within grabbing distance.  What a beautiful day's weather we had round here yesterday.  Completely spring like with sunshine and temperatures up to around 18C which is absolutely bonkers.  However, it's rained again overnight and everything is dripping as I type while the forecast is for light rain at times.  Not this afternoon, I hope, as I want to get those bedding flowers out.

It was lovely to be back at Hyde Hall yesterday.  There were loads and loads of snowdrops out as well as early daffs and some crocuses while the hellebores were an absolute picture.  The grass was very soggy and a lot of it was cordoned off so we had to stick to the paths but that was OK, there were plenty of people there but it really didn't feel crowded in the slightest.

I took a few photos, of course.

I'm putting something in my diary to remind me to go back in two to three weeks' time and then in about five to six weeks' time when the tulips will be out.  There are so many coming up.

All in all, we had a really lovely time there.

There was an email waiting when I got home to let me know that my bed base and headboard are both ready for delivery.  I chose a date from the selection available - not next week but the week after - so that is something to look forward to, isn't it?

Today, being Friday, is Slimming World day.  Once that's done and dusted, I need to pop into Morrisons for a few things and then it's pretty much all home based stuff - some housework, a bit of ironing and I'd like to get the bedding plants out, if possible.  And then, if time permits, I might trundle off to another garden centre to see what they have in the way of tallish and narrow shrubs/little trees - although I think this year I might just have a couple of wigwams of sweet peas to give a bit of height, one in the bed and one in a pot.  

I don't have very much on over the weekend so I can focus a bit more on the garden - always weather permitting, of course.
Have a lovely Friday, whatever your plans are.  xx

Thursday 15 February 2024

Thursday, 15-02-24

Good morning, one and all.  It's just getting light and there has been rain but the forecast is promising.  That's good because I have plans. 

Yesterday turned out really well.  After a lazy start, I made my way over to Longacres (formerly Wyvale) where I had a little look around before popping into my trolley some polyanthus and some violas which I will probably put out tomorrow, some round the front and some round the back.  I should have got a little bad of compost too but forgot.  As well, I needed some secateurs - couldn't find mine the other day after the autumn upheaval but they will probably turn up now I have bought some more as is always the way.

It was a very pleasant outing, made even nicer when I bumped into an ex-parent I haven't seen for a good decade or so.  I never had her child in my class but was very involved in my SEN role over all the time they were at the school.
She really didn't recognise me at first so it was one of those double take moments that I got a lot when I first lost all the weight but now very much recently.

Personal Training was good too.  

Here's the new piece of kit I mentioned on Tuesday.  It is called a tower rack (very appropriate, I think!!!).  I didn't use it yesterday but I look forward to another go next week to strengthen those particular muscles.  After personal training, the aches have pretty much gone now so that's good.

Today starts with an online SET class as usual.  Then, instead of our usual coffee and chat, Chris and I are off to Hyde Hall for a walk around and some lunch.  The forecast is pretty good - it always feels cooler up on that hill but it should be sunny and the temperature is predicted to be in the mid teens which is ridiculously warm for February.

So not much time for housework today but I did a load of washing yesterday and there will be a little bit of ironing to do.  It won't take long though.

Have a lovely Thursday, everyone.  xx

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Wednesday, 14-02-24

My goodness, half way through February (pretty much) already - can you believe it?  Morning, everyone, Welcome to Wednesday and, I have just remembered, Valentine's Day, not that it bothers me nowadays!  😊

It's a dull, dismal start to the day, carrying on from yesterday when I set out for Groove having hung out some early morning washing and had to bring it back in when I got home because it was raining.  Not to worry, it dried inside and it did get a bit of a blow in the fresh air which is nice for tea towels and cloth wipes.  All ironed now and I will be taking it all off the airer and putting it away in a few minutes' time.
Groove was good although I didn't feel as much energy as usual and my shoulders/upper arms were aching after Monday.  They still are - not the 'ooops, I've done some damage' ache, just a 'maybe I pushed it a bit too far' ache.  I'll know better if the new thing is used next week and be a bit more careful but it shows I was exercising good and proper!  And ibuprofen works wonders, if really necessary!

After we got back, Chris and I parted company, I went in, straight out to get the washing in and hung up inside and then had breakfast.

The rest of the day was just the usual stuff - bit of housework, bit of meal prep, bit of tidying and so on and so forth.  I didn't go out again but maybe I will pop over to one of our many garden centres today - and, yes, it really is just for looking although the chances are I will come back with some bedding plants as well.  

As it is Wednesday, it is personal training later on so I'll be getting out for that anyway which will be nice.

Are you doing anything special today - a nice meal, a cosy evening with a loved one . . . ?  Have a lovely day, whether you are or aren't and stay warm and dry . . .  xx

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Tuesday, 13-02-24

Good morning, everyone.  Wasn't it a lovely day yesterday - I hope it was for you and it certainly was here.  A bit cold, yes, but wall to wall sunshine pretty much all day and the sun was still shining at quarter to five.  By five it was definitely fading but our days are very obviously longer now.  Lovely!

 Circuit training was really very good.  There were ten of us rotating around eleven activities and I felt so good afterwards.  Lindsey has a new piece of equipment - not sure what it is called but my shoulders and upper arms are aching this morning.  I'll try and remember to take a photo tomorrow when I go for circuits.

Then Mel came round and we had such a good natter about all sorts of things.

I had two pleasant surprises.  The first was a letter about my state pension.  Three cheers for the triple lock.  I won't be any better off but I won't be significantly worse off either.  By that, I mean after taking into account all those things that are going or have gone up, my finances will still be stable and I don't underestimate the value of that.  I haven't heard about my teachers' pension yet - they are much later to notify about the annual increase but there will be some as it is index linked (6.7% this time, I think although I'm not sure about that).  There will be extra tax to pay, of course, but even so . . .

Then I had a parcel; it was the last bit of my Christmas present from John - three lots of flowers from Bloom and Wild over three months.  How lovely!  They are 'recovering' at the moment but I should be able to arrange them nicely later on.

Another nice thing - I realised that it's only a couple of months until my Monday to Friday break at Center Parcs, Elveden.  Time to start thinking about what to do, what/where to eat/what to take, etc.  I have a self-catering  apartment rather than a villa/lodge this time - they are very cosy and comfortable, the kitchen is small and complete and I'm pretty sure I have a lakeside view again.
I always say the pre-planning is almost as much fun as the actual holiday and I really believe that.

I return from there and a week later I'm off again for a Fun and Fitness Shimmy and Groove weekend at Potters, Five Lakes.  An exciting April indeed.

Today there's Groove - sort of dance type aerobics - and after that it's upstairs cleaning, washing, drying and ironing plus, maybe, more gardening.  Busy, yes, but nice busy, productive busy not stressful busy.  Oddely, I am starting to almost enjoy doing my own housework.  Who'd ever have guessed it, eh?  Not me, for sure.

Depending on time, I might take a trip to a garden centre just to take a look.  That would be nice.  If not, maybe tomorrow.

Have a lovely day, everyone.  xx

Monday 12 February 2024

Monday, 12-02-24

Morning, everyone.  here we are, well into the second week of February and it was light when I woke today.  Admittedly, I didn't wake until nearly half past seven and now I am wondering if I have really broken the early waking habit.  If so, I need to get a reliable and loud alarm clock or dig out the one I have and see if it still works which would be far more sensible.

I managed to get out into the garden - it wasn't too hard as the sun was shining and the birds were singing and it was lovely and mild.
I went out just before twelve and, when I glanced at my watch about half an hour later, it was nearly half past two!  Doesn't time fly sometimes.

I tidied up that middle bed which now looks pretty green, what with the cyclamen leaves covering the soil and the bulbs spiking through, not to mention the early summer flowers coming up -lupins and geraniums, for example  . . .

. . . and then more or less sorted out the other two beds, using redundant pot soil to infill the edges where they had worked on the wall repair and left gaps.  There's still a bit more work to do on the herb and foliage bed but not all that much really.  I sorted out other pots, chucked some old stuff out and generally made good inroads into it all.
Sooze, I thought of you when I was emptying one pot and found a cluster of daffodil bulbs that hadn't really done anything for years.  They're now separated and in different places including a few round the front where there's a bit of a bulb gap.  Fingers crossed.

What I forgot to do, I have just realised, is prune back the clematis - drat.  Still, that's a matter of minutes and really won't take long at all.
There's still loads of other bits and bobs but we're getting there.  I am trying to think of things that are tall and narrow to add more height to the whole bed without taking up too much space.

Today begins with circuits at Lindsey's studio and then I have my friend Mel staying for coffee when she delivers my Avon order.  Usually, Monday is downstairs cleaning but I should still have time for that, especially as I gave it a going over on Friday so it's really not that bad.

That's the highlights of my Monday.  How about you?  xx

Sunday 11 February 2024

Sunday, 11-02-24

Sunday greetings to you all!  It is dry and fine at the moment round here but yesterday started out dry and even sunny but it poured later on.  Oh, well, it is February - what can we expect!!

I really didn't do very much yesterday.  I used up all the remaining leftovers from Friday so I didn't even have much meal prep.  I read, watched telly, slept on and off all day and still had a great night's sleep.  

Weather permitting, I'd really like to get out in the garden today and deal with the middle bed.  The bulbs are coming up but aren't really showing to advantage right now.  It's what I see from the French window and could look much nicer. 
And the clematis needs cutting back as it's starting to send out new growth.  I don't think it is in the right place now that the garden room is there but if it is happy, it will brighten up a darker corner.  I'll see how it does this year and then, maybe, move it next winter.

A short one today as there's not really much to write about.  I hope everyone's Ok and not troubled by wind, flood or snow.  Have a lovely restful Sunday.  xx

Saturday 10 February 2024

Saturday, 10-02-24

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to a Sunny Saturday (it is here, anyway), such a change from the dampness of the last few days.  Whether it will last or not, goodness knows, but fingers crossed.
Thanks for all your lovely comments about what you make for guests.  Pasta based meals seem very popular, plus good old roasts.  All delicious and not too time consuming.

Yesterday evening was really lovely.  The lasagne was delicious and there's a couple of small portions left over.  One's in the freezer (it did get reheated properly so should be fine) and the other is on today's menu!
I ended up making an Italian salad dressing to go with the mixed salad and that was delicious too.  I tend not to make my own salad dressings but maybe I should more.  It's not as if they are tricky after all, most of them anyway!
The M&S tiramisu was so good and, thankfully, Dave and Anna took the last bit home with them.
Now I just have to polish off the remaining leftovers and rehydrate.  Not quite a hangover but definitely not 100%!  

Today is going to be an easy day.  If I feel like it and the weather is still playing ball, I will carry on with the back garden and I still have a bit of ironing outstanding but . . . maybe I will, maybe I won't.  We will see!

Have a lovely Saturday, everyone.  Stay safe, warm and dry!  xx

Friday 9 February 2024

Friday, 09-02-24

Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to wet Friday after way too much rain yesterday and overnight.  No snow - hooray.  
I do love snow but round here it doesn't stay lovely for long.  On the other hand, I now have my yaktrax, don't I?

Yesterday was a lovely, easy day after three slightly manic days.  SET online was good, as always, and Chris and I had so much to talk about, we didn't stop for a second.  Next week we're going out for lunch - Hyde Hall if the weather is good, somewhere local if it's wet.  That will be very pleasant.

Then the rest of the day was spent doing the usual homey stuff, knitting, reading, watching telly and generally relaxing and very nice it was too.

Today is more of the same, sort of.
Slimming World first and then I need to get a few things from Morrisons that I didn't put on the list for Wednesday.
I want to give downstairs a dust and sweep seeing as Dave and Anna are round later.
There's that bit of ironing which is going to be over-dry by now but there you go, that's what steam irons are for, isn't it?
And after boasting that I was sleeping longer now, I woke before five this morning, obviously (!) so I'm hoping I can catch myself a bit of a snooze this afternoon.

I've remembered to take the lasagne out of the freezer so it will gently thaw through the day, ready to reheat with extra cheese on top - yum.  The rest is easy - garlic bread, h m coleslaw, mixed salad and a bought dessert because I'm not brilliant with desserts.  I got some tiramisu from M&S and have some cream to pour over so that's all right.
And it will take no time at all to set the table, etc, so I'm feeling good and chilled about it.

What sort of thing do you provide when family or friends are over for a meal? 

Have a lovely day.  I hope the weather hasn't been too bad where you are.  Stay safe, everyone.  xx

Thursday 8 February 2024

Thursday, 08-02-24

Good morning, all.  It's really not nice outside - very wet, a bit windy and getting colder.  Not cold enough for snow, thank goodness, but cold enough to make me very thankful I'm not going out today!!

I got the shopping done yesterday, driving over to M&S/Aldi.  I'm all set up for the next week, I hope, with a few extra bits and bobs for tomorrow evening.  Once home and tidy again, it was time to log on and start that SEND link governor training.  'It should take around two hours' it said at the top.  Who ever thought that must have been a very fast worker.  And the internet went down half way through too which was more than a bit annoying.
Never mind, I got it all done so was able to go to the meeting with a clear conscience and it did give me some good ideas for fulfilling my SEND governor role so was well worth doing.

Today I'm running really late after sleeping until after seven.  I've done my online SET class and am just waiting for Chris to arrive.  Then it's the usual stuff really and I'm glad to have an easier afternoon.  If the rain stops, I might go out for a walk, I'll see how I feel.

Have a lovely day, whatever the weather is doing your way.  xx

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Wednesday, 07-02-24

Hi again, everyone.  This week is speeding past - how can it be Wednesday already?  Mind you, over the weekend, Saturday felt like Sunday all day; it was a very weird sensation.  Do you get that sometimes, feeling it is one day when it is actually another and you know very well that it is another?

Anyway, Wednesday, and it looks as if the fine weather has broken.  It's not actually raining now but it has been wet overnight, starting yesterday early evening and, while we are not expected to get anything really cold or snowy, the temperature has definitely dropped again.  What's it like your way?

Cherie, I have been checking Spam and your comments haven't come through, sorry.  😒

Yesterday was another energetic day.  I went to Groove (great fun), I did the upstairs cleaning, etc, and changed my sheets which was lovely come bedtime, I made the lasagne which is now in the freezer, I did three loads of washing (one was my oodie which gets terribly heavy when wet so I just added a couple of jumpers and nothing else, plus a coloured wash and the bedding and low temperature whites) and I spend some time in the garden, mostly sorting out the plant pots, emptying the soil either into the brown bin or the compost heap, depending on how long it had been in the pot*, sweeping up crunchy leaves that kept blowing around in the wind and piling the pots in one place.

( * As I feed the tomatoes all through summer, I reckon the soil is reusable so it goes in the compost bin.  I don't know if that is right or wrong but that's what I do.  The brown bin stuff is also recycled by the council.)

As Dave and Anna are round for supper, I sat down and finished planning the meal.  I never do a formal starter, just have nibbles out when they arrive, but I need to get some stuff for the mains and any dessert we have (often nice fruit) plus some drinks.  So, as I'm running out of some salad stuff too and a few cleaning products, I made a shopping list and that's what I'm doing first thing.  I'll drive over to the Clock Tower precinct so I can use M&S and Aldi.

I feel no motivation to garden when it is wet so, while I might make myself do a bit, it won't amount to much.  However, I didn't get round to sorting out my jumpers yesterday so maybe I could do that.
And I have just remembered that I have a bit of governor's training I need to at least start so I must do that before the meeting this evening.
And it is personal training at Lindsey's studio too.  All a bit of a rush really so I will make sure my dinner is all ready to heat up and eat after the meeting as there won't be any time before.
And I have a bit of ironing but that might have to wait until tomorrow!

Phew - another busy day!  Wish me luck . . . and stay safe and warm, whatever you plan to do today.  xx

Tuesday 6 February 2024

Tuesday, 06-02-24

Morning, one and all, and welcome to Tuesday's blog!  It's dull and a bit chilly this morning with a continuing wind and the forecast isn't great but we will see!

I got loads done yesterday.  Circuits was full again - nine or ten of us so it was very chatty and sociable.  After breakfast I set to and got downstairs done.  It's getting quicker and feels easier and satisfying (once it's done!).  I'm sure I'm doing a better job than my cleaners did - for a start, I tackle spots on the carpet when I see them as I vacuum.  I know that sounds daft but the cleaners didn't so I did them later, if I noticed (and I didn't always notice!),  Also, I do extra bits they didn't do.  Also - and this sounds bad - now I'm doing it myself, the surfaces are clearer.  I did always tidy before them came but I'm keeping surfaces clearer of clutter to make it easier.  

After lunch, I got some gardening done.  I decided to start with the front bit which was messy, covered with dried leaves and generally in need of a bit of a clear.  Now you can see where the bulbs are coming up - the front does look pretty in spring.

English bluebells
Crocuses - fairly new in but already thickening out a bit, despite being disturbed a lot when the front was repaved.
Hyacinths - I have a lot of these from when I was teaching and a bowl of hyacinths was a favourite Christmas pressy from children.  After flowering, I just shoved them  in the garden and they come back year after year after year!  I love gifts like that.
And daffs, of course.  Some daffs are still just little green spikes and some are further on.

I cut the grass too - you don't often have to do that in February, do you?

Anyway, it looks a whole lot more welcoming now.

The sauce for the lasagne is now cooked and, as Dave and Anna have confirmed that they will be over Friday, I will make the lasagne today and get it into the freezer.

Today starts with Groove as always on a Tuesday and I have a few piles of washing so one load can do while I'm out.

Then it's upstairs which won't take all the long and, finally, I will start tackling the back garden.  I'll make a list and when that's done I can stop if I want or carry on, depending on how cold/damp/bored I am!  

I also want to sort though my jumpers - there's some I'm just not wearing and I may as well deal with them and take them somewhere where they can be put to good use.

So - Groove, upstairs, garden, lasagne, jumpers.  Enough to keep me out of trouble, for sure.
How about your day?  Doing anything exciting?  xx

Monday 5 February 2024

Monday, 05-02-24

Good morning, everyone.  Happy start of a new week to us all and I hope your weekend was exactly what you wanted it to be!

I truly did intend to get out into the garden, especially when it looked as if the weak sunshine was going to stay around.  Sadly, it didn't, a stiff breeze blew up and made it feel colder than it really was so I decided to stay inside, nice and warm.
I did some housework, including giving the kitchen a good wipe over, made some delicious soup using saved bits of broccoli and cauliflower (stems and leaves), some soup base mix and some stock (three good portions now in the freezer for lunches), read, knitted, watched telly and generally had another chilled day.  It was all very pleasant.

Today will be busier.
I'm off to Circuits first thing this morning.
Once home and after breakfast, it's downstairs cleaning time.  Nothing tricky, it just has to be done.
After lunch, I'd like to do a bit of work in the garden, weather permitting.  Just a bit at a time is the name of the game here.
I'm hoping Dave and Anna will be round Friday evening and I plan to make lasagne so I'd like to get the ragu part made in the slow cooker today so the flavours can develop and improve.  I plan to make the dish in advance and freeze it.  Then, on Friday, I can just thaw it and reheat it to piping hot, make some garlic bread and throw together a nice mixed salad and a dressing.  Easy peasy (in theory)!

And that, said John, is that!  (remember the A A Milne poem?)

Have a great Monday, everyone.  xx

Sunday 4 February 2024

Sunday, 04-02-24

Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to Sunday.  It's a dull day out there but so mild that I don't need a dressing gown which is nice.

On the way back from the shed, I took a few snaps of growing things.

There's a few half decent clumps of snowdrops.  This one is in the middle of the bed so didn't get disturbed too much.
Last year's new lupins are emerging.  That happened last year and then a cold snap killed them off - fingers crossed for this year.

I'm hoping the weather stays mild and dry because I'd quite like to make it Sort Out The Garden week.  A little bit each day would work wonders and is very do-able.

Fingers crossed.

Yesterday was pretty much a nothing sort of day and today looks like being similar.  Apart from the daily stuff, the only productive thing I did was knitting.  I read, watched telly, did a bit of social mediating - etc, etc, etc.

Maybe I could start garden week this afternoon instead of tomorrow.  I think I need some fresh air.
How's your weekend going?  xx

(Stephanie, I need to apologise - one of your comments ended up as spam for some reason and, when I dealt with it, I think I must have deleted it by mistake as I couldn't then find it in the relevant place.  So sorry.)

Saturday 3 February 2024

Saturday, 03-02-24

Good morning, everyone.  Apologies for being a bit late.  I stumbled across some Ian Hislop YouTube stuff - Private Eye review of the Year and 'in conversation . . . ' sort of stuff and lost count of time.  I think he's very funny, very perceptive, clever and he just makes me laugh a lot!

Anyway - I went to Slimming World and it was very busy.  Things have really picked up since Christmas and lots of people stay for the rest of the time so conversations are lively and helpful!  
The downstairs windows are now nice and clean again - as clean as they're ever going to be anyway, and it is so nice.  
For the rest of the day I pottered really, pretty much what today is looking like too.  It's Saturday, a day to do what's needed and then chill.  It used to be such a busy day when I was working so it is an ongoing delight not to do washing, planning,  shopping and so on.

But first - finish watching the YouTube I paused when I realised what the time was.

Have a great Saturday, one and all.  xx

Friday 2 February 2024

Friday, 02-02-24

Good morning, everyone.  How are you today?  February has started, the days are getting longer, the early evenings lighter and the sun is a bit higher in the sky.  The spring bulbs are showing and the snowdrops are out.  There's not much of a show here as the were pretty disturbed while the walls were being rebuild at the end of last year and this year I really must remember to take a few photos to help me remember where they need replenishing - all the bulbs, not just the snowdrops.
I do love to see those fresh, green spikes showing against the dark earth.

As the BBC promised, yesterday was a lovely day, sunny and mild.  Today doesn't look nearly as promising but it's expected to stay dry all the same.  I'll take that with gratitude!

After my online SET class (energetic) and my coffee and chat at Chris' house, I finished off the ironing, finished auditing the freezer and made a meal plan for the coming week - it's not tablets of stone but it's a helpful guide and informs my shopping list which is pretty tiny this week.  I finished off the SEND report and sent that off, much to my relief.
Then I did some tidying.
I realised that a lot of the above (not all) was avoidance tactics so I gave myself a ticking off, got out the window cleaning stuff and started with the garden room as those windows were awful.  They're much better now although I think I'll give them another going over reasonably soon.  I also did both the French windows and the little living room window on the outside before starting to feel just a bit chilly.
I'll do the insides today - they're nowhere near as bad - and, as the upstairs windows are tilt and turn, I can get them done much more easily and without going outside.

And I have just remembered that the shed door has some glass in it so I'll do that first.

First of all, though, it is Slimming World (back on it properly now) and my little shop, then home and breakfast.
Not a busy day at all so should be nice and restful.

Thursday 1 February 2024

Thursday, 01-02-24

Morning, peoples, and welcome to the first day of February!   The BBC is optimistic about the weather forecast, saying it will be nice and sunny today.  I hope so as the last few days have been pretty dull much of the time.

Yesterday ended up quite different as my tum went on me a bit.  It's nothing to worry about, I'm not unwell, I felt fine, but sometimes not having a gallbladder any more has a bit of an impact, especially if I have made unwise food choices and I didn't want to stray too far from a loo.
Everything is fine again now.

So I didn't do the windows but I did some general housework and then did a bit of a freezer audit which I plan to finish this morning.  It's so much easier than around this time last year.  For a start, there's just one to do and also, looking back over records, I've done mini audits roughly quarterly so it's not in too bad a state.
However, my lists will be up to date and accurate and that's such a big help with meal planning.

Today, I have SET class online and coffee with Chris, after which I will complete my audit and also just 'close the accounts' for January and get February's started off.  No council tax or water payments for the next two months, which is nice!  What isn't so nice is that I should hear soon how much it's going up by but dear me, isn't that just the modern reality.
Windows?  Maybe, I'll see how I feel.

Thank you for your kind comments yesterday with thoughts and prayers for my friend and family.  I just need to add that they knew it was coming at some point as s/he was ill, but even so, very, very sad.

How are you spending the first day of the new month?  xx