Monthly Archives: March 2013

Happy Easter!

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I celebrated with the longest lie-in I have had in weeks – I slept until nearly midday, despite N bringing me a mug of coffee earlier in the morning.  I couldn’t prize myself out of sleep’s grip long enough to drink any of it, and didn’t surface properly until he came up later with a second mugful (in a mug bearing the legend ‘I’d rather be in bed’) and hot cross buns, for a late breakfast in bed.  Even then I didn’t get up – I stayed in bed and snuggled with the dogs, and read my book until 1pm, and only then did I get up and have a shower.  But I must have needed the sleep, so I am not going to beat myself up over it.

N and I are going to do some more sorting-out in the office/library today – having made space on the shelves yesterday, I now want to juggle some books around so all my craft books are together, maybe with my recipe books too – and hopefully that will mean we can reconfigure the remaining shelves to get an extra shelf of space, which would be very useful.  I also need to go through the shelves and see if there are any books I am not going to read again, and they can go to the charity shop, which will make a bit more space.

I’ve also got the Boat Race to watch this afternoon.  When the boys were little, we had friends who had a flat that overlooked the start of the Boat Race at Putney, who hosted a Boat Race party, and we went a couple of times, which was great fun (except when the tube broke, and we had to get from Fenchurch Street to Putney without using the underground, on a Sunday.  That was a challenge – but at least we were still above ground when the tube actually broke – so we weren’t stuck on a train in the tunnels, with three small boys.  That might have been an even bigger challenge, I think!

No2 son had his final reply from his UCAS form today – he didn’t get an offer from St Andrews, but as he has four unconditional offers under his belt, he is not too distressed by this, and is going to accept a place at Edinburgh University.  It will be very quiet here when both he and No1 son are off at university this autumn, and we only have No3 son here.  Thankfully it is another two years before he goes, so I will have time to get used to the idea of the empty nest.  I must admit that I am looking forward to being able to keep the house a bit tidier – with five of us untidying, and only me tidying, I am fighting a losing battle – when it is only N and I, maybe I will have a better chance of success!

Anyway – I hope you all have a happy Easter, and that spring comes soon for all of us!

Baking Saturday.

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I did have a lie-in this morning, and ohh boy did I enjoy it!  And it got better when N brought up breakfast in bed – croissants and jam.  It does seem as if this has energised me somewhat, as the first thing I did when I got downstairs was to make a big pan of thai spiced sweet potato and coconut soup, which we had for lunch – it was quite spicy (I may have been a tad heavy handed with the red thai curry paste).  I also whipped up a batch of parmesan shortbreads – a lovely, easy Nigella recipe that I did for the first time at christmas, and which was very popular indeed then.  They are out of the oven and cooling now, and I am in the middle of making a batch of hot cross buns.

I have made hot cross buns before – in a class called Entertainment Cookery at VIth form college – but I’ve never made them again since, until the Great British Bake-Off Easter masterclass programme inspired me to have a go at Paul Hollywood’s buns (arf).  The dough is made and is proving, and my next task is to find and weigh out the dried fruit to go in it, along with the orange zest and cinnamon (I’m not going to put apple in mine – it may be sacrilege to alter a Paul Hollywood recipe, but apple in hot cross buns just sounds wrong to me).

In the meantime, N and I are doing some sorting out in the library-cum-office.  Well – at the moment, he is carting books around, and I am sitting at the computer writing this entry, but I have been helping a bit.  We are hoping to a) get rid of some books we no longer want, to the charity shop and b) make space for all the new books that are currently cluttering up every spare surface in the room.  This is mainly my fault, as I am the one who buys the most books – and my ever-expanding library always needs more and more and more space.  I need to stop writing now, and start sorting out the books.

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Parmesan biscuits.

So – to close – my positive thing for yesterday – hmm – I am not sure there really was one.  It was a fairly blah day – made a shopping list, went to Silverburn and had sushi – actually that was fun, so I will count that as a positive thing – and then did the weekly shop.  Today, on the other hand, seems very positive – some cooking, some home baking and some organising and tidying – a positive whirlwind of action.  I seem to get more stuff done when N is here – he is very good at getting things started, and motivating me to join in, and then we finish them off together – though he does do much more than me.  He is a hero, and a positive thing in my life.

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Hot cross buns – not as beautiful as Paul Hollywood’s, but I hope they will taste as good!

Doing my messages.

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If I am right, this Scottish phrase means running your errands, and if that’s so, then I did my messages today – messages that I haven’t got round to doing for at least a week.  I needed to post an earring back to N’s cousin, and a copy of my choir’s cd to my mother in law.  It does feel good to be a bit organised and get things done.

i do wish I didn’t have a headache every day.  Some days, like today, it isn’t too bad – just a hint of a headache, but other days it is worse.  I know it isn’t a good idea to take too many painkillers, so I try to manage without, but it is dragging me down and making me tired.  It might be that I am grinding my teeth in my sleep – I will ask the dentist when I see him in a few days – but if it isn’t that, I don’t know what it might be.  We have CO detectors in the house and even though I haven’t checked them lately, I bet N would have noticed if there was a problem.  I might have a lie-in tomorrow, and see if that helps.

Weary Wednesday.

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Another less than successful pop group there, I think.  I was late up this morning – it was 9am, not 8.45.  It was my own fault – when N is away, I tend to stay up later than normal, and later than I should, so I was tired when the alarm went off this morning.

But I have ticked off the most important things that needed to be done today – I have remembered that I am taking the children to the dentist in under an hour, the chicken for tonight’s risotto is roasted and cooled, the eggs and the peas are cooked, so I just need to strip the chicken off the carcass, and chop some onions, and then supper will be quick to cook.  I’ve also done a bit of a tidy-round, and cleaned the dining room table, because we are hosting the Residents’ Association AGM tonight.  There is a part of me that wishes I believed that there would be someone at the meeting who would take over being the secretary, but frankly I doubt it.  I think I am stuck with being secretary for the foreseeable future – probably until we move away!!  That’s how the last secretary got out of the role!

But it really is only a once-a-year job, so I shouldn’t complain – especially if I type up the minutes tomorrow, so that next year I don’t have a mini-panic, thinking I have lost the notes of the meeting, like I did yesterday!

My positive things for today will have to be the tidying I have done, and not being too hard on myself for not getting up by 8.45am.  Not massive achievements, but some days even the little things are big, if you see what I mean.

Tired Tuesday.

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Not the name of a pop group today – I imagine that a pop group called the Tired Tuesdays would sing fairly depressing songs, to be honest!

I had the hardest time fighting off sleep and forcing myself out from under the duvet, and I wasn’t up by 8.45am.  I was up by 9am, so not too bad, all in all.  I foresee a fairly unproductive day – though I do intend to get to the vet’s, to pick up Coco’s ointment.  And at least it is sunny here today, which should help lift my spirits a bit.

I had a very odd dream last night.  I had found an injured cat – in the dream, I decided it had been knocked down by a car – and I was trying to get it to a vet, but everyone around me was being obstructive – not telling me phone numbers I needed, not phoning the vet when I begged them to, and generally ignoring both me and the cat, and I couldn’t get them to listen to me or help the cat.  Is the injured cat me, I wonder?  Is there something inside me that thinks that my cries for help aren’t being heard?  Or that I know I need help but aren’t able to ask in a way that other people will hear and respond to?  Dreams do have meanings, I know – but this one has me perplexed and a bit worried too.

Happy Mondays

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Another more positive day today.  I slept quite well, and was up before 8.45am, so I even had time for a mug of coffee and a skim through the newspaper, before going out to knitting group!  This is almost unheard-of!

I’ve taken a bit of a leap of faith at knitting group, and have split my tunic, to start shaping the back – fingers crossed I have done it at the right level, and it will look right when finished.  It does mean that a row is now only 125 stitches, rather than 250, which is a big improvement!  I do need to put the stitches for the front onto another cable, so that I can measure the tunic up against myself, and judge when the back is long enough – and then I have to work out how to shape for the neck – eeek!  But that is a few days away – it would be today, if I got my finger out and knitted hard this afternoon, but I don’t think I will be doing that – I foresee an afternoon of tv and internet, with maybe a bit of knitting, before heading off for choir this evening.  I must remember to leave choir at 9.30pm, in order to pick N up from the airport.

I have been thinking for a while, that I should take apart a velvet dress I made myself ages ago, and make it into a skirt – it is a beautiful deep cherry-red, and I love the colour, so it is a shame that I don’t wear the dress any more.  I think I would get far more wear out of a skirt, to be honest.  I would need to work out how to get enough fabric for a waist band, and I think I would want to pleat it and put a zip in – it is too bulky for gathers or elastication, I think.  It also occurred to me today, that there might be enough fabric in the bodice to make a cushion cover – but I would have to check that.  It would be nice if there were, though.  I shall report back!

One of the knitters was not knitting today – she’d brought some patchworking with her instead, and it was so pretty – all in pinks, with hearts appliqued on.  She also had some embroidery with her – a design she’d drawn out for herself, with a Rennie Mackintosh design, and it was so beautiful – I will remember it, and try to use the memory as inspiration to do more embroidery myself – though it would take years to get as good as Liz, I am sure.

Small changes – the revised list.

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I am feeling good about the small changes – they are going well, and I am managing to stick to most of them, most of the time – which is what I was hoping for.  I am not expecting perfection from myself, or 100% adherence to all the changes, because I believe that a) aiming for perfection is setting ones self up for failure – because 100% perfection is not realistically achievable, and b) because I feel that it is better for me to have a realistic goal, and achieve it, and then be able to feel successful about that.

So – if I recall correctly, the initial small changes were:

 – get up by 9am each day – that has been moved forward to 8.45am, and I hope to move it further forward as time goes by.

 – no cakes, puddings, chocolate, sweets etc, except at weekends – this one has not been so easy to stick to, but apart from a bad week this week, I have done OK with it, and plan to carry on, and stick more closely to it.

 – do some housework each week – yup – I have done this, and feel good about it – and hopefully it will grow as time goes by.  Already I am sometimes doing more than one big housework job per week.

 – drinking water rather than blackcurrant squash at night – I’ve pretty much stuck to this one 100%, which is good, and I have noticed I am thinking more about the refined sugar content of things that I am eating and drinking, which is also good – and I am drinking more water during the day as well.

 – using less butter on toast/baked potatoes etc – I think I am getting better at this – a good start, anyhow.

So these four small changes are going pretty well, I think, and it is time to add some more, and update them a bit.  As I said, I will be working towards getting up earlier – 8.30am is the next goal.  I am going to drink more water during the day, and less squash.  I will stick more closely to the sweets/treats only at the weekends, and I will do a bit more housework/tidying each week.

In addition, I am also going to make some time each week to do some different craft activities – ones that mean me sitting at the dining table – which sounds daft, I know – but what I am aiming for is doing things that I can’t necessarily do in front of the tv, that will take me away from the tv.  I also want to do some more of the crafts that I have collected the supplies for, but haven’t yet had a go at, or that I have done in the past, but have either stopped doing, for whatever reason, or only do very occasionally (usually at a specific group).

I am sure that there was something else – or that there was a small change I had already added to the original list – but my memory is failing me right now, so I will leave the list here, and I can come back and add to it, if I remember anything else!