Friday, 2 December 2016

Celebrate #27

I have been so busy recently that I am celebrating the fact I can join in with the Celebrate crowd led by Lexa and her co-hosts Tonja and L.G!  Click on the button below to join in too :)

This week I attended my local borough sporting award ceremony as a finalist in their adult coach/instructor category.  I was blown away to be on the stage with "proper" coaches as I still don't really count myself as one and it was truly lovely to have been nominated.  I didn't win but I actually know the winner and she is amazing so I was very pleased for her.  It was also really nice that two of the ladies that were my original guinea pigs when I first began teaching Nordic walking could also come along to the awards with me and we had a really great time together.

I am also celebrating getting into a good knitting cycle where I have used up quite a few odd balls of wool from my stash knitting lap blankets for Alzheimer patients as part of a new project at my local hospital.  Using 10mm knitting needles and two strands of double knit they knit up really quickly and look quite good too with the colour combinations I have used.

Lastly I am celebrating and being thankful for the continued good weather we have been having in November which has allowed me to be outdoors so much - autumnal sunshine is just so beautiful :)

Here's hoping everyone else has had a good week and found something to be thankful for too - I'd love to know what you've been up to so leave a comment below!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Weight Loss Wedneday

Well I have to report a small loss which is a step in the right direction and makes me feel positive for the future.  The scales now read ___ 4 1/2 so I need to keep going and hope that in two - three weeks time I will be reporting that I have gone below the stone threshold.

I have exercised well this week (5 hours - 300 minutes) and I tried out one of the recipes from my new dieting book:
that went down a treat with both my husband and myself which bodes well for the future.  So this week will give me the opportunity to try out a couple more and I have more exercise planned so that I will have done 300 minutes this week too.

Last week, I had an interesting comment left by author Crystal http://crystalcollier.blogspot.com about how muscle focused exercises could help with weight loss.  I looked into this and interestingly found many references by doctors of how the bigger the muscle the more calories are burned and for longer so this week I did a bit more exercise focused on my larger muscles and hope to continue and add to this this week too.

I am also going to be measuring certain areas of my body so that even if the scales do not seem to be going down as much as I'd like hopefully my body shape will be changing for the better.

Joining up with - 


because we all need a little support in this weight loss journey :)

Let me know how things are going for you and as always I really value any tips or advice you can offer :)

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Celebrate #26

Another week where celebrations were high on the list - so joining in with the celebrate crew :)
Led by Lexa Cain and supported by Tonja Drecker and L G Keltner why not join in too?

1 - parties where we got lots of family together - always good to spend time in the company of little ones and lovely to have the opportunity to do a real party tea!!  Great fun had by one and all :)

2 - my radio interview for a local BBC radio station went really well. I didn't speak gobbledy gook and the radio presenter was really interested in finding out more about Nordic walking and invited me to tell everyone my website to find out more.  I've had more interest and people contacting me on the back of it so really pleased on how it all turned out!

3 - I also had more new people come out trying Nordic walking this week and really loving it so hope to see even more regular walkers this week - my group numbers are steadily growing :)

Here's hoping everyone else had a great week and will be enjoying their weekend too.  Leave me a comment below to let me know what you've been up to this week.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Weight Loss Wednesday

Must confess I feel rather down this week as my scales stay steady.  I sneaked a peak last week to see a one and a half pound loss but unfortunately after another party long weekend it looks like I've regained it all.  Looking on the bright side I haven't put on but still - sad face.

I wish I could say I feel confident I'll have a better week this time but I feel rather lack lustre - even though I got hold of one of the Hairy Bikers' diet cook books (from a charity shop) which had been recommended to me by a lady who has had great success this year - getting the weight off and keeping it off!


They have an on-line weight loss program too now (which you sign up and pay for) but I don't think that's what I need just at the moment but their free weight loss calculator did remind me that if I was able to lose 2lbs per week then it would take me less than 5 months to lose THREE STONE and that means that I would be standing on those scales on the 29th March at my perfect weight.  Maybe this thought will inspire me this week plus trying out some of their recipes?  Tune in next week to see what transpires :)

Linking up with - 

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The Prompt #129

Joining in with Sara for her wonderful creative writing linky -

I wasn't going to this week but then I saw the prompt word and suddenly I had a flood of memories plus a new moment this weekend so I thought - why not?  I can't say it's very well crafted but I hope you get the message behind it :)


TRICK!

With a snip and a snap,
bit the chewing gum pack
On my brother’s small finger
which took too long to linger
on my prankster pack of gum
This trick - my number one!

“Why do you have that penny there?”
My Dad would pluck one from my hair
Or behind my ear, beneath my chin
“Please show me how,” I’d beg of him
A way to make me smile however sad
A trick to save the day however bad.

“I can pull my thumb in half”
My nephew said with cheeky laugh
And with all eyes watching him
He amazed us with his grin
And his thumb in two parts - quick
For him it’s his first trick!

A deck of cards was all he had
But magic oozed from my grandad
And stories told of naughty Jacks
And Kings and Queens both red and black
He’d shuffle in and out the pack.
These tricks I’d all wish back.

How strange that mischief such as this
Throughout our lives gives us much bliss
For young and old, for girl and boy
Tricks played, tricks seen, dispense much joy
And gives us memories - filled with laughter
That we'll hold now - for ever after :)

Friday, 28 October 2016

Celebrate #25

Reflecting on my week, I feel I have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for - so I am happy that thanks to Lexa Cain, Tonja Drecker and L G Keltner there is somewhere to share this with others. 
Why not join in too?

1. Family Get Togethers
Last Friday, saw the arrival of both my parents and my son and his lovely girlfriend for the weekend celebration of my husband's birthday.  It was really perfect and so enjoyable and these special days are now something always to be treasured due to my father's illness.  My parents were so pleased to be able to meet the special girl in my son's life for the first time and of course being with young people is always such a tonic so there was lots of laughter throughout the weekend :)  My husband is always happy when family is with us and indulged in his passion of trying out a new dinner menu of venison stew with redcurrants which was delicious. We also had the most amazing indoor fireworks which were a great success and most unexpected as we had thought they'd never be as good as those we remembered from our own childhoods.  All in all a very special weekend :)


2. Bargain Hunting
I was thinking only last week that I would be needing a new pair of trainers as it gets muddier and wetter outdoors and trainers are so much better for Nordic walking in than walking boots.  My summer trainers are designed to allow the feet to sweat (yes I know Too Much Information!!) but this also means they let the wet in which is fine in warmer weather when they can dry off quickly but not so good as it gets colder. They were such a good bargain from a sports shop at only £10 that I realised I would be very unlikely to find another such bargain for branded trainers so imagine my surprise and delight when in the very next charity shop I visited there on the shelf in front of me was a sign proclaiming "brand new" next to a pair of Reebok trainers in MY size and with a price tag of £10!! I tried them on and they fitted perfectly so very happy I continued on my way to another charity shop where I found a top quality Regatta light weight waterproof with peaked hood in light purple and grey for only £5.50!  Boy was it my lucky day :)

3. Award Ceremony
I put forward the name of a lady, who regularly attends various of my Nordic walking groups, for a newcomer award in the Feel Alive at 65 celebration that was advertised for my county and was delighted when she and I received invitations to attend the award evening this week.  It turned out to be a wonderful evening not only because my nominee went up to collect an award certificate and met a member of the GB Olympic rowing squad but also because there were so many people there of an older age who are doing such amazing things in sport and active pursuits.  It really opened my eyes to what is on offer, what should be offered more widely and most importantly what can be accomplished as we get older despite failing health if we have our drive and determination.  The oldest participant there was 95 - yes - 95!!  Some of the stories told brought tears to the eyes and at various times there were audible gasps from the audience myself included.  I felt honoured to be amongst such people and I certainly appreciated the boost Nordic walking got as being talked about as a beneficial activity for the elderly :)

Now I'm off to catch up with what's being celebrated this week in the lives of others - here's wishing you all a super weekend!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Hygge Help Out

Today, I have a request - can you help me decide which one of these colour schemes works best for my up-coming posters?


Hygge seems to be really on trend here in the UK at the moment so I'd like my Nordic walking to get some of the publicity as it is part of the Nordic way of life!!

But I just can't seem to make up my mind which colour scheme works best or maybe you have another colour that you think might be even better?  Any input would be really useful and if you want to learn more about why Nordic Walking is so Hygge and good for you then please check out the blog post below on my Nordic Walking site -

Have you heard about Hygge (pronounced Hoo-guh) a Danish concept of cosiness that spans the Nordic countries?  Here at Ministry of Nordic Walks it seems to be fitting perfectly with what we do in our group walks particularly at this time of year.

1: Happiness and Mindfulness
Denmark (where Hugge originates) regularly tops The World Happiness Report (commissioned by the United Nations since 2012).  Meik Wiking, Charlotte Abrahams and Louisa Thomsen Brits (authors of books on Hygge – see below) link Hugge to mindfulness techniques and happiness science where people should be experiencing and concentrating on the pleasures and sensations they can appreciate in the present moment leading to increased well-being and feelings of happiness and contentment. 

Nordic Walking in the autumn and winter months brings lots of these types of pleasurable moments. The warm snuggly feeling of woollen socks, gloves and hats, the heating up of the body through the physical exercise, the beauty and aesthetics that surround us in nature as we walk along and the lovely feeling of having been out and exercised – all giving us a little bit of Hygge which we can appreciate.

2: Get Back to Nature
Signe Johansen in her new book “How to Hygge” sites the Nordic love of being at one with nature and enjoying the great outdoors as central to the concept of hygge. This is backed up by several studies that show that those who exercise outdoors are more likely to keep up a constant routine as well as walking outdoors burning more calories than using a treadmill due to factors such as wind resistance, inclines and downhill slopes.

Nordic Walking is ALL about getting outside and getting off the beaten track and into nature.  The Nordic poles help with stability and power on inclines as well as reduce downhill stress and we all agree walking with others keeps us coming back for more!

3:  Clear Your Head
Hygge is all about having that feeling of being content. Research has shown that being outdoors in a park or forest environment lowers stress levels, increases feelings of energy, is associated with greater feelings of revitalisation and positive engagement, boosts your self-esteem whilst decreasing tension, confusion, anger and depression.

Our group Nordic walkers often talk about how Nordic walking really helps them to attain a feeling of happiness and contentment as we walk along various pathways along canals and through tree lined areas.  The constant rhythm of “planting” the poles firmly, helps decrease tension or any anger issues and many have commented upon the positive mental health well-being they feel Nordic walking in such natural surroundings gives them.

4:  The Joy of Exercise
Hygge views being physical (taking exercise) as being enjoyable and not to be seen as a chore or something laborious. Signe Johansen points out that hygge is about the joy of exercise as a group activity and collaborating to achieve a sense of community.  Studies show that sedentary lifestyles are as dangerous to our health as smoking and dramatically increase our risk of contracting serious health problems such as cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and cancer.  So health and happiness are linked in hygge.

Nordic walking in groups achieves this sense of community and joy of exercise as we decide on which routes to take and new places to explore.  The use of the poles aids to the pace and length of walking routes we cover so decreasing any feelings of walking becoming laborious.

5:  De-Stress with something warm to drink
Hygge also encompasses another Nordic tradition of Fika – which is a daily break to sit down and enjoy a hot drink allowing oneself to de-stress.

Our Nordic walking groups often begin and end at cafes and many of our walkers make use of these facilities either before or after a walk – the social aspect makes it a welcome break from the hurley-burley of life.

References 
Books

Charlotte Adams – Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures – Living the Danish
                                   Way
Signe Johansen - How to Hygge
Louisa Thomsen Brits - The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well
Meik Wiking - The Little Book of Hygge

Research Journals
J. Thompson Coon, K. Boddy, K. Stein, R. Whear, J. Barton, M. H. Depledge. "Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review." Environmental Science & Technology, 2011; : 110203115102046.

Miyazaki Y, Lee J, Park BJ, Tsunetsugu Y, Matsunaga K. "Preventive medical effects of nature therapy" Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2011 Sep;66(4):651-6.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Another Weight Loss Wednesday

And I am pleased to announce it is - a small weight loss but a weight loss all the same!  And after another week where parties and celebrations meant a lot of sugary and fat containing food was consumed I think I must put this down to having been able to exercise each day, this last week, for a minimum of an hour.  I've also been able to get out into the garden to do lots of weeding and digging and I think that's helped to burn off those extra calories too.

I also caught part of a programme about a former American athlete who, by the time she was 45, had become very over-weight after an injury made her give up sports. She was involved in teaching high school students and was obviously much loved by them and determined NOT to go through the gastric band procedure after a friend died through this. She was given lots of nutritional advice and an exercise regime and in one year was able to drop HALF her body-weight.  She certainly made me feel, if she can do it at that size and age, then there's nothing stopping me doing the same and losing these extra few stones!


Joining in this week with My Mummy's World - hit the button below to join in too :)


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Thank you, Angela!

Angela (over at The Teacher's Desk 6) is one of those teachers who is always coming up with great lesson plans and resources for her students but she also helps other teachers by finding out about really useful teaching and techy stuff and sharing it on her blog.

One such really useful blog post by her this week led me to create my own animated banner below for my TpT store.
I've been admiring the other super teacher stores that have them and once again thinking "how do some of these people do it they must spend a fortune on all the latest gadgetry?"  But NO - as Angela told me it was something I'd be able to do for myself and for FREE if I followed the detailed instructions provided by Sarah Griffin - whose site Angela linked to.

This has meant I have used photobucket and bitly to make this animated banner and post it correctly on to the TpT site - creating a gif and shortened urls and both of these things are completely new to me so I have learnt a lot but I am really pleased with the end result and I think with a bit more practice I will succeed in getting things just right :)  But for now I just want to say a big thank you to Angela.  If any of you teachers/home educators don't know about her then go check out her blog by clicking on the button below!


Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Prompt


Another great word choice and some great poems already written when I went over to Sara's

This is what this week's word inspired in me - but please go and check out the others' work - you will not be disappointed.

The art work below is by Alessandro Formigoni who can be found at - http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/alessandro-formigoni.html?tab=artwork



Rufus the Red

Pointy snout

Appears from behind the garden bushes

Trotting across - a flash of red on a winter’s day

A tail to be proud of disappears in an instant

Delicate tracks in the crisp, white snow

Are all that is left of a visit by Rufus.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Celebrate #24

Joining in for another
led by Lexa Cain and her buddies, L.G. Keltner ad Tonja Drecker

This week I am celebrating: 

writing more blog posts this year than I ever did in the two years previously.  I made this a goal way back in January so I am very pleased to be announcing this in October.

having a lady (I nominated for an award for her participation in my Nordic walking groups) be selected to attend a regional sports award celebration.  I now just need to keep my fingers crossed for her to win!!

Having family to stay this weekend :)

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend with plenty to celebrate and be thankful for.  Let me know what you are up to?



Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Weight Loss Wednesday

Joining in with Sim and Zoe at -

for another weight loss round-up.

Well it hasn't gone very well actually.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I missed out on two hours of my weekly exercise regime and although I have been out in the garden pulling weeds this hasn't really made up for it.  I also haven't really ditched the junk food completely out and there was also the case of the large bag of M&Ms so not too surprising that there has been NO weight loss this week then again NO weight gain either so a new slate for this week really.

There will be a long birthday weekend starting this Friday, with my parents and my son and his girl-friend arriving and all staying through until Sunday so I know lots of party food and other rich stuff will be on the menu - venison with port included!  Therefore, I need to watch what I eat where I can and really hunker down for Monday & Tuesday.  Any added exercise will also be helpful.

I used to so like to exercise with the Australian girls on Oz Aerobics when my two children were really little. It was broadcast daily on Sky Sports and I loved that it was real women/mothers leading the workouts and could be done in very little room in my sitting room. I wish they could bring it back!!

Any good exercise videos you can recommend?  Leave a comment below :)

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Joining in with Hodgepodge

Paula over at smidgensbitsandsnippets.blogspot.com has introduced me to the Hodgepodge so this week I thought I'd join in myself :)


1. What would you say is your strongest sense? 
I used to say it was my vision but I am now beginning to need glasses to read or thread a needle - maybe it's still long vision?  My sense of smell has always been appalling - except when I was pregnant and then it was like getting a "superpower"!!

2. Do you believe in the idea of a 'sixth sense'? Why or why not?
Oh yes!!  Too many things have happened over the years for me not to believe - certainly believe my mother has it and I think my daughter feels the same way about me :)

3. When do you most feel like a slave to time? Explain.
I am happy to say that since giving up my teaching job I no longer have to put in those VERY long hours before & after school which was when I certainly felt very tied down at times.  Loved the time spent with the kids - not so much the paperwork!

4. Have you ever worked in a restaurant? How would you rate the experience? If you could own a restaurant what kind would it be? 
My first job whilst still at school was in a tea-rooms and I was given the opportunity due to the red and white gingham outfit I made especially for my first ever interview with the boss.  She was a wonderful person who took me under her wing and taught me loads and boy did I need teaching.  I had a lovely time there and she always had me back during my summer vacations when at university. She also gave me a glowing reference when I left which was helpful when getting a "real" job.  If I ever owned a restaurant - that's what I would like it to be - very English and friendly :)

5. Ever traced your family tree? Share something interesting you learned there.
Yes I have tried to.  Very like a detective and much harder if you don't have a more unusual surname. Found out that part of the family came from Norfolk which I didn't know about at all and farming stretched back a long, long time.  Most interesting was that also had a blacksmith in the family and their old smithy is now a holiday cottage - one day I might book it and stay there!

6. What did your childhood bedroom look like?
My window looked out over fields to the sea and the red arrows used to practice their arial displays over them.

7. Anyone who knows me knows I love - CATS?

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Why do non-iron shirts always need ironing really????

Monday, 17 October 2016

Made It Monday

Something cute for Halloween!


A little free product that you can download if you click the button above to go to my TpT store.  I'd love some feedback :)

Linking up with Creative Mondays - hosted by the lovely Justine

Have you been busy being creative lately?  Leave me a comment below.  You know I'd love to know :)

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Joining in with The Prompt

It's been a while but I decided to link back up with Sara's wonderful
there are some wonderful writers out there who contribute regularly to this linky and I often find their words really resonate with me so it's well worth a read even if you don't want to be inspired to write yourself - but you'll be tempted - I guarantee it!!

Here's my submission for this week's theme

HOPE

To hope is to be human

To want things to change for the better

To believe that good can finally conquer evil

To dream that we accomplish the impossible

To nurture new life and send it out into the world

To face the challenges before us

To comfort all in times of illness

To hold onto in our darkest hour


To wish for peace for the next generation


I think my inspiration is coming yet again from the awful scenes in Syria and also wishing for a miracle cure for illness and disease that robs us of our loved ones.

Thank you for reading :)

Friday, 14 October 2016

Celebrate #23

Come and join the fun over at
where we all look to share those small things that make ALL the difference in our everyday lives
kindly hosted by Lexa Cain, L.G. Keltner & Tonja Drecker

This week I am celebrating - 

1) Making people happy via my Nordic walking
I know it can sound a bit corny but it is just so lovely when people who are walking with my groups turn round and say with such a smile on their face - "I can't believe how wonderful this is - I never knew this even existed!" when we walk down by the canal and through the back lanes of places where people often pass through on the main road but have never "Been" before.  Having the time to walk and enjoy the beauty around us is so special and priceless really (well £2 per session actually) and I love it especially in this super sunny weather we're having :)

2) Having a very reasonable quote for tree pruning
Yes when you live in a conservation area you need to have a professional person come and do the work on any trees you may have and in our garden we have a lot that need a bit of a pruning after some years of not having anything done to them.  I know from my parents (who also live in a conservation area) that this can cost an awful lot of money so after having a site visit last weekend I was waiting for a bill with at least 3 zeros after it so was delighted to find it at much less plus I really liked the chap and his attitude (he had been recommended to us by one of our local parish councillors).  So now I am battling with filling in the application I need for the district council to process and get back to me in the next SIX weeks!!!  Why on earth it takes that long, I don't understand.

3) Getting an emergency appointment with my own dentist
On Tuesday, I was having some low fat soft cheese with some soft bread when my tooth decided to break a piece off!  Obviously, I rang my dental practice to arrange a visit thinking that I would have to see another dentist and hoping that I'd get an appointment within the week if I was lucky.  I was offered an appointment with my own lovely dentist the very next day!!  Absolutely wonderful and it was an easy repair and everything is great and there was no charge as it was covered with my dental plan - so a very good reason to celebrate :)

Now I'm off to see what everyone else is celebrating - so hoping everyone has a lovely weekend and please feel free to join in by hitting the celebrate button on top!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Is this a sign of Global Warming?

Well today when I was out in my garden trying to clear the path of weeds, I discovered that some of my strawberry plants are in flower!!!  What's that all about?

It's not the only plant that seems to be coming to life again after having bloomed earlier this year so it begs the question - is this because of the unseasonably, warm October weather we've been experiencing lately or is this Global Warming?

Have you noticed anything odd in your garden recently?  Leave a comment below - you know I'd love to know :)

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Weight Loss Wednesday - Seeing the Silver Lining

I'm back on the wagon having taken a few months off over the summer and seeing a gradual return of a few of those pounds previously lost - I put this down to - too many parties, too much ice-cream and too much cake!!

However, every cloud has a silver-lining

and so last week I saw a drop of 1 and a 1/2 pounds with not too much effort so I am returning to a more balanced diet and an uptake of water consumption this week in an effort to see another 2 lbs shifted which would take me to ___ 4 lbs.

Joining in with -


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Getting Back on Track



I'm determined to be getting back on track with managing to post 15 times during October as well as resume my more sensible and healthy eating plan in order to lose a little bit more weight before winter sets in.

What things in your life are you trying to get back on track with?  Leave me a comment - you know I love to know :)

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Celebrate #22

Life seems to be whizzing by at the moment and taking time out to catch up with internet friends has gone completely out of the window. There's been nothing major or important - just everyday life! But I thought I could at least post about celebrating the small things in life and joining in with those others who know what it's all about...
Please feel free to join Lexa Cain and her co-hosts L.G Keltner and Tonja Drecker by clicking on the button above.

My big story and celebration for this week is that one of my cats returned after being missing for 14 weeks!!
Yes - that long.  She has been missing before (about the same time of year in 2015) but 3 weeks was the longest time she'd ever been away.  I can only presume that she was "taken in" by someone else who maybe did not let her out as she seems very happy to be back with her cat companions and me. Who knows?  All I can say is that I am delighted to know she is well and alive as you can imagine I have felt that it might not have ended so well for her.
Other things to celebrate include some lovely autumnal weather with bright sunshine - just perfect for Nordic walking outings - which are still going well and increasing in the number of attendees.
Getting to see my aunt a few times before she travels back to Spain. As a child I didn't see her much at all, but now in later life we share so much in common it is lovely when we get together :)
And making a bit more progress on getting things done on the house before winter weather starts to set in although there was a tiny set back when trying to put a new pane of glass in a small cellar window - leaving it to go and get the batten for the bottom bit I'd left on the stairs leading down and returning to find my youngest cat had jumped in from outside and the pane of glass was now in five much smaller pieces!!  No wonder things take a lot longer around here!

Here's hoping everyone else is finding those things in life to celebrate even if finding time to tell others about it can be a bit short :)

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Celebrate #21

Where has the time gone this summer?  Catching up belatedly with the Celebrate crew led by Lexa Cain - click on the button below to join in :)

This week I am celebrating - that something wasn't as bad as it could have been!  Unfortunately, there was a nasty accident involving Husband, his car and my oldest cat!!  So thank you to the wonderful vets but most of all thank you God for somehow making it so she survived with only a slight fracture of the pelvis and is now on her way to making a full recovery.  To say I can't quite believe what happened is a bit of an understatement but we are all coming back from the harrowing experience. She is not too happy about having to under go cage rest so she is getting lots of high quality cat food and treats to placate her.

Hopefully everyone else has spent a far less traumatic week so I'm off to find out now!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Apple Bobbing School Activities

As I said in my last post I am determined to get back to creating and designing some more products for my TpT store.  I have just posted two games/activities with an apple bobbing theme which should link in nicely with up-coming autumnal and back to school apple themes.

This is my first and is a selection of games and activities to help students with learning about "s" blend phonics such as sp, st, squ, sw etc.  I like children to have a variety of games so they don't get bored in their learning.  These beginning blends are so important in the next stage leading on from simple cvc words but they need plenty of practice and repetition.  I know, as a teacher, trying to find pictures to illustrate words is so very time-consuming so hopefully this packet will save hours of time as well as giving hours of activities for students in the classroom.

My next product will (fingers crossed) bring in some more comments and ratings to my site as I am trying something new and releasing this as a freebie with more parts to come once I have received ten feedbacks.  I'll see what happens!

Click on the buttons to be taken to the product shown.

One of my happy memories is of taking my class to another school for a special day of fun in the sun with lots of different games to do and some of my very "Fancy" girls - age 10 going on 21 if you know what I mean and normally without a hair out of place - apple bobbing with the best of them and getting totally soaked and their hair dripping and so much laughter.  So wonderful to see :)

Now it's your turn - are you an apple bobbing expert?  Do you keep your eyes on the prize or are your eyes tight shut and hope for the best?  When did you last have a go and when (if ever) do you think you'll be doing it again?



Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Back to TpT

It's been a long time since I uploaded anything to my Teachers Pay Teachers store (or even checked in with it - hence a quick catch up replying to feedback) but this lovely warm weather has inspired me to create a freebie lollipop themed rhyming activity for little ones and those with special educational needs.

I know how important it is these days for children to be able to do things independently in the classroom and I think these specially designed puzzle pieces will allow them to do just that!!  By fitting the pieces together they will know whether they have found a rhyming pair or not - something quite a few students have difficulty with but is such a useful skill to have when learning to read and write.  I also made up a writing page and idea too as so many early or struggling learners worry so much about putting pen to paper or maybe in this case pen to lollipop stick!!

TpT is free to join and has so many useful resources for both teachers and parents so please let others know about it - they may find something they've been looking for for ages :)

If you'd like a copy of my new product click on the picture below to be taken to my store where it can be easily downloaded.




Sunday, 14 August 2016

Oh to be in England ...

Yes I am back. Recently returned from Lisbon and happy to be back especially as I am waking up to blue skies and sunshine.  Back to internet connections.  Back to my cats who were well cared for by my wonderful friends who house sat for us :)  I totally loved Lisbon but the heat was far too much for me so returning to more normal temperatures is blissful too.  Lots more to tell I am sure throughout the week.  Here's to hoping everyone else has been enjoying themselves wherever they are!!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

New Vintage Linky Party

I thought I'd share a linky I found for anyone who. like me, loves finding old things in charity/thrift shops.  Vintage Bliss hosted by Joann over at Woman in Real Life
If you want to see what others have posted just click on the button above

My own find was something else for my collection of vintage knitting and sewing items
The purple ball of crimplene wool is my newest addition.

When I began my knitting wool collection, I started with old balls of wool/yarn which were all 100% wool because that was what wool was!!  But of course new fibres that were introduced were revolutionary way back in the 1960s making knitted garments so much easier to wash and care for so although I would not wish to knit with this type of yarn it does have a place in the history of knitting and therefore features in my collection.

Do you have a collection you add to through charity/thrift shop finds?  Can you remember knitting with these "new" yarns?  What do you like to knit with today? Please feel free to leave a comment below :)

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Holiday Reading

I've realised I've fallen behind on my reading target I posted on Goodreads way back in January when I got off to a really good start!!  I thought 40 books would be a doddle.  I LOVE reading but there just isn't as much time these days to curl up with a good book so I am looking forward to my holiday to Portugal coming up soon where I hope to be able to catch up and read about 4 books in a week.
I'm currently reading -
which is certainly rather different!!!  I think Ms Morton might have been sniffing a bit too much catnip but once you've followed her down the rabbit-hole and let go of any pre-conceived notions it's quite entertaining :)
I'm hoping that I'll have finished it before I go away so this is where I thought I could ask around and come up with four good holiday books that are NOT too weighty that I could try to take with me in my suitcase so any comments below with a good book are most welcome :)  Tell me what you're reading at the moment?

Friday, 29 July 2016

Celebrate #20

I've got that Friday feeling so I'm joining in with the gang led by Lexa Cain over at

This week I am celebrating -

Friends Meet Up - a small group of our friends from university try to meet up once a year with our families and catch up on what's been happening in our lives.  Last year, everyone came to us rather than booking a holiday home in Wales (which is what we normally do) and it was very successful so we did the same again this year.
It was lovely to see those that could make it particularly some of the adult children who came along - one of our brood even got married this year!!  How's that for making you feel old???  I also got to try out Pokemon Go with one of the younger ones
- so a lot of fun was had and we were blessed with wonderful weather so we could sit out beneath the stars to eat and drink into the wee small hours :)

Ordering Extra Nordic Poles -yes my project has been so successful in getting more people wanting to try Nordic walking that I realised that next week I will have more people than poles of a certain size so have put through a rush order.
I still need to attract more people from a specific area but as word is getting out others from further afield are willing to travel in to have a go and I don't want to put anyone off.  I attended a meeting this week where I could give some feedback and I have three upcoming new Nordic projects for September so they will come in very useful I'm sure.

New Tenants - our old house which we were unable to sell has had to be rented out and because we initially thought we'd be trying to sell in six months had a low rent put on it (most renters want a longer time scale). However, with one thing and another our tenant has finally moved out 18 months later (end of June) and going back to find that our agents had not made a note of any damage done to the property or had informed us of the state of the bathroom I have been spending a lot of days deep cleaning, and repairing and painting during July. The housing market is still not good so we decided to put up the rent and see if anyone wanted a year and they do and so a new family will be moving in on the 1st of August who seem very nice and now that I've learnt so much about renting out the house hopefully this time it will go a little better and I won't have so much to do at the end of the next rental year!

Lastly -
I did it!!
30, 014 words meant my goal of 30,000 was achieved!  As I've said in previous posts about doing this camp, I've learned so much about trying to write an actual book and honestly I don't now how you writers do it??  I've really accomplished writing 30,000 words down that have shown some semblance towards a common theme but is nowhere near an actual story someone could pick up and read - it's all over the place.  I am now toying with the idea that I could use what I have written and the intervening months before November to do the research and think of how it will all fit together to then be in with a shout for entering for the real NaNoWriMo in November but I don't know whether this is allowed or does it all have to be a new writing project?  If anyone knows I'd love you to leave a comment about it :)

Now I'm off to read what others have written.  Here's to everyone having a lovely and restful weekend :)

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Camp NaNoWriMo Update

Well I've been doggedly continuing my labours here at
and I'm pleased to say that I am still on track for finishing my 30,000 words this week but boy is it getting harder!  How on earth do you do this time and time again all of you novel writers out there? My story has been bouncing all over the place and I can see now the holes appearing that will need to be filled.  I have not written to a fixed time-line so that would need to be fitted into place and the various "chapters" put in order.  I also need time to re-read and fill out certain sections and at this moment in time I don't have that luxury either so my writing is certainly haphazard and not at all how I imagine true authors do it.  But this is all part of my learning process and if I hadn't joined the camp and set this word goal I certainly wouldn't have experienced these problems and realisations so I'm once again so glad I did.

Now its your turn to tell me about anything you've done that made you realise something totally new - it could have happened in your work or through your hobbies so leave me a comment below you know I'd love to know :)

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Weight Loss Wed #21

Well I thought about crying off this week and then I thought - No this is a journey and all journeys have their ups and downs and frequent rest stops!  And I think that's what I've come to at the moment - a bit of a rest stop.  I don't seem to be motivated enough to be sticking to sensible eating - maybe it's the heat, maybe it's because I keep not feeling so well, maybe because there's a lot of everything else going on at the moment so I don't feel that focused?  Whatever it is, until I engage my brain in to making those sensible choices again with my eating habits, I know my weight isn't going to be going down.  The Nordic walking is still toning me and once again I received some really nice comments about my changing body shape this week so I am happy about that aspect.  Due to the heat, I am drinking more water so hopefully this will get me back into this good habit for this coming week.

Here's to everyone else who is currently trying to lose weight - hope your week has been more successful than mine and here's to me finding my mojo in the coming weeks and continuing on with the trek :)

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Celebrate #19

Yet again better late than never so I'm joining in with Lexa Cain and the crew over at

This week there were some wonderful things to celebrate such as -

1 - Surprise visit from our DD back for her birthday - stayed a couple of nights so we could actually go out and celebrate in style it TGI Fridays - it's been so long since we went there.  This used to be where we went for special treats when the children were young.  I like it because it does cocktails - so not designated driver on this trip out!!!

photo - TGI Fridays

2 - Found two replacement buttons for my husband's suit (sifting through a charity shop tin full!) - this is so much harder than it sounds - so many almost but not quite right ones found that you have to put to one side not to keep picking them up time and time again!!!!  Suit now back in action and much money saved not having to buy a new one :)

3 - LOADS of DIY done this week - I have worked like a trooper on our old house as tenants have moved out along with all furniture and boy does it make your house look kind of scratty - you see every blemish - so lots of scrubbing clean and painting has taken place with holes filled in walls, lining paper replaced where necessary, gluing and hammering all over the place.  So much better now and new prospective tenants looking round this week.

4 - Have managed to keep to my daily word goal for my
project throughout this week without resorting to research notes as fillers which I am really pleased with having been away so much.

5 - this week I posted my 100th blog post of the year - yipee I am certainly on target to surpass 2015 and 2014 on my blog post yearly totals!!

Now to go see what everyone else has been up to :)

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Weight Loss Wednesday #20

That was the week that was!  

Surprise visits led to eating out, party cake, more bad food and simply put I don't actually want to get on those scales and neither do I want to share a food diary this week.  I know I am back over that stone marker and all that I can do now is to draw a line under last week and move forward and work on eating more salads and cutting out the sugar and fat!

I hope everyone else who is trying to lose weight out there has had a much better week than I but then again I have only myself to blame and I am the one who can turn it around - so here's to me doing just that!!

Joining in with

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

New Cabin Mates

I'm still going strong over at -

my word average per day (considering I didn't start on the 1st of July) is still just over 1000 words per day - although I do realise that this might be MUCH harder to achieve as the days go by and I run out of my immediate story/plot lines.  However, I decided to bite the bullet and be re-assigned to a new cabin as many of my original cabin mates had a word goal of 50,000 but very few seemed to have written anything at all up to now so it was a bit lonely being the only one to be posting a word total each day. I decided rather than ask to be assigned to another totally random cabin I would ask to bunk in with those with similar word goals and today I got my new cabin mates and they seem to be much more committed to their writing.  They have also been using the message board facility so I might introduce myself later on today once I've written my daily goal of 1000 words.  It would be nice to read on my stats page that my finishing date would be 31st July - at the moment it reads 2nd August so I am in with a chance.

I am happy to report that I am still enjoying my writing experience and would still recommend it to anyone who wants to unleash their creativity.  I have no idea how successful this method is for "actual" writers.  My research is scanty, I am writing bits of the story all over the place - certainly NOT in chapter order and I have no overall plan and my only goal is to put words down on the page and I'm NOT editing as I go although any glaring errors I notice I do a quick rewrite.  However, the way my characters are forming before my very eyes and I am realising I need to explain how this happened or set the stage for something that will happen is all lovely to experience and I am beginning to understand some of what other true writers mean when they talk about their work.  So all in all it is a good learning experience for me :)

Now I'm off to finish writing my 1000 + words for today (I'm SO BUSY) over Thursday & Friday as well as being away from home this weekend that I'm not too sure whether I'll be able to write much of anything from Wednesday on-wards so I need to get a little ahead of myself or I'll have to "fluff out" my word count with pages of my research notes (that stand at about 2000 words) rather than my actual story!

I'd love to know if anyone else is currently engaged in a project - could be gardening or doing up the house and how that's coming along during this July?  So drop me a comment below :)

Sunday, 10 July 2016

New Era ?

A lovely surprise as our DD announced she would be coming to see us on her birthday.  A quick dash to M&S (luckily they stay open to 5 p.m. on a Sunday) for the cake and candles but as you can see in this photo -
those candles proclaim that now we have to say that we have two children both in their twenties!!! This ushers in a new era for us and to be honest made us feel really quite OLD!!!

Anyway to brighten the situation I had previously bought a sparkler candle which as you can see in this photo -
shot into life and this assured us, as it almost set the room alight, that we might be old but we certainly haven't got any wiser!  "Thank goodness you didn't make me stand behind the cake for the photo," was what our beloved DD had to say about the situation :)

Did you get any sudden bursts of excitement in your life this weekend?  Has anything happened recently that made you feel - how have I got to THIS age?? Are you expecting a visit from family members soon? You know I'd love to know :)

Friday, 8 July 2016

Celebrate #18

Friday has rolled around again so it's time to -
This is a super linky party where you can look back on your week and think about those special moments (we all have something to be grateful for however small - or take the opportunity to really shout about something wonderful that has happened in your life this week) - so why not head over to Lexa Cain's blog and join in?  Just click on the button above.

This week I am celebrating having the good fortune to take part not only in a jewellery workshop but also in one on glass fusing, both organised by the Keep Fit group I attend as part of their birthday bash celebrations.  It was lovely being able to lose myself in creativity as well as be surrounded by great people you can have a good laugh with.  Never having done glass fusing before was a real treat and certainly something I'd like to be doing again - maybe have a workshop organised as part of my birthday treat this year???  When I get my piece back I'll post a photo!  It was also nice to be told by others that the reason they'd decided to come along was because I'd persuaded them with my upbeat talks on how everyone can be creative and it's all about having a go whenever I talk about craft :)  I think this is my primary school teacher coming out again - I believe everyone should feel good about arts and craft whatever their skill level!!

Two long Nordic walks in the sunshine this week has also put a smile on my face despite the many rain showers we are still having.

Finally - I'm also celebrating achieving my goal of writing 1000 words per day during my first week of Camp NaNoWriMo - this for me is a BIGee and I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  If anyone with any true knowledge of this event wants to give me a few pointers about what I should be actually doing during the month of July leading up to November's event I'd be very grateful for the advice as I'm muddling my way through and I'm not sure if I've signed up for the right things!!

Here's to hoping everyone else had a good week and now I'm off to read what others have been up to.
Have you been making anything this week and how have you spent time in the sun (if you've had any)?  Or are you taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo and how's it going? Leave a comment below because you know I'd love to know :)

Thursday, 7 July 2016

The First Week of Writing

Well I've revised my word goal mainly because I realise there is NO WAY at the present time I will be able to make 50,000 words.  However, I DO stand a slight chance of getting 30,000 words done as prose, notes, ideas etc if I really push myself this month.  That for me would be a remarkable achievement and I would like to be awarded a "winner" badge if I can accomplish this goal.  I also think it will allow me the time to do a little more research which is what I am realising I really need to do as I go along although in no way as much detail as I will have to BEFORE November if I stand a chance of actually writing a decent book that anyone would want to read a draft of.  Therefore if anyone has any good websites relating to alpaca farming (anywhere in the world!!) I'd be delighted to hear and add them to my growing list.
I've been receiving e-mails from the Camp organisers which include a dare of the day which have really helped to make me think of some more interesting twists to my plot and fill in some details I hadn't really thought of before.  I do have to say a big thank you as I would never have kept this up for a week if it hadn't been for these creative people beavering away to help others out there unleash their inner creative!

So far I have written 1000 words a day since I actually started six days ago which I am pretty pleased about and if I continue to do so will ensure I reach my word count so fingers crossed the ideas keep flowing and my characters start leading me through the next three weeks!  I really can't recommend it enough as a way to challenge yourself and have some fun - whatever you feel like writing!

What's the last writing challenge you took part in?  Which writing blogs do you find useful as a writer and why?  You know I'd love to know so leave a comment below!