Friday, 29 January 2016

Celebrate #5

It's that time of the week again when I join others and we all
with our host Lexa Cain

This week I am celebrating:

1) Another weight loss - there is a definite spring in my step now I am half a stone lighter than at Christmas!

2) Sheep Arrival - the field opposite my house came up for rent renewal last September and the previous farmer removed the Blue-faced Leicesters.  It has been bare ever since but this week I opened my bedroom curtains to find a small flock of Black-faced sheep all cropping the grass :)  Hurray!
photo courtesy of 

3) Making items for Mind - this week my crafting friends and I have been making items with a Valentine theme for a craft table that our local Mind charity shop will be setting up next week.  We have been making things at home too but earlier this week we met up at a friend's house to all have a good old natter as well as share materials and ideas and have a 4 hour crafting session!!  Lovely things were made but silly old me didn't take any photos - I will have to when the craft table is set up and displayed in the shop!  
We joined in with Mind's Crafternoon for Christmas to make things for the Christmas craft table and it was such a success the manager asked if we had any plans for Valentines so of course we said we'd do something for that.  The charity raises money for mental health awareness and help - if you want to find out more please click on the button below

4) Trying something new - this week 12 of us from my local keep-fit group took part in a yoga session held at a newly opened yoga centre.  It was really to find out more about yoga and the various things that can be taught as yoga has many off-shoots.  I went mainly to have a go at something new but I wasn't really expecting I'd like it much - surely it's all about how you can get your body to twist itself up, isn't it?  Legs behind your ears etc!!  How wrong I was and what an amazing hour and a half we spent learning about our bodies and the muscles in particular!  We did various exercises and concentrated on our breathing and its control, stretching, flexibility, improvements in stance, help to reduce arthritic problems in later life and lots and lots of sensations never before experienced by my body and I've had it quite a few years now!!  The rest of the group seemed to feel the same way so we are now hoping to have the yoga teacher set up a special daytime class so that the majority of us can attend weekly sessions - me included!!  And I wasn't expecting that :)

I'd love to know if you've tried anything new this week or maybe you already do yoga and have seen health benefits for yourself?  Please feel free to join in with the others in celebrating those special little moments in your week just by clicking on the celebrate button!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Weight Loss Wednesday #4

Joining in with

Well after last's week rather disappointing half pound gain I rallied myself reading other bloggers' posts and decided to really try to cut bread from my diet (I failed once with a freshly baked small roll but it was small!) and continue with a little bit more exercise (a couple of extra half hour walks during the week as well as my normal weekly exercise class and 45 minute Walking for Health walk).  I was on schedule to be reporting a two pound weight loss when I hopped on the scales this morning to find I had actually lost THREE - so as I type I have a big Cheshire cat grin on my face :)

This means I have gone from ___ 7 and 3/4 to ___ 4 and 3/4 this week and a weight loss of 6 pounds overall from where I started three weeks ago.

Kate in her blogging to jogging post this week talks about us getting hung up on big numbers and feeling it's all too much which might lead us to giving up.  I think I am certainly focusing on small steps each week rather than a final position.  I want to lose some weight each week and it doesn't matter if it's only 1/4 of a pound as long as it's gone it's good!!  I want to aim in my month towards going down that half stone marker and feel I can truly celebrate if I do.  Certainly in the past, I have looked towards those long term goals and felt on an uphill struggle throughout as well as failing to reach them and then giving up and putting the weight back on again.

Below is my Food Diary page already for February so if you would like a copy just click on the image to download from Google docs

Please let me know your thoughts and what's worked for you in the past?  I'm also hoping to do a little more exercise work concentrating on reducing the "muffin top" around my waist so if anyone has some good exercises to share on how a "beginner" can go about this I'd be happy to try them - no 100 sit ups please!!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Celebrate #4

I'm having to apologise as usual for being late to the party but it's time for - 
with Lexa Cain

This week, I am celebrating:

1 - my car being back on the road - MOT'd and taxed - yipee!!

I dropped it off at the garage in the city and then caught a bus to my morning craft club - the bus came as soon as I arrived at the bus stop and then on the way back I decided I'd walk some of the way back into town as part of my healthier life style and just as my feet began aching the bus arrived at the bus stop I was walking towards and waited for me!!  Almost too good to be true :)

2 - Making a friend's special day by taking them and another friend out for the day (in the car) :)

We went to a lovely little town called Stamford and spent a wonderful day finding and looking in all the charity shops for bargains as well as lovely craft, wool, haberdashery and clothes shops to get ideas and for the other two to purchase a few up-market goods - as I had forgotten my card having used it to tax my car over the phone the previous night I didn't make any large purchases so it was also a very cheap day out for me - £4.20 for lunch and £1.69 for some sari twine and a penguin cookie cutter - both brand new from charity shops!

3 - snuggling up with hubby and kitty cat in front of a real fire to watch Endeavour and The Young Montalbano 

The weather has got colder so we have treated ourselves to a real fire twice this week and it's just so lovely watching the flames and feeling all cosy in an evening.  There are also some really good detective series back on television which we really enjoy so having a couple of hours on the sofa watching them together is a real treat after work.

It is true that the little pleasures in life can be the most rewarding so why not join in and celebrate those moments in your week with others by pressing the blog button above?

I'd love to know how your week's been so leave me a comment below and let me know - how have you been travelling around this week? Who's been having a birthday? Have you bought any bargains this week?  What's the weather been like in your neck of the woods?  What TV programs are you watching this winter?

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Weight Loss Wednesday #3 & Wordless - Hats

Joining in with others in the effort to lose weight and become healthier during 2016 :)
It looks like others were experiencing the "Blue Monday" effect so we all need a bit of a push to re-engage and pick ourselves up.

Unfortunately, I put on half a pound this week so I moved from ___ 7 1/4 to ___ 7 3/4.
Looking at my food diary this may have been to do with me eating more bread?  A binge on peanuts one evening?  Two deserts and going out for two meals?  So this week I need to re-engage with the program and try to not be led by any cravings and to cut down on my bread intake!

Over at Madhouse Family, Cheryl also shared that although she had had no weight loss she had changed other things in her life to make it a healthier week.  It's this type of post that helps me by giving me a perspective and a new way of looking at something - e.g. why not go for exercising more this week and then even if I have no significant weight loss I will have ensured that I was "healthier"!! If you want to read her whole post go here

Kirsty over at is also posting about weight loss on a Thursday if you want to catch up there too.

Please let me know any type of new exercises you are finding that are working for you, a new healthy recipe that's easy to make or maybe another healthy life style tip you want to share?  It all helps if we spread the word :)

I'm also joining in with Wordless Wednesday and posting a photo of what I was doing before Christmas for our local Homeless Charity

Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Miracle of Small Things - Book Review

Way back during the A to Z Challenge in April last year, I was one of the lucky winners of a competition organised by Guilie Castillo Oriard to receive a copy of her new book The Miracle of Small Things when it was published later that year.  

Due to publishing difficulties the date was delayed and I finally received my signed copy at the end of October.  I blasted through the book and found it an interesting and unusual read but knew it really needed a second reading at a much slower pace to enjoy it properly.  I was also very busy during this time and not contributing to my blog so now after giving it a second and much slower reading I wanted to share my review of it and recommend it to others as a possible read for 2016.

(If you want to buy a copy, I have posted a link you can follow by clicking on the book cover below)

This book is like no other I have read. Its short chapters chart a day in the life moving through a year long story one month at a time interspersed with snippets of information about the island Curacao. It's rather like reading a set of detailed postcards and journal entries from which you build the story. Its fiduciary background makes for an interesting read - a book accountants and tax specialists may want to recommend to show others their lives are not as boring as one might suspect? 
It is a book to be savoured and reading it slowly just two short chapters at a time meant that I enjoyed it a lot more as I allowed myself to become immersed in the island. 

I am now looking forward to Guilie's next book and how it will be written and I feel very honoured to have been amongst one of the first readers of this great and different little book.  

Writing a book to me must be such a labour of love and so very difficult to do.  First coming up with an original idea and then  actually getting down to the business of writing your first draft followed by various edits and revisions before sending it off to hopefully find someone willing to publish it must be an awfully big leap of faith.  I know from various other authors that many times writers have to go through long periods of  knock backs and rejections before they may eventually find someone to take their book on board and even then there can be problems.  So until your book finally ends up in your hands as a bound copy, I am sure many writers have to wait with their hearts in their mouths.  Which is why holding a copy of Guilie's book I feel I am indeed holding something very precious indeed,

Guilie is actually holding a book launch in her native Curacao in February so I am sure she would be delighted if she gains a few more followers to spread the word about her and her work so click on the poster below to get taken to her site :)

I'd love to know your thoughts on writing a book or have you a first edition or a signed copy of a special book and the story behind it?  Just drop a comment below!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Celebrate #3

Joining in with Lexa who hosts
Click on the button to join in and this week she has a whole host of freebies and competitions too!

This week I am celebrating:

  •  having lost some weight and getting into a pair of trousers that have been that little bit too tight if you know what I mean!!

  • things in my DD's life that hopefully should help her in her London life at uni which she has felt has been a little bit difficult since starting in September.  Fingers crossed anyway.

  • that although my car failed its MOT it was only on a replacement part being needed (unfortunately no one had one so it will have to go back sometime next week) and that I was allowed to drive it home and did not get stopped by the police.  Whilst at the garage though, I also discovered that my tax has not been renewed which is a more concerning point as I hadn't received a letter to re-tax and as they changed it to one where you don't get a new tax disc last year I thought I must have put it onto a direct debit payment scheme.  My garage says so many people are finding the same thing and that maybe the DVLA are trying to scam people for the £60 fine!!  I'll find out when I re-tax it after I get my MOT!!  But I am not too happy to say the least!!
Now I'm off to see what others are celebrating.  Let me know how your week has gone. You know I'd love to know :)

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Wednesday Weight Loss Week 2

I'm joining in with these two linkys again this week 

but if you know of any other weekly linkys going on focusing on losing weight and getting healthier then I'd be really happy to know about them?

This week has been a successful one for me as I managed to keep a food diary and I think this and the thought that I would be confessing as to whether I had lost or gained weight this week made me really think about portion sizes and cutting out the "junk" and the "not needed" that I often succumb to.

So drum roll please - this week I lost 3 & 1/2 pounds  from ___ 10 3/4  to ___ 7 1/4
This is the most weight I have ever lost in a single week so maybe keeping the food diary really helped with this?

This week, Kate on her blog asks three questions to those of us trying to lose weight - so my answers are:
1. Who do you give your power to when it comes to weight loss?
I think the only person who has overall power over whether you lose weight or not is yourself but for me knowing that I am going to be "accountable" to someone over it is helpful which is why I decided to join in and share my results over how much weight I lose (OR don't!) each week, 
2. What is your quick healthy eating snack idea?
I read a report recently that said it was "snacking" that was the normal reason people put on weight NOT what they ate for their main meals so I've tried to cut down on eating anything between meals - however if I have had to I have tried to go for the healthy option of a piece of fruit - which is why the fruit bowl has been topped up this week with satsumas and apples, 

3. What help could other bloggers give you on your weight loss and healthy living journey?
The support I am looking for is to have others leave positive comments if I have succeeded in losing any weight and be supportive and offer advice if I don't succeed that week.  It is also so useful to see other bloggers' posts where they show new ideas or meal plans that have worked for them.
I also want to update the food planner I showed as a freebie last week as I realised earlier this week that I missed out a letter in exercise!!  Also I had left no space for a date so if you want to grab an updated version please click on the link below.  

I also created one which has five glasses as I am aiming to drink five pints (I have a pint glass as my drinking cup that's why I don't do litres!!)  If you're the same you can grab one here :)

I'm looking forward to seeing your suggestions below on how to eat better or get healthier and what has wored for you so please leave a comment :)

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Made it Monday #1

Linking up with Tara for:
even though guess what?  I'm a day late!!  
I'm going along with Tara and posting something NOT school related although I have done this type of thing in a much more simplified way with a class of kids and a team of helpers!!

Yesterday, I took part in a card-making workshop held at my local library as part of their craft afternoon club and I made this card!!  I don't tend to do fiddly so being part of a group kept me on track and as usual we all had a lot of fun and far too much laughter for a library!  This will be sent to my sister-in-law as she deserves something nice and girly on her birthday (surrounded by so many boys in her household!).  The technique we used to make the dress is called iris folding and all materials were supplied for us to choose from a range of colours - most did pink but I went for purples.  There's no way I would have been able to make this from my own craft supplies as so many special things were needed but it was so good to have a go at something different and I am very pleased at the way it turned out.

Now I'm off to check out what others have made and posted about.  Let me know what you think and if there are any card makers out there leave some tips below and a link to your latest photos!  I'd love to see :)

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Celebrate #2 2016

Well it's that time of the week again when I join in with the Celebrate Crew hosted by the very hard working Lexa who also finds a whole ton of giveaways each week to accompany the linky!!  Please feel free to join in by clicking on the button to see who else is taking part all over the globe :)
This week I am celebrating:

  1. My little kitty-cat returning fit and well after surgery as she went to the vet to be spayed and micro-chipped at 6 months (give or take a couple of weeks as we'll never know for sure having been found abandoned).  
    The vet told me that she might be off her food and to tempt her with just a little cooked chicken which I duly did and she wolfed that down.  I decided to go upstairs to do something and not over stuff her little tummy only to find five minutes later the bedroom door being pushed open and Kitty-Cat carrying a foil packet of her Whiskas kitten food in with her which she dropped at my feet.  So obviously as right as rain I'd say!!
  2. Finding Bargains - I'm not too into the January Sales shopping experience but I do like the odd bargain and this week I picked up this brand new pair of quirky shoes that had been donated to a charity shop for only £3 - yes that's right £3!!
    I love their funky sole, the frog motif and the top stitching and they'll be great when the weather gets a bit warmer for out and about in the garden :)
  3. I am also celebrating the removal of the Christmas tree finally (everything should have been removed by the 6th Jan!!) by my husband who needed a set of hedge clippers plus a saw to dismember it whilst in the sitting room because of its size.  Unfortunately, he still sees it as the most successful tree by far whilst I would like next year's to be at least a metre shorter!!
Now I'm off to find out what everyone else has been up to.  Have you found any great bargains this week?  Have animals behaved?  Any mishaps over Christmas?  I'd love to know!!

Friday, 8 January 2016

Five for Friday #1

It's some time since I joined in with Five for Friday hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching - somehow Fridays always seem SO busy but today I have time to post some things that happened this week :)

The weather is becoming colder and today we actually had our first true frost!  My nose has also started to run which could mean I'm in for the first cold of the year too!

There was lovely blue sky on Monday after a dreadful grey and rainy weekend so the first Walking for Health walk of the year went really well and it was good to get out and do some exercise for an hour after the Christmas  and New Year period :)  Not many turned up as still visiting friends and relations but those who did enjoyed it.

On the theme of health, my post on Wednesday was about keeping a food journal and as many children keep these as part of their healthy weeks work now please feel free to download a copy just click on the picture below.

I've been quite busy getting some more freebies uploaded into my TpT store and would love some feedback on them if anyone has the time to download.  I like to make freebies because I know how hard teachers work and how helpful these resources can be especially being free but it is always so nice to receive that e-mail telling me someone has left feedback.  It really makes my day :)
Just click on the picture of the resource to go to it in my store.

 Finally, continuing my hat theme I just wanted to show you the before and after pictures!
Here is the wool.  One has a large amount of alpaca the other cashmere.

Here is the hat complete with pom pom!
My son was so pleased and the hat is so cuddly and warm :)

I'm off now to discover what everyone else has been up to this week.  Please leave a comment below as I love to know you've come visiting :)

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Weight Loss Wednesday as well as Wordless - Quilt

One of my goals is to be healthier during 2016 and having read that keeping a food diary is a very successful way in which to change eating habits I have decided for the first time to actually have a go and keep one.  To help me do this regularly, I have decided to join in on a weekly basis with one or two others out there who are hosting linky parties on the theme of weight loss and healthier lifestyles. So today I am linking up with:

Having seen this wonderful photo on Flickr
I decided I wanted to do something similar so I have begun by creating a Food Diary & Exercise page
which I will freely share with you if you want to start recording what you eat and how much water you drink on a daily basis.
If you click on the button above it will take you to a downloadable document (there are two on an A4 page landscape).  Also a big thank you for backgrounds and snowflake character to the following clipart artists

With the New Year safely behind me and most of the left over nibbles and chocolate gone I am hoping that I can begin to eat more healthily and see the benefits during the remainder of this month.  I am not someone who regularly weighs myself but I feel that giving myself the goal to lose a little bit of weight each week is what I need to motivate myself to change my eating habits.  Sharing with others will hopefully also act as an incentive!!  If you have any tips or motivational quotes I'd love to hear them :)

Wordless Wednesday - Quilt
How I wish I could do this!!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Ready! Get Set! and almost Go!

Well, I've just finished putting the finishing touches to my food and fitness planner and diary for January.  All in readiness for tomorrow - where you can see more in my post and get a template as a freebie!

I've also finished reading Tana French's book The Secret Place which was a brilliant Who Dunnit set in a girls' school in Ireland - so good I didn't really want it to end.  Highly recommended with so many twists and turns to the plot.

All ready to take the Christmas decorations down tomorrow as well as take little kitty to the vet to be spayed and micro-chipped so must remember NOT to feed her in the morning!!

Not much for me to say in this post so roll on tomorrow and let me know what your tomorrow holds?

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Let's Get Started & a Freebie!

Well now that January is truly here, I have had to start to consider how I will actually achieve the goals I have set myself for 2016.  Luckily for me there are others out there in the blogosphere who are willing to share their thoughts and methods on achieving similar goals so I am hoping to pick up a few hints along the way :)

I love Lynda Grace's ideas on how to increase your water intake which is supposed to be very good for one's health and one of the ways I want to help myself improve my fitness levels this year.  Go and check out her blog post if you want to achieve this yourself!

I've also got another teaching freebie to share - again with a winter theme of snowmen.  You can use this page to get your students filling in the snowmen sections to match the three digit number written below or get them to fill in the three digit number that corresponds with the numbers written in the snowmen sections.  Click on the picture below to get the document,

I'd love to know what you've started to do to achieve some of your 2016 goals or what new things you've made already this new year?  So leave me a comment below :)

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Celebrate #1 2016

Well it's the first one of the year and already I'm a day late on posting however as I have said before they are such a lovely bunch of people involved in this linky they really don't mind as long as you want to join in.  So why don't you give it a go by pressing on the celebrate button below which takes you to our warm and welcoming host Lexa Cain :)

This week I am celebrating starting and doing some new things for 2016

So far in 2016 I have -

  1. managed to watch for the first time ever ALL of It's a Wonderful Life.  
    What a wonderful film it truly is from beginning to end (which is the part I have seen about twenty times!!).  For Hubs it was all completely new but he too declared it had a great uplifting feeling to it.
  2. I have joined the Goodreads 2016 Challenge and added the widget to this blog having seen others during 2015 slowly complete theirs and talk about the books they have been reading I decided to give it a go too :)  As it is the holiday season, I have been able to find time to snuggle up with a number of book pressies and read to my heart's content without feeling guilty - yipee!!  I have already managed to finish two books so am well on my way to the target I set myself and they have both been well worth a read - To Catch a Rabbit and The Boy Who Never Was.
  3. We saw in the New Year with new friends made this year and it is so nice to think back to how many more people I now know since moving and how friendly everyone has been - it was such a good decision we made despite how nervous I was!
  4. This post is my second for January this year and looking back it appears that this is the first time I seem to have posted anything in January in preceding years!  Hopefully, this means I will be able to accomplish one of my goals of posting something for each month of 2016 and completing 120+ posts during the course of the year - fingers crossed!
I'd love to know the books you're reading or what goals you've set yourself?  Have you watched any classic films for the first time over the holiday season?  

But now I'm off to catch up with what the others are celebrating :)