Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Prompt

Sara is holding her
and this week the word is - High

I've been looking at the others who have already posted and the calibre of some of the poetry this week is amazing - be sure to check them out.

I think partly due to the talent on display I decided not to submit a poem but loads of song titles with the word High in them came flooding back to me so I chose this one to share

I remember loving the TV series Fame when I was young.  I was always messing about on my electronic organ composing songs and indeed going through my "rebellious young teenage years" I tried to make my parents worry by telling them I was thinking of applying to Stage School rather than continue with my normal education.  Of course this didn't phase my mum in the slightest - I remember her telling me to get the forms she would need to sign - that's the problem when you have parents who were rebellious in their youth - you just can't "out rebel" them!!

So which song with the word "High" in the title would you share and why?  Or how did your parents keep you on the straight and narrow? Leave a comment below and let me know :)

Saturday, 28 May 2016


I came across Patricia's
linky as I was visiting blogs in the Celebrate blog hop and her creativity starting point was -

“Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.”
Margaret Lee Runbeck
Use the quote or the author as inspiration;
post a story…fiction or non-fiction,
a poem, a commentary, opinion or a picture.
Or use any word from the quote as a starting point.
Just write!

As only the other day, EvalinaMaria in her blog post -

was posing the question what colour do you see when you think of kindness?  I seemed to be drawn towards the colour yellow or a light orange as to me both being happy and being kind are very much linked.

Thinking about it, Mr Happy was yellow -

and as this poster depicts

in orange and yellow - others are obviously on my wave length too!!

So weaving the quote and the thought that acts of kindness often seem to bring some of the greatest happiness, I have gone with creating a little happy caravan that can travel along the happy road hopefully bring kindness to others along the way :)

If you'd like to join in too and the quote has inspired something in you, why not press on Patricia's In Other Words button at the top of this post and link up with her!  You can also leave me a comment about what makes you happy or what colours happiness or kindness makes you think of?

Friday, 27 May 2016

Celebrate #14

Heading over to Lexa Cain's blog to -
(click on the pic to come along too!)

This week I am celebrating:

1) Success on the Nordic Walking front!

I have now set up three small groups catering for different people and everyone taking part is really making progress and enjoying it which is obviously great!  I have those who find that the poles (as well as the comradeship) allow them to walk further than they normally do so increasing their stamina, those that are finding the poles actually help them relieve pain from their knees, those that can get up hills a lot easier and those that are loving the all-over body work out it can give :)
If anyone would like to stop by the Facebook page or blog set up for it and give me a couple of likes or comments I'd be delighted - I'll send you details if you email me at Cheers :)

2) Success in the garden

My hubby and I managed to finish off the other long DIY planter we wanted to make so this week I have been planting them up as well as investing in some more ceramic large pots to re-pot some of the other plants in the courtyard and so tidy it all up a bit more.  I am glad to report I have now almost finished and fingers crossed we have some decent weather this bank holiday and we will get it exactly how we want it by the end of Monday!!

3) Finishing Haven (the TV sci-fi series)

Here in England, I seemed to miss this when it was on TV but caught each box set over the years and really enjoyed the characters and story lines. As we recently changed our cable provider, I was pleased to find the last and final series available until May 31st so have been watching all 26 episodes over the past month.  It was actually really satisfying to have the series draw to a proper ending because too many times a series just seems to get pulled and you never know what happened to the characters!  I won't give anything away as others out there may still not have seen it but to all us sci-fi fans it was rather awesome to have a sci-fi "god" appear as one of the cast members in this final series!!

Have you been watching any great sci-fi series recently?  Did any of your favourite shows end in a really good or bad way?  Whatcha been up to in the garden this week?  Anyone joined any new clubs this month and how's it been going?  Go on, you know I'd love to know :)  Now I'm off to find out what the rest of the crew have been up to!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

World Nordic Walking Day

Last week was when World Nordic Walking Day took place and although I had hoped there would be an official certificate released I could give out to my clients there didn't appear to be.  Therefore I created my own to give out this week at our class :)

The people who received one were certainly pleased with them but I think I will let the organisation know for next year that an "official" one would be appreciated.

Did you hear about this day?  Did you take part or know someone who did?  Any suggestions on how to make this better for next year if an official one is NOT issued again?  Let me know by leaving a comment below :)

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Wednesday Weight Loss #15

Well here I am again sharing how my week went and to be honest I did not really keep to those promises I made this time last week. Which is why standing on the scales I should not be surprised that although there has been a weight loss and I return to ___ 13 and a 1/4 I did not make as much of a difference as I could have.

I have exercised a whole heap over these past seven days as my Nordic walking classes are now running at three a week, I still do my Walking for Health group on a Monday morning and I go to yoga on a Friday plus this weekend I spent doing some serious DIY in the garden lumping heavy weights of wood and concrete so if I had got my food intake under control then the weight loss should have been amazing!!!

No-one else to blame except myself and the choices I am making and yesterday I received news that I will be taking part in a video for Sport England in three weeks time!!  Yes me in a Sports video!!!!!

Do I want to look like this and weigh this much? NO!

Do I think if I tried hard I could lose half a stone in three weeks - that's 2-3 pounds a week?  YES!

So how will I achieve success?

I have to plan my meals AHEAD - not just open the fridge door when I am hungry!

I will use a smaller dinner plate and thereby eat a smaller quantity. This has been suggested in the news this week as once again the debate rages about whether it is fat or carbohydrates which are causing British obesity problems.

I will go back to recording my pints of water - more water less feelings of hunger and much better hydration.

If you want a Weightloss Water Wristband to record your water simply click on the pic below to download - print out - cut out and sellotape around your wrist and then colour in as you down those glasses of water throughout the day!!

I will go back to my jogging regime - I have a 5k charity race booked in for the end of June.

I will do 20 mins each day of specific toning exercises for waist, upper arms and chest - measuring these areas and seeing if I can make reductions to them as successfully as  I've been with my thighs and legs :)

I can do it, I WILL do it!!

Linking up with Sim over at:

where she is tackling lack of motivation and how to get this back :)

Please feel free to leave a comment about what's happening with you and your health/diet/lifestyle changes at the moment or maybe share any weight loss tips or healthy recipes - it all helps :)

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

New Blogs I Discovered thru' the A-Z Challenge Part 2

Continuing on with new blogs I came across whilst being one of Stormy's Sidekicks with the A-Z Challenge.

 Liz (who is a substitute teacher, knitter and writer) has a blog Laws of Gravity and not only knitted each letter for the challenge but had a varied selection of amusing incidents - mainly taking place in the classroom which she blogged about.  Due to her title not giving a hint of the content I would have missed her blog if I hadn't been a helper so a real positive of this year's participation!

Jen at was a blog who would have been in my line of sight as I made my way through blogs registered after myself. Her way of writing made me think once again how many really talented people there are out there - who just make these ordinary words we all use "zing" from the page - she crafts with words :)

Tammy was another blogger who I would have met as she was near to me on the sign up list as well as having the word Thrift Shop in her title - I love a good second hand bargain any day of the week! Her blog - didn't disappoint and I loved looking at her photos.

When I came across the Sentimental Bunny Chan blog, I thought I would be visiting a site devoted to rabbits, however, it turned out to be another wonderful craft blogger with plenty of photos of work in progress and completed projects following the alphabetical theme.  If you have a love of stitching, knitting or crochet you'll need to visit this blog :)

Another blog with fantastic photographs - this time for plant lovers - was Crone-ing by Linda  Her daily posts from Mist Mountain filled each day with true beauty and I felt a kindred spirit :)

As I have said before, the A-Z Challenge gives me the chance each year to visit blogs (that under normal circumstances) I would be unlikely to stumble across in my normal everyday blogging existence.  It opens me up to new ideas and different voices, spectacular photos, artwork and craft, glorious finds and wonderful writing as well as a wealth of new knowledge on a wider range of subjects than before.  Each year I "grow" my mind a little more :)

I'd love to know some of your favourite crafting, gardening or vintage sites so leave a comment below and let's share our knowledge :)

Monday, 23 May 2016

Creative Mondays Linky

Joining in with ClaireJustine and her wonderful linky

so that I can post a pic of what my husband and I spent the weekend doing!

Yay - we made this planter measuring 2.4m in length and 45 cm wide from decking planks.  I will be painting it sometime this week - not sure whether a light green or a purple yet - but we are so pleased with our DIY.  Not easy - especially as it had to be built around the conifer tree that had grown its root too far down to be removed intact!  We learnt a whole bunch of things making it and by it going wrong at various stages but we persevered and got it done BEFORE the rain came down :)

Now I'm off to see what others have been creating - just click on the blog button above to come along too.  What have you been getting on with in the garden?  Did you struggle with anything over the weekend?  What colour wood do you have in your garden?

Care for your Woollens

Joining in with Sara and her very creative

The word for this week was CARE & immediately I had an image of one of those old magazine adverts with a housewife doing the laundry using a washing detergent especially for wool!  Which then led me on to what I could submit for the linky and I ended up doing something completely new for me - creating a cartoon!

Hopefully you get it - a shepherd discovering one of his flock taking a bath!

I use Paint as my drawing program which I find really useful but rather limited.  Any advice from others as to their favourite drawing program and why would be really helpful :)

What does the word "Care" conjure up for you?  Take a look at what others have created by clicking on the Prompt button above :)

Friday, 20 May 2016

Celebrate #13

I had to take a break from the wonderful
hosted by Lexa Cain, whilst the A-Z Challenge took place, and hadn't caught up until today.  You can join in too by clicking on the button above to be taken to Lexa's blog to get the full list of participants and sign up if you would like :)

This week I am celebrating:

My husband sorting out and booking our summer holiday. This usually falls to me and is often a bit of a seat of the pants affair as I tend to book villas or cottages privately owned so you're never too sure what to expect (they've actually always been brilliant but you still feel really nervous until you actually arrive and see it for yourself).  We are going to Lisbon for the first time and both of the children are able to come too which is truly wonderful now they are this age and No. 1 son is in his first job.  So there is a LOT to celebrate!!

Delivery of supplies to build garden planters.  We need to get the courtyard looking much nicer than it is and the cost of enough large wooden planters would be exorbitant so we decided to bite the bullet and have a go at making some using decking.  Sourcing what we need for the best price has not been easy but today it has finally all arrived!  The lorry was too big to come down the drive so I had to help carry it all down to our courtyard with the delivery driver and then store it away in the garage after he left - boy am I glad I have been working my arm muscles recently - 2.4m planks of decking are heavy when you're lifting three at a time and the concrete blocks needed as well literally weigh a tonne (altogether).

Kitten learning to climb DOWN trees.  Itty Bitty Kitty (IBK) has recently learnt how to climb up trees but the ladder has had to be brought into active service along with my taller husband to get her down when she gets stuck!  Today it seems she has got the hang of coming down - although I wish she'd come down backwards like bears do rather than nose first!

I've had a lovely week with many moments worth celebrating as I hope you have also - let me know what's been happening in your neck of the woods - where are you going on holiday?  What are you doing in your garden? What new skills have been learnt by who this week?  Go on - you know I'd love to know :)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Summer Hat Clip Art Freebie

It seems so long since I posted a "teaching" freebie particularly as I broke with tradition this year during the A-Z Challenge and didn't include an A-Z of resources!  So as a little reminder to myself to "put on a hat" as the weather gets brighter and sunnier (I got heat stroke the other day!!) here are some summer hats for you to use as you wish :)  There are 8 hats to choose from so just click on the picture below to go to the zip file to download!

Hope you like them and it would be lovely to know if you use them in any of your teaching resources :)

Update - I have also made a little resource using these summer hats as word family cards for -at
Click on the pic below to get them.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Weight Loss Wed #14

Well it's been SEVEN weeks since I did a Weight Loss post - mainly because first it was the A-Z Challenge and then I went on holiday and then Life just seemed to take over. Although I haven't fallen off the wagon completely and I am certainly exercising regularly (due to the Nordic Walking classes I am now setting up), I have to report a 1 and a 1/2lb gain since my last post way back March 30th which has pushed me once again back over the stone marker - sad face :(

However, if I have learnt anything it is that I need to feel accountable to and I need the support of those other bloggers on the same weight loss journey as myself.  Therefore my aim this week is to cut out ANY EATING on the sofa when watching TV - I will be taking only lemon juice and cider vinegar water in with me to sip.  Lunch will be eaten at the kitchen table listening to podcasts.  I did this before and it really helped me so why have I stopped???

My aim is to lose that 1 and 1/2 lb gain and be back counting down the lbs to my next stone weight loss.  There is the possibility of me being videoed sometime in June (as part of the Sport England initiative I am taking part in) so I would really like to be at that half stone marker by then. Plus I also need to work on getting rid of some more of this belly fat now my legs are getting slightly more trimmer (maybe this is Too Much Information ... sorry!!)

Linking up with Sim at
and meeting up with Becky this week who I found through the A-Z Challenge

and Amanda at

As always - I'd love to know any special tips or advice on getting rid of those pounds or losing those inches so leave a comment below :)

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

New Blogs I Discovered thru' the A-Z Challenge Part 1

I know in my Review I said I would blog about some of the new blogs I discovered through the Challenge this year and that I really liked.  As a helper, I had a list to check up on that changed every few days (as those bloggers who were not posting were deleted) so I came into contact with a very varied range of blogs :)  In the last two years, I made sure I visited those with blog titles that caught my attention and specifically those with a craft or educational reference but this year because time was short I had to stick to my list and unfortunately because time was such an issue I did not get to spend too much time revisiting these new good blogs in addition to my firm favourites (you know who you are!!!)

However, these bloggers caught my eye because of their photos, their witty repartee, their creativity or their fantastic writing/stories/poems.

Ramblin' With AM
In her own words " Join me daily as I blog about life in upstate New York,photography, flowers, gardening, travel, caregiving, a brother in law with autism, the importance of chocolate in a well lived life and anything else in my mind."
This was a feast for the eyes and the soul and her true life tales resonated with me :)

Liz Brownlee
A super poet who has written many books for children.  Quick and easily accessible Challenge blog posts made her a delight to read and enjoy :)

Sharon Himsl - Shells, Sails and Tales
Her Challenge posts were all about pioneering women in aviation and were an amazing read!!  Why do our history books in school leave out so many of these brave and fearless women?  The research and time Sharon must have put into these blog posts - I just don't know how she did it but it was incredible and well worth a read.  Now that the Challenge is over I am revisiting to ensure I get them all!!

The Little Princess -

Her posts had a theme of (in her own words)

And when she says Incredible India she means it - get ready to be blown away and learn so much!

Of course even with a prescribed list I was always going to get a blog title I would have been drawn to anyway so here's to CRAFTING WITH CAT HAIR !!!
Her theme of the 1980s was also right up my alley so I had a great time reading and hopefully many of you too would like to reminisce about those days!!

That's all for today but there are other blogs to come that also made it on to my list of specials :)  Feel free to share your favourites below from the Challenge and I'll be sure to go visit before we begin our upcoming 2016 Road Trip!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Currently May

It's been a few months since I joined in with Farley's Currently blog hop
which used to be a favourite of mine particularly when I was a teacher. It was where I met so many interesting other teachers out there due to her "Play by the Rules" so I am sad to learn that she has decided after many years that this month's will be her last and therefore I am joining in this one last time and have to say a BIG thank you to her for her contribution to the world of teaching :)

It is funny how life changes as you pass through it and even though you think you know what you want or need sometimes it doesn't quite work out that way.  There was a time (when I was young) when I thought I would NEVER get married or have children - I just couldn't see myself as "that" type of person but those are the things that have brought me my greatest happiness and now I could never imagine my life without them :)  I was also so sure that after discovering the joy I got from teaching that breaking away from it would eventually mean regret and my return to a part-time basis within a year was surely what would occur!  However, I have found so many other avenues of life to pursue and even better I have TIME to actually enjoy the things around me rather than be in a mad rush all the time so life is working out even better than I had expected.

I hope Farley finds the next stage of her life as enjoyable as she makes changes and wish her all the best and every success.  The secret is probably to roll with the punches and see the goodness to be had whatever the future brings us and remember how very special life is :)

Have you made changes in your life recently?  Is the life you lead now different to the one you thought you'd be living or did things pan out pretty much how you thought?  Go on - leave a comment below and let me know :)

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Where's the Month Going?

OMG - I can't quite believe we are now half way through May so if I stand a chance of getting 15 blog posts on for this month I had better pull up my socks and get going!

Nordic Walking has rather taken over my life as the big push and campaign to get my local community into this form of exercise really began in earnest this month.  Flyers delivered through letter boxes is not as easy as it seems - I have far more respect for postmen and women up and down the land!

May is national walking month here in England

and this Friday is also going to be my contribution to International Nordic Walking Day
 - so there's a big push to get things done to celebrate that.  So far I am delighted with the support I have got, as early on I was told that it would be nigh impossible to get anyone interested!!  Oh yea of little faith - I'm used to motivating young children to sit down and learn difficult things so adults are just putty in my hands!!

If anyone out there in the blogging world is willing to help me by leaving a comment on my community project blog or "likes" on the Facebook page then let me know by e-mail and I'll send you the relevant links.  I am an absolute "newbie" on social media for this type of thing so if anyone has suggestions on what I should be doing then let me know!!

I do feel it's lovely to be back on my blog and am looking forward to catching up with you all over the next couple of weeks.  What's been going on for you since the beginning of May - you know I'd love to know?

Monday, 9 May 2016

A-Z Reflections 2016

What can I say?  

I made it - but I really felt it this time.
So, so, so tired!!!

Was that because I was a helper - one of Stormy's Sidekicks?
No - I had great fun doing this and Heather was a great leader

Did I feel I just didn't have enough time to really connect with other NEW blogs because I was trying to keep up with old friends from LAST TIME?
Hmm - think I would have felt bad if I hadn't especially those I'd pleaded with to enter again this year!

Did I think it was much better this time for "dead-heading" those who weren't posting?
Yes - Yes and a resounding Yes!!  Far fewer to wade through and discard than last year by the half way marker.

Could I have done more to keep other bloggers interested?
This year I didn't find time to post replies to comments I received and I felt bad about this.  
I think my theme worked out alright though and made people connect to tell their own memories.

What would make it even better?
I really liked the concept of having a subsection for those bloggers with less than 100 followers and I would really like this to be re-instated next year.
Last year, I moaned about blogs not taking part and needing to be cut and decided to be a helper to try to do my bit so next year maybe I should bring up this issue and volunteer to be on that team?

What did I enjoy best?
Reading those amazing blog posts that just got you there right in your gut.
Feeling good about being a helper :)

What was my main gripe?
Even when I put my Blogger website - some Wordpress users still managed to go to my old Wordpress account - heaven knows what they thought the connection of my old posts was there to the A-Z Challenge????

I did come across some amazing new blogs as well as keeping up with some amazing bloggers from before who brought their "A" game yet again to the Challenge but I think I will be commenting about them in later posts and of course I am looking forward to going BIG this year on the A-Z Challenge Roadtrip so hope to see many others along the way :)