life at the moment…

I hesitate to write this post as I wish it could be more cheery – but unfortunately my life at the moment is all at sea and I do not seem to be able to recover from one blow before the next one happens.  But for the sake of documenting everything in my blog I feel I have to mention both the good and the ‘not so good’ even if at present it seems a bit weighted towards the not so good!

I am actually writing this from my sick-bed – yes my ‘wellbeing’ is not improving as I intended this year.  So far I have been out of action since Wednesday evening when I got home from work.  I haven’t seen a doctor but I am pretty sure the diagnosis would be tonsilitis or Strep throat (which I understand is the bacterial form).  My glands are so swollen I look a bit like I have mumps.  In some ways I quite like the plumpness as it smooths out the wrinkles!

The upside is I have enjoyed snuggling down under the weight of the extra covers and falling into a long blissful sleep knowing that I am of no use to anyone at the moment – and no doubt I have lost quite a bit of weight because the constant nausea and painful throat have prevented any food passing my lips!

So while I am out of action I thought this is a good time to catch up with my blog and write a long overdue update.

On the family front –

The funeral of my mum-in-law took place on 4th February, ironically the same day as my dear dad died 9 years before – so it was a doubly hard day to get through but I had lots of precious memories to console me.  It was well attended by family and friends who came to pay their last respects and after the crematorium we had a lovely service of remembrance of her life in the church she had worshipped at for many years, singing her favourite hymns and followed by a good cup of tea and a buffet lunch in the church hall.  She would have approved I am sure. It may well be the last time we visit Shrewsbury and I am sad about that – it is a beautiful place.

                                                   Jenny

My Mum-in-law 1924-2015

– some of my favourite pictures of her in her younger days

My younger daughter had her operation to remove 3 wisdom teeth under general anaesthetic just days before the funeral and I travelled up to North Yorkshire to stay while she went into hospital.  I went to look after baby L for a whole day by myself – heaven!  Both are recovering well after their ordeal – my daughter and baby L!

Baby L

My elder daughter and her partner are still with us – still trying to complete their kitchen – but it is a slow job, the main reason being that the guy hired to do the job had to move on to his next job after Christmas before finishing theirs and ours (remember our bathroom – still not complete either) so he can only work on their kitchen on a weekend.  Tricky position – he is a friend!!  It is difficult though having them stay whilst we have only one bathroom operational and the house is full of our cottage contents.

That leads me on to the cottage flood progress report –

Cottage Kitchen Strip-out

The kitchen – now without units and flooring

Bathroom Strip-out

The bathroom without any conveniences or flooring!

All went well with the strip out although as the photos show it looks pretty dire to me and at the beginning of December we were called up to Scotland for a site inspection and to discuss the reinstatement works of each room.  We progressed around the cottage ending up in the old wooden conservatory.  This had now been stripped of the pine boards cladding the inside –  it was at this point that we noticed a few jagged remains of a material,  which we have since had tested and confirmed as asbestos sheet, lodged between the outer and inner frame.  So now as it is classed as an ‘elf and safety’ hazard no one, not even us, are allowed to go to the cottage as the whole conservatory has to be removed by men in white suits before the drying out and reinstatement can begin.

We also received the oil boiler report and it appears that the oil tank outside feeding the boiler probably moved during the flood and has caused a leak in the feed pipe – the worst thing is we had just had a delivery prior to the flood.  If it is not a leak then we can only assume the lack of oil to be able to test the boiler is maybe due to theft which is a pretty common occurrence where you have an abundance of oil tanks in an area.

I finally finished the contents list but on doing so realised I had not been correctly advised.  It turns out that they require the price for us to buy new items – I was led to believe they wanted the price we paid with evidence so I spent hours trawling through my box of receipts.  Now I will have to spend hours trawling the internet.  Nothing like doing a job twice!

And finally a word about work –

After a lot of thought recently I came to the conclusion that work was just not working.  I am feeling very tired and extremely stressed.  I had been looking to decrease my hours and this has not happened due to two things – my colleagues long-term sick leave and the powers that be – the management – deciding that it was a good idea to hire someone who is commuting from Cornwall, a distance of 350 miles, to help out – really?

This has turned out to be a bit of a disaster for me and increasingly difficult for the person concerned.  In fact his wife wants him to stop coming but secretly I believe he quite likes escaping up here for a week or two.  However, the week on week off agreed at the start soon turned in to one week on two off and even this has not really worked out due to commitments in Cornwall with his business there.  The ‘help’ is fast becoming occasional and spasmodic.  This has meant I have had to go in to work on both Saturday and Sunday for the last few weekends just to keep on top of the urgent work.

This is definitely not what I want to do – so I had made up my mind to leave and out of generosity or loyalty even said I would look at working until the end of May.  Once I made this decision and announced it to my line manager I felt heaps better and even though it seemed tremendously risky (and there is no way you could call me a risk taker) as I have no other job lined up I had settled my mind to it and whatever happens in the future cannot be as bad as I am experiencing at the moment.

Well that was on Tuesday.

On Wednesday my line manager called me in and asked if I would stay if things were improved in some way.

Well that was unexpected and has put a spanner in the works.

I won’t say anymore at the moment – you never know who is reading do you!!

Now to the good news – yes really… I do have a silver lining.

We get a new conservatory paid for on the insurance – I am not sure how I feel about this as I loved the shabby chic 50’s style of the old one but it would not have lasted for ever.cropped-cottage-gutters.jpg

Baby L is to be christened in March on the 15th – Mothers Day – a double celebration.  I have been preparing the dress – an old family heirloom – just hoping she doesn’t grow much more in the next few weeks LOL.

Baby L with trifle

Well that is all my news to date have a good week everyone.

PS – As I wrote most of this yesterday and finished it today I am in fact now feeling loads better.

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A new journey…

I know I am a little late in saying this but…

Happy New Year 2015

 

After a long and sometimes difficult year I was quite glad to say goodbye to 2014 and welcome the new year – a fresh start and a new journey – below is a quick photo reminder from some of my posts last year which include one or two of the more memorable moments.

2014 in pictures

 

However, only a few days into 2015 we received a phone call from the care home where my mum in law lived to say mum was in A&E after being resuscitated from a choking incident.  Sadly she never regained any consciousness and died a few days later only days away from her 91st birthday.  Such a sad end – but her quality of life had not been good for the past 6 months with the worsening of her dementia and the Parkinson’s so in a way it was a blessing for her that she slipped away peacefully to a long earned rest.

Just before this drama occurred I had begun writing this post and thinking about what I might do this year as I pictured a whole new year stretching out in front of me – quite unblemished, as it was then, like a fresh fall of snow before any footprints appear.

I began by thinking about my focus word for the year – last year it was Focus and for the early part of the year this kept me on track, but as the year went by my Focus changed not surprisingly when we experienced the flood.  The impact that has had on our lives together with my colleague being off work ill has been tremendous.  Now I feel I need to get back on track, sort myself out and turn my dream of a simple and healthier life into reality.

After much deliberation over words I have finally chosen Wellbeing – I believe this encompasses all I want to achieve this year.

I wasn’t too sure exactly what came under the umbrella of wellbeing so I started with the dictionary definition

well-being or wellbeing
noun
a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous

Of course I had to go and choose a word that had alternative spellings and after checking up on the difference I have chosen to go without the hyphen – this is the more modern interpretation as wellbeing is becoming a recognised term in its own right and I am told the hyphen will eventually be dropped just as similar ‘brought together’ words have in the past – I am just helping to accelerate that transition – so I apologise to any traditionalists that may be reading this!

My choice of Wellbeing is not because I feel really unhappy, unhealthy or lacking but the state of good health is not just the absence of disease – well not in my mind anyway.  If anything this last year has been quite a roller coaster from start to finish even the most positive of events – becoming 60 and a grandma within a couple of weeks was equally as stressful and emotionally challenging as becoming homeless due to the flood!

I have read that by taking care of what is important in one area can make life easier in another. Likewise, neglecting one area can negatively affect another. It is all about keeping life in balance – so I will be putting this to the test.

The areas that I will be looking to bring into balance are probably the same for most people who work and run a home

  • Personal & Leisure & Family – taking care of myself and allowing time for myself to enjoy my day-to-day life as well as spending time with friends and my family – it will take into account my hobbies and things I like doing recreationally – maybe starting new ones who knows!
  • Home – this is how I will deal with all the management of the house – housekeeping – decorating – gardening – general upkeep
  • Health – the goal here is to become healthier both physically and mentally and will include exercising – meal planning and putting to right any niggling health issues
  • Work – I think this speaks for itself – I definitely need to find an answer to reduce the long hours I have been forced into doing
  • Finances – this area had plenty of focus last January but is ready for another minor overhaul

In addition I want to take steps to slow down, where possible the pace of my life, and make it simpler so that I am able to live the moment and enjoy the day and not feel quite so guilty when I find I am doing one thing instead of dealing with another.

So there we are Project Wellbeing – all I have to do now is work out a plan of action and I feel my first task is to establish some routines to provide some stability to my life.

Hope you all have a good weekend – I have a bit of catching up to do in blog world but I know from my quick scans of my favourite blogs that many of you are well into any new challenges you have set for yourselves  I hope I will have time to leave the odd comment again soon but this might be after the funeral when life has calmed down a bit over here. x

 

Every step you take…

Sorry for the break in transmission I just had to put my blog ‘categories’ into some kind of order before moving on – I felt they were getting out of control.  When I started my blog I really hadn’t thought about categories or paid much attention to them and then soon realised that some of my headings crossed over making it hard to choose which one to assign a mixed post to.

It is so easy to forget just where I have got to when I have a break from blogging for more than a day or so but I will start with a progress report on my Healthy Eating plan.
On September 3rd, first thing in the morning, I weighed myself and also took a note of my muscle, fat and water content that my scales measure (posh scales reduced from £59.99 to £11.99 a bargain from TK MAX 3 years ago).  I also took a waist measurement (which I won’t go into publicly!!) as this is my worst area and the one that I am hoping will trim down.  It is thirty something inches (which is as revealing as I will go) and I want to get it to 28″ even 30″ would be a massive breakthrough.  I will be posting the results in a later post.

On Thursday morning I took advantage of the free Flora Cholesterol test at my local Sainsbury’s in town (they are running it for the two weeks if you are interested).  I booked in for 8.30am so I could do a fasting test (which is more accurate) before work and then have breakfast afterwards.  I will also post the results from this later.

I found this Bamboo Serving Platter for £15.99 in Wilkinson’s Classic White tableware range and thought it would go very well with my collection of white china for parties.  As it is quite large I have now discovered that it is wider than my cupboard is deep!

So it stayed on my table for a while waiting for a home but when I went and bought the extra fruit for my healthier snacks hey presto!…  it makes a great fruit bowl!!

I have been working on breakfast this week too – I usually take some supplements in the morning.  I have to take Vitamin D as a recent blood test revealed I was very low – I also take a pro-biotic and an oil capsule and at the moment I am using up a bottle of Ginko Biloba before it goes out of date though I can’t say that I have noticed any difference whilst taking this but can’t see them go to waste – supplements are so expensive these days.  In the small container is 25ml of Aloe Vera juice (good for digestion) – and a glass of water to wash the tablets down.

As I mentioned in my last post I am switching the Sainsburys 2% fat natural yoghurt (which I prefer) for the Yeo Valley 0% fat natural yoghurt which I used to eat until they changed the packaging and for some reason it seemed to have a different texture – slightly more slimy than creamy.

So this is breakfast – I whizzed some apricots in the food processor into a puree to have with the yoghurt and weighed out the cereal which is Rude Health mixed flakes in this case, though I also like the Weetabix Oatibix Flakes (shame they don’t do organic).  I often add a bit of wheat free museli in with the flakes and I top them with a dessert spoonful of Flaxseeds and some organic soya milk.

I have been getting a list of snacks together and going by Ian Marber’s book ‘How not to get fat’ you should always eat a complex carbohydrate with a protein.  These are my favourites –

  • Banana with a few Almonds
  • Apple and a few Walnuts / Brazil nuts
  • Apple with a small piece of hard cheese
  • Chopped egg with a small amount of Mayonnaise with Salad Cress on 2 Oatcakes
  • Goats Cheese on a slice of cooked Beetroot on 2 Oatcakes
  • Edam and grated Carrot in a small wholemeal Pitta
  • Cooked Lentils mixed with chopped Tomatoes and Rocket on Oatcakes

So I feel I have dealt with breakfast and snacks and I will begin to put these into practice during next week.  Whilst I am making progress on this aspect I am going to move on and look at how I can introduce more exercise into my daily life as well as more quality sleep.

For every 10,000 steps we take we burn 400 calories.

A small hot Chocolate from Costa has about 121 Calories – so I would need to walk about 2,500 steps to burn this off.  I am not even sure how far that is but I am sure I am not going to be doing many steps sat at my desk!  So I need to think of ways to incorporate more steps which might even include less blogging.  I am of course looking to become healthier as well as a little lighter and I like the fact that I can do both at once.

Lose weight while you sleep – The Dream Diet?

There has been an increasing amount of research suggesting that good sleep and weight loss are connected or rather poor and lack of sleep leading to weight gain due to a disruption of two hormones – (just try Googling it for an explanation)

I have poor sleep since having my Thyroid removed – I wake at around 4am each morning needing to go to the loo and then cannot get back to sleep.  I should drink my cocoa earlier in the evening but always forget (I cannot break away from my cocoa drink at night – it is my Enid Blyton comfort drink before bedtime!)

I should also try to get to bed at a reasonable time and that is why I am going to set myself up to do shorter 5-10 minute posts each evening instead of these essays I seem to keep producing.  Again the health benefits can only do me good.
I am grateful for all your ideas so far and look forward to any comments you might have on exercise and sleep.

Busy doing nothing…

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward

Spanish Proverb

Today I hit 21 again!!!  Well a girl can dream can’t she?  I was given the day off work because it is my birthday and after spending the last few weeks on overdrive I decided that I would quite like to do nothing – in fact a whole day of doing nothing, however, the reality is that I was not sure how to do nothing – especially when you have been used to speeding along in the fast lane trying to keep up with all life throws at you – doing nothing seems quite difficult.

 So for today this is as close to nothing as I could manage

  • Sleeping half an hour longer
  • Eating a leisurely breakfast instead of grazing on the go
  • Pottering around the house putting things away – quite a relaxing pastime really especially when still in your dressing gown (no rush to get washed and dressed today)
  • Taking a very long hot shower
  • Making a healthier lunch
  • Sorting out my planner – weeding out the bits and pieces no longer required and updating To Do lists ready for the ‘back to normal’ speed tomorrow
  • Spending a delightful afternoon chatting with friends who popped in to see me with cards and flowers and presents
  • Catching up with a little TV whilst my birthday tea was prepared (and pudding too) – great treat
  • Relaxing on the sofa after being banned from doing any washing up – even better treat!

I had a lovely day and I am feeling much more rested even though I didn’t quite manage to do nothing – all I have to do now is snuggle down in bed with a good book – I could get used to every day being a birthday.

‘Home’ wasn’t built in a day

This is my last week at home before I return to work after almost 3 month sick leave and I would have liked to report that everything is sorted and ordered but alas it is still a work in progress.  However, on the bright side I feel I have got a lot of the rooms in my house in better shape and after the mammoth decluttering I love the extra space I have uncovered in my drawers and cupboards and it was worth saying goodbye to a lot of the stuff.  ‘Stuff’ weighs you down.  I will be trying harder in the future not to accumulate the ‘stuff’ in the first place.

Yesterday I went to town and bought the final two plastic storage boxes for my craft cupboard so this is now complete.  I may decide to buy some more slide storage drawers to replace the round cassettes but I will decide this when I go through all the slides (and that is a project in itself for another day).

My paperwork is going well – I have almost no outstanding issues appart from that dreaded ‘ING’ account which I must close – it keeps lingering on my list as if to keep reminding me that I have still a long way to go in my quest for Order.

I am also gaining ground with my Health and Self tasks – I spent a little time and money in Boots yesterday – a new foundation cream (Boots No7 using my £5 coupon) and some Vitamin E cream.  I have also treated myself to some new underwear from M&S and a dress from Wallis.  Tomorrow I have my hair done and next week I am going for a Wellness check at Sainsbury’s (Cholesterol etc).  Unfortunately I have just missed the free Flora Cholesterol check that I had last year but I don’t mind the £9 charge if it gives me peace of mind and I get to know if I have managed to reduce the level from last year.

All being well…I’ll start tomorrow

After dealing with my finances and getting them in better shape and having made a start on the Big Spring Clean for the house I am thinking it is now time to take control over my own personal well-being.

I Googled ‘well-being’ and found a couple of definitions I felt summarised my understanding of the concept quite well

‘a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous’

and

‘maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle’

– sounds good to me but probably quite hard to actually achieve without persistence and hard work.

So enough off this I’ll start tomorrow there is no time like the present – I am going to down tools for the afternoon and smear a cellulite mud mask on my legs which I purchased months ago and is now in my ‘use up’ basket from the shower room cupboard clear out,  followed by a nice hot shower and then a relaxing home-made face mask (but not forgetting to lock the front door of course!)Cellulite Mud Mask – I can only hope it might work!

For anyone that is interested below is the Face Mask Recipe brilliant for re-moisturising the skin

1tblsp oatmeal, 1 tblsp live yoghurt, 1 egg yolk, 1/2 tsp honey and 1 tsp mayonnaise – mix together and apply to clean dry skin and leave for 15 mins then rinse off.

And to follow…

I will book an appointment with my hairdresser next week to cut and restyle my hair and another one as a treat with Vicky from VJW, who does wonderful organic facials and deep tissue massage.

I must also type a list of all the supplements I should be taking daily but always forget and post it on one of my kitchen cupboards as a reminder.

Next I will search out my moleskin Wellness Journal that I purchased a few months ago and start making some serious entries and a plan to get my journey to my new state of well-being started…watch this space.