Sunday, 29 June 2014

Car and Cleveleys

We have a new car which Mark assured me needed a good run on the motorway to see how it performed.

So at 6.30pm yesterday we decided we'd go for a drive to the beach and chose Cleveleys as our destination. It's ages since we've been there and we were surprised at how much it's changed. First job was to buy fish & chips and eat them looking out over this view.

Followed by a walk along the beach where no matter how old you are, some rock or shell always catches your eye.

This is called Mary's shell. I didn't realise until I got home and looked it up that a children's book called The Sea Swallow has been written that combines local folklore, myth and legend about Wyre's coastline and this shell along with other sculptures are part of the story. 
Sand graffiti. Amy, Manchester 2014, 28th July. She's obviously a month ahead of herself!
Thomas copying Amy. He takes after Mark who's ambidextrous. Thomas is mainly right handed but occasionally uses his left hand.
 The sea ogre, another part of the storybook. Apparently when the tide comes in this is covered completely. I bet it's great to see it emerge from the water when the sea goes out.  
A big of rock dancing was going on here
The photo doesn't really do justice - the sky was beautiful.
The only way to get Amy & Thomas off the beach is to actually abandon them!
We spent a good couple of hours on the beach. Back in the car we had some hot chocolate and got the blankets out before we set off and Amy & Thomas were both asleep by the time we got home.

It was a lovely spur of the moment trip.


Friday, 27 June 2014

A bit of this and that

Do you remember the saying we were all taught at school to learn the colours of the rainbow. Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain. Well today I decided I'd take a healthy rainbow photo. Only, unlike some blogs, mine is definitely not one that portrays perfection and I could only get to green! I've nothing blue, indigo or violet of the healthy variety that I can photograph. Sorry for letting the side down fellow bloggers.
I'm trying something new this week for my exercise. I've decided to extend the length of time I walk on the treadmill but go at a slightly slower pace. So, on average I'm now walking a distance of 0.75km for 15 minutes and burning around 70 calories. I've also decided to only weigh myself once a week so this is my weigh in photo from Tuesday.
Another bunch of lovely yellow roses for the windowsill. £2 for 10 stems at Lidl. 
Amy is having a clear out in her bedroom. She used to have a Build-a-Bear obsession and must have over 20 cuddly toys stuffed in her wardrobe. They've all been taken out to make room for new clothes and converse. My little girl is growing up.
A recent photo of Matthew, Amy & Thomas. Not sure if I've ever posted a photo of Matthew before. He's 28 now so there's quite an age gap between them all. However, men are obviously never too old to fight and quite often a visit from him will end in a bout of sparring between him and Mark and Thomas. There was a bit of sly poking and pushing going on while I took this which I think is why Thomas looks like he does. Amy loves being the only girl and having an older and younger brother.
Wimbledon has arrived at Number 38. I shall be purchasing Pimms and strawberries next week in preparation for the finals.


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Exercise - one week on

So, I'm 7 days into the exercise regime and I'm not sure what I think really. 

Firstly, I've discovered that 12 minutes of exercise is my absolute limit before I feel like I'm about to conk out. In this 12 minutes I can walk a fairly good paced 0.65km and burn around 50-60 calories. However, I'm that knackered afterwards it can take me an hour to recover so I've only done one session each day. The fact I'm so c**p obviously means I need to carry on exercising so I'm going to persevere. One positive is that last year I was able to walk for 15 minutes but at a much slower pace. 

Secondly, a few facts and figures. In the last 7 days I've walked a measly 4.83 kms (2.72 miles) on the treadmill for a grand total of 72 minutes. Doing this has burned a whopping (not) 440 calories. 

On top of the exercise I've tried to be more conscious of what I'm eating. I've not cut anything out but I have been enjoying meals like this lovely feta cheese salad open sandwich. 
And of course all the lovely fruit on offer at this time of year makes it a little easier to forgo the chocolate biscuits, although admittedly not all of them.

And do I have anything to show for my efforts?  Well I would like to announce (drum roll please), that this time last week I weighed in at 11.13lbs; today I weigh 11.111/2lbs.

The whole thing has hardly been what I would call motivating but I'll carry on and see what happens this week.


Saturday, 21 June 2014

Summer Fair

It was Thomas' school fair today. The weather was lovely again, so we picked Mum up and took her with us.

The highlight of the day was 'throw a wet sponge at the Headteacher'.  Not surprisingly, the queue was huge and we waited a good 15 minutes for Thomas' turn. He bought 6 sponges for £2 and his aim was pretty good. The Headteacher was brilliant and for those children who missed him completely they got a 'free' sponge and a close up shot. Mind you, he wasn't adverse to throwing a few sponges back at the children himself and Thomas was on the receiving end of 2 which he thought was hilarious.

There were the usual tombolas of chocolate, sweets and drinks which the children have donated over the past 3 weeks in return for non-uniform days. We had a go on each one but lady luck wasn't with us today.

Inflation can be found even at community events. Apparently tickets used to be 5 for £1, today they were 3 for £1. And there was a rumour going around that the local CofE Church charged £1 per ticket at their fair. Mind you, as Mark pointed out , their Governor/Treasurer was caught with his hand in the pot a few years ago, so they have to recoup their money somehow.

We also did a nature trail in the school garden. There is a gardening club for the children and they have a lovely new greenhouse where the children can grow vegetables and fruit. There was a smashing stall with loads of plants for sale. Both Mum and I bought a tomato plant each, although mine will have to go to live with her while I go on holiday.

All in all a good hour spent supporting the school and Macmillan Cancer.


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Flowers in the Garden

Just some photos today of the garden. I've started to buy flowers that come up every year and I must admit, it's rather nice not to have to mess too much with them. I just give them a quick tidy and a topping of compost then sit back and wait for mother nature to do her thing.

I'd love a honeysuckle and jasmine plant but I'm not sure exactly where they'd go - maybe against the side of the shed. My other all time favourites are sweet peas, but with going away for 3 weeks they would just die, so I've not bothered with them this year.

Oenothera Fruiticosa Youngii or Evening Primrose, Sundrops
Red geranium - I didn't do anything to these over winter - just neglected them and let them die off in their pots, but surprisingly they've both survived and are full of buds.
Percy Winkle Pig with his Pink Geranium
Malva Rosea, more commonly known as Musk Mallow (neither names mean anything to  me!)
White Begonia which Mum donated from her birthday trip to garden centre
 Lavender - my latest addition which is doing a fantastic job of attracting the bees I want to see in the garden
 My little cluster of pots - nothing has moved since last year - just noticed my toes in the corner!
I love sitting out here. It's so peaceful, you can hear a pin drop. I just need to add some plants that smell as good as they look. 


Wednesday, 18 June 2014


We're off to France this year for our holidays. The last time I went was when I was 18. It was a camping holiday in the south and we travelled by coach. By the time we arrived my ankles were the size of an elephants and it took nearly a week for them to go down. Suffice to say it wasn't quite my style of holiday and I've never been camping again, although I do have moments where I think I'd quite enjoy glamping.

This time we are heading to Uzes in the Languedoc-Rousillon region to stay in a house with a swimming pool and all the mod cons (indoor toilet and shower - yipee!). According to t'internet Uzes is a medieval town with a population of around 8,000.

Today the keys arrived for the place we are staying. We've booked through owners direct which we've done several times before, and I've suddenly become all excited about going.

In preparation for the trip I've been out and bought a phrase book. I know a few french words from my school days - du pain, du vin and du fromage, so we won't die of thirst and hunger - but it is 30 years since I left school so I'll definitely need to brush up on the lingo. 
 I've also been sorting out the travel insurance. I did the search through (very aptly named for me), and the cover that most suited our needs came in at £59.50 for a family of four. This obviously has to take into account my medical history. 

Just for the 'fun' of it I got a quote without any medical history being declared and it came back at £31.25. I was actually quite surprised at how little difference there was and remember thinking the same last year when we went to Italy. I've no idea where all the scary stories come from about insurance being sky high if you've been ill. 

Tonight I'll be going through our holiday clothes. I don't think any of us need much so I'm hoping it won't cost us more than the price of a couple of new t-shirts and shorts for Amy & Thomas.

Bonsoir mon ami.


Tuesday, 17 June 2014


This time last year I weighed exactly the same as I do now and I think I'm going to have to get my head around the fact that the only way I'll lose any weight is to exercise. 

So today I dusted off the treadmill. It's been stuck in the corner gathering dust since Mum moved out in January. Pretty soon after she'd gone we moved Thomas' x-box in there with all the paraphernalia that goes with it and it has now become his room.

His infiltration meant that the treadmill got folded up and pushed into a corner. The blooming thing weighs a tonne and it's beyond me to pull it out and put it back every day, so I sort of conveniently forgot about it. However, for the sake of my health and sanity - Mark keeps reminding me how I don't use it and how much it cost - I've decided to re-acquaint myself with it. 

So, yesterday Mark moved it to the shed for me and I fully intend to do 2x10 minute stints every day. Not much granted, but I have to be a little bit careful. Where exercise is concerned though, my spirit is willing but my flesh is very weak.

I'd convinced myself that walking the dog every day was good enough but really I can't class this as exercise. It's more of a steady amble with a fair few pit stops thrown in so Sparky can take in all the local canine aromas that have been left on every corner.

So, between now and going away in 4 weeks my new weight loss theory is to forget the food bit, strangely no matter what I eat or don't eat I stay the same, and try the exercise part instead.

I'll let you know how I get on.


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Spiders & Bees

If you don't like spiders look away now.

I was sat in the garden yesterday when this big boy started abseiling down from underneath the table.

I also had two very busy bees flying backwards and forwards collecting nectar from the lavender.
I spent a relaxed 20 minutes just watching the spider and the bees going about their business and listening to the birds singing before hauling myself off the chair to go inside and do some ironing.

We watched the England game last night and thoroughly enjoyed it even though we lost. 

As promised to Amy and Thomas the blow up bed was pumped up around 9pm and there then ensued a lot of romping around and fighting between them, no doubt fuelled by the maltesers and big chocolate buttons that were on offer.
We put up with this for a good hour before Mark issued his own yellow card to them both!

Thomas did really well and made it through the first 10 minutes of the second half before falling asleep. And even though Amy stayed awake for the whole of the match, within 5 minutes of it ending she was also well away giving it some zzzzzzz's.

Father's Day today and Mark got a toblerone, a cup full of chocolates and a bottle of glenfiddich. It's been 20 years since my Dad died and although I miss him, it makes me feel especially sad when I think of all the things that have happened over the years that he's missed out on.


Saturday, 14 June 2014


In preparation for the England game tonight I had a lie-in this morning until 10am.

We are most definitely fair weather football fans at Number 38 and the only time we really watch it is when the World Cup comes round. I reckon a full month of football once every four years isn't too bad to deal with, and if truth be told I enjoy it as much as Mark.

Amy and Thomas will be staying up with us and are already planning the event with military precision.

Sleeping bags, quilts, pillows, chocolate, crisps and drinks have all to be organised later on in preparation for the event.

Just hope the game is as exciting as Spain v Netherlands was last night.

Come on England !!!


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Statins - 5 days on

So, I had my telephone appointment with the GP last Thursday. Basically he said anybody post heart attack really should be on statins, although he did say my dose was high and could be lowered.

I told him about my memory being bad and he agreed that this is a definite side-effect for some people. However, he said my indigestion was more likely to be the aspirin.

It was a funny conversation really. He said he couldn't advocate me coming off the statins but nor could he make me take them. He also told me exercise and healthy eating would have no impact on my cholesterol level (but isn't that what the medical profession are always banging on about with regard to cholesterol?), and that by not taking them my level would definitely rise again. 

I said I was happy to compromise and take a lower dose but he said he wanted me to stop taking them for one month to get them completely out of my system then go to see him and let him know how I was feeling. Only then would he prescribe a lower dose? 

So, the upshot is I'm not taking them. Five days on and do I feel any different? Well, I might be feeling a little less 'foggy' but not much. I've not suffered with any indigestion since I stopped taking them though, so maybe the statins were the cause of that after all.

What I am definitely doing is sleeping better. Since coming off them I'm not waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning. Instead I'm sleeping right through which is something for me.

I'll keep you posted should any miraculous recovery take place memory wise.


Monday, 9 June 2014


The rain has been bouncing down here all morning. It's grey and dark and I've got the lights on. It's not cold though and the windows are open - I love the sound of rain.

So, a bit of a round up from last week for the 'diary'. 

On Wednesday I went to Knowsley with Thomas' class. We had a great time. We did the tour then went into the 'classroom' for a talk on Africa. I was very brave and touched a hissing cockroach. After a picnic lunch we saw the sea-lion show and even though the format hasn't changed for years it's still my favourite part of the visit. Then we headed over to the bird of prey show where I spent most of the time with my head down - I don't like birds flying around me.

I had my telephone appointment with the GP on Thursday about coming off the statins - which I have done - but I'll write about that in another post.

Friday was Mum's birthday. She's quite rightly a very proud D-Day baby. We took her to the garden centre for a coffee and she chose some bedding plants for the garden. I bought a lavender plant in a bid to encourage bees to visit me, (much to Thomas' horror), and some mint for the kitchen windowsill.

In the afternoon I went into school to do library with the children. I love it when the teacher asks them who wants to come with me and all their hands shoot up. I like to think it's because they want to be with me instead of they'd rather be with me than doing their work, but I'm not that naive. 

And on Sunday we took Sparky to have his 'hair cut'. I think I've said before we don't do fluffy pom-poms at Number 38. He gets a short back and sides like the other men of the house and I get my money's worth.


Saturday, 7 June 2014


Amy made meringues today. Or as my dear old nan used to call them mer-in-gues. She whisked together 3 egg whites and 6oz sugar.
 Then did the 'is it ready' test and held it over her head.
The best bit is always the piping and although she's only used a piping bag a couple of times before she was pretty good.
 Filling the bag is a messy job, but somebody has to do it.
 She made 5 in total, although they were quite large. I think if they were a bit smaller we'd have got 6 or 7.
 Her choice of fruit was kiwi, strawberries and tangerines all chopped up and mixed into double cream. She then topped each meringue with fruit. I think they look really good and they tasted delicious. The meringue was slightly chewy - the best sort. 
It's rained most of the day here on and off. The sun has just popped out though, so hopefully this might be a sign that tomorrow will be brighter.

Hope you all had a good Saturday. 


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Money Pots

June is birthday month here at Number 38. We have five and in order they go, Mum, Mark, Matthew, my brother and Mark's Dad. In between all this there is also Father's Day. I've just realised that Mark shares his birthday with Prince Philip!
I usually get caught out, but this year I started a 'birthday pot'. So for once the money is there ready and waiting to be spent - now I just need to come up with some ideas. I think a chinese might be on the agenda for Mark. He loves them, the rest of us not so much. He hardly ever gets one, so that would be a real treat for him!

I bought all the cards yesterday. Most needed doubling up on. Husband/Dad, Dad/Grandad, Mum/Grandma, Son/Brother. The only person who will receive one card from us all is my brother. I don't go overboard spending on cards. The Card Factory more than meets our requirements.
I've also got another pot on the go. It's a Harry Potter pot. We've booked to take Thomas and Amy to the studio in Watford. Amy knows and is really excited. It's actually for Thomas' birthday treat, so he doesn't know. We're going in October half term - the week before his birthday - so I've plenty of time to save up for that one.
I can't believe we're nearly halfway through the year now. The next pot to get to grips with will be the Christmas one!


Monday, 2 June 2014

Statins and Side Effects

It was the first day back at school today after half term. Mark took Thomas for me. I was awake at 3am with a headache and earache; the sort where every 20 seconds or so a sharp pain shoots through you. I'm keeping on top of it with painkillers but it's still lurking in the background.

I rang the surgery for a telephone appointment this morning - not for the earache. After 4 attempts I got through, not bad going for our surgery. It wasn't engaged, for some reason they sometimes just choose not to answer it. I've been sat in the waiting room and seen it for myself.

Anyway, I want to come off the statins that I take and need to know if I can just stop taking them. There's been loads in the news lately about statins but I'm only going off personal experience. 

I've suffered with terrible heartburn and indigestion for 18 months now which can be a side effect. I don't know if you've ever had indigestion but it's horrible and to have it every day is a nightmare. 

The other thing is I'm struggling to remember things - again another side effect. I can't retain information and I sometimes struggle to get words out. The family think it's really funny, which it is I suppose, but it can also be quite terrifying for me. 

For example the other day I wanted to say to Mark, "we need milk" only I couldn't get the word milk out. What I ended up saying was "we need to get that white stuff that we put in coffee". How bizarre is that?

Last week we went to fill up with petrol then went into Tesco. On the way out I said, "don't forget we need petrol"! Honestly, at times I feel like I'm going mad.

So, I'll be speaking to the Doctor on Thursday to see what he says. I had a full set of bloods taken 10 days ago, liver, kidney, thyroid, full blood count and cholesterol which was 3.3. I have this done twice a year. My thinking is if I come off them I can see what my cholesterol level is next time. 

In the meantime I'll be going natural and stocking up on oats and dusting off the treadmill - no kidding, I've just had to ask Mark what the proper name is for the walking machine.


Sunday, 1 June 2014