Sunday 6 June 2021



Turning 59 at the end of May and knowing I'll be 60 next year, feels fairly surreal.  I don't feel much older than I did about 30 years ago but oh, how much has happened in those years. I wouldn't change anything because it's made me who I am today. 

I had a message this morning from a friend in South Africa and we've been taking a walk down memory lane. Would you want to be young again?  I wouldn't, I enjoyed it when I was young, but I can do without the angst of being young! Nowadays people have to take me as they find me and, if I'm not their cup of tea, that's fine! I don't like to think of being a grumpy old woman, instead I've just added more character.

When I think back, I've been lucky.  I was born in Scotland but moved to South Africa at 3, when Dad was offered a 2 year contract over there. Those 2 years turned into 26 for me as I returned to the UK in 1991.  My childhood, growing up in South Africa, was very different to that I would have had, had we stayed in Scotland.  I have such good memories of carefree days, of living in a flat on the beachfront at 19 and travelling at 22. That was when I met family and cousins who I'd been penpals with but didn't really know. It's probably the one thing I wish could have been different. I would have liked to grow up with my cousins and have that close bond but, at the time, I knew no different.

I married in 1987 and Hugh and Claire were both born in South Africa. We returned to the UK in 1991 and Emily was born in England. I was lucky enough not to have to work while the children were growing up and I'm very grateful for having had that time with them. We had holidays overseas and went back to see family in SA to begin with but slowly most of the family also moved back to the UK. I have a brother still in SA and one who moved to Australia nearly 10 years ago but both my sisters now live nearby. Mum and Dad came to England in 1996 and Mum lives 5 minutes from me. I went back to work in 2014 and separated from my husband the following year. Emily and I will have lived in our current house for 6 years next month and they've been good years for us. 

The pandemic has meant I've worked from home, virtually full time, since March last year and I really enjoy it.  We are lucky that Claire and my granddaughters formed part of our bubble as soon as they were able to and we have been able to see them as normal. However, this time of isolating has given me time to reflect and has made me realise I'm more of an introvert than I thought I was.  I enjoy seeing people but I'm more than happy in my own company and with my family.   I enjoy a slower pace of life and, perhaps one day, I would like to move back to Scotland (finances allowing). It feels like home when I go back.!

So, despite having areas to work on and deal with (but don't we all) I'm quite happy to be 59!

Friday 30 April 2021

What I've read so far this year

At the beginning of the year, one of the things I decided I would like to do was to read more.  I have always loved reading but don't always make it a priority.  My reading of choice is very much light reading - chic lit.  I used to read mysteries and murder books before I had children but after having them my tastes changed and I prefer to keep it light.  

I'm currently reading my 17th book of the year but thought I would post the books I have read so far.





And I'm currently reading

If you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them.  I have a couple of books ordered from the library but as they'll be new releases, I'm not sure when they'll come in.


Sunday 25 April 2021

Dog Walks in The Meadows

 We have a walk we can do which starts either off the road we live in or further down the main road.  We haven't been able to walk there during winter because it's been too muddy and slippy so when it started getting warmer (and drier) it was where we wanted to head to again.  We've been going for dog walks in The Meadows (as it's known to the local residents) for the past 3 weekends now and we love it.  Harry can go off lead while we're away from the road and it's been so good for his recall - he doesn't go too far before checking back to see where we are and if I call he'll come back because he knows he'll get a treat.  

If we go from the main road, we walk down the side of some houses and cross a little stream before reaching the main path.

A solar panel farm was created on some land behind The Meadows and we walk along the path around the farm.  Despite the solar panels, you still feel like you're in the country and it's so peaceful.

The last two weekends we've been for a walk there, Claire and the girls have come with us.  Alice and Megan were so happy to hear we could go back to The Meadows as they love being able to run with Harry.

We're also enjoying seeing the flowers appearing along the path and seeing the blossom on some of the trees, though a lot of that has now gone.  

This is the actual "Meadows" part of the walk

The bluebells have definitely multiplied in the last week.
Someone was very tired after the excitement of meeting other dogs on our walk yesterday, as well as having the girls to play with.


Sunday 11 April 2021

The week that was

Em and I take Harry for a walk every morning and on this day we went at around 07:25. The sun was behind some fog which made it almost look like the moon, and gave a different feel.  It's pretty cold most mornings, especially if there's a wind blowing, so I'm still wearing my puffer coat, which is lovely and warm.  The scarf has also made an appearance a couple of times this week to help with the wind chill.  


We're enjoying seeing the blossom and feel sad when certain trees lose theirs and more leaves than flowers appear.  It's also been fun to see the different types of blossom - I wish I knew which were which.  Our cherry blossom hasn't appeared on our tree yet - I'm hoping it hasn't been smothered by the pyracantha! 

Mini Egg Cookies by Jane's Patisserie were popping up on my Instagram feed and everyone was saying how wonderful they were.  I knew the girls' would love them so bought in the ingredients and gave them a try.  I did have one (ignore my last post ;) ) and they were so good.  

I had made a trial batch on Easter Saturday as, now that we are able to visit family in the garden, I went round to Mum's to drop off her Easter Egg.  Claire and the girls popped round as well and we had a taste test! Big thumbs up all round. Can you believe Mum was 90 at the beginning of March? She looks amazing :)

I'm afraid I've become pretty hopeless at remembering to take photos, I just don't think to bring the camera / phone out.  So, this is my one photo from Easter Sunday!  We had Claire, Alice and Megan over and did the usual Easter egg hunt.  The girls' had bunny ears which they wore over to us and then decided to see what Harry would look like wearing them.  I think I just managed to snap this photo before they were off again! 

Harry's 6 weekly appointment at the dog groomers was on Tuesday.  I've been on leave this week so drove up to drop him off and pick up a couple of bits I needed to get in town. I then walked up later to pick him up again and it got darker and darker on the way up. I just hoped I would make it there and back home again before the rain started!  What a difference there was walking into town at 11:00 with the roads so quiet.  I will miss the peace and quiet when lockdown lifts further.  

Another visit to Mum's on Wednesday as I knew I would be baking again on Thursday.

Thursday was Claire's 31st birthday. However, it was also her 2nd birthday in lockdown so as she hasn't been able to celebrate with all the family she considers herself to be 29+2 and hopefully next birthday she'll be able to have everyone round for the celebration.


We're so glad this year we could at least be together in our bubble.  So different to last year when everything was so uncertain and Claire was on her own with the girls.  What a year it has been, certainly one for the history books and one we will never forget.


Friday 9 April 2021

My Gallbladder / gallstones experience

I recently bought Juliet Sullivan's The Gallstone-friendly Diet as I continue to research how best to manage my diet while I wait for gallbladder surgery.  I started reading the book straight away (Kindle edition = instant download) and finished it yesterday.  If nothing else it's made me realise that how I feel day to day, at the moment, is probably how most people feel while waiting for the surgery.  Somewhere there's a touch of the 'stiff upper lip' in me and I don't like to say too much about it but this book validated how I feel. There is a constant feeling of not being quite right, of being worried about another flare up and of having a virtually constant niggling pain.

My episode started back in October 2020 when, after dinner one evening, I became really uncomfortable and my back was so sore.  After a little while I went up to my bedroom to see if lying down would help. The pain was like nothing I had felt before (and I've given birth twice without any pain relief) and it felt like it was cutting through me from front to back. I then started being sick and presumed I was coming down with something / had food poisoning.  This carried on for a few hours and by 3.15 am. I felt so bad I didn't know what to do with myself, I couldn't sit, lie or stand and was in agony - I phoned Emily, who was in the next room, and asked her to come in to me.  She took one look at me and called 111 (Medical advice line) who told her I needed to get to hospital straight away. I couldn't face getting downstairs to the car so she and Jack called an ambulance and I was taken to East Surrey Hospital.   I was given morphine, they ran tests, I had a CT scan and X-rays and in the early hours I was told that I had a large number of gall stones but could go home again and to take pain killers.  

Claire and Emily came to pick me up after Claire had dropped the girls at school and I went straight to bed when I got home. I stayed there for the rest of the week and didn't feel like it was getting any better. On Saturday afternoon I started shivering and could not stop. I was freezing and couldn't get warm.  Again, poor Emily was called and she took one look at me and phoned 111 again (despite my protestations). After describing what was happening -  apparently I was as white as a sheet and my lips were turning purple, as well as not being able to stop shivering/shaking, she was told to take me straight to the Princess Royal Hospital.  I spent another night being tested and given morphine to control the pain until, in the early hours of Sunday morning, I was transferred to Brighton Hospital because they felt I needed to be seen by the surgeons.  Long story short - I was admitted to a ward with acute cholecystitis (gallbladder infection) and was on IV antibiotics for the first three days.  I was finally discharged on the Friday, on the condition that I returned again on the Monday for more blood tests to make sure my blood levels were settling.  Fortunately they were and I was able to stay at home.  In total I was off work for nearly a month.

What I hadn't anticipated was how long it would take me to start feeling more like myself again.  I couldn't go out and walk Harry for virtually 2 weeks and when I did start going I couldn't walk him, Emily still had to take his lead and we would shuffle round a shorter route just so I could get out of the house.  It's now nearly 6 months later and I'm still not back to 'normal'.  I have less energy and I'm in bed before my granddaughters because I feel exhausted after work. I need to get better at sticking to a low / no fat diet - if I have anything with slightly more fat in it, the pain in my side soon flares up to let me know to cut back again. I think diet has been the most frustrating thing because you aren't given any definite guidelines of what you can and can't eat. For the first 8 weeks after getting out of hospital I ate virtually no fat at all but then I was told I could eat low fat.  What is low fat though - if you eat things that are less than 5g per serving that's supposed to be low fat.  However, if you eat a number of things which are under 5g per serving - how much does it all add up to and how much fat are you eating in the whole day - is it really low fat? That's what I'm trying to work out at the moment. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!

 Looking on the bright side, the weight I gained at the start of the pandemic has gone as I've lost just over a stone since this all started, so there are silver linings! And if I have to wait another 6 months for surgery, I might lose a bit more ;)

Sunday 21 January 2018

Week 2

I'm so glad that I've kept up so far.  I know it's only the second week of Project Life but if I can keep up now and keep doing it over the next few weeks, hopefully it'll become a habit.  Do you think it works like that? ;-) 

It's been so long since I've done any scrapbooking that I feel a bit lost and not really sure what I'm doing.  I'm slowly finding what I like and what I don't and one thing I know for sure is that I need to keep it simple otherwise it's not going to work for me.  

I didn't have loads of photos last week but when I put the ones I wanted to use on one page it looked far too busy and I didn't have any white space.  I decided to spread them out a bit more and used half a page protector to give me a little more space.  I don't have the fuse tool so literally just used my paper trimmer to trim off the excess pockets.

The overall view of the pages for last week

 I've been playing with stamps again and on this page you can see where I used them on the bullet journal spread and also the Happening Right Now on the floral card.  I used some paper I had to make the card and have also cut a couple of 3x4 cards for use another time.  The journaling cards were from the Currently digital kit which I printed out on white card.

Finally, my half page.  The top photo was taken when I went to babysit the girls and Claire went round to friends for the evening.  We watched The Emoji Movie and then afterwards the girls wanted to send me an emoji message.  I love that Alice included "I LOVE YOU GRANDMA" in her text - of course I had to save that :)   It's a bit of a joke in our family that I love my emoji's and I must be honest, I do miss them when I'm typing on the computer!  I found some little emoji stamps that I had got in a Studio Calico kit a few years ago which seemed appropriate for the journaling card.

I have actually completed this weeks pages already but I feel I need to hold on to them at the moment otherwise I might not have anything ready for next week.

Hope the coming week is a good one for everyone.


Sunday 14 January 2018

Once again, it's been a while

As I said in the title, it's been a while.  If I'm honest, I don't know how well I'll do at blogging this time round either as life is pretty busy here and, although I loved having a blog, I don't have as much time as I used to.  

However, having said all that, I've decided to have another go and doing Project Life this year.  I'm have set it up monthly so that I don't feel pressured into having to do a spread each week but still hope to do something each week.  I completed my title page and photos for the first week last weekend and once I've posted this, will be working on my page or pages for this week.  Perhaps posting the layouts here will keep me motivated through the year.  

My title page came together fairly quickly and I like how it turned out.  Claire and the girls had been round for breakfast last Sunday and Alice and Megan wanted to take photos with my phone.  Turns out they did a pretty good job and I used the photos they took for the front page.  I added some cards I printed off from the Felicity Jane digital kit, Reagan and added the year and a few stamps word stickers. 

 I'm not sticking to a theme the whole way through the year but rather using what I've got.  Unfortunately, the Project Life kits I had from previous years have the rounded corners whereas I prefer the square corners.  I'm leaving them in for now but don't know if I'll change my mind about them later.
I started watching some of the December Daily You Tube videos during December and have also watched a few Project Life process videos.  I like the idea of adding some stamping in my album to make it more my own, like the little stars on the journalling card in the last layout, the This Week on the card for the first page of the week and the Lets do This and Start Here on the title page.  I've also started using some little word stickers that I found in my stash and didn't realise I had.  

Let me know if you're doing Project Life this year and whether you'll be sharing your pages anywhere,  I'd love to see them.