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114 Days of freedom-days 8-12 catch-up

I am hopeless.

All my good intentions of keeping my Blog/journal up to date thwarted by …….by….. Mmmmm. Not sure, except that I have neglected my duties for 5 days.

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In my defense, Days 8 and 9 were spent celebrating my birthday ūüôā Whilst I am not a fan of Christmas, Easter and other Public holidays when I am celebrating something totally unconnected with me, my birthday is sacrosanct. I have never worked on my birthday. Ever. I have always loved my birthday and ¬†the work thing came about in my penultimate year at school when I sent off for retail management opportunity information from our best-loved high-street stores. Strangely, it was the Woolworths scheme which caught my eye.

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In addition to the standard holiday allocation, they gave you a day off for your birthday! Wow! That really appealed to me, and I vowed then and there, never to work on my birthday. I never have and my well-trained secretary used to book my birthday off as her first job each New Year. I think that Woolworths were years ahead of their time with my employer ony following their blazed trail 35 years later by¬†introducing “Birthday Leave” in 2014. It may not seem much, but it meant a lot to me; Better late than never.

My birthday this year fell on a Saturday. I went to my Slimming World class as usual and¬†the class sang “Happy Birthday” when they found out I was in group on my day. I didn’t want to do anything special on my birthday except that I got to choose the dinner menu. Steak of course! Not only do my hubby and I enjoy a good steak, Jasper has developed a liking for it too. The good thing is that today, steak is not the expensive luxury it used to be, and Jasper gets his own slab of red meat to eat with his mummy and daddy. Yes, we spoil him but he deserves it. He gives us both so much pleasure that we cannot possibly deny him a bit of sirloin.

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Jasper also likes going to the pub. He likes it because he gets lots of adoring attention and he meets his doggy friends for a get-together!

Jasper and Tess

Birthday celebrations over, I have mostly been busy making the quilts I have “on order.”

If someone wants a quilt, I am happy to make one if they choose their colour scheme. It’s very interesting to see who chooses which colours. Everyone is so different.

I currently have 4 quilts in progress.

  1. Will’s housemate (a) yellow/green/spring-like colours
  2. Will’s housemate (b) teal/grey/silver
  3. Feri’s mum in Iran- Moda Modern Neutrals
  4. My Slimming World Leader- lap quilt in random FQs

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Whilst looking at quilts on Pinterest, I have also found details for “Fidget Quilts.”

I will explain these another day. ūüôā

Streetlife:-

About 12 months ago, I discovered a great website called “Streetlife” Streetlife is a social network website which “makes it easy to connect with local people, ask questions about your area, share news, events and recommendations with neighbours”

So far I have found a great local tiler, who did our kitchen tiles before Christmas, found free horse manure for our garden and this week, found a group of ladies who are interested in walking. Today we met for the first time in the local park and went for a walk along the canal. It was a beautiful sunny spring day and we have a lovely time. It was so successful that we will meet again next week for a walk in the fresh air and sunshine (hopefully). People bemoan the internet but I love it. It has provided some great friends and wonderful inspiration and ideas apart from being able to keep in touch with family. How did we ever do without it?

So, a quick run-down of the last few days. I am trying to keep up with myself. Now I am beginning to understand how my mum felt-she always said she always felt like she was living in the middle of a whirl-wind. If I can’t keep up with myself, I can’t possibly expect anyone else to.

Stay with me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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114 Days of freed0m-Day 4

Today I arranged to visit my friend Jenny who has a 10 week old puppy that I just have to see.  I have seen some photos and he looks adorable and I made sure that I took my camera with me.

I arrived at the house, opened the door and he came to greet me straight away; no nerves and no barking just much tail wagging. What a cutie.

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As with most pups he is all big feet and long legs which are still not quite under his control when he runs around after Jenny-mummy everywhere she goes. He bombed around playing with his toys until he flopped and although he fought to stay awake, soon he was fast asleep on Jenny-mummy’s lap.

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Nite-nite Fenn.

Sleep tight.

 

 

 

 

114 Days of freedom-Day 2

Valentines Day.

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Hubby and I don’t send cards or buy pressies for Valentines day, but we do treat ourselves to a nice meal cooked at home, usually a big, fat juicy steak. Jasper, of course, doesn’t like to be left out so daddy makes sure that he has a steak too. I have never come across a dog as¬†spoilt as Jasper but daddy lost his heart on day 1 and Jasper hasn’t looked back since.

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De-cluttering

Having lost so much weight, I have lots of clothes which I have hardly worn and which are taking up too much room in cupboards, drawers, wardrobes, boxes, airing cupboard and several vacuum packed bags piled up wherever there is a little space. I got up this morning and decided to start sorting my stash into 4 piles;

  • Ebay- Clothes that I would still be wearing if they were the right size.
  • British Heart Foundation- items to donate that are still in good condition but which I wouldn’t wear now even if they were the right size.
  • Dusters-usually old t-shirts and cotton work shirts
  • Rubbish

It seemed like a good idea at the time but I am a bit of a hoarder and take the view that whatever it is, ¬†“it might come in useful one day.” I found myself looking at a dress before putting it on the Ebay/donation pile then changing my mind because “it might come in useful one day” and it went straight back in the case/cupboard/drawer/bag. This went on for a while and my piles were very small in comparison to time spent. Feeling a bit defeated by my good intentions I came downstairs for a break and had a chat with my sister on facebook.

She referred me to ¬†Marie “KonMarie” Kondo who I had never heard of before but after looking her up on the internet, this is remarkable. It¬†seems that I must have been living on a different planet, she is so well-known.

KonMarie has written some very poplar books and is in demand round the globe. In short, her philosophy about decluttering is that “if the item doesn’t spark¬†joy” dump it. She helps her clients turn their living space into places of “serenity and inspiration” and thinking that would benefit me too, I gave it a try.

Apparently in her book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying” which I have yet to read but is now top of¬†my list, she encourages¬†readers to put everything they own in a pile, clasp each and every object, then keep only those that ‘spark joy’, booting out everything else after thanking it for its service.

Strangely, it was like being given permission to get rid of things you don’t like, or just don’t “spark joy” anymore and my pile of get-rid items grew much quicker. It was a¬†weird experience and I wonder why her philosophy works. Not that it matters, I just know that I now have more space and I feel less guilty about condemning some¬†pre-loved items to the trash.

I still have some way to go but it’s a start.

Quilting

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Hubby recenty told me that his mum had admired a quilt that I had sent over as a gift for friends of ours. Without any further ado, I knew exactly which fabric I am going to use for her quilt and which we will take over with us on our next visit to Iran. The fabric colours and patterns speak for themsleves so there is no need for anything more complicated than to sew the charm squares together and hand quilt each square with two circles. This is Moda fabric, Modern Neutrals. Moda make great quality fabrics and I have never been disappointed.

I was hoping to sit in front of the TV this evening and¬†chill out whilst hand-sewing the quilt. Unfortunately, Jasper got hold of my cotton which I wasn’t looking. Something else to add to my shopping list.

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So, that’s Day 2. I wonder what Day 3 will turn up?

 

114 Days of Freedom-Day 1

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How lovely to wake up to a beautiful sunny day knowing that it is my own. No one to answer to, the recent unrelenting pressure of deadlines lifted for a few months.

First on the agenda, my Saturday morning Slimming World meeting. I love my weekend get-togethers with fellow Slimmers. I get so much from these meetings; support, inspiration, encouragement, recipe ideas and general tips and information to make losing and maintaining weight far more enjoyable than it would be without them. I also help out at Group by taking the fees some weeks ie “Pay”, or like today, making sure everyone faces those dreaded scales! ie “Weigh”

It is fascinating to hear everyone’s hints and tips which they use on their weight-loss journey. Some make me laugh others are pure genius; Today we had;

  • When I’m hungry, I go and have a bath.
  • Instead of drinking gin and tonic, to avoid the calories,¬†I have a glass of tonic water and smear some gin around the rim of the glass. The smell makes me think I’m drinking the real thing!

I don’t drink gin but I like the idea of having a bath while dinner cooks. It takes you away from the temptation of picking so I may give that one a go.

Another thing I like is sharing recipes. Today’s was Diet Cola Chicken, one of my favourites and so easy to make.

Diet Cola Chicken

4 chicken breasts cut into chunks
1 red pepper (chunks or strips)
1 green pepper (chunks or strips)
1 yellow pepper (chunks or strips)
1 onion-finely chopped
330ml can diet cola
200ml chicken stock
120g passata with onions/garlic
4tbsp tomato puree
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 tsp Worcs sauce
1tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
200g sugar snap peas

 

Spray a large fry pan with low calorie oil and place over a high heat. Add chicken, peppers, onion, and stir-fry for 5 minutes until light brown.

Add all the other ingredients apart from the sugar snaps and simmer for about 15 mins. Add sugar snaps and simmer for another 10-15 mins or until chicken is cooked through.

Enjoy!

Slimming-Worlds-Diet-Cola-chicken

 

 

114 days of Freedom

 

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So, another UK tax return filing deadline has come and gone and after two weeks of “tidying up” I now have 114 days of freedom before I return to work. Last year I took to writing a journal , but I am fast running out of space to keep all my different memory books, scrapbooks and travel journals so this year I plan to keep tab on my adventures using my blog. I will still write up a journal for my travels in Iran but everything else lends itself perfectly to online journaling.

I have no special plans, other than a holiday in Iran, but have lots of things that I would like to do in my time off. If I achieve some or all of them I will be well pleased. If I don’t, they can wait.

What’s on my “list?” Just a few ideas……..

  • Visit Richard IIIs burial place and museum in Leicester Cathedral.
  • Go and spend some time with my big sister and enjoy some “girlie time.”
  • I must go and have a cuddle with my newly-born great-nephew Sebastian. He looks gorgeous and I am so pleased for my niece and her husband that they now have the start of what will be a beautiful family.
  • ¬†Lots of doggie walks with Jasper will get me out of the house and into the fresh air-as long as it’s not raining to hard!
  • I have an order list for patchwork quilts a mile long so I must spend some time sewing and sewing some more.
  • I’d like to decorate our landing and stairwell but it’s a big job. I need to prepare myself for this challenge!

Whatever I end up doing, I am determined to relax and recover from the stresses of the previous 8 months. I did have a spell of acute anxiety last Autumn which caused me some problems so I would like to avoid that if at all possible. Jasper is the chill-out king so I will be adopting some of his tactics. I’m not sure whether I will adopt the same pose, but after a few glasses of wine who knows?

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Here’s to sharing my 114 days of freedom!