"Dear Diary..."

...What a September it's been!

Lyric snippet from "Dear Diary" by The Moody Blues.

Please click here if you would like to listen to it via YouTube.

Back to life......

Back to main (current) blog page

To August 2020

To October 2020

To November 2020

To December 2020

To January 2021

To February 2021

September 2020

This was a mixed month.

It was a month when we enjoyed some lovely autumn sunshine and I was able to meet up with a friend for some socially distanced crochet at Craig-y-Nos Country Park. I indulged my love for looking at the sky through the trees. I baked, cooked, stitched, fiddled with pointy & hooky things and stringy stuff, and I was thankful for my home (especially my cwtchy bed and cwtchy kitties during a few rare days off work sick).

I shared my website for the first time on social media.

Bob and I revisited part of our first date at Caffi Lolfa, before we were within a local lockdown, which meant that we couldn't see each other for a month.

September had fairies, rainbows, pretty tablecloths from a lovely friend, and lots of books! I struggled with fatigue and depression, but managed to get through! It was horrible not being able to see my Lovely Man, but we were able to talk on the 'phone and Skype, which was fab.

If you would like to look at the posts from the very first one on Tuesday 1st September, then please click here.

Wednesday 30th September 2020

Picture of the day

A beautiful rainbow in the sky on the way home from work. Unfortunately, I didn't catch it at its best. It was a double rainbow, and the violet on the lower one was very intense and radiated outwards in separate little stripes, as if it was pulsating. Amazing. I took the picture where it was safest for me to stop and get out of the car, which meant it had faded quite a bit when I captured it. Still beautiful though, even then.

I think rainbows are one of life's most beautiful, uplifting things. I often see them when I'm not feeling quite up to par mentally and emotionally, and they remind me that life does hold promise, and that there is joy to be found in nature and the world around us - if we remember to look for it.

Fatigue did actually get the better of me this evening when I got in, and I slept for about an hour-and-a-half. Oh well, I suppose I can't expect to claim victory two nights on the trot!

My planned meal this evening was a bog-standard veggie (vegan) stew, so that was quite quick to get underway, and whilst it was cooking I made a start on the replacement lounge lace/organza curtains. Although I'm replacing the organza, I do want to re-use the lace, so I need to unpick the two parts.

I've lived for lots of years without a freezer, but earlier in the year (just before the national lockdown actually), my brother was getting a new freezer and gave me his old one. There is nothing wrong with it...it just needs to be defrosted more often than a newer one would. Now I've had it for a few months, I can't believe I managed so long without one!

I bought this 'trio of olive bloomer' from Tesco in the summer when it was reduced, and popped it in the freezer. It's just the right sort of bread to accompany a veggie stew, so I put a couple of slices in the oven this evening, and spread it with the new Flora Plant Butter. Well, to say 'spread' is a bit of a fib, since the 'butter' actually acted like real butter after being in the fridge, in that it wouldn't spread! Haha.

The veggie stew is a tried and tested old favourite, which always consists of whatever veggies I happen to have in the house, and a stock which I put together from things in my store cupboard.

This evening I used onions, potatoes and carrots (all fresh), sprouts and swede (frozen), and a can each of sweetcorn and broad beans. The stock was vegetable Oxo, some yeast extract, mixed herbs, black pepper, a splash of Worcester sauce, and a good dollop of tomato purée to make it thicken a little. With the olive bread, it was yummy, comforting and filling. Proper Hygge food!

I have lots left to freeze some, and to take for lunch tomorrow.

My evening was nicely rounded off by a lovely soak in a hot, bubbly, candlelit bath, enjoying a cuppa in a favourite mug. Off to bed now, for some tea and chapters.

I'd love to see your feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page.

Tuesday 29th September 2020

Picture of the day

By far, the hardest thing for me is to remain motivated when getting home in the evening after a day at work. I am totally exhausted when I get through the door - physically and mentally, and my instinct is always to head upstairs to bed and sleep! It's especially hard at the moment, because I'm not seeing my Lovely Man, due to being on local lockdown. This means that, apart from the cats, my needs are the only needs to cater for, and it's so easy to just give in to the fatigue. It also doesn't help at the moment that I'm feeling a bit low.

I'm also acutely aware, that even though I should listen to my body when it says it's tired, I also need to eat properly, and tend to my need for creativity and productivity....especially at a time when the Black Dog threatens. So, in spite of feeling that way this evening, I did not give in to it. I have so much I want to do, and evenings & weekends are the only times I have to do them, so I forced myself to get the washing in off the line, make a cuppa, keep on the move whilst enjoying it, instead of sitting down, change into some comfortable clothes, and get cracking!

Tuesday evening at the moment is Bake Off Evening, since one of my favourite programmes - The Great British Bake Off - is airing on Channel 4. I usually make cake to eat whilst watching this. The tradition started about four years ago, when my Gowjus Girl was temporarily living back at home with me, and we used to watch it together, and one of us (usually her) would bake cake to eat whilst watching GBBO.

Unfortunately, this time last week I was unwell with a tummy upset, so I watched the first episode of this series cakeless and with a rumbling tummy! I was determined that this week would involve sitting down to watch Bake Off with some yummy, home-made cake, so one of the first jobs I gave myself this evening was to whip up a lemon drizzle cake....a particular favourite and one which I find easy to make and which never fails.

Whilst my cake was in the oven cooking, I made my meal for the evening.

I'm sticking to my meal planning, and it was Thai green prawn curry on the menu this evening. This is a really easy meal to put together, and quite quick, so I had it sorted in no time, and it was very yummy indeed. I usually have it with a ready-made Jasmine rice, but I forgot to put it on the shopping list. However, I had a ready-made pilau rice, which I used instead, and it actually worked really well.

By the time I had finished my meal, the cake was just about ready to come out of the oven and for me to put the lemon syrup over the top.

The recipe I use is from a Jane Asher book. It's actually called "soaked lemon cake", which I suppose is more fitting than 'lemon drizzle', because there is rather a lot of syrup to soak in.

My baking isn't vegan, because I use eggs, but I do use a dairy-free, plant-based fat - Buttery Flora - which I find to be really good for cakes. At some point I'll use the new Flora Plant Butter, but I have rather a lot of Buttery Flora to use up first, after buying it in bulk when it was on offer a while ago.

I needed to leave the cake for a little while to give it a chance to cool, so I washed up the dinner and cake-making things whilst I waited.

Then I was able to put my feet up and enjoy The Great British Bake Off, accompanied by yummy home made cake, and tea brewed in a beautiful teapot, which once belonged to my Auntie Dol, and enjoyed from one of my favourite mugs, bought for me by Lydia a few Christmases ago. Bliss! It definitely is the little things in life which make a difference.

As I write this, I definitely feel more cheered than I did when I got home this evening, so I am so glad I made the effort to avoid an early sleep, and get things done instead. Now though, I definitely do need my bed!

I'd love to see your feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page.

Monday 28th September 2020

Picture of the day

Today's been a bit of a rubbish day, with one thing and another.

After work, I went to do my weekly food shop. I had intended to do it over the weekend, but that didn't happen, so I bit the bullet and off I went.

Prior to Covid 19, I used to love food shopping - taking my time, browsing, choosing yummy things to eat, etc. Nowadays I can't get in and out of the shops fast enough, although it's a little better since everyone started wearing masks. That's a bit more reassuring.

One good thing about today's shopping was finding this new Flora plant-based butter. On offer in Tesco too. I love it when they bring out new plant-based/vegan products, and I love it even more when they are yummy! The verdict on the butter.........butter - it is not! Yummy - it is! Ha, I sound like Yoda now.

Anyway, I followed the shopping list for my meal-planning. I won't mention that I did buy a couple of extras! As I didn't get in until way after seven, I needed to make something quick, yet healthy, so I went for the salmon and veggies option, because I was able to cook the salmon in the microwave in minutes, and the veggies didn't take too long to cook, since I like my greens crunchy.

I suppose I should clarify that, although the majority of my diet is plant-based, and I choose as many vegan options as I can, I do still eat fish, eggs and honey, so I'm not actually vegan. When asked, I refer to myself as a non-dairy pescatarian!

There were two salmon pieces in the pack, so I cooked both and that's lunch for tomorrow sorted too.

Although my day was a bit rubbish, the evening has been better. I've had a few lovely texts back and fore with my sister, a text from my Gowjus Girl, about something funny, which made me proper giggle, and a couple of texts from my Lovely Man, who is ringing later for a chat. Yaay! I'm off to do something productive with what's left of the evening before I pop off to bed with tea and chapters.

I'd love to see your feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page.

Sunday 27th September 2020

Picture of the day

I've had a bit of a creative/organising day today. This is a picture of some braids, ribbons, bias binding, etc., that - a little while ago - I started winding on to lollipop sticks!

There is method in my madness. I have lots of craft stuff which until recently has been put into various bags, boxes, drawers, cupboards etc. I want to organise everything in my craft room, in such a way that it is easy to access, and to show off the lovely colours, patterns and textures of some of the things.

I saw this picture on Pinterest, really loved it, and felt inspired to recreate it for my craft room.

I need to get the big jar...I have seen a few, but nothing that I think is quite right.

So in the meantime, I have lots of ribbons and braids, and a whole bunch of lolly sticks left over from my teaching days, which I'm very happy to put to good use.

I love all the different colours and patterns, and it will be nice to use them on things which I make. Lots of them will be used to trim things like cushions and bunting, and any other small projects I fancy stitching.

Being passionate about sewing, I also have plenty of pins with pretty coloured heads, to secure the braid and ribbons on to the sticks when they are wound on.

These are a few that I did today. This is one of the things which I dip in and out of, whilst I'm watching T.V.

Other things I dip in and out of are crochet, knitting, and cross stitch. I haven't actually done any cross stitch for a while, but today went through all my patterns and things which I have on the go. I found a lovely cushion panel which my Gowjus Girl started stitching a few years ago, so I think I'm going to do some of that soon.

I also attached a couple of squares to my current crochet throw, and sorted out some fabric to replace the organza curtains in the lounge.

I painted a bit more of my little kitchen cupboard too. I should have some pics of all these things later in the week.

Whoever is reading this, I wish you a very happy week ahead.

I'd love to see your feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page.

Saturday 26th September 2020

Picture of the day

My Lovely Man and me decided today that we needed to spend some quality time together, just simply enjoying our relationship and each other, and so we decided to partly revisit our first date, with a spot of food and drink at Caffi Lolfa, in Burry Port.

At Caffi Lolfa, they have a 'Welsh word of the day', which they display on the wall, and today the word was "Gwydn", meaning 'resilient', which we thought very appropriate for the current times.

After that, we went back to Llanelli, to the beach - not the main beach, but up near Machynys, where it is usually quieter...and it was! The tide was out, but had left lots of little pools of sea water, and Ollie was in his element, running up and down the sand, and rolling & jumping in all the pools. Ollie loves the beach.

I intended to take lots more pictures, but it was so bright on the beach, I literally couldn't see the 'phone screen to take them!

Today was such a lovely day, being near the ocean, with my favourite man and favourite dog, in the beautiful autumn sunshine, with time to just be together.

This evening I've been working on some meal planning.

I usually tend to go from day-to-day with regards to meals. I do my 'big shop' towards the end of the week or at the weekend, and just buy general veggies, fruit, meat substitutes, etc., as well as topping up cans, packets, herbs, and anything else I've run out of, then more-or-less decide each evening what to cook.

This isn't really a good thing, because although I do generally eat sensibly and healthily, there are times that I can end up being quite lazy and just having a sandwich, or something on toast, or similar for my main meal, especially if I've had a bad day with regards to fatigue and pain levels.

I've been aware for some time that this needs addressing, and that I need to have proper meal plans for the week, and maybe spend one evening cooking ahead for the week, so that I always have something home cooked and healthy when I get home from work, that I can just heat up.

So I grabbed a lovely note book which has been sitting in the drawer for a couple of years, and am using it as my meal planner and shopping list book.

The plan is, that each week, on the night before I do my shopping, I will go through the fridge and freezer to see what is left over that I can make meals from, then plan the rest of the meals - including breakfasts and lunches, and make a shopping list specifically for only the things I need.

This means that it will keep down costs and waste, and my eating habits should be that little bit healthier.

This week I have two onions, two courgettes, some tomatoes, potatoes, a handful of blueberries, some strawberries, and a banana to use up. I also have some veggie sausages, fish, veggie burgers and some lovely trio of olives bread in the freezer. Yummy!

The fruit will all go into my breakfast smoothie tomorrow morning, and I'll look for a recipe to use the courgettes, onions and potatoes, and plan some other meals around the frozen stuff.

I'm determined to try out at least one new recipe a week, and this week my chosen book is a student vegan cookery book which my Lovely Man bought for me last birthday. I've only tried one recipe from it so far, and there are so many lovely ones.

Right, I'm off to plan meals, then a fairly early night I think, with some tea and chapters. I hope whoever is reading this is having a lovely weekend.

I'd love to see your feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page.

Friday 25th September 2020

Picture of the day.....Fairy Friday!

This is a fairy picture which my very talented sister painted for Lydia, for her sixth birthday (21 years ago). Ann (my sister) made it to coincide with Lydia's fairy-themed birthday, which I have mentioned here before (just a few times, haha).

At the moment I'm looking after it, until Lydia has her own home to hang it in, and it's destined to temporarily go on the wall in the fairy corner of my craft room.

As I've also mentioned before, I wrote a fairy story for Lydia when she was six - "Lydia and the Tooth Fairy". If you would like to read the story and hear the narration (by myself) then please click here.

I fancied cooking a curry this evening, and didn't have loads of time, so needed to do one on the hob. Usually I would slow cook a curry in the oven, to let all the flavours through, but the stove top method was perfectly fine for this evening.

A few weeks ago, I bought a packet of frozen Tesco meat-free chicken pieces. Then, somebody in a vegan group on Facebook gave them a bad review. Anyway, I took a chance on them this evening and popped them into the curry, and I was pleasantly surprised. I can't say I liked them as much as the Quorn equivalent, but they were cheaper and vegan, and I liked that they are fairly large in size, whereas the Quorn ones are a bit tiddly.

It was actually a very yummy curry, and we ate it with pilau rice, and a Naan bread which Morrisons sell, which is also vegan, and incredibly good! We shared a bottle of Shloer, which again is vegan! If anyone wants to try my curry, here is the recipe.....

I chopped up an onion and fried it in a small amount of British rapeseed oil, until it was soft and golden, at which point I added it to a can of chopped tomatoes which I had gently simmering in a saucepan. I repeated the chopping, frying and adding process with two sticks of celery, and a yellow pepper.

I was basically using up left-over veggies before I do a big shop at the weekend, so any combination of veggies would work really.

Then I gently fried the pack of 'chicken' pieces until they were browned, and added them to the tomato and veg mixture, along with a large can of mixed beans. Next, I made a stock, consisting of two vegetable Oxo cubes in about 100ml of boiling water, and added it to the mix, along with a selection of herbs and spices shown in the picture - I didn't measure any of these, just sprinkled in what I thought would work, a splash of Worcester sauce, and a teaspoon of yeast extract.

I also used a teaspoon of Thai green curry paste. Bob doesn't like really spicy food, hence only a teaspoon of this. Had I been making it just for myself I would have added more, and if I'd been making it for my Gowjus Girl, I would have added a whole heap more! Haha.

If you do try my recipe...or even if you just like the look of it, I'd love to know what you think.....

.....with some feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page.

Thursday 24th September 2020

Picture of the day.....Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for lots of things today.....well, actually I'm thankful for lots of things every day, but since today is Thursday I thought I would do a "Thankful Thursday".

The first thing I'm thankful for is this colourful chap.

He is a telescopic duster thingammyjig, and he's blinkin' fab!

I've managed to reach all the ceilings in my house to swipe away any unwanted dust/cobwebs, etc.....without standing on anything and risking life & limb.

Even the high ceiling on the landing has had the Robin treatment.

I've called him Robin, after Robin Gibb (of Bee Gees fame), because he has big hair and hits all the high spots!

As you can see from this pic, he even bends over to do awkward corners and shelf tops! I think he cost me £2.99 or £3.99 in Home Bargains....certainly less than a fiver.

Best less than a fiver I've spent in a long time!

Other things I'm thankful for today...

...Being well enough to go back to work, even if I still needed to pop the paracetamol and the whole day was rather a struggle. At least I made it through!

...My home to come home to, with central heating (yes, I have put it on)...

...The warm welcome of three beautiful kitties...

...Cosy socks...

...The humble cuppa...

...Books! I am about six chapters through "Flowers in the Attic" by Virginia Andrews, and throughly enjoying, although I think it is a book which will break my heart a little...

...Music! One of the (newer) symptoms of Lupus for me, is that I have a horrible aversion to lots of external noise. It is very busy where I work, with lots of sounds going on - the radio, machinery, steam irons, various conversations, people packing boxes, etc., and I find it all a bit too much. For that reason, I escape into headphones and listen to music whilst I work. It doesn't block out all the external noises, but it does help me to focus on what I'm actually listening to, and at the same time helps me to concentrate on my work. Today I had a morning of Nick Drake, and an afternoon of Pink Floyd! Lovely.

Basil, Joe and Nala have asked me to tell you that they are thankful for...

...fishies, a cwtchy sofa, and a warm human lap to snooze on.

What are you thankful for today? I'd love you to tell me.....

.....with some feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page.

Wednesday 23rd September 2020

Picture of the day

Déjà vu! Different day, same view. Lots of body aches this morning, to go with the still-present massive headache. My tummy has been better than yesterday, but still quite niggly, so I'm thinking that I have indeed caught some sort of bug, and definitely didn't want to take that into work.

So I've spent most of the day in bed...more paracetamol....birds outside in the garden as my soundtrack...plus the addition of some rain, and this time two furry little guys to keep a watchful eye on me.

I got up just after 1:00 p.m., feeling absolutely starving, after only having a piece of toast since the night before last.

I decided to try some scrambled egg, and it did make me feel better, if only for the energy it provided.

I do feel quite a lot better this evening. My tummy seems to have settled and I'm not nearly as achy....although I think the paracetamol (I must look like one by now) is probably masking most of the aches!

I'm hoping that a quiet evening spent in the company of my Lovely Man, and a good night's sleep, will see me right for going back to work tomorrow. I hate being off ill....mainly because I like to think I'm made of sterner stuff - and to be fair, I usually am!

I'd love your feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page.

Tuesday 22nd September 2020

Picture of the day

This has been my view for most of the day. I called in sick this morning, because I had rather an upset tummy.....I don't know if it's a bug or something I ate, but I always err on the side of caution with this kind of thing, as I'm sure my colleagues would not want to catch a tummy bug!

I also had a Headache From Hell, and generally felt pretty yucky.

So I spent the day in bed, dosed up on paracetamol, with the birds outside in the garden as my soundtrack, and this little guy to keep a watchful eye on me.

He's so cute, and whenever I am unwell, he really sticks close to me, as if to say "It's ok Mum, I'm here".

I've slept most of the day, and when awake have consumed tea and water! I did ask Joe, my furry companion to make my tea, but he refused on the grounds he has no thumbs!

I'm blinkin' hungry now, but afraid to eat, in case it's a bug. I may have a slice of toast in a bit.

By late afternoon the headache was a lot better, so I managed a bit of reading.

I read the last couple of chapters of this book. Wow! What a good book - those who recommended it were not wrong! It caught me hook, line, and sinker. I loved it....I don't want to give anything away, but because of how the story began to unfold, I was afraid that the ending would be disappointing, but it totally wasn't.

Then I moved on to this book (yes, I am a bit of a bookworm) - another which has been recommended to me.

I've read the first couple of chapters, and am enjoying so far. The first chapter made me cry - always the sign of a good book! Haha.

I can feel the headache starting to get a grip again, so I think it's time for some more paracetamol.

One of my favourite programmes in the world - Great British Bake Off - is back on our screens this evening, and I want to watch it. I usually bake cake to enjoy whilst watching, but obviously that hasn't happened today, so I'll just have to grin and bear the tummy rumbling, and sight of all the lovely bakes on screen!

Then I think it will be an early night. Even with all the sleep I've had today, I still feel like I could sleep for Wales.

I'd love your feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page.

Monday 21st September 2020

Picture of the day

I love tablecloths - the prettier the better. I love them when they're embroidered, made of lace, have pretty edgings, and for all sorts of other reasons.

I already have quite a few which I've gathered over the years, and this is a picture of some tablecloths that my lovely friend and colleague Julie gave me. She's been having a sort out, and her ears pricked up when I mentioned tablecloths the other day, and she thought I might like these. She wasn't wrong!

They are all so pretty, but out of them all I think I like this one the best. I love its pretty colours, embroidery and tassels. I have a table in mind for this, but I'm not sure yet whether it will fit, so I'll be trying it out in the next few days and I'll let you know!

I didn't get as much done over the weekend as I'd intended, so I'm hoping to make up for that a bit during this week, although I do find that when I get home from work most days I'm pretty exhausted. This evening though, I've put the first undercoat onto my little cupboard for the kitchen, so that's a good start!

Wishing a very happy week ahead to anybody who's reading this. Also...

...I'd love your feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page.

Sunday 20th September 2020

Picture of the day

This is Julia, one of Bob's lovely friends....and also one of my friends now!

Julia is proudly showing a granny square!

Today we met for some socially-distanced crochet (and a cuppa) at Craig-y-Nos. Julia is keen to learn how to crochet and asked if I would lend a hand the next time I was up at the park with Bob.

I am always happy to share the crochet love, and was up at the park today, so we sat in the sunshine outside Bob's studio and I taught Julia how to make a granny square.

I always think that a granny square is a good place to start learning crochet, because there are quite a lot of skills involved - a basic chain, trebles, turning corners, crocheting into spaces, and also into the top of a stitch when joining.

Some people also struggle with the concept of a corner....I personally think that they get the idea that it is going to be more difficult than it is, which can often set a negative mindset to start.

Julia is a fab learner - she picked things up really quickly, and before we knew it, there was a granny square! As you can see from the first picture, I think she's quite pleased, and I am too that I was able to share some knowledge and skill - a lovely feeling to finish off the weekend.

I'd love your feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page.

Saturday 19th September 2020

Picture of the day

May I introduce you to my Little Man? Definitely NOT to be confused with my Lovely Man!

My Little Man was carved, many years ago, by my lovely Dad. We had quite a few apple trees in our garden when I was growing up. My Dad had incredibly green fingers. One of the trees had stopped yielding fruit, and so Dad chopped it down, and took up wood carving, using the wood from the apple tree. The result was that Dad produced several lovely carved pieces, including this little chap, which he carved after seeing an image in a book. I think it was a book of Aztec art/carvings, but I may be mistaken. Anyway, I took a proper fancy to him, so Dad gave him to me, and he now sits proudly in my lounge.

A few days ago, Julie (my work colleague) and I were having a conversation about the legs of a certain female singer, and how amazing they are. It reminded me of my Little Man's legs, and so I took him into work yesterday to show him to Julie. I'm not sure she was quite as enamoured with him as I am, but she definitely appreciated the craftsmanship of the carver!

One thing that Julie did comment upon, is that he has a very cute little bum....and I have to say, I'm inclined to agree! This picture demonstrates his cute little bum very effectively I think.

During the course of our ponderments of him, we decided that he really should be holding something. We tried a pen, but it was lost......his elegant arms are capable of holding so much more.....so I had the idea of scissors, and wow! He holds them beautifully. He spent the day on my desk, very dutifully holding my dressmaking scissors, and I have decided that now he is back at home, he can move location from the lounge to the craft room, and forever after be my lovely scissor holder!

Judging by his face, he seems quite happy about it anyway!

I'd love your feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page.

Friday 18th September 2020

Picture of the day

This is the birthday cake and a couple of party bags, which I made for Lydia's seventh birthday, when she had a rainbow-themed party.

For the same birthday, I wrote another fairy story for Lydia - a sequel to "Lydia and the Tooth Fairy" (which you can read and listen to, by clicking here).

The second story is called "Fairy Fleur's New Dress" and I am in the process of typing it up, ready to put here on my website - on my writing page Paperback Writer in a week or two. The photograph is one of quite a few which I have - originally taken by my sister Ann - which Bob has put onto CD for me to share.

So here we are at Friday evening again....don't the weeks fly by?

This week I've experienced a lot of fatigue, and I am very tired and very happy to see Weekend, as much as I love my job.

I'm planning (energy willing) to get quite a lot done tomorrow, including some of the things I wanted to do last weekend, but didn't. So I think it will be a fairly early night for me tonight. I wish whoever is reading this, a very happy weekend!

Thursday 17th September 2020

Picture of the day

I love this gowjus little cupboard! I picked it up from a charity shop a couple of years ago, for about three pounds I think. It's going to go on one of my kitchen walls, to use as a tea cupboard. There are two shelves inside the main cupboard and then the panel at the bottom opens down, to give another shelf space.

I'm going to be painting it the same as I'm doing the shelf and spice rack - in yellow, with white on top and then distressed along the edges to reveal just a peep of the yellow. I've given it just a light sanding, because I'll be using Wilkinson's cupboard paint as a base, which will paint over all sorts of surfaces, including melamine.

This evening I tried out a new recipe. I took it from a vegan cookbook which was part of my birthday present from Bob last year. I made "black bean and red pepper stew".

I did make some changes - the recipe said two cans of black eyed beans, and a red pepper. I used a can each of black eyed beans and green lentils, and didn't have a red pepper, so used a yellow one! I also added a dash of Worcester sauce, and a teaspoon of Marmite for a bit of an extra kick. There is plenty left over for lunches, and I've added some extra cumin, because Bob and I both felt it needed a little extra. It was very yummy though. We ate it with Basmati rice and some lovely crunchy broccoli. Oh, and the coriander was from my herb garden!

Wednesday 16th September 2020

Picture of the day

My cwtchy bed....complete with book, cup of tea in a favourite mug, and a bit of norty chocolate. I also happen to know that a cwtchy kitty is wending his way towards the cwtchy bed too! Do I need to say any more?

Tuesday 15th September 2020

Picture of the day

These two books!

The one on the left - "The Butterfly Picnic", by Joan Aiken - I finished during my afternoon break today. It was a very odd book, and I'm not entirely sure that I enjoyed it or not to be honest. I found it a bit chaotic, and sometimes as if stuff was just thrown in for the sake of it. It was also very child-like in parts. However, maybe it was intended for a younger audience. I read "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase" by the same author as a child, and loved it, and although this book is supposed to fit in to an adult readership, maybe the author was still a bit stuck in her children's literature ways? It also reminded me of the Lemony Snicket "Series of Unfortunate Events" books, but not as well written. That's my humble opinion anyway.

I started the book on the right - "The First Phone Call From Heaven" by Mitch Albom also during my last break. I only read the first chapter, and I am already hooked. I enjoyed "The Five People You Meet In Heaven" by the same author, so I'm expecting fairly good things from this book.

Today was less of a struggle than yesterday. Still a fair bit of fatigue, but nothing I couldn't cope with! However, I do feel quite tired this evening, so I'll be abandoning any plans of shelf-painting, in favour of something nice to eat, some T.V., a bubbly bath, and a fairly early night.

Monday 14th September 2020

Picture of the day

Today has been weird and a bit of a struggle. I had to go to Prince Philip Hospital this morning for blood tests. Because of Lupus, I have regular blood tests and always dread them - my veins can be a pretty mean bunch, and this morning was no exception.

First of all the nurse couldn't even locate a vein in either arm. Then, after finding one in the left, it point blank refused to yield any blood. Same thing in my right arm. I needed to go for an X-Ray too, so we decided that I would go and do that, then come back to try again for the blood. The nurse also suggested I drink something. Not being sure of her sense of humour, I refrained from suggesting a large vodka.

Off I went for the X-Ray, which went quite smoothly, if you don't count having to strip, then parade through a room full of other waiting patients, dressed in one of those very flattering gowns, which do up (or not, if you're not able to reach behind properly to do it yourself!) at the back, and you feel as if you might as well just skip through starkers (apart from the Covid mask of course) and have done with it! Sigh.

X-Ray done and back for the blood test.....left arm was still being as stubborn as a mule. Nope, that vein was not going to give anything, and that was that. On to the right again - by now I resembled a pin cushion. After a rather tight tourniquet from the nurse, and an incredibly clenched fist on my part, and a breath-held minute, the vein finally surrendered - veerrrry slowwwly! It literally was like getting blood out of a stone. Next lot of blood tests on the 25th September - I'm so looking forward to them! Not!

The rest of the day was a bit of a fatigue-filled slog, and when I got home from work, I zonked out and slept for about four hours. This did not go down well with three kitties, who were late getting their fishies, and were giving me proper dirty looks by the time I emerged with a fuzz of brain fog and a high-pitched tinnitus noise in my left ear.

I think I'll just write Monday off as a small, foggy ink blob on the page of this week, and go off to bed with some tea & chapters!

Sunday 13th September 2020

Picture of the day......and autumn reached for her golden crown...

This beautiful tree at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today. I love autumn - it is undoubtedly my favourite season. I love the colours, the autumn weather, and just the whole feeling in the air of such a beautiful season. It fills me with joy.

I spent the day up at Craig-y-Nos today with Bob and Ollie. It was such a relaxing day, even though Bob was working. I was able to crochet in the sunshine, took a walk with Margaret, one of Bob's lovely friends, had a chat with Jackie, one of his other lovely friends, and just basically felt so relaxed and chilled. It's a place that I truly love to be.

I did quite a lot of work on a crochet blanket which has been a WIP (Work In Progress) for probably about two years now. It's my own design, and to be honest, I'm kind of making it up as I go along. The main focus is off-centred granny squares, and I love the pastel, mellow colours.

Today I was able to crochet together the main body of the blanket.

It seems Ollie likes it too, and was very happy to be photographed with it!

I have eight of the off-centred grannies left in the original colours, so I was thinking that they would be nice attached to the corners, the way that I've placed them in this photograph.

So I crocheted two of them into place, and I quite like it......

......however, I'm now thinking that they would be better off placed at the centres of each edge of the main blanket, like this. I'll have a little ponder on that.

In the meantime, I need to make several more squares to fit in along the rest of the edges. I have another packet of colours, but they are slightly different to the original colours. I think that I'll make these squares in regular grannies, rather than off-centred......but that's for another day! Now it's time for some T.V., and a bit of a wind down before Monday hits us. I wish whoever is reading this a very happy week ahead.

Saturday 12th September 2020

Picture of the day......They call me mellow yellow...

...Quite rightly! I've now put the yellow coat on the shelf and spice rack for my kitchen. They won't be staying quite as yellow as this....I'll be top-coating with chalk paint, and then distressing the edges, etc., so that the yellow just peeps through. I'm doing the same with all my kitchen cupboards. Next I need to sand the little cupboard ready for painting, and emulsion the wall they're going on.

A fairly productive day - lots of tidying, sorting, washing (making the most of the lovely, sunny weather), organising. Some food shopping, which I used to love, but really dislike now, because nobody seems to understand the meaning of keeping a safe distance!

Off to spend the evening with my Lovely Man and his lovely dog Ollie now. Yaay!

Friday 11th September 2020

Picture of the day

This is a little doll which I put on top of Lydia's sixth birthday cake - 21 years ago.

Her party had a fairy theme, and I made Lydia a fairy costume - the Sweet Pea Fairy, from Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies book, and I dressed this little doll in a replica costume, so that she would be a mini Fairy Lydia! Such good fun.

If you want to read, and listen to, "Lydia and the Tooth Fairy" - a fairy story I wrote for her at the time, then please click here

This has been a busy and productive week at work, which is great. I love being busy, and I love the work I do. However, I also love Weekend, and it's fab to be home and with lots of hours to do lots of lovely things.

There are quite a few things I'd like to get done this weekend - I have some plants and bushes - kindly gifted to me from a Freecycler - to put into pots, and I need to make a start on raking and sifting over the area in my garden where I want to plant grass seeds. I'd like to finish painting the cupboard and shelves for the kitchen, as well as emulsion the wall they're going on, so that they can all go up (and be filled with lovely things!) next week. On Sunday I'm spending the day up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park, with Bob and Ollie, which I am so looking forward to. I'm hoping to do a bit of crochet/knitting/reading up there outside Bob's studio, with a cuppa and maybe some sunshine.

Tonight though, it's all about the curry, wine, and watching some frivolous T.V., cwtched up with my kitties! I wish whoever is reading this a very happy weekend!

Thursday 10th September 2020

Picture of the day

The top view of a completed wedding gown customisation strap.

As you may have read before on this site, I work for Enzoani in Swansea. Much of my job involves customising wedding gowns. That is, when a bride chooses an Enzoani gown, through one of our many stockists, she may (depending on the style of the gown) be able to choose to customise her gown, for example by adding sleeves, straps, a belt, a lace edging, etc., from a range which we have on offer.

In order for retailers to showcase what can be done by way of customisations, we have customisation kit boxes, which contain samples of all the items we can offer.

Today I have been making up components for a kit box, and specifically working on our S97 strap, which is one of my favourites. The strap starts out like this, as a very pretty beaded lace motif on a tulle backing.

The first job is to carefully cut around the motif, trimming it into a more workable shape, and to dispense with any excess tulle.

It is then pinned, tacked, and stitched onto a narrow ready-made georgette strap. My trusty sewing machine Martha is very good at this part!

This is a set of four samples I was making this afternoon.

Finally, for the purpose of our kit box, one of our Enzoani labels, with the corresponding item code is stitched onto the end of the strap. This is then ready to put onto a ring which will hold other strap samples, and into the kit box to go off to one of our stockists.

The versatility of each single item, means that it can be draped over a bride-to-be's shoulder, when she is trying on one of our gowns, to give an idea of what the finished customised gown would look like, should she choose that style.

This particular sample was modelled by Taylor - one of our obliging sewing room tailor's dummies!

Bob and I had a fairly quiet evening, rounding it off with the last part of an adaptation of Jane Austen's "Persuasion". That Jane Austen - she did know how to write a good story!

Wednesday 9th September 2020

Picture of the day

And off I go with the paintbrush!

At last I am painting the shelf and spice rack I have for my kitchen. I'd previously painted a couple of undercoats, but then they got put to one side and have gathered some dust. I've cleaned them, but they each need another undercoat to bring them back to life, before I put some colour on them.

Today has been a really good day. Just a twinge of the back pain, and lots of energy. This evening after work I drove over to Burry Port to collect some plants from a Freecycler. He wasn't able to tell me the names of them, so I'll take a picture tomorrow and pop them on a gardening forum on Facebook to see if anyone can tell me.

Halfway through the working week already - I can't believe how quickly the time goes. I'm not sure if it's an age thing, or if it's just that life is busy and moves at an extra fast pace. Maybe a bit of both. Right, I'm off to paint!

Tuesday 8th September 2020

Picture of the day

I decided to make something really yummy for dinner on this drizzly evening. I had some filo pastry to use, so looked for a recipe online and found one for salmon and leek filo parcels. It was indeed very yummy. If you want to make it, the recipe is on the BBC Good Food website, and you can access the recipe if you click here

Most of the food I cook is plant based, but I do sometimes eat fish, and salmon is one of my favourites. Even when cooking fish though, I do try and keep the meal as plant based as possible, so I used Morrison's ready-rolled filo pastry (suitable for vegans), Buttery Flora to saute the leeks in, and brush onto the pastry, and Oatly! Fraiche for the creme fraiche part. We enjoyed it with some fresh broccoli, sweetcorn and new potatoes.

Today was a much better day regarding pain levels, and hardly any pain this evening, so it seems the lumbago flare-up has passed, thank goodness.

Monday 7th September 2020

Picture of the day

These are the items I have ready to paint for my kitchen. I did make a start on them a while ago, but then other things got in the way and they were put to one side. The cupboard was a charity shop find - I think I paid about three pounds for it - the shelf was a "Homesense" bargain a couple of years ago in Nottingham, and the little spice rack was made by my brother in law lots of years ago. I need to freshen up the coats of paint I had already done, and then add to that. The cupboard I'm starting from scratch. I really hope to start these tomorrow.

Today has been another bad day pain-wise, and I've been really dosed up on Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. I did manage to get through the working day, but I've had a fairly quiet evening - I slept for a couple of hours and then worked on the website. Bob has been busy on it today, adding some backgrounds to the pages, and putting a 'featured content' on the home page. I think it's going to be a fairly (for me) early night tonight, with a cwtchy kitty, a cuppa and my book!

Sunday 6th September 2020

Picture of the day

Being woken up at four in the morning, by the sound of stuff being knocked off windowsills is not my idea of fun.....Basil thought it was great fun, chasing a poor butterfly around the kitchen! I managed to get it off him - it was a Red Admiral, and so beautiful - and when I took it outside to release it, one of its wings was quite damaged, but it did fly off, so I just hope it's ok. Basil these days is a skinny old man (he's sixteen), but boy can he move when there's food on offer or something to chase! Bloody cats!

Today has been a bad day for me healthwise. I've had dreadful pain in my hips and across my shoulders, and also in my lower back - a flare up of lumbago, which I sometimes get. As a result, everything today has taken longer. I've been dosed up on Ibuprofen and Paracetamol, and they've literally only just taken the edge off the pain.

As a result, I didn't do any of the painting, etc., which needs to be done for the kitchen. I did however get everything I need for it out of the store room, so hopefully I can make a start tomorrow after work.

I managed to drive over to Burry Port this afternoon, to pick up some plants for the garden, from a Freecycler. He gave me three gooseberry bushes, and a blackcurrant bush, as well as some flowering plants which he thinks are possibly primroses. I have them in water and will pot them up tomorrow - again after work, before deciding whereabouts to plant them in the garden.

Bob came over for dinner this evening, and I made a yummy vegan bolognese, with plenty left over for tomorrow's lunch. I didn't use Quorn this time, but found a soya mince, made by Tesco, which is vegan and much cheaper than Quorn. It worked really well.

We're about to watch the 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen's "Persuasion". We watched the 2007 version of it a couple of nights ago. I hadn't seen it, or read the book, and I so enjoyed it - putting the story top of my Austen list at the moment.

Back to work tomorrow - doesn't Weekend fly by? I hope I'm in less pain tomorrow. Maybe a good night's sleep will help. Hope whoever's reading this has a lovely week ahead.

Saturday 5th September 2020

Picture of the day

I totally love looking up through trees at the sky, and I thought this was particularly nice today, with the lovely piece of blue sky contrasted against the clouds and trees.

I took the photograph up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park, where I spent the day with Bob and Ollie, helping Bob to spring clean his studio kitchen. We managed a walk though....I love walking up there, it is so beautiful, and I took some more photographs.

This is the tennis pavilion, which Adelina Patti had built when she owned the castle and grounds. In the castle grounds, up above this very mystical building, once stood Patti’s winter garden, forty-feet high, and with 7,000 square feet of glass. This was dismantled after Patti’s death and re-erected in Victoria Park in Swansea, and was renamed the Patti Pavilion.

I love this old gate, and I like the contrast between it and the more modern one to the left of the picture. The first time I visited the park in April 2019 I thought how beautiful the gate is.

I'd love a beautiful old gate like this in my garden! It makes me think of one of those old-fashioned bedsteads....which I also love.

More looking up to the sky through the trees. This picture looks black and white, which it isn't. I like the contrast between it and the one in my picture of the day.

Ollie absolutely loves to chase tennis balls and sticks. On our walk he found two tennis balls, which he very happily brought back to his stash. He also found a fab stick to chase and have a munch on today......

......and he was very proud of it, and happy to have his picture taken with it! I'm not sure there's much left of it now though. Haha.

I'm planning some DIY tomorrow. I have a cupboard, a pretty shelf, and a spice rack to put up in my kitchen. I need to sand and paint the cupboard, paint the shelf and spice rack, and emulsion the wall which they are going to go on, so I'll hopefully be making a start on all of that. Right now though, it's a cuppa and off to bed with my book!

Friday 4th September 2020

Picture of the day

This is a little fairy dress and head dress, which I made for Lydia for her sixth birthday party, which had a fairy theme. Her costume was based on the Sweetpea Fairy, from the Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairies book. She did indeed look very sweet.

For Lydia's sixth birthday, I also wrote her a fairy story - Lydia and the Tooth Fairy. You can read it, and listen to it (narrated by me 21 years ago) by clicking here,and yes, it is five year old Lydia singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on the soundtrack!

Today again was a good day regarding my health, so I'm clearly between Lupus flare-ups, which is fab. We had an early finish this afternoon, as we do each first Friday of the month. Now I am ready to enjoy Weekend, with my Lovely Man, Ollie his dog, and my three kitties Basil, Joe and Nala. I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday 3rd September 2020

Picture of the day

This beautiful fabric, which I've been working with today. Please note, that the fabric is not blue - it is a sheer tulle, which is lace embellished. It just looks blue, because I have it spread out on the blue cutting table.

I've been using it to customise a wedding gown. The bride wants straps added to the gown, made up from this lace fabric. This is the kind of job I love, because I can cut up the lace and rearrange it to fit the area it needs to cover, which means I can be fairly creative. I hope the bride is pleased with what I have done.

Today has been a fairly good health day - only a moderate amount of both joint pain and fatigue, and I still have some good energy left this evening to do a few bits and pieces. Yaay!

Wednesday 2nd September 2020

Picture of the day

A screenshot of the home page of this website! In honour of putting the website address on to my Facebook page this evening. I have to admit to being more than a little anxious/nervous at the prospect of lots of people looking at my site and reading my blog. I just hope it's not too boring!

If you are reading this, and do like what you're reading, and what you've seen on the website so far, then please leave me a friendly message in my guestbook, which you can access here or from the main menu . Thank you.

Tuesday 1st September, 2020

Picture of the day

A bag of crochet!

The bag contains a large blanket/throw, which I have been crocheting since about the year dot! It's my own design, which I'm kind of making up as I go along. It hasn't been out of its bag for several weeks. Lots of times (including yesterday, when I chose to read instead) the intention has been for it to come out, but in the bag it's stayed. That will change sometime soon, for sure.

You take me up......

To go back to the top of this page, please click here.

Back to life......

Back to main (current) blog page

To August 2020

To October 2020

To November 2020

To December 2020

To January 2021

To February 2021