......what a day it's been"...

...daily updates in Tee's World...

In my life......

This is my blog, where I write about the daily events in my life. Things I've been doing, how my health is, places I've been, etc. It includes lots of pictures, but in particular "Picture of the day", which is an idea I pinched from a friend Gemma - with her permission. Gemma does a similar thing on Facebook and I love seeing her picture of the day and reading about what her and her family have been up to.

You will always find the most recent day's blog at the top of this page, and will need to scroll down if you want to see previous posts. I add updates to my garden, my house, anything creative I've been doing, and lots of other general stuff. I hope you enjoy reading!

Saturday 27th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... Sun is shining ...'"

The weather was beautiful today, and of course we took Ollie to the beach for a run, a ball-sling, and a back scratch!

Just look at the lovely blue sky in this picture!

There were quite a few other people on the beach, but not too many, so social distancing could still be practised.

The tide came in whilst we were there too - it's not often that the tide being in coincides with our walk on the beach, so it's such an added bonus when it does.

I love our beach visits, and am thankful every day that we live so close to the sea. I'm feeling quite low at the moment, and being near the ocean helps with low mood. Just that half an hour's walk with my Lovely Man and Ollie, breathing in the sea air, wondering at the beauty of nature, and getting to see the sunset, or almost-sunset can help so much towards lifting my mood.

"... Sun is shining ... ", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from one of my favourite feel-good songs - "Mr. Blue Sky" by one of my favourite bands, Electric Light Orchestra.

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Friday 26th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... it's cool to be a cat ...'"

The house feels really weird without Nala.....

......however, it doesn't stop the other cats doing things which cats do! Ollie Dog says "It's a cat thing".

This particular cat, Basil - our Handsome Old Man - thinks that in spite of having lots of chairs, throws, cushions, beds, hooman laps, and other suitable places to sleep, he'd rather curl up on a pile of washing! Ollie's right - it is a cat thing!

"... it's cool to be a cat... ", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from "Cool For Cats" by the fabulous Squeeze.

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Thursday 25th February 2021

Picture of the day......"Beautiful Girl"

Today is a sad day. Our beautiful little lady Nala passed away this morning at the vet's.

There's something special about black cats - mini panthers, so sleek and beautiful, and she was no exception. She was a proper Diva - feisty and considered herself to be Alpha Female.....but she was also the most affectionate pussycat, and loved a cwtch with her hoomans.

I can't say Nala and the boys ever got on truly....they just shared the same space and tolerated each other really, and I rarely managed to get a picture of them all together....which is why this is one of my favourite pictures. I call it (very tongue in cheek) 'The Three Amigos'

When Ollie and Bob came into our lives, it was a little while before they visited our home, and when they did we were obviously a little apprehensive as to how Ollie and the three kitties would get on.

We didn't need to worry really, because I think the introductions went as smoothly as they could. All three cats were wary of Ollie at first, and of course he was very curious about them. After a couple of weeks of visits, Basil and Joe were very accepting of Ollie, but Nala was still quite feisty and hissy towards him, which he dealt with so gently and beautifully.

Eventually though, as you can see from the pics, all was good!

As far as Bob was concerned, all was good from the start - Nala loved him straight off...in fact, she absolutely adored my Lovely Man, and he loved her too. Sadly though, I don't have a pic of them together.

This picture was taken a few years ago, and is very typical of the way she used to sit and look, as if summing everything up.

This was taken just last week when, in spite of being poorly, she still wanted to be a nosy parker and see what I was up to when I was painting a cupboard.

Dear Nala - she was with us for over ten years, after Lydia and I rehomed her from a family in Bristol, who were moving and unable to take her with them. We are so going to miss her.....the house already seems really weird without her.

We've brought her home to bury her in the garden, and I want to find a lovely plant (preferably a rose) to plant in the same spot. I was hoping there might be a 'Nala' rose, or 'Black Cat' or something similar, but it seems that there isn't, so I'll have a little think and a furcle around online to see what's available.

Night night Nala, sleep peacefully, my Beautiful Little Lady.

"Beautiful Girl", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a George Harrison song.

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Wednesday 24th February 2021

Picture of the day......"...so I packed you in my... "

A lovely pile of vintage suitcases.

I love vintage suitcases.....I actually like lots of vintage things, but particularly suitcases, and I have quite a few of them.

Here's another pile - two of them aren't quite as old as the first pile, but they are vintage nonetheless.

I have a few Pinterest-inspired upcycling projects in mind for them, but until I do that, I'm using them to store some of my fabrics.

Today I've been looking through all my fabrics, as I need a couple of cushions for the two rainbow striped cushion covers I've been making, and I don't want to spend money on buying new cushions, if I can use fabrics and stuffing which I already have, so I'm looking for suitable materials for this.

Whilst looking I've decided to reorganise my suitcases of fabrics, into colours, types, etc., so this case now has brightly coloured fabrics in. I'll continue with this tomorrow, since I've run out of both time and energy.

My energy levels have been a bit better today, so I did manage to get bits and pieces done. We also took Ollie out for a walk on the beach. Big Log has changed position on the beach, and today I felt that I could sit on him to enjoy the view......

.......and it was lovely to actually see the sea, which was on its way out - or maybe in, we weren't sure - but either way to see, smell and hear the sea was pretty wonderful.

It was also very lovely watching my Lovely Man giving Ollie a very much enjoyed back scratch with the ball slinger!

Then it was home for a Hygge experience of yummy hot chocolate and a chapter or two of my current read, which I'm really enjoying.

Energy levels have really dropped again now, so all that's left is to get changed into pyjamas, and go and join my Lovely Man and all the furries for some T.V. We're currently watching the American version of "The Killing" and really enjoying it.

I hope you're having a good week - and if you're working, remember that with Hump Day over now, it's all downhill until the weekend! Night night.

"...so I packed you in my...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from "Girl In A Suitcase" by Pete Townshend.

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Tuesday 23rd February 2021

Picture of the day......"...don't feel like doing anything... "

I didn't take any pictures today, and I saw this on t'interweb - a picture which sums up exactly how I've been feeling today.

I've had so little energy, and could very happily have crawled back to bed and stayed there! However, I didn't do this, but I also didn't do very much else either! Sometimes you just have to give in to the fatigue, and work with Lupus rather than trying to fight her. That is all, and hoping for a more energetic day tomorrow.

"...don't feel like doing anything...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from "The Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars.

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Monday 22nd February 2021

Picture of the day......"...on the line to dry... "

What a delicious photograph this is!

Today the weather was lovely enough to put some washing out on the line. My first line-dried washing this year! I love the smell of line-dried washing, especially bedding. Yummy.

I also love how blue the sky is in this picture. This was late afternoon, just before we went off for our daily walk......

......Which takes me nicely to my obligatory sun over the beach photograph......

......and then this gowjus picture of lovely Ollie, who was very excited to have the ball thrown - or slung, from the slinger. This face is Ollie's "Please throw that ball, right now!" face, and I think of all the expressions he pulls, this is probably my favourite.

I also took this photograph in the garden before we set off. It is the thing which previously hasn't been identified, but since it now has a bud, it clearly can be - and it's a daffodil. There's another close by to it too, and I'm so looking forward to them blooming. Perhaps they will do in time for St. David's Day next Monday. Fingers crossed!

A little bit further over from the daffodils, there is this lovely purple crocus. My garden is currently making me happy!

"...on the line to dry...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from The Jam's "Town Called Malice" - a fab song!

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Sunday 21st February 2021

Picture of the day......"...Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes... "

We tried a new product today.

Lots of people in the Facebook vegan group I'm in say how good this stuff is, so I thought I'd give it a go.

We tried it at breakfast this morning - Bob had it in his porridge, and I had it in my fruit smoothie. We're both alive to tell the tale, so it must be ok at least!

In other ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, I've finished reading this book, which I really enjoyed, although not quite as much as the first two in the Lewis Trilogy......

......and started this one, which I'm thoroughly enjoying so far. I do have another Peter May book lined up, but I fancy a change of genre for a little while.

"...Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from David Bowie's "Changes".

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Saturday 20th February 2021

Picture of the day......"...My vegetables... "

As per the meal planning, I tried out a new vegan meal this evening.

I made the 'Butternut Quesadilla' from the Miguel Barclay book "Vegan One Pound Meals", so that I could use up the butternut squash we had in the fridge.

This was quite quick and easy to make, although next time I would probably par-boil the butternut squash before baking, as it was still very firm and hard to mash. We ended up roughly chopping it rather than mashing. I do struggle with lack of strength in my hands - particularly my wrists and fingers - because of joint issues caused by Lupus, so it could have been a combination of that and the squash still being too firm.

The flavour was really nice though, and as you can see it looked nice - served with a fairly plain mixed salad.

We both really enjoyed it, and I'll definitely make it again. Also, because I cooked the whole squash, I have some filling left over, which I will put into pasties a bit later in the week.

I also added to the home cooking freezer stash this evening, by freezing some vegan curry which I made yesterday. All in all, a good result in the kitchen this evening!

"...My vegetables...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from "Vegetables" - a very unusual Beach Boys song!

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Friday 19th February 2021

Picture of the day......"...We're only making plans... "

This is Nigel, my meal planner!

I was planning meals a while ago, and it was working quite well, but for some reason I stopped.

Meal planning for the week ahead is great. As much as I love cooking, I do find it quite difficult some days to think about what to cook, and planning ahead helps with this. Also, essentially, you only buy the ingredients you're going to need, so it cuts down on waste.

I decided to make one new meal from one of my vegan cookery books in the coming week, and I've chosen to do 'Butternut Quesadillas' from the Miguel Barclay vegan meals for a pound book.

I went through the fridge to see what needed using up, and we have a butternut squash, hence the quesedillas idea. I also went through the freezer for anything which can be used. As I've mentioned previously, I'm trying to use up any processed stuff which is in the freezer, and there's some vegan mince and burgers, so two of our other meals will be a bolognese or lasagne and burgers with home made wedges.

The book on top in this picture is my shopping list book, which I do use regularly to jot down anything we run out of and then to add regular buys to the list the night before I shop, which makes shopping so much easier.

I really hope I can keep up the meal planning this time. Watch this space, and I'm sure I'll let you know!

"...We're only making plans...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from the XTC song "Making Plans For Nigel".

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Do you meal plan? Do you have other ways with food, that saves you time, money and a headache?

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Thursday 18th February 2021

Picture of the day......"Big Log"

This is a big log!

It was just sitting there in the middle of the beach when we went for our walk today...as if someone had put it there, to sit on and watch the sea or something. Except someone hadn't put it there, because there were no drag or roll marks, so it must have been washed up by the sea.

I have to say that it did look very poignant. I was going to suggest to Bob that we sit there for a while, but something told me not to - as if we'd be disturbing something! Very strange.

Anyway, it did look very nice against the beach and the sun on her way to setting, so of course I took this picture.

Elsewhere on the beach, we had lots of fun with Ollie!

Ollie Dog is quite partial to a bum rub and a back scratch! (It's not as rude as it sounds honest!). We're not quite sure how it started (it was a while ago), but I ask him if he wants a bum rub and a back scratch, and he comes over to me, and points his bottom at me. I then rub the bottom of his back and scratch the top of his back alternately, and there's a sort of song "A bum rub, and a back scratch". He absolutely loves it, and it's quite funny.

Anyway, we found a new method of back scratching today. We took him down to the beach for a run and took a ball slinger with us, as part of our mission to get his weight down. Me being me spotted that the slinger would indeed make an excellent back scratcher, so we gave it a go! Haha, Ollie's new favourite thing!

It was quite cold again on the beach today, and we were glad to get home to a hot chocolate. I indulged in a couple of chapters of my current book - which I've almost finished now. Chunky warm knitwear, comfy chair, chapters & hot chocolate - very Hygge indeed!

"Big Log", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a song by Robert Plant, of Led Zeppelin fame.

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Wednesday 17th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... and carrots ..."

These boiled carrots are for Ollie!

Yep, carrots for a dog. We've been concerned lately that Ollie is putting on a lot of weight. Because of lockdown, he's not getting his usual hundreds of walks a week at Craig-y-Nos Country Park. We walk him every day, but it's not the same.

So, as well as changing the type of exercise he gets - that is instead of just a walk on the beach or in the park, we're getting him to vigorously chase a ball - we also decided to reduce his food intake. It's horrible, because he's clearly hungry, but it's not good for him to be piling on the pounds, so it has to be done. However, we had an idea that if we give him veggies with a reduced amount of dog food, then he's getting as much bulk as a regular meal, but with less calories. So we checked out which are safe veggies to give him, and that's what we're doing.

We give him different veggies every day, and t seems to be working so far. Ollie's not showing signs that he's still hungry, and we have noticed a slight weight loss already.

"... and carrots ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from "Boiled Beef And Carrots" - a quirky little number (haha), recorded in 1910, by Harry Champion.

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Tuesday 16th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... Pick up one and leave the other behind ..."

Today was a choice dilemma on the beach!

We found this large, but very lovely stick which we could have thrown for Ollie......but we also took a ball with us today. So we were left with the choice - do we throw the ball or the stick?

Of course for Ollie, it wasn't a dilemma at all, since a ball trumps every time!

Bob reckons that if Ollie was given the choice between a bowl of food and a ball, he would choose the ball. Haha.

I love our beach outings - no two days are ever the same, and I feel so blessed that we live so near to the beach and can go so often.

"... Pick up one and leave the other behind ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from "Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?" by The Lovin' Spoonful.

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Monday 15th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... Carry on ..."

Monday is Weigh Day!

Another pound off - yaaay! This now makes 30 in total since my heaviest weight, and 14 (a whole stone) on this journey. I've also reached my third small target.

My next small target is to get to 12 stone 0 pounds, therefore losing another 7 pounds. My original target date for that was 22nd February, but I'm clearly not going to make that, so basically I'll achieve it as and when!

"... Carry on ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a song by Fun.

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Sunday 14th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... Nothing you can make that can't be made ..."

My lovely Valentine scarf is off the loom!

It is really gowjus.....I love the colours and Bob has woven it beautifully. I have to wait a bit longer to wear it though, because I'm told by my Lovely Weaving Man that it needs to be washed, and to have the fringing twisted. Apparently he is waiting for the postman to bring a special twisting tool!

Watch this space, and in the meantime I had some yummy vegan chocolate to munch away.

"... Nothing you can make that can't be made ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from "All You Need Is Love" by the Fab Four themselves, The Beatles.

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Saturday 13th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... I'm in an awful way ..."

We have a very poorly Nala, although when we took this picture she had perked up quite a bit from how she was yesterday and this morning.

Her breathing has been laboured for the last few days. She had a bout of this during last summer, and we thought it was dehydration, got her to drink lots of water, and she bounced back from it. This time though, it's been worse.

Add this to the fact that this morning we were going into the third day of her not pooping, and also she hadn't peed since early yesterday morning. So this morning we took her to the vet.

The vet said that she has some water in her chest. He tried to do a scan, to see if anything sinister is lurking, but she got quite stressed. So, he's prescribed some medication to relieve the fluid, which we are to give her twice a day until it's gone, then get her back for another scan.

I have to say that during the night last night, we thought her time was up. However, we're so pleased with how much better she's looking all ready. Also by lunchtime today, I was doing a happy dance around a puddle of pee and a pile of poop! Let's hope this continues over the next few days.

"... I'm in an awful way ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from "Another Saturday Night" by the fabulous Cat Stevens.

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Friday 12th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... somethin's goin' on ..."

This is what Bob's loom currently looks like!.

My Valentine's Day scarf is under the cardboard, and I'm not allowed to look! Ooohh!

Elsewhere, it was a lovely sunset as viewed from the beach this afternoon on our daily walk.

That is all!

"... somethin's goin' on ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from "He's Got A Secret" by The Bangles.

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Thursday 11th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... somewhere close to me ..."

This is the little green shoot of something which I photographed last week.

It's come up more now, and I'm thinking it's probably a daffodil.

There are more little shoots dotted around the little area where I planted.

I put lots of things in at the same time as the grass seed, including daffodils, tulips, snowdrops......

......bluebells, and narcissus.

I also spread out some 'bee bombs' over the grassed area, so there should be some lovely wild flowers coming up too.

I'm still learning about gardening, so I doubt I'll be able to identify any of them simply from the leaves - although I'll get out my books and have a go!

In any event it will be great fun seeing them all come up!

"... somewhere close to me ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from Tom Petty's "Wildflowers".

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Wednesday 10th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... with pink if you please ..."

This is the warp for My Lovely Man's current weaving project.

The warp colour is a beautiful goldy-green......

......and the weft is a variegated yarn, with golds, greens and pinks in it.

I'm very excited, because it's going to be a scarf for me!

Beautiful colours! I'm enjoying seeing it develop, and I'm really looking forward to seeing (and wearing) the final result.

I'm told it's a Valentine gift! Wow, romance is alive and kicking.....and weaving apparently.

"... with pink if you please ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from Tori Amos's "Pink and Glitter".

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Tuesday 9th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... So beautiful, won't you come with me? ..."

Today I was Ollie sitting, whilst Bob went off to do some PAT testing work.

I had a mixed day - some productivity - but I'm still not feeling quite up to par and had a bout of extreme fatigue this afternoon, so had a nap.

Then I took Ollie out down to the beach for a walk.

The tide was in today. I'm not sure whether it was almost right in, or starting to go back out, but I suspect the former.

I didn't want to go down via our usual pathway, because the water was fairly far up the beach, and I knew that Ollie wouldn't be able to resist running into the sea - which is fine, except I'm not used to him doing that and was worried he may go in too far, then I would have a problem.

So we walked along the coastal path and joined the beach at the far end, where there was still lots of sand. We had good fun with some sticks, and then we did walk back up following our usual route.

I was right - Ollie did go into the sea, and he had a proper swim, but thankfully he didn't go too far out and came back when I called him.

It was actually nice seeing the sea up so close today and being able to listen to it and smell it. It was also nice to take some photographs from a different point of view!

I love the ocean, and had it been warmer, would have been tempted like Ollie to take a dip!

However, it was very cold indeed and it was nice to leave the beach behind, and go home to a yummy hot chocolate.

I popped a slug of brandy into this one for extra warmth!

"... So beautiful, won't you come with me? ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from DB Boulevard's "Point Of View".

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Monday 8th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... story's bound to change ..."

Monday is Weigh Day.....and no movement this week. I haven't lost any, but I haven't put any back on either.

This is obviously disappointing, but it would have been more so had I gained! So, positivity is firmly in place, and into the next week I go!

Today has been a very low energy day. I'm not feeling one hundred percent, and haven't for a few days. The headache has been much worse, and I've had an intermittent painful and stiff neck. Also a few other little niggly Lupus-related problems, which I won't go into here.

So, I've been kind to myself today - rested when I've needed to, and anything that needs doing can wait! I'm just cooking some baked herrings with home-made wedges for dinner, then the rest of the evening will probably be spent crocheting and reading, with a bit of T.V. thrown in for good measure!

"... story's bound to change ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from "Nothing Lost - Nothing Gained" by Midnight Oil.

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Sunday 7th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... The texture and the flavour ..."

I love starting the day with freshly baked bread for breakfast. This loaf is particularly yummy, and we enjoyed it with strawberry jam!

Weekend seems to have gone in the blink of an eye again. I wish time would slow down a bit.

I've been doing a fair bit of work on this website today - adding stuff to the creative page, making a separate page for January's "365 Days of Creativity" posts, so that there isn't a ton of stuff on the main creative page, plus some other stuff, and Bob has been teaching me how to do a bit of the CSS, so that I can change background pictures on the pages. None of it is published yet, but it will be soon.

We managed a walk on the beach this afternoon, so that Ollie could have a good run. He made friends with a dog called Tumnus, and yes, he was named after Mr. Tumnus from 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe'....one of my favourite books! Of course, we then got talking with Tumnus' owner about books and writing! It was incredibly cold today, and we were quite glad to get back to the warmth of the house and a much-needed cup of tea.

I'm off to do dinner now - vegan sausage, mash and onion gravy - yummy! Then it'll be some T.V. - the first episode of the last series of "Shetland" - then off to bed for a good night's sleep. I'm looking forward to being productive for the next four days, before I go into work again.

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy, healthy, and safe week ahead.

"... The texture and the flavour ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from "Song of a Baker" by Ocean Colour Scene, and is a cover of the original Small Faces song.

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Saturday 6th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... You're weaving love into a mad jazz pattern ..."

This is the latest practice sample from Bob's loom.

I love the colours and the range of patterns that Bob is trying out. I'm impressed with my Lovely Man, and looking forward to the next stage of his weaving!

"... You're weaving love into a mad jazz pattern ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from the 1942 Judy Garland song, "Poor Little Rich Girl".

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friday 5th February 2021

Picture of the day......"... I take a dip ..."

Sometimes, all that is needed is a cup of tea in a hot, bubbly, candlelit bath......

......with lots of bubbles......

......and followed by a plate of good old junk food! Although it was home cooked junk food.

I used "Meatless Farm" burgers - part of the whoopsies haul I had from Tesco a few weeks ago. I'm using up stuff from the freezer - reducing the amount of processed stuff and replacing it with home-cooked, healthy meals. For tomorrow evening I've used up veggies before doing our weekly shop, in a curry, and there should be enough of that left to pop a couple of portions in the freezer.

I served tonight's meal with some garlic mushrooms & onion rings, and a few home-cooked wedges. It was very yummy, and just the kind of thing for a Friday evening.

Now to watch some T.V. with my Lovely Man (we're still enjoying "Shetland" - we're almost at the end of the third series).

I'm hoping that Weekend will be a mixture of chilled and productive, and that will extend into next week, as I'm not in work again until Friday.

I wish whoever's reading this a very happy, healthy and safe weekend.

"... I take a dip ...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from the song "Rapper's Delight", by The Sugarhill Gang.

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Thursday 4th February 2021

Picture of the day......"Owner of a..."

This cute little heart was in the sand on the beach today, when we took Ollie for a walk.

I have no idea who Isobel is, and no idea whether she put this heart there, or somebody put it there for her, but I couldn't resist photographing it.

It's definitely more cheerful than the broken heart that we saw drawn in the sand last week anyway!

When we arrived at the beach today and I saw this beautiful view, I knew we were in for a sunset treat.

I didn't expect the greenery in the foreground of this pic to show up to be honest, because of the lighting, so I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at my photographs on the computer when I got home.

As usual, our walk on the beach was so lovely, and Ollie had his usual mad run around, dashing in and out of the little pools of water, making friends with other dogs, and trying to steal their tennis balls!

As the sun was setting she produced these beautiful yellow colours. These colours and this picture are the kinds of things which really make me wish I could paint. My Dad would have painted a wonderful version of this I'm sure - he was great with a paintbrush, especially in oils.

A few minutes later, the wonderful yellows had turned to brilliant oranges and reds. This picture doesn't quite capture them, but not far off.

Then a few minutes later again, the sun was gone - nestled into her slumber for the evening, and leaving this wonderful moody sky of pinks and greys, and telling us it was time to go home for a cuppa!

I'm back in work tomorrow for the first time this week, as I'm furloughed at the moment, and just working one day a week. This week has been lovely as I've managed to get a few bits and pieces done in the house, and have taken plenty of time to relax, read, craft, and spend time with my Lovelies.

I am looking forward to a day in work tomorrow though!

I hope you're having a lovely week too, and staying happy, healthy and safe.

"Owner of a...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from the song "Owner of a Lonely Heart", by the wonderful Yes.

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Wednesday 3rd February 2021

Picture of the day......"...and I don't know what it is..."

I went out into the garden today, to photograph some knitting I've done.

I noticed that near the base of one of my trees, something is peeping up above the ground! I know I planted it, because I did plant some bulbs there and along the path edge, when I put the grass seed in. What I don't know, is quite what it is! It'll either be tulips or daffodils - I don't think I put any other kind of bulbs in that place. We'll see - watch this space. I'm very excited!!

Also, look at that lovely green grass! Squeeee!

"...and I don't know what it is...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from Barry Manilow's song "Something's Coming Up".

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Tuesday 2nd February 2021

Picture of the day......"...I'm picking up..."

I took this picture yesterday, because I usually blog about my weight loss journey on a Monday, but gave my blog over to my lovely brother yesterday.

Anyway, this is the state of play for this week - another pound off, which makes a total of 13 during this journey and 29 altogether from my heaviest weight. I'm happy with that. I wasn't sure if I had lost this week, because I haven't been as scrupulous in writing all the calories down, although I have eaten sensibly and mindfully.

Also, following on from the jeans which I found now fit me last week, I also found that this lovely red cardigan, which I haven't worn for quite a while, also now fits. I love the colour - red is one of the colours that really suits me - and I love the waterfall effect at the sides.

I wore it with the lovely embroidered jeans last week and felt really good!

"...I'm picking up...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from the Beach Boy's lovely song "Good Vibrations".

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Monday 1st February 2021

Picture of the day......"...How I wish, how I wish..."

The picture is my lovely brother David (Dave) - the youngest of my three elder brothers. The photograph was taken when he was around the age of 19. Dave was six years older than me, and died suddenly of a heart attack in June 2010 at the age of 51. Today is his birthday, and he should have been 62.

Dave was my absolute hero when we were growing up. He was clever, intelligent, articulate......taught himself to play guitar and then used that talent to play and sing around the clubs in Wales (and beyond). He surfed, canoed, swam like a fish, knew everything there was to know about cars, how they worked, and how to fix them, was a whiz with computers.....and so much more.

Dave is the reason I always wear odd socks, love Monty Python & the music of Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, and Bread, and learned to play guitar - although I'll never be anywhere near as good as he was!

Dave's passing was the most painful thing I have ever experienced, and anniversaries - today, and 5th June - are always difficult. However, in spite of this I have such lovely memories of him. For example, I cannot pick up my knitting needles without thinking of him, because he taught me to knit, after all the women in the family (and neighbouring families!) had tried and failed. I knit almost every day, so clearly I think of him often!

So today I raise my cup of tea to Dave.....I hope he's jamming up there with the best of them. Happy Birthday Dave.

"...How I wish, how I wish...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here".

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Sunday 31st January 2021

Picture of the day......"...Oh me, oh my, love that..."

I usually plan what to make for dinner in the morning, so that I can take out anything from the freezer, etc. This morning's plan was for a pie, and after getting home from a walk on the beach, where it was very cold, I think hot pie was definitely the right choice!

For the filling I used some Tesco "Plant Chef" meatballs (vegan), which I'd had in the freezer after buying them just before Christmas for 25 pence! I chopped up an onion and some mushrooms, and for the gravy I used a Colman's beef casserole mix (again vegan) and some ready-rolled vegan puff pastry for the topping.

I served it with baby new potatoes, green veggies and sweetcorn, and it was very yummy. There's enough left over for dinner tomorrow evening.

As far as my freezer is concerned, I don't feel I'm getting the best out of it. It's always full, and I can always pull something out of it for a meal. However, I do tend to buy lots of ready-made vegan stuff - burgers, joking mince, etc., and I'm concerned that we're eating too much of the processed stuff and not enough made-from-scratch vegetable and plant based foods.

So I've decided to change that, and make more meals from scratch, using fresh veggies, beans and pulses. Instead of using leftovers for lunches, I'll be freezing them to use as main meals on days when time is tight or I'm not feeling up to par for cooking a meal from scratch, instead of reaching for the burgers, etc. It should work out healthier and cheaper!

I've made a start on this by freezing two portions today of what was left from our meal last night - a bean chilli which I did make from scratch.

I'm looking forward to the week ahead. As from tomorrow, I'm on Furlough again, although not completely this time as I'll be working one full day (Friday). I'm hoping to make the most of the time at home and get stuff done in the house, out in the garden if the weather allows, working on my website, taking time out for me if health dictates that I need it, and of course spending quality time with my Lovely Man and the furbabies.

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy, healthy and safe week ahead, whatever you're up to!

"...Oh me, oh my, love that...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from the Bob Dylan song Country Pie.

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Saturday 30th January 2021

Picture of the day......"...a host..."

I usually buy daffodils for St. David's Day, when it's really starting to feel like spring. Today though, on a trip to Morrisons for some grocery shopping, I couldn't resist these little beauties to cheer up the bedside cabinet. Daffodils are one of my favourite flowers. I always feel cheered by their happy colour, and their perfume is scrumptious!

Today has been quite chilled. Because it's Weekend, no alarm was set, so we had a late start, and breakfast in bed, involving homemade bread and yummy jam. As well as admiring daffodils and shopping for food, I've been crocheting, knitting, reading, cwtching kitties, and generally making the most of the weekend vibes!

I'm planning more of the same tomorrow, with perhaps some cake baking thrown in. For now though, it's cwtch on the sofa for T.V. time.

"...a host...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is actually from Wordsworth's poem "The Daffodils". You may not know that this poem has been set to music, with a few different tunes. Lots of years ago, I sang with a Cardiff ladies choir, called "Greensleeves", and we used to sing one version of it, and I loved it.

Please click here if you would like to listen to that version of it via YouTube - sung by a lady called Emma Barnes. I have no idea who she is, but she has a lovely voice!

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Friday 29th January 2021

Picture of the day......"...It's Friday..."

I've shamelessly stolen this picture from t'interweb, because I haven't taken any pictures today.....and I don't care - so there!

It's Weekend - yaaay! I'm hoping that it will be a lovely weekend, filled with lots of things which make me (and my Lovely Man) happy. We'll do our best to achieve that anyway, with the help of some quality time together and with our furbabies....and some reading, walking on the beach, cooking & eating yummy food, watching T.V. (we're currently enjoying the "Shetland" series), yarncrafts, and general stuff & nonsense.

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy, healthy, and safe weekend!

"...It's Friday...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from the song "Friday I'm In Love" by The Cure. I love this song!

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Thursday 28th January 2021

Picture of the day......"...I feel the sense of possibilities..."

I love taking photographs, and take lots of them, especially for this website and blog.

Up until last year I was using my PiePad to take them, but then that broke. I was then using an old 'phone, and was always disappointed, because my images never seemed to be sharp. At the moment, I'm not in a position to be able to spend a lot of money on a camera, so I thought I'd have a little look to see if I could pick up a cheap but reasonably good one on eBay. My Lovely Man had a look for me, and found a "Nikon Coolpix", which was going really cheap, so I bought that.

It actually has quite a lot of features on it, including a macro option for getting up close and personal with my subject. This is handy, since I do lots of creative stuff and want to show detail in my photographs. Bob's been helping me to find my way around it, as well as giving me lots of tips on how to use it. I had a bit of a fiddle with it today, taking some pictures of the work I was doing, and although I still have a long way to go, I'm quite pleased with how my pictures turned out today.

"...I feel the sense of possibilities...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from the song "The Camera Eye" by Rush.

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Wednesday 27th January 2021

Picture of the day......"...and I feel all right..."

I was feeling a little bit disappointed at reaching a weight loss plateau this week.

Even though it's obviously going to happen during my weight loss journey, and I am fully aware of it, and generally positive of mind, there was that little niggle at the back of my mind saying "You didn't do so well this week then...". If you've been on a weight loss journey, or even if you're on one now, I'm sure you know what I mean.

So, to combat it, I decided to go through a few bits of clothing in the drawers and see if anything is now fitting, which wasn't a couple of months ago. Et voila - these jeans! They are a particularly favourite pair, because of the lovely embroidery and applique on them, and they were very much on the tight side the last time I wore them. Today they fit comfortably.

A good result, and a definite reminder that I'm doing ok! We all need that now and then, don't you think?

"...and I feel all right...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from the song "Jeans On" by David Dundas.

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Tuesday 26th January 2021

Picture of the day......"Threads"

My Lovely Man's weaving so far - I'm impressed!

Bob's been trying out a few different yarns and combinations of weave stitches. He tells me that he's enjoying, and learning by his mistakes as he goes along - as is the case with all new ventures. It's a shame that the photographs don't show the details, but I think you can get the idea.

I'm looking forward to seeing more, and to watching the progression as he gets used to the loom, and different weights and textures of the huge variety of yarns which are out there.

I'm also keeping a close eye on my yarn stash! Haha.

"Threads", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a song by Portishead.

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Monday 25th January 2021

Picture of the day......"...Try and keep your head up to the sky..."

Monday is Weigh Day!

Alas and alack, I haven't lost anything this week. However, I haven't put any on either - I've just stayed the same.

This means that clearly I've reached a plateau and need to reduce my calorie intake and/or increase activity.

Up until now, I've been having around 2000 calories per day, which is actually quite a lot, and I'm very pleased and positive about the fact that I've lost twelve pounds on that! I'm surprised really that I haven't reached a plateau sooner.

From this week, I'll reduce to 1,800 calories per day - still quite a lot actually - and we'll see what next week brings.

I had an extra day off today, and it was a fairly chilled day - just pottering, some crochet, and some reading.

We popped out to the beach this afternoon. It was really cold, but at least there wasn't a cold wind.

Ollie enjoyed a good run around as usual, and we were rewarded with a lovely sunset - then home for hot chocolate! Yummy.

"...Try and keep your head up to the sky...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from the song "You Gotta Be", by Des'Ree.

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Sunday 24th January 2021

Picture of the day......"We’ve got a fantasy..."

A lovely pile of books!

I love books and read as much as I can - as much as time and energy allow for, and I do get through a fair few. These books are the one I'm currently reading, by Peter May, and the ones I really want to get through over the next few months.

In spite of actually turning a (small) room at the back of my house into a library during last summer, and vowing that I would buy no more books until I'd read all that's in the library (at least a couple of hundred!), I have ended up accumulating more, and until today they've been kind of dotted around the house.

Now they are neatly piled on a bedside cabinet, and just begging to be read!

It's my Gowjus Girl's 28th birthday today, so I've had a couple of chats on the 'phone with her, and I think she's been having a lovely day - as lovely as a person can when they're locked down for their birthday!

In other news, these are the latest pictures from Bob's loom! I took them last night, when Bob had loaded the warp onto the loom, ready to do some weaving. He has been weaving today - trying the tension and some different patterns, learning by mistakes (as we all do when embarking on a new venture) and generally (I think) enjoying himself! I'll have more pics tomorrow to put on here.

For now though, I'm off to watch some T.V. with my Lovely Man and then head off to bed for (hopefully) a good night's sleep!

I hope you've had a great weekend, and I wish you a happy, healthy and safe week ahead.

"We’ve got a fantasy...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from the song "Wrapped Up In Books", by Belle and Sebastian.

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Saturday 23rd January 2021

Picture of the day......"...a wond'rous woven magic..."

My Lovely Man has been slaying his table-top loom (setting up the yarns ready to weave).

This is for a practice piece. I'm looking forward to seeing his first weaving! I love the colours he's using.

Today was such a beautiful day. Cold, but really sunny, bright and crisp. We popped to the beach to give Ollie a good run, and he so enjoyed himself, as he always does on the beach.

We saw this sad little sight on the beach too - somebody clearly has a broken heart! I hope it's been mended already, or that it's not really broken, they just think it is, but are mistaken. Yes, I know I'm a softie. Haha.

I've had quite a productive day today, sorting out lots of things in the front (spare at the moment) bedroom, which have been there for quite a while, but are now packed up ready to go up in the loft.

I've liberated this lovely chair, which I got as a freebie in the summer (just after lockdown) when Bob was out on a PAT testing job and spotted it after it had been put outside a house with a note saying it was free to a good home. Bob knew I would love it (I do!) and bagged it for me. It's in lovely condition, although I will change the upholstery at some point. For now though, it is the perfect cosy corner to crochet in......although I'll have to fight Basil, who clearly thinks it's a great snoozing spot!

"...a wond'rous woven magic...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from the song "Tapestry", by Carole King.

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Friday 22nd January 2021

Picture of the day......"...winter's tale..."

A lovely book in the post!

Patricia Cornwell is one of my favourite crime fiction writers, and I've read most of her Kay Scarpetta books. Kay Scarpetta is the main character in the books. She is of Italian descent and, and in the books references are sometimes made to her Italian cooking.

I love Italian food, and this has always piqued my interest. I was aware that Patricia Cornwell had written a book called "Scarpetta's Winter Table", which has Italian recipes in it, and always meant to try and get a copy, but never got around to it.

For some reason I thought of it again recently, and asked Bob if he would have a look online to see if there was a copy available. He did, and there was, so I ordered it!

I've only had time to have a quick look through it, but it looks like a really lovely book.

I'm really looking forward to cooking some of the things in it, as well as reading the little stories (involving regular characters from the books) which are interspersed amongst the recipes.

So here we are at the end of another working week. It's been a mixed one, health-wise, with lots of energy on some days, and not so much on others......ditto joint pain. My resident headache has been pretty awful for the past few days, but it does seem to be a little better this evening.

I'm looking forward to Weekend with my Lovely Man, Ollie, and the kitties......to being creative & productive ......to spending some time in the fresh air......to catching up on some T.V.......to finishing the Peter May book I'm currently reading, and starting the next one......and to chatting to my Gowjus Girl at some point - probably Sunday, which happens to be her birthday!

Bob's table top loom turned up today, and he is currently busy putting it all together. I'm looking forward to seeing him getting stuck into the weaving. I think this home may be a hive of activity over the next couple of days!

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy, healthy and safe weekend.

"...winter's tale...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from the song "A Winter's Tale", by David Essex.

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Thursday 21st January 2021

Picture of the day......"Patience"

I love shortbread!

However, since giving up dairy, almost two years ago, I haven't had any shortbread at all. I've been hoping that someone would do a vegan/dairy free shortbread, and lo and behold, when shopping after work today, I found these in Home Bargains.

They are very yummy! They're not quite as crumbly and buttery as proper shortbread, but they'll definitely fill the shortbread gap for now.

"Patience", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a Take That song.

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Wednesday 20th January 2021

Picture of the day......"A little bit me and......"

......a little bit you!

Today I've been reorganising my craft room, so that I can share a corner of it with my Lovely Man!

A few weeks ago, whilst reading a Peter May book, Bob got caught up in the idea of getting a hand loom and doing some weaving....so get a loom is just what he did! It's a floor-standing, full sized (five feet) Countermarch loom. However, because of the current lockdown, he's unable to use that one, so in the meantime, he wants something smaller to play around on. A table-top loom is on its way to him, and I've freed up this little corner of my craft room so he can use it. Exciting times!

At some point, there will be pictures of said looms, and hopefully some 'fruits of the loom'.....watch this space!

In other news today, it seems that Joe Cat is always very happy when I'm home, and he likes to get involved in whatever I'm doing. Amongst other things, he likes to roll around on the beds when I'm making them, and sit on my blankets when I'm crocheting, etc. He's very helpful like that!

However, when I asked him to give me a hand putting all this clean washing away today......

......he pleaded 'no thumbs' of course.

Today's been quite busy and productive with one thing and another, plus there's been a bit of creativity (finishing off a scarf and doing some to my cwtchy blanket) and I've managed a bit of reading.

The weather has been pretty foul, so we didn't make it to the beach. However, we took advantage of a break in the rain to take Ollie for a walk around the local park.

I think I managed to tick everything off my 'things to enjoy with Day Off' list! Back to work tomorrow, then before we know it, Weekend will be here again. I wish time would slow down a bit.

A bit of a loom update - we ended up re-arranging the craft room again this evening, because the lighting in that corner is a bit rubbish, even with the extra lamp on the shelf. We've now rearranged tables in the centre of the room, and it's much better.

"A little bit me...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from the song "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You", by The Monkees.

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Tuesday 19th January 2021

Picture of the day......"Reasons to be cheerful......"

Tomorrow is Day Off!

I have quite a bit planned - a good mixture of productive and chilled, and most definitely including all the things on my list.

I'm definitely looking forward to some quality time with my Lovely Man, Ollie, and the kitties, and sorting out some stuff to put up in the loft, which will give me more space in the front bedroom.

"Reasons to be cheerful...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from the song "Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3", by Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

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Monday 18th January 2021

Picture of the day......"...just keep moving......"

Monday is Weigh Day, and this morning didn't disappoint. Another pound lost (and gone for good!)

I have one week to go until my third small target. If I'm to meet that target, I need to lose two pounds this week. I'm not going to stress about it - if I lose it then fab, and if I don't, I'll just extend the target date. I'm not going to reduce my calories intake just yet. My plan is to do that when I reach a plateau - i.e. when I have a week where I haven't lost any weight. So, I'll try to get some more activity in this week, to get those two pounds off. My energy levels have been better lately, so perhaps I can manage to be a bit busier! We'll see what happens.

In the meantime, I am more than happy with another pound off - that now makes a total (from my original heaviest weight) of 28 pounds, and a total of twelve pounds during this particular journey.

"...just keep moving...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from the song "Moving", by Supergrass.

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Sunday 17th January 2021

Picture of the day......"Come into my......"

......kitchen!

These two products combined, made a lovely meal this evening. I got the Meatless Farm mince for 50 pence (reduced from £2.50) a couple of weeks ago, along with a whole lot of other stuff. At the time, it was well dated (15th, 16th & 17th January), so I've had all the products in the fridge, adding them to the freezer as and when there was room. This pack was left, and with today's date, I decided to use it for our evening meal.

I love the Colmans sauce mixes and keep a stack of them in for when I'm pushed for time, or too tired to make a sauce from scratch. Most of them are labelled as vegan. This one wasn't, however I couldn't find anything in the ingredients which indicated it isn't vegan (other than the usual 'may contain....' disclaimer that companies tend to use when they use milk/egg products in the same factory), so bought it anyway.

I sliced and fried some onions and mushrooms, and when cooked, added them to a couple of carrots which I had on the boil.

Then I fried the Meatless Farm mince and added that to the simmering veg, mixed up the Colman's sauce, with a bit less water than suggested, popped in a can of peas, and simmered it for a bit longer.

In the meantime, I par-cooked a few potatoes in the microwave, then sliced them up. I transferred the mince/veg mixture into a casserole dish, topped it off with the sliced potatoes and a few dabs of Flora, then put it in the oven for about half an hour.

We ate it with fresh brocolli and it was very yummy! It was around 400 calories per portion, and there is plenty left over for tomorrow night. This is great, because Monday is when I do my main food shop after work, and it will be nice to have something I can just reheat for us, and cook a bit of fresh veg to go with it.

Today has been really lovely. It started well with delicious home-made bread for breakfast, and I've been both productive and chilled. We took Ollie to the beach again this afternoon, and he made friends with an incredibly bouncy dog! I'm amazed it wasn't called Tigger, haha. It was Lab cross, although I don't know what it was crossed with, and its owners told us that they had been for an eight mile walk with it, and that they do that every day, and it's always as bouncy as it was when we saw them! Wow, I felt worn out just watching it!

I think I managed to 'be' most of the things on my weekend list, although I didn't find any rainbows. I might have found a fairy or two though! I hope you've had a fab weekend, and I wish you a happy, healthy and safe week ahead. Off to watch some T.V. with my Lovely Man now.

"Come into my...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from the song "Come Into My Kitchen", by George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell and Ringo Starr.

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Saturday 16th January 2021

Picture of the day......"...something in the early morning......"

Bob's getting busy with his bread maker again this evening!

I am so excited to wake up to the smell of baking bread, and have jam on yummy home made bread for breakfast! Nom nom.

This is coriander......it tastes lovely in Indian food, although some people don't like it all. I personally love it, as does Bob, and I usually put it into a curry if I'm making one.

I made a curry yesterday evening, and it was very yummy.....it didn't have any coriander in it though, because I forgot to use it! Sigh.

Oh well, having to use up fresh coriander is a good enough excuse to make another curry!

Today's been a good day - I had a lovely, chilled self-care kind of morning.....crocheting on the sofa, accompanied by tea, cake, and three episodes of the second series of "Killing Eve" which has been on my planner for about two years!

We took Ollie to the beach this afternoon, and as we were driving there, we could see the sun in the sky, heading her way down to the horizon. I anticipated lovely sunset pictures, but by the time we reached the beach, she'd sneaked behind some heavy clouds which were just above the horizon and of course had been out of our view whilst driving there. Never mind, I'm sure there'll be more sunsets!

"...something in the early morning...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from the song "Early In The Morning" which was recorded by Vanity Fair in 1969.

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Friday 15th January 2021

Picture of the day......"All that you touch, And all that you see, All that you taste, All you feel......"

Another weekend, another list! Two of my favourite things!

This list is in no particular order, and in case you can't read it properly from the photograph, I've put it below.

This weekend, rather than a list of things to do, it is a list of things to be......

  • inspired...
  • motivated...
  • organised...
  • creative...
  • productive...
  • kind...
  • cwtchy...
  • positive...
  • determined...
  • informed...
  • prayerful...
  • rested...
  • thankful...
  • a seeker of rainbows...
  • a finder of fairies!

I'm sure I can manage to be most of the things on my list.....however, I'll have to rely on the weather for at least one of them!

What do you have planned for the weekend? I'd love to know, via some feedback!

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"All that you touch, And all that you see, All that you taste, All you feel......", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from the song "Eclipse" (from the album Dark Side Of the Moon) by the fantastic Pink Floyd.

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

Thursday 14th January 2021

Picture of the day......"The moment I wake up......"

......I think about the day ahead, and that's the part of the day that I sometimes read the daily reading from this publication, the latest copy of which arrived in the post today. It was a lovely thing to come home to (as well as Bob, Ollie and the kitties of course!).

My sister introduced me to the UCB (United Christian Broadcasters) "Word for Today" many years ago, and I've been receiving a quarterly copy of it ever since. I often find it a source of inspiration and comfort in this busy, sometimes crazy world. I don't read it avidly every day, and not always first thing in the morning, but I do try to read it most days, at some point.

Is there something (or even someone) that you find regularly inspires or encourages you?

If so, I'd love to read about it, if you'd like to give me your feedback!

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"The moment I wake up......", my chosen song word snippet for today, is taken from the song "I Say A Little Prayer"by the wonderful Aretha Franklin.

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

Wednesday 13th January 2021

Picture of the day......"Breakfast Time"

Sometimes only breakfast in bed will do....and sometimes only bread and jam will do for that breakfast....especially when the bread is home baked.

Bob made bread overnight in his bread maker, and we literally woke to the most delicious smell wafting through the house and up the stairs.

I have to say that bread and jam (usually strawberry) is one of my favourite things to eat!

Not only did the loaf look really nice, but it tasted yummy too! It was also completely vegan, since Bob used Flora plant butter, and dried coconut milk.

I think I'd be happy for Bob to make bread often and to have bread and jam for breakfast again very soon! Norty but nice.

I've spent most of Day Off working on my website. I've added loads of photographs of crafty stuff which I've done over the years to my website image folder, and I've done some work on the creative page - tidied it up a bit, added some stuff and sorted out a link from the home page directly to the '365 Days Of Creativity' feature.

I now have a numb bum and square eyes, and I'm off to make some dinner!

"Breakfast Time", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a song by Orange Juice.

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

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Tuesday 12th January 2021

Picture of the day......"Make it with You"

There is a vegan shop in Llanelli called Kind Earth, and I love it!

I needed to find some powdered plant milk today. This is because Bob is making bread overnight in his bread maker, so that we can wake up tomorrow for yummy home made bread for breakfast, on Day Off!

The recipe asks for powdered skimmed milk, but as I don't eat dairy, I didn't want to buy 'Marvel' or something of that ilk. I did ask in a Facebook vegan group, if anyone knows of any powdered plant milk, and explained why. A few people got back to me, and said to just leave the milk out, and the bread would still be fine, or to replace some of the water with liquid plant milk. However, I did want to follow the recipe as closely as possible.

I knew that if powdered plant milk was available, then Kind Earth were likely to have it, and so off I popped to have a look.....sure enough, they had some powdered coconut milk. Yaay.

Whilst I was there, I also spotted some vegan jelly, so I popped that in my basket. I love jelly, but never eat it, because of the gelatine.

I'll let you know in tomorrow's blog how both the bread and the jelly turned out!

"Make it With You", my chosen song word snippet for today, is a lyric snippet from "Make it With You" by Bread! (Of course)

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I'd love to see your feedback!

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Monday 11th January 2021

Picture of the day......"...and another one gone..."

Weigh Day sees another pound lost! Yaay.

I may up the ante this week and reduce my calories, because my next small target is to get to 12 stone 7 pounds by 25th January, which is three pounds off. I'm currently losing at the rate of a pound a week, so I may try for two pounds this week.....or next week, it doesn't really matter which.

Anyway, I'm very happy that another pound is off! Long may it continue.

"...and other one gone...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is a lyric snippet from "Another One Bites The Dust" by the fabulous Queen.

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Sunday 10th January 2021

Picture of the day......"Lazy Sunday..."

...morning!

This was the scene for part of my morning today - coffee, cake and crochet. If you look closely, you can see Ollie Dog also enjoying a lazy Sunday morning, snoozing on the sofa!

The rest of the day wasn't quite as lazy - more a healthy balance of productivity and chilled, Sunday vibes!

I caught up on some housework. Because last week was pretty awful for me, regarding pain levels and low energy, I didn't do very much in the week, so today I had quite a bit of washing to catch up on, plus a few other things.

I also painted this shelf, ready for the new lamp to go on when I've accessorised it. In the picture, the colour looks a bit grey, but it is actually a lovely duck egg blue colour.

I knitted for a while, working on this lovely yellow throw for my kitchen. Yes, you did read that right - I did write 'kitchen'. I know it's a funny place to have a throw, but I just want it to drape over the back of a chair really, just to add some textile interest to the kitchen.

The other day, when sorting out my knitting and crochet WIPs (works in progress) I came across this batch of lovely cushion covers, which all need to be finished one way or another......

......so this afternoon I got out this pile of cushion pads, to marry some of the covers up with similar sized pads, and then choose one to finish off this week. Obviously Joe Cat helped me to choose!

We chose this one, which is destined to sit on a piano stool on my landing. I love the colours in it.

The rest live to be chosen another day!

Today has been better again health-wise, with joint pain significantly reduced, and an increase in my energy levels. Fab!

We took Ollie for a short walk this afternoon, to a local park. It didn't seem to be so cold this afternoon as it has been.

It's another episode of "The Bridge" for us tonight, then off to bed for hopefully a good night's sleep, before starting all over again tomorrow. I wish Weekend didn't fly by quite so much. I am looking forward to working on the sparkly wedding dress tomorrow though.

I hope you've had a great weekend, and I wish you a happy, healthy and safe week ahead!

"Lazy Sunday...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is a lyric snippet from "Lazy Sunday Afternoon" by The Small Faces.

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I'd love to see your feedback!

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Saturday 9th January 2021

Picture of the day......"Tastes so good..."

Two hot chocolates after a fab but chilly walk on the beach this afternoon.

I made mine with oat milk, so that it was dairy free, and used a few squares of Tesco Free From chocolate in the bottom of them, to give more chocolate oomph!

Then they were topped off with 'Food Heaven' dairy free squirty cream and some sprinkles. Blinkin' yummy!

Ollie gets very excited now, when we tell him we're going for a walk to the beach. He can't get in the car fast enough, and by the time we park up, he is chomping at the bit to get on that sand! It's such a joy to see him, he loves the beach so much.

There were lots of clouds today, so no chance of seeing even a glimpse of the sunset. Just a very calm, quiet beach.....still beautiful nevertheless!

Today has been better for me health-wise. I've had much less pain and a small amount of fatigue this afternoon. Going out into the fresh air was great, and I know the exercise would have been good for my joints.

This evening we'll be watching episode five of the third series of "The Bridge". There will only be three more episodes after that. I'll be sad to see it at an end, because I've enjoyed it so much. Maybe they'll make another series sometime - I hope so.

"Tastes so good...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is a lyric snippet from "Chocolate" by Kylie Minogue.

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I'd love to see your feedback!

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Friday 8th January 2021

Picture of the day......"Ready for the Weekend"

I didn't take a suitable picture for today's Picture of the Day, so I thought I'd put a collage together of pictures of the kind of stuff I'd like to do this weekend.

After a pretty crappy week, health-wise, I am definitely ready for the weekend! How about you? Wishing whoever is reading this a happy, healthy weekend!

"Ready for the Weekend", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a song by the brilliant Calvin Harris.

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Thursday 7th January 2021

Picture of the day......"So tired..."

I bought some vitamin B12 supplements to see if that will help with the fatigue. I think it's worth a go - the fact that I don't eat any meat may be adding to the fatigue which I experience. Perhaps it's not all down to Lupus after all!

I haven't really felt very much better today. I still have all the symptoms I had yesterday, although there's a bit of improvement this evening as I write this. I went to work, but really struggled through the day, and spent a fair bit of time in headphones, because I was finding that even one conversation going on near me was enough to make it hard to concentrate on my work. Never mind, I did get through the day, and have had a fairly chilled evening, other than cooking dinner.

"So tired...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from the Kinks' song, "Tired of Waiting for You".

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Wednesday 6th January 2021

Picture of the day......"Living in a Box"

Today the Christmas decorations went back into their box for next year!

I don't know what Mr. Snowman thinks about living most of his life in a box! He was given to me lots of years ago, by two teachers at Lydia's primary school, as a 'thank you' because I went in to the school and worked with two of the classes to make snowman tapestries.

I loved doing it, and it was one of the experiences which first made me think about going into teaching. Mr. Snowman always reminds me of that lovely time.

My living room looks a little bare now that the tree etc. is down.

It's a lovely little tree and has stayed looking very much alive, with hardly any needle drop. I'm thinking that there is a root inside that pot, so I'll pop him out into the garden, and do some research on how to keep a Christmas tree going all year, so that we can use him again next year and subsequent years. I did try this a few years ago with another tree, but failed.

Health wise, today was a really horrible day.

Pain and fatigue levels have been up over the last couple of days, and today they hit really hard. Just about every joint in my body is aching, and I am so tired.

I've also struggled to stay warm, have mouth ulcers, my skin is dry, my scalp is itchy and sore, and I have a very low mood. Noise is also a problem, and I have a pretty bad headache, and quite a bit of 'brain fog', in that I've been struggling to process my thoughts. Lupus is very generous - she brings lots of 'gifts'.

Thankfully, it's Day Off, so I've been home from work, and haven't had to do very much. We did need to take Bob's van over to Fforestfach to get the brakes looked at, but that didn't take long, so otherwise I've just taken it easy and done a fair bit of crochet.

I'm hoping for a good night's sleep and to feel better tomorrow.

"Living in a Box", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a song from the 1980s, by a band called Living in a Box!

Please click here if you would like to listen to it via YouTube, and lose yourself in the ethereal magic that is Enya.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Tuesday 5th January 2021

Picture of the day......"Book of Days"

This lovely little literary treat turned up in the post today!

I might read it after my current book, or I might read some Peter May first, and then go to this. Hmm....decisions decisions - so many books, so little time! Either way, I'm sure that I'm going to enjoy it.

After work I went to finish the food shop I started yesterday, and was in the right place at the right time! Tesco were selling off these "Meatless Farm" goodies for a fraction of their original price. They're all actually quite well dated, so I'm not sure why they were up for grabs so cheaply. Maybe that particular brand isn't selling so well?

We've tried a couple of "Meatless Farm" products before and enjoyed them, so in my basket they went, and in the freezer they'll go!

Today was a bit of a crap day for me. I had huge problems with noise today and spent most of my working day in headphones, being soothed by Nick Drake and some Pink Floyd. I'm in quite a bit of pain at the moment too, especially my left hip, which is painful all the time, but at the moment seems to be particularly bad, with the pain extending all the way down my leg. I also struggled to get warm, and had a couple of bouts of fatigue.

To say I am looking forward to Day Off tomorrow is an understatement! There are things I'd like to do with the day, but I'll play it by ear and see how I'm feeling - it may be a day of rest! I'll go with the flow anyway.

This evening we're starting series four of "The Bridge".....if we can stay awake, since neither of us got a very good night's sleep last night. Anyway, we'll see.

"Book of Days", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a beautiful song by Enya.

Please click here if you would like to listen to it via YouTube, and lose yourself in the ethereal magic that is Enya.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Monday 4th January 2021

Picture of the day......"I'm a Loser"

Another pound off today!

That now makes ten on this particular journey and a total of twenty-six, from my all-time heaviest weight.

It's been a mixed kind of day. Back to work this morning after twelve days off for the Christmas break. I thought having to get up early would be a major problem, but it wasn't so bad.

I went shopping for food after work, and then this evening I put my lovely vintage Braun Multipractic to its first test - a coffee and walnut cake, as requested by my Lovely Man.

We enjoyed a slice of it with a pot of Glengettie after dinner, and Bob said it's the loveliest coffee and walnut cake he's ever tasted! Wow! Well done Braun, and well done me I think!

We watched the final episode of series three of "The Bridge"......I definitely think it's one of the best series I've ever seen on T.V.

Anyway, it's late now, and I'm off to get a few hours' sleep before I'm up early for work again. Night night.

"I'm a Loser", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a Beatles song.

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Sunday 3rd January 2021

Picture of the day......"Tea For Two"

Apart from the kitties, this is the nicest thing we come back to each day after our walk.

It's particularly welcome on such cold days as this one. We went to the beach - the last time for the Christmas holidays, as it's back to work for me tomorrow.

The beach was actually quite busy today - quite a few people walking their dogs - Ollie had great fun chasing and catching balls belonging to other pooches - and a couple of families. Obviously also enjoying the lovely cold but crisp and bright Winter day, and maybe - like us - making the most of the last few hours before returning to the 'rat race'.

I'm not sure quite where that twelve days went. I had intended to get lots of practical things done, but instead seemed to spend most of the time eating, sleeping, reading and crocheting. Ah well, at least my batteries are well and truly charged up again, ready for the week ahead, and Bob and I have had some lovely quality time together.

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy, healthy and not-too-busy week ahead, and above all stay safe!

"Tea For Two", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a little cha-cha-style song, written in the 1920s. I have a really cute little instrumental version of it, recorded by The Don Lusher Trio And Orchestra, on an album I inherited from my father.

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Saturday 2nd January 2021

Picture of the day......"Black Coffee"

This lovely retro Braun Multipractic food processor arrived in the post for me a couple of days ago.

I had an original one in the early 1980s, and absolutely loved it, especially for cake making. I love to bake, but my fingers, wrist and elbow joints hurt so much when I'm actually mixing the cakes, that it kind of takes the edge off it. My original Braun packed in (the motor died) around five years ago and I very sadly took it to the tip.

I did ponder on getting a new replacement, but the modern ones all look a bit flimsy to me. My Lovely Man saw this vintage one on Ebay and bought it for me! I'm so chuffed. It's in great condition, and looks as if it hasn't been used very much. I am going to love baking cakes even more now! I've set it up in a corner of my kitchen and it's ready to go!

Bob has already put in a request for a coffee and walnut cake. I actually haven't made one of those before, so I'm looking forward to doing something new. There is a recipe for one in my favourite cake-baking book - another vintage item, which I bought from Tesco for about a pound, again in the early 1980s.

The recipe is for a coffee and walnut gateau, but I will just make it as a layered cake I think. It's on the agenda for tomorrow, so no doubt (if it's successful) you'll be looking at pictures of it on here!

Today was a good book day.

Late last night I finished reading the book on the left, which I really enjoyed, and started reading the one on the right. It's the fourth in my four Christmas reading books, and I've read a couple of Jenny Colgan books before and enjoyed them, so I'm sure this won't be an exception.

I also had lovely book post today! My Lovely Man has been at it again. He likes to read on a e-reader, and has been reading the "Lewis Trilogy" by Peter May. He thought I too would enjoy them (and I think he's right!) and he bought the books for me and they arrived this morning, together with another Peter May book.

I think they'll be jumping to the head of the books to read queue!

We didn't go any distance for a walk today, just a couple of times around the local park. This was around four-thirty and it was already very frosty & icy, and really slippery under foot...well for me anyway - I think my trainers have rubbish grip, as Bob didn't find it so slippery. Anyway, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see snow later tonight. I know they've had it in other parts of Wales and in parts of England.

I'm off to do something yummy with some salmon for dinner now, and then it'll be a cwtchy evening with some reading, crochet, knitting, and of course cwtching up with my Lovely Man to watch the next episode of "The Bridge". We're getting towards the end of the third series, and really enjoying. I have to say that it's definitely one of the best things I've seen on T.V. in a long time.

I hope you're having a fab weekend! Toodlepip!

"Black Coffee", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of an All Saints song.

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Friday 1st January 2021

Picture of the day......"New Year's Day"

This is the grumpy face of a dog who's just had a bath!

We went for a New Year's Day walk this afternoon......

......up to where the two horses are. Except they weren't there today, so Ollie got some of their apple, and we chucked the other pieces into the field so they can enjoy it when they are there.

Ollie was in proper Spangle mode today - like a bottle of pop! He kept running down the banks at the side of where we walk, and boy oh boy is it muddy down there!

There was nothing for it but to give him a bath when we got in, and as you can see from his grumpy chops, it wasn't what he wanted to be doing! Haha. Never mind Ollie, it's done now, and you smell gowjus!

"New Year's Day", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of one of my favourite U2 songs.

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Thursday 31st December 2020

Picture of the day......"Happy New Year"

For me, 2020 has been a mixed one....probably the same as it has for everyone I would think.

Obviously Covid 19 has had a huge impact on the year as a whole, with not being able to see family and friends, having to adjust to a new way of life when shopping and working, and basically keeping loved ones in our thoughts and prayers that they are staying safe, happy and well.

In spite of all this for me, there have probably been more positives than negatives. My Lovely Man worked hard to give me back my garden, so that I can make it into the garden that I truly want. I also did quite a lot of stuff in my house - reclaiming rooms which had been given over to junk and making functional spaces out of them. I am actually now at the stage for the first time ever in my life, that I truly love my home, and am enjoying working on it to make it a home which I will continue to love, and feel that I belong here.

Bob and I have had so much opportunity to spend quality time together, and this has been so lovely. We've both experienced sadness this year - Bob with the death of his brother, and I lost a dear friend to cancer earlier in the year. However, we've also been there to support each other through those sad times, as well as to encourage each other in areas of both our life together, and in our individual pursuits.

We've taken advantage of the fact I live so close to the sea, and we've spent lots of time at the beach. Today was no exception, when we had our last walk of this year on the beach with Ollie. Ollie grappled with a stick bigger than him, played fetch with one that he could actually pick up, and rolled around in the pools of water, in his usual Springer Spaniel way! Again the sky was worthy of a picture or two, and we then headed home for a lovely, warming hot chocolate.

One of the other important things (for me) this year is that I have rediscovered my writing mojo, after a gap of several years.

Today I began working on the book I started around twenty years ago, and I am determined to keep at it, and set aside some quality time each day for writing. It may amount to something or it may not - but it will be fun finding out!

I wish whoever is reading this a very Happy New Year. I hope that 2021 brings you lots of love, joy, peace, good health, and the fulfilment of your hopes and dreams.

"Happy New Year", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of one of my favourite ABBA songs.

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Wednesday 30th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Rewrite"

This is a book, which I started writing around twenty years ago, when the ideas flowed out. Then a succession of traumatic experiences built up to a fairly serious bout of depression, my life changed and went into a completely different direction, and all my writing, together with lots of other creative stuff, got packed up into boxes and moved with me from Cardiff to West Wales.

Some boxes got unpacked in the general course of things and others remained closed for a long time, only being opened for reminscing or decluttering purposes. Some boxes remained closed for a very long time, including the box which contained all my writing.

Earlier this year, I opened the box, and decided to get back into the creative writing. I started by resurrecting a fairy story which I had written for my daughter, and which you can read/listen to by clicking here if you would like to.

Today I decided to check out that book! There are five complete chapters, and I feel it does have the foundations of a fairly decent novel, so one of my projects for 2021 will be to work on it, probably rewrite quite a lot of it, and try to turn it into something decent to read!

In other news today, I spent some discouraging minutes frogging the edging on my lovely blanket, because it wasn't sitting right (a spacing error on the first row). It certainly took me a lot less time to undo it, than it did to crochet it!

However, I'm now up and running with it again, and it's already looking much better.

"Rewrite", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a song by Paul Simon.

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Tuesday 29th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Purple Haze"

Another beach visit.....another moody photograph.....and today's pic has yielded some lovely purple hues in the sky and on the beach.

I never, ever tire of the beautiful area we live in. I think we could visit the beach every day and every day see something different in that same view. Gowjus!

We went to the beach a bit later than we usually do, and it was getting dark as we left. It's a full moon tomorrow, and she gave us a lovely preview of her fullness as she was peeping from behind the houses.

Today has been another fairly chilled day, giving Bob and I a chance to enjoy each other's company and that of our furry companions.

I've had lots of time to read, and early this morning I finished this book, which I really enjoyed. Cornwall, Christmas, dogs, food, a bit of mystery, and some romance - what's not to enjoy? I will look forward to reading more Cressida McLoughlin books.

Later this morning I started reading this book. It's the third of four books I had set aside for Christmas reading. I've read one of Holly Martin's books before (The Holiday Cottage by the Sea) and really enjoyed that, so I think this will be a good one.

I've also had lots of time to crochet and have been merrily crocheting the granny treble clusters around the edge of my blanket.....but today I've had to frog them (undo them or in Llanelli speak 'take them loose') because I had the spacing wrong on the first round, and it means that the edging is slightly frilling, instead of laying flat. Sigh. Never mind, it will be fab when it's redone.

"Purple Haze", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a song by the wonderful Jimi Hendrix.

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Monday 28th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Here I stand..."

Weigh Day today and my weight is at a standstill...meaning that I haven't lost any this week......

......however, neither have I gained any! I ate lots of yummy, calorific foods on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day without counting them, and then went back on the calorie counting on Boxing Day.

Therefore, I'm happy to take a standstill for this week!

My next small target is to lose another five pounds by 25th January - an average of about a pound a week, which I think is a nice, steady loss.

"Here I stand...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is part of the first line from Queen's "Now I'm Here".

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Sunday 27th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Moody Blue"

We've got to that point in the Christmas break where, quite a lot of the time, I'm not actually quite sure what the day is!

I think today is Sunday? Haha.

In any event, we had a lovely trip out to the local beach this afternoon. It was very cold though!

The sky was actually a brilliant blue in parts, and I couldn't resist taking this photograph to show the blueness! With the bright houses, you would be forgiven in thinking it was a summer day!

Of course I had to take my usual 'moody' photographs. The sun wasn't near setting today, but she was low in the sky. The tide was on its way out, but still close enough for us to hear the gentle lapping of the waves on the shore. Such a beautiful sound!

Ollie is a very placid Springer, but today, being at the beach brought out his bouncy alter-ego, and he had lots of fun running on the sand, chasing (and trying to eat!) sticks, and rolling around in the little pools of water left behind by the ocean. It made me extra cold just watching him do that!

Walking by the ocean is one of my favourite things to do, but it was nice to get home to a warm house and cwtch up for a while with my crochet and a cuppa to thaw out.

Off to cwtch up with my Lovely Man now, for some T.V. We watched episode 1 of the third series of "The Bridge" last night, and so far it has not disappointed, so episode 2 is on the agenda this evening.

Wishing anyone who's reading this a very happy, healthy and safe week ahead.

"Moody Blue", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of an Elvis Presley song.

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Saturday 26th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Soul Cake"

A chilled out Boxing Day, with of course the obligatory cutting of the Christmas cakes!

As from today, I am back on the calorie counting. It was very tempting to have another day of indulgence, but that could ruin some of the good work I've already done, so I decided to get back on the wagon.

I've divided my Christmas cake into twenty sections, and each section is the size of the one in the picture, and has 305 calories!

That's very little cake for a lot of calories! As usual though, the cake is thoroughly delicious, so It's worth making room in my daily allowance for.

Apart from eating cake and leftovers, there hasn't been much other activity today. We didn't even manage a walk today - the weather has been really crap, and as I write this, it's proper blowing up a storm outside. Lovely to listen to, curled up with a book and a cuppa!

I have done some crochet - made a start on the edging of my off-centred grannies blanket. The sides are very long, so it's all going to take a while. I'll post pics as I make progress.

For now, my PJs are calling, and there's going to be a cuppa with my name on shortly, to cwtch up and watch the first episode of the third series of "The Bridge", with my Lovely Man. A fab way to finish the day.

"Soul Cake", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a fab Sting song.

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

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Friday 25th December 2020

Picture of the day......"So this is Christmas..."

Even big kids love stickers!

I got these festive stickers from a Christmas cracker.

They were the gift inside the cracker. It said on the box that the crackers themselves are widely recycled and they contained gifts with no plastic in them. At £1.50 for a box of twelve, and as environmentally friendly as crackers can be, in my basket they went.

In fairness, they were exactly as described on the box. Well done Tesco.

All in all, it's been a very lovely day. We got up late and both enjoyed some reading this morning....Bob with his e-reader, and joined by Nala, who totally adores him......

......although I think the feeling is quite mutual!

Basil and Joe however, adore each other!

Whilst preparing the veg and stuff for dinner, I iced the Christmas cakes and decorated one with a star......

......and the other one with a Christmas tree.

Then, late afternoon we popped out for a lovely walk. Today was beautiful - crisp, sunny, and not too cold. Again we walked up to where the horses are and on the way back I managed to catch this shot of the sun setting behind some local houses.

When we got back, I cooked a lovely three-course meal, starting with French Onion Soup and garlic bread. I love this soup, and it's usually my go-to starter for Christmas Day.

For main course we had a vegan mushroom wellington, which I bought from Morrisons, along with quite a few other vegan products on Christmas Eve, when they had been reduced - which was actually quite early in the day!

We're going to watch the last episode of the second series of "The Bridge" now. I really love this programme, and am looking forward to seeing series 3 and 4.

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy, peaceful, blessed, healthy and safe Christmas. I hope you've enjoyed your day in whatever way you've chosen, and if circumstances have dictated that you've had to adapt it, then I hope you have had some joy from it.

It's been quite a different one for me. I am a practising Christian and Christmas Day is obviously very special for me. Bob is an Atheist and doesn't actually acknowledge or celebrate Christmas. We have a healthy respect for each other's beliefs, and we've shared the day, each with our own thoughts and beliefs, whilst enjoying quality time and lovely food with each other.

Also, this year is the first Christmas Day in my 55 years that I haven't seen a member of my birth family, and the first time in Lydia's 28 years that she and I have not been together for Christmas. That's hard, I will admit, but obviously it is far more important to be safe, so that we can spend subsequent Christmases together.

I have spoken on the telephone to my Gowjus Girl twice today though, and we did try to Skype this evening, which went a bit pear-shaped, but at least I got to see her lovely face, even if it was only for a few minutes!

I also spoke to one of my brothers, and texted my other brother and my sister.

"So this is Christmas...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is part of the opening line of John Lennon's Happy Xmas (War Is Over).

Please click hereif you would like to listen to this beautiful song via YouTube.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Thursday 24th December 2020

Picture of the day......"O Christmas tree..."

My humble little tree, which is pretty, homely, and definitely very Hygge!

Today has been a mixture of busy and chilled. We got up late, then I spent some time cleaning.

To my embarrassment, when cleaning around the sofa, I found the written, sealed, addressed and UNPOSTED Christmas card to my eldest brother and his family. When getting all the cards together to post, I must have popped them on the arm of the sofa, or on the windowsill above, and that one fell down and was missed.

It has gone in the post now, for a very late delivery! That'll teach me for being smug that I'd made the posting dates. Haha.

We went for a walk this afternoon, revisiting part of a walk we used to do during the summer lockdown.

There are two horses in a field - 'Milky' and 'Gwen' and they are partial to an apple. However, they clearly didn't fancy traipsing through the muddy field to where we were at the fence just for an apple, haha. So we chucked the apple pieces over the fence to them, and they were clearly happy with that!

I did manage to get this nice silhouette picture of the trees, with the last remaining rays of the sun after she had set, in the background.

It's a tradition for me to put up my Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. I know that's quite late, compared to most people, but I always leave it up until 7th January, after we've had the feast of Epiphany on the 6th.

So this evening, Bob was working on some website stuff, and I put up and decorated my tree......

......whilst indulging in a lovely glass (or three) of mulled wine......

......and accompanied by the smooth, chocolatey voice of Mr. Reeves.

This record belonged to my Mam, and I always have lovely memories of childhood Christmases when I listen to it.

After the tree was done, I made a lovely buffet meal. Yummy!

It's quite late now, but nobody's chasing for an early start in the morning, so we're going to watch an episode of "The Bridge" before bed. We're only a couple of episodes from the end of series two now, and it's getting exciting!

"O Christmas tree...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a lovely little Christmas song.

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

However, I particularly like it when it is sung in its original form, in German - "O Tannenbaum"

Please click hereif you would like to listen to that version via YouTube.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Wednesday 23rd December 2020

Picture of the day......"It's my party..."

...and I'll be late if I want to!

Today I've been making two Christmas cakes, from my favourite cake recipe book, which cost me about a pound from Tesco about 35 years ago, and has the loveliest rich fruit cake recipe I've ever tasted.

I've made one cake without alcohol for Bob, who's teetotal......

...and one with (lots of) brandy for me.

Mine is smaller, because from Boxing Day I'll be back on the calorie counting, so if I have a piece of cake any time it will be included in my calorie allowance.

Christmas cake is obviously very high in calories, so it will be a tiny piece at a time!

Therefore to have made a bigger cake would have been silly. It's probably going to last until about March as it is! At least all the alcohol will keep it nicely preserved! Haha.

Christmas cake is one of my favourite seasonal things to eat, so I definitely didn't want to miss out!

The other difference in the two cakes is that mine will have marzipan and icing covering it, whereas Bob's will just have icing, since he doesn't like marzipan.

"It's my party...", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a song originally recorded by Lesley Gore in 1963.

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

It was then (in my opinion brilliantly) covered by Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics fame) and Barbara Gaskin in 1981.

Please click hereif you would like to listen to that version via YouTube.

So there you go - I am (apparently) very late to the Christmas Cake Making party.....but it's my party, so it's ok!

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Tuesday 22nd December 2020

Picture of the day......"Tuesday's Gone"

Tuesday is (almost) gone, but Wednesday's on the way.....and of course Wednesday is Day Off!

This of course means a Day Off List, and there are some lovely things on my list for tomorrow.

Today was my last day at work until 4th January next year, and I was going to include tomorrow in my Christmas holidays, but then....no, Wednesday is my day off, so that's what it is, and my Christmas Holidays start proper on Christmas Eve.

"Tuesday's Gone", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a Lynyrd Skynyrd song."

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

We fancied a spag bol this evening, and I tried out a new variety of vegan mince.

I really like the Tesco 'Plant Chef' range. The products are usually quite tasty.

I bought this packet as a whoopsy (reduced price) back in November and popped it in the freezer.

I'd left it a bit last minute, and hadn't taken it out of the freezer this morning, to defrost. Although on the pack it says that it's suitable for home freezing, it doesn't give any information about defrosting, or whether you can use it from frozen, or anything.

So to be on the safe side, I defrosted it in the microwave before cooking it, which only took a few minutes.

It was interesting to see that it looked like actual minced meat. Not a problem, but it does seem a shame that some companies that make plant based meat substitute foods feel the need to make it look like the real thing!

I didn't want to spend loads of time in the kitchen this evening, so I called upon one of my trusty Colman's sauce mixes for the bolognese sauce.

I love the Colman's mixes - they are always so tasty, really easy to use, and most of them are vegan!

Again my picture doesn't do the meal justice, but it was very yummy.

Bob and I both agree that this is the best minced meat substitute we have tried so far.

Therefore my search (for one product anyway) is over. From now on, I will use the Tesco 'Plant Chef' mince for any meal which has a minced meat base! It has a nice texture, is easy to prepare and cook, and tastes yummy (even on its own without any sauce). What's not to love?

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Monday 21st December 2020

Picture of the day......"Everything Counts"

Weigh Day today!

I've lost another pound, which makes nine pounds so far on this journey, and a total of twenty-five pounds from my original heaviest weight.

This coming week I'll be reducing my calorie intake a little for most of the week, because I do intend to not count calories at all on Christmas Day, and to indulge in some festive fayre!

However, I will resume the calorie counting on Boxing Day.

Of course, none of this means that I have to miss out. The beauty of calorie counting is that you can still indulge in some treats, so long as they are counted within the allowance for the day. So I'll definitely be enjoying Christmas dinner, some yummy cake, a mince pie, and a glass or two of my favourite wine.

Hopefully there will be a weight loss to report next Monday, but if there isn't, no worries. My next small target is to lose another five pounds by 25th January, which gives me five weeks. A pound a week is a good, steady rate to lose it.

"Everything Counts", my chosen song word snippet for today, is the title of a Depeche Mode song."

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

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Sunday 20th December 2020

Picture of the day......"I'm on the edge..."

Yaaay! I'm on the border of my blanket at last.

All the edge squares are crocheted into place, as are the corner squares.

"I'm on the edge", my chosen song word snippet for today, is from Lady Gaga's song "The Edge of Glory"

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

The blanket has two sides which look like this......

......and two sides which look like this.

All four corners are the same, and look like this.

I've crocheted two rows of single crochet in cream around the whole thing, so that it's in keeping with the cream separating each square.

I'm now ready to crochet a multi-coloured edging around the whole thing, and have lovely colours to choose from.

I'll probably start with the oatmeal and loosely follow the order of the main centre square. I'm so pleased with it so far and can't wait to get started on the edging. There'll be more pics as I go along.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Saturday 19th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Days of Future Passed"

This Christmas is going to be very different for me.....and I imagine for many people.

The plan was to drive down to Kent on Christmas Eve, and spend Christmas with Lydia and Lewis, then drive back to Llanelli on the 27th. However, in light of the lockdown rules put into place from midnight tonight, I won't be able to do that now.

I've chosen 'Days of Future Passed' as my song lyrics tag for this evening's blog, because I've been reflecting on lovely Christmases from the past spent with my Gowjus Girl, and thinking that they will happen again. We just have to be patient, ride this situation through, and trust that normality will at some point be restored. In the meantime, the most important thing is to keep everybody safe.

There's no point celebrating a Christmas with loved ones, whilst putting them (and ourselves) at risk, and therefore risking possible empty places at future Christmas dinner tables.

Days of Future Passed is a fabulous album by the Moody Blues

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

I've been going through some old Christmas photographs to put on here tonight, and they've brought back some beautiful memories.

This photograph was taken last Christmas, when I travelled down to Kent and spent the festive season with Lydia and Lewis, and Lewis's family, who made me feel so welcome.

Lydia and Lewis cooked Christmas dinner, and it was so yummy.

It was my first Christmas not eating dairy, and they cooked lovely vegan foods for me.

I had anticipated that the lockdown may happen, at least in Wales anyway, because of the rising numbers of infections and deaths.

So I have had a Plan B - Christmas at home! I wasn't sure if I'd be alone or not, because Bob is an Atheist, and doesn't celebrate or acknowledge Christmas.

However, we each have respect for the other's beliefs, and on that basis we will be together over Christmas, and share precious time together and enjoy yummy food, chill time, and the company of our fur babies.

Had I been alone, it would have been ok. For me, Christmas is in my heart and in my belief in Jesus Christ as our saviour, and in celebrating His birthday. However, I am glad not to be alone, and am looking forward to time with my Lovely Man, and to 'see' my Gowjus Girl via Skype or Facetime, and hopefully make contact with my siblings. These are positives from this situation!

I always try to find positives wherever I can when things are not so good, and here are a few more.....

  • I will keep my tradition of dressing the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve (since I won't be travelling now), accompanied by mince pies and mulled wine, and some festive music.
  • I will find a worthy cause to donate at least some of the money I would have spent on petrol, travelling to and from Kent.
  • I won't be sitting in any traffic jams! The M25 was horrendous last year, on the return journey.
  • When I eventually get to see my Gowjus Girl again, it will be the most wonderful feeling ever! I must hold on to that thought, when sadness threatens - as it inevitably will.

I hope that everyone who is feeling disappointed, sad, lonely, anxious, etc., because of the current situation, can find some positivity. These are such scary, uncertain times.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Friday 18th December 2020

Picture of the day......"...I'll take the blanket from the bedroom ..."

This is how I'll be spending the rest of this evening, until my bed calls me.

Simply catching up on my blanket - attaching the rest of the edge squares, and then the corner squares......whilst drinking tea, dipping in and out of a chapter or two, and watching a bit of Corrie which is stored on my Sky planner.

Of course, I'm sure there will also be some kitty cwtching thrown in for good measure! I also have enough calories left to indulge in a few squares of yummy Old Jamaica chocolate.

This week has been quite busy and I have a really busy weekend ahead, as I need to do some preparations for Christmas. So I need this lovely time out on the sofa this evening to recharge. A lovely, cosy, Hygge couple of hours!

I wish anyone who's reading this a very happy, healthy and safe weekend.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Thursday 17th December 2020

Picture of the day......"New light..."

This is the lamp which was gifted to me recently by one of Bob's friends.

Originally I was going to put it in the lounge, but then decided it's perfect for the landing.

Bob had put a new plug on it and put it into place for me by the time I got home from work today.

I absolutely love it. Helen, if you're reading at all, thank you so much.

The four corner squares for my off-centred grannies blanket are done now, so I can crochet them into place, with the rest of the edging squares.

I'll be able to start the border over the weekend.

I'm incredibly tired this evening, so it's off for some T.V. - another episode of "The Bridge" - and then bed!

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Wednesday 16th December 2020

Picture of the day......"...a lovely day..."

This is my lovely Christmas tree for this year. I bought it a couple of weeks ago, and it's been still wrapped up and out in the garden. Today I took the wrappings off and I am so pleased with how lovely and even it is.

Although it's in a pot, I'm not sure that it has a root, but I'm hoping so, so that I can put it back out into the garden after Christmas, and try to keep it going for next year.

I'll bring it in at the weekend and put some decorations on it. I never put my tree and decorations up until quite close to Christmas, as I keep them up until 6th January - the feast of Epiphany, when the Magi (three wise men/kings) visited Jesus.

We didn't do everything on the Day Off list today - the beach trip didn't go ahead, mainly because of time and partly the weather - but we did have a very successful trip to the charity shops, where I got these beautiful red boots......

......and these lovely navy boots.

Both pairs look brand new and fit really well.

I always end up buying books at charity shops. I just can't resist them. So I got these two books to add to my Christmas reading.

I think I'm going to have to read lots over Christmas, as that now makes four books!

Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors. She's the author of the "Shopaholic" series, which are very funny.

She also writes under the name of Madeleine Wickham, and these are two of her books which I haven't read.

This book also caught my eye.

Paula Hawkins wrote "The Girl on the Train", which I thoroughly enjoyed, so I thought I'd give this a go too.

Finally, I picked up these fabrics.

The one on the left is a bed sheet. I don't like patterned sheets, but I love roses and have rose-patterned things in my house, so I'll probably upcycle the fabric from this sheet into cushions or something similar.

The fabric on the right is a table cloth. The colours are exactly what I'm using in my kitchen, so I may use it as it is. Then again, I might make it into tea towels. The fabric is the right sort of texture for tea towels, and the colours are perfect.

Whereas I love books - to hold them, smell them, turn the pages, etc. - Bob prefers to use an e-reader, and he picked up a nice one at the charity shops.

I love visiting charity shops. I love the idea that one man's (or woman's) junk is another's treasure, and I love that things are re-used, re-purposed, re-cycled, and up-cycled, rather than going into landfill, and that a charity gets to benefit from it too.

I didn't manage to get my Christmas cards in the post today either, for one reason and another. However, they are all written now, so I can do that tomorrow.

Tomorrow is always another day!

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Tuesday 15th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Santa Claus is coming to town ..."

It's that time again - Christmas card writing.

I'm always late to the party with this one, often posting at the last minute, and then always end up sending them first class!

This year though, if I can get them written up and posted in the next day or two, I might just get away with second class and save some pennies! I've been getting cards in the post from family and friends for a good couple of weeks now - clearly there are lots of organised people out there!

Anybody else usually leave it until the last minute, or is that just me?

Tomorrow is Day Off, and therefore a list has been made!

Hopefully it should be a mixed day of productivity and relaxation. I'm not sure whether the weather will allow us that walk on the beach, but we'll see.

Yesterday and today have been hard for me health-wise. I've had dreadful fatigue, and today noise was a big problem. There seemed to be more noise around than usual - I'm assuming that it's because of the season, and everyone's getting that bit more excited, especially with the promise of being able to see family over the festive season, when lockdown rules and such are being relaxed from 23rd to 27th December.

In any case, I spent a fair old time today in my headphones, being soothed by Nick Drake! Going shopping after work was hard too - it's all so noisy and busy, and I was very glad to get home to my Lovely Man, Ollie & the kitties, and peace & quiet with a cuppa!

We're starting the second series of "The Bridge" this evening - I hope it's as good as the first series was.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Monday 14th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Measure of life ..."

Monday is Weigh Day!

I was very happy this morning to find that I've lost another 3 pounds. That makes 8 since the beginning of last week, when I put my determined calorie-counting hat on, and it makes 24 pounds in total since I started - quite a long time ago.

This also means that I've reached my second mini-target, several weeks in advance. My next target is to lose another 6 pounds by the end of January. This makes an average of about a pound a week, which is a good pace I think.

Fatigue hit me like a brick wall this afternoon, and hasn't left all evening. I'm off to bed very soon, for some much-needed sleep!

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Sunday 13th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Sweet potato pie ..."

I finally got around to doing some baking today.

I've been itching to bake for weeks, but something always seems to stop me. However today I was on a mission, and so......

......I got out one of my favourite baking books......

......and turned on the oven!

I made one of Bob's favourites (and mine)......

......good old lemon drizzle cake. Well, actually in the book it's called 'soaked lemon cake', but it's the same thing really.

When Bob got in from work this afternoon we had some with a pot of tea, and it was very yummy!

I also had some bananas in the fruit bowl which were definitely over-ripe......

......so I made some banana muffins and topped them with some drizzled vegan chocolate and pretty gold sprinkles.

For dinner this evening I went back to the Fearne Cotton "Happy Vegan" book for some inspiration, and made a mixed vegetable pie with sweet potato mash topping.

It was a really lovely pie. The sweet potato mash wasn't as wet as the one I made the other evening, and the pie filling itself was really tasty.

We ate it with some fresh broccoli. I'll definitely do that one again, and there's plenty left over for lunch tomorrow.

One of Bob's friends has gifted a lamp to me. It's really lovely - a mock oil lamp, with a lovely red glass shade. It's packed up in this box at the moment, until I find a suitable home for it - I do have one in mind. Bob also needs to replace the plug, and may need to replace the cable for a longer one, depending on where I put it.

We watched the last episode of the first series of "The Bridge" this evening. I have to say that it's probably one of the best series I've watched, and I'm really looking forward to starting series two.

Off to bed now to get some beauty sleep! Weekend definitely flits past too quickly. I hope you've had a great weekend, and I wish you a happy, healthy, safe week ahead.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Saturday 12th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Tangerine Dreams..."

Lots of lovely fruit and veg - and not a piece of bloody plastic in sight!

I went into Llanelli town this afternoon, to check out the market and see if I could just buy loose produce without having to have loads of unwanted plastic, because I'm so fed up with all the supermarket packaging.

I took my own re-usable shopping bag, and the lady at the stall I bought from was very happy to have the bag on her side of the stall and put my purchases in it as she went along, although she did use brown paper bags for some things.

I still have veggies in the fridge from my shopping the other day, so I didn't need to get loads, but we eat lots of broccoli, so I picked up some of that, and we'd run out of fruit and potatoes.

I was impressed with the quality and range of the produce and the fact that the lady serving was very patient, friendly and accommodating with me.

However, the prices are quite high - I think I probably paid twice as much for what I had, as what I would have paid in the supermarket, so obviously that's not so good.

The brown paper bags were a really good quality, and they're in good enough condition to use again, which is great.

I popped into Asda on the way back, as I'm told that they have loose produce and you can either use their (plastic) bags, or bring your own.

I didn't need anything else, other than this aubergine, which I was able to buy without any packaging on.

Going forward, I'm not really sure what to do. I use lots of fruit and veg in my diet, and when cooking. I don't want to be paying a fortune for it (neither can I afford to), but I do feel very strongly about the plastic issue.

It seems as well that it's practically impossible to buy any berry fruits (I use them in smoothies) which are not packaged in some kind of plastic.

I'm thinking that I may start buying berry fruits, and things such as broccoli and sprouts in frozen form. Of course, they'll still come packaged in plastic, however it would be in the form of a stretchy plastic bag, which can be recycled at Tesco, in the box they have for recycling carrier bags in their foyers.

For other veggies and fruit, I'll maybe buy as much as I can in loose form at the supermarket, and then go to the market stall for anything else.

In other news, Bob and I fancied a curry this evening, so I decided to try out the Tofu Tikka Masala recipe which is in the Fearne Cotton 'Happy Vegan' cook book.

I didn't want to use tofu, and I had this product in my freezer after buying it as a 'whoopsie' last week, so I thought I would try that.

I halved the amounts used, because Fearne uses 800g of tofu in the original recipe and the chickenless pieces were in a 400g size.

It was really yummy, and I'll definitely make it again.

It could have done with being more spicy, so maybe I shouldn't have halved the spice amounts as I did the other ingredients. I'll use more spice next time.

We ate it with some basmati rice and vegan garlic & coriander naan bread, and the coriander garnish was from my own herb garden!

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Friday 11th December 2020

Picture of the day......"I'm so excited!..."

What am I excited about? A new PC, that's what! Well, not brand new, but new for me, and it's absolutely gowjus!

One of Bob's PAT testing clients have recently upgraded their IT system, and they were going to send this PC to be recycled, but offered it to Bob for me instead. I am so grateful to them! I've had technical issues for months, which have made blogging very difficult and means that a few things - such as my writing and making updates to my website - have been put on hold. I can do them now. Yaay

So, from excitement to annoyance.

This picture annoys me......

......as does this one......

......and this one also.

Have you worked out what it is that's annoying me? I'll tell you - plastic! Plastic on everything these days, and it drives me mad.

I am so fed up of all the plastic on fruit and vegetables in the supermarkets. If you follow my blog regularly, you may remember that on my birthday, I made a set of 'resolutions' of things I want to achieve this coming year. One of those things was to use less plastic. It infuriates me, that with all the information we have about how plastic is damaging the planet, that the supermarkets seem to be doing sod all about it. In fact, on the contrary, they seem to be using more and more plastic.

So I've decided that from now on, I'll be shopping for my fruit and vegetables at a proper market stall, where the produce is loose and I can choose to put it in my own non-plastic bag! Tomorrow morning I'm off to Llanelli market to see what they have to offer. Again, I say - watch this space!

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Thursday 10th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Please Mr. Postman, look and see..."

I received joyful mail today!

Something which I ordered over the weekend......

......and which I am really looking forward to reading!

First of all though, I need to finish the book I'm on - "Lockdown", by Peter May, which is really good. Then I have a couple of feel-good Christmas themed books to read. So, I think it's definitely going to be next year before I get around to reading "Brave New World".

Healthwise, I'm having a bit of a rubbish week. Noise sensitivity has been a big problem this week, as well as things like mouth ulcers, a sore scalp, and itchy skin, and my ever-present headache has at times been at pounding level. The tips of some of my fingers are on the point of splitting, so I'm moisturising like mad and using gloves at work to sew. I always get this problem with my hands, especially in the colder weather. It's proper miserable! Also, yesterday evening, I had a flare up of joint pain - mainly my feet, legs, shoulders & tops of my arms, and my left hip & thigh. There was less pain this morning, but through the day it hasn't been wonderful, and tonight I am quite achy.

So, after a couple of chores which I must do, I think it will be a hot, bubbly bath, and an early night with my book! Friday tomorrow, and almost Weekend again! Night night.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Wednesday 9th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Pussycat, pussycat, I love you..."

One of my Big Loves holding one of my Little Loves! Blinkin' gowjus.

Today was another fab day off, in the company of my Lovely Man and all the fur babies.

I did actually achieve everything on my Day Off List. I found this corner shelf and brackets in my stash. They need a couple of coats of paint before they can go up, but I have that too, so hopefully I can get that done in the next couple of days.

I also found this lovely lamp for the lounge, which is exactly the same as the one I already have in there - or at least it's the same as the other one was when I bought it......

......before I prettied it up to look like this, and to be more in keeping with my own taste and style.

Over the next few days (whilst the paint is drying!) I'll be looking through the stuff I have left over from the curtains, etc., in the lounge, to see what I can use to trim the new lamp shade.

In spite of it being an overcast and drizzly day, we did manage to get to the beach late afternoon, for a walk and to give Ollie a well-deserved run around.

Since the sun was hiding behind all the clouds though, there was no setting-sun picture to be had......

......just a rainy, almost deserted beach! No less beautiful for that though, and it certainly didn't stop us enjoying the sea air, nor Ollie from jumping around on the sand as if it was doggy heaven!

In keeping with the 'eating yummy food' part of my list, I decided to try another new vegan recipe. This time from a vegan cookery book which Bob bought for me for my birthday last year.

Ratatouille pie with parsnip mash sounded really nice......although neither of us fancied the parsnip aspect. Bob suggested I do a sweet potato mash instead.

This was the first time I've ever cooked ratatouille, but I'm very impressed with the variety of yummy, healthy veggies which go into it. It felt like we were eating a rainbow! It's also fairly low in calories, which is great for the weight loss plan, and also meant that I had a few calories left over for a small amount of chocolate whilst watching T.V. What's not to love?

There was no photograph of it in the book, so of course mine looks exactly how it's meant to!

It's also the first time I have eaten ratatouille, although Bob has had it before, so I had it on good authority that it tasted right! Haha. We both thought the sweet potato mash was a little on the wet side, so next time I will make it with half regular potato, and half sweet potato to see how that goes.

There's enough left over for lunch tomorrow. I love it when dinner yields enough for lunch the following day, as it saves me time in the mornings.

All in all a very rewarding and recharging day off!

Now for more of "The Bridge" with my Lovely Man. We are both thoroughly enjoying it!

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Tuesday 8th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Thank you for the days..."

It's Day Off again tomorrow! Gosh, they do come around quickly.

Of course, I'm thankful for every day, but especially for days off, when I can recharge, and either get things done, or rest......or both! Both are planned for tomorrow, as you can see from my Day Off List. There are a few restful things I want to do, but also at least two practical things.

I need to put another lamp in the lounge. I'm not a fan of bright lighting, and usually just have one lamp on in there, together with a string of fairy lights across the top of the window valance, and candles when I light them. However, it's not bright enough to read by, or to crochet/knit, etc., on the sofa, which is on the opposite side to where the lamp is. It's also usually where Bob sits and I know that he struggles in the more mellow light if he's doing any work on his laptop.

So I've decided to get another lamp, and put it over in the sofa side of the room. I'll need to put a shelf up for it though, so tomorrow's two main jobs are to have a furcle in my DIY shelving stash and see if I have a small corner shelf, and to pop to the shops to see if I can pick up a lamp which is similar to the one I have.

For tonight though, it's more of "The Bridge" with my Lovely Man.

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Monday 7th December 2020

Picture of the day......"I feel good..."

My target for this first week of getting back into the weight loss plan was to lose two pounds. My actual loss was five pounds!

Wow! What a fabulous surprise. I kept getting on and off the scales this morning to check, in case I'd got it wrong! Haha.

Of course, I am fully aware that the first week always yields well, and that subsequent weeks won't see such a big loss, but that's ok, I'm happy with a pound or two each week - slow and steady wins the race. Going from my original heaviest weight ever in 2008, this means that I've now lost a total of 21 pounds. I do feel good!

I decided to cook something else from the Miguel Barclay vegan cookbook this evening. Sue, one of my online friends, said that she'd tried the roasted tomato tower recipe and it was easy and nice, so I thought I'd give that a go.

However, I didn't think it looked substantial enough for a main meal, so I decided to do it as an accompaniment to some cod.

Sue was right - it was easy, and very nice! We also had some brocolli and samphire. Again, my picture doesn't really do it justice.....I need a better camera! So, you'll just have to take my word for it that it was yummy, and I'll definitely do it again.

Healthwise, today has been quite good on the whole. My pain levels are quite low at the moment, and my energy levels are pretty good. I do have a mouth full of ulcers, and a sore scalp (two of the more strange Lupus symptoms), but on the whole I feel generally good.

Off now to watch some more of The Bridge with my Lovely Man. Hope you've had a good start to your week.

I'd love to hear about your Monday with some feedback!

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Sunday 6th December 2020

Picture of the day......"You've got a friend..."

I had a 'phone call late this afternoon, from my lovely friend Angela. Angela is the lady who gave me this gowjus tea light holder for my birthday. It currently sits on the windowsill in the lounge, adding to the Hygge of my home, and I light it every evening, and obviously Angela comes into my mind.

It seems that Angela's husband Roger, has dragged his lovely wife into the 21st century by buying her a PiePad, so she can go online and look at things. Ooh! It also seems that one of the first things she's decided to look at is this blog! Angela, I am honoured - thank you for reading my blog, and I hope you continue to enjoy it.

Since Angela's call I've been thinking about friendship, and how valuable it is.

I'm not the most sociable of people. I'm naturally an introvert, and although I do like to go dancing or partying, or joining in with social gatherings, I also often breathe a sigh of relief when I can get home and shut the door, and either be alone or just with someone I'm close to.

However, I do value my friendships. I have lots of friends - some closer than others - and I like to know how they're doing and if all is ok with them. My friends are in my prayers every day, that they're safe, happy and well. Some friends I see quite often, others I haven't seen for years, and others yet I've never met, because they are online friends. They are no less important or valued for that, and I enjoy that I can keep in touch with them, and many of my other friends, via social media, since I'm not the best at writing letters and making 'phone calls.

So here's to friendship - and I raise my glass of SuNW (Sunday Night Wine) in honour of all my friends, near and far.....and also those who are no longer with us.

Plus, I do so with a glass which was given to me by another lovely friend Leanne, as a leaving gift when I left White Orchid.

I was able to enjoy a glass of wine this evening because I've been frugal with my calories again today, so there were enough left over to indulge. I had the left overs of last night's Fearne Cotton lentil bolognese for my dinner this evening. It actually tasted even better than yesterday. I find that some foods are a bit like that. I think this evening's picture of it is a bit better than yesterday's too!

I'm really looking forward to getting on the scales in the morning to check if I've lost any weight. I do feel as if I've lost some, so we'll see.

Today I've attached about half of the squares along the edge of my blanket, and I've also frogged the granny square which I wasn't happy with for my craft room, and the yarn is ready to use on a corner-to-corner cushion.

Another lovely friend - Andrea - was kind enough to send me the link for the YouTube tutorial for the corner to corner pattern. Thank you Andrea. I'll start it off this evening before I go to bed, so that it's ready to take into work tomorrow for me to crochet in my breaks. I'm taking the yarn from the middle of the ball though this time, so that the yarn I've unravelled has a chance to straighten out a bit on the outside of the ball.

It's already the second sunday in Advent. I can't believe the rate at which time moves, it's a bit scary.

I've been burning my lovely Advent candle and its companions each evening. I love the calming glow which they give to my lounge, and the feeling of peace.....it's so much needed in these very uncertain and sometimes scary times.

I love the shapes and patterns which the wax melts into too as they burn. I think though, that I'm going to have to replace the shortest candle ready for tomorrow evening - there's not much left of it!

I'm off to catch up on some T.V. now.....some Coronation Street actually. I grew up with Corrie, and never missed it, but over the lat few months I haven't kept up. I'm back into it now though, and enjoying it. Then I'm going to read for a while, before heading off to bed.

In a flash, Weekend has whizzed by again! It's been a really lovely one again though, and I'm looking forward to starting the working week again. I hope whoever is reading this has had a lovely weekend, and I wish you a very happy, healthy and safe week ahead.

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Saturday 5th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Kiss from a rose"

Beautiful roses from my Lovely Man.....such a lovely surprise.

Roses are one of my favourite flowers, and I love the combination of colours. Being given flowers brings me such joy.

Thank you Bob! XXX

Today has been quite productive. My energy levels have been really good, and my pain levels quite low, so I've taken advantage of it.

I got the last piece of lino down in the kitchen today, and I'm really pleased with how it looks.

There is still a lot to do in the kitchen. Lots of painting to do - cupboards & base-boards, the 'island' table, and some shelves, which will obviously need to then be put up. I also need to do something about the work tops, which have become quite marked over the years. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet - still pondering on that one.

However, now that the floor is looking nice, it's spurred me on to get other stuff done......

......and my little furry helper Basil definitely approves!

This evening I tried a new recipe - a lentil bolognese, from Fearne Cotton's "Happy Vegan" book.

This was a quick and easy meal to put together, mainly using store cupboard ingredients.

I'm afraid my picture is a bit crap, so it doesn't look as nice as the picture in the book!

However, it was rather yummy, and we'll definitely have that one again! It was also quite low in calories, and for the first time this week, I have more than enough calories left to have an actual bar of chocolate whilst we're watching T.V. tonight. Yaay!

We're continuing with "The Bridge", which we're thoroughly enjoying. Even though the programme subject is very serious, the writers have given it a definite humorous edge (without being distasteful), which I really like.

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Friday 4th December 2020

Picture of the day......"Turn me loose"

Now that my lovely blanket is too big to take into work for a spot of crocheting in my break times, I've been looking amongst my WIPs (Works In Progress) for something else to take in.

I bought this yarn quite a while ago, with the intention of making something for my craft room with it. I started to make a crocheted 'corner-to-corner' cushion, but then couldn't remember where the pattern was online and couldn't find it. So, I frogged it ('took it loose' as they say in Llanelli, and really means undo what you've done!) and started a plain old granny square with it.

However, I don't like how the colours of the yarn are forming in the granny - there are too many clumps of the same colour. So, I'm going to frog it again, and look for the corner-to-corner pattern again online. It must be out there somewhere!

In the meantime, I've been adding the edge squares along the sides of the blanket......

......and I'm very happy so far!

I just need to make the four corner squares now. Unfortunately, I've run out of the green yarn which I was using to edge all the squares. I only have a small amount left, and not enough to edge the corner squares. Since I'm using up yarns from my stash for this blanket, I have no idea what it is, to buy some more, neither do I want to buy any more, as that would defeat the object of stash-busting!

I have found another green yarn, which is similar but not exact, so I'll use that. This is all a bit annoying, but not the end of the world, and as my Mam used to say - "Nobody's going to stop a galloping horse to look at that!" Haha, Mam had some funny sayings.

I hope whoever is reading this has had a good week, and I wish you a happy, healthy and safe weekend.

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Thursday 3rd December 2020

Picture of the day......"Hip to be square"

I have a very satisfying little pile of crocheted squares, all ready to crochet around the edge of my lovely blanket.

So this evening, there is just one thing to do......

......install myself on the sofa...add a cup of tea, some T.V., and a kitty or three...and join them on!

More pictures to follow tomorrow, but for this evening, that is all!

Oh, and tomorrow is Friday, which means that lovely Weekend is on the way! Toodlepip.

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Wednesday 2nd December 2020

Picture of the day......"1984"

What would be in your Room 101?

Bob's would have Brussels sprouts and mine would have mayonnaise! Haha.

As you can see from my first picture, finishing this book was on my list of things to do on this day off. Definitely ticked off the list!

Watching the film of the book was on the list as a maybe - that was ticked off too.

I found the book really frightening - one of the most frightening I've read I think. The film was also frightening, although not as much as the book. I was impressed though, with how loyal the film was to the book. That doesn't happen very often, and over the years I've learned to treat both as separate art forms, so as not to be disappointed with any films where I've already read the book.

Everything on my list was ticked off today, including a visit to the beach to walk Ollie, and of course to take the obligatory moody almost-setting-sun picture!

This evening I started reading this book, which I've had since the summer. Apparently, Peter May wrote this book in 2005, but it was rejected by the publishers. Then, when we did actually have a Covid 19 lockdown for real, he presented it to the publishers again, who went ahead and published it. I'm impressed already by just the prologue, so I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

Back to work tomorrow after what has been a truly lovely day off. I am feeling blessed.

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Tuesday 1st December 2020

Picture of the day......"...needles and pins..."

At work, I am currently working on some customisation samples - some strips of buttons, a cap sleeve, and a couple of Chantilly lace sleeves.

The picture shows the materials used to make a cap sleeve sample......

......and this picture shows the pieces for the cap sleeve being cut out.

This is the finished cap sleeve. When making them to order for brides, we use lace which matches the gown the bride has chosen. The sleeves are then inserted into the gown.

Here are two sample button strips. We make them from tulle strips, and the bridal outlets which sell our gowns can put a button strip against an existing gown to show a bride how the buttons would look.

We offer six different varieties of buttons, ranging from buttons covered in plain fabric or tulle, to sparkly crystal buttons. They can be used to replace a gown's existing buttons, or simply added to a gown which has no buttons at all, for decorative effect.

Here are two samples of our Chantilly lace sleeve. The sleeve is floaty and feminine, and the lace we use is so pretty. It is one of my favourite customisation pieces.

Here is our lovely mannequin Taylor modelling a Chantilly lace sleeve.

As with the cap sleeves, this lace sleeve can be inserted into the gown. Alternatively, the bride may choose for them to have poppers put onto them, so that they can be detached from the gown if she wishes.

I love working with such pretty designs, fabrics and notions, and I love the variety of customisation pieces which we offer. It means that when we do the actual customisations on real brides' gowns, they are all so unique!

Although I love my job, I am once again looking forward to my mid-week day off tomorrow. Fatigue and noise sensitivity are a problem again at the moment, so some respite from that will be nice. Bob has the day off too, so we'll be spending some quality time together. Hopefully the weather will be kind enough for us to manage a walk somewhere with Ollie.

For now though, it's some T.V. before bed. We finished watching "The Killing" towards the end of last week, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We've started watching the second series, but we're not enjoying that as much, so tonight we're going to start watching "The Bridge" - another Scandi crime series - instead.

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Monday 30th November 2020

Picture of the day......"Inch worm..."

All my adult life I have battled with my weight, alongside having a bad relationship with food.

I won't deny that I am a foodie. It's clear to see for anyone who knows me, and/or follows my blog, that this is the case. However, I have also always been an emotional eater - both celebrating and 'drowning my sorrows' with food.

Over the years I've steadily gained weight, and in December 2008 I reached the weight of just over 14-and-a-half stone. For a short woman (five feet one inch - just about!) and a bone frame which isn't actually that large, this was not good news, and I decided to do something about it.

Over the course of the next couple of years, I successfully lost 38 pounds, by simply counting calories, and taking in less calories than I was burning off. I felt really good, and felt that I was on course to meet my ideal target (which I'm not prepared to share at this point in time). However, for some reason which I can't actually remember, it came to a stop, and I went back into old habits of eating all the wrong things, and too much of them.

I then spent a few years losing and gaining weight yo-yo fashion. I'd lose a stone here and there, and then put it back on again.

I've reached the point now, where I actually do have a better relationship with food, and I'm generally eating much more healthily. I've been pescatarian (a fish-eating vegetarian) for several years, and about a year-and-a-half ago I also gave up dairy. I feel much better for having done this.

However, I am still very overweight for my height and build, and know that for my own health, and to extend my life expectancy, I do need to lose a lot of extra weight. Lupus causes dreadful pain and stiffness in my joints, and of course, carrying extra weight means that my weight-bearing joints are going to be under a lot more strain than they need to be.

So, I have my calorie-counting hat back on, and I am determined to give it my absolute best shot and lose as much weight as I can and need to, to relieve some of the strain on my joints.

Since I'm now going public with it, on my blog, I have to succeed! Haha.

Although I have re-gained quite a bit of the 38 pounds I originally lost, being a positive person I am not seeing this as a negative thing. Rather, I am going on the basis that I have lost 16 pounds from my original highest weight, and carrying on from that point. Psychologically, that gives me a head start to work with, and means that I'm more likely to succeed.

I've bought a new notebook to work with, have set out thirteen smaller targets to meet on my journey, rather than one big target at the end, and off I go! As I've said before on this blog - watch this space!

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Sunday 29th November 2020

Picture of the day......"...a keeper for every flame..."

Today is the first Sunday in Advent.

The beginning of Advent is actually December 1st, however the first Sunday in Advent sometimes happens before December 1st if there are less than four Sundays between December 1st and Christmas Day, as is the case this year.

I bought a lovely Advent candle on Friday after work, which I will burn each day leading up to Christmas. I didn't want it to be a lone candle, so I've put it with a couple of others, and to mark today, I just lit those two this evening.

I always use the Advent period to reflect on life in general and on the year which has been....and what a year this has been! For me personally it has been a mixed year - some lower points, and I haven't enjoyed the best of health, but mostly the good has outweighed the bad. However, for lots of people of course it hasn't been a good one, and with Covid 19 hanging over everybody, for many it has been a year of fear, anxiety and sadness.

I hope it won't be too long before the virus is under control and people can have more freedom without fear and anxiety.

I've had a mixed day - a good balance of keeping busy and putting my feet up! I had quite a backlog of Great British Bake Off to watch, and I've just about caught up now, with just the final to watch, which I'm hoping to do over the next few days - complete with cake!

As you can see from this picture I've been crocheting the last four edge squares for my current blanket. I'll just have the four corners to make then, and will be crocheting them in place along the border. Then it's the edging, and I'm itching to do that - I can't wait to get my hands and hook on the lovely colours.

I had a lovely long telephone conversation with my Gowjus Girl this evening. It's always so lovely to catch up with her news.

I'm off to get things ready for work tomorrow, then It'll be off to bed with a book and a kitty or two to cwtch.

I hope whoever is reading this has had a lovely weekend, and I wish you a healthy, happy and safe week ahead.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Saturday 28th November 2020

Picture of the day......"...little ball of yarn..."

Getting this picture of my lovely off-centred granny square blanket was very difficult.

It just about fits on my double bed, and I had to stand on the ottoman at the end of the bed and hold the 'phone up high - hoping that I was taking it at the right angle - to get it all in!

The task was further complicated by a Joe cat, who refused to vacate the bed and stubbornly lay there, even when I put a couple of the edge squares on him, to make up the bigger square.

Anyway, I did manage it, and the purpose of it was to see where I want to put the edge squares that I've made, and see what colours I need to make the odd four to make up the edge. I also wanted to see if off-centred grannies would be ok for the four corners. I think they will, although the order of the colours will be dictated by what I have left and how far they will stretch! Watch this space.

I needed to take a trip up to Ystradgynlais today, and I was amused by the yarn bombing which has been done there, on all the bollards on the main street.

I'm not usually a fan of yarn-bombing to be perfectly honest, but I do like these!

I like the Christmas colours which have been used in this one.

These two look as if they're having a conversation about the potted plants......

......or maybe they are having an argument, and the plant has got in between them to be a referee!

This one actually made me giggle out loud! What a cute little face.

Even though I'm not generally a fan of yarn bombing, I am a knifty knitter, and I know how long things take to make, so I do appreciate the time and effort which has gone into these.

Someone clearly wanted to cheer up the people of Ystradgynlais, and they certainly did that for this visitor today!

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Friday 27th November 2020

Picture of the day......"...bottle of wine..."

...Well, one glass anyway!

This evening I was just in the mood for some FNW (Friday Night Wine), and something yummy to eat.

This week has been fatigue-filled, especially in the evenings. However, despite feeling so tired, I've found it very hard to sleep most nights, so by the time this evening came around, I was very tired indeed. So I wanted to make something for dinner which required mimimal cooking, but maximum taste!

I decided that burgers would be just the badger, and so trotted off to Tesco after work, in search of a bottle of Black Tower and to see if there were any decent vegan burgers in the whoopsies section!

Sadly there weren't any burgers in the whoopsies section, but I didn't have to go with Plan B (paying full price for vegan burgers), because......

......amongst this rather impressive haul of whoopsies - which I knew would fit very nicely in the available spaces of my freezer - was one of my favourite vegan products - a "Plant Chef" 'fake steak'.

My plan for burgers - which was always a bit of a loose plan anyway - was therefore abandoned, in favour of the joking steak......

......which I ate with (low fat) oven chips, fried onions & mushrooms, and some mushy peas.

Very yummy it was too!

I'm planning very little else for this evening. Maybe some more FNW, and a peruse of YouTube to enjoy some lovely music. Then it'll be off to bed, and I have a feeling that I will sleep ok tonight!

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Thursday 26th November 2020

Picture of the day......"Thank you..."

I didn't actually take one single photograph today, so I decided to have a Thankful Thursday, and support it with pictures I've pinched from t'interweb!

Of course, I'm thankful every day, for all sorts of things - both big and small, good and even some of the bad - but it is nice to shout it out once in a while I think, and show appreciation for the world around us and all the stuff which makes up this strange yet wonderful life we live.

Today in particular, I am thankful for (in no particular order):

  • Whatever it is I am doing (it could be supplements, diet, having a day off mid-week - or a combination of all those things), which is helping me to feel generally better;
  • Florisene, which is definitely improving the quality of my hair;
  • My Gowjus Girl;
  • My Lovely Man;
  • Furry companions;
  • My family and friends;
  • My warm, safe, cosy home;
  • The things which make daily life easier - kitchen appliances, car, etc.;
  • My job;
  • My talents;
  • Books, music, and crafts.

The thing I am most thankful for in my life, is my faith.

My faith has been a constant throughout most of my life, and has been my refuge in times of great difficulty and darkness. Times when I wasn't sure I'd actually get through and survive - but I did. My faith kept me going.

There are lots of songs with the words 'Thank you' in, but the 'Thank you' that is in today's blog heading is from a hymn which I remember singing in Sunday School as a child, and which has been going around in my head for the last few days......so I thought I would share it here. Do you know it at all? Maybe you sung it as a child too?

Thank you for giving me the morning.
Thank you for ev'ry day that's new.
Thank you that I can know my worries can be cast on you.

Thank you for all my friends and brothers.
Thank you for all the men that live.
Thank you for even greatest enemies I can forgive.

Thank you, I have my occupation.
Thank you for ev'ry pleasure small.
Thank you for music, light and gladness.
Thank you for them all.

Thank you for many little sorrows.
Thank you for ev'ry kindly word.
Thank you for ev'rywhere your guidance reaches ev'ry land.

Thank you, I see your Word has meaning.
Thank you, I know your Spirit here.
Thank you because you love all people,
those both far and near.

Thank you, O Lord, you spoke unto us.
Thank you that for our words you care.
Thank you, O Lord, you came among us,
bread and wine to share.

Thank you, O Lord, your love is boundless.
Thank you that I am full of you.
Thank you, you made me feel so glad and thankful as I do.

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Wednesday 25th November 2020

Picture of the day......"Yummy, yummy, yummy..."

I cooked something from my new book - "Miguel Barclay's Vegan One Pound Meals" this evening.

Bob and I both love spinach, and I bought a rather big bag of it whilst doing my food shop, because I couldn't find a smaller bag! So I decided to make Mushroom, Spinach & Pine Nut Wellington, as I had some puff pastry in the fridge.

I have to confess that I don't usually make my own pastry. Ready-rolled pastry is so cheap to buy, and it's easy to get dairy-free versions, so I tend to buy that. I do make my own on rare occasions.

Anyway, the wellington was exactly as it said on the tin, in that there were (apart from the pastry) just three ingredients - mushrooms, spinach, and pine nuts!

This was such an easy dish to make. The recipe said to season with salt & pepper, which I did. However, I also added a splash of Worcester sauce and a sprinkle of 'season all' type seasoning, just for a bit of an extra kick.

Regarding shape, mine didn't quite look like the one in the book! However, it tasted yummy, and we ate it with boiled new potatoes, and some steamed brocolli and samphire. Bob hadn't tasted samphire before, and he really liked the saltiness of it, although it does lose some of that in the steaming, so next time I may just use it raw in a salad.

I also managed to lay down the next strip of lino in the kitchen. This was the hardest bit, because it runs under the cooker and fridge on one side of the kitchen, and under the fridge/freezer on the other side. Bob helped me to move things around. It's not laying perfectly matched at one point, but I think this is because the quarry tile floor underneath isn't even. So, I'm going to be doing a bit of nifty slicing to cut out a dart-shaped piece, somewhere where it won't show. Otherwise the non-matching at one end will drive me mad!

Bob came back early from work so we managed to have a short local walk with Ollie. Then some T.V. after our lovely meal, was a nice round-off to my day off!

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Tuesday 24th November 2020

Picture of the day......"...turn back time..."

Throwback Tuesday!

Since it's been such a wet and dismal day, I thought I would dig out (no pun intended!) a picture from back in the spring, when my Lovely Man Bob had cut back my garden so that I could start again with it.

If you want to read my garden story, please visit my garden page on my website.

Today I continued working on the sparkly customisation.

In this picture, you can see how the sparkly layer shows through the top tulle and lace layer of the gown. It's looking really nice.

For dinner tonight I made a vegan sausage, spinach, tomato and pasta dish. It was a free recipe on the box containing some Richmond vegan sausages, and it was really yummy! I'll definitely pop that one into my file of recipes and make it again sometime.

It's my day off tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to getting some things done in the house, and to having a bit of a chill too. I'm also hoping to try out a recipe from one of my new vegan cookery books for dinner tomorrow evening. For now though, some T.V. and then bed! Night night.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Monday 23rd November 2020

Picture of the day......"Pumpkin soup"

I popped to The Works after work today, for two reasons.....

1. In search of vegan cookery books which have decent curry recipes, and maybe some japanese recipes .

2. To browse.

This seems like a lovely book. I have to admit, that I've not heard of this chef before.

However, any book which promotes home cooking on a budget gets my vote, and there are lots of lovely looking recipes in it, including a 'lettuce burrito buddha bowl', which is a sort of variation on those lovely lettuce wraps you get from a Chinese takeaway!

Then I spotted Fearne Cotton's vegan cookbook, and looking through it, there seems to be a very good variety of vegan food, including snacks, lunches, main meals, party and special occasion foods, and cakes & desserts.

Fearne also includes some handy hints and tricks for vegan cooking. What's not to love?

I'm looking forward to trying recipes from both of these lovely books.

Whilst I was there, I spotted this book, which has been on my reading list for a while.

Rachael Bland was a BBC radio journalist. Rachael was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 and in 2018 sadly lost her battle. Rachael launched the hugely popular "You, Me and the Big C" podcast. Within the last few months of her life, Rachael wrote this book "For Freddie", which was intended as a personal memoir for her son Freddie, who was aged just three years when his mum passed away.

Although I know that it's not going to be the easiest read, I am very much looking forward to reading Rachael's book. I never met Rachael, but I am friends with her mum Gayna, who I know is incredibly proud of her daughter.

Today at work I've been continuing with the customisation where I'm adding a layer of sparkly fabric to the skirt. My goodness, there is glitter everywhere! Haha.

This picture shows the new sparkly skirt being stitched together, ready to put into the gown.

In this picture I am pinning the new sparkly skirt into place at the waist......

......before stitching it in with Martha, my trusty sewing machine.

I am thoroughly enjoying this job, even if I am covered from head to toe in glitter, and leaving a sparkly trail wherever I go!

I hope that Monday has seen you off to a good start to the week! Is it as sparkly as mine, I wonder?

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Sunday 22nd November 2020

Picture of the day......"On a wave"

I went in search of a knitting WIP (Work In Progress) today, and found these cushion covers I started making for my bedroom quite a while ago!

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the knitting part is actually complete, and now all that needs is for them to be stitched up and put onto cushion pads.

I got the pattern for them from one of a set of books which I have, called "Stitch by Stitch". They are quite old books - I think from either the 1970s or 1980s and were produced by a company called Marshall Cavendish.

They cover all sorts of needlecrafts - sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, etc., and over the years I've found them to be a good source of inspiration.

Some of the fashions in them are very dated, but good ideas and inspiration never go out of fashion.

As you can see from this picture, I adapted the pattern itself from one which has been used in the book for a skirt and scarf set. The 'fan and feather' design lends itself beautifully to things such as cushions, and I've used all the colours which will eventually be part of the walls and furnishings when I redecorate my bedroom.

I shall finish them off and then look through my WIPs for another knitting project to continue or complete.

This evening's meal was a fish pie, made up from fish from the freezer and left over leeks and potatoes.

I topped it off with some 'Follow Your Heart' vegan cheese - the best vegan cheese I've found so far, in terms of texture and melting abilities......

......and some tasty pine nuts.

We ate it with spinach and baby carrots, and it was yummy, with left overs for lunch tomorrow.

I hope that whoever is reading this has had a lovely weekend, and I wish you a happy, healthy and safe week ahead.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Saturday 21st November 2020

Picture of the day......"...I'll bring you flowers in the pouring rain..."

This evening my Lovely Man brought me lovely flowers!

I adore flowers, and one of my favourite things in the world is to be given flowers - it brings me such joy. They are so pretty, and I've split them into two vases - one for the lounge and one for the bedroom. Happy me!

Flowers were also a lovely boost, on a day when PMT has been at work!

PMT was behaving like a norty computer programme today. It instructed all the hormones to tell my body to crave rubbish food, sleep all day, think negative thoughts, and generally try to cause glitches in my operating system.

I therefore enabled the more user-friendly programme of PMA.

PMA ensured that I was kind to my operating system, by making a lovely cup of tea, and sitting down to drink it, with one JD (not an entire packet as PMT has suggested), together with my crochet and some bake-off backlog to catch up on.

This most definitely restored my operating system back to normal and I was able to get through the rest of the day productively. Yaaay for PMA!

Most of the day was taken up with general tidying and cleaning. I was going to do a big shop, but I didn't really want to use precious Weekend time for that, so I've been going through the freezer, etc., to see what meals can be made up, and if I/we can survive until Monday, when I'll do the shopping after work.

I do always have a pretty well-stocked freezer, because I buy 'whoopsies' (reduced produce) as and when I see them, and pop them in the freezer for future use. It's fresh stuff which becomes a bit more sparse as the week goes on, because I try not to buy too much, to avoid waste. However, I do have potatoes left, so this evening's meal was fish fingers/cod bites from the freezer, with home-made oven-cooked potato wedges.

Tomorrow it will be fish pie (fish again from the freezer), with a potato topping, and I have some leeks to accompany it. There should be enough left overs for lunch on Monday too.

Of course, after work on a Monday isn't ideal for shopping either, because I'm usually pretty tired. However, I will find the energy to do it, and that's that!

I'll be going through both fridges tomorrow, emptying and cleaning them out. I do this every couple of weeks anyway, but tomorrow I need to move them - and the freezer and cooker - to lay the next piece of lino, so the emptier things are, the better.

That piece of lino is going to be the hardest to lay, in terms of effort to move stuff, etc., so it will be nice to get it out of the way.

I'll then lay the final strip, which will be quite narrow and much less work, one evening - energy willing. If not, then on my day off on Wednesday. It will be so nice to have the whole floor covered with something which feels nice underfoot and is easy to keep clean. I can crack on then with painting the cupboards, etc.

The prospect of finally having a cosy, pretty kitchen is actually looking a bit more realistic!

For the rest of this evening though, it's me-and-my-Lovely-Man-time! I hope whoever is reading this is having a fab weekend!

Ooh, also - this is my 100th day of blogging! I have to say that I really enjoy doing it.....it's such good practise for the creative writing, and a great record of what's been going on in life, both personally and in the world in general.

So, on this 100th day, I'd really love to see your feedback! Are you a new reader? Have you been reading regularly? Are you enjoying it? I hope so! Please let me know.

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Friday 20th November 2020

Picture of the day......"Sparkle..."

I love working with pretty fabrics and beautiful wedding gowns.

Today I've been working on one of my favourite gowns, which is made up of tulle, lace and sparkles. It has a fitted, embellished bodice, and a full, layered skirt. It is very feminine and frothy, without being over the top.

I am customising the gown, by adding a layer of sparkly fabric, underneath the top layer of the skirt.

Because of the glitter, the fabric immediately made me think of fairies!

As well as the sparkle, you can see that there are little specks of white dotted around the fabric, which gives a snowy, Christmassy feel.

Although the fabric is quite busy, because it will be underneath the top layer of tulle, that will be toned down, and it will give the effect of twinkling stars as the bride moves in her beautiful gown.

So the panels are all cut out, and ready to be stitched together and added to the gown on Monday. I'm really looking forward to going in and working on it next week.

I love customising gowns - to take an already beautiful gown, and make it even more beautiful, by adding a personal touch from our vast range of options. It think it must be quite exciting for a bride to be able to do that.

I'm looking forward to seeing it finished. I've customised a couple of gowns before with a sparkly layer, and they do look fab when they're done. I won't be able to show the whole thing here though, until some time next year, when the wedding date has well passed. I don't want to be spoiling anybody's surprise!

It's lovely to see Weekend. I'm planning some creativity - a bit of sewing, crochet, cross-stitch and knitting. Also I'd quite like to lay down some more of the lino, and of course I'll be doing lots of washing in my lovely machine!

What are you up to this weekend? Do you have plans, or are you going to go with the flow? Whatever it is you're doing, I wish you a happy, healthy, and safe weekend.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Thursday 19th November 2020

Picture of the day......"...and the poets dreamed..."

I used to write poetry quite a lot when I was younger.

It was fairly decent poetry, but run-of-the-mill in terms of rhyming patterns. I seemed to be stuck in the habit of feeling that my poems always had to have that traditional rhyming meter, in order to be 'right'.

I love reading poetry, and always admire poets who can put together a bunch of sentences, without necessarily having a rhyme to them, but always having a meter and a pattern, so that when read they sound like poetry. Really good poetry.

Since getting Margaret Atwood's new poetry book for my birthday from my Lovely Man, I've been pondering a lot on this type of poetry, and whether I would, if I took myself out of my comfort zone, actually be any good at it.

I've come to the conclusion that if I don't try, I'll never know! So for the last few days, I've been just jotting down random thoughts here and there - mainly on a theme - and we'll see what I can do with those random thoughts, in the way of putting them together in the form of poetry.

At the moment, those random thoughts are really just a list. I read my list to a colleague and friend today, and she made a comment which actually inspired me the same way that Margaret Atwood's book seems to be inspiring me. She said that I had read it out in a poetic way. Perhaps I'll try more of that with other lists!

It's good to be inspired, don't you think?

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Wednesday 18th November 2020

Picture of the day......"On the floor..."

I've started putting some lino down in the kitchen.

I needed to get something in place in the area where the washing machine is going. At the moment, there are quarry tiles down.

I do really like quarry tiles, and normally these would be fab - just my style - and I would have put some effort into polishing them up, re-grouting, etc. However, they have been laid badly. They're very uneven, and there are small parts of the kitchen where, for some reason, they've been skimmed on top with a layer of cement!

You can see them to the right of this picture. They are definitely not a good look!

The roll of lino was gifted to me during the summer, by a very nice lady on Freegle. It's a huge roll, and it's lovely lino - really good quality. I have to say, that it's not what I would have chosen in the way of pattern, but I really do like it. I laid some of it in the cwtch earlier in the year, and it looks fab out there, and when I upcycle the Welsh dresser, I'll be painting some of it in a sage green, which is one of the colours in the lino.

I was hesitant to use it in the kitchen, because I thought it wouldn't go at all with the decor I have in mind for there. I'm using a bright, happy yellow for all the cupboards, and I've made curtains from some lovely yellow/blue floral fabric.

However, since I have the lino, there is so much of it, and it's such lovely quality, it seemed a shame not to use it. I put one of the yellow painted shelves, together with a piece of the curtain fabric next to the lino, and it's actually ok. It definitely doesn't clash. It's not ideal, but I think with some clever use of the sage green paint, which will pick up the colour of the leaf in the fabric, it will all work ok.

In the photograph the colours look stronger - they are more pastel-coloured in reality.

Basil approves of it anyway! All three cats (and Ollie) were having a proper good nose at the proceedings whilst I was laying it, but only Basil was willing to pose for a picture!

I need to put three strips of the lino across the kitchen all together, but didn't have the time or the energy today to do the whole lot, plus I didn't want to overdo it and make my hips and joints shout at me!

So, I got the first strip down, which was the one I needed for the washing machine space......

......and when Bob got back from work this evening, we connected it up and put it into place. Bob did some wizardry with the electrics for me, so that I don't have to use an extension lead every time I do a wash.

It's so nice to have a washing machine again after best part of a year without one. Thank you so much to Paula for giving it to me, and to Bob for helping me put it in place.

The only thing now is that Bob, Ollie, and the kitties had better not stand still, in case I pop them in on a quick wash!

Since I was deep-cleaning the area where the washing machine was going, and the floor, etc., I decided to break out the 'warm cinnamon' Zoflora.

I love Zoflora, and use it for all my cleaning. My favourites include the 'springtime', 'pink grapefruit' and this one for the winter months. I love the smell of cinnamon. Zoflora is vegan too - bonus!

Bob was working up in Brecon today, so I was Ollie-sitting! A fab chance to pop down to the beach this afternoon, after the rain had stopped......

......and catch some more moody almost-sunset pictures.

Ollie and me both absolutely love the beach!

Ollie and me,
running by the sea,
The wind in our hair,
And a bark here and there!

We found a lovely stick to chase!

"For goodness' sake Mum - stop messing about and throw the stick!"

"Ha! My stick now!"

I am thankful for a productive day, with plenty of fun and chill time thrown in.

Back to work tomorrow, feeling refreshed!

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Tuesday 17th November 2020

Picture of the day......"The book I read..."

I went to Tesco after work to do a bit of food shopping, and whilst there I heard a funny noise coming from the book section.

It turned out to be a plea from a book! It was calling me, and saying "My friends and I know that you had money for your birthday and we think you should buy some of us lovely books with it."

Well, what's a girl to do when confronted with a suggestion like that? Of course I had to buy some books. I couldn't leave them there on the shelves looking all rejected and forlorn. What kind of book-loving person would that make me?

This is the new book from Bridget Collins. I recently read "The Binding" by her, and absolutely loved it, so I'm looking forward to reading this one, although it's probably going to be early next year before I do.

This book is one of the books on the reading list from the reading group I belong to.

We haven't met for months, due to Covid restrictions, but we keep in touch on Facebook, and we're each reading and sharing what we read.

Again, it will probably be early next year before I read this one - I just decided to get it when I saw it, as I've looked for it before and it hasn't been there.

These two books will form part of my Christmas reading, although there are also one or two others which I have my eye on to read for Christmas, but I'll probably have to get them from Amazon.

All in all, a very good book haul!

I'm currently reading George Orwell's "1984", and really enjoying, although it's a scary book! Also of course, I'm dipping in and out of Margaret Atwood's lovely poetry book "Dearly".

My working day is usually busy and noisy....there's a lot going on - lots of different activities at the same time, such as conversations, machinery, steam irons, the radio, packing boxes, etc.

So I do enjoy getting home, putting on the kettle, and enjoying a cuppa in peace and solitude.

Of course at this time of the year, when it's already dark outside, it's lovely to practise some Hygge (pronounced 'hooga') - light some candles and fairy lights, and cwtch up on the sofa with cushions and a soft, warm throw and of course a kitty or three.

This afternoon I had a funny conversation with my colleague Julie about Hygge. Julie mentioned that she doesn't like the dark evenings, and I said that I do, because I was going home to practise Hygge. She gave me a sort of odd, puzzled look. I then explained about Hygge and the concept, and she said "Oh, I misheard you, and thought you said you were going home to practise being a cougar!"

Haha! It proper made us giggle. No, I'm definitely not a cougar!

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Monday 16th November 2020

Picture of the day......"Happy New Year..."

It's ok, you're not caught in a time warp. It's not January 1st.

I've never really liked the concept of 'New Year resolutions', and used to make them, because it was kind of the done thing to do.

Then I stopped doing that, because....well, why on earth should I do something because everybody else does? I'm not a fan of the pressure that such things put on people - the pressure that we put on ourselves in making such resolutions. It's very negative.

A couple of years ago, I came to the conclusion, that one's own birthday has much more significance than the simple changing of the calendar from one year to the next. The day we are born is very special - our respective mothers gave us life, as did God (through my Christian beliefs).

I then took this thought a step further and decided that my birthday each year - marking a milestone in that I have lived another year on this planet - is far more worthy of setting aside some 'resolutions' (for want of a better word).

And so it came to pass that for the last two years - on my birthday - I have set out a few personal goals for the next year to come. They are set in such a way that they're not actually 'set'. If I achieve them, then that's fab, but if I don't then so what?

I do them in terms of 'less of' and 'more of'.....the 'less' being less of the negative things, and the 'more' more of the positive things.

To save you squinting at the picture, this is what it says:

For my 56th year...

Less.........

waste; plastic; regret; fish; being hard on myself; negativity; procrastinating; eggs!

More.........

love; patience; positivity; inspiration; motivation; organisation; creativity; productivity; kindness; plant-based food; prayer; ponderment; self-care; making peace with my past; cwtches; beach; books; loving my home; gardening; giving.

In a nutshell of course.....it's less of the things that cause unhappiness (both to myself and others), and more of the things which bring joy. It's that simple.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Sunday 15th November 2020

Picture of the day......"Give a little bit..."

Today seems to have been all about the giving.

A friend of Bob's (and also now a friend of mine) put a post on her Facebook page yesterday about "Pantri y Pentre". This is an initiative by Abercraf Happy Helpers.

The idea is to provide a place where anybody who needs food (and other items), for whatever reason, can have access to it/them. A little wooden shed has been purpose-built and is situated in the village of Abercraf in the school carpark area. Anybody is welcome to take what they need from it, without any charge, questions, or judgement.

It is literally for the community to help the community, and I think it is such a wonderful idea.

Of course, people are also welcome to donate to this too, and I was totally on board with helping out with whatever I could. Yesterday afternoon I popped to Morrisons and picked up some things which I thought may be useful for the Pantri. I also had some things in the house which fitted the bill too, so I popped everything in a bag.

Bob was working up at Craig-y-Nos today, and we'd arranged for me to go up there and spend some time with him, and also to collect a washing machine from one of his friends. More about that later.

Abercraf is en route to the park, so I decided to call off to Pantri Y Pentre, and have a look at it for myself, and pop my donations in.

I was so impressed with it. It's been built so beautifully, and everything inside was laid out so neatly, in sections of food/product types. A lot of thought and care has gone into this.

It felt really good to add to it, and I left there with such mixed emotions.

I feel really sad that in 2020, when much of the world is so affluent, that there is a need for this. However, I felt warmed and cheered that there are people who care enough to do it.

I'm hoping to donate to it regularly, and it is in my prayers that it works out well and that the people who need it are able to access and use it, and that the people who have set it up and have donated are able to continue to do so.

On to the park. It was so nice to be there again. Because of lockdowns, I haven't been up there for at least a couple of months.

The last time I was there, Autumn was just beginning - putting on her beautiful coloured gowns for the first time this year.

Now she is transforming in readiness for the season change again - shedding her colourful leaves upon the ground and taking on the starker contrast, ready for the winter.

There is still plenty of beauty to be seen though, and in particular this lone rose, defiantly standing proud amongst the bare twigs of its former companions.

Whilst at Bob's studio, I managed to get some crochet done. I'm still working on the edge filler squares for my lovely blanket. I'm more than halfway through this lot now, and should be able to add them to the edge of the blanket within the next week.

Bob also surprised me with another birthday gift. This book of poetry by Margaret Atwood (a current favourite author) was only published last week. Bob ordered it for my birthday, and was told it would take two to four weeks to arrive.

However, it arrived today! It is totally lovely, and I had a very lovely half hour or so, reading some of it, with a cuppa and the sound of the wind outside. Bliss.

Two more of Bob's friends - Becky and Liz - called at the park to take their dogs and Ollie out for a walk. Liz and Becky are vegans, and Becky is a keen baker. She gave us some 'happy birthday' chocolate cake (vegan) to enjoy. We had it this evening after our meal, and enjoy it we did! It's probably the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted. Yummy.

As I mentioned earlier, this afternoon we went in Bob's van to collect a washing machine from another of his friends. Bob has some very lovely friends! Paula is replacing her machine with a washer/dryer and asked if I would like it, as she knows I don't currently have one. Of course, I said 'yes please'. It's quite old, but in fab condition and works well. I'll pop a picture on when we've plumbed it into my house.

I really appreciate the fact that Paula went to the effort of offering it, and then organising for us to go and collect it. She could have just left it out for the scrap metal collectors, or taken it to the tip. So, I got her a little gift as a thank you. It will be nice not to be washing everything by hand any more.

So as you can see, today has been very much a day of giving and receiving. Another lovely day and a fab end to Weekend. I hope whoever is reading this has had a lovely weekend and I wish you a healthy, happy, blessed week ahead.

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Saturday 14th November 2020

Picture of the day......"Happy Birthday..."

Well, today has been a lovely birthday so far......

......with cards from some of my favourite people......

......and this gift from my lovely friend Angela, who called around to see me.

It was very strange not being able to give her a cwtch, and going outside the house to chat to her and hubby...although we did have a lovely conversation about toast! As you do.

Of course, I've spent lots of time with my Lovely Man, who gave me (amongst other things) this beautiful orchid.

He had to work this afternoon, but he and Ollie were here first thing, and came back later so that as well as each other's company, we could enjoy......

......a yummy Chinese takeaway, starting with crispy seaweed, prawn toast, and vegetable spring rolls......

......and progressing to a main course of vegetable chow mein for me......

......sweet and sour pork for Bob, accompanied by......

......chips, rice, and prawn crackers!

Wow, lots of lovely food...and plenty for leftovers. We were pretty stuffed. In fact, too stuffed for......

......my favourite vegan chocolate cake (another gift from Bob).

However, I didn't want to miss out on making a birthday wish, so I went in search of candles.

I have lots of candles and holders in this house, but do you think I could find them? Oh no! So, I 'borrowed' one of the rainbow candles I've kept from Lydia's 7th birthday (rainbow) party - 21 years ago! Haha. It did the job anyway. Bob sang Happy Birthday to me (blinkin' lovely) and I made a wish! Of course I can't tell you what it was, or it won't come true - and I am so determined that it WILL come true.

Ooh! I forgot to say that of course there were birthday drinks. My favourite wine for me, and Shloer for Bob.

It has been such a lovely day. Thank you to my Lovely Man for making it so special.

I also had a fab long 'phone call with my Gowjus Girl, and texts from all my siblings. What more could a birthday girl ask for?

I'd love to see your feedback!

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Friday 13th November 2020

Picture of the day......"Listen to the music..."

We fancied listening to a bit of Moody Blues, so this album was my music to cook to this evening.

I bought these a little while ago, and decided to try them out this evening.

I fried a chopped-up onion and a few mushrooms, added them to a pan with a large can of chopped onions, and simmered that whilst I fried the vegan meatballs. I then added them to the simmering mixture, together with a Colman's beef casserole mix (also vegan, as are lots of the Colman's mixes), with a bit of water, and just let the whole thing simmer for about thirty minutes.

In the meantime, I decided to try out my latest kitchen purchase!

Two of my saucepans needed replacing, so a few days ago I went to get them, and spotted this layered steamer, so bought it instead. I'm all for saving a bit of energy whilst cooking, and we like our veggies crunchy, so this seemed like a good bet.

Potatoes, green beans, asparagus and baby corn all accompanied our yummy meatballs, and the whole thing was delicious. Plenty left for lunch tomorrow too.

Bob and I received some sad news on Thursday evening. Bob's brother Richard has passed away. Richard was diagnosed with liver cancer around two-three weeks ago, and was told that it was too far advanced to be able to operate or receive treatment, and he was given just weeks/months to live.

It's been a horrible time. Bob wasn't able to go and visit Richard, because of covid restrictions, although he did manage to talk to his brother a few times on the 'phone. As far as we know, Richard passed away in his sleep. Hopefully his pain and discomfort were kept to a minimum.

Richard was a lovely man - just like his brother - and I'm so glad I got to meet him, and to spend time with him and Bob a couple of times when he visited. RIP Richard.

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Thursday 12th November 2020

Picture of the day......"Lamplight..."

This evening it's all about the home comforts!

I just wanted to get home from work, shut the door, make my home nice and cosy, and cwtch up.

I forgot to take something out of the freezer this morning for my meal this evening, and whilst pondering what I would make, I decided that I really fancied a proper, oven-baked jacket potato.

When I checked my spud stash though, I didn't have any big enough, so I opted for some home-made chunky wedges instead. I ate them with a couple of slices of yummy seeded bread, spread with Flora vegan butter.

Clearly not the healthiest of meals, but absolutely what I needed!

Whilst they were cooking, I went around turning on lamps and fairy lights, and generally preparing for a cosy 'hygge' evening...

...which will include some crafts and tea & chapters...

...definitely putting my feet up...

...and being joined by a cwtchy kitty...

...or two...

...or even three!

And at some point a chat on the 'phone with my Lovely Man...

...and most certainly an early night in my cwtchy bed.

I wish whoever is reading this a happy, cosy evening....and if you're not able to be cosy, then at least stay safe!

Night night.

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Wednesday 11th November 2020

I've had some serious technology issues over the last few days. On Sunday my old and slow PC finally gave up the ghost. I'm working on an old (and slower) laptop and I am grateful for it, but it's like pulling teeth! A new PC is on the horizon, but it's not going to be for at least a few weeks.

In the meantime, there is lots of counting to ten going on! Haha.

Anyway, here is a round up of the last few days, starting with today.

Picture of the day......"Good times..."

It's almost my birthday, and Bob took me for a pre-birthday lunch today.

We went to a lovely little place in Carmarthen, called "The Warren" - oldy-worldy, with a hint of modern.

I loved the little touches on the table, like the cute bottle which they brought filled with drinking water...

...and the wild flowers in a little jar.

It was so nice to be out together, after so much lockdown.

We did take a couple of selfies, but the lighting was a bit rubbish for people photograph taking, so they're not for this blog I'm afraid.

I did take quite a few pictures of the lovely decor though.

The atmosphere was also good, and the staff were really lovely too - especially one young lady, who was very chatty and told us all about her little dog who is a "Frug" (a cross between a Frenchy and a Pug). She even treated us to a video of her!

Other than the fact that social distancing and mask-wearing was taking place, you wouldn't know there's a pandemic on. It was relaxed and friendly, and we felt safe.

Such a nice experience.

They seem to be very keen on spider plants, and had lots of them dotted around the place.

Spider plants are among my favourites of plants, and so I was very happy to photograph them.

They also used quite a lot of fairy lights, alongside the subdued lighting.

They clearly share my view that fairy lights are for life, not just for Christmas!

The food was lovely and they had a few vegan and vegetarian options for me to choose from.

Bob had beef bourguignon and I had chick pea curry (there was a main veggie in the title too, but I can't remember what). It was served with rice and seasonal veg, and it was delicious.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the main course, just the desserts!

Bob had pear frangipan, and I had vegan brownies with soya cream. Yummy!

I love views of rooftops - all sorts of rooftops! When I went to use the loo, there was a lovely view of local rooftops from the window, and a Zion Chapel in the distance...

...so I popped back to the table to grab my camera, so I could take a snap!

On the way back to the car, we had a browse around Carmarthen, including the obligatory charity shops tour - one of our favourite things to do!

I found this lovely vintage suitcase, so snapped it up. I need another two or three to go with it, for a project I have in mind.

When Bob turned up this morning, he brought with him some lovely wall units, which a friend of his had put onto one of the free sites.

They are perfect for my craft room.

I'm planning to upcycle them to make them a little less modern...

...and marry them up with another couple of pieces of furniture I have in the craft room, to create a new piece which hopefully will be really nice, as well as holding lots of my craft stuff and books. Watch this space.

Bob also brought part of my birthday present with him this morning.

This gowjus Victorian towel rail which I had my eye on, on Fb Marketplace. I love it, and have wanted one of these for a long time. Although of course - me being me, I won't be using it as a towel rail! Well, not for now anyway.

The last couple of days have been rather uneventful. My usual headache has been at pounding level, so after getting home from work yesterday and Monday, I slept quite a lot to try and sleep it off.

I have, however finished this book.....and what a book!

If this and it's predecessor (The Handmaid's Tale) are anything to go by, I think I'd like to read a lot more of Margaret Atwood's books!

I've also started reading this one, which has been on my reading list for quite some time.

Bob has the film lined up for us to watch, but I really want to read the book first.

I've been doing some more work on my cross stitch rose cushion panel.

It's coming along nicely. I had to stop, as I was missing one of the thread colours, but I've got it now, so hopefully I can get this finished over the next week or so.

We had a lovely, chilled day on Sunday...

...starting with breakfast in bed.

Then in the afternoon we took Ollie to the beach. Ollie's favourite place!

I was very happy to get some gowjus, moody sky pictures again!

Plus of course the sun on her way down to her bed.

Blinkin' lovely.....before going back home for some food and then a relaxed evening before Weekend finished and it was time to hop on the hamster wheel again!

So that just about sums up the last few days. I don't know if I'm going to be able to blog every day for a while, but I will keep taking the pictures and blogging as and when I can, until I can sort out a new PC.

I hope whoever is reading this, is having a happy, healthy, and not-too-busy/stressful week!

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Saturday 7th November 2020

Picture of the day......"Like a bridge over troubled water..."

I obviously didn't take this picture....but I think it's the most significant picture to come off the internet today. The new President of the USA, Joe Biden, and his Vice-president Kamala Harris - the first woman in history to be Vice-president.

The end of the Trump reign! What a day, for both America and the world! I have no more to add to this, neither by way of pictures, nor of words. This is enough.

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Friday 6th November 2020

Picture of the day......"The green, green grass of home..."

Know what this is? New grass, that's what! In my garden...which I planted! Excited is an understatement!

This is the stuff I planted last week and the week before. I haven't been out in the garden since last weekend, mainly because it's been raining so much. It's so nice when you do something, then turn your back for a week or so, and then see a result. Blinkin' fab!

Today was our monthly (first Friday of the month) Early Friday Finish in work, so I was home by around three.

The weather was lovely, and my energy levels are up, so I popped out into the garden for half an hour. I wanted to dig over, rake, and plant grass seed in the next little area, as well as plant a few daffodil bulbs at the base of the trees in that area.

It was a bit of a struggle, as well as frustrating, because although I had the energy, I didn't have the strength needed to dig. Also, there are lots and lots of tree roots in that area, which made it harder.

However, I didn't get hung up over it. I just did my best, and dug as much as I could, then popped down some seeds and raked over. I also planted a few spring bulbs along the next part of the path edge.

When it came to the daffodil bulbs, I dug down as far as I could (which wasn't very far) to put the bulbs in, then put some new compost over the top, to provide the depth needed. I don't know if this will work, but hey ho, it's worth a try.

I'm definitely not disappointed with my forty minutes' work, just a little frustrated at my own shortcomings. I'll try to get out over the weekend (weather, energy and strength permitting) and do the next patch and beyond.

After the garden, Bob and I took Ollie for a walk locally, then home for a cuppa. One of my favourite smells is opening a new pack of tea! Simple pleasures.

My scan appointment this morning was mixed. I did have two - one for my hip, and one for my head. The hip one was absolutely fine. The head one was a different story. It felt so claustrophobic, and I hope I never have to do that again. Having said that, it was much needed, and may or may not give some answers, but I'm glad I had it done. Just the waiting game now for any results.

With that out of the way, I'm looking forward to a lovely weekend......sixty hours to do all sorts of lovely things, especially spending time with my Lovely Man, Ollie Dog and three cwtchy kitties! Bliss!

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy, healthy weekend.

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Thursday 5th November 2020

Picture of the day......"Just hanging around"

My lounge curtains are finally back up!

I'm really pleased with how they've turned out.

We just have to be vigilant with Nala cat now, to make sure she doesn't claw them again!

The flowers across the top of the valance are fairy lights. I love fairy lights and have them in lots of places in the house, and want to have even more!

I have some lined up for the bathroom, the spare room (currently my own bedroom, but that's going to change), the cwtch (for around the Welsh dresser), and the craft room - some pretty coloured ones (a bit like large version Christmas tree lights) and some twinkly ones for around the mirror in the fairy corner!

Fairy lights are for life, not just for Christmas!

This picture shows the little flower print on the main curtains, the lace overlay, and the lace and braid edging I've put on to the organza.

Having it separated in the middle and pulled back to the sides means that we get the privacy of curtains, but we're still able to see the garden. Best of both worlds.

I have an appointment for an MRI scan tomorrow morning on my brain (I think they're going to see if there's one in there!) and hopefully my hip too. I think it's for both things. I can't say I'm really looking forward to it, but I'm glad it's being done.

Today has been fairly good. I've had more energy than usual, which is always a good thing.

I think everyone in the neighbourhood (except for us) is letting off fireworks this evening. Lots of bangs and whizzes going on. Watching them through the window they look so pretty, but they are terribly noisy. Fortunately, neither Ollie nor the kitties seem to be too bothered by them. I feel so much for the animals who are frightened by them - it must be dreadful - and I wouldn't be sorry if they stopped being made and sold.

Time for a cuppa now, and some T.V. before hopefully a good night's sleep.

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Wednesday 4th November 2020

Picture of the day......"Hound dog!"

Ollie loves the beach!

What better thing to do with a day off, than visit the beach with my Lovely Man and his lovely dog?

Aside from having such fab quality time together, it's so special to see Ollie run around and enjoy the beach....especially when the tide is out, and he can jump and roll around in all the little pools of water left behind and sniff all the obviously yummy smells in the marsh and on the sand. He is totally in his element, and it is delightful to witness.

I love the ripples in the sand.....pretty patterns.

It wasn't dark when I took this, I just took it facing the sun, so it looks that way, but I did it deliberately, because I like the moody effect of the reflections on the ripply sand.

Today was such a lovely day - crisp, and sunny. Quite mild and warm. Look at the lovely blue sky against the fluffy clouds. Gorgeous!

Another moody sun picture. It was quite late afternoon - between three and four - when we went, so not ever so far from sunset, and the sun was quite low in the sky, but still so bright.

I love the colours when the sun is getting ready to set. So beautiful.

And just to redress the dog/cat balance......

......here is a picture of Basil Bumface, who decided that the cushion was a lovely thing to cwtch today. Dear old Basil.

Why do I always end every day feeling like I've done sod all? Even though I know I've done stuff, I never feel like I've done enough. I wish I wasn't so hard on myself. Must work on that!

I spent some of the morning on the 'phone sorting out some personal admin stuff. I hate making and receiving telephone calls, especially official ones. I have to psyche myself up to them, and always feel exhausted afterwards.

This afternoon was more of the same - another 'phone call. It needed doing though, and I feel better for having done it.

In between all that, and as well as our walk on the beach, I did some washing, and cleaned the lounge window before putting up the new curtains! Yaay, they're up! I'll photograph them in the morning though, so that the view beyond is the garden, and not a night-time reflection of my untidy craft room! Haha. I'm very pleased with how they look.

You know when you plan a lasagne for dinner? So you make the filling with yummy veggies - courgettes, onions, mushrooms, peppers.....then you go to get the box of lasagne out of the cupboard...and discover that it's actually a box of canneloni tubes? Yeah, that was me today. So the lasagne became a bolognese! Albeit a rather chunky one. It was yummy anyway, and at least I hadn't got as far as making the white sauce before I discovered my error. Must put lasagne sheets on the shopping list!

Also, how lovely this evening to log into my guest book and find a new message from Kate! Thank you Kate, I'm glad you're enjoying, and I have replied to your guest book message. I love seeing new messages in there and getting feedback.

Toodlepip!

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Tuesday 3rd November 2020

Picture of the day......"Sweet like chocolate..."

I spotted these little beauties in Tesco this evening.

Since giving up dairy, one of the things I miss is chocolate fingers, and it seems Cadbury have brought out these.

They're not milk chocolate obviously, but I think they're going to be a pretty good sustitute for the absent chocolate fingers!

I also spotted this Bosh cake, reduced to a third of its usual price. Tonight is GBBO night, and I am definitely TTTB (too tired to bake). Last time I was TTTB I bought one of these at full price, and I have to say that I wasn't over-impressed with it. However, Bob liked it, and since it was reduced by so much, I decided that it would definitely do, for a TTTB Bake Off evening!

On to Aldi, and these delightful little lovelies caught my eye. I love brioche, but of course, it usually contains butter and milk.

It'll be burgers on the menu later in the week, and I really hope these rolls don't disappoint!

I've seen "Meatless Farm" products advertised, but haven't tried any so far. This was quite a good price in Home Bargains, so I thought I would give it a go. It's frozen, so will keep until I next make a bolognese.

I do find it a bit weird that it does look just like meat mince, but hey ho.

Whilst shopping, I couldn't leave my garden out.....that would be so rude!

These cyclamen were a good price, so in the basket they went! Not sure where I'll put them yet, but for now they can go on what counts as a patio, with all the other plants I haven't quite decided where to put yet!

I bought myself some pretty flowers. A small gesture from me to me, which makes me feel good!

Tomorrow is a day off from work.

If I'm feeling as tired as I have today, it will be a day spent resting and recharging. However, if I do have some energy, I'd love to get out into the garden for a while (apparently the weather forecast is good), and it would be great to get my new lounge curtains up.

However, for now it is bath, T.V., and bed!

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Monday 2nd November 2020

Picture of the day......"Up above the streets and houses..."

This beautiful rainbow was in the sky this morning when I was going into work.

By the time I'd parked, and got out of the car with my camera, most of it had gone, but I did manage to capture this.

It was a double rainbow and you can just make out the second one just above and to the left, if you look closely.

I love rainbows, they always make me feel hopeful.

For the last week or so, I've been doing a bit of crochet in my morning and afternoon breaks, whilst I drink a cuppa.

It's amazing how quickly things progress when you're just doing ten minutes here and there. I'm quite pleased with how the filler edge squares for my current throw are progressing. I'm looking forward to joining them on and then being able to do the edging.

This evening I am very tired. I went to do the weekly shop after work. I used to love food shopping, but since the advent of Covid I really dislike it. I find it stressful and worrying. I managed to get most things, but will still need to pick up a few bits and pieces tomorrow.

This evening's meal was fish fingers, chips and peas....with bread and (vegan) butter for a chip butty! Simple but yummy, and proper comfort food!

Off to watch another episode of the "The Killing" now, and then bed to start all over again tomorrow!

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Sunday 1st November 2020

Picture of the day......"Let me tell you a story......"

Today I've been working on "Fairy Fleur's New Dress".

I've finished editing the text in the document for the flip book, and am now adding pictures. In the first Fairy Fleur story ("Lydia and the Tooth Fairy"), I used clip art and png images from the internet. This time I also want to use real photographs - some which I have from the actual rainbow party, and some which I'll need to 'stage'.

I've also been getting fabrics together, ready to make new curtains for my bathroom.

Well, when I say 'new curtains', it's more of an upcycle of the ones which were there before. The original floral curtains are to the back of the picture. I really love them, but they've faded down one edge, caused by the sunlight.

I was a bit sad, thinking that I'd have to replace them, but then I saw an image on Pinterest, which really caught my eye. By using organza fabric alongside the original curtains, and adding some pretty hanging hearts, I can make the window look really gorgeous. I won't put the Pinterest picture here, in case what I end up doing looks nothing like it! Haha.

Today hasn't gone at all to plan.

I was intending to hang my new lounge curtains, then make a meal plan and go off to do the weekly shop.

However, I spent three hours in A&E in Morriston Hospital! It's ok, there's actually nothing wrong, thank goodness.

I'll start at the beginning. On Thursday of last week, when I got into work, whilst taking my bag off my shoulder, the strap of my bag caught on the toggle of my coat (one of those elastic strap things which you use to tighten the hood, with a metal toggle hanging on the end). The metal toggle pinged up and hit me smack in my left eye!

Fortunately, because I was looking down, my eyelid was partly down, and it hit me on the eyelid, rather than in the eye itself. However, it bloody hurt, like a bloody hurting thing! I saw stars! It swelled up pretty quickly, and I put a cold compress on it, which reduced the swelling. However, it was quite sore for the rest of the day, and the day after, and then not so sore yesterday. Also, there is a small amount of bruising, although it's quite subtle. I don't bruise easily.

I didn't really think too much more about it. I've kept an eye on it (no pun intended), and put it down to one of those things - I am rather clumsy and am always bumping into things, etc. However, yesterday, I had a couple of visual disturbances, and this morning, after I got up, there were lots of little black dots in front of my eyes, as well as a load of grey 'floaters'. On testing, it seemed that it was only happening with my left eye. Bob was really concerned and insisted I 'phone NHS 111 to get some advice, so I did.

They told me that I needed to go to A&E, and that I wasn't to drive there myself. So Bob took me over, and I was seen by a very nice doctor, who checked out both my eyes. He said that I'd probably thrown out the alignment of things, but that there was no 'front bleed', and that I hadn't damaged the retina, iris, or lense, and that my vision should return to normal over the next few days. Phew - that's a relief! I quite like having decent functioning eyes!

Anyway, by the time I got back from the hospital, I didn't have the same enthusiasm for either hanging curtains or going shopping! The shopping can wait until tomorrow after work, and the curtains can wait until my day off on Wednesday.

This evening's going to be fairly chilled - I'm just making vegan meatballs for dinner, and then it'll be an episode of "The Killing". Weekend definitely goes too quickly though.

To whoever is reading this - I hope that you've had a lovely weekend and that you have a fab week ahead. Stay safe!

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Saturday 31st October 2020

Picture of the day......"Soh! A needle pulling thread"

I've been sewing today, and have finally finished the organza/lace curtains for the lounge.

I'm really pleased with them, and looking forward to putting them up tomorrow.

I need to clean the window and surrounding area, and it was quite late in the afternoon today when I finished, plus I'd kind of run out of energy, so I'll do it all tomorrow morning when I'm fresh.

I have the main curtains washed and ironed ready to go back up with them, and both sets of tie backs all ready.

It will be nice to see the window dressed properly again. I just hope that norty Nala cat keeps her claws off them this time!

I shall post pictures of the dressed window tomorrow on my blog.

Tomorrow I'll also be moving on to my next sewing job, which is to give the bathroom window a make-over!

Today has been quite good regarding energy levels, and I've managed to be quite productive. I haven't been in so much pain as I have recently either, which is great.

It's very tempting, on days like this, to go hell for leather and get as much use out of the energy as possible, but I realise that's a mistake. At my last hospital appointment the Rheumatologist discussed pacing with me, and basically going at a reasonable pace, getting what I can done, and resting when my body is telling me to, so that is my approach now. It has to be really.

So today I stitched, knitted, cooked, cleaned, washed clothes, and went out for two (short) walks with Bob and Ollie - all at a reasonable pace, without rushing or trying to cram loads in. Oh, and that was after a fairly late start (making the most of a weekend lie in).

I'm hoping for a similar day tomorrow.

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Friday 30th October 2020

Picture of the day......"The windmills of your mind"

I'm still sorting stuff out, and I came across this lovely rainbow windmill, left over from Lydia's seventh birthday party (she's 27 now), which had a rainbow theme.

The follow up story to "Lydia and The Tooth Fairy", which is called "Fairy Fleur's New Dress", and is based around the rainbow party, should be ready to go on my writing page around this time next week, so watch this space!

In the meantime, if you haven't read (and listened to) "Lydia and the Tooth Fairy", and you would like to, then please click here.

As well as getting some writing done, I'm hoping that Weekend and me will be joined by our old friends Inspiration, Motivation, Organisation, Creativity, and Productivity, so that we can continue with some stuff, and get some other stuff finished, and maybe start even more stuff!

Of course, Weekend and me have already been joined by my Lovely Man and Ollie, so we'll be enjoying their company, and hoping for a break in the predicted rain, so we can get out for a walk or two. "Woof! Woof!" said Ollie. (I think that means 'Yes please!').

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy weekend.

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Thursday 29th October 2020

Picture of the day......"You've got a friend"

I had a lovely friend called Jo, who I'd known since we were eleven years old, when we met in high school.

Jo sadly passed away from cancer four years ago. Whilst she was poorly, she made me this lovely box to keep my tea in. She obviously gave it lots of thought, because she knew how much I love my cuppa.....

......and also how much I love to knit. She used knitting print paper to decoupage the box.

This box is one of my most treasured possessions, because it reminds me of a lovely friend, and that she made it with love for me. It lives in my kitchen and I think of Jo every time I see it.

Jo would (and should) have been 55 years of age today. Happy Heavenly Birthday Jo - I hope you're having an absolute creative, naughty ball up there.

I'm off to have a cup of tea, look at my lovely tea box again, and raise my cuppa in honour of a loved and missed friend.

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Wednesday 28th October 2020

Picture of the day......"Yellow"

Daffodil yellow fabric.....hmm, what will I make with it?

It may be something fairy-related....

When in Tesco the other day, I was delighted to find this brand of vegan cheese.

This is the only vegan cheese I've found so far, which I feel behaves like dairy cheese. It has a nice flavour, and actually melts. I made paninis for lunch today, toasted and spread with vegan tomato pesto, and then filled with mushrooms, slices of tomato, and some of this cheese. They were yummy.

My day off went well today. I was productive, and also rested when my body asked me to. I got some regular housework done, including a couple of wash loads (I wash by hand at the moment, as my washing machine broke down some months back. Another washing machine is on the horizon though, so it's not for much longer). I also painted more of my tea cupboard, did a bit of writing, and sorted out a couple of personal admin things.

This afternoon I had a nap, which was much needed. I made a Thai curry for dinner, and we watched more of "The Killing", which we are really enjoying.

Back to work tomorrow, so this kind of feels like Sunday evening again, haha. Having had a day in the middle of the week to recharge and catch up a bit though, I do feel more refreshed than if tomorrow was a regular Monday.

If you're reading this, I hope you're having a good week so far, and making nice plans for the weekend.

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Tuesday 27th October 2020

Picture of the day......"Soul cake"

I was determined that this evening, there would be home-made cake!

The last two weeks, I have just been too tired to bake, and have bought cake, which has been disappointing.

After the day I had yesterday, healthwise, I wasn't sure that there would be energy this evening to make cake, but there was! A good, old-fashioned Victoria sandwich.

I used the usual Jane Asher recipe (always a winner), and used Buttery Flora for the mix. Flora have recently changed their recipe for the Buttery Flora, and added buttercream back in. Boo. I do have some stock I bought before they did that though, so am using that up.

I whipped up some Elmlea plant (double) for the filling, with some yummy strawberry jam. I couldn't get the Elmlea to whip up as well as the first time I did it, so it's oozing out of the sides, but I kind of like the pattern it's making, so that's ok.

Plus, it tastes good, so what's not to like?

Healthwise, today has been better than yesterday. I've still had all the same symptoms as yesterday, but not anywhere near as bad.

I have a day off tomorrow. It's one of a regular set of days which have been set aside over the next three to six months, specifically to counteract the problems I am having with Lupus. Because of the nature of the condition, and the main symptoms of fatigue and joint pain, it means that probably about eight working days out of ten, I get home totally exhausted, with no energy to do any of the things I want to do, and sometimes not even enough energy to keep on top of the basics of cooking and housework.

This is very frustrating and upsetting. I try to catch up on things at weekends, but I am consantly chasing my tail and feeling inadequate and sometimes pretty useless. My erratic sleep patterns (having to nap in the evenings and weekend daytimes, and often not being able to sleep properly at night) add to this.

So I've been working on ideas for solutions to try and balance things a bit better. The meal planning is one such solution, and is kind of working ok, although I need to fine-tune some things. Cutting some days at work is another solution, so that's what we're trying at the moment.

So tomorrow I will do whatever my body requires me to do. If I have energy I will get things done, and if I don't then I will rest and sleep. It's as simple as that! In the meantime, it's tea, cake, and (hopefully) a good night's sleep!

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Monday 26th October 2020

Picture of the day......"I am not my hair"

That's what the song says.....and it's true. However, hair is important. If our hair looks good, we feel good.

One of the most distressing symptoms of Lupus for me is that it makes my hair fall out. I have naturally fine hair anyway, so for it to fall out as well is soul-destroying.

Some years ago, someone very close to me had a similar problem, but her hair loss was due to the menopause. When I noticed that I was losing hair, this lady recommended Florisene to me to try, as she had tried it and found it to be absolutely invaluable.

So I bought some and found that for me it was also amazing. This was around ten years or so ago, and at the time I was able to order it through Tesco pharmacy. Then they stopped being able to get it. I tried lots of different pharmacies, and nobody seemed able to source it for me.

In the meantime, I tried taking Biotin, and that was good, but nowhere near as good as Florisene. I then tried Perfectil for hair, skin and nails, subsequently switching to the Tesco own brand equivalent. Again, good but not that good.

I eventually sourced Florisene online just over a year ago, and am able now to get regular supplies of it. I buy it directly through Lamberts, who make it. I can't praise it enough, for the difference it has made to my hair. I still have some issues with it being thinner than it used to be, but the difference to how it looked a few years ago is amazing.

I would recommend it to anyone who is having hair loss issues, although I don't think it works for some conditions, such as Alopecia.

Florisene does contain iron, so you need to be careful not to take any other iron supplements at the same time. Having said that, I've continued with the Tesco hair, skin & nails supplement, simply because of the difference that has made to my skin.

I just take a smaller dose of Florisene and am careful not to exceed iron levels.

Another thing I like about Florisene, is that it is vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Today has been quite hard. I've had dreadful fatigue all day, and quite a lot of joint pain, especially in my hips, hands and feet. I've also had brain fog, a headache, and a constant feeling of having a head full of cotton wool! On days like this, all noises seem loud and invasive, so I've spent most of my working day inside headphones, listening to the lovely, calm, mellow music of Nick Drake!

Consequently Bob and I are having a fairly laid-back evening. A simple meal of home-made pie with veggies, and some T.V. before bed. Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow.

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Sunday 25th October 2020

Picture of the day......"The birds and the bees"

Bob has given me this beautiful bee hive to put in my garden.

I absolutely love it, and can't wait to put it in place and grow lovely things around it. I've been looking at Pinterest for some inspiration and ideas.

This is possibly a corner where it could go.

I'll try and get it cleared, de-weeded, and sorted in the next couple of weeks, although that will depend on the weather and energy levels.

The rain has been quite relentless all weekend, although it did ease off for a while this afternoon and I managed to get out there for an hour or so to carry on where I left off last weekend.

My next step was to clear the next bit of where I'm going to plant grass, so I needed to pull/dig up the weeds, then dig the ground over.

After doing the same thing last weekend with the first patch, I decided that I might as well scatter the grass seeds as I go along, on each part, as well as plant any bulbs I want in that area. That way, at least some of the top end will have been done completely, just in case low energy/joint pain/adverse weather prevents me from doing the whole lot.

So that's what I did today. I tidied up the next bit, then scattered grass seed, and planted some spring bulbs along the line of the border with the path in each direction.

The directions on the grass seed box said to "shake, rake, and water".....so I shook and raked, then as the rain came back in again, I left the watering to Mother Nature!

Apart from the gardening, today has been fairly laid back and relaxed. The clocks went back last night, although in this house, it isn't done that way!

As part of my plan to approach winter with positivity each year, I always wait until the morning to turn back my clocks, because that way, I am conscious of having an 'extra hour', and I use it for something, rather than having slept it away.

So this morning, we decided to use the extra hour to have a leisurely breakfast in bed - smoked salmon and scrambled egg, on a toasted wholemeal muffin. It was very yummy!

Then, because we didn't actually turn the clocks back until after breakfast, I felt like I had another hour again, so I used it to do some cross stitch! Haha.

We took Ollie out for a quick run again this afternoon, and then when we got back, and I went upstairs to put on the lamps in my bedroom, it struck me how lovely the late afternoon autumn light is coming into that room.

This is the only room in the house where I haven't done any kind of work at all, in the way of decoration/soft furnishings, etc. I do have plans for it, and it is ultimately going to be the spare room, and I'll be moving my bedroom into the front room, because it's bigger. I still think though, that even in its undecorated state, this room is really cosy.

This evening I cooked a Sunday roast kind of meal. I don't very often do them, so when I do, we really enjoy! I cooked a Tesco Plant Chef 'fake steak' and we ate it with roast potatoes & parsnips, broccoli,kale, carrots and stuffing, and I made a lovely onion & mushroom gravy. It was yummy!

Off for some TV now - we're going to watch the programme about the Clydach murders, which was aired on BBC a few evenings ago. Lovely, cheerful Sunday evening viewing! Haha.

Back to work tomorrow, and once again the weekend has flown by! I have a day off on Wednesday though, which I'm really looking forward to, and I'm hoping that health and weather will allow me to get some more gardening done.

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy, healthy week ahead.

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Saturday 24th October 2020

Picture of the day......"......Somebody's watching me!"

Beautiful Lady Nala does this quite a lot - I think she's been reading W.H. Davies' poem - "What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare."

Or maybe she's just saying "Come on woman, it's time for fishies!"

Either way, I couldn't help but photograph her beautiful little face.

Today has been mainly about enjoying just the simple things. It's been so lovely having a whole day with my Lovely Man, Ollie and the kitties - the first in ages.

We took the car early this morning to get the MOT done. It didn't pass, but it can be sorted, and will take about a week. So, we went back to my house in Bob's van, and called off on the way home for some food shopping (essential stuff only of course!)

This afternoon we took Ollie out for a walk -just locally, where there is an open area where he can have a run about.

On the way, someone else's garden caught my eye, because of the beautiful wild flowers which have been planted there. The last time we saw this garden it was very bare, because the house was being done up. This was a few months ago, so it was such a lovely change to see the flowers. I hope they didn't mind me photographing them.

Then, in the open area itself, I felt this little tree was worthy of a snap too. I love the red colour of the berries.

Across the way we spied a fox trotting about. It saw us, and stopped to look for a while, then scampered off into the undergrowth. At this point Ollie hadn't seen it.

When we got over to the part where Mr. Fox had been, Ollie picked up the scent, and he hurtled around on a proper mission, with his nose practically stuck to the floor, as only a Spaniel can do! Haha.

For dinner this evening, I thought I'd try using some tofu. I've never cooked it before, have only eaten it once before, and quite frankly thought it was awful! However, the person who cooked it for me really had no clue what to do with it, so it wasn't the best of examples.

So, I thought I'd get some, and make a tofu tikka masala. I love Indian food, and tikka masala is one of my favourites.

I used a BBC Good Food recipe for chicken tikka masala, and adapted it. The recipe includes an option for making your own tikka masala paste.

I don't have a blender which is fine enough for this sort of thing, so I improvised using a garlic press, a sharp chopping knife, a fine chocolate grater and a pestle & mortar. That method did work quite well, although it was quite hard work, and my finger joints weren't very happy about it!

We had a starter of ready-made samosas and onion bhajis, and some poppadoms and mango chutney.

The main course was ok. However, I'm still not impressed with tofu. Bob and I both thought that it was bland. It hadn't seemed to absorb any of the flavours. Maybe this was because it simply doesn't, or (more likely) that I didn't cook it in the right way for this to happen. I'll have to ask in the vegan group for some advice I think.

Also, I don't think Bob really liked the texture of the tofu. I did, because it reminded me of paneer, which I absolutely love.

We also both thought that the sauce was a bit on the thin side. In the recipe, there is a bit where you add water. I think next time I would leave that out. The flavour on the whole was lovely though - creamy and mild, with just a kick of spice.

The rest of this evening is going to be fairly chilled.

There was a series out a few years back, called "The Killing". I didn't see it, but Bob did and said it was really good. So, we're going to watch the first episode of that tonight. Then look forward to having a whole extra hour tomorrow when the clocks go back!

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Friday 23rd October 2020

Picture of the day......"Crimson and Clover"

Since it's not going to be too long before I'm ready to crochet the border onto my current crocheting project, I thought I would have a look through my yarn stash to see what I had, and whether I needed to buy any more.

I found this lovely red-orange colour ("Tomato" by Stylecraft Special double knitting), and a very large ball of a sort of oatmeal colour.

I needed a third colour, and favoured a green, but didn't have anything in my stash which was quite right.

So I ordered some Stylecraft Special double knitting in "Cypress" from Wool Warehouse. Wool Warehouse are fab - I'd received my yarn within 48 hours of ordering it!

I think all three colours go really nicely with the colours I've already used in the blanket/throw, and I really want to get all the remaining granny squares done and joined together now, so that I can start on the border!

This evening I am very excited! I haven't seen my Lovely Man for a month, due to the local lockdown.

However, there is now a new lockdown in place - effective for the next two weeks - and a person living alone is allowed to form a bubble with another household. Since this certainly applies to us, that is what we're doing!

So, I'm off to give Bob and Ollie big, big cwtches, to cook something lovely for us to eat, and to just enjoy an evening with my favourite man and favourite dog....oh, and my three favourite kitties too of course!

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy weekend.

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Thursday 22nd October 2020

Picture of the day......"Happy feet!"

I can't begin to tell you the joy I feel at finding pain relief for some of my hurty bits, which isn't a tablet and won't in any way contribute to the daily fatigue!

The Rheumatologist at my appointment the other day suggested some insoles like these for my shoes, to provide some relief from the pain in my heels, caused by Plantar Fasciitis.

I used them for the first time today in the boots I wear to work, and goodness me, what a difference!

They fit really nicely in the boots, and I could feel an immediate difference. I still have pain in my toes, from RA, but the pain in my heels is so much better with these - even by the end of the day. The only criticism is that they take up a fair bit of room in the boots, and I wasn't able to wear socks. I was wearing tights though, so that's ok.

I don't have a lot to report today, other than I got a letter to say that I have an appointment for an MRI scan in early November. Wow, I'm impressed - and very happy - that the Rheumatologist got that moving so quickly.

I'm quite cold this evening, and really tired, so I've been cwtching up under a blankie with this literary pair! I love the contrast between Pooh Bear and Margaret Atwood's very serious book! Not that Pooh Bear can't be serious - of course he can...but I think you know what I mean.

Less than twenty-four hours now before I see my Lovely Man, after not seeing each other for a month! To say I'm excited is an understatement.

Friday tomorrow and almost Weekend. I know I say this every week, but don't the weeks go by quickly?

Right, back to my literary contrast. Toodlepip!

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Wednesday 21st October 2020

Picture of the day......"Tiptoe through the tulips..."

...and the daffodils, and crocus, and anemone, and snowdrops.....I bought some spring bulbs to plant around the bases of my trees. I'm hoping my spring garden will be a riot of colour!

It will be very lovely to tiptoe through such beautiful flowers.

Whilst I'm tiptoeing, I'll be wearing a pair of these in my shoes.

For the last few weeks I've been experiencing terrible pain in my feet - especially my right foot. My feet hurt all the time to be honest. It doesn't matter what shoes I'm wearing, or even if I'm wearing none at all. They just hurt.

A lot of the pain is in my toes, and I know it's Lupus-related RA. However, recently I've had a different sort of pain, concentrated around my heels. I told the Rheumatologist yesterday, and she thinks it's a condition called Plantar Fasciitis, an inflammation of the fibrous tissue (plantar fascia) along the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes, and which can cause intense heel pain. She suggested I buy some of these inserts for my shoes, so I did! I'll let you know how I get on with them.

This morning I was taking part in bus life! The car needed to go in for an MOT, and I dropped her off early - very early, and then caught a bus to work.

This was what the street looked like at just before seven this morning.

I was really anxious about doing this, as I haven't been on a bus journey since before the whole Covid-19 thing. First of all, I wasn't sure if the bus would be full already (because they're limiting passengers for social distancing). I also wasn't sure if I could actually buy a ticket with real money, because looking at the website, it seems that everything is done online and then the ticket stored on a smartphone and scanned on the bus.

Anyway, I needn't have worried - the bus was empty apart from me and the driver, and getting the ticket was fine, as was the journey itself.

As for the car, we're not sure she's going to pass the MOT and the garage I took her to is too busy at the moment to fix anything which might be wrong, so we'll need to take her somewhere else.

After collecting the car, I went to get the flower bulbs, and came across these little devils. I was a bit sceptical, because I'm a bit of a die-hard original Jammie Dodger girl, but ooh, they are very nice!

Today I had good news. I am going to be able to make that small (but important) lifestyle change which I mentioned about a week or so ago.

I can't say too much more at the moment, but I'm sure it's going to have a very positive effect on my health and wellbeing, and I am very grateful to those who are helping me to implement it.

Ooh...and I was also mega excited yesterday evening, to log into my guest book on this website, and find an entry from my beautiful friend Jane in Australia. It made my day! Thank you Jane, and if you're reading, I have responded to it.

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Tuesday 20th October 2020

Picture of the day......"Supermarket flowers..."

I popped into Morrisons on the way home from the hospital today, with the intention of buying cake.....because tonight is Bake Off night, and of course, I am too tired to bake!

Whilst strolling purposefully past the plants section, determined NOT to be tempted over to look, I heard a strange sound - a sort of squeaky little voice...

...which squeaked "Excuse me nice lady, look at us....we are only 50 pence each, and we would be sooooo pretty in your garden".

I think it's against the law to ignore squeaky, pleading little voices, so I investigated, and sure enough - there, in the 'plant of the week' section were lovely little primrose plants at 50 pence each! Whilst I was pondering that it might be considered rude not to buy at least one, four of them hopped into my basket! Then I noticed that some dreadful human bean had randomly plonked a tray of viola plants in the same spot. They absolutely did not belong there, and they must have felt terribly rejected, so in the basket they went!

Anyway, back to that cake.

I didn't find any suitable vegan cake in Morrisons, and was just going to go home, and make do with a Jammie Dodger for my Bake Off viewing, but decided that I'd just pop over to Tesco to have a look.

Some people in the vegan group I'm in on Facebook have been raving about 'Bosh' cake, so I had a look, and Tesco had some - a chocolate one, and a lemon one. Since giving up dairy, and my taste buds having changed, I find that some vegan chocolate things can be a bit rich.

On looking at the Bosh cakes, I did feel that the chocolate one looked a bit rich, so I went for the lemon one. I must say, that it does look rather lemony and yummy!

I don't very often go looking for ready-made cake any more, because I like to bake my own, and I try not to have loads of cake in the house anyway, because it's so tempting to just have a slice here and there, and then before you know it, you've popped some weight on and that's no good for dodgy joints.

So I was very pleasantly surprised to see how much choice there is for vegan cakes now. They're more expensive than regular cakes, but that's pretty much the norm with vegan stuff anyway. Maybe some day things will come down in price.

Anyway, before I go and indulge in a little yumminess and T.V. nonsense, I'll just update you on my hospital appointment with the Rheumatologist today.

The gist of it is that I really have to try and live with/work around the fatigue thing. (I thought I was doing that already?). The MRI scans (on my brain and hip) which I was referred for have been 'put on hold' because there is a backlog, although the Rheumatologist did say that she is going to try and get it through, because I'm still suffering from a permanent headache, and lately have been experiencing a fair amount of brain fog, and the pain in my left hip is worse. She sent me for an X-Ray on my hips, so that she can look at the bones.

There is no shortage of Hydroxychloroquine in the hospital pharmacy it seems, and I left with a filled prescription for it!

There were a few other things which we discussed, which aren't really for sharing here. All in all, a bit of a mixed bag of an appointment, and I am glad I went in for it rather than it was over the 'phone.

Right that's it - I'm off for cake!

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Monday 19th October 2020

Picture of the day

A pot of M&S 'pea and mint mash' (that's posh mushy peas to you and me) reduced from £2.00 to 30 pence!

I never used to like mushy peas....does this mean I'm middle aged now? Anyway, they were very yummy indeed, but I'd never have paid two squidlets for them!

I enjoyed them with some leftovers of yesterday's yummy pie, and some other veggies, which were also M&S bargains.

I have the last of the pie leftovers for lunch tomorrow.....and I had some of the leftovers for lunch today.....I will look like a pie by this time tomorrow!

Today was a bit of a mixed bag. Great news that the local lockdown finishes in Llanelli on Friday. Then that's going to be replaced by a national lockdown for the whole of Wales! This time though, because it's the whole of Wales, it means that the single person linking up with another household to form a bubble does apply to me and my Lovely Man, and we get to see each other on Friday evening, after a month apart. Big YAAAY!! I hope he's ready to be squeezed and not let go of.

I received a call from the hospital at lunchtime. I had a telephone consultation booked with the Consultant Rheumatologist for tomorrow afternoon. They were calling to ask if I'd like to actually go into the hospital for the appointment, in person. Absolutely yes! I have lots of things to discuss with her, and it will be far better to do that face-to-face.

After getting a text this morning from the pharmacy to say my prescription was ready to collect, off I trotted after work to pick it up. There were three things on my script - eye drops, for dry eyes caused by Lupus, Levothyroxine for an underactive thyroid, and Hydroxychloroquine, which is the drug I take to treat Lupus - and bloody marvellous it is too! However, the pharmacy told me that there was no hydroxychloroquine for me, because there is a shortage. She blamed Covid, and said that the shortage is from the actual manufacturers - they simply don't have any (apparently), and there is no point taking my script anywhere else, because I won't be able to get it from anywhere else. I'm more than a little puzzled by this. There were threats of a shortage back in the summer, when it was thought that it could be used to treat Covid, but since that has been proved to be not the case, there shouldn't be a problem. Something else to talk to the doctor about tomorrow then - I'll add it to the ever-growing list!

This evening was better - as well as the veggie bargains in M&S, I also picked up a bottle of my favourite perfume (an M&S own brand), for a tenth of its usual price. I took it to the till, expecting to pay the full price, and when it went through, the cashier was as surprised as me. The general consensus between the members of staff, was that it's massively reduced because they've recently changed the packaging design, and my bargain was in the old style packaging. I did ask if they had any more, but it was the only one. Happy days though!

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Sunday 18th October 2020

Picture of the day

A patch of my garden which I was working on today.

This was at the point where I had pulled up the weeds, and given it a quick turn over with the fork.

The weeds they grow so fast,
But now that autumn's here,
They've slowed down quite a lot,
So I can get them clear!

These two pictures are clearly showing the weeds when I went out this afternoon, before I tackled them.

I haven't been out there properly for a few weeks, but have kept an eye on things. I really want to put down some grass seeds in this area at the top (house) end of the garden, and it needs to be done really by the end of this month.

So I managed to get out and weed, dig and rake one patch of it at least.

This was after I had initially pulled up all the biggest of the weeds.

Then this was after I had dug it over with the fork, the spade, and given it a quick once-over with the rake. There are still some small bits of weeds left, and also some stones, even though I sifted a fair bit, when I was digging up all that plastic back in the summer.

I think that I'm just going to have to accept that it's never going to be perfect soil, put lots of seed down, and hope for the best!

And so, I'm reasonably pleased with what I achieved today.

I'll try for another patch tomorrow after work....if I have any energy left that is.

In other news.....I'm really happy with how these ferns are getting on. I acquired them, back in the summer, when out on a walk, and at first they didn't look very healthy and I thought they had died, so I cut them back to soil level and left them to it.

A few months on, and this is their state of play. I'll have to think about planting them somewhere properly soon. They do seem to like it under this tree.

I'm also happy with all the lovely strawberry plants I was given during the summer. They seem to like their wheelbarrow home, and are looking very healthy. Hopefully I'll get some fruit from them next summer.

This evening I tried a new vegan product. 'Alt' pieces, which are supposed to behave the same as beef.

I decided to put them in a pie, with some onions and mushrooms, and a lovely puff pastry topping.

I used a Colman's beef casserole mix for the sauce.

I love the Colman's mixes - quite a lot of them are vegan (as was this one) and they are very tasty.

They're great for using when short of time (or energy) to make a sauce or gravy from scratch. Very valuable for me at the moment, as I'm so struggling with energy levels, but am acutely aware that I need to eat properly.

I keep quite a few of them in, and store them in my genuinely vintage Colman's tins.

I've had them for years, and I love them. You can see they're old, by the way they're worn and a bit rusty in places!

My pie was a success and tasted yummy, although I'm not entirely sure about the texture of the Alt pieces. I ate it with creamy mashed potato and some sprouts. Yes Bob, sprouts! Haha.

I usually put an egg in my mash, but this time I made it totally vegan, using Flora 'butter' block and a dash of Elmlea Plant double. It was so nice.

I've had an otherwise fairly productive day today......more painting of the tea cupboard (it has lots of nooks and crannies to get the paint in)......some crochet, cross-stitch, sewing and knitting, and I read a few chapters of my book.

I didn't actually go out and about today, other than to do a little bit of shopping, as I needed to pick up some fruit for breakfast smoothies.

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy week ahead.

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Saturday 17th October 2020

Picture of the day

Some fab music to work by today!

I started the day with fairly good energy levels, and managed to get a few things done - general housework and cleaning, washing out on the line, went down to book the car in for an MOT, and painted some more of the tea cupboard.

I was fairly amazed by this, since I hardly slept last night.

I had this vegan pizza from Morrisons for my lunch, and was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was, as I hadn't been expecting anything great to be honest.

Vegan pizza is always a let down because of the cheese.

However, the cheese on this one was really nice. It even melted.

It was so nice to eat a cook-at-home pizza which actually tasted like.....well, a pizza! Yes, I know it was a day out of date....however, I only actually noticed this when I was uploading the photograph to put on here! Oh well, I'm not dead yet, so it must have been ok.

After lunch, I sat down with a cuppa and crocheted a bit of my pastel throw, accompanied by my furry and very lovely crochet assistant!

It was at that point though, that last night's lack of sleep hit me, and it wasn't long before I was snuggling down for a few hours' sleep.

My furry assistant considered it his duty to stay with me and snooze as well. He's such a cute little guy.

This evening is all about the crafts again - some crochet, cross-stitch and knitting I think, and definitely an early night, to try and catch up properly on what I missed last night!

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Friday 16th October 2020

Picture of the day

This evening it seems to be a lot colder than it has been. Or maybe it's me - I do feel the cold more than I ever used to, and both Lupus and an underactive thyroid cause temperature issues for me.

Anyway, I've decided it's cold enough to bring out my pussycat onesie. My house is quite cold, especially since I took some doors down, for a more 'open plan' feel. Not the front door though, haha.

I don't really want to have the heating on all the time, especially since we've only just gone into autumn, and there's still a long winter to come.

So, when it's not massively cold, but enough to feel it, I either wrap up warm, cwtch up with blankies (and kitties) and chill, or keep moving and get things done. This evening I am choosing the former, since I'm not feeling the energy levels to be doing much.

My onesie is perfect for cwtching, as are these lovely 'teddy bear' slippers, which I got from Dunelm a few weeks ago. Add a cuppa, a book, soft lighting, and a kitty or three, and it's going to be Hygge at its best!

After work I needed to stop off and get some cat food, and at Morrisons, I can't help looking at their plants!

I found some lovely plant bargains for my garden......beautiful, autumn/winter colours - especially the heathers. I've popped them outside the front door for now, whilst I decide where to put them.

I haven't been out in the garden for a little while, although I've kept an eye on it through the window, and most seems ok. The rain has kept it watered. However, there is one disappointment, in that my lovely Hydrangea seems to have given up the ghost. I have no idea why. She seemed to be thriving. Although her flowers had died back, her leaves were looking lovely and healthy. Then about two or three days later, it seemed all the leaves had died too. Sad times.

I'm really hoping to have enough energy to get out there this weekend and do a few bits and pieces. There are a couple of things I really need to do before the end of the month if I can.

Anyway, I'm off to grab all the stuff I need for a lovely, relaxing, Hygge evening.

I wish whoever is reading this, a very happy weekend.

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Thursday 15th October 2020

Picture of the day

This was the view from Loughor Bridge on my way home from work this evening.

I drive over the bridge twice a day, five days a week, going to and from work, and also if I visit the Gower, or Swansea, etc., on other days. Except not at the moment, because Llanelli is under lockdown.

The sun looked so beautiful this evening, shining over the estuary, that I felt compelled to get out and take some pictures.

In this shot, a train was passing through, and I managed to catch it perfectly! An added bonus, because I love trains.

I never, ever get tired of the view from that bridge. Each day is different, and I love to look at it, no matter what hour of the day, or what season, or what the weather is like. It gives me joy to look, and every day I give thanks to God that I get to see such beautiful scenery. It was one of the things I really missed when we were on national lockdown in the summer.

Life is very much about the small things........especially at the moment, when some of the bigger things aren't that great.

For dinner this evening, I had these Tesco Plant Chef vegan sausages, and made them into hotdogs, in seeded rolls with onions and mushrooms.

This is actually one of my favourite meals. It's easy to cook, easy to eat, filling, and yummy. Proper comfort food.

These particular sausages were quite inexpensive, and I wasn't expecting great things, but I really did enjoy them. They were very tasty, so I would definitely buy them again.

I can't get warm this evening. I get times like that. It could be another Lupus symptom, or it could be because I have an under-active thyroid.

So I'm going to do a little bit of cupboard painting (it's getting there, slowly), and then have an early night, although not to sleep quite yet.

I'll be Skyping with Bob a bit later (yaaay!) and I'm going to do a spot of crochet/knitting/reading in bed. Whatever takes my fancy really, when I get there!

It will be nice to see Friday tomorrow and be one step closer to Weekend. It's been another difficult week, and Weekend will help me to recharge.

Right, I'm off to grab a paintbrush......

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Wednesday 14th October 2020

Picture of the day

This evening was a granny square and beyond kind of evening. The nice thing about crochet, is that it doesn't require tons of energy to produce some lovely results.

Having added the eight left-over off-centred grannies along the edges of the throw (two on each edge, in the middle), I'm using the other pack of yarn - similar colours to the originals - to fill out the rest of the sides and the corners. This will mean that I will then have the main body of the throw and can start crocheting around the edges for a wide border.

I need to make twenty more squares for this, and I'm doing them as regular grannies, so that they blend in nicely with the main centre square.

Cross-stitching was on the agenda this evening too, and I did some work on this lovely panel which was started by Lydia a few years ago.

This is so pretty. I love the shapes of the flowers and leaves, as well as the colours. Pink and green is one of my favourite colour combinations.

When it's complete I'll be turning it into a cushion - probably for my bathroom, but I'll see when it's done.

The design and pattern is taken from this lovely cross-stitch book, which I've had for many years, and is full of beautiful designs.

The original design is a long, rectangular wall hanging. There is a picture of it on the book cover - bottom left-hand corner.

Lydia adapted it for a cushion panel, by isolating part of the design to make it more of a square shape.

To make up the cushion itself, I'll use some fabric from one of the 'fat quarters' packs in my fabric stash. I love fat quarters, because each piece is big enough to make something substantial, and they usually come in bundles of about four or five theme-related and complementing designs and patterns, so that you can mix and match them, according to your project.

I have some really pretty floral ones, in colours which will go beautifully with the main cross-stitch panel, and really set it off.

I also made time for some tea & chapters this evening. I'm really enjoying this book. Margaret Atwood is a fabulous writer.

This is the sequel to "The Handmaids Tale."

I pottered with some other bits and pieces in the house this evening.....painted more of my tea cupboard for the kitchen wall, stitched some of the braid on the lounge curtains, and completed a few rows of my knitted sea horse cushion. Oh, and I finished typing up "Fairy Fleur's New Dress", ready to put into a Word document, to make into a flip book.

When I'm working on crafty stuff, DIY things, etc., I tend to mix it up, and do half an hour or so on each project. There is a good reason for this.

Because I get quite a lot of pain in my joints, if I'm in one position working on the same thing for too long, it aggravates my joints and makes the pain worse. So, I change between activities to give different parts of my body a rest. The downside of this means that things take longer to complete. Progress in this house may be slow, but at least it is progress!

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Tuesday 13th October 2020

Picture of the day

I saw this lovely box of colours on a desk in work today, and I just had to photograph it. Such pretty, pastel colours. I love colours.

As I was leaving work, it rained quite heavily, and then brightened up. Of course, I looked for a rainbow, but didn't see one. However, as I turned into the road where I live, the remains of a rainbow were just in front of me. It was as if God had said "Ok, I'll keep the colours, just for you to have a glimpse of them". By the time I had parked and got out of the car, it was gone, but I felt privileged to have had that glimpse of God's colours.

Although today was a bit of a struggle, healthwise, I do feel a bit more positive again.

This is because I put the wheels in motion this afternoon, for a potential lifestyle change, which I am sure will have a really good effect on my health and wellbeing. It's something I've been whittling and worrying about for a while, and I'm glad I've taken the first step.

However, the decision about it will be made by somebody else, so for now I play the waiting game.

Tonight it's Great British Bake Off on T.V., and as you know (maybe) I do like to bake some cake to eat whilst watching it. However, my energy levels are pretty low at the moment, and I am just too tired to bake.

So, I was going to make do with a Jammie Dodger or two. Then, when I got home from work, and started to browse Facebook, I found that Kind Earth (a vegan shop) in Llanelli, had posted that they've had a delivery of yummy vegan cakes, and I noticed in the picture that some of them were topped off with a Jammie Dodger!

I didn't need to give this much thought - off I popped in the car to go and get one! Or maybe two.

Next door to Kind Earth, I spied a fish and chip shop......my naughty self didn't take long to persuade my less-naughty self to go and get some chips for dinner. Too tired to cook, as well as too tired to bake!

This then led to the idea of "Ooh, let's go and eat the chips by the beach".....so off I headed towards Llanelli beach. I arrived there in time to see a wonderful sunset. It really was very beautiful, and I watched it whilst eating my chips, and pondering upon life and all its twists, turns, etc.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera with me to photograph the sunset, so I shall attempt to describe it here:

When I arrived, the sky was displaying the remnants of a mixed day......some bright blue patches, dotted with white fluffy clouds on the right, whilst on the left there were some dark, moody clouds - leftovers of the earlier storm.

The tide was well on its way out, and in its wake had left shallow pools of rippling water, and glistening patches on the variegated brown-grey sand. Reflected on this was the gentle glow of the sun, which peeped from behind a cloud not far above the horizon, and in that small band between horizon and sun, was a hazy colour chart of soft greys, gentle creams, and dusky pinks.

As I watched the sun dip to her slumber, she flitted in and out of the clouds, varying her intensity. Sometimes she gave off a radiant glow, whilst interspersing this with no more than a glimmer here and there.

Just as she reached her destination, the dusky pinks, creams and greys gave way to a sudden beautiful, glowing aura of bright orange, yellow, cerise and purple. Then, even as the horizon tucked her in for the night, there remained a defiant display of final rays, which shone against the darkening greys of the sky, the beach, and the ocean beyond.

"I was here..." said the Sun "...and I shall return!"

So, I'm off now to enjoy these little beauties (although, they're rather large, so I may not manage both), and my pot of tea, and some Great British Bake Off! I didn't actually watch all of last week's, so I'm starting early, with the rest of that one.

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Monday 12th October 2020

Picture of the day

I've only actually taken one picture today, and this is it, which is the shape of my evening.

I've been looking through cross stitch projects which have been on the go for some time. This one was started by Lydia a few years ago. Sorry Lydia, I'm pinching it and finishing it to make it into a cushion for the bathroom.

A cup of Welsh Brew and a bar of Fry's Chocolate Cream is just what's needed to accompany my stitchery. Proper Hygge stuff, and just about all I have the energy for this evening.

I have felt a little bit more positive today, which is fab.

I left work this evening, knowing that a bout of fatigue might render me pretty useless when I got home. So, I planned to go straight out into the garden, to try and counteract it.

However, my usual twenty minute journey home took almost an hour! The traffic was banked up for miles on my usual route. I have no idea why, but I ended up turning around and going back almost as far as work, and starting again on a different route, which was quite clear. I don't know what was going on through Waunarlwydd, but I hope it wasn't anything serious.

By the time I got home, I'd lost the garden inspiration, so I made a cuppa, and checked emails. I did manage to avoid sleeping, which was good.

I then got a 'phone call, which went like this.....

*Mobile rings (number I didn't recognise)*
Me: "Hello?"
Male voice: "Oh hello, I'm calling from Eon" (Ha! I knew where this was going)...
"The reason for the call this evening, is that we're calling our customers to arrange an
appointment for us to come out and fit your Smart Meters"
Me: "Oh, I don't want them thank you."
Silence....then
Male voice: "Oh, thank you for your feedback. Um, is there any particular reason why?"
Me: "I just don't want them thank you."
Another silence....then
Male voice: "Ok, thank you, goodbye."

Haha, poor man! I probably wasn't what he was wanting or expecting whilst carrying out his job, but there ya go!

The 'phone call was clearly because I've ignored their letters, and I'm sure I'll hear from them again, but that's for another day.

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Sunday 11th October 2020

Picture of the day

I do enjoy a good old stomp through some scrunchy, crunchy leaves. It is one of life's wonderful pleasures.

Autumn is my absolute favourite season - I love the weather, the colours, the smells, the excuse to cwtch up and be cosy, and the general atmosphere which autumn brings - a sort of expectancy as we move towards Christmas, with all the things in between.

If I'm honest - and that's something I do like to be - yesterday was a pretty awful day for me. I'm feeling fairly low at the moment, and yesterday I couldn't seem to stop crying. The least little thing set me off.

I do get periods when I feel the 'Black Dog' lurking, and at the moment I feel as if he's nipping at my toes, daring me to take notice of him, so that he can pull me in.

I'm doing my best to fight that, because I've been there before, where he has pulled me in, and it's quite horrible. Not something I want to happen again, so I will fight, no matter how emotional I feel. I will not get drawn in.

So today, I felt that it was absolutely imperative that I took myself off outdoors for an hour or two, to get some fresh air and exercise, and to appreciate the beauty which is literally on our doorstep in this lovely part of the world.

Last week it was the beach. This week, I felt the need for trees and autumn's wonderful,colourful, sumptuous gowns.

I chopped up some apples and headed off in the direction of what was a favourite walk for Bob, Ollie, and myself during lockdown.....where there are horses in a field, and lots & lots of trees!

However, in spite of the fact that I did get these two nice shots of the sky through the trees, it was a little bit disappointing......

......The two horses (Milky and Gwen) decided that they weren't at all interested in coming over for some apple, and I wasn't prepared to traipse over a muddy field! So, I scoffed the apple myself and went on my way.

Also, there was a distinct lack of lovely autumn colours in that area, so I decided to go back to the car, and head off in search of other pastures.

On the way I passed a playground, and the empty swing was way too much of a temptation. I did get a funny look from a lady who was there with her child, so I said "Please excuse me, I am a big kid". That seemed to do the trick, and away I swung! Wheeee.

After going for some petrol, and then stopping off at "Kind Earth" (a vegan shop in Llanelli), where I bought some vegan Worcester sauce, vegan cheese, a bar of Vego chocolate (over-rated in my humble opinion, and definitely over-priced), and a 'bee bomb' for my garden, I headed off to Parc Howard, where I knew there would be colourful trees aplenty.

I wasn't wrong! Autumn is there in all her wonderful glory!

The camera actually doesn't do the park justice. It is ablaze with fiery reds & oranges, rich and mellow yellows, smooth chocolate browns and more green variations than you can shake a stick at!

Today was a beautiful, sunny day, and the sky was a rich, glorious blue, which enhanced every other colour there.

If ever there was a reason to be thankful for one's eyesight - this was it!

In fact, just a reason to be thankful for life itself.

I love this picture. I love the reds in the leaves, the shape and daintiness of them, and the beautiful blue contrast.

There were two ladies sitting on a nearby bench when I was taking this, and one of them said "Isn't it beautiful here?" My reply - "Absolutely!"

Then of course there was the opportunity to crunch my way through some fallen leaves.....one of my absolute favourite things to do. Have I said that already? Well, I'm saying it again.

I also found a fairy haunt! Surely they must live in here? I did knock, but nobody answered......I think fairies are shy.

So there we are - that was my Sunday. Oh, and it's not over yet! I still have a few hours to try and get some things done. Maybe a little creativity this evening will be the icing on the cake.

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy week ahead, and I hope your weekend has been all you wanted it to be, and more.

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Saturday 10th October 2020

Picture of the day

Anyone who knows me, knows I love Jammie Dodgers. Since giving up dairy over a year-and-a-half ago, I haven't bought or eaten them, because they contain milk. However, they are now suitable for vegans!

This pleases me muchly....oh yes!

I found them in Tesco this evening, along with vegan-friendly fig rolls, which are another biscuit I love, and find it difficult to find without milk in the ingredients...

...plus some Biscoff cream biscuits. Oh my goodness! Biscoff themselves of course have never been a problem, because they are suitable for vegans, but I've not seen these cream ones before, so in the trolley they went!

There was a time when I couldn't keep supplies of biscuits, chocolate, sweets, etc., in the house, because they wouldn't last five minutes - I would just binge eat them.

I've spent a long time working on the things which I dislike about myself, and this was one of them. I seem to have conquered this one, and now I can keep them in, and eat them appropriately. This is a small victory.

I think they all look rather cosy together nestled in my new biscuit tin...

...maybe even too cosy to disturb them and eat any at all! Ha, no - I really don't mean that.

Moving on to...

...yes, you've guessed it - more food! Ha, yes I am a foodie.

I was delighted this evening to find some vegan products, greatly reduced. I'm especially excited about the 'Beyond Burger' burgers, because they are usually really expensive, and because of this, I haven't bought them before. I don't feel inclined to spend a fiver on a couple of burgers.

There were two packs reduced, and I bought both. They are dated 11th October, so I'll have one pack for my dinner tomorrow night, and the other pack can go in the freezer. It does say that they're 'unsuitable for home freezing', but meh - lots of things say that, but I freeze them anyway, and they're usually ok.

This evening's meal was this Tesco Plant Chef 'fake steak'. I don't usually go for such things, because with the best will in the world, I don't believe that any company can actually produce a vegan product which looks, feels and tastes like actual meat.

As well as that, the thought of eating meat sickens me totally, so I don't really want a product which does that. However, it's nice to have a change from casseroles/bolognese and other things which have lots of sauce as a base, and have something which I can eat with chips, which isn't fish!

Since it was reduced so much in price I decided to give it a try. Again there were two, so I'll pop the other one in the freezer.

As you can see, I ate it with some Tesco spicy wedges (very yummy), some fried onion and mushrooms, and grilled tomato. Also, no - I didn't burn it - I cooked it well done - just as I liked steak when I was a meat eater!

It definitely didn't taste like steak (unless I've forgotten how that tastes, since it's been so long?). However, it was really nice, and I would buy it again.

This evening I raised a glass of wine to my friend Lesley, who passed away last weekend.

Lesley herself enjoyed a glass of wine, and I can recall quite a few times when we shared a bottle (or two) and put the world to rights. Cheers Lesley, I hope the wine, conversation, and good humour are all flowing where you are.

I leave you with this picture of our gowjus Basil.

Basil - Basil Bumface (so called because of the little white bum-shaped markings under his nose) - is sixteen years old, and very much looking like an old man nowadays.

He is still as handsome as ever though, and this afternoon, he was looking particularly cute, so I grabbed the camera for a picture. Dear old Basil.

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Friday 9th October 2020

Picture of the day

Weekend and me......
......sitting on the sofa.
This doesn't rhyme......
......and we don't care!

This is what the list says......

  • Talk to my Gowjus Girl...
  • Talk to my Lovely Man...
  • Text/Whatsapp my siblings...
  • Eat well...
  • Sleep!
  • Cwtch kitties...
  • Write about fairies...
  • Drink tea...
  • Practise prayer, ponderment & positivity...
  • Look for rainbows...
  • Spend time with Inspiration, Motivation, Organisation, Creativity & Productivity...
  • Photograph the autumn colours...
  • Read...
  • Raise a glass of wine to Lesley...
  • Be thankful...
  • Be kind to me...
  • Dance...
  • Tell the Black Dog to f*** off!

That is all!

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Do you have a Weekend List? What are your Weekend plans?

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Thursday 8th October 2020

Picture of the day

It's that time of the week again - meal planning! Don't the weeks go by quickly? It's a bit scary.

Having bought a few new vegan/plant-based products earlier this week when I was browsing, I have a few items as a head start to this week's planning.

I can foresee a tikka masala made with tofu, some sort of yummy pie, a cooked breakfast, and something with a cheese sauce over the next few days. I wonder why?!

Today has been hard again, regarding fatigue and joint pain, and I'm afraid I succumbed to an hour's sleep when I got home from work.

In spite of that, I have managed to be fairly productive this evening.

I started by doing some more to my lounge organza curtains. I'm ready to stitch the lovely braid on now. I've decided to stitch it on by hand, because it's quite a wiggly pattern, and I don't want to be constantly twisting and turning it under the machine. I also don't want a straight line of machine stitching going through the middle, so a hand finish is going to be the best I think.

I also knitted a few rows on my sea horse cushion.

You can just about see the beginnings of a sea horse starting to form.

I'm still feeling really tired, so I think it's going to be an early night for me.

However, I do get off to sleep much easier if I do some reading first, so I have it all set up.....

......and clearly Joe cat is ready for bed too!

So here's to a good night's sleep, and yaay to it being Friday tomorrow........I'm sure I saw a glimpse of Weekend through the window earlier.

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Wednesday 7th October 2020

Picture of the day

When I got in from work, I went to bed and slept for a couple of hours. This is what I saw when I woke up, and he miraculously stayed there whilst I grabbed my 'phone and took his picture.

Joe is such a fab little companion.

Today was hard - lots of fatigue, head fog and a headache which refused to go away, and quite a bit of noise sensitivity. I did try to avoid the whole going to bed thing, but when you gotta sleep, you gotta sleep! I didn't know Joe had come to keep me company until I woke up and saw him. It's as if he knows that something isn't quite right. Precious little guy.

In other news - I finished reading this at lunchtime.

If you're reading this, and you're a reader, do you ever get those moments when you finish a book, and you just sit there, and all you can think is 'Wow!'? Well, that was my reaction on finishing this one. Just wow! Lots of people told me how good this book is, and they weren't wrong. It was a powerful, beautifully-written, thought-provoking, enlightening, heartbreaking read.

If you haven't read it, I would highly recommend that you do. However, it is a difficult read - not for the writing, which is expressive and eloquent, but for its subject matter and content.

This evening I started reading this book.

This was a Christmas gift last year from my Gowjus Girl, and having read "The Handmaid's Tale", I have been very much looking forward to reading this one.

My Gowjus Girl and my Lovely Man always seem to know just what books to buy for me.

Being rather low on energy, I haven't done a lot else this evening.......ate a light and quick meal of tuna and spicy rice.....Skyped with Bob.......fiddled a bit with stringy stuff and pointy things. I'm hoping for a good night's sleep and more energy & less of the crappy Lupus stuff tomorrow. I remain more positive than not!

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Tuesday 6th October 2020

Picture of the day

Today was definitely the day for some comfort food, and with it being Great British Bake Off day, some home baking was needed.

Yesterday was hard emotionally, and left me with little energy today, so I needed a couple of quick and easy recipes.

There wasn't really anything on my meal planner for this week which quite hit the mark, so I popped into Tesco on the way home from work hoping for some inspiration, and found some new vegan products! I decided on veggie bangers and mash, followed by good old-fashioned chocolate cake!

A few people on a Facebook vegan group have recommended these Richmond meat-free sausages, so I thought I'd give them a go.

From what I remember from my meat-eating days, Richmond sausages were always yummy, and their non-meat version definitely did not disappoint.

I wanted to have onion & mushroom gravy, mashed potato, and mushy peas.

I usually make my own gravies these days, but tonight I needed something quick, so I bought these vegan gravy granules - quick, easy, tasty gravy to use as a base to add my onions and mushrooms to.

A perfect meal for a rainy Tuesday evening, with plenty left over for lunch tomorrow.

For the chocolate cake, I used a tried and trusted Jane Asher Victoria sponge cake recipe, and just added some cocoa powder, blended with a little hot water to the final mixture.

I almost did a little out-loud "squee" in Tesco, when I saw this product, which again is new.

It's quite hard to find a nice non-dairy cream to put into cake, and since giving up dairy, cream cakes are one of the few things which I do miss. I never used to eat them very often, but now and then it was nice to indulge.

These days I usually use coconut milk to make cream fillings for cakes, but I'm not over-fond of coconut as a flavour. So, to find some Elmlea which is plant based was pretty fab!

I used my lovely vintage whisk to whip up the cream, finishing it off with a balloon whisk. Lots of hard work for the arm muscles (and joints), but totally worth it, because it whipped up into lovely peaks, and was perfect for spreading over the cake to sandwich between the two layers.

With three kinds of melted non-dairy chocolate, some yummy sprinkles, and a few glacé cherries on the top, my cake was definitely Bake Off worthy!

It looked just as good on the inside......

......and tasted fab with a pot of Welsh Brew tea!

My evening was made complete by two fab additions.

An early-evening call from my Gowjus Girl......

......and an after-dinner Skype call from my Lovely Man! Neither of us had used Skype before. Due to the elderly nature of the technology in my house, it was a bit of a faff to get it up and running, but we got there in the end! It was so lovely to see his face after almost a week-and-a-half of not seeing each other, due to the local lockdown restrictions.

I need to persuade my Gowjus Girl to give Skype a go, because I miss her lovely face too!

Off to bed now for some tea and chapters. I've almost finished "Flowers in the Attic", and have the next book lined up!

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Monday 5th October 2020

Picture of the day

The Welsh flag for my lovely friend Lesley, who passed away yesterday.

There are a group of us, who all 'met' on a web forum called "Wales Index" some years ago (around 20 years for me, longer for most). The Wales Index closed down quite a few years ago, and one of the members rallied us all together on Facebook and created a group so that we could all keep in touch. A lovely thing to do.

Of course, as happens with such online groups, over the years, some of us have formed friendships with others in the group, and some have met in person. Since we are scattered all over the world, it's not possible for everyone, but those of us who have had the opportunity to do this, have done so.

I've met Lesley on several occasions - on group get-togethers, and visits to each other's houses. The last time I saw her, was around a year ago, when she was visiting Craig-y-Nos Country Park, with her granddaughter, Charlotte. I happened to be there at my Lovely Man's studio, and it was so nice to see Lesley and give her a cwtch.

Lesley has been ill for some time, with cancer. She fought her illness bravely, with dignity, and with her very lovely sense of humour.

So tonight I raise my cup of tea (it'll be a glass of wine at the weekend Lesley), to a dear friend, without whom this world is already less interesting, less colourful, and less fun.

Nos da Lovely Lady....cysgwch yn dawel. xxx

Sunday 4th October 2020

Picture of the day

As this was 'Self-care Sunday' I decided that a walk on the beach today would be really beneficial - even if the rain kept up!

The beach is one of my happy places.....but more about that in a bit.

First of all though, there was breakfast to be had, and breakfast in bed was a must! It consisted of smoked salmon and scrambled egg on a toasted muffin, with pineapple juice and Welsh Brew tea, all served on a lovely pink tray!

I spotted the tray in Dunelm (one of my favourite shops) a couple of weeks ago, and thought that it would make the perfect tray for breakfast-in-bed kind of days. Such a pretty colour too!

I haven't done any knitting for a while, so this morning I had a look through my WIPs (Works In Progress) bag to see what was in there. I came across a cushion which I started a couple of years ago, intending it to be for my bathroom.

It's a pattern I bought at Wonderwool Wales by a company called Gwennol Designs. It's actually a baby blanket pattern, but I'm adapting it as a cushion for a lovely Lloyd Loom chair which I have in the bathroom.

Although I did start it a while ago, on looking at it, I wasn't happy. I didn't feel that the main yarn was the right thickness and I wasn't happy with the quality of my intarsia (picture) knitting. So I frogged it (took it apart) and am starting again.

I've done the first ten rows, which takes me up to where I need to put the first sea horse in. I love sea horses - they are one of my favourite creatures - and I've wanted to do something sea horse related for my bathroom for a while.

In the picture you can just about see the waves/moss-stitch pattern starting to take shape on the centre panel.

The chair I'll be putting it on is this one. The chair itself is in need of upcycling, which is why, at the moment, it's covered entirely with a throw (actually an old baby blanket of Lydia's), and three cushions which I made probably about thirty years ago! I do still really like them, but I just want to have a change for the chair, and use those cushions somewhere else in the house.

So I will strip the chair back and repaint it, and cover the seat pad with some pretty fabric. Then I will put a throw and cushions back on - not to cover it completely as it is now, but to partly drape on it, to show off the lovely chair itself.

I have this throw ready, which I crocheted a while ago, and I'm using yarns from my stash for the sea horse cushion in colours which I think complement the new throw really well.

Anyway, back to my beach walk.

Originally, I wasn't going to go out today at all. The intention was to meal-plan for the week ahead, and then do my big shop tomorrow.

However, I really fancied some fresh sea air, and I also needed to go and pick up some cat food, or my fur babies would starve this evening and tomorrow morning!

So, off I went into the rain and called to Morrisons. I'm so glad I did, as the food my kitties eat is on offer!

Whilst in Morrisons I'd been umming and aahing about whether I would actually go to the beach, but when I came out, the rain had stopped and the sun was trying - really trying - to come out.

So I did something I very rarely do these days - popped to Starbucks to the drive-through, and grabbed a caramel latté made with almond milk.

Then off I went to the beach - not the regular beach in Llanelli, but the stretch I prefer, further up the coast near Machynys.

The tide was right out, which was a bit of a shame, because I would love to have both seen and heard the ocean, but it was still lovely. When the tide is out, it leaves lots of little watery places, and banks of tufty greenery, which look so pretty.

The sky was very moody today, with the sun not quite managing to make it into full view, but just hiding behind the clouds. I think the clouds were threatening lots more heavy rain, so I didn't walk for too long - just enough to breathe in the lovely fresh air and allow the ocean atmosphere to fill me with a sense of peace and wellbeing. Oh, and take some photographs of course! Plus give thanks that this beauty is right on my doorstep.....so valuable during a lockdown.

Off for some food now, and get some clothes in the dryer if I want anything to wear to work tomorrow! Then for the rest of the evening, as well as meal-planning, I'll be doing a bit more to the lounge curtains.

After that, the rest of my Self-care Sunday plan is cwtching kitties, lots of tea, catching up on some rubbish T.V., and a hot, bubbly, candlelit bath before bed! That should set me up nicely for Monday and beyond.

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy week ahead.

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Saturday 3rd October 2020

Picture of the day

Pearl's a Singer!

Pearl is the latest addition to my craft room. She was gifted to me a few weeks ago by a fellow Freegler - the same lady who gifted me the lovely table I have in my kitchen, and which I will get around to upcycling one day.

This is Nala.....she's missing Bob and Ollie (as am I).

Nala decided that in the absence of Bob's comfy lap, she would make do with mine, and gaze lovingly at me whilst I finished unpicking the curtains I am upcycling. I did try to explain that it's very tricky to conduct needlework whilst there is a cat on one's lap, but she was having none of it, so I unpicked around her!

After unpicking, I cut out the new organza panels. These are needed, because Nala likes to sit on the windowsill, and over the last couple of years, since I made the originals, she has repeatedly tried to grab the curtains, and made lots of little scag marks in the centre of them.

So, I am replacing the organza, and instead of it covering the whole window, it will be in two parts and brought back with the lace overlay, into tie backs. This means that it will be less tempting for Nala to claw at them. Also, because I now have a garden worthy of looking at, the empty window space between the two parts of the curtains will give me a lovely view to the garden, and the antics of the birds which visit.

This afternoon was a good opportunity to release Pearl from her case and see what she can do.

Pearl is quite an old machine, and I wasn't sure what to expect really, since her previous owner had said that she struggled to get her to work properly. However, I found no such problem. She stitches beautifully. I had to make a small adjustment to the bobbin tension, but apart from that she's fab!

I found some lovely ruffled lace edging in my stash to stitch along the centre edges of the organza - the part that will be separated when they're pulled back into the tie-backs. I'm probably not explaining it very well, but all will be clear when I post pictures of the finished curtains.

I absolutely love lace. The lace which will be on top of the organza was gifted to me by my sister a few years ago. It used to hang at her kitchen windows and I always loved it, so I was delighted when she gave it to me.

I'll then be stitching the lovely braid I bought from Dunelm along the top edge of the ruffled lace, to finish it off.

My home style is romantic, feminine and vintage, with a bit of country style. These curtains should look very pretty once they're done and fit in well with the rest of the room.

Well, I'm all stitched out for one day, and off for some tea & chapters before bed. More tomorrow! Oh, and I'm very sorry if "Pearl's a Singer" by Elkie Brookes is now your earworm!

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Friday 2nd October 2020

Picture of the day......F is for Friday

Fairies, flowers, and FNW. "What is FNW?" I hear you say. FNW is Friday Night Wine!

I actually can't remember exactly when that Tina-ism came about. A "Tina-ism" is a title which a friend of mine came up with some years ago, to, um...label (for want of a better word) something which I say, which is kind of unique to me. One of my favourite things to do is play around with words, and that way lots of "Tina-isms" are born!

FNW originated in my teaching days, when I would get to Friday, and be very happy that I'd managed to instil some education into tiddly peeps, but also had become very tired in the process. I would therefore go home and relax for the evening, with YouTube videos and a bottle of wine - Friday Night Wine - FNW. So there you go, now you know!

The flowers in the picture were a gift.......from me, to me!

I absolutely love flowers. I love to give them, and I love to receive them, and I always have fresh flowers in the house. I never spend a fortune on them - you can get a lot of lovely flowers for a small amount of money - and they do so much to cheer the house up. I've put these beautiful roses into one of my favourite vases, and they are on a bedside cabinet, so that I can see them when I wake up.

The fairy in the picture is my beautiful Cornish fairy.

I've had her since about 2005, when we went down to Cornwall for a holiday, and she was bought for me from one of the many, many lovely gift shops which Cornwall has to offer. I fell in love with her as soon as I saw her on the shelf, and just had to have her!

My lovely fairy as yet has no name. I've never been able to find just the right name for her, but I'd love to. Do you have any ideas? Something Cornish would be nice! I think she was bought in a gift shop in Porthleven.

Cornish Fairy usually lives on a shelf in my bathroom, alongside some sea shells, a candle and a plant in a pretty pot. The whole shelf is one of my favourite little areas of my house.

This has been an interesting week, with lots of emotions. Today I had a negative result from a couple of tests regarding my health, which made me relieved and very happy. The announcement on the news that people living on their own in lockdown areas can now visit one other household indoors seemed like great news - and it is for some, of course - but for me not so, because my Lovely Man lives in a different county to me, and so we're still not allowed to see each other. This obviously has made me feel sad and disappointed.

Ah well, never mind - it is only temporary. Weekend is here (always something to be thankful for) and I have lots planned, which of course I will blog about!

I wish whoever is reading this a very happy weekend, and if you too are someone who is separated from your loved one/s, then I send positive thoughts and prayers that it will be short lived.

I'd love to see your feedback!

please click here to comment on this blog entry via my Facebook page....especially if youhave a name suggestion for my beautiful Cornish fairy!

Thursday 1st October 2020

Picture of the day

I popped into Dunelm on the way home from work, and bought this lovely braid to use on my lounge organza and lace curtains. Watch this space!

I have some fiddling with a sewing machine to do this evening too, but the story of that is for another blog day, so again - watch this space!

Today was a bit of a crappy day, from a health point of view (physically, mentally, and emotionally), and I really wanted to take one of two options this evening......

1 - to forget the healthy eating plan and call off at the chippy for fish & chips, then escape to the beach to eat them....

2 - to just go home and collapse into bed.

Fortunately, I avoided both options. Option 1 was ruled out due to heavy rain, and option 2 was avoided by receiving two very lovely 'phone calls - one from my Gowjus Girl and the other from my Lovely Man - when I got home.

So, the originally-planned vegan burgers went ahead! I thought I'd give the Tesco Plant Chef burgers a go...served in wholemeal rolls (I don't buy many white bread products any more), with some lovely fresh lettuce and tomato, and yummy gherkins (one of the few pickles I like).

I grilled the burgers for the healthy option, and toasted the insides of the rolls.

I also used some Asda Free From 'Mozzarella', and fried half an onion and a couple of chestnut mushrooms.

Yes, I know frying isn't as healthy, but I used rapeseed oil, which is a healthier oil option, and in any case - grilled onions? Nah, I don't think so!

It was a really nice meal. However, I must be honest and say that I don't think I'd buy the Tesco Plant Chef burgers again. They were a lovely texture, and grilled well, but there wasn't a huge amount of flavour in them. I'm glad I had the other savoury bits and pieces to make up the flavours.

In all honesty, it was their cheaper price which tempted me over other brands, together with the fact that I hadn't tried them before. I've had other Tesco Plant Chef products and enjoyed them, but sorry Tesco - your burgers are not the best! I'd rather pay a bit more for more flavour.

Of course, the best thing to do of all would be to make my own. I did make a couple of kinds of burgers during the summer lockdown and I have a feeling I have some 'left overs' in the freezer. Hmmm....I'll have to investigate that for next week's meal planning!

I'd love to see your feedback!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

Monday 31st August, 2020

Today was the last bank holiday of the year. Bob was working up at Craig-y-Nos, so I joined him at lunchtime for a picnic, then spent a very peaceful afternoon reading in his studio.

In the evening, I worked on this website, before getting a fairly early night, since tomorrow it's back to work again.

Picture of the day

These very pretty boxes which I picked up on my shopping travels at the weekend with Lydia and Lewis. I love butterflies, and love pretty boxes and jars to keep things in, which may otherwise look cluttered. I'm not sure where I'll put them yet, but I'm thinking that on the dresser in the cwtch is looking promising.

Sunday 30th August, 2020

Last day of having Lydia and Lewis to stay. We decided to chill out at home. We watched "Sunday Brunch" - something I love to do, but haven't done for absolutely ages! Then we had some lunch, and it was time for them to head back to Kent. Why does time pass so very quickly? I don't know when I'll see them again - probably not until around Christmas time I would think. It's been so lovely having them to stay.

Picture of the day

After seeing Lydia and Lewis off, I decided to have a bit of me time, so I headed off upstairs to start this book......then promptly fell asleep! Haha.

Saturday 29th August, 2020

Day two of the L2 (as I've been affectionately calling it) visit. Bob was working at Craig-y-Nos today, so we packed a picnic - mainly consisting of pizza left over from last night - and drove up there to share it with my Lovely Man. It was a beautiful day, and Craig-y-Nos Country Park is definitely a fab place to eat al-fresco.

Bob is a wedding photographer and has a studio at Craig-y-Nos. If you'd like to take a look at his website, then please click here and you will be able to see his lovely photographs (opens in a new window).

Picture of the day

Leaving Bob to his work, we then drove up to Brecon, where we had a browse around the shops, and where I bought this lovely Heuchera for my garden.

Back home in the evening, for a home cooked meal of baked salmon, with roast potatoes and lots of veggies! We were too full for our "Wicked" sticky toffee pudding, so it was a unanimous decision to save it for a very naughty breakfast tomorrow!

Friday 28th August, 2020

I have been waiting for these visitors......

Picture of the day

Two of my favourite people, at one of my favourite places! Lydia (my daughter, aka my Gowjus Girl) and Lewis (her partner), taken at Roath Park Lake in Cardiff.

Lydia and Lewis arrived late last night. It's so good to see them. We were up fairly early, considering they'd had a long drive and a late night, and we decided on a day out in Cardiff. Lewis had been to Cardiff briefly before, but not to see anything of any significance....so we decided that a trip to Roath Park Lake was a must. We had a lovely walk around the lake, and got some take out coffees at the cafe, arriving back at the car just as the rain was starting.

Roath Park Lake is one of my favourite places in the world. It's the one place in Cardiff which I have continued to love, even after leaving Cardiff at a difficult time in my life, when I no longer loved my home town as a whole. That has since passed, and I do love Cardiff again.

The lake has always been my place to go to for presence of mind and a sense of peace and tranquility.

Having grown up in Cardiff, I have seen the lake grow and flourish and since now it is at least many months, and sometimes years between visits, I always see a difference in the volume of greenery and beauty.

After leaving the lake, we went on into the city centre, to look around the shops, and in search of some lunch.

It's incredibly hard at the moment, to just walk into a cafe/bar/restaurant and simply order food and drink. Most places are only taking customers who have pre-booked a table. This is reassuring, because at least you know that places are not going to be over crowded, and social distancing is being observed. However, it's also rather frustrating when you're hungry & thirsty, and just want to enjoy a meal with loved ones!

After much trekking around, we were eventually able to get into Pie Minister, and it was absolutely worth the wait! I had the "Kevin" pie - a delicious vegan pie, accompanied by minted mushy peas and yummy mashed potato. I would definitely recommend Pie Minister as a lovely place to eat.

In the evening, Bob came over after working at Craig-y-Nos, and we enjoyed a relaxing evening of food, drink and conversation.

Thursday 27th August, 2020

Picture of the day

This beautiful shelf unit came up on Freecycle. I didn't think I had a hope in hell's chance of getting it, but I did! I've popped it into the back bedroom temporarily. This was where I first thought of putting it when I saw the picture of it, but after getting it home, I think it would be much better in the kitchen. I love its warm, honey colour, and I think it will go nicely with the yellow and blue colours I'm planning for the kitchen. For the last eight months or so, I've been collecting Kilner style jars, for putting baking ingredients, pulses, rice, pasta, etc., into. I think they'll look fab on this unit.

The things which are on it now are items intended to accessorise various parts of my home. They were stacked up in one corner of the bedroom. I decided to put them on the unit for now, as they look much better than just piled up in a corner.

Today was a productive one. I did lots of cleaning and organising, including giving my Welsh dresser a good clean & polish, and putting her in place in my newly lino'd cwtch! I managed to fill her with lovely stuff within about half an hour, which freed up some work surface and cupboard space in my kitchen. It'll be a while before I get around to upcycling her, so I thought I might as well make use of the storage space in the meantime.

My Gowjus Girl and her lovely man arrive late tonight. I cannot wait to see them - I haven't seen them since February, and I'm so excited.

Wednesday 26th August, 2020

Picture of the day

This is the lino I've put down in the cwtch. It looks brighter in the picture - it's actually more pastel coloured. A lady on the Freegle site gifted it to me, and I really like it. It's already lifted the room, which isn't actually painted yet. Tomorrow I'll give the dresser a good clean before putting it back into the cwtch. I will be upcycling that at some point, but just for now it's fine.

Today has been really busy. I've been washing, drying and boxing up lots of dressing up clothes and other things which are going to be going into the loft. Also spring cleaning, and generally tidying and reorganising. I need my bed now!

Tuesday 25th August, 2020

Picture of the day

This book, which I finished today. It only took me eight years to read! Haha. That isn't as bad as it sounds. I started it eight years ago and got half way through. Then I stopped being a bookworm for a while and didn't read any more. Then it got mislaid. During my recent (and actually still current!) clearout, when I was putting my library room together, I came across it again, so was determined to go back to it after I finished the book I was on. Of course, eight years on I couldn't remember much of it, so I started it from the beginning again. I thoroughly enjoyed it - a cracking good read.

Today was my last day in work until next Tuesday. I'm taking some holiday days for the visit from my Gowjus Girl Lydia and her lovely man Lewis. They are due late on Thursday, but I still have stuff to do in the house before they arrive, so I thought I'd take the last of my holidays for cleaning, decluttering, etc., and to spend some quality time with them. I am so looking forward to them arriving.

Monday 24th August, 2020

Picture of the day

Julie, my friend in work, gave me these rooted cuttings today for my herb garden. Lemon balm on the left, and oregano on the right. I shall pop them into pots so they can get used to their new surroundings before putting them in the herb garden properly in a couple of weeks.

Another busy day - more cleaning, etc., and preparing the floor of the 'cwtch', which is a little room off my kitchen - and which has been used mainly for storage for the past few years - to put some lino down. It's not being used for storage any more, but as an extra room to the kitchen. A little while ago, I managed to get a lovely Welsh dresser from one of the selling sites, at a really good price. It's not an original - a repro from I think the 1980s - but I love it. It fits beautifully in the cwtch, and I'll use it for extra storage for things like baking tins, etc. There are pictures of it on my "Our House" page.

Sunday 23rd August, 2020

Picture of the day

Picking up one of these beauties for around half price in Tesco yesterday. I've popped it in the freezer ready for when Lydia and Lewis visit. I don't even know if they like this, but hey ho. I do! I love the "Wicked" range of vegan foods, but they're expensive, so I only buy them when they are reduced.

Today has been a fairly productive day, although it still feels like I am treading treacle at times. I'm still on the declutter/tidy/reorganise/spring clean mission, and I think I'm starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel!

The "Lydia and the Tooth Fairy" story is looking good! Bob has put it into a flip book, added the audio, and it's ready to roll. I want to do some more stuff to the other pages on this site though, before I publish it all and give out the website address.

Saturday 22nd August, 2020

Picture of the day

This is a dolls house which my father built - using bits and pieces of scrap wood - over sixty years ago! Originally, it belonged (and still does actually) to my sister. When she grew out of it, it was put away, and when I came along it was taken out of storage, smartened up, and given to me. Then it went into storage again, and was brought out to be revamped for my sister's daughter. My brother-in-law, at that time, added the black Tudor-style strips, which weren't on it originally. After that, it came back to me, to re-paint, etc., for Lydia. Now it sits in my craft room, looking beautiful and bringing back memories!

The dolls house is referred to in the story of "Lydia and the Tooth Fairy". As I've mentioned before, there is a follow-up story, and I've decided to add to these two stories, and write at least a further four about Lydia and her adventures with the fairies, and I'm hoping to base one of them around this lovely dolls house.

Friday 21st August, 2020

Picture of the day

When I planted up these strawberry plants, there were two in total, with a couple of runners. They started out as a cutting from a lovely friend Angela, and now they are covering the small area I planted them in, in front of the herb garden. I also noticed that on the large one on the left, there seems to be a flower bud. Wow, I may even get a strawberry or two!

Today Bob successfully transferred the fairy story from the cassette onto his laptop, so it seems like we will be able to add an audio on to the story when it is put on here, on my writing page - Paperback Writer. He's also able to make up a 'flip book' style copy of the story, so my next job is to type up a Word document, with the story and some illustrations, so that he can convert it into a book.

Thursday 20th August, 2020

I found it very difficult to get out of bed this morning, because I was so tired. I was expecting full-on fatigue all day long, but it actually wasn't that bad.

I've moved on from straps and am changing the bodice of a wedding gown - the bride wants a sweetheart neckline, instead of a plunge, so it involves taking the bodice apart, cutting a new central panel, and putting it all back together again. It's quite a task, but I really love that sort of thing.

Quite a few of my friends had posted on Facebook today about the great GCSE results their children had received. It was so nice to see these posts. I've been that proud mum, and it's lovely to see friends experiencing that proud mum (and dad) feeling!

Picture of the day

Because the weather this evening was very blustery - apparently we're on the end of Storm Ellen - we decided that food needed to be warm and comforting, and so we had a yummy vegan pie!

Wednesday 19th August, 2020

Picture of the day

I've been sorting more stuff in the house. I have lots of Lydia's childhood dressing up clothes, and outfits I made her for her various birthday parties. She always had lovely parties. For her seventh birthday, we did a rainbow themed party, and this is the dress I made her. As part of her gift that year, I wrote her another fairy story - a sequel to "Lydia and the Tooth Fairy", and again I'll be putting it on my writing page - Paperback Writer

Another hot day, and the fatigue this afternoon was particularly bad. So much so, that when I got in from work, I headed straight to bed and slept for about three hours. This evening has been a lot cooler, and for the last hour or so, it's been raining heavily and it sounds like there's a proper old storm brewing up outside. I think it will be a cuppa, my book and a fairly early night for me!

Bob has been busy working today, sorting out an MP3 link, so that we can transfer the original narrated story of "Lydia and the Tooth Fairy", from the cassette as an audio to listen to on here. It's very exciting!

Tuesday 18th August, 2020

Picture of the day

I don't work on the garden every day, and some days I don't even go out there at all. So it's always nice when I see a change. This is the mint I planted in my herb garden around about a month ago, when it consisted of one stem - the result of a rooted cutting from a friend. Now look at it! It's going a bit mad. I really want to thin it out around the right hand side, so that I can train it to grow on the left, so that it trails around the mirror. I shall put that on my list of things to do!

Today was another productive day at work. I am working on adding customised straps to some lovely gowns at the moment. It was very hot again, especially this afternoon, but the fatigue wasn't quite as bad as yesterday.

Bob did quite a lot on the stylesheet aspects of my website yesterday, and I've downloaded his work now, ready to do the next bits myself. I've also been going through my creative writing stuff and have come across a few things that I will be putting on the writing page - so watch this space! Well, actually, the writing page - "Paperback Writer".

Monday 17th August, 2020

Picture of the day

The lovely table I was gifted from someone on a Facebook free site. I've cleaned it all up and now it's in the kitchen. I will at some point "shabby chic" it, but just for now I'm happy to have the extra storage provided by its cupboard and drawers, and to use it as a nice solid island.

Today was my first day of my first full working week since the Covid 19 lockdown started on 23rd March,when I was placed on the government Furlough scheme. It went well - it was productive, and it was lovely to catch up properly with my work colleagues.

I did find the heat difficult. My Lupus symptoms - especially the joint pain and fatigue - really flare up in the heat, and if I take painkillers, that only adds to the effects of fatigue, so I try to avoid them, although it's difficult to go about an average working day whilst in pain.

Bob and I had a nice quiet evening, and watched the second part of an adaptation of Jane Austen's "Sense & Sensibility". Love a bit of Austen!

Sunday 16th August, 2020

Picture of the day

I found the original cassette tape from 21 years ago, which is the recording of "Lydia and the Tooth Fairy"- a fairy story which I wrote for Lydia when she was six. On the cassette I am narrating the story, and it has a theme tune and sound effects written by Paul Davies, somebody who we knew at the time.

Today I continued with the decluttering, organising, and spring cleaning of my house. I put the lovely gate-legged table in place in my kitchen and gave it a jolly good clean. Tomorrow I will fill up its cupboard and drawers with cleaning cloths, cleaning products, etc. - all the stuff which falls out of the cupboard under the sink every time I open the door! It will be nice to have extra storage space in the kitchen, and the table itself is a fab kitchen island for preparing food.

Bob was working at Craig-y-Nos today, and he came back to my house in the evening and we had his delayed birthday meal of Vegan spinach & ricotta cannelloni, with garlic bread. I did take pics but they were rubbish, so I'm not putting them on here! It tasted lovely though.

Tomorrow is the first day of my first full working week since March! I think I may be more than a little tired by the end of the week.

Saturday 15th August, 2020

Picture of the day

This beautiful ivy plant! She was only about a third of this size when I bought her around six weeks ago. She's on the windowsill in my bathroom, and she clearly loves it there.

Today has been quietly productive. I am continuing the process of decluttering and organising my home, and today I've been working in the kitchen. I have two esteemed guests (my Gowjus Girl - Lydia my daughter, and her lovely man Lewis) arriving in around ten days, and so I am also spring cleaning. A few weeks ago, I picked up a lovely table from one of the free sites on Facebook. It's an old-fashioned gate-legged table, with drop leaves and storage going through it, via a drawer each end and a cupboard through the body of it. I originally had it with the intention of using it in the back bedroom as a computer table, but I've decided now that I'm going to put it in the kitchen, to use as an 'island' for food preparation, and for kitchen storage. I'm in the process of cleaning it up.

I spoke to Lydia on the telephone earlier today - always a lovely thing to do! She's looking forward to visiting. Her call woke me up, as fatigue had got the better of me today (I have a condition called Lupus, which amongst other things affects my joints and causes extreme fatigue), and I had slept for a couple of hours....it was a lovely way to be woken up though!

Friday 14th August, 2020

Working 9 to 5

Picture of the day

My blog begins today, and with it 'Picture of the day'. This is Martha, my trustee workplace sewing machine. I've missed Martha (along with all my colleagues) over the last five months, whilst being on the government's Furlough scheme, due to Covid 19.

Today was my first day back, so it does seem fitting to start writing my blog at this point.

I've actually really enjoyed the time out from the 'rat race'...getting stuff done in the house, and the garden, and just taking time for myself and being with my Lovely Man Bob, the kitties and Ollie, Bob's dog.

However, I do love my job. I work for Enzoani in Swansea. My job includes customising and altering wedding gowns. I get to sew for a living (sewing is one of my biggest passions), with really beautiful gowns, and alongside a great team of people. What's not to love?

Happy Birthday

Yesterday was Bob's birthday. We had a lovely, relaxed day together, and enjoyed a picnic on the beach - it was in the rain, but it was only light rain, and because it's been so hot, it was quite refreshing!

We had intended to go earlier in the day, but it was late afternoon by the time we were eating our picnic, so we didn't have the planned evening meal of vegan spinach and ricotta cannelloni. We'll have that at the weekend now, which means that Bob's birthday celebration continues!

Later in the evening we enjoyed tea and birthday cake. I love to bake, and Bob loves my baking! He had asked for a home baked fruit cake, so that's what I made. It was yummy, and tea always tastes lovely from pretty china.

I gave Bob a hand-made picture of Ollie for his birthday. It's a needle felted picture, made by a talented lady by the name of Tracey Deacon. I love the picture and think that Tracey has made a fabulous job of capturing Ollie's expression and personality. Look at his beautiful eyes!

Tracey has a Facebook page for her needle felting. Please click here if you would like to look at her work (opens in a new window).

You take me up......

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