Les Mis Trailer

Friday, 31 December 2010

Costly end to the year..........

So my car wouldn't start yesterday, or this morning, so eventually I decided I had no choice but to call out the ANWB (RAC).........nice man came along with his jump leads etc and determined that the battery was not up to scratch!! "Replace battery" flashed up on his little reader.................so the long and short of it is that I am now 100 euros poorer and Phoebe sounds like a F1 racing car!!! Whoa, what a difference when I fired her up with the new battery!!! No wonder she has been struggling for such a long time, totally under-powered I realise now. I was then able to get the last minute shopping for Tim and 3 apple flaps for us this evening, and come home.
Finka is snuggled happily under her blanket on the spare bed. I debated whether to wait until later on to give her the sedative but a few incredibly loud bangs later I decided she had better start now. I can hear her purring as I type, but her legs are wobbly again and she is sleepy so I am hoping it will all be alright this evening. From around 7pm the fireworks can legally be let off, so it is going to be very noisy and very long......thank goodness there is no need to go anywhere again today!!
Sue xx

Last Reverb 10

Core story. What central story is at the core of you, and how do you
share it with the world? 
This is the final reverb for 2010. I have not been neglecting them but some of them seemed to repeat things I had already said, so I have kept them in my journal. I think this one means what defines us; what is the unique 'you' that makes you that individual  person, the never to be repeated, once only, irreplaceable you. And I am not sure how I want to answer it. I can, and I have a fair idea about what I would say, but it is too personal to say out loud. 
How do I share it with the world? By simply trying to be the best that I can. Being there for others, helping and listening and sharing their burdens. Being a good friend. Being a good mother. Learning to listen more to my heart and intuition. Trusting freely even when I get brutally wounded by the actions of others. Not losing sight of my own gifts however insignificant they may seem to others. Following my dream.

Susannah Conway is the instigator of the unravelling courses and sometimes I read her blog to see what inspiration I can gain from it. (susannahconway.com) She talks a lot about not allowing the negative side of life to hamper you from going for what you secretly wish for. About not letting life's knocks kick you so hard you don't recover. About believing that you deserve to have that dream come true....................so in her words:


saying yes
saying no
believing in possibility
taking risks
trying really hard, then trying some more
finishing
putting it out there
being open
being patient
being excited
allowing dreams to manifest without getting in their way
letting go of all fear, worry and competitiveness
embracing hope.


So, having thought about it long and hard my one little word for 2011 has to be REGAIN.
Have a great day, a fun evening, be with friends and family, and most of all, be safe as you welcome in 2011.
Sue xx

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Happy New Year to You

This is one of my favourite movies, and a sentimental tribute for the end of the year. I hope you enjoy it too.

Finka has had one of her sedatives this morning and has been wobbly around the house as though she was a ships cat!! Her little legs could barely keep a straight line, so I think she reacts very well to just even a third of the tablet! She was put out by her bed in our bedroom being moved overnight, so couldn't rest all morning until she finally dragged her blanket down the stairs and into the living room so that she could snuggle up in it as normal!!! She is the smartest cat in the world!! There are more fire crackers going off now, so I am glad she has had it, and I will top her up in the next couple of hours so that tomorrow is not so bad for her.
Tim and Lex are still baking the oliebollen at the bakery so I think the smell of them when he returns will be over-whelming! I do hope he brings me an apple-flap or a cherry one ( even better) as those I do love.
My car wouldn't start which was a nuisance when I needed to get to the shops so I biked there instead. I hope it starts on Monday when I need to go to Schagen..........wish I knew what the right thing to do is to get it going again????

My little word is still undecided as I have narrowed it down to two, but not made a final decision. I am going to plump for either REGAIN or WAIT. I seem caught between the two of them right now, so have to decide which has the more weight to it, and more influence over me in 2011.

Well, I need to do some other things before the afternoon is out, so I guess now is as good a time as any to make the move and do them!!!!
Just one more day to 2010..................and thinking back to last year, today was when I heard that Xander was terminally ill and needed to go to sleep. He is uppermost in my thoughts today and will be tomorrow as well..............he is certainly never forgotten.
Sue xx

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

One Little Word 2011

Every year I try to think of that one special little word that is going to keep me on track for the coming twelve months. I have been joining in this habit for several years now, and like the reminder it offers when things are not going the way I hope or want or wish. It is a word that means something to me alone, not your interpretation of it, or what you might think it means to me; it is uniquely mine. So I am taking my time and thinking hard about what I want to choose for 2011.

I have just got ahead of the mountain of ironing that needed my attention today! I do so love putting ironing away; never getting it out!! But today has been all about chores, and not much else. At 4 o'clock I am finally ready to put my feet up with a good book and a cup of tea. My energy levels are not high today. I always have a rather low blood pressure so do get 'dips' in the day when I feel really tired and lethargic for an hour or two, but then I get going again so I never worry too much about it. I think I am not sleeping as well as I ought to......maybe that is the problem. I wake up in the middle of the night and then go back to sleep again only to find it is later than I think when I finally decide to get up! My morning rhythm is being thrown completely out of whack!!! Monday is going to be hard for all of us, getting back into the usual day to day routine.
Well, tired that I am, I am going to love you and leave you for that well earned cuppa.
Sue xx

Go England!!!

After 24 years England have finally beaten Australia to win THE ASHES. Well done those chaps!!!!
Sue xx

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Making a start

We finally decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy those darn bookcases!!! Being still a quiet week on the roads we headed off for Ikea in Amsterdam this morning, Tim buoyed up by the promise of breakfast there........and me with the thought of buying them at long last! Not that we can fill them yet.......it is just that the room looked so empty now that the tree is down, and the huge gap beside the settee was just asking to be filled.....................
I don't really need to make excuses. I have talked about buying them ever since we moved in here, and now I have. But not quite.......because I think that to make the effect around the door that we are after I need to buy the extensions for the tops, as the height of the door frame is not the same as that of the bookcases. Tim has put the CD/DVD case together and the cupboard but I am not entirely satisfied yet. It gaps, and I don't like that! I guess once they are fixed to the wall for balance and safety, it will be ok, but until then it is annoying. And I finally bought a light for the loo and a shelf, as well as a frame for my red poster in the kitchen. Now I just need to find those sticky black letters.....
We have also got Finka some tranquilisers for New Year. She is going to be terrified by the fireworks as she is a timid girl at the best of times, so we are thinking ahead, and going to sedate her. I am worried that if we don't she will be so scared for a long time afterwards as well, and that will set her back in her little life and we don't want that to happen. She is so lovely and sweet but only really happy with the three of us, and everybody else she pretty much keeps away from most of the time. She is ok with some friends, but she is not keen on loud, deep voices so men are not her thing!!! Genghis is fine with the fireworks, not keen on them but he is used to it and just cuddles up to me and tries to sleep through it all.
So this is how my day is going; what about yours? I always think this is a 'something 'n nothing' week between Christmas and New Year, and I prefer to get to next week when school and all the normal stuff starts up again.  I miss my morning and afternoon routine so much!!!
Sue xx

Monday, 27 December 2010

All over for another year

We spend so long waiting for Christmas then in just a few short days it is all over, the decorations are down, and the house is returning to normal again. Ahh..............life starts to pick itself up and the normality of everyday routine begins. It does feel strange today as it is Monday and not a Bank Holiday here. Of course Christmas and Boxing Day falling in a weekend in the UK entitles us to two more days off work, but the world is getting back to the daily grind here in the Netherlands; but without me and Tim!!! We have got days free to prepare for the New Year, and the decorating that is starting in January. Yes, it is finally time to strip off the old wallpaper in our living room and get some new up and a bit of colour on the walls. I think my brain is trying to skip past the hard work on to the making it homely stage because as I was cleaning this morning all I did was stand and imagine the bookcases that are coming once the room is finished, and how joyous that is going to make me feel! The space is there............and sitting browsing through the Billy Bookcases in Ikea on the web this morning, I can see what it is going to look like now. I am compromising on them............just like you suggested!! ;-) but there will be enough room for the best books and our ornaments etc so I am happy. This just about takes care of January 2011; doing the living room. February will be the bookcases month ( for my birthday) and then March it is holiday time!! April Tim turns 18 and will start his driving lessons.............oh, am I really wishing the year away before it starts?!!! No, just anticipating wonderful events and moments in our future. It looks so grey and dull outside this morning that these sunny thoughts are making me smile, and that can only be good.
So, time to start on the Christmas mini album with my tags so that the stamps can all be put away for another 12 months and I can re-arrange my shelves and snuggery to accommodate SPRING!!!
Sue xx

Boxing Day

Boris the Turkey being prepared for the oven!

Boris cooking nicely!!

Giving of presents.

Tim, Jacky, Gebke, Martin, Harry, Ann, Frederique & Arjan.

Smile please!!

Happy Faces.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy Christmas to You!!

Finka getting her paw in the fluffy ball!

Genghis sleeping peacefully besides me.

Tim and Top Gear...goes without any need for explanation!

My books -yay!!!

Finally....the Cruzer!!!!

The usual Selection Box.

6am.....Bucks Fizz and Mince Pies - oh, and tea of course!

Left from Santa's visit.

The 3 Wise Men.

Mince Pies.

Table flowers with Mistletoe.

Cranberry relish & Luxury Bread Sauce.



Thursday, 23 December 2010

Taking a break

Hi. Its almost Christmas so I am taking a break from blogging. I wish you a very Happy Christmas and the kind of New Year that brings you joy, happiness and everything you can wish for.
Sue xx

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Monday, 20 December 2010

Good day

Yey, we did it! We got the extractor hood up and running!! It is not finished off because there needs to be some more alterations to it, but that can wait. The important thing is that it WORKS!!! It took most of the day but that wasn't a problem because we all enjoyed working together. So roll on roasting that Turkey!!
Thank you for being there guys.
Santa's Moon
                                             
Did you see the moon tonight? You know the one - for the reindeer to practice by? This is what I saw from our house early this evening. If you are patient and wait long enough you might just see those reindeers soaring above you as they test their strength before the BIG NIGHT. Last year I was lucky enough to see them as I drove home. This is what I think:

"This is the night
when the reindeer flight
practice turning and achieving height.
Old Santa shouts "On!"
and upward they fly,
over the rooftops
off into the dark sky."

 Of course if you have never seen them, you might not believe me, but I don't mind. It's the magic of it all that I never want to lose, so believing is part of Christmas in our house, and always will be.
Sue xx

Reverb 10

Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn't
because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred
from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)
This is a difficult one to answer. Sure, there are things that I should have done this year but have ignored or put into the 'to-do' list, but on the other hand, I have been trying very hard to live for the day; not focussing too much on the future or the past, and in doing that, I quash things mentally that fall into this category as soon as they enter my thoughts. What I always put off, and have done too many times to recount, is to avoid confrontation and conflict; arguments and unpleasant quarrels etc. I do this because I am afraid of what I will hear or set in train or not be able to take back. I do this because my nature leads me to finding compromises where ever possible, but often at the expense of my own wishes. I don't put me first.
I also do this because I try to live according to the Four Agreements. It is very difficult to do every moment of  every day, but it gives me a grip on my emotions, especially at moments of doubt, worry, fear, hurt and anger. I am learning to remain in my own emotions rather than those of others because the only reality I can know is my own, and no-one else's. How I view my world is not the same as how anyone else views it - I suppose that is logical, but we all make assumptions about situations when we do not know anything about them, and we put our own reality on them regardless of whether we are right or wrong. I face this challenge several times a week!!! I imagine all sorts of things are going on just because I do not have the information I need to actually know the reality of what is happening. And it is human nature to  usually think the worst in such instances, and not the best!!! So there is torment, and distress, and fear, and worry and anger and obstinacy ( in my case) and I suffer. But I am doing all that to myself, all by myself!! 
Changing this is what I am going to try in 2011. I will be clearer in my communication with others, I will accept that I can control and change my reality by basing it on new logic and not the old one that stems from things that I have already experienced in my life. I am going to TRY HARDER.
Sue xx

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Worth watching!!

I share my friend Peter's humour, so when he sent me this video link, I felt I wanted to share it with you as well!! Bravo those monks!!!
Sue xx

A free day suddenly!

My study group has cancelled now due to the weather conditions where the others live, so here I am with a free day on my hands!! Actually I have so much I can do that it is not a problem, and it is better to stay home when you are unsure about public transport etc and the days forecast. Having just checked it, I think it will be fine, and the coming day and night ought to be worse in the south of the country rather than here. So, on with the washing and the cleaning and the finding of bowls and plates etc for the Christmas dinner!!
I am so loving listening to the radio on my computer that it is compelling to stay here..........but shovelling snow is also on the to-do list as well, so better tackle that first.
Sue xx

Reverb 10

Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip
evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?
Hmm, thinking about this is quite intense. I can think of several things but the one I chose to tell you about is to do with my career. I had a super career that I loved, in England. I had worked hard to be at the stage I was when we moved here in 2000, and to suddenly find that it was all done, was a bitter blow. I had not been prepared for that. I was led to believe that it would be simple to just pick it up again here, and carry on, but that was far from the truth. The first few years were so frustrating for me, and I went through the whole 9 yards of grieving and mourning all that I had lost............inside me I suppose that pain is not yet totally healed over.
The first step towards healing came when I took a job within the caring sector in Zoetermeer, and then again another one when I began working here in 2008, but the giant step took place this year when I started this course in Amsterdam. That first day was wonderful. Since it is an international program everything is in English, and that has made all the difference for me. I am back on solid ground, I know what I want to say or write or read, with confidence, and all that I had lost is slowly being given back to me. It is only when this happens that you realise just how important or deep-rooted something is to you, and how all that bravado about not missing being a manager or a therapist or a team-mate was just that; I have yearned for it so much. 
Being healed in 2011? I would wish for my heart to be healed, that's all. 
Sue xx

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Reverb 10

Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you
wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn't go for it?
That's a good question. I suppose at a simple level, it will be going on holiday without family members with me. It's just a week but this will be the first real year that both the children will want to go away without me............all good and healthy development but sad at the same time.
I know it is possibly the start of me exploring the types of holidays I would like to experience instead of thinking about what the children prefer. I am not saying that I wouldn't be delighted to go away with both or either of them, and the New York trip is still on the back burner, and not forgotten. Before I turn 60 I would like to achieve that one!! Oh, and not forgetting the dream trip to Alaska m'dear..................
Sue xx

Friday, 17 December 2010

Its beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!!!!

The kitchen aroma is of cranberries, oranges and Port - wow, what a wonderful smell it is!! And this morning there was a hint of sherry in the air as I took all the lights and decorations out of the tree and then replaced them all again. It looks great again now, so better stay that way! I have also baked the Jewelled Cheesecake so that I can freeze it tomorrow when it is totally cooled down. I am getting in the spirit now!
The snow here is not as bad as in other parts I gather. Ineke said that there was a lot in Zoetermeer, snowing all day long, also in Amsterdam and Hoorn, but here it is relatively okay still. I think it must have been coming up from the South, so we have to wait and see where it goes next.
I watched the last hour long Takes Two this evening, boy is the Strictly Final anyone's to take. What a close call this year! The best choreography will win it I think as Karen Hardy said. Who will ever forget that awful dance with the lifesize buddy dolls?.............'a dis..as..ter darling'! So I hope the snow doesn't prevent me going to Ann's to join them for the show, but if it does, I will just have to party here alone!!
Sue xx

Snow on the horizon

I have just been writing my study group preparation for Sunday as I am hosting this time, and watching as the sky darkens, and comes to rest on the rooftops of the houses here. There is a quiet trickle of tiny snowflakes gently wafting down in the air, floating feather-like up and down as though someone was softly blowing them around. The last small patches of blue are being suffocated by the billowing clouds of grey and white, and it is steadily getting darker now. SNOW is coming.
Sue xx

A sleepless night

I am feeling heavy-headed and dull this morning, already a headache starting.......because I did not sleep well last night. The neighbours dog was barking from when I got home until at least 2am this morning and I think I heard every bark! I need lots of sleep - 10 hours preferably - so when I am deprived of it I don't do well! After the day I had yesterday too, I was feeling ready for that deep sleep I talked of...............ah well, onward and upward as they say!
This morning I need to get new tree lights as the ones I bought for this year all blew this week. So taking it apart and starting again is the only choice.
Then I am going to bake my Jewelled Cheesecake to go in the freezer for Christmas. Never made it before so it is going to be interesting. I do so like doing something new! It has snowed, but nothing like in England and Scotland. I am sure it is coming our way.................
Last bit of Christmas present shopping to do today as well. Tim has done his now, so he came along and asked me to make two cards for his girl friends. Good Tim - more time would be nice!! ;-)
But, I can actually now say that I have reached my 10kilo goal this morning, and even gone a little under - hurray!!!
Sue xx

Reverb10

Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself
this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
The best lesson I learned about myself this year is to trust my instincts more. I have a strong intuition, sometimes quite scarily so in fact, and in the past I have ignored it when there has been too much fear attached to it. But this year I have learnt that my instincts are good, and that I need to just listen more carefully to them and not be afraid of what they tell me. Taking this forward and applying it is what I am doing more and more especially when learning to coach and counsel, but also at work. I used to keep my opinions to myself as I am not the full-time staff, but actually what I feel about situations there and what can be done about them, seems to be being valued now. Perhaps the trust has been built up now and my sincerity about observations/problems stems from experience and a desire to improve things for us all. Anyway, this is my lesson, and I am grateful for learning it.
Sue xx

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Long day

The day I expected to have turned out to be totally different from that!! Not in a bad way, you understand, but I was not prepared for it when I arrived at work this morning. I turned the computer on, looked in the desk diary........and discovered we were having the centre's Christmas Lunch!! Turns out that I was to organise it too!!! Didn't know anything about it beforehand so I was very glad to see our student coming through the door, with a little bit more information about it than I could find anywhere else!! To keep it brief, all went really well and we had a super time, and it even snowed so our Christmas spirit was in good form. At the end of the day we gathered for our staff nibbly bits 'n drinks, which was great - I only drank water!!! - and then I drove home, collected Tim and went to the supermarket. Tim had been into town to buy his Christmas presents with a friend this afternoon, so he was all happy about that. This is the first year that he has done this totally by himself, decided who he wanted to buy for, and what; I am so proud of him.
And in doing so, I got to hear what he feels as well, and that was pretty wonderful to hear. He's growing up just fine.
It is now late for me, but I don't have to work tomorrow so I thought I could risk it, and maybe get a better night's sleep as a result. It is still snowing, and the world has turned white but I think it is not too deep and unless we get more overnight, it is fine for getting around tomorrow. I saw the forecast though............and that is not so good for the weekend but better on Monday!!!!;-)
So now I am going to try and get a very deep sleep for a few hours and give myself over to my dreams.
Sue xx

Long day

The day I expected to have turned out to be totally different from that!! Not in a bad way, you understand, but I was not prepared for it when I arrived at work this morning. I turned the computer on, looked in the desk diary........and discovered we were having the centre's Christmas Lunch!! Turns out that I was to organise it too!!! Didn't know anything about it beforehand so I was very glad to see our student coming through the door, with a little bit more information about it than I could find anywhere else!! To keep it brief, all went really well and we had a super time, and it even snowed so our Christmas spirit was in good form. At the end of the day we gathered for our staff nibbly bits 'n drinks, which was great - I only drank water!!! - and then I drove home, collected Tim and went to the supermarket. Tim had been into town to buy his Christmas presents with a friend this afternoon, so he was all happy about that. This is the first year that he has done this totally by himself, decided who he wanted to buy for, and what; I am so proud of him.
And in doing so, I got to hear what he feels as well, and that was pretty wonderful to hear. He's growing up just fine.
It is now late for me, but I don't have to work tomorrow so I thought I could risk it, and maybe get a better night's sleep as a result. It is still snowing, and the world has turned white but I think it is not too deep and unless we get more overnight, it is fine for getting around tomorrow. I saw the forecast though............and that is not so good for the weekend but better on Monday!!!!;-)
So now I am going to try and get a very deep sleep for a few hours and give myself over to my dreams.
Sue xx

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Reverb 10

5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in
five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most
want to remember about 2010.
This can be summed up in just a few words:- getting my life back.
Sue xx

Monday, 13 December 2010

Frustration!!

I am getting rather tired of all the toes and fro-ing regarding the connecting parts for my cooker hood. It keeps being promised and doesn't arrive; emails are flying back and forth; delivery company now been fired........promises, promises, and yet I still don't know when it will arrive!! I have asked that it be delivered before the end of today, so I will stay home and wait...............I am a patient person, and I don't want to become too impatient about this but I do feel that I need to remain assertive about it so that it doesn't become the bicycle saga all over again!!! You are wondering what that is? I bought a good second-hand bike from a local company a few months ago now. When the guy brought it to my house he told me that he had put a temporary back light on the side because he needed to order the right one for me, which he would come along and fit when it was in stock. So I waited a reasonable time, then I rang up about it. The answer was that he was now on a weeks holiday and he would ring me when he was back at work. I have never heard any more from him, my back light is still not replaced, and the one he fitted is obscured by my saddlebags so useless really...........but my gut says he has no intention of keeping his word about this so I am not chasing after something I will never get. He can live with the knowledge that his service is not top notch, and that I will not recommend anyone buy their bikes there in the future. But I have paid for this part for the cooker so I want it!!!
It has turned colder all of a sudden. I have just been to the Council to enquire about the local taxes since I got the bill on Friday and was unsure exactly what they needed me to do about it. Seems it is easier than I thought, so now I have sorted that out I can stop worrying about it. It is all so new to me, since  I have never dealt with these things before here in Holland.  Living and Learning.
Sue xx

Reverb 10

Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It's
about making ideas happen. What's your next step?
My aspiration is to become a counsellor/coach so my next step is to complete the first year, sign up for the second year, and work steadily at my net-working in order to eventually make a  living from it. Aspiring to something is a task, and I want to see this task through to completion.
Sue xx

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Two more tags

Winter

Christmas Carols
I have made two more tags and they are all now hanging on the doors of the white cabinet in our living room. 6 are perfect for the size of the glass so I might not make any more; but then again I might!
I need to finish off the cards still, and I am busy making a tiny heart..............
Sue xx

Sunday morning

I have now got three different body clocks working inside me!! 3am; 4am and 6am - I wake up automatically at these times whether I want to or not it seems, so whereas I could have enjoyed a longer lie in bed this morning, it just wasn't going to happen!! Instead I listened to some music, put a wash on, got up and stood on the scales........and yes!! Only 4 more ounces away from my 10kilo Christmas target!!! Hurray! I am so pleased that I am finding the determination to stick to my diet so well, and that it is working. All dieters need to see quick progress to remain committed, or a goal; something attainable and not a dream weight that is never going to be sustainable. Oh I would love to be a nifty size 12 or 14 again, but that ain't gonna happen, so instead my target is one I believe  achievable for me at my age and given my personality and love of food! So I think 20kilos is enough, I can believe in its possibilities, and I can visualise how I will look and feel at that weight. I am not sure that it will happen as soon as I would like it to, but I can accept that and still try..............now its your turn!
Tim has just reset our tom tom so that I can attempt to use it this morning for my trip to Den Haag. I got to Amsterdam and back in one piece yesterday and that journey is becoming more familiar and comfortable for me now. I still have to perfect my lane swopping as I head out of the city, but I am almost there. I know roughly three quarters of the way today, but it is that last part that worries me. Thankfully I am going to be in a part of the city that is vaguely familiar as it is not too far away from where Becci went to school several years ago. I think I can still find my way there!!! So, armed with paper directions and the tom tom, it ought to be fine.
So now I am going to gather my books, think about what I need to do today, and enjoy listening to the radio for a while.
Sue xx

Reverb 10

 Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated
with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but
simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
(More than once!! ;-))
But yesterday I sort of experienced that during my course. I was so 'in the moment' that I forgot my self-consciousness and embarrassment and shyness etc and just went with the flow of my mind and body and counselled. I don't really know where I got the questions from, or how I simply knew what to ask and when and how or how much to push and how much to back off............but I do know that I was doing something right and that it felt so good inside me. I know this because I felt it but also because of the feedback I received at the end of the day.
Sue xx

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Reverb 10

11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How
will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things
change your life? 


  1. Wheat/gluten
  2. Bad memories
  3. Financial insecurity
  4. Self-consciousness
  5. Fear
  6. Disloyalty
  7. Isolation
  8. Fencing in
  9. Clothes that no longer fit!
  10. Inertia
  11. Self-doubt
Boy,that is really hard to do!! It is so much easier to come up with the things we need than those we do not. I struggled to come up with all 11 and some of them are rather tongue in cheek I suppose, but they are the best I can do at this moment. How will I go about eliminating them from my life? Listen to my body more; value those real friends in my life; make better networks; stick to my diet; conquer my fears if possible, one by one; embrace the community around me and generally live my life as fully and as positively as I can. How will doing this change my life? I guess you are going to have to wait until this time next year to find out!!!!
Sue xx

Friday, 10 December 2010

Studious weekend ahead

Saturday and Sunday are going to be taken up with my study this weekend so I am preparing for them today. Tomorrow it is the whole group practical day in Amsterdam followed on Sunday by our study group meeting in Den Haag. So two long journeys to make, luckily for me it is going to be a mild weekend weather-wise so I hope to be ok. The coming week looks like bringing more snow with it, so that's not good, especially as I am working and Tim will be at the bakery every day from 4am onwards................
Thursday I am working and at 4pm we have our work Christmas drinks followed at 7.30pm by the last choir practice so that will be a long day I guess. Suddenly the days are rushing by and it will be Christmas before I realise it.
At the moment I am filling in time before the start of the Strictly marathon this weekend as we go into the semi-finals stage. I am hoping Matt, Pamela and Kara get through, so sorry Scott and Gavin, but you are not my favourites!!! It is not on for another hour so it is tough for me staying up so long! Finka is howling very loudly because she is confused by my sitting here instead of next to her and Genghis on the settee - I told you they are creatures of habit!! Well, I am headed back down in a few more minutes so she will stop her caterwauling then I suspect. Sometimes she is like a sheepdog, rounding up her herd!!!
Sue xx

Reverb 10

"Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how
did it play out?"
Oh, that is easy and difficult at the same time. The wisest decision I made this year was to finally listen to myself: my needs, my life, my emotions, my sanity, my future, all those words that can be prefaced with 'my'. I am not good at making these decisions. I tend to see both sides of the coin and try to placate everyone by choosing the path of least resistance and one that satisfies the majority. But this year, I didn't do that. I went for me. And I am so thankful that I did! I am not saying that everything is now falling into place or that I am not sometimes frustrated and worried and scared and not sure where I am heading, but at the same time it is allowing me to re-emerge and find my own happiness within myself. I am like that chrysalis that one day transforms into the butterfly - I know that I am ready to take on these challenges and that where I am right now, is not a bad place to be.
Sue xx

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Busy bee

This morning I ventured out in the cold to do some necessary shopping. The weathermen promise sunshine today and every now and then we get some! It is icy still and the traffic this morning was apparently horrendous, but at 4am when Tim cycled to work there was no extra new snow here. It keeps sprinkling a tiny amount with a cloud burst every so often but nothing significant at all. I finally posted my Christmas Cards to England and here so that is another job ticked off. And I bought the Harveys; can't get through the cooking without a glass of that in my hand!! Do you like lists? I do, thrive on them! And since I now have 4 unexpected days of work before Christmas, I am going to have to condense them down into less days. At this time of year my head can be quite sieve-like to put it mildly. Only the few parcels to get off tomorrow and I can sit back and relax regarding the post. I am still making cards for my new neighbours just to say hello, here we are, and hope you are enjoying a good Christmas etc.

I smell nice! I needed some toiletries so used the opportunity to 'test' some perfume in the shop. I have 2 favourites and it was actually great that one was sold out as the other one I have not had for about 18 months or more. Yes, I am still without perfume in the house, which is miserable but I am holding out as long as possible. So sitting here I can smell the vegetable soup wafting up the stairs as I am making some for lunch, and round about my neck and wrists I can smell pure poison!!!! Great combo right?!!

I had a lovely afternoon reading yesterday. I have got 4 books on the go, and another one to start..............
it is challenging swopping from one to the other but I am ok with that.

Listening to Ken Bruce right now, and what a lovely change it is to be hearing fresh, new Christmas songs. Annie Lennox, Coldplay, Manic Street Preachers - all great performers who have produced some super songs this year. I am a fan of Sky Radio usually, but this is a great change and I am preferring it right now.
And on that note, my soup is peeping on the hob so time for lunch!
Sue xx

Reverb 10 prompt

" describe the social gathering you most enjoyed in 2010."
This year there has not been much social activity on my part due to circumstances you all know about, so I am rather stumped as to what to say about this one. Holidays got cancelled, so nothing there...not had our house-warming as yet (waiting to decorate the downstairs first), and well, the choice is rather limited. I did enjoy my friends 50th birthday, but for me, the one thing I really loved this year was the start of my training course. So whether that was a social gathering in the purest sense is questionable but I am going to choose it anyway. The reason it stands out for me is the feeling it gave me of 'coming home'. And that in the sense of me being re-introduced to education, and topics familiar to me from my career days, my own language, and all things I just innately 'know'. It has allowed me to start reading more books again, wonderful, crazy, happy books, that fill me with joy. It has introduced me to new ladies whom I am getting to know slowly. It is forcing me to conquer my dislike of driving in big cities! It is reinforcing my need to be independent and strengthening my resolve to succeed. I suppose on the flip side, it is also making me more homesick....
but this is about happiness now, and although the point of reverb 10 is to consider what the future could hold as well, now is not the time for all that.
Sue xx

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Reverb10

Reverb 10 is something that takes place annually and consists of daily prompts from 1st to 31st December, encouraging you to think about your year and the coming one and who you are in the great scheme of things. As I sit here waiting for a phone call, today's prompt is to write or create something that says why you are 'beautifully different' and unique............I am joining in reverb 10 this year because of my study and what it means to me. I find it difficult to say stuff about myself, but here goes:
I am different from you because I dream in a semi-awake state and I see and hear and move in my dreams which makes them so real and sometimes unforgettable. Like the one last year when I dreamed about a Siamese kitten in my arms..............
I am different because I am Dyslexic. It is my gift and it offers me such creativity in thought, ideas and thinking that I would be somebody totally different without it. I was never tested as a child, but when my own daughter seemed like she was Dyslexic I discovered I was too........and neither of us have looked back since!
I am different because of the thoughts I have, the feelings and emotions I experience and the love I am capable of giving.
I am different because of the choices I make in my life, the paths untravelled rising up to meet me so unexpectedly at times, yet at others, it is me seeking them out in order to experience something new.
I am different because I am the other half of you.
Sue xx

My first 4 tags

Father Christmas of course!!

The meaning of Christmas

Angels are synonymous with the Christmas message

The Christmas Tree
I am enjoying creating again!! I know I have made some cards this year as well as several presents but these are just for ourselves so they are so nice to make again this year. I am particularly pleased with the last one, because I had this idea that I wanted to make a wreath somehow, and it turned out ok! I have a leaf punch which I used for the branches, and I threaded them onto some very thin wire before sticking it under the top of the tree to fix it. Then I used glue dots to separate each leaf around the wire before adding stickle red berries. I am using my distress inks to do the backgrounds as my alcohol inks are still packed, but I prefer inking anyway, so not a problem. I am trying the water splattering technique if you look carefully! Using the white ink first, and heating these stamped images first gives the relief look before I go over the tag with the inks. I am sticking with green, red and silver to match the colours in the house decorations. I think that at the end of Christmas they will turn into a small tag book with my photos and memories on the other side as I have backed each one with Christmas papers already. But during Christmas they will hang in the living room.
Sue xx

Tim's Tags

Are any of you following Tim's 12 Tags this year? I have been taking my daily tour of his tags and they are lovely as usual. I am making my own with the limited resources I have available, since there are still too many boxes full of scrap stash to unpack and store here in my little snuggery. I only have one cupboard instead of the two I had, and a teeny tiny space in which to work, so the majority of my equipment is still to be given a home. It is fine, actually, it makes me more efficient and more conscious of how many different things I can do with the same stuff! I have made 3 so far, and I am happy with these, and that is the point isn't it; being happy and satisfied with what one has and not what one has not.

I am also starting my run-up to Christmas by trying to source a turkey locally, reading up on how to carve the thing - by the way, Jamie Oliver's video clip on youtube is great and it really makes it SOoooo easy to do; thinking about how to use the oven efficiently now I don't have the advantage of the combi microwave ( miss it terribly!) where all our dishes and glasses are - and the fact that we have now grown to 9 people on Boxing Day!!! That is all we can squeeze in around the table, so no worries about that. Just the quantities and when and where to buy...what to freeze ahead of time.......the usual dilemma's I love to have to think about!! I do enjoy it all, but the key is not getting stressed about it, and just relaxing and sharing the joy. I am learning to do that with each passing year, so this time it will go more smoothly than ever!!!......especially now I have the right music to listen to!!!
Sue xx

Tentative shot taking..

front garden this morning


my grasses looking frosty!
I am practicing with my camera. I have not mastered it by a long shot but it is a start. The world was frozen this morning when I peeked outside so ideal for testing the Canon; yes, that was the recommendation so I went for that one in the end. Learning how to use it right now in anticipation of Christmas. I need to stumble upon how the macro really works, because it is all well and good having a 14x digital zoom, but it needs to be in focus!! I can get these sharper I am convinced but hey, one has to begin at the beginning, right? And by the time I need to travel with it, I will be so much better!!
Sue xx

Brilliant Coldplay

Isn't this the most amazing video and song?! I heard it for the first time this morning on Radio 2 cos of course Chris Evans plays the best music, right, Becci?! Tim was asking me why there are no more great Christmas songs brought out, as we were listening to the 70's ones for the umpteenth time yesterday, and here is the answer: every now and then, Tim, another gem comes along! If you liked yesterdays clip, you will love this one as well!!
Sue xx

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Real Christmas Feel to it.

This video was recorded by the band at Blists Hill Museum in Ironbridge, Shropshire. Know it well!!!
Great traditional feel to this song as recorded by the band and everyone involved. Go ahead, stop and listen to it for a few minutes..........do you good!!!
Sue xx

Happiness is..........

Genghis & Finka enjoying their new bed on the radiator!!!!
a warm bed on the really warm radiator!!! Just about room for two!!!
Sue xx

Let the bells ring out!!!

Oh joy of joys!! As in the immortal words of Captain Brandon "all that is lost can be found" - my clever, clever friend Ineke has proved herself worthy of the name Computer Goddess once again. She likes my cooking; I like her techno skills. Wow, in no time at all she managed to make me the happiest Christmas junkie ever!! I have been melancholic over the loss of my favourite Christmas Carol CD this year, and trying to rack my brains for how to recover it.............ringing round seeing if other people had it....searching box after box in the cold attic...to no avail. Then suddenly it hit me: Ineke. She is bound to be able to help me! And in the shortest of time she had. I am ecstatic this morning and it is all down to her wizardry. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!
Sue xx

Monday, 6 December 2010

Monday morning

I had a difficult night, not really sleeping much, restless, thinking, dreaming, and not shaking off this headache which is a nuisance now.  I sat in bed reading my book before going to sleep which was good but the light in the bedroom is too soft for easy reading so that didn't help I suppose, but I wanted to get a little closer to the end!! I am finding it extremely thought-provoking and interesting and perhaps a little bit scary for me who loves to shy away from anything confrontational. I say confrontational but I suppose it is more challenging than that, for it asks the questions one tends to avoid 99% of the time, and refuse to answer for that other 1%!! Sometimes I wish I were more superficial!!!

Yesterday we put up the Christmas Tree as we always do on 5 December. Finka is fascinated. Not a good sign. She is sitting underneath it biting the green stuff! We had to debate where the safest place was to situate it: where I first thought of gave her leaping access on both sides, so not a smart idea. Then Tim suggested it went next to the settee where the trunk is at the moment. Hm, access on one side only, room for the presents underneath, not taking up useful space ( until the bookcases come!) so that is where we agreed on. I moved the trunk underneath my desk so that it is under the TV now, and I've moved the boxes onto it which gives more space for the telly. I think it is a good temporary arrangement. Anyway, today I will decorate it, and hope for the best. Madam will not be sleeping downstairs for the foreseeable future!!!!
I spoke to Becci and Heathcliff was giving her a similar headache with their tree!! Good job Genghis has long lost his interest in such trivial matters; he just sleeps through it all, raising the odd whisker in amusement sometimes................sorry, can't type too long as my eyes are going funny.
Sue xx

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sunday morning

The snow looks like it has melted rather overnight and the pathways I swept in the garden are totally free from snow now. Whether there has been any black ice overnight remains to be seen - I hope not!
Yesterday my friend went to Amsterdam to the English shop there to stock up on our Christmas goodies, but she was told about another larger store in Amstelveen and having just looked it up, I think that one is definitely worth a visit Ann!!! I even saw they have my beloved Tesco's products!!!! ;-) If this is as good as it looks, then I think I will have to learn the route to here, and 'shop til I drop' with Tim!!! He will be so happy to find his chocolates can be bought 'just down the road'!!! Hence my desire to be rid of the inconvenience of snow..................fortunately Ann did some shopping for us in the other shop so I know we are ok for Christmas, but there MUST be double cream in that shop, surely?!!!!!!
I have a headache this morning that has been there since yesterday evening. I wish it would go...........
it hurts my eyes rather.

But what did I see on TV last night? OMG! It was Andre...............THE FILM..........the one I took Becci to see in Meadowhall when she was little, having been assured by her that it was a comedy. NOT!
We were in the huge cinema in Meadowhall, and when it was time to walk back to the car, mummy was in floods of tears, hugely embarrassed, and sobbing loudly as we walked past all the shoppers. I have not seen it since, but simply couldn't resist watching it once I knew it was on. It has all the ingredients necessary to reduce me to a sniffling wreck: a small girl; a seal; emotional music; drama; separation; scenery...........and the fact that it is a true story makes it complete. I am not blaming my headache on this though!!! I love the film, but it is not good to watch it on your own. No-one to hand me the hanky in my hour of need.............
Sue xx

Saturday, 4 December 2010

The snow came this morning!!

Back garden from the living room window

Looking out from my snug upstairs

Looking out towards my car and the street


Persuasion

Funny thing, taking quizzes about the characters in my favourite authors books. I did it yesterday, in an idle moment, not thinking about whom I might be........but it turns out I am Anne Elliot, and if you know anything about the story "Persuasion" I suppose it just had to be her!
Sue xx

just the fingerless mittens are missing!

Brr! It is cold! It is also 7am on a Saturday morning yet here I am in my pyjamas, scarf, socks and woolly cardigan writing my blog! Tim just went to work and I was awake so it seemed a pity to waste this precious time by going back to sleep. I know, sleep is good too, but I am now getting used to the really early mornings so this feels like midday to me!! I do feel I look a little Scrooge-like though........is this the result of living the single life; one gets to sit in eccentric garb with cups of hot tea whenever the fancy takes one?!! Probably, or else my inner eccentricity is being given free rein and I am going to turn into a silly old dear before much longer...........
or perhaps it is just me feeling free to be me?
are all these self-help books I am indulging in, and all this reflection into my inner self good for me?
do I have secret desires to become a recluse?
or in the words of Freddie Mercury "am I going ever so slightly mad"???? :-)
Ok, if you notice that I have moved to the Outer Hebrides or some other such far flung place, then the answer will be a deafening 'yes'.
This is the book that is causing all the trouble. It is wonderful, and I am devouring page after page as I read her stories and think about her challenges and the actions she wants us to undertake. I am drawn to books that are creative, have wide margins that beg you to write in them, have quotes by the millions, pictures to fire the imagination, and so on, and this book fulfills all of those wishes. The book was written as the result of Patti experiencing the premature death of her step-father who died 37 days after being diagnosed with Cancer. She reflected on what she would do if she knew there were only 37 more days left to live, and how she wanted to live them. It certainly focusses the mind on what the really important issues are in life. I think she sums it up best by saying that one has to 'inhabit' ones life; live it with intention and purpose, following our dreams, leaving behind the story of our lives for others, but making sense of it all for ourselves.
How many of us put off until tomorrow what we ought to have done today?
How many of us give ourselves time frames to do something even though in our hearts we really want to do them now?
How many of us are afraid to take a step towards what we are secretly yearning for?
How many of us will make New Year's Resolutions on 1st January or make promises to others that we will find impossible to keep?
Reading Patti's book will, I hope, enable me to be the best I can be both for myself and for the people in my life, and my story will be remembered.
Sue xx

Friday, 3 December 2010

Hello!! xx

My diet is still going well I am delighted to say. I am hoping for the 10 kilo loss by Christmas so that is my next goal. I have lost 8.9 kilos today so I think it is realistic. It is good to think in little stages; when you reach them it feels great! My friends husband said he would never have recognised me, but then again I have not seen Richard for several years so hardly surprising. But positive.

We have not had any more snow since yesterday but I gather there is 30cm in Horsham according to my mate Peter - and I have just spoken to my aunt who said she has got a few inches as well. It is thinking about it here rather than actually producing the white stuff. I thought this song was perfect for the weather situation - have you listened to it yet?! (WOW, I am just listening to Radio 2 and there was a report of an accident on the Penistone road at Ingbirchworth - I used to live there)!!! So I can absolutely picture where they were talking about............and since when it snows it really snows there, I can only hope that it eases off soon.

I ventured out this morning to do the shopping and stock the freezer just in case we have more snow. I also treated our little Finka to a cat bed that hangs on the radiator as she is so cold. She loves to sit almost on top of the radiator and I am afraid she will burn herself so I went to get her one of these today. I think when she comes downstairs at four o'clock ( our cats are creatures of habit!) she will sniff it, I will place her in it and that will be that! I am hoping she will love it. I so miss my camera ( have I said that before?) I would take a picture otherwise and show you all. The one above I took on the computer so that doesn't count. I am torn between two - the Canon or the Lumix.....waiting to hear which is considered the better one. I am going to use my Christmas money to buy it now I am not going to England which will have saved me about the same amount of money so this is how I am thinking about it. My reasoning re. budgeting is rather simple; I have one amount in the pot and if it doesn't get spent on one thing, it can be used for another, but not extra. I'm hoping this works!!!
My book has arrived!! I was so sure it would be fabulous: a perfect read for me; total anathema to you,  fascinating to me; illogical to you; beautifully illustrated and a feast for my eyes; a total daze for you. We will see, dying to show it to you!! My reason for having it is because I can use it in my counselling/coaching, so I like to think of it as an invaluable textbook that just invites you to dip into it and indulge one's senses and imagination....................delightful!!! I Love it!!
Sue xx

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Cancelled...........

My flight was cancelled this morning by EasyJet due to the snow disruption in England so that confirmed my trip to England was definitely off. Disappointment all round really but it is something no-one could have predicted and we have to accept that. I will try to get there in the new year when the weather is better hopefully!! So, unexpected days at home!!  It has snowed all day long here today so I suppose the bad weather is heading this way. The sky has hung on top of the rooftops all day long, grey and menacing but actually it is only light fluffy stuff that is falling up until now. I guess we have a few centimeters but nothing like the extraordinary snowfalls back home. Jackie told me she had snow up to her knees yesterday and it was still falling!! It is bitterly cold here so no doubt more is on its way. Tim was off on his bike at 4am this morning and now he has to be there for 4am tomorrow as they are so busy with the final run-up to 5 December. Starting earlier means they all get to go home earlier although Tim said he was the first away this afternoon at 2.45. It is a long day for him but he seems to be coping. I wonder what two weeks will feel like?!!!
I have been sitting making Christmas cards today. The phones and internet were all crazy yesterday with hardly a connection and until Tim came home and reset the modem I was without internet today too. But happily it is all better now! I was also up in the attic searching out the Christmas decorations so that the tree can go up soon. I have not found all the ornaments etc but it is so cold up there I can only bear it for short bursts at a time. Finka soon stole the broom from my snowman............I think I need to glue it again! She is naughty and tries to get everything so I am not hopeful about my baubles surviving!! Still, she needs to get used to it and next year she will behave more sensibly I hope.
Well, time for another cuppa as that is keeping me warm today!
Sue xx

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Drat, drat and double drat!!!!

It has snowed heavily in Sheffield and the rest of Yorkshire today. My friend sent me a text informing me the snow was up to her knees!!! Worse snow she had ever seen, no trains, no cars, no getting out of the house at all. My airport is currently closed until 10am tomorrow morning so my guess is that this will be extended - if it is ok, then I will go, but if Jackie says she can't get out to meet me then I would be able to move my flight if Easyjet have cancelled it, free of charge, so that would be my choice. The one problem is that the airport is closed until 10am UK time and I need to leave here at 11.20am, so only 20 minutes after the airport might have opened.......my optimism is good but I have not packed my suitcase as yet so I think I can guess what the probable situation is going to be. I will take a look at the news and weather later on this evening. Keep everything crossed for me please as the weather looks better over the weekend so we either need a cancellation + refund or re-scheduling, or to go.
Sue xx

Monday, 29 November 2010

Narnia returns

Oh this is my childhood coming to life on the big screen!!! Tim and I have seen the other two films so this completes the trilogy for us, just in time for Christmas. It is little wonder that I grew up a dreamer with a strong belief in make believe; all those stories of Peter Pan, and Alice, and wardrobes..........my ability to suspend belief is as strong now as it ever was!! So I love this sort of movie!  Enjoy.
Sue xx

Teenagers, grr!!!!

Sometimes it pays to get assertive on the telephone!!!! In my despair over the lack of co-operation from the boy this morning, who failed to answer the door when I was out thereby missing out on the delivery of a Christmas present ( for him), I got so frustrated about the thought of having to go to Alkmaar after work tomorrow night that I rang the delivery company and asserted my disappointment etc. I can't believe the delivery guy waited long enough or Tim would have got to the door in time, so I laid it on a bit thick and was given the depot number to ring to see whether I could organise it better for us. And I could! Now all I have to do is get to Bovenkarspel after work tomorrow and all will be well. Tim not talking to me any more of course - seems to be standard response from him at the moment, and loud music is blaring out of his locked bedroom. Joy of joys...............don't you just love the stress of Christmas?!!!! ;-)
Sue xx

Weather Watching

Well, according to the BBC forecast I ought to be ok for Thursday since only light snow showers are forecast for Sheffield and in Leeds on Friday it will be sunny!!! It would appear that Tuesday is the turning point really as then the snow moves inland from the east coast and will affect more places..............I feel rather nervous I must admit. Looking outside here right now it is still dark and grey - there has been a heavy frost overnight and it is white on all the tops. Brr! I will have to go out later on but then it is back indoors for the rest of the day.
Well, Anne got through to the semi-final of Strictly. I do not agree with the vote I am afraid as despite being amusing to watch, one cannot call it dancing and that is what the show is all about. Patsy was better..........and Gavin is doing his best and actually starting to enjoy learning the dance routines so go Gav!!! I think it must be his sports instinct taking over - wanting to win at everything. Ah well, just have to keep watching and see how events unfold. I still would like to see Matt and Aliona as winners.
Time to get dressed I suppose; my towel ought to be warm enough by now!!!! :-)
Sue xx

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Christmas

Just wrapping presents and thinking about what I need to do and buy when in the mighty world of Tesco's!! I found the menu I cooked in 2008 whilst up in the attic; my word, I was ambitious!!!!
This is how it read then:
Salmon Pate on Toast
Prawns in Rose-Marie Sauce
Prosecco
........
Lemon & Herb Roast Turkey
& Stuffing
Crispy Roast Potatoes
Chardonnay Carrots
Festive Red Cabbage
Sprouts a la Tim
Roast Parsnips
Chipolata Sausages in Bacon Rolls
Home-made Bread Sauce
Cranberry Relish
Madeira Gravy
New Zealand White Wine
Fleurie
............
White Chocolate & Red Berry Trifle
Port
Coffee & Liqueurs
..............................................

Hm, this will need some living up to this year!! Some dishes are a tradition in our family so they always appear, but I think some shuffling around is required this year as I like to try different things. At the moment we are considering doing away with the starters and replacing them with early drinky-poos and nibbly bits!!! ( we know what we mean!!!) Starting the day off with some Harvey's is a given, but I have found a really good sounding cocktail that I want to try out, with some small nibbles on the side whilst I finish the cooking off in the kitchen. Having friends here on Boxing Day is making me very happy, and I do so enjoy preparing this dinner for everyone. Tim likes his puddings the best but the jury is still out on what I will make for him this year. There will definitely need to be a slimming alternative for me!!!!
I have now reached just over the 7kilo mark and I feel great. I achieved my target for England yesterday so that is a good feeling, and I intend to stay on the straight and narrow when I am away. It can take a month to lose 7 kilos but a weekend to put them all back on again!!! Life is so unfair!!!!!!
One recipe for a delicious Mulled Wine is this one, which is known as: 
                                                              
                                                              THE OXFORD BISHOP

  • 1 whole orange
  • 16 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground mace
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 75cl (26½fl oz) bottle of port
  • the juice of ½ orange
  • whole nutmeg
You will need a small baking tray.
METHOD
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Begin by cutting the orange in half and studding each half with 8 cloves, then place the halves on a baking tray in the centre of the oven to bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour 275ml (9¾fl oz) of water into a small saucepan, add the sugar, cinnamon, mace, allspice and ginger, then over a high heat bring the mixture to simmering point, giving it a good stir. Let it boil briskly until it has reduced by at least half, then take off the heat and leave on one side. 
When you're ready to serve, empty the port into a saucepan and add the baked orange (plus the cloves). Pour in the spice mixture, followed by the orange juice, then heat gently without actually bringing to the boil. 
Serve it in a warmed bowl with the orange halves floating in it and a little grated nutmeg on top.


I make it each year and it goes in a flash! All this talk about food is sending me into my planning and list making mode so time to go downstairs and make that final selection!!!!
Sue xx