Les Mis Trailer

Monday, 29 March 2010

Ready for the off!!!

Well, not really, but I have started to gather my things for the coming weekend away. Having seen the weather forecast on the BBC last night, I have no idea what to take to wear! SNOW? SLEET? RAIN? Where is the Easter Sunshine that rabbits so enjoy?!! I'd got a whole other wardrobe in mind, and now I am having to totally re-think my ideas. And looking at the next three days forecast for the Stafford area, it is rain, rain and then sleet.............no!! Just when I was getting my winter attire out of the wardrobe and into the dark recesses of my storage boxes, I am having to haul it all out again...........shame! So, what goes into the suitcase regarding clothing will be the last I put in...and if all else fails, then they do have shops in England, don't they?..... :-)
My car has gone for its MOT (APK) this morning so fingers crossed there is nothing wrong this year. Phoebe is going to have to last me many more years to come!! I took her for a clean on Saturday as my father always insisted that a clean car gets a better service and this is a small way I can honour his memory. He was so particular about cars!! She does deserve a thorough going over inside but that has to wait. I am hoping to get her back this afternoon before Peter has to go on a visit, otherwise I am grounded all day! Yikes!
On the Apple Tart front, Tim made his yesterday and we are planning to take it over to Loes's this evening for the exchange, and tomorrow he will take a slice from each to school for his teacher to decide which tastes the best!! Tim was on form when we did the shopping for it, and he used his own idea regarding the sugar he chose etc and that made me happy. It means he is thinking about how to adapt recipes to suit himself, thereby moving into a new phase in his learning process. We all know that when we learn something new, we follow instructions to the letter, but as we move through to being an 'expert' we are able to deviate and add or take away or totally revamp something because we are confident that the basics stay the same and it will work. So this third version is so much better than his first attempt, and his pastry worked better and he was quicker at it and it looks fantastic. I will add a photo later on. He has also got an order for his Chocolate Caramel Shortbread so maybe we can go into Home Baking soon!!!!!
Sue xx

Sunday, 28 March 2010

We've sprung forward!!!

I've just added a clock to my blog as last night at 2am the clocks here sprung forward one hour into Summer Time!!! Luckily they do this in the Uk as well so the hour difference remains the same. I wonder when they will do the two year leap so that we are all on the same timezone? It is a debate that has rumbled on for years and years, and no-one makes a decision; but why is it so difficult????? No one knows!
I think my head must have been screwed on backwards yesterday because when I came down this morning I found that the cats dirt box was facing the wrong way round!!! Finka had been desperate to go during the night and had pooped in the hanging mats on the radiator which was the most sensible place actually, as I found it immediately and threw them in the washing machine!!! I have never done this in my life!! I find it even hard to imagine that I did it and didn't notice I had done it when I washed the floor..........so it must have been like it for hours............am I losing my marbles finally?!!
I guess yesterday was a terribly difficult and emotional day for me. I am so distraught about so many things right now, and my emotions feel very raw and near the surface. I felt lonely and sad and scared and worried and invisible to others and I still do this morning, so it is going to be a long day. Sometimes things just hit you, and the reality of a situation is more than you can bear, and fighting the urge to give in to it and sob your socks off is so difficult. I am a very private person and showing how I feel is something I reserve for only one or two people in my life. Writing my blog is my cathartic process - a sort of external and distant journalling that allows me to sometimes shed my burdens and let them go. Even so, it is just the tip of the iceberg that gets written about, and everything that is hidden in the murky depths below, stays well protected from above! Luckily I have my music, and that helps when I want to think about something other than myself, as I can just get my ipod and block out the world!!!
Well, that was my Sunday morning pep talk to myself so now I have to get up and attack the rest of the day in a more calm and serene manner so that I can fool everyone that I am doing fine. That's the way it works, right?
Sue xx

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Time to prune!!

First of all let me say that the bag I won from Rebecca Sower arrived this morning and it is super! A little smaller than I was expecting from the photos but really nice and I will definitely be using it!!! Just the other one I ordered to arrive now and I will be satisfied..............
The trees have been pruned and at the moment the men are clearing all the branches from the drive and street. Very neighbourly!! It is a good thing that our neighbour can burn a lot of the thicker parts on his fire in the garden as otherwise all our bins would overflow!! I am the sweeper -upperer!! So cannot do more until the larger pieces of wood are gone. Fine, that suits me!!
Means I can get on with all the other inside jobs that take up weekends - don't you just hate that? I wanted to go to the opticians in town but decided to wait until Monday or Tuesday when it might be warmer. So many things to do before my weekend break - yes!!! I am so glad I am not flying with BA as they are on strike, I hear from my mother, otherwise a note of panic might have been noticed in my blogging. As it is, I am more concerned with planning the train to and from the airport, and my lifts and my washing/clean clothes etc. What the weather will be like, what do I need to take etc. It's only a couple of days really, but it always seems necessary to be prepared for a fortnight!!!! I have lists of what to bring home for everyone as well, so that needs space in my suitcase............ah, the joy of travel!!
Anyway, the joy in store for me next is cleaning the bathroom!!!
Sue xx

Friday, 26 March 2010

Thought for the day

"The three keys to more abundant living...

caring about others...

daring for others...

sharing with others."

{ william arthur ward }

Thursday, 25 March 2010

a whole load of heavy stuff!!

There must be something in the wind at the moment because where ever I look or turn there are emotional fallouts happening!! It's like someone dropped a huge balloon of angst out of the sky and is busy spreading it far and wide. This whole week I have felt as though I have been given the residues from the contents of this balloon and expected to sweep them all up and wipe the world clean again. I am doing my best, but some are larger than others and will take more time, and hardly any are tiny enough to be just blown back into the wind!! The poster above my computer reads " KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON " - great! There is no additional sentence telling me how to do this!! Maybe they should have made a sequel to it " and when you are done carrying, lay your burden down. " That's what I do. I lay my burden down at your door and you take it up for me and make it weightless for a few hours until I have to shoulder it again. That brief rest is all I need to recover and regroup, and it is priceless. Thank you. I guess it is that old footsteps in the sand story...................being carried when times are hard and knowing that someone cares enough about you to take it on. Y'know the one I mean I am sure.
Lat night was a huge success. The school raised over 6,000 euros for the Vocational School in Vietnam. Our meal was good and we enjoyed the whole evening. To cap it all, my friend and her husband became grandparents on the same day so that was tremendous news for them. Tim was really tired when I picked him up around 11pm so today it was hard to get up and out to school so he went in a little later. We are both suffering this evening so I think it is bedtime now! I was almost asleep by mid-afternoon at work so was glad to get home and lay down for an hour to recover my senses. I think I will sleep like a log tonight!
Sue xx

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Morning sunshine

That will hopefully last all day!! This is the warmest start to the day so far this year and although the sun is not yet out, it is warmer than before so I am thinking it is a day for planting my pots up! I have seen the first shoots of my perennials popping up through the ground so that is heart-warming, but I miss colour in the garden right now so that is what I am after. A bit of colour! I am not one for the brights - orange and yellow etc, but rather the more subdued and soft mauves and pinks and purples and blue hues. A splash of white is also good but Peter has ripped out my beautiful white ground covering plant by the pond because he thought it was dead!!! It was only lying dormant through the winter, but it is gone, and that is a shame. Still, I can buy it again sometime....so long as no-one touches anything else!!
As I type I am sitting here with my hair in some conditioning stuff that takes 10-15 mins to work, so this is my preparation for this evenings meal at Tim's school..for the school in Vietnam that they sponsor. I am looking forward to it very much. I got on my scales this morning as I felt I needed reassuring that my sacrifices are worthwhile, and yes, they have gone down again!!!! It is slow - but then again good in the sense that I need to do this properly and take it slowly to ensure long term results. I am almost at the magic number I want to fall below before I go to Becci's. The one where you get to before the weight ends in a 9!!!!!! :-) I think it shows in my face already but I tend to puff up with fluid retention so it varies from day to day!!
I so want to be able to wear one certain outfit that I haven't got into comfortably for a year now!!
I have some friends who are celebrating their birthdays today, so Happy Birthday to you guys!!!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Sunday sunshine

Oh boy, it was really difficult getting through yesterday without falling into temptation! But I managed it so I feel very proud of myself! And the scales arrived ......and I stood on them this morning.......and actually I weigh less than I feared! Still far from good but I think that I must have lost about 2kilos already as that is where I thought I would be on them, and my jacket meets closer across my chest now, and my face is looking slimmer, SO! It is working, hurray!!! I have to lose 7kilos for me to fit some of the clothes I am longing to get back into for spring, so that is my first target. I know how much will make the difference because that is what I weighed last time I got into them and felt good. And if I get another 2 off before Easter - maybe three if I am very good, that will also make me feel better and fitter and more energetic and sit more comfortably on the plane!!!!
I have a good hour on skype yesterday with my best mate Peter, and he told me, Becci, that the trains are threatening a strike over Easter so we might have to re-think our travel to Manchester unfortunately. What a shame that they always pick peoples bright spots to highlight their own wants?! British Airways are currently doing the same and it is so disappointing for all their passengers as once again their plans are ruined. I understand that it is an effective means to a end, but it is costly to so many others and there ought to be a better way to negotiate than this!
So what do I have to look forward to today?!!! A run out to the supermarket probably as Finka is turning her nose up at the tuna and prawns kitten food I bought for her yesterday! I threw some of the dry food over it and she picked that out no problem, but the tuna was gobbled up by Genghis faster than a McDonalds burger!!!! We do have one super that is open on Sundays but one has to drive over there so I am waiting for a lift....it is looking better weather than I expected but of course that can all change before the morning is over.
And the rest of the day will pass in the usual manner although when Tim gets home we are trialling the apple tart again as next Sunday we have to produce the competition version!!! Tim is still refusing to include any ingredients he doesn't like himself, which sort of limits what he can add, but I think he has to go with his own ideas and we will see what he thinks of Loes's when he tastes hers. I am going to the school benefit dinner this week with Loes, Ann and Harry so looking forward to that too. But now I guess it is time to go downstairs and see what my feline friends are up to, and start the small amount of ironing that awaits me; what fun!!!
Sue xx

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Saturday morning

Well I have been to the hairdressers this morning and feel quite a bit 'lighter' for it!! It's amazing how much hair needed to be cut off from the bottom and to thin my very thick hair on the top!! But it resembles ( vaguely) the photo I took with me, and I know it will settle down once I wash it myself tomorrow so not too bad overall. I have been traumatized by hairdressers in the past and tend to watch every snip they make, due to the fact that when I was about eight, I had very long hair indeed and could even sit on it, which I had grown especially to be like another older girl who travelled to school in the same mini-bus as I did, and then I was asked to be a bridesmaid a couple of years later, and my mother had it all cut off and false curls put in!!! I looked liked Goldilocks and hated it!! I was so unprepared for it that I have never forgotten the horror of looking in the mirror and seeing the result. So now I am careful, very careful!!! It will look so much better once there is a colour in it in ten days time. Now the only question is 'what colour shall I have?'..............
The rain persists here relentlessly so that one opportunity to get into the garden was well taken. So much more to do, especially the pruning but it is going to have to wait.
I am making soup. It is in my book so I can eat as much as I like of it and since I do feel kinda hungry this morning, I am looking forward to lunchtime folks!! I have a skype date with my best friend at one o'clock so that is also making me clockwatch a little.
I am delighted to have discovered that there are more books in the series Anna and I read/share, about the Ladies Detective Agency. I spotted them on Amazon this week and wanted them for her and I immediately!! Have you read any of them? I can really recommend that you do. There was a BBC series a couple of years ago which was lovely, but the books allow you to imagine the characters as you want them to be, and I find that more enchanting. I also saw so many other books I coverted........in my new home I just have to have a huge bookcase somewhere!!! I can go without many other things in this life, but books and music are too important to me to go without. I have always wanted a library in my home but that is not possible to date - who knows, one day it might happen??? - so I think masses of wall to wall bookcases is the only solution! Wouldn't that be so wonderful?....I can see it right before my eyes.
Now, what's next on my agenda today?..............
Sue xx

Friday, 19 March 2010

Let there be rain!!!

Well, overnight is fine but let it be gone by morning!! So far today I have done quite a lot without even setting foot downstairs!! Amazing how the morning disappears when I get up a tad later than usual!
I have to do some food shopping shortly but at the moment I am enjoying new music and songs and widening my musical knowledge-base!! Sounds more fancy than it really is I assure you! I am listening to Leona Lewis and I confess that until now I have not heard many of her songs over here. She won the X factor in the UK and was acclaimed as the british Beyonce because of her voice and looks. She is very good actually and seems to be making a name for herself in America right now - singing the title from Avatar and My Earth on the new Final Fantasy game which Tim has got his eyes on. That's how I came to listen to her this morning.
I am wearing my black jeans that I can only get into when I am a little slimmer so that is my proof today that this diet is working!!! Still no sign of my scales but hey, they have to come today, right?!!! I want to know the reality of the task ahead of me. Two weeks until I go to Becci so I have time to get maybe another 2 kilos off so that will all help the cause. I found a nice hairstyle that I will present to Paulien tomorrow to see what she thinks about it for my hair....it is one I have liked for a long time so maybe it is suitable for me. Fingers crossed!!!
So, ought to get on with breakfast since it is now almost 10am!!!!
Sue xx

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Sunny day

Finally I have spent a couple of hours in the garden clearing all the deadwood and leaves etc that was hanging around in the borders. Still the pond area and the back tiny border to clip and sort out but that can wait. The area where I enjoy sitting and sunning myself is now tidied!! Finka was gazing longingly outside from her perch on the windowsill, especially when both Genghis and I were out there but she is still too little to be trusted. I take her out in my arms so that she gets a whiff of fresh air and the scents around the house, but she needs a collar and bell and a tag and a harness and lead BEFORE we take the next step to freedom!! She is such a timid cat that I think she will just follow Genghis where ever he goes, so through the hedges to next door and around the street, but there is a huge dog living opposite us that could eat her on one go!!! and that would be tragic to say the least! But if we want to sit outside with the door open she is going to have to take her chance and have 'the talk' soon. This is where I explain to her that she is well loved and cherished by us here and that she has an extremely good life and would be very foolish to run away or cross the road or fall in the water etc. It has worked with our other cats so far, so I will give it a go with Finka too!!
It felt good to have tidied up the area of soil over Xander's grave. I know that there are flowers growing there already but at the moment it looks so bare so I have to decide what can be planted there in his memory. Some Tulips would be ideal as they were his favourite but I think it needs to be a green shrub that is there all year round. Maybe a ................?any ideas?
Back to the books I guess!!
Sue xx

Life explained.

TWO WOLVES One evening an old Apache told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

"One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
"The other is The Spirit - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:"Which wolf wins?"

The old Apache simply replied, "The one you feed.."


Chocolate Caramel Shortcake

Here is Tim's delicious cake that I am having trouble trying to forget is in the fridge!!! Nearly all gone which is good, but oh how I want a slice!!! One thing that keeps me in line is that Anna says that if one gives in to temptation you are not seriously ready to diet, so I am using this as my mantra whenever I think about something naughty to eat, and that helps. Really!! He took some slices to school yesterday and ate a fair bit himself so my guess is that it will all be gone before the end of today. This morning I made some scrambled eggs but just couldn't eat them. Since I once went on the Atkins Diet my digestion rebels at the sight of an egg sometimes and I simply can't swallow them in any shape or form! I guess it is a question of 'an egg too far' !!!!
I can hard boil one in a salad and I can sometimes manage an omelette but then again not. I was talking to someone who is following Atkins and doing amazingly well on it, because she loves eating all that protein meat etc. I think that is also so important; you have to do what suits you best, regardless of fads and what others are doing around you. I am waiting for those scales to arrive today and the horrible truth to be revealed...............
So Ineke tells me that there is a Kinky Kapper in Alkmaar!!! And she has been to hers again this week which I think is great. I am going to think about that for post-dieted me!!!! Maybe when I am a different shape and feel differently that ought to be my treat to me??
Well, the garden is beckoning me and I need a mood-life this morning as I am struggling with a few things this week. I am loving the new BOYZONE album BROTHER, so that is something nice in my ears as I work!! Oh, and I became the new secretary of our choir last night!! No-one else volunteered so muggins here felt she had to. We needed to share out the jobs more so this is fair enough. We are down to 19 members which is terrible but we did get a super dollop of cash from the council subsidy which we were totally not expecting anymore which has saved our bacon this time around. 4 new people are coming next week to see whether they want to join or not, but our last man standing has finally thrown the towel in and is stopping at the end of this month. If we get more men in the future he will come back which is something at least. He has a lovely voice too!!
Oh, Finka has found a new place to hide when she feels threatened or insecure about meeting someone new! I searched high and low for her this morning when Sara was here, but couldn't find her in any of her known hiding places. Then quite by chance I spotted two bat ears peeking out over the ridge of the wall cupboards in the kitchen. She had climbed right up onto the top and was lying down hiding from our sight!! She eventually came down when we were sitting still, but it was so funny to see her just playing hide and seek with us!!
Sue xx

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Tim's college intake etc

Tim went for his intake interview at the college yesterday and it went very well. I think he was pleasantly surprised by how relaxed it all was and how confident he felt about being there in September. He has got a provisional place on the Patisserie Chef course / "Banket bakker" until he passes his diploma, and then we go again to get all his gear and book list etc. He was happy to hear that he probably won't have to take the English lessons as they are looking at competencies nowadays, and being bi-lingual he should be way above the level needed at school, and therefore exempt from the lessons!! Yippee, thinks Tim, finally it all makes sense! We had taken all his report and his portfolio with us but it wasn't needed at this stage which had we known, would have saved me 5 euros and a lot of stress that morning! But actually we need to see it as more positive in that Tim made the most delicious chocolate caramel shortbread which needs to be eaten up very quickly as it has temptation written all over it for me!!!! And I do so love it!! He is taking a slice for his teacher to taste, as it really is very, very good. Me, I have got my diet book now - came in the post yesterday - so sat and read all that last night, and started following it this morning. It all makes perfect sense of course - nothing new or things I didn't know, but I do find it a practical and sensible read, and written by someone who you feel really knows what it is like to have to lose weight herself! So many diets are written by skinny minny's who never have to think about it, and so this appeals to me more. I need to buy some scales next, and then I am all set! I want to keep pace with you!!!
Sue xx

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Little note books and ATC's

I made some little chunky notebooks this weekend and was delighted with the results. It is still a question of trial and error but overall I think they worked. I love the happy colours too!!
Sue xx

A more hopeful start to the day?

Dare I say that the sun is shining and the birdies are singing and spring is in the air??? And the rest of the week looks promising as well? Yes, I think I can! What a difference a little sunshine makes to the day! I am all for having seasons in the year, and not at all sure that I would really like year-long summer, but when it starts to change from winter to spring, it is a lovely moment. Talk of 17C in the south and here around the 10C means garden time! I am thinking one border at a time is the best way to go. It is still very wet out there especially over in one corner, and the pond looks really sad for itself, but that can all change in a weekend if the weather holds. Time to dust off Alan and sink my nose in the books first! Ahh..........bliss!
Today I am going with Tim to his interview at college. This morning we are going to finish the Chocolate Caramel Shortbread that we started yesterday and get that in his portfolio so time to drink my tea up and get off to the shops!
Sue xx

Monday, 15 March 2010

Two meals down, one to go!

So far, so good! Since I don't possess a working scales I have no idea what my kick off weight is, only that it is way too much and needs to go down! Blissful ignorance or fearful delusion???
Anyway, the omelette was okay but I was starving by 12noon having done the shopping and been to the vets and started the mammoth wash............so now I have had my prawn salad and water and that's it until dinner time!!! I keep thinking about the gorgeous Mapa Mundo top I bought at the weekend for my Easter Trip to my daughters, and how much better it will look and fit me if I loose a few kilos quickly. I needed shoes but I have wide feet and there were none to be found anywhere in Hoorn. Lots I loved but am never going to get my feet into!! I also badly need a haircut that I feel delighted by........and that has not been the case for a while now. I know curly hair is a problem 'cos it never stays the way the hairdresser cuts it for more than one night, and I have no idea what it is that I want it to look like either. I go there, sit in the chair and hope for a miracle to happen! I need hair inspiration before Saturday when I have my appointment. This is my pre-hairdressers nerves speaking chaps! Still, if my face was slimmer and I was slimmer all over maybe my hair would be slimmer too? What do you say about that?...............there are no "kinky kappers" here in our little area, or Ineke would be screaming into the screen 'go there Suzanne!' Brave I am not!!!! But still, I do wish just for once that I could have something completely different.................I guess it is the old menopausal syndrome taking hold............change before it is too late.............make a fresh start................take up a new hobby, all that jazz. Hmm, dieting doesn't make you cheerier does it?!!
Sue xx

New week, new effort!

I spent yesterday with friends in Zoetermeer which was lovely as I hadn't seen them for simply ages; in fact over a year!!! So there was plenty to catch up on and lots to talk about so the day flew by. But hard to stick to the diet rules, right? Not that I digressed terribly from what I have promised myself to do, but today it starts properly again with NO going off the rails!! I am making my list as I type!! The book is in the post and if I am to believe what it advertises, AND I do it to the letter ( another issue), I ought to be one dress size less in 14 days time!! Well, that would be just tikkedy boo my friends! So here is day one officially starting. I have had my eggs and tomato omelette and a cup of tea, and that is it til lunchtime. Until the book arrives I have to guess a little but it is along the lines of Dr Frank so I am using his suggestions until it does.
Finka and I are off to the vets this morning so I will shop at the same time and be domestically efficient today!!
Wow, a lot of things to go wrong within this brave set of resolutions this morning!!!!
Sue xx

Its confirmed!!

Yes, my name is on her blog so everyone knows that I won this bag!! It is in the post even as I write - thanks Rebecca!! My daughter is going to covert it I know............
Lots happening this end. My sister is apparently much better as my mother had spoken to her and that was wonderful for her. No need for me to rush off to England anymore!!
Tim is experiencing heartache which is awful for me as I feel so helpless and ill equipped to help him and I can only stand by and catch him when he falls. It is all part of life and something we all have to experience but it is never easy and always painful so my thoughts are with him right now. Just waiting with open arms and a mother's heart as we start this day.
More to say later but I need to get up and organised next!!
Sue xx

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Sister Act

The news from London is that my sister is not doing too well after her Liver Transplant unfortunately, because she is now on dialysis due to her kidney function being so poor. Hopefully it will improve quickly but she is not out of the woods yet. So, still a concern and a worry, especially for my mother and Joanna's direct family. Fingers crossed everyone!!
Sue xx

A new day has dawned...

Last night I sat and watched the Eurovision programme on BBC1 in which we were choosing our entry for this years competition in Oslo. There was one outstanding singer who did indeed go on to win, called Josh. He has a great voice and with some help from the dance boys, and more confidence, he has a good chance!! I think the song is perfect for Eurovision too. Pete Waterman did a good job on that, so no worries on that score either. All in all, I was happy with the way it all went this year!!
Now off to get my son to work! Yup, I'd still be in bed otherwise at 06.28am on a Saturday morning!!!
Sue xx

Friday, 12 March 2010

A fantastic surprise!!!

Sometimes I see that artists/scrappers offer giveaways on their sites, and I am always amazed by how many people react to them and that one or two lucky people actually win super things each time. I am not someone who ever wins raffles or lotteries or prizes from competitions etc. Until today. I WON!!!
I still cannot actually believe I just read an email from none other than Rebecca Sower informing me that I have won her offering ( without giving what it is away as I am planning on it being a surprise for someone else ) and I am over the moon about it! A-MA-ZING!!! I replied immediately in case the bubble bursts and it wasn't meant for me, as I checked her blog for my name but there is no new post as far as I can see up until now..........so all I have to do now is wait.
What a turn up for the books!! Thrilling!
It has turned out to be a fantastic day on every level as far as I am concerned so this happy Friday is just getting happier by the hour!
Sue xx

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Something completely different!!

A hospital in America put this youtube video together for Breast Cancer Research. They were promised a huge donation if they got one million hits on youtube - they have already passed seven million!!! It made me smile, and since I am going for my first mammogram next month, I guess this is something 'close to my chest' at the moment!!! Enjoy!!
Sue xx

Jamie Oliver in America

Since I am trying my best to change my own eating habits and diet, this video came at the right time for me and hopefully for all of you as well. It takes 18 mins to listen to it, and it is quite moving at times because of the content, but it is relevant to so many people including myself, therefore I wanted to share it on my blog.
I have two children myself. When I was at school we had Domestic Science lessons where we learnt about cooking and about food. I enjoyed it at the time and it enabled me to fend for myself once I went to college and later lived on my own and eventually when I married. My daughter didn't have cooking lessons at school; no longer part of the curriculum, but she had me at home, doing my best to cook fresh food and being creative with the limited resources I had, and she can cook now. My son wants to be a patisserie chef cum baker. He has always loved food even as a baby, so it is something he enjoys and takes an interest in. I feel very fortunate that he sees this as his future career. He has lessons at school here in the Netherlands because he is going into the food industry. Half his week at school sees him in the bakery or the kitchen or serving in their restaurant. He loves to bake, but he is also interested in it being the best it can be and not fast food, low quality ingredients. I'm not saying that a MacDonalds is totally out of the question! Maybe once or twice a year we think about it, but it is not a regular stop for us. Instead I think it is important to go to good restaurants so that he can become familiar with great menus and good cooking. We can't afford to go very often but when we do, it is special. He is a teenager who eats rubbish at times - but at home he gets to see what can be done with simple ingredients, what a good store cupboard needs in it etc and we have all the books he could wish for, including one written by another teenager. I like Jamie's recipes. They are great tasting and easy to follow. I like mediterranean food too, and believe that this is one of the most healthy diets in the world today.
Watch this video if you can, it is interesting and informative and although it is aimed at an American audience, it is relevant to every single one of us. Do something about your diet, and support me in my own efforts to change for the better.
Sue xx

A new day has dawned

"Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!" Robert Browning. Not the full poem and not quite April yet, but I woke up this morning and the sky was light blue and small grey clouds were gently floating by my window giving a hint of a beautiful day ahead. It feels like Spring!!! And I started thinking about what I miss about home, and the woodlands and the bluebells and the wild garlic along the lanes in Dorset and it made me think of this particular poem. I am so happy to be going there at Easter!!! I love this time of year and can't wait to fly over the country and look down on the fields and the hills again. Not too long to wait now so that is my comfort. My day looks rather like a domestic one. Jobs to do, starting with the washing and then the floor downstairs and maybe the windows outside if they are lucky! I hate that job!! If it warms up enough to sit outside I plan on doing that too. I am still debating whether or not to buy a small tree - the catkins look so pretty right now, and keep seeing them around the place and fancying one....I need to tidy up the area over Xander too, as the soil is a mess still and the plants around it all got disturbed and need replacing; there is enough to do! But first I am going to take a leisurely time in the shower and drink my delicious tea and start the day having gotten out of bed on the right side and feeling cheery! Sue xx

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Romantic; me?!!!

Just been browsing all the fabulous sites where you can download gorgeous backgrounds and headers etc. when these two caught my fancy. The background one is called Jane Austen, so I had to have that!!! and the other is by a Finnish designer and rather whimsical and Hans Christian Anderson-ish I thought, so also desirable. Maybe the two don't combine perfectly but they do to my romantic and nostalgic notions!!!
Sue xx

Lazy start

Yawn!!! I felt so sleepy this morning that I am only just out of bed at 9.42am!!! That has to be some sort of record for me! I woke up to my alarm at six o'clock, but went back off to sleep after half an hour and just didn't want to get back out again until now - felt the cats would be hungry otherwise I might have stayed longer! I actually feel as though I had a great nights sleep but I am one of those hamster types who isn't actually satisfied with anything less than ten hours per night. It was later than I intended last night as I went up early but started to read my new book from Jackie and before I knew it it was turned eleven. My bed was warm by then, and very cosy and my pillow was soft beneath my head, and the room was totally dark.............so sleep came very naturally to me and I was reluctant to give it up when there was no need to do so this morning.
Nothing else to talk about as yet then: still need to shower and have breakfast and take Tim to school for 11.am as he has the restaurant this evening, and my plan was to go to the market so that is where I will head once I drop him off. I'd thought about the garden for today but it is cooler than yesterday and the sun is not shining here, so maybe not.....or later on depending on the weather situation this afternoon.
Well the bathroom is now free so I guess that is my next port of call.............a warm shower.........tempting to go back to bed after one of those though..............
Sue xx

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Background change

A subtle change to the background now that the sun is shining and we can seriously start thinking about SPRING! I planted some pansies today by the front door, just to make me feel as though I am doing something green!! They look great and I know I really do have to make an effort and get into the garden and sort it out. But it is still only 1C out there despite the warmth of the sun's rays on the windows and in my bedroom, and so I must wait a little while longer...............doing some indoor chores instead! Never a bad thing but always a tedious one!
Sue xx

Good News.

My mother rang yesterday to say that my sister was in London having her Kidney Transplant!! Apparently she had been contacted on Saturday to be on stand-by, but that fell through as the kidney was not suitable, but she was then contacted at 2am on Monday morning and the ambulance took her straight to Kings College Hospital where she underwent the 9 hour transplant operation. She is currently in Intensive Care there and we have to wait and see how her body receives the new organ.................we have got everything crossed!!
At the same time I am fully conscious of the fact that someone, somewhere, lost their life in order for Joanna to have this second chance of a healthy future. So I thank all organ donors everywhere for their unselfish generosity and for their families who in such an unimaginable situation allow their wishes to be fulfilled.
It is no small feat.
I know because I was once with neighbours whose little girl had been knocked down whilst crossing the road to home, right outside our house just as I was coming along the road. She was taken to hospital some distance away, where she was on all the machines and ventilators necessary to give her poor shattered brain time to recover - or not. Under such circumstances they were unable to drive or even think about anything else so we did that for them for several days until that moment came when they were told Joanne was brain dead and asked whether they were willing to donate her organs. Their courage in deciding that their daughter would have wanted to do this was fantastic. We were all able to say goodbye to Jo, and then the team took over and we were able to go home. I know that afterwards, her mother was comforted by the knowledge that Jo's organs had gone to several different recipients and saved their lives. She believed her daughter was living on in their bodies and so was never really gone from them. I have never forgotten this and have two beautiful plates on my wall that they gave me in thanks for what we did to support the family.
I hope and pray that my sister will make the most of this gift and continue her life in a totally new light.
Sue xx

Monday, 8 March 2010

Start Day

So, despite still not having received the daily diet plans from the website of Dr. Frank, I have to keep my word and start it today. I got good advice this morning and some tips about what is to be expected from this diet regime, and so I have an idea of what to eat this morning!! No doubt Loes will be all organised for our lunch, so no worries there, and that only leaves the evening meal to think about today. Just been packing my inks and swirly machine in my bag before I get dressed etc as today we are playing with our alcohol inks. Or at least that is the plan!! It has snowed here over night so that is a nuisance this morning but I think it will rapidly disappear during the morning as it is not so cold anymore. So up and at 'em on all fronts today folks!!!
Sue xx

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Two's company, three's a crowd!!

Genghis is taking over the space in Finka's basket slowly but surely but whilst she is so little it really doesn't matter too much. They look the picture of contentment don't they?..............
After her wild shenanigans of yesterday Finka is paying the price today and is very subdued and quiet, not eating and just sitting in one place or another. I am keeping a watchful eye on her to ensure nothing is wrong but I think she was just too exuberant for her own good and now her has probably got to rest again.
Tim and I have spent the morning making the Apple Tart which is good but if Gebke, Tim and I are really honest, it is not good enough to be spectacular and that is what we were aiming for! We need to re-think what we can do to turn it into something more splendid.........it is good but since it is for our competition I cannot take a photo of it yet!!! Then Gebke rang and she and I took a turn around Westwoud in the cold sunshine which was lovely. I ought to do it more often! Our reward was the tasting of the tart and the tea.............yes, those teabags are disappearing fast!! Now we are settling down for a late afternoon snooze and a cuddle from those four footed friends of mine!!
Sue xx

LARP explained!

Oh, suddenly thought you probably wonder what LARP is?!! Live Action Role Playing.
Tim is a huge medieval fan and of Lord of the Rings etc and he and his friend Chris are into this sort of warfare. Chris has been playing LARP for a while now and has a fantastic outfit and huge sword etc that he lugs along with him to the weekend battles/tournaments etc. The best outfits do resemble those of Lord of the Rings etc and Tim fancies himself as Aragorn I guess....one reason for growing his hair long and refusing to start shaving!!!! so that is what I am writing about. The cost of looking the part is huge...................hence the negotiated settlement for birthday money as there is a weekend on 24th April that they both want to take part in it apparently. And Tim turns 17 on the 16th of next month so timing is everything mum!!!!!
Sue xx

Oh, what a beautiful morning!!

It is cold, I can see that from the ice on my car windscreen but there is a deep blue sky and the sun is shining and it looks like a glorious day awaits me. Just enjoying my tea, ha!ha!
Lets hope that the winter snows are a thing of the past and that spring is finally here.
What are my plans for today then, on such a lovely morning?
Tim and I are going to practice our Apple Tart, that's one thing; he has to continue with his school work and then we can make his portfolio together. We have reached an agreement (I hope and think)..........over the LARP items he would like for his birthday, and the school work I would like to see him finish!! He was delighted yesterday because he got his payslip and his extra holiday hours were included so he was able to go and buy something he wanted for his Xbox. He insists that this will not affect his concentration and he will still be able to do the school stuff................oh, Tim, was your mother never young herself?! Was I born yesterday? Do I know nothing whatsoever about you?! ...............
After all this has been done, then it is the more mundane housework that begs my attention but what I really want to do is get out in the garden!! Probably too soon, but I am truly torn between my desire to make the garden ready for spring and summer etc. and yet knowing that I am not doing it for myself, it takes the pleasure out of it quite a lot. I think the answer is to focus on my tubs instead. The portable garden!!! So that calls for a session on the settee or at the table, reading my lovely Alan Titchmarsh again, and finding inspiration for planting beautiful pots up!! Probably only at the dreaming stage this month due to low funds, but come April and I can start to get them ready. All chance of frost ought to be over by then, and there will be an abundance of flowers in the garden centres just waiting for me!! Several times when I have been walking around the shops recently I have been drawn to all the little trees like the blossom and catkin varieties, so I think I will have to make a decision about one of them first and foremost..........or remember next year when my birthday comes around that this is an ideal present for me!!! Forgot again this year, but not to worry. There is always tomorrow.
Sue xx

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Tea bags

Naturally, being English, tea is of the utmost importance to my well-being, and yesterday whilst out for a coffee, I was aware that my yearning for some Lemon and Ginger Tea was getting out of hand. I had cravings!! And since I had not found any tea over here, I was deliberating asking for an emergency sending to last me until April..........but fortune smiled on me when Peter broke one of my precious Bodrum glass tea mugs last night. It needed replacing and we decided to look in Enkhuizen this morning as there is a delightful tea/coffee and chocolate shop there on the Westerstraat. We found the mugs and as we were waiting in the queue to be served I noticed there were several different Twinning's teas on the shelves at the back. A little squeal of delight popped out when there in the middle were my darling LEMON & GINGER teabags!!!! So I bought two boxes and have been drinking it ever since!! Must tell Gebke too, another addict since our visit to England last year. Tesco do a very nice bag as well, if not a little tastier if I am totally honest, but I am not going to find them over here am I?!! On the subject of detective work, I have done rather well in another area today, haven't I, Becci?!!!!
Sue xx

Freedom at last!!

Finka wriggled out of her jacket once again this morning so I decided to ring the vet just to really check that this was no longer necessary. Finka has discovered her freedom from its constrictions and is spending the day bounding around the living room as though she has been locked up in a cage for weeks and forgotten how great it feels to be alive!!! No signs of any pain or redness around her stitches but I do have to make sure she doesn't start to lick or bite on them...apart from that, go girl, go!! Genghis seems pleased to see her back to her usual tricks and is more friendly towards her again, although the odd snarl is meant to keep her in check I guess!!! I am delighted that she is enjoying life again and I no longer have to babysit her through the day and night!!
Sue xx

Song of the week.

I love this album track by Take That and the album itself is pretty cool! Ok, so I'm old enough to have been a fan first time round, but I think the guys have matured with great integrity and Gary Barlow writes the most sensitive and poetic lyrics in my opinion. These ones mean a lot to me.
Sue xx

Friday, 5 March 2010


It is that time of year again folks!! We have to stop hiding under our warm, baggy winter layering and start thinking about the summer time and less attire!! Those comforting cardies will soon be replaced by short sleeved t-shirts and long trousers by shorts.........ghastly thought right now!! Time for action then, but what should it be? Forgetting the old 'it never works anyway' excuse, it is once again time to decide what to do to get my body into some form of shape. ( well, it has a shape, just not a good one!). A start then, so that when it is a little warmer I will get on my bike once again and tootle off towards the water and enjoy my weekend/weekday bike rides. It did my hips wonders last year so I have to capitalize on that this year if it is going to continue skimming off the odd inch or two! Loes and I have decided to follow Dr. Frank. There is a site called www.eenkiloperweek.nl that is free and the idea is to lose 1 kilo a week for 10 weeks. That's a good start I think, don't you? We get recipes per day sent to us so you can buy what you need for the day and not waste too much money or food 'cos you have not cooked it within the sellby date. I have just been cleaning out my fridge y'see, and finally thrown out all those overdate items that have just been taking up precious space on my shelves! A pat on the back for me!! If I do this right, then by the time I go on holiday in July I ought to be in better health and better shape. So, anyone else care to join us?
Sue xx

Houdini Cat!!

Finka has to wear a romper suit to protect her stitches. This consists of a soft cotton body stocking with holes for her head and front paws and velcro fastening between her legs ( so I can open it for her toilet drill!). It fits like a glove. And yet it would appear that she can wriggle out of it somehow - even with the velcro holding it tight - and discard it to lick her fur. Amazing. She does it so quickly and silently that I even miss her doing it when she is next to me!! So she has a new nickname of Houdini Cat!!! She is being very peaceful as her back legs are not fully functional yet, so she sort of totters across the floor towards me bleating like a little lost lamb!! And when she can't get any further she just stops and bleats pathetically until I lift her up and carry her back to her bed or my lap. So nothing is getting done in the house of course............at least she is not leaping everywhere so plants are safe for a while as were my birthday cards which in the beginning of the week were tumbling like a pack of cards from the top of the computer cupboard! I am being very patient and attentive and looking after her - she is so sweet!!!!
Sue xx

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Here are our cards!

This first one I have made into a Mother's Day Card since it is fast approaching 0n March 14th!!
It is fairly plain and simply decorated as the four stamps are the main focus of the card. Pretty, I think. Again with this card the main stamp is so detailed we have kept the rest of the card very subdued apart from the stamped front section. Both cards were made with the recent card kit papers from Simpel Scrappen in Den Helder. The instructions for the card are in the new Cards Only magazine by the way. Easy to follow and you can then do your own thing re. embellishing, stamping etc. Once you have made one, it is dead easy!! Hopefully my mother will enjoy receiving my handiwork through the post!!!
Sue xx

I Love my Cat.

Tim loves Genghis and here they are together sitting next to me at the computer having a laid back chat!! Genghis is 13 in April, so Tim was only small when we got him so I suppose you can call it a lifetimes friendship. As you can see, Tim can do anything with Genghis!! Just to show you how gorgeous he is!!!
Sue xx

Restless night

Well, Finka started the night sleeping in my room but she got a little too restless for me to be able to sleep so I took her back downstairs and swopped her for Genghis!! He is always rather grumpy with cats that have been to the vets! I think he smells them and it reminds him of when he has to go there, so we have to make sure that Finka regains her own smell quickly so that I can trust him with her alone. At the moment he has gone outside and I am going down to feed her in a minute or two. Thought I would just take a swift look at the housing site to see whether there are any new ones on offer!! There was one, so I have reacted to it but I am number 44 in the queue at the moment so no chance! What I feel is that I have to reply to be seen to be interested and that it will eventually help my case. Tomorrow I am going over to Schagen to see whether I can apply there as well since it is where I work. It seems there are way too many people looking for houses in this area than there are houses available so widening my search can only be to the good.
Tim has got his interview for college next week!! Rather sooner than he had anticipated so now he needs to get some work done and his portfolio in order. He is being extremely bad tempered at the moment for some reason or another, so I tried to cheer him up by asking him to ask his bakery tutor for a good recipe for Apple Tart so that he can take Loes on in a baking competition! He came home yesterday with his teachers personal recipe, and I have to say, it is different from what you can buy in the shops but totally different again from the one Loes makes so it is going to prove hard to choose between them I fear!! All we have to do now is agree a date for the tasting and who is going to do that....and Tim needs to start practicing!!!
Both sound delicious I have to admit.......
So today is one for me. I am going to start packing up my scrap room - or rather the books and other bits and bobs I can safely say I don't need imminently, as it has to be done sooner or later, and I guess there is no time like the present. hmm....
Sue xx

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Speedy recovery

Finka recovered very quickly from her operation and I was able to collect her at twelve o'oclock which was amazing. Even the vet said she had come round faster than other cats do, so instead of a whole day there she was only there a few hours. She spent the rest of the afternoon snuggled in the side of my jacket where I held her as she slept. She didn't want her basket, only her mum!!! So we both slept on the settee together for a few hours and now she is sitting on Peter's lap while I do some things for myself. She was a little sick after eating but that was only to be expected, but the rest is fine. She is wearing a sort of coat to protect her belly from licking or biting her stitches and also from Genghis, so she looks rather funny. We have to undo it when she wants to use her toilet!!! Going to be interesting I think................
Anyway, this is short and sweet because I need to get back downstairs to my patient!
Sue xx

Finka's big day!!

Finka is off to the vets shortly to be 'chipped 'n snipped'!! She is six months old now, and needs to be sterilised so that when she is a little bit bigger and the weather is a little bit better, she can go outside and enjoy herself. She gets chipped at the same time and I am so pleased we took out pet insurance for her as it is all free!!! I double checked with the vet last night but she is 100% covered for both things as she is under one year old, so that is super. Always so expensive otherwise. Heathcliff was also 'done' yesterday so they are both going to be outdoor cats before they know it! I have to take her at 8.30 so when I go downstairs she is going to go crazy as she is not allowed to have eaten since 8pm last night...........so I am steeling myself for a lot of loud miaowing to commence once I open the door!
My birthday passed off nicely. I saw my friends which was lovely and I have a whole bunch of cards on top of the computer cupboard and more are coming so that is what I love to see! Talking about cards..........Loes and I made one yesterday. I know, only one, but it was a good one!! And we started another which I plan to finish today, but it was a more complicated one to cut and fold than your usual standard one, the idea coming from the recent Cards Only magazine by the way. It works out wonderfully! We also did some stamping on it to make it more our style but I will post the end result and you can judge for yourselves!
Sue xx