Les Mis Trailer

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

12 years old.......wow.


This is the link if you want to hear a 12 year old boy sing 'Make you feel my love' beautifully on Britain's Got Talent. The video was not accessible but I hope you can get there from this. Makes Justin Bieber seem old............................
Sue xx

My week in pictures.

The White Chocolate & Pecan nut Cookies.

Is it a Heffalump?....

No! It's a Finka!!!

My friend Hillie whose birthday it was yesterday.

Hillie & I in the really hot sun.

Having used my camera yesterday I thought it was time to add the other photos I have taken this week. It is a good job I had my sunglasses on yesterday as I have one very swollen and very painful eyelid right now - I'm guessing a midgy bite is the culprit so last night and again this morning ( 5am ) I have been plastering antiseptic cream all over it as I can hardly keep it open! Looks ghastly!!! I need to drive to Amsterdam this afternoon so I want the swelling to reduce if nothing else so that I can see where I am going. That would be good, right?
Last night when I got home there were two bars of white chocolate in the fridge..........a helpful reminder from Tim that more cookies are desirable! He thought my Flapjack was good only too many nuts for his taste so an alternative has to follow. Still no news about his exam............
Then we have mysterious bumps on the bed! I've added the throw as both cats are wanting to sleep on the quilt during the wet days, well, Genghis every day regardless of weather conditions, and they are so hairy!!! It has been cold here last week, granted, so I happened upon this bump one day - and lo and behold, there was a Finka in a ball underneath so lovely and warm and asleep!! She always goes under covers, jumpers, cushions anything - even tired to get down my dress once!
And then we have Hillie and I. I went to Zoetermeer to spend the day with her for her birthday and the weather forecasters got it spot on - boiling hot! I got a little sunburnt so sat in the shade in the afternoon, but it was fantastic. I did however have a bout of Hayfever, proving that it is not gone as I was hoping, but also that my allergies come out when I am there. Which was the main reason for moving from there in the first place - and once home again, hey presto, it's stopped!
When I left Hillies I went round to visit Ineke, sat in her beautifully mature garden, and drank tea together. She's promised to visit here in the summer!!! I'd taken some sort of 'stick' in the hope that there was enough room on it for the Les Miserables show - but it was a freebie from work, and there was only a tiny amount of space on it so alas, it was not to be. I eventually got home around 8pm, watched a bit of telly, heard Tim recant everything he had said to me yesterday about not wanting this and that, what he did want, and since it was as close to a sorry as he ever gets, it was fine. He has things he is terribly hurt and upset about still, and when he is stressed these rise  to the surface and fuel his negative ' I don't care' attitude and he backs away from everyone and everything. I think being at work yesterday soothed his tattered nerves as he really does love it there, and he came home in a better frame of mind. He'd done a spot of gardening out front of the shop as it is kermis ( carnival ) here in Hoogkarspel this weekend and today they will be adding some plants..................good to see him being so involved.
Oh I forgot to add that I went for a quick whizz around my favourite garden centre whilst in Zoetermeer, the Driesprong. Wonderful! Bursting with plant, colour, pots, trees, everything one's heart could imagine for one's tiny plot of earth. It makes your heart sing just walking around in there. I managed to find a trellis for my long-suffering, not so happy looking, in need of support, Clematis which HAS to be fixed this week somehow, and some spray for the greenfly that is attacking my other Clematis on the fence. Never had that before, ever, but hey, we are here to be surprised!
I'm waiting to be surprised right now...............
Sue xx

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Feeling lazy

Boy, did I have a great sleep last night!! It was so difficult getting up this morning that I didn't.........well, not for ages. Tim appeared with a cup of tea for me around nine, and then the cats snuggled onto the bed beside me, then I put my ipod on, and before I knew it it was almost ten o'clock! Obviously my body felt it was necessary, so who am I to argue with that? I rarely sleep in, but seeing that there was nothing pressing to be done today, and nowhere to be, and everything in order, my lazy self won the toss.

A quick word about the Champions League: 3:1 to Barcelona...........commiserations to Man U but what a great game!! Such a privilege to watch these two teams play against one another. There's always next year..

Just been busy downloading a couple of albums for my ipod. It is going to explode soon from the amount of music I'd love to keep on it but don't have the space for. My ultimate gift right now would have to be an ipod classic............wonder if Santa is listening whilst sleeping through the summer ????? Maybe I could whisper it in one of the reindeers ears.............pleeeeeeese?

But back to today. I was hoping for sunshine but not to be. Tomorrow would also be nice if it was sunny as I am away all day, and I hate driving in the rain and wind. Fog is the very worst weather for driving - I seem to have the most difficulty in fog as it compounds my very poor night vision problem. Luckily that usually keeps itself to the winter months so no worries.  I need to be gone just after the rush hour traffic has got past Amsterdam, and back either before or after it has done the return trip. Tim has 3 days placement as school is closed, so he will be away early doors as usual. He had a nice final day at Action, is sad to leave but excited to be starting a new phase in his work experience. The shocking realisation that 18 and adulthood brings with it responsibility, mail, claims on your hard earned cash, unfairness in his eyes, is hard to watch unravelling, but he has to learn, and it aint going to ever be easy again!!! At least he has PinkPop to look forward to this month - I know he will have a brilliant time there!

Me? I'm looking forward to seeing my friends this week. You too.
Sue xx

Saturday, 28 May 2011


and the weekend is off to a sunny start. At least right now, early in the morning, the sun is out. Tim's last day so he was off at 6am. I am instructed to pick up the cream gateau he ordered from work, and bring it to him for elevenses!! Enough for 30 people apparently!!
I am no wiser about how his exam went yesterday. I got this text when I asked about it: "went bad had food home late don't worry. " Everything guaranteed to make me worry, right?!! When he did get home, all I learned was that it was not good, he was not happy, and he didn't want to talk about it. So! None the wiser as I said. Have to wait for Monday.................
Just been watching Take That on Youtube. They kicked off the tour last night in Sunderland, and I am so wishing I had a ticket for Amsterdam!!! It looks incredible, and I wish, wish, wish, I was going too. (sigh)
My friends here are all off to Italy this coming week, lucky things. Separate holidays, roughly same destination, so having been there myself before, I know how wonderful it is going to be for them. We went in the summer though, when it was 40C+ and you needed to go out in the morning, swim and sleep in the afternoon, and get up again and be active in the evenings. Halcyon days my friends!!!
But no good sitting here day dreaming when there is coffee to be made and cats to cuddle and things to do in the house and garden..........hope your day is as good as mine!! I'm thinking Flapjacks are nice for the weekend....... ;-)
Sue xx

Friday, 27 May 2011

What is it about music?!

Sometimes I turn on the radio and it plays a song that is so appropriate for my mood or what I am thinking about it is uncanny. Last night we had choir and after learning a new song intensively we moved on to a few we do sing regularly, and their words hit the spot every time!! The Longest Time by Billy Joel for instance!!! In the car this week I have been belting out my Janni CD - I used to listen to it  on my way to work interspersed with Wogan when I was back in the UK.  A good, sunny, melodic, happy CD that sounds wonderful turned up loud!! No boom, boom, boom just great melodies. I am having a lyric-free 10 days!! ( I wonder why )??? I tried a couple of other ones but this morning, in the rain, with the storm clouds a-gathering I think a burst of Janni is definitely called for!

Tim is on his way to Wageningen  for his first practical exam. I sent him on his way with some white chocolate & nut cookies and a card wishing good luck from all of us. It is a long day when you have to travel so far before you sit your exam. He left home at 05.10am and the exam is at 10am so about 4 and a half hours travelling time is involved both ways. I just hope they get there ok, it all cooks beautifully, and he passes. We'll know on Monday......good thing I am working today, less time to fret!!
Sue xx

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Consolation prize

I've spent the past month dreaming about being able to finally buy the paint to cover one more wall in our living area downstairs. But when I  added up the expenses for the coming month, this morning, and made my list of priorities, sadly it has once again failed to make the top 10!!! Hey ho, I suppose food is always going to trump paint!!! My consolation prize has been to spend the morning in the kitchen baking. It always cheers me up I suppose, and the rhubarb I'd bought was needing to be made in to a Ginger & Rhubarb crumble to feed our hungry son when he gets in this evening. I'm thinking more about giving him a good meal to make sure he is alert and confident for his first baking exam tomorrow! I so hope he is going to pass It will be the first time he has taken an exam and got it without any hiccups if he does, so it means the world to us. At the moment he is working in the bakery in the village, on his placement day, and since he asked me for a lot of lemons yesterday, and texted me earlier for the measurements for the topping, I gather he has finally had the time to make my Lemon Drizzle Cake for the shop!!! I wonder whether he will bring one home for approval.................I have also made some white chocolate and pecan nut cookies this morning but the dough has to be in the freezer for 2 hours before it goes into the oven, so we are at that stage as I type. Must admit to not having made them before, so ought to be interesting, but it was all looking as it should up until now!!

Diet ok. Lost the 2 kilos, so 2 more to go, and it is only Thursday so if I remain strong and don't taste my delicious pudding and cookies, it will continue to drop. I can see the difference in my face already - not so round!! but I really need it to disappear from my middle. Then my jeans will do up again!! ;-)
Sue xx

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Long, slow week feeling

Usually wednesday comes around quite quickly and it can be an excellent day of the week, but! this week it is dragging itself slowly though to the final hours, and heading towards an even longer Thursday, Friday, the weekend, Monday, Tuesday and back around to Wednesday! Why is it that some times time itself seems to stand still? Like when we were kids and it felt like forever until our birthdays came around again, or Christmas, or the summer holiday.............always so much longer than the 365 days that were actually in between.  This week feels like so much longer, I confess to wishing it would just pass in a blur, be over, and everything back to normal. PLEASE.
I have finally brought my second planter home from work this afternoon, so the thought of filling it with earth and plants and a trip to the garden centre tomorrow morning, is what is going to get me through the night. The earth I have - so just a question of one or two shade loving plants to fill it up. I brought a rather dry looking plant home with it, currently sitting in a bucket of water outside to give it a fighting chance of survival - a Hellebores I believe it to be. I think it will be ok, just needs some tender loving care. Where to plant it is the next question. Front or back?
Tomorrow afternoon I hope Tim and I are going to organise his passport and photos and do the necessary things that can't be delayed any longer if he is going to visit his sister in the summer. Fortunately it only takes  a few days to get a new passport here - I've heard worrying rumours that when mine is out of date I have to get it renewed in France!!!! And here was I thinking it was just a trip to the Embassy in Amsterdam - silly me for thinking it would be so simple!! Luckily for Tim we only need to go to our local council building up the road! Oh la, la!!!
I've bought more lemons as he is going to bake the lemon cake at the bakery tomorrow - well, several in fact, and I am dying to know what they think of it and whether or not it will sell well................I reckon it will. I have got some rhubarb in the fridge so my plan is to make something with that too, tomorrow. So glad to be having a day free to do the things that make me happy! Diet going well - 3 days of attack, and the loss is there so just 4 more days to go! Hence all the distractions I have got in petto for my time.........
Sue xx

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


I've been thinking a lot about choices/decisions lately; mostly how we think about them, what influences our decisions, and how they should be made. I've tossed this around a bit the past 24 hours, and made one decision based entirely on my own feelings and needs.
It is not a big choice to make - to acknowledge someone's birthday with a card or not, but when the circumstances around it are taken into consideration, it can feel much more significant and important to 'do the right thing.' Well, for me the right thing is to send it! I am very fond of the recipient, and although they are no longer in my life, I cannot help but remember their birthday and want to send some genuinely warm wishes to them, from my heart. I have been re-reading The 4 Agreements by Don Luis Ruiz, and these are:

  • be impeccable to your word.
  • don't take things personally.
  • don't make assumptions.
  • always do your best.
So how did I decide whether to send the card or not? I took these all into consideration, and acted in the way I feel sits the best with me, no-one else. I could worry about whether they will want to get a card from us - what they will say - what they will do with it - get upset if they wish I hadn't done it - so many thoughts can enter our minds when we worry about what to do based on others perceptions and opinions. In the end, all that matters is that my conscience tells me I followed my heart, I was true to my word, and I did my best. 
I also applied the 10-10-10 rule, which I picked up somewhere on the internet recently and can see how it might be useful for me. Just ask yourself, when faced with a decision, small or large, how will I feel about it in 10 minutes time, 10 months time or 10 years from now. Some answers are immediately obvious just from thinking about 10 minutes ahead; others have their full impact in months or even years later. It works for me on every level, from tiny to huge decisions, simple to complex, practical and fantastical!!
Sue xx

lost in translation

I was touched by the comment I received to my last blog post, so this morning I have added the widget for translating the language from English to which ever your preferred one might be. I hope this makes  life easier!!
Sticking to the diet for one day produced a 7ounce loss so my motivation is great today!!! If I eat enough during the day and allow myself to do that, then it will be fine. I see no point in being desperately hungry on any diet, and this one suits me.

The wind is more extreme this morning, so I will be blown all the way to Amsterdam! Just preparing myself for it at the moment and trying to decide what to wear! Is it warm enough for light, casual trousers since my jean button is a little tight right now.........or should I wear my long pinafore that I love, and add a cardie........decisions, decisions. I read recently that if we apply the 10-10-10 rule, all decisions will become so much easier to make - and live with. So, what difference will my decision make to me in 10 minutes time; 10 months time and 10 years time? It's easy to see that any decision I make is only really significant in the next 10 minutes so hey, I ought to wear what I want!!!! ;-) Think I will!!
Sue xx

Monday, 23 May 2011

Tried it for a while

but then I realised that I am still not in the mood for a busy blog background!! So changed it back to this one; more tranquility is what I obviously am still searching for! Just been reading about the Icelandic ash that is wafting over Britain in the coming hours - beautiful photos on the internet when you just look at the sky, but then you see the animals suffering under it and the people trying to care for them, and you think about the wider implications of it, and it grows like Topsy I'm afraid. Will it be managed any better this year than last time? Is it getting to be a regular occurrence? Can we expect more of these natural events in the future? What's happening to our world? There is a thin line between the beauty of it and the monster within waiting to explode. Let's hope it is not worse than it has to be, anyway.
I finally had the much anticipated parental 'chat' with Tim's mentor today, over the phone, but to be honest I was happy to hear that everything is going ok. He had positive things to say in all areas of his work, his placement report had been excellent, and all in all, Tim is hanging on in there!!! Of course, when Tim tells it, it all sounds completely different - hence the need to take the balanced approach to school still. He has his first practical exam coming up this Friday, so that will sort the men from the boys!! I am working all day so that is probably a good thing - stop me fretting at home! We are on a promise to ourselves when he passes.............................

The Gingernuts proved such a success they were devoured in hours! Going to have to make some more I think.  Today I got through the entire day on my diet without one single deviation. Pat on the back for me! I have a little slip of paper on the side of the fridge with my motivational words staring at me every time I get near it, so that, together with my mindset being one of achieving my goal this week, it ought to be ok. Tomorrow I have to go out for a while, Wednesday I am working in the afternoon and then eating at my friends but have asked for chicken and salad, Thursday potentially not good for dieting as I am home alone all day, but Friday back to work, so then we will have reached the weekend - yey! I am out all day on Monday 30th and my goal is to be a little lighter before that appointment comes around - 4 kilos if possible is my target. I find if I think too far ahead or set my goal too low,  it becomes something terrifying and impossible to imagine or achieve. So thinking in tiny bite-sized time frames works the best for me. I have a secret, doesn't dare to be spoken about, wishful, desirable end result; of course I do, but let's not go there right now. The 4 kilos off has to come first!
Sue xx

Monday starts the week off right with sunshine!

It was a strange day yesterday with wind and rain and mega clouds and then sun and blue skies........but this morning  I woke up to blue again so I am happy. Hoping that the dust cloud from Iceland doesn't head this way and block it all out again!
I was busy most of the day with my study, so it didn't matter about not being able to be outside. We have a better time indoors! Got a lot done in a funny kind of way - sometimes it is just that small insight or different approach to something that helps us both to progress. I like that. My second case study was good, too, so that can be ticked off my 'to do' list although having sat there yesterday and gone through all the checklist of what has to be completed this year, we both realised we had plenty to do still. Ah well, keeps me busy.
I am enjoying this new CD by Hugh Laurie by the way - something different but very pleasant to listen to. I seem to be driving in and out of Amsterdam for one or another reason right now, so my CDs are stacked in the car and the sound is brill when I turn it up quite loud!! Makes the drive so much nicer. I suspect I am subtly being 'coached' around the city centre to places new and interesting in preparation for the long drive home..........................right???
Sue xx

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Homemade with Love


Cheese, bacon & mushroom quiche.
So it was me that said that she was going to diet strictly this week, agreed? And so I am, but there is also a growing boy in the household who needs nourishment and these will do him good. Actually we are both eating out this evening, but separately, so I guess this is for tomorrow.........at this end of the month so long as I have eggs, milk, sugar, flour, onions; butter and bacon in the house we get a long way on a small amount of money! Luckily Tim loves pancakes; quiche; omelette; bacon butties; scones; biscuits; and many other simple suppers, so we get by...mostly! It's all better than pre-packed, tasteless ready-made meals I think, although they have their place and use when the freezer is the only thing standing between me and an empty saucepan!! Sometimes I really wish we had a microwave too.........but I am the mistress of frugality these days, and I'm sure many more people are as well. What is it Einstein said?
"Necessity is the mother of invention" - how right he was!!!
Having been so productive all morning I felt I had earned my place in the sun, so for a few hours I have lain there, ipod on, earphones in, and eyes closed. Bliss. Thank goodness the sun has returned this week!! I feel a few days of 20C plus would be most welcome. Who needs a holiday when the sun is out at home?!!! ;-) ( well, I wouldn't say no )...........
So here we are, time for a cuppa methinks, and a change of clothes, and a little sprucing up, and I will be ready for my night 'out.' Actually a night in, but not at mine, but at yours, Ann!!!!
Sue xx

Saturday morning

I woke up at 3.45am this morning, and after that sleep didn't come properly again, so in the end  I decided to utilise the extra energy I obviously had stored up after several nights of 10 hours or more sleep, and do jobs I hate doing. So once Tim had gone to work at 6am I got up, showered, dressed and started the onerous task of sorting out the wardrobe of all the clothes that no longer fit ( too big, horray) ! or are for winter, or just undesirable right now, and bagging them up for the attic. Followed swiftly by washing the upstairs windows inside and out - oh, how I hate doing windows!!! Finka was watching me rather bemused from under the patio table in the garden - "how did mum get out there when I never can"? Genghis sensibly remained indoors on the bed. The washing- first load anyway- is on, and it is not even 8 o'clock! The sun is really bright again - probably my motivation - so getting things done early can only entitle me to some relaxing hours in the sunshine, right?!

I had a good day yesterday. I had a good session coaching, and was so joyful afterwards, because all that dormant yearning for things I used to do and love, came flooding back, and I was happy. I know I am doing the very best thing for myself by undertaking this training. It is where my heart lies, and the buzz I get from it is wonderful. I am not telling you that it is easy, but when I am in that moment, I know I am able to give the very best of myself to someone else, and that is very special. It motivates me to want to learn more, read more, do more, give more, and that is what I need in my life. I love the spontaneity of it; ideas bursting into my head, listening for a long time and then being able to take it further with someone - wow.
So this weekend we have a study meet, and I am so happy to say that my second case study is completed and I am practically up to date with everything!!! I just have to sit down and concentrate on what is required for the theoretical exam..................

Well I think I need to do some hoovering whilst the cats are not around and then drink coffee in the garden and cycle to the shops. I have been neglecting my diet for a while, and although I have not put much back on, the warning signs are there. I want to use this week to get back on the straight and narrow and have lost those two, ugly, extra, unwanted kilos before 30 May!!! It's doable if I stick with the regime, I know, so that is my promise to myself these coming 10 days - Dukan; I can!!!!
Sue xx

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Isn't English a wonderful language!?!

Reading my recipe for the custard tart, the final sentence reads: "when ready the tart should be set and golden on top and have the merest tremor in the centre when you jiggle the tray." Don't you just love the idea of someone wondering what a mere tremor might look like, and what on earth is jiggling when it's at home?!! Love it, BBC Food site!!! Of course if you are a custard tart aficionado you will recognise this immediately; it's in the oven as I speak. I am though, unsure of how it is going to turn out, as my first time recipes are not always successful. I know I have made errors whilst reading the recipe this time, and had to do some adjustments along the way, but on the whole I think it will be fine. I am loving the smell of the pastry let alone the custard!! It came out perfectly, and looked great with the grated nutmeg in the middle...wonderful. At the moment it is cooking fine.........fingers crossed for a result! I know what to improve upon next time, that's the main thing. And there will be a next time!!!

A little slice of heaven........
I am delighted with the result, though next time a little more nutmeg I think will just take it to the next level!! No more shop bought custards for me, no sir!!! I predict it won't last long in the kitchen..........
Sue xx

Comfort Food

One of mine and the children's favourite pastries is a Custard Tart. When ever we are in England we head for the coffee shop or bakery and buy coffee with custard tart to go with it. Delicious. Definitely comfort food. And what do I crave at the moment? comfort!!! So I am going to have a go at making my own today. Got a good recipe from the BBC Food site, thanks, and armed with James' shortcrust pastry recipe I am good to go!
Sue xx

Slow mail

It took 8 days  for the Royal Mail to deliver a package to my daughter, and only 3 days for one from the same company to reach me here in Holland. C'mon, RM - surely you can do better than this?!! The most important thing is she received it and loves it, and can use it in the future, so happy smiling faces all round.

What am I surfing this morning? A bit of this 'n that really, some to simply pass the time of day, others out of real necessity. There is a hint of an improvement in the weather at last, but mustn't speak too soon. Could all go wrong again! The heatwave predicted for Britain this coming week ought to get here as well?!

I am feeling sluggish this week. Not a lot of energy, bad headaches and queasiness, and some very strange out -of -body sensations! I have not wanted to drive very far, or leave the house unless unavoidable, so have cancelled some things in order to feel safe. And I am sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. Best remedy it would seem - so who am I to argue with that?! I feel as though I might faint at any moment, which is really weird I have to admit, and something I have not done for a while, but there are plus points to my being ill - the cats are delighted!! I am home, they can snuggle up against me in the warmth of the living room as the heating is on in there, and they are content with the amount of attention they are receiving from me. Happy cat days!

Multi tasking right now! writing this, skyping my friends in Poland, emailing about my business card/invoice - and all from my little snug!! I ought to do some shopping but it can wait; this is too much fun!!
Sue xx

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Her royal historic-ness

The Queen finally ended 100 years of royal absence from Ireland with her landmark visit this week. I wasn't expecting to feel so moved by it, but I am. There is too much hatred and conflict and old, open  wounds in this world, and if an 85 year old monarch can wear green, bob her head and lay a wreath in tribute, then it is all good. Respect, your Majesty.

The rain continues to pour down, and this morning me and the cats were in bed until 10.30am!! Crikey - that's nothing for you, Suzanne, you are all thinking, but I must have needed it. I crept into bed last night at 8.30pm so it was a mega-sleep. I can only tell you that I feel better for it, even though I am not yet fully functioning! The coffee is helping but hey, it's decaff...what can it really do?

Yesterday I had a sudden rush of blood to the head and thought " I know - I'll ask Ineke! " We have been busy lately with my case studies but I also have to write two essays and I do love a good cover. It's boring just writing page after page without a little light design thrown in. I still have to think about what to add to the straight-laced, professional essay..........but my inner growth one was just begging to be prettied up! Ineke came up with the goods in no time at all! I now have a beautiful page with poem an' all - thank you so much.

This morning - what's left of it - I am dedicating to reading my other lovely books - especially these two:
James Martin's 'Desserts' and 'At Elizabeth David's Table'. I was overjoyed to find James has included recipes I loved as a child, and always wanted to know how to make - Cinder Toffee, for one! I adore this!! It is a super book because he covers all the basics before moving on to the more complicated and spectacular. I love my Mary Berry and have used it over and over again, but this one is coming a close second.........wait......no...yes! ice cream recipes - baked alaska - crumbles - everything we love!! A rival indeed.
Well, having said that I am reading books - that's what I am going to do!
Sue xx

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Something to think about

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another,
 and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is 
with what he vowed to make it".
J.M. Barrie.

My very own 'thought for today".........

Taking a break

........from housework! Time for a coffee - but only one as this will be beneficial for my arteries, but should I consider another one later on, then it has to be before 3 or 4pm so as to be able to sleep tonight! Yes, I  have been reading the article about coffee consumption on the Daily Mail Online, this morning. It would seem that drinking coffee is similar in many ways to playing Russian Roulette; the pros weigh out the cons if you restrict your daily intake to one or two cups, but after that, hey, the risks are there what ever you do!!
Me, I drink de-caff the majority of the time, not because I don't like something a little stronger, but because I get headaches if I drink more than 2 cups of real coffee per day. Does this mean I have no benefits at all?..no, I am certain there are some to be had, so this mix 'n match caffeine v de-caff will reign on. I just thought you should know.

Yesterday we worked hard to get my second case study written and produced in the most professional manner we could achieve, so I am satisfied. Final tweaking today and then  I can send it in to our trainers and see what comments come back this time. Having cooler, no, sorry, COLD weather this week is keeping me indoors and studious. Getting lots done!
When the going gets tough I have little taster wanderings into etsy or amazon increasing my wish lists as I go. There are so many beautiful things to admire, so many talented people out there making highly desirable items for hearth and home. I particularly love the new esty shop belonging to Kelly Rae Roberts. She is one of my very favourite designers, and I have 2 items already that she made some time ago, and have aspirations to own some more in the future. I particularly covert her ladies!!!!....................then again Patti Digh has a new book out........." What I wish for you....simple wisdom for a happy life. "so that is added to the other 31 items on amazon.................
Maybe I will never ever get to buy any of these, but it won't stop me 'window-shopping' and dreaming.

On that note I suppose phase II of housework has to be started now that my coffee mug is empty again...
Sue xx

Monday, 16 May 2011

Piggy Bank Raid

Times is hard................
The end of the month is still too far away so time to raid the piggy bank, take back the bottles to the super and think creatively about how to combine what's left in the fridge with what's still in the cupboard!!!!!!
Sue xx

Wild hair!!

Becci, now.

Me, way back then!!!!
A very old photo of me!! But its been a while since Becci has had longer hair showing off all her curls, so I dug out this ancient one of me when my hair was long and curly as well. I can't remember how old  I would have been but we were living in Walmer, and I would guess maybe age 12? Young, anyway!!!
Guess the curls run in the family!
Sue xx

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Mellow yellow

I decided that my blog needed to reflect me right now, and that calls for something a little more mellow - and even yellow! which is not one of my favourite colours but I feel comfortable with the blue mixed in with it and its peacefulness.

I am hurting, and when that happens I physically tingle all through my body and the pain seeps into my very soul, and I don't know how to turn it back. I am trying, but its not working yet. My rose coloured glass protective shield has been penetrated and I feel vulnerable and sad. I need time to recover. I need silence in my head and a warm blanket of comfort thrown over my body to soothe me. I need to replace the self-doubt with self-love again. I need to believe again. I need to trust again. I need to be needed.
Sue xx

Late start to the day

Well, I watched it almost completely until the end but then I had to go to bed. At around 1.30am Tim rang and managed to get his words out that he needed picking up from his friends after the work 'do.' Not a good thing for me, to have to wake up and function in the middle of the night, but he was in no  fit state to have ridden his bike home!!! We managed to drive here without any nasty occurrences and toppled him onto his bed after he'd sat at the bottom of the stairs with a bucket...............but he has survived the night and is up and showered and with only a slight headache happening!! Me, I'm shattered!! Half the morning is gone with me sleeping and I hate that. This is the time when I am usually at my liveliest, and I just ain't today!! He had a good time which was the main thing as he leaves his Saturday place of work at the end of the month. This was a good opportunity to say farewell to his workmates etc.

But back to today. Sun is there, clouds are beautiful, blue sky is evident, but there is wind, and that makes it all seem a little cooler than it really is. I think it will be a quiet week. I don't have much to say. 
Sue xx


So, Azerbaijan won..................

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The big Night!

Yes, I am a sucker for Eurovision I'm afraid!!! Just been listening to one or two of the favourites this year - and although I like the French entry, it is not really hitting the mark for me.....a bit too operatic for what is essentially a lightweight competition. If he is going to enter then where is Alfie for the UK??????
I prefer the catchiness of Blue's 'I Can' and I do think it ought to get into the top 5 this year. Disappointing that Holland missed the final again this year as it was not a bad entry and better than a lot that have gone before. I did think they stood a good chance of getting through with their entry, but it was not meant to be.
Those two Irish twins Jedward are looking popular and their style is young, hip and modern so a popular choice for many I suspect. Don't know - it is always anybody's game, a bit of pot luck, and we have to just wait and see................

This morning I have been working on my second case study since this one has to be more detailed and involved and I want a 10!!! I am doing a specific phobia this time - or irrational fear, which is great as I love this sort of thing! Can be pretty irrational myself!!!! ;-) ( no, you don't need to agree)! I am a fan of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy which is what makes this interesting to research and write about. I have always felt it tied in perfectly with all my experience as an Occupational Therapist since we were working with clients to change behaviours, learn new skills, adapt to new situations, and function to an optimal level within their chosen lifestyle. And I am a great Thinker - guess what I need to have as my front sheet????!!!
Suddenly came to me that it has to be Rodin's Thinker, with my fave quote from Shakespeare:
' there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. ' Don't you just love it?!!
Ach, have to amuse myself somehow! I've been doing the research part all morning so have to sit down and try and make some sense of it later in the weekend. At the moment I am trying to work out how to get a circle on a page, which is in 10 segments, so that I can add it to my essay..................any offers?
Sue xx

My love -hate relationship

with all things technical or having a plug on them, continues!! There was I gaily driving along the motorway, listening attentively to everything tom tom was saying to me, thinking ' I can do this! ' and then....I turn off into Diemen and nothing. Nada. Niks. NO SIGNAL. This was the point in my journey that I needed it the most, to get to my appointment, so I was not amused! I think it was due to the many roadworks going on, perhaps, but I pulled into a petrol station to 're-group' and wait for the signal to return. It kinda did...but not continuously, so there I was, following what it did tell me to do, and praying that it was correct. I made it to my destination eventually, and having left in plenty of time so as not to be late, it was fine. Phew!! I did have a back-up paper printout out of my route, but hey, when you've got a tom tom, use a tom tom, right?!!!
So here it is, Saturday morning, and I didn't manage to remain asleep for long last night. It was a warm night, and although I wasn't dreaming, my thoughts were racing around in my head, and I was restless. I got up early hoping that by doing so, I have the time to right myself and place one foot in front of the other all day without tripping myself up! I am thinking about washing Sooty first of all....the day looks promising, and I need to do it, so at this point I am girding my loins and willing myself into action! The prospects this weekend are of being on my own as Tim is thinking about going to his friends and sleeping over etc. It would be good for him, so when he gets home from work I will know more. Finka sprang over in the neighbours garden once or twice yesterday so that is something new for her, and I will have to watch her like a hawk if she is outside today. All it will take is their dog to bark at her whilst she is there, and she will be back over the fence like a bullet!!!! They have a handily placed seat just the other side of the fence which she uses as a launching pad I believe..............
Ah, the clock on the church tower strikes 7.30am. Coffee. Yoghurt  - recommended for me today as I forgot to eat anything all day yesterday until I got home in the evening!!! Tidy round, wash, swiffer.....read...write....relax. Sounds like a plan!
Sue xx

Thursday, 12 May 2011

annoyance creeping upwards!

It's hard not to get ever so slightly annoyed with the boy right at this very minute because he is hanging on to the phone he wants me to take over from him, so that he gets my brand new android thingy, when his interest and promise to set his old one up properly for me, is at about zilch!! I have got separation anxiety being apart from my mobile!! My subscription was almost up, so you can choose a new one - this is the root of the problem my friends. Sonny boy wants the android phone which comes with the same payment as I am used to - and also willing to pay ie. not very much! He has got a similar phone already but his doesn't run out until December....so he wants to swop mobiles basically, with me, and then possibly again at the end of the year..................really, so long as I can call and text I am happy, but since things move along so rapidly in techo-land, my old outdated one is no longer up to scratch it would seem.
So we have got as far as my sim and numbers being in his current phone, and I am waiting impatiently for the rest to happen - internet, be shown how to use the thing in the first place....blah, blah, whilst HE sits gaily setting his stuff up on the new phone and having a whale of a time doing it!!! I'm not a happy mummy right now, and if he doesn't look a bit sharpish, all bets are off!!! ;-) I can see what will happen; he will go to work in the early hours of tomorrow morning, my phone will ring later on and I won't know how to answer it - hence the panic!!! Also I need to use it tomorrow to get somewhere in Amsterdam, so there you have it- the anxiety and the reasons behind it!
Sue xx

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Lovely photo

Becci, John & Andrea
This is a photo of my daughter and her older sister at their brother's recent wedding, which I find delightful. Of course I am still waiting for her to put the rest of the photos up on her facebook page.........but at least here I can see the three of them looking marvellous together. Brings back a lot of memories.........

Today was a good day at work. I had some volunteers and a schoolgirl on placement, so with there being 4 of us all morning we were able to achieve far more than normally possible. It was fun working with them and feeling just a tad 'in charge' - made me realise just how much I miss being a team leader actually. Perhaps the old skills are just lying dormant right now, but the pleasure and the thrill of leading was still there alright! It was also nice to think that during the coming weeks I will be working more regularly so can set some things up and even get to see them through hopefully. Tomorrow I can bring another of the planters home probably, which is good as well. If we can get number 3 that would be wonderful but two is better than the solitary one we now have in the garden.

I must admit that I had some news today that caught me a little unawares and which I am still trying to process properly and sensibly, and with due care and attention. Sometimes life throws you a curveball when you least expect it, and I am not sure whether to catch it or throw it straight back.  Depending on where you see it coming from, it can be a great thing or something awful - and to be immediately dropped like a red hot poker! I think the best thing is to sleep on it, don't you?
Sue xx

Monday, 9 May 2011

A hint of moisture in the air

now, but it was lovely earlier on! It feels humid and damp and I am straining my ears to hear distant rumbling of possible thunder heading our way. I suppose it has lasted long enough, the early summer, but I would be very happy to have the garden watered without having to use my watering can backwards and forwards!! Oh, to have the hose fitted soon!!! ;-) It sits there in the kitchen, looking at me, just begging for attention...............ok, that was my sob story over and done with!
Yesterday was Mother's Day here. I have been given money for a much needed pedicure which I will book at the end of the month, thanks Tim!! No flowers, but a hug or two which was pretty special. Our boy is not given to shows of emotion regarding his mother! I spent much of it in the garden with the cats, lying on the sun lounger or reading or sleeping - very therapeutic! I did do some weeding in the front of the house since it was getting noticeable, and our neighbours had done theirs as well.  Can't let the side down!
Saturday was the eighth study day in Amsterdam, and sad to say, we are whittled down to only 7 remaining students. We presented our mission statements and our adverts, and it felt ok actually. A bit daunting when I'd read mine out and the trainer asked the group to show hands if they would want to be seen by me!!!.....
Then in the afternoon we had the workshop on NVC, which was unexpected but great since I was so fresh from having read the book last week. It had an amazing effect on one or two of the group which I found interesting, so I sat yesterday to just flick through it again and again so that I start to feel confident about how I can use it in my practice.
As you can also see from the pictures, Tim and I made our first loaves of bread this weekend. We used the professional mixer thingy that I don't like that much, but it speeded things up a lot, and used the method Tim learns in the bakery and at school. I felt for a first go it was tasty, but needed more salt. We are going to buy more flour from the miller and try and make some different loaves next. There is something soothing about baking that I really enjoy, and relax when doing it. Is it the delicious smells in the house? Is it the satisfaction of home-baking living on in our children? I don't know, but give me some sugar, butter, flour and eggs over a lump of meat any day!!!!!
Sue xx

The weekend in pictures

our dear old boy in his sunny spot.

Acting as a pillow for Miss Finka!!

The other bookshelves as promised!! 

Hidden away here is a birthday present.....spot it?!

Moving onto the more interesting ones......

Trust me, they all get put to really good use!!!!

The best place was outside when we wanted the dough to rise.

Tim's white loaves of bread - tasty!

Friday, 6 May 2011

New things

Do you like learning new things? I do, but it has to be at that moment when my mind is open and receptive and wanting to learn. Things just don't go in otherwise!! One of the best things about my study is the opportunity to learn new things, read more books, undertake new tasks, meet new people, discover new things about myself.
Over the past two days I have been reading about Non-Violent Communication, a topic for a workshop we are going to participate in shortly, and I have been suitably impressed. It is a simple, easy to follow book by Marshall Rosenberg, about a style and manner of communication that has at its heart the human empathy required of us all, to be aware of our own as well as another's basic needs. To take care of them, and to be gentle as we go about communicating with ourselves and the rest of the world. It sounds different when you first try it out on people! I tried with Tim this morning, and he burst out laughing and told me never to talk in that way ever again!! But at the same time, he completed a task that has needed doing for over three weeks, remained calm with me, non-defensive and co-operative, and happy. I had my needs met and satisfied and he got a job done that I had been asking him to do and getting nowhere with until today! So did it work, my funny way of talking?............I choose to believe it did. I shall continue practicing.

And on the subject of being kind to oneself, I can recommend the downloading of an ebook called "23 things you might not know about you: notes of encouragement, smartness and truth." Lisa Baldwin ( zen at play) is the  instigator of this set of love notes to yourself, by various different contributors, a sort of pep talk to polish up that tarnished idea we get of ourselves from time to time. ( I guess if you google  the title you can find it or go to Susannah Conway's blog and get the link, cos I am pretty useless at knowing how to write something in a post and make it into a functional link)!!!
I have printed it out for myself and will make a proper cover and keep it on my bookshelves or by our bed or just lurking in different places so I can sneak a look whenever I feel the need...............right now I am enjoying this love note from the book:

" You are gifted. You're a captivating compendium of innate talents, acquired skills, hard-won lessons and intuitive glimpses. There is no-one who can do what you do, in precisely the way you do it.There is no comparison, and no competition. How miraculous is that?"  ( Alexandra Franzen.)

Having handed in some work ready for tomorrow's study day, and knowing that I have to present my mission statement and advert to the group, and feeling terribly shy and nervous about it right now, this is just what I need to hear to bolster my confidence and give me some positive re-inforcers for the morning!
(And just hearing you tell me that I did good, and loving you for saying that, whether it is right or not, was special and kind and tender and wonderful and it made my heart joyful because it was exactly what I needed to hear.)
Sue xx

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Calmness reigns again

I was so far away this morning, simply couldn't get out of bed!! I was still sleeping after 9am which is unheard of in this household!! Must have really needed it I suppose. This morning Tim and I have made a Swiss Roll just to test the waters for a possible Baked Alaska...............it turned out fine, and I think it is so much nicer to have made the cake as well as the meringue - and maybe even the ice cream if we find a suitable recipe??? I just love planning dinners for friends or family! Doesn't matter if they are a way off into the next month, it is exactly the same as the delight I get each year from sifting weeks and weeks ahead, through our Christmas Recipe pile. It is calming I find, flicking through each book, making notes, selecting favourites, discussing choices, likes and dislikes, where to buy, the whole 9 yards of it!!
And the sun is out and the wind is gone, so we are in the garden again!!
Sue xx

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


....feathers, that is!!! I was not a happy bunny this morning but now that is paling into the background compared to how I am now. Mad as ....
Sue xx


...there's not a lot of clarify happening here this morning but I am certainly having profound ( or is that profane? ) thoughts today!!!!!

Not in the best of humours I can tell you...............y'know how when you are just about to suck that straw or seek that needle in the haystack or do your very best imitation of Vesuvius erupting..........smash that vase to the ground.......or anything else that would make you feel better ( for a milli-second probably )?
Sue xx

Monday, 2 May 2011

What to do on a non bank holiday?....

when the wind is cold and the only place the sun is shining warmly into is your study? WORK!!!

I am working:- on my essay, on my case study, on sending important e-mails about study funding etc, at the same time as washing the quilt from the spare bed, our own bed, the cats bed, Uncle Tom Cobbley 'n all's bed!!! everything that looks like it needs washing...................drinking copious cups of coffee, thinking about having some lunch, wondering about doing a spot of shopping or waiting until I get to work tomorrow, running up and down stairs every time the washing machine beeps......looking up recipes, reading about meat that is not called Chicken ( is there any other?...) and acting as referee every time Finka bats poor old Genghis on the head or sits astride him on his windowsill cushion and bites into his neck!!!!!
Sue xx

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Happy birthday darling daughter!!!

It's Becci's 24th birthday today so lots of love to you, sweetie!! She is spending it at Chatsworth ( where else?!) with Ric apparently so we are talking later on today. She has just finished reading about the Mitford sisters and wanted to see where the Duchess had lived.............I suppose seeking a peek at Darcy's pad won't go amiss either..............it's a beautiful place to visit so I know they will have a fantastic day together. Oh, and congratulations Ric on getting the new job!!! And I hope you find a new house soon - be over to visit when I can!
It is my study day so off to Amsterdam shortly. Tim is working so I have the day to myself really. Sunny but very windy so there is no chance of sitting outside sunning myself I guess, too fresh in the breeze. As it is getting close to the end of the first year  I confess to having some exam jitters already. I have started to take a serious look at the content of my essays - and realised they need to be so much longer than I have written at the moment! - and they need to be organised better. Help!!! That is not my forte shall we say? I do know how to write up references etc from my other studies in the past, but its the formatting in the computer that worries me. And an oral exam over the computer?????? What's that all about?!!! I was looking for a coach-supervisor-counsellor for my 6 hour requirement but so far no luck finding one. Will have to ask around more..............the one I had suggested to me is perhaps not exactly what I am looking for now I have read his profile, to be frank, but perhaps talking to him may set my mind at rest....will give that a go.
So, time to pack up the old kitbag - or briefcase, and toddle off to Amsterdam!
Sue xx