Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Just a quick one

It's been a bit busy here since I last posted. Unexpected visit from dad as I came down with a bad bout of flu, visit from mum for my 40th birthday (hence the cards on the mantelpiece!), lots of snow, work, trying to get ready for Christmas and now two children at home too (but am I enjoying having them here!).
In between the madness there is lots of crafting going on, including this garland with christmassy stars. Free pattern can be found here.
Back to work, the stollen that is busy proving in the kitchen and the mulled wine that still needs to be made! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Life's complicated

Love the mug... Sinterklaas present from my mum. We did Sinterklaas last night/this morning, but I was feeling so lousy (ibuprofen not kicked in yet this morning) that I didn't get any photos, apart from this one which now has tea with honey in it - one of the few things I enjoy at the moment. I know I'm properly ill when I lose my appetite...

PS the little cat comes out of a series of children's books that most Dutch children grow up with: Jip and Janneke. The drawings are instantly recognisable and the cat gets used as a toy in quite a number of stories.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Thanks for all the well wishes - she had a more 'permanent' cast put on on Friday, which needs to stay on till Christmas Eve. No sling this time, so she should have a bit more freedom of movement. This time she chose green, as it was almost neon green, she said! She seems quite cheerful, a bit frustrated if anything that she can't do that much.
Unfortunately I seem to have picked up a throat bug in the hospital (or I suspect that's where it's come from), and I'm feeling really run down. And too much to do this week :-( really haven't got time to be ill.

Back to the sofa...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The joys of snow

That tangle of hair is my 11 year old, who managed yesterday to slip and fall on the one icy patch left at school... and fracturing her wrist in the process. As she came home in tears with pain and it was the arm that she broke three years ago too, we went off to A&E. Three hours later and we were home with the by now familiar plastercast. Fortunately it's not a serious fracture, the cast doesn't go all the way around and can come off in two weeks' time, all being well. She was home today for a bit of recuperation, she's quite cheerful about it all (told me she was going for pink this time if they replace her cast tomorrow with a new one, and thinks she might work her way through the colours of the rainbow), and had a good laugh that even the new sling we put on, was the one from last time!

This came in the post today, my dishcloth from Kellie on Ravelry. Really happy with it - it's such a fun swap and a lovely group to be part of! If you're reading this Kellie: thank you very much!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I was going to make this a catch-up post but I like my Daybooks too and as I haven't done one for a few weeks, I think I'll try and combine the two this week.

For Tuesday 30 November

Outside my window... the curtains are drawn as I'm writing this in the evening, but if I opened them, I'd see snow. We've had snow since Sunday evening, not enough to disrupt our lives (although the media would have you believe otherwise), but still enough to make it look pretty.

I am thinking... that we had an adventurous weekend. B. bought himself another tractor back in the summer. Only it was on Ebay in America... It's taken till last weekend for us to be able to collect it, as it had to be taken from Iowa to a port in New York, then came over on a container ship to Kent, and then it had to clear customs. We set out very early on Sunday morning with the lorry (with a short delay as the lorry had a puncture - ever tried to change a lorry wheel in the dark on a very slippery driveway covered in snow and ice?) and a few hours later this was B's new toy:
It's 55 years old, it has a few dents but nothing that you wouldn't expect from a vintage working tractor! and we're now debating which one to take to Wales next year for the National Vintage Tractor Road Run...

I am thankful for... the kids.

At 11 and 8 they're becoming better company all the time. We had a lovely time in Holland, it was great having three days with all the time in the world just to be with them and enjoy them without the distractions of everyday life. In a way I don't want them to get older, but on the other hand, I can't wait to see what they're like as they get older.

From the kitchen...have been rubbish meals lately. I really must start paying a bit more attention to my diet, as I'm eating anything and everything in sight. WeightWatchers have introduced a new system but I haven't dared to go back to the meetings as I know I'm way over my goal. I have cooked some lovely meals at the weekend though, as very often it's just B. and me and we enjoy a good meal on Saturday night while watching the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing.

I am wearing... lycra trousers, a stretch tshirt and a pink fleece top. Soon to be changed for flannel pjs and furry slipper boots, as it's cold here! I'm having a relaxing evening by myself and nothing feels more relaxing than putting on my pjs. Have to finish this post first though and quickly clear the kitchen before I let myself get changed!

I am creating... a little present for a Secret Santa I'm taking part in at work - but can't say too much as I'm not sure if anybody from work reads my blog! Also really into dishcloths. I take part in a monthly dishcloth swap over on Ravelry, and last month this is what I got:

I know it may sound silly, but it's such a joy to wipe my surfaces with something that looks so different from what you'd buy in the shops! I also finished my Scroll Lace Scarf but haven't done any photos yet, but that's been in constant use since it finished blocking at the weekend.

I am going... have a long, hot bath this evening. I rarely have baths as they take much longer than a shower, but when it's cold, nothing beats a long soak and then straight to bed.

I am reading... Delia's Christmas book that I got for my birthday from the girls at work last year. I made her Christmas pudding last year which was declared the 'best ever' by several people. I have been looking at the mincemeat recipe too, as I love mincepies.

I am hoping... for a fairly quiet weekend. Have no real plans apart from making some more dishcloths, finishing off my present for my work Secret Santa, hopefully some fresh air exercise as nothing, nothing beats running outside...

I am hearing... the adverts on Channel 5 - I just finished watching EastEnders and was flicking channels on the telly and landed on Channel 5 about seaside rescues.

Around the house... I have been doing more cleaning than usual. My laptop went wrong last week and I had I. off school for a few days, which meant I couldn't do much work. So I used my time productively and there are several places in the house which make me go 'oooh it's clean in here!' That doesn't normally happen very often ;-)

One of my favourite things... is closing the curtains as it gets dark, lighting candles, lighting the fire and snuggling up on the sofa. I don't think I could ever choose a favourite season - even when it's dark and gloomy and wet outside, it's still cosy.

A few plans for the rest of the week... library visit tomorrow afternoon, with possibly a stop at Costa's if we have enough time... work at the office towards the end of the week... and lots of sleep at the weekend!

A picture for thought I'm sharing...

Last Saturday morning, photo to show the kids that we had snow in Norfolk (at the time, we didn't have any in Suffolk yet).

Instructions for the Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Tuesday 9 November 2010

Outside my window... the trees have lost most of their leaves. A week ago we still had glorious autumn colours, now we have lots of bare trees. It looks very different outside all of a sudden, just these dark skeletons against a grey sky.

I am thinking... that I really ought to start my little list of things to take to Holland this coming weekend. And that I should get my packing done tomorrow evening.

I am thankful for... the big pile of wood that B. and I cut and stacked a few months ago. I had the woodburner lit all afternoon yesterday and it was cosy and warm when the kids came in from school.

From the kitchen... pasta salad at lunchtime, that is, if I feel like it - I may just hunt around in the freezer for a soup as it's quite cold here and I'm constantly craving warm food. Supper is those butternut squashes with ricotta again.

I am wearing... jeans, short sleeved blue tshirt and very thick pink fleece. It came from Land's End almost 2 years ago, is extremely warm and comfy, as it's lined, and is standing up very well to being worn a lot.

I am creating... several fingerstaches still. I have made two for work colleagues, and 4 for I.'s friends at school. I'm getting a tiny bit bored with them, even if they're quick. It's also interfering with me finishing my Scroll Lace Scarf. I did the last lace repeat last night but have to unpick it as I made a mistake. I was hoping to have it finished by the end of this week but that doesn't look possible anymore - I still have to pick up over 200 stitches along the edge and knit the main body. Not sure what to take with me as knitting project in Holland either - I'll have a couple of train journeys in Holland but will be with dad and the kids, so it'll need to be something that doesn't require too much concentration.

I am going... to Holland this weekend and am really excited - can you tell...? We were last there back in August, as part of our summer holidays. The time before that was in April, and it took me a long time before I felt the urge to go again, but now it's well and truly bitten and the three of us can't wait. It doesn't help that there are two brand new ferries which we haven't been on yet, I'd be excited about that if I went just on my own, but because the kids are excited too, it's even more of an event. And we're not even doing anything unusual, we have a bit of a routine when we go there, but we're all very much looking forward to that. Hema, here we come!

I am reading... Wuthering Heights. I wanted to borrow Jane Eyre from the library but couldn't remember the title when I was actually there! (having a senior moment I think...) It's not a book for easy reading, but to my surprise I'm really enjoying it - the language is beautiful and as I've never read it and only vaguely know the storyline, I do want to know what's going to happen next.

I am hoping... that it's not going to be too windy on Thursday night - we have had strong winds and gales since the weekend.

I am hearing... Woman's Hour about dentures. That really is background noise and not a topic I'd choose to listen to!

Around the house... it desperately needs a hoover. Hoping I. will do it as she's trying to earn some pocket money, and I really don't know when I'll get around to it before we go.

One of my favourite things... is my slow cooker. I'm sure I've said it before! B. bought it for me for Christmas last year and although I don't use it much over the summer, it gets used at least twice a week during the winter. Yesterday we had rice pudding from it, and tomorrow evening we'll have beef stew with pasta and olives. Handy as I have to go to parents' evening for N. at 5.30pm, so when I come home, we can eat straightaway.

A few plans for the rest of the week... weekly shop which got 'cancelled' yesterday as the weather was so atrocious that we stayed inside in the warmth, off to Starbucks on Thursday to have a coffee to celebrate a colleague's birthday, a WeightWatchers meeting which I have to attend as they have completely revamped the system and it's not quite the same as I'm used to. I think this week will fly by!

A picture for thought I'm sharing...

One of B's cats who was quite ill this weekend. He'd been bitten on his back paw and it'd turned into an abcess. I knew he wasn't right when he kept sleeping in front of the Aga. One emergency dash to the vet's on Sunday and he's now firmly on the mend, but still enjoys the fuss being made of him.

Instructions for the Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Tuesday 2 November 2010

Outside my window... is wind, rain, leaves flying about. When I work from home, I use different places to work from. Sometimes I'm at my desk under the stairs. Sometimes I use the comfy chair in the front room. Sometimes I use our dining table in the conservatory - which is where I am now. I can only work there if it's not too sunny and it can't be too cold either, as it's the coldest room in the house. But at the moment it's enjoyable.

I am thinking... that I want the washing machine to finish so I can go and make the first coffee of the day.

I am thankful for... having an afternoon coming up with no afterschool activity. Tuesdays are manic and chaotic. Today's football club hasn't started yet, which means both kids will be home normal time and we can have a cup of tea and a chat before they go to see J.
Also thankful for the people who have listened to me endlessly wittering on about something that's going around in my head at the moment. You know who you are!

From the kitchen... egg salad bagel for lunch, and tonight is chilli fried rice with chicken.

I am wearing... jeans, black long sleeved tshirt and soft long grey cardigan. Could really do with another layer.

I am creating... still Ysolda's Scroll Lace Scarf. The lace pattern needs to be repeated 28 times, I think I've done 21 so far. I knitted for 2 hours on the train to London last Friday, but it is also a very quick repeat, so you can fit one in if you have a few minutes. I'd like to finish it by the time we go to Holland (in 10 days), but not sure I can make it.
As a joke, I also knitted this....

At I's school, some of the male teachers are growing a moustache to raise money for a prostate cancer charity. One of her teachers is very young and had joked in class that he didn't need to shave very often yet. So I knitted him one instead. Of course I. liked it so much that she wanted one of her own. I'm secretly hoping that her friends will want one too, I've said I'll knit some more for 50 p to go to the same charity.

I am going... to finish writing this post and pour my coffee!

I am reading... still nothing much. I've been leafing through a Dutch supermarket magazine but have really read it from cover to cover and back again. Time for a change. Library tomorrow.

I am hoping... that this week will end on a positive note.

I am hearing... the 10 am news on Radio 4, with constant references to the elections in America.

Around the house... it got messy within about 5 minutes of the children arriving back on Sunday!

One of my favourite things... is stews at the moment. Every Saturday night I make a stew for B. and I for supper. Last week it was a Dutch beef stew, which was very good. This weekend it's going to be pork with red cabbage.

A few plans for the rest of the week... nothing out of the ordinary - work, kids, library, kids on Saturday (my favourite time of the weekend).

A picture for thought I'm sharing...

Cathedral in Bury St. Edmunds. The spire is brand new and you can see it from lots of places as you drive around town. I always like the way it looks in the sunshine.

Instructions for the Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Wednesday 27 October 2010

A day late this week but the kids have been on half term so it's all been quite busy around here.

Outside my window... is a little bit of watery sunshine trying to get through. We're having very autumnal weather at the moment. Last night when I drove to Cambridge, it was lashing down with rain and there were leaves flying about everywhere. It would have been perfect for a walk on the beach.

I am thinking... that I must get to the kitchen to start my applecake.

I am thankful for... the last few days I've had with the kids. We had a really busy time trying to fit in as much as possible, but we had a really good time. They're now away with J. to see their grandmother on the Isle of Wight and I won't see them till Sunday afternoon. It's not long, I've got plenty of things to do and I won't be bored, but sometimes I wish I didn't have to share them!

From the kitchen... roasted butternut squash with ricotta, and if I get time, a Dutch applecake for tonight's knitting meeting.

I am wearing... jeans, thick pink fleece and green bodywarmer. Yes, that bodywarmer again!

I am creating... Ysolda's Scroll Lace Scarf. Very easy to memorise lace pattern and very much enjoying it. Once that's done, another dishcloth, then p/hop's Cranford Mitts and then I'm on to that gorgeous baby blanket.

I am going... to enjoy the clocks going back this weekend and have a lie-in on Sunday with our free extra hour.

I am reading... nothing at all at the moment. Have been falling into bed and going to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow (I only read in bed).

I am hoping... that I can squeeze in a run before it gets dark this afternoon. I tentatively started running again last week now that I think my anaemia is a thing of the past and had forgotten how nice it is to exercise outside in the fresh air.

I am hearing... the rush hour traffic slowly building up on the road outside my house.

Around the house... it is very quiet, a bit cold and a bit empty. Over the years I have got used to being home alone sometimes and I do enjoy it, but during the day I'm so used to the children coming home at 4 pm that it feels empty when they don't.

One of my favourite things... is a top I bought in a charity shop a few weeks ago. I used to feel a bit uncomfortable in charity shops, wondering what had happened to the people who the items had belonged to. But I read so often of people finding lovely things, so the other day we went in and I found a lovely cotton top. Since then, we've been more often and I found a large cafetiere for £2.50, which is going to work (we love coffee at work).

A few plans for the rest of the week... knitting evening tonight - I only get to go once every few months - work tomorrow - attending the recording of a Radio 4 comedy show in London on Friday evening.

A picture for thought I'm sharing...

I took this photo on Saturday when we were in the park. I was hoping for a sunny or at least dry day. When we got to the park, it started to rain quite heavily. We were quite sheltered where we were and this puddle was at my feet. It was changeable weather and I liked the reflections in the water as the sun came out again.
The park was deserted, we had an icecream but then headed home to the warmth and a cup of tea!

Instructions for the Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Tuesday 19 October 2010

Outside my window... is very changeable weather. Beautiful blue skies this morning, heavy rain half an hour ago causing a quick sprint to the washing line, and now the sun's out again.

I am thinking... that it would have been nice if I'd actually get to spend a bit more time with the children next week when they're off school (they're away from Tuesday evening to Sunday afternoon).

I am thankful for... having come back home safely last weekend - we did lots of driving in the lorry to pick up a few items from Ebay.

From the kitchen... another soup from the slow cooker, but not such a hit: squash, carrot and red pepper. It sounded appealing enough but turned out be very watery and flavourless. Added a good squirt of Lee and Perrins but even that's not helping. And this was only the first of 6 portions...

I am wearing... jeans, short sleeved t-shirt, grey cable cardigan and green bodywarmer. It's almost like a uniform - I wear this all the time when I'm sitting still and working, and get cold very easily.

I am creating... Still knitting my Ishbel. She's growing nicely, hoping to finish it next week before I. goes back to school. Have made a dishcloth for a swap over at Ravelry and that's gone in the post, but have signed up for next month's swap too and looking forward to making another one. Not to mention the ones I'll get in the post in return! I'd really like to knit the Cranford Mitts from P/hop, but also itching to cast on Brooklyn Tweed's Shale Baby Blanket. How could anyone not like that? Isn't it gorgeous?

I am going... to try and be a bit stronger and just enjoy the time I have with the kids, instead of feeling sorry for myself that I always have to share them. We have good times together, that is all that matters.

I am reading... bits and pieces from the Sunday Times from last weekend.

I am hoping... that next week goes fast.

I am hearing... a programme about a female singer in her seventies - not my taste, and I keep wanting to mute the radio when they play snippets of her songs.

Around the house... it desperately needs hoovering! Sometimes I wish I had double the hours in a day in order to get everything done.

One of my favourite things... is having a cup of tea with the children when they come home from school. We used to have it in front of the telly, but a few months ago we changed that and now we sit at our kitchen table, with placemats and a milk jug and nicely arranged biscuits. It's such a nice time of the day.

A few plans for the rest of the week... library tomorrow - that is always a push on Wednesdays as N. has golf till 4.15 - work from the office later on in the week - just a normal ordinary week really.

A picture for thought I'm sharing...

We stayed here last weekend - a very nice hotel in the south of Yorkshire. Originally we were going to go to Yorkshire in one day, but I thought it'd be nice to make it a weekend, and it was definitely worth it - we had a lovely meal in their restaurant too, probably the best meal I've ever eaten out.

Instructions for the Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Tuesday October 5th

It has been a while since I did the Simple Woman's Daybook. Looking back, I can see I stopped at the beginning of the summer holidays, when life got busier with the children being home. They've now been back at school a few weeks and I'm slowly settling back into a routine. Not quite there yet - there are countless days when I fall into bed in the evening thinking 'I've not done anything just for me', and so the blog gets a bit neglected. But I do miss it, so I'm going to try and fit it in a bit more often again.

Outside my window... are lots of leaves flying about. It's been wet and windy here for a few days and it's truly Autumn. I don't mind the dark days, it's cosy to light some candles and draw the curtains, but I'm also hoping we'll soon have one of those sunny days you sometimes get in October - we haven't seen the sun for days.

I am thinking... that maybe I need an evening on my own. I've been feeling a bit grumpy the last few days, feeling a bit resentful that there are so many things I want to do and don't get round to. Maybe an evening alone will help.

I am thankful for... I always find this one so hard, it's so difficult to find something that doesn't sound like a cliche. A while back, I started writing a list of things that made me happy every day. That works really well to help focus on what is important and get things into perspective. Okay, I am thankful for the cosmos that keeps flowering in my garden despite the lashings of rain and especially, despite the neglect!

From the kitchen... golden harvest soup in my slow cooker, which came out again a few weeks ago. This is butternut squash, sweet potatoes, onions and lentils, and smells lovely. It's meant for supper but I might not last that long and have it for lunch instead!

I am wearing... jeans, long sleeved tshirt, grey cable cardigan and green bodywarmer. Not exactly the height of fashion but it's warm!

I am creating... so many things... I'm knitting an Ishbel for 11 year old I., who chose and bought her own wintercoat a while back and keeps pinching my Ishbel. I must put buttons on a cushion cover I made, I am making a blanket for our old VW camper, and I've just started on Cerisara, but am not happy with the needle size and need to go one size down, but those needles are in use for Ishbel. And I signed up for a dishcloth swap and have to knit one this month to send to the US. And this weekend I traced the pattern pieces for a denim skirt.

I am going... to Holland with the kids in a few weeks time and I can't wait.

I am reading... Yesterday morning: a very English childhood by Diana Athill. My boss recommended her books and I'm really enjoying it. She's very observant and it's beautifully written.

I am hoping... for a bit of sunshine on Saturday so we can spend some time in the park.

I am hearing... the news on Radio 4 which is on as background 'noise'.

Around the house... needs a bit of a clean. I think that might be this Saturday's job and might also involve the children.

One of my favourite things... is the new cushion cover I crocheted and that caused I. to say 'mamma it looks like you bought it in a shop'. Awww.

(it needs buttons still to finish it off)

A few plans for the rest of the week... having a half day off work tomorrow to meet up with a friend for a coffee, couple of days in the office, my Saturday with the kids this weekend and hopefully, fingers crossed, having a new oil tank installed on Sunday...

A picture for thought I'm sharing...

One of my favourite spots in the park. We often spend an hour or so here on Saturdays, it's a little out the way of the main thoroughfare but you can still watch the world go by. It's also near the icecream/coffee kiosk, always handy! It won't be long though before it gets too cold to spend long here and the kiosk will shut for the winter season.

Instructions for the Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Tuesday 20 July

Outside my window... I keep seeing little butterflies fluttering past. Apparently this is a good year for butterflies which is why we're seeing so many of them.

I am thinking... that it is only 3 more days till the summer holidays!

I am thankful for... the children not moaning too much when I ask them to help out from time to time. N. will occasionally object and say 'why do we have to do that?' but on the whole they're both pretty good, and it makes life a lot easier.

From the kitchen... summer soup with courgettes, beans, peas and pesto, with homemade salmon pate on crackers.

I am wearing... a turquoise outfit which caused I. to say this morning 'that colour suits you'. Awwww. I love my 11 year old.

I am creating... madly knitting on a little shrug for a party on Saturday. Not sure I'll finish it on time! N. is being picked up from school this afternoon so that saves me a trip and gives me some extra time. I'm on the second sleeve, but once that's done it needs quite a bit of ribbing still. Deadline knitting!

I am going... to go for a run tonight despite having been tortured by the Mel B bum and leg exercises last night.

I am reading... Comfort Food which is from the same author as The Friday Night Knitting Club. Nowhere near as good - the whole concept is much the same but it's a bit like a film sequel - I always feel the first one is best and you should leave it at that. I'm a couple of chapters away from the end and feel no urge to finish it.

I am hoping... that I get my shrug finished on time. That the linen trousers that I ordered from Ebay, arrive on time. That we get some nice weather while the kids are on holidays.

I am hearing.... The World at One on Radio 4.

Around the house... are little bunches of flowers from the garden. There is still so much work to be done in the garden, but there are enough plants now for me to pick the odd little bunch to dot around the house.

One of my favourite things... are the colours of the nasturtium flowers. I was expecting orange. Instead, I got about 4 or 5 different shades of orange. And countless flowers.

A few plans for the rest of the week... buying a few birthday presents, wrapping paper, cards, knitting, lots of knitting!

A picture for thought I am sharing....

Not sure it counts as a picture for thought but a favourite picture nonetheless. This was a couple of weeks ago on the ladies tractor road run I took part in to raise money for Cancer Research UK. It was such a lovely day and I managed to raise more than I had hoped (and the page is still open for donations until the end of July!)

Instructions for the Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Just a quick one - mum's over and I don't get much computer time - but wanted to show the photos of her wearing Aestlight - pleased I made the effort to get it finished on time and she's so happy with it!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I did it!

I went to weigh-in last night, not really wanting to go, as you sometimes don't when you've not had a good week. Imagine my surprise when I found I'd lost 3 lbs!

I lost 2.5 stone with WeightWatchers 6 years ago. I've followed their system on and off since then. It just works, it's sensible eating with the emphasis on increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat, as well as eating more 'filling foods' as they call them (wholemeal). No food is forbidden, they don't rule out certain food groups. They have loads of recipes - in magazines, in books, on the internet. I remember thinking after a few weeks that I had never eaten so well, and when I follow the system properly, I still think that. When I keep track of what I eat, I regularly end up with having eaten 7 or 8 pieces of fruit and veg.
Last summer I thought I was a stone over where I should be, and hadn't been to weigh-in for a long time. So I plucked up the courage and went back, only to find that I was only 4 lbs over my goal weight (the scales at home were very inaccurate and I've not used them since). But because you have to have at least 5 lbs to lose, I had to lower my goal weight a bit in order to be allowed to join.
Next followed a year of yoyo-ing. I'd get close, then something would happen and I'd put several pounds back on again. But a few weeks ago I got fed up with having to pay (you stop paying when you reach goal), I'd gone almost a stone over where I should be, and we have a party in July where I want to wear a rather slinky dress, and as said previously, I can use the money I save to help pay for some riding lessons for I. It suddenly seemed enough incentive and I found my motivation back.
B. took a few photos of me last weekend and one of them frightened me a bit - I was almost beginning to look too thin. So when I was weighed yesterday and found that I was back at my original goal weight, I had a word with my leader and said I didn't want to lose anymore. So she went off and came back with a gold envelope, meaning I'm at goal....
I'm very very pleased, I feel just right with this weight, I look at myself and don't think 'I could do with losing a bit here or there'.
Now the hard work starts though: maintenance. And often that is actually harder than losing the weight in the first place! At the moment I'm feeling very determined...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Wednesday 16 June (yes it's a day late!)

Outside my window... everything is growing so fast at this time of year and as well as the plants I've planted doing well, the weeds are growing fast too. Despite having made a start on the garden this year, there is still so much to do. I take heart from the knowledge that the best gardeners spend years on perfecting their garden.

I am thinking... that I need to find a way to cope a bit better with the increase in work hours. I'm struggling a bit at the moment. Tonight we ended up eating garlic bread, pizza and banoffee dessert. For once, that's not the end of the world, but I know why it happened: I have so very little me time at the moment, that the last thing I feel like is spending an hour in the (very untidy) kitchen, and food like that feels like I'm spoiling myself. Those last 4 lbs aren't shifting and I know exactly why. I'm also missing knitting time, just half an hour here or there, but there doesn't seem to be half an hour here or there at the moment. I'm not quite sure how to sort all this, but it does need sorting, that's for sure.

I am thankful for... a very relaxed and fun weekend last weekend with B.

From the kitchen... comes garlic bread, pizza and banoffee pie dessert ;-) O but also banana bread as I had a serious surplus of bananas.

I am wearing... trying on my hand knitted sock for size. I should be knitting something else but it requires concentration and silence, and I wanted to knit so desperately tonight that I picked up my sock while watching Three in a bed with I. tonight.

I am creating... lots of things in my mind. And not enough in real life.

I am going... to think about how create a bit more me time, to bake a lemon cake for B's sister's birthday this weekend, to send a magazine to a friend in Australia, and to practise my tractor driving skills a bit more this weekend.

I am reading... The Friday Night Knitting Club. Not high-brow literature but entertaining enough to have kept me up reading far too late. And while I was looking up the link to this book, I found there is a sequel. That will be on my list of books to borrow from the library then!

I am hoping... that things will seem a little less frantic soon.

I am hearing... the dishwasher running in the kitchen.

Around the house... is slightly tidier. I feel that at 11 and 8, the children are perfectly capable of helping out a bit more often. So tonight I. had to empty the dishwasher, N. had to get the laundry off the line and I. had to tidy up the front room. She does a very good job at tidying up, specially if it isn't her own stuff! So it does look a bit better here.

One of my favourite things... is having to got to know some people better in the last few weeks.

A few plans for the rest of the week... a day in the office, the car going to the garage to have its alarm sorted (it goes off randomly at all times of day and night. I am sure I'll get a phonecall from the neighbours soon begging me to sort it out), a day with the kids.

A picture for thought I'm sharing...

We visited some friends in Lancashire last weekend. They'd gone out for a birthday lunch and weren't back yet when we arrived, so we stopped at the village before theirs and walked down to the river. It was lovely weather, it was very quiet and peaceful down there, it had one of those little iron bridges that we both like so much, we had a paddle (and B. almost had a swim!), and we just had a lovely time together. The sort of time that you treasure the memory of.
Now if only I could squeeze everything I want to do, in the short time that is the weekend!

Instructions for the Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Tuesday 8 June

Outside my window... everything looks green. We've had rain since last night, on and off, and it makes everything look very green.

I am thinking... what I'll do tonight. I'd normally go and see B. but it's been a busy few days and my body is good at telling me that I need a bit of time to unwind. Or rather, maybe I'm getting better at recognising the signs. It's taking a bit of time to find a new routine now that I'm stuck behind the computer while the children are at school, and so far I haven't found much free time. So tonight is just for me.

I am thankful for... a lovely Sunday with B. last weekend. We went to look at a lorry, then drove to the coast and went for a swim, despite it being cloudy. We warmed up with egg, chips and ham and tea and coffee at the very old-fashioned beach cafe, then drove back home. It was lovely to have some time just to enjoy each other.

From the kitchen... have recently come very decadent Nutella and peanut butter cookies, and this afternoon it's going to be ciabatta pizza for lunch.

I am wearing... socks again. With the rain, the temperature has dropped too and when you sit still all day, it's my feet that get cold first.

I am creating... not a lot at the moment. I managed to knit a few rows during N's swimming lesson on Saturday and nothing since. My new car is very solid and I noticed last Sunday I can mapread without feeling nauseous. We're travelling quite a distance this weekend, so maybe I can knit a few rows then...

I am going... to see an old friend this weekend in Lancashire and I'm really looking forward to it.

I am reading... again nothing. I crawl into bed at 10.3o pm, drink my hot chocolate drink and read a couple of pages in the WeightWatchers magazine to keep me on the straight and narrow, and then fall asleep as soon as I set my radio to go off after 30 mins.

I am hoping... that my sweet pea will flower soon. They're growing really fast but I don't think there are any flowerbuds yet. Also, that the butternut squash will produce something - one leaf has been half eaten by something or other but the plant is growing.

I am hearing... raindrops on my conservatory roof. It's a plastic roof and in the rest of the house, you can't hear if it's raining unless it's raining really hard. In the conservatory, you can hear it drizzle.

Around the house... is lots of mud from two 8 year old boys' footsteps. N. had a PD day (teachers training day) yesterday so he had a friend over to stay for the day. Obviously 8 year old boys don't think to remove their (muddy) shoes before they run upstairs to play hide and seek...

One of my favourite things... is how well the cucumber plant is doing up on the landing at B's house. It's sitting under some large windows, it's very dry and warm up there and it loves it. Long tendrils and several mini cucumbers! O and the little rag doll that I bought from M&S on Saturday - yes, she was for me ;-)

A few plans for the rest of the week... trying to raise a bit more money for my ladies' tractor road run; a visit to Lancashire; trying to carve out a bit of me time...

A picture for thought I'm sharing...

The river Rijn close to where I lived for a couple of years. This was taken back in January I believe, during a very cold spell. One of my friends is moving to a house soon that they had built. I think that maybe it's time to go to Holland again...

Instructions for the Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A promise

Not sure that's the right word!

I have just switched WeightWatchers meetings. I used to go on Monday mornings and have really enjoyed that group, making friends along the way. But my increased hours at work meant I couldn't go to that one anymore. So I searched for another meeting and found one which I can attend after work if there are no hold-ups on the road.

I went for the first time tonight and it was a nice, small, friendly meeting. I'd lost a pound which I was pleased about (I'd lost the plot a bit over the Easter holidays and ended up having almost a stone to lose). I'm now 4.5 lbs off my goal weight. I'd already set myself a target of being at goal on 24 July, when we have a party to go to. I pay for WeightWatchers by Monthly Pass, which is cheaper than paying every week, plus you get access to lots of resources on their website. Every month, they send you a new pass, and while it doesn't cost much, if I reach goal weight, I don't need to pay again - and I'm quite looking forward to that.

So, I'm now officially declaring here that the pass I've just received in the post and that runs out on 4 July, is the last one I'll have in the post. 4.5 lbs in 4 weeks - that should be easy. By the time the next pass will be sent out, I want to be able to cancel the direct debit.
You can all email me on 4 July and hold me accountable. Please do. It will help spur me on.

(and if I do, I will cancel my gym membership too, where I've been for 6 years and still pay through the nose, despite me being a loyal member for years, and still have to pay for the kids to go swimming. And I'll use the money I'll save to get some riding lessons for I. who's come back from Wales loving horses even more than she did before. So there. You're all witness.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Wednesday 2 June

Outside my window.... the sun is shining again after a few very miserable, grey and wet days. And we've been promised nice weather all the way to the weekend.

I am thinking... is it time for my cup of tea yet? Normally the children set the rhythm of my day. N. comes home from school at 3.30 pm, followed by big sister I. at 3.50, which is my signal to stop working and get the kettle on. This week is halfterm and they're away with their father to see their grandmother on the Isle of Wight. The days take on a very different character without the children there.

I am thankful for... having been given the opportunity to increase my hours at work.

From the kitchen... will hopefully come a healthy carrot cake (is there such a thing as healthy cake?)

I am wearing... clothes which are slightly too warm, but the sudden rise in temperature has taken me by surprise.

I am creating... still Aestlight. The yarn for Cerisara arrived a while back and I'm itching to cast on, but mum will be coming over for a weekend at the end of the month and I'm adamant Aestlight will be finished. The increased hours at work are wreaking havoc with any knitting time though!

I am going... to the seaside on Saturday evening. B. is going to look at a lorry for the tractor and it's in Kings Lynn, which is on the Norfolk coast. If the weather is as promised, I'm hoping we'll get to go on the beach. If he's lucky, I might treat him to fish and chips!

I am reading... still nothing. I still fall in bed at 10.30 in the evening and am asleep long before my radio switches itself off.

I am hoping... that the weather is going to be warm enough for me to wear my new skirt again.

I am hearing... a financial programme on the radio. I am hearing it but not really listening to it.

Around the house... it's staying incredibly tidy without two children to mess it up again! (shame about the muddy footprints from yesterday's rainy day).

One of my favourite things... has to be my new car. It's a dream. I should have bought it years ago. The best bit is how economical it is. It's such a challenge to drive as economically as possible.

A few plans for the rest of the week... couple of days in the office, with hopefully a quick visit to Starbucks thrown in, hugs for the children on Saturday when they return, and then back to normal routine next week when they're back at school.

A picture for thought I am sharing...

One of my favourite spots in Amsterdam: the cactus greenhouse in the Hortus.

Instructions for the Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Tuesday 25 May

My head is finally in the right place to do these again!

Outside my window.... I can see lots and lots of growth on my winter jasmine. My dad cut it back rather vigorously last year and it seems to have liked it, as I've never seen it this green. Hoping for lots of flowers this winter.

I am thinking... that I'm almost ready for my second coffee of the day.

I am thankful for... two things. One is gratitude that I'm feeling back to normal and that I didn't spiral into a deeper depression or break-down. Two is gratitude to my dad, without whom I would have sunk down lower. I have bought him a card for Father's Day with the text 'the older I get, the smarter my dad seems to get'. It couldn't be more true.

From the kitchen... are coming lots of home cooked meals again. I've lost the tiredness which stopped me enjoying cooking.

I am wearing... jeans, a cotton short sleeved top and my bodywarmer, as the temperature has suddenly dropped quite a bit after 3 days of sunshine.

I am creating... Aestlight for my mum. I'm about a quarter of the way done with the edging. Once that's done, I'm casting on for Cerisara

I am going... to pick up a new car in the next few days... well, new to me!

I am reading... nothing at the moment! Have just finished a book about the demise of farming in the traditional sense.

I am hoping... that I. has good weather on her trip in Wales.

I am hearing... children's telly. N. is home from school with a temperature, very little appetite and no voice. Which is all unlike him!

Around the house... things are getting tidier. I'm enjoying following some of Flylady's routines.

One of my favourite things... is the garden by far. I could spend all day there, tidying up, digging, planting, watering. The only thing I still don't enjoy is mowing the lawn. It's like hoovering. Don't enjoy that either.

A few plans for the rest of the week... I was planning to spoil N. a little bit with his big sister being away, but because he's off colour, that's been put on hold. Will try and make it to the library tomorrow. Looking forward to picking up my big girl on Friday night.

A picture for thought I'm sharing...

A lovely cloudscape from Norfolk from last weekend.

Instructions for the Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

5 days

As a parent, you bring up your children to become confident, independent beings.
This morning, I. went off with school on her 5 day pony trekking trip to Wales. She'd been looking forward to it for months and went off smiling. So I must have done alright as a parent.
So how come it feels so empty at home?
I just hope by the time she's 18 and ready to leave home, I'm as ready to let her go as she was this morning for her trip.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Resurfacing - slowly

My enforced week off has done me the world of good. My dad had sent me a brochure about stress symptoms, and I recognised every single one of them, which made me feel a lot better in itself. I just couldn't understand why I couldn't pull myself together, kick myself up the backside and just get on with it. Me, who normally has boundless energy and can carry the weight of the world on her shoulders. But my body was very clear and wouldn't let me. And once I recognised that and stopped trying to fight it, I felt a lot calmer and happier. I just had a very quiet week. Kept some structure - I got the kids off to school and did some chores around the house - but made sure I had plenty of rest and scheduled lots of me-time too. And I think that is what helped me most - finally having some time for me. I have two lasting memories of my week off, and one is starting work on the garden, for the first time in years, and secondly popping to town one day (to look at the plants on the market!) and then treating myself to coffee and some knitting time on my own in the sunshine. It just felt so good to sit there and have nobody ask what was going to be for supper, if their uniform was clean yet, or how to open a file on the computer. I just enjoyed my own company and a bit of peace and quiet.
At the end of that week I came to the conclusion that I don't put myself first often enough. I think it's something we women are good at: taking care of others, making sure they're happy and looked after, and often putting our needs and wishes and desires last, thereby usually not having time for ourselves at all. And it doesn't make me happy. So from now on I'm going to put myself first more often. I'm going to try and treat myself to the odd coffee on my own, with some knitting time thrown in. And from now on, I'm going to start knitting just for me. I do enjoy knitting for others, but I'm not sure everybody always appreciates how much effort and above all love goes into it. I see so many things that I'd like to make for myself, but most of the time I have a project for somebody else on the needles. Maybe it's time to change that!

As for the garden... When I first moved here, 15 years ago, the garden was a mess. J. and I did it up together and had a lovely cottage garden that first summer. Then when the children arrived, he took over most of the work, but it was still lovely. He lost interest as our marriage started to disintegrate, and when he first left, I found it too much work to cope on my own with two small children and a garden which needed quite a bit of work by then. So I let it go, for several years. But B. bought the children a trampoline for their birthday and he predicted that if they were spending time outside, I'd get on with some gardening. During my week off I cleared the little patio area by the back door and the little circular patio at the back of the garden, and cleaned the garden furniture. Next thing I know, the children want to have their after school snacks in the garden, and supper too if at all possible, and want to help me clear things up. N. started sweeping some of the paving slabs and suddenly we could walk to the lawn without slipping on dead leaves. And that was it, no stopping us. I now have several herbs growing in pots by the back door, three pots with sweet peas, we have radishes and salad plants, I'm waiting for the nasturtiums to germinate, and this weekend we planted verbenas and stocks. Most evenings we are outside, just spending half an hour or so on clearing a little patch and then planting it up again, or sometimes just watering what we have already done up. I find it strangely addictive, and keep having to go outside to see what the plants are doing (annoyingly it's turned really cold in the last week or so and nothing's germinating!).

So, slowly I'm getting back to normal. I find that I can still get tired if I overdo it, and then when I do get tired, it's an all-consuming tiredness. I still sleep more than I normally would, but at least I feel more back to my old self again. I just didn't recognise myself 3 weeks ago and that was a frightening feeling. And at some point, I'm sure, I'll feel like a trip to Holland again. But at the moment, I'm just enjoying being home. And I think that's what I missed most, in all those months of uncertainty.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ground to a complete halt

There are ways that your body lets you know that there is only so much you can take and enough is enough. My body decided to do just that in the last 10 days or so. I wasn't just tired, I started getting lots of strange symptoms that caused a dash to A&E twice in the space of a week, but didn't lead to anything concrete being diagnosed. After the first visit, I already suspected that stress might have something to do with it, and the second time I was there, the very sympathetic doctor confirmed that. She was lovely, listening to my story from the last few months and telling me that my body was showing classic signs of stress.
I took Thursday and Friday of last week off work, thinking I'd be ready on Monday again. On Saturday, I had quite a good day. On Sunday, I couldn't stop crying, didn't feel like doing any of the things I normally enjoy at the weekend, and had a major panic at the thought of having to go to work. On the advice of my wise dad I went back to the GP on Monday and got myself signed off for a week. I felt so relieved.
That's now three days ago and I'm slowly beginning to feel more like myself again. I'm taking it very easy, still doing things around the house, getting I. and N. off to school and cooking meals, but I'm also sleeping lots and doing things I enjoy rather than things I have to do. I'm still tired and I've noticed if I do too much in one day when I feel good, I pay for it the next day. But the thought of having to go to work next week doesn't frighten me anymore, which is a good sign.

I've definitely learnt something from this. My life is so busy and I put so much pressure on myself to get certain things done - work, the kids, the house, going to see B., keeping fit - that at the end of the day, there is very little if no time at all left to do exactly what I WANT to do, rather than what I feel I SHOULD do. And I'm not going to do that anymore. I am very good at wanting to do things for other people, wanting to make them happy, but in the process, I end up at the very bottom of the list of priorities. I think it's time I changed that and start to learn that it doesn't matter sometimes if I don't go out for a run or a swim, but that I will feel better if I make time to sit down with a book or my knitting.
It doesn't matter how old you are, you never stop learning, do you.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I have been meaning to post a little update for ages, but have been so terribly tired the last few weeks. Take today for example, I've been up since 7, it's now almost 11, apart from getting the kids to school and stripping all the beds, I've not done much, and I could sleep already.

Mum went back to the surgeon last Tuesday to get the results of the scan and biopsy on her thyroid. Once again, it was pretty good news: there is a growth in her thyroid but it's benign. She has an appointment with an 'internist' (specialist in internal organs, I don't think they exist in Britain) in May who's going to run some tests to see how her thyroid is functioning. If it's not functioning well, he may decide to operate to remove the growth, but as she has no symptoms relating to her thyroid, I expect that all they'll do is keep an eye on it. So, it looks like most of the hospital visits and the waiting are over and we're really out of the woods.

Last weekend I grabbed my chance and took I. over to Holland for 3 days. Back in November, I took N. on his own to see Sinterklaas, and I'd promised I. we'd go for a 'girly weekend' together. I'd postponed it several times, not wanting to take her with me to the hospital, as it's so big and you see so many seriously ill people - not a place for a young girl to be. She'd savedLink her pocket money and done lots of little jobs around the house for months and had managed to save over 50 pounds, which she was itching to spend! We had one quiet day with a bit of local shopping and a coffee at the Hema, then on Sunday, dad took us on the train to Amsterdam. He was born there himself and did his medical degree there, and now that he is retired, he regularly can be found there for concerts, walks and exhibitions, so he knows it pretty well. We started off in the Hortus and then did the predictable department stores which I. loved, and she managed to spend a fair chunk of her money. On Monday I'd booked a pedicure for her. The lady who did it, knew just how to treat her - she was made to feel really special. The smile on her face was priceless and for days afterwards she would show her feet to everybody who'd look. I think it was the highlight of her weekend...

And then we were back and I thought life would go on as normal. Only it won't. My body is protesting angrily at all that we've been through, and telling me I need to take it a bit easier. Lots of seemingly scary symptoms, but deep down I knew it was most likely stress related. I've got a few days off work and I'm just so, so tired. I know it will just take time and I need to be patient, but it has taken me by surprise a bit.

And now I'm off to the sofa for a nap...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Not entirely out of the woods yet...

...but the first bit of news was very, very positive: no malignancies in mum's liver!
She hugged the consultant, I hugged the consultant, then I had a good cry, and then we had coffee and cake :-)

Today we're back at the hospital for an ultrasound of her thyroid, so fingers crossed for that one, but the main thing is that her liver is fine, it's probably just had a lot to cope with when she was first ill 2 1/2 years ago.

I'm knitting The Shetland Trader's Aestlight for Mother's Day for her. I'm knitting it with a much, much lighter heart :-)

Monday, April 5, 2010


To mijn grote meid

You were born 11 years ago today, on Easter Monday, 4 days early. I knew throughout my pregnancy that you were going to be a girl, even though we didn't get told at the scans, and that we'd get to use the name we'd chosen years before.
Before you were born, I always thought I'd really enjoy babyhood. I'd be one of those earth mothers, cooing over their baby in the pram, you'd be wearing only handsewn or handknitted clothes, you'd smile back at me and then go to sleep. I thought that when you turned one, motherhood would become a bit boring - well, all the major milestones were out the way weren't they, so what else could there be that could be as exciting as your first smile, you learning to crawl, taking your first steps? And then being a mother to two school age children, well surely that couldn't be any fun at all - what milestones were there to be passed?
Reality couldn't have been more different. I found babyhood hard work, the toddler years interesting but sometimes mind numbingly boring. But when you and your brother left those years behind, something changed and I gradually started to enjoy being a mother. Really, properly enjoy. When I first became a single mother, I'd need my weekends without you two to have some time out and recharge my batteries for the week ahead. But now I miss you and will relish the extra days I get with you.
You have changed so much over the last year. You're not a little girl anymore, but not yet a teenager either. You suddenly don't like the magazine anymore you've had a subscription on for the last 2 years, but most of the other magazines are still a bit old for you. You love looking at make-up but don't use it yet. You're becoming more independent, wanting to go off in town on your own, but needing reassurance that I won't stray far from you. You are becoming extremely good company. You tell me when I look nice or when something I've thrown on that morning doesn't look good. You are my most enthusiastic WeightWatchers supporter. You enjoy watching trashy television with me and we've become real EastEnders fans together in the last year. You're very helpful around the house and like nothing better than when I say 'you can tidy up my room for me if you like?' So much of what we have together, reminds me of what I had with my mum when I was growing up, and I'm enjoying it so much. And maybe there aren't huge milestones anymore as you get with a new baby, but I can't wait to see what you're going to be like in a year, 3 years or 8 years from now.

Happy 11th birthday mijn grote meid.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Basically 8

To my big boy, who will always be my kleine mannetje whatever age you are. For months you have been saying you're 'basically 8'. You like discovering big words and using them whenever you can. Actually and basically are two of those. But today you actually were 8.
You were fine on Monday when we cuddled up on your bed together and I told you I had to go to Holland again to be with oma and would be away on your birthday. I was expecting tears but didn't get any, just a 'that's fine'. But I knew something wasn't right on Tuesday when you weren't up and chatting by 7, and even more so when you were still lying in bed at 7.30 am, crying, complaining of tummy-ache. When I'd taken your big sister to the school bus, we cuddled up again and you told me the tummy-ache was because I wasn't going to be there on your birthday. So despite having to do lots of things that day, I decided you needed to stay at home with me and have some extra attention and above all, some extra cuddles. I think it helped, as you seemed much more cheerful at the end of the day and were happy to go and see pappa as usual on a Tuesday night.
I know right now it's hard for you with all that's going on, but I hope that one day you'll understand why I wanted to go to Holland. Just as you want to be with me sometimes, so do I want to be with my mamma (your oma) sometimes. I wish I didn't have to go to Holland, I wish we didn't live so far away from oma, I wish I hadn't had to make the choice I did today.
I thought about you lots today, I missed you, and I love you very much. Happy birthday big boy.
Mamma xxx

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No Simple Woman's Daybook

This week has gone a bit manic. WeightWatchers meeting, meeting up with a new friend from Ravelry, going to Cambridge to celebrate a colleague's birthday, going swimming with the kids, an orientation evening for I.'s ponytrekking week in Wales in May, o and a bit of work thrown in for good measure, and an almost 8 year old who let me know this morning that he needed a bit more in the way of TLC than they get in the course of a normal day (tears, tummy-ache). I decided that we'd give school a miss today and spend a bit of quality time together, and he seemed a lot happier by the end of the day.

Just two things I did want to say. First of all, I was very shocked and sad last Saturday when I found out that Elspeth Thompson died last week. I didn't know her personally but had been following her blog for a couple of years, specially because she and her husband had been doing up two disused railway carriages near the south coast. In one of her last posts, she wrote about her plans for the garden, which she'd started last summer, with no hint of the depression she was suffering. I'll miss her posts and her beautiful photographs.

And secondly, I just wanted to say thanks for all the lovely messages of support I've had in the last couple of months or so. They mean a lot to me. Let's hope that in two weeks' time, I can start to blog about more normal, everyday things.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I'm feeling a bit downhearted at the moment. I had a tough weekend last weekend, but managed to pull myself together a bit on Monday (after bursting into tears at WeightWatchers!) and started to feel better. Looking after myself fairly well, making sure I eat well, get some exercise (have discovered yoga for relaxation, works a treat before bedtime), get enough sleep. I've started to take Kalms to keep the nerves at bay which is helping, but I didn't sleep that well last night and I think it's contributing to me feeling a bit low. The kids are with J. all weekend and I'm missing them, and knowing that next week is going to be an odd week with less time with them than normal makes me miss them even more.
It is also odd to plan things with them like their birthday party (N. will be 8 on Thursday and I. will be 11 the following Monday), when my mind is completely elsewhere - they don't know everything that's going on with mum and therefore their lives just go on as normal, apart from me going to Holland more often.
Work is a real distraction, specially going into the office. I've been there almost 15 years, the longest of all of us in the department, so I've seen a fair number of people come and go, but we have a really good team right now, and I very much look forward to going to work. I won't be going in for a couple of weeks now, apart from a birthday bash, as mum's scan and the results are on days that I'd normally go to the office.
The long waits between tests and scans and results aren't helping either. I get very frightened of what we might hear, but then slowly that fear fades away to make place for more normality, only for the fear to strike at unexpected moments where it will make me stop and take a sharp breath. When I feel optimistic, I can't help but think 'but it could be bad news', and when I feel frightened, I think 'you've got to remain positive'. Whatever you do, it never feels like the right thing. There probably isn't such a thing as the right thing to do or feel in these circumstances.
I spoke to mum's sister this week, who hadn't known until now that we'd been through several tests and wanted to know if she needed to be worried. She told me how much my support means to mum. Dad had offered to go to hospital with her this week for the MRI, but I really wanted to go myself anyway, and having heard how much mum appreciates it, makes me doubly determined to go. And it's not just that I'm doing it for her, I want to be with her for a bit too.

I know Holland is only a short plane flight away, just a short ferry crossing, but lately it has felt like I'm living on the other side of the world. And that feels very, very far away.

ETA: I went for a run after writing this post and that's made me feel a bit better. Now installed on the bed in pyjamas, with laptop, tea and some biscuits. Only the cat's missing ;-)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Monday 22 March 2010

I almost didn't write this post. I'm not feeling very strong at the moment and thought I wouldn't be able to write about small, everyday things. But I'm trying very hard to think positive, to be strong, and realised that keeping up the routine of stopping and looking at ordinary things and writing the Daybook, would help in that. So here goes. It may not be the cheeriest post, but it is here.

Outside my window... is sunshine and wind. It feels a little warmer each day, yet it is very windy (perfect laundry drying weather!) which makes you realise that it is only just Spring. I took off a layer of my bed last night and slept with a window open, and woke up cold. Patience!

I am thinking... there are so many thoughts whirling round in my head right now. Mostly worry thoughts. At times I manage to push them out, like you are told to do with negative thoughts. Sometimes I don't. It helps being with other people and being distracted. The kids are great at keeping negative thoughts at bay. Even better is that they don't know they're doing it.

I am thankful for... the tissue that Helen, my WeightWatchers leader, offered me when I burst into tears this morning when she asked me if I'd had a 'naughty week'.

From the kitchen... came the smell of boterkoek this weekend. Not made it for years but it smelt good. Will be making it a couple of times again this week.

I am wearing...
a mishmash of things as it is one of those days again where everything I really wanted to wear, was in the wash.

I am creating... another baby i-cord beanie. In shocking pink this time. B. did ask very diplomatically what on earth I was knitting (you can't tell at the moment that it is a hat). After that it is on to some baby bootees and then maybe the Aestlight Shawl as I've been wanting to knit that for ages.

I am going... to start following FlyLady again. The house is a chaotic mess and I'm fed up with it. FlyLady does a great job of kicking you up the backside, stopping you from wallowing in self pity and motivating you.

I am reading... nothing at the moment. I might treat myself to an issue of The Knitter tonight, if they have one when we go and do our supermarket shop.

I am hoping... only one thing: please let this MRI scan show that there is nothing to worry about.

I am hearing... The Archers on Radio 4. I haven't listened properly to it for ages. I was a big fan but can't be bothered at the moment.

Around the house... are lots of flowers. The kids bought me a bunch when I last came back from Holland and they're still going strong. Last week we bought some reduced price flowers from Mother's Day, and the ones that had fallen off, are in glasses on the table. And this morning N. picked a pale yellow primrose and put it in the kitchen for me as a surprise.

One of my favourite things... was discovering on Friday that some yarn I'd bought just because I liked the look of it, matched my coat perfectly.

A few plans for the rest of the week... a couple of days in the office, a coffee with a friend on Wednesday, parents' evening appointment for N.

Here is a picture for thought I'm sharing...

This is Felixstowe, taken last summer at the beginning of the school summer holidays. I wish I lived a bit closer to the beach. You can't beat a beach for blowing cobwebs away.

Instructions for the Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here