Friday, 19 August 2011


We are off on holiday next Tuesday so today I spent most of the time trying to sort out what we need to pack.

The easy bit is the fact that it's our third visit to this hotel - The Clio - in this resort - Alykes - on this Greek island - Zakynthos  also called Zante.

The hard bit is the fact that this time we are restricted to just one suitcase for hubby and I with a total weight of 20kg. We can also take hand luggage of 5kg each in a back pack, but hubby is determined not to carry more than we need.

So a day of list printing, washing, ironing, folding, list ticking and a trial of stuffing in the case and weighing which came to just 18kg. Hubby seemed relieved!

Glad I got the last bits of washing done as the weather forecast for the weekend is wet and today was gloriously sunny and warm......shame I spent lots of it inside by the ironing board.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Eating out...

Went to visit SisterM today and after a small DIY job for Hubby we went out to eat at their local Harvester. Great to be able to eat out with them, seems ages since we last did, very civilised  :o)

Monday, 15 August 2011

Such a busy day...

Another carb-free experiment, this time something savoury. Ground flax seed plus cheese plus mustard for flavour and eggs to bind. Rolled into balls and flattened and baked to make a substitute for the cheese straw type nibble. Family verdict was good, I liked them too but happy to try again perhaps adding a bit more seasoning and trying to bake them thinner so they crisp a bit more. All-in-all a good first attempt tho!

Made these first thing as I knew Daughter and children were coming over today but Hubby still had to do some shopping with E so we could have some lunch and R had brought her two largest beetroot that she had grown, so we cooked them to have with lunch too.

Daughter+her family of 5 more are all going to a fancy dress party next weekend so they came here to make costumes. All based on Sponge Bob characters, they have worked out who is which character and Daughter has roughly worked out what she needs to do for each one. Have to say today the girls were not in a craft mood and didn't help very much with the sewing etc but were happy to search the internet for good ideas and then costumes to copy and masks to print and colour. They also cut out and decorated the big coins that go into the money bag.

So while I'm called by each for advice or help and running round entertaining O I'd also managed to strip our bed get 4 machine loads of washing and all the pegging out and bringing in done, plus put out a lunch and make a dinner.....I kept forgetting what I was in the middle of before I got interrupted!

While dinner was cooking I played our new game of Viking Kubb with R, ...and I won!

Had to eat outside to save clearing all the dinning room table as they will be back tomorrow for more costume making. Of course the children didn't actually eat all their dinner because we were outside and they caught sight of a baby hedgehog and had to spend a lot of time ooo-ing and ahh-ing right near it.

Then as it was a lovely calm warm early evening out came the badminton rackets for Hubby, Daughter, E & R to play in various twosomes, while O kept them entertained using his racket as a guitar and fly swatter and various other things that made me laugh.

So a very lovely but exhausting day.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Holding hands....

Sometimes we don't get the opportunities to say all we want to say and I do believe that writing stuff down is great when there isn't anyone around just then to listen (hence this blog) but big hugs or walking along holding a hand can transfer a vast unsaid conversation too!

So today the gardening, ironing and other stuff got left because I shared my day with very special people and we held hands  :o)

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Getting the timing right...

Yesterday I went to a funeral and also got the confirmation of some very sad family news!
So today I'm looking at how my time disappears on things that are less important than others and trying to work out some of my priorities ........this is not a selfish act but truly meant in honour of those that don't have the time to consider what to spend it on!

Over the years I've always kept some sort of diary, so now you can imagine how many of them there are. I always have trouble remembering when something happened or have to ask "When did we have the extension built?" or "How long ago was that holiday in Naples?" and could often be found rummaging through the old diaries to check but more usually getting distracted by plenty of other memories. So once I'd stopped working  and had time to spare I decided to create my timeline! This would be in excel so searchable and then came the long process of reading through all the diaries and converting those precious memories into data on a spreadsheet. I hadn't got very far in the past two years but I have to say the amount I had done was looking good, all colour coded rows showing things like my most important events in red, to miscellaneous entries in no colour at all, with employment, health, family events, friends events etc all different colours and of course a record of our holidays in sunny yellow!

To be honest it was becoming a chore and I often used to procrastinate on the laptop then realise I had no more time to add to timeline was taking up my time! So today I have decided to stop and I've printed out what I've done so far, (may scribble on it in pen if I feel the need) and will put it in my special folder of family history with a note to say "If you are interested in more go find my diaries". Of course I've saved the excel file in various places so I could add to it later if I feel the need.

About a decade ago I'd decided to compile the family trees for hubby's family and for each of my parent's families. I couldn't go back further than my grandparents as they were immigrants with very few records and were no longer with us to ask, in fact they had died long before I was born. My intention had been to show my children the width of our families and who their cousins were etc. Large families take a lot of data input and because of various computer changes when I was working etc I'd lost the original software and the data files I had were not compatible with other software so I no longer had the details in electronic form, but thankfully I had printed it all out and over recent years had just added more info by scribbling on the paper. As no-one else seems particularly interested in any of it I've now decided that what's there will do and scribbled updates are good enough!

Now actually that I have relieved myself of these expectations I feel a bit more free to choose what I want to spend my time on. I'll probably get to the end of the day and realise I've achieved nothing but I won't feel guilty and at least I'll know I haven't wasted time avoiding stuff either.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Experimental baking...

FriendM is having friends over this evening and making a buffet supper and as we are both trying to stay carb-free to lose some weight I said I would attempt to make some carb-free cake to bring along.

So popped to Asda and bought some of the stuff and then to Tesco to see if I could get other stuff and came back with what I thought would be alternatives to wheat flour, Cocoyam fufu flour, but later found that this is ground from the tuber of the plant much like a potato so high in carbs, also bought ground flax seed but discovered that this is good as an oil/butter substitute......yes I know I should do my research before shopping!

I managed to get some ground almonds in place of the almond flour I was really after and no sign of the coconut flour I'd seen on various recipes, so need to find some specialist/health shop but I so hate going into town if I don't have to.

I first had a go at this yogurt cake but used the ground almonds instead of the flour and lemon extract in stead of the vanilla. It came out quite well, didn't rise much and still a bit soggy in the middle even though it had been in the oven for twice as long as the recipe suggested, but tastes good.

Also made this chocolate cake which is made with beans! I used red kidney beans and again it stayed a bit soggy in the middle but the top looks really interesting as it went a bit craggy and looked prone to breaking up so I split it and put a butter-cream in the middle to try and hold it all together and to help sweeten it as I though the amount of cocoa made it a little bitter for my taste.

I'll try to report back the verdict by tonight's tasters but I know there is definite room for improvement!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Making the best of it...

I had to have a minor op yesterday, but an op none the less so was quite nervous! Well I'm pleased to report all went well.

I do believe though that this sort of event is best coped with having a "look on the bright side" state of mind. So I'd taken my half read book and was quite happy during the long waits. I laughed when the fourth person had to come and ask almost identical questions to the previous three, all with their separate little forms that all look different and have to have all the tick boxes completed, whatever happened to having one folder that stayed with the patient, but hey what do I care if they all have to work harder than need be or if it costs unnecessarily, nothing is going to stress me while I'm here! Not even having to wear funny support stockings...very elegant.

Also had a giggle with the nurse that asked me to remove the nail varnish from one finger and all my jewellery, then asked me to sign the form stating that valuables are left in the hospital at owner's risk. I did point out that if no nail varnish or jewellery was stated on the original letter then that would have avoided this, or even mention this before they sent Hubby home. Maybe I could become a time-and-motion consultant....maybe not!

Apart from a bit of a struggle getting the canula in (I've very small veins) I then knew nothing else till I woke in recovery with two really lovely chatty nurses. I said I was desperate for a cup of tea at which point one of the nurses went into raptures of all the different cakes she now fancied, so I had to tell her off as I'd not eaten for about 19 hours. We seemed to chat for ages and laugh a lot as one had a passion for purses and the other for spangled flip flops. Think they appreciated the light hearted chatter as they said lots of people come through either still very sleepily or taking it too seriously or occasionally unwell when they have to get nursey.

Back onto the ward and watched as the other two patients were brought dinner then eventually I was brought tea and toast with jam which was heaven!

Up, dressed and a trip to the toilet to prove I could then Hubby was told to come and get me. So a stay of just over 7 hours. Had a good night's sleep (actually went to bed just after 10pm which is really early for me) and today felt totally fine!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Cousins' cuddles...

Had a really lovely day yesterday, it was a 'cousins get together' and we held it at my SisterM's house all bringing food to share. SisterS and SisterP both came too which was lovely, making 10 of us round the table.

It was a very hot day and I'd been caught in a traffic jam, sitting still for nearly 25 minutes, before I'd even got  a few miles from home which didn't bode well, and that's when it was obvious that my air conditioning didn't work at all yuk yuk very sweaty! But once I was there and everyone arrived it was just what we expected. Lots of catching up chat about whose children and grandchildren are doing what and CousinJ announcing a new grandchild on the way and SisterS moaning how she doesn't think she'll be a grandmother for a very long time yet! We spent ages remembering our mums, four mums between us who were all sisters and reminding each other of their very different personalities and how we all shared events and sleep-overs with the various Aunts. Of course there was the sad news that SisterM had to share (her medical treatment is not working and has been stopped) which everyone took very seriously and sympathetically but thankfully no-one dwelt on as we all needed it to be a happy reunion, and it really was.

Lots of big hugs and kisses and some photo taking and then it was all over. I was the last to leave accepting a final cup of tea, then 64 miles home in my very hot car...but radio up loud and smiling after a really lovely day!