Monday, 7 April 2014

Sunday Monday happy days

(I have just changed my font to Helvetica - didn't the creator die recently?) (Yes and I know it's a typeface not a font.)

This past week or so, I've been doing the 100happydays challenge. You have to Facebook or tweet (or email to be private) a photo of what makes you happy for 100 days in a row. You receive a book of your images at the end as a reward. On day 8 so far, the hardest part for me is not, as the raison d'etre of the challenge suggests, that I'm too busy for this; rather I am prone to forgetting! I have therefore set up a reminder on my phone. I'm worried that food pictures will feature, and I don't want all of my posts to be "Oh so proud of my son" etc. 

And it's not like I'm not happy! I am, well I'm content, and that in my (photo) book is better than being happy. I like being content with the happy bits coming often. 

Anyway, why not take up the challenge? I just want the book. But how on earth the photo of the cup of tea on Day 2 will make any sense without its caption (Cuppa made for me at cub drop off), I don't know. Watch this space.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Thankful Thursday

This probably exists already as a meme, but let's just assume I made it up. I have managed to get through a whole month without blogging. Things have been annoying this year so far; not THAT bad but downright annoying. And while I can manage one or two annoying things, when EVERYTHING is annoying, well it just gets you down. Let's just think about work though...

Just as the Spring weather bursts out, I am starting to feel better. This Thursday I am thankful that I've had a good week at work. Not just a good week, but the best week this year so far. In January I changed my role at work. Feeling like I needed a change, I asked for it. But when it happened, it had attached to it another role that challenged my confidence. Realising I am "externally referenced" (thanks Shorwood and her NLP training!), when I understood this reference was not forthcoming, I knew I had to look inside myself to boost my confidence. I aspire to be more "externally referenced".

Due to ill health (a horrid flu-like thing and a small, planned hospital procedure) plus half-term sandwiched in the middle, a three-week break inadvertently afforded me the opportunity to step back and view my progress, or my perceived lack of, and how I was going to "make it work". Unfortunately I cannot explain how I did it - I think it just happened to me. Maybe it was in the back of my mind all the time, and it needed time and space to move around and sort itself out. However it did it, it did it.

Hence this week's HURRAH. (I also started teaching French to more classes so that might have something to do with it!)

In any case, this positivity resulted in a desire to blog today. HURRAH indeed!

So this Thursday, I am thankful for my nasty flu bug and a small operation.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Happy Humdrum Christmas

I'm happy. I'm about to spend another sleepless night coughing, but I'm grateful my cold and cough appears in the evenings only.

It was a shame we had to drive down in that awful weather on Monday, but I'm happy we had the chance to see our niece and meet her toddler son for the first time.

I'm bemused our son was underwhelmed by his BMX bike, but I'm pleased he was delighted with his tablet from his grandparents.

I'm slightly worried that he spent a long time playing a coin game on it, but happy he sent me his first email (aged 7). Scary.

Tomorrow we get to spend the day with my parents and I can't wait.

And at this very moment, I'm extremely happy that I get to read the new Rebus book. My bestest present so far!

Hope you had a good one.







Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Meal Planning Monday - always late!

Wrote my week's planning on Saturday. Posted it Wednesday! Here goes ...

Saturday - cheat lasagne (fresh sheets of pasta, cheese sauce tub, Look What We Found bolognese) and garlic bread from the freezer YES

Sunday - roast chicken with veg gratin using up rest of cheese sauce from yesterday YES

Lunches at work - soup made today

Monday - meatballs n pasta (all meat bought on 3 for £10 at Waitrose) HAD TUESDAY

Tuesday - beef casserole and dumplings HAD JACKET POTS

Wednesday - jacket pots with tuna OOPS PIZZA COMING...

Thursday - pizza wraps

Friday - outlaws staying so hopefully they will buy a takeaway!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

His name's Edna. Edna Book.

For every time I worry that my son spends too much time in front of the telly or on my laptop, please let me look at this photo to remind me of the time he spends with his nose in a book. I'm not that worried really; he lives for football and spends hours playing with his mates in the park. But on Tuesday at the school book fair, he wangled an early "Good Parents' Evening" gift out of me in the form of the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. I'd planned on buying it anyway, and there was £4 off at the fair! I told him he would have it taken away if we didn't get a good report.

Yesterday was Parents' Evening but we only got to see his Maths teacher as his class teacher was off sick. Thankfully he got a good report for Maths.

But I couldn't really take the book off him in any case, should he get a bad report from his class teacher. He's already finished the book! Within one day, he'd finished it! That was because he read on the way home from school, walking from the car to the house, whilst he was eating. You get the picture.

So if Miss M tells me he's a nightmare, what am I going to do? Help!

Monday, 4 November 2013

How to get humdrum but happy

December's issue of Psychologies has this as a strapline. Coach Jessica Chivers suggests ways of finding even dull (necessary) housework activities more appealing. She talks of reframing the chore - I find that phoning my mum makes emptying the dishwasher much more enjoyable.

She also talks of exchanging the bucket list of "things to do before you die". Okay I don't think many of us would sniff at seeing the Northern Lights, but how about standing on Southsea beach, facing the Isle of Wight, during Cowes Week. Try and beat that contrast of white sails against the blue sea.

I'm thinking of creating my own list; not a bucket, rather a suitcase filled daily with "things" that have made my life happier, made me more content. Maybe this is where my blog is heading...

Saturday, 2 November 2013

A new desk!

I've moved my desk area. It's still situated under the stairs in our open plan front room/stairway area. It's no biggie really. I just turned it 90 degrees and tidied it up. BUT it's made a huge difference. We can now sit and type at the desk, or write, while still looking at half the room. I'm hoping this will make a difference to the frequency with which I blog... you never know!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Well last week didn't go to plan as I was ill. Clearly Mr Humdrum can't cope so I had to muddle on. I managed to resist the Dominos helpline but we did have fish n chips Thursday night. I also made butternut squash soup and veggie soup - the former for my lunch and the latter to have in a cup as a starter to get more veg down us.

This week we will mostly be eating OOTF (Out of the Freezer) as I am loath to spend more money on food when I have a whole dead farmyard in there.

Roasted turkey breast with some trimmings
Gammon steaks for the boys and jacket potato n tuna for me
Home made steak burgers and home made wedges (pic below)
Omelette with soup as a starter
Chicken curry, not sure which flavour yet

In other news I did a tiny shop in Aldi tonight. Last time I stuffed my basket down in a huff about the long queues but today I persevered. Will report on quality!

I am also trying to "eat clean" for some of the day.



Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Meal Planning Monday - a bit late

I keep seeing the meal planning linky by At Home With Mrs M and not joining. Well today, albeit a bit late, I am. Even if just admit that I'm winging it this week. I'd been to a spa last weekend with my girlfriends (oh did I mention it on my last blog post?) and hadn't got round to my weekly shop. However tonight Elf has a friend over to play, and they're currently eating pasta with ham and tomato sauce, with garlic bread. They will be having chocolate muffins in a minute if they don't mess around too much. Gawd knows what we're having tonight... jacket potatoes? Omelette?

I have posted a picture of my latest chicken pie which was my best, if I say so myself. I don't make my own pastry, I'm sad to say. I can, but I don't often. But the pie was lovely - 6 chicken thighs, leeks and creme fraiche. Mashed potato and carrots n broccoli on the side. Oh and yummy gravy. Perhaps I'll do that again this weekend.

I promise I'll do better next week. I usually do!

PS I hope the link works at the top of this page, fingers crossed...

Monday, 7 October 2013

Norton Hotel spa break - bliss

Last weekend, four girlfriends and I went to a spa weekend near Winchester. Every year we try to do something; the last two have been at Centerparcs. This year I'm working in a school and can't take time off. This suited us fine, Saturday night costing £129 pp including two 25 minute treatments, lunch, dinner and breakfast.

We arrived on Saturday morning in time for our treatments - I had my nails done and a mini facial. The others had massages or the same as me. The spa was quite a big one for a hotel, and at no point did we feel we were "on a deal". My therapist was very nice and my treatments were wonderful. My nails are still fine now two days later, no chips at all! My facial was just what I needed going into Autumn. I feel like very refreshed now.

Sun loungers around the large pool made relaxing rather easy. The pool was large enough to do lengths. We had a large sauna and steam room, heated tiled beds by the side of the pool, curved to soothe those leg muscles. There was also a relaxation room with nearly ten beds in - oh these were lovely! I left one of my friends slightly snoring as there was no one else in there. Free herbal teas added to the healthiness.

Lunch was a buffet, and while the salad wasn't that great, the hot meals were delicious. I had chicken stroganoff, rice, bean cassoulet and smoked haddock fish cakes. There was soup and jacket potatoes. The best thing was being allowed to eat in your robes! Dinner was from a full menu; I had a mushroom on brioche starter, with rib eye steak and chips. There was an allowance of £26 pp and anything not spent was used on your pals' meals, including coffee/desert. Very fair we thought. You could pay if you went over, but that was only necessary if you chose the steak AND wanted a pudding. We had a bottle of fizzy rose.

After dinner we retired to one of our two rooms. We'd set up a bar (we'd each brought a bottle - Pimms, gin, wine, bacardi) and there was a communal cheese board. We'd each brought a cheese, crackers and chutney. (We always find at parties that nibbles are nice, but cheese goes down so well every time.) Add in the two ipods with the playlists, and you've got your own party from 9pm until 2am! We weren't that noisy, but certainly did enjoy ourselves.

Breakfast the next day soaked up some of the alcohol and the sauna sweated out the rest. Some of our party had extra treatments; the rest of us lounged around again. One put us to shame and went for a run in the stunning grounds. She discovered a walled garden. At 3pm we decided to call it a day and changed out of our robes, into civvies and back to reality.

The prices are normal hotel spa prices, not deals or offers, and we were certainly treated as if we were guests in a 5 star Bali spa! The staff couldn't have been more helpful; the spa manager got our second room keys for us, saving us having to get dressed and traipse back to Reception. The waiting staff were very attentive, with just the right amount of humour. Breakfast we had to queue for, but the staff brought us takeaway coffees to help. (Or could they smell the hangovers?)

I would certainly recommend this to anyone. The standard of the hotel, food, spa and staff was top. They do a day spa for £70 but it's worth the extra to stay overnight. I'm going again with my best friend in January, and the group I went with this time are already trying to book up again in Spring. The best thing? I didn't spend an extra penny!

(This wasn't a sponsored post, but I'd be happy to try out any other treatments on my next stay!!!)








Sunday, 29 September 2013

Souper Sunday - roasted butternut squash (New Covent Garden)

Today Elf went to football training (scored two goals, one left-footed again) and then went conkering (as opposed to conquering) with his mate up the road. Left with all of this free time, I entertained my old friend who was staying, along with her 19 year old neice, who we were trying to help make a life plan. Greasy haired, we sat in our PJs, ate a brunch and gossiped. My friend used the make-up I bought yesterday to give me smokey eyes. I wondered if Mr Humdrum would notice; he did but didn't say anything as he thinks I look weird with anything other than nude eyeshadow on. Anyway, after this I decided to do some baking and made the oaty cookies from my previous post, but swapped the apricots for chocolate drops, and I made soup which I would take to work this week.

Roasted butternut squash from the New Covent Garden Soup for Every Day book. Yummy! We had a cupful with our cheese on toast dinner; Mr Humdrum approved and even Elf said it was yum! The cookies were nice too. I made some large ones and smaller ones for Elf's lunchbox this week.

I wondered on the phone later with my mum why I was feeling all organised and calm and whelmed (rather than overwhelmed). My blood pressure continues to be low (for me) and that's good. My mum wondered if my blood pressure and my calmness were linked. But which came first? Did the lower blood pressure make me feel better, more organised and able to cope? Or did my newly-found inner domestic goddess lower my blood pressure? Who knows?