Saturday, 19 January 2013

Jan 19th - "Hello Cocky!"

This is the beautiful picture that was sent to Warren and I as a wedding present from our dear Australian friends, Trish and Phil Thomson ... it was carried all the way from Aus by a couple of their friends and has had pride of place in every home we have lived in since then. The "cocky" (cockatoo) has particular relevance for us and them and has been a term of endearment between us for many years!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Jan 18th - Before & After - The Kitchen

At last, we managed to get around to sorting out the kitchen, which had become something of a dumping ground throughout Christmas (and before) and while we were tidying up other rooms. This was the dreadful, shameful mess that greeted us this morning:

And this is how it's looking this evening:

Or, to see the transformation from a different angle:

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Jan 17th - Maidenhair Fern

Close-up of the pretty pot plant - Maidenhair Fern - that graces our lounge.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Jan 16th - Before & After Part 3 - The "Hall"

I can't make our dinky entrance any bigger, but I can make it look less cluttered and slightly more welcoming ... which is what I did, by getting rid of all the post-Christmas clutter and downsizing the amount of coats, etc, hanging on the hooks!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Jan 15th - The Sergeant Takes Over

For the best part of the almost four years we have lived in this house, we have been regularly visited by a pair of blackbirds who seemed to be nesting in a box in our garden and considered this very much their patch. The male, we very quickly noticed, had a broken leg and we named him Peg-leg ("Peg" for short!)

Coming home after a few days away this Christmas, we soon realised that our little pet, Peg, was not visiting us any more; he had shown his displeasure at our occasional holidays away before, but had always come back after a few days. This time, he didn't ... plus, his mate was around and seemed to be slightly distressed, sitting in "their" tree and apparently looking for him. Here she is:

We've always called her The Sergeant, because of her one white tail feather that looks like a stripe (yes, we do know sergeants have three stripes, but we liked the name!). She now comes daily to the feeding station on her own, which she would never have done when Peg was around ... well, she tried, but he used to chase her off until he'd had his fill!!

We believe, therefore, that our dear little Peg - funny, stroppy, territorial and entertaining - has come to the end of his one-legged life. We like to think that taking care of him for so long extended his life and made it a bit more pleasant, and he gave us a lot of pleasure in return - almost clipping our ears as he darted close to us through the garden, "pipping" from his tree in the mornings to let us know he was hungry ... and his beautiful, glorious singing in the early evenings of summer.

So long, Peg ... we will miss you!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Jan 14th - Moon and Trees

A beautiful crescent moon tonight, in a deep velvet blue sky ... through the bare branches of a elder tree.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Jan 13th - Roast Chicken Dinner!

A fitting reward for a good day's gardening ... and most welcome after yesterday's "fasting" day! Roast chicken, some fancy stuffing, roast vegetables and (over) steamed broccoli ... delish!

Jan 12th - Fruit trees pruned

Apple tree and fig tree all nicely pruned, ready for their growing season ... hopefully, I'll be able to post another photo later in the year, showing the fruits (both figuratively and literally!) of my labour.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Jan 10th - Squidoodling Again!

After a couple of years of inaction, I have finally created another lens for Squidoo. I'm pretty pleased with it ... and it only took me a day, rather than the several weeks it has taken me in the past! It's great ... follow the link above and go see it!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Jan 9th - Fasting Meal - Chilli & Wedges

Being on the "5:2 Diet" or "Intermittent Fasting" means (for me) going 24 hours, or as near as possible, without food. Some people following the same plan spread their 500 calories throughout the day, but I find it easier to go all day on just water and black coffee, then enjoy a hearty meal in the evening.

This evening's meal was a ready meal from Morrison's "NuMe" range - chilli and wedges (313 calories), which I served with a mixed salad and a dollop of coleslaw. It came just about to 500 calories in total and was very satisfying and quite delicious!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Jan 8th - My Time-Turner!

A Christmas present from my son, this "Time-Turner" (one of the many wonderful creations from the Harry Potter series of books) now hangs on the side of my computer screen ... it is there to remind me both that I cannot turn back the clock, to re-live times gone by, and that I will not be able to recapture any time I waste now!

There are words inscribed around the edges: "I mark the hours one by one, nor have I yet outrun the sun; my use and value unto you are gauged by what you have to do."

Monday, 7 January 2013

Jan 7th - Before & After Part 2 - Lounge/Diner

Another room rescued from the neglect of the festive season! This was our lounge/diner this morning:

... and this is our lounge/diner this evening:

Much better!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Jan 6th - First Brunch of the Year

We do like an occasional brunch on a Sunday morning, after a lie-in ... and today was our first one of the year. The great "English Breakfast" ... sets you up for the day, so you need nothing more than a light meal around 5.00 or 6.00pm. Lovely jubbly!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Jan 5th - Peace Lily Flower Coming!

It's past midnight and I nearly forgot to post a photo ... so, in desperation, I took a (very poor) shot of my peace lily. Having had this plant - unflowering - for almost five years (it was my late mother's and used to flower beautifully for her) it finally has a flower emerging ... hurrah!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Jan 4th - New Calendar

Birthdays duly entered onto this year's calendar and up on the wall ... hope I don't miss any, this year!

These lovely calendars (loads of different designs) have nice big squares for each date, for notes and appointments, etc, as well as birthday reminders ... and are only 99p from our lovely local card shop!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Jan 3rd - Before & After Part 1 - The Den

What a difference a day made! 

2013 is going to be a year of serious decluttering and organising of our house and garden, so this is the first in an occasional series of before & after photos. Today we tackled the glory hole that was our much-neglected and dumped-upon Den (part utility, part Warren's office, part drinking/smoking/belly dancing room!).

This was the before ... not a pretty sight, is it!

... and this is the after. Charming and welcoming, I think you'll agree! ;)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Jan 2nd - First Fast of the Year

Today, I shall mostly be eating this! Having started on an "intermittent fasting" regime before Christmas, I lost 13lb and felt very, very well on it! I stopped for a couple of weeks or so over the festive period (and ate and drank with gay abandon!) and put 5lb back on ... this didn't bother me at all, as I had half-expected to put back even more!

The 5:2 diet ("fasting" for two days a week, eating whatever I want the rest of the time) suits me very well, so I am quite happy to be back to it today. Many people are finding this a good way to lose weight, but the other health benefits of intermittent fasting (giving the body a day off from eating, so that it goes into "healing mode") are equally important to me.

For more information, try Kate Harrison's excellent book The 5:2 Diet (Paperback £6.99/Kindle Download £1.09) or join her Facebook group where you will find many others enjoying this way of eating and get lots of support and useful tips.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Jan 1st - HAPPY NEW YEAR! - 2013

It was quite a nice day, today: a few translucent clouds streaked and spotted around the otherwise blue, blue sky, a pleasant nip in the air and the odd splash of sunlight. A lovely way to welcome in 2013, with a celebratory "hurrah" from the bare branches of next door's ivy!