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Thursday, 28 January 2016

Mermaid's Tail

Thank you so much for your lovely comments about my food last week. I'm very pleased to report back that I lost 5 1/2lbs at the end of that week, then 2lb last week, so a good start.

I keep meaning to take photographs of the mermaid tail I made Imogen last year. I had planned to make it as a Christmas present, but gave it to her early so she could start using it straight away.

I used a shell crochet stitch, hoping it would look like the scales on the tail.

Crocheted it in aran using pink, brown and cream

 I left a gap about halfway down the back of the tail so Imogen could put her feet in and pull the rest over her without having to wriggle into it

I made the tail separately and attached it when I'd finished

I'm pleased to say that Imogen loves it and sits or lays on the sofa looking just like a proper little mermaid (it was all she wanted to be when she was little... sigh). It's really warm and very cosy, I'm so pleased I made it for her.

I haven't done any crochet this side of Christmas, but I have been keeping my fingers busy. I'm not too far from finishing my Bambi cushion front that Andrew bought me for Christmas.

I've really enjoyed doing it, very therapeutic to sit in an evening stitching and seeing the cute picture come to life. Not much left to do, though it will also need a back made for it.

Take care

Sunday, 17 January 2016

On Plan with my Menus

After rejoining Slimming World, needing to organise myself more, having to tighten our belts a bit financially and just enjoying writing lists, I thought I'd start writing a weekly menu. I always take a shopping list with me to the supermarkets, but it feels more organised making the list from the menu... and sticking to it, I'm hoping this will cut our shopping bills down by a little as well.

Our menu for the week was

Tuesday: Bolognese, pasta, cottage cheese and peas

 It was really filling and didn't take long to make (and there's bolognese in the freezer for next week too).

Wednesday: Burgers (from Slimming World), chips made in the actifry (with lots of paprika) and some salad

 Again, it was nice and easy, all I had to do was peel and chip the potatoes.

Thursday: Baked potatoes with cottage cheese, sweetcorn, chinese flavoured chop and salad

I think this was my favourite meal this week, so will probably be repeated next week.

Friday:  Cottage pie with a sweet potato topping and runner beans

Saturday: Vegetable Boulangere with gammon, sweetcorn and watercress

The idea for the Boulangere was from the Slimming World magazine and I've put the method after the menu.

Sunday: Corned Beef, spaghetti and fried potatoes.

 This was comfort food, nice and warming for this cold weather and to use up the potatoes from yesterday.

I made the Boulangere Saturday afternoon, it didn't take long (the longest part was probably waiting for the potatoes to cool down). It also gave me a chance to use our new frying pan, it has a ceramic coating that is supposed to mean you don't need to use oil. I was a little dubious, but wow, you can even dry fry an egg in it!

I started off by par boiling the potatoes.

Then leaving them to drain and cool

While they cooled, I sliced a couple of leeks, an onion and a few garlic cloves

Then softened them in the frying pan

When the potatoes had cooled, I sliced them and placed them in a dish with some pepper to season.

Lots of big, juicy tomatoes were sliced and layered on the potatoes.

On top of this went the leeks, onion and garlic , then a few more potatoes, tomatoes and seasoning with a little drop of vegetable stock followed by a sprinkle of cheese

In the oven for 30 minutes at gas mark 6

It was delicious!

I took pictures of our meals and popped them on Instagram (cherylbowsie if you want to come and say hi) each day, hopefully to inspire me in the 'harder' weeks.

Take care

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

New Year, Fresh Starts

The new school term started again last week so we're all gradually shrugging off Christmas (oh, but it was such a good one) and getting back into our routines.

I love the idea of a fresh start at the beginning of the year, a new year ready to fill with lots of wonderful things. I've started this year's diary and had a thought about how I'd like to inspire myself this year.

1. I've rejoined Slimming World

2. I've started making regular entries in my journal

3. I plan to use more of my existing craft supplies (rather than buy new, I have so much 'stuff')

4. Start scrapbooking again

5. I have a fitbit and I intend to get more use from it.

6. I'm going to use my arm weights and pedals (I've started with this)

7. Actively seek out more I can do from my wheelchair

8. Be more organised with my housework routine

9. Write more of my 'book'

10. Savour each and every day

We've said farewell to Christmas with the last of our candy canes

We've had a birthday to celebrate

I'm back on track for our healthy eating, healthier lifestyle. I made a bolognese in the multi cooker this afternoon, a big batch so we could have some for dinner and there's plenty to freeze too.

With pasta, cottage cheese and peas, yum

I've rearranged the mantelpiece after taking away the last remnants from Christmas

It means I can show off the adorable little sheep that my boy, Adam, bought me...

and the wooden sign my beautiful girl, Imogen bought me

Full of hope and excitement for 2016. Have you set any challenges for yourself, let's hope it's a wonderful year for everyone

Take care

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

12 Days of Christmas Swap

This is the first time I've been involved in a swap, the 12 days of Christmas, organised by Jo at Through the Keyhole. I really enjoyed looking for bits and pieces and it was exciting to have so many things to open through Christmas week.

My partner was Michelle from The Diet starts Tomorrow, and this arrived before Christmas...

I had to give the box of goodies to my husband to put aside so I wouldn't get too tempted to have a peek or two! It looks so pretty all wrapped up with tags telling me when to open them.

So here it all is

I was very taken with these Christmas decorations, aren't they gorgeous, and the little plaque too, I'm going to hang it in my craft room.

Michelle included the cats and dogs, it was their christmas too

I love stationery, so it was lovely to get these pens and a diary I can carry around with me.

And crafty bits and bobs..

I do like to paint my nails, so it was lovely to get these extra big polish remover pads, file and hand cream.

I hope Michelle enjoyed her 12 days too, I can't wait to sign up again for next year!

Take care

Friday, 18 December 2015

My Favourite Christmas Films

We have a few Christmas films on dvd that get rolled out every year, the family favourites. School has finished for Christmas now so it's time to start our festive build up with some films.

I think my favourite that we watch every year has to be 'Its a Wonderful Life. It often ends up just being me and Andrew who watch this one.

It's a black and white film, but there are colourised versions too and it's with the wonderful James Stewart. The ultimate feel good film, a story about love, family and community

George Bailey is in trouble, but the angels have heard all the prayers as those around him ask for him to be helped. We see a quick retelling of the highlights of George's life before the angel Clarence is sent down to help him.

Poor Clarence doesn't have his wings yet, so hopefully he can help George and earn them. 'Everytime a bell rings, an angel's got it's wings'

One of our other favourites has to be 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'

I love it, from the wonderful village of Whoville with it's Christmas crazy inhabitants to the excellent grumpy Grinch who has a heart 2 sizes too small...

It's a feel good movie (just as I like Christmas films to be), the Whos in Whoville are overtaken by the commercialism of Christmas, all except little Cindylou, she wants to know what it's all about, what it really means.

I'm not a big Jim Carrey fan and often find him far too over the top for me, but he is wonderful as the Grinch, horribly 'grinchy' but also sympathetic (and I think the make up is amazing)

Another that gets played every year here is 'Deck the Halls'. A jolly jape with Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito.

Broderick plays Steve, he has a schedule to keep to so he can make it a perfect Christmas for his family, whether they think it's perfect or not!

Danny DeVito is 'Danny', all he wants is for his house to be seen from space... what could go wrong...

We always watch 'Scrooge', it's always been hubby's favourite Christmas film and Imogen loves it too. There are a few versions, but our favourite is the musical version with Albert Finney and yes we all enjoy a good old singalong with it.

It's the Charles Dickens story 'A Christmas Carol', ghostly visitations

The epiphany for Scrooge as he realises the error of his ways and tries to make amends.

I can't make a list of our favourite Christmas films without adding 'Elf'.

Will Ferrell is a human brought up in the North Pole as an elf. He just doesn't fit in with the other elves, so when he finds out he's a human, he sets off to find his father.

Buddy the elf goes to New York where he sees things for the first time, revolving doors, the world's best cup of coffee and used chewing gum....

It's all about the Christmas spirit with plenty of laughs along the way.

There are so many brilliant Christmas films (and of course so many absolutely dire ones). I really feel I should have added the 'Santa Claus' trilogy (I do like to watch them while I do the wrapping up) and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation all about the family get togethers. but I have to stop somewhere or my list will go on and on!

Hope you're all enjoying the Christmas build up, not getting stressed, just excited. Are you watching your favourite Christmas films too?

Take care