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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happy New whatever you want...

31st December 2018
A year from now you will wish you had started today (well… or tomorrow).

Here it is the last day of the year, that’s 2017 done and dusted, my last meeting of the year yesterday was a success, we had some cracking Christmas gains, I even had a few losers in the room, the one thing we all had in common was a smile and a decision to get back to being losers in 2018. 

Some were getting straight back on track yesterday, others waiting till Monday, I decided to start my journal yesterday but not stress about the fact I wasn’t going to be on track until Monday probably.  I was correct, I had my 40 clove of garlic recipe to cool and it was delicious served with mash and carrots.

We’d also started the day with delicious bacon or sausage sandwiches and thank you for the donations for those, together with what was already in the pot from just before Christmas there was £56.88, so I’ve topped it up and just donated £60 to the Samaritans, which according to their website will go a long way.

£10 –could give much-needed support to teenagers in schools, helping them learn the importance of their own emotional health

£20 –could help answer five calls, emails or texts from people struggling to cope

£30 –could keep one of our branches open for 6 hours

Our tea and sarnies did all three of those, how fab is that.  Thank you again.

I’m going to relax again today, I really have enjoyed having a good rest, then tomorrow will be spent getting ready for January in Weight Watcher world, it’s gonna be busy, Flex is fabulous and people need it in their lives.

First though, let’s have a look back, are you the same person you were when this year started?  I think I am, this year has reminded me of what’s important though and that I chose this life for a reason – because I love it.   I didn’t make any resolutions last year but I do remember writing a manifesto, this was it;

A BeYOUtiful Manifesto

I promise not to beat up on myself.  I promise to love myself.
I will remember my self-worth is not based on what I look like or how much I weigh,
That doesn't define me and is not who I am.
I will empower others, not judge them (or myself),
I'll be kind & keep my sense of humour.
I will remember that just because I've had a bad day,
it doesn't mean I have a bad life
and even on the worst days,
I will remember my needs are important too,
that I am BeYOUtiful and I am enough.

Actually I’m lying I didn’t remember, I looked back on my blogs, but I have to say, I still by what I wrote and I have lived that life I think.

What’s been your biggest achievement this year?  Mine, well it has to be my Jean Nidetch award, receiving that was pretty special.  I have to say though the success of our Dementia Tea Party was also a highlight, I didn’t expect it to be that big at all and we raised so much money, together with the Dry Dementia I did we smashed £5k, just astonishing.  Of course I couldn't have done any of it without all the help I had from everyone involved, I'm blessed to be surrounded by so much love.
What’s the hardest you’ve laughed this year?  Oh I’ve laughed so much, one night that springs to mind was when my brother Terry and his Wife stayed in November and I came home to find them singing together, that was a wonderful night of laughter.   I’ve just scrolled through my facebook photos and realised I haven’t spent anywhere near enough time with my friends this year as in years gone by, but I just found this photo and it made me smile again;

Especially looking at my kitchen there compared to what it looks like now – what a transformation.

Another highlight was ticking off the last thing on my bucket list thanks to my mates, that was so much fun, tandem riding – why wouldn’t you.
What about next year, what do we want to do in 2018?  I’m thinking if the weathers good, I’ll work on my garden, I totally neglected it this year.  I also want to spend more time being me, spending time doing things I enjoy, time with friends.  I need to work less and live more, as much as I do truly love my job, I love me too and I need to get that balance. 

So here’s to making 2018 whatever you want it to be,

Happy New Dreams
Happy New Days
Happy New Ways
Happy New Year
Happy New You BeYOUtiful.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

What you think is as important as how you look & feel.

30th December 2017
Just because you are struggling doesn’t mean you are failing.

The hardest thing about having a break is that first alarm on your return to work, ma’an I wasn’t ready for that.  Now I’m up and sat with my glass of water, I’m ready for getting back to my lovelies this morning, I’m expecting a busy one.

I enjoyed my last day of my rest week yesterday, had my windows measured for my curtains, who knew there were so many choices as to the type of curtains you can have, even after you’ve chosen the fabric.  This is my fabric,
I just love flowers and I have my favourites, poppies being one of them, I love how they just grow where they want to, we usually have some California poppies popping (get it) their heads up all over my garden wherever it suits.  I really need to sort my garden next year, I’ve truly neglected it over the last 12 months and the front looks terrible, the back doesn’t look much better but the front makes it look like an empty house.  

Anyway not only is the lovely lady making me curtains, she’s going to do a cover for Alfie’s bed to match, oh and I’m having Roman blinds for my French doors in my kitchen, it’ll brighten the kitchen up but also stop me from scaring the neighbours in a morning when I go down half naked, I’ve always been of the mindset they shouldn’t be looking to be fair.

Talking of my kichen, he finished my moveable island unit yesterday, I’ve just got to oil it over the weekend, they extractor fans up and running, the cooker has been levelled out.  All that is left to complete the piece of splashback behind the movable unit, the skirting board and a bit of plinth he needed to cut, he’s going to order extra splashback on Tuesday and I’m going to have it as skirting board, so I’ll have walnut wood skirting – posh ay I!  I may not be able to travel and take holidays at the moment but I’m gonna have a gorgeous house to spend time in.  No if I could just get self-cleaning rooms that would be awesome.

I sat eating the last few peanuts in the bag last night knowing I was starting my journal today (I know I said I was starting it last Saturday – I lied), I might even be lying now because I normally weigh on a Monday, so I’m tempted to wait till then, but I can weigh one day and start my journal another. Anyway, I digress, whilst I was eating I was thinking I wonder how many people are force feeding themselves food today because they know they’re getting weighed by me in the morning and ‘going on a diet’?  I’m not going on a diet, I’m getting back on track and following the Weight Watchers Flex plan, I have a fridge full of cheese still and I intend to fit some of it into my meal plans over the coming weeks.  What I have realised over this break is I’m not as much of a fan of certain foods as I once was, some cheeses included, although I do still love a strong mature cheddar and the blue stuff, especially St Agur

As for pastry, I don’t care if I never taste it again, I used to think I loved vol-au-vents, truth is I like the fillings, same with quiche and tarts and pies, the actual pastry doesn’t do it for me, it’s greasy and gives me heartburn. 

I even think I’m over twiglets!  I don’t know if it was because I bought the mini ones rather than the regular but yeah they can come off my future treat shopping list.  There’s been a bread and butter pudding in the fridge all week that needs using by today and I’m not even fussed about having any of that.  I know it cost me 3 or 4 quid but honestly, I’m no longer eating food for the sake of it because I’ve paid for it, when the truth is I’m going to be paying again and again if I eat it just because, I’ll pay with the aftereffects of indigestion, heartburn and possible weight gain, then I’ll pay with the money needed to lose the weight, yeah I know there’s starving people in the world but me forcing bread and butter pudding down my neck isn’t going to help them. 

If you feel guilty about throwing food away, for every £1 of food you throw away, donate £1 to a hunger related charity, that’ll benefit both of you, you won’t gain any more weight, they’ll be able to eat, you won’t be able to afford any more junk – win/win.

There is going to be a gain today I know and that’s okay with me, I’ve had a wonderful rest, I’ve enjoyed watching daft Christmas films, crocheting and resting.  The only thing I haven’t really done that I do enjoy is cook, everything has come out of a box or packet and I have to say food wise, this has been the worst of many Christmas’s.  I am looking forward to some salmon, oh and chicken, my how I’ve missed my chicken and rice (I can’t believe I just wrote that), not to mention eggs, my morning eggs have been none eggsistent (get it!). 

I’m going to make my 40 clove of garlic chicken over the weekend, it will be thighs, that’s the beauty of Weight Watchers, no foods off limits.  It adds 10sp to a serving but it’ll be worth it, plus after eating that I won’t have any tea, also it’s still a damn sight less than takeaways or some of the rubbish I’ve eaten this Christmas. 

I will be starting my day with either a bacon or sausage sandwich at my meeting as I’ve bought some for anyone who fancies, it’s our new year’s eve, eve get together.  I’m hoping folk with put a donation in the charity tub as a thank you.  I’m yet to decide on my charity for this month.  We raised so much money in 2017, roughly ten grand for various causes – my members are amazing.  I do like the idea of local charities, as members get to see where the money is actually going, something to think on I guess. 

I’ve just deleted a paragraph because I didn’t want to talk about sad issues and for you to have to read it first thing in the morning, but you know what that’s life and it’s because we try to pretend these things aren’t happening that makes it worse, so here is what I wrote;

There are always the obvious charities - animals, kids, cancer, dementia but one thing that’s happening a lot is suicide in young people, mental health issues, did you know suicide is the leading cause of young deaths in the UK (over 200 school children a year).   This year we lost a family member to suicide, a young mother too, such a waste of a life and yesterday on Facebook I noticed that another member had lost her son in the same way, just awful.  I think even without raising money we can all help by being more aware of each other.  Mental health is real, it isn’t anything to be embarrassed about and it is something we all need to be aware of and understanding about.  http://www.wolverhamptonhealthyminds.nhs.uk/ is a local website that’s useful and https://www.papyrus-uk.org/# is a prevention of young suicide charity.  I think the one that sticks in my mind is the Samaritans, https://www.samaritans.org/about-us/our-organisation/national-suicide-prevention-alliance-nspa I think these days it’s the forgotten hero (or that might just be me), it’s rarely mentioned and yet does so much, volunteers would have listened to 1000,000 hours at Christmas, we need to spread the word of that number because I’m not sure younger people know it exists quite like my generation do.  I remember they helped mom out when we were kids, I remember when I worked in a fruit & veg shop their daughter rang them a lot.  I love this idea https://www.samaritans.org/support-us/real-christmas/me-you I know it’s not Christmas anymore but we could make New Year gifts of time to those we love,

From me to you, this voucher entitles ……… to a phone call with me, anytime.  You could write anything in that space.

Their number by the way is 116123 – you never know when it will help, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and the call is free.  Yeah today whatever money comes out of the charity tubs including what was put in prior to Christmas will most likely go to the Samaritans unless someone suggests something else.

I need to stop writing and start getting ready for work, I’m sorry if I lowered the mood a little, actually sorry/not sorry, sometimes we need to be reminded that it’s okay not to be okay and if we’re lucky enough to be in a fortunate happy place to remember that not everyone is and we can make a little bit of a difference.

Take care of you BeYOUtiful, we’re all important including you. x

Friday, 29 December 2017

Do you intend to make changes?

29th December 2017
If it costs your peace it’s too expensive
A year can do a lot for a person, I’ve only got to look at my ‘on this day’ photos on Facebook to realise how different things were in this house even a year ago.  Mom was still walking the dog, she hasn’t done that this year at all which makes me sad.  Our lives can change in the blink of an eye and we don’t always know it’s coming, we can’t always control it and that’s life.  We can however do deliberate things to make changes we want because living in the ‘what if’ isn’t the best way to live. Nothing is permanent, no matter how good or bad a situation is, it will change, everything changes.

What changes in your life would you like to have some influence in?  Not necessary resolutions because I think we all expect those to fail, what would you like to influence in your life, what are your intentions for 2018.

One of mine I mentioned yesterday, I intend to continue to be a starter because I love that feeling of enthusiasm, plus when I do finish something that feels so good, I’m 2 rows of crochet of finishing the mish mash that is mine and Alfies new snuggle blanket, although he has claimed it for himself!  I’ve sewed together every piece of unfinished leftover knitting and crochet I’ve done in the last few years and I have quite a large blanket and I love it, because if I were a blanket - it’s me, a medium sized scruffy, disorganised, colourful mess – perfect!  

Anyway back to my intentions.  I also intend to continue to do my housework as often as I can bring myself too, so I’d said I was going to go through the house Wednesday – I lied, I did however do the living room, hall and half the kitchen yesterday, the floors were done ready for my steam mop that was supposed to arrive today but came yesterday (it’s still in the box). I’m not going to commit to cleaning my house on such and such a day of each week because I know that will never happen, but I do intend to clean and tidy it before it becomes an embarrassment if we have visitors (thankfully I’m not easily embarrassed).

Next I intend to eat a bit of junk every now and again because I enjoy it at the time and afterwards it reminds me that it’s not all that after all and I’m not really missing out by eating healthily the majority of the time.  I was going to suggest a takeaway or fast food once a month but I’m not putting a time frame on it, I’ll have a bit of something when I feel the need as sometimes I can go for months without wanting any.

Of course I intend to lose some weight, I bought a shirt in the summer I haven’t worn yet because it didn’t quite fit me when I bought it but I was going to lose a few pounds and it would’ve done, now that few pounds is half stone, so here goes a stone by summer, I’d like to be as close to the lower end of the stone below than I am now.  It’ll be a gain (obviously) on the scales Saturday when I get on to check my ‘Christmas gain’ and start my weight loss journey yet again.  Yeah don’t they say summer bodies are made in winter (I always want to poke the person who come up with that in the eye when I read it, but that says more about me than them).

Any other intentions?  I intend to remind myself that I love most of my life, most of the time and to help me remember that, I’m going to use my Dawn French diary each night to write something from that day that’s made me smile, happy or grateful for my life.  I don’t need a diary for appointments, I have my phone and very few appointments.

Any other intentions?  I do intend to crochet myself that snuggly blanket, actually I think I’m going to have two on the go at once, I’m still in thought, have 3 days left before I start.

Lastly I intend to try my best to not let my hormones stop me from seeing the good in every day, I intend to continue to cope with my mom’s Alzheimers/Vascular Dementia the best I can with as much humour as possible.  These intentions are truly the most difficult so they must be the most necessary.  Yesterday whilst chatting I realised that mom being a bloody nightmare (and she is, it’s like she has a complete personality transplant) every night is most likely to be what they call ‘sundowning’, now I know what the cause is I can cope with it better.

Right I have a busy morning, I need to work out that mop, I have my windows being measured for curtains and my kitchen man coming to do a little more, we’re nearly there will it be done before the new year, I’d love that.  Oh there’s another intention, to make delicious food in my lovely new kitchen and enjoy every mouthful.

For now though, I’ll go make a cuppa in it instead.  Here’s to a fabulous Friday, I’m going to mostly be eating cheese today I think, because I’m still on my holiday, I might have a cheese and bacon sarnie for brekkie – because I can!

Happy days BeYOUtiful. x