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Monday, 26 June 2017

The Missing Blogger

This blogger has been decidedly absent.  I have good intentions.  Writing on the blog has been on my "to do" list for a long time.  I like blogging.  I love to write and this blog has been a creative endeavour since 2010, when my almost-eight year old was tiny.  

Life, however, has me spinning many plates, and inevitably one or two get dropped.  

Tonight I set aside the marking, though I may get back to that later as I'm quite enjoying marking beginning attempts at poetry.  I ignored my list and went straight for the blog.

Here's a quick summary of what's going on in my life:

  • Home - I'm a bit on edge at the moment about my home.  We've been in Herefordshire now for almost three years, hoping to sell our lovely house in Scotland so we can put down roots here.  I've been getting a bit pot-bound in this rented house that was always supposed to be a temporary situation.  We finally had an offer on the house, and accepted.  In Scotland, once the missives are exchanged, which usually happens very early in the process, the deal is legally binding.  We went ahead and started looking at houses, an found one that we absolutely love, went ahead and made and offer and were accepted!  Now we're just waiting for everything to be finalised.  The missives in Scotland have NOT been exchanged yet, our buyers have their loan agreement, but are waiting for their buyers to get their loan agreement through (this week we've been told) so that they can exchange missives with them, and then with us.  Our buyers are hoping to move in July, so I'm very much hoping that this will be a simple process and then we can start asking about a completion date for our house - we have our loan agreed, and hopefully move in late August.  In the meantime, I'm thinking about starting to re-paint the magnolia walls here.  We carefully didn't put any pictures up to avoid having to repaint when we moved out, but after three years, two children and a dog, the walls need repainting, and in some cases a bit of polyfilla, so the sooner I get started on that (and then keep everybody away from the paintwork!) the sooner it's done.  I'm actually finally getting happier with how the garden is looking.  This year I decided it was time to stop waiting and to just plant stuff, so I bought a lot of cheap tubs and planters and ordered bulbs and perennial plants and just chucked everything in, and now I actually have flowers growing on my large patch of gravel.  I'm planning to make the most of this Summer of countryside living with some wild foraging, and lots of time outdoors for the children, as our new house will be in the city.  Yes, you read right.  From seven years living in a small village (lovely community) to three years living in the middle of nowhere (not even a pub to walk to!) to a house where you can walk or cycle all over the place and a top-up pint of milk is very literally just around the corner.  I can't wait! 
  • teaching - I'm very much enjoying my teaching job.  I love teaching. The lady I'm job-sharing with is lovely and I think we work very well together. The class we're with at the moment are quite chatty and VERY untidy, but I think that's partly because I didn't set up expectations on that front very well in the first few weeks of the year.  We seem to be constantly chasing our tails just to keep up with the marking and planning, let alone getting the displays and things sorted out.  Next year I'm delighted to be in Year 4 again - The planning for all the topics and units is there, so I just need to rework it to make it work for me and the new class.  I'm going up to three days per week, and will probably have a different teacher working with me (to be appointed this week).  I'm looking already at what I can do during the Summer to get the classroom looking nicer.  
  • Campervan - that's right.  We got ourselves a campervan.  We are beginning to get the hang of just jumping in for a weekend away, and are planning lots of trips around the place with it, and are working out the best way to store things.  It's a VW T6.
  • Health - So I've still got microscopic polyangiitis.  Apparently Vasculitis doesn't go away.  I'll be on the immune suppressants and steroids and blood pressure meds for a long time.  Kidney function has stabilised at 50% which is good, and the Drs are quite happy to tell me how well I look, check my bloods and send me on my way again.  Apparently all the weird little oddities my body has come up with are nothing to worry about, so I'm just trying to ignore them and take them in my stride as long as the blood results are okay and nothing drastic happens.
  • The family - The husband and kids are still gorgeous.  The kids of course drive me absolutely bonkers, and I occasionally have a crises of confidence that they aren't being very kind to one another, or are becoming selfish.  I am reassured by everybody else telling me how lovely they are, and wonder whether they just save it all for me.  Sadly, I am no longer wearing a wedding ring but it's not as bad as it sounds - Hubby is still putting up with me despite my careless ways, I just no longer have the rings!  A couple of years ago the diamond fell out of my engagement ring while I was doing housework, and I never found it.  Last Summer the sea at Durdle Door in Dorset sucked my wedding ring off (I've lost a bit of weight, and I think it must all have been on my fingers!) and that disappeared into the blue.  I was wearing a stand-in as I really wanted to be wearing a wedding ring still, but took it off the other day while making pizza dough.  One minute it was beside me on the counter, the next it wasn't.  I told everybody to look out for it in their pizza, but nobody found it.  I'm hoping to get a replacement at some point, but it's not really the kind of thing you are supposed to buy for yourself, is it?  We're also sad to have lost our dog Tara three weeks ago.  She was such a wonderful warm and loving pet, and we had her for nine years, so it's a bit strange to get home and not see her wagging tail in the back door, not to get up early and take her out for a walk, and not to have her warmth spread across my lap on the sofa or my feet under the table.
  • Scouting - Having done a LOT of Scouting in the past, things are pretty quiet since we moved to Herefordshire.  We've both got lots of skills and experience, but nobody here seems very interested in what we have to offer.  This is probably a good thing since I was poorly last year, as I was able to give myself a bit of a break.  Now we're both working with the Group where Bear and Bug are Beaver Scouts, and hoping to help it grow and develop.
  • Crafting and Writing - This will be a very short paragraph.  It's just not been happening.  Too tired.  Too busy.  Bug got a mini-sewing machine for her birthday in February, and I confess I only just got it out with her this weekend (and can't make it sew properly so need to take it to Hobbycraft for instructions) so that she can sew her own apron - I'll try to post about that in the next couple of weeks when we complete it!
So there we go.  A whistle stop update of where I am and what I'm doing and a promise that I'll try to blog again at least once a week.

What have you all been up to?  Anything exciting?  Do comment below.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

A Mediterranean Diet


Turn on the news these days and nearly every week you'll find some advice on what you should or should not eat - much of it contradictory.  Fad diets - 5:2, superjuice, "you are what you eat" (I know a brilliant joke about that one),carb free, gluten free, red and green days and all the rest make me want to go and stick my head in an oven.  I really like food - tasty and delicious food.  Some foods I like are healthy, some are very unhealthy (chip shop chips, blackforest gateaux etc.).  

I don't want to feel guilty about any food.  I want to nosh it down whenever I feel like it... within reason.  

I also want to be healthy.  

I accidentally lost quite a bit of weight between the Summer and Christmas.  I just lost my appetite through some combination of Vasculitis or the drugs I'm on to treat it, and managed to shift some weight that I've been trying to get rid of for about ten years.  Now that the appetite has come back, I'm keen not to pile the weight all back on if possible.  Hubby is also conscious that he's approaching half a century at the end of this year, and is anxious to lose some weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

One type of eating that we keep hearing about in a positive light is the "Mediterranean Diet".  Nobody is quite sure what it is about this diet that appears to have health benefits and support longevity - whether it's the red wine, the olive oil, the abundance of tomatoes, fruits and vegetables, the sea food, the cheese, the nuts and pulses, the convivial shared eating experience of "picking at" dishes or whether its some combination of all the above (or more sunshine), we just don't know.  What we do agree on is that both Hubby (and usually the children) love the flavours.  Spanish, Provencal, Greek, Turkish, Moroccan, Italian - all are food cultures that we thoroughly enjoy. 

This January I've heard Hubby harping on about extolling the virtues of both smaller portion sizes and "a more Mediterranean diet" a lot so on a trip to Waterstones decided to see if I could find a suitable new cook book to support the crusade.

Enter...

It's always a good sign when reading the cookbook makes your mouth water and you can't wait to get to the shops and buy in some of the ingredients you need to get started.  In this family there will always be room for Pie and chips or Staffordshire Oatcakes, but maybe we'll insert a bit more pitta with houmous, prawns dripping with garlic and chilli, olives and delicious salads in between and just possibly be a little healthier for it.  Or we'll have friends queueing up to partake of a bit of convivial red wine, cheese and garlic, and we won't care how healthy we are!

What's your latest new cookbook and what will you be cooking from it?