Monday, 30 December 2013

pre work on New Year Resolutions…..

Before I firm up my New Year Resolutions I am trying to build in in some sensible considerations……

* Remember your resolutions are yours… don't try to include others who may not wish to be part of your commitment

* Limit  "activity" time replace by "productivity" time….. reduce non productive stuff like Facebook, twitter to say 1/2 times a day. Don't waste time playing games …….replace with exercise, projects, interests, hobbies….. career objectives…..

* remember time is yours - does not belong to anyone else - you decide how you use it…..

* spend time on those who truly love you………..

* Limit interaction with those who cause you angst even though you have to accommodate them from time to time for family/work reasons.

next ………important resolutions and measures……..

end of another year!!!

OK…Christmas officially over,  time to examine the state of mind….state of body……lets start with the latter….

Over the last couple of days at the gym we have had the usual influx of new people at our gym.  Over the past 30 years the gyms I have belonged  to - I have seen the same pattern emerge.  Conscience driven individuals decide at this time of year to take stock and be proactive - admirable.  The downside to this is that really overweight people embrace an unrealistic schedule. I see large men and women exercising using equipment as if they are being chased by a pack of hounds.  After 10 minutes many give up sweating profusely and looking decidedly ill.  They then talk with friends exchanginging thoughts on how hard they are working and disappear to the refreshment area where they have a full strength latte…..

I am not trying to be self righteousness but realistic. To sustain any sensible exercise plan you have to know yourself and develop a programme which works for you. The secret is then to make sure you can establish a regular routine which realistically can form part of your lifestyle.

From my experienced observations February marks the decline of the number of new December members who say things like "its a waste of time".  What they need to realise is that there is no quick fix.  Don't kid yourself that you are working hard - 10 minutes of little effort is not a workout!  Talk to the trainers at your gym and work out a regime which will work for you no matter how small…..a little and often will work wonders …..

Friday, 20 December 2013

welcome present!

We had a delightful meal with my son and his girlfriend Wednesday evening in Notting Hill.  It was a small homely Italian venue - excellent food - only downside was that we had to pay cash……..

Afterwards we exchanged presents……but before I expand on this…. just a few comments on logistics which I am sure will strike a chord with everyone…...

Christmas presents challenges for all families in terms of who you go to on Christmas Day.  My daughter and her boyfriend for years split in 2 directions for Christmas to spend time with their respective families.  This was not at the insistence of either set of parents but something emotionally both children wanted to do.  Now we have Christmas Eve and Day with me and Boxing Day and the next couple of days with her husband's family.

With my son he is still going through the arrangement of Christmas Eve with me and Christmas lunch and Susie goes to her mum. I love having my son her but also feel for his girlfriend. Again I have never insisted and I know there will come a time when things will be different.

My daughter who has a 4 and 2 year old has also subtly talked about them having Christmas at their home one year…….  my view is that you go with the flow we are all reasonable people and will sort out so that we all feel comfortable.  The trouble is for all families is that we all want to be together. For the moment we just need to get through this Christmas :) and worry about the future ones later !

Must be wonderful if you have an enormous house and can accommodate all!

Getting back to presents Susie wanted to see my face as I opened her present to me…… I was absolutely delighted with her choice as she knows I like to have very feminine  unusual things in my handbag………………

What I found particularly endearing is that the present showed that she really knows me and even more importantly….she cares…….. just perfect!!!

so here is my new stylish designer pen !!  It is

Thursday, 19 December 2013

"12 Angry Men"

Twelve Angry Men Tickets


just seen "Twelve Angry Men" at the Garrick Theatre - it has had excellent reviews and certainly we were not disappointed.  I always find it fascinating seeing famous actors at close quarters - particularly those who have been part of the catalogue of credits we viewed when young.  One of these most notably is Robert Vaughn who I remember so well from "A Man From Uncle" - seems a lifetime ago.  Robert Vaughn is sadly showing signs of decline and looks all of his 80+ years but still gives an excellent account of himself.

Martin Shaw also superb.  I did worry about how he would portray and American but needn't have done so - all carried very well as was the performance of all the others including Jeff Fahey and Nick Moran.

see extract below from link

the classic 1957 Sidney Lumet movie that featured Henry Fonda in a starring role is one that is remembered fondly by movie lovers everywhere but what few may know is that it is based on a teleplay that screened on US television earlier in the 1950s and its subsequent stage play from 1955. Now audiences in the West End will be able to witness this stage production once again as the Garrick Theatrewelcomes a star cast in Twelve Angry Men.
Whereas that iconic movie featured Fonda alongside Jack Klugman and others, the Garrick play will feature Robert Vaughn, Martin Shaw, Jeff Fahey and Nick Moran among the cast members. So as well as re-exploring a classic story it will also offer the opportunity to see some high profile actors on the stage.
Twelve Angry Men focuses on the jury of murder trial. Following the court proceedings we witness as 12 jurors retire to deliberate on the case of a young boy accused of murdering his father. At first it seems as though this is going to be an easy decision to come to but thanks to the thinking of Juror 8 it is clear that there is more to it than meets the eye. Perhaps they won’t be able to make it home soon after all.
Robert Vaughn is a veteran actor whose work has spanned the stage and screen on the other side of the Atlantic. His credits include movies like The Magnificent Seven, The Bridge At Remagen, Bullitt and BASEketball, among others, as well as stage productions of The Real Inspector Hound in the US.
Meanwhile, Martin Shaw is also a veteran actor, albeit a British one, and his work has included television shows like Inspector George Gently, Judge John Deed and A&E, among others, as well as stage work like The Country Girl at the Apollo Theatre and An Ideal Husbandat the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
Twelve Angry Men follows the long-running Rock of Ages at the Garrick Theatre when it opens at the venue on 11th November 2013 (previews from 7th November 2013). The show arrives in the West End on the back of a UK tour.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

so much to do……..

Well Christmas is nearly here and preparations are well under way!  Decorations are up, presents mostly wrapped and final food list ready to buy!

To think we do all this for really one day, although I appreciate some extend this period and continue feasting!!.  We cater for 12 - something I really enjoy having my family around me and sharing anecdotes past and present.
My 2 little grandchildren are so excited and still appreciate Father Christmas and can't wait for Christmas morning and their presents.  I used to love this time with my own children and with your grandchildren you can experience it all over again.

Then the follow up  visiting relatives and delivering presents  which in itself is hectic and challenging with so many people having the same idea heading for the motorways.

The one day in all this melee that my husband and I appreciate is Boxing Day which is our day.  We really enjoy all the festivities on either side of this date but there is something very special about total relaxation and quietness and time just for the two of us. We savour the comfortable silence and potter around doing nothing in particular - heaven :)

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

weight loss update

I have reached my 7 lbs target……..  phew!!!  Celebration!!!!!!

Stress Busters!

We all experience stress - and a little may not be harmful. However when things seem out of all proportion.... then you need to take stock of yourself. I raise the topic of stress at this time as Christmas can be a pleasure but also a headache - so much to do...... planning, buying presents, food, drink, relatives , friends....... the list seems endless. 
Here is an article from the link below on stress generally which provides helpful tips to take some control in facing the challenge. Hope it helps!

What's making you stressed?

If you're stressed, whether by your job or by something more personal, the first step to feeling better is to identify the cause.

The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking.
“In life, there’s always a solution to a problem,” says Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster. “Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will only make your problems worse.”
He says the keys to good stress management are building emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network and adopting a positive outlook. 

What you can do?

These are Professor Cooper's top 10 stress-busting techniques:

Be active

If you have a stress-related problem, physical activity can get you in the right state of mind to be able to identify the causes of your stress and find a solution. “To deal with stress effectively, you need to feel robust and you need to feel strong mentally. Exercise does that,” says Cooper.
Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and enabling you to deal with your problems more calmly.

Take control

There’s a solution to any problem. “If you remain passive, thinking, ‘I can’t do anything about my problem’, your stress will get worse,” says Professor Cooper. “That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.”
The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it's a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else. Read tips about how to manage your time.

Connect with people

A problem shared is a problem halved. A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.
“If you don’t connect with people, you won’t have support to turn to when you need help,” says Professor Cooper. The activities we do with friends help us relax and we often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reliever.
“Talking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems,” says Professor Cooper.

Have some ‘me time’

The UK workforce works the longest hours in Europe. The extra hours in the workplace mean that people aren’t spending enough time doing things that they really enjoy. “We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise,” says Professor Cooper.
He recommends setting aside a couple of nights a week for some quality "me time" away from work. "By earmarking those two days, it means you won’t be tempted to work overtime on those days," he says.

Challenge yourself

Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps to build confidence. That in turn will help you deal with stress.
“By constantly challenging yourself you’re being proactive and taking charge of your life,” says Professor Cooper. “By continuing to learn, you become more emotionally resilient as a person. It arms you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive, such as watching TV all the time.”

Avoid unhealthy habits

Don't rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. "Men more than women are likely to do this. We call this avoidance behaviour," says Professor Cooper. "Women are better at seeking support from their social circle."
Over the long term, these crutches won’t solve your problems. They’ll just create new ones. "It’s like putting your head in the sand," says Professor Cooper. "It might provide temporary relief but it won’t make the problems disappear. You need to tackle the cause of your stress."

Do volunteer work

Cooper says evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteeringor community work, become more resilient. “Helping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective,” says Professor Cooper. “The more you give, the more resilient and happy you feel.”
On a more basic level, do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone to cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues. Favours cost nothing to do, and you’ll feel better.

Work smarter, not harder

Good time management means quality work rather than quantity. Our long-hours culture is a well-known cause of workplace illness. “You have to get a work-life balance that suits you,” says Professor Cooper.
Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that will make a real difference to your work. “Leave the least important tasks to last,” says Cooper. “Accept that your in-tray will always be full. Don’t expect it to be empty at the end of the day.”

Be positive

Look for the positives in life, and things for which you're grateful. Write down three things at the end of every day which went well or for which you're grateful.
“People don’t always appreciate what they have,” says Professor Cooper. “Try to be glass half full instead of glass half empty,” he says.
This requires a shift in perspective for those who are more naturally pessimistic.
“It can be done,” he says. “By making a conscious effort you can train yourself to be more positive about life. Problems are often a question of perspective. If you change your perspective, you may see your situation from a more positive point of view.”

Accept the things you can't change

Changing a difficult situation isn't always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are and concentrate on everything that you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper. “There’s no point fighting it. In such a situation, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Planning for the future!!

At this time of year you start to wonder what the next will bring.  I am quite amazed at the actions taken by some of my friends who have taken positive action to challenge themselves.

Jennifer has just celebrated her 70th birthday and has been working under VSO in Tanzania since September on a 2 year assignment.  She is looking to make a real difference to make sure that others benefit from her expertise and skills from her working life which she continued until her late 60s. She has always follow a healthy lifestyle, is slim and young in mind.  To her, her age is just a number and it is how fit you are and how sharp the mind - both of which are work in progress ……..

Trish has returned to University to do a Masters in Eng Literature at the age of 62.  Although she has always held responsible positions until fairly recently she still feels like the "new girl" - as she said to me a little like "Educating Rita" with all these bright young things around you thinking great thoughts……

She will not be deterred!!!

Your positive friends bring out the best in you and provide inspiration for you to look forward. Everything is possible. Getting older does not mean you can't experience new things!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

weighty update!

lost 5 lbs ….2 to go!

Not so easy with so many pre Christmas events and am trying to be so good!!

How are you getting on managing the flab?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Works Do!!

When you retire you no longer have the dubious pleasure of the "works do". However my husband and I always ensure we do something for us which reflects a more appealing substitute for this.

So our Christmas present to each other this year was to go to the Royal Opera House to see Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet which we did last night.

We can honestly say that of all the many productions we have seen in London, theatre, opera and ballet - this particular one was the best.

The Royal Opera House never disappoints anyway - it has such style and sophistication and enjoyment.

The Ballet was in 3 Acts, The scenery and costumes were second to none.  The dancing was superb. The story telling in dance of the tragic young couple was so moving and emotional. The first Act in  particular with Prokofiev's dramatic music heightened the tensions and feelings - this called for my husband producing yet more tissues for me!! At the end of the evening we felt elated and very satisfied. This topped with a great meal ended a perfect occasion.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Arty Habits

I have just finished another couple of oil paintings…..

this one of my cheeky 2 year old grandson Mac…………….

and the other of my son Ben…………

It is surprising how the hours pass so quickly with my hobby.  My husband usually has to drag me away and says "enough!"  :) 

Monday, 2 December 2013


At this time of year we are more likely to think of charitable donations. I have become really offended when I examine how some charities have evolved ………looking after the interests of our particular concerns only to find they have been hijacked by political lobby groups.
My husband and I give a regular donation to the charity (sense) we feel we have a particular affinity -   this is a charity which I think does not promote itself so aggressively and which need to give some hope and life experience to those who have limited sensory ability.

Please look carefully at Charities and scrutinise  - is this this how you want your money to be invested?

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Much Ado About Nothing!

I made a mistake last week of not reading the reviews before going to see "Much Ado About Nothing " at the Old Vic.  I was drawn particularly to the 2 big names who have an enviable pedigree.  I assumed this would provide a superb performance as per publicity blurb below.
James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave in Shakespeare’s timeless comedy Much Ado About Nothing at the Old Vic.
Much Ado About Nothing is the story of young lovers Claudio and Hero who’s imminent nuptials thwarted by the resentful scheming of a Prince, marriage seems inconceivable for reluctant lovers Beatrice (Vanessa Redgrave) and Benedick (James Earl Jones). Redgrave and Earl Jones take on these roles for the first time.

My husband and I made our way to the south of the river to the Old Vic. The outside of the theatre looks much like a department store in the middle of an uninspiring section of road. Inside there are the remnants of a bygone age which has been valiantly championed in terms of refurbishment by Kevin Spacey.  Somehow it still looks tired and lacks the charm of the West End Theatres.  Good leg room however for we tall people!!

The set for the play can only be described as minimalist and austere.  The actors, although using the Shakespearian language were dressed in the drab garb of 1940s with American soldiers in uniform which made it difficult to distinguish one from another.  This attempt at a kind of updating  led to a disconnect which ensured the subtle nuances of the intrigue were lost.

The 2 main characters failed to deliver - the once great Vanessa Redgrave was often incoherent and inaudible - her energy levels were very low which seemed to infect the rest. James Earl Jones was sadly out of condition, very overweight lumbering across the set and delivering his lines, albeit with his wonderful voice,  from an armchair.  He still has charisma but somehow his performance was unconvincing.  There were a couple of young actors who were able to project and to make the parts their own.

It was so tedious that about what seemed an eternity the interval arrived  I turned to my husband and I said "I have had enough, what about you?" He said he felt the same way but wouldn't have said so unless I did.  He didn't want to spoil it for me….as if!!
This is the first time we have walked out of a play.  

On return I wondered if it was just us having this view so looked up several reviews - Quentin Letts summed the general feeling…
and another….

The review says that James Earl Jones is now 82 and Vanessa Redgrave 76.  To act in such a demanding play with many performances is laudable but maybe foolish.  When your health and fitness are still in the ascendence there is no need to change direction but with these 2 great actors maybe they should now follow a different but maybe related path so that they can still feel they are achieving in their chosen careers.

Lessons learned !!!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Must Share ….:)

Are you one of those people like me who suffers from "frizzy hair"?  This has been made worse by having highlights and colours - its ok when my hairdresser blows it into a sleek mane but otherwise my attempts to manage my thatch are disappointing.

So I asked her if she could recommend anything which might help.  She suggested this……L'Oreal techniart which at £13 seemed a little steep - but you only need a very small amount the size of a malteser on your palm which you apply on washed wet hair and then blow dry.

I am amazed at the incredible improvement.  End result silkier finish which lasts and removed the "straw effect".  I thought it was so good I returned to buy one for my daughter!!!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Donate your wardrobe!

At this time particularly we are aware of those less fortunate than ourselves. I am sure we all donate in one way or another to our charities but maybe we can do a little extra by taking a leaf out of the Beckham's book this Christmas.  Victoria and David have generously donated many very expensive items from their clothing and accessories to raise money for the disaster in the Philippines.

I have sorted out clothing, shoes and accessories  I no longer need for our local Hospice.

 They rely heavily on people giving their goods so they can sell on.  It is worth having a look in the wardrobe and being realistic about those items you haven't worn for a long time!!  Please pass on to an outlet you think would benefit.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Podiatry Problems!!

Does this maintenance ever end!!!

I had to go to the podiatrist today - painful toe with corn……yuk!
Dressing and support putty

I have toes which are roughly the same length and this leads to problems with the end toes squashed into shoes.

 I am reasonable careful with my choice of shoes but inevitably fashion shoes are not designed for my footprint!!

My podiatrist took photos of my feet for his records again  and and…….also one of my Marc Jacobs mice I featured the other day in a previous post  …….because he liked them and found them amusing and sensible !!

The lesson for all - don't leave niggles until they become problems!!! 

A treat for me……..

The one thing I really hate is cleaning the oven!  I do cook a great deal but still try to manage spillage and grime.  No matter how I try it still manages to decline into a disgusting mess.  I have tried several oven cleaners with mixed success - even so the result is never quite reaches a desirable standard.

Then about a couple of years ago I found a company who cleans ovens…they must be masochists!

Within 40/35 minutes the oven is transformed into a gleaming cooking machine which I can now exhibit with pride.

Exhibit A after last week's treatment!!

I know it won't last but you can't blame me for savouring the moment.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

My Mice Shoes!

I bought a pair of Marc Jacob's mice shoes about a couple of years ago.  What a find!  They are like slippers and look very fashionable.  I have found that I can no longer wear shoes with a highish heel for long periods of time - particularly if we go out for the evening and then travel home on the tube - so it is great to have a pair of mice which fold up neatly in my medium sized handbag.  To put them on my aching feet is sheer heaven and they now go everywhere with me.
I found another pair in which are reduced from £125 to £89 - so couldn't resist!

They arrived this morning :)

Monday, 18 November 2013

Getting There!!!

My brother and I are both November baby boomers and our present to each other every year is to meet for lunch with our respective families. We discuss the passing years and our valiant efforts to stave off the inevitable!  We did overindulge and let our diets have a rest for the day.  So it was with some trepidation that I weighed myself this morning….and………. I have lost 2 lbs!  Only 5 to go!  It shows you that you can relax occasionally but don't make it the norm!

I bought this dress at the beginning of the month for an event we were attending - it is also going to be my "Christmas dress".  Although it fits very well it is a tad snug and will benefit from my weight loss objective.  This is the trouble when you buy fitted tailored clothing - it is very unforgiving but looks wonderful when you are in reasonable shape. This dress from is by Badgley Mischka £297.49 which is half price and a true classic which will be worn over and over again

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Strangers on a Train

Last week we went to see "Strangers on a Train" at the Gielgud Theatre - what an absolutely gripping performance which captured the sinister and disturbing elements of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller. This "perfect murder" was played out by the leads, Laurence Fox and Jack Huston. Both were remarkable and kept up the tension and despair throughout. Two actors both from acting dynasties didn't disappoint.
Fox is so well known to many on TV and Huston so memorable to us in his role as a disfigured veteran on "The Broadwalk Empire". Really worth seeing - be prepared to be shocked!!!!


Still working on the Christmas diet will keep you posted!:)

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Day of Reckoning!

OK - well after the festivities surrounding my birthday (3 days) I have now a day of reckoning!!!  I have gained 7 pounds!  rich food , bigger portions, champagne….exhausted.  Got to do something about it….new readers start here….. emergency if I don't do something about it it - it will be like compound interest …….

So today the dreaded diet begins…. calorie counting, portion control and lots of exercise!

We all know that as Christmas approaches there is no way we can resist the goodies so we must take stock and plan so that we don't feel like a landed whale at the end of December.

I am not going to tell you exactly how much I weigh as my husband reads this but I will share my progress with my weight loss on a weekly basis….in this way you will become my conscience!

so so annoying!!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Stop the Clock!!!

Its my birthday!!!  63 today……I have had the usual jokes ….its just a number..but ……... a big number :)

As many of us baby boomers will say we don't feel any different and that is the frightening thing about getting older that in your head things are still the same.

What older age does give you is a sense of who you really are and what you value.  Your confidence and ability to say what you want to say and do as you want to do have never been greater!!

Things which used once to be so important in your life and cause stress cease to have such prominence.  They have been replaced by the people who you love and who love you.

Birthdays are a time to count your blessings and to reflect and marvel on what you have achieved so far; to revisit memories, some painful some happy: to pursue  outstanding dreams: to use your time wisely and to plan for a future which you so richly deserve !

Thursday, 7 November 2013

It can't be November!!!

We have been tidying up the roses this morning - and I know we are supposed to trim in the spring  but as usual can't wait!!

However what is surprising is that they are still flowering!!!!  OK they are not the best specimens in the world but they should not be around in November!!!

Even the leaves on some of our trees and shrubs are intact!  I am often confused must be the same for the plants??

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

7 weeks to go…………..

Can you believe there's only 7 weeks until Christmas? It doesn't seem so long since the last one.  You always have this feeling that there is so much to do….and there is but nowhere near as much as we imagine - just human nature I guess which leads us to panic !

The food, the drink , the cleaning, the decorations, the cake, the mincemeat, the visits, and ……..the presents. Why is it that we all feel so much angst as to what to give?  Children and teenagers are easy …toys and money respectively…then there's the adults!  My husband always says I am too generous but I do love to give and see the pleasure - I hope!
I was brought up with the saying better to give than receive

I must confess I started gathering pressies in October!  Men as always are very hard to buy for...

When people give presents to me I value the thought that goes into it - it shows how much someone knows you and how much they care.  I have been touched by the simplest things……like my little grandchildren drawing a picture just for me - awww!

In retirement,  income is limited and finite and so I would imagine that sometime in the future we will have to tighten our belts but not quite yet :)

Christmas does tend to bring out the child in us ….no matter how old you get……..

so on with the prep!!!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Reluctant Exerciser!!

All of us know the importance of exercise but many of us don't want to do it.  What we do like are the results in terms of health and physique and toning.

My husband knows all too well the benefits and but reluctantly accompanies me for 2/3 days a week.  He is sensible however…………….

Couldn't resist taking a snap this morning of him on the treadmill at the gym.  Thankfully the machines have integrated TVs  and as I know this helps to pass the time for my husband as he gets really into his sports programmes!

At 69 I think he is in pretty good shape :)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Energy Practical Solutions!!

Free Christmas Stencil to Print and Cut Out

I was brought up in a small mining village called Maltby in South Yorkshire , UK.  As a baby boomer in the 1950's we had an enjoyable yet a hardy upbringing.  This aspect wasn't obvious to us growing up - we were just  living through what was commonplace and not at all challenging.  We didn't have central heating or double glazing.  We often huddled around a coal lit fire for warmth in a loving environment. I can remember waking up in at the morning and my head felt so cold,  and having glanced at the icicle patterns on the window would pull the sheets over my head to savour the cosiness and warmth of the under blanket.

So these days with so many modern amenities keeping us warm - are we getting too soft?  I listen to people complaining about the high cost of energy ( which is certainly the case) but often they don't want to take any common-sense advice.  Almost that constant warmth is their right.  

I remember an elderly friend of my mother who had cheaper gas - I think it was called StayWarm and was provided for those who fell into the vulnerable category.  She enjoyed temperatures which would not have been out of place in the south of France.  When she was too warm she would open a window!

One of the chiefs of the energy companies commented that the cheapest unit of energy is the one you don't use.  He was met with a torrent of abuse and criticism - but he is right!  If you examine the number of appliances which are on standby and the rooms you are heating which are not in use you could probably cut the bills.

In discussions with family and friends as to how we we could make some savings and keep warm we collectively came up with these suggestions…..

  • Fix tariff with UK energy suppliers before 1st December 2013. Most are increasing charges by up to 10% from this date
  • Turn down the temperature of central heating - apparently one degree less and you can save on average £131 per year. 
  • Wear more clothes!  This again was ridiculed but something we were always told by our parents.
  • Check items on standby….switch them off.
  • Exercise for an hour a day.  If you are retired or work from home - going for a brisk walk will get the circulation going and will make you feel so much warmer and you won't need the heat on during this time.  
  • Clean the house…using the hoover certainly makes me feel warm!
  • keep busy don't fall into the trap of being a "couch potato"
  • Use the warmth of the oven!  By cooking nourishing meals in a batch - you have hot food and the incidental heat from the oven to raise the temperature in the kitchen
  • Visit friends and have a coffee
  • Invest in a couple of clothes racks.  I have found that using a clothes drier is very expensive - get used to hanging out clothes again where practical 
  • Switch off unnecessary lights

The elderly are often depicted as some little old dear wrapped in a shawl suffering from the cold. Don't let this stereotype prevent you from taking matters into your own hands and give a more positive spin. Most people are quite resourceful - certainly we baby boomers are! No one says its easy to manage but we can still use our brains despite what some people think!  We also have the advantage of having lived through real austerity which was far worse than anything that we face now!

Do you have any energy tips??

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


About 20 years ago I decided that I couldn't put up with the endless time taken to remove the hairs on my legs.  I had tried shaving, waxing, depilatory creams and bleaching - all with limited success.  The trouble is when you have very dark hair - as mine once was :) - it shows and can make you feel very self conscious.  So my solution was to have laser treatment.  All those years ago it wasn't so commonplace and finding a clinic providing this was difficult.  I went to a place now called Sk:n in London. I had many treatments as individual hair grows at different rates and zapping them all takes time.  I started out with a "ruby" laser which targeted individual hairs that is one at a time - you can imagine how long this took!  This laser was replaced by an "alexandrite" which covered a small area at a time.  Both were very effective. I was told that they work best on dark hair as the energy is absorbed better. It was so worthwhile - it was like being free…..

Modern lasers are now available like  UPL - ultrashort pulse laser which emits ultrashort pulses of light

You can also buy home lasers now which are quite powerful - like the one by Tria - above.  I bought this one as even all these years later stray hairs still appear…….really useful for underarms, lip and dare I say chin!

My husband also uses it to thin out his "5 o clock shadow" which annoys him!  So not only for women!  Men need grooming too!

Have you noticed how some men neglect their eyebrows??  Tweezers and scissors can work wonders on eyebrows which have grown to be unruly with age - doesn't take long and takes years off them!

As you get older hair does change and hairiness varies but it is important to continue grooming and being concerned about your appearance - you look better and younger!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Developing interests.....

Always loved painting - so nice I can indulge my self and do the things I have always wanted to do painting my granddaughter!

We all have had to pursue careers which paid the bills.... still have these thoughts about how nice it would have been to pursue a career I really wanted......................

Friday, 25 October 2013

Friday this and that......

Remember my last but one post on taking vitamin supplements.......  well interesting that attention has turned to children under 5. Apparently there has been an increase in rickets which is put down to lack of sunshine vitamin vitamin D.  There are all sorts of reasons as to why this is happening.  However at this youn=g age I am not really in favour of giving them a daily pill as has been proposed - surely we should start with looking at their diet and also making sure that they have time to play outside??

What do you think??

Even though my grandchildren have very fair skins and one is a redhead they still are encouraged to play and enjoy the elements!


Just finished mixing the ingredients for my Christmas mincemeat and the kitchen smells wonderful with the combination of fruit, nuts, oranges, lemons, apples and spices.  Just waiting until the morning for its 3 hour stint in the cool oven tomorrow.  So easy and so much better than bought!!  Thank you Delia Smith for the recipe - I have used this for years and I always look forward to it!  :)


Yesterday my husband said   "would you like a little outing"  - I smiled enthusiastically - thinking shopping, lunch.........

It turned out being a trip to the dump!!  All he wanted was the company as he had already loaded all the surplus to requirements into our car.  In some ways it was enjoyable as we both have this need for decluttering and tidiness and clearing the decks.

There's nothing worse than housing things for the sake of it and taking up valuable space.
Also as you get older hoarding is often referred to as a "senior trait" - so determined not to be categorised in that way!!  I must say our recycling centre is amazing there are so many containers for so many different things which can be used in some way.

So maybe its time for your clear out !!!

.......I did get taken to lunch afterwards :)

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Cream of the Crop.................

My husband was reading the newspapers and saw an article on a face cream for menopausal women and mentioned it to me as ...he is interested in these developments in next generation creams  from the scientific point of view and also knows that I, like most women are very interested in anti ageing goods.

Now there have been many claims of creams providing life changing effects on the skin and I am highly sceptical about their claims.  However this particular cream, Stratum C is designed to boost collagen which apparently we can lose significantly during the menopause - up to a third.

Here are some of Stratum C's claims and information on their site........

"Collagen-stimulating peptides and Hyaluronic Acid work 
together to combat the effects of menopause as well as 
natural sources of Vitamins A and E (something the skin lacks during menopause).
Two unique combinations of peptides have been formulated showing the following results:
  • Muscle relaxation – muscles are relaxed helping to reduce stress and tension within the skin.
  • Collagen production is stimulated – clinical trials have shown up to a 70% increase in the production of collagen, helping to improve elasticity and skin tone.
  • Increased moisture content – Hyaluronic Acid holds 1000 times its own weight in water making ti the perfect ingredient to help increase moisture content within the skin.
  • Smooth, supple skin – Key ingredients including Jojoba Oil and Apricot Oil leave the skin feeling soft, smooth and much more supple once more."

I am not a person who goes in for spas and facials but I am quite receptive to trying some of these new products - so armed with this justification in my head for  the spend of £85 .....I bought a pot on line :)

I was quite pleasantly surprised at the size of the pot of cream which arrived and the volume of cream it contained.  It was also encouraging to read that it is recommended that you use a pea shaped amount twice a day on cleansed face.  So on this basis it should last a long time (more justification!)

I have been using Stratum C for a fortnight and I am cautiously declaring that I have seen a difference.  My skin feels smoother and fine lines have diminished significantly.  (my husband also confirmed this).  It is early days so will let you know what I think after 3 months! 

Here's looking for a miracle :-)

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Popping Pills......................

I was watching a programme on TV last week  "Trust me, I'm a Doctor".  They were looking at why
people take vitamins. They said that if people had a balanced diet, then people would get all the vitamins they need from their food and they concluded that most people who take vitamins excrete this surplus to requirements in their urine - so a waste of time and money.

You can't really argue with a logical argument so why do we take these supplements?  Certainly my husband and I do.  I feel like the pharmacist in a morning counting out the pills!! Maybe its psychosomatic as we believe in the practice or maybe there is this fear that maybe we don't always get what we need from our particular diet?  All I know is that my husband and I on the surface seem fit and healthy.

There has been one occasion when my husband suddenly came out in a rash, and it was itchy and irritating and also unsightly. After seeing our doctor and a specialist they concluded it was probably psoriasis.  He has no history of this in his family and he found it hard to believe that this was the case.

My husband was a Research Chemist and maybe his training helped him to overcome this particular problem. He tried to think of any unusual contact with chemicals or something new he had eaten or drunk.  To cut a long story short he concluded that because we try very hard to keep out of the sun and the fact that he spends a significant part of the day indoors working on his computer... this sudden appearance of a rash could be down to vitamin D deficiency.    Well it was worth a try as the prescribed pills and lotions were not having any significant impact.  So he started taking vitamin D regularly and the rash started to fade and after a fortnight the rash had completely disappeared. Now some could argue this is just coincidence but we tend to think that my husbands remedy was correct.  So this had lead us to be less strict about sun  exposure although still careful.....and  we take a daily vitamin D tablet.

At the moment we are taking 5 as you can see here.......we buy tablets online from either Healthspan or Woods as it is much cheaper than buying on the High Street but we also buy vitamin D, a multivitamin
and a low dose aspirin from Boots.

We have our reasons for taking this combination and they work for us. This is very much a personal decision and  what we are taking may not be doing us any good but the quantities we take will probably not be doing us any harm!

At our age we feel we are doing our best in managing to keep fit and healthy..............still a bit of a lottery :)

Do you have any anecdotes to share??

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

10 meals every child should be able to prepare!

In these health  and cost conscious times it is more and more important to cook yourself so that you know what is going in a meal  is healthy and by having a little knowhow it does not have to be costly.

When I was at primary school in the 50s I can't remember one overweight child.  Our mothers cooked nutritious meals for us and this is despite having full time jobs.  Many mums had an array of meals they cooked regularly and which did not take a great deal of time to prepare and cook. 

I followed on from what I learned from my mother and even when work demands were really high I would spend a couple of hours at the weekend preparing dishes for the week which I would freeze.  In this way we ensured having a good meal ready for every evening of the week. By cooking you can also reduce costs quite significantly. 

 I followed a woman at the checkout at our supermarket this week  and she counted out 4 spaghetti bolognese ready meals which didn't look very appetising but also would cost much more than home cooked

Mary Berry (the Great British Bake Off host) gave a speech at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and she talked about the need to bring back domestic science lessons back into schools and said.........

'It should be that every child when they leave school can do 10 meals, because when they leave home they've got to be able to eat healthily."

This is just great practical common sense advice and being taught in school is an ideal solution for those who don't watch and learn at home.  I started to think about what were my 10 staple everyday meals  we eat on a regular basis.....

shepherds pie
fish pie
corn beef hash
chicken casserole
beef stew
spaghetti bolognese
vegetable curry and rice
roast dinner

in fact there are 11 here and for all except the roast dinner I would prepare in advance and maybe freeze. These with a portion of vegetables are healthy and filling and satisfying. When my children were at home and going through faddy periods as to whether they liked veg or not I would often "hide" carrot by grating it into several of the dishes.  There is nothing nicer that a warm wholesome meal on a winters night and even better sitting round the table together to enjoy it! 

Can you name 10?

(Mary Berry is 78 years old and living life to the full!)