Friday, 24 January 2014

A cup of tea…………...

Do you think that the habit or predilection for drinking tea is down to nature or nature….

Certainly in our family we seem to drink an excessive amount. So comforting and satisfying. However we all have our favourite teas and I know that when we travel abroad the one think I really crave is a cup of home brew!
It was no surprise today when my daughter sent me photos of her son my grandson making pretend tea.  He has done this for quite a while but today even more so as he received a kettle as a present and he was over the moon and of course had to test it out!  Looks like he has poured several cups - he knows the demands of his audience!

Tea has helped me, friends and family providing a vehicle for conversations and confidences. It provides an excuse for a gathering.  

Even the after dinner coffee has been increasingly replaced by tea! 
Harmless pleasures!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Secret Eaters…………..

I love dieting programmes so much so that my husband thinks its an obsession.  My response is that its harmless and might do us all some good!

One of my favourites is "Secret Eaters" on Channel 4. This is fronted by Anna Richardson who is very diplomatic when addressing the issues and helping to deliver sound advice.

The overweight participants agree to have 24 hours surveillance over a week to examine their eating habits. Each programme follows a similar format where individuals claim quite genuinely that they are eating sensibly and not over indulging.

Sadly just like all of us we tend to under estimate our consumption. The odd snack, the portion size, the takeaway, the extra meal………
The results are amazing!!

The programme also provides some useful tips on how to exercise control which are common sense points which have stuck in my mind….. I don't want to mention them as they need to be seen in context. The psychology and science behind them is fascinating.

It really is worth a look and you can watch on demand.

Give it a try!!!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Its a small world………..

Last Thursday evening we went to see "The Weir" -at the Wyndham Theatre.  Impressive performances from the well known cast, although the content required a great deal of concentration - here is the summary….

Conor McPherson’s critically acclaimed play opens at the Wyndhams theatre on 16th January and plays for a strictly limited season until the 19th April 2014.
The Weir was first produced in 1997 at The Royal Court and earlier this year enjoyed a sell out season at the Donamar Warehouse with an impressive cast list including Risteárd Cooper, Brian Cox, Dervla Kirwan, Peter MacDonald and Ardal O'Hanlon
The play opens in Brendan’s bar, an isolated rural Irish pub, where the men gather for their daily pint. Brendan along with Jack and Jim discuss Valerie, a pretty young woman who has arrived in their midst from Dublin.
Valerie arrives at the bar with Finbar, a local businessman. The men reminisce and  regal her with stories, trying to impress her with supernatural tales of souls past and of spirits very much present. But Valerie’s story is more chilling and more real than any of the men could have foreseen.
The play is typically bitter-sweet, and on its première in 1997, The Weir won the Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Olivier Awards for Best New Play, and established McPherson’s place as one of our greatest living playwrights.
The Weir has become an undoubted modern classic and with this fantastic cast it is a must-see play.

We did enjoy it - however we were troubled by a woman directly behind us, probably in her early 40s who fell asleep more or less from the start and snored so loudly I had to turn round and nudge her…..this seemed to do the trick …….

The impressive cast were so recognisable……..I kept thinking of TV productions in which the individual actors starred  like "BallyKissAngels", "The Bourne Identity" (I think Brian Cox was in this one or another Bourne :)) and the much missed "Father Ted"

However the most intriguing part of the evening occurred at our pre- theatre meal. I noticed a group of people opposite us and in particular a woman who had her back to us. I know it sounds strange but even from the back this woman seemed so familiar particularly her hair.  Eventually I could see her face and I know I have mentioned similar things before…..but it is getting really scary….  but here was a woman who we haven't seen for about 10 years, we exchange Christmas cards and keep trying to meet up.  As she now lives in Devon it has always been difficult to make this happen.  By coincidence she had some consultancy work in London and met up with friends who shared her birthday.  We were all delighted to see each other and had hugs all round.  What struck me about her is that she had just celebrated her 70th birthday -( I must confess I thought she was much younger!) but she was so bright, bubbly and full of life and still doing work on an ad hoc basis. For as long as we have know her she has always been hungry for the next project and making it happen.  How refreshing in this day and age…..truly an inspiration.  We parted company with the same promises of meeting up and this time we are going to make it happen……………..

Monday, 13 January 2014

Friendship Matters…..

Last week I had lunch with two of my closest friends. Something we don't do as often as we would like but somehow the time in between doesn't diminish the bond. Our friendship stretches back over 25 years.  We originally worked together and then over time we took different paths but somehow we managed to keep up regular contact. Every meeting is as if we had never been apart - the humour, the repartee and the anecdotes.  We have such a richness of shared history that we draw comfort from each other during the challenging times and we also celebrate the good ones.

Jayne, in the middle,  celebrated her 50th birthday at Christmas which makes her the baby of our trio.  We gave her some flowers and so she wanted to record the occasion - hence the photo.  Can't believe how time has passed and that she has now reached this landmark!

There was also another cause for celebration as Nilum on the left has finished her treatment. She was diagnosed with breast cancer about the this time last year.  Since then she has had an op, chemo and radiotherapy. She has always been quite inspirational and practical.  

Family is important but also our friends.  In our busy lives we seldom have time to cover the ground but recent events have brought into sharp relief what is important.

So we look forward to many more lunches and discussions comfortable in the knowledge that whatever the topic we feel totally comfortable with sharing with each other ….with those you love and trust!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Cellulite Advice…...

Just been reading my latest "Good Housekeeping" Magazine which I find provides a wealth of information and advice for women. Page 89 of February 2014 edition has Dr Sarah Jarvis providing advice and support to many of the illnesses and peculiarities which affect all age groups. In her column she answer a question of a lady who is not overweight and has always been plagued by cellulite. Its worth a read and to heed advice…. regular exercise, keeping weight to appropriate levels, avoiding crash diets and too much alcohol is the best solution.

I have certainly found that regular exercise ideally an hour a day - for me cross trainer and squats deliver.  As you may have read from my previous posts…..I suddenly found I had a real problem and took myself in hand.  My exercise is part of my lifestyle now and my cellulite has disappeared apart from one small knot the size of a penny on the back of left thigh which isn't bad is it? I realised that there is no quick fix…………sadly………………...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Epiphany

Well it's Twelfth Night and time for the Christmas decorations to be put away for another year! Can't believe all the preparation and then it us all over so quickly. The house looks so bare and highlights the need for a thorough "spring clean".
Even so this time of year is a time to look forward and to plan which I do look forward beginnings!

Jude Law as Henry V

Yesterday we went to see Henry V at the Noel Coward Theatre. This proved to be a most enjoyable experience with a superb performance from Jude Law as Henry and indeed the rest of the cast too.

Not really a fan of Jude Law but was pleasantly surprised. I must confess I was slightly curious to see the man who is so talked about in the gossip columns. He is a pleasant looking man but am still left  a little confused as to his considerable appeal on the romantic front.

On his acting ability however there is no question that he is indeed very accomplished and talented. He provided a convincing Henry demonstrating passion, leadership and valour.  The complexities of war were played out on a quite plain set which was surprisingly versatile in depicting the difference locations.

The play required considerable concentration and my husband and I both felt exhausted at the end but in a good way. It showed we were engaged and involved and we felt the this Shakespearian play had been brought to life.

It would be so valuable for school children to see Shakespeare in this way, the way it was meant to be portrayed - I am sure they would be engaged and develop an appreciation of the subject and see its relevance in today's world.

Would really recommend you see it if you get a chance!

Friday, 3 January 2014

New Year Resolutions!!!

I have started to meet the challenges of my resolutions.  I decided to define them over 3 months and then review as I feel it is unrealistic to take them beyond this timeline.
Bearing in mind the overall considerations to be taken into account in my last post….here are my objectives……

  1. Health - keep up 4/5 trips per week to the gym; maintain weight by monitoring weight weekly; keep alcohol consumption to weekends
  2. Beauty - cleanse face nightly - sometimes get lazy at doing this properly; 
  3. Wardrobe - clothes cull on items not worn for 2 years 
  4. Hobbies - complete 3 oil portraits; update blog every 2/3 days
Not an extensive list I know but not meant to be as in this way there is a chance of ticking the boxes at the end of 3 months!

Have you decided on your resolutions?