Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Christmas 2017

You know what’s it’s like when main festivities are over and you and husband have quality time to lunch together and ... him to enjoy my home made lemon meringue... and its snowing outside -bliss!

Thursday, 10 August 2017


This has been a busy and eventful year with so much happening in the world and in politics.  Like so many of us I have been caught up in day to day events which means I have neglected my blog!  But no more so as a start ...

yesterday we got caught up in town in the deluge!! We had no choice as we were going to see LadyDay.... it was worth getting drenched - this was a truly memorable occasion - 
Audra McDonald was superb acting her way through the rise and fall of Billie Holiday in a nightclub setting which spilled over into the audience. A truly talented lady who can act but more importantly can sing like Holiday - we were transfixed by her emotional and authentic performance - exhausted by the end as we got caught up in the raw deal she had in life. Tickets expensive...but worth every penny - you get what you pay for....

If we had one minor criticism it would have been preferable to have had a brief interval which would not have interfered with the story ...

Friday, 7 April 2017

What a Week!

About 10 days ago my husband complained of a headache and sore throat.  He took a couple of ibuprofen and we hoped symptoms would go away.  Of course they didn't and the symptoms were joined by a rasping chesty cough and heavy cold.  He became so bad that he had to have antibiotics as he developed an upper respiratory tract infection.

I quickly followed to keep him company! You know when you pride yourself on being fit and healthy and then suddenly you are hit with something you can't control and you realise you are mortal? Scary stuff!  I must admit it has been a long time since we have been so ill and the cough and cold is still persistent but we are feeling so much better than before or at least we are trying to convince each other that this is the case.

We were particularly anxious as we had book to see 42nd Street some time ago and we were fearful

that we wouldn't be able to go.  Well it was a challenge but we did get to see the performance at the end of this week and it was just what we needed.  It is a spectacular show and fully recommend it.  It is so uplifting and full of energy and talent.  It was also a treat to see Sheena Easton who still is very impressive. It was a good job I took water and strepcils with us as I did have one moment when I found it difficult to suppress my cough. Such an awful feeling ...that you are about to explode!

Anyway good time had by all!  Lessons learned this week....don't take your health for granted and accept that sometimes you can overcome difficulties to enjoy the things you want to do if you don't give in!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Girl on a Train

Last night we downloaded Girl on a Train....for some reason I got it into my head that it would be a little like Agatha Christie's Miss Marple 4:50 from Paddington .  Not a bit like it!

Really enjoyed it but the story was very gritty and often violent. Excellent acting. It certainly kept us on the edge of our seats particularly in the second half of the film. My husband found it quite amusing that I volunteered for this as it is not the sort of thing which appeals to me ...... 😊
Recommend it!!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mother's Day

Lovely start to Mother's Day as my children give me these beautiful flowers.  Looking forward to being pampered for the rest of the day 😍

Diary of a 60 Something......Thursday and Friday

Thursday  23rd March 

Today is very much an exercise day as I am joined by my husband.  We go relatively early and spend an hour there.  My husband does the treadmill and weights and me the cross trainer. 
We return home and I eat earlier than usual as I am going to my Pilates class at 1pm and need to digest! 

I have got back into the swing of Pilates again - I always felt the benefits but somehow going on holidays disrupts the pattern but now I am determined to be consistent and go to my twice weekly sessions.  Its surprising how much better my joints are now and my back is much stronger.

Feeling virtuous I return home and plan the evening meal.  Quiet evening tonight watching TV....bliss!

Friday 24th March

Put a load of washing on and catch up with the ironing. Quick session at the gym and then home. Hung out washing and then go to Lidl with my husband....when I tell my daughter what I have been up to in the day she usually mocks me by saying  "living the dream"😁

Back home have lunch and then I dedicate the afternoon to painting. One of my hobbies is painting

portraits.  Just recently my granddaughter asked me to paint her so she can put on her new bedroom wall.  She is delighted with it, however my grandson wants me to paint his portrait which is fine but I am struggling with his likeness.  Children have such perfect skin no blemishes no wrinkles and  its hard to identify distinguishing features.  Its much easier with craggier older faces!

Evening we have dinner with friends then home to bed....zzzz

So ends my week long you can see quite unremarkable but very busy and we think very fulfilling.  

Now the weekend look forward to - the weather is going to be good so look like gardening will be on the agenda!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Diary of a Sixty Something......Wednesday..

Day starts like any other - I didn't think I would have such a good nights sleep given that we watched the last 2 episodes we had recorded of "Line of Duty". Excellent series really kept us on the edge of our seats! As usual when I watch these very tense and intriguing productions I keep wanting to make a cup of tea - my husband made me stay put and watch.  Superb acting and excellent outcome. Now looking forward to next series which begins at the weekend.

Major points of the day include  usual trip to the gym - much easier day today surprisingly some days work better than others...
Before I left for the gym I prepared lunch  ....chicken wrapped in parma ham leftovers

I heard a report on the news about food going up in price...well these people do not know where to shop...we now go to Lidl and have reduced our bill by at least a third. We have plenty of meat , fish and vegetables and have a variety of food which challenges some of the outlets!

Wednesday is PMQs this is sacrosanct in our house our interest in politics drives this day... starting at 11.30 with Daily Politics on BBC with Andrew Neil (only reason why we are so committed to analysis of day) . Watch the debate and then have our own analysis ....sad I know but we enjoy...😀

1pm Hairdressers  - appointment I don't relish  nothing to do with my wonderful hairdresser .....I am one of those rare females who  endure "beauty treatments" - I regard this as a necessary much time oh I wish I could leave my hair and come back later!   I only started going to hairdresser when I was 50 recognise that the grey is winning and also skin tone is not what is was therefore a lighter colour may be the way forward!

At 3pm I emerge switch on the radio in the car and hear what is unfolding in Westminster.,,,,,,,absolutely shocked and desperate feeling as my children and their spouses work in the area.... go home and receive reassurances from my family but feel so awful for those whose day isn't so positively resolved.  

In the evening we go out for a Chinese meal...we are both subdued hard to remove yourselves from the events of the day.

All our thoughts go out to the victims and families and friends....

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Diary of a Sixty Something .....Monday......Tuesday......

Monday 20th March

Day begins in the usual way.....

9am my husband and I go to the gym - he does weights and treadmill and I go on cross trainer and low level bike followed by weights...

Then home and I prepare lunch - pork steaks, broccoli, cauliflower and gravy......small portion of potatoes for my other half.

Noon we eat and after follow BBC2 Politics programme which we watch most days

Afternoon we both continue a clear out of old files and paperwork we have accrued.  I am still working on clothes and sorting out what I want to keep and those which have been hanging around for a long time.....

Uneventful day really but time was filled with worthwhile jobs which needed to be done!

Tuesday 21st March

Its my daughters birthday!!!  Cant believe how all these years have flown by.......

Start the day as usual ...
About to go to the gym when we heard the doorbell. Our delivery of a ton of top soil! We were expecting this but weren't sure when!!

When we came back from holiday just before Christmas we found that the
lawn had been affected by a snowy fungus and needed immediate attention and we have been treating it for the past three months. So now time to spread topsoil and reseed. So gym was shelved and we started work at 9am and we finished at 11.30!  We were quite pleased with ourselves.  Tired but not unduly so.  I am delighted that I had enough food prepared from day before to have for lunch today.

After lunch ...we may have had a little nap.......

On waking up my husband reminded me that he had run out of cake.... only has home made so I put a fruit cake in the oven and in the hour it would take to cook we nipped out to our garden centre for more lawn seed!  Back in time to take cake out......

Hang out the washing and prepare teatime snack looking forward to a night of TV.
...don't think we will be in bed late tonight.....tired already.....

Diary of a Sixty Something..........Sunday

Sunday 19th March

The day starts like every other just like my post for Saturday so no need to repeat! I'm skipping the gym today as going out for lunch and have to leave earlier than usual. Instead I put on a load of washing and finish off some ironing which has been staring at me for a couple of days.

At around 10.30 we drive over to Chiswick to my daughter who has just moved house and we are excited to see what it looks like.  We are delighted with what we see and hope they will spend many happy years there.  The beautiful magnolia in their front garden was a wonderful welcoming sight.

We were joined by my son and we all went to lunch - this was a celebration for both my son and daughter - joint birthday meal. So siblings, partners, grandchildren and us made our way to The Smokehole which proved to be a welcome change from the usual formulaic pubs and restaurants.  Lots of meats on offer ...of course and ....smoked and also pulled if this was what you wanted.  The noise level must have gone up dramatically when we are all together.  We left around 4pm ....timing perfect as we got home in time to see Manchester City play.....

We ended our evening the same way as night before ...exhausted but happy a full day ....relaxed watching recordings of Line of Duty.......then zzzzzzzzz

Diary of a Sixty Something...... Saturday

My husband and I are really enjoying our retirement always busy and so much we want to do and achieve.  When I say this friends ask me "what exactly do you do?". When put on the spot it is hard to think of all the things which keep us so engaged.  So I am going to share my diary for 7 days to provide some insight but also to remind me of what I actually do with my time......

So starting with last

Saturday 18th March

We wake up roughly the same time every day at around 6am.  All the conditioning from years of working and getting up early are hard to shake off.  However we are morning people and tend to pack a lot of energy into the morning.
We tend to talk for about half an hour and then my husband brings up a cup of tea for both of us and toast for himself - I don't eat breakfast! I know people say you should and most important meal of the day but I really don't need it.
For the next hour and a half to 2 hours we read the newspapers on line, mainly Telegraph, Mail, Guardian, Independent and Express.  We have a keen interest in politics and so read many of the headlines and articles of dominating the press - we share our thoughts and opinions and basically put the world to rights....
At the same time we watch SkyNews. This is our preferred station but flick over to BBC occasionally.
I also check out twitter and Facebook.

At 9am I am down to our gym and workout on the cross trainer for an hour before returning to get changed as we are meeting my son's in laws for lunch
11am we drive to Edgeware and catch the tube to Angel where we go to a delightful Italian for lunch at 12.30. 
3pm we make our way the short distance to the KingsHead Theatre Pub to see an abridged version of Madame Butterfly.  The Opera was excellent.  There is so much talent in the world.  The experience was also very different with an intimate room which reminded us of the small theatre in Trafalgar Studios.Fascinating being so close to the singers.

Around 6pm we say our goodbyes and make the journey home arriving back around 7.30pm then time for relaxing watching TV and then bed around 10pm - exhausted!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Posture any age!!

Do you remember when you were small, your parents and teachers would often say put your shoulders back? From an early age we tend to go for the most comfortable position often to our detriment.

Over the years I have tried my best to be aware of my deportment for my bones and my appearance. Certainly as we enter the senior years its even more important to take note of posture there is nothing more ageing than the sight of rounded shoulders which become more and more pronounced.  This image is even displayed on danger road signs of older people crossing the roads!  Apparently the government is looking to improve on this image as it is regarded as an old fashioned stereotype....I certainly hope so!

Some years ago I saw Diana Moran at a magazine event.  (Remember she was the "Green Goddess" from  Breakfast TV years ago.) Certainly her fitness regime which she demonstrated to so many people had paid off for her - she looked amazing, she stood tall with perfect posture and looked so much younger than her years.

Then last week I saw an article showing her today at the age of 77 looking as if time had stood still.  The thrust of the article made me think about my parents generation where they were encouraged to "take it easy" as they got older and "not do too much"! Not that my parents followed their advice they were very active people and enjoyed their productive lives.

Its really worth a read and may give you food for thought about making small changes to your life which will make for a healthier way forward.

Friday, 10 March 2017

42nd Street Drury Lane

Just booked 42nd Street,  Drury Lane for next month...musicals are not my cup of tea but have high hopes for this one.  The beautiful Sheena Easton should provide  for a great performance and a feeling of nostalgia for those of us who remember her beginnings!

Disrespecting free "NHS"

I realise that my entries on my blog are few and far between and I do have the best of intentions but somehow life gets in the way.
One of the cases in point ...Visiting outpatients at my local hospital last week with my husband......inevitably as we get older the need to be checked for one thing and another increases. We all sit patiently in the waiting room scrutinising every would be patient as they go through the process which you have just undergone. We observe what state of well being each person is displaying. To fill the time we start to make judgemental comments to ourselves as we observe the people and their current state of health and what they have done to contribute to their current state. Well what else is there to do?  The clock seems to slow down....appointment at 2.15 already at 2.50 so so bored and fidgety ....observe the work practices of nurses and auxiliaries and volunteers - all well meaning but can't help to think there is an awful lot of duplication of effort.... the limiting factor came down to 3 consultants on duty.

Our prolonged waiting time was at least broken by observing a larger than life Statistics board on a wall of the waiting room and one of the key entries for us related to 641 non show people for appointments in month of Jan and stated £150 per head cost to the NHS.

We were left with a feeling of something quite radical needs to happen to make the NHS work effectively and efficiently and also to stop people taking the service for granted.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Half Term Madness...

Last week was challenging but a lot of fun! Hard to believe that small children can have so much energy and enthusiasm for basically anything.

I can say that my fitness regime pays off as I can just about keep up with them. It certainly encourages me to be active and  creative when organising activities.  Surprisingly they both like going to our local garden centre who organise activities in holiday periods.  I wouldn't have thought this would provide such a delight for them but I am proved wrong every time they think its great.  Here's what they produced this time!! Surprising how simple things like apple/seed bird feeders can often be the best.

Baking is always on the agenda and blueberry muffins are a firm favourite and they love the involvement of mixing and generally making a mess.  I bought Star Wars decorations from Lakeland which added to the excitement.

Randomly they said they wanted to have a Victoria Sponge and so I set them to work beating eggs and sugar and cream and they were very pleased with the result - although my husband and I weren't to happy with the number of calories we consumed in the week!!

Everyday started with the question "what are we doing today?"  and "what is the plan?" I must confess there were days when I was completely exhausted but I enjoyed every minute.  These are precious moment you can't miss and I am determined to enjoy my grandchildren in a way I couldn't do with my own children. Working full time you do miss out on many of the simple pleasures.  i also believe that having young people around you help to keep you young and hopefully have a young outlook on life.  I particularly enjoy hearing the views of an 8 and 5 year old - in some ways quite adult but in others quite refreshingly childish and innocent.  Long may it last!

Hopefully they will retain good memories of time spent with grandparents!!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Age no barrier......

Last night we went to the Royal Opera House to see Der Rosenkavalier. My husband and I decided last year that this was our birthday present to each other.  As this Opera is not available so often and demand is high so the tickets were the most expensive we have ever purchased.  The production costs must be enormous , the cast, orchestra  and set were magnificent.  I was a little daunted by the length of the three Acts and some 4 hours.  I needn't have worried as time passed very quickly as we were thoroughly engrossed.

ROH is undergoing extensive refurbishment, however disruption was kept to a minimum.  The building and ambience is second to none - absolutely love going there if regrettably not often enough!!

The roles in this Opera are particularly demanding and it was remarkable how each member could keep up such a high standard. How do they do it? It depends what motivates you in terms of success and reward and what each of these mean to you. They do need enormous stamina and resilience. in my last post and we touched upon diet  and exercise.  These are the elements we consider seriously to provide us with health and well being to enable us all to pursue an optimum quality of life and longevity. Some of the cast were not in the first flush of youth and yet exuded the energy not dissimilar to the younger members.  I wondered what their fitness regime was like and whether they were quite disciplined with diet and lifestyle.

At which stage do people say "my life is over" and that future challenges and achievements are not for them?

On the political scene President Trump is 70 years old, Hillary Clinton 69, Theresa May 60, Jeremy Corbyn 67.  Many people at their respective ages have opted for a quieter less demanding life.  So what is it that sets them apart keeping themselves active mentally and physically?

A couple of years ago we saw Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit in the West End she was then celebrating her 90th birthday!!  She was amazing still treading the boards... doing matinee and evening performances.

So the lessons learned for me is that whatever your age its up to each one of us to make our existence as meaningful as possible and not give way to the stereotypes associated with each age group and which compartmentalise us.

Too often older people are written off - its up to us to challenge preconceptions and just get on with it!!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Finding the motivation.......

So what might encourage us to lead a happy healthy fit lifestyle? We are all facing the challenges of temptations around us every day but we recognise that sometimes we have to take stock.

At my age and that of my friends (50s and 60s) we agree the we need to take extra care.  The usual things come over again and again when we discuss health and fitness issues....which is often :)

- blood pressure
- cholesterol
- mobility
- tiredness
- health scares
- batwings
- tummy fat
- rolls of fat
- ill fitting clothes
- and the rest!!

They say that we end up with the "face we deserve" now we also end up with the "body we deserves".

Lets face it none of us are saints and have lapses of common sense but if we continue to give way to excess we will seriously affect our health and longevity.

The New Year made me revisit my previous resolutions.  I have managed to maintain my weight by having a low carb diet and being mindful of portion control.  I make 95% of our food from scratch, its healthier and despite what people say it is also cheaper.  You know exactly whats gone into the making of the food and no-one has sneaked in hidden sugar.  I heard a celeb on one of the chat shows say "you would be surprised how much sugar is in spaghetti bolognese" !!!  If you make it - one of the easiest meals - you won't have any sugar!!

My friends and family support each other and all try to be as healthy as possible.  We compare notes, we groan if we add on a few extra pounds and moan if a dress doesn't fit.....

If you feel you don't have thais kind of encouragement around you maybe a support group like Weightwatchers may be the answer where weight is monitored and advice and are offered and a team spirit provides the motivation to succeed.

On the fitness front, my trusty fitbit provided me with constant feedback on my daily progress - I know this may be a little obsessive but each to their own.

I read health and fitness magazines which provide useful advice and recipes and help to keep me on the straight and narrow!

I go to the gym where I also see regular attendees and we talk as we work out on cross trainers, bikes and treadmills and it is surprising how quickly an hour goes by. I aim to go every day but with other commitments it probably is about 5 on average and surprisingly I really enjoy it which wasn't the case at first. I can hear some saying "Im told older that" my gym there a soup of eighty somethings who exercise regularly and are keeping agile and they also enjoy the social aspect of regularly meeting up.

Today I attended my second Pilates class of the week.  I have had a years lapse on attending classes and was encouraged to revisit as I am having twinges in my back and shoulder probably from slouching on the sofa watching TV!!  So my resolution is to have a session once a week.  I have a Pilates DVD and I know some people find this works for them as they can exercise at home but I find that the class works better for me as you are pushed out of your comfort zone and achieve more.

Its never too late to make changes - you feel better, look better and have far more energy with a leaner, fitter toned body!!

It is a matter of finding out what works for you - a visit to your doctor would be sensible and have a checkup particularly if you fall into older category and then devise a plan!!

Friday, 13 January 2017

NHS Challenge!

My last post shows my Fitbit and meeting my fitness targets for the day. After returning from our Caribbean cruise I have become even more conscious of the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle . Let me fill you in on some of my observations on the holiday.

I am not keen on flying and so if we can sail from Southampton to Southampton I am more than happy. The downside if there is one that the period of time at sea may be long. So this holiday for me removed a lot of the angst. 

What surprised us however was the number of seriously obese passengers and we surmised that maybe it would have been impossible for them to fly and so again this cruise suited them but for different reasons. Out of  approximately 2000 people on board we estimated that about 60% were overweight. I have mentioned the obesity problem before however this time we were shocked by the body size and the extent of immobility of many. 

We witnessed eating to the point of absurdity. This may seem far fetched but let me give you just one example - one woman who was very jolly and pleasant and almost the width of a corridor would struggle each morning to collect her breakfast from the buffet. She could hardly breath and could only move by conducting a side to side rocking motion. Her plate was filled with several pieces of toast stacked in such a way that bacon, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes could be trapped between the layers - the arrangement was completed with baked beans poured over the top. 

This level of gluttony was not unique. When you see this with your own eyes your amazement turns into real concern that clearly she and many of the others couldn't help themselves. 

The obesity crisis is something we all have to take seriously and the solutions have to be quite radical. A sugar tax would not make any impact whatsoever. The age group primarily 45-70 on this ship, should really know better and realise that they are killing themselves. They also are suffering from many ailments including diabetes, having to endure operations to hips, knees and the rest. 
We listened to passengers who openly talked about their failings but made light of it by saying "I'm just a real foodie" and "you see I just love my food"!

Plenty of wonderful food was available, lots of variety and choice but for many they stuck to what I heard referred to on a TV programme as "the beige diet" (fat v carbs BBC). Lots of potatoes mainly in the form of chips, bread rolls with every meal, rice, pasta.....

We reflected on the challenge facing the NHS and what could be done. There are no simple answers but there needs to be strong messages about the consequences of this overindulgence. We seem to care more about sensitivities than tackling the problem.  If the behaviour I have described is replicated across the country no wonder the NHS can't cope.

Needless to say the gym on board was used by about 20 people on a regular basis. However others did visit the gym use the scales. Some including my husband preferred to walk 3 times round the promenade deck (1mile) on a daily basis.- just as effective particularly when walking briskly

Diet and exercise are regular topics in newspapers, magazines, TV programmes, websites, Government and NHS guidelines so why aren't people listening???

What do you think? 

Friday, 6 January 2017

2016 - holidays!!

When I was a young woman holidays had to take a back seat as there were always too many demands on limited funds.  I always thought it best to save and pay attention to security and the future. So many years later having satisfied those needs my husband and I are now in a position to indulge ourselves.

Last year we went on two significant holidays - one, a cruise  in March/April for five and half weeks which took in a long sail starting in Singapore stopping at many ports, the most spectacular being Cape Town and ....

Walvis Bay, Namibia.

This was one of the longest holidays we have ever had and we were worried that it might have been too long.  We were pleasantly surprised as we were enjoying all the different locations, the weather, the relaxation and getting involved in activities which appealed to us.

Later in the year ....November to 19th December we went on a Caribbean cruise.  This location is beautiful, however we aren't really beach people and so for us the holiday does have limitations. We saw it as a lovely break before Xmas.It was quite a challenge before we departed as we had to do so much prep before the festivities on return - somehow you always manage to get things done.

We had been to some of the islands before but not to Antigua and St Maarten both of which are subtley different.

 We really enjoyed our frozen Margaritas in St Maarten!!

Holidays are great and enjoyable but it is good to recharge but I have never been one who wishes to be defined by the holidays I take. Some passengers love to have a quick turnaround and return on another cruise as soon as possible - indeed some seem to spend all of their time on ships and if this is what gives them pleasure then good luck to them.  However my husband and I like to have the contrasts, we have other interests at home and love the diverse quality of life.

I am still curious as to how people can afford so many holidays.....and the bar bill!!! 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Another New Year!

It has been a while since I made an entry in my blog. Somehow the past few months have been dominated by commitments, politics and holidays. The great thing about retirement is that in the main you are able to make decisions about how you use your time, however sometimes its possible to be over ambitious with how much you can realistically cover.

One of my resolutions is to be a little more attentive to my blog which I enjoy and over the next few weeks will relaunch and expand on issues which are important to me and I hope to other mature travellers...