Wednesday, 9 October 2013


I am feeling good today because I have exceeded my step target on my new Fitbit Flex every day this week.  It is making me go out and walk more than I would and the little graphs really appeal to my geeky side (which is much bigger than that makes it sound).  I am sure that my dodgy knee is feeling stronger and more stable, too.

On top of that, I seem to be having a storming time at work.  I am (temporarily) on top of everything and have driven my boss to be complimentary.  This is almost impossible, as she is a perfectionist (to say the least) and not my biggest fan anyway.  It's great!

I watched the daughter play hockey earlier.  Her team won, and she looked all proficient!  She has been warned to watch her teeth as she has a brace following an operation on a rogue canine which hid itself in her face.  The brace is due to come off (finally) next month and I really don't want her teeth knocked out right now - not that there is a good time to lose teeth... So all in all a good match - a win and a full set of teeth!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Especially for E...

So, the niece, E, has been nagging me about my frankly poor performance in terms of writing here.  She's right, of course, which makes it all the more annoying...
A quick round up and explanation then.  I went back to work at the beginning of September and it has been really, really busy - however, it's when under that sort of stress that I ought to post MORE religiously if the aim is to help me focus on the positive.  I will make an effort to do better!

E and her partner, A, finished their epic walk around Wales last Sunday, and I had a lovely day walking about 7 miles of the last leg with them and a group of friends and family.  The sun shone, the views were beautiful and some friends who hadn't walked brought a stove to an access point along the way and made us real coffee.  It was great!  I left E and A then to finish their walk, but met them at the end point with some fizz to celebrate.

Last night, we had a lovely meal to celebrate again (we love a good celebrate, we do) and the atmosphere was great there, too.  IT was in a tiny little beach cafĂ© affair, lit by candles and with a large fire bowl outside the open doors to keep the evening chill out.  The food was pretty awesome too, and I had a bit of a moment watching the daughter share the wine and chat like a real adult person.  I built her from scratch, I did!

I had taken delivery yesterday of a Fitbit -  a sort of sexed-up pedometer you wear on your wrist which syncs with your computer by magic and gives you lots of geeky stats, so I've had a nice time playing with that today.  I set myself a step target of 8000 to begin with as my knee is playing up.  The walk to pick up the car from last night's meal venue got me off to a good start, and I have completed todays steps.  I am going to build it up to the recommended 10000 then see how that feels.  Walking has been great for my physical and mental health in the past, so this feels a very positive step, if you'll pardon the (slightly rubbish and unintended) pun.  It will also track the quality of your sleep, so that could be revealing...

Right, that'll do for now.  I'll try to be a better blogger in future!

Monday, 9 September 2013


Sunday was quite relaxing, and the drive to pick up the daughter was stress free, which is always good.  We met after the close of the supermarkets, so in McDonald's - I'm not a big fan of the food, but the ice cream...well, let's say I don't mind that.  I had a Malteser McFLurry.  Lovely.

Today has been quite busy, with school, a meeting and then helping the daughter and her friend prepare for a mock EU conference.  I now know more about Malta's views on the expansion of the EU than seems strictly necessary for someone outside the Maltese Foreign Office!  It's quite satisfying though. 

I relit my Aga yesterday, so the house is cosy and I can dry my washing.  the house just feels...alive when the Aga is on.  It makes a massive (if undefinable) difference.  I love it.  I'd never have had one except there was one already fitted in my house when I bought it (don't imagine a large farm house - my house could be voted least likely to have an Aga!) but I couldn't be without one now.

I am currently watching rubbish telly (Buffy repeats!) and drinking tea, so thinks are just about perfect for the time being - until I have to go back into the salt mines tomorrow, anyway...

Saturday, 7 September 2013


I have had a hair cut today.  Never fails to make me feel great.  I have very short hair, so when it is cut it makes a big difference.  I then had coffee with a friend and bitched about work etc.  Great.
On the downside, I have a stonking headache - migraine I think as I've now had it for 2 days already.  Consequently I'm not going to type anymore as looking at the screen is a bit of a killer.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The last Mexican...

Not a spaghetti western, but a genuine comment on the state of affairs around here.  The pop-up Mexican take out which has been operating on  Tuesday all summer has reached it's last evening.  This is very sad indeed, as it is delicious, cheap and I often meet friends in the queue!  I have ordered the daughter and I steak chilli, a steak burrito and chicken nachos - it'll be far too much, but I'm making the most of it! 

Today was another boggling and frustrating day at work and to top it off I think I have forgotten how to plan a lesson...I expect it will be OK when I actually have teenagers in front of me tomorrow.  I feel somewhat frazzled, so the joy that is my take out will be very welcome.  Despite deciding to reduce my alcohol intake, I think I may have the bottle of fruit cider which is in the fridge tonight before I enter the fray that is Autumn term in earnest.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Back to work...

Well, back to school today, so I need to get back to writing this regularly - holidays are over!  It was really hard going back after the summer break, especially as training days tend to lead to information overload and a boggled brain!

It was lovely, though, to catch up with colleagues, especially the Spotties (a group of friends who offer great support along with plenty of cake and tea in a  - sometimes- spotty teapot).  I had lots of compliments for my top, one of the ones I had made for me in India this summer, and compliments are always cheering.  After the session the Spotties went out for cake which was lovely.  Later I am going to go for a walk around the Otter Trail.  It looks so beautiful at this time of year with delicate purple seed heads on all the reeds and it is sunny and warm here this evening.  Exercise always lifts my mood, and at the start of term I need to be very aware of my mental equilibrium!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Champagne and friendship

I'm being a bit rubbish at blogging while in hols - lack of routine, I think. It's a shame, because there are loads of good things while off work!

Today I collected the GCSE results of the pupils I teach - they were pretty good but some in particular were very cheering due to individual pupils' circumstances. 

After collecting results and packing I left for Chester - I am going to be walking the Sandstone Trail with a friend I met in holiday a few years ago. We are currently drinking champagne and about to plan the walk/gossip. I am grabbing a blogging opportunity while she sorta out something for her daughter, who is at Reading Festival with mine. 

Friday, 16 August 2013


I'm in York tonight for a University Open Day with the daughter.  The drive was beautiful, including views of the North Wales mountains and the stunning, but slightly disturbing, Saddleworth  Moor. We are staying in the attic room of a
B and B near the walls and currently watching rubbish telly before bed. 

We have been out for dinner, which we had in a lovely little Mediterranean restaurant called The Olive Tree. The food was delicious, and there was abeam rogue small boy in there who spent some time on the castle mound opposite running about with his mum. It was lovely to watch. When they came back in, the waiters took over ( as waiters from the med do...) to give the mum a rest. The little boy sat at the bar being fussed over and having a great time. This has been a lovely day. 

Thursday, 15 August 2013


Coming back from India really took it out of me - I was travelling pretty much for 4 days and dealing with jet lag too.  I don't function well when I am over tired, and on top of that, having managed to avoid stomach problems while in India I came down with something involving horrible stomach cramps as soon as I got home.  Not a happy few days...

It is very important in challenging moments to focus on the positive.  I have not done much for the last few days, but have really enjoyed falling asleep on the sofa and generally relaxing completely!  Today, the daughter got her AS results, which were fine (if a bit mixed) but she got an A in her English!  A really happy moment.

I was thwarted in trying to buy brioche for breakfast (a sudden craving).  Is there a world shortage or something?  I bought muffins, though (the proper, doughy bread toasting sort, not a big fairy cake) and enjoyed eating those.  Simple pleasures.

Daughter is at work, and I will be cooking her favourite mash for tea (probably with sausage and onion gravy) and I think I will open some fizz to celebrate her results.  We are going to York tomorrow for an Open Day, so I should have an enjoyable weekend!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Amazing India

India continues to amaze - the colours, sounds and indeed smells are extreme. We have been to a huge variety of places and seen some incredible things.

Often on holiday I have a day when I have a melt down as things can get a bit much for me sometimes (I go on adventure holidays, not a week by the pool). This time I have not done so, which is a happy thing in itself. 

A selection of happy things - beautiful, bright saris in the fields, cows wandering randomly about on the road (3 out of 4 lanes on a main road in one instance) being avoided by drivers because of their sacred status, having to wait at an intersection for an elephant to lumber past, children excited to have their photo taken so they can see it in the camera screen... 

Two more full days left - now that is a sad thought, so I'll leave it at that. 

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Hippy dreams!

So, India... It's incredible. Everyone says it will be and that you will never be the same again, and you think 'Yeah,yeah'. Thing is, I suspect thy may be right!  It's noisy, smelly, chaotic and at the same time serene, timeless, beautiful. It does things to your mood ( and possibly your digestive system, but I'm ok so far...). The good things come thick and fast - a random elephant in the street, a blessing and garland at your hotel, a shopkeeper's chatter. It takes your breath away and leaves you feeling...different. Calmer. More centred. Sounds hippy? Yup. But it is, oddly, the truth


Tuesday, 30 July 2013


Right, I'm off to India tomorrow so won't be around for a while. Today I went out for the day with the house sitters - my daughter's father and his family. We went on a boat trip and saw a dolphin playing alongside the boat. Nothing like a dolphin to lighten the mood!  

We finished the day with a delicious and filling meal at The Queen's. Absolutely stuffed now and my mind is buzzing from the packing. I am excited but a little apprehensive. See you on the other side!


Monday, 29 July 2013


A couple of days with the ex-husband and his family before I go away to India with my daughter and his eldest with his wife. They are staying in the house and looking after the cat while we are away, so result there!
Yesterday was a bit of a blur of tidying etc., but today was lovely. The happiest point was going for a walk around the OtterTrail at Cardigan Wildlife Centre - the weather was lovely and it's a happy walk anyway. We saw a heron from the Heron Hide (does what it says on the tin...) and a long look at water buffalo. Their 7 year old also asked me what my favourite Hindu god was... I love a good random question!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Friends and haircuts

Two things made me happy today.  First, I had a hair appointment.  I had decided to go a bit blonder (hides the grey better!) so I had a long discussion with my hairdresser about how best to go about this on my very short hair.  I have been going to the same hairdresser for years, and I have a history of wanting quite drastic changes and of being happy to let her decide what is best.  She still felt the need to ask whether I would be shocked if it was a lot blonder.  That's what I want!  Actually, it has turned out not as blonde as I envisaged - I still like it though.  I seem to be easily bored by my hair and like a change, so I am pleased about the new colour.

After I had had my hair done, I met a friend and colleague for coffee.  She has not been well and has been off work for a couple of months.  Today she seemed much better, and her voice, which has been missing for most of her illness had almost returned.  We spent an hour or so drinking coffee and catching up.  It is hard to beat meeting good friends as a way to raise your spirits!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Sunshine and Cider.

A bit of a busier day today sorting out stuff for the India trip - shopping, taking an itinerary to the parents and so on. 

Decided to go to the pub for food and a couple of drinks with the daughter. It was a beautiful evening and the food was pretty good too. We had antipasti, garlic bread, chips and salad along with plenty of pear cider and a beautiful view. A simple good thing which does not needing writing - here's a picture:

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Lazy day...

I have had a really lazy day today, not getting dressed until after lunch.  It was great to be able to do this rather than go to work.  I haven't really done anything today, so it is tricky to find a good thing to write about!  However, I have messed about on the computer for ages and watched some telly, sorted out some washing and cleaned the kitchen and bathroom.  It was lovely to have the daughter help with that without being asked.  My main rooms are now tidy and organised and that is making me feel generally pretty good.

I really need to sort out lists of things to do and what to pack for my India holiday - it need thought as we have a 15kg luggage limit and a variety of activities when we are away.  I will do those things tomorrow, and probably go shopping and to sort out my mobile for abroad too.  Nothing else to write really!  Sorry to be deeply boring...

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Let me eat cake!

First day of the holidays!  I woke early as usual but it was absolutely lovely not to have to rush out if bed and get ready. I did get up at about 7.30, but was able to have quiet cup of tea, watch some stuff on my Sky planner and Mumsnet a bit. Small pleasures! 

Later, I went into town with the daughter and bought myself some new underwear from my friend Wendy Knickers (not her real name...) and went for coffee and cake. The remains are in the picture. Definitely something to be happy about!  

On the way home I called at my aged parents and sorted out their Internet needs  and cheered mum up with some Peanut Brittle I had seen in town. Good deeds for the day - check!

Daughter and I then tidied up the mess which tiredness at the end of term had wrought on the living room. Virtuous much?

So, several things to make me feel good...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


I was a bit low yesterday so struggled to find my good thing or the energy to write about it if I had. I think this was down to the surreal weekend and resultant tiredness. 

Today I have no difficulty finding a good thing!  It is the end of term, the start of the summer holidays and, if that were not enough, the sun is shining. The resulting cold beer-and-kindle experience has made me feel happy and relaxed (if still a bit knackered!). Here is my view:

I am going to get a Mexican takeaway again later, so that will be another happy moment, and I am generally pretty chilled at the prospect of 5 and a half weeks away from work.  I'm starting to get really excited about my upcoming trip to India with the daughter and her half sister, too.  I feel pretty good today!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Theatrical life.

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday as it was a bit full on!  I have been staying at the ex-husband's house as he has written a musical and we (me, daughter, daughter's friend) were going to see its first performance.  It is a bit odd staying with him and his wife and kids, particularly as his wife was the 'other woman' in our break up, but I have got over myself about that after so many years.  Anyway, the show was excellent - really funny and engaging.  Trouble is, somewhat ironically considering what I wrote in my first blog post, it featured a couple with a (slightly) unfaithful husband!  A bit close to home at some points, and I got a stomach lurch or two.  However, it was still a generally uplifting experience and it was lovely to see my daughter so proud of her dad.  An old friend was in the cast, so I got an opportunity to catch up with him, too, and his admiration of the way I get on with the ex was cheering.  We went out for curry afterwards and I wasn't in bed until 2am, so I am a bit knackered to say the least.

Today I have driven home (4 hours) with the daughter and friend playing young people's music in the car.  Daughter has an iPod I can get along with, but the friend's was a bit trickier!  Before leaving, though, I had chance to catch up with a very well established (trying to avoid the word 'old') friend, Helen.  We met at Primary School but don't get many opportunities to meet up these days.  We had a cup of tea and a good old chat and moan - very cheering is a good moan!

I took some pictures of Lichfield cathedral when we were there yesterday intending to post them here, but I haven't got them onto m y computer yet.  Oh well.  Anyway, I have poured myself some wine to help me get over the weekend, so I'll go off and drink that now...

Friday, 19 July 2013

Teenage heroes

A short post today as I am on my phone and I struggle to type on it!  I am away for the weekend with the daughter and her friend. We are going to watch the premier of musical written by her dad tomorrow, so that may well be tomorrow's good thing (here's hoping, anyway!)

Teenagers have given me several moments of positivity today. They get a bad press and I often moan about them, but every now and then they really impress me. We have a bit of a hard year at school this year, with three families losing their mothers to cancer. One of them decided to raise money for the organisations which had supported them, so today in 30 degree heat teams of Y10 pupils pushed a hospital bed. They were respectful and supportive and altogether lovely!

I am now sitting on the shade listening to some very talented teenagers singing musical theatre ( it's a rehearsal, not random singing!). 

I could really do with it being the end of term, but the teenagers have cheered me up!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

One good thing...

I am a bit of a negativity junkie.   When your teenage daughter keeps telling you not to worry, you begin to think you have a problem - she is the one who should have angst!  I am aware on one, quite cerebral, level, that I am lucky - I live in a beautiful place, I have a beautiful (and apparently well-adjusted) daughter, I have a job, generally good health, my family are close by and I have good friends.
However, on an emotional level I find it hard to appreciate all of this.  After a bout of depression following my divorce, I am constantly aware of my negative thoughts.  It is almost as though defending myself against depression is removing the joy from my life.  Don't get me wrong - I have a good time.  I laugh a lot.  But it doesn't always seem to percolate to my core, if you see what I mean.  

So, I am going to try to blog most days (not setting myself up to fail - I might not make it every day...) about things which have made me happy, or for which I should be thankful.  I have a feeling that most days have at least one of these.  Some posts may be a little underwhelming, but that's how it goes with life.

I will post photos of happy times, too, but not in this post.  I have been thinking about starting this blog for a week or so, so I am going to list some of my 'reasons to be cheerful' recently:
  • walking on the Otter Trail while my daughter was at zumba - beautiful sunshine, shady path
  • Mexican takeaway in the sun on my balcony
  • sun on my balcony in general!
  • visiting my niece and her partner at their campsite and looking at the sea while eating a picnic
There we go - happy things in my life.  I'll be back soon!