LilySlim - Weight loss

Sunday, 19 November 2017

"Christmas in a box"

Does anyone remember when Margot from "The Good Life" ordered Christmas in a box from Harrods - and it didn't arrive?  Well, today, I paid the deposit for our "Christmas in a box" - not quite the same - just the meat hamper - but it gives me the giggles when I think about it.

Today was a workshop at Needles and Threads in Lincoln (yes sewingbuddy I was good with lunch and brought my cake / pud home with me to have tomorrow night).  It was with my embroidery teacher but was to make a fabric box - originally thinking that my hardanger work could be the topper.  However when I saw the lovely fabric hat she had brought, I quickly changed my mind and settled for this paisley design with a fuchsia pink interior - scrummy!

I also managed, today, to solve a present dilemma.  Sorry Wendy - you will have to wait - but I have got a corker to cover your birthday and Christmas presents next year!

Mum and I have also sorted our Alexa's - we can now call each other and the phone app rings - even when I was at sewing (you just need wifi access to make it work) so that's one less problem to solve!

So now I am about to put the tea on and go up stairs to sort today's loft box - I have started to take the Christmas decorations out and store those boxes in the bedroom ready for sorting / putting out on the 1st December.  I also need to light the fire - then I am sorted for tonight's TV.  Who needs Christmas decorations (check out the Wragby house in Lincolnshire if you are close) to tell you that Christmas is just around the corner when you have "I'm a Celebrity" starting tonight?

Saturday, 18 November 2017

"I like you - but only as a friend"

Today has been a mixture of activities - I am on the third load of washing, for example!  So this morning started with bed stripping and airing, before remaking the bed.  Then it was onto some gluing and sticking as I assembled the sewing box that I have been making (the tins of beans are to weigh everything down - it needs to be left for at least 24 hours.  After squeezing some sewing in, it was then round to Jean's to help her husband set up a new email address.

But the main entertainment of the day must surely have been my impromptu visit to Mum and Dad's to pick up a new toy!  I have come late to the party. I know, but a good deal on Amazon's "black Friday" persuaded me that "Alexa" was a "must have".  Mum and Dad had been considering it - loving the concept that' in an emergency, they could just say "Alexa" ring Lynda and I would be contacted.  Well, today I picked mine up and tried to set theirs up.  As everyone does, I am sure, there then followed a barrage of daft questions - with Dad adding please and thank you just to be polite. He then asked "Alexa give me a kiss" to which the reply was "I like you - but only as a friend" - bless!  I asked Alexa to play music from The Music Man - and ended up with Black Lace playing Music Man and Mum and Dad doing the actions - it was like armchair aerobics all over again -we laughed so much!  We have now worked out how to call each other (thanks to a trial run with Wendy) - but only machine to machine - not the mobile phone app - if anything happens whilst I am asleep upstairs / out and about I am not sure that this will work!  Still, we persevere!

Back home, and with the novelty of being able to say "Alexa play me Michael Ball" from the sewing room (my Alexa is in the hall) it was time to settle down and sew some more - this darned Christmas present!!  I just knew there was a reason that I have kept putting it off!  However, as the temperature dropped, its been nice to light the fire and settle down to a good evening's TV viewing - such bliss!  I've turned down an invite to Fish and chips from my brother - it's just been too hectic a week and its not good for the diet you know!

Oh and yes, I did sort out another couple of boxes and bags - found some things that I had "lost" and a couple of pairs of curtains that I had bought cheap in dunelm (just in case) a couple of years ago.  One pair could work out well for Mum's french windows whilst they are trying to sort our colour designs etc for the new kitchen / conservatory.  IT just goes to show the value of a "stash"!!

Friday, 17 November 2017

Another string to my bow

Last night, the WI went out for supper at our new favourite restaurant.  I have to say that I loved the starter (Sadly n picture - it went down too quickly!) of pork belly on black pudding - but the fillet steak was as wonder as usual.  However I was good and resisted the puddings - just had a coffee - but they did look good!

Today was my turn to  help the aged pop round to Mum and Dad's - in theory it was to start organising the garage which has been a dumping ground since they moved in.  However the task had changed into a shed demolition - just a ten minute job!! Oh yeah - with about a hundred people - maybe.  We only started to make a dent in the job when Dad came over with a crowbar (he had been painting The Lodge prior to fitting it up with electrics and heating).  Several hours later and we had the shed mainly demolished, sawn / hacked into car size pieces and one load transported to the tip.  We then loaded the dishwasher into the car ready to do a tip run tomorrow - and they will add more shed to the car in the morning (there are too many creepy crawlies running all over the wood to risk it being in the car over night - remember your experience TT&T?

In fact we worked so hard that we didn't sit down for lunch until gone 3pm - but Daisy is in training for perfect begging dog!

Back home and I just have time to write this blog and pop a jacket into the oven before settling down for the evening.  I don't know about you but the temperature is dropping here so keep warm everyone.  I picked up some ham knuckles today - it won't be long before we start on some serious soup making!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A new literary challenge

Over a week ago, The Mail on Sunday published a story by Jeffrey Archer that consisted of exactly 100 words.  They then challenged you to write a story in exactly 100 words and submit it.  I am no writer, for sure, but the idea appealed to me so, this morning, I wrote one and submitted it.   As I said, I don't expect it to be one of the top 10 that will be published but I had a go!  My effort is at the end of this blog - you have been warned!

Today was a "stay at home" day ahead of the WI supper club tonight - so it was one of "catching up".  First up was the usual housework and hoover round to square up - closely followed by finishing this mini  sew together bag for a Christmas present (The last step had been hanging around for nearly two weeks - yet only took 30 minutes or so!)

Then it was onto making a start on a present that has been on my "to do list" literally every week since September- well, nothing like working to a deadline is there?

Whilst I was in the Christmas mood, I wrapped 10 advent presents for Wendy - we buy each other small things through the year and then swap them in time for our advent calendars!

It was also day 3 of my attic clear up - so a third ( and fourth!) box was sorted and dispatched!

I even managed to make some soup from my raffle prize of prepared veg - with some "smash and cottage cheese" scones to go with them - should last me a few days!  That was just before ringing the Breast Screening team to rearrange my appointment - and to tell them of a "mis-spelt" address at the top of their letter!

So, all in all, not too shabby a day!  I am gradually ticking things off my list for Christmas - but, as soon as one gets crossed off, another "good idea" pops up!!!  You should see some embroidery patterns that came through today - lush!!

And my story effort - well, be kind!  Here it is:-

The look, the smile, that’s all it took across the crowded room.  Once it had been their secret, a message between lovers.  Now she stood back and observed - her affair was over – he had moved on.

Head held high, she left the party.  He noticed, eventually.  Mentally, he had already moved on, physically there were possessions to retrieve.  As he went outside, his car had gone.  “To be expected” he thought.  Hailing a cab, the drive home was swift.  As he entered the house, the silence was deafening.  The body – incriminating.  He agreed -  the affair was finally over

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Painting in the dark!

Last week, in Norfolk, I treated myself to an egg coddler.  I must confess that I had been given one years ago and never tried it out.  Now that I am following SW and can eat eggs freely, I wanted to try another version.  This morning I tried it out for the first time, with some added smoked salmon in before cooking - and loved it!  I certainly will try that one again!

The plan for today was to go over to Mum and Dad's before heading over to Brigg garden centre to meet up with my brother, Phil, and his wife, Chris.  When I got to Mum's I couldn't help but notice that the painting of the lodge had advanced somewhat - the look on Mum's face said it all.  Apparently Dad has been out painting up to 7pm - with Mum having to "dance" around on the patio to activate the sensor lights so that he can see!!!! 

The garden centre was fully geared up for Christmas.  For a mere £350 you can buy an awful looking plastic olive tree complete with flickering lights,

or for free, you can enjoy watching and listening to the "coolest" band in town playing you Christmas music!

Upstairs the Christmas decoration floor had expanded and had this huge "train" in place - Polar Express maybe?  I liked that it was coming out of a book.

It was Chris' birthday today and so I was able to give her the finger puppets she asked me to make.

After a mooch around the shop, plus the inevitable purchasing of several "bits n bobs", we were then able to have a good catch up over lunch (I took a SW Caesar Salad and hoped that no one would object!)

Back home, and after a dog walk, it was then back upstairs to sort out box number 2 from the loft -my old school books which are now in a safe place rather than being left to the mercy of a cold attic.  Tonight I am actually in all evening - what bliss!  More handsewing then eh?

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

It's Christmas time!

I woke up late today (after 8am ) and aching all over as if I had done some really tough physical exercise (I haven't of course).  Naturally you push past the discomfort but I am really hoping that some lurgy isn't lurking around the corner!

Anyway - it was an excuse to take things a little easier today, so my first job was advent presents!  My brother and I swap 24 wrapped presents - and then open one each day in December.  For some reason we didn't swap them last year so are meeting up tomorrow to swap last year's presents (is this making sense at all?)  This morning I spent some time just sorting them out and making sure that all 24 are in the bag.  I have totally forgotten what they are after all this time but, hopefully, he and his wife will like them!

Next up was some kitchen cleaning and food prep.  For tea tonight, I am having "campfire stew" - a slow cooked gammon joint in baked beans, veg and stock.  I have found, in the past, that the gammon takes longer to cook than you think so I put it just in water and cooked it on low overnight - before emptying it out, adding everything and then cooking on medium.  By the end of the day, and served with a jacket potato and more veg, the gammon can be shredded and tastes fantastic!

With a swish round of the hoover, my jumble sale bargains washed and the dogs walked, it was then time to start on a much longed for task - sorting out the loft!  The loft has the kind of entrance that you have to crawl through on your hands and knees so I tend to just push something in (I have taken a "before " picture but daren't show you yet!  Since I will be looking for Christmas decorations soon, I wanted to start sorting through the rubbish up there and tidy up as I go - one box at a time though!  Today I tackled my first box (baby steps eh?) Well, truthfully it was a large bag that has been untouched in the loft since I emptied the upstairs bedroom ready for decoration.  As ever I had forgotten what was in it (would you believe fabric?) and so sorted through it - ending up with a bin bag full of useful scraps, three fleece blankets, some cotton that may be useful and so has been decamped into the craft room and a bag of fabric that I will take to the Rock Foundation tomorrow - this is a charity cafe where they also sew the products that adults with learning difficulties make.  So, project "loft sorting" has been started!

With a lunch of left over rice  veg from last night - with bacon, onions and egg mixed in (don't fret it was better than it sounds)- it was sofa time.  I had a project with lots of lose ends to tie in and, well, if a power nap came over me, who would know!!

Tonight is my sewing class so there's a little bit of getting ready to do - we are continuing with a table runner and I am up to the quilting stage.  It's not my favourite stage - but it allows you to sit and chat!

Monday, 13 November 2017

Counting the cost!

Well, today consisted of the usual Textile Group and Slimming World.  Truthfully, I am feeling all sewn out at the moment and so took some hand sewing to do - such as this binding - but Carine was working on her lampshade design,

Linda was playing around with some design ideas for her shade

and Jean was working on a mini "sew together bag" for a Christmas present - all very chilled!

Home, a quick tidy up, a load of washing started and it was soon time o face the music.  Lats time I put on half a stone (and have found out that another friend had done exactly that this morning) so anything less would be a result.  Actually the gain was 3 1/2 pounds so I was pleased with that - albeit a tad frustrated when Jean only put on a pound (the retreat gang will appreciate what I mean there!)  Ah well, with Christmas day only being 6 weeks today, I guess that I had better get my head down and focus like never before!  Winning the raffle might help -a book of soup recipes (which I gave to Jean since I had a copy already), a bag of soup mix veg and a soup cup for the microwave - someone even gave us a recipe for homemade pot noodles which I want to try some time so the mug will come in handy there.

Tonight I am out again at a church meeting to plan the advert for our vicar vacancy.  Thank goodness the rest of the week is less busy!