Monday, 11 February 2019

Green Inner Goddess Smoothie

In the days when I used to go to Slimming World, juices and smoothies were a no, no (they still are!) if you blended or juiced fruit you had to count it as syns and this always seemed counter-intuitive to me. I get the whole you eat too much if you juice it without getting the benefit of fibre but if I'm counting the calories AND getting all the fibre because I'm quaffing the whole fruit, vegetables etc then its a no brainer for me.

I decided to try to include more potassium rich foods in my daily diet last week after my blood pressure scare,  according to Public Health England adults between 19-64 need to get 3,500mg of potassium every day. As an aside studies have been done showing that Potassium-rich foods cut the risk of strokes and death for older women so I see that as a potassium bonus ๐Ÿ˜

There are lots of other health reasons for ensuring you get enough potassium in your daily diet for example it can help support bone health, reduce muscle cramps and helps to decrease cellulite in the body. Armed with the fact that I needed more potassium in my diet to help my heart, I took a quick look at what I'd been eating over the past few months my fitbit food log is fab! It showed me that I hadn't been getting enough and I wasn't eating many of the foods that contained potassium.

I looked up the best dietary sources of potassium and went off and bought some potassium rich fruit and veg. Trying to find ways of generally getting more fruit and veg into my daily diet and up my fibre intake were all on my get healthier To Do List as well as getting more potassium so I did a combined task shop, Ooooo get me lol! More F&V, more exercise and getting enough potassium and other heart healthy foods are all good steps to take to have a happy, healthy heart, I can do this!

Yesterday I picked up Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms, Carrots and other veggies and I made a veggie curry for tea sticking in some chickpeas for protein. I had half a bag of spinach left, I knew it could be added to a smoothie but I admit to being reticent, in my head smoothies are like milk shakes, and veg does not go in a milkshake EVER!

I approached the blender with trepidation and got stuck in. Making this smoothie today, and the blueberries and banana I had with my breakfast porridge (all 3 things good for the heart, and blueberries and banana being high in potassium to boot) I've now already eaten 5 of my 5 a day and I still have lunch and dinner to add veggies to. For someone who isn't a big eater of fruit and veg this is major triumph, usually I can get to the end of the day and realise that if I'm lucky I've eaten 2-3 portions of fruit and veg!

This mornings smoothie has added a whopping 8.5g of fibre to my daily total in just one sitting and for someone who usually gets around 20g of fibre per day, sometimes as much as 36g on a good day (rare occurrence) and sometimes as low as 11g anyway that I can find to increase my fibre intake is a good things. The smoothie has also given me 527.5mg of potassium which takes me over a 7th of the way to my daily allowance in one drink ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

The smoothie is so simple to make, all I did was to chop up the apple and pear and put them in the blender with the spinach, ginger and coconut water and blitz until smooth, then poured into a glass and enjoyed it!

I was pleased with the fact that I actually enjoyed it, expecting to hate it and pour it down the sink lol! The apple and pear gave a sweet taste and you couldn't taste the spinach really at all.

You can of course omit the ginger if you're not a fan but you lose some of the flavour in the smoothie and also the health benefits the ginger root gives to the smoothie.

25g Fresh Spinach (139.5mg Potassium)
1 Medium Pear (116mg)
1 Medium Apple (107mg)
50ml Coconut Water (125mg)
10g Grated Root Ginger (40mg) - Yes herbs and spices have vitamins and minerals as well and they count!

Now that I've tried and enjoyed my first green smoothie I'm keen to try more of them, and more smoothies that contain veg as well as fruit based smoothies. I recently picked up a book from my favourite book store "A Juice A Day" which has 365 recipes to make juices and smoothies. I think some of the smoothies would be good to make very quick soups as well, blitz the ingredients and then heat and pour into a bowl for a warming lunch.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Am I Keeping My Body Properly Hydrated?

That was the question I ended up asking myself when I started February's tasks for the #yeartoTHRIVE2019 challenge (watch the video below)  and the answer I discovered was a resounding NO! My usual daily fluid intake is 4-8 350ml mugs of coffee, and a 500ml glass of sugar free cordial in the evening, but apparently coffee doesn't count towards the recommended 2 litre a day quota, and technically neither does sugar free cordial but I cannot drink the tap water here in Derby because it tastes funky and has done since I moved here 18 years ago.

The long term answer is to get a water filter and yes its on my list of things to get, but there have been so many things to get recently I need to take a spending back seat. So I've been adding fresh fruit and herbs to a water bottle and leaving it in the fridge and I've been using Twinings Cold Infuse bags as well, my favourite flavours are the 'Rose Lemonade' and the 'Watermelon, Strawberry & Mint' flavours and it all helps with making the water drinkable.

Since Monday 4th Feb I've survived on 1 x 350ml mug of coffee a day with no headache or side effects and that's down to drinking lots of extra water, Si gave me a 650ml water bottle that he's been given by his Unite the Union rep and I keep it by my side, surprisingly I'm never thirsty and I'm not really missing the coffee. I seem to be sleeping better as a result, although there have been some other changes as well so the better sleep may not be just down to less coffee/more water, but the sleep side of things warrants a whole other post of its own.

I've mentioned in previous posts about the way my cracking, peeling, bleeding thumbs were stopping me from crafting and pretty much doing anything else. I put my research head on and did a little digging which led me to make the mental leap that the condition was yet another side effect of the menopause, because everything seems to be lately LOL! During the peri-menopause our bodies make loads of changes, not all of them for the good, one of the changes effecting the body is your oestrogen levels reduce, and as a result your skin can become less supple and  thinner. Sadly the thinning only happens to the skin, oestrogen depletion doesn't make the fat on us any thinner, if anything it makes that expand, mother nature can be a right cow sometimes!

The low oestrogen levels that our bodies start to experience during the lead up to menopause cause untold problems, and one of them is there being less blood flowing to the epidermis of the skin (the top layer), as a result you experience more water loss from your skin, we perspire more, night sweats happen for some of us (so far luckily not me) and all of these tolls on the body result in the skin having less moisture, leading to it becoming thinner, more brittle and a lot drier. 

Take something thin and dry and exert pressure and it will eventually split and crack, this happens to our skin ladies heads up! So to counteract the effects of this lack of natural lubrication that oestrogen provided, you need to hydrate your skin from the inside and outside. Inside by drinking plenty of good old H2O and outside by always using a good slathering of hand cream to add extra moisture to your hands after you've done the washing up, showered, bathed the dog etc.

The first icky photo above is one of my thumbs, taken on Monday 4th Feb and is an example of what I've been dealing with weekly since October 2018. I apologise for the slightly blurry photo but its kind of hard to take a photo of your own thumb with one hand and the hand your taking the photo with having a thumb almost as sore as the one you're photographing. Suffice to say it was very, very sore, I have been using hand cream off and on for a while, I'd never had it before October and didn't understand what it was. I do chew my nails when stressed and end up nibbling the skin, a disgusting habit I'm trying to break. The second photo is the same thumb taken Friday 8th Feb and there is a vast improvement and all I've done is drink more water, the texture at the end of my thumbs seems less 'spongy' as well.

At first I thought the ragged skin and cuts were down to chewing, when I stopped chewing and it still happened I thought maybe I was just being mega clumsy with my craft stuff, you know catching myself on sharp scissors, getting paper cuts because the wounds always looked like a straight split on my thumbs and only my thumbs. When I went for my Blood Pressure test at the doctors on Tuesday I asked him to take a look at my thumbs and he said it was something he saw on a daily basis during the winter, the skin dries and cracks, as mine was so sore he gave me some steroid ointment and said it would be gone inside a week and advised me to use a good hand cream and DRINK MORE WATER!!!

I kind of started to get used to the fact that the painful cracked thumbs were something that I'd have to put up with, until it stopped, or my thumbs dropped off. Then I mentioned it here on my blog and on Facebook and was amazed at the number of women who said they were experiencing the same problem, and these ladies are all either going through peri-menopause, or they have come out the other side and are now menopausal.

That's when I started to dig and discovered the links to hydration and menopause. I have seen I don't know how many web pages selling us miracle moisturisers for the outside of our skin to hydrate and moisturise it at our difficult age, but very little (if any) of these places encouraging us to use the most simple and cheap hydrator there is, good old H2O.

Our skin is the biggest organ of the body, but its the last in the chain to actually receive the water and the nutrients we consume, which means the skin is the last to get any water you put in to your body. So if you are under-hydrating your body, then your poor skin is getting a limited supply if any at all, right when it needs more than ever before!

Further more, did you know that lack of water in the body that the skin can utilise could also be causing the greasy skin some of us experience during menopause? The number of women who have said to me that their skin was worse now than when they were a teenager (and I'm one of them) beggars belief. And the greasy skin we're experiencing could be down to the fact that our skin isn't hydrated enough, because when skin is dehydrated, it tries to moisten itself and creates oil to make up for the missing water, the increased oil also known as sebum can cause the skin to breakout in spots, or cause irritated itchy patches and even dry skin!

Drinking more water can also help with other menopausal symptoms like bloating which is something a lot of us experience, I'm amongst friends here so I think I can honestly say for a few years now I've been farting like a trooper! I can honestly say that I've guffed, parped, and tooted for Britain ever since I hit the perimenopause. Yet this week, despite increasing fruit and veg to a level that would normal register 100 on the parping scale, my need to break wind since upping my water intake has decreased, a coincidence? The jury is out for now, but I'll come back to it if I do see a positive link, because believe you me I would LOVE to stop being so gassy because its blinking embarrassing for one thing and rather uncomfortable for another!

More water may also help us keep the weight off or lose it, drinking more water can help prevent weight gain because it fills you up, meaning you don't eat as much so you consume less calories which means you could lose weight, more water helps you feel fuller and can slightly increase the metabolism. I have read it speeds up the metabolism the colder the water is, but that could be another of those internet things and my menopause brain can't remember where I read it, I could Google it but then I'd get lost reading a load of links that may have nothing to do with what I'm looking for and ohhh a picture of a kitten ๐Ÿ˜œ it's not just me that gets easily distracted right?

I know this week I've craved chocolate and sweets a lot less, is this due to the fact that I'm drinking lots of water with a tiny bit of sugar free cordial in or sweet flavours like strawberry in my water so my body is getting a sweet hit to keep it happy and doesn't need to crave sugary stuff? Its a theory! I've also noted that as I'm not having coffee I'm not wanting biscuits or cake at 3pm. Previously when Si finished work and came home, we would have a coffee and sit down and chat about our days. When I have coffee and most likely to counteract the bitterness I have to have something sweet, since Monday that urge hasn't occurred! I'll come back and update in a few weeks and correct any thing that doesn't bear out - please let it not be the parping lol!  I'm off again now, while my thumbs are healing I have to do research on potassium levels in the body and why potassium is good for the heart, work on a post about sleep and a few other things. I'm hoping you all don't mind reading these kind of posts, I'm finding it very cathartic and it helps me stay more positive.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Matters of the Heart

Warning this is a healthy post (well a trying to get healthy post in all honesty) and I will be adding these kind of posts to my blog regularly from now on, as well as crafting and herbal stuff. My blog is after all a "warts an'all" blog, and that encompasses everything that is me, feel free to skip these posts if you're not interested. I won't be offended honestly, but I hope you'll stick around for my journey and help encourage me when I do good and give me a prod if I start to waiver ๐Ÿ‘‰

Friends and family know, and I have mentioned in my blog recently that I want to get thinner, fitter and consequently healthier in 2019 and for life not just a good intention after Christmas! If you've read those posts you'll know that the day after my birthday I signed up to join the LiveWell 'Lose Weight' programme run by my local council, I got accepted on the programme and got a start date of 4th Feb, almost a month from applying so I began kicking my asp into touch and lost 7lb myself, deciding that it was better to make a start than wait.

I went to my first meeting and found out more about the programme but what followed were a scary couple of days. I knew that our height and weight would be taken and the instructions said not to wear any special clothes because we wouldn't be doing any activity for the first 4 weeks. During the session we were told we had to have our blood pressure taken. I'd worn a jumper that was thick and the cuff was too tight to push the jumper up my arm to allow the Blood Pressure machines cuff to fit my bare arm. So the girl took my blood pressure over my jumper using the machine provided by LiveWell, it failed to work (I believe due to the fact that it was OVER my jumper). So she brought out her own machine, to my mind the cuff was too small, I reckon it was a normal sized adult cuff but my chunky monkey arms needed a large adult cuff.

She strapped the cuff around my jumper clad arm and what ensued was the most painful and traumatic BP test I've ever had in my entire life, and not once but 3 times! It got so painful that by test number 3 I was clenching my fist and my body was rigid as I was doing all I could to not cry out in pain it hurt that much. The three results were 182/126, 199/118 and 199/120 the fact that the tests got higher I think was I was in pain from the first test and was scared and panicky about having it done again and again, my results put me over the highest number of 180 for blood pressure for those people in the High Blood Pressure category. According to the LiveWell readings I was in danger, danger she may cark it at any moment territory.

That was at 7pm on Monday night, and the girl advised me to make an emergency appointment with my GP and told me that I wouldn't be able to start exercising until my BP was down. I left the meeting (last one out I think) and I started to walk down the road from the venue and burst out crying and was absolutely terrified but knew I couldn't do anything until 8am the next day, well I could, I panicked, I stressed and I cried a lot more. I kept telling myself that I'd left it too late to get fit, that I'd already buggered my heart up, and irrationally I was terrified to move in case I stressed my heart too much and gave myself a heart attack or worse. I had pain around the top of my arms where the cuff had been and all down my arms, the pain lasted for 36 hours, ranging from pain to mild discomfort towards the end and my right arm was bruised.

I called my GP at 08:00 on Tuesday morning and they gave me an appointment at 16:50, what followed was a whole day of stressing, worrying, crying and generally feeling like the last nails were being banged in my coffin and there was nothing I could do about it. I went to see a GP at my local surgery still feeling in a panic and I told him all about the night before, after listening, he took my BP on my right and left arm the manual way and it was 162/96 a little higher than last time I had it taken 2 years ago, maybe because I was still stressed and panicking? The GP said he'd like me to get it down (150/90) but there was no immediate cause for concern and we'd be monitoring the situation.

He asked me to monitor my BP for a week so we're going to buy a home BP monitor and I have to keep track of the readings for one week and then make an appointment to go back to talk about the results. In-between that time he's given me a form to get a blood test (my thyroid hasn't been checked for 2 years now!) and he's going to test my cholesterol levels etc.

In the meantime I've upped my step game I started on 5,000 steps on the 8th Jan and I've increased by 500 every week and I'm now at 7,500 per day working towards 10,000. The best day I've had so far was 9, 546 but yesterday I managed a whopping 11, 033 take that pre-hypertensive heart ๐Ÿ˜œLast night I signed up for the local Parkrun and will be taking part in that every Saturday, okay for me it will be Parkwalk at first but its a 5k walk and will put me in good stead for doing the Couch to 5K event that LiveWell organise a little further in to my journey.

There was no weight loss for me this week I appear to have put on 1lb but that may be because of the large glass of water that Gina Buber has me drinking first thing in the morning, not conducive with a weigh in lol! I'm blaming the water but it could also have a lot to do with the fact that after the hernia flare up, I didn't move very much last week.

So for now I'm not going to weigh myself at home, at LiveWell they do a weigh in weekly as part of the programme and the result there will be heavier than home due to the fact that I don't weigh in "in the buff" there not unless I want to get arrested lol! I tipped their scales on Monday at 114kg (almost 18 stone), I was wearing a thick jumper and thick jogging bottoms etc and had just had my tea in my defence, so not the 17st 5lb I was on my home scale last time I weighed in last week, I was shocked to see my weight in kg's realising that I weigh more than Chompalot all 97kg!

Gina runs upBEat Tribe a closed group on Facebook that anyone can join, she's out to get us all healthier and loving ourselves by the end of the year with her #yeartoTHRIVE2019 challenge. Each month we have a theme, last month it was 'January Journal'. Gina encouraged everyone taking part in the challenge to start moving more even if its just 5 minutes a day, we journalled everyday asking ourselves what we'd been responsible for in our lives and what we got as a reward from doing it. Towards the end of the month we wrote a letter telling someone we care about how we feel now and took front, side and back photos of ourselves. She doesn't just run the group she also produces many wonderful videos both to purchase on DVD and free workouts posted in the upBEat tribe group and on her website. This is one of my favourite workouts of Gina's but so far I've only managed to do 1 track at a time in isolation!

This months theme is 'February Food', so far we're being encouraged to drink more water, but due to the hernia I didn't join this months challenge until Monday but since then I've been drinking about 2.5 litres a day. Plus I'm now down to 1 cup of coffee and I have that with breakfast and I'm sure its because of the extra water keeping me hydrated but I haven't experienced the caffeine withdrawal headache I've had when I've cut back on coffee before. I used to drink 4-8 cups of coffee a day depending what was happening in the day! Since Monday I've been drinking very weak juice or putting herbs and fruit in my water bottle affectionately known as my 'Sippy Cup' lol! More on water and hydration in my next healthy post, as this one is getting long.

Before I log off for this post what I'd really like you to do is urge you to act if have ANY concerns at all about your heart and or general health go get it checked out! It's easier to give something a tune up and renovate it rather than repair it completely or discover its stuffed and beyond repair! I'm hoping that I am not too late to fix my problems, but as traumatic as Monday evening was, its sure given me the kick up the derriรจre that I needed to sort out my health!

Monday, 4 February 2019

Creative Stamping Freebie - Vintage Collage

Greetings from Warts an' All towers, I'm not sure what happened to January but it sure flew by, I didn't get to do much crafting for a variety of reasons. Having our 18 month old Granddaughter to stay for the weekend was high on the list, followed by slipping down the stairs, misjudging the bannister and consequently causing my umbilical hernia to flare up making bending, sitting and just about any movement painful.

Plus dealing with a new freak menopause symptom that causes the skin on my thumbs (and only my thumbs) to split open as if its been cut. No sooner does one heal, another happens, rendering me unable to do so many tasks, until recently I really didn't realise just how many tasks you need you thumbs for! I've been liberally applying hand cream and just discovered that I can seal the cuts with a product called Germolene New Skin, this product alone has been the reason I've been able to craft again, the past few months I've ruined so many projects because my thumbs split and blood oozed out all over my projects ruining many of them.

This card is made with stamps from Issue 67 of Creative Stamping there are some fabulous stamps included in the set including 3 by Crafty Individuals, a relatively new company to me that make some fabulous stamps. I used a combination of Versafine Clair inks to do all the stamping and several Distress Ink Markers to colour the flowers and dragonfly. I know I promised a review of the VF Clair inks and as soon as I have all 24 ink pads I will, I'm 2 colours short of a full set so that I can make some swatches and test all the colours.

I started off with a 5" x 5" panel and used the script stamp from the set and 'Morning Mist' VF Clair ink to stamp the background. I couldn't resist distressing the edges a little so I used a little 'Vintage Photo' Distress Ink to take down the harshness of the white card I stamped on. Next I stamped the flowers and dragonfly from the set on to watercolour card using VF Clair 'Nocturne' and covered the stamped images in WOW clear embossing powder and then coloured the images with Distress Markers.

The two large purple flowers were coloured with Wilted Violet and Ripe Persimmon markers, the small photos were coloured with Picked Raspberry and Ripe Persimmon and the dragonfly was coloured with Peacock Feathers and Twisted Citron. I simply scribbled the markers towards the edges of the images and used a water brush to spread the colour all over the areas I wanted to colour.

I added the brown 'dots and squares' texture stamp from the set with VF Clair 'Acorn' ink and used 'Nocturne' again to add the ink blot and ink ring stamps. I used the shaping tool that came with free with issue 61 of Creative Stamping to give the flowers and the dragonfly a little extra dimension then I adhered the flowers to the card base. I added some small 3D foam squares to the dragonfly to raise him above the flowers and glued the finished panel to a homemade card base made from Kraft cardstock.

I added the sentiment 'Just a Note' which is also from the Vintage Collage set, stamping it on a scarp of white cardstock with 'Nocturne' ink before finally adding some shimmer to the centre of the flowers and the dragonflies wings with a Spectrum Noir Clear Sparkle pen which sadly doesn't show up very well on the photos, but it adds a lovely shimmery effect in real life.

This set has so much potential and I'll be making lots more cards with it for my stash, the images can be used to make male and female cards and are brilliant for using on mixed media projects. You can see from my close up image just how well the VF Clair inks stamp and the detail they give, they are my new go to ink for this reason alone. I love how this project turned out, and it was rather quick to put together, the bright colours gave some sunshine to my soul on this cold winters day.

I've just got the new Tim Holtz Sizzix Wildflower Stems #1 & #2 sets and plan on using them to make some spring floral cards and some cards for Easter using those and the Cotton Tail die and I think that bright sunshine colours will be called for ๐Ÿ˜ This week if my thumbs behave I'll also be stamping some spring cards with my wreath templates using some new stamps I got for my birthday last month. I've set myself the task this month to make a batch of 'Thank You', 'Just to Say' and some 'Sympathy' cards for my box. The plan is to also make 4-6 Christmas cards every month and set them aside for when I'll need them in December.

Coupled with the motivation board I'm making ready for the Live Well programme I start this week, and the cards to make for friends and family birthdays, there will be lots happening in the craft room, I have an MDF storage rack to make and decorate for my Stampin' Up ink pads and I still have to label all my oxide inks and sort out more stuff to give to my niece who is turning in to a fine papercrafter ๐Ÿ˜Here's hoping my thumbs let me get on with the things I want to do! Stay safe and warm everyone and keep on crafting!

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Salvaged Dreams

Hey everyone, hope you are all keeping well? I have challenged myself to start actually using the stuff I buy pretty much as soon as I get it. What usually happens is I see a project on Pinterest or Facebook by someone using a stencil, stamp or die or medium or a combination of all of them.

I have ideas spark in my head, order the stuff to get going and then when it arrives, I've forgot what I wanted to make, or life gets in the way and what I've bought gets filed away from another day. Which often doesn't come!

I've lost count of the number of times this has happened, but have been reminded of it recently as I've been having a sort out and putting things to one side to give to my niece Zoe who I have successfully infected with the cardmakers bug lol! I'm sensing another no spend challenge coming on, but I've just agreed to join a 10 month 'Stamperettes' club run by a lovely lady that is my local Stampin Up supplier, I go to classes she runs monthly and have met some lovely crafting friends. So I will have to spend £15 a month plus the cost of the class. So maybe this time I will say have a couple of months where all I buy is the Stampin Up stuff? Whatever I do know that I need to reduce my spending again, I have got better, but I'm still finding that I'm spending more on craft supplies than I am actually using!

I sadly cannot resist a crafty bargain, the above is the recent stash I got from BeeBaab Crafting Supplies who I discovered towards the end of last year. I ordered these goodies from the same over Christmas and they arrived on Friday, given the pep talk I gave myself on saturday I had a play with the 'That Special Touch Mask - Wings & Words' stencil that I got and one of the stencil brushes. I broke out the Distress inks and stippled through the stencil with Crushed Olive, Peacock Feathers and Wild Honey inks and Black Soot of course for the words and body details on the butterfly and wasp.

Once I'd laid down the colour with the stencil, I removed it and used some Distress Markers in the colours mentioned above but scribbling on to my glass media mat and then picking up the ink with a water brush and 'colouring in' the white areas around the stencilled parts. Once the colouring was done I gave the butterfly and wasp a coat of shimmer pen to add some sparkle and set to work making the sentiment. In my head I was going to make a 'Butterfly Dreams' kind of card, but it turned into a butterfly nightmare, when I got to the sentiment and assemble stage!

I carefully die cut 7 white pieces using a Crafters Companion die from their new Enchanted Forest collection the die is from the 'fairy Wishes' set. After I'd cut them all out I glued them and stacked them together, all good so far! I let the stack dry and decided to colour it with a Peacock Feathers Distress Marker, it was a good idea, that went badly wrong lol! I must have had glue on my fingers which transferred to the top die cut, and that acted as a kind of resist and the die cut went all patchy. Si came in to see me and I did a dramatic "It's ruined now!" thing and chucked it in the bin and stomped off out of the room and went to play Skyrim lol!

An hour later an idea popped in to my head so I went back upstairs, pulled the piece out of the bin and covered it in embossing ink, sprinkled on some gold embossing powder and heat set it. A vast improvement but the colour didn't pop off the card, so I inked again and this time reached for black embossing powder, that was loads better, it popped but it didn't sparkle. So I took out some sparkly black embossing powder and inked, sprinkled and heated again and TADA, it worked! It didn't pop still as much as I wanted it to so I die cut a piece of gold vellum to add to the front and stuck the words on to that and then glued the vellum behind the words to attach to the card.

I started out with a white card blank but decided to colour it, this time I remembered to cover the back of the card with post it notes so they didn't end up covered in distress ink YAY! I used some Mowed Lawn Distress Ink around the edge and brought it in by about an inch, no point in covering the whole card as only the edge would be seen! The finally touch was to give the butterfly piece a gold mirror card fancy edge which I think set it off nicely and I stuck it all together and we're off with the first card of 2019, plus I used 1 couple of items from the new stash!

I tell myself that I really do need to stop buying more craft things, then Tim Holtz does a Facebook live showing new stuff from his new Sizzix range and I caved and bought 4 of the new die sets. He's still got to do the Stampers Anonymous and Ranger sneak peeks and there are going to be more Sizzix products launched at Creativation 2019 later this month! I am hoping for some new colours of Distress Inks or some Distress Oxide pens, I can hope lol! I really am beginning to believe that meme that's been circulating that says buying craft stuff and using craft stuff are two separate hobbies lol! I need to focus more on one than the other and my purse is crying, use the stash rather than spend the cash lol! On that note I'll go an make something to eat and then look at organising the cardstock by type and making space for the new stash. Have a fab week, stay safe and well and I'll chat to you soon!

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Post Birthday Post

Last Monday was my birthday, and I had a fab few days celebrating it, on the Saturday before my actual birthday Simon took me to Coleman's Craft Warehouse. This has become something of a birthday tradition since I first discovered Coleman's back in 2016 and every year now I go along and find goodies to bring home and I end up with lots of bargains due to the fact that the Coleman's January sale always happens around my birthday.

During their sale they have yellow sticker items with reductions from 35% to 70% and their non-sale items or white sticker have 30% off for two days. They also have free cake and coffee, so you can shop, take a break and then shop some more! There are usually some demos occurring on the second floor as well from cardmaking to patchwork and stitching and a whole host of other things.

I skipped the demos this year, mainly due to the fact that there had been a bad accident on the M1 on the way to Coleman's which meant that we were delayed nearly 2 hours, so instead of getting there around 13:30 like we'd planned it was 15:30 when we arrived and they closed at 17:00 so there was only shopping time (although I did fit in a 5 minute coffee and cake break lol). I was thrilled this year to discover that Coleman's are now stocking Lavinia stamps, so I picked up a few of them with my birthday spends. They were white stickered so I got 30% off each of them :)

l came home with some fab bargains as you can see, I realised after taking this photo that I'd left some stuff I bought in a bag on the bed but hey ho, you get the gist lol! This year I've vowed that I will actually use what I buy, I bought goodies in 2016 and 2017 that are still in their packaging and never been used! The space to store craft stuff in my room is shrinking as I bring in more goodies, so I have to use what I buy, their isn't space to buy and not use!

On the Sunday before my birthday it was a stay home and chill day and I watched movies and did some gaming and had a relaxing day. The day of my actual birthday started when I awoke and Simon presented with a big bunch of flowers and a card, he doesn't normally do this so I was very touched. I got some amazing cards from friends and family including several from some of my amazingly talented card making buddies, their talent and creativity never ceases to amaze me, this year I also got my first ever Nanna card, and yes I cried happy tears haha! After opening all my cards and having had breakfast Si took me off in to town, where I got some new trainers, some clothes and some pretty magazine style storage boxes for the craft room - I use them to store A4 stamp sets and card stock. As a treat we went into Marks & Spencer's for afternoon tea which was lovely and helped refuel me for a spot more shopping.

The last shopping trip of the day was to my local Hobbycraft to spend the £5 birthday voucher they sent me for being a member of their craft club. I made a beeline for the sale aisle and was blown away to find a Tim Holtz Butterfly Duo Bigz die that had been on my wishlist for a while for just £5 in the sale, I was over the moon!

I also picked up some new B Plates from my little Hobbycraft die cutting machine and a dinosaur die and stamp set plus a cut and emboss folder. Finally we picked up some Thai food, I usually have an Indian meal or a Chinese but this year I wanted to try something different, so Thai it was, and very yummy it was too! This year I decided not to have a birthday cake, instead I bought a selection of fresh fruit and made a lovely fruit salad and we had that with some yogurt instead.

Having reached 55 years and deciding that the life long battle I've had with my weight (well since my teens) will end starting this year, my birthday kicked off a new chapter in my life, tackling the weight issues and moving more. The day after my birthday I went to the doctors to pick up my regular prescription and plucked up the courage to ask if the clinic ran any weight loss schemes. Turns out they didn't but they had contact details for Live Well Derby a free 12 month programme run by my local council, having decided on my birthday that this year I would get healthy and thinner I walked back from the doctors and filled in the online application form.

2 days later I received a phone-call to say that I'd been accepted on to the programme, it doesn't start until the 4th of Feb though so I have a few weeks to wait. To start there are 4 x weekly meetings to get you on track, at the first meeting they take your height, weight and measurements, and test your blood pressure and find out your general level of fitness, then from week 2 you are given more tools and chances to experience things to get you on the road to fitness. After the first 4 weeks and for the remainder of the programme you get regular support and encouragement to help you self monitor weight, eating and activity levels. There is also an 8-week weight management course to take part in and the team arrange from you to take part in a wide variety of exercise classes from Clubbercise (dancing to 90's club anthems), Spin Classes, Circuit Training and they even get you running and doing the Couch to 5K!

I am so thrilled to have been accepted and I really do believe that with the help of Live Well Derby I will be a totally different person by my birthday in 2020 and that this time I will succeed, instead of the too many to count times where I try, and at best lose a couple of stone have a small set back and pile it all back on and more besides. I also had a sobering moment over the new year, and I realised if I want to be at the wedding (assuming they get married) of my niece and nephews, and my Granddaughter. Then I have to take better care of myself, losing weight and ensuring that those weight related illnesses don't happen to me is a huge step in the direction of living to a ripe old age (I plan on 100 or more!) so its a no brainer really.

My health has really begun to suffer recently, some of the problems are down to the menopause, some of them are weight related, I'm having trouble bending over, get back pain and knee pain and things I won't mention publicly all of it has been having a knock on effect on my self esteem and my mental health. So I've started as I mean to go on and started walking again, I was doing 9,000+ steps a day 6 months ago, but it fell by the wayside and my health deteriorated, I get out of breath going upstairs for example. I started back at 5,000 steps and I plan on increasing by 500 each week until I'm at 10,000 steps a day, I've stripped back calories and I'm trying to make healthier choices less junk and more fruit and veg. So far its working and I have a long, long way to go but little and often will win this race this time. I'll do an occasional post as I progress, I've taken some before photos and when there is a difference to see I'll share them. What I do know is next year, the only thing that will be repeating around my birthday is the trip to Coleman's and not the annual I'm fat I need to be thinner 3 day diet! I CAN DO THIS!