Monday, 29 February 2016

Creative Monday Extra Day!

Joining in with ClaireJustine :)

Just a little post - celebrating a day that comes around but once every four years!  Happy Birthday to all those who have had to wait so long for a celebration on their actual special day and good luck to all those ladies who have used this day to propose to their loved one!

My creative juices this week came up with a necessary item for our downstairs loo as unfortunately Kittycat has suddenly decided she must use this room as her place to wee and that is on the carpet rather than in the actual toilet (we once had a cat who did wee in the loo itself balancing very carefully)!  I think the problem may be that my darling hubby has been ill and has used the loo a lot and because she absolutely adores him she may think this is where she needs to show solidarity!! The main problem for us now is how to keep her out of there when unfortunately the door doesn't stay shut (remember our house is old and the door and doorframe have warped) so we decided it might be a good idea to get some orange based room deodouriser as oranges are the only thing she will not attempt to eat and orange peel in the garden is often used as a natural cat repellent. Off I duly went to the shops only to find orange or citrus smellies are not in vogue and everything was either "Spring Flowers", vanilla or "Cotton Fresh" so I suddenly had an idea and made a pomander!
A small orange wrapped around with two pieces of ribbon pinned in place to keep secure and then with a sharp knife prick some tiny holes in the orange peel and poke in some fresh cloves.  It reminded me of when I used to be a teaching assistant in my first school and helped make these with the children as part of Christingle :)  It took only a matter of minutes to make but the scent is lovely to us yet the kitten is not so keen so hopefully this will put her off going in there.  I have rigged up a somewhat Heath Robinson contraption with string and rubber bands to also try to keep the door pulled shut and so far this all appears to have worked and there have been no more small, damp patches appearing on the carpet!

What have you been up to on this extra day of the year?  What DIY project have you had to resort to?  What was the last thing you made with an orange?  You can leave your answers below :)

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Cake Control!

Today I am joining in with two new poetry linkys - 
where Sara gives a prompt on Sunday and then opens her linky party on a Friday for submissions on that theme - head over there to see what this week's was!

and also:
Where Victoria happily gives everyone a place where they can share their latest pieces. Reading through some of the others' poetry and rhymes who have linked up there are some new to me wonderful writers out there who I am sure I will be following in the future :)  So go and check them out or even better join in!  

Here's my submission - and as always I'd love a little feedback!

"Would you like some cake?
Freshly baked
Lemon drizzle
or perhaps a slice of chocolate?
Let me pass it to you.
Made by Margery.
Here's your coffee."

And it looks SO good
And it looks SO moist
And it looks JUST right

But ... I have to refuse.
I must not be tempted.
I must be impolite and say No!
Inside I am mortified
Yet also there's something else
A flicker of delight,
Of resolution,
I am stronger than I thought.
My goodness,
I possess -

"Well if you're being good,"
continues my host
"Then let me get you a box 
and choose something for ..
your husband instead."

I leave clutching cake
Feeling good.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Celebrate #9 + Friday 5 #3 + Freebie

Joining in once more with Lexa and the gang for this lovely, easy feel-good linky party :)

This week I am celebrating:

1) Meeting more new friendly and interesting people - through both my health pursuits and my artistic clubs :)

2) Catching up with friends who have been ill but are now on the mend!

3) Bagging some more bargains at the local charity shops :) yipee!!

I have been after some waterproof trousers for some time now (as my Nordic walking training will take place whatever the weather I'm told!!)  but even in the sales they are all about £40 and let's be honest I probably won't be using them that much so I was delighted when I found a pair (£3.50 in my local disability charity shop) that I could get into (my healthy eating is paying off) and that were not completely black and soulless either.

They will go with the bright red waterproof jacket that has been hanging up in No.1 son's wardrobe for the past year that he claims is nothing to do with him and fits me - so I'm bagging that too!

I also wanted a pair of waterproof boots that had a good deep tread on for those boggier places and even though I wasn't thinking pink these will do - certainly for £5 they will do :)

Once again I give thanks for being able to have the freedom to enjoy my life and all that it brings - there are so many opportunities out there for celebrating those small things so let me know (by leaving a comment below) what has made your day this week?

This week, I am also joining in with Five for Friday hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching

I'm recycling these little counters I made last year in honour of the wet weather we've been having recently - March will soon be here!  Please feel free to use in whatever way you want for your classroom :)

It was really nice to be able to enjoy making things with children again when I was invited to lead a session at my local library to encourage children to have a go with wool arts.  Some children were learning to knit with some of the other ladies in the craft group there but I know that often this is quite a difficult thing to master so I went with making these Mexican/Aztec Eyes
They often have many names but I always did these with my class when we studied the Aztecs at school!

Here is quite a good link if you want to have a go -

I made a start on up-cycling some old curtains into ones that will fit the long windows in my bedroom and although I wish I could have done both pairs other events have intervened so here's to hoping next week will allow the other pair to be competed too.
  If you want to read more about what I did you can read my earlier post HERE

 I have also begun an on-line study unit for my sports tuition course.  I can't quite believe what I'm doing and who I'm involved with - Sport England and me - even my own family can't take it in!! Learning anatomy and physiology is going to be challenging as I didn't even carry on Biology past the third year at secondary school (Physics and Chemistry were my chosen sciences!!) so I will have to hunker down and get reading and testing myself as I want to pass this a.s.a.p. to be properly qualified as a fitness instructor in Nordic Walking.  You can find out more about this sport from my post last week :)  NORDIC WALKING
Finally, on the theme of rain I have a freebie to give away.  If you click on the picture below you will get a powerpoint presentation that you can use for a whole host of things e.g. teaching days of the week, alliteration, commas in lists and even a traditional rhyme with a twist.

Hope you have fun with it and any feedback would be really useful :)

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Weight Loss Wednesday #8

Well obviously I was hoping I'd be posting a loss however small but instead I have maintained last week's weight and to be honest I am a bit down in the dumps as I have forgone anything "naughty but nice" this week - I even refused free cake at a coffee morning I attended at the weekend!  But looking back at my food diary I can see that I have still not returned to the levels of water consumption I was at previously. Maybe that's why the weight is not shifting plus instead of drinking water I was having fruit teas (which I thought were probably better for me than cups of decaffeinated coffee) as well as snacking on walnuts and raisins which I had read were good for you but maybe they are not good for ME!!

I also tried to eat a lot more "vegetarian" meals (I class this as not eating meat but can eat dairy including eggs and also fish!) and I accomplished this by only having chicken once (lemon chicken with wholemeal pasta) and a little bit of fat free bacon in a green vegetable stir fry one lunch time. Every other meal was "vegetarian" :)  I made carrot soup which lasted for two days - had tomato sauce with pasta, baked potatoes with cheese (50% reduced fat) and baked beans - two tuna salads and a mushroom and tomato omelette.  I also ate fat free yogurts, plenty of fruit and ate Special K for breakfast.  But then I did have snacks of the walnuts and raisins three days as well.

I am certainly getting fitter though - I can exercise at a much higher rate - this has been noticed at my keep fit group as well as we set a new record pace on our walk - 35 minutes to complete what used to take us an hour so some things are certainly going in the right direction :)

This coming week, I have decided to try out a natural diet pill that contains bladderwrack as well as drink more water.  I really do want something to show for what I am "going without" and the better choices I am making and once again knowing that I will be posting an update next week keeps me from giving up - so thank you to the following for their linky posts :)

Kate at The Striking Mum is asking where are inspiration to lose weight comes from?
I think my answer to that is from within mainly- you need to want to change and to succeed - but also from being accountable to others as with joining in the linkies and talking about what has happened this week!

Where Cheryl correctly points out that life has plenty to celebrate and it's not always to do with losing weight!!

Kirsty is also blogging about how life can get in the way of diets but she has done amazingly well in such a short space of time so this hiccup won't be a problem.

Let me know how you are getting on with getting healthier and any tips or things you might know about what I'm eating that might be a problem I'd be grateful if you'd let me know!!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

What the A-Z is that?

About three years ago, I set up my new blog on Blogger so that I could take part in the A-Z Challenge (which I had seen some publicity for) and looked like a way to grow and gain some more traffic to my blog.  My wordpress account was giving me all sorts of problems when I tried linking that up so that's why I changed.

During my first challenge I blogged about educational special needs issues and got such a lot out of the challenge as I said in my reflections post of 2014:

  1. It inspired to me to write daily.  
  2. It inspired me to have the courage to put some of my "views" out there in the open.
  3. It inspired me to leave my comfort zone and go and visit new blogs I would never normally have dared venture towards
  4. It inspired me with lots of new ideas and stories I found out there written by some very talented people.
  5. It inspired me to get better at learning about technical issues and asking for help.

The following year I combined blogging about special needs with my interests in arts and crafts and set myself the target of visiting at least 10 new blogs on the list each day which I achieved.  I also noted that some blogs on the list were not actually posting and that due to the immense size (over 2000 blogs I think signed up initially) that maybe I should put myself forward to help rather than just moan about the situation!

Fast forward to this year, where I have now joined Heather (a co-host) as one of her helpers or should I say one of Stormy's slaves? ... if you read her post here you'll see what I mean (click on the photo below)!

Which all adds up to why I would suggest this as a challenge for anyone looking for something new to do this April - this is what you do:

You write 26 posts for the month - having Sundays free - with a A to Z format so on the 1st April your post will have a theme beginning with A and then on the 2nd a theme of B and so on and so on.  It can be as long or short as you wish but many say that about 350 words is about the right size for people to read properly as the other challenge is to visit 5 new blogs a day and leave a comment.  Of course during the challenge you will fall in love with some of the blog posts and wish to return to them throughout the challenge so this can take up quite a lot of the reading time :)

This is also why it can be rather annoying to be visiting blogs on the list who have not posted to the challenge or who began and gave up after day 3 which is why helpers are needed to alert the co-hosts who can then rectify the situation.

Not only will you read amazing blog posts but some of those bloggers will become your firm favourites long after the challenge has ended.  You will find you get more followers to your blog too and more comments and feedback which is always useful.  There is also a useful sign up in the challenge which I have used each of the previous years which is for blogs with less than 100 followers so that we can give each other support :)

To end this post I am also signing up today to the

as I have decided upon this year's theme for my blog already - but remember you DO NOT have to have a theme your A - Z blog posts can be entirely random!!

Please go and check out the website for many more details, how to's, blog updates etc etc and get ready to join in and have the most fun this April :)  And if you do sign up remember to leave me a comment with your blog name so I can pop in and see you during April!

Monday, 22 February 2016

Creative Curtains

Linky up with Claire Justine for a little creative news and plenty of photos!

As you can see from this photo, I have odd pairs of curtains hanging up in my bedroom!  One set were left behind by the last owner and ...

 these pink floral ones were made by my Mum back in the 1970s for my bedroom when I was a child!
You can also see that the goldy brown "back" curtains are longer than the pink ones - our house is that drafty that we need two sets of curtains at each window!!  They are on separate rails.  You may also notice the plastic container that catches any water that gets through our windows - we do love our house but there is a lot wrong with it too!

 I finally managed to find two pairs of matching curtains made from expensive material with the design woven NOT printed in the colour scheme I was after (and boy has it taken me a very long time!!) in a charity shop for the amazing price of £30.  These curtains even have the lead weights attached in little sewn bags as you can see in the photo.
 To make them the right length for my windows, I first took down the hems and undid the panels from the widest set of curtains (these were three panels each) and then cut (matching the pattern) two lengths from the other set of curtains to add a piece to the bottom of each curtain.  I was able to discard one panel out of each set of three as it had fade marks that were too noticeable.
I pinned to match the pattern and then tacked and hand sewed and turned up the hem.
Next I turned in and pinned and sewed the edges of the lining material to the curtaining to neaten off the sides and now one pair of curtains are hung up in place of the pink ones.  I am going to take them down to iron them and in the better weather I will wash them carefully at a low temperature and hang them on the line to dry but I don't want to shrink them after all my hard work. So far this has taken me three days on and off but it really has saved me a whole heap of money and I am ending up with the curtains I really wanted.

Now I'm off to have a look at what others have created.  Have you made anything recently from scratch or have you up-cycled anything bought from a charity shop or car boot?  You know I'd love to know so leave a comment below :)

Saturday, 20 February 2016


Joining in with Patricia's Place
for a little poetic interlude based on the quote

An exaggeration is a truth that has lost its temper - Kahil Gibran

How big was that fish you say you saw?
Your arms are out wide are you really sure?
How loud was my snoring? On the Richter scale?
I can’t quite believe that!  Are you telling a tale?
How hot was the curry you had last night?
It blew off your head – are you sure that’s quite right?
How bad was the smell the very next day?
I’m starting to think you’ve got carried away.
I’m not saying you’re lying but I’m beginning to feel
You’re stretching the truth and none of it’s real.
Your monstrous claims have started to grate

So next time just please don’t exaggerate!

Friday, 19 February 2016


This lovely and easy blog hop is hosted by the ever busy Lexa Cain and her co-hosts L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker.  All you do is write a post about some of the small things that have made you happy this week :)

If you want to join in then please visit Lexa and she will add your name to the list which she has just this week updated!


For me this week has brought:

Generosity by Tesco (a large chain of food stores here in the UK) who when I approached them to say I was hoping to start a community Nordic Walking group in the area immediately offered their canteen which would supply my walkers with FREE coffee/tea and cake!!  I was hoping they might say they'd do a few drinks but I wasn't expecting cake and I wasn't expecting that they also said if I wanted to do anything in the evening they would also cater for this too.  How nice is that?

Laughter - I dragged a friend out with me to watch a female comedy group perform on the top deck of a double decker bus.  We were the oldest people there but were warmly invited into the group audience which were a very friendly bunch and it was a wonderful experience with a lot of laughs (although some of the material went right over our heads!!) and I was so pleased I'd tried something different :)

Curtains - I have been looking for (no I mean desperately searching for) two pairs of curtains for our bedroom for over a year now.  There have been many problems along the way - the main one getting TWO pairs rather than one as I have seen a number of single pairs that would have done, the length needed as the windows are tall and getting ones that are made from expensive material that suits the room but NOT paying hundreds of pounds for them which has meant looking for bargains and charity shop finds.  At the beginning of Feb, I was given an ultimatum by Hubs get the curtains sorted or by the end of Feb we would be going to Dunelm Mill and he'd be buying two pairs from there!!
Don't get me wrong Dunelm is good for many things but it's a bit soulless and I didn't want curtains that should be special to come from there!!
Then this week I decided to come back through town via a charity shop I only visit occasionally and there dumped on a sofa as I came through the door was a heap of curtaining that had the exact look of what I had been after so I pounced on it and then noticed that there also seemed to be another lot of curtaining of the same material hanging up on a rail!!.  I had no tape measure, the store was busy and the counter was miniscule so I decided I would just take a chance and managed to dump them in front of the cashier who charged me £30 for the two pairs.  The weight of them alone meant I knew they were made of good quality material and when I finally got them home and spread them out on the bedroom floor I realised that although neither pair was long enough for my windows one of the pair was considerably wider than the other so I should be able to make two correctly sized pairs from them.  They are both fully lined and have lead weights in the bottom and are just what I was looking for so I have begun work on them and hope to spend this weekend getting at least one pair finished and ready for hanging so stay tuned for pictures of the process!!

Here's to everyone else having a great weekend and please tell me what bargains you've picked up, who's given you a chuckle or who's been generous of spirit to you this week? You know I'd love to know!!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Nordic Walking - What's That?

As I have been going on a bit about wanting to set up Nordic walking in the community to follow on from my Walking for Health group, I thought I ought to actually say what Nordic walking is as some of  my readers have asked questions.

Nordic walking is a full body exercise, devised by a lady in Finland during the 1960's, which derived from their cross-country skiers' summer fitness regime.
image courtesy of

Two poles are used to push backwards and propel you forward as you walk which also helps to reduce the pressure on joints particularly the knees.  This often makes it a very suitable keep fit activity for older people as well as those recovering from illnesses.  According to the National Health Service in the UK "regular Nordic walking can lower your risk of chronic illness, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers."

Due to the use of the poles, you burn up to 40% more calories than normal walking and it is an ideal way to lose weight and build fitness for all levels and ages.  As it is also a social activity, it benefits mental health and well-being too!

I love this infographic I found :)

Which all adds up to why I enjoy it on a personal level but it can be expensive to have qualified instruction (I have seen sessions costing £15-40 per hour).  I am lucky to be able to walk with a group on a bi-weekly session if I want for only £4 but this is only offered at a particular time on a particular day and trying to book personal group sessions is limited as there are very few instructors available where I live.  Therefore my goal is to be able to offer weekly walks for free in my community which I think would be very beneficial on health and social grounds to quite a few groups including the elderly. This is why I am now currently looking for funding for equipment as this comes expensive for the proper poles especially when I'll need at least 12 sets of poles to be able to lead groups of 8-10 (as fixed pole heights are supposed to be better than adjustable).  I am very hopeful that I should be able to get this to coincide with the completion of my instructor training by the end of March so that I could begin teaching groups in April and be all set for May when World Nordic Walking Day takes place!  Wish me luck :)

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Weight Loss Wednesday #7

Wednesday has rolled around again so without further ado I can announce that my weight has gone from ___ 2 1/2 to ___ 1 1/2 so a 1 lb loss this week and now other people are noticing my new trimmer figure which is also pleasing to report!

Joining in with:
Where Kate is focusing on some of the other bloggers' weight loss posts that all help each other in the struggle to become a healthier being - and guess what? ... She features one of mine!!

Cheryl who has been struggling with Storm Imogen!!

Kirsty who has some great news on her weight loss journey as well as some good ideas about menu planning

and not forgetting - Beth & Sim

I have decided that this coming week I will focus on portion sizes and really try to up my water intake as I know I didn't do so well last week - the very cold weather had me reaching for a hot cup of decaffeinated coffee rather than cold water!!  I am also going to start to take some body measurements as I know that I might become disillusioned with what my scales say some weeks but that there might be a difference in my actual body shape that I can be happy with :)

More good news on my healthier life-style this week: I am now booked on my Nordic walking instructor course for the end of March and I might have found funding for my equipment and publicity for the free Nordic walking sessions I want to set up!  It just goes to show that having an idea can lead to bigger and better things if you put it out there.  Everyone I have talked to so far about this has all got on board and are helping in anyway they can - it really is amazing :)

Please let me know what you have got up to in your "healthier" life this week or share any ideas you have for taking exercise/healthier lifestyle into the community - as who knows where this will lead?

Monday, 15 February 2016

Celebrate & Creative Monday combined

Well ... as I was out on Friday and the weekend I was too busy celebrating to write my Celebrate post  - but better late than never as they say and I'll be catching up with everyone else's later on throughout the week :)

Thanks to Lexa and her co-hosts - just click on the button below to join in :)

This week I am celebrating:

FINALLY finishing the knitted windcheater I have been making for my dad since last year.  It's a long time since I knitted something in an adult size and so there was a LOT of knitting to do as well as all the sewing up afterwards and for the first time putting in a zip to a knitted garment by hand - thank goodness for youtube videos!!

As it is 100% wool, it should at least keep him really warm if the temperature drops and knitted in double rib it can stretch to accommodate lots of other layers underneath if needs be :)  Hubby & I were visiting my parents this weekend so I was able to drop it off just before the snow came!

On Friday, the two of us (Hubs & I) went to see an act taking part in the nearby city's Comedy Festival which was entertaining :) and then we had a meal afterwards downstairs in the Indian restaurant which was unlike any Indian meal we'd ever had.  Very tasty and aromatic but not spicy - yipee and with amazing bread/pancake like things.  I had to abandon the healthy eating for one night as we had this as our Valentine's treat :)  It was so lovely doing something different, somewhere different and experiencing new tastes as well - couldn't have been any better!

I'm also celebrating taking on a new role as the diary and events manager of a free local paper's website - a voluntary position obviously - but it gives me a feeling of serving my community and now everyone can have up to date news of what's going on and where!  I can also promote my Walking for Health walks - so everyone's a winner!!

As the title of my post suggests, I am also linking up with Claire Justine's wonderful
where she is celebrating wonderful Valentine makes :)

so that I can post my other little make -
a mini Valentine heart rug!

Hope everyone has a lovely and special week :)  What have you made recently?

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wednesday Weight Loss #6 or not?

Well it's that time again and they say confession is good for the soul so here goes...

This week I did not lose any weight - however the good news is I did not put any on either!  This was despite the not very good meals I had over the weekend plus it was pancake day yesterday.  On the positive side I did increase my exercise this week and began running again seriously - well I mean walk/jog really - as well as do some Nordic walking for an hour and a half on Sunday so I certainly feel healthier!!

I will be looking for some actual weight loss next week as I learn the lessons of this week mainly try to forget my up-bringing of not wasting food - which is difficult but CAN be done!

Linking up with:

Where Kate is asking what foods help you with weight loss?


Please let me know how your healthy resolutions are going and any healthy eating tips you have tried and that have worked for you?

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Sunday Clipart Valentine Special

I like to share things I've found on-line with other creative minds and I particularly like those kind individuals who create and then freely share their lovely clipart.  So as Valentine's Day is later this week I thought I'd devote today's post to some clipart you may find useful when creating Valentine resources. Please enjoy and remember to leave feedback on these artist's stores/websites if you do download as a thank you goes a long way to repay their kindness and hours spent creating and uploading :)  Just click on the graphic to get taken to their store or website.


which inspired me to make a give-away packet last week in my Five for Friday post.
Lots and lots of inspiration so why not take a look at this lovely heart tree :)

Sometimes it is hard to find more "boyish" Valentines' themes so these little monsters might just do the trick?

I LOVE Teacher Karma clipart and she has over 100 freebies to collect!  
Over in her TpT store she has a sale going on right now & check out her website too!

Another clipart artist
 has a range of motifs including this lovely heart bunting in her freebie

and if you need some pretty backgrounds for your creative products then check out

I'm also linking up with Literacy & Math Ideas blog

to share some of my newly created Valentine clipart
if you'd like to go and check out the other clipart freebies available there!

Have a lovely creative week everyone :)