Friday, 28 October 2016

Celebrate #25

Reflecting on my week, I feel I have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for - so I am happy that thanks to Lexa Cain, Tonja Drecker and L G Keltner there is somewhere to share this with others. 
Why not join in too?

1. Family Get Togethers
Last Friday, saw the arrival of both my parents and my son and his lovely girlfriend for the weekend celebration of my husband's birthday.  It was really perfect and so enjoyable and these special days are now something always to be treasured due to my father's illness.  My parents were so pleased to be able to meet the special girl in my son's life for the first time and of course being with young people is always such a tonic so there was lots of laughter throughout the weekend :)  My husband is always happy when family is with us and indulged in his passion of trying out a new dinner menu of venison stew with redcurrants which was delicious. We also had the most amazing indoor fireworks which were a great success and most unexpected as we had thought they'd never be as good as those we remembered from our own childhoods.  All in all a very special weekend :)

2. Bargain Hunting
I was thinking only last week that I would be needing a new pair of trainers as it gets muddier and wetter outdoors and trainers are so much better for Nordic walking in than walking boots.  My summer trainers are designed to allow the feet to sweat (yes I know Too Much Information!!) but this also means they let the wet in which is fine in warmer weather when they can dry off quickly but not so good as it gets colder. They were such a good bargain from a sports shop at only £10 that I realised I would be very unlikely to find another such bargain for branded trainers so imagine my surprise and delight when in the very next charity shop I visited there on the shelf in front of me was a sign proclaiming "brand new" next to a pair of Reebok trainers in MY size and with a price tag of £10!! I tried them on and they fitted perfectly so very happy I continued on my way to another charity shop where I found a top quality Regatta light weight waterproof with peaked hood in light purple and grey for only £5.50!  Boy was it my lucky day :)

3. Award Ceremony
I put forward the name of a lady, who regularly attends various of my Nordic walking groups, for a newcomer award in the Feel Alive at 65 celebration that was advertised for my county and was delighted when she and I received invitations to attend the award evening this week.  It turned out to be a wonderful evening not only because my nominee went up to collect an award certificate and met a member of the GB Olympic rowing squad but also because there were so many people there of an older age who are doing such amazing things in sport and active pursuits.  It really opened my eyes to what is on offer, what should be offered more widely and most importantly what can be accomplished as we get older despite failing health if we have our drive and determination.  The oldest participant there was 95 - yes - 95!!  Some of the stories told brought tears to the eyes and at various times there were audible gasps from the audience myself included.  I felt honoured to be amongst such people and I certainly appreciated the boost Nordic walking got as being talked about as a beneficial activity for the elderly :)

Now I'm off to catch up with what's being celebrated this week in the lives of others - here's wishing you all a super weekend!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Hygge Help Out

Today, I have a request - can you help me decide which one of these colour schemes works best for my up-coming posters?

Hygge seems to be really on trend here in the UK at the moment so I'd like my Nordic walking to get some of the publicity as it is part of the Nordic way of life!!

But I just can't seem to make up my mind which colour scheme works best or maybe you have another colour that you think might be even better?  Any input would be really useful and if you want to learn more about why Nordic Walking is so Hygge and good for you then please check out the blog post below on my Nordic Walking site -

Have you heard about Hygge (pronounced Hoo-guh) a Danish concept of cosiness that spans the Nordic countries?  Here at Ministry of Nordic Walks it seems to be fitting perfectly with what we do in our group walks particularly at this time of year.

1: Happiness and Mindfulness
Denmark (where Hugge originates) regularly tops The World Happiness Report (commissioned by the United Nations since 2012).  Meik Wiking, Charlotte Abrahams and Louisa Thomsen Brits (authors of books on Hygge – see below) link Hugge to mindfulness techniques and happiness science where people should be experiencing and concentrating on the pleasures and sensations they can appreciate in the present moment leading to increased well-being and feelings of happiness and contentment. 

Nordic Walking in the autumn and winter months brings lots of these types of pleasurable moments. The warm snuggly feeling of woollen socks, gloves and hats, the heating up of the body through the physical exercise, the beauty and aesthetics that surround us in nature as we walk along and the lovely feeling of having been out and exercised – all giving us a little bit of Hygge which we can appreciate.

2: Get Back to Nature
Signe Johansen in her new book “How to Hygge” sites the Nordic love of being at one with nature and enjoying the great outdoors as central to the concept of hygge. This is backed up by several studies that show that those who exercise outdoors are more likely to keep up a constant routine as well as walking outdoors burning more calories than using a treadmill due to factors such as wind resistance, inclines and downhill slopes.

Nordic Walking is ALL about getting outside and getting off the beaten track and into nature.  The Nordic poles help with stability and power on inclines as well as reduce downhill stress and we all agree walking with others keeps us coming back for more!

3:  Clear Your Head
Hygge is all about having that feeling of being content. Research has shown that being outdoors in a park or forest environment lowers stress levels, increases feelings of energy, is associated with greater feelings of revitalisation and positive engagement, boosts your self-esteem whilst decreasing tension, confusion, anger and depression.

Our group Nordic walkers often talk about how Nordic walking really helps them to attain a feeling of happiness and contentment as we walk along various pathways along canals and through tree lined areas.  The constant rhythm of “planting” the poles firmly, helps decrease tension or any anger issues and many have commented upon the positive mental health well-being they feel Nordic walking in such natural surroundings gives them.

4:  The Joy of Exercise
Hygge views being physical (taking exercise) as being enjoyable and not to be seen as a chore or something laborious. Signe Johansen points out that hygge is about the joy of exercise as a group activity and collaborating to achieve a sense of community.  Studies show that sedentary lifestyles are as dangerous to our health as smoking and dramatically increase our risk of contracting serious health problems such as cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and cancer.  So health and happiness are linked in hygge.

Nordic walking in groups achieves this sense of community and joy of exercise as we decide on which routes to take and new places to explore.  The use of the poles aids to the pace and length of walking routes we cover so decreasing any feelings of walking becoming laborious.

5:  De-Stress with something warm to drink
Hygge also encompasses another Nordic tradition of Fika – which is a daily break to sit down and enjoy a hot drink allowing oneself to de-stress.

Our Nordic walking groups often begin and end at cafes and many of our walkers make use of these facilities either before or after a walk – the social aspect makes it a welcome break from the hurley-burley of life.


Charlotte Adams – Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures – Living the Danish
Signe Johansen - How to Hygge
Louisa Thomsen Brits - The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well
Meik Wiking - The Little Book of Hygge

Research Journals
J. Thompson Coon, K. Boddy, K. Stein, R. Whear, J. Barton, M. H. Depledge. "Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review." Environmental Science & Technology, 2011; : 110203115102046.

Miyazaki Y, Lee J, Park BJ, Tsunetsugu Y, Matsunaga K. "Preventive medical effects of nature therapy" Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2011 Sep;66(4):651-6.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Another Weight Loss Wednesday

And I am pleased to announce it is - a small weight loss but a weight loss all the same!  And after another week where parties and celebrations meant a lot of sugary and fat containing food was consumed I think I must put this down to having been able to exercise each day, this last week, for a minimum of an hour.  I've also been able to get out into the garden to do lots of weeding and digging and I think that's helped to burn off those extra calories too.

I also caught part of a programme about a former American athlete who, by the time she was 45, had become very over-weight after an injury made her give up sports. She was involved in teaching high school students and was obviously much loved by them and determined NOT to go through the gastric band procedure after a friend died through this. She was given lots of nutritional advice and an exercise regime and in one year was able to drop HALF her body-weight.  She certainly made me feel, if she can do it at that size and age, then there's nothing stopping me doing the same and losing these extra few stones!

Joining in this week with My Mummy's World - hit the button below to join in too :)

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Thank you, Angela!

Angela (over at The Teacher's Desk 6) is one of those teachers who is always coming up with great lesson plans and resources for her students but she also helps other teachers by finding out about really useful teaching and techy stuff and sharing it on her blog.

One such really useful blog post by her this week led me to create my own animated banner below for my TpT store.
I've been admiring the other super teacher stores that have them and once again thinking "how do some of these people do it they must spend a fortune on all the latest gadgetry?"  But NO - as Angela told me it was something I'd be able to do for myself and for FREE if I followed the detailed instructions provided by Sarah Griffin - whose site Angela linked to.

This has meant I have used photobucket and bitly to make this animated banner and post it correctly on to the TpT site - creating a gif and shortened urls and both of these things are completely new to me so I have learnt a lot but I am really pleased with the end result and I think with a bit more practice I will succeed in getting things just right :)  But for now I just want to say a big thank you to Angela.  If any of you teachers/home educators don't know about her then go check out her blog by clicking on the button below!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Prompt

Another great word choice and some great poems already written when I went over to Sara's

This is what this week's word inspired in me - but please go and check out the others' work - you will not be disappointed.

The art work below is by Alessandro Formigoni who can be found at -

Rufus the Red

Pointy snout

Appears from behind the garden bushes

Trotting across - a flash of red on a winter’s day

A tail to be proud of disappears in an instant

Delicate tracks in the crisp, white snow

Are all that is left of a visit by Rufus.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Celebrate #24

Joining in for another
led by Lexa Cain and her buddies, L.G. Keltner ad Tonja Drecker

This week I am celebrating: 

writing more blog posts this year than I ever did in the two years previously.  I made this a goal way back in January so I am very pleased to be announcing this in October.

having a lady (I nominated for an award for her participation in my Nordic walking groups) be selected to attend a regional sports award celebration.  I now just need to keep my fingers crossed for her to win!!

Having family to stay this weekend :)

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend with plenty to celebrate and be thankful for.  Let me know what you are up to?

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Weight Loss Wednesday

Joining in with Sim and Zoe at -

for another weight loss round-up.

Well it hasn't gone very well actually.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I missed out on two hours of my weekly exercise regime and although I have been out in the garden pulling weeds this hasn't really made up for it.  I also haven't really ditched the junk food completely out and there was also the case of the large bag of M&Ms so not too surprising that there has been NO weight loss this week then again NO weight gain either so a new slate for this week really.

There will be a long birthday weekend starting this Friday, with my parents and my son and his girl-friend arriving and all staying through until Sunday so I know lots of party food and other rich stuff will be on the menu - venison with port included!  Therefore, I need to watch what I eat where I can and really hunker down for Monday & Tuesday.  Any added exercise will also be helpful.

I used to so like to exercise with the Australian girls on Oz Aerobics when my two children were really little. It was broadcast daily on Sky Sports and I loved that it was real women/mothers leading the workouts and could be done in very little room in my sitting room. I wish they could bring it back!!

Any good exercise videos you can recommend?  Leave a comment below :)

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Joining in with Hodgepodge

Paula over at has introduced me to the Hodgepodge so this week I thought I'd join in myself :)

1. What would you say is your strongest sense? 
I used to say it was my vision but I am now beginning to need glasses to read or thread a needle - maybe it's still long vision?  My sense of smell has always been appalling - except when I was pregnant and then it was like getting a "superpower"!!

2. Do you believe in the idea of a 'sixth sense'? Why or why not?
Oh yes!!  Too many things have happened over the years for me not to believe - certainly believe my mother has it and I think my daughter feels the same way about me :)

3. When do you most feel like a slave to time? Explain.
I am happy to say that since giving up my teaching job I no longer have to put in those VERY long hours before & after school which was when I certainly felt very tied down at times.  Loved the time spent with the kids - not so much the paperwork!

4. Have you ever worked in a restaurant? How would you rate the experience? If you could own a restaurant what kind would it be? 
My first job whilst still at school was in a tea-rooms and I was given the opportunity due to the red and white gingham outfit I made especially for my first ever interview with the boss.  She was a wonderful person who took me under her wing and taught me loads and boy did I need teaching.  I had a lovely time there and she always had me back during my summer vacations when at university. She also gave me a glowing reference when I left which was helpful when getting a "real" job.  If I ever owned a restaurant - that's what I would like it to be - very English and friendly :)

5. Ever traced your family tree? Share something interesting you learned there.
Yes I have tried to.  Very like a detective and much harder if you don't have a more unusual surname. Found out that part of the family came from Norfolk which I didn't know about at all and farming stretched back a long, long time.  Most interesting was that also had a blacksmith in the family and their old smithy is now a holiday cottage - one day I might book it and stay there!

6. What did your childhood bedroom look like?
My window looked out over fields to the sea and the red arrows used to practice their arial displays over them.

7. Anyone who knows me knows I love - CATS?

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Why do non-iron shirts always need ironing really????

Monday, 17 October 2016

Made It Monday

Something cute for Halloween!

A little free product that you can download if you click the button above to go to my TpT store.  I'd love some feedback :)

Linking up with Creative Mondays - hosted by the lovely Justine

Have you been busy being creative lately?  Leave me a comment below.  You know I'd love to know :)

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Joining in with The Prompt

It's been a while but I decided to link back up with Sara's wonderful
there are some wonderful writers out there who contribute regularly to this linky and I often find their words really resonate with me so it's well worth a read even if you don't want to be inspired to write yourself - but you'll be tempted - I guarantee it!!

Here's my submission for this week's theme


To hope is to be human

To want things to change for the better

To believe that good can finally conquer evil

To dream that we accomplish the impossible

To nurture new life and send it out into the world

To face the challenges before us

To comfort all in times of illness

To hold onto in our darkest hour

To wish for peace for the next generation

I think my inspiration is coming yet again from the awful scenes in Syria and also wishing for a miracle cure for illness and disease that robs us of our loved ones.

Thank you for reading :)

Friday, 14 October 2016

Celebrate #23

Come and join the fun over at
where we all look to share those small things that make ALL the difference in our everyday lives
kindly hosted by Lexa Cain, L.G. Keltner & Tonja Drecker

This week I am celebrating - 

1) Making people happy via my Nordic walking
I know it can sound a bit corny but it is just so lovely when people who are walking with my groups turn round and say with such a smile on their face - "I can't believe how wonderful this is - I never knew this even existed!" when we walk down by the canal and through the back lanes of places where people often pass through on the main road but have never "Been" before.  Having the time to walk and enjoy the beauty around us is so special and priceless really (well £2 per session actually) and I love it especially in this super sunny weather we're having :)

2) Having a very reasonable quote for tree pruning
Yes when you live in a conservation area you need to have a professional person come and do the work on any trees you may have and in our garden we have a lot that need a bit of a pruning after some years of not having anything done to them.  I know from my parents (who also live in a conservation area) that this can cost an awful lot of money so after having a site visit last weekend I was waiting for a bill with at least 3 zeros after it so was delighted to find it at much less plus I really liked the chap and his attitude (he had been recommended to us by one of our local parish councillors).  So now I am battling with filling in the application I need for the district council to process and get back to me in the next SIX weeks!!!  Why on earth it takes that long, I don't understand.

3) Getting an emergency appointment with my own dentist
On Tuesday, I was having some low fat soft cheese with some soft bread when my tooth decided to break a piece off!  Obviously, I rang my dental practice to arrange a visit thinking that I would have to see another dentist and hoping that I'd get an appointment within the week if I was lucky.  I was offered an appointment with my own lovely dentist the very next day!!  Absolutely wonderful and it was an easy repair and everything is great and there was no charge as it was covered with my dental plan - so a very good reason to celebrate :)

Now I'm off to see what everyone else is celebrating - so hoping everyone has a lovely weekend and please feel free to join in by hitting the celebrate button on top!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Is this a sign of Global Warming?

Well today when I was out in my garden trying to clear the path of weeds, I discovered that some of my strawberry plants are in flower!!!  What's that all about?

It's not the only plant that seems to be coming to life again after having bloomed earlier this year so it begs the question - is this because of the unseasonably, warm October weather we've been experiencing lately or is this Global Warming?

Have you noticed anything odd in your garden recently?  Leave a comment below - you know I'd love to know :)

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Weight Loss Wednesday - Seeing the Silver Lining

I'm back on the wagon having taken a few months off over the summer and seeing a gradual return of a few of those pounds previously lost - I put this down to - too many parties, too much ice-cream and too much cake!!

However, every cloud has a silver-lining

and so last week I saw a drop of 1 and a 1/2 pounds with not too much effort so I am returning to a more balanced diet and an uptake of water consumption this week in an effort to see another 2 lbs shifted which would take me to ___ 4 lbs.

Joining in with -

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Getting Back on Track

I'm determined to be getting back on track with managing to post 15 times during October as well as resume my more sensible and healthy eating plan in order to lose a little bit more weight before winter sets in.

What things in your life are you trying to get back on track with?  Leave me a comment - you know I love to know :)

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Celebrate #22

Life seems to be whizzing by at the moment and taking time out to catch up with internet friends has gone completely out of the window. There's been nothing major or important - just everyday life! But I thought I could at least post about celebrating the small things in life and joining in with those others who know what it's all about...
Please feel free to join Lexa Cain and her co-hosts L.G Keltner and Tonja Drecker by clicking on the button above.

My big story and celebration for this week is that one of my cats returned after being missing for 14 weeks!!
Yes - that long.  She has been missing before (about the same time of year in 2015) but 3 weeks was the longest time she'd ever been away.  I can only presume that she was "taken in" by someone else who maybe did not let her out as she seems very happy to be back with her cat companions and me. Who knows?  All I can say is that I am delighted to know she is well and alive as you can imagine I have felt that it might not have ended so well for her.
Other things to celebrate include some lovely autumnal weather with bright sunshine - just perfect for Nordic walking outings - which are still going well and increasing in the number of attendees.
Getting to see my aunt a few times before she travels back to Spain. As a child I didn't see her much at all, but now in later life we share so much in common it is lovely when we get together :)
And making a bit more progress on getting things done on the house before winter weather starts to set in although there was a tiny set back when trying to put a new pane of glass in a small cellar window - leaving it to go and get the batten for the bottom bit I'd left on the stairs leading down and returning to find my youngest cat had jumped in from outside and the pane of glass was now in five much smaller pieces!!  No wonder things take a lot longer around here!

Here's hoping everyone else is finding those things in life to celebrate even if finding time to tell others about it can be a bit short :)