A busy year so far

Well, so far this year I have had a lot of health problems, with lumps and bumps, unexplained bleeding (TMI I know!) and absolute agony. There have been many hospital trips, GP appointments, blood tests (shudder – I hate needles), biopsies (again with the needles!), scans, mammograms and cameras in places you don’t want to know about.

Fortunately, most of the problems were nothing to worry about, the biopsies were fine and other things settled down. The abdominal pain (for which read agony – worse than being in labour!) turned out to be ‘multiple stones in your gall bladder. It looks like a sack of grit!’ Which explains the pain and means that I need to have a minor operation to remove it. The gall bladder, that is! Waiting for the appointment but it should be sometime in September, fingers crossed.

One of the problems with blood tests is that they sometimes find other things to worry about. Turns out I am ‘considerably anaemic and low on folic acid. Oh, and your cholesterol is incredibly high, what do you eat?’ So I am on a low-fat diet and Benecol type products for lowering cholesterol and bowls of porridge every day, as I wasn’t keen to start taking statins as yet. We shall see how it goes and hope for the best!

Being anaemic is something that happens regularly with me so it was no surprise and I had suspicions about my cholesterol level as it had been fairly high last time it was checked. Time to start paying more attention to what I eat, although to be fair I eat a lot of fruit and veg and always use frylight, reduced-fat cheeses and low-fat or fat-free yoghurts, fromage frais, cottage cheese and so on, so I’m not sure what else I can cut out! I don’t even own a deep fat fryer!

Anyway, that’s all of the new problems. I won’t even get started on the arthritis (riddled with it) or the grade 6 fibromyalgia, or the epilepsy! If I was a horse they would have shot me years ago.

Here’s to hoping for a better and healthier time for the rest of the year!

Less of me…

no_cake-300pxHaving decided that Summer was on its way (yeah, I know, even I can get it wrong sometimes. Or all of the time.) I thought how nice it would be to be able to squeeze into a few of my old summer clothes. So I joined a local slimming group. Let’s call it, say, Thinning World. You know the one. Actually, I was really pleasantly surprised. The group is full of really lovely people and the group consultant is a hilarious and very welcoming, warm person. I say, person, I mean man. He is lovely. And the diet itself is amazing. Just follow the programme and you lose weight. Sounds easy, and it is. I haven’t eaten so much food for years. Some of those lovely meals I mentioned earlier? They are from the SW cookery books and website. I have lost loads of weight and feel much better than I have in years. So, I had a lovely pair of smart trousers that I hadn’t been able to squeeze into for a long time and, having lost a bit of weight and found some of my clothes were getting loose, I thought I would try them on. I was GUTTED! They not only did up but then they fell down. However, some of those old summer clothes I mentioned? Fitted like a dream. Yay! Now, about the time my now very loose knickers fell down, you don’t want to hear that story…

My culinary skills, or lack thereof…

food-leif-lodahl-01-300pxSo there we were. No cooker, no kitchen and no endless funds for endless takeaways.The cooker out on the front yard having been condemned by the gasman. Just a microwave oven and a very, empty, tummy. I did what I should probably have been doing long ago but couldn’t be arsed to do. I looked in a cookery book. Sharp intake of breath! Well, I had no idea you could cook so many things in the microwave. Loads of stuff. Even whole meals. And from scratch. So that was the first couple of nights sorted. After we got sick of my entire repertoire of one meal, a single burner camping stove was discovered, along with my previously well hidden (for which read ,Packed) slow cooker. Yay! The wherewithal to make further dishes! Not sure if my family was relieved or filled with further trepidation. Also, not sure if I wanted to ask them or get a reply! However, with a little light reading (aka plowing through various cookery books previously unopened) I managed to find a few meals I could make using just one pan, or just the slow cooker, or a combination of both with the use of the microwave thrown in for good measure. Having to actually think about what I could cook, how I could cook it, how I could convert the recipe and so on, meant that, instead of the usual burnt offerings from having been thrown in the oven as a last minute thought, I was actually producing some quite nice meals. Some were even really nice. My family went from longing for a new kitchen to considering not having one at all for fear that I might go back to my old ways – which, of course, I did as soon as the new kitchen was in situ. Ah well, they say all good things have to come to an end. Burnt offerings it is then. Although, apparently, golden black is not a colour…

The gas man cometh…

IMG_0090It’s been ages since I’ve had the chance to sit down and write anything. Apart from having a bit of a meltdown last December, I have been totally consumed with the ‘selling house/buying house/moving into new house’ malarkey. Then came the ‘doing the house up’ malarkey! The new house had no kitchen. None. Zip. Nada. A stainless steel sink and a cupboard. And that was all. Actually, the previous owner very kindly left us their old cooker (our previous kitchen had a built-in oven and hob). However, after using it just once I decided to get it serviced, along with the boiler and the gas fire. The gas man took one look at the cooker. Moments later it was outside, on the front yard, condemned. The gas fire was similarly condemned and disconnected. Then he discovered a gas leak but not the source of the leak. Sigh! Eventually, after a lot of toing and froing of various gas personnel and many hours of hand-wringing later, the gas leak was found, the faulty pipe disconnected, the new connections all checked and deemed satisfactory and my house was once again my own. Which left me with a predicament. How to cook? Certain members of my family would say that has always been my predicament. They would also say ouch after I lamped them one with one of my brick-like loaves of bread. But that’s another story…

The need for a ‘Needs Budget’

A few words from my son…

A Green Trade Unionist - In Bristol

Poplar Mural to celebrate the Poplar rate rebels who used the powers of local government to stand up to a Conservative and Liberal coalition government in the aftermath of the First World War

I’ve just been selected by the Bristol Green Party to be their candidate for Bedminster in next May’s Council elections.  I’m really excited and want to thank all our local members who voted for me; we came second to Labour in Bedminster by only 3% this year and we have a really good chance of getting atleast one of the two seat in the ward.  I intend to do a longer post on my priorities for the ward, but for now I thought I’d dwell on something that came up in the hustings, my opposition to any and all cuts budgets and the need for a ‘needs budget’.

As you should know the Green Party completely opposes Austerity…

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5 Reasons Why I Love My Black Cat

Ninja Cat Strikes Again!

It’s so hard to choose from the many reasons why I love him, but here are my top five:-

  1. He has natural born Ninja skills.
  2. He has awesome night time invisibility skills.
  3. Black is always in fashion – he’s an automatic accessory.
  4. He has an awesome built in Halloween costume.
  5. Very easy to clean – he doesn’t show the dirt!

I could go on, but I won’t. Obviously the main reason is that he is adorable, in a very grouchy, bad-tempered fashion. He obviously copied all my character traits!

5 Things You Can Do With Coconut Oil

I love coconut oil, it’s so versatile and can be used for so many things so I thought I might list the top five things I use it for, as the complete list would make my hands ache from typing!

  • Cooking (obviously!). It cooks at a nice high temperature and gives the food a lovely flavour.
  • Hair conditioner. I try to slather my hair and scalp in coconut oil once a week, leave it on for around 15 mins and then wash off. Not only does it smell lovely, it makes my hair so soft and gives it a lovely sheen.
  • Body moisturiser. I rub it in to my elbows, knees, hands and feet before bed. Not every night, of course, but now and again. It absorbs quickly and really softens the very dry skin on my feet and hands. I could use it all over if needed but I tend not to bother.
  • Facial cleanser. Either used alone or mixed with olive oil, I gently rub it in all over my face, leave it for a minute or two, then get a face cloth, dip it in very hot water, wring it out then place over my face.Leave it for around 30 seconds, then wipe the oil(s) off.  No drying soap required and it cleans really well, doesn’t leave your skin oily and leaves your face nicely moisturised.
  • Polish. I use it instead of furniture polish. Rub it in, wipe it off. Simple as. Also, polishes shoes quite well. There you go, an extra tip. Six for the price of five!