Monday, 31 December 2018

A review of 2018

It's definitely been a year of ups and downs, especially health wise.  I thought I'd look back through the blog and see what were the high (and low) bits of each month.  Thankful I kept my old blog archived, rather than just deleting it, or I'd never remember what happened when.

January - Not much happened, we did a low spend month, reduced our meat eating and stuffed more veggies in, we also got through a lot of store cupboard stuff, tins of pulses and the like.  I went for my first physio session for my Achilles Tendonitis.  

February - This was the month that husband was diagnosed with angina and heart disease, after being very unwell (chesty and very breathless) over Christmas/NY.  We started on a wartime rations-type diet to lose some weight, as husband was told by the cardiac specialist nurse that it would be best for him to lose around a stone.

March - It started snowing on 1 March, we ended up having the heaviest snowfall we'd had in years....the last heavy one being in 2010 when we moved down here.  It lasted for about 10 days, Betty (it was her first time seeing snow) loved it and spent ages playing in it.  Husband was told by the lung specialist he saw at hospital that he definitely doesn't have asthma - after being told for years by a succession of GPs that he does.

April - Husband's first stent fitting procedure was cancelled, then rearranged unexpectedly for 6 days later.  All went well, he had 2 stents fitted, but was told he needed a 3rd at a later date, with a bit more work needed to unblock the artery first before the stent was fitted.  We had loads of rain this month, it seemed like a neverending monsoon.  Towards the end of the month when it finally stopped raining, we put up a new fence in the front garden between us and the neighbours (and their noisy dogs who use their front garden as a giant toilet, making it stink in hot weather), and planted up a new cottage garden flower bed.

May - Loads of sunshine this month, some days it was really hot, too hot for me being fair skinned and prone to heat rash and burning easily.  We started going to husband's cardiac rehab exercise and information classes - he hated it to begin with but soon got into the swing of things and ended up really enjoying them.  And the talks given by the cardiac nurse were really informative and helpful.

June - Another hot month, even hotter than last month.  We went on holiday for a week in Devon - lovely holiday park, but blisteringly hot, both Betty and I suffered in the heat, far too hot for us to do anything.  My depression and anxiety resurfaced, had to give in and go to the GP for medication.

July - Husband had his 2nd stent procedure done, a more complicated one than in April, the artery was well and truly blocked so had to be drilled out first, with an actual drill bit - amazing what they can do nowadays.  He bled a lot (all over the hospital bed, he said it looked like someone had been murdered on his bed) and had chest pains following the procedure, so had to stay in on a heart monitor and lying down for a few more hours than the last time.  He was fine though.....until later on in the month when, following an echocardiogram, he was diagnosed with heart failure.  That was a big shock, although we've come to terms with it now.  And my mum collapsed on the stairs at home in the middle of the night and had to be rushed to hospital.  Turned out to be a severe kidney infection, but she's been very poorly with lots of things going on ever since.

August - Not a lot happened this month (for a change!) - no major health issues.  It was a busy month with garden produce - lots of it to gather in, process and freeze.

September - Mum's health being even more of a worry, she'd had a possible thrombosis in her leg, which was hugely swollen, and had begun projectile vomiting which is still (3 months on!) being investigated.  Saw husband's cardiologist, who said that as husband is doing so well, he doesn't need to see him routinely again, only if there's a problem.  So that's good.  However, the car broke down, costing a lot of money to repair and wiping out our savings.

October - My stress levels were through the roof, I had trouble with someone who reads my blog who was upsetting me so much that I chose to end my previous blog and try to set up a new private one for invited readers only...the technology defeated me though, but it doesn't matter.  We had another holiday in the same park we went to earlier in the year, took my sister with us.  It wasn't a total success, I couldn't relax and was very stressed all the time.

November - Had a surprise package of lovely things from blog reader Marlene of Poppy Patchwork, it cheered me up no end.  However, the car broke down again, and once again the RAC warranty people wouldn't pay out.  So well and truly brassic (for overseas readers, cockney rhyming slang term for having no money - boracic lint = skint) now.  At my annual diabetes review, I was told that my diabetes is not now being well controlled (not really a surprise to me) and have been prescribed an additional med to take.  

December - Tests showed mum doesn't have stomach cancer (one of the possible reasons for her vomiting), she does have a hiatus hernia, but the hospital thinks there is something else going on so she's having yet more tests.  She had a bad reaction to a new anti-vomiting drug she was prescribed though, another worry.  Other than that, Christmas was ok, husband is fine, my depression and anxiety are easing up now that the Winter solstice has arrived and the new year is almost here!

I'm not going to say that 2019 can't be any worse than this year, that would be tempting fate.  But I certainly hope it will be a good year, for all of us.

So wishing you all a very happy, healthy and exciting New Year xx

Sunday, 30 December 2018

End of leftovers - and I don't want to see the kitchen again for a while!

The reduced turkey was a good buy, it's all processed and frozen now.  The brining was successful, it certainly made it juicy and gave it a very good flavour.  

I cut 2 lots of breast lot we had cold for dinner yesterday with home grown (from bags in the polytunnel) new potatoes and salad, the other lot frozen to be reheated in gravy for a roast dinner (friend does that for their Christmas lunch, he cooks their turkey the day before and it's lovely).  The rest of the breast and large bits off the carcass I diced up - some for dinner today, following an idea from Marlene of Poppy Patchwork, the remainder frozen in 2 lots for curry or pasta bake.  I boiled up the giblets and will use the stock for a sauce for the dinner tonight, Betty's had the giblets (other than the neck).  I then boiled the carcass for stock, then stripped the remaining scraps of meat off the carcass - there was a surprising amount, enough for a pot of soup using some of the stock, which has been frozen (I save 1kg Greek yogurt tubs from Lidl for making and freezing soups, they're very strong).  And another 3 pots of stock, also frozen.

The legs and wings I froze separately, raw - as mentioned yesterday, husband had to cut them off before the turkey would fit in my stock pot for brining.  I'll make a stew in the slow cooker from them, that'll make at least 6 portions I should think.

Marlene said in comments yesterday that she makes a pie with leftover turkey, dicing it and mixing in some ham and a jar of cranberry sauce, then covering it with made up stuffing and baking.  Sounds delicious to me, but my OH isn't that keen on cranberry sauce.  So I've adapted the idea, I'm using the turkey along with half a pack of smoked bacon rashers that need using up, I'll dry fry and dice them and will finely chop an onion to add too.  Instead of the jar of cranberry sauce, I'll use the giblet stock, thickening it with cornflour and adding a splash of cream (well, Elmlea actually) and just a spoonful of cranberry sauce.  A made up packet of sage and onion stuffing to be spread on the top, as Marlene suggested, then baked.  We'll have it with green veg.

I also used up some fruit oddments yesterday to make a mixed fruit crumble - 4 wrinkly dessert apples, a speckled banana, and the remains of some defrosted forest fruits I'd been having with yogurt for breakfasts.  Topped with half a tub of crumble mix I'd prepared couple of weeks ago for a rhubarb crumble for husband, made too much crumble and put the rest in the fridge and promptly forgot about it.  It's deee-lish-us, if a little too sweet for my taste - husband likes it though, the banana went all soft and fudgy on being cooked.

I think that's ALL the leftovers dealt with now, and am just about fed up with cooking!  Luckily, we're out tomorrow for dinner and to see the new year in with our friends, looking forward to that.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

A surprise bargain

Thanks for comments....we're clearly all 'ladies of a certain age'!!  I came off HRT at the beginning of this year, as I'd been on it for 6 or 7 years and my GP (male, who's now retired) was always asking how much longer I wanted to stay on it.  However, since being off it the night sweats have doubled in frequency and severity, and I also get daytime hot flushes now, which I rarely had on the HRT.  And as for my mood swings....well, they're pretty awful.  So perhaps it's time to go back on it, and it does give osteoporosis protection as well.  I've made an appointment to see my (female and about my age) GP to discuss it.

Yesterday we went to the pet store to get some more toys for Betty....she's very hard on toys, she's a chewer and has very strong jaws so toys don't last long, even the so-called tough ones.  Got a few, along with some good quality food that was on special offer.  

Whilst there, I decided to go in M&S Foodhall as it's next door to the pet store....didn't need anything, thought I'd just go for a nosy round.  I'm glad I did, they had lots of fresh meat reduced - I bought a free range bronze slow reared fresh turkey reduced to £11, original price £44.  We hardly ever have turkey as neither of us have been keen on it in the past - too dry (possibly overcooked!).  But I'd read several articles recently about brining the bird overnight (saw a couple of chefs on TV do it too), so decided to give that a go.  It's been soaking overnight in the (cold unheated) utility room in my giant stock pot (thank goodness I have it!) in a salt, brown sugar and spice water bath, with a couple of oranges and onions chopped up in it.  Even so, I still had to get husband to cut the legs and wings off first, to make it fit into the pot, I froze them for cooking at a later date.  I'll cook the turkey this morning, then portion it up and freeze it, and make stock from the carcass of course.  Think we've got enough meat for months and months now, what with the gammon and beef from the last couple of days, and the chicken, pork, mince and sausages already in the freezer.

Betty keeps going in the kitchen and sniffing....the turkey giblets are cooking, she'll have some of that for her tea tonight.  She had roast beef yesterday, husband says I spoil her - my answer to that is well of course I do, and he's just as spoilt!

Friday, 28 December 2018

My own personal sauna

Got up at 03.00, after tossing and turning for half an hour.  Last week we'd changed back to a summer weight duvet (4.5 tog) as the winter weight one was just far too hot for me and I was finding it virtually impossible to sleep.  This one is working out much better, generally speaking - husband has a thick double fleece blanket on his side, so he's warm enough, the summer quilt on its own is enough for me.  But tonight I'm having terrible night sweats again (the weather is a lot milder at the mo), felt like I was in a sauna so just had to get up again.  I'll go back to bed when I've cooled down a bit.

After dealing with all the gammon yesterday, we ended up with two lots of thick slices for ham, egg and chips, 4 bags full of diced ham for pasta bakes or pies, a bag of bits to go in soup (with some of the ham stock already frozen), and 2 pots of sandwich spread - finely minced ham mixed with butter, mustard and parsley, each pot will do 4 rounds of sandwiches.

The beef will have the same treatment today - some thin slices to be frozen in gravy, loads diced for pies and curries, and more sandwich spread - minced then mixed with butter and horseradish.  

So each joint, both of which we paid around £10 each for, will have done us for probably 14 or 16 meals for the 2 of us.  Good value, I'm really pleased with that.  

I had a quick look in the big freezer yesterday....we've still got a lot of steak mince, diced pork, sausages and chicken breasts.  Nearly out of fish though - all the salmon's gone (we'd bought a whole salmon some weeks ago when Morrisons had it at half price and husband cut it up into steaks, salmon is my favourite fish), but there are a couple of smoked cod or haddock fillets in there, oh and a pack of smoked salmon pieces that I'd forgotten we had.  Loads of frozen veg still, and several tubs of homemade cauli & broccoli cheese and several of homemade mash mixed with cabbage and onions.  Some frozen Yorkshires too - I make a dozen at a time and freeze them.  So we're in no danger of starving!

Right, it's 04.10 and I've cooled down now so am back off to bed, hopefully I'll go back to sleep, fingers crossed.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Ghost shop

Silly o'clock again....01.37, bit earlier this time.  Oh well, will write a blog post, read the paper online whilst I drink my warm milk, then back upstairs with hopefully a bit longer in bed for the second shift.

We went to Morrisons (supermarket, for those readers not in the UK) about 3/4 hour before it closed, as I was nearly out of eggs and my lactose-free milk.  We looked to see if they'd got any good reductions on meat or fish - nope, they had very few reductions and what they had was only pennies off.  The shop looked like the aftermath of a panic-buying spree (which I guess it was really!)....rows and rows of empty shelves.  Almost no bread, good job we didn't need any - I'd got husband to make 2 loaves at the weekend.  However, I did manage to get 2 packs of asparagus for 18p each.  Wrong time of year to be buying it, as it's not UK grown obviously, but I love asparagus and am not turning it down at that price.  The shop was also empty of customers, apart from perhaps 4 or 5 other people besides us.  Hardly any staff either, seemed almost pointless them still being open.  Our neighbour friends' daughter had been to work this morning in a Co-op, she said they'd had hardly any customers at all and it wasn't worth them opening up.

Having had 3 roast dinners this week, I want something light for the rest of the week.  So tomorrow (well, technically today!  But it'll be tomorrow seeing as I'll be going back up to bed soon) we'll have a cheese and asparagus frittata with salad.  

The roast beef we had today was cooked perfectly, medium rare and totally delicious.  Loads left, will have a beef sandwich for lunch tomorrow but not yet decided what to do with the rest.  I'd originally thought of a curry with some of it, but it seems a shame to hide such lovely rare beef in curry sauce.  Too tired to think now.  In fact I don't think I'll be reading the paper after all, am tired enough to go back to bed now.  What's the betting I'll be wide awake though as soon as my head hits the pillow?!

Wednesday, 26 December 2018


I lay awake in bed thinking about using up the leftover cooked ham and stock (as you do....well, I've got to think about something when I can't sleep!).  On the one hand, it does seem a bit daft buying a large joint when it's just the two of us.  But larger joints are cheaper per kilo than small ones, and I look at the bigger picture - i.e., lots of meals to be made from the one joint.  

Six pots of stock have gone in the freezer (I simmered the joint first in part cloudy apple juice/part water with a chopped carrot and onion and some herbs, then roasted with a grainy mustard and marmalade glaze).  We'll slice some of the meat and leave in the fridge for sandwiches.  Some will be used in a pasta bake, and some for pea and ham soup using some of the stock.  More will be diced and frozen for future use in risotto or frittatas.  And some I'm going to mince along with a shallot in the food processor, then mix with butter and mustard to make a sort of pate for toast.  So our one gammon joint, which we bought a month or so ago when it was on a good special offer, will do us for probably a dozen meals.

Beef today, another large joint bought around the same time as the gammon, again on a very good offer.  So more leftovers to think about tomorrow!

Husband has generously volunteered to cook the dinner today.....erm, all he has to do is put the beef in the oven, and I worked out all the timings for him, and the veggies and Yorkies I already did on Xmas eve.  So basically he's just got to serve it up!  😂  I'm not complaining, at least I can just sit today crocheting or reading.  Although no doubt I'll have to wash up later....after all, he's cooking the dinner!  😉

After lying awake in bed for a while last night, I came downstairs for an hour.  I've accepted that my pattern at the moment - well, for the last few weeks - is that I sleep for the first couple of hours after going to bed (I have no trouble getting off to sleep initially), but wake up in the early hours and am wide awake then for a couple of hours.  It seems to be the time when my mind is most active, so I may as well give in to it and come downstairs to play on the computer, or read or crochet, or make lists.  I have a hot drink and go back to bed after an hour or two, when I can usually (but not always) go back to sleep for another couple of hours.  So on average I'm getting about 4 or 5 hours actual sleep a night.  Not ideal, and is why I'm permanently tired, but I expect it will sort itself out eventually.

I really don't like the time between Christmas and New Year - it feels like we're just marking time until the new year starts.  Roll on the new year!!

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Thank you

Thanks for all the Christmas wishes.

Bit of an anxious start....sister had to call paramedics out to mum last night, poor old thing had a bad reaction to new medication she's been put on.  Paramedics checked her over thoroughly (sis initially thought she may have had another mini stroke), then stayed with her for 2 hours until she'd recovered.  They spoke to an emergency doctor, who said she needs to stop taking the med and see her own GP again urgently as soon as the surgery opens after Xmas.  This new med was a temporary measure to stop her being sick, prescribed by her GP, whilst they await the results of tests she's been having to determine why she's been projectile vomiting recently.  It's all a bit worrying.  The hospital did say she hasn't got stomach cancer (which was an initial consideration), does have a hiatus hernia, but they think there's something else going on too, hence the further tests.  So now she's got to put up with the sickness again in the meantime.  She told me she wishes she just didn't wake up in the morning, as she's so tired and worn out with all her many health problems.  

We've spent a lovely afternoon at our friends' house, came home early as Betty wasn't too well this morning and we didn't want to leave her too long, although she seems fine now.  Thank you (you know who you are!), I'm feeling a bit better about things now.  Not 100%, but better than before.

I hope everyone's had a lovely day.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Wishing everyone whatever kind of Christmas they desire x

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

It's nearly here....

No, not Christmas (which I don't really care about) - the winter solstice, the shortest day.  I know it won't make a huge amount of difference to the length of the days for ages yet, but it is a huge psychological boost.  It's all getting better and brighter from Friday onwards....well, that's what I'm telling myself.  As I type this there's yet another howling gale raging outside, we seem to have had loads of them lately.  I hate winter.

It's silly o'clock again (01.42 to be precise).  Seems like I have one fairly good night after weeks of constant broken nights and being totally knackered, and then it's back to normal, waking up and not being able to get back to sleep.  And it's always when it's the middle of the night and you can't sleep that your mind is the most active, and it's never good stuff is it.

There's one thing that's going round and round in my mind and it's hurting me a lot.  But there's nothing I can do about it, I've tried.  I just wish things were different.  Or that I could let go, which it looks like i'm going to have to.  It just feels like years of my life are being dumped, without a thought or care.

I know I'm not making much sense and nobody - well, almost nobody - knows what i'm talking about.  I can't say any more.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Good night!

Things are looking up....husband is more or less back to normal, and we both had a good night - slept fairly well and neither of us got out of bed during the night.  

This week I'm going to be using up lots of things out of the freezer - meals previously made and frozen, homegrown veggies and fruit.  I'm hoping to make room for Christmas leftovers for a start - we've got a large gammon and a beef joint, large ones bought purposely when they were on offer to give us lots of meals.  I'm also hoping to stock up on plenty of veg, as it's generally reduced to around 29p at this time of year.  Then after Christmas, the supermarkets usually reduce their massive overstocks of fresh food to silly, a couple of years ago I bought 6 large pots of double cream reduced to 5p, I froze it all and then made butter with it.  So I need the room in the freezer to take advantage of bargain reductions.

Thank you for comments once again, and welcome to a couple of new readers.

And a message for TA - you DO help me, by being such a lovely and supportive friend and I love you for it x

Sunday, 16 December 2018

I need matchsticks

I think I'm destined never to catch up on sleep.  I was desperate to have an early night last night, but unfortunately it wasn't to be.  Neighbours 3 houses down, a young couple, had a party last night...the music wasn't deafeningly loud, in fact we didn't even hear it until husband turned the TV off.  But Betty could hear it - there was a lot of coming and going too, with people arriving and leaving in cars, which set her off all the time.  She's quite protective of our home and has a particular kind of bark when she hears a noise - it's not a loud bark, more of a low warning 'woof' - she was woofing quite a lot last night.  Husband, who is feeling a lot better but isn't quite back to normal yet, went up about 9.30 pm, I knew I wouldn't sleep until Betty had settled.  So I stayed downstairs until around midnight, by which time I just couldn't keep my eyes open anymore and my book kept dropping off my lap.  I did hear her woofing a couple of times shortly after I went to bed, presumably when people were going home, but was too tired to get up and check on her.  However, around 02.30 am she woke me up, woofing quite loudly, so I went downstairs - she was actually fast asleep, clearly chasing burglars (or partygoers) away in her dreams!  There was no party noise by that time, thankfully, but it took me a while to drop back off to sleep.

I'll have to ring the GP surgery tomorrow....I'm nearly out of my anti-anxiety medication and the doctor hasn't put it on my repeat prescription list.  Had to go in there last week to collect husband's meds, so asked for them to add my med to the repeat list.  Have just checked and they haven't done it - I can't re-order it if it's not on the repeat list, and that in itself is making me anxious!  Got a dentist appointment at the end of the week too....just a check up but I've been having a niggling pain in one tooth.  It's not too bad, more of a dull ache than an actual pain and is certainly bearable, I hope it doesn't need anything painful doing to it, last thing I want is a painful mouth just before Christmas.

Not shown any signs of coming down with husband's virus, thank goodness, he's kept it to himself.  Touch wood.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Tomorrow is another day...

...that's what I keep telling myself.

Thank you for all the kind comments, it's nice to know people care.  Marlene, I hope your husband is better soon and that your sleep's crap, isn't it.  Pam, I've checked through my stash and I do have 3 or 4 suitable colour balls spare, but thank you for your offer to send me some, that's so kind of you.  Gemma's Person, I don't mind at all, and yes it does feel like we all know each other.  Husband is on the mend, he feels much better today and slept quite well without having to get up in the night.  I didn't, of course (sleep well, I mean).

Had a mini meltdown yesterday, over something fairly trivial, it shows how all the stress and lack of sleep is affecting me.  There are times when I feel I'm a hairs breadth away from having a nervous breakdown or throwing myself under a tractor (no buses here!), and yesterday was one of those days.  Needless to say, all the stuff I was planning to do yesterday didn't get done.  So what.  It'll get done today - or not.

Awful weather here, strong winds and rain lashing down.  It's days like this when I almost (almost! but not really) wish we didn't have a dog, but of course she needs to go out, regardless of the weather.  I occasionally look at the dog rehoming sites, we often think it would be lovely for Betty to have a companion - well yesterday we saw another Shar Pei listed, an older one (8 y.o.) who looked so nearly identical to Betty they could be related....I was sorely tempted, and even husband looked interested.  But we can't afford another dog, Betty costs us enough as it is.  

I'm glad the Strictly final is on tonight, something to look forward to after what's been a shitty week, for one reason or another.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Some answers

Thank you for comments, I'll answer some questions here.  

Husband's still got the lurgy.  We're supposed to be having our neighbour friends in tomorrow evening for our dominoes & pizza night, but I think we'll have to put it off - husband's in no fit state for socialising, and we don't want to risk infecting them with whatever he's got, as they have family arriving next week to stay for Christmas.

We do have 2 spare bedrooms, and so I slept in one of them last night....well, I say slept, I didn't actually get a lot of sleep as I was a bit concerned about him.  He had to get up for the loo 2 or 3 times, which woke me up (I'm a very light sleeper) and he was very restless, I could hear him tossing and turning.  He says he feels a bit better this morning.

I'm really not loving the greens in the blanket.  I can see why Lucy chose them - to represent the stems of the sweet pea flowers - but green, any shade of really, is not my favourite colour.  Briony, you asked what the yarn is like to work with - lovely, Stylecraft Special is what I've used for years, in DK, Aran and Chunky, it's a premium acrylic and is lovely and soft.  Brenda asked if I'm doing the blanket in single's a small cluster-type stitch that I use for most of my blankets, as it's so easy, looks good, doesn't need thinking about and I can almost do it with my eyes shut.  I do one double crochet and one treble (UK terms, I think that's one single and one double in US terms but don't quote me on it!) both in the same stitch, then miss one stitch, then repeat.  See, I said it was easy!

Lucy showed a section of the new CAL blanket on her blog a week or so ago, using all 15 colours in the pack, 2 rows of each.  I've followed her sequence of colours so far, but will finish this first section within the next few days.  Obviously, I don't know how she's working out the colours for the next section (she has mentioned 2 different colourways on her blog).  So I can either wait for the CAL to start in January, to see how she does it, or I could do my own thing and use whatever colours I which case, I probably wouldn't use much of the green shades.  Which means I might not have enough yarn from the pack to do the size I want, if I don't use all the greens, but I almost certainly have some spares in other colours in my stash, I'll have a look later.

I was going to make the pizza today (the dough is already made and frozen) - well, add the topping ready to cook tomorrow.  I was also going to do some mini quiches, pigs in blankets with cranberry relish dip, cheese straws and a mincemeat crumble traybake, all for dominoes night tomorrow.  I think I may still do them anyway, even though we're not having the neighbours in - I'll give half to them as it saves neighbour H having to cook tomorrow.  She likes a day off cooking now and then, same as me.  The rest I'll freeze, they'll probably come in useful over Christmas/New year.

I've done the shopping for next week online, neither of us fancied battling the crowds in the supermarket to get it done, so that job's out of the way.  

Thursday, 13 December 2018

A day off (probably not though)

From feeling not too bad yesterday, husband's gone downhill again, he's got some kind of gastric thing going on, he was up to the loo every couple of hours through the night and was shivering all the time.  We've put the winter weight quilt on the bed this week as he was feeling the cold, meaning I'm now sweltering every night, with the quilt pushed down to my waist and my feet stuck out the bottom.  And having the heating on all day isn't doing my hot flushes any good either - so he's freezing, even with several layers of clothes on, and I'm sweltering with just a t-shirt.  Ho hum.

He says he's staying in bed today (I bet he doesn't) to catch up on some sleep.  Every time he's awake and up during the night, so am I (he's a very noisy patient), and I always get up a couple of hours before him in the mornings.  I suppose I'll catch up on my sleep eventually.  He reckons he doesn't actually feel ill, apart from a bit of a rumbly stomach and feeling cold.

At least it means I have a day off cooking.  There's homemade soup if he feels like eating something later.  I can just have my usual easy comfort foods - cereal and cheese on toast, yum!

I can also have a day without the bloody TV on all the time, and get on with my crocheting in peace.  Here's what I've done so far (well actually, I've done another couple of rows since then):-

I wasn't keen on the greens, but the other colours are gorgeous, Lucy's got a fabulous eye for colour and they're all definitely Sweet pea colours.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

More health stuff, just to keep us from getting bored

Thank you for comments, as always.  After my lack of sleep Sunday night, I slept reasonably well last night, albeit not for very long....went to bed around midnight and was woken up before 6 by husband shooting out of bed groaning.  I thought he'd got cramp, turns out he just really needed the loo!

He's not feeling well, said he was awake most of the night shivering and with chest pains....didn't do the obvious thing of waking me up to tell me, or getting out of bed to collect another blanket, of which we have loads.  He's a typical man, his way of dealing with health problems is to totally ignore them, until they get worse and worse, and then has a bit of a panic knee-jerk reaction.  I made him use his GTN spray (doesn't even think to do that unless I tell him to), and ascertained what his symptoms were, it didn't sound (or look) to me like he was having a heart attack.  And I have been instructed, by his cardiac nurse, on what to look for, so am fairly confident I could identify it if he was having one.  Anyway, I got him an emergency GP appointment for early this morning, if only to reassure him.  The GP, a very jolly friendly one who did his training in a cardiac care unit so knows what he's talking about, checked him over thoroughly and said the pains were nothing to do with his heart, but muscular in origin - he said probably a result of something very mundane like taking the bins out or carrying something awkwardly.  

He also said husband's lungs, chest, BP and pulse are fine, but he's probably got the start of a cold or virus, hence the shivering and feeling generally under the weather.  I got the GP to explain to husband exactly what a heart pain feels like and how it differs from, say, ordinary muscular pain, as husband doesn't really understand the difference, despite being told by the cardiac nurse.  I know all this heart stuff is very new to us, him only being diagnosed a few months ago, but he is sometimes a bit anxious about it....understandably.

Our 3-day very low carb diet which we were due to start yesterday, has gone out of the window a bit, life has got in the way.  We're still having a sensible eating week, though....well, until Saturday when we have our neighbour friends in for a festive dominoes evening, provided husband is fit enough.

Roll on Spring!!

Monday, 10 December 2018

Night time when you can't sleep

Thank you for comments, the newborn calf and mother have been taken out of the field - I didn't see them go, just noticed that they're not there anymore.  I hope it means they're being looked after in a warm shed and not anything more sinister, will have to ask the farmer next time we see him.

Hazel asked about the Sweetpea blanket and what pattern I'm following.  I didn't want to wait until January to start, I wanted to make a start now seeing as it's turned so much colder.  Lucy of Attic24 published a blog post last week showing part of the blanket in the new Trellis stitch she's developed for the CAL, it was easy enough to work out what the pattern is, however, I wouldn't know how many chains or what multiple of chains she begins with.  So I decided to do my own thing, using my usual small cluster stitch I mostly use for blankets.  I'm following the colour sequence that Lucy showed for the portion of blanket pictured - what I'll do when I've finished those initial rows I don't know - I guess I have a choice between waiting then until January, or carrying on using my own initiative!  It's coming along fine at the moment, i'm loving doing it and the colours are beautiful.  I'm also not making it the standard 4ft by 6ft single bed size that Lucy normally aim is to make it around 5ft square, I just did enough foundation chains until it measured 5ft long.

By the way, if anyone else has asked a question which I haven't got round to apologies, and please feel free to give me a nudge. 

I'm writing this at 3 in the morning....can't sleep as I still have an upset stomach and my anxiety levels are high right now, palpitations are making my heart feel like it's bursting out of my chest.  Taken meds and just waiting for it to ease off.  For various reasons, I've been feeling very stressed the past week or two - I know this time of year is stressful for most people with the run up to Christmas.  It's not that though, seeing as we don't really 'do' Christmas, we're not doing anything or going anywhere for it this year, we're under no pressure to buy presents or prepare mountains of food for guests (not having any guests to stay).  I'm a bit worried about husband, he's not coping with the really cold weather very well, it's a heart failure thing apparently and this of course is his first winter since being diagnosed.  I'm so glad he retired from work last year, he just wouldn't have been able to manage 12 hour shifts driving at night now.

I guess I've just felt so alone this year.  Husband deals with his health problems by more or less ignoring it, it's me who has had to organise all his medical appointments, change his diet, keep on top of his medication, make sure he's not overdoing things.  Friends and family live so far away and I get little or no support, I know everyone has their own stuff going on.  Sometimes I just wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all go away, or go and live on a desert island for a week or two.  The future does scare me a bit.  Well, quite a lot actually.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Why we live here

Thank you for the amazing amount of comments, and welcome to several new readers.  I've calmed down now, it did really annoy and upset me at first.  Whilst I certainly have got a lot stronger in recent weeks, I'm not impervious to criticism, particularly when it's spiteful, and when you suffer with anxiety and depression from time to time, it's not always easy to shrug off things like that.  

Anyhow, enough of that, it's not worth spending any more time on.

I think we saved a calf in the front field the other day.  The field currently has 5 had 12 to begin with, all pregnant, as each one had their babies they were mostly moved elsewhere, until just the 5 were left, 3 of whom had calves.  I always look out of the front bedroom window as soon as it gets light, a couple of mornings ago I noticed a 4th cow had given birth, presumably during the night/early morning, the newborn calf was lying beside the mother just in front of the hedge.  An hour or 2 later, it was still lying there and the mother seemed to be quite agitated, mooing a lot and constantly nudging the calf with her nose.  To cut a long story short, after the calf had been lying prone in the same spot for several hours (and clearly not being able to suckle from that position, so getting weaker all the time), we got in touch with the farmer, who came straight out.  He managed, after several attempts, to get the calf on its feet - it was extremely wobbly and weak.  He then spent another half hour or so attempting to get it to suckle from the mother - it did eventually, thankfully.  He came back out to the pair another couple of times during the afternoon to check on them, all seems well, thank goodness.  The farmer does check on the cattle every day, but not usually till the end of the day - if we hadn't noticed the calf earlier on, i'm guessing it might not have survived.  

And that's one of the reasons we love living here, as well as beautiful views, we have all the farm goings on, livestock and wildlife to watch.  Having mostly lived in towns before moving down here, I never realised just how hard farmers work, they have my complete admiration - not just for their hard work, but for their total love for their animals.

I didn't sleep well last night (combination of things) and have an upset stomach this morning, so I really am doing bugger all today.  And it's blowing a gale out there.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

A follow up to my 'Being Poor' post

Some more comments came in after I last replied....from Goldensunflower, Jules, Tracy and Anonymous, thank you all.  Anonymous (welcome, any chance of a first name....or something to call you by?  Doesn't have to be your real name, of course) suggested I try Jobseekers Allowance - I'm not eligible for that, unfortunately, but thank you for the help. 

I've also had some more comments, which aren't being published - I think you'll see why when I tell you what they were.

Somebody has said that it's the likes of them paying taxes that enables us to claim benefits and puts food in our mouths, presumably they consider us to be scroungers.  How offensive is that?! (and how wrong!).  My husband started work in the 1960s, the day after his 15th birthday, and carried on working without any breaks in employment until he retired last year at the age of 66 - over a year past his official retirement date.  He paid high taxes and NI all his life, I also worked full time for most of my life from the age of 18 (with no breaks to have children, seeing as I don't have any).  So any benefits we get and food we put in our mouths are paid for by US and OUR employment history!!  Neither of us has EVER claimed ANY benefits before now.  

We didn't even claim these benefits we get now, initially, for the simple reason that we didn't know we were entitled to them - it was pointed out to us by somebody official, who suggested we apply.

I'm getting a bit tired of having people who don't even know me making judgemental, offensive, uninformed and totally wrong comments.  If they carry on, I WILL name and shame them.  If you don't like what I say on my blog, then don't read it - simples!  

I'm also getting fed up with 2 particular people always assuming that whenever I write something negative or moaning, it's always about them!  I do know more than 2 people, my blog posts are not always about or directed to just them, and if they think I ONLY write about them, then that says more about them and their self-obsession than it does me!

Lots done and a recipe - veggie cobbler

Thank you for comments, I got a lot done on my day off.  Started out with a list of 6 things, with another 3 added - all things that I wanted to do, rather than had to do.  Well, other than putting a washload on.  Oh, and cooking dinner - more of which later, it was delish.  Managed to complete 7 things off the list, the remaining 2 will be done today.

I put the Christmas decorations up in the hall window, they look really nice, I'm pleased with them.  Will take a pic later if I remember.  I've done the menu plan for our next 3-day restricted diet, which we're going to do Mon, Tues and Weds next week, just need to nip out Sunday to get some fresh veg, we have everything else necessary.  

On the subject of veg, has anyone noticed the price of a sack of spuds in your area?  We've used all our homegrown spuds, other than the very last ones husband planted in bags in the greenhouse, which might be ready next month.  So we decided to buy a 25kg sack of potatoes, they'll keep quite well in our cold utility room.  I think the last time we bought a sack of spuds, admittedly a few years ago, they were around £3 or £3.50.  Well, the local plant nursery and farm shop, which says they have the cheapest prices around, were selling 3 different varieties for...…£10.50 a sack!!  I was gobsmacked.  We ended up buying a half sack - £5.75, which is even pricier for half the amount.  Scandalous.  But it does mean we won't need to buy spuds for several weeks.

I also went on a comparison site and managed to change our dog insurance - the renewal from our present insurers showed a rise of about 50%, which I wasn't prepared to pay - I know we had an initial discount, but 50% is a bit much when we've not made a claim.  I found another insurer offering almost the same cover for considerably less than we pay now, not even including the extra 50%.  Pays to shop around.  

Sat and sewed in the ends on the blanket - it's a job I hate doing, which is why I generally tend to put it off, and am then faced with dozens and dozens to do at the end of the blanket.  Doing 6 or 8 at a time is so much easier.

The dinner - I had some root veggies going a bit soft - carrots, parsnips and new potatoes.  I chopped them all up and parboiled them, then drained and put them in an oven dish.  I added some chopped mushrooms and herbs, then mixed in onion sauce (a packet one, just because we like it).  In the freezer I'd got some cheese scones which had been there for ages and had a bit of freezer burn.  I defrosted them, diced them up and scattered them over the top of the veggies, sprinkled them with olive oil and put the dish in the oven for 20 mins.  When the diced scones were turning brown and crispy, I took the dish out and sprinkled grated Cheddar on top and returned it to the oven.  It was delicious, husband had some broccoli with his, I've given up eating it as I've never liked it and only really ate it because it's good for us.  But with my new philosophy on life I've decided I'm not having it anymore - I don't like broccoli, so I'm not eating it, so there!  How's that for stubbornness and determination?!

Today I just have to do the things I didn't get round to yesterday - making a mincemeat crumble traybake for husband, and some salmon dog biscuits for, er, the dog.  They sound expensive but they're not at all - they're made with a cheap jar of salmon paste.

So my 'day off' wasn't just sitting on my bum watching TV and crocheting all day - far from it, I got loads done, things I haven't had time for other days.  I couldn't sit on my bum all day if I wanted to, it would give me terrible backache.

Oh yes, the boring chutney from the other day.....I reboiled it, adding some more spices and a couple of our homegrown dried chillies, plus the remaining dregs (about a 6th of the bottle) of some ginger wine left over from last Christmas.  Wow, it is now blooming lovely, if I do say so myself.

Friday, 7 December 2018

My day off!

Morning all, thank you for comments and welcome to new followers.  

Betty had her grooming session yesterday and is all soft and smelling lovely now....until she goes out for her walk this morning in the rain and mud!  Ah well, that's life lol.

We used to take her to the large national chain pet store in town for grooming, they're very good with her and she likes it there....but it costs £28.  We discovered just a few weeks ago (how did we not know this before?!) that the agricultural college just down the road from us have dog grooming classes, the public can take their dogs there as the students need dogs to practise on, under the watchful guidance of  the instructor.  We took Betty there last month for a 'meet and greet' on the advice of the instructor - Betty was fine (she would be anyway, seeing as she loves meeting new people) and I was very happy with the lovely lady instructor and the facilities - the instructor even clipped Betty's claws whilst we were there and refused payment!  For a full grooming service - thorough brush to get rid of all loose hair, bath and blow dry, ear cleaning, nail clipping, walk on lead for a wee in a fully fenced area, they charge just £10.  Betty loved it, they loved her, so that's where we're taking her in future.  She really doesn't like us bathing her, she gets stressed and we and the bathroom get absolutely soaked, so £10 is a small price to pay (a damn sight smaller than £28!) for her and our peace of mind.

I have a list of jobs to do today - but they're things I WANT to do, not things I HAVE to do, so I'm looking forward to doing them.  It includes putting the decorations I only decorate the hall window though, it won't take long!  I have the ends to sew in on my new crochet blanket....I'm doing the sensible thing this time and sewing in ends after each half a dozen rows, rather than leaving it all to the end and being faced with masses and masses of them.  I'm really enjoying doing this new blanket - I bought Lucy of Attic24's new Sweetpea CAL pack, using some saved birthday money - the CAL (crochet-a-long) isn't due to start until January, but I wanted to start now, doing my own usual small cluster stitch but following the colour stripe scheme she showed on her blog post.  The colours are beautiful, just my sort of thing, and will go perfectly in our bedroom.  I also want to have a go at making pikelets (sort of flat crumpets, yeasted breakfast or Sunday tea type things, for my readers across the pond) - think I made them once years and years ago, possibly at school but never since.  Other than that, I'll just be watching a couple of things we've recorded but not yet got round to viewing.

Have a good day all.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Should have gone to Specsavers! (oh, he did)

Wow, thank you all so much for your comments, including from lots of new readers, following my soapbox moment yesterday.  I've always stood up for myself over the years - except when I thought it wasn't worth my time - but now even more so.  It's like a switch has been flicked inside me and I've become much more decisive and assertive.

Yesterday morning we went out early to go to husband's optician appointment.  We got nearly to the end of our lane, when he suddenly decided he needed the loo and reversed back at speed (about 100 yards).  Through sheer carelessness (bearing in mind he's been a professional HGV driver all his life), he bashed the side of the car into our neighbour's stone wall, smashing the wing mirror and indicator light underneath it to bits, breaking the reflector light the neighbour has on their wall (for safety reasons!) and scaring me half to death.  (and as I said, we were on our way to town to his EYE TEST appointment!!).

After I'd recovered from the shock (and the desire to whack him round the head with all the bits of wing mirror he'd left me to pick up whilst he dashed indoors), I thought - well, I can either be right moody and let it spoil my day, or I can just put it out of my mind, place it all firmly on his shoulders and leave him to deal with it all entirely by himself.  So that's what I did, telling him it was up to him to sort out (including how to pay for it) and I didn't want to know.  I know it was an accident, I'm not dwelling on it, hopefully that's the 3rd thing to do with the car out of the way now and there won't be anything else!  

I left him in the opticians and went off for a mooch around town by myself, something I almost never get the chance to do.  It was good, I hardly spent anything, only buying some paracetamol and dog treats and a little Christmas decoration for £1 in a charity shop, it was just nice to have a look round on my own.  

Incidentally, his eyesight has hardly changed, he doesn't need new glasses (!!) and his hearing is also fine.  So it's just selective hearing then, as is normal for men ;-).

Out early again this morning to take Betty to the groomers, then housework to do for the rest of the day, along with spicing up and reboiling the boring chutney I talked about the other day.  I want to get everything done so I can have the day free on Friday - I'm going to have a day doing absolutely bugger all!

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The reality of being poor!

There's something I need to point out, as some people don't seem to have grasped it:-

This is a frugal blog, we live a frugal and thrifty lifestyle - because we have to!  Husband is retired and gets State pension, Pension credit, Housing benefit and 3 small (very small) private pensions.  I am not yet retirement age, having 7 or 8 years to go yet (at least) before I am entitled to State view of the fact that the Government keep moving the goalposts, I may never get there! (don't get me started on that!).  I do get a private pension, also very small.  Because I am not of retirement age and not disabled, I am not eligible for any benefits.  I do, however, get free prescriptions (because of my diabetes) and free dental treatment - husband's Pension credit covers me for that (just as well in view of the amount of (ongoing) dental treatment I've had this year).  The Housing Benefit does not cover our total rent, they only pay what our family circumstances entitle us to, which is a 1 bedroom flat - as we have a 3 bedroom house our rent is dearer, so we have to pay the balance.

That's the sum total of our joint income.  We don't own our home, for reasons I'm not going into as it's nobody else's business, we rent privately.  If we did own our home, we would have paid off our mortgage by now, having bought our first home about 34 years ago, whereas renting means we have to pay ad infinitum, and are also continually at the mercy of our Landlord.  But that's life.

We did have savings put aside for car repairs and emergencies - the 2 breakdowns we had recently, costing around £1000, wiped out those savings completely.  We have no arrears and all bills are paid by direct debit, we don't lead a frivolous lifestyle, far from it, we don't belong to any golf or gardening or social clubs or anything that costs membership - we're not on the breadline but have very little spare cash.  Particularly since we now have to try to put money aside to build up our emergency fund again - if we had another car breakdown anytime soon, I have no idea what we'd do.  We almost never go out for meals, we never go to the cinema or the pub or to events or places that cost money - we cannot afford it.  We only buy 'stuff' if it's necessary - and we look for either second hand or a very good sale price.  We shop at Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons and Asda - because that's what we can afford.  We used to buy our meat in bulk 2 or 3 times a year from a local butcher - haven't done for over a year, we just can't afford it now.

So, as I said, we live a very thrifty lifestyle, because we bloody well have no other choice!  I'm not complaining, we love our life.  But it would be nice to be spontaneous sometimes and go out for a meal, or buy something nice for the house that we see in a shop, or not have to take a flask of coffee and a sandwich every time we go out for a day but buy lunch in a café instead.  We hardly ever go for days out now anyhow, not just because of the weather but also because of the cost of fuel.  We've turned down 2 Christmas evening out invitations because we couldn't afford the ticket prices.  It does get a bit demoralising sometimes, but we shake it off and have a coffee and bit of homemade cake.

But some people just don't seem to get it.  We don't shop in Waitrose or M&S Foodhall, we don't have fresh flowers every week, we don't buy meat from butchers or classy farm shops, we don't buy new clothes or shoes (unless we have a lucky find in a charity shop, or an excellent bargain in a sale).  We don't do any of that because we can't afford to!  If we do buy something (like my new winter coat), then we have to go without something else.

If we go on holiday, it's the cheapest we can find, usually a budget caravan or chalet lodge, and we have to save all year for that.  And we can't go any great distance because of the cost of fuel.  We go to the Midlands once a year and stay in a budget caravan on a nice site for a few days, just so we can visit our family....because we're respectful and take good care of the owner's caravan and leave it in a clean and tidy state, he lets us have a discount, otherwise we couldn't afford that.  We count ourselves very lucky if we are able to afford to go on holiday, even in a budget caravan.

This is a blog about our frugal, thrifty (cheap, if you want to say it without frills) lifestyle - it is what it is, it's our life.  I read lots of other frugal, thrifty blogs, because they're on my wavelength, they get it, they're non-judgemental.  But there are people who, for some odd reason, read mine and other thrifty blogs when they have no need to lead the kind of budget life we do - it's obvious from some of their comments that they're not short of a bob or two, so I don't quite see what the attraction is.  Perhaps they just like to show off?!  Or perhaps they're so wrapped up in their own luxurious comfortable free-spending bubble that they simply cannot comprehend someone else's reality of not being able to afford what are luxuries to us, but everyday items to them.

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I think it needed saying - this is our life, our life is not your life, we can't afford the things you do, we're poor but (reasonably, given the year we've had) happy!

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Not a whinge...more of a slight disgruntlement ;-)

Hello all, thank you for comments again and welcome to some new followers.  Seems more people are finding me now, since I gave up trying to make my blog private.  Not that I mind - I've got over trying to 'discourage' some people reading - if they insist on going to the trouble of finding me and reading, well then they can't get irritated if they read something they don't like.  Nobody is forcing them to read, after all.  Having been an emotional wreck for most of this year, I feel a lot stronger now...harder, even, and less likely to put up with things or people that upset me. 

I shall be glad when husband's had his eye test tomorrow and gets new glasses ordered - if indeed he needs stronger ones, which I'm fairly sure he will.  I know this is partly a man thing - he can't see what's right at the end of his nose, unless I point it out to him.  A perfect example - the other day in the supermarket I'd sent him off to get a box of 15 eggs.  He was gone quite a time, I found him in the egg aisle, standing in front of them, seemingly clueless.  3 times I pointed to the 15 eggs boxes and said 'there they are', each time he said 'where?'.  The final time I did say 'THERE!!' quite loudly and a woman pushing her trolley past at the time laughed and said 'I feel your pain!'.

He is terrible at washing up, he's got a lot worse lately, I have to re-wash more and more things he's supposedly already washed as they still have food or coffee stains on.  And he never washes the outside, bottoms or backs of anything!  I know some will say I should be grateful that he washes up at all, and I am - mostly.  But it's not much help if I have to re-wash half of what he's done, is it?  I've told him he should wear his glasses and he says he does...trouble is, it's usually his distance glasses he's wearing as he likes to gaze out of the window over the field rather than looking at what he's doing.  So, as I say, I'm fairly sure he needs new glasses!

It's our lovely neighbour friend's birthday tomorrow (she's a month younger than me), I'm just about to make her a bread pudding.  Not a traditional birthday cake, I know!  But she really likes bread pudding, it's one of her favourites.  

Monday, 3 December 2018

No we didn't go mad!! And some great news

Thank you for all the congratulations, I'm still on a high from losing that weight, we'll definitely be having a 3 day diet stint every week or 2.  I don't mind being very strict for 3 days, it'll help us to continue losing weight without getting bored and giving up altogether.  

On Saturday for dinner we had a 1/4 pounder burger each, shop bought frozen ones, which I topped with blue cheese, with oven chips and an olive ciabatta roll spread with Bertolli and mayo, to stuff the chips in.  Oh and coleslaw on the side as a token bit of veg.  The chip butty was lovely, the burger was just alright - but it kept repeating on me and gave me indigestion all night.  Think I'll stick to making my own in future.  Sunday's dinner was lean minced beef with loads of chopped veggies in, served on horseradish mash, lovely.  Other than the chip butty, oh and a packet of crisps whilst watching Strictly Saturday night (fantastic, by the way - both Strictly and the crisps!), we didn't go overboard foodwise at all really.

Out to town this morning, to pick up something on order.  No, not a Christmas gift, something practical.  We like soft lighting in our lounge in the evenings, one fairly dim floor lamp behind husband's armchair, a small lamp on the desk and a large glass jar on the mantel filled with fairy lights.  It's all very restful and easy on the eyes....trouble is, I can't see to read or crochet, the lighting is just too dim.  So I'm getting a floor lamp to stand beside my chair, it's called a Father and Child lamp, an uplighter with a small adjustable reading lamp lower down the stand, should be just right for me to see by in the evenings, each light has an independent switch so I don't have to have both on if not needed.

Some good news (for a change!) - my mother was undergoing tests for a gastric problem, the possibility of stomach cancer had cropped up.  The tests showed no sign of cancer, she has a hiatus hernia.  Not very nice for her, of course, but what a relief it's nothing more serious.  She's been told to eat small meals, little and often, and nothing too spicy (she doesn't like spicy anyway).  She already takes medication to protect her stomach from the side effects of her aspirin.

Husband's got the dentist today, eye and hearing tests Wednesday.  Betty's going to the groomers on Thursday for a bath and nail clip.  I shall be doing some baking this week (I missed that last week), and have some chutney to try and pep up.  I made a batch of fruity chutney back in the Spring, 6's ok but nothing special, not spicy enough and not up to my usual standard.  4 unopened jars of it have been sat in the cupboard ever since, we had 1 jar a few months back, didn't have another for a while as we weren't keen.  I opened another jar a couple of weeks ago, thinking it might have matured and got better with age - nope, still boring.  So I'm going to put it all back in the pan, add some more spices and a couple of chillies, bit of brown sugar and vinegar and reboil.  Hopefully that'll bring it up to scratch, I certainly don't want to chuck it away.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

The weigh in

Weigh in this morning after our first short term strict diet....I'm really pleased to report I've lost 6 and a half pounds - in just 5 days!  Husband has lost 4 pounds, but then he's got a lot less to lose than me.  I know it's mostly water (I've been peeing for England this week, although that's partly due to my new diabetes meds) but, even so, it's a huge boost to my mood.

I feel a lot less bloated, my stomach is noticeably smaller (wish I'd thought to measure my waist at the start) and my face is much less puffy.  I also feel much better already.  It's all so encouraging, and we've decided we'll do the same thing for 3 days at a time, probably every other week.  We'll eat normally (but try to be more sensible and not go mad on carbs or portion sizes) for the coming week, then have another go at the diet the week after.  

Brenda asked what a chip butty is - sorry, I forget that some of my readers are abroad!  It's classic comfort food, not particularly healthy.  It's chips (you probably call them fries) between two slices of buttered bread, a chip sandwich if you will.  But they have to be big fat chips, not those skinny ones you get in McD's!  Sauce, be it tomato or brown or mayo, is optional and down to personal taste.  Hope that helps, Brenda - do you have anything similar?

As if we haven't had enough eggs this week, I really fancy an omelette this morning, with bacon and lots of CHEESE!!  I've just had my first frothy cappuccino of the delicious.