Posted in cooking, families, Health, Health Promotion. Diet, nutrition

October Soup

I wanted to try a new recipe for October using Tumeric spice and this is what I made.

This is not my own recipe and was taken from pinterest ( a site that is becoming a real firm favourite for ideas) which you can find here.  The resulting soup of Ginger,Tumeric and Carrot  was with without doubt one of the most tasty and delicious soups we have tasted in awhile.

Initially, I was hoping to use the vegetable of either parsnip or turnip which are currently  in season, at the moment, but as I wanted to try out Tumeric this recipe looked the most appealing. Tumeric is a much talked about spice. In the cooking and heath circles it is being described as something really quite powerful with numerous health-benefits, including its anticancer properties. You can read more about Tumeric here.

I used one and a half times of carrots, Ginger, orange juice and Tumeric on the recipe given as I wanted to make six portions. It certainly achieved that. Besides, I have a food taster to cook for too and she rang me to say how much she loved it.

Family tasting:

Everyone, as I have said, loved it. The orange tang made it for me. It had a soft and sweet texture to the mouth and it was all gone in one sitting. The roasted hazelnuts gave it an added crunch contrast. With my second bowl, I had quite a few nuts left over and I put the lot in. It was good.

What could have been improved upon?

My taster said:

” A bit more Ginger please.”

The rest of my family were happy just as it was and wants me to make it again.

Next time for the end of the month.

Looking at Pumpkin for Halloween weekend. I had no idea you could roast the seeds or make pancakes and chips with this.

Posted in Debate, families, goals, Health, Health Promotion. Diet

So Where Does H.E.L.E.N Go From Here?


Yesterday, I posted a new blog post launching H.E.L.E.N ( which stands for Health, Eating, Learning, Education and Nutrition) and so far, the comments have been great and really encouraging. I had 103 visitors to my site and I guess the reason for that is, hopefully, most people can relate to what I have said so far with their own bodies, habits and minds.

So, I have taken a look at my site and updated a few things, along with the new picture, to make a more effective statement as to what I am up to. Please feel free to make any comments and suggestions. This is not just my site now but yours. I want you to own it and share it, if you want to. By visiting here, my hope is that you are taking a vested interest in you and your families health, happiness and well-being.

One of my facebook friends started a discussion with me and I thought it contained some really important points that I wish to share. So many people that I have spoken to, when we are talking about long-term conditions, have what I call an overlapping jigsaw affect, of multiple symptoms and problems impacting on each other. Often, you go the GP with the biggest and most pressing one in mind, that is affecting you the most, and the doctor will do their best to sort it out. But I truly believe that only joined up thinking ( Yes, the holistic approach that a 10 min GP consultant can’t cover) is the only way to reduce the NHS bill and most importantly save the patient more distress and illness in the end.

One scenario goes something like this:

A person puts on weight due to comfort eating because of long-term stress, or trying to quit smoking. We all know the addictiveness of smoking, so we kick one habit for another which is often eating. Stress raises cortisol levels and the body goes into the ‘flight or fight mode’ and this creates hormonal signals which says to the body, please store fat. The person feels fed up because more weight piles on. They start to diet, only this causes other chemical reactions which also tells the body to store fat: this body is in starvation mode now! Weight loss is hard work and they give up. Weight gain over time then causes old joint problems to flare up, or make their already existing hypertension (raised blood pressure) worse. They go the doctors, are prescribed more pills which in turn can cause side-effects, and that then exacerbate another condition previously under control.You get the picture.

Four people I know springs to mind here when giving the above example. I cite it because this is another reason why I wanted to do this blog. How can we find the answers to such a common scenario but very tricky to solve problem? This is what I am going to be digging over and over, until I, and I hope others on here will share their answers with their replies. I don’t have straightforward explanations, but when I was a district staff nurse, I passionately believed in the the concept of what was then known as ‘The Expert Patient.’ People finding out what works for them, or not and SHARING IT.

Today, I will leave you with this. This morning my husband and I started a new drink. It looked weak and white washed sitting in the cup. Until I learned to drink water, on its own, recently I wouldn’t have given it house-room. It is hot water with lemon and honey; one of the best digestion remedies there is apparently. It was OK. Tell you more about it next time and why lemon and honey are so good for you. I am hoping it will help with my Rosacea, as this has been shown to be linked with a digestive problem. To establish the root causes of disease, rather than just treating the surface, remains one of the greatest challenges facing C21st century medicine today!

( Disclaimer: These are personal views and are not intended to replace trained medical consultations. Therefore, always obtain the necessary medical advise, and do not stop taking any medication, unless advised to do so by a your medical practitioner.)

Posted in Change, Children, Commitment, Debate, families, goals, Health, Home, Modern society, Thoughts, Uncategorized

I Am Seriously Worried

Yesterday, I started to really look and notice something for the first time. Walking along the seafront, my eyes wandered around the people and their outlines. Many were overweight, and the striking thing of all was that many young and middle-aged women were not just overweight but clinically obese. Yes, the word most Women I am using here, from what I saw yesterday. And overall women appeared to be fatter than men. I wondered why.

That word fat is an awful word isn’t it. We don’t like saying it, as it potentially portrays a negative comment about an individual. It conveys that we have no self-control. That it is our fault we are just big. Fat is bad both in word, shape, image and representation. It is an ugly word and you just don’t say it. We avoid it and look beyond it to another conversation. TV programmes have aided this invisibility of weight. Being in love with your curves, dressing to enhance the natural shape are the things to do. Yet, I know several women who have tried to “diet” another bad word. Like me, they can fluctuate from weight loss to weight gain and then stop and start.

Against this, we have a tide of programmes showing us every aspect of cooking. People like to watch Masterchef, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Olivier showing us to how to cook. We have no shortage of inspiration tips and advice. Cooking on a budget, cooking something different. Cooking healthy nutritious meals, it’s all there. Sadly, most of us appear to be using it for entertainment against the reality of true cooking or not, as the case may be.

We have had a lot of media coverage about the ailing health service struggling to cope, the time bomb of heart disease, the labelling of food and a food industry that is committed to serving us fat, sugar and salt. The simple truth is we are losing the battle on eating a diet to give us health. A newspaper report this week showed stark figures that our children will die before we do, as their weight and lack of exercise spirals out of control. The not so hidden rise of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver disease (yes, as we consume ever dangerous amounts of alcohol) is causing greater alarm bells than ever before. We simply won’t have a health service able to cope. Societies health is going to collapse and the infrastructure to support it unless we take some radical action now. This is what is going to happen and that is why I am seriously worried.

I can’t begin to answer all the questions that could be posed here as to what could be done about it. What I do know is, how hard it is to lose a few pounds. How when you go out to eat, in the vast majority of typical restaurants, you find it almost impossible to eat low-calorie, low-fat, tasty food. I know full well how easy it is to throw food in the supermarket trolley just because your are tired after a day’s work and just want to get home. And once you are at home, you just throw something quick and easy into the oven because it’s just too much bother. How you need time to shop wisely, how you need positive energy to make the changes. Healthy eating and weight reduction is hard and it can be costly. Many people on ever tighter budgets can’t do it and the apathy is, I just don’t care. I do my best, I eat what I can.

We eat for comfort, we treat ourselves to chocolate as a reward to ourselves for a hard day. I am not judging overweight people at all. Everything is stacked against us. I am not overweight but I am in the same boat as most of us. I will be sharing on my next blog what changes we have managed to make here as a family. It’s not been easy and by no means has the battle being won yet but we are trying. This is being done because quite simply we can’t rely on our health service to patch us up. It isn’t going to there for much longer. We have to look after ourselves now the best way we know how.

Posted in achievement, Change, Children, Commitment, Development, families, goals, Health, Human Rights, Learning, Role of women, Skills, Uncategorized, Women

One Story.One school.One Education at Tareto Maa.

It was very dark when I returned, as dark as my deepest pain and fear. Was I too late? How would I live with myself if my mother was already dead? Then I saw her lying there. Too weak, to move, her eyes too swollen to see me but her whispers were enough to at least reassure me she was alive. My father has beaten her black and blue with his traditional Maasai stick to make me return home; to force me to undergo something so cruel and terrible. This was his blackmail and this was my choice. To come back and face female circumcision or to hear that my mother was dead because of my disobedience, in the name of honour and tradition, that my mother’s life was gone.

It was a choice no child, then aged 12, should have to take but this was the reality for me and many like me who choose to run away. At that present moment, all I cared about was my mother that she was alive and that she thanked me for coming back. I did not want to think of what was going to lie ahead. The pain, the bleeding that was going to befall me and other girls in that little hut a few days later.  When, up to that point, all the pain I had experienced in childhood became less insignificant to the pain of Female Genital Mutilation. If only that in itself was the end but it was not, it was just the beginning.

This is no fiction story. This is a real story and a true sequence of events. This is one small part of Gladys’ story of the time when it was her turn to be ” circumcised” and then to be married off to a man, aged around 60 years about a month later. The ceremony of circumcision went ahead. There was no alternative. She felt that in spite of her desperate efforts to find safety with an older relative, she had to go back and face the barbaric practice of Female Genital Mutilation to save her own mother from being beaten to death. But when it came to marriage, that was where a final stance of deviance and strength to say NO. This was not what is going to happen to me. My life will not end in this way. Her mother did not stay around any longer this time to be beaten again and fled herself back to her own family.

No one was there, back then, to help Gladys . This is where Gladys’ vision of offering the children the support that she could not find inspired her to be the founder of Tareto Maa: to create a shelter for girls who don’t have a safe place to go and where this organization talks with the parents (making sure as well that the mother is not in danger) . For the children in the refuge, not only food and safety are paramount but also school attendance so that they can build a stronger future for themselves.  This is where you can help with a child sponsorship.

To date, Tareto Maa has 61 sponsors out of our 96 girls, who live in the refuge, and whose donations are directly responsible for sending these girls to school. However, we would like to find additional sponsors for the remaining children. As the next circumcision season approaches we have to prepare for our numbers to increase, to help meet our financial needs for 2013. We have turned no-one away since our refuge opened.

Many of our girls who have fled to us have already told us such personal testimonies that has moved the listener to tears and tear the heart of any one reading such tales. That is why I am here on my blog site writing. Who can just walk away after hearing those plights of real courage, who have left everything and have walked for days with nothing to get to us?

So now I turn to you, the reader, to help us with our christmas campaign. This is how you can help a girl like Gladys.

If you feel you could sponsor a girl, or would like to know more information to consider this, then please, we do so want to hear from you. Contact us at Please, don’t just read and walk away. Come and learn more about Tareto Maa at  and see if there is anyway you can assist us with this life changing work. Any little help is so valauable and so much appreciated. On behalf of the girls, Thank you so much!

Maasai Girl_Drawing. no 3

Posted in achievement, Change, Debate, families, goals, Health, Human Rights, Ideas, Learning, Personal Growth, Psychology, Skills, Thoughts, Time, Uncategorized, Women

Appraisal Time

Needed to write in a spontaneous way. So here I am and here this is. Have been figuring a few things out. I try not to write about myself, it seems for me personally a bit self-indulgent, but feel the need to do so to work some things out. By having it written down it feels orderly and I might get some new answers and forge ahead with some new meanings.

So firstly, I am concluding to date who I am first.

I have lived on this planet for 48 yrs. Married, one teenage daughter whose well-being has always come first.

Have been a Registered Nurse for 26 yrs of them.  A good and caring nurse and have done my job well and thoroughly. I have never lit with the skies with promotion, either by lack of personal opportunity, not being in the right place at the right time, putting family first or just simply watching other people with more confidence pass me by. Do feel disappointed in a way that I never really made it BIG in the role. All my friends who trained with me are now in high-paid jobs and specialist roles while I have just sat on a scale 5. One boss noticed I was special once and I started to fly like the wind but she went away and I was left back in the shade and out of the sky.

The care of women, empowerment, education and justice are all very important to me. Health too of course is quite central to who I am.

I work daily on a voluntary basis, with my husband, for a Kenyan NGO called Tareto Maa. A grass-roots project fighting female genital mutilation, my BIG life CONCERN and PASSION. This charity houses young girls fleeing this torture and we send them to school, all 95 of them.  I am the UK media and advocacy worker. A role carved out for myself. My job is to write the thank you’s for the Global Giving donations, write to partners and NGO to find sponsors and helpers, liaise with potential individual sponsors and help set them up. I read through the texts, drafts  of new material for translation purposes, for our forthcoming website and reports, Skype and e-mail with our central German Co-ordinator. I help fund raise though this is now on a much lesser basis.  One day, I hope to visit the project knowing it will change the way I view a lot of things. Enough about that.

I like taking photographs. Success to date have been one picture published online by an Oxford travel guide, a few used for private work and one used by a school for their composting campaign. My FGM picture taken for Int FGM day,( not sure which year off the top of my head,) was published by an online magazine and shown at a women’s conference. One picture has been used for a Canadian TV show, a while ago now, on a child education programme. To date, I have not made any money, nor sought it. No-one has asked to buy anything off me.

Climate change and the environment are important to me. I married an eco warrior and have become one.

Running is also something I enjoy. A slow runner, I can run 10km in 1hr 8mins, no more that that  but I enjoy it. Accept that I am probably never going to be that fast but enjoyed the GEAR run in 2010. Running is a central part of my life. Introducing other forms of exercise too. Learnt to swim on my back about 3-4 yrs ago but have a phobia about swimming on my front.

I worked in floral craft for 10 yrs, teaching, judging and small private work. I have an NVQ2 in floristry.

Blogging is an on and off thing, mainly due to how I am feeling and time, what else is going on. I enjoy writing and would like to develop it further. My English is not brilliant and I have always had a weakness with this. Important work is checked and I get frustrated with it sometimes because I can never understand why it should be written a different way. I have had an offer of English help but nothing has really come of that, so I help myself when I can. I read books and what I have learnt has been mainly self-taught. I have also written some poems over the years. Not many but I have most of them. One or two are pretty good. Can remember having something written, when I was in primary school, that was up on the wall. It was about the moon. See, I liked the stars and sky even then, to those that know me.

Risky confession due to what I was reading today, but I have suffered from depression twice and the last time was in early 2010. I am well now but have been told recently that is highly likely it will return. I am lucky, as I am to date a good responder to medication. So I see myself in remission and hope that it can last a long time. It frightens me to hell that I could go backwards. I never want to feel that way again and know the warning signs and know what to do now. I run to help me with this: “Green Therapy” is what they call it ( May not need the capitals there:)).

I don’t have a degree, love learning but recognise that I can’t keep studying forever, nor do I need to do so to feel good. It has taken me years to get as far as I have with my education.  It really doesn’t matter that much now as I have gone on one step further. A funny old mix of Higher Education Diploma and  now an award in July of Post-Grad Cert in Women’s Health. My 60 Masters points are a treasure. I did it and I was more than good enough and that was all that mattered. I trained to be a midwife for 14 months out of an 18 month pathway. I loved it and was good at the theory but to be fair, due to lack of confidence and peer/ culture environment, I just wasn’t that good at delivering babies or make a safe midwife on British terms.  I left before I was pushed with an intact reputation.

I now work as a one to one support teaching assistant, having a break from nursing. One of my major strengths has been teaching. Realising now, I would have been a great primary school teacher but was just up the wrong wall at the time. This ends in July. Then I will be unemployed  if no work comes along. Have no real strength to re-train again, even if financially I could which I can’t.  My major training days for a complete career overhaul are finished by my choice. I am very happy to go on with this line of work but 1) I can’t afford to for the long-term 2) I still have the care of women which is my love and life’s challenge at the centre of me.

A spot of gardening, a love of cooking, though I can’t make cakes and walking my much-loved dog. This is pretty much me to date. Now, I just have to start sorting out what I am going to do next.  Who I am? My overall aim is to do something good. I want to say I have made it somewhere. A few close friends know that my life has felt like second best, never first best. Nearly there but not quite, I want to be first at something. Is that wrong to want that? I don’t think so.

Will continue this blog theme. Set up some aims, will mull over this but have said enough for now.

Leave you with a picture. Actually, it was meant to be at the start:). I can’t remember how to change it on here.

Posted in Change, Debate, families, Home, Human Rights, Law, Modern society, Politics, Thoughts

What’s the alternative to our main three political parties?

George Galloway’s 10,000 runaway majority in Bradford West for his new Respect party should come as hardly any surprise.  News coverage informed us that Labour were dismayed by this victory given the Coalition present unpopularity and current policy making. George choose to seize the discontent felt by many members of British Society, by creating what he felt to be an alternative to the political autocracy currently being displayed by the Tory Government. His party’s name Respect speaks volumes about how people want to be treated by those they elected.

I had great hopes for this Government when first elected. I was pleased to see at last the Lib-Dems have some chance to finally be involved in central decision-making politics; hoping its softer central stance would tame any extreme more right-wing views of previous Tory administrations. I had sympathy in what they had to do. Labour had left us billions in debt. My brother, a small business man, said to me recently as he understood it, that Gordon Brown was borrowing £420 million a day to keep us all going?. In-appropriate taking on of American debt, non-regulation of banks and greedy speculators had left much of the developed world in a huge debt crisis. Greece which has spent millions on their Olympic Games had virtually bankrupted themselves and Ireland, Spain and Italy were all struggling keeping up with the Euro. Thank goodness we never joined into that system which is still far from stable.

So I knew there would be have to be cuts and it would be hard and it would be unpleasant and probably very necessary. However, what I don’t like is the whole way in which this Government is completely ignoring its own people by not listening to anyone or anybody. Laws and bills being pushed through against a tide of legitimate concern. The Health and Social Care bill, the biggest NHS shake up in years is one such example. Why, when to make this legislation have any chance of being accepted at all and for it to work, do you have every major representative of the NHS shut out from its consultation. This is absolute nonsense and totally bonkers. On a local level, we are seeing Government policy giving us an incinerator nobody wants, closing local schools and Post-offices, the later being made ready for a nother privatisation. This country will have nothing left of what it owns at this rate. Our voices protest loudly and yet no-one listens. Democracy. What democracy. it doesn’t feel that way.

However, It is also the total arrogance and the most worrying of all, a right-wing autocratic element which is now making headlines such as “This is what happened in China/Iran”! Proposed laws in the name of security and antiterrorism is now being unveiled on our right to personal privacy by proposed snooping on internet conversations, texts, phone calls and e-mails. And to cap it all the astonishing hypocrisy of such a decision, given that both the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems opposed a move in 2006, when the then Labour government tried to introduce the same legislation and failed because the internet companies would not bear the cost of the set-up.

And why are we so concerned about terrorism? Well, we have not helped our selves very much have we? Being the USA’s little friend and going into countries of which there was no UN mandate for- Iraq. You wait for Iran to kick off. We have seen nothing yet. America will want to tie us in to that nuclear quarrel. We really will be in trouble then. And then I hear today that we are having to spend billions on security to get us safely through the Olympics. We can’t afford the Olympics. Look at what has happened to Greece. They could not afford it either and look what has happened to them. Thinking of all the billions that could have been spent helping getting us out of this financial trillions of debt we are in, instead of waging war and hosting the Olympics. Bonkers to me. Do the Swiss bid for the Olympics or get involved in costly wars, or belong to the EU? No, they have more sense and they are rich enough to stand on their own two feet. OK, ok I know full well the Swiss are rich due to banking but I have a point.

Then we have a corrupt Government being exposed. Cash for Access and  ????influence in some decision-making , if the sum is large enough has been exposed this last week. The same old rhetoric when something exposed:

“let’s have a full internal enquiry on the subject”.

We know what crap that is in reality. Things go underground and the same old cogs go on. No wonder people are saying why bother voting, This governement is full of its own sh..t.

People are hurting over welfare, tax credit cuts and changes to the law regarding claiming benefits. OK, I am not for people at all NOT trying to make an honest living, and the Welfare Bill does have to be manged more efficiently and to be looked at- as it takes a third of all British Tax Payers money. However, it feels like a sledge-hammer for all. Housing benefit being cut completely when someone is trying to work, but not being employed enough hours to stand on their own two feet. The need to do Workfare and to get your stamp paid, even when you have manged to get a part-time job. This means that you have to be available for full-time work, or your right to sign on and receive what little help there is is denied you. People having a dire choice. Stop the work you have manged to secure to go on some scheme which guarantees you nothing of any certain long-term employment, if you want benefit. What nonsense is that!! Well, I suppose it drives the unemployment figures down????????????

So what is my point? My point is, that people like myself are saying none of the three main parties have delivered within the last 10-15 years. Do we bother to even vote and for whom? I chuckled when I read a tweet comment about the Lib-Dems. “Go back to your consistencies and prepare for vapourisation” it said. How true. The Lib-Dems are finished and Nick Clegg will go after the next election. Ed Milliand, he seems a nice guy but I would have prefered to see David in the top slot. Ed is too governed by the Unions that brought him to power. The Greens, a nice bunch too but no one sees them as a credible alternative yet, and there are still not enough people out there ” green enough” to give a stuff about the environment and a more sustainable Britain.

So we see George Galloway tapping into part of real Britain, the ethic minorities who reside in many cities in vast numbers. I don’t know anything about him or his polices. I know he has shaken hands with Saddam Hussein, OK, that’s very dubious to say the least, but he has done something to capture the imagination of many people with this recent by-election victory. That for me is the worrying thing. Are we about to entre a phase where new and possibly extreme parties start to gain ground? The BNP and so forth.

There is enough political and social material out there to make people boil over with resentment and anger for all sorts of reasons. The riots may have been opportunistic theft, lawlessness and no respect for the law or fearful of its consequences. Interesting that word respect. Perhaps, that is why George Galloway choose that name for this party. There is no respect for Government any more. I certainly feel that way and suggest many others feel the same.

And sadly we know it’s going to get a lot worse. Be very afraid. I am quite frankly!

( PS, Dear Goverment- do take a read, you are never going to be re-elected next time. Have you got that? And if you want to be,time to start listening now)

Posted in achievement, Art, Change, families, goals, Home, Personal Growth, Skills, Thoughts, Time, Uncategorized

Goals six months on.

Six months ago, I wrote a blog about what I hoped would be my goals for the next six months and whether I had achieved or stuck to them. I wanted to simply look back and recap on what they were and the results.

  • I grew some lettuce and planted some onions and carrots. The lettuce was an outstanding success and the carrots and onions are still in the ground but have grown poorly. I have not received any harvest from them. From this, I intend to lauch into tomatoes in pots next year.
  • The swimming was stopped for while and my aim is to return soon. I can still swim on my back but haven’t made any further progress. However, I have had little opportunity to go into the pool over the past few weeks.
  • Transition town activities kept going right on into the summer and we attended a big launch garden day and were fully active. However, since then we have stopped going for personal reasons but kept in touch with some people who still attend.
  • Working on family relationships has been ongoing and only last week, since my Father had a stroke and one of my best friends diagnosed with cancer has it really sunk home how important those ties are. This is a renewed goal and one which will have even more focus in the next coming few months.
  • The history of the arts pursuit had a lazy start but has probably been one of the most significant goals achieved. Having seen the series Desperate Romantics, concerning the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, I then went on to visit the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle in August where Isabella and the Pot of Basil by William Holman Hunt was exhibited and then to the Tate British to see more of the whole brotherhood’s work. I read the book accompanying the TV series by Franny Moyle, and then visited the Fitzwilliam museum to see a Darwin exhibition of art. This was excellent.
  • I have made some progress on the gardening and am trying desperately to still decorate the house. This is due to start any day but illness from the summer and other busy events has meant it just hasn’t happened.
  • My relationship with money is still fraught more times than not, but I have continued to save and are financially “better off” than I  was six months ago. I try not to worry about money so much but still feel that my finances are on a constant elastic band. Just stretched out to maximum all the time with no slack. Still, have negotiated a better mortgage and hoping to cut some work hours soon.
  •  I have continued to develop my English skills and had one English lesson from a friend. On the whole though, writing and blogging has had to be put to one side over the summer and I haven’t written as much as I hoped too. I want to work on that still
  • I nearly got to visit FORWARD and had the AGM on the calendar and booked. But sadly my Dad had a stroke and he was the priority. I still haven’t made it there yet and this was the third year running something had come along to stop me going. This is disappointing. I plod one with my efforts in my causes. But I am now running and hope to raise money next year for charity by taking part in the GEAR race in King’ Lynn.
  • The photography is coming along, all be it a bit slow. However, the arrival of Photoshop and a mate to help me out with it has been invaluable. The photos are starting to progress and I did have a wonderful photo shoot with my Sister-in-Law  in the summer.

So there you have it. I don’t think it’s too bad at all. Some success at least. And a very worthwhile exercise to do this was. There has been one more significant thing to tell, and that is I have enrolled to study with the Open University next year.

I will now think about my next set of goals for the next six months. Know what some of them are already, like changing my job. Let’s see how they shape up.

Posted in Debate, families, Home, Thoughts, Time, Uncategorized

My Diary of Week

For those of you who know me on Twitter, these are the results of my week long exercise of how I spend my time. I wanted to do this to see how I can fit 16 hrs of study in a week from next year with the OU.

It was a very interesting thing to do and overall, the work life balance, whilst very hectic at certain times, appears to have some leisure as well, variety and balance. 

The results are as follows for one week:

Work including travel 35.45 hrs. (30 hrs paid, 5.45 unpaid).

Computer time.( essentially e-mails, Internet and twitter, no flickr or blog). 12.16 hrs.

Housework. 6.04 hrs.

Leisure time( going out, chatting, resting and reading). 18.35 hrs.

TV.( wanted to do a separate log for this)  4.10 hrs. 

Phone calls. 3hrs.

Personal grooming 2.10hrs.

Shopping. 1.25 hrs.

Eating and drinking 4 hrs.

Dog walking 4.40 hrs.

Biking 25 mins.

Running 1.25 hrs.

Miscellaneous( car to service) 15 mins.

         ( meal planning for the week) 30 mins

Driving husband to work 1.15 hrs.

Usual time getting up approx 7am average.

Bedtime 23.30.

As a result of this, the following has been so far devised to help cut unpaid work, housework and meal preparation.

A new system of work to collect  stats each day. I do this now on each visit and not have to duplicate the information. I now am working with no headache of the form to do when I get home. Also being tighter on time and when I go home, not squeezing in one more thing, which can go over to the next day, eg, non-urgent phone calls, or faxes.

End of month mileage returns being collated weekly, not the headache of leaving it all until the end of the month which takes longer.

Daughter now taking up the reins of 2 hrs a week of housework which is now her earned pocket money.

Tidying up at home,as I go along. Eg, phone charger for phone not left, but put back in the draw each day before I leave for work.

Planning the week meals in advance, knowing who is cooking/ doing what and when. Having a shopping list. Shopping is quicker, less waste, so far have saved £40 on a 10 day’s worth of food on last shopping trip.

Planning left-overs meals so cooking time is less.

These are just a few pointers.

 I have sat down and taken a typical week and thought when am I going to study? Currently, I have planned one full day off a week and blocks of 2 hrs study at night when working, 3 one night when day off and 4hrs on one day off a week. It still looks pretty exhausting though. Ideally, I need to lose a day of work but I can’t see that happening yet.

Already, I have seen my organisational skills improving, both at work and at home.

That’s a good start.

Posted in achievement, Art, Change, families, Home, Learning, Personal Growth, Relationships, Skills, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing

Looking out to Today

Today, I go to a library return some books and find the last pieces of information to tweak an assignment. Three and  a half years of study is drawing to a close-well, in this chapter anyway. But of course my commitment to life long learning goes on but also to learn not just out of books.

I am giving myself nine short- term goals to now focus upon and this also embraces an opportunity to get out more and have some fun and social life with family and friends. Within these goals there is a more serious side: to do some good as well, or at least try to. They are as follows:

1) To continue my pursuit of my concerns, those being human rights and specifically women’s health. I will continue to develop my other blog site and to contact FOREWARD- Foundation of Women’s Health, Research  and Development. My aim is to initially visit this organisation in London.

2)  To create further an environment of care and peace at home and to cherish relationships. On a very practical level to get some basic home decorating done, encouraging the others here at home to do this with me.

3)  To improve my photography. This includes editing, shooting, days out and the theory of the camera and what makes a good shot.

4)  To take up the subject of the history of art. I figure that if I am to understand life, think and observe more and create better images I need to understand this subject further. To stand still and look at something long enough to form an impression. (I can be too busy, both in my head and in my actions to stand still and notice sometimes.)

5)  To continue to improve my writing and English skills.

6)  To get back out onto the garden again and also grow some vegetables.

7)  To not give up on the swimming, given the progress I have made, and also continue, to walk, run and cycle.

8)  Continue my new involvement with King’s Lynn Transition Town.( I’ll blog more about what that is another time).

9)  To have a better relationship with money and continue to save some more disposable income.

 Just because something has been written first or last, it does not neccessarily mean it does not have an equal weight of importance.

These are goals drawn up for the next six months and I will record at the end what I have achieved. Interestingly, my aim was to have five and it has finished with nine. But these are all do-able. In fact, many are being done already.

Posted in families, Thoughts

Money:an Uneasy Relationship

Just wanted to scribble down in cyberspace a few feelings about money this morning.

As a former evangelical Christian I used to strongly believe that to acquire and sit on pots of money was wrong: sinful in fact. Jesus told us to share and encourages us to look upon the acquisition of wealth as something to be avoided? Many years later, I recognise  that this feeling still prevails. Not because of my strong Christian feelings, that has changed considerably, but because I have  simply swapped the why for not doing so, for another reason.

This reason is due to my intense feeling about world poverty. (70% of the world’s poorest people are women). I see it as still morally wrong to have huge sums in the bank when others are starving. However, I recognise  that I have a huge tug of war and love over money. On twitter, I admit that my comments sometimes have been about the next bill, the dentist, the car, the vets. A lot of my potential followers have highlighted themselves as money makers. I feel embarrassed about this. Thinking, I say too much about my finances on twitter, worrying about this bill and that one. Sounding sometimes that I am scrabbling after the next buck. To be honest, I am like this. Chasing money and worrying over it. Never quite having enough. The more I scrimp and scrape the more it just goes on the next huge bill.

I would be like to be rich. There, I have said it now but know that is unlikely ever to happen. I would like to be able to pay for an airfair to go to Australia or the £2000 required to help do some voluntary work in Africa, through a particular organisation, that allows you to go off for two weeks and just DO.

I hate still having the mortgage over my head and other bills which are a huge mountain to climb. I wish I could have financial  freedom, or more  of it. I simply do not know how to become rich. My husband and I have invested in the stock market and that nearly finished us as a couple.  We lost and made but it is now all gone. We put money away in  bank accounts with high interest rates but they still only return pennies. I have tried to make money in a small floristry business and not made a dime. I appear to be one of life’s financial losers. I have no rich parents leaving me their house. I have no antiques to sell or other other precious items of art. I have no husband who earns a bucket full either.

Money attracts money and when you have none, you don’t attract it. Simple. Now I am putting away £50 in a long term account, and £25 pounds in a ISA hoping that will help. But it will take me a life time to get anywhere with that. The problem is that while I say all this, deep down I hate the stuff because it has been a source of so many problems, arguments and friction. In spite of my pondering on the subject, I know that health, love and relationships are the important things.

So, I have come to the conclusion that I need to work on my relationship with money. I don’t know how people get rich and haven’t a profession that will ever make me wealthy. But, I don’t wish to be wealthy, just to be a bit more off the wire and the tight rope. Always making do, paying things always without debt but never much surplus. I do have some small savings, but after living for a good half of my life line admits that by now I should have really acquired rather more than I have.

One big mistake that does hit me. I feel I have wasted too much of it in some ways. I don’t spend much on myself but …. I am generous and feel that I should have looked after pennies more than the pounds. Another blog perhaps.