Goodbye to the old, in with the New Year

So it’s that time of year again when I say goodbye to the old year and welcome in the new.  It’s also when I review my achievements and plan my aspirations for the coming year.  2012 has been a big year for the UK. We had the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  There are a lot of good memories from this year which I will hold onto and treasure.

I can’t really say that this year has been a bad year.  However when I look back at what I wrote in my personal journal….well….there is a line that has got me thinking.  Basically I wrote that God would lead me through this year.  But where has He leaded me?

Each day whether you believe or not you are given 24 hours each day to live.  24 hours = a day – they are 7 in a week and 52 weeks make up a year.  So how have I lived them?  Have they been good? Have I lived them as God has intended me to?  Have I achieved what I wanted to achieve? No, not all of them….. in fact only 1, but there have been a few surprises along the way which I had never set out to do in the first place. 

The main thing that (well up to Christmas) I had managed to do (although it wasn’t part of my aspiration) was to lose a stone in weight.  A major achievement.  Losing weight is never easy.  For me though I have a medical problem that makes it very hard to lose weight.  I’ve decided though to keep it up so my first aspiration is to do that.  I’m not however plonking an amount or a time scale.  I’m just going to watch what I eat and increase my exercise.

There are two that I had last year that I am going to carry over.  One is to have my “Colours” done.  If I loose weight I will need to buy new clothes.  I would like to buy clothes that suit me, my figure and my colour (pale and dark strawberry blonde ish with dark green eyes).  I have three women who I admire greatly Kirstie Allsopp, Nigella Lawson and Joan Holloway (from Mad Men – OK so she is a character but I think Christina Hendricks who plays her is one of the most beautiful women on the planet!)  If you look at them we do have things in common – curves!  If you plonk me beside them – well they look fabulous in clothes – me……. I’m working on it!

The other one that I am sort of carrying over is not buying yarn.  I lasted till about February when I accidently brought some thick string that looked incredibly like yarn!  Recently I made a list of projects that I want to do over the coming months and luckily I have the yarn to go with it.  There is one project that I want to do at some point which is the “Beekeepers Quilt”.  The idea is to use scraps of yarn but I want mine to have a colour theme so only when I get round to doing that, will I go out and buy yarn. 

I had been thinking about making up an aspiration around looking at ways of helping my local community by volunteering, but I came across a couple of obstacles.  For volunteering I had to fill in a MASSIVE application form and then I’d thought I work full-time by doing something extra on top limits my time even more for things I enjoy like cooking, craft etc. (housework is in the etc!! LOL!) as well as limiting time I spend with OH.  However I have found a couple of projects that I am interested in.  One of which I have offered my services to and that is Urban Harvest Birmingham.  I watched a food programme ages ago where somewhere down south (I think in might have even been in London) groups of people where going round and harvesting people’s fruit trees and making use of the bounty.  I saw it and thought “WOW I want to do that”.  Whilst out and about one day I came across a flyer for the group based in Brum and whilst tidying up the other day I came across it.  So I sent a quick message saying that I am interested.  As well as harvesting the fruit they also turn it into jam.  I love making jam.  If this happens not only will I be helping others I will also get to do something I enjoy – Major WIN WIN!

Part of the thinking behind this was also a way of meeting people.  Some of these thoughts have been triggered by learning that an old lady who I have known the longest down here is very sick with Cancer.  She is 98 and an inspiration.  She belongs to my women’s group.  I joined it as a way to make friends.  I discovered I was the baby of the group and I still am.  However I got to the stage of I may not have a “Bestie” down here but I had people to call on if ever the shit hit the fan.  Don’t get me wrong I have lots of friends I even have two “Besties “– however they live miles away and I don’t get to hang out as much as I would like.  These thoughts on friendship were then stretched further by a tweet from someone I follow.  She was basically wishing her best friend a Happy Birthday.  Her friend lives in USA – obviously they can’t hang out as much as they would like.  The tweet however challenged me.  Am I being a good friend to those around me?  Am I being a good friend to my “Besties”? The truth – could do better – A LOT BETTER.

So that’s another one – Be a better friend.

2013 some people may see it as a challenge.  They may even be scared due the two numbers at the end.  But a number is a number at the end of the day – at the end of the 24 hours you get.  24 hours to breathe, live and make a difference to yours or someone else’s life.  It is nothing to be scared of – God will get you through it.

So in the next 365 days I’m going to use up my stash, eat a little more healthy (I know mince pies really don’t count as one of your five a day even if they contain fruit!), become Kirsty/Nigella/Joan (and ask myself “What would Joan do” after I’ve asked “What would Jesus do”), help others and be a better friend.

I pray that you dear reader will also have a brilliant New Year and a fantastic 2013.  Blessings! 😀


Thinking of the future

So it’s nearly Christmas and my thoughts are turning towards looking at the future and next year’s aspirations. Whilst I was tidying up (as I do occasionally) I came across a flyer that I had picked up thinking “Wow! I want to get involved!” So I’ve made a step and contacted them – strike whilst the iron is hot an’all!

Not expecting a response till after Christmas. I will tell you dear reader of my plans in the New Year.

Till then have a HAPPY CHRISTMAS! Enjoy & be merry! Blessings and love to you all! 😀

Spicy bean burger – a review

When I was a teenager I went through a phase of wanting to be a vegetarian. I was told as a Coeliac I would have to eat double in order to get all my vitamins and minerals. That stopped it. However I did enjoy vegetable grill which was a burger made out of vegetables and rice. Unfortunately the company that made them changed the recipe and they were no longer gluten free. I’ve been mourning their passing until now.

Sainsbury has brought out in their free from range spicy bean burgers. They cost about £2 for a pack of 2. The burgers are fairly chunky and are fairly filling. I enjoyed them! Great that at long last I have found a replacement! 😀 Will be buying again!

Great work Sainsbury! 😀

A bit of a foodie weekend

This weekend is a bit of a long one so I’ve made the most of it by doing a spot of food shopping.  Today I went to Kings Heath Farmer’s Market.  I brought some Pork Pie and cheese for Christmas.  One of the cheese is really interesting it’s a type of blue cheese but it tastes a lot nicer.  I’m not a fan of blue cheese so for me to say it tastes nice must mean it’s winner!

Whilst I was there I popped into the church hall as there was a craft fair.  I picked up a wicked present for my husband.  I so hope he loves it.  If he does I will let you all know after Christmas so the word can be spread!

With the NEC just down the road it’s a it rude not to try and visit it once in awhile.  So yesterday I went down to the BBC Good Food Show.  I like looking around and discovering new things.  Yesterday I found a cracking find! I’m so happy about this that I’m blogging about it!  Even though I only have one subscribed reader – who already knows I still want to tell the world!  Hopefully others may stumble over it and will also have their lives change.

One of things I don’t drink is beer.  With the standard brewing process involving wheat and barley, which contains gluten, beer is a no no for anyone who has Coeliac disease.  It is the one thing that older diagnosed Coeliacs say that they miss.

As I was wondering around the NEC, as you do, I saw a sign. A big sign, a big sign with a crossed grain symbol in it.  Now if you are a Coeliac at this point your heart starts to race and excitement starts to brew and bubble up inside.  The symbol means that you can eat or drink it.  With the words beer added on to it well I just had to try.  Now with gluten-free beers the general thing is that they taste ….well…. like dirty dishwater is probably putting it polite.  So I decided not to get my hopes up over it.  One taste though and you know what it actually tastes of something.  It actually tastes like beer!  It’s called Crop Circle and its made by Hopback. You can order it online.  I’ve brought three bottles and I know I will be ordering more!

One of the things I like doing at the show is going to see demos. I find it interesting as you can pick up some tips.  It’s also great to see chefs and bakers at work in the flesh rather than on TV.  I had great fun watching Brian Turner make a variety of dishes “Ready, Steady, Cook” style all under twenty minutes with some ingredients given by local produce stands there at the show.  He was also selling such a wee cute cook book called “Tweet Pie” in association with Belling and raising money for the Anthony Nolan Trust.  It is a recipe book that is written as a tweet therefore each one is less than 140 characters and can be tweeted out to your followers.  The other great thing about it is that it is so small it can fit into your handbag! As a woman that makes me very happy!

Belling are celebrating 100 years in the business.  They had a cake sculpture made to celebrate it.  I think it is fantastic!  I had to photograph it!  Enjoy the pics! Blessings! 😀