The Water Challenge | One Week On

June 29, 2016

Hello Folks!

Well I am officially one week into my water challenge. For anyone that didn't catch the relevant post last week, see here. Water is quite literally the elixir of life; so many of us don't drink enough and up until just over a week ago, that included me.

For the last week I have been drinking at least a litre and a half of water every day and I can honestly say I am already seeing results. For many of those days I would probably say that I am actually drinking near to two litres.

I'll get this out the way first...the most obvious thing that I am noticing is that I am weeing for England! Before I started this challenge I had myself on a nice, handy little schedule whereby my body naturally wouldn't need a wee until lunchtime and then subsequently until the end of the day. Very handy because it meant that I could come home and wee in comfort. However now I am constantly needing to take wild wees out in the park while I'm at work. Not only that, but I am regularly waking up several times in the night needing a wee. I know this is probably a massive over share but I just thought I would warn you lovely folks if you are also going to embark on this water challenge. Be prepared to wee wee!!

So now for the good stuff.

I am waking up more refreshed in the morning (despite the midnight toilet trips). Before, I was finding that I would have to drag myself out of bed in the morning, but now I am actually able to spring from my duvet when I'm supposed to. It's truly a miraculous feeling!

My lips are not as dry. I've had a lot of dry skin on my lips for the past couple of  months and it has disappeared with the ingestion of more water. Water making things less dry...who knew?

Because I'm drinking so much water, I naturally have just craved tea less. In fact there have been several days where I've actually gone the whole day with out a single cuppa! And this is coming from a 5 cups a day kind of girl. Seriously, this is unheard of. Is it possible that my body was just craving for hydration rather than tea? The evidence points towards this! I didn't set out with the aim of wanting to reduce the amount of tea I was drinking...but it seems to have happened anyway.

Unfortunately the bags under my eyes are still there, but Rick says that your body always takes at least two weeks to show any drastic results of a lifestyle change (and he's a pretty smart cookie).

I found this article on some of the benefits of drinking more water, check it out!

So who else is noticing changes (or not noticing changes) from their body with the water challenge?
Let me know in the comments!

Things to do with Avocados

June 26, 2016

This weekend has been a mixed bag of weather. There have been some showers, some strong breeze and some sun shine too (which is good). When the weather starts to get good, I really start to crave avocado. It's just such a wonderful, summery thing to eat and goes with so many different things.

Okay...I'll admit that I actually eat the time. They are probably my favourite vegetable (fruit? vegetable? who knows?) and I get through several in a week.

One thing that I will say though is that I've got into a routine recently of just smushing it up, mixing it with some coriander and spreading it on toast. Which is great, but variety is the spice of life.
So I have done a round-up here for you folks with some of the yummiest things to do with avocado.

There you have it, some of the yummiest avocado recipes out there. Try them and let me know how you get on! Do you have a love affair with avocado? Let me know.

The Water Challenge

June 22, 2016

Hi Guys!
I have decided to undertake a series of challenges to better my health and well being. Rick and I watched a documentary the other night (I'm really sorry but we cannot for the life of us remember what it was called...we've trawled through netflix and the internet trying to find it again and we really can't. I do apologise) and it was all about how modern day processed foods are slowly killing us. It talked all about the benefits of using fresh, wholesome ingredients and cooking from scratch and also the kinds of effects that heavily processed foods have on our bodies.

Now, I'm not stupid. I am fully aware that fresh food is better than processed foods however I feel that Rick and I have grown a bit...complacent in our habits of late. We both work and have responsibilities so cooking sometimes does go by the way-side.
Just to clarify, we don't live off of ready-meals but I will cheat by using flavour packets for casseroles and things like that when I could just as easily use my own herbs and spices to make the flavours. We eat a lot of snack food such as crisps which we could swap for other healthier snacks if we put the effort in. But I do think Rick and I are representative of many people in the population...which is kind of worrying really. Does nobody cook from scratch any more?

This programme also highlighted the growing obesity crisis in the world and explained why it was happening. Our body naturally wants to store fat to make it through the harsh winters where food will be scarce. But nowadays, food is in plentiful abundance and the harsh food-free winters never come. So our body is still in survival mode...but with no need. I hope I explained that right.

As you all know I am getting married next year and I want to make sure that I look as good as I can on my wedding day. I want to clarify another thing, that this is not a "body image" thing. I don't think I'm fat or hate my arms or anything like that. This is about certain signs that are my body's way of telling me that I am not getting the nutrients and minerals that it needs. Bags under my eyes, dry lips, blemishes, tiredness, head aches, dry hair.

There are many aspects of my nutrition/health that I do need to change and I feel like it would be a huge under-taking to do it all in one go so I am breaking it down into a series of challenges. In theory, if I force myself to do something for long enough, it will become habit right?

The first of my challenges will be to drink more water. I am terrible for this. Rick puts me to shame, he guzzles water like a fish all day and then he asks me how much I've drunk and I'm all...I had a cup of tea. I 100% know that I need to drink a lot more water.

I am going to aim to drink at least a litre and a half of water every day for a month. A litre and a half encompasses two re-fills of my water bottle which seems like a good start. I hope that after a month of doing this, it will just become habit. 

I will let you know with regular updates how I'm doing and whether I'm noticing great changes.
If anyone out there would also like to undertake the Water Challenge then do let me know and we'll compare notes!

Nature Notes

June 19, 2016

I saw these really amazing mushrooms in the park a few days ago. I love the way they form a sort of semi-circle. I'd love to know what's caused that pattern. Maybe years ago something died there making the ground extra fertile? Maybe there's some water source underneath it? I love nature!
I'd love to know what these mushrooms are called. Can anybody shed some light on the situation?
I'd be much appreciated.
Have any of you folks come across some interesting fungi recently? Tag me, link me, email me. I'd love to see!

Life Catch Up

June 13, 2016
Happy Monday folks!
I must make a sincere apology for being AWOL from the blog this week. It has been completely hectic!

Bosun had to go to the vets on Thursday. For a few days now he's been limping ever so slightly on his front left shoulder. I have no idea how he did it or when but for whatever reason, it's uncomfortable for him to walk on. He falls off the sofa on a daily basis and does a front roll whenever he chases his tennis ball so realistically it could have happened at any time. We went to the vet a couple of weeks ago and she gave us some anti-inflammatories for him and some joint supplements. They don't seem to have done the trick however and there's probably something more at play so we have booked him in for x-rays to see if there's any thing else. Apparently sometimes with labrador pups they can just develop these types of things and they just disappear again at a later stage,
The thing that I was most worried about was it being some sort of displacia  which is quite common in Labradors. The vet doesn't think it's likely to be that because she can't feel any lumps in his joints. But we'll see!
Another thing that I worry about is that I've somehow damaged him by exercising him too much when he was a little little puppy. It's easily done apparently. You're only supposed to exercise them for 5 minutes per month of their age per day. I tried to stick to it...but you know how puppies are!

I went to the Children's Countryside Day at the Glendale Showground last week which was a fantastic experience. There were 1500 school children present at the day, and lots of exhibitors from all walks of countryside life. There were dairy farmers, sheep farmers, chicken farmers, potato farmers, bee keepers, butchers, game keepers, taxidermists, stick makers, hurdlers, horsey people and in the middle, was me representing the Chillingham Wild Cattle. I had a table full of bones, skulls, horns and a taxidermied calf which the children absolutely loved. Why do kids love dead things so much? I had a bit of a task to explain why my cattle were different to the ones being milked next door. I think they got it...but mainly they just wanted to stroke the stuffed calf. I gave out loads of leaflets and post cards so all good things to come hopefully!

I spent several hours at the weekend doing our Save the Dates. (NB when texting your Mother in Law regarding save the dates, do not shorten it to STD's). I had to type all the addresses because I thought it wouldn't take as long as hand writing them. I'm fairly sure it took just as long but they look nice. Putting the save the date into an envelope along with the "places to stay" card was long and laborious. Also I'm paranoid I've forgotten somebody important. But I can always tell them it just got lost in the post if I have forgotten somebody!

The weather has been absolutely miserable and I haven't been able to get out and take any good photos which is a right old pain! Forward planning Ellie, forward planning!

I'm back on track with blogging this week anyways, I hope everybody is feeling marvellously refreshed after the weekend. What's been going on in your lives?

Agatha Christie | The Hollow

June 07, 2016

“And suddenly, with a terrific shock, with that feeling as of blurring on a cinematograph screen before the picture comes to focus, Hercule Poirot realised that this artificially set scene had a point of reality...”

I've been reading a lot of Agatha Christie recently (see here and here) and this book had a different feel so some of the others that I've experienced. There was a lot of back story that went with this book. The murder doesn't happen until around page 136 so there's a lot of building up the characters first.

There were some really fascinating characters in this book. Lady Angkatell is this fascinating older woman who has this knack of being able to get people to bend to her will. She is very forgetful and the way she's written almost has you believing she has the beginnings of dementia.

Henrietta is the gorgeous artist who it seems every man falls in love with but she only has eyes for one man...who unfortunately is the man who ends up being murdered.

Gerda (who becomes the widow) is this down-trodden house wife who absolutely dotes on her husband. She spends her life worrying about what's making her husband unhappy and what she can do to make him happier. She's the one who ends up being found holding the smoking gun, every one seems to think that she is guilty but then evidence comes to light that shows that the gun she's holding isn't a match for the bullet extracted from the body. So once again, the question is posed...whodunnit?

I won't reveal any spoilers here but I will just say that I wasn't ENTIRELY happy with the ending. It did feel like a bit of an anti-climax. And there were a few *ahem* obvious points throughout the book. But I'm certainly not saying I didn't enjoy it.

Have you read this book? Let me know what you think.

Barter Books - A Hidden Gem

June 06, 2016
Hey folks!
I hope you've all had a fantastic Monday and that it wasn't too much of a shock after such a pleasant weekend. I cannot describe how happy I am to finally be having some good weather. Last week was such a dismal, dreary week and I feel sorry for all the children that were on half-term in such ghastly weather. Hey-ho. You make your own fun. Today was gloriously sunny and I for one am just jumping with the arrival of some sunshine which will make the grass grow.
Do you know what the first thing was that I thought when I woke up this morning? Ahaa it's sunny! I can hang the laundry out today! You know you're a grown -up when you get excited about hanging the laundry. I much prefer the smell of bed sheets that have been hanging outside all day to bedsheets that dried in the spare bedroom!

So here's me rambling on about laundry and weather, the point of this post is to tell you all about the second half of our shopping trip on Saturday (the first half was to the pet shop). Just a twenty minute drive from us is an absolute literary gem of a second hand book shop called Barter Books. Supposedly the largest second hand book shop in Europe, it's set in an old converted train station and is an absolutely beautiful building.

I'd been here recently for a work function and I am ashamed to say that I had never visited before that. What kind of a bibliophile am I? The greatest second hand book shop ever and I had never visited?! Shame on me! Shame!

So on Saturday I dragged Rick into this book shop and I had the opportunity to appreciate it in all its glory. It really is a fantastic work of genius. There are literary quotes spanning the walk ways. There are thousands of books in every category. A map is available at the front desk to find your way around (yes it is that vast!).

Rick headed straight for the fire arms and country sports section (of course) and I headed to the crime section to find some Agatha Christie. Alas there was a serious lack of Agatha Christie...she must be very popular. They had literally every other crime author though!

I headed instead to the fiction section and was completely spoilt for choice and over-whelmed. Rick suggested I try a new author called Bernard Cornwell who writes these fantastic historical dramas. I am a big fan of those. So I accidentally bought a little stack of them...

I also bought a couple of books from the Tales of the Old... series. I already have Tales of the Old Game keepers and Tales of the Old Poachers and was thrilled to find Tales of the Old Countrymen and Tales of the Old Country Women.

One of the greatest things about this shop is the amazingly cool little train that goes around the shop on a little track above the shelves!! It's amazing! Of course it make sense to have a little train in a building that is converted from an old train station.

There is an entire wall absolutely full of the ladies and gentlemen that have worked on the train line and in the train station over the years before the station closed. It was really touching to see them all like that in a memorial.

And the best thing? Barter Books is the home of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster. I mean... of course there were lots of them back in WW2 but they were forgotten until one was dug out of an old store room when Barter Books was being restored and it started a world wide craze!!

How fantastic!!

So here's my haul...

We had lunch at Barter Books. There is a fantastic little buffet room with sandwiches, soups and all sorts available. I had the Chili which was a special on that day. Warning: it is very hot...and I did leave some of it. But Rick thoroughly enjoyed his ham and cheese toastie.

If you're ever in the Alnwick area of Northumberland. Please please please go to Barter Books. It truly is a place of wonder.

For now...I'm going upstairs to read a book.
Have you ever been to Barter Books? I'd love to know your experiences.

Blog Post Round-up

June 05, 2016
Ok so is it just me or are the weeks quite literally flying by. It seems like these Sunday round-up posts just keep coming round again and again.
I just suddenly woke up this morning and though...Oh my God, it's June again already. Like seriously, where is the time going?

So this week I've done a blog post round - up for you lot. Just some of my favourite blog posts from the week from other bloggers that have caught my eye. Go and take a look and share some love.

  • Check out these hilarious alternative hand-bags from Dungarees and Donuts. I used to be a hand-bag girl in my late teens. I had millions of hand-bags and it was sort of an addiction...I no longer have so many but I can still appreciate a good hand-bag.
  • Kezzie finally posted her May Scavenger hunt and it's certainly a case of great minds thinking alike as she also had a bluebell path!
  • Grapefruit Greek Yoghurt cake?! From Sally's baking addiction...I think I'm going to have to try this out of sheer curiosity.
  • Learn how to remove the stone out of the middle of a cherry with this ridiculously simple trick that I'm kind of ashamed I never thought of from The Pioneer Woman.
Well, I hope you folks learn a thing or two from these wonderful ladies. I know I have.
Have a great week and don't get up to too much mischief.

Pet Shop Haul

June 04, 2016
Happy Saturday!!
This has been a really long, busy week for me so I was very happy to wake up and remember that it was Saturday this morning (yaay!). 

I managed to convince Rick that today was a perfect day to go shopping. I don't go to actual, physical shops very often and I certainly don't subject Rick to such things because he hates shops and crowds. Understandably. So I dragged him along to Alnwick with me and we decided to make a little stop off in Northumbria Pets which is on the main high street of Alnwick and one of the best pet shops that I have ever been into. I much prefer small individual pet shops to large chains.

What I really like about this particular shop is that instead of charging for plastic carrier bags, they encourage you to make a donation in one of the charity pots at the till which go towards a range of different animal charities.

It's Bosun's 1st birthday next month so we decided to spend a little bit more than we usually would and buy him some birthday treats. What follows is a run down of what we bought. I'm not sure I can wait until his birthday to give him all of these. They're very exciting!

These are deer antlers. They make a fantastic chew toy for dogs and last for absolutely ages, We couldn't decide which one of these he would prefer so we bought both. He's already been given one of them now and the other is being saved for his first birthday.  The one with the yellow tag is made by Antos and the longer one with the white tag is made by Farmfoods.

Doggy pick and mix! I love these. It's like a sweetie pick and mix but all the little tubs are filled with different kinds of doggy treats. Obviously these are just for the occasional treat. He doesn't get loads of these all the time. Just when he does something good like sit...lie down or not destroy the house.

We've bought him pigs ears on several occasions and we thought we'd get him something with a bit of a twist. He has here Deer ears and Wild boar ears by naturals. I like that you can find a use for every part of the animal when it's butchered. I wouldn't personally eat a deer ear...but I know a fluffy yellow labrador that will be very grateful for it!

It's always good to have a few of these knocking around because they make for a fantastic distraction.  Rawhide Pressed Bones by Natures Deli.Your boss popped over for a cup of tea? Give the dog a raw hide to shut him up. Tesco delivery man at the door? Raw hide! Trying to eat your dinner? Raw hide! Fantastic.

And finally, something a bit fun. We've basically come to the conclusion that we can no longer give the dog stuffed toys because he rips the insides out within a matter of minutes. So we can only buy him tough rubber toys from now on. Even tennis balls take a pasting! What a bundle of joy we do have living with us. Nobbly Wobbly!

Well, I have no doubt that I will have plenty of photos to share with you in the future of Bosun enjoying his new toys/treats.
Have any of you folks tried any of these with your dogs? Or do you have any questions about these products? Leave a comment.

My June Wish list

June 01, 2016

Today lovely folks I have a beautiful list of clothes that I am loving at the moment by a few of my favourite clothing brands. These are all new releases for this Spring/Summer season.
I hope you enjoy having a gander at some of these!
Elle Stripe Polo | Musto
Anabel Linen Shirt | Musto

Easy Jersey Vest | Crew

Murray Crop in Spiced Coral | Crew
Glenfinnan Tweed Waistcoat | Hoggs of Fife

Aren't these pieces utterly gorgeous?
Let me know what you think of these. Do let me know if you have already have one of these and have something to say about it.

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