Monday 29 August 2022

Day 892 & Day 893

Day 892...Sunday

We had a lovely evening out at our friends anniversary party yesterday...

We don't scrub up too bad!
...and it was great to be able to catch up with people we hadn't seen for way too long!

So, after a slow start to the day we set off on a shortish early morning walk of just 1.8 miles in 36 minutes and stopping to pick blackberries along the way.

We then decided that today would be all about catching up with a few things on our joint 'to do list'. First it was a trip to Lidl simply because we were running out of too many things and I couldn't put it off any longer.

After lunch we got our tattoo ideas finalised into one document that I could then send over to my tattooist. When we see him in a couple of weeks I have two tattoos that I would like doing and Simon also has one planned, so we just needed to commit to what we both wanted. Over the course of the day we have had the 3D printer working hard printing more sections of the model that we are working on which has meant some more clean up of finished prints along with a little 3D modelling work for Simon.

Mid-afternoon we decided to escape the four walls and go out for coffee; a chance to chat and re-connect without distractions.

Back home and I was able to complete my latest jigsaw...

...and Simon was able to make a start on his next piece of digital art.

That was pretty much it for Sunday; a quiet and chilled out sort of day.

Day 893...Monday

Today was a bank holiday which meant that Ethan had the day off from work along with Simon's usual Monday off.

We decided that we would get up and head into Nottingham for a wander and a poke around the shops. So rather than our morning walk over the fields we instead had an urban stroll which ultimately led us to Caffe Nero for coffee. We did cut our walk a little short as it tried to rain at one point and we had no umbrellas or jackets with us, this just meant we got to have coffee sooner.

Around lunchtime we had our first meal of the day which was burgers from Five Guys; as I've previously talked about Five Guys is a great choice for anyone following a keto or low carb lifestyle as you are able to order the burgers without buns. Double bacon cheeseburger with green peppers and mushrooms for me!

Although we had popped into a few shops we came back empty handed as there was nothing that really caught our eyes. But it was simply just nice to be out and about and taking in the sights and sounds of the city.

The remainder of the day saw Simon add the two pieces of R2D2 that he's been working on over the last few weeks. A couple of arms that were missing from behind a couple of the panel doors. They were a little tricky to put into place so I was needed to assist and hold things! I was also able to clean up some more 3D prints...I think I'm getting quite adept at it now! And our new printer is proving to be very reliable and is generating solid prints each time, a definite worth while investment in replacement of the old printer which was slower, smaller and would often run into hiccups!

And to finish off the day we headed down the gym for our first workout of the week. I'm trying to be mindful of my left shoulder and avoid any moves which seem to aggravate it, not sure what I've done to it but I think it just needs some rest before I try and do too much with it. Time will tell!

See you all tomorrow all being well.



Saturday 27 August 2022

Day 890 & Day 891

Day 890...Friday

The morning was bright, sunny and a little chilly but within 36 minutes we had our usual 1.9 mile walk completed.

My morning started off with a few household chores; some laundry and some cleaning around. But once those jobs were out the way I took the time to paint my nails; not something I do that often and apart from an odd occasion where I've paid to have them done, it's something I tend to do myself. I do have a UV gel nail kit that Simon bought me a few years ago but it still takes a fair while to get them done that way so a cheap bottle of quick drying, one coat varnish is my preferred go to option!

Not a bad effort for a £1 nail varnish from Primark!
Maybe now that I am retired I could take advantage of the extra time and actually indulge in a manicure every now and then. Trouble is I know once I start it will become a habit, and not a cheap one at that! Best dig out that UV light instead.

But with freshly done nails it gave me the perfect excuse to sit outside in the sunshine (to let them dry of course), enjoy a coffee and catch up on a little reading.

After lunch it was a mixture of little tasks. I had a present to wrap ahead of going out tomorrow evening, there was another 3D print that needed cleaning up, more research on the ideas for my next tattoo, some jigsaw time and re-connecting with an old friend over social media.

An old friend of ours had posted on social media about the different medications they now find themselves on and so both Simon and I had reached out to chat about diet and lifestyle choices. With both of us living a low carb/keto life we are keen to pass on what information we have gained over the years. Often people do not want to know what we do, they are content to carry on as they are and just take a pill that will make everything alright. Our approach is to do the utmost that we can to eat right and live right to try and stack the odds in our favour so that we can avoid as much of the possible downfalls of getting older that we can. No-one can ever rule out getting something horrid but at least we can try and put ourselves in the best possible position for dealing with it or avoiding it completely. For once our old friend didn't dismiss what we had to say and so we started chatting and hopefully we have been able to point them in the right direction. 

On this blog I have a couple of pages 'Eating Well, Staying Healthy' and 'Getting Real' which document my approach to a healthy lifestyle and my progress. Both of these pages are a few years old now so I think they are due either an update or a new additional page and I'm hoping to find some time to do just that. Please check the pages out if you want to know a little more about what I do!

Friday was rounded out with a gym session although I really wasn't feeling it tonight for some reason. My left shoulder can sometimes cause me issues and I think tonight was one of those nights and I perhaps just need to give myself a little more recovery time in between those sessions where I focus on my shoulders. But I still got down the gym and did something which has to be better than nothing.

Day 891...Saturday

We had a more gentle getting up this morning and with a coffee inside us headed out for our morning walk. As we had a few things that we wanted to get done today we just stuck to our usual 1.9 mile route and in 37 minutes we were back home again.

The morning was taken up with helping Simon with an interview he'd been asked to do for a retro gaming journalist in Russia! A fair few years ago (like over 20 years ago) Simon had been the lead designer on a game called Shadowman that seems to have developed a bit of a cult following as he often gets asked about his time working on it. Often Simon will be approached with questions for magazine articles but in this case the journalist is working on a documentary and so Simon thought it would be better to video his answers to the questions. This involved a little bit of set-up to get the positioning and lighting just right. We had decided to invest in a stand that will hold either a phone or video camera that comes with its own light ring as well as a small clip on microphone which once set made the whole process so much easier. And before we knew it the morning had flown by and it was time for lunch.

After lunch I decided to get caught up with writing this blog as I'd run out of time yesterday while Simon edited the mornings video before sending them off. It was also chance to get some more tattoo research done (yes I know more...but it has to be right!) so hopefully I can now get the images sent over to my tattooist at some point this weekend.

I decided to get a little jigsaw done before taking the time to get my make-up sorted ready for going out later in the evening. We are helping some friends of ours celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and they have hired out a room at the pub across the road from where we live, which is very convenient. So for the first time in a while we are going 'out, out' so I thought I'd better put my best face on. I don't tend to do full make-up very often as it's normally just a bit of mascara, touch of blush, some lipstick and off we go so today I got chance to play with some eye colours. I'm not one for 'natural' colours and have always preferred to go for something brighter but I always feel out of practice so I made sure I gave myself plenty of time rather than rushing at the last minute.

And that is where I'm going to leave it for today...time to go out and have some fun.

See you all tomorrow.

Thursday 25 August 2022

Day 889

Day 889...

The day started very grey, overcast and a touch cooler than of late but we still ventured out over the fields and did our usual 1.9 miles in 37 minutes once again.

I then had the Lidl shop to contend with. And despite the main road between home and Lidl being closed it wasn't as much of an inconvenience as I'd feared.

Whilst I'd been out Simon had found a couple of really interesting articles to read. So with a coffee in hand I took the time to read them; one was about the decisions taken surrounding the pandemic and the way those decisions were enacted and confirmed that they hadn't taken the full affects of lockdown into account. It also highlighted just how appalling the use of fear tactics were which are still evident to this day as witnessed by myself whilst at Lidl; an older man wearing a mask and rubber gardening gloves...if you are that concerned then why on earth are you out mingling with all of us unclean people?!! The other article was looking at the best way to exercise to make the most of the effort that you put in; basically making sure you maintain good form and work until you are exhausted.

After lunch I spent a good length of time online bringing together my ideas for my upcoming tattoo in a couple of weeks. I know what I want I just need to find the images that I'm happiest with to pass onto my tattooist. Still a little more work to be done but my eyes were beginning to cross so I decided to leave it alone and finish it probably tomorrow.

I also managed a little 3d print clean up as Simon is powering through getting more and more pieces printed.

Printed piece with our clean-up tool of choice

Removing the edge that is not needed
I then squeezed in a little jigsaw time before heading down the gym for an abs and glutes workout.

And all that is left to do today is to watch this weeks episode of She-Hulk and see how this Marvel series is going to pan out!

See you all tomorrow.

Wednesday 24 August 2022

Day 887 & Day 888

Today we have two days for the price of one...

Day 887...Tuesday

As Simon was back at work we resumed our shorter early morning walk and did our usual route of 1.9 miles in 37 minutes. My legs definitely felt it for some reason this morning and I was not loving the fact that this route is a tad on the hilly side.

My morning was spent catching up on a few jobs around the house, some cleaning, ironing and bits. I even managed to squeeze in a little jigsaw time before lunch.

After lunch I headed out to meet up with a friend for coffee at a local garden centre which has a lovely cafe called PipTree. It was very busy but we were able to grab a table outside and despite the very grey clouds it was lovely and warm and stayed dry. As a treat we both indulged in a cream tea which is one of my favourite guilty pleasures...although I'm not sure my stomach agrees with me one hundred percent. The effect of adopting a low carb/keto way of eating can sometimes mean that those indulgences don't always still as well digestively speaking as they perhaps once did. A combination of sugars and especially grains can sometimes make for a bit of a grumbly stomach. But we had a lovely couple of hours catching up and putting the world to rights.

Back home and it was time to have a play with our new purchase...a soda stream! Having gotten fed up of not being able to buy sparkling water we have indulged in a soda stream, not something I ever thought we would own but now we do. We won't be adding all the various syrups that are available as we don't drink any sodas of any variety, it will simply be for sparkling water with perhaps some fresh fruit added for a little extra flavour.

Then Simon gave me a quick lesson in 3D printer clean-up! Basically this is taking the printed part and snipping off any support structure and base of those weirdly addictive jobs!

I even managed another half hour with my jigsaw before I headed down the gym. Tonight it was all about kettle bell and body weight exercises targeting glutes and abs!

Day 888...Wednesday

Up and out again for another early morning walk with very grey skies but still warm and thankfully a breeze which meant it didn't feel as muggy as yesterdays walk had. But it was 1.9 miles in 37 minutes completed before 9am.

The majority of my morning was taken up with some gardening, or as I like to call it 'cleaning the outdoors' as that's what it feels like. It was a couple of hours of sweeping up leaves, cutting back plants, cleaning out grates and weeding. Not my favourite job but one that needed doing and one that I wanted to get done in case it decided to rain later on. I need to get some weedkiller sprayed around as well but that will have to wait until we have a dry weather forecast.

On a positive this morning both my brother and I have finally received an interim payment from the solicitors in respect of my dads estate. It has taken them since the beginning of the month to get this processed, their systems are so archaic. In fact my brother challenged them on why it was taking so long as he, like me, has worked in banking and, like me, knows how smoothly transactions can and should be processed. He was told because 'that's the way it's always been done' - unbelievable! They seem to be working about three decades out of whack with the rest of the world. And whilst neither myself or my brother were in need of the payment, and it wasn't a large payment either, we just felt that it belonged to us and should be with us rather than lining the accounts of the solicitors!

After lunch my task was to sort out the butchers order which had arrived late morning. I had 4.5 kg of bacon, 100 sausages, 5kg of chicken and 5kg of steak mince to split into meal sized portions and freeze.

It was late afternoon before I finally stopped and took a few minutes out to enjoy a coffee and move some jigsaw pieces about. Before I knew it Simon had finished work for the day and it was time to head down our gym in the rain. It's on days like this that having the gym in the garage only a short distance from the house is really appreciated. Tonight it was an arms workout for me.

And there we have a couple of days, see you all tomorrow.

Monday 22 August 2022

Day 886

Day 886...

Before we headed out on our early morning walk Simon spent a little time setting up the 3D printer. He had the print from overnight to remove, which is always a bit of a tricky job, and then the next print to set going as this was going to take most of the day. 

We had a bit of a longer walk this morning managing 3.3 miles in 1 hour and 11 minutes which was a bit of a slower pace due to the picking of blackberries. I think this is the third week we have been able to pick berries when out on our walk and we filled a tub that resulted in 600g of blackberries for the freezer.

Next on the agenda was a trip out to Ikea which we did with a short stop by our local recycling centre as we had a few items that we needed to get rid of. At Ikea we purchased some new everyday cups, three new saucepans and a couple of drawer organiser inserts.

Whilst at the retail park we decided to pop into the sports store Decathlon for no other reason than to just have a look around. As it was we found a couple of 5kg bar weights that will not only work for the bar but will also work as an alternate to my dumbbells. I already use a couple of 5kg dumbbells but find them awkward to hold for a couple of exercises but these new weights are shaped like a steering wheel and will be much easier for me to move about.

New weights, working out this evening
We arrived home and it was time for our first meal of the day...our lunch/brunch or whatever we want to call it and we were both more than ready for it today. Some days the hunger just gets to you!

Then for some reason my mood was just 'off' this afternoon, I didn't know what to do with myself and so we put on some random daft TV programme. I even attempted my jigsaw but couldn't lose myself in it like I would normally. So we decided that we would head down the gym and for me it was an arm and shoulders work out tonight.

Over the course of the day Simon has had great success with not only successful 3D prints but also completing his latest piece of digital art. The only downside he discovered was that he'd painted the details on the wrong piece of his recent R2D2 prints. He'd diligently and carefully added painted detail over the course of the weekend and then this evening realised that out of the two very similar looking pieces he had printed he'd painted the wrong one. Hopefully he will be able to sand back the paint and recover both pieces; just a tad annoying as it was a very slow and precise painting process that he will now have to repeat.

And with that I will see you all tomorrow.

Sunday 21 August 2022

Day 885

Day 885...

I think this will be a relatively short post today as I am writing it fairly late on in the day.

This morning our first job was to nip out to Asda to collect our grocery shop order. Once upon a time Asda was my go to supermarket of choice but lately I have become more and more frustrated with its lack of choice, lack of availability, poor substitutions and general price increases. I think going forward I will use them for big bulky items but keep the majority of my shopping to my local Lidl instead.

There was a little more shopping to be done today but that was online as I needed to place an order with the butchers that I use. So much easier to order great quality products, in bulk and for delivery on a day of my choosing.

After our lunch/brunch Simon and I decided to take a trip into Derby for a wander around and to pick up a few things. This involved stops at Paperchase, Damaged Society, Lakeland and of course Primark; quite an eclectic mix of shops today! We then took some time to enjoy a coffee at Caffe Nero before heading home.

Today has also been all about the 3D printer. Simon has been tinkering with it to get the best possible prints out of it and he has managed to get a few more pieces printed. It is now busy printing a larger section of the model Simon is creating and will be busy printing for the next 9 hours!

Simon has also managed to get some painting completed on some extra parts for his R2D2 as well as some digital painting for his latest art creation. My creative juices were a little more simpler and directed at my current jigsaw!

And with that I will see you all tomorrow.

Saturday 20 August 2022

Day 884

Day 884...

We had a gentle start to the day and with a coffee inside us we headed out on our early(ish) morning walk but today we had a destination ahead of us. We walked the 2.2 miles over to 'The Cowshed', a local cafe, in 43 minutes to meet up with my brother and his wife for breakfast.

We had a lovely cooked breakfast, a couple of coffees and a couple of hours of catching up and a good old chat. Amazingly the return walk (the exact same route as we'd taken to get there) was also completed in 43 minutes and according to my activity tracker I achieved 70 minutes of 'fat burning' exercise - get in!

On our return home it was time for another coffee and an afternoon of getting a few odd jobs done. While I jumped online and did a little shopping Simon spent the time getting productive with his 3D printer.

I've ordered a soda stream because we are fed up of not being able to buy sparkling water and figured a small investment now would save us in the long run plus we'll be using less plastic. We also ordered a couple of wooden shelves for our study/craft room so that I can display my recently bought Disney Funko Pop figures. And I updated our grocery shopping order for collection tomorrow, although I am getting more and more unhappy with the service as more and more items seem to be unavailable. I just don't understand why staples like eggs and mushrooms are not available; shopping is an annoyingly necessary activity and this just makes it even more so.

We have also signed ourselves up to one of our Star Wars troops for a few weeks time. It has been awhile since our last troop as we couldn't get back out there until Simon's broken wrist was out of its cast; no way his stormtrooper armour would have fitted over that! So it's great to know that we have a date on the calendar and can look forward to getting back out there with our fellow cosplayers.

Simon's afternoon has been spent recalibrating his 3D printer after he'd had a failed print earlier in the week. He'd been attempting to print a large model in one very long print (about 3 days long) but had suffered a blockage in the extruder! Sounds painful I know, but basically the filament that feeds through to create the print had just jammed. So once it had been cleared Simon decided to recalibrate the printer and with the help of a YouTube video was able to get everything dialled in and working as best as it could. He has also decided to not risk a long print and so instead has 'sliced' the model into much smaller pieces, although once all the pieces have been printed they will require some assembly!

While Simon got all technical with the printer I kept things a lot simpler and moved some jigsaw pieces around.

And that was Saturday. See you all tomorrow.

Friday 19 August 2022

Day 882 & Day 883

Day 882...Thursday

Well the day started very grey again and just before we stepped out the door it started to rain. But it didn't stop us and thankfully it didn't last too long but we still stuck to our new route following the pavements and managed another 2.2 miles in 39 minutes. We even bumped into a couple of old friends who were out walking their dog and had got caught in the rain. 

My morning job was to nip down to Lidl to stock up on a few bits and bobs, and in hindsight I was glad I decided to go down today as there was a water leak along the main road which now means the road is closed until early next week! 

The remainder of my Thursday was split between grabbing a coffee outside when the sunshine came out, starting my next jigsaw (sorting the edge pieces) and a lot of online stuff.

I managed to 'chat' online with a local jewellers to make an appointment with them to look at some of the jewellery we'd found at my dads house. I tried to book my car in for a service but couldn't quite manage it so have requested a call back (which I am still waiting for) and then it was time to book a hotel.

We are going to see Molly and Dan at the end of September and so needed to get a hotel booked for a few nights. I'd looked around to see if I could find somewhere different to our usual hotel but after much searching I realised that there are many good reasons why we go back to the same place each time; great location, breakfast included, always clean and tidy, lovely staff and free electric car charging! Having looked at various dates we'd settled on a longer stay than normal so that it would tie in with Molly's non-working days, plus we will get a longer break away from home too.

I also spent a considerable amount of time online acting as admin and technical support for my podcast co-host, and very good friend Michelle, who is out in Walt Disney World at the moment. Facebook had decided to lock her out of her account which meant she was unable to post to our podcast page and message friends who she was due to be meeting. Thankfully I was able to get in touch with her friends and provide them with alternate ways to get in touch and between us we managed to get her back online, although not as fully online as she could have been. Technology is great when it works but when it doesn't it is a pain in the bum!

After a forty five minute session down the gym where I focused on abs and legs it was time for a spot of dinner before settling down to watch the latest Marvel series; She Hulk! And I really enjoyed it, it was well acted, a little bit goofy and simply fun to watch. Fingers crossed the series carries on in that way.

Day 883...Friday

So having run out of time yesterday to write my blog we now have two days for the price of one.

This morning we were back to blue skies and sunshine, although it was not as warm as it has been of late. This meant we could get back to our usual walk over the fields and our hilly 1.9 mile walk completed in 35 minutes.

I was then off out to the jewellers to see what we could do with the jewellery we had found. As most of it didn't hold any sentimental value we have simply been able to cash it in along with confirming that some of the items we have are just costume pieces that I think we will ultimately sell via Ebay. I do have a couple of pieces of jewellery that belonged to my mum that are in need of repair and I was in two minds as to what to do with them. I don't want to part with them but they are not really my style but then Simon came up with a great suggestion; could they be made into a bespoke piece that could incorporate my love of Disney? Chatting to the jewellers and the answer is yes. I now need to think about what that would look like before making another appointment to sort a design. They were also able to confirm that one of my dads gold chains could be made into bracelets relatively easily and I simply need to work out the sizing.

When my dad had passed Molly had asked if she could have two gold bracelets that he used to wear as keepsakes but having looked far and wide we have not been able to find them. So instead Molly is going to have the gold chain that he always wore instead. She has measured up and we are going to have it made into a bracelet and an anklet for her instead.

The remainder of the day saw me catching up with a few jobs around the house; a little cleaning and even some gardening...well okay weeding! And in doing some cleaning around I found the missing piece from my last jigsaw it had somehow worked its way under the stairs!

I did also make a start on my latest jigsaw by getting the outside edge completed.

It was then time for the final workout of the week by paying a visit to our gym and 'throwing' some weights around.

And that was Friday, I need to stop typing now as we have Drag Race Canada to watch.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 17 August 2022

Day 881

Day 881...

Wednesday has rolled around and finally the forecasted rain was with us. But we didn't let a little drizzle stop us from taking our early morning walk we just stuck to the pavements rather than get wet feet going over the fields. We managed a pretty quick 2.2 miles in 38 minutes.

This morning I headed out to a local garden centre for coffee and a catch-up with a couple of old friends back from my banking days. I left the bank over 20 years ago but a small group of us still keep in touch and ordinarily we meet up for a coffee every few months or so but today was the first time in over three years! But it was like we'd only seen each other a few months ago and a couple of hours over a coffee soon whizzed by.

On my way home I'd timed it right to be able to stop by a local retail branch of Next to collect an online order that I'd placed yesterday afternoon. How great is it that I was able to place an order and in less than 24 hours I was picking it up.

After a spot of lunch I had a letter from the solicitors to deal with. I'd been waiting for the letter to arrive for over two weeks and it was only because my brother had chased them on Monday that a letter had miraculously appeared today - strange that! The whole process following my Dad's passing in March has been so slow, with the solicitors seemingly stuck in a rut of routines that is now about thirty years out of date. Everything has to be sent by post, payments made by cheque and documents hand delivered. All very frustrating as in this day and age with technology where it is everything should be so much more simpler and much, much quicker. But anyway I finally had the letter and it contained some details that I had to approve, sign to say I agreed and then pop back in the post. 

Unfortunately, it took me way longer than it should have done but I blame how the paperwork was worded, how it was presented and then my haste to get it dealt with and in the post today. I had a deadline of 4pm as that was the time of the last collection at the post box closest to me, but in my rush to get it done I think I caused myself more problems than I should have done. So although I did manage to sort everything I needed I missed the 4pm cut-off, this means that tomorrow I will be going out of my way to hand deliver it to the solicitors instead! 

Before I knew it the afternoon had disappeared and it was time to go down the gym. It was so nice to be working out in a much, much cooler environment than of late and tonight I was focused on my arms and shoulders.

Right I need a cup of tea so I will see you all tomorrow.

Tuesday 16 August 2022

Day 880

Day 880...

Well the weather forecast had led me to believe that we would be waking up to rain this morning but the weather had other ideas and we started bright, sunny and dry. Perfect for our early morning walk of 1.9 miles in 36 minutes; back to our usual weekday route as Simon was back at work proper today.

Although there was a little hiccup this morning when Simon went to check on his current 3D print and found that although the printer was still attempting to print there was no filament being extruded. This means that Simon now has two things to figure out; first why did the filament stop extruding and once we know why it can then be fixed and second how to break the print into smaller sections. He was hoping that it was going to be one, very big, single print that should have taken about three days but now he is going to look at breaking the model into smaller pieces that can then be assembled once they have all been printed. 

My day was a mixture of odd jobs around the house like the ironing and some cleaning interspersed with a couple of coffee breaks taken outside making the most of the sunshine as the forecast was predicting rain this afternoon.

Simon nipped out to the barbers just before lunch and as the grey clouds gathered I got caught up with some online bits and pieces. The rain finally arrived mid-afternoon although it was not quite the downpour that had been predicted and it still feels rather close, as if we need a good thunderstorm to clear the air. Well, the forecast is for rain and lots of it overnight and into the morning so we shall see what actually happens.

This evening while Simon jumped on the exercise bike I took myself down the gym with a focus today on legs and abs!

And with that I will see you tomorrow.

Monday 15 August 2022

Day 879

Day 879...

Our early morning walk this morning whilst still early, we set off about 8.20am, was a little slower than normal. We completed a circuit of 3.4 miles in one hour and 27 minutes due to frequent stops to pick blackberries!

We brought home another tubful and now have three more bags of berries in the freezer.

We then popped out for a quick shop at Lidl not only to pick up some fresh salad but to see if we could track down some sparkling water as it is proving rather elusive at the moment. We did manage to get some but only in the small bottles and we were only allowed to buy one pack of 12...well as there was two of us that meant we came out with two packs as we bought each one separately!

Back home and in a change to a normal Monday Simon logged into work. As the game he is currently working on was just announced last Friday (Wreckreation), and will be on the show floor at Gamescom in Germany in just over a weeks time, the team are working extra hours to ensure that everything is ready and working as best as it can.

My time was split between a few odd jobs around the house, a little reading time, some online bits and pieces and plenty of cups of coffee - decaf of course!

And despite the forecast of rain we have had hardly any today which left the air feeling rather rather close and 'muggy', but it didn't stop us getting down the gym. Another arms and shoulder workout for me tonight.

See you all tomorrow.

Sunday 14 August 2022

Day 878

Day 878...

Today has been all about droids!

We took a drive over to Harper Adams University in Shropshire where the Droid Builders UK were holding a weekend of droid building fun. When we arrived we realised that we had been to this university once before when we cosplayed as our Mandalorians at a small comic con aimed at families with children with special educational needs. But today the focus was on droids, and as it was rather warm again today cosplaying in Mandalorian armour would not have been very pleasant.

Now Simon has built a full size R2D2 which lives in our living room, his head spins around, he lights up and makes all the appropriate beeps and boops but he does not move around by remote control. He is also rather large and will not fit in our car so he had to stay at home but we were able to take Simon's MSE (mouse) droid with us instead.

When we arrived and got checked in we were given special event lanyards and welcomed into the fold. Everyone was so lovely and welcoming and happy to chat all things droids.
For Simon he was actually able to meet people in person who up to this point he had only ever spoken with over forums. It was a great atmosphere of sharing stories, tips, build journeys and asking questions...oh and of course there were droids!

After a lovely few hours it was time to head home. This was the first time in a while that we'd attempted a longer car journey and weren't sure whether we would need to re-charge on the way home. But thankfully, and probably due to the warm weather and using 'eco' mode, we managed both journeys and still had 55 miles left in the 'tank'! We are still getting used to the electric car and these longer journeys but this does bode well for when I get tattooed next month as I will need to travel a similar sort of distance!

And I think that is where I will leave it for today, see you tomorrow.

Saturday 13 August 2022

Day 877

Day 877...

This morning we were up at our normal time as we had promised to play taxi service for Ethan. He had a day out planned with his work at a local paintball centre and he needed to be in Nottingham for 8.45am as they had arranged transport to get everyone to and from the centre.

Once we'd dropped Ethan off we decided that this mornings 'early morning walk' would be an urban one as we set off around Nottingham city centre. We quickly completed 2.4 miles in 43 minutes and ended up at our favourite Caffe Nero for a coffee.

Before we headed for home we had a quick stop by Primark because it would have been rude not to. And whilst there were a couple of Disney items that I was drawn to I decided not to bother as I wasn't 100% sold on them. We also nipped into Holland & Barret, the health food shop, as we wanted to pick up some Konjac noodles; these are low carb noodles, in fact they have zero carbs in them. We'd tried them last week and were pleasantly surprised by them and decided to get a few packets in. It's not something that I would tend to go for but I know that Ethan misses not having noodles or rice when I make a stir-fry so these are a good alternative for us.

Back home and Simon spent a few hours on and off throughout the day getting on with some work. This is not something that he would ordinarily do at a weekend but as they have a deadline fast approaching ahead of  'Gamescom' in Germany towards the end of the month he wanted to put in a few extra hours today. He'd expected his other team mates to also be online but no-one else appeared to be, but as we have a day out planned for tomorrow Simon wanted to get his extra hours done today.

I managed to complete my latest jigsaw and would you believe it I was a piece missing; that is two jigsaws that I have completed one after the other with missing pieces - how weird? 

Missing piece??
Now whether those pieces are hiding somewhere in the living room having got disturbed by having windows open and draughts coming through I don't know - only time will tell I suppose.

I have also been doing a little online searching for a hotel near Molly so that we can visit in a few weeks time. We have a hotel that we have used the last few times and I was hoping to find somewhere different but after searching I was back to our 'usual'. Not only was the cost either comparable or cheaper than others I looked at but it also has free electric vehicle charging points which obviously are a must for us.

It was then time to go and collect a very red, sweaty and knackered Ethan from Nottingham following his day paintballing. Now Ethan is not the most active of people and I think he will be feeling todays efforts for the next few days to come!

Simon has also been working on his next 3D print that will actually be something that we can both appreciate and will be something that we will display in our new study/craft room...I will reveal more as things progress. Suffice to say it's a decent size and at the moment is predicted to take over three and a half days and one kilo of filament!

And with that I think I will stop for the day as I am very hot and sweaty and need to cool down, have some food and watch some RuPauls Drag Race.

See you all tomorrow.

Friday 12 August 2022

Day 876

Day 876...

We have had yet another glorious day with clear blue skies, sunshine and high temperatures. Whilst we started our day with a walk it was a little different to normal. We set off later than normal as about half way round Simon and I parted ways...Simon headed off home while I continued on. My destination was a local cafe called 'The Cowshed' so that I could meet up with a friend for coffee.

The walk over was 2.6 miles which I completed in 49 minutes, while the walk back was a little shorter at 2.3 miles in 42 minutes. It was lovely to catch-up over coffee and lovely to be blessed with such a beautiful day although by the time I got home just before lunch I was rather sweaty to say the least!!

A few photos from my walk this morning...

And of course had to get one of the Alpacas....

I arrived home to a couple of parcels...

Not only had the Funko Stitch arrived so that I now have a complete set of the Funko PeopleMover figures...

...but we also received our new Kindle Paperwhite along with a wireless charging dock and case. Consequently this afternoon I took a little time to set everything up which was super easy as I just had to login to the Kindle app on my phone and hey presto everything synced up and it was ready to use.

Mid-afternoon my very good friend, and podcast co-host, Michelle stopped by for a cuppa on her journey down South. She was making her way to her hotel for the evening before she embarks on her journey tomorrow to Orlando, Florida. Yep Michelle is going to Walt Disney World and she also has a Disney cruise booked to round out her vacation. Although things are proving a little stressful as the airline has decided to move her and her friends seats around so they are no longer sitting together despite having paid extra to reserve their seats. Plus she also had to upload proof of her vaccination to the Disney Cruise Line as they will only allow fully vaccinated guests to board providing they have also tested negative 48 hours prior to boarding. This is another level of stress for Michelle as she has to figure out how to get tested and get the test uploaded prior to her cruise while being in a foreign country who follow different rules and protocols to us in the UK.

I really do think it is time that we drop all these silly rules that are still in place for a virus that is now no worse than the flu and is endemic within society. We need to get some common sense and go back to how things were before and adopt a sensible approach...if you are ill stay home - simples! This is how it should have always been and for the majority of people it was. There is no point making yourself do something or go somewhere when you are feeling rough...take the time off, rest and you will be back on your feet ten times quicker than if you soldier on as you will then find yourself in a worse state.

What we need to be doing is educating people about looking after themselves, getting them to be as healthy as they can possibly be so that if a cold or a flu does come along they are in their best shape to deal with it. Unfortunately the cynic in me says that is not a profitable approach. If people eat well and exercise well then how will big food make their profits and if people are fit and healthy then how do big pharma get rich? So in turn why should those of us that do the best we can with our diet and fitness be penalised because the majority choose not to?

And in my attempt to look after myself we finished the day with a gym workout and although it was still very hot there was actually quite a nice breeze and so most of my workout was done outside. Tonight I was concentrating on arms and shoulders.

See you all tomorrow.

Thursday 11 August 2022

Day 875

Day 875...

Thursday started as our mornings do with an early morning walk, we had 1.9 miles completed in just over 35 minutes and were back home before 8.45am. It was yet another beautiful start to the day and the sun was already feeling pretty hot.

But before the day reached its hottest temperatures I had a couple of jobs that I wanted to get done. First it was down to Lidl for a few bits and pieces; I was very excited to see a range of Japanese influenced products in the freezer section and just had to pick up some lemon & ginger ice-cream. Ethan is a big fan of Japanese foods so I can see me making a special trip down to try a few things.

Back home and it was laundry and ironing time before things got too warm. Whilst it is great to take advantage of the lovely weather for drying the laundry ironing is not so much fun! But it didn't take me long and so I was able to sit outside, in the shade, with a coffee and my Low Carb, High Fat Food Revolution book that I am re-reading at the moment.

Just before lunch I had a delivery...I thought I would treat myself to a few Funko Pop Vinyl figures because they were on offer and just way too adorable not to.

These have been released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World and involve one of my most favourite rides; the PeopleMover or to give it it's full (current) title, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. There is a fourth in the set with Stitch in a carriage and this has proven a little harder to come by, especially at a reasonable price. But at lunchtime Simon decided to order one for me from Amazon even though it was a tad more expensive than it should really have been. Posting about the set on the Disney Dream Girls Family page on Facebook one of our members explained that the Stitch version had been exclusive to the Funko store and that was probably why it had been tricky to track down.

After lunch I had an online doctors appointment. This was a follow-up to see if there was anything that could be done to help with some of my menopause symptoms. Unfortunately because I've had breast cancer I'm unable to take the standard HRT drugs but we had tried another type that is actually for blood pressure but has been shown to help some women...but not me.

About ten days ago after suffering from some side effects associated with the medication I decided to stop taking them and over the course of the last few days things seem to be a bit better. Now since my last check-in with the doc I have started having cold showers (now at 3 minutes at least once a day), I've increased my twice (sometimes three) workouts a week up to five and I have stopped drinking red wine (which has been the hardest thing and I only used to have a small glass each evening!). Simon and I are also getting out most days for a minimum of a two mile walk and are using that time to chat and connect should we feel the need to. It is also now two and a half months since I retired and I think that is having a more profound effect on me than I perhaps always credit. I think not having the stresses of work and all the noise that goes along with it has given me the space, mentally, to be better able to cope with things. Which in turn means that the menopause symptoms that I have been experiencing have been easier to cope with, and haven't felt as all consuming as they have in the past.

One thing the doc did recommend was to check my calcium intake level as one of the problems for women having gone through the menopause is the risk of Osteoporosis. I am hoping that my low carb way of eating along with getting plenty of exercise with a focus on weight training will all go towards healthy muscles to help protect my bones and my balance. But taking a supplement to boost those levels is not something that I mind doing so I did manage to find some online and get them ordered.

A little later than normal Simon and I decided to get our fourth workout of the week done. Simon was on the exercise bike while I was focused on body weight exercises and those targeting my abs.

Simon then played taxi service for Ethan as he'd been to the pub after work and the first bus back's route finished in the town next to where we are, so a couple of miles away. So we said we would pick him up rather than waiting for the later bus that would bring him all the way home.

And that was Thursday, see you all tomorrow.

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Day 874

Day 874...

We have had another rather warm and toasty day again today but we still managed our now regular early morning walk of 1.9 miles in 36 minutes. Absolutely loving this way to start the day even if there are a couple of nasty hills that I really wish weren't there!

And with a mad rush of blood to the head I decided to do some gardening, anyone who knows me will know that this is not my thing. I know next to almost nothing about gardening except trying to keep what we have relatively tidy. So before the day got too hot I spent some time cutting back a couple of bushes and trees that were starting to get a little wild. I discovered why I don't do gardening...look at my arm...

I thought I'd best take things a little easier and stop for a while with a coffee in the be fair although my arm flared up it wasn't sore or itchy and within an hour it had vanished. But I did take a coffee break and used it as an excuse for a little more reading...I'd forgotten what an easy and interesting read this book is...

Anyone interested in being healthy and getting rid of any excess pounds should give this book a read. 

I then stopped by my dads house to check on any mail and make sure everything there was okay. There were two pieces of mail both from organisations that I had contacted back in March when Dad had passed away asking for information about the occupancy at the they not check their records?

Just before lunch I took a little time to get a bit more of my jigsaw done, taking advantage of the room where it lives being in shade and relatively cool compared to else where.

My afternoon has then been an afternoon of being sat at the laptop. I had the letters from my Dads to respond to which didn't take too long but then I needed to chat with Amazon! We wanted to buy a new Kindle and were taking advantage of their trade-in deal; £15 gift card plus 20% off a new device. But we had to return the old Kindle first before we could buy the new one which we had dutifully done over a week ago. We could see from the online tracking that the old device had been delivered to Amazon but they had done nothing with it for a week.

So it was time to figure out what was happening. I finally found the online chat option and managed to 'chat' with an actual person. I was told that they were experiencing some delays due to the knock-on effect of their recent Amazon Prime Day but that if we hadn't heard from them by the 17th to get in touch again and they would process it manually. Not sure why they couldn't process it manually today but at least I'd got an answer.

About half an hour later we received an email from Amazon to say that they'd accepted the old Kindle, applied the gift card to the account and that the discount would be applied automatically on check-out. Call me cynical but how coincidental was that email?! Anyway I went to order my new Kindle but when I got to the check-out there was no discount...then ensued a very frustrated me trying to figure out how to get the discount applied. Eventually I discovered that the discount only applied to a Kindle on its own and not when buying a bundle with a case and a charging dock which is what I was trying to do. It was so annoying that despite going back over their email and following various different links and being told that discounts were applied to 'qualifying' products I could find no information about what that actually meant. Argh! But in the end I managed to order the Kindle, the case and the charging dock and get the 20% discount and use the £15 gift card...phew!

At the end of the day, and despite the heat, Simon and I headed down our gym. I was trying a few more new exercises that today targeted arms and shoulders. I'm really starting to develop a new set of exercises and am liking this new approach to my workouts.

With that I will see you tomorrow.

Tuesday 9 August 2022

Day 873

Day 873...

And with Simon back at work today we had our usual 1.9 mile early morning walk in just 36 minutes and it was another glorious start to the day.

My day has been relatively quiet and has been a simple sort of day. I had a quick Lidl shop to do as we needed fresh salad and a few other bits. It is so handy having a Lidl just a few minutes car drive away and I am finding that without being at work it is much easier to change the way I shop. I am no longer tied to a weekly shop where I try to get everything at once from one place but can now shop when needed and when I feel in the mood to! 

I made a point of sitting outside with my coffee to soak up some sunshine before it got too hot and I have started to re-read one of my low carb books. It's called 'Low Carb, High Fat Food Revolution' and it's an easy and informative read to understand how we got to where we are today and what we can all do to make ourselves healthier and slimmer too.

And while the day was a little cooler, and the sun had not yet reached the window where my jigsaw resides in front of, I decided to take a few minutes before lunch to get some pieces into place. 

Our lunch was a little later today as Simon is very busy with work. They have a deadline looming and so it's a case of everyone working as many hours as they can over the next few weeks. This does mean that our plans for this coming weekend may not happen and at the most optimistic are 'on hold'.

Over the course of the afternoon I was able to get a little cleaning done, a few more jigsaw pieces moved around and some online searching for canisters for storing our tea & coffee. An easy task you would think but who knew it could be so boring and that there would be so little choice! I had to walk away as my eyes were beginning to cross and so instead I headed down the gym!

My workout tonight was focused on mainly abs with a few squats thrown in, but it was a rather sweaty session and a shower was very much needed at the end of it. Although I am quite pleased to report that I had my second three minute cold shower of the day!

And with that I shall see you tomorrow.

Monday 8 August 2022

Day 872

Day 872...

Monday has rolled around and it was a beautiful morning with clear blue skies and warm sunshine as we set off on our early morning walk armed with a Tupperware tub! Yep you read that correctly as today we were on a mission to pick some blackberries. We took a steady one hour and seven minutes to complete 3.4 miles and by the end we had a tub full with berries.

While I got myself ready for going out Simon was able to apply some varnish to the 3D printed pieces that he'd airbrushed yesterday. He's also done a little more work on a model that he's currently building as well.

We then jumped in the car and headed just a few miles up the motorway to the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet mall. It had been a while since we'd last visited here and we just thought it would be somewhere different to have a look around with no specific reason for going.

Because we have now adopted an intermittent fasting approach to our meals we no longer eat first thing in a morning instead we have our first meal of the day around a traditional lunch time of the day. So as that time of day approached we decided to 'break our fast' with burgers! One benefit of eating low carb/keto for these past 8 years is that we have moved away from the traditional breakfast type foods and therefore making our first meal of the day burgers is perfect for us and Five Guys is great for anyone who eats like we do. We were able to order bacon cheeseburgers with whatever toppings we wanted (I go simple with mushrooms, green peppers and mayo) but without the bun. You can opt to have your burger in a lettuce 'bun' or, like us, simply in a tray. Great way to break our fast and this was followed by a 200 Degrees coffee, which is always a great cup of coffee.

On our wander around we decided to pick up a pair of Converse Hi-tops for Ethan as he'd mentioned getting a pair and these were too good a price to pass up. We also came away with some bargains from Superdry as not only were all their prices discounted to 'outlet' prices but they had another 20% off on top. This meant we came away with three t-shirts for Ethan and a pair of short denim dungarees for me all for under £50! 

Back home and we decided to make the most of the remainder of the afternoon by 'going down our gym' and throwing some weights around. Simon is making great progress at getting back to where he was before he broke his wrist and was able to lift some heavier weights again today. He even had me proper bench pressing at one point and I was quite pleased that after a first set of just the bar I was able to add 5kg to it and complete a full set of 10 with relative ease. I might need to keep at this one and see just what I can manage, I might surprise myself!

And then to finish out the day I managed my first three minute cold shower!!

See you all tomorrow.

Sunday 7 August 2022

Day 869, 870 & 871

Day 869...Friday

This morning started with an increase to my cold shower so I am now at two minutes and forty five seconds! Still got a little way to go to match Simon's four minutes but not doing too bad.

My phone weather app was telling me there was a 74% chance of rain but the skies were blue so we went out on our early morning walk armed with the umbrella just in case...did we need it? Nope!Anyways we did our usual 1.9 miles in another quick 36 minutes and stayed dry all the way round.

My morning was spent catching up on a few odd jobs and having a bit of a clean through before stopping to have a little jigsaw time. Ordinarily I would leave my jigsaw until the afternoon but as it sits in front of some french doors and is in direct sunlight during the mid to late afternoon it can get a tad hot. So today I thought I'd take advantage of the shade and get a few pieces moved around before lunch.

I tried numerous times throughout the day to sit outside and soak up some vitamin D but failed as it decided to rain each time I poked my head out the door, despite my wonderful weather app telling me there was zero percent chance of rain! Mmm something tells me I ought not to pay much attention to this app!

One of the tasks that I have set myself is to go through all the bits and pieces at my mum and dads house and figure out what to do with it all. Myself and my brother have gone through everything and taken anything that meant something to us or could be useful and our kids have done the same. But now we are left with a lot of items that are simply too good to throw away and need to go where they will be appreciated. So this afternoon I made a start...a little start! To be honest I've been putting it off because it feels like such a monumental task and I haven't had the willpower to simply just start but I need to man up and get on with it.

So this afternoon I started with something small; some jewellery. I wanted to go through all the bits that we have and figure out what we actually have and what to do with it. I've decided to keep my mum's engagement and eternity rings although I'm not sure if I'll ever wear them. The engagement ring is quite thin and has some stones missing so would need some restoration work doing to it before it could be worn but I have always loved this ring and am just happy to be able to have it. The other pieces that we have could possibly have belonged to my grandparents as I don't remember seeing them at all but I simply don't know. I think I will be taking them to a local jeweller to get them appraised and see where we go from there.

One item that I'd brought home from my dads house was a christening gown that appeared to be in too good a condition to have been mine but as my brother was christened in hospital not long after he'd been born (he was in an incubator for a few weeks and things were a bit touch and go!) it made sense that it would be mine. So I did a little investigation by looking through some old photo albums, and sure enough found photographs of my christening in early 1968! And I am pretty sure that yes the christening gown we have found is mine! It has a label that is definitely from that time but it's condition is amazing, in fact it looks like new.

The day was rounded out with our third weights workout of the week and today I was focused on arms and shoulders. Really happy with how my workouts are going at the moment as having found some new moves online it seems to have reinvigorated my attitude towards exercise. 

Day 870...Saturday

This morning was a change to our routine as after we'd had a coffee we headed into Derby. It was really nice to actually dress a bit smarter for a change (tend to be a shorts and t-shirt kind of girl) and I was more than a little happy that the denim dress I chose to wear felt like it fitted me much better than it did this time last year so I must be doing something right.

Once in Derby I wanted to pop into Next to see if they had some shorts I've been after; I bought a pair online a few weeks back and decided that a second pair was needed. However they are no longer in stock online and when we visited Nottingham on Monday their store didn't have any and today Derby was no better! Wish I'd ordered a second pair straight away now!

We then went in search of coffee before heading off for a wander around the city centre. It is so sad to see so many shops empty but thankfully the one shop we did want to pop into was still open; Warhammer! Purely for Simon as he needed some model paints for finishing off a couple of prop making endeavours he has on the go at the moment. On our way back to the car we had the obligatory stop by Primark but unfortunately there was nothing that caught my eye.

On the way home we stopped by a DIY store to purchase a piece of furniture panel that we could make into shelves for the cupboards we have built upstairs in our new study/craft room. We had taken measurements before we had left home this morning so knew that the piece of panel whilst big enough to make the shelves that we needed would be too big to fit in the car. So we had come armed with a tape measure, a couple of saws and our calculations of where we needed to cut it! So using a couple of large trolleys as a bench we were able to take a 2.39 metre piece and cut it in half so that it fit perfectly in the car and knowing that each half would make two shelves of differing sizes!

After a spot of lunch we then spent the afternoon spent cutting the wood panel to the correct size for the four shelves that we needed. Although the units we'd bought were Ikea they didn't sell extra shelves hence why we were having to make our own. When we'd looked at the panel online we knew that it wouldn't be quite as deep as the shelves we already had but it was the best sizing that we'd been able to find. But when Simon started to measure up we found out that the piece we'd picked up was actually deeper than the one we'd seen online and in fact deeper than the existing shelves! So although this did involve extra cutting for Simon it did mean that by the time we'd finished we had four new shelves that matched perfectly to the existing ones - win!

The last job was to iron on the white trim to cover up the bare wood edges and while the edges were 'setting' we nipped out to Lidl for some salad stuff. Back home and all the edges were set and just needed a quick tidy up by Simon. 

The one thing we hadn't picked up when we bought the wood panel were shelf pegs but that was probably a good thing because when we went to order some online we realised that the holes we have were slightly smaller than the standard. But by the power of Amazon we were able to order enough pegs to be delivered tomorrow.

Day 871...Sunday

Today we had a gentle start to the day and with a coffee inside us we headed out for a not quite so early morning walk. We had a lovely 3.5 mile walk in gorgeous weather in one hour and 7 minutes, although this did involve some blackberry picking along the way! 

Our first job of the day was to swap over some light fittings. We had a couple of wall lights that we had bought when we moved into our first house and that had come with us when we moved here a lot of years ago. Suffice to say these lights were showing their age by rocking an eighties vibe pretty well! After taking them down Simon need to fill a few holes before we could put up the new fixtures, so while the filler harden we had some lunch. It was then a simple job of putting up the new brackets and installing the new much simpler sconces.

By mid-afternoon the shelf pegs had arrived so we were able to see if all our hard work from yesterday paid off and thankfully we were able to install all four shelves with relative ease. We now have three cupboards with extra shelf space which is great as Simon is now able to store all his art materials in a much better way to keep all the paper and card flat and clean.

Simon has also been able to spend a little time cleaning up some model parts as well as airbrushing his latest R2D2 3D printed pieces. He was even able to get a little more paint applied to the interior of R2's doors as he puts those final finishing touches in place.

I've been able to catch up with writing this blog and then at 6pm I was able to hook up via Zoom for one of our  Disney Dream Girls Sunday Disney Quizzes! And I think I won which means that I'm going to have to write the next set of questions although our next quiz won't now be until the end of September!

And with that I think I will stop typing and see you all tomorrow.