Sunday, December 29, 2013

Annual Newsletter

Check out my annual newsletter.

Ereader Cover

For Christmas my son gave me a Kobo ereader so that I can read books on my way to school on the subway.
I wanted to make a cover to protect it, so I thought about how I could do that. I used a bubble envelope and some beautiful cotton material I found in the summer a couple of years ago.
Here is the result.
Kobo e-reader
Back of the case
The case with the e-reader inside
Front of the case

I think there might be a market for these. if you are interested contact me and let me know.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

57 Things You May Not Know About Me

1.       I had a recurring dream as a child. I am walking along a cobbled street pushing a doll’s pram, when Cinderella’s coach glided by me.
2.       I was once bitten by a deer at Marineland. I was getting food to feed the deer, but they couldn’t wait and bit me on the bum!
3.       I am scared of heights. I have tried on a number of occasions to beat my fear, but have only managed to face it instead.
4.       I had a crush on Tom Selleck. That is why my son’s name is Thomas.
5.       I got a scholarship for my ECE from the Canadian Mothercraft Society. Many years later I discovered they didn’t actually hand out scholarships, so I believe someone paid out of their own pocket for my education.  
6.       I gave up my religion in 1997 after George died. I have a very difficult time believing in something that takes away someone who means so much.
7.       I am a vegetarian. I have been my whole life. When I was 4 and still not eating meat my mum announced that I was vegetarian.
8.       I have an allergy to beer. I drank beer for many years, and suddenly one day I had a bad reaction. I now carry an Epi-pen just in case.
9.       I went to a boarding school for 5 years. I loved being away from home. Kennylands Boarding School no longer exists.
10.   I love Hallowe’en because I can dress up. The last few years I have used the same costume, because I’ve been to a new school every year. I made an iPod costume.
11.   I was responsible for a girl almost drowning when I was 9. When I was young my mother used to pick fruit with other mothers on local farms. All the kids played together. I tied a rope to the girl’s waist and told her to walk across an open well. She fell and I pulled her up, and was lauded as a hero. I told her never to tell anyone what really happened.
12.   I don’t know my youngest sister as well as I should. My sister was 4 when I went to boarding school. I came home 5 years later and lived at home for another year or so then left for Canada.
13.   I started watching Coronation Street last year. I never watched it while I lived in England, I had no interest!
14.   I love watching Ellen DeGeneres. She is a fantastic comedienne and a wonderful person.
15.   I dyed my hair blond when I was 17 but only for a few weeks. After dying it I got it cut short, and when I went into work after the weekend, one of the guys asked who the “new” girl was!
16.   I left England when I was 18. I was offered a job as a nanny to 4 and 6 year old boys.
17.   My favourite singer is Bryan Ferry. He has such a sexy voice.
18.   I’ve been to a psychic three times, one gave me money back! At a fair, the psychic couldn’t read me and gave me my money back!
19.   I read all ingredients of food products I buy. So many food allergies, I have to make sure what goes into my mouth is okay!
20.   My son is a photographer. He finished his course this spring, and now is a freelance photographer.
21.   I don’t remember my dreams. It has been many years since I remembered a dream. They say I have them, but I don’t remember.
22.   I practice meditation. Every Saturday morning I go to a class, and I try to practice a little every day.
23.   I hate exercise. It seems that every time I exercise I have problems with back and knee pain.
24.   I have a gluten sensitivity. A few years ago I went to a naturopath who put me on an elimination diet. I discovered my body doesn’t do well with wheat.
25.   The best gift I got as a child was a doll house. I know it was second hand, because I had played with it at a friend’s house, but it didn’t matter. I loved playing with it.
26.   My mother was South African. She was born in Cape Town, and moved to England in 1950
27.   My father was a mechanic. He learned his skill in the army.
28.   I used to volunteer a lot. I have sat on many boards. I also ran a kids club every Friday night in my apartment complex for 6 years.
29.   The love of my life died in 1997. George died suddenly of meningitis after only 3 years together.
30.   I am passionate about my work with special needs children. Even though this work can sometime be dangerous with violent children, I love to see the little successes they make.
31.   I love themed parties. Some of my themed parties have been: I Can’t Believe You Wore That To My Party; Pyjama Party; Will You Do It For A Dollar; Hallowe’en. The last themed party I went to was last month, it was a 1960’s party, I went as a “Mod” with go-go boots and all.
32.   I hate New Years Eve celebrations. I don’t like seeing everyone kissing their loved ones at the stroke of midnight, it makes me miss mine.
33.   I was born on a leap day. Yes, February 29th.
34.   I wish I was taller. I am 5’ 1” and wish I could add 5 or 6 inches more.
35.   I have a brother and 2 sisters. My brother is 2 years older and my sisters are 5 and 7 years younger.
36.   I once flew on a trapeze. When I turned 48 I decided to prove I was still young by trying out circus school. Flying on the trapeze also gave me the opportunity to face my fear of heights. I screamed so loud when I eventually let go and fell to the net, they had to pry my fingers from the harness!
37.   I have flown in a jet, in a helicopter, in a glider, in a hang glider, in a hot air balloon, and in a small engine plane. Jet to and from England, helicopter over Niagara Falls, glider with a social network group, hang glider with friends, hot air balloon that was owned by a boyfriend I once had, and a small engine plane into Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
38.   I love to make cards and paper albums. You can check them out at
39.   I look younger than my years. I put it down to my English blood. Both my parents looked younger than their real ages.
40.   I’ve only had 14 real birthdays. Remember, I was a leap year baby.
41.   I don’t like camping. We camped a lot when I was a kid, we couldn’t afford to stay in hotels. I don’t think I’d ever choose to camp again, unless it is in a camper van.
42.   I once worked on a little cruise boat on the Rhine as a dishwasher. I was sent home after a week, as the others were concerned when the skipper had eyes for me, I was 16!
43.   I have had boudoir photos taken of me for my partner. These were a gift for Valentine’s Day. He loved them!
44.   I have been to Cuba 3 times. Twice with Thomas and once with a friend Beatriz. It is the cheapest All Inclusive destination there is.
45.   I will always help anyone being bullied. I was bullied as a child, and a few years ago I confronted one of the bullies, she had no recollection of it!
46.   I want to be in a relationship. I miss the intimacy and love of a relationship.
47.   I’ve never been married. I have been engaged twice though. Once to an Austrian and once to a Tennessean.
48.   My brother and sisters are grandparents, I am not. I guess I’m just too young!
49.   I don’t believe getting a degree from university will get you further than without one.
50.   I miss talking to my mum. We used to talk on the phone once a week, and write letters often. She was the person I could sort things out with.
51.   My dad has Alzheimer’s disease. He was diagnosed shortly after my mum died in 2004, we suspected it before then. He still lives alone in a 3 bedroom house with people coming in 3 times a day to make sure he’s had his meds and meals.
52.   I never liked fishing with my dad. I hated putting worms on the hook, the cold, the quiet. But it meant that I could spend time alone with him, that is why I did it.
53.   I came to Canada in 1974 as a nanny. I have never really looked back, Canada is my home now.
54.   I learned to ski and skate when I was 18. The first time I put on skates, I fell backwards and hit my head, and swore I’d never do that again, (hit my head, not skate). The first time I downhill skied I used cross-country skis because that is all they had!
55.   I love baseball and basketball. When I was 15 I was put on the girls’ basketball team, (remember I’m only 5’1” now, so imagine how short I was at 15). When I was 16 I was on the rounders team, (that is a game like baseball), I went to catch a high ball and didn’t see another girl running to catch it as well. I lost my 2 front teeth that day! Now I’m just a spectator, although I did get hit by a baseball a few years ago at a Blue Jays game!
56.   My life as a woman has been at risk on at least 2 occasions. As an English nanny, stories were always being swapped with other English nannies, about how we had to fend off the fathers of the children we cared for.
57.   I love my home and hope to retire in it in 8 years. A few years ago I moved to an apartment on the other side of the building I have lived in for the past 16 years. I love the cityscape view from my windows. I hope that I will be here for a very long time.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

For Mother's day Thomas gave me a card that had some very sweet words in it. Included were a couple of coupons for the local movie theatre.

I had asked him to take a few pictures of me a couple of weeks ago, so for Mother's Day he suggested having the pictures taken. I was a little concerned as the forecast was not a great one, cloudy, rain, perhaps even snow. But Thomas thought it would be fine.

I wore something light, as I didn't want winter wear in the pictures. I also had sandals on. We went to St. James park, I took off my jacket and cardigan and Thomas started shooting.

First there was a man with a dog behind me, when I turned around it was Christoper's partner, Roy. I said hello and waited for him to move.

After a few shots by the tree, Thomas wanted some shots by the fountain. I sat and waited for direction, but there was another man with a dog. Thomas had to wait because he said the dog pooped, and the man not only picked up the poop, but he also wiped the dog's butt!! EW!

Then the rain started to fall. We ran over to take cover at a nearby condo. Then the hail came! We went home to dry off and wait out the rain.

We went out a short while later, and took some photos undercover at the Novotel Hotel. Then more hail. We finally went back to the condo near the Sculpture Gardens, where Thomas only managed to get a couple of shots before there was more hail.

We decided to call it quits.

Here are a few of the shots. The close ups of my face have been photo shopped to get rid of the bags under my eyes, so they don't really look exactly like me, however, that is the beauty of having a photographer in the family.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

And the weightloss is......

When I got up this morning, I was ready to weigh myself. I made sure it was at about the same time as the last time I weighed myself 30 days ago. I got on the scale and was truly not expecting much of a difference. Other that the fact that I haven't felt bloated in the last month, I don't really see much difference in my body. The waist of my jeans are not as tight, but I attributed that to the lack of bloating. I wish I had taken body measurements at the beginning, then I would see where it has made the most difference.

Anyway imagine my surprise when I saw that I had lost 8lbs.  I am elated. Lots of people doing this program lose 20lbs in the 30 days, but I am happy with the 8lbs. I have tried to lose weight for a couple of years, and just seem to add to it instead. So when I don't try to lose and load up on fats, I lose!

I am a short 57 year old woman standing at 5'1", and at the beginning of this journey I weighed 149lbs. This morning I weighed 141lbs. I had to weigh myself twice this morning, because I couldn't believe it!!

Next steps? Well I did have one Godiva chocolate this morning, then tried another cheap chocolate, that I ended up spitting out. I was thinking I will make a pizza tonight for dinner, and haven't decided on that yet.  I had skim milk in my tea this morning, (it was so good!). The fact that I have had this weight loss, makes me think I should do another 30 days. I want to get to 130lbs, so that is 11lbs more. Perhaps if I workout more often I can attain that in the 30 day period.

I will add a few things into my diet, like aduki beans, and perhaps more protein powder. I need to try to bring coconut oil back into the diet. I had to stop it as it was making me very uncomfortable. I won't be posting photos any more, if you followed me, you saw that toward the end, I kept forgetting!

So that is it. I will post now and then about any special news or progress about the program.

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Day 30 (whoopie!!!)

Saturday morning, I made a big breakfast for me and my son, knowing today is the last day, I figured I should celebrate with breakfast!

I went shopping at the mall at Walmart and spent a bit of money on things I didn't even know I needed! I got baskets to put under the coffee table, a body pillow case, that I will cut up and will make cushion covers for the living room.  I also picked up some yarn to make a scarf, and a few groceries. Did you know Walmart sells organic veggies? Not many, but a few.

I was out from 10:30 until 5pm. Somehow missed the hunger for lunch!

Day 30

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, sweet potato fries, onion, spinach, tomatoes
  • Snack: Apple
  • Dinner: Fish, carrots, sweet potato, beets
  • Snack: walnuts, orange, yogourt with strawberries and blueberries
I am so happy that I discovered this program. I have not felt bloated in the past 30 days, and that is the best by product I could have hoped for. I didn't get much more energy that others talk about. I didn't get the restful sleep that others talk about. My pants feel looser than they were before the program. A friend I hadn't seen in a few weeks said that my face has a better colour, and I haven't had any pimples appear in the 30 days. Not sure about allergies, when I did a spring clean, all the dust did make me sneeze, but I think that is to be expected. 

I have been grateful for the support on the Whole9/Whole30 forum. Whenever I had questions, they were answered promptly. I joined in some of the conversations, once I felt I had some experience and could offer advice.

Lots of people at work have shown interest in the program. I have told many others about it. The one day that I did go to a restaurant, I managed just fine. I will be weighing myself tomorrow morning. I don't actually expect to have lost much weight, simply because I was homebound for much of the time, and I seldom went to the gym to exercise. So come back tomorrow to see what the number is.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Day 29

Wow, it's Friday and I can't believe it will all be coming to an end soon. The eating has been coming easier, and so the decision to have some foods off the program is wavering. I heard from another person who had pizza on day 61 and although it was wonderful at the time she ate it, she says she really regretted it, and it wasn't sitting well with her.

Not sure what I will do, but I won't be limiting myself to the present diet. I'm pretty sure I will add some milk for my tea, and some beans for my shepherds pie.

Day 29

  • Breakfast: Omlette, tomoato, cucumber, celery
  • Snack: Greek yogourt, blueberries, strawberries
  • Lunch: Butternut squash soup, spaghetti squash, tomato sauce, boiled egg
  • Dinner: Fish, broccoli, carrots, beets
  • Snack: Almonds, banana x 2

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Day 28

I'm not sure what is going on with me, I forgot to take photos today. Just gonna reuse some that are of the same meals on other days.

I have been thinking about what I will do after this 30 days, and have decided that I will have a little chocolate to celebrate on Sunday, and make myself a gluten-free pizza that night too. I would like to keep the sugar at a minimum, since I haven't really had any cravings for it. I will cut out most dairy, except I need milk in my tea. I have really missed milk in my tea! Once in a while I will have cheese, like on my pizza. I will likely add beans once in a while, since I am sick of fish and eggs, and probably a little quinoa too.  Other than that, I'll keep doing what I am doing, protein, veggies, oil, nuts, a little fruit now and then.

Day 28

  • Breakfast: Eggs, beets, green beans
  • Snack: Greek yogourt, strawberries, blueberries
  • Lunch: Mixed Greens, egg salad, veggies
  • Dinner: Fish, carrots, broccoli
  • Snack: handful of almonds

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Day 27

Okay I guess because I am getting close to the end, I am forgetting to take photos. So I will try again tomorrow to get them done!!

Day 27

  • Breakfast: Scrambled egg, onions and tomatoes
  • Snack: Greek yogourt, strawberries, blueberries
  • Lunch: Butternut squash soup, boiled egg, spaghetti squash with tomato sauce
  • Snack: Banana
  • Dinner: Fish, broccoli, carrots

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Day 26

Back to work. A good day, and even made it to the gym again. I managed to do a Body Flow class, without too much pain. I came home after and made dinner. For the second night my son came home hungry from his intern placement at the newspaper, and I shared my dinner with him. Gonna have to put a stop to that! Forgot the photo for lunch.

Day 26

  • Breakfast: Eggs, green beans, rutabega
  • Lunch: Mixed greens, tuna salad, veggies, yogourt, strawberries and blueberries
  • Dinner: Fish, broccoli, carrots

Monday, April 01, 2013

Day 25

Well I did manage to get my lazy butt to the gym today. This once a week thing just has to stop, I need to go at least 3 days a week. Anyway I spent 30 minutes on the bike, doing some sprints, then on to the machines for another 45 minutes. I felt good.

Laundry day, since I have the day off! I also planned to go shopping with my friend Vanessa. She bought 2 beautiful dresses, a pair of shoes, earrings, bracelet and a clutch. Then I was supposed to go to another Raptors basketball game at 7pm, however I cancelled the basketball game, as I wasn't really into going.

Day 25

  • Breakfast: Protein smoothie, spinach, celery, cucumber, apple, blueberries, protein powder
  • After workout: Greek yogourt, strawberry puree
  • Lunch: Scrambled egg, roasted veggies, beets
  • Dinner: Fish, sweet potato, green beans, beets

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day 24

I spent the morning catching up with my son, and relaxed as we chatted about his next endeavor, interning for the Toronto Star newspaper. He might even be shooting the Toronto Raptors game tomorrow, and I may be going as a spectator with Glenn, my friend who wins free tickets all the time!

 I spent some time making 2 bereavement cards, for friends who have both lost their partners. One on the first day of their March Break vacation, the other a week ago on March 25th.

I left home at 6pm to do something that scares me to death, eat out at a restaurant. I swore I wouldn't do that during the 30 days, but my friend chose the perfect restaurant, 'Fresh'. Theresa, Glenn, (the friend who wins free tickets), and myself met up with Linda, a friend who lost her boyfriend on the first day of their vacation. We just wanted to make sure she knew we were there to support her, to listen to her, to laugh with her, and to comfort her.

I check the menu online and found a meal that would be whole30 friendly. It was the Italian Raw Bowl: zucchini noodles tossed with basil pesto garnished with kale chips, grape tomatoes, Fresh Protein Boost and sun-dried tomatoes. The protein boost was brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, sesame, chia, flax, hemp, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. I don't recall having any kale chips, but that was okay, because this meal was amazing! May even have to try to make it myself. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of it, perhaps because it looked wonderful and I couldn't wait to get it into my mouth!

Day 24

  • Breakfast: Veggie omlette

  • Lunch: Mixed greens salad, egg salad, veggies, apple, cashews

  • Dinner: Italian Raw Bowl, decaf coffee

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 23

Discovered this morning that I can't handle Macadamia nuts! Terrible stomach ache, and more!

I spent the day cleaning preparing for my son to come home. I had started yesterday, but got overwhelmed, so I have learned that to overcome that to break tasks up into smaller parts. By the time he arrived at 9pm, everything was done.

I got a little carried away with the cleaning, so breakfast was late at 10am, and lunch ended up at 5:30pm! I had dinner really late at 10:45pm, and not really being hungry it was really just a snack.

Day 23
  • Breakfast: Veggie frittata
  • Lunch: Spaghetti squash, with tomato sauce, yogourt with fruit sauce, (banana and strawberry pureed)
  • Dinner: Yogourt and blueberries

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 22

My son is returning form school tomorrow, so I went out and bought a few goodies for his Easter treats. I got a few extra in case someone should drop by. Can you believe that i am not even tempted? I know! I can't believe it either!!
I almost forgot to take a picture of breakfast, as you can see I have already eaten one egg and most of the broccoli!

Day 22

  • Breakfast: Eggs, fried sweet potato, broccoli, black tea with lemon
  • Lunch: Butternut squash soup, mixed greens salad, egg salad
  • Dinner: Avocado and salsa with cucumber and cherry tomatoes, broccoli slaw, tuna salad
  • Snacks: Macadamia nuts

Day 21

I forgot to take a photo of my breakfast. I also forgot it was my co worker's birthday and I forgot to take the 2 yoga balls I bought yesterday to work! So not sure what that's about!

Day 21

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, spinach, tomato, onion
  • Snack: Greek yogourt, blueberries
  • Lunch: Spring mix, veggies, tuna salad with homemade mayonnaise
  • Dinner: Fish, fried plantain, carrots, broccoli
  • Snack: handful of hazelnuts.

Day 20

Whoops! I'm a bit behind!
I went to a basketball game to see the Raptors lose again! But I didn't have the usual nachos and salsa, I snuck in an apple, (not food from outside allowed) and took my empty water bottle, (I fill it at the water fountain).  I was there at 6:30, so I had to eat dinner early.  When I got back from the game, I had a few cashews, to fill the gap!

Day 20

  • Breakfast: Green smoothie (1/4 apple, cucumber, celery, few blueberries, spinach and protein powder)
  • Snack: Greek yogourt, strawberries, blueberries
  • Lunch: Spring mix, veggies, egg salad
  • Dinner: Fish, roasted veggies, (peppers, onion, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, turnip)
  • Snack: cashews

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 19

Today I think I have it all together. No hunger pangs, no cravings, even with all that chocolate in the staff room at school! Only problem is, I'm not sleeping well and I have very little energy in the afternoons.  however, I am sure this will this will come in the next little while.

Day 19

  • Breakfast: Egg, broccoli, carrots
  • Snack: greek yogourt, blueberries, strawberries
  • Lunch: Vegetarian shepherd's pie
  • Snack: fried plantain
  • Dinner: fish, broccoli, rutabaga, carrots

Day 18

Another day late on posting! I'm just going to get to the food that I had.

Day 18

  • Breakfast: egg, broccoli, sweet potato
  • Snack: boiled egg
  • Lunch: Spring mix, tuna salad, veggies
  • Snack: cashews, dates
  • Dinner: Fish, roasted veggies
  • Snack: pistachio nuts

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day 17

I have much cooking to do today. I will roast some veggies, and steam some too. I like to have that ready for everyday, so that I just have to make the protein part of the meal. I have a rutabaga, (that we call a swede in England), so that will be a different vegetable this week. I usually like to mix it with mashed potato, but since that is off the table, I might see how it goes with sweet potato.

I have been playing it safe with a limited selection of foods, just easy, and convenient I guess. I made some mayonnaise yesterday, and it is wonderful. I have been making egg and tuna salad with EVOO and white balsamic vinegar, but mayonnaise has such a different taste. I can add it to avocado, top sweet potatoes with it, top eggs with it, so that makes a small difference this week.

I went to the gym this morning and was only going to do 35 minutes on the bike as I have been doing, but challenged myself, and added the fit fix equipment that is at GoodLife. There are lots of machines, and I did 2 x 12 reps of each of the machines. I think I was there for at least 90 minutes. So I am happy about that. Since it is Sunday, there weren't many people about, so I took my time and made sure I did the exercises properly. It made me realise that my left shoulder continues to be weak from the surgery I had in 2010.

Day 17

  • Breakfast: Spring mix salad with egg salad
  • Snack: Raw cashews, dates
  • Lunch: Tuna salad, veggies
  • Dinner: Vegetarian shepherds pie, (veggies, aduki beans, sweet potato)