Enhance your brain function …

Bonjour mes amis,

As you probably know, as we age it is essential to exercise the brain as well as the body as, contrary to popular belief, we continue to create new brain cells throughout our entire lives.

A healthy diet coupled with both physical and mental exercise is vital for our physical and mental well-being and can increase the blood flow to the brain helping to enhance brain function.

And research shows that mental exercise can stimulate the growth of new brain cells to improve cognitive health.

There are a zillion enjoyable ways to exercise your brain including games such as sudoku, crosswords etc and there are now lots of apps available to provide you with mental challenges each day, such as Lumosity (one of my favourites) which offers brain training created and engineered by scientists and game designers.

Personally, I love to do all of the above as well as memorising facts and figures … here, for example, is a very interesting quote from Dr Daniel Amen, author of ‘Healing the Hardware of the Soul’ and ‘Use Your Brain to Change Your Age’:

“Dried oregano has thirty times the brain healing antioxidant power of raw blueberries, forty-six times more than apples, and fifty-six times as much as strawberries, making it one of the most powerful brain cell protectors on the planet”.

I didn’t know this. Surely this should be common knowledge?


I confess I am also absolutely addicted to the game of Plakoto, a form of Backgammon played in Greece, taught to me by my dear friend Pothos who downloaded it onto my phone for me so I can play anytime – and I play every single day. The object of the game is for each of the two players to bring all their pieces round to their own home board and then bear them off. The player who bears off all of his pieces first obviously wins the game.


And fortunately, I’ve always enjoyed studying and learning which is why I have decided to take an online course in French to refresh my incredibly rusty French skills which I have not used in more than thirty years.

I’ve just enrolled for a twelve month course, and the lessons are each 15 – 30 minutes with a test at the end of each lesson, so I hope to be fluent by the end of the course. I’ve only taken three tests so far but am already enjoying it and actually find it quite relaxing at the end of a busy day.

So I would say that all of the above, which I have chosen to participate in, are really enjoyable for me and not a chore at all and perhaps that is the secret to establishing a good brain exercise regimen, to choose things which you love to do and will look forward to doing.

Find what works for you and enjoy, it will SO be worth it later on down the road.

Elizabeth x




I really love ewe …

Hello everyone …

I love to absorb new information, facts, figures and trivia about anything and everything and there is a fascinating article in the Daily Mail today which caught my attention:



Having had a reputation for not being very bright it now turns out that sheep are, in fact, exceptionally bright. Apparently they are capable of making executive decisions, recognising the faces of other sheep and humans (even from photographs) and can remember people for up to two years.

And, even more amazing, they can even pass psychological tests that monkeys would fail!

Who knewe?

Bless their little hearts … and yours,

Elizabeth x

Breaking the ice habit …

Hello everyone!

My friend Jefferson has been feeling a bit lethargic of late, and has felt for some time that he had a cold starting but it’s never amounted to anything more.

The strange thing is he is ‘addicted’ to ice and only ever drinks ice cold drinks, and LOTS of them, and never ever has warm or hot drinks.  Literally, without exception, every single drink he has is ice cold – that’s just been his personal preference.


I know that the Chinese were the first to discover that drinking ice cold water, especially after a meal, is bad for your health as it can adversely affect the digestion process. It’s because the ice cold liquid constricts the digestive tract, making the digestive process more difficult and therefore the body then doesn’t get the proteins and nutrients needed for other organs to function properly.

So, by drinking ice cold drinks, the whole body is affected.

The optimum temperature for body enzymes to work best is 37 – 42 degrees Celsius and when you drink ice cold liquid the process of your body warming up the liquid requires a substantial amount of energy which was supposed to be allocated for processing proteins and nutrients, thereby aiding more effective digestion. As a result of this energy being diverted you also feel tired sooner.

Also, very cold liquid leads to solidified fat in the stomach which requires the body to use even more energy to break it down.

And ice cold drinks can also add unnecessary stress to both tissues and blood vessels which in turn hinders the functioning of the circulatory system.

Ultimately, over a period of time and certainly after a meal, drinking ice cold drinks can lead to multiple problems including indigestion, excess mucus production (hence Jefferson often feeling as though he has a cold starting) which in turn can weaken your immunity system.

Who knew?

Get well soon Jefferson!

Elizabeth x


I should never have barged into that canal …

Hi everyone!

I have another fascinating fact of the day for you, although this one might be fascinating only to me. I don’t think the rest of you will be fascinated by it much … maybe just a little repulsed for which I can only apologise in anticipation. Sorry.

Ok, there’s no easy way to say this so I’ll just stand up and blurt it out:

My name is Elizabeth and I didn’t clean my ears for more than fifty years.

Whaaaaat? I hear you say.

Yes, it’s true.

But why? I hear you shout.

Because I just completely forgot they were there, that’s why. I’ve just been so busy with other things and must have got distracted from them early on. And yes, before you ask, every other part of me IS immaculate. Pruned, plucked and pristine thankyou.

I first really noticed my ears just last year and, having realised that I had neglected them terribly, thought I would give them a good pampering session, inside and out, with an ultra soft aloe vera wet wipe and a handful of cotton buds to make up for lost time – but lo and behold …


… I cannot, at any time during my life, recall having problems with my ears. Until now.

Ever since I cleaned them (ok, messed about with them) I have suffered from ear ache and occasional slight dizziness when standing. I think I’ve upset the equilibrium of my ears somehow. Maybe they are meant to be self cleaning, similar to hair?


Actually, I read that because most shampoo is full of chemicals it can strip hair of its natural oils. If you stop using shampoo then your hair sort of self cleans itself but not in a conventional sense – it’s simply that your scalp eventually regulates its oil production. I kinda think there must be a happy medium to be found here though, somewhere between pouring on harsh chemicals and not.

Anyway, I’ve visited my doctor and he examined my ears quite thoroughly and apparently everything looks fine – so what I think I really need is a visit to an ear salon, so they can be properly pampered professionally, but it seems that has yet to be invented!

Now then, I see on Google it says that ear cleaning for healthy ears isn’t necessary apparently – our ears DO have a self-cleaning process which closely resembles a conveyor belt – they are designed to move old earwax through the ear canal by chewing and other jaw movements, and once the old earwax reaches the outside of the ear it dries up and flakes off. Clearly highly efficient (but not very attractive).

So I have come to the conclusion that my ears are probably best left alone … or maybe just cleaned every fifty years!

Enjoy your day,

Elizabeth x




Fascinating fact of the day …

Hello everyone!

Now here is a fascinating fact I have just discovered … and why I love dogs!


I heard on TV (so I guess it must be true) that each person in the civilised world can expect to meet approximately 80,000 other people during their lifetime.

Wow! Eighty thousand people.

Mathematically, I’m in the last quarter of my lifetime (having just turned sixty-four and assuming my lifespan is eighty years) and so I have already met approximately 64,000 of them so far.

Out of those 64,000 people I have been in love with just 2.

And I truly love perhaps another 20 people.

And am inspired by just a few more than that.

But I think it’s a fairly safe bet that more than 63,000 of them have irritated me.

And I think it’s also safe to say that I have met more than 10,000 complete dickheads.

10,000 dickheads! Who knew there could be so many per person?

Elizabeth x


I didn’t know I wasn’t happily married …

Hello everyone and thankyou so much for dropping by …

Remember those regrets I was talking about yesterday? Well, this is one of them …

It’s very personal, and I may be over sharing here, but I am increasingly discovering that this blog writing process, which I am new to, is indeed extremely cathartic. Highly recommended!

When I was married my husband and I were fortunate enough to have our own plane, a Piper PA-32 Cherokee Six, and we each held a Private Pilots’ License.


This particular light aircraft was considered a bit of a beast back in the day and still enjoys an excellent reputation today. It can carry 5-6 passengers with just one pilot. It’s nearly 28 feet long and has a wingspan of almost 33 feet and has a cruise speed of 168mph and a maximum speed of 174mph. It also has a range of 840 miles and I once flew ours from the UK to Sardinia with no problems at all.

I can honestly say that at the beginning of our marriage I was deliriously happy and (extra cheese anyone?) living on cloud nine.

During the first two years of that marriage however, we only spent two weekends at home, even though we both worked full time, and any free time at all was spent flying.

I am aware, as I write, how ungrateful I sound but I longed for a home life. Living on a farm I wanted to spend time with my dogs and horses, cook a traditional Sunday roast sometimes, socialise with friends and family and to simply enjoy my home.

Little did I know that storm clouds were gathering …


And so it came to pass. My husband suffered a heart attack at the age of 39 and obviously was no longer allowed to fly solo. He owned and ran a large international business, smoked sixty cigarettes a day and was having an affair with his much younger secretary (rather predictably given how little free time he had with his feet actually on terra firma) and the ambitious little madam (subsequently his words, not mine) was making sure that this affair was becoming common knowledge – the perfect ingredients for a heart attack I would say.

Hence, at first a passion of mine, aviation gradually became a chore as from then onward I always had to go too – I had no choice because if I didn’t go then he couldn’t fly.


My husband had literally keeled over right in front of me and I did all that I could to save him – now I’m not a doctor but I do think his chances of survival could have been dramatically reduced had I known about his extra-marital affair at that point but, luckily for him, I didn’t.

Shortly after that, with her meal ticket nestling safely in her belly, his secretary announced to the world that she was pregnant with his child and so the whole sordid truth could no longer be kept from me, despite the best efforts of my husband who amazingly had already purchased a house and car for her in an attempt to placate her and buy her silence.

I can still remember, oh so clearly as if it were yesterday, the day I arrived home from work and my husband was waiting for me, shuffling nervously and looking terribly pale. I remember it so vividly because it was the day my world fell apart.

He began with the words “I’m so sorry but I have something to tell you, before you hear it from someone else, and you’re not going to be very happy” – an understatement if ever there was one.

It was all so difficult to absorb. I was in complete shock at first as, although selfish at times, he was a loving and quite romantic husband. He often surprised me with extravagant gifts and flowers and was always affectionate towards me. I honestly thought we were still in love and I was left feeling as though I had never really known him. He was a fake, and that in turn meant that all my happy memories of our time together were fake too.

The irony was that I had once prayed so desperately for his heart to keep beating and now I just wanted it to stop.

In my mind I questioned everything. Was everything an act on his part? To stop me suspecting anything? Was this …? Was that …? Should I …? Could I …?

In the end, I felt so betrayed and broken that I just didn’t care enough any more to even try to look for answers. I just didn’t want to know. With his words still ringing in my ears as I left, still pleading “We can get through this together”, I was off. Because clearly that’s all they were, just words.

Another lesson learned, it was time to start a new chapter and I was determined to get off to a flying start …

There, see, I do feel better! I managed to recall and relay all of that without even the smallest tingle of pain. Partly, I suspect, because his life eventually turned to crap with a further unwanted pregnancy with a different little madam, bankruptcy and a stroke.


My mother once told me that success is the best revenge and that you should never take revenge yourself as it will only be a fraction of what Karma will serve up to your wrongdoer. Ain’t that the truth!

Elizabeth x





Please be kind to yourself …


Do not regret

That which you’ve done

For things you’ve done

Can never be changed –

The days between birth and death

Are few

And all have been pre arranged.

I wrote this many years ago, when I was still in my twenties, and it was published at the time in a book of contemporary poetry, a copy of which I still have somewhere. I believed it to be true back then as life was pretty much perfect all round and, apart from the loss of my beloved great grandparents, I hadn’t really suffered any major losses of any kind.

Forty years on however, are my sentiments the same in this regard? No, I don’t think they are actually, and realistically neither could they be as I now have plenty of regrets, and naturally some are more painful than others.

Occasionally, once in a blue moon, I will take the time to revisit said occasions in my mind. I try to be as honest as possible, as it is tempting to edit some of these re-runs if they are particularly unpalatable to watch, but I have learned that the more times I visit them the less painful they become.

A kind of desensitising process takes place if you will but that is not the aim of the game … I keep revisiting to ensure that I have learned every possible lesson that can or could be learned so that a kind of inoculation process can take place – a self medicated vaccine to protect me emotionally should a similar eventuality ever arise.

It may all take place at a snails’ pace but it IS moving on nevertheless.

Please be kind to yourself,

Elizabeth x

Is it a poodle or a pony in that box?

Hi everyone, and firstly may I say a huge thankyou to you all for taking the time to read my ramblings and secondly a big welcome to my blog for my new followers. Thankyou!

Every time I discover I have a new follower it reminds me of Christmas Day and that sense of wondrous anticipation and excitement which lingers in the air prior to opening ones’ presents.


Even as a child this was one of my favourite times, savouring the moments BEFORE opening any of my gifts. I’ve since seen children frantically ripping the festive paper from each one before immediately discarding the contents by practically throwing it over their shoulders in their haste to move on to the next – but for me the most exquisite time, a time to be relished, was in the seconds before I carefully removed the wrapping paper, neatly folded it and then gently set it to one side just in case I ever needed it (unlikely), or perhaps someone else would need it at some point (even more unlikely).

I confess that I was considered an eccentric child even as an infant. My Mother once told me that I used to go to sleep in my cot laying on my back with one arm pointing straight up to the sky and occasionally one leg too. My Mother explained that whenever close family or friends came to visit and asked to see the baby she had to first dash upstairs to make me presentable by lowering my arm and leg, as was often required apparently, so that her visitors didn’t think I was strange or even deformed.

And even now, (this is top secret, strictly entre nous and must go no further) I occasionally love to go to sleep with one arm in the air, stiff as a board – my arm just sort of locks into place and I find it very comforting somehow. I don’t do it with my leg though, that would just be odd!

As I grew I then developed an appetite for eating brown paper bags – don’t ask me why but I thought they were delicious. I really liked the old fashioned ones best, sprinkled with vinegar. And if we ever had a fish and chip supper I would always prefer the salty vinegary paper to the actual fish and chips – in fact that would be the only time I would eat white paper but brown … yummy, that would have been my diet 24/7 if I had been allowed.


Now, couple all of that with the fact that I was obsessed by just two things as a nine year old child – ballet and Cilla Black. I attended as many ballet classes as I was allowed, wore my ballet shoes around the house at all times, walked on pointy toes pretty much everywhere (even though I wasn’t allowed) and wandered around singing ‘Anyone who had a heart’ and ‘You’re my world’ spontaneously creating the soundtrack to my childhood.

I can remember breaking into a song and dance routine once (Cilla + Ballet) in the middle of a large department store as my Mother stood chatting to a friend she had bumped into – my Mother was so accustomed to this, and so engrossed in her conversation, that she no longer paid attention … until my little sister started shouting “Booooo, rubbish, get off” and throwing broken biscuits at me. It was on this very day, once we got home, that my Mother put paid to my blossoming singing career by telling me that she had given me life and she could just as easily take it away if I didn’t stop. Probably just as well as I could feel myself veering towards Shirley Bassey at that point and she’s quite loud and needs a lot of arm room to practise and perform.

Anyway, back to Christmas Day … as a psychologist I have naturally analysed myself a zillion times hoping to one day fashion the most perfect possible version of me. Is this a vanity project or a lost cause or perhaps something in between the two? I haven’t established that yet. I prefer to think that by analysing myself, and by being scrupulously honest, I am honing my skill set further to sympathetically and successfully analyse my clients.

Which reminds me that many years ago, when I started training as a counsellor, the first homework I was given was thus:

Submit fifty phrases, each containing just three words or less, which are non-judgemental but which reassure your subject that you are listening and understanding what is being said.

I started off well, as I assume most people would, with phrases such as:

“Oh, I see”

“Yes, I understand”

Blah blah blah etc.

But by the time I got to phrase 48 I was at a complete loss for new material.

And so Phrase 48 was “You don’t say” …

Phrase 49 “Get outta here” …

and Phrase 50 was “F**k right off”.

Upon examining my paper, my tutor informed me that she felt my style was more suitable to Los Angeles rather than Lowestoft, and that was the end of that particular course.


Honestly though, in mitigation, it’s not as easy as one might imagine – just try it and see. It becomes quite difficult before you even hit half way!

Anyway, back to Christmas day again … even at that young age I had already worked out that the presents sitting before me could, in fact, contain anything at all (subject to the parameters of my imagination) right up until the point I actually opened them. As my sister screamed like a banshee and threw mounds of crumpled and torn wrapping paper everywhere I was perfectly happy to just sit there staring at this beautiful magical pile of surprises yet to unfold.

For example, in my mind, that heavy looking pink and silver parcel tied tightly with silver ribbon might contain a real live poodle, or perhaps a pony even. Anything was possible, right up until I opened it. I can, to this day, remember opening it slowly in case a dog or a pony jumped out – I needn’t have worried. It was actually a Petite Junior De Luxe Typewriter (which gives an indication of the size of the box that I thought a pony may have been waiting in) but I was over the moon with it and my love of reading and writing accelerated from that day forward.


Such a wonderfully thoughtful and inspirational gift for a young girl with a vivid imagination and I am eternally grateful!

Enjoy your day, and thankyou all so much for making mine by following me,

Elizabeth x

My ‘To Do This Decade’ list …

Hello everyone, and I hope this finds you all happy and well.

As I mentioned before, I have been doing these arm toning exercises for several weeks now – nothing too  energetic, and I’m only using 0.5kg weights as I’m just a beginner, but already I can see a definite improvement!

I really like this particular trainer too as she seems super nice and is very easy to understand and follow. And these exercises are really working for me.

Already I have gone from bingo wings to bing wings and pretty soon I expect to bin my wings altogether. Yay!

So, below are some of my main goals on my To Do This Decade list (I don’t like to rush lol):

Stop smoking – check.

After smoking for more than thirty years this was a biggy for me – I had stopped twice before actually (once for a year and once for eight years) but then stupidly started again. This time it’s almost three years since I last had a cigarette and yes, every now and then (particularly after dinner) I still want one but I came to the conclusion (several times over) that it’s ridiculously stupid of me personally to continue smoking into my old age as I have had pneumonia twice before (and smoked throughout it, even though it was a painful struggle – now surely THAT is the definition of an addict. Unbelievably stupid).

Become vegetarian – check.

This is because I truly believe that if abattoirs were made of glass then no empathetic human would or could eat meat. My decision is also based upon the fact that meat does not seem to suit my digestive system as I have grown older – I always feel so completely full, bloated and sluggish afterwards. Not good. But this is and fortunately I love it:


Lose weight – working on it.

Yes, this is indeed a work in progress. And yes, I have definitely started to lose weight. I wanted to lose a stone and I have dropped a dress size so I think I am probably about half way. I never weigh myself, I just gauge it from the clothes that I wear ie. what size are they and are they too tight. Primitive, I know, but this works for me.

Get in shape – getting there.

So far I’m doing my jowl exercises, my arm exercises, cycling for my legs, planking for my core and now I have discovered a brand new challenge which apparently is supposed to be super effective in many ways. And you don’t need any equipment or lots of space to do it in. What could it be?


Standing on one leg, that’s what! I think it’s called The One Leg Stance exercise if you want to Google it. And according to a really interesting article in the Daily Mail today …


… the ability to balance on one leg is an important test for brain health too, according to Dr Yasuharu Tabara, associate professor of genomic medicine at Kyoto University, Japan.

Continue to educate myself more regarding self help – check. I am currently reading as much as I can to explore many different avenues in my quest for overall self improvement – please check out my ‘Self help books’ section to discover lots of information which I have found helpful.

Anyway, bye for now as I must dash – it’s a beautiful day here in Norfolk and I’m off to play with my dogs in the sunshine.

Have a lovely day, Elizabeth x




Are you a creaser or a melter?

Hello everyone, how’s it hanging?

Now then, I’ve heard that there are basically just two types of faces as you age – creasers and melters.

A creaser apparently develops lines and has facial skin similar to that of Sid James (to varying degrees of course).

A melter, however, has very few lines but their facial skin is sagging. This makes me think that it is easier to improve the appearance of a melter (either by exercise or, more radically, by cosmetic procedures) rather than that of a creaser for obvious reasons.


With this in mind, I was mooching around on YouTube again and came across this video for those of you who (like me) are melters:



Nothing ventured, nothing gained and so I will be adding this to my daily exercise regimen for the foreseeable future … and hope to see some positive results. I shall let you know …

Elizabeth x