Taking life nice and sloe …

Hi everyone, it’s a gorgeously crisp sunny day today in sleepy old Norwich, Norfolk, here in the UK.

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Well, I say sleepy because I always think Norwich has that lovely olde worlde markety town feel about the place (for example pictured above is Elm Hill, in the centre of the city) but there’s actually loads going on and lots to look forward to before we see 2018 out with a bang.

The architecture in the old parts of the city is stunning, and much loved and very well preserved. It’s just like stepping back in time a few centuries in places.

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There’s always lots to do here, no matter what your preference – now, I’m not much of a drinker but, as my fabulously fit friends Siobhan and Kirk will tell you (who incidentally make a first class sloe gin), I am rather partial to the occasional glass of gin …

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… and I’ve just discovered that The Great British Gin Festival is coming to Norwich in a couple of days time on Saturday 20th October. Yay!

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My intentions are good but I probably won’t go as I have a zillion things to do at home and the weekend is a good time for me to catch up. But I’ve heard that it’s the thought that counts. Cheers everyone!

Living the dream baby 🙂

Elizabeth x

 

Good things come in small packages …

Hi everyone …

Today I thought I would write about a natural food product, which I feel is greatly underestimated, and the amazing benefits which can come from eating such a simple and inexpensive thing as sardines. Yes, sardines.

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I began to pay attention to them initially because I have an elderly Jack Russell dog who suffers from a grass pollen allergy every summer which makes her itch terribly and, following multiple visits to the vet and having tried almost everything else, I was advised that sardines are excellent for dogs with allergies and just a couple of small sardines twice a week could help, and thankfully they did. They have not stopped her scratching altogether, that would be miraculous, but her symptoms have definitely eased.

An added bonus is that sardines also encourage natural anti-inflammatory responses in the body, making them great for dogs with arthritis. And they provide a source of brain food  for growing puppies and senior dogs too.

They are excellent for their skin and coat, in fact both my dogs have sardines now and people often comment on how beautiful their coats are … which got me thinking.

Having never paid any attention to sardines myself I quickly discovered just how beneficial they are for humans too. For example, did you know that they are actually one of the least contaminated sources of fish, and are known to contain fewer toxins and metals than other fish, such as tuna.

I read that they are also rich in protein and a great source of healthy omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, selenium as well as vitamins B3, B12 and D. It’s selenium which helps neutralise free radicals and works to protect the organs from damage. And a regular intake of omega 3 fatty acids is good for the heart because it reduces cholesterol and blood pressure.

Also, insulin resistance is one of the major factors to look for in diabetes and I’ve read that, according to some studies, including sardines in your diet can reduce insulin resistance. How amazing is that!

I have them hot, on seeded brown bread and drizzled with fresh lemon juice, for breakfast at least once or twice a week now … and people often comment on how nice my coat is 🙂

Elizabeth x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make 100 billion in just 24 hours!

Hi everyone … hope you’re all ok and enjoying life.

Now, do check this bad boy fact out … did you know that there are more bacteria inside a human mouth than there are people in the world? Amazing!

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Apparently research has shown that the Average Joe normally has at least twenty billion bacteria in their mouth which reproduce every five hours and therefore, if you fail to brush your teeth and maintain good oral hygiene, this can rise to one hundred billion (more than the entire population of planet earth) within twenty four hours!

And scientists have to date identified over seven hundred different kinds of bacteria, most of which are harmless you will be pleased to know. And I’m assuming they must have named each one then? Or perhaps just numbered them.

I love all these facts and figures but I definitely don’t want to see pictures of any of these bacteria, and neither do I want to take on board anyone else’s bacteria so please do not ask me for a kiss as a refusal often offends 🙂

Hugs not kisses …

Elizabeth

 

 

Some people, honestly! (Not us though) …

Hello everyone …

OMG. I just cannot believe how sensitive some people are!

I’ll give you an example … I was recently engaged in a very private and confidential conversation with a close friend, which just happened to be taking place smack bang in the middle of Tesco’s (other supermarkets are available).

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Ok. I admit it, we were discussing a mutual casual acquaintance but I absolutely deny we were gossiping, although the late great novelist Joseph Conrad once wrote that gossip is what no one claims to like but everyone enjoys and I would have to agree with that.

And so, my friend was asking me about the latest antics of the aforementioned mutual casual acquaintance whom, for the purposes of this exercise and to conserve her anonymity, I shall call Viper Mouth. Not very politically correct, I know, but it’s an accurate description nonetheless as she is literally unkind to everyone.

I would normally go out of my way to be nice to someone, indeed anyone, who has any kind of disadvantage but this ghastly little woman is really horrible to absolutely everyone. I have unofficially diagnosed her as having small man syndrome which, incidentally, I have not come across before in a woman which explains the name.

Anyway, my friend and I were talking, still in Tesco’s, when I happened to mention that I had seen Viper Mouth earlier on that day, dressed like a hooker from the 1980’s when someone leapt out from behind the breakfast cereal aisle shouting “Like THIS you mean?”

Yep, you’ve guessed it … there she was, in all her shoulder padded glory, Viper Mouth herself in full attack mode! She then made a complete show of herself, and of us. Serves us right I suppose. Funny though, how it’s so wrong when Viper Mouth is nasty but yet it seemed quite innocent when we were.

Although in mitigation, ours was to a much lesser degree and completely without malice. Nothing more than a social commentary really …

Elizabeth x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

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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.

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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:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1356069/Sheep-intelligent-make-executive-decisions.html

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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.

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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 …

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… 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?

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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

 

 

 

Please be kind to yourself …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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