LEXIE63   69,402
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So, how did you celebrate the Spring Equinox, Lexie? :-)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

By building garden furniture in the snow. How else? LOL

No, it wasn't that bad. It was more sleet and the occasional hailstone. And barely above freezing, which chilled me to the bone. I'm still feeling cold, even though I have been indoors with the heating turned up for the last three hours.

Still, it was worth it...

Now you see the bramble...

and now you don't...

My lovely gardener started work in earnest today. First I dragged him to B&Q for a garden bench and a table, which we then brought home and built, then he took his hedge trimmer to the bramble, cleared it, and saved both my Rowan and my Bay. He even gave the Bay a trim before he left! Incidentally, the table has a hidden surprise... First it is a table...

but if you get cold, you pull on the ring in the middle, and voila! You have a firepit instead...

Now that's what I call multi-tasking! :-)

Oh, and the garden bench was supposed to be just a cheap wooden bench, but when I spotted this little beauty, I had a change of plan...

Now I can be out there in all (well, most) weathers, all comfy on a seat that can rock me to sleep, with a nice fire to keep me warm. :-)

Next stage, off to Kent Blaxill to choose some paving on Friday, all being well. :-)

Meet our resident Blackbird! He is keeping a close eye on proceedings. I hope he approves.

Maggie is also watching us carefully for signs of noms and shinies:

Incidentally, if you can find the Young's Gastro range in your local supermarket, I can heartily recommend the Basa cooked in a lemon and herb tempura batter. It truly melts in the mouth! It is only 252 calories, and is substantial enough that you don't need anything except some veggies with it. Utterly delicious!

Happy Alban Eiler, everyone (that's Druid for Happy Spring Equinox). :-)
Lex xxx
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCIFIREADER 3/24/2013 10:30AM

    Lexie, I can just picture myself lying on your swing taking a nap. I have been looking at one very much like yours and I think it is calling my name. May have to go get one. I keep telling myself that spring is here but Mother Nature is not listening. Enjoy the backyard.

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CARLA-216 3/21/2013 1:54PM

    How exciting to have your garden done up nicely! I love the table/fire pit combo. How genius! I also love your covered swing. I think I could stretch out on it and take a nice nap.


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BOVEY63 3/21/2013 12:48PM

    Your garden looks so nice and relaxing. Enjoy it!!
The first two pictures sure do resemble where I live - snow, snow and more snow as well as below zero temperatures! Hope spring finds us soon.

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LOPEYP 3/21/2013 12:15PM

    Those are nice additions to your yard. I'm sure you'll enjoy them!

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-POOKIE- 3/21/2013 9:56AM

    Looking good!

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SENATOR9 3/21/2013 8:59AM

    That table is hot stuff emoticon

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ARTJAC 3/21/2013 3:52AM

    emoticon emoticon

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NEW-CAZ 3/21/2013 3:41AM

    Love the table, what a great idea.
Well at least you got some gardening done Lex, it's still too wet to do anything in ours emoticon

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_LINDA 3/21/2013 2:02AM

    I think these call those fancy tables chimera here. Awesome you have the budget for a gardener and to buy that cool garden furniture! Going to have a wonderful summer enjoying them!
We are recycling our snow today. The winds are so strong, its pulled up the snow from the ground and whirling it around in the air, and ripping it off the roofs. When I first looked outside in the morning, I really thought it was snowing!!
Nice to hear from you at long last, I hope this means things are going smashing for you!
Take care of yourself!
Linda xxx

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LOVESLIFE48 3/20/2013 9:52PM

    That is an awesome table!!! Everything is looking good!! emoticon

I hope spring is coming soon!! emoticon

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SHAWFAN 3/20/2013 7:36PM

    Love the table and swing Lexie! Wonderful! I'm wondering where Spring is also, especially since we'll be getting 3 plus inches of the white stuff tomorrow, Friday, Saturday and possibly Sunday. Hey Mother Nature!! Where's Spring?!!?

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ANNEMAC5 3/20/2013 4:43PM

    Lexie what a lovely swing and table you are going to have a lovely time out there. Your garden is going to be fab.
Happy Spring stay warm

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KNYAGENYA 3/20/2013 4:22PM

    I did laundry.

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Batman alive and well and fighting crime in Bradford, England!

Monday, March 04, 2013


I love news stories like this. They put such a smile on my face!
Hope they do the same for you.

For exercise: Two of the ten minute dance solutions today, so day two of current streak done.

We also had a delivery today. Band Hero for the Wii. Now we have two guitars, a set of drums and three microphones. If Tara ever gets off it, I hope to try the drums out for myself.

Hee hee.

And I did! What fun!
Roger Taylor, eat your heart out! emoticon

Anybody want to come and play? Bring your own wii remote! :-)

Lex xxx
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 3/6/2013 12:40AM

    emoticon Someone's got a good sense of humour there!
That is awesome -you have a whole band now for wii! I fancy the drums myself, the only instrument I touched in school band, was even in a marching band briefly.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Linda xxx

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SENATOR9 3/5/2013 2:53PM

    Great story

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ARTJAC 3/4/2013 11:43PM


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SHAWFAN 3/4/2013 6:40PM

    emoticon story!! Thanks for sharing!

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LOVESLIFE48 3/4/2013 6:03PM

    emoticon story!!!

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MAURIZIA 3/4/2013 12:57PM

    Love Batman! They actually ran a human interest piece here in the US on this story.

Listen to you rock those drums!! :)


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NEW-CAZ 3/4/2013 12:51PM

    loved the story when I read it Lex!

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BOVEY63 3/4/2013 12:32PM

    I read the story earlier today and thought it was so awesome too!

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CAT-IN-CJ 3/4/2013 12:19PM

    How funny!

Keep on rockin!

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CARLA-216 3/4/2013 12:15PM

    Haha! Tom just sent me a link to that story from the Irish Times.

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ALICIA214 3/4/2013 12:13PM


Love to start the day with a laugh.... Thank you.

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ANNEMAC5 3/4/2013 12:12PM

    What a great british story. made me smile a little light relief from my essay,

Looks like you are having a good day. Managing to make a lot of noise.
The sun has been lovely

Anne :)

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Had a lazy week, but all is good anyway, and I think I'm back on track

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Well, no harm done. I'm still at 12 1/2 stone ish, even though I've not been accurately measuring food or water, and I haven't specifically exercised ourside of shopping expeditions.

The beauty of this is that it proves something to me. It proves that much of my lifestyle is now geared towards healthy living. OK, so I didn't do ten mins minimum aerobic exercise, but I have done a lot of walking in the course of the week, even though I could have caught buses, or taxis everywhere I went.

My food has been good on the whole. Plenty of fish and veggies, and no meat to speak of, outside of the two sausages I ate as part of a toasted sausage and cheese sandwich the other day. Well, it was a craving, and I enjoyed it, but now I'm over it. LOL

I'm also finding that with the fish I often don't need potato with it, just veg, so that cuts the calories down further.

Water has been pretty good. even choosing sparkling water over coke when I've had to eat out. I've had the odd glass of wine, which has been nice, but nothing excessive.



There was that pint of lager that came as part of a meal deal the week before...

And the chicken korma it came with was vegless.

But hey, nobody's perfect, right? LOL

Anyhoo *ahem, cough, cough*

And the real awesome bit? I am officially a size 16! Not in between 16 and 18 anymore. I went to try on six pairs of Marks & Spencers jeans, and two of the three size 16s were so comfy, even seated, that I bought them! And one of the pairs was a 'slim boot'! So I didn't even bother trying the three size 18s on!

I have thrown out and/or donated all my old scruffy comfortable size 18 jeans! You would not believe the state some of them were in! LOL

And a chap in charge of the changing rooms at the big Sainsburys told me I looked slim!!! :-)

I am so pleased! To get back to a comfortable size 16 was my goal. I don't think I will ever get much smaller because I want to still enjoy my food, and I can't enjoy margarine, sweeteners or salad. :-)

Oh, guess what I bought to wear while boxercising:

And in other news...

We had a surprise visit from a flock of Waxwings yesterday:

I spotted them as I was seeing the gardener out. He came round to measure up my garden and quote for some work I have planned, and they were feasting on the neighbour's cotoneaster. Then they flew into the tree opposite, which is where they are in the photo.

Never seen them here before! Awesome sight!

So, I'm back on target:

Today I've done 30 mins exercise with Kendall Hogan. I love this routine:


I'm on target with my water, and heading that way with my freggies as well.

Well, the dishes are beckoning, so I'd best head for the kitchen.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Lex xxx
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 3/6/2013 12:46AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon getting into 16's and a compliment to boot! Its great to have a healthy lifestyle, but total deprivation isn't what they had in mind, just all things in moerdation. That line nothing tastes as good as thin feels is bull, nothing tastes as good as my Cheetos and thats a fact Jack!!
Enjoy what ever you fancy, just not every day;-)
Linda xxx

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BOVEY63 3/4/2013 12:31PM

    Congrats on getting into the 16s!
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CARLA-216 3/4/2013 10:34AM

    Congratulations on comfortably fitting into a size 16! You are a role model of how to make the change for a healthy lifestyle a lasting one. I want to be like you when I grow up!

I love the waxwings in the tree! I love seeing birds in my garden that I've never seen before. Haven't seen any new ones recently, though.

I hope you have a great week!


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ARTJAC 3/4/2013 12:25AM


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RAINBOWCHOC 3/3/2013 4:55PM

    looking good Lexie! it's true we do become accustomed to healthy eating and chose better things when given the choices. I have always loved a "full English" but the thought of fried bacon and sausage doesn't have the same pull. Grilled is the only way these days.

Love the cat pictures. You must have to spend hours on your blogs, it's much appreciated.

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ANNEMAC5 3/3/2013 4:24PM

    Hi Lexie, nothing wrong with having a little time of. It looks funny seeing you having a pint you seem more of a wine lady to me. It is a good feeling to get into the smaller size and feel comfortable. I am on-line less as I am trying to study again without huge success lots of books and pages saved with notes...
Hope you have a good week the weather is a bit milder so helps with motivation
Anne :)

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NEW-CAZ 3/3/2013 11:41AM

    Great news Lex. Good for you hun emoticon

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LOVESLIFE48 3/3/2013 11:10AM

    Wonderful news!!! You are doing great!!! (A pint and some wine as never hurt anyone!! emoticon )

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SENATOR9 3/3/2013 10:37AM

    Back on the fast track emoticon

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SHAWFAN 3/3/2013 10:01AM

    emoticon News!! Good for you!!

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Needs must when you don't have a microphone stand!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

So, We Sing Robbie Williams arrived in the post today, and we excitedly plugged in the microphones and had a good singalong to such classics as Kids, Somethin' Stupid, Bodies etc

Then we decided to switch to Guitar Hero, so Tara could play guitar and I could sing. Also good fun, belting out Jet (Wings) In The Shadows (Rasmus) and Losing My Religion (REM). Then my throat decided it needed a rest, leaving Tara wanting me to hold the microphone so she cound sing and play guitar at the same time!

Well, I love her dearly, but I have better things to do than be a microphone stand, so it was time to figure out an alternative. We needed something free standing, and tall enough to attach a mike to.

I think I've got it

Enter my Christmas pressie!

Remember my new mop?

Well, it already has several uses with all its attachments - mop, glass cleaner, garment steamer, carpet cleaner, etc.

Now it has another use...

as a microphone stand...

It just needed a little parcel tape to hold it in place!

Happy Kidling, and a happy Mummy!
Who could ask for more?

Lex xxx
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Too clever I will look at my electric broom with more respect

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SENATOR9 2/22/2013 8:27AM

    Pretty smart.multi-used

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NEW-CAZ 2/22/2013 2:59AM

    Lex that sounds like a lot of fun. I sing-a-long to Robbie every morning when I go on my constitutional.
Yesterday I had Knebworth Live on, so the background base was awesome. emoticon

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2ABBYNORMAL 2/21/2013 11:52PM

    I enjoyed reading your blog and the pictures are great to go along with the story.
It made me smile.

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ARTJAC 2/21/2013 10:55PM

    emoticon emoticon

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LOVESLIFE48 2/21/2013 5:49PM

    Very cleaver! Love the way your mind works! Happy mom, happy child! What more could you ask for!Hugs Lyn

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BOVEY63 2/21/2013 5:11PM

    What fun, and very good use for the mop.
Tara is adorable!

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PROVERBS31JULIA 2/21/2013 5:05PM


I take it "parcel tape" is roughly equivalent to "duct tape" here stateside??

We do all kinds of "reverse engineering" all the time!!

INGENUITY! that's us, the Sparksters!!


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CHICCHANTAL 2/21/2013 3:38PM

    Honestly Lexie, the titles of your blogs sometimes give me quite a turn emoticon

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TLG71567 2/21/2013 3:31PM

    I love your sense of humor. Thanks for sharing with us.

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CARLA-216 2/21/2013 3:24PM

    emoticonGenius! emoticon

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A few pics from Oxford.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Well, I have to start this collection with a most exquisite piece of kit! This it THE car! The vehicle I would buy for myself if I was ridiculously, insanely rich, and could get in and out without the aid of a giant shoehorn!

John (my godfather) and I were in Oxford, admiring the architecture at the time. We walked round the corner from the Castle/Jail/Hotel and there it was...

My Car!

For those who are unfamilar with cars, this is a Lamborghini...

*bows in worship*

And as if that wasn't awesomeness enough, it is my favourite colour - bright orange!


What do you mean, I can't have it!? emoticon

Well, can I have Inspector Morse's car instead?

It's a classic, and it looks good for driving in Oxford!

Can't have that either, huh? emoticon

Thing is, I'm greedy. I really want both! emoticon

Oh well, suppose I'd best get back to the pics of Oxford then.

Well, the weather was pretty atrocious for most of the weekend, so I didn't get a lot of pics, but here's a selection...

This is the Castle Mound with the only original part of the castle - the keep - visible in the background. You can walk up it, but it was so wet I didn't fancy trying it. Maybe next visit. :-)

A quick history from photos of the timeline outside the castle...

c.700 AD - St Frideswide founds a monastery by the River Thames.
1071 - Robert D'Oilly begins building the castle.
1239 - Earliest recorded use of the castle as the County Gaol.
1388 - The castle is in poor repair and prisoners are able to escape.
1675 - The castle walls and tower have gone, and the keep is in ruins.
1780-1860 - The prison is rebuilt and expanded with the new wings added.
1863 - The last public execution takes place on the site.

And most recently, the building ceased being a prison, and it was sold and turned into an hotel - appropriately named Malmaison (Bad House). LOL

They have kept it quite prison-like as a theme.

Christchurch University's Tom Tower, named for the bell inside it:

The entrance for members of the paying public (not including us. Because both Dad and John are Alumni, we get a free pass). :-)

For those who don't know, Christchurch was used by the makers of the Harry Potter films, for things like the main staircase (where the new kids are met by Professor McGonagall in the first film), the Great Hall (they actually built a replica of the Christchurch Great hall in the film studios), and the delightful spot where HP diehards will remember fondly Malfoy was transformed into a bouncing ferret! LOL

This is the Great Hall:

And this is Bouncing Ferret Cloisters:

On the last morning, after rain all weekend, we woke to this:

View from my bathroom window:

View from my bedroom window:

John and I had a wonderful weekend, and Tara and I have an invite to visit in the summer, when hopefully the weather will be more congenial - this being England, however, nothing is ever guaranteed weatherwise. LOL

John will be visiting us in Colchester in the interim, we hope.

I learned a great deal about my Dad during the visit. Lots of things I didn't know, like (and I am extraordinarily proud of him for this) when the Hungarian Revolution happened in 1956, Dad quickly learned enough Hungarian to make himself understood (he studied languages at Oxford - had a real gift) and he drove to the Hungarian border to help refugees to safety!

He was also instrumental in encouraging my godfather to start the Eckersley School of English in Oxford, and he taught there in the summer holidays.

This link takes you to a page with my Godfather's picture on it. Just scroll down a tad to see him:


As a result, my Godfather is eternally grateful to my Dad, and has never forgotten all his kindness and encouragement. :-)

It was a wonderful gift, to have been told so much of my family history.

Enjoy your day!
Lex xxx
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHICCHANTAL 2/22/2013 2:00PM

    Banana-yellow Ferrari. Nothing else will do.

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IMEMINE1 2/21/2013 4:36AM

    emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 2/20/2013 1:07AM

    Awesome photos!! That is so wonderful to learn that of your father! Great Godfather you have there -distinguished looking gent to be sure- wonderful to have 'two' fathers!
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Linda xxx

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SUNNYBEACHGIRL 2/20/2013 12:27AM

    You deserve a fabulous car

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ARTJAC 2/19/2013 11:50PM


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CARLA-216 2/19/2013 2:49PM

    Sounds like such a wonderful trip. How nice to learn some things about your dad that you didn't know. What an awesome thing for him to do to help the refugees.

I loved the pics! I would love to visit that area one day.


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BOVEY63 2/19/2013 1:09PM

    Love the pictures and the history behind them. I can see why you would want those cars!

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NEW-CAZ 2/19/2013 12:22PM

    Sounds like you enjoyed it! Love Morse!

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SENATOR9 2/19/2013 10:54AM

    Thank you for the history lesson.My favorite subject.Hat off to your father.As for the the car you want you might have to settle for Mr.Bean's car a Leyland mini 1000 emoticon

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ANNIE924 2/19/2013 8:23AM

    Loved the pictures, thanks for sharing. I think it's wonderful that your godfather was able to give you some new information regarding your Dad.

I'd love to visit Oxford, but don't see it happening anytime soon.

Have a great day.


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LOVESLIFE48 2/19/2013 7:40AM

    Thanks for sharing!! Wonderful pictures!! I have always wanted to visit England!! You are making that possible for me!! My younger son will fight you for your car!!! LOL!!!

Have a wonderful day emoticon

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SHAWFAN 2/19/2013 7:31AM

    Love it! Great pictures Lex!! Thanks for sharing that and the history of a bit of Oxford! I would love to go there some day! emoticon

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MARTYJOE 2/19/2013 7:29AM

    Sounds like you had a wonderful trip, I never really thought about going to England but after seeing your pics I think I'm going to add it to my bucket list.Thanks for sharing

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