DAWN14163's SparkPeople Blog http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal.asp?id=DAWN14163 DAWN14163's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community SparkPeople.com http://assets2.sparkpeople.com/assets/nav/logo_spark.gif http://www.sparkpeople.com/ 1st June 1974 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5707891 40 years ago today, the Nypro (Nylon Production) Chemical plant at Flixborough exploded killing 28 men who were working there, injuring many others and leaving huge devastation for miles around. <BR> <BR> As was usual for a Saturday, I’d been out playing with my best friend most of the day. I had to be back home by 5 o’clock, so we left Jane’s house and she biked back with me. We were just turning onto our street when there was an enormous rumble. I can remember thinking “thunder”, but it no... Sun, 1 Jun 2014 06:27:11 EST Fitbit first impressions http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5705193 After much deliberation, I've bought one. It arrived in the rain this morning. <BR> <BR> I went for the Flex in the end - that's the one with a wrist band. After parting with so much hard earned cash I thought I was least likely to lose something tied to my wrist, as opposed to clipped to my bra. First impressions? It's tiny - you don't get much volume for your money! As with all technological gadgets these days, there was no instruction manual, just a link to a website to explain how to get... Wed, 28 May 2014 11:48:26 EST Sunday cycling http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5697748 We've been for a bike ride. Just over 17 miles in 1:36:31. At one point we were clocking up 4 minute miles - almost as fast as Roger Bannister can run. It felt pretty fast and there's no way I can imagine being able to run at that speed. Blimey. <BR> <BR> We went through some woods, along the edge of the motorway (although you wouldn't know it was there - those huge concrete barrier thingies are very effective noise shields), over the motorway bridge (hill training) and along the canal. We p... Sun, 18 May 2014 15:31:29 EST Sad times http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5694901 Today started off with sad news - a friend of mine has just found out that her 3 years old daughter has leukaemia. Bad enough at any time, but especially hard when you're living in a foreign country with no close family nearby. In an International school, we often joke about the school community becoming our surrogate family and that was in evidence today. The news has trickled down over the day and by hometime there were little groups of mums stood around, sharing tears and hugs, but more im... Wed, 14 May 2014 12:15:34 EST Quick Catch Up http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5693973 Thank you for the comments on yesterday's blog. I was dipping my toe in the water really, and wasn't sure if any of my old mates were still out there - but you are, and that makes me very happy! <em>213</em> <BR> <BR> It's been a busy year so far. Short summary: <BR> <BR> Our little music quartet is still going well. We have named ourselves Fourtissimo and as well as regular performances, we have time booked in a recording studio in June, to put together a CD! <BR> <BR> I'm still busy ... Tue, 13 May 2014 08:12:04 EST Back in the room :-) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5693044 It's been weeks since I visited SparkPeople. Sometimes life just gets in the way of good intentions. <BR> <BR> I'm doing well, thank you to those who asked. I still have bad days when I feel overcome by grief. I can't understand why I didn't see the warning signs regarding my mum's passing, it was such a shock, totally out of the blue. I guess that's something I'll wonder about for the rest of my life. <BR> <BR> I've let the healthy lifestyle slip these last few months. I'm definitely an em... Mon, 12 May 2014 04:24:37 EST Looking Forward http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5601282 2013 wasn't the best of years, with one thing and another. My Dad came out to visit over the Christmas break and I was impressed by how well he is coping with my mother's death. After the first few painful months, he has decided to stop wallowing in sadness and look forward. He has launched into several new ventures in an attempt to keep himself busy and take his mind of missing mum. I admire him. <BR> <BR> I've decided to follow his lead. My personal grief isn't as all-encompassing any more... Tue, 21 Jan 2014 13:11:33 EST The heavy weight of grief http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5508563 Dealing with Mum's death has been difficult, to say the least. I know grief is complicated and a long process, I know it's early days yet, but I'm naturally a happy, positive person and this great wave of sadness that has hit is taking it's toll. There haven't been many tears, but it's all I think about all the time. I've been through every bad emotion over the last few weeks - sadness, hurt, anger, disbelief, guilt..... I feel so tired. <BR> I haven't taken care of myself too well during all... Wed, 9 Oct 2013 03:31:39 EST Enough sitting around feeling sad. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5475349 It's been a tough few weeks. I know that grief is expressed in many ways, including changed eating habits - some people eat less and lose weight, others reach for comfort in the kitchen and gain. I now know which camp I fall into, having watched the numbers creep upwards once again <em>39</em> <BR> <BR> Enough is enough. A friend sent me this link yesterday. <BR> <BR> http://www.emg-pr.com/s4s/#.Ue-kUKf8KHA <BR> <BR> I've signed up. It seems a good incentive to resume my quest for fitn... Wed, 4 Sep 2013 06:34:48 EST Silent Killer :-( http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5462093 Hello to my dear Sparkfriends, thank you for your messages and good wishes, apologies for my lack of response. <BR> <BR> It's been a tough few weeks. I went home to England mid June and spent a wonderful week with my parents before travelling to the south of England to join my husband, daughter and son for our family holiday. During the 3 weeks we were away, my mum fell ill. By the time we got home again, she had been admitted to hospital. There followed 2 weeks of daily visits to see her, s... Wed, 21 Aug 2013 14:10:20 EST Hello friends! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5376879 It's been almost a month since I last blogged here. I have a confession - I've turned to the other side.... <BR> <BR> I have opened a My Fitness Pal account, which has resulted in me not using SP quite so much. I'm using it for tracking food and exercise, the main reason being that MFP is more UK friendly. To be honest, I've struggled at times with SP, the talk of cups/ounces and a multitude of food brands that are totally alien to me. MFP has a HUGE British food data base and uses the more ... Mon, 3 Jun 2013 14:37:02 EST May holidays http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5347512 One of the pleasures of living here in Belgium is that they have more National Holidays than most of the other countries in Europe - 11 to be precise! If the holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, often a Bridge Day is added to make a long weekend. 3 of these holidays fall in May, the kids love it as they rarely do a full week at school this month! <BR> <BR> Today has been an odd one for me though. It is a Bank Holiday in the UK, so I have been reading facebook posts about friends and relat... Mon, 6 May 2013 14:14:57 EST Back in the room... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5346353 I have been AWOL for the last few weeks. I've been popping on to the site most days, having a quick look round, then sidling off again. I confess to having had little motivation to think about my weight loss journey and have failed to track exercise or food. It's been an effort to write supportive comments on friend's posts. I've been doing * a bit* of healthy stuff, but my heart's not really been in it. I've been a bit of a miserable so-and-so all round, to be honest. <BR> <BR> Today I'm ba... Sun, 5 May 2013 14:52:08 EST 1-D Fun http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5312453 Despite serious reservations, I actually enjoyed the concert. We met up with my sister and her daughter, who had travelled down from Lincolnshire, and had a Very Nice Day Out. Average age of the audience was, at a guess, around 10, which meant there were plenty of mums and dads there too - a fact not overlooked by the One Direction boys who very politely thanked all the parents for spending their hard earned cash on allowing their kids to come. What nice boys they are! It was, all in all, go... Fri, 5 Apr 2013 10:14:56 EST The Perils of Alcohol - Part Deux http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5307436 I've just read Chicchantal's latest blog and decided, cheekily, to nick the title. I am currently sat here, almost head-in-hands, lamenting "why oh why" to myself, whilst ruing the day last April that my husband persuaded me to join him in a light libation. From what I remember, it was a sunny, warm Sunday afternoon. We'd enjoyed a pleasant Sunday lunch during which we'd shared a very gluggable bottle of red. We were both feeling decidedly mellow - and that was when our daughter struck. She k... Mon, 1 Apr 2013 11:32:42 EST Dumped on again http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5298034 <BR> We woke to yet another snow dump this morning. I'm trying to be more positive about things beyond my control so decided to focus on how pretty everywhere looks in the snow, rather than how cold it is and what a hassle it is to drive in! Here in Belgium, the bike lanes have all been gritted but not the roads ....... shows where their priorities lie, haha! We had a quick walk round the park, before having to dig our car out of a snowdrift before we could drive home again. <BR> <BR> <BR>... Sun, 24 Mar 2013 09:24:49 EST Spring is in the air! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5294554 <em>335</em> <em>335</em> <em>335</em> <em>335</em> <em>335</em> <em>335</em> <BR> <BR> Spring is in the air, though the snow is on the ground <BR> Spring is in the air, though you have to look around <BR> And I don't know if I'm being foolish <BR> Don't know if I'm being wise <BR> But it's something that I must believe in <BR> And it's there when I look in the skies..... <BR> <BR> <em>335</em> <em>335</em> <em>335</em> ... Thu, 21 Mar 2013 05:45:53 EST 1st day of spring...... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5293488 ......and still it snows! I know us Brits like to bang on about the weather and rarely manage a conversation without mentioning it, but this is getting ridiculous. I can't remember a winter as long as this. Today's view from the window.... <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/8/l1829863054.jpg"> <BR> <BR> <BR> This time last year, we were under a "hosepipe ban" due to drought conditions. Someone up there is surely having a laugh! <BR> <BR> Just found out it's Interna... Wed, 20 Mar 2013 09:56:02 EST The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5283899 Lots has happened over the last week. My daughter had her 14th birthday <em>44</em> (can't believe my baby enters high school this summer). It's the first Belgian birthday that we've not had snow. Quite the opposite, it was a summery 18*C/65*F <em>67</em> and she mused that this year she could have had the bouncy castle in the garden that she dreamed of as a 6 year old.... <BR> <BR> We celebrated Mothering Sunday at the weekend, especially nice as my son was home for a few days so ... Tue, 12 Mar 2013 12:06:28 EST A much needed long one! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5271231 What a difference a week makes! Last weekend's snow melted quickly on Monday, and although it has been decidedly nippy it has been dry all week. My good intentions to run regularly went out of the window with the bad weather but this weekend I decided it was time to get things back on track. I've done a fair bit of running in the past, sometimes running races where I've been woefully under prepared, so I know that I have the mental ability to get myself from A to B. I decided today to "go for... Sun, 3 Mar 2013 14:33:16 EST Walking in a Winter Wonderland http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5261991 Last weekend I was convinced that Spring was just around the corner. This week it has turned decidedly chilly again, but I was nevertheless surprised to wake up this morning to a good coating of snow (again). Hubby and I had planned to do a Long Run today, and had prepared a 7 mile route. A short fact finding venture outside had us deciding to swop the run for a hike-with-proper-walking-boots-on. <BR> <BR> We set off and soon reached the car free part of our walk. The untrodden snow looked b... Sun, 24 Feb 2013 10:59:48 EST #4 - The One That Nearly Didn't Happen http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5259900 <em>67</em> It was cold this morning. -4C (25F) but with a wind chill making it feel like -10C (15F). Add to that the fact that it was snowing, albeit not settling, and I almost didn't make it out of the door. <BR> <BR> <em>434</em> I had to take my daughter to school so decided to run round our local park, in the hope that the beautiful scenery would make up for the unappealing weather. <BR> <BR> <em>311</em> I quickly realised that I could have done with an extra couple of layer... Fri, 22 Feb 2013 11:13:34 EST #3 and the Old Folk's Home http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5258854 My daughter had a basketball match at school this evening. Sitting on the bleachers, I couldn't help but "listen in" to a conversation going on between a young boy and his dad. <BR> <BR> "My ball's gone into the old folks' home," the lad said, apologetically. <BR> This was confusing for two reasons, a) the lad never usually apologised for anything and b) the nearest old folks home is over a mile away. <BR> "The old folks' home?" asked Dad. <BR> He realised his mistake. <BR> "Oh...no...not ... Thu, 21 Feb 2013 14:10:01 EST At it again! Training run #2 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5254425 At the risk of being a bit boring and repetitive, I've decided to blog my training anyway as it will be useful for me to keep some sort of record. <BR> <BR> <em>67</em> I ran again this morning. It was lovely and sunny, clear blue skies and absolutely still. Birds were singing and it was very peaceful out there. It was cold (-3*C) and there was a good layer of frost but that just added to the beauty. <BR> <BR> <em>434</em> I ran my usual route, picking my way along the trails of the l... Mon, 18 Feb 2013 07:29:14 EST HM training kicks off http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5253564 I'm back in Belgium after a lovely few days in the UK. I love going home (strange how I still think of it as home, although I've not lived there for almost 30 years and never actually lived in the house my parents now reside in....). I managed to see all my relatives at some point or other, although I had to postpone meeting up with friends due to the unexpected late start to the holiday. <BR> <BR> My half marathon training is now underway. My sister insisted on me going for a run with her ... Sun, 17 Feb 2013 12:03:55 EST Happy Pancake Day! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5247429 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/2/1/l214189146.jpg"> <BR> <BR> <BR> I'm not sure how widely Pancake Day is celebrated - certainly not here in Belgium. Last weekend saw the local carnivals take place, we missed them due to my daughter's illness but I caught a couple of floats making their way home ..... <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/7/l1719583763.jpg"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/7/l1744028690.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Not e... Tue, 12 Feb 2013 08:29:31 EST Grumpy Old Woman http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5246292 Daughter is home from her hospital stay and has cabin fever. It's snowing outside and reeeaaaally cold, so I didn't want her to go out in it until she's built herself up abit. Compromise - I agreed to take her to the local mall so she could stretch her legs but at least stay reasonably warm. <BR> <BR> *Rant Alert* ..... <BR> <BR> What is it with teenagers and designer shops? There is one in particular that makes my blood boil and my teeth clench. Of course, ALL of daughter's friends love it... Mon, 11 Feb 2013 10:59:32 EST Comfort eating http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5245233 It's been quite a week. I had a call from my daughter's basketball coach last weekend, whilst she was away for a tournament in Luxembourg, to say she wasn't feeling too well. By the time she got home on Saturday evening she was quite poorly. For many years now she has suffered from Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. We thought she had grown out of it as she hadn't had an attack for over 3 years, but no, it had hit again with a vengeance. <BR> <BR> Long story short - she ended up in hospital for a fe... Sun, 10 Feb 2013 15:08:17 EST Feb-raaaaaargh-ary http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5234115 Time to get back to it. I have bunkered down for the month of January, I'm not a fan of being cold at the best of times - and the dark, wet days of January certainly don't constitute the best of times in my book. But enough is enough. Time to throw off the blanket, switch off the daytime tv, give away the last of the Christmas treats and start living again. <BR> <BR> This morning I went for a 5K jog. Looking out of the front door, it was grey and windy and I began imagining how muddy and unp... Sat, 2 Feb 2013 07:22:23 EST Attempted mugging http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5231259 My son, who is at uni in London, casually mentioned on skype yesterday that he'd been attacked whist walking home from lectures the day before. Close to his home, around 8pm, a man pushed him against a wall and demanded his wallet and phone. Son said no and the man punched him in the face. Son's response? He punched him back <em>40</em> At this, the attacker ran off and son carried on home. He didn't phone the police because he didn't get a look at the man, other than he was dressed entir... Thu, 31 Jan 2013 07:09:55 EST It's not about being bad..... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5226513 I am a member of an online virtual running club on which I run the weight loss group. There are about 60 members of the group, all ages and sizes, all wanting to lose for many different reasons, be it a couple of stones to improve general health or a couple of pounds to improve race performance. <BR> <BR> One of the things that makes me cringe on an almost daily basis is when members describe their actions as "being good/bad". <BR> <BR> "I've been really good today", or worse, "I've been b... Mon, 28 Jan 2013 03:19:56 EST Snow, snow, go away! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5223212 <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/5/3/l53429345.jpg"> <BR> <BR> <BR> "Up in the morning's no for me, <BR> Up in the morning early; <BR> When a' the hills are covered wi' snaw, <BR> I'm sure it's winter fairly" <BR> <BR> A wee bit of Robert Burns for you, seems fairly appropriate for today! Having no Scot ancestors, we are under no obligation to be dining on Haggis, neeps and tatties tonight, thank goodness. <BR> <BR> I'm a tiny bit fed up with the white stuff now. It's ... Fri, 25 Jan 2013 14:37:38 EST Whose woods these are..... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5215262 ......I think I know <BR> His house is in the village though <BR> He will not see me stopping here <BR> To watch his woods fill up with snow. <BR> (Robert Frost) <BR> <BR> I've not been on here much these last few days due to a fit of the glums. I don't know what's been wrong with me but I've not been my usual cheerful self. I did start to wonder if I suffer from SAD - I'm certainly not a fan of cold, dark, grey, miserable days. Or maybe if it was the just after effects of an especially good... Sun, 20 Jan 2013 08:52:50 EST 50, snow and starting over http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5208284 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/6/l1631175703.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Yesterday was my birthday. As my mum likes to retell every year, I was born during the winter of '63 which made it into the history books for being a long, hard, cold, SNOWY winter. I'm told that I didn't go out in my pram until March because the snow was so deep. <BR> <BR> I had a lovely day. I was totally spoilt from the moment I opened my eyes. Hubby took our daughter to school so I could have a lie-in. Then ... Tue, 15 Jan 2013 11:48:20 EST Ho ho ho..... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5198200 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/7/8/l782016831.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Coming from a family that always looks for the second magpie and never puts new shoes on the table at home - and from a nation that 'religiously' ensures that its Christmas tree and decorations are gone by 6th January (to avoid bad luck all year), it always feels odd to me that here in Flanders the Christmas trees, holly wreathes and illuminated reindeer can still been seen well into the New Year. <BR> <BR> About... Wed, 9 Jan 2013 06:40:52 EST Driekoningendag http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5192831 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/8/l1819264014.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Now that Christmas is behind us (although some of it appears to be lingering around my midsection), and New Year's has passed (heralding in another 2 months of writing down the wrong year on all letters, forms and applications), it’s time for the next feestdag of the Flemish calendar – that of Driekoningendag, or Three Kings Day. <BR> <BR> On this day, children in groups of 3 dress up to represent the kings and ... Sun, 6 Jan 2013 10:07:45 EST Holiday draws to an end..... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5191823 A couple of days ago, my sister was lamenting about how nice the weather is in Belgium compared to home, clear blue skies and lots of sun despite being a wee bit chilly. It was the kiss of death - yesterday we awoke to grey dampness and it hasn't stopped drizzling since. <BR> <BR> Today was the last day of her stay. We went out for a "last run together", covering a steady 2 miles (2013 streak intact <em>104</em> ). A quick shower and breakfast then we headed into Antwerp. <BR> <BR> We c... Sat, 5 Jan 2013 15:51:13 EST Past the house twice http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5189999 We didn't have the best night's rest. My daughter had a friend sleepover who waited until 11.30pm to announce that she wasn't feeling too well and promptly rushing to the bathroom. She was bundled into the car and swiftly deposited back home. By the time I got back - having admired Brasschaat's Christmas lights, which I hadn't seen in the dark up until then - I was quite wide awake and the rain pounding on the velux windows ensured I didn't nod off until almost getting up time. <BR> <BR> Hu... Fri, 4 Jan 2013 12:22:17 EST Berry strange..... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5188353 I'm enjoying having my husband home for the week, daughter on school holidays and sister visiting. The house is alive with laughter! <BR> <BR> Today we got up to rain, so decided to visit the local shopping mall. The sales started yesterday. They are Big News in Belgium as by law they are only allowed to have sales twice a year, in January and July, and they are proper sales with really good bargains to be had. We went into my favourite store and I was "delighted" to find the jumper and coat... Thu, 3 Jan 2013 14:27:56 EST Butter Cake http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5186168 My sister has come to visit for the week. We are very close and I love having her here. She does make me laugh. She is a keen runner and this is copied from her running log: <BR> <BR> "This morning, we got dressed and went out for a run together. After a few yards, Dawn started talking about Butter Cake, which sounded delicious. She asked her husband is he still gets Butter Cake when he goes running . It seemed a bit of an odd conversation, but I had luscious visions of a slice of cake with ... Wed, 2 Jan 2013 12:57:46 EST May all your dreams come true http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5181888 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/6/l1650148374.jpg"> <BR> <BR> I'm back in blustery, grey Antwerp after a fantastic holiday in the sun. We had a great time and all came back feeling refreshed and rejuvenated - well, apart from the jetlag. We visited all the Disney parks - what a vision that man had, although I couldn't help wondering what he would have made of the excessive crowds over the Christmas period and the high pricing of low quality food....(I'm allowed to be a bit "... Mon, 31 Dec 2012 09:19:52 EST Do they know it's Christmas? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5175086 Sat here in the sun listening to Christmas songs on the radio, somehow it doesn't feel like Christmas Eve. We're having a lovely holiday but Christmas has taken a back seat. Yes, there are decorations up and we're being wished "happy holidays" wherever we go. (Strange in itself, is it politically incorrect to wish someone a happy Christmas? We lived in the Middle East for 3 years where Christmas was very definitely not celebrated. We were, however, wished Ramadan Kareem and Eid Mubarak durin... Mon, 24 Dec 2012 10:22:08 EST Funday in Florida http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5173213 Today we woke up to clear blue skies, as we have every day this week here in sunny Orlando. However, when we stepped out of the door it became obvious that the weathermen had predicted correctly - temperature had fallen 20 degrees overnight <em>40</em> We swopped shorts and Tshirts for jeans and hoodies and set off. <BR> <BR> We had arranged to meet up with an Australian family who live near us in Belgium and who had coincidentally also booked a Christmas in Florida. Somehow, despite hug... Fri, 21 Dec 2012 21:03:55 EST Florida :) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5172358 I'm having a lovely holiday. I'm enjoying the warmth of the sun, it's great to be back in Tshirts and sandals. I have friends back in Belgium who thought we were bonkers going to the sun for the holiday - that somehow, it isn't Christmas unless you're shivering in the snow! I'm spending precious time with my family, something I don't get to do often enough these days. The house we've rented is lovely. All in all, we're relaxing and unwinding and having fun. <BR> <BR> As far as sticking to my... Thu, 20 Dec 2012 20:26:48 EST Nervous anticipation..... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5167238 Tomorrow we will travel up to my husband's apartment in Haarlem, ready to catch our flight from Amsterdam to the USA on Monday morning. <BR> <BR> I'm excited but also a little nervous - fear of the unknown! I'm not scared of flying but don't particularly enjoy it. The thought of hours spent in airports doesn't fill me with glee. I hate all the security procedures (although I totally understand WHY they are necessary), I end up feeling terribly guilty although I know I've done nothing wrong..... Sat, 15 Dec 2012 11:00:01 EST The secret's out! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5165521 For the last few weeks, our Dutch teachers have been teasing us with the prospect of a "special" last lesson of the term. This morning saw 14 middle aged ladies board a bus on our first school trip for many a year. <BR> <BR> When we pulled up outside a building marked buikdanceschool, we weren't quite sure that our translations were correct.....belly dance school! <BR> <BR> We tied shimmering shawls of jingling coins around our waists and entered into the spirit. What a hoot! We shimmied a... Thu, 13 Dec 2012 13:55:41 EST Biggest Loser Challenge http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5164066 In an effort to stay accountable over the holiday period (traditionally a "bad choice" time of year for me), I have signed up for the BLC and been assigned to the Golden Phoenix team! <BR> <BR> The challenge officially starts on 16th (I think) but the 1st week's challenge has been announced so I thought I may as well get on with it, prompted by seeing one or two other BLC blogs being posted. We have been asked to come up with a list of 3 ways we plan to reduce stress over the holiday period... Wed, 12 Dec 2012 08:10:02 EST Advice needed from my friends across the pond! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5161816 So, a week today will see us flying to Florida for the holidays. I'm desperate for some warmth on my old bones and as I have a Big Birthday in January, hubby decided to treat us all to a couple of weeks in the sun. <BR> <BR> We are going to Orlando. Actually, I'm not a fan of theme parks but hubby and the kids love them. I'm told the Disney parks have a "special magic" so I'm sure I'll have a brill time soaking up the atmosphere - provided it's warm of course! <BR> <BR> But I have to confes... Mon, 10 Dec 2012 07:28:12 EST A chilly walk round Antwerp http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5160037 Last weekend, hubby and I went into Antwerp city (we live in the 'burbs) to visit the Christmas Market. Unfortunately, unlike every other Christmas Market I know, it didn't start the first weekend in December but on the 8th.... <BR> <BR> So today, we bundled up warm and tried again. It was absolutely freezing - literally. The snow has melted but the temperature didn't go above 2*C/35*F. It was a beautiful sunny day with gorgeous azure blue skies - just blimmin cold. <BR> <BR> We walked up t... Sat, 8 Dec 2012 09:47:04 EST Mince Pie Season and Sinterklaas Celebrations http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5158374 It's not been the best of weeks for Sparking for me. I've been mega-busy at school with end of term holiday activities. I've also enjoyed 2 Christmas lunches and have a party to look forward to on Saturday evening. It's turning into a bit of a "mince pie and sherry trifle" fest. Because of extra work commitments, I've done very little exercise. Consequently, the scales are telling me that I've (unsurprisingly) not lost any weight this week. But at least I've not put any on. Today, I gave myse... Thu, 6 Dec 2012 15:38:19 EST