MRS.DOYLE's SparkPeople Blog MRS.DOYLE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Second attempt... A very belated Happy New Year to all my Sparkling friends. <BR> <em>179</em> <BR> I'm still here, though it might not always seem like it. I login every day on my mobile phone, but find it much harder to leave comments etc that way. Occasionally, like today, I login on my laptop and catch up on what I've been missing. <BR> <BR> Last year, I headed my Spark page with a comment about wishing for a peaceful 2017 and what could possibly go wrong? Well, it was a dreadful year around the world... Thu, 18 Jan 2018 06:12:18 EST Seasons greetings Hello Sparklers <BR> <em>213</em> <BR> <BR> The shortest day approaches and Christmas will soon be here. I hope everyone is calm, happy and prepared. I'm cooking for 6 this year. I have been having a great time sourcing healthy versions of favourite seasonal recipes. Being the cook actually makes it easier to eat healthily because I know exactly what is going into my meals. Luckily I love vegetables. I always have done, even as a child. So my main meal will be very healthy with the right... Wed, 20 Dec 2017 07:15:34 EST Chocolate week Apparently this is Chocolate Week here in the UK. <BR> <em>493</em> <BR> I was amazed when I heard that because I thought it was at Christmas and Easter that we all forgot the true meaning of the season and stuffed ourselves with chocolate. <BR> <BR> I used to be a real chocoholic before becoming a Sparkler. I eat much, much less of it now. I know what it does to me, what is in it, and what it does to those who are paid a pittance to produce it. <BR> <BR> I am probably very late to the ... Mon, 9 Oct 2017 04:15:11 EST Shed walking... Say what you like about our Government, but it does seem to care about our health. The latest message is that 10 minutes brisk walking per day will make a noticeable health improvement. They gave us the shocking statistic that most people don't manage this even once a month. <BR> <em>2</em> <BR> <BR> Ten minutes per day won't achieve the recommended target of 150 minutes exercise per week. But it has to be better than nothing for people who get no exercise. The odd thing about yesterday'... Fri, 25 Aug 2017 06:06:06 EST The London Marathon....a thumbs up and a thumbs down I am lucky to live within walking distance of the start of the London Marathon which took place today. For the past 15 years I have worked on Sundays and was only able to watch the highlights on the television. But now I am a free woman, I was able to go in person to watch the 40,000 runners set off on their 26 miles. <BR> <BR> We got there early and were lucky to find ourselves standing just outside the gates of Greenwich Park where the runners start to line up. While waiting for the start... Sun, 23 Apr 2017 12:51:36 EST When strength matters... I try to go to the gym 3 times per week. While I am there I make a point of combining cardio and strength training. Sometimes it all seems a bit academic. But this week I have had 3 examples of why it pays to stay strong. <BR> <BR> We are in the midst of more home DIY, or should that be DIMyself? Hubby works 6 days a week. so it seems only fair that I should do as much as possible at home. My first job that needed strength sounds really pathetic. I wanted to redesign how the curtains hang. I... Tue, 21 Mar 2017 11:03:37 EST New me Greeting, fellow Sparklers... <BR> <BR> <em>213</em> <BR> <BR> It is MONTHS since I posted a blog entry here <BR> <BR> <em>2</em> <BR> <BR> Time definitely flies when you are having fun. <BR> <BR> <em>100</em> <BR> <BR> I mentioned recently that I was going along for an induction at a different gym. My present gym is excellent with fantastic equipment and a general air of luxury. They sent out an email last month letting us know that the fees were going up by 80p per month..... Wed, 1 Mar 2017 18:12:42 EST There are good people out there..... So, I came down off cloud nine today when I realised I had lost a gift voucher that a good friend gave me when I retired last week. <BR> <em>46</em> <BR> <BR> I took it to the shops yesterday but didn't spend it on anything. Last night I looked for it....and looked....and looked. <BR> <BR> <em>38</em> <em>38</em> <em>38</em> <BR> <BR> This morning, as soon as daylight arrived, I was out in the back garden going through the recycling bin like a mad thing. But there was still... Tue, 18 Oct 2016 14:20:37 EST One door closes; another door opens... The original title for this blog post was going to be "The end of an era". But that tells only half the story. Since yesterday, I am: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I have been very lucky in my working life. I started as a paper delivery person when I was thirteen in 1968. This was years before equal opportunities and I was the first girl that the shopkeeper had employed. I was a bit of a trail blazer becaus... Mon, 17 Oct 2016 09:55:43 EST Another box ticked.... This has been a really busy year for me at home. There was plenty of planned work such as the new kitchen, floors and staircase. Then Daughter unexpectedly managed to buy a flat with Lovely Boyfriend. That gave me the chance to finally clear the last bits and pieces from her room. She has also been putting stuff into the loft for the last couple of years and I have been gritting my teeth watching it all pile up in random heaps. <BR> <em>39</em> . <BR> <BR> She doesn't have room at her... Tue, 13 Sep 2016 15:24:23 EST My two favourite people.... I have spent the last few days ruthlessly cleaning up in the loft. We had some roofing repairs done a couple of years ago and lots of dust was knocked down from the rafters onto all the stuff/tosh we have been storing up there. <BR> <em>24</em> <BR> <BR> The loft is a no-go area in the winter because it is so cold up there. I decided to use this warm interlude before the next lot of cold weather to have a good sort out. I swept up a bagful of debris which has probably been in the raft... Fri, 2 Sep 2016 14:29:25 EST An eye opener in Rye... Hubby and I had a pleasant day out in Rye, Sussex. It is a very old town full of buildings from the 15th century. We walked around and had a pub lunch. Then we drove to Battle where the Battle of Hastings supposedly took place in 1066, though historians now disagree about the actual site of the battle. We had another walk there. <BR> <em>67</em> <em>342</em> <em>297</em> <BR> <BR> The eye opener was when I arrived back home and looked at my Fitbit. In the whole day I walked on... Sun, 7 Aug 2016 14:08:21 EST My work is done... Yesterday Hubby and I went to visit Daughter and Lovely Boyfriend in their new home. They are thrilled with it, as are we. <BR> <em>242</em> <BR> <BR> They have been together for two years and seriously looking for somewhere to buy and settle down in for the past year. It is extremely difficult for young people to set up home in London. They looked at a few places that they could afford but, quite rightly, turned them down because they weren't happy for a variety of reasons. <BR> <BR... Mon, 1 Aug 2016 14:18:31 EST Phew! Yesterday was an exceptional walking day. I walked to and from work and then went out for the evening strolling along the River Thames at Greenwich to take in the views. By 11pm I had clocked up over 23,000 steps. So I investigated how to link my new Fitbit to SparkPeople. Suddenly, I am a convert. I have learned a lot about my smartphone in the last couple of days. I now see the point of Bluetooth, location services and syncing. <BR> <em>244</em> <BR> <BR> When I had my two eye op... Mon, 25 Jul 2016 04:11:59 EST Stepping it up... When I hit the grand old age of 60 last summer, I became eligible for free bus, train and tube travel in London thanks to a new 60+ Oyster card that was introduced by a certain Boris Johnson. Yes, our new Foreign Minister. <BR> <em>334</em> <em>304</em> <BR> <BR> I love walking and walk as much as possible. I think nothing of walking 3 miles to work and 3 miles home again. But I have noticed over the past year that I have made a few more bus journeys than I did when I had to pay th... Fri, 22 Jul 2016 17:32:45 EST How to make yourself ill....UPDATED I just read my last blog entry and nearly fell about laughing. <BR> <em>246</em> <BR> <BR> It was celebrating the fact that Hubby was going to paint our large hallway. Well.....guess who eventually ended up doing it. YES....ME. I am the person who is at home all day while Hubby still works full time. So I suppose it made sense. I had to paint lots of walls upstairs and downstairs. The only wall I left (probably forever) is the wall next to the stairs which runs up the full height ... Mon, 20 Jun 2016 06:29:44 EST Fifty Shades of Magnolia..... I have just returned from a typical Bank Holiday weekend trip to the local DIY store. I say "local" but it is about 5 miles away. I hadn't planned to go there. In fact I was already dressed in my gym clothes when Hubby uttered the immortal words "I'm just off to buy some paint for the hall". <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We don't paint the hall very often as it involves ladders, dust sheets and lots of ma... Sat, 30 Apr 2016 10:37:47 EST Quick Easter trip..... We just paid a flying visit to the English Lake District. We stayed in Grasmere and here was the view from our bedroom window. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I took this on Good Friday because I want to remember this amazing view and the amazing weather. It was cold, but otherwise sunny and dry all day. <BR> <BR> Grasmere was affected by the winter floods and is still suffering. We noticed far fewer tourists... Sun, 27 Mar 2016 16:21:37 EST Skirting boards finished.... This is a photo-free blog post. You lovely Sparklers have been asking for photos of my house decorating. But all I have been doing is painting skirting boards. Photos of them would be as interesting as....watching paint dry. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> But if you want a better image, just picture someone painting a white line down the M25. For those who don't know, it is a circular motorway that surround... Wed, 9 Mar 2016 16:50:56 EST The builders have gone.....WOO HOO! We started renovating the ground floor rooms in our house before Christmas and I am DELIGHTED to announce that the last builder finished today. <BR> <em>244</em> <em>244</em> <em>244</em> <BR> <BR> I have been doing the happy dance since this morning. <BR> <em>355</em> <BR> <BR> I have also just given some little chocolates to the neighbours who have had to put up with some horrendous noise and never complained. <BR> <em>304</em> <BR> <BR> The low points were Christmas wh... Fri, 12 Feb 2016 11:25:57 EST Sugar addict I recently bought my first Smartphone. I have never really felt the need for one before. But Daughter left home and occasionally sends photos that I wasn't able to open on my dumbphone. Then Hubby showed me an app that he had downloaded on to his all-bells-and-whistles phone. It is the Change4live Sugar Smart app. <BR> <BR> This app was the final straw that broke my I-don't-need-a-Smartphone back. I have been using it whenever I remember to. It is very easy to use. Just open the app a... Thu, 4 Feb 2016 10:55:29 EST New kitchen... By popular request (thanks New-Caz) here are a couple of photos of my new kitchen. I don't have any of the old kitchen. But it was very bland with brown units, brown worktops and a brown floor. We installed it ourselves 13 years ago and realised straightaway that we had made a mistake. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This shows the insulation that our clever carpenter put under the kitchen floor. Our house i... Sun, 17 Jan 2016 13:36:15 EST 2015 recap and goals for 2016 Greetings and Happy New Year to everyone. <BR> <em>411</em> <BR> <BR> I have just read the post I wrote this time last year and found it to be happy and hopeful. I also had a pang at how innocent it was. Some bad things happened in the world in 2015 that were very upsetting. <BR> <em>2</em> <BR> <BR> 2015 continued to be generally great for me. Hubby and I are enjoying the peace and quiet of having our home back to ourselves. We have renovated the bathroom and are currently doin... Fri, 1 Jan 2016 03:52:18 EST Warning to car drivers.... <BR> Look out for little animals ... <BR> <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> v <BR> <img src=""> Sun, 6 Dec 2015 12:41:44 EST Bit of a shocker :-(( Well I have just been for the results of my recent NHS blood checks. This is a really excellent free service still available to us here in the UK at a time of austerity. The thinking is definitely prevention is better (and cheaper) than cure. <BR> <em>224</em> <BR> <BR> Some of my results were good. Liver and kidney functions are good. My sugar level is low. My weight is within the healthy BMI range. My blood pressure is 106/62 which I thought was low, but apparently is within the "... Fri, 27 Nov 2015 07:31:26 EST 9, 1, 5, 9, 9, 1, 5, 9........ ...those numbers have controlled my waking hours for 8 of the last 12 weeks. <BR> <em>2</em> <BR> <BR> They were the times I had to put in 3 different lots of eye drops after 2 eye operations. I had to leave 5 minutes between each drop, so the whole performance took at least 10 minutes plus however long it took to wipe all the sticky mess off my eyelashes afterwards. I learned the hard way that not cleaning up immediately made it very difficult to do later. Taking a hammer and chisel ... Wed, 18 Nov 2015 16:28:58 EST Second sight.... <em>244</em> my second, delayed eye op took place yesterday and it seems to have gone well. <BR> <em>250</em> <BR> <BR> It is standard procedure here to operate on the weaker eye first. That's what happened to me at the beginning of September and, because the second op was delayed, I had to get through 7 tortuous weeks with uncomfortable put it mildly. <BR> <BR> Yesterday's operation was quick and painless and I can already see well. Considering that healing and eyes... Thu, 22 Oct 2015 11:38:39 EST A bit more about me... THANKS FOR THE IDEA NEW-CAZ <BR> <BR> Where is your cell phone? NEXT TO MY LAP TOP <BR> <BR> Spouse? YES <BR> <BR> Your hair? 10% BRUNETTE, 90% GREY <BR> <BR> Your mother? ALIVE AND KICKING <BR> <BR> Your father? SADLY DEPARTED <BR> <BR> Your favorite thing? A GOOD BOOK <BR> <BR> Your dream last night? ALL FORGOTTEN. HAVING TROUBLE SLEEPING AS I'M WEARING A PLASTIC EYE PATCH FOR PROTECTION AFTER A CATARACT OP <BR> <BR> Favorite drink? SPARKLING WATER <BR> <BR> What room are you in? ... Tue, 8 Sep 2015 13:03:02 EST Oh nooooo!!!!!.... Well my first eye op went well yesterday. Hubby took a photo of me when I came home. But I am definitely not looking my best in it. So it will go into the family archives and won't be published online to scare anybody! <BR> <BR> I took the bandage off this morning and I now look even worse with a bloodshot eye. But that is completely normal and only to be expected after all the poking about it endured...including about 5 injections. Eugh! <BR> <em>234</em> <BR> <BR> The big "oh no"... Fri, 4 Sep 2015 07:04:22 EST 60th birthday celebrations....warning: photo heavy! My biggy 60th birthday was last week and I decided to celebrate it over several days as it is quite a milestone. <BR> <BR> I did things that I have been meaning to do for some time. SO....I had a family meal in the Shard, visited Holmfirth in West Yorkshire, toured the Peak District and went to look at the phone boxes sculpture in Kingston. <BR> <BR> Here are some of the best photos: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <B... Mon, 17 Aug 2015 03:27:42 EST A fat weekend....? I just had a brilliant weekend in Dublin....meeting up with distant family and introducing Daughter's boyfriend to Ireland for the first time. <BR> <em>220</em> <em>440</em> <BR> <BR> The food was good and mainly healthy and I managed to even lose half a kilo of weight. When I entered that on my Spark tracker it calculated that I had lost 2kg! <BR> <em>224</em> <BR> <BR> Not possible or true!!!! It simply means that I haven't tracked my weight for quite a while. <BR> <em>24... Wed, 24 Jun 2015 03:19:49 EST Blown it, but not all bad news..... Well, I knew Easter would be a challenging time to give up chocolate. I even told the people who were likely to buy me an Easter egg that I didn't want one this year. Then daft Husband gives me a small box of Maltesers and even dafter me opens them. <BR> <em>29</em> <BR> <BR> I even ate a few before realising that I wasn't enjoying them and didn't know why I was eating them. <BR> <em>198</em> <BR> <BR> There was a bin near me and I happily poured the rest of the chocolates into ... Fri, 3 Apr 2015 11:34:18 EST Saying NO to chocolate.... I started a Spark streak a while ago. It measured how many weeks I could last without chocolate. Well, I never managed a full week. I often managed 6 days out of 7, so I wasn't too perturbed about it. It compared to eating chocolate EVERY day before becoming a Sparkler. <BR> <em>41</em> <BR> <BR> A couple of weeks ago, I read "Chocolate Busters" by Jason Vale. It looked worth reading because a lot of the reviewers said that they ate chocolate for decades and gave up as soon as they ... Sun, 29 Mar 2015 14:27:27 EST 2014 recap and goals for 2015... I just reread the blog post I wrote at the beginning of 2014. I started by saying that 2013 had passed in a blur of sameness and I ended by vowing to go to the gym at least 3 times per week. <BR> <BR> Well, 2014 went fairly quickly as well but there were more highs and lows. The Pilates class that I had been attending for the last 8 years closed down. <BR> <em>46</em> <BR> I applied for voluntary severance from my Sunday job but was turned down as they did not want to lose my skills an... Thu, 1 Jan 2015 05:06:14 EST Santa comes from the North Pole Recently on tv there was a trailer advertising a forthcoming programme. Two children were having a conversation as follows: <BR> <BR> Child 1: Santa comes from the North Pole. <BR> Child 2: There's no such thing as the North Pole. <BR> <BR> It sounded like a completely genuine, unscripted conversation and made me laugh every time I heard it. <BR> <em>246</em> <BR> <BR> For everyone who might be worried, let me assure you that there IS a North Pole. <BR> <BR> I will carry on logging... Sat, 20 Dec 2014 11:07:36 EST Six years ago today..... .....I discovered and joined SparkPeople. I was overweight, knew why I was overweight and didn't have any high hopes of losing weight online. How wrong I was. I reached my target weight within 6 months and have stayed in my maintenance range ever since. <BR> <em>244</em> <em>252</em> <BR> <BR> It definitely hasn't been easy. I have to stay motivated by logging in EVERY day. That helps me to connect with some lovely, inspiring Spark friends and helps to ram home the message about ... Wed, 12 Nov 2014 03:40:08 EST 21 today...., not me!! Twenty one years ago today my daughter finally deigned to be born, only 9 days late. She was supposed to be a Libra but ended up as a Scorpio. I take all that with a pinch of salt. But Scorpio sums her up well as she can be very prickly. She has also been very hard work, though there were good times: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> As an example of the hard work, the photo was taken just after her first birthday.... Tue, 28 Oct 2014 11:14:57 EST The computer saga rumbles on and keeps me fit..... So...a couple of weeks ago I baptised my laptop and put it out of action. That was annoying <em>24</em> but I didn't lose any documents or pictures as I now backup everything up in lots of places. <BR> <em>41</em> <BR> <BR> I went back to using an old laptop. It had gone in for repair a year ago and was working pretty well. Then yesterday the same problem put it out of action. It just isn't worth carrying on repairing something that is on its last legs. <BR> <em>198</em> <BR>... Tue, 14 Oct 2014 11:21:29 EST Back in the saddle... My last blog post shows me grinning happily. Little did I know that 3 days later my knee would cave in and cause me lots of problems for nearly 2 months. I don't think the knee gave in because I had recently travelled from London to Manchester and back again on the same day. That meant about 6 hours sitting on a train. I was worried it might be a blood clot, but I didn't have the right symptoms. Instead I can only blame jumping up too quickly from a chair when I was doing one of my theat... Wed, 8 Oct 2014 14:35:10 EST A brilliant Corrie tour.... <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here's me having a fantastic time on the Coronation Street Studio Tour. I am literally standing where hundreds of actors have stood over the last 50+ years. I think I spent the whole tour beaming from ear to ear. <BR> <BR> I recommend the tour to any Corrie fan who can travel to Manchester. It was a bit of an eye-opener as the sets are so SMALL and the actors' dressing rooms and Green Room were very basic. <BR>... Wed, 13 Aug 2014 03:26:09 EST For the knitters among you.... I have designed and knitted a little keepsake or gift bag in memory of the child who touched so many hearts in 10 short years. <BR> <BR> Here is the link to the free pattern: <BR> <link><BR>-precious-moments-gift-bag </link> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I published it on Ravelry which is a free crafting website and well worth a look for knitting, crochet and other crafting ideas. Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:22:06 EST Uplifting triathlon story.... Here is a moving story about an 8 year old boy who brought his disabled 6 year old brother along with him in a youth triathlon.... <BR> <BR> Here's an updated link: <BR> <link><BR>ear-old-boy-carried-his-disabled-broth<BR>er-through-an-en </link> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 15:04:57 EST Just devastated... I had some really sad news today. I volunteer as a reading helper at my local primary school. In February I was assigned to a boy who was identified as likely to benefit from one-to-one reading help. He was the sort of well behaved child who just disappears in a class of 30 children. <BR> <BR> Well, he flourished and his reading level advanced by 3 subgrades which his teacher told me was more than expected. <BR> <BR> Yesterday the boy was almost squealing with excitement about a forthcom... Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:49:07 EST Need a bit of advice about phones...... <em>213</em> Hello all you clever people... <BR> <BR> Maybe someone can help me with a query about mobile phones. <BR> <BR> I have a really basic mobile phone that is years old and does not connect to the Internet. I really like some of the Spark People tracking apps, so I am considering joining the 21st century and upgrading my phone. <em>246</em> This would be a big step for me as I like my current museum piece! <BR> <BR> I have always resisted buying a new phone as I didn't th... Sun, 15 Jun 2014 02:33:11 EST Use it or lose it..... How true that expression is! <BR> <BR> Last week I was uber busy and had to miss going to the gym for a whole 7 days. Considering I have been to the gym 4 times per week since I rejoined in December, that was a big deal for me. <BR> <em>46</em> <BR> <BR> My 4 visits tend to be divided equally between cardio and weights work outs. I am back in my old routine now and what a difference that missed week has made. <BR> <em>2</em> <BR> <BR> I have had to slightly reduce the weights I a... Thu, 22 May 2014 02:55:05 EST The half-marathon that went pear-shaped..... If this was April 1st I would have thought the following story was a joke. Sadly it wasn't. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>yorkshire-26910318 </link> <BR> <BR> I understand both sides of this story and can quite see why the runners set off anyway. Sun, 6 Apr 2014 12:40:00 EST Moving up a level... I have a busy few months ahead of me and need to be as fit as possible. So I have started tracking my food again. I was pleasantly surprised that I managed to keep within my targets in all nutritional categories on my first day of tracking. That bodes well. <BR> <em>244</em> <BR> <BR> To make tracking easier, I have edited my favourite foods list and deleted some items that I never intend to eat again. Chocolate doughnuts have no part to play in a healthy lifestyle. <BR> <em>29</em... Wed, 26 Mar 2014 17:29:33 EST Horrible facts about fast food.... Just in case anyone needs more reasons to avoid fast food... <BR> <link><BR>ast-food-facts-090000818.html </link> <BR> <BR> These facts are stomach-churning. I wish I hadn't been eating my breakfast when I read them. <BR> <em>29</em> Thu, 20 Feb 2014 01:10:39 EST Maybe I should sort out my priorities...... This has nothing to do with fitness and exercise......though maybe my mental fitness needs some work. <BR> <em>40</em> <BR> <BR> The background to this is that I left home at the age of 18 and have supported myself ever since. My daughter has been threatening to leave home since the age of 16 and now, at the grand old age of 20, is finally financially able to do so. <BR> <em>104</em> <em>244</em> <em>100</em> <em>250</em> <BR> <BR> She has decided to fill a vacancy in a ... Tue, 11 Feb 2014 11:27:11 EST Goals for 2014 Last year was fairly non-eventful for me. It whizzed by in a blur of sameness. I managed to maintain successfully, but always near the top of my healthy range. I think I have learned the art of doing "just enough". <BR> <em>41</em> <BR> <BR> I made an attempt to rev things up when I joined a new keep fit class in September. But, I don't know how else to say this without sounding smug. it is a little too easy for me. The benefits for me are minuscule. <BR> <BR> So on Boxing Day I j... Wed, 1 Jan 2014 01:47:31 EST