Week 1 with #FitBit

Posted on 6th April 2016 in health

FitBit weekly stats

I was a little dubious about FitBit and whether it was just a fad for which the novelty would soon wear off. However, I bought my partner one in February and he is still obsessed with it, as is a colleague of mine, so I’ve been ever so sheep like and followed suit!

I now have a FitBit Charge HR and have quickly become disturbingly reliant on knowing what my heart rate is Week one statsand how many flights of stairs I’ve done – did you know that if you carry something upstairs then it doesn’t get recorded. (Yes, this has resulted in me then running back down the stairs empty handed so that I can run up them again and get it added to my daily tally…)

FitBit very kindly sends you a weekly roundup of your stats and some of mine for this week are shown on the right.

I have found FitBit to have a sense of humour as every day when I take it off of charge (I charge it while I am in the shower so as not to miss too many valuable steps!) it displays a little message on the screen! So far I have had:

Step Geek

Bon Jour

Hi There

Climb On

Hold Me

Rock On

Also, and it’s worth pointing out here that I haven’t been actively dieting, I have lost 3lb this week which can only be from all the additional steps. I am genuinely impressed to note that I’ve done nearly 50,000 steps and I know that it would probably be half that amount if it weren’t for the #FitBit making me want to hit my daily goals.

 

Child Maintenance Service – not impressed!

Posted on 5th April 2016 in break up/ bullying/ children/ CSA/ debt/ family

money in a binHaving suffered at the hands of the CSA I was actually quite pleased to hear that a new child maintenance service was being set up. Not so naiive as to believe that they’d be able to retrieve any payments from my ex-husband, obviously, but I did feel a glimmer of hope that they might have a more professional approach and greater powers available to them.

I was wrong.

It took an inordinate length of time for me to be able to transfer to the new service. This isn’t optional by the way, they just close your existing CSA case on an arbitrary date and unless you set up a new account with the CMS then that is the end of that and your ex gets away Scott free.

So, I jumped through the various hurdles to set up the new account and was advised during these conversations (it doesn’t take just one phone call, obviously) that they would take over and start afresh. As such I was asked if I wanted the arrears to be carried over or wiped off? Seriously, does anyone elect to wipe them off?!

Anyway, back to now, finally, finally, in March I received notification that they had decided what payments should be made and that I would receive the first payment on April 1 (I know, I know). Needless to say no payment has arrived. So I’ve phoned them today (twice, as the first time I failed their security questions…) and discovered that they felt I should have provided my ex-husband with my bank account details.

I should have given the man who has committed fraudulent acts, left me homeless and in debt, stolen from me and my children and my family, been abusive and has no regard or respect for me or my property – I should have given that man my bank account details?

Besides the fact that they had never asked me to do this and had, in fact, in January advised me that they would not expect me to do this given our history. Which the guy I spoke to today agreed was in the case notes, but said it was wrong and that I should never had been told it.

Their suggestion now is that I open a new bank account purely for receiving CMS payments. I asked if they’d actually had any contact with my ex and had any agreement that he would make payments? No, they said, but we have to give him the chance to.

Because 12 years of dodging payments isn’t enough of chance is it; let’s give the fella one more go huh.

Find Jessie A Home

Posted on 15th November 2015 in cat rescue/ cats
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Beautiful Jessie

Could you offer Jessie the ‘naughty torti’ a loving home?

She is about 18 months old, petite, spayed and very affectionate.

In true torti style though she does like to be an only cat and she does nip so will need to be with an experienced owner.

I have met Jessie myself and found her to be an absolute sweetie, very keen to be stroked, tried to get on my lap and had an intelligent engaging face. She did nip me a few times but it was more playful than aggressive and I think it’s just her way of saying no. She did immediately turn around to be made a fuss of again.

If I didn’t already have 2 cats I would happily have taken her home!

Personally I would say this is all part of her charm and an experienced owner wouldn’t find it a problem at all, however she wouldn’t enjoy being around young children.

She is currently at Peterborough Cat Rescue, do get in touch with them if you think this cheeky girl could be for you. DSC_1113

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Old Smokey 100WCGU Week #174

Posted on 10th November 2015 in #writingworkshop/ 100WCGU
Old Smokey

Old Smokey

Sheila had wept when she saw the damage. However innocently done, the heating engineers had killed her beloved smokebush.

David had planted Old Smokey when they first bought the house back in 1987 but now both he and the plant were gone.

This had been August last year yet still she mourned the loss of the plant, and her husband, each day as she walked past.

Unbeknown to Sheila, today, as the front door closed, an unseasonably warm breeze caused a flutter that gently rifled the leaves of a tiny smokebush sprouting from the ground.

~ ~ ~

Thank you for reading my entry in this week’s 100WCGU – the theme was the photograph that I have named Old Smokey.

To read other entries or to enter yourself, please visit Julia’s blog here.

Toby – 100WCGU – Week173

Posted on 2nd November 2015 in #writingworkshop/ 100WCGU/ Crime Fiction/ writing workshop

Toby paused, the agony of loss felt physical, he’d known it was coming but it still hit him like a punch to the heart.

The knowing, the expecting, the anticipating didn’t make it easier; the pain was just as raw and overwhelming as if it had been out of the blue.

He’d loved her. There was no denying it, she was the woman of his dreams and as the flames leapt skyward he knew his heart was breaking.

‘It’s done.’ He spoke the words curtly and ended the call. Turning his back on the burning car he walked away feeling his heart harden with every step.

~~~

This week’s prompt for the #100WCGU was:

Weather wise, it feels very strange here in the UK. It is now November but extremely mild. However, we have lots of fog around which makes for great atmosphere for the recent Halloween celebrations and this week, for Bonfire night. Let’s hope the temperature does not drop for November 5th. The prompt has to be around this theme, doesn’t it?!

It is: …as the flames leapt skyward..

If this is your first time here do check out ‘What is 100WCGU?’ for details of how to enter.

 

Toby – 100WCGU – Week173

Build A Luxury Garden Bench #DIY

Posted on 30th October 2015 in family/ garden/ garden centre

DSC_0823Here is how we built a luxury garden bench for a fraction of the cost of buying one. The end result is bespoke and sturdy, everyone comments on it and asks where they can get one!

The beauty of designing and building the bench yourself is that you can get it exactly how you want it to be. My ideal was for a large bench that someone could relax on with a good book and a cup of tea – with a roof in case of rain showers and plenty of places for wildlife.

The end result far surpassed the simple seat I had in mind and we now have a weather proof seat that is comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. It is just as good for whiling away a few hours on your own or for four or five people to snuggle up on during a BBQ.

Seat quadrant

Start with a rough plan and then build it up into the structural posts needed to support the bench and roof if you are having one. This will enable you to plan out and see how many wooden posts you will need.

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Once you’ve got your rough plan it is time to start construction from the base upwards.

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As you build upwards, once you’ve got the seat in pace, you can start focusing on the roof supports.

This simple ‘p shape’ (below) works well to start off a sloped roof but the option of having no roof or a flat roof would be easier!

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We then chose to dig out a section around the bench to fill with gravel and create an alternate patio style part of our garden. With a future plan to insert a fire pit at a later date along with some simple, sleeper, seats.

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The eagle eyed among you will notice that we’ve also added electricity and some solar lights.

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Russian Roulette #100WCGU #week172

Posted on 29th October 2015 in #writingworkshop/ 100WCGU/ Crime Fiction

Simon felt the familiar thrill of anticipation as the man the by door caught his eye. Skilfully keeping up the pretence of flirtatious banter he finished off the cocktails with a flourish and handed them over. ‘There you go, girls.’ He said with a well practised wink that generated a ripple of giggles.

Little did they know that their chosen drinks, the Howling Dog, the Moon and the Creaking Boards made for quite the game of Russian Roulette as one of them contained Rohypnol.

Shortly after, the girls waved their goodbyes and headed out into the night; the man by the door followed close behind. The chase had begun.

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The above is my entry into this week’s one hundred word challenge for grown ups hosted by the lovely Julia Skinner @JfB57 – the prompt for this week was …the howling dog, the moon and the creaking boards… To see other entries or to find out more and have a go for yourself, click here.

#100WCGU #week171

Posted on 19th October 2015 in #writingworkshop/ 100WCGU

‘What about if I rock my chair back, like this” Barry demonstrated with an over zealous action nearly causing him to flip backwards “and then slam my coffee down and fix him with a steely glare?”

Trying desperately not to sigh out loud, Karen walked behind him and nudged the chair back to an upright position. “Or,” she said failing to keep the exasperation from her tone “or we could just be reasonable and ask him the questions we agreed earlier?”

“Love it, love it, I get ya” Barry winked “I’ll be bad cop and then switch to good cop but I can’t decide when to change.”

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Have you tried the #100WCGU (one hundred word challenge for grown ups!) over at Julia’s place? This is my entry for it, adding 100 words to the phrase …I can’t decide when to change… If you would like to read other entries or have a go yourself, please click here.

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