Day 26 of Project Happiness – Weapons!


  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – ✔
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – ✔
  • 5 random  acts of kindness per week  – 3/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 0/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 2
  • Total car miles saved – 60

Today has been all about the karate, and specifically weapons.  We had an intensive all day session (although I did get a lay in), from 10-4pm, started with some kata,  went on to work with sai (which I loved,  and am  now trying to source some for practice as I’ll need it for black belt progression), bo (also could  do with a bo, but I have a make do one for the moment), kama (not quite so keen on but ok) and tonfa.  Wow!  My brain is completely frazzled by fitting so much new stuff in.  Also did more kata, and a bit of jujutsu just to finish us off 🙂  Very satisfying way of spending a few hours, although I think one guy in particular is going to have a headache, after walloping himself with his own sai on one occasion and drawing blood.  Yeouch!  I have located a pair which I really like the look of from, but they do not look cheap!  I’ve emailed to find out how much they are, but here is a piccie in the mean time…


I’m a bit torn, because I think they would class as an unnecessary spend, but yet if I want to progress in karate, I need to practice my weapons.  Waahhh!

Followed it up with a quick trip down to the stables to groom, long rein and feed the ponies, a glorious day for it and kinda wished I had time to ride out on one of them to make the most of the evening sun.

Back home for chilli, snuggles and a bit of TV with mini EN.  Speaking of which, I didn’t update yesterday due to her returning after a week away with the school.  She had a fab time but it was soooo good to see her again and spent the evening catching up with her, snuggling, and not a lot else 🙂

So, my random acts of kindness were simple ones, but I think they count.  Mr EN and I went for a drink, and sat  in the beer garden.  Returned our beer glasses and crisp wrappers to the bar staff who looked pleased.  Then today I phoned a relative who has fallen out with a lot of the family, but is frail and on her own.  We had a catch up and I hope it lightened her a day a little.

Unnecessary spends were the drinks and takeaway, and Mr EN bought me a present, a special hose which sort of  shrinks and coils itself up.  It’s absolutely fab when watering my plants, and apparently was very cheap from ebay.  He also didn’t tell me he was getting it.

Plant based diet has been ok (ish) as usual.

  • Breakfast – Bagels and vegan cream cheese
  • Snack – Nothing! :O
  • Lunch – Slice of home made vegan pizza, carrot and cucumber stick with delish jalepeno and pepper humus, and another  Green Smoothie with spinach, banana, peach, blueberries and coconut milk
  • Snack – Carrot and walnut muffin
  • Dinner – Veggie chilli (not vegan, couldn’t find any vegan quorn.  So far we’ve had it once, and it was superb, tasted just like normal quorn mince.  Since then, I can’t find it anywhere.  Where’s it gone?!)
  • Pudding – FAIL – mini choc ice 😦




Growing Up Stoic

Day 24 of Project Happiness – Lost!


  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – Not Yet, but I will later
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – ✔
  • 5 random  acts of kindness per week  – 1/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 0/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 60 (10 today)

Today I woke up a keen bean, looking forwards to my longest bike ride to date.  I had planned in an 18 miler, extending my previous best of 11, going through what looked to be some pretty villages.  Unfortunately things didn’t start well, as I forgot my route plan.  However, I had written the villages I planned to ride through on my hand, so undeterred, set off.  The weather wasn’t as good as Tuesday, with a hint of drizzle, but still a nice enough morning.  However, things quickly started going wrong.  I decided against a left turn which in hindsight I should have taken, and never recovered from there.  Out of the 5 villages I planned to go through, I found one!!  I also ended up turning back after a mile and a half convinced I was going the wrong way.  On examining the route my garmin had tracked later, I realised that I was actually heading the opposite way up the road I originally should have gone down, but decided not to.  Doh!  Anway, it was a bit of a mental battle, but I was able to remind myself that it didn’t matter where I went, the plan had been to do 18 miles, and I ended up doing 17.5, so mission accomplished.  I was also pleased to see that despite all my faffing whilst trying to decide which way to go, I managed to achieve an average of 13.5mph.  The shoulder was definitely not happy, so no doubt I will suffer on my ride home.  I have also discovered that the padded knickers I bought for riding, but weren’t comfortable, are equally as, if not more so, uncomfortable on a bike.  I’m going to have to do some research here, because even after a mere 17.5 miles I was rather uncomfortable in the nether regions, and I think another 10 miles and even if Jonny Depp himself, dressed in the full pirate costume and complete with dodgy but strangely sexy make-up had come begging for a session of hot and steamy sex, I would have sent him packing :O


Tonight, with mini EN away on a school residential, and the elder 2 out at clubs, Mr EN and myself have a rare few hours together on our own, so I’m looking forwards to a nice takeaway curry, and maybe a film.

Plant based diet today has been good (other than eggs again)

  • Breakfast – Bagel and scrambled egg (I wanted fuel for my ‘long’ ride)
  • Snack – Satsuma, apple, carrot sticks and humus.
  • Lunch – Veggy rice
  • Snack – Carrot and walnut muffins
  • Dinner – Curry  🙂


Day 23 of Project Happiness – Pony maintenance & Carrot Muffins


  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – ✔
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – ✔
  • 5 random  acts of kindness per week  – 1/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 0/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 50

Today has been all about the horses.  My mare who is currently lame had a lovely equine physio out to see her at lunch time.  The physio really made my day by confirming that there are no apparent extra issues.  She’s to have an extra 2 weeks off from ridden work, then we try her again.  Fingers crossed.

Then later on the farrier came to trim and re-shoe.  Feet all ok, just the bank balance which isn’t!


This morning I made vegan carrot muffins, courtesy of the Thug Cookbook.  They were supposed to be carrot and apple muffins, but I realised at 5:15am when I started making them that I had no apples, and so just upped the carrots instead 🙂  The recipe had sugar in it, so I swapped that out for an equal amount of dextrose, and a squirt of rice malt syrup too.  I was very excited putting them in the oven as I haven’t had carrot cake for ages.  20 minutes later I eagerly tested them, to find they weren’t cooked.  Hmm.  Gave them another 3 minutes, then another 5, then another 2 and took them  out thinking they must be done!  By this point I’m running a bit late so went out to water the veg plants.  Came back in and eagerly tried one, only to find they definitely still weren’t cooked.  Gahhh!  They’d started to brown, so I put them back in on a fairly low heat, and went up to dress and get ready for work.  Came back down, still not ready so put the timer on for another 10 minutes(!) and left them to my daughter to sort  out.  Gutted that I had to go off without one as they smelled divine!!

However, the bonus was that when I got home, I had  gorgeous fresh carrot and walnut muffins awaiting me, and they do taste fab!! They had sunk due to all the ins and outs, but they taste mighty fine.  Will definitely be trying them again.  🙂

So my mainly plant based diet today was ok-ish :

  • Breakfast – Scrambled egg on muffin
  • Snack – Banana and satsuma
  • Snack 2 – Doritos
  • Lunch – Marmite sarnie
  • Snack – Carrot and walnut muffin
  • Dinner – Vegan pie,  jacket and runner beans.




Day 22 of Project Happiness – Cheese!


  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – ✔
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – ✔
  • 5 random  acts of kindness per week  – 1/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 0/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 50 (10 today)

Cheese has been on my mind quite a bit recently.  I LOVE cheese,  like kids love chocolate, like cats love mice,  like politicians love lying.  I’ve been frankly amazed at my self  restraint.  I haven’t bothered the brie, stayed clear of the stilton, and I’ve successfully avoided chomping on any cheddar.  But I am starting to drool at the mere mention of the word cheese.  So I did some research online, as to what people seem to think is ok with regards to ‘fake’ cheese, and then went online shopping with a vengence.  I am now the proud owner of a tub of violife cream ‘cheese’, some violife ‘chedddar’, and some Tesco’s smoky ‘cheddar’.


I got up quite excited, and rushed down to start my day with some sesame bagels,  and ‘cream cheese’, with a cuppa.  Well, despite my excitement, I will admit to secretly believing it was going to be, well, minging.  Because of this I did spread it very much more thinly than I would  with ‘normal’ cream cheese, and my first bite was fairly tentative.  I was relieved to find though, that it was actually alright.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was great, it had a strange kind of sub taste to it, which I guess is just the soy,  and I think if it wasn’t cold it would  be more noticeable, but it was a fairly good imitation of a bagel with cream cheese.  Result!  I will definitely be buying again, and might keep me away from the scrambled eggs more often!

Lunch time was a sarnie with the Tescos Smoked  cheese.  I combined it with some baby leaf spinach and some tomato and chilli chutney.  Again, not bad.  It reminded me of the very cheap cheese I used to buy as a student!  It will do when I don’t have time to properly make something.  I’m saving the violife cheddar for pizza night on Friday.  Fingers crossed 🙂

Had a wonderful bike ride this morning.  Extended my usual ride to just under 11 miles.  The route was beautiful, through country lanes bordered  with farmland and the associated wildlife.  The weather was superb again,  and it was just a joy.  My dodgy shoulder held up quite well, just twinging towards the end,  and I think I am definitely going to invest in some  tri bars for it, as I really like having my borrowed ones there for an extra position to ease the pain with.  The way home was also a good ride, just did the point to point 5 mile route, but shoulder was much more painful.  I have some exercises which I’m hoping might help, but need to actually start doing them to find out for sure….!  Planning a 19 miler for Thursday morning – just got to prise my bum out of bed in time to fit it in before work.

So, aspiring Vegan diet today was a success!

  • Breakfast – Sesame bagel with violife cream  cheese
  • Snack – Green smoothie (banana, 1 cup spinach, handful of blueberries, handful frozen summer berries, coconut milk), satsuma, loads of pink grapes – they were just lush!
  • Lunch – Sandwich with Tescos smoked cheese, spinach, tomato and chilli chutney
  • Snack – Doritos
  • Snack – Ritz crackers
  • Dinnner – Stir fry with Quorn vegan pieces,  veg,  noodles, and home made garlic, ginger and soy sauce.

Day 21 of Project Happiness – Vegan mugcake

Status – New week

  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – ✔
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – ✔
  • 5 random  acts of kindness per week  – 1/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 0/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 40

Today I waved goodbye to youngest EN, who is off on a residential with school for 5 days for the first time!  Mini EN was almost beside herself with excitement, and is probably still bouncing about in her  dorm even now. 🙂  I wrote her a note,  and got Mr EN and the 2 sisters to also write notes,  so she has one a day to open whilst  she’s away (I’ve counted that as a random act of kindness) 🙂

I’m really pleased with my henna hair.  It’s come out a lovely natural colour, great condition, shiny in the sun, and best of all, it doesn’t smell!!  RESULT!!

Had a lovely (if rather sedate) hack on the kids pony after work today.  He obviously doesn’t share my need for speed,  but that’s probably a good thing as he’s there to look after the kids, not an adrenaline junkie who should  know better 🙂  However, since my mare is lame, it was just nice to be able to get out, get some fresh air,  and admire the beautiful rainbow peeking out from the edge of the storm which was threatening to come get us.  It rumbled menacingly at us a few times,  but we managed to dodge it and come back dry.

After dinner I was still hungry, so googled for vegan mug cakes, and came across this one, which worked rather well!  I adapted it to be sugar (fructose) free, and reduced it, as I find 4 tablespoons is just too much for lil’ ol me 🙂

  • 2 tbsp self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp dextrose
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1.5 tbsp oil – I used rapeseed but will try vegetable next time.
  • 2.5 tbsp soy milk
  • 1/8 tbsp bicarb soda.

I think it needed to be a bit sweeter,  so may either add an extra 1/2 tbsp dextrose,  or maybe some rice malt syrup,  and will definitely add 0.5tsp vanilla next time.  I cooked it for 1.5 minutes on full in the microwave and it came out lovely and light and fluffy, and just needed that bit of extra sweetness I thought.

Had an interesting discussion today with a colleague who is very very eco aware, and he does not buy into the argument that being vegetarian/vegan is important to reducing climate change.  I need to do more research into this as I am  just not sure, there are so  many conflicting pieces of advice out there.  However,  whilst looking into it briefly I did come across some really interesting sites, including :


Anyway, my aspiring vegan/plant based diet, has been ok today.

  • Breakfast – HM vegan toast with marmite
  • Snack – Apple
  • Lunch – HM vegan bread, hummus with slow roasted cherry tomatos
  • Snack – Digestive
  • Dinner – Vegan burger,  chips,  onion rings,  sweetcorn.
  • Pudding – Vegan mug cake!!


Day 20 of Project Happiness – Confidence


  • Meditate for 2 minutes – 
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – 
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week – 0/5😦
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 2/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 40

Didn’t manage to blog yesterday, so suffice it to say I didn’t write something positive for 20 minutes, or do any of the other things I should  have done.  However,  had a very busy and satisfying day, picked up my landy which has had the head gasket replaced and is now running fairly smoothly again, did a couple of hours of karate,  including some doing some kata teaching,  a bit of shopping for the necessary items for the kids, and took middle EN sproglet to see the John Le Carre film, ‘Our kind of traitor‘.  Actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and sproglet thought it was great.  I was pleased to realise quite early on that the main character was ‘Bootstrap Bill Turner’ from Pirates of the Caribbean, as it’s so frustrating when you’re not able to place someone!  Added bonus was that I got  the tickets as part of my Vitality Life insurance 🙂

Today has been fairly chilled.  Took youngest sprog to a pony club rally and it was fantastic!  She has been very nervous in the past, especially after a particularly nasty experience with a different pony which rodeo’d her off and broke her arm, requiring an operation.  Today she was  like a different girl.  Lots of canter work and even some tiny jumps.  Yay!! I was very very proud of her, and the grin on her face was just super to see. Took eldest EN sprog for a driving lesson and am currently sat here with my henna in my hair and the whole caboodle wrapped in clingfilm (a super sexy look!)  I actually hate the smell of henna, so have added cinnamon, cloves, ginger and made it with camomile tea.  I smell rather  pungent atm, but not hugely like henna so fingers crossed.  I also have a loaf in the oven (made with local flour, brown rice syrup instead of sugar, and olive oil instead of butter) which is smelling divine 🙂

Some more good news has been that my plants are growing!!  My potatoes are really coming along strongly, I have basil and sage seeds sprouting, cabbage, spinach and cauliflower seedlings coming through, and some  peas!!  Sadly still no sign of any of my peppers and tomatoes though 😦  Not giving up on them though.

Vegan diet is back on track again now.  Still eating eggs (and some fish) for the time  being though.

  • Breakfast – Scrambled eggs on toast (made with sunflower spread and soy milk)
  • Lunch – Humus and slow roasted tomato sarnies (Nom nom)
  • Snack – Crisps
  • Dinner – Pasta with tomato sauce; red onions, mushrooms and tuna.


Day 18 of Project Happiness – Gramps

Today has been devoted to a truly deserving, courageous and lovely man; Gramps.  At 95 years of age he has had a long and fascinating life, serving in the last World War until he got taken out by shrapnel and airlifted home.  He’s set up his own company, he’s built his own house, he was married for nearly 70 years to his wonderful wife Grandma Maisie who sadly passed away 5 years previously.  He was an amazing father, grandfather and great grandfather.  Gramps was also an awesome gardener, creating a garden that not only did family love to gather in, gossip in, and generally spend time together in, but was so superb that people used to leave cards to say thank you for creating such a beautiful spectacle and how much they enjoyed walking and driving past.  The church was overfilling with family and friends keen to pay their last respects, and the vicar did him proud with a touching service, as did Mr EN and his sister with beautiful eulogy/readings.

We retired after the service back to the house he shared with Mr EN’s mum, where we sat in the garden in the sun, and admired his handiwork.  We finished the day with a family dinner out at a local pub/restaurant, and I feel blessed to have been part of the day, part of the family, and to have known such a special man.

RIP Gramps. xxx

Day 17 of Project Happiness – This ‘n’ that


  • Meditate for 2 minutes – 
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – 
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week – 0/5😦
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 2/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 40 (10 today)

Positives for today are a little tricky.  We’re currently down visiting family for a funeral tomorrow.  However, it is good to catch up with folks, and it’s lovely to see the family all rallying round.

My poorly broken landy is now fixed again, and will be ready to pick up on Saturday.  Just a case of trying to cobble together the money.

I’ve managed to catch up on a few bits of admin, put in a claim for two refunds owed and cleared my work email box from 600 down to less than 50!  Whoop!

Cycled to and from work today, and am enjoying it so much that I have planned out a route which goes all the way from home to work, instead of my half way point from the yard.  It’s over 13m each way, whereas normally I only do 12 total, so I’m a bit worried about what it’ll do to my shoulder.  However,

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”
Rikki Rogers

So I’m going to give it a go, on a day with suitably cheery weather.

Oooh, another positive I’ve just remembered, is that my potatoes are coming up, and so is my thyme!  My peas kind of raised to the surface, so I’ve sprinkled some more compost on top.  Fingers crossed I get some more coming up soon 🙂

Vegan(ish) Diet – epic fail today.  What with trying to do a full day of work, sort out ponies, and travel down to family, along with a lack of preparation, meant I didn’t have dinner planned so Mr EN just bought me a pizza 😦  However, I think I have found some cheese to make them myself in the future, so we’ll see how that goes!!

  • Breakfast – Scrambled eggs and mushrooms on toast
  • Snack – Banana and satsuma
  • Lunch – Marmite sandwich, carrot sticks and humus
  • Snack – Banana muffin (vegan)
  • Dinner – Pizza (blush)