Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Making a Christmas Garland in 3 easy steps

1. Dry your citrus fruit

Slice up your oranges, lemons and limes and place them on baking paper. To dry them put your oven on it's lowest setting and leave them to dry for about 4 hours. After every hour open the oven door to let the steam out. (This also makes the house smell lovely).

2. Glitterify (yes, that's a word) your fir cones.

I found my fir cones under my brothers tree, but you can find them in most local woods, with a bit of foraging. If nothing else, it's an excuse for a walk. I would suggest you gently dry your fir cones, in front of the fir or on the top of your cooker, as they will probably be closed at this time of year, and you need them open.

At this point I would suggest you grab your nearest child as they love this sort of thing.

Then it is simple. Brush some PVA glue over the edges of the cones.

Next, sprinkle glitter all over them.

Until they look like these.

Give them a day to dry.

That's the tricky time consuming bits done.

3. Construct your garland

You will need some nice string or ribbon, I used that red and white Christmassy string, some cinnamon sticks and some star anise, plus, your dried oranges and glitterified fir cones.

You will need a skewer or a kebab stick or similar and a wooden chopping board, to skewer your oranges on

Then it's up to you how your garland looks.

I started by tying the fir cone. You definitely should knot these in place otherwise your garland will unravel. Another tip is cut sections of string and then knot your garland together, trying to do it on one piece of string requires the fingers of a ninja, which I definitely don't have.

Then skewer a small hole in 3 orange segments, and thread your string through. After that wrap the string a couple of times around a cinnamon stick and knot off.

 After this tie on a star anise, which is the fiddly bit, and start again.

When you have enough sections tie them all together and voila!

The actual construction of this took about half an hour, the only thing that takes time is the fir cones and oranges.

After that, enjoy how they look and the smell - lovely.

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Monday, 27 November 2017


The X-rays from when I first broke my ankle ankle with all the metal they put in
Back in January 2015, I broke my ankle quite badly, I blogged about it here.

The experience of losing my mobility for nearly six months was pretty hideous, and eye opening. I had a real incite of what people with disabilities experience and it wasn't great.

Since I have been healed, I have managed to achieve more than I thought, tap dancing being my biggest achievement. Especially as I asked the surgeon as a joke,

'Will I be able to tap dance again'

He very sternly said,


Up until that point I hadn't thought about tap dancing that much as I gave it up before I was 20. But being told no, so abruptly, made me want to do it, more than I had ever wanted to.

So, when I was laid up for months and months religiously doing my physio, even though it really hurt, I was just thinking about grumpy surgeon saying no.

And when the opportunity came out of the blue to tap dance, I was first in the queue saying yes.

But to a certain extent the surgeon was right. I didn't have the flexibility in my ankle and the taps on the left side weren't as good as the right.

I had been getting pains from the metal in my ankle contracting and expanding in the heat and the cold. Sometimes, it was waking me up at night.

I had turned into one of those people who could 'feel' changes in the weather.

So even though I was loathe to be off my feet again, I just thought, if I can reduce some of the pain and get some of the flexibility back, it would be worth having the metal removed.

At the beginning of the summer I got a referral from my GP to the orthopaedic clinic and spoke to a consultant there. I was ready to tell a massive tale of pain and lack of mobility, but with my opening gambit of 'I want the metal taken out of my ankle', the consultant was all, 'OK then'.

So the process began, by October I had a date for the surgery. It had worked out brilliantly, I had managed to dance in the dance show I had committed to, and dance the tapathon. The surgery was the day after the tapathon on the 20th November.

As usual, they had to draw an arrow on my leg to avoid confusion (I fear for a surgeon who doesn't know their left from their right, but OK).

I went in the morning and I was home by teatime, just.

There had been some issues getting my now extremely swollen ankle into an air boot, but with the help of a lovely physiotherapist, who I literally begged to help me get home that night, I managed to squeeze it in.

The first couple of days were pretty grim, painful and uncomfortable.

When I saw how the surgeon had stapled up my ankle I was a little shocked.

As one of my friends said, 'just add rosemary and garlic'
I was also thinking, that when the consultant had said you'll be back on your feet in a week, he may have been exagerating.

However, over the last couple of days I have seen a vast improvement, and today, a week later, I got in the car and could drive again. Not far and not for long, but I was back on my feet. Whoop.

Me today.
 So, hopefully I will be back tap dancing before Christmas. Exciting.

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Saturday, 18 November 2017

Dastardly Saturday

I have taken photo's all my life, and when I put my mind to it, I can be OK at it. So, on Saturday's, I'm going to post photo's I'm proud of. Here's my first one.

Saucy ladybirds.

Why do I like it? I like the depth of field, both ladybirds are in focus and the vibrancy of the colours. Oh, and their poses of course.

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