Blog No 170 – Postage Stamps Artistry

Outer Space Copyright Postage Stamp Artistry 2021

I will update you on my health in a few weeks in regards to scans etc. In the meantime, let me introduce “Postage Stamp Artistry”. I’ve starting creating artwork using postage stamps.

Hope, Heal & Happiness. Copyright Postage Stamp Artistry 2021

Here’s the profile from Etsy shop.

I’ve always been creative, had a passion for colour and loved all things vintage. I’ve always been fascinated by stamps and how they can travel the world, if only they could tell us their story. Every stamp has a history and shouldn’t just be thrown away but recycled to create additional memories. I’m using stamps from various decades. Original
ink markings stamped by the postal service can be found on some of the stamps, which adds further character.

Postage Stamp Artistry brings every stamp/stamps back to life by creating wall art and other products. I like to design a visual piece of nostalgia that can be hung in both modern or character homes. All the products are designed by Postage Stamp Artistry and are handmade with love.

I’m also able to make custom or personalised pieces, therefore please send me a message request. Most pieces of art can be personalised with a word or a choice of words more relevant to you but there will be a word limit, which we can discuss.

I do intend to extend the range continuously so please favour ❤️ my shop in order to receive instant updates of new listings. I will welcome your reviews & photos of your purchases.

I’m currently just finishing the Statue of Liberty using USA stamps.

Statue of Liberty Copyright Postage Stamp Artistry 2021

Link to shop http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/postagestampartistry

I also have a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter under the shop name Postage Stamp Artistry pls connect with me on one of the social media platforms.

Blog No 168 – UK Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK, therefore Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there. I’m unfortunately not a mother but I’m a Godmother and Aunt so I’m as good as a mother on another level. I got a beautiful card from my Goddaughter H for Mothers Day. Thank you H 💕

Considering I was living in Canada for years, I’m still tuned in to Mother’s Day being in May, I guess its hard to switch off. This year all mothers are in lockdown so I hope all children have been very creative. I’m sure more thought has to go into gifts and trying to make their day as special due to covid restrictions.

I’ve already spoke to my mother today and she is lavished with cards & gifts. She said she was going to have a relaxing day and have some chocolate.

To all those children who have lost their mother’s, I’m sure it’s a very hard day for you. Nevertheless, I’m confident that all your mothers are smiling as they’ve never been forgotten by their loved ones.

Can I include pets as my children, I’m sure there is a lot of people who do. My pets Lottie (dog) & Hamish (cat) have selfishly absorbed all the love today with cuddles and belly rubs.

I hope all new & old mothers have a wonderful day. Love to you all. 💗

Blog No 167 – 2020 Reading List

My goal for 2020 was to read more than 46 books. If I could beat my previous target of 46 books or more, I was going to be happy. I achieved 66 books in total, therefore I superseded my target and averaged 1 book a week.

Here is my reading list: –

  1. Girls in Tin Hats – Annie Murray
  2. Villa of Secrets – Patricia Wilson
  3. Hold on Hope – Jean Fullerton
  4. Perhaps Tomorrow – Jean Fullerton
  5. Sisters of Gold – Annie Murray
  6. A Glimpse of Happiness – Jean Fullerton
  7. I Owe You One – Sophie Kinsella
  8. The Teashop Girls – Elaine Everest
  9. No Cure for Love – Jean Fullerton
  10. The Secret Midwife – Katy Weitz
  11. The Volunteer – Jack Fairweather
  12. Permanent Records – Edward Snowden
  13. The House Across The Street – Lesley Pearse
  14. Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kaye
  15. The Whitechapel Girl – Gilda O’Neil
  16. Christmas With The Teashop Girls – Elaine Everest
  17. Finding Freedom – Carolyn Durand, Omid Scobie
  18. Royal – Danielle Steel
  19. The Orphan Twins – Lesley Eames
  20. The Rag & Bone Girl – Maggie Ford
  21. Going Hime to Liverpool – Kate Eastham
  22. The Country Bride – Dilly Court
  23. Liverpool Daughter – Katie Flynn
  24. A Springtime Affair – Katie Fforde
  25. The Light in Hidden Places – Sharon Cameron
  26. Goodnight Sweetheart – Pam Weaver
  27. Memories are Made of This – June Francis
  28. Pack Up Your Troubles – Anne Bennet
  29. How to Make it Happen – Maria Hatzistefanis
  30. Official Secrets – Marcia Mitchell & Thomas Mitchell
  31. A Daughter Ruin – Kitty Neale
  32. A Village Scandal – Dilly Court
  33. Many a Tear Has to Fall – June Francis
  34. Mothering Sunday – Rosie Goodwin
  35. It’s Now or Never – June Francis
  36. Walking Back to Happiness – June Francis
  37. The Spitfire Sisters – Margaret Dickinson
  38. Love Letters in the Sand – June Francis
  39. Shadows of the Past – June Francis
  40. Her Father Name – Beezy March
  41. How to be British – Tim Benson
  42. The Jones Family Food Roster – Alison Jones
  43. The Man Who Didn’t Call – Rosie Walsh
  44. An Ophran Christmas – Katie Flynn
  45. Diagnosis – Lisa Sanders
  46. The Orphan Thief – Glynis Peters
  47. Mind Over Clutter – Nicola Lewis
  48. The Prison Doctor – Dr Amanda Brown
  49. An Orphans War – Molly Green
  50. A Strong Hand to Hold – Anne Bennett
  51. Time To Say Goodbye – Rosie Goodwin
  52. The Organised Writer – Anthony Johnston
  53. The Christmas Wedding – Dilly Court
  54. Rag and Bone Christmas – Dilly Court
  55. For Better or Worse – June Francis
  56. The Winters Promise – Rosie Goodwin
  57. The Orphans of Halfpenny St – Cathy Sharp
  58. A Daughter Duty – Maggie Hope
  59. Do The Birds Still Sing in Hell – Horace Greasley
  60. Dilly’s Sacrifice – Rosie Goodwin
  61. Dilly’s Lass – Rosie Goodwin
  62. Dilly’s Hope – Rosie Goodwin
  63. The Mill Girl – Rosie Goodwin
  64. Will You Take Me Home – Julie Tottman
  65. The Convent – Maria Hargreaves
  66. Home Front Girls – Rosie Goodwin

Here’s a reading Q&A

What is your favourite time of the day to read.

I tend to read when I go to bed. I can read everything from 10 pages to 100 in a night.

How many hours do you read a day.

I can read anything from 15mins to 2/3 hrs. It all depends how tired I am.

What is my favourite genre.

Historical fiction is my favourite, however I’m trying other genres.

Which author did you first get obsessed with.

I would say it was Lyn Andrews then Katie Flynn

Who are you currently obsessed with.

I would say Dilly Court and June Francis. To be fair my obsession is growing with many authors.

Can you read multiple books at one time.

Yes I can, nevertheless I think two is enough for me.

Which book/books was your favourite this year.

I did love “Rag n Bone Christmas” by Dilly Court. I also enjoyed “Will You Take Me Home” by Julie Tottman. This was a true story, which involved a Yorkie dog, therefore I brought the book for my goddaughter too as she’s a reader.

Who was your favourite author this year.

I would say June Francis because her characters in her books follow through her books, which I loved.

Which new authors did you try this year

I would say June Francis and Jean Fullerton were the most popular as I had read a few of their books.

Which book touched you this year.

It has to “The Convent” by Maria Hargreaves. The true story was about the horrific cruelty to children by a nun in a care home in Oldham, U.K.

How many books do you intend to read in 2021.

I’m not sure I’ll reach that target again but let’s see what happens.

Blog No 166 – Overview of 2020

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Happy New Everyone

Family & Friends

Thank you to friends and family for your continuous support. I have a huge amount of respect for people that consistently care and support Mr Zebrakat and I. Honestly from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for everything. Especially all the people who sent cards, flowers, plants, mags, chocs & sweets, biscuits and messages.

The year started with a trip to County Cork, Ireland to celebrate Aunt P, 80th birthday with family. It was was such a heartwarming celebration. Aunt P knows how to provide a party, we had it all, fabulous food, good company and magnificent entertainment. She’s a very courageous lady, she had literally just finished treatment for breast cancer and we were hopping on a plane. Thank you Aunt P for a wonderful time.

To my relatives in Ireland it was wonderful catching up with you all. We will be back when it’s safe to fly again.

Covid 19 played havoc with special birthdays, weddings and new baby’s this year. I’m sure these celebrations were as special as they could be.

Hamish & Lottie

Hamish has been part of the family now for 2 years. Lottie & Hamish are very much in a routine with toilet breaks, feeding and sleeping. Your more than likely to find Lottie at my side and Hamish sleeping on my bed blanket. I’m sure my neighbours must laugh at Lottie and Hamish when they are running into the house together from the garden. It’s quiet comical watching them following each other like sheep. They are known to kiss and lick each other first thing in the morning.

Hamish still looks like a lion and is slightly larger in stature to Lottie. Lottie can hold her own too, if Hamish tries to grab her. Pets are obviously very therapeutic.

Home

Copyright 2019 Zebrakat

We are still tweaking our current residence. It’s certainly changing in appearance and no longer represents a typical terraced house floor plan. We started in the roof space and now we are on the ground floor, working from the front of the property to the rear. I’m waiting for a replacement front door, which has been delayed due to covid 19. It’s been on the order since October.

I wanted to show you a cupboard that I’d designed earlier in the year and finally put into its place. I needed the unit to fit on a plinth in my guest bedroom. It’s made out of scaffolding boards. Anyone who knows me will appreciate I love a little timber in my decor.

The cupboard consists of doors, drawers and shelves. Behind the doors is some hanging space and some additional shelving. Its perfect for guests and now considered a new heirloom.

Health

I’ve already discussed my health in previous blogs. I’m glad treatment is over for now, I’m hoping my body gives me a little respite from medical appointments and health issues. I’m planning to continue as I do, live life and be happy.

Travel

Travel this year has been a bit of a washout, however I’ve still managed a few places. I was able to fly to Ireland earlier in the year, which was amazing. I’ve also visited Bath & York, both historical cities. Bath & York are full of beautiful architecture, fabulous restaurants and quaint shops. I would recommend both cities a visit, magnificent gems of the U.K.

Mr Zebrakat

Mr Zebrakat is working from home and on site as he works in the construction industry. It is nice having him around. On a positive note, covid had Mr Z at home when I was going through treatment. He unquestionably is happy he’s working and is one of the lucky ones still working.

Mr Z is undoubtedly been my tower of strength going through treatment and family hospitalisations etc. Thank you Mr Z for always being there as always as usual, what would I do without you.

Hobbies

Reading, I did about 66 books last year, so beat my previous years record. Watch out for my next blog for my annual list of books.

Covid has allowed me to frame up & hang some travel pictures etc. I’v also been filling up photo albums with old photos. I still have numerous to do but I’m getting there. I’ll then move on to filling up scrapbooks with memories and mementos.

Hopefully 2021 will no longer be a year of doom and gloom. We all need to be vaccinated and getting on with our lives. Love to you all 🤣

Blog No 165 – PRRT & Covid 19

What a year, with covid-19, I don’t think anyone is ever going to forget 2020 in a hurry. Did you achieve something positive through lockdown? I did, I hung up some pictures, sorted out my photo albums and filled them with lovely memories. If we hadn’t gone into lockdown those empty photo albums would still be there, looking empty.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones this year, as my cancer treatment continued in London throughout lockdown etc. The hospital had experienced numerous cases of covid-19 patients and precautions were put into place for the safety of staff and patients. I was required to have a covid-19 test locally prior to travelling to London. A negative result was vital in order for treatment to continue. I would like to thank all those individuals who were involved with my treatment at the Royal Free Hospital, London. Thank you so much.

My mother had a tough year after being diagnosed with a secondary cancer. Her cancer treatment continued locally throughout lockdown/covid 19 with a few hospital stays. We both had finished our treatments within 2 days of each other. She is doing much better now but she’s not still 100% as yet. She’s a tough cookie. X

PRRT treatment – everyone has a different experience but we all have similar symptoms. The treatment procedure is not that bad, the only symptom you may experience during treatment, is nausea. The medical team will give you anti nausea meds prior to treatment. They can also control the flow of treatment so you don’t experience nausea. The more treatments I had, the worse post treatment symptoms got for me. What’s funny is, I can’t face pasta since the last treatment. The thought of pasta in any form still makes me gag. I’m not sure I will ever tolerate spaghetti bolognese again.

I’m so relieved that we have finished treatment for now. We are 9 weeks post treatment and my bloods are still not to normal levels. They won’t exactly be perfect due to the cancer, nevertheless they still need some improvement. My Oncologist is keeping an eye on them for me, I’m in good hands. My hair has thinned a lot since treatment but it will grow back I’m sure. During my treatment my hearing was affected and it’s certainly not a known side effect. Yet it can’t be dismissed either. I’m also experiencing dizziness but we don’t know, if there’s a connection to the hearing or if it something else that is going on. I’m starting to get terrible migraines again so I’m monitoring that for the Neurologist. That’s the problem with an illness, it can lead to other problems.

My daily quality of life, I would consider has definitely improved. At the end of the day there is no cure for my cancer, therefore I wanted a quality life whilst I was living, that’s not too much to ask

The latest results following results following my recent CT & MRI scans was that I am stable. Stable means no new growth of cancer in other areas. This is a little questionable for me, because I only found out that I have tumours on my lungs whilst going through treatment. In my eyes that new growth but in their eyes it’s tumours over a certain dimension. I’ve obtained all of my records as I don’t like being kept in the dark. This latest scan gave me the dimensions of the new tumours in the lungs so I can monitor the growth. Even though I’m consider as stable surely the lungs is a new site of cancer, I have cancer in the peritoneal, pelvic area and liver and a couple of other questionable areas. My Oncologist is going to send me for cancer (Ga68) scan in April. This may give me a true reflection of what is really going on, although my scans don’t always reveal everything. I personally don’t think it will be long before I have another op on my bowel. You heard here first lol.

My ultimate goal with treatment was to improve my daily quality of life and I do feel we achieved this. I’m so grateful for my new found freedom in lockdown lol. Thank you to my friends & family who have always supported me through my treatment.

Just one more thing, I was giving support to another patient going through the same treatment. I will call her SC, she was a wonderful lady and I had found another loyal friend experiencing this same cancer. I have a few more cancer friends and ladies, you know who you all are. X SC was suffering from a lot of pain and I personally don’t feel she was getting the support she needed. Clearly there was more going on, therefore I was devastated to learn from her husband that she had passed away. I do believe that I’m still here because I do my diligence and I’m very persistent. I would say to any patient of any illness, go with your gut, and fight for you health. Rest in peace SC you will certainly be missed by me. X

Blog No 164 – Churchill War Rooms, London

I made the trip to London for more scans back in Dec 19. Whilst we were there, we took a visit to Churchill’s War Rooms in Westminster, just around the corner from the Houses of Parliament. London is oozing so much history and the architecture is incredible.

There is a fee into this museum but it’s certainly worth a visit. The museum is open from 9 – 6pm daily. Check opening times before you travel just in case there’s lockdown restrictions.

Chiefs of Staff Meeting Room

The heads of army, airforce and navy would meet in this room to discuss the war efforts.

Winston Churchill

This was Winston Churchill radio address from the Cabinet War Rooms to the people of France on the 21st October 1940.

Switchboard Operator

Every call taken by a Switchboard Operator was deemed as urgent at the Cabinet War Rooms.

Ismay’s Quarters

Room 61 was Hastings Ismay’s. He was the Chief of Staff to Churchill. He was the link between Churchill and the heads of the three armed forces. A senior officer would have the luxury of carpet in their room.

Access Point

The Camp Commandant was responsible for the day to day maintenance of the Cabinet War Rooms. The key rack with all its keys and labels.

The Map Room

The beating heart of the Cabinet War Rooms. The room was used for gathering intelligence to fight the war. During a shift there would be 5 officers. A duty officer, 3 officers from the armed forces and official from the Ministry of Home Security.

Map Room Supplies

A box of map pins sorted by colour ready to use.

Mrs Churchill’s Room

A little more of a luxury room with a dressing table and comfy armchair.

I would recommend a visit to the museum especially if your at the Houses of Parliament.

Blog No 162 – Diary/Bullet Journalling

Towards the end of every year, I always look forward to a new diary. It’s the one thing that I do obsess about. The diary needs to work for me and I’m very particular on its layout.

Back in May 2016, I discussed about doing a bullet journal in Weekly Blog No 77 – Bullet Journal. Then in Feb 2017, Weekly Blog No 94 – Bullet Journal Update, I gave the pros and cons of bullet journalling.

I’m always trying to improve how I set up my diary. Last year I attempted to use technology on my iPhone. Mr Zebrakat and I share calendar, so we are able to be more efficient. Subsequently I still maintain a hardcopy diary.

A diary allows Mr Zebrakat and I to check each other’s availability. We certainly don’t have to call each other up to see if an appointment is ok. If there’s no entry on the calendar, it’s free to book. This works very well for us both, therefore we shall continue this proven method.

I still have a hard copy diary and I’m able to glance on the monthly spread to see what appointments etc I have. I haven’t mastered that on a phone as yet. I can’t always look either, as I could be taking a call on my phone. Having a hard copy allows me quick access whilst on the phone

In Weekly Blog No 4 – Monthly Planner, May 2014, I discussed using colour to hi light appointments etc and my planner/diary was looking like a sea of pink. I have maintained using colour, it allows me to scan a page quickly. Maybe I’m a little OCD as I’ve maintained using colour for different things. This year Ive used Washi tape, a method picked up from bullet journalling.

This week I sourced bullet journal stickers from rebelinkco on Etsy (link below) to organise me better. I will use the monthly spread for appointments all colour coordinated of course. Red for Royal Free Hosp, blue for GP and yellow for scans etc etc. as

Colour is an excellent method for me to scan quickly when I’m searching for something in my diary. I did relay on my monthly calendar a little too much this year and hardly used the remaining diary pages.

Birthdays and anniversaries etc will move to weekly spreads alongside bills, pets meds and ordering medication etc. I will therefore use my diary a little more. See the various stickers above. I shall continue to use technology, my diary and bullet journalling methods. Surely I can only be more efficient and organised than ever before, let’s see, I will give feedback towards the end of the year.

Blog No 161 – Museum of London Docklands

This visit was a couple of years ago before a medical appointment. We went to the Museum of London Docklands.

The museum occupies three of the five bays of No 1 Warehouse, West India Quay. A Grade 1 Listed Building, built with stock brick with Portland stone architectural features. The northern elevations of the warehouse are in a cheaper plum brick. Five storeys and attic with a semi basement below quay level. Triple span hipped slate roof.

Here’s some of the Museum exhibits. I’ve provided photo’s and a little info.

No 1 Warehouse

Carts would of be used to move cheese, casks, boxes and bales of tobacco.

Trade Expansion 1600 1800

The stone fragment dated 1619 craved with the coat of arms of the East India Company.

London, Sugar and Slavery

Anti-apprenticeship banner dated 1813 produced by campaigners opposing to the imposition of compulsory apprenticeship on those liberated from slavery.

City and River

Painted wherry seat back dated 1824 middle right hand side. This is awarded to the winner of the 6th Queenhithe Waterman’s race and includes a painted view of Southwarks Bridge.

Sailortown

A pub in one of the streets and alley in the vicinity of the docks and river Thames.

Warehouse of the World

Wine labelling bench dated 1900 – 1939 on the right hand side. The Port of London Authority offered merchants a range of services including wine and sport bottling and labelling.

Docklands at War

Casing of an unexploded German bomb that fell on Millwall dated 1939 – 1945. In 1941 the basement of Bullivant Wharf, Millwall, was in use as an air raid shelter.

Sainsbury’s Study Centre

Sainsbury is one of the nation’s oldest food retailer’s. Sainsbury’s started in London in 1869 thats over a 150 yrs old. That’s enormous achievement and succeed through recessions and pandemics.

The museum offers free admission, however you can make a donation. I would thoroughly recommend this museum, it’s truly amazing.

Blog No 158 – Chocolate Toothpaste Tart

Completed 1 Tart

Another UK school dinner favorite, although I’m not a huge fan. I’m sure chocolate lovers will love this recipe, as no baking is required, especially if you purchase a ready made pastry case. I assume the name chocolate toothpaste comes from the consistently of the filling representing toothpaste.

Makes 1 Tart

Ingredients

  • 70g margarine
  • 150g sugar
  • 20g instant hot chocolate powder
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 230g dried milk powder
  • 1 ready made pastry case
  • 150ml warm water

Method 

Cream together 70g margarine and 150g sugar until smooth. (I used caster sugar as the granules are smaller)

image

Add 20g hot chocolate powder and 20g cocoa powder to the margarine/sugar mixture and cream together.

image

Mix 230g dried milk powder and 150ml warm water together in a separate bowl until smooth.

Blend both mixes together until smooth and thick .

image

Pour into a ready pastry case and put in the refrigerator until set.

I apologise for the messy edges to the pastry case, I wasn’t having the best of days.  Enjoy

(Written in UK English)

Blog No 155 – Soda Bread

I did an Ancestry DNA test a couple of years ago and I was 100% Munster Ireland. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never made soda bread until recently, yet I’ve eaten it all my life.

My grandma was a fantastic baker and she would make a currant soda bread too. I have fond memories of her baking. She would get out the homemade blackcurrant jam, irish butter and a freshly made soda bread.

All my aunts are fabulous bakers, yet my mum is not a baker. She’s an excellent cook but she’s more than likely to bring out a nice cake from the cupboard to have with your cup of tea.

The photo above was my first soda bread. Therefore I would like to share the recipe I used. Serves 4 – 6 people

Ingredients

  • 450g / 1 lb Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 400ml/14 fl oz Buttermilk

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 220’c/425’f/Gas Mark 7.
  • Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the buttermilk. Mix well together using your hands. The dough should be very soft but not too wet. If necessary, add the remaining buttermilk.
  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly. Shape into a 20 cm/ 8 inch round tin.
  • Place the bread on a greased baking tray, cut a cross in the top and bake in the preheated oven for 20 -30 minutes. When done it should sound hollow if tapped on the base. Eat whole warm, soda bread is always best eaten on the day it is made.

Please share your recipe with me? Is your ingredients different?