Uncategorized · Looking back · independence · challenge · travel · feeling proud

The Beauty in Barcelona

Barcelona 2013. This was a trip I will never forget. I had been through a tough time and this was me saying I want a holiday and I’m going on my own with no one else and I’m going to explore.

I was terrified.

Upon arriving I got a taxi to my hotel which was only a 15 minute journey from the airport, Barcelona at night looked beautiful.

The Tryp Apolo is situated right in the centre of Barcelona and my room was perfect for what I needed. I felt immediately happy I had gone when I arrived there.

Over the next 3 days I explored this amazing place. I saw all the sights, The Sagrada Famillia, Barcelona beach, Park Guell, Guadi’s house, The Wave, Barcelona Market, the Fountains and the The Ramblas.

I walked and took the underground and never felt scared or nervous as a woman on my own.

The streets come alive at night and I walked back to my hotel sometimes at 11pm at night on my own and there were still families playing in play parks and people eating dinner everywhere around me. I swear no one went to the skate park until at least 9pm.

I walked a lot. I found tiny little cafes and restaurants to eat in. The people I met were all so friendly and the place was alive with a buzz which just made you feel welcome.

The weather was an added bonus, being August it was in the thirties every day and their night time felt like our day time with the temperature hardly dropping at all.

I miss those streets, escalators outside, steps that seem never ending, climbing hills that seem to lead to the sky then the beautiful views over Barcelona when you finally reach the top.

Never ending bottles of 1 euro water and Fanta limon in the day replaced by Sangria and Estrella at night. I’m not a beer drinker but when in Rome….

Laying on the beach listening to Chilled House Classics through my headphones I blocked out the world and felt completely free.

Tapas, seafood paella, Spanish omelette and ice cream were my staple diet, the food was amazing every single place I went. There is no microwaved veg, no reheated chips, no slow service. They want to serve you well and they want you to enjoy your experience. This was the first time I had enjoyed free nuts on a table when you sit down for a drink too and was blown away by this.

Street performers,oversized drinks, music outside, beautiful bars with huge ivy plants and palm trees strategically placed to offer the most shade in attempt to draw in the maximum amount of custom.

Barcelona is beautiful and I for one can’t wait to go back many times in my life time.

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Instagram vs reality

Ever wish you could live others Instagram lives? Fresh fruit and wholefoods for breakfast on a Monday morning? Always smiling, happy, going from one place to the next?

How much are these photos a reflection of their actual life and why does no one ever post photos of normal mundane tasks? Would no one be interested? Do we really only appreciate people’s lives when they are fun and exciting?

What happened to using social media to encourage and support your friends and family? If their greatest achievement today is that they managed to send their child to school with everything they needed for their 2 clubs, homework, school play and sports tournament shouldn’t that be good enough to warrant a virtual high five?

Except people’s breakfast strategically placed on a beautiful background will always get more likes and quite often does not portray an accurate representation of their lifestyle!

Thoughts, opinions welcome!

body confidence · Children · choir · Cockapoo · exercise · Family · feeling proud · happy · love on the rocks · May · Parenting · Uncategorized · walking

7 things week 17

Hello from a gloriously sunny East of England! How often do we get to say that and it stay like it for longer than 15 minutes! It’s been a really lovely sunny and warm week, I hope you have all had some sunshine too!

Here are my 7 things that made me happy this week

1. A bbq with friends. Sunday week we went to a friend’s who also have a miniature cockapoo the same colour as Poppy. Unfortunely he is not so much of a fan of the brush as Poppy is so he was looking a little on the short side after a good groom! They played like mad and we took them on two walks and had lovely food and drink in the sun. It was a great day.

2. My car got fixed! Ok so I may have accidentally reversed into the bin and it may have left a very small dent in the boot! But this week it got fixed and I’m so happy to have it looking awesome again.

3. Workouts! I seem to be in a stage where I can manage 4 days in a row before just not wanting to work out the next day and I’m really pleased about that! I feel like I’m making good progress and will hopefully feel great about myself on holiday in a couple of weeks time. This is a workout I did by myself yesterday, I did this whole set 4 times and was done in!

4. Walking. With this glorious weather comes walking and lots of it. I want to walk, I want to get out in the sunshine! Last week I walked 13 miles and this week I’ve walked just under that. This morning we went to Bluebell woods which is near us, We haven’t been since last year and unfortunately were too late to see the bluebells but it was really nice to get out and be some where different. Just going some where new means T managed the almost 3 mile loop easily.

5. The royal wedding! Who doesn’t love weddings? If you forget all the pomp and ceremony and remember they are just two people that love each other and are forced into displaying this to billions of people around the world in an open ceremony, then it is actually really lovely being able to watch a wedding we aren’t technically invited to! My favourite part was when she walked down the aisle and the music was still playing Harry looked at Megan and said ‘You look amazing’. Just beautiful and I just ended up feeling really happy for them.

6. My 2nd choir performance! We sang at a charity walk today and Scott,T and my best friend all came to watch. It was really hot but I think we all sang really well and I was proud to be part of it once again.

7. We have a bird nesting in our garden! This sweet little bird has made a nest in our tree so low down we can easily see! Of course if we pay too much attention to it that reminds Poppy that it’s there and it flies off so now we are in operation ‘ignore the bird’ while it sits on its eggs which we hope will hatch!

8. Doing fun things with T before she goes away for a week. May half term T goes away with her Dad to France for a week before coming back and going on holiday with us for a week. Because of this we are trying to fit as much in as we can at the moment with her so she’s had a pretty good weekend,and so have we. Friday she had a friend round for tea and it was so nice outside they played in the garden for the whole two hours. Saturday she went ice skating with my best friend then had a friend over for a sleep over. We decorated love rocks and hid them then they made bracelets and watched tv. Oh and we got an ice cream from the ice cream van because why not!

Ok so there is 8 this week but that must only be a good thing right!

I hope you’ve all had a great weekend.

Thanks for reading

Lou x

Childhood · Children · May · Modern world · motherhood · Parenting · Uncategorized

What happened to age appropriate clothing?

Why are so many little girls clothes so inappropriate these days? I know it may sound cliche but in my day it was a t shirt and shorts and off you went. Today from age 5 upwards there are boob tube style tops everywhere.

Ok I may be biased because my daughter is not the right shape for this sort of clothing but even if she was I wouldn’t let her wear it!

Why can’t we let children be children and stop trying to turn them into mini adults?

How is it a good idea to put an 8 year old in wedge heeled shoes to go and play at the park? Even at a disco it would be risky, kids don’t know how to walk in heels and nor should they! They have their whole life to figure that out, why do they need wedges with tassels on age 8?!

Don’t even get me started on swimwear! Do little girls really want to be worrying about adjusting their bikini/ tankini because it rode up when the cannonballed into the pool? Or do they really want to sit still while you apply double the amount of suncream as they have twice the amount of skin on display? I doubt it!

There has to be a difference between dressing as an adult and dressing a child. In today’s society should we be putting our children’s skin on display for all to see in clothes that make them look much older than they are and take away their innocence?

Being a child is about being free, having no worries and just being able to go and play and have fun,let’s keep them that way for as long as possible!

Adult braces · body confidence · challenge · Children · Cockapoo · fitness · May · Orthodontist · reflection · Uncategorized

Midweek Update

Hi everyone,

I hope you’ve all had a good week so far, I feel like I have neglected my blog a little this week as time has just run away with me so here is a little update on what I’ve been upto.

Monday

I had been having a problem with my brace where my wire arch that runs inbetween my two back teeth across the top of my mouth had started to dig in to the roof of my mouth. Now I have had this in for 18 months so I’m not sure what happened for it to suddenly start doing this but it meant I had to take time out of work to go to an emergency ortho appointment which was a pain. My orthodontist was off and so the one I saw initially tried to bend it down but my mouth was so sore from where the wire had dug in he couldn’t do it so he decided to drill the wire arch out!

I cannot tell you how nice it feels to not have a piece of wire sitting across the top of your mouth anymore! No more food getting stuck in it, it getting itchy and just generally feeling annoying! I remember the pain I was in when it first got fitted and how my tongue swelled up,I was swilling salt water for days and could hardly eat and now it’s finally out! It just feels kind of empty in my mouth now and I have to get used to this feeling instead.

Here is an example of the torture device I’ve had in my mouth for the last year and a half!

Monday night I did a HIIT workout with T before our burpee challenge then went to choir practise, we have another performance this weekend so we ran through a whole range of songs ready for that, it was really fun.

Tuesday

So after a walking Poppy a mile and a half before work, it was meant to be a quick walk but we bumped into another cockapoo called Piper and ended up walking a lot further than we meant to, and a busy day at work me and T went to see my friend Lisa to deliver her birthday present. She has recently acquired a tortoise called Sydney so we had a little hold of him before he went to bed too!

After getting home and T to bed I did an ab workout then crashed watching TV for an hour till bed time.

Wednesday

Burpee challenge completed this morning before school,we are up to 16 burpees while the other person completes weighted twists now, its tough!

Today has been equally as busy at work too, I’m in a stage at the moment where I just seem to keep creating work for myself but streamlining processes,and rocking boats, at the same time.

T has had her 2nd swimming lesson with the school, it seems like she had a great time and is really enjoying it.

This evening we walked Poppy, ate and are going to watch a film soon.

We may have walked Poppy to the chip shop to get chips to have with our chicken and veg but after eating really healthily all week and working out every day since Friday I think today is treat day!

Tomorrow will be a standard busy Thursday but with the added fun and games of getting one car dropped off for a couple of days which means Scott is my taxi for a little while! I’m looking forward to another good workout tomorrow evening though and also getting T one rehersal closer to her ballet show which is at the end of June.

I’d love to hear what you have been upto this week,

Thanks for reading

Lou x

choir · confidence boost · Fears · feeling proud · happy · May · singing · Uncategorized

My First Choir Performance!!

Two and a half months ago I joined a choir. I was in a bit of a slump at the time trying to figure out who I was apart from Mummy/wife and this came along and just suited me so well.

Yesterday we had our first gig, we sang at a charity ball infront of 200 seated guests, nothing like starting off in the deep end!

We only had a 15 minute slot which meant 3 songs and off and we had been practising these three songs over and over for weeks now. There was one particular part in one song we keep getting wrong but we nailed it in rehersal and were all feeling confident.

We wore T shirts with Anna’s Hope on, the name of the charity, and my nerves were creeping in while we were lining up ready to go on. Then that was it, We were walking in and lining up infront of this huge room of people. My heart was in my chest, almost coming through it. I’ve not done anything like this since school and I’m 33 so that was a little while ago now!!

I’m pleased to say we absolutely nailed it!! We couldn’t have sang better if we tried and they loved it. The feeling I got coming out of that room was just pure happiness that we did it! I was so proud of all of us for sounding so amazing and putting on such a wonderful performance!

If you had asked me in 2018 can you see yourself singing in a choir to over 200 people,most of whom arrived in Bentleys and stretch limos,I would have said never in my life! But I did! When I’m singing with the choir I just feel confident like I can do this, I enjoy singing and so do all these people around me and we are making this awesome sound together, putting on this wonderful show for everyone to see and they like us! It’s a feeling I can’t explain other than to say it feels amazing.

I can’t beleive I did it and I’m so proud of my whole choir for sounding so amazing too!

Books · Children · Cockapoo · family time · horse riding · May · positive thinking · Reading · reflection · Thankful · Uncategorized

7 things that made me happy week 16

1. Church fete fun. Last Sunday was the annual church fete which we are invited to every year by our friends. The children are given a little score card and have to visit 6 game tents where they receive a stamp for each game they complete,once their card is full they get to visit the prize tent. There is always a lot to see, do and eat there with donkey rides and a climbing wall along with a hog roast and candy floss stall it’s no surprise we had a great few hours.

2. Watching Scott run his marathon. As you may have seen in my previous post I’m just a teeny bit proud of Scott for completing the Milton Keynes marathon in 3 hours 49minutes. Still proud today 😊

3. Frozen fruit! It may seem like a small thing but over the last couple of weeks I’ve started buying bags of frozen fruit, We love soft fruit but often with T at her Dads on the weekend and Scott working it either goes off too quickly or I end up eating it all! Frozen fruit I’ve decided is the way forward! This week we have frozen mango and pineapple and when we want some I just empty it into a bowl and a couple of hours later it’s ready to drizzle some fat free yoghurt on or just eat as is!

4. Reading. This week I have been reading The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks. Now I’m not one for soppy films or books usually choosing to avoid them but this book has me hooked! I only started it last weekend and I’m already on chapter 15, if I have to stop reading and come back to it later I’m finding myself wondering what is going to happen next! I can’t wait to read a bit more when I’ve finished this post actually πŸ˜‚ Nicholas Sparks you have converted me!

5. An unexpected evening! One evening this week we decided to take Poppy for a walk over to the field near where we live, only this particular evening a hot air balloon was setting up to take off from there! We had all never seen one so close so stayed and watched while it was set up and eventually took off! Poppy ran around in circles with another cockapoo and we were in awe of the balloon!

6. Holiday shopping! Who doesn’t love buying summer clothes for their holiday?! When this time of year rolls around we all start to get excited because we know our week away can’t be far off! Here is the little haul T came away with!

7. Tiana’s riding. This week I had asked if they could use the poles in their lesson as T really enjoys doing that, so out the poles came and all 4 girls had such a great lesson riding over them. T just looked happy and confident this week,like she really knew what she was doing and was happy doing it.


There are my 7, I hope you have all had a great week and are still enjoying some nice weather!

Thanks for reading

Lou x

challenge · feeling proud · fitness · Husband · Marathon · May · Running · Uncategorized

Scott’s marathon day!

Yesterday was the Milton Keynes marathon and my husband was running it. His first ever marathon and it was the hottest day of the year!

This is how the day went;

We left home about 7am and arrived at the MK Dons stadium where the marathon was due to set off about 10am. We had a wonder round and found the start line then went in the stadium and had a look round, the doors were open all day for you to come and go as you pleased which was great.

It was soon time to deposit Scott’s bag at the lockers and make our way outside so he could warm up. It was just after 9 now and it was already very hot outside. We applied sun cream while Scott went off to warm up then he was off to his pen while we made our way to a spot near the start line.

You can just see the start line in the distance!

The start line soon filled up and we were pleased to have a space along the roadside, even so it was tough to pick Scott out among the thousands of runners as they set off but we managed it! A quick wave and to us and he was off!

With time to kill we were off to explore, there were various stalls and rides around so we firstly stopped for an ice cream, then had a wonder round and kept ourselves busy until it was time to get into the stadium and find a seat.

We had an app we could track Scott on and we were on it all the time! He had family and friends at various points round the course so we were hoping they would keep him going.

We got our seats early in the stadium as there was a fun run coming back as well as a half marathon so there was lots to see and we wanted a good spot for when he came back.

A friend of Scott’s had messaged me saying he had ran past and looked great even having time to high 5 him on the way!

Little did I know that he had gone off like a rocket and the first 7 miles were all averaging under 6.40! Now this is not a problem for Scott on any other day but in 28 degree heat and when he had 26.2 miles to run not so good!

He realised at this stage he was going too fast and the next few miles averaged around 7.20 pace when it hit him at mile 12 and he slowed down to 8.07. He then got progressively slower and by mile 24 he was on an 11.58 mile!

By this time he was had taken all his gels,drank water at every station,been pouring water over head and he had eaten slices of orange, sweets and ice pops all from passers by on the route!He was just trying to finish now.

He picked his pace up slightly on mile 25 and 26 and actually looked good to us when he came into the stadium!

We had been waiting eagerly since 3 hours 30 into the race as the app had stopped being completely accurate and this was his target time. When he came through the tunnel at 3.48 we went mad cheering and screaming for him! He was so happy to see us and I was so pleased he was ok. He made it over the line in 3.49.50.

The feeling seeing him go over the line was just one of relief and pride. We left our seats and ran round to the steps we knew he would come up after collecting his medal and seeing him ran into his arms for an emotional sweaty hug!

He couldn’t believe how hard it had been and how it wasn’t that hard in training,it had never been 28 degrees in training.

He isn’t happy with his time but out of the few who ran from his running club he was the first one home and all of the others also had slower times, one wanted to do it in 3.45 but did it in just under 5 hours and another one did it in 4.45. Someone we knew had a sister in law run it who usually does it in 4.29 and she did 5.43. This just shows the heat was a killer.

Will he do another one? Today he is saying yes, maybe in the winter πŸ˜‚

We are very proud of him though and know with all the stress and worry leading up to it I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to be there when he finished.

body confidence · Books · challenge · Cockapoo · confidence boost · exercise · feeling proud · fitness · Healthy eating · hobbies · May · Parenting · positive thinking · Uncategorized

7 things that made me happy week 15!

As I sit in my garden after just eating a salad in the blazing sunshine I feel like I have a lot to be happy about! Ok my braces are killing me and am aching from my workout and walk and still have to get all this washing off the line and into the house yet but life is good πŸ˜„

Here are 7 things that made me happy this week,

1.Workout results. So along came the end of the month which meant time to take more progress pictures. (I always take pictures at the end of every month so I can the difference my workouts make, I don’t share them anywhere they are just for me.) So I took the usual picture, front on in my sports bra and joggers and was again pleasantly surprised with the difference since last month. The other picture was of myself in a bikini to see what a difference my squat challenge made. Wowzers. I am so happy I took a month out to do one more squat every day, the difference is amazing! So much so that I am going to continue with some squats every day just to keep this up! Workouts produce results if you keep at it long enough and this is why I love how I feel when I work out 😊

2. Poppy. Come rain or shine this little pooch is always ready for a walk, She has gone a little crazy over tennis balls lately and will drive us nuts if one is stuck behind the sofa even though she has another 5 in her basket! She went through a stage of not wanting cuddles in the evening but lately she will ask to sit on our laps or next to us on the sofa and is happy to be cuddled for some time which we really love. I don’t know if it’s to do with her approaching 2 years old but whatever the reason she now loves to cuddle which makes me happy.

3.Healthy living! I don’t know if it’s the warm weather or the marathon diet Scott is following but I am all over eating well at the minute! I’m loving salads, bananas on toast with quark and cinnamon and this is some chicken I made Scott for lunch at work with a few herbs, pepper and tomato on green veg and sweetcorn.

4. Walking. With the better weather I have been so inspired to walk more and have really enjoyed it. I took Poppy for a 3 mile walk this morning after completing a 25 minute HIIT workout, I must be mad! (Really I just wanted to get out before it got crazy busy everywhere but it still felt good to go that far and I can’t wait to do it again another day.) So far this week I’ve walked 12.6 miles 😁

5. I finished my book! I’ve been reading Chasing the Dream and the story line has just been so gripping I’ve struggled to put it down this week! The main character has so many traumatic events in her life but with it being set in the 1920-1930 England she just had to get on with it and she was a trooper! I loved this book and it’s made me eager to start another one. I’ve put a post it note inside saying Great Read and put it back in my library.

6. A little treat. Ok so it’s good to have a little treat every now and then or what is the motivation to work out? This was my treat this week and it was worth every calorie laden mouthful πŸ˜‚

7. T had a friend round to play. This particular little girl doesn’t speak at school, She is just incredibly shy and so whispers to the teachers, doesn’t answer questions in class or read out loud and whispers to all her friends. But when she comes here and it’s just me and T we can’t stop her talking 😊She is a right little chatterbox and such a sweet little girl. They had a great time playing outside and even eating dinner and ice creams in the garden.

I hope you have all had a great week and I would love to hear something that made you happy!

Lou x

Adult braces · body confidence · Dentist · May · Orthodontist · Uncategorized

Adult braces- so no one told me this!

Another 8 weeks gone, Another ortho appointment rolls round. Today I was looking forward to my appointment as I always do lately, I’m just keen to get on with things and get it all done.

After a little telling off because my wires were pretty bent at the back, whoops, She got to work removing all my wires. Fine, standard stuff so far. She was really pleased with my bottom teeth and how the tiny gaps that were left had all closed up, I had been checking them every day in the mirror until they closed so I was very aware this had happened πŸ˜‚ the wires she was holding looked different this time, and then she tried fitting them in, owww!! She was pushing and pulling towards my top back teeth and then gave up, asking the assistant for a different wire.

This was strange I thought, We never usually have a problem getting the wires in. The bottom teeth were also tough going to squeeze the wire onto which again I thought strange as I didn’t think they had moved that much.

Then she decided to file the ends of the wires down as I told her the last couple of days I have had sores and cuts in my mouth where the wire rubs at night. The filing itself wasn’t too bad but the water and suction were worse!

Altogether I seemed to be in the chair a long time today and my mouth was pretty sore after where it had been pushed and pulled about so much.

We aren’t closing the big gaps this time but next time we will be able to which I’m really excited about.

Then came the shock, I looked in my pocket mirror as I left the room as I always do and wow these wires are huge!! No one told me the wires get thicker as the treatment goes on! Well thinking about it my wires when I first started were really tiny because they had so many angles to bend round I guess but these are something else! She said the bottom wire is almost the thickest one and the top is nearly there too, I didn’t really understand what she meant until I looked at them, They are almost industrial!!

Ok the top wire is still white but because of how thick it is you can see a tiny bit of the back of the wire which is silver so it’s almost two tone! The bottom one is really really thick. At first I thought she did this on purpose so I couldn’t bend them eating tough food πŸ˜‚But a quick Google and it seems the wires get thicker with treatment progressing!

Just another part no one tells you about until it happens hey! Just when you start feeling confident with how it all looks they go and switch it up, it’s like they do everything they can to not make you smile right up until you get your braces off then Bam! You hit everyone with this amazing smile, oh my god she does have teeth in there! πŸ˜‚

So here it is, 1 year and 5 months in and here are my big strong wires for the next 8 weeks!

Thanks for reading

Lou x