body confidence · challenge · Changes · confidence boost · fitness · goals · health · March · positive thinking · training · Uncategorized

Goodbye Winter hello workouts!

It’s amazing how different just a few pounds in weight can make you feel. It can be the difference between feeling confident and attractive to uncomfortable and unhealthy. As we shift our clothing to cover our problem areas and change how we sit to show our body at its best while comparing ourselves to others it becomes clear we are more unhappy than we thought with the recent changes.

Only we can motivate ourselves to say goodbye to recent weeks of hot chocolates and cakes. It’s time to step up the workout routine which due to commitments -homework/choir/ residential trip packing- has not been as full on as the previous two months.

It’s time to start filling my spare time with workouts for me. Working out with T is fab, she is more confident and stronger and we enjoy workouts together but she is isn’t always here and it’s time for me to stop slacking and start working out alone again.

Just this week I have walked 8 miles and that is only the walks I have tracked, the school runs and general daily activity aren’t included in that. I’ve also managed to fit in 3 ab workouts with my kettle bell, one with T before she went away and two on my own.

Of course I’m not seeing a difference just yet but I feel pleased I have motivated myself to do it. I know my walking will only increase now the clocks have changed and the evenings will be lighter, I can’t wait to be able to walk to a pub 2 miles away on an evening have dinner outside and walk back again. I have a walking challenge to beat this year also, last year I challenged myself to walk as many miles as I could in a month and was amazed I walked 81 miles!

Is everyone more motivated to excercise in the summer?

What motivates you to work out alone?

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A child's perspective · ambition · Changes · Children · choir · feeling proud · March · positive thinking · Uncategorized

Positive thinking and self belief!

I got a comment last night “you sound so happy, And it’s so nice to hear you happy”. Proof that sometimes all it takes is some self motivation to turn things around. Sometimes there is no one else that can fix things but you, how fed up and miserable you feel about things can be resolved if you just take a big step and make a change.

Ok I haven’t quite made any changes yet but I’m well on my way and the most important thing is I know I can make a change, it is possible I just need to make it happen.

Don’t get me wrong I’m bricking it! Change scares me more than most, I am a natural worrier and if I could keep a routine forever I probably would but sometimes things need to change and it can only be for the better.

It takes confidence to make a change however big or small we have to start somewhere. We all need some self belief in our lives at times, it’s not a case of blowing our own trumpet more a case of just not selling ourselves short.

How much belief do you think the Ireland rugby team had today when they beat England to win the Six Nations championship? šŸ˜šŸ€ Pretty sure they couldn’t have done it if they didn’t have some confidence in their abilities.

Sometimes you just have to take a step into the unknown and tell yourself it will be alright. That’s exactly what T did tonight when she performed with her school choir along with 11 other schools, orchestras and choirs in Peterborough Cathedral. Before tonight they had never sang before any more than about 50 people, tonight they sang with 330 other children to a packed cathedral! It was a fantastic performance and even though I could only catch glimpses of her as the cameras panned round I could see she was singing her little heart out along with the rest of them, up there believing she could do it and she did!

So it’s true that all you need is the support of those closest to you and some confidence in your own abilities to be able to do what is right for you. Im going to try from now on to be like T and just go for it šŸ˜

Changes · dreams · Fears · health · January · Mental Health · tired · Uncategorized

My Irrational Fears

From a young age I’ve always been scared of the dark. I would have screaming nightmares where my Mum would have to come and calm me down in the middle of the night and was terrified to sleep without the hall light on.

Fast forward 30 years and I’m still that person. Although I no longer sleep with the light on I still have an irrational fear of the dark. If the lights are suddenly turned off without me expecting I either get angry or my heart races to my mouth and my breath races. Our house is very creaky as it’s warming up and cooling down and these noises are bearable if I’m in a lit room with other people but at night in bed my head turns them into the sound of someone walking along the hallway. It’s always someone walking towards our bedroom in my mind, this is why I’ve never been able to sleep with my back to the bedroom door. I need to be able to see what is coming.

Still all these years later these thoughts will keep me awake for hours and end up with me becoming terrified of nothing. Too scared to let go of the covers but melting with how hot I’ve become. When I finally fall asleep I dream. These are vivid dreams of either someone in the room or something in the bed and I don’t just dream, every once in a while I will wake up screaming full pelt and my husband has to calm me down. Either that or i will jump out of the bed in my sleep and start checking it for whatever was in it in my dream that night.

These nightmares don’t last for long and sometimes don’t amount to full on screaming but just waking with a start with my heart racing. These times I don’t wake Scott and mostly just lay there scared until I fall back to sleep again.

This is something I’ve had since I was a child and I’ve honestly no idea how to stop it. I’ve never talked to anyone about it or looked into anything that could be the trigger or might help and I’m writing about it here for the first time because I’m ready for it to stop now.

I know these fears are irrational and as a parent I would explain the same to my daughter were she to have them but how can I when I’m still having them myself?

A child's perspective · body confidence · Changes · Children · confidence boost · exercise · fitness · goals · Healthy eating · healthy parenting · Hygge · January · motherhood · Parenting · Uncategorized

Workout update and our new Hyggekrog!

The start of this month saw a new workout routine for T and me. We both felt a little unfit after Christmas and T had started to get a little hung up on her tummy area so I knew as a Mummy it was my job to make her feel better. 

We started our workout jar on the 4th January and have now done 7 workouts together! T is really enjoying getting active with me and looks forward to picking the excercises for the evening and even really puts effort into them! 

She was infact enjoying it so much we decided to get her her own little kettle bell and she was so happy! 

We seem to have got into a little routine with the evening so she knows when we are going to do the workout and how long for, being a creature of habit like me she loves a plan! From the first day when she didn’t know what a burpee was and got upset she couldn’t do them to earlier when she shouted ‘yes!’ When burpees came out of the jar and did them double time I’m just amazed! 

Don’t get me wrong I’m not pushing myself to my full potential with 3 sets of 4 excercises but I can feel it the next day and it’s not about me. This is about getting T to feel more positive about herself and the more we do the more she will be able to do and still enjoy it. In my mind there is no point in pushing her to do 5 or 6 sets when by set 5 she isn’t enjoying it and ends up resenting the sessions, It’s needs to be a gradual thing. 

We have also started chocolate days again, we have chocolate two days a week and this week its today and Saturday. All the selection box chocolates are now away in tubs in the cupboard and we have great fun choosing what to eat on chocolate days šŸ˜Š Today T had some of her chocolate reindeer and an after eight mint from the reading nook, I will come onto that in a minute. 

Our packed lunches have seen a turnaround from Christmas too when they mostly consisted of cheese and buffet food! Our favourite lunches have to be these wraps at the moment. We stuff them full of ham or chicken then lots of salad and have them with chopped peppers on the side and fruit, they smell so good we just open the packet and want to eat them! 

Last week I followed a Jamie Oliver recipe too and made us jar salads for lunch. Oh my word they were so good and super easy! The wholewheat pasta with a little tomato,basil, chilli and lemon juice whizzed up and spooned over really complimented the rocket and tuna and the wedge of lemon to squeeze over at lunch time really made it! Well worth a try if you are looking for a quick and healthy lunch! 

So onto our reading nook, in my post about Hygge I mentioned creating an area that was great to relax and unwind in. Somewhere we could go and relax while reading a few pages of a good book and watching the world go by. Well I didn’t waste any time and using what we had around the house and shed I created our reading nook! 

It has been a big hit with T who has been in it every day since I made it! She will sit there while I’m cooking dinner all cosy under the blanket and read one of her new books and at the weekend she even had lunch there! 

One of the perks is when it’s chocolate day and you read in the nook you can have a chocolate from the box, I feel somewhat like Miss Honey from Matilda but hey! We love our little calm space so I’m pleased I made our little Hyggekrog and can hopefully add to it over time. 

Thanks for reading!

Lou x

Changes · happy · home · homemade · Hygge · January · mindfulness · mood · Open fires · positive thinking · Uncategorized

Getting a little Hygge in my life

For Christmas I got “The Little Book of Hygge”, it was something I had seen a while back and just really liked the look of reading and it has not disappointed! It written by Meik Wiking who is from The Happiness Institute in Copenhagen, that itself sounds interesting to me!

Hygge is a Danish concept which believe it or not they take the whole book to fully explain but could be anything from sipping hot chocolate with a warm jumper on in front of a fire to having a picnic at the beach with your family on a summers day. With the Danes regularly coming out top in the poll of the happiest countries in the world I was interested to see what they do differently and it turns out this concept is something I really want to try!

This is the Hygge manifesto to give you an idea:

  • Atmosphere – Turn down the lights, light candles and have low lighting.
  • Presence – Be here now. Turn off the phones.
  • Pleasure – Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy!
  • Equality- “We” over “me, share the tasks and the air time.
  • Gratitude – Take it in, this might be as good as it gets.
  • Harmony – Its not a competition, we already like you, there is no need to brag about your achievements.
  • Comfort – Get comfy, take a break, its all about relaxation.
  • Truce – No drama, lets discuss politics another day.
  • Togetherness – build relationships and narratives.
  • Shelter – This is your tribe, this is a place of peace and security.

The book not only gives you examples of Hygge activities throughout the seasons but also recipes to try along with how you can make your home more Hygge and even what you need to make a Hygge emergency kit which is one of my favourite ideas so I thought I would share with you:

Hygge Emergency Kit – this is to be stored up for those evenings when you are low on energy, have no plans, don’t feel like going out and are in the mood for some quality time alone.

  • Candles
  • Some good quality chocolate
  • Your favourite tea
  • Your favourite book
  • Your favourite film
  • Jam
  • A good pair of woollen socks
  • A selection of your favourite letters
  • A warm jumper
  • A notebook- to write in all the Hyggelige moments you have experienced in the last year, this will help you remember them and create more.
  • A nice blanket
  • Paper and a pen
  • Music
  • A photo album

I’m also looking forward to creating a little space to call my Hyggekrog- this is a nook in a kitchen or living room where you can snuggle under a blanket with a book and a cup of tea. As long as there are cushions and you can watch the world go by from there it can be your go to place when you want to be snug and cosy for a short time. I don’t have a bay window to make it in as many Danes do but I have a few corners of rooms that are currently empty and could do with a cosy seat and some low lighting and who doesn’t like buying a new blanket and cushions! For furniture to be considered Hygge it has to be rustic, and have charm, glass, plastic and metal are not considered Hygge. If the piece of furniture has some memories attached that is even better and it does not need to cost a lot, any element of nature or something that is slightly vintage is great for Hygge, it’s all about how things feel, a bookcase filled with books or a nice teapot or vase on the table along with candles and anything made out of wood are all perfect for your Hygge home.

So I started off today with a Hygge lunch, I was really cold after coming back from meeting a friend for coffee so decided on soup but I thought why not light candles even though it is only me at home. Not only did they make me feel warmer while I waited for the house to heat but it gave my lunch table a much cosier feel, that along with listening to a CD I got for Christmas I ended up not feeling like I was alone at all.

Now I’ve finished the first book I’m moving on to his second book which I also got for Christmas “The Little Book of Lykke” which explores happiness around the world.

Overall I feel I’ve got some really great ideas from this first one about what is important and what it actually takes to make you feel happy, believe it or not when asked what makes them the happiest the Danes placed Facebook at the bottom of a list of 15 items with the top three coming out as;

  1. Hot drinks
  2. Candles
  3. Fireplaces

Life is so much about our phones, social media, and TV, not to mention money playing a huge part in how happy people think they are. This book just explains how a whole country of people are living life feeling really satisfied with their lives by prioritising the right things and I like that.
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A child's perspective · ambition · body confidence · Changes · Children · Cockapoo · exercise · family time · fitness · Healthy eating · healthy parenting · January · kids activities · scafell pike · Uncategorized · walking

New Year Fitness GoalsĀ 

So the new year means new fitness goals, December saw a lot of slacking in the excercise department and as is customary an over indulgence in Christmas food. The result is a body I know can improve on and don’t feel completely confident about, Thank goodness for cold weather so hoodies and jumpers can cover the Christmas excess!

So we have a holiday in 6 months and this is every reason to start the fitness regime again now! That and the fact that I want to climb a mountain this year, hopefully Scafell Pike which I’ve written about before here. I really ramped up my walking last year and walked more miles every month until my finale in August where I walked over 80 miles in one month!

I plan to start walking more again and also tracking my miles again weekly. The only issue with this is I can only fit so much walking in before work and on my days off so as soon as the days start getting longer and I’m no longer coming home from work in the dark I will ramp up the walking and Poppy and me will start getting out for longer walks again!

I’m also going to restart my kettle bell ab workouts again twice a week. I follow a great DVD which gives me a 25 minute workout that focuses solely on your core and the excercises really do work, I used the same DVD for my holiday last year and also my honeymoon and I’ve never felt fitter so I just need to focus on completing this twice a week for now and will step it up in a few weeks.

T and I have also set ourselves a little fitness plan, now T has a little belly which she has always had and it doesn’t bother us and hasn’t bothered her much either until now. She eats well, has ballet and horse riding as her hobbies and is very active at school and with her friends but we have never been able to shake this little belly. About a week ago she got upset when it was just me and her because it was more visible in the top she was wearing than usual, I told her she was beautiful and no one would notice or even care but it was clear she needed more than that and so the fitness jar was born!
In this jar we have a a selection of excercises some more high intensity and others are more toning based excercises, There is everything from burpees to lunges from star jumps to over head press. We have colour coded them red for the harder ones and green for the easier. So the idea is we take out two red excercises and two green excercises every day we are together, usually 5 days a week, and complete each one for 30 seconds with a 30 second rest inbetween then repeat twice more.
Now I know this is no advanced HIIT workout but it is getting us out of breath and we are making small steps to making us both feel better about ourselves.

We have also limited our chocolate intake to just two days a week again. This is our usual routine after any big chocolate event, Easter, Christmas, Halloween, just so us and T don’t eat it every single day. T has decided chocolate days are Tuesday and Saturday this week so every other day we will ignore the piles of selection boxes and goodies that have arrived over Christmas and treat ourselves on Saturday!

Our diet will also involve less buffet food, cheese and crackers and Pringles now Christmas is over so I am planning to post some photos of the healthy recipes we try out too!

So all this said I’m ready to kick start my fitness back into action and make these changes!

Thanks for reading

Lou x

Blogger · Changes · goals · Parenting · reflection · Uncategorized · working life

Why do I feel like I’m the only one standing still?

So today I feel flat, not upset, not emotional, not stressed just flat. I’m not sure if it’s my brother moving to Japan for a year, I had a small cry yesterday morning when I wrote him a little goodbye post, a long term colleague leaving announcing he’s leaving, Me turning down an offer of what would have meant I was working full time hours every week because I felt I couldn’t make the commitment to my family I want to be able to or just because everyone else seems to be moving forwards while I’m stood still. 
There is a limit to what I can do with my employment if I still want to be there for the sports days, special assemblies, teaching training days and ballet lessons. There are only so many hours im available to work if I don’t want T in after school club every day and want her to continue her out of school hobbies.

Motherhood is the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done but I feel like to do it properly I have to sacrifice all lifestyle/career changes until T reaches high school. No I don’t particularly want to move to Japan but I would like to be able to say yes I’m making a change. Wouldn’t it be great to say yes I’m moving on to new and exciting chapters in my life? I’m starting a job I really want to do, a new challenge not to mention financially contributing more to my family than I currently do. Yet when an opportunity presents itself I feel like I can’t say yes because my family has to come first and working full time hours would mean sacrifices I don’t want to make.

It would be so nice to feel like I was making progression in my life, that I had a goal I could work towards achieving, besides motherhood instead of feeling like the world is changing around me while I stand still.

Adult braces · Changes · Dentist · goals · Orthodontist · Uncategorized

Adult Braces- 8 months in

So today I had my 6 week tightening and at first it all seemed like it was going fairly straightforward but then my lovely orthodontist started taking an awfully long time to look at my top teeth. She was swivelling her chair from behind me to the front and back, moving my lips up and down, getting me to bite and open again and again. 

She eventually decided to add a chain link across my gap on the right side to pull my tooth across into the space. She told me I might see a small gap appear from where the tooth moves from but not to worry as she will sort it.

She was pleased with how much my bottom teeth had moved forward but still can’t include my last bottom one that isn’t in the wire,  fingers crossed for next time!

Also next time she is going to take off a couple of brackets and move them to a slightly different position as she wants to pull the teeth straighter. I’m a little nervous about this as I’ve not had a bracket off yet, I’m hoping they will just use the same light they used when they put them on and they will pop right off! The only thing is if she has to move a bracket she will have to put a soft wire in for a month as new brackets won’t be strong enough to hold a stiff one. This basically means my treatment is on hold for a month until the brackets are ready to start getting pulled all over the place again. It’s a bit of a frustration but if that’s what it takes to get my teeth as straight as possible I know my ortho will know what is best.

So after a slightly longer appointment than normal there should be some more movement by the next time and more chain links to come over my other gaps so they will start to disappear too. It’s a slow process but the small differences I see each time is what keeps me motivated.

Changes · Children · Easter · exercise · Healthy eating · Parenting · Uncategorized

Healthy parenting vs convenienceĀ 

Parenting is a minefield this we know and one part of that minefield is parenting healthily. From the moment we have a baby we are given advice like breast is best, only use homemade baby food, water over juice and so it goes on. As your child gets older this advice gets less and less and you are left to make your own decisions and parent your child in the way you see fit. Yes this is good, we have this little person that we can shape into whatever we choose diet wise. They can be vegetarian, vegan, drink only soya milk or live off of McDonald’s!

T has always had a balanced diet, she loves all vegetables and fruit, has never been a fussy eater and is usually willing to try new foods. But as your child gets older and becomes easier to parent on the go, grabbing a quick snack on the way to ballet becomes the norm rather than preparing a fully homemade blended fruit puree decanted lovingly into a sterilised Tupperware!

Sunday’s are now no longer for batch cooking the weeks meals and freezing individually into carefully measured portions but instead for completing homework, attending play dates, ironing school clothes and searching for PE kits.
The days of searching for organic, unprocessed, appealing snacks for your little one are now replaced with handing out the closest item to hand from the snack cupboard.
Gone is the separate meal time for your little one including a separate menu using carefully selected seasonal vegetables to broaden your child’s tastes as they grow. Now they eat what you eat at the time you eat it, and frozen vegetables occasionally is no longer a cardinal sin.

Does all this mean I am a bad parent? No, it simply means I am human. T has become easier to parent as she has grown but in this time her needs have also understandably changed. This means my time is spread between hobbies, school work, play dates and family time rather than fully focusing on prepping and planning her weeks food while watching her play on the carpet.

Yes she still has balanced meals and she likes to count her fruit and vegetables at the end of every day to see who has had the most, often if she hasn’t she will ask for more, but certain areas of her diet have become convenient. We have noticed this and a couple of weeks back we decided to make a conscious effort to try and change things.

A few things we have decided to change are;

Cereal- we are no longer buying T anything with chocolate in because she loves it or deserves a treat. She loves healthy cereal and hasn’t complained once since we switched so this is something we can easily stick to. This week we have been adding fruit to porridge and Weetabix to make it even more fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoghurt- kids yoghurt is so convenient, you just pick it up and pop it in the lunch box, or hand it out after lunch or dinner. They are also full full full of sugars and colours. We have gone back to basics with natural yoghurt, a drizzle of honey and fruit. I’ve also bought lots of smaller tupperware pots so I can send these in lunches and make them for us adults too!

 

 

 

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Snacks- gone are the Barney Bear cake bars, The individually wrapped, brightly coloured packets of sugary treats will no longer appear in this house on such a regular basis. I was actually surprised how little searching it took to find healthier snacks while shopping in the supermarket and T has enjoyed granola bites instead of biscuits and rice cakes instead of crisps.Ā The good weather has also meant our meals have all been sprinkled with salad and T has enjoyed adding herbs from the garden.Ā Our Easter week has also been the most active it could be with T taking her bike out 4 times and scooter twice and playing outside nearly every day.

Our decision to change our own eating habits as well as T’s hasn’t come at the easiest time with our house now being full of Easter eggs but the initial excitement wears off we intend to go back to chocolate days twice a week, usually a Tuesday and Saturday, this is something we have done for a long time and T looks forward to.

Once school is back and the work routine begins again I’m hoping we will be set to continue with our healthy choices, fitting in fun exercise where we can. I’m not saying there won’t ever be a time where I will say no to throwing a fruit shoot in the back of the car or that a packet of crisps won’t ever darken our cupboard doors again but hopefully this will just be something we see as more of a treat not a staple part of our diets so it will be better for all of us. Overall I will feel I am doing the best I can for T and not relying on convenience when I could make healthy, easy and fun swaps in all our diets. I’ve seen that kids can find just having a change fun so why not change from convenient to healthy and nutritious and get the kids in involved in making and preparing their own food choices when you can too.

Making easy healthy food fun and exciting while enjoying the changes yourself = mum winning!

Blogger · Changes · Family · friends · Friendship · Uncategorized

Friendships

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog about friendships for a little while and how we all change over time as we grow and evolve into different people. Some people don’t change, some stay the same as they always were. Others find they place in life, their happy and change to fit their lives around that. Because of this some friendships are built to last and some are not. Some people change with you, some do not. Then you meet new people with the same thoughts and values as you and start to realise the world is a big place and there could be more people out there like you its just a case of meeting them and starting a friendship. The ones that stick around, that accept your changes and are happy for you they are few and far between but that’s ok because life is full of people we meet and are in our lives for a purpose at that particular time. Some of these people end up in our lives for longer than others, some we become close to but then eventually drift away from. Some there are just too many differences to be close for ever. Some no matter how hard you try seem to want to close the door and say goodbye. Others the time comes when closing the door is the only option as the differences are too great.
All this is only important in a small proportion of our lives because the most important thing is family. When I had my daughter my world immediately revolved around her, then when I separated from her father my friends helped me get through tough times and my world still revolved around her. Now I have found my husband I have someone who wants to share her childhood with me and it’s amazing. If we are lucky in life we find friends who want to share this journey with us but building lasting friendships is just like building a lasting relationship, it takes work,Ā  commitment, give and take, on both sides and most of all effort. Once the cracks start to show sometimes this is the beginning of the end, sometimes not.
The main thing is we surround ourselves with people we can be honest and open around and who make us laugh. Life is too short and full of too much stress to let anyone or anything else unnecessarily bring you down.
Be happy, if you can’t it’s time for a change.