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

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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

challenge · exercise · fitness · goals · Healthy eating · Husband · Marriage · May · positive thinking · Running · Uncategorized

So my husband is running a marathon!

A few months ago my crazy husband signed up to run the Milton Keynes marathon this coming Monday. He has been in a running club for just over a year now and has always been very good at running but this will be his furthest distance so far. With a half marathon completed last October and another one earlier this year he knows he can run the majority of the distance at a good pace with no problem but 26.2 miles is a challenge even with his natural running ability.

So over the last few months we have been through injuries which have resulted in sports massages, bought new compression socks, new trainers, a running belt, and various other new items of running attire all with this one day in mind.

There have been heated discussions, planning sessions and a whole range of emotions about whether he is doing the right thing and how he should train for it.

We have watched park runs, seen him run his longest distance so far and seen him go out and train in all weather’s often coming back caked in mud!

The last few weeks my role as chief meal planner has been stepped up as his need for protein and healthy food took over our shopping budget! This was our first week of protein crazy shopping.

Some new editions like quark and rye bread we all liked and will continue to eat and we all love a hard boiled egg as a snack but I have to say those almond bites aren’t all that tasty!

I’ve been prepping his lunches of chicken and pasta or chicken and veg for the last 2 weeks now and I haven’t seen a packet of crisps pass his lips in weeks.

This week we also had to incorporate red meat into his diet as he needs that before the race, apparently! So steak and veg it was last night.

This is just some of todays hoard of protein packed goodies and healthy snacks to lead him upto the big day.

After asking him what I needed to feed him this weekend all I got was ‘pasta’, So there will be lots more carb loaded cooking happening in the kitchen this weekend before we can start to relax a little more, just cooking healthy but not completely marathon focused meals.

T and I will be there to see him off and then he will have support about mile 11 and mile 20 before we meet him at the stadium where he crosses the finish line. I really am nervous/excited for him to take on this challenge and cannot wait to see him cross that finish line and give him a massive hug. I know he can do it and all his hard work will pay off.

Go smash it my love ✊🏼

April · body confidence · challenge · Children · exercise · feeling proud · fitness · goals · healthy parenting · Parenting · positive thinking · Uncategorized

April workouts complete!

So April is over and this means it’s time for a new challenge to keep me and T going with our fitness! During April we challenged ourselves to complete one more squat every day of the month starting on 30. It’s been tough but we have done it!

With only one rest day, because my legs wouldn’t physically squat any more, we have finished the month on 60 which I am pretty proud of considering I was exhausted after 30 full squats at the start of the month! It just shows with consistent work you can improve and get better at a certain excercise and the sense of achievement it’s given me is amazing. No one would have minded if I gave up but me, I wanted to show T we could see this through to the end and I did and I’m proud of that.

We have also been using our kettle bells to complete 25 minute ab workouts using a DVD I have and have managed to squeeze in a whopping 17 workouts this month! This is our best month yet and I think T has really found the excercises achievable and enjoyable at the same time.

With April being a particularly wet month the amount of walking I did suffered as a result and I only managed 37 miles. Next month I intend to walk more and am hoping the weather helps me with this! May last year I managed 76 miles!! (I think this was in part because I was only focusing on me, I would walk on an evening instead of working out with T so I’m happy to sacrifice some miles this year.)

So next month we have decided to start our workout jar again. This is a jar full of easy and hard exercises, we randomly pick out 4 or more at a time and make a HIIT workout from them completing them for 30 seconds at a time then repeating 3 or 4 times. This month we have new excercises, some which we have taken from the kettle bell DVD and some which we have seen others do and found online.

I’m excited to get started on these new workouts with T and am feeling even more motivation with about 1 month until our family holiday.

I hope you have a fit and healthy month and thanks for reading!

Lou x

April · body confidence · challenge · Children · Cockapoo · dogs · exercise · Family · fitness · goals · health · healthy parenting · Uncategorized

Training Update!

At the start of this month T and I decided to start a squat challenge. We started on 30 and have added one more every day since.

It’s been tough for me, T is a little trooper, but we are still going! 48 squats today and I’m feeling proud we have stuck at it!

Scott has been doing the same but with press ups. He has also been feeling it but is determined to keep going too!

I’ve walked 26.1 miles so far this month! This is not counting my daily steps but is just every time I go for a walk with Poppy and record it on my phone.

T and I have continued with our kettle bell workouts too completing 10 so far this month mainly focusing on abs.

The nicer weather is definitely a boost to excercise. With lighter evenings I’m finding it less of a struggle to feel motivated and am finding myself doing workouts on sunny days when I’m on own just because I have time.

The main thing is T is still really enjoying excercising with us and now the weather is starting to warm up hopefully we will all be able to take more walks and get more excercise in as a family. Scott and T managed a run round the lake on Monday which was a great start!

I’m already on to the fruit salads and more colourful lunch boxes and have lots of ideas for healthy meal prep which I will share soon. As Scott continues training for his marathon in a couple of weeks we need to make sure he has plenty of protein in his diet so prep will be key!

Thanks for reading

Lou x

April · Children · exercise · family time · feeling proud · fitness · hobbies · Husband · love on the rocks · Running · Uncategorized

Sunny Saturday

Today was our last day by the coast and the sun finally came out! It started off early as Scott ran the Clacton park run along the seafront. It’s a run which is 3 laps up and down hills next to the beach and handily enough starts and finishes next to our favourite cafe!

We saw him and around 150 others start and watched lap one and two before getting a table in the cafe by the window where T and my Nan could watch from the warm and I could see him pass by the window as he approached the finish!

I flew out of the door and ran after him as he closed in on a young lad before passing him to take 2nd place!

I was so happy for him I ran down to the finish line and gave him a big hug 😁

We all had breakfast in the cafe before walking along the beach looking for rocks we could use to decorate and make into love rocks.

We decorated a couple of rocks and left them at the local park after lunch and saw both of them get collected by different little children which was lovely.

After the drive home and the standard half an hour of unpacking/organising/washing clothes/cooking dinner I washed and cleaned out my car in the sunshine as it was like a skip on wheels after having us all off for a week!

Mission accomplished we settled down for an evening of Saturday night TV and Easter egg chocolate!

We have had a great few days with my Nan who I am so close to,finished off by giving her an early birthday present of a Pandora charm for her bracelet which she was thrilled with. We are taking my Nan on holiday with us this year so are now on countdown until we can see her again and spend a whole week together in what will be her first week abroad in years πŸ€—

April · body confidence · challenge · Children · Cockapoo · exercise · fitness · Friendship · horse riding · Husband · positive thinking · reflection · Uncategorized · walking

7 things that made me happy week 11

So this week hasn’t been my happiest because I haven’t had my girl home, but I think looking back at the little things will make me realise that it’s not been all bad and there are still things worth appreciating even when you are missing your little person.

1. A sunny after work walk with Poppy. Tuesday was one of those days, no one wanted to be back at work after the Easter bank holidays and it was crazy busy with a load of extra work thrown in for good measure. Things weren’t as I was expecting when I got into work which didn’t set me up in the best mood and the happiest I was all day was when I stepped foot out of that building at 5pm. I don’t hate the place but sometimes it’s like that for everyone right? Me and Poppy just took off and walked round the field for a little while making the most of the sunshine while Scott was on a run. It was so great to be outdoors and I could literally feel the stress blowing away with the wind.

2. Progress pictures. No I’m not about to post them on here but I have been taking them every month since January when I started working out again. Progress for me is motivation, when I can see a difference I am so much more likely to continue working out. This month I really saw a difference and it felt good! Gone are the Christmas inches and there are now clear lines running down my abs! This has spurred me on even more and I’ve worked out 3 times again this week even without my little workout buddy.

3. My squat challenge. How can squats make you happy? Well because a few months ago I really wasn’t very good at them, then I got to doing them with T and improved slightly. Now I’ve set myself a challenge to do one more every day in April starting on 30 and I’m so far really enjoying it! I’m now up to 35 and still feeling good. Scott is doing the same with press ups so we are both encouraging each other and reminding the other one to do it which is also great motivation. Here’s to still feeling happy about it next week! πŸ˜‚

4. Being implusive. So yesterday I worked and when I came out I was meant to be going food shopping but when I rang Scott to check if he wanted anything he was down at our local country park with his parents taking Poppy for a walk round to see the floods. It was a beautiful day down there and I was so jealous that I decided the food shopping could wait a day and came home, got changed and speed walked down to meet them! It was a lovely 2 mile walk and was nice to chat with both of them in turn while walking along, sometimes things can be more than a little chaotic when all the family are at their house so it’s not often we get to chat like that and it was way more fun than food shopping!

5. My beautiful flowers. Monday my best friend came round to see me and thought I sounded a little fed up on my blog so bought me a gorgeous bunch of flowers and a little bottle of prosecco ❀ They have come out and now look stunning and every time I look at them I think of her, Thank you Em xx

6. Scott made the 20 mile mark. My husband is training for a marathon and yesterday hit his longest run so far at 20 miles. I was so happy for him as he’s had a tough week with flooding everywhere stopping him from going too far and injuries that keep rearing their heads so it was touch and go if he would even run yesterday but he did and I’m so pleased he’s that one step further in his training.

7. T had a fantastic pony day. So today T came home!! 😁 Well for all of 20 minutes before we took her over the road to the stables where we left her until 4pm! No we didn’t abandon her to the horses, not that she would mind one bit if we did, but she had booked on an Outdoor Adventure day with a friend who rides in her lesson. She has done 3 pony days before but this was the first Outdoor Adventure one and her first this year. It’s no secret horse riding isn’t a cheap hobby so we tend to wait until the warmer weather comes before we start these not just because she will enjoy it more when it’s not -9 out there but also because we can usually stretch to one by around the Easter holidays. So after dropping her off and getting this one picture of the girls grooming the ponies she tells me she rode a 2 hour hack before more grooming, lunch, feeding the horses, a lesson in the school which was more of a fun games lesson really, more grooming and tacking up ponies for lessons! She had a great time and was so pleased with everything she had done when she came home which makes spending another day without her totally worthwhile 😊

That’s it, there are my 7, I would love to hear what has made you happy this week, however big or small!

Thanks for reading

Lou x

aniexty · April · body confidence · challenge · choir · Cockapoo · confidence boost · exercise · feeling proud · fitness · goals · Mental Health · positive thinking · Uncategorized

How I’ve beaten the Monday blues

But it’s bank holiday Monday, no work, there shouldn’t be any blues right? Well laying in my bed this morning it dawned on me today was one of those days where being by myself all day I was going to have to make a choice. I could either chose to stay in my bed and listen to the rain and be miserable all day missing my girl and wishing my husband hadn’t agreed to work or I could get off my backside and make the most of this time off. I chose the latter.

Here is how my day has panned out so far;

  • Firstly I got up and dressed, This in itself was effort seeing as I had no one to make myself look nice for apart from myself and no reason to drag myself out into the rain apart from to push away this lonely mood.
  • Lonely mood pushed away I went out to do a couple of errands and had a great time singing to power ballads in my car! (If you ever needed someone to shake you out of a slump Witney Houston has to be the one!)
  • When I got back I grabbed Poppy and took her round to see my next door neighbour. She loves Poppy and we ended up chatting for about an hour, I think we both appreciated the company.
  • Then I made lunch and forced myself to get straight back up and onto some ironing otherwise I knew I would start to get fed up again. During ironing my Nan skyped so we chatted for a while which was nice, She always knows when I’m on my own and checks in to make sure I’m ok.
  • Next I did some choir practise, we have broken up for Easter but we have a few gigs coming up starting with a charity ball in a posh hotel on the 12th May so she asked us all to keep in touch with the songs over the break. I felt really good after this and was so pleased I practised.
  • The rain stopped so I took Poppy out for a mile walk. Of course she was soaking wet and needed a wash when we got back but I didn’t let this dampen my mood- sorry bad joke- and after I got her all cleaned up I went straight upstairs and got changed for a workout.
  • This month is squat month for me! I’ve set myself a challenge to do one more every day starting with 30 yesterday. I know that’s quite a high number to start on but I can do 30 so I thought why start lower? So today I did 31 squats and a 25 minute ab workout and felt really good after.
  • Now I’m sat in our reading nook with a cup of tea and am going to read a few chapters of “I am Malala”. This book is already proving a powerful read and only up to chapter 4. It’s one that was left in my community library so I thought I would give it a try and I’m really pleased I did.

Now there are several things today I’ve felt anxious about doing;

Calling on my neighbour- what if she’s busy/ doesn’t want to talk to me/has a guest?

Practising for choir-what if I can’t remember the songs, I’ve not practised all week, I probably shouldn’t commit to the gigs because I will just mess up and make everyone else look bad.

Working out- why am I even doing this? Who will know if I don’t do it? Do I need to fulfil a challenge every month to keep myself happy? Do I focus too much on my body shape?

All these things I just went ahead and did anyway, I forced myself to do them because I knew I would feel better afterwards.

Spending time on your own isn’t going to be easy but today I overcame the anxious, lonely and unmotivated thoughts and became driven and proud of what I achieved.

It might not seem a lot for some people but this could have been a whole other day if I hadn’t forced myself out of bed this morning.

Get up and out, set yourself goals, even if they are only little ones, it will be worth it and you will feel better!

Lou x

April · Ballet · Children · Easter · exercise · fitness · fun activities · homemade · kids activities · Kindness · motherhood · Parenting · positive thinking · Thankful · Uncategorized

7 things week 10

1. Completing our 40 Random Acts of Kindness! I was so happy we finished this on a day where we could get out in the sun and feel like we made a difference. This project showed my little girl that giving is just as much fun as receiving and it’s not about getting things back in return but making other people happy with our random gifts. This is something that will stay with us for a long time.

2. Workouts with my girl. This month we smashed 13 workouts using kettlebells and our own body weight. A combination of HIIT and Ab workouts with some cycling and walking thrown in has meant this has been our best month this year and I am so proud of T’s commitment and enthusiasm even when she has had a long day she will always do just a few little exercises. Her confidence is improving and so is her strength. Next month we plan on changing it up a bit with new exercises to beat the Easter chocolate bulge!

3. New hair day! I decided to go lighter for the summer months and am so happy I did. Not only am I pleased with my hair but I also got a really good deal at the hairdressers so ended up getting two items for free which made my day even more!

4. My little ballerina made her Grade 1! 4 years of ballet and 4 exams later and she is now a Grade 1 and finally got her shield. Happy days!

5. Girls day. Friday we played beauty salons and made the most of no school for two weeks with hair chalks, braids and painted nails! After a great riding lesson we watched David Walliams Mr Stink and played games until T went to bed. I loved this day with my girl and will keep remembering it all week while she isn’t here.

6. Easter playdate! Our friends Zoe and Ruby came over for lunch and Easter fun, the girls had a great time making lots of Easter crafts and hunting Easter treats. I made the hunt a bit more testing this year and they had to complete an exercise for 30 seconds for every treat they found and with about 7 treats each that really got them moving! They were giggling and I felt good they managed to squeeze in some exercise even with the terrible rain we have had for the last two days.

7. Easter day with my girl. I picked T up from a sleepover this morning and when we got back the Easter bunny had been so we had the wettest, coldest Easter hunt I can remember round the garden! After counting up the bounty we stayed in the warm colouring for a while before braving a 2 mile walk with Poppy. We found a love rock on the way so it was all worthwhile! T was super happy with her new body warmer we got her for Easter too even if it wasn’t quite warm enough to wear it on the walk!

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We were really pleased with how our Easter table turned out!

I will miss this little face now until Friday, it’s been so great spending the last few days with her but I know she will have a lovely week and hopefully I will get to talk to her at some point.

Being happy isnt as easy when you are suddenly all alone but it’s these times when it’s good to look back on the fun you’ve had and the happy memories you’ve created together. Still, sharing never gets any easier and I will be counting the days until she is back home again.

I hope you have all had a wonderful Easter and I’d love to hear what you got upto,

Thanks for reading

Lou x

body confidence · challenge · Children · Cockapoo · confidence boost · dogs · exercise · Family · fitness · friends · Friendship · happy · Husband · January · making memories · positive thinking · reflection · Uncategorized

7 things that have made me happy in 7 days

As my posts have been a little up and down this month I decided I wanted to write something uplifting and I’d encourage you to do the same. These are just 7 little things that have made me happy in the last 7 days. When I came up with the idea I decided it didn’t matter if they were big or small or if they happened on the same day, if it made me happy for a moment I want to remember it so here goes! 1. Having a family get together for my neices 8th birthday. We all met at my sister in laws for her birthday tea, her and T wore pretty dresses and played with the new Build a Bear clothes we bought for her and everyone ate chocolate cake, plus there was a family plank challenge where all the kids planked and T and Amber managed 2 minutes! It was a really fun afternoon. 2. After a testing few days at work this week I spent Wednesday evening watching Scott race a timed mile at the local track. It was sooooo cold but luckily he’s quite a fast runner so was in the first heat and did his mile in 5.24 with a great sprint at the end! I was really proud of him having only 3 people out of about 30 come faster than him. Obviously he’s a runner and he’s never happy with his performance and can always find ways in which he could improve next time but to see him doing so well made me happy anyway 😊 3. My Poppy. She really is the most loving, adorable ball of fluff and getting in from work the other day she was simply overjoyed to see me! I know it sounds cheesy but I can’t think of any other way to say how much she brightened my day so I let her jump into my arms and we had a big cuddle. As much as she is a monkey at times I really do love her to bits. 4. Excercise with my girl. So this has been ongoing since the start of January, we have worked out 3 times a week every week and this week after upping the amount we do she finished the workout by saying “yes, best workout ever!” It makes me so happy to see her enjoying excercise this much and boosting her self esteem at the same time. She will always be my beautiful girl but if she starts to think the same of herself after this then it’s all worth it😊 5. Buying lots of healthy and delicious food for my family! It’s no secret January is a toughie, I’m sure it is for most households but with Christmas then Ts birthday straight after and Scott’s son Louis with his 18th in Feb things have been tight. So payday finally came around this week and I spent a small fortune on lots of lovely things to eat and make yesterday! We have still been getting the fruit in but yesterday we made passionfruit yoghurts and T was so happy! Now to cook lots of exciting nutritious meals this week 😁 6. New hair day! January has been an up and down month for me but this boost has come just at the right time. It’s been a good few months since I had anything done with my hair and it has made me feel so good! It’s a treat I worked over time to pay for and I have to say the extra hours were so worth it! It’s not just how I feel when I come out but I also have a really lovely hairdresser that I can chat away to the whole time I’m in there,any woman will tell you a good hairdresser is worth their weight in gold 😁 7. Spending time with good friends. Yesterday I had a friend over for tea and cake and a good chat. We only saw each other the day before while waiting for our girls to have their ballet class but decided it would be nice to do something that isn’t just because we have to be there! We had such a lovely time just relaxing listening to music and eating cake! Then after school I hosted a play date for T and 3 friends while their Mums stayed and chatted with me. They are good friends I just haven’t seen in a while and it was really good to spend time with them. I’d love to hear what has made you happy in the last 7 days, however big or small. Thanks for reading Lou x