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 ✊🏼

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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

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

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?

challenge · Children · feeling proud · fun activities · goals · Kindness · Lent · Liebster Award · March · Random Acts of Kindness · thoughtful · Uncategorized

40 Random Acts of Kindness almost over!

Wow I’m so amazed we are nearly at the end of 40 acts of kindness! I’m so proud of everything we have achieved so far, something I heard this week “we can’t help everyone but everyone can help someone.” I think this is a great reason for everyone to try and and do something kind for others if they can.

Here is our updated list!

29. Leave positive notes for people to find. So I found this passage online and just loved it from the start. I wrote it out three times and got T to decorate the paper then we folded them and left two on cars on the way to school and T left one in her school library which a teacher found and told me she nearly cried when she read it and thought it was so lovely!

30. This was a tricky day because I spent all day cleaning, walking Poppy then bathing Poppy after said walk! We decided to spend time this evening writing a card to a friend to let them know we are thinking about them. T enjoyed doing it and we posted it the very next day! Sadly we forgot to take a picture but I hope the pretty pink envelope has found it’s owner by now!

31. Take the time to listen to someone. My friend invited me over for brunch and I really had a lovely time chatting and catching up with her, We both had a good moan about various things and it was just a great morning.


32. Let someone go ahead of you in the supermarket. Scott kept things going with this one because I wasn’t there but he let a woman with a baby and only two items pass him at the checkout. I’m sure she appreciated it.

33. Think of our four legged friends. I left this little goodie bag at a popular spot for dog walks and when I checked on it the next day some treats had been taken and the following day it was gone. 😊


34. Offer to do a favour for someone without asking for anything in return- T gave up her swing in the playpark for someone that had no one to play with and looked sad. Then she let someone go infront of her in the lunch queue at school.

35. Promote good blogs so others can enjoy them too! So this week I took time writing nominations for the Liebster Award. I was so happy to be nominated so I could cross this one off my list and show others what great blogs are out there! I really enjoyed this one almost as much as I enjoy following these blogs 😁

36. Be kind to yourself. Today has been an up and down day. It started off well but I’ve been missing my mini me this afternoon and have been tough to be around so tonight I’m going to be kind to myself- no one is perfect all the time, sometimes being kind to yourself is the hardest thing to do and how can you carry on helping others if you don’t help yourself first.

Thanks so much for reading, the last few should be good ones and I will update you next week with our final post of 40 acts!

Lou x

Adult braces · body confidence · Dentist · feeling proud · goals · March · Uncategorized

Adult Braces- slow progress

It has been a long wait for my orthodontist appointment this time! It was 8 weeks anyway and then it was cancelled last week for this week so it felt extra long. Apart from a broken wire mid way and my back wires popping out a few times when I’ve eaten crunchy food I have felt this time has been really uneventful!

But, as the orthodontist told me today “it is all moving along nicely!” I just couldn’t see an awful lot happening on my top teeth as they are slowly moving in to position so my centre line is where it needs to be. This will take some time but she is really pleased with the progress. My gaps along the sides at the top will get smaller as she moves the teeth into them and the space that is left will have teeth “tucked into it” towards the end apparently!

On the bottom I knew nothing had happened this time as I had some brackets moved last time I could only have a ‘soft wire’ fitted which means it’s just sitting there resting and not doing any actual pulling just until the brackets have time to set. This time she plans to have all the gaps closed along the bottom and once that is done and they are all nice and straight she can put the final wire in!

Now I don’t really know what this means as I’ve not done this before but it sounds good to me so I’m now really excited to get to the final wire stage!

So there might not have been a lot of progress that I can see myself this time but everything is progressing as it should so maybe an end goal is in sight at the 2 year mark after all!

family time · feeling proud · fun activities · goals · happy · homemade · kids activities · Kindness · Lent · March · Parenting · positive thinking · Random Acts of Kindness · reflection · Uncategorized

40 Random Acts of Kindness continued!

With the recent snow and Siberian winter weather not to mention nasty winter germs we have kept our acts of kindness a little more simple this week. We have still carried out one every single day but it’s been tricky conditions to do anything outside.

Here are the acts we have carried out this week:

11. Leave nice comments on random blogs. Saturday I was home alone all day and not feeling particularly well so inbetween batch cooking I found time to search out 5 Random blogs, have a read and leave nice comments. It wasn’t a drive for followers although I did get some more, it was about connecting with new people and letting them know I enjoyed their posts. It did make me feel good and I think they were all pleased to receive the comments too.

12. Let your spouse sleep in. Sunday I let Scott sleep in until 10.30! 😲 This never happens! He is so used to being up early he usually wakes up early even on a day off but as we had no plans Sunday and he was tired I simply left him to it. It wasn’t my planned act of kindness but he was certainly happy after! 😄

13. Make cakes for work and school. I have to give full credit to Scott and T for this one, due to horrible winter germs they made rocky road for my work and T’s teachers. They had a great time doing it and her teachers were really pleased. My work was a tough crowd, there were 15 pieces, They all went but only 3 people said thank you or that they enjoyed it and I was met by silence when I stood up and told everyone I had brought it in, oh apart from the one person I put it next to asked me to move it because they weren’t eating chocolate! I was certainly a little deflated but when I got home that day Scott made me realise there were at least 3 people that were greatful for it along with T’s teachers so it was all worth it.

14. Talk to the shy person today. One day this week I spent time talking to someone I wouldn’t usually talk to. I found out a bit about their home life, their pets, hobbies and we had a great little chat. There is no reason not to talk to this person again in future I just hadn’t made the effort before!

15. Let your spouse choose what to watch on TV! Scott was chuffed to find this note Wednesday night and chose a film for us to watch, that was funny, with an okish plot, and we did both enjoy it! Ok it was the new Baywatch but it was actually really funny 😂 Of course along with completely far fetched but it was an easy watch.

16. Make your spouse breakfast in bed. We had a slow morning today and ate porridge and drank coffee in bed while watching the snow come down, it was a nice relaxing morning.

17. Surprise someone with a random gift. This is technically tomorrow’s act but as T is at school then riding then with her Dad I won’t get much time to do this so she will be doing it today. We made these little bundles with a few chocolates in each and she is going to give one to her ballet teacher.

That’s all for this week! We will continue to do some over the weekend and I already have a few ideas for next week that I’m looking forward to doing with T.

Oh a bonus act- a couple of weeks ago Scott had a man approach him at work asking for the manager, he said his wife had dropped him off and he had forgotten his wallet and needed just £2.50 so he could get to work. Scott got his wallet and gave the man the money who promised to return it the next day. The cinic in me said he would never see that money again and sure enough the next day came and went and no money. Ah well.

This week there was a bag left for Scott at his work which contained this note, a receipt for the bus ticket, £5 and an expensive bottle of wine!

Good things really do happen to good people and this actually made me really emotional! 😁

Depression · February · fun activities · goals · happy · Hygge · Lykke · making memories · Mental Health · mood · philosophy · positive thinking · thoughtful · Uncategorized

The Little Book of Lykke

I got this book and the first book of Meik Wiking’s “The Little book of Hygge” for Christmas and this week have finished the second book. This really is such a lovely little book which reminds us what is important to be happy and gives us an insight into how happiness is shown all around the world.

During the book he takes us on a treasure hunt to unlock the doors to the good life. From how we spend our precious time, to how we relate to our neighbours and cook dinner, he gathers evidence, stories and tips from the very happiest corners of the planet”

I’m going to share with you some of favourite parts of the book and what I’ve learnt from it.20180126_145933978707812.jpg

This is one of my favourite pages, I am a lover of social media to connect with family, with a sister in New York and a brother in Hong Kong not to mention family in 3 different counties in the UK it is simply the easiest way to share with them what we have been doing. Where my love ends is the endless stream of time wasting videos, the nonsense posts that friends of friends like that somehow end up clogging up your time line. Everyone has an opinion on social media, for some its about the amount of likes, shares, comments, others think its better not to post pictures of your children. Then there is the matter of how much we post, is twice a week too often? Which platform do we use? Is Instagram safer than Facebook because its private unless you accept the followers? Do people care how many years it was ago since they went for that picnic in the park? The amount of time spent on digital devices scrolling mindlessly through unimportant information really has risen to a crazy amount. But as you can see about its proven that people are happier when they don’t use Facebook!

I have now set myself a mental limit when on social media, if I don’t see something I want to connect with within about 10 seconds I close the app. I know scrolling mindlessly for half an hour won’t make me happy, it usually just makes me frustrated that I’ve just wasted all that time doing nothing when I could have been doing something.

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Another way to prevent yourself from being sucked in to the “time stealers” are to use apps like the “Freedom” app which prevent you from using the internet for a period of time. Next time you find yourself well and truly stuck to that screen just think what else you could be doing, do you have long enough to read a chapter of that book you have been meaning to read? Or even just a few pages? Could you fit in a few burpees, for those fitness lovers out there! Write a meal plan for the week? Or if you must scroll, let it be through something productive. Can you say after 2 hours of looking at your phone you have planned Valentines day or researched cheap home make over ideas rather than simply gone up 52 levels on your latest game.

In this book Meik Wiking goes on to say that the richest countries are not necessarily the happiest and that we often look for happiness in all the wrong places. He says “I have yet to discover a more powerful force to explain human happiness than the fulfilment of our longing for love, friendship and community. So, people want to belong but they are not exactly sure how to make it happen.”

Five ways to plant a community Meik gives are;

1. Create a directory for your street or stairway. Knock on your neighbours doors or post a sign up sheet in their letter box saying you are creating a directory for those little emergencies. Do people know a good plumber, electrician, handyman? Add some questions like would they like their dog walking once in a while or are you prepared to look after their garden while they are away for two weeks in the summer. Who knows how to change a tyre or who owns a sewing machine?

2. Establish a book lending cupboard. A simple way to start conversation in your community is to create a mini library built on the take one leave one book principle. The library doesn’t have to be anything fancy just a few shelves with a few different books available for those who fancy trying them. I have a shed next to my house which isn’t locked so this could be somewhere I could leave books for my street, I just need to clear it of all the junk first! This is definitely on my list of things to try though.

3. Use the soft edges. Front gardens and porches are called the soft edges. Few people would dare come into your kitchen but if you are in your front garden you are more likely to start a conversation with your neighbours. The more your get to know your neighbours names and their stories the more noise from them ceases to be annoying.

4. Build a community garden. Your home may not offer any soft edges but there may be a strip of land in your neighbourhood that could be used to create a small community garden, a time tested way for you to not only grow a bunch of veggies but also for you to bring a sense of community.

5. Start a tool sharing programme. The average power drill is used for only a few minutes per year so there is no need for us all to have one, the same with hammers, screwdrivers not to mention leaf blowers and ladders. This is another good excuse to get to know your neighbours.

Another great idea is volunteering, you may be passionate about politics or love the outdoors in the UK the website do-it.org lists more than a million options and enables more than 200,000 people to donate their time every month.

If that isn’t your thing what about random acts of kindness? Here are 5 ideas of things you could do that are guaranteed to lift your mood and that of the person on the receiving end;

1. Leave a gift on someones doorstep.

2. Learn the name of the person on the front desk or someone else you see every day and greet them by name.

3. Make two lunches and give one away.

4. Talk to the shy person who is by themselves at a party or at the office.

5. Give someone a genuine compliment. Right now.

These are all so easy to implement and i’m planning on trying as many as I can in the next week, I will let you know how they go.

Now for something that has been brought to our attention by the media throughout the last year and continues to be a much talked about subject as it should be. When is the last time you asked someone how they were and actually listened and cared about the answer? I’m not just talking about 20180126_2143122142971200.jpg

family but friends, colleagues, parents at the school gates. We are all in so much of a rush all of the time do we really even listen to each other much anymore? How many people do you know that you see on a daily basis and can say you know if they are ok or not? Mental health is still so often overlooked as a taboo subject and having worked with young people that had been through some extremely traumatic times I know that these experiences leave their mark and sometimes rear their head again later in life. The next time you hear someone is off work with depression instead of judging them think what circumstances could have brought this about. Is there anything you could do to help the next time you see them? Not everyone will want to talk about their problems openly but there is nothing wrong with them knowing that someone is there should they need it.

This book has really opened my eyes as to what can make you truly happy and how happiness can be found with what is around us and without many of the things people often associate with happiness in this modern world. Its a great read and has its place in my reading nook where my husband has actually started reading it and he is not a reader!

I’d love to hear what you think of it if you do decide to read it. 

Thanks for reading

Lou x

 

 

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 😊 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