Wow I can’t believe I made a year! When I started this blog it was as an outlet to share my experiences with braces as an adult and to hopefully learn from other people’s journey also. The thing is it’s turned into much more than that! I’ve learned I love to document my life! Sharing experiences, hobbies, days out, trips away, special moments gives me real enjoyment and it’s the lovely comments and likes I get from readers around the world that keeps me writing. I have written about so many things in the last year from my experiences as a step parent to buying our puppy last year. I’ve talked about my love of being married and the happiness it brings to my struggles of trying to progress a career while still being a present parent. I’ve continued to document my experiences with braces and will keep on doing so in the hope that they help others deliberating whether or not to take the plunge or are already on their journey. My new found love of walking/hiking has been a hot topic over the summer months this year culminating in a walking challenge which saw me walk over 80 miles in a month!
This blog has been like a journal at times being the first thing I want to do when I’m going through a tough time and a way to vent my frustration while also sometimes allowing me to see my opinions in a different light.
Reviews of places I’ve been have almost become a part of the experience now and it’s a given to my husband that some of the many photos I take will be specifically for my blog. If I can show someone how great a place was or how dog friendly somewhere can be and they can enjoy it as much as I did then my writing is all worthwhile.
There are plenty of mum blogs out there and I don’t just write about my experiences as a Mum but this has also been a huge part of my blog. Again if I can show someone else what we get up to and they enjoy doing it then why not!
Whatever my chosen topic is I would just like to say thank you to everyone that has taken the time to read my posts, like them and leave a comment. Without your interest I wouldn’t have continued to write and had 2 pieces published, something I would never even have attempted to do before this!
My plan for the future is to keep blogging, sharing my happy times and my sad times too, hopefully helping others with my braces experiences and reviewing everywhere I go!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my journey so far and here’s to the next year!
I love this time of year, the leaves are crunching under your feet, the mornings are starting to turn a little crisp and the the nights are drawing in making the days feel very autumnal. This time of year brings so many opportunities for activities with your little ones and with half term approaching what better time than now to start planning your days! Here are a few activities that will keep you and your little ones occupied over the Autumn break.
Plan a nature trail
Firstly plan a walk, this could be round a local park, nature reserve, farm or just round your local neighbourhood and can last for however long you want. Longer walks can be planned in with a snack stop in the middle!
Next take an A4 piece of plain paper and write out anything you can spot along the way. This could be anything from animals to farm gates, bat boxes to railway lines, or from conkers to post boxes! A little drawing next to the item helps your small person to identify the object even if they are too young to read the words.
Now set off with a pen and something to rest on and enjoy checking off everything on your list!
This can be varied by creating trails for different things such as writing out every letter of the alphabet and trying to spot an object for each letter or every colour of the rainbow!
Be imaginative and keep your little ones interested by helping them with clues when they get stuck and this can be an activity everyone will enjoy!
Set off on a leaf collecting mission!
Take a walk around your neighbourhood and collect up different leaves, they can be all different shapes and sizes but ideally they need to be whole. Once you get home there are lots of different activities to choose from, you could create a leaf animal by sticking your leaves on paper and adding heads, arms, legs, tails or wings!
You could even create a story with your different leaf characters on a few sheets of paper! Let your imagination run wild and give your leaf characters names, draw them houses and think what their favourite food, colour or activity might be! Maybe create a short bio for each character stating their name, age and most embarrassing moment!
Make your own tree
Take a large piece of plain paper and draw the trunk and branches of a tree. Now take your leaves and glue them on to the branches. You can use as many or as little leaves as you want as its your design, you could even add orange glitter to really make your tree design pop!
Make a leaf butterfly
Take a piece of plain paper and arrange your leaves in the shape of a butterfly.
Try to make your leaves symmetrical and fan them out into the shape of a butterfly’s wings. You can use stalks for antennae and once you have finished perfecting your
design glue your butterfly into place!
Conkers are in plentiful supply at this time of year and used to be for one thing and one thing only, this being conker championships but nowadays there are so many more things you can do with them. The good old fashioned game of conkers can still be fun and is easy to do by simply drilling a hole through the middle of a conker and threading some string through you can try and beat your opponent but seeing whose conker is made of stronger stuff!
Another way to use conkers is to decorate them and leave them around the house in jars or ramekins. You can use paint, glitter glue or stickers, go crazy and create some Halloween themed conkers painting them orange to look like little pumpkins or green for mini monsters!
Now this is one of our favourite activities to do as not only do you get to carve a pumpkin at the end of it you also spend time together as a family choosing the perfect pumpkin for your creations! We have local farm where we can go and pick but there are locations up and down the country where you are able to wander off into fields of pumpkins with a wheelbarrow and come back with your desired crop. Remember to keep in mind if you go for the biggest pumpkin you will need a design that will carry it off, the same applies for the smallest which means its best to choose a medium sized pumpkin unless you want to be carving for a very long time! Usually at these locations there are other activities going on during peak Pumpkin picking season, there might be a pop up cafe or a farm shop or a bird of prey display.
Its always good to support local businesses and although pumpkin picking usually works out more expensive than buying one from a supermarket it is much more of an activity that can take a good couple of hours up before you have even started work on your pumpkin carving!
Make pumpkin soup
This is one of my favourite things to do with the left over pumpkin after we have carved our Halloween lanterns. Its so simple and tastes delicious, a sure way to warm up after an Autumn walk. Here is the recipe I use and it always gets a great response!
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then gently cook the onions for 5 mins, until soft but not coloured.
Add the pumpkin to the pan, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.
Pour the stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the pumpkin is very soft.
Pour the double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée with a hand blender. For an extra-velvety consistency you can pour the soup through a fine sieve. The soup can now be frozen for up to 2 months.
To make the croutons: cut the bread into small squares. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the bread until it starts to become crisp. Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to the pan, then cook for a few mins more until they are toasted. These can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container.
Reheat the soup if needed, taste for seasoning, then serve scattered with croutons and seeds and drizzled with more olive oil, if you want!
I hope you enjoy these half term activities and can make the most of spending time with your little one without braking the bank.
So this week I thought I would keep a photo diary of my walking challenge every day to show you how much I’ve been able to fit in and where to. It didn’t always work out as planned so here are my entries!
Monday- this was my evening walk through the woods near my house. T had a friend over Monday evening so I didn’t get out until about 7.45 and by the time I was heading home it was starting to get dark! I hate that summer is drawing to a close, especially when it feels like we have hardly had any warm weather! With our regular morning walk of a mile before work and holiday club also Monday I walked 2.46 miles.
Tuesday I had a friend over and we ran the same route through the woods and back again. As it’s an evening Scott goes to running club T had to come on her bike and she did great. We last went together about 3 weeks ago and were really pleased to manage 30 seconds quicker on our previous time. It was a really sunny evening but the woods gave us a good amount of shade to not feel too hot when we got home. Tuesday totalled 2.49 miles.
Wedsnesday was Mummy’s night off so this meant I didn’t have to cook dinner and had a catch up with a friend at a local pub for a glass of wine arranged for the evening! I could have took the whole evening off but decided to squeeze in a quick route round the woods before going out. It was a nice peaceful walk until a jack Russell decided to chase Poppy when we were nearly home! Wednesday – 2.11 miles
Thursday I had to work overtime all day at work and then Scott took me out for dinner as a treat, everyone is allowed a day off right? 😋
Friday- so after those calorie laden desserts I wanted to really push myself Friday. T had a friend round until just after lunch so after I had got all my jobs done I wrote T out each letter of the alphabet on her notepad and told her she had to find something starting with each letter while we were out. (The chances of getting her to walk further are greatly increased if she has a distraction!)
We were having a great time filling in her pad and walking a route she had never been before when suddenly there was thunder and then rain, which got heavier very quickly! We ended up taking refuge under the roof of a thatched cottage waiting for it to stop! It all added to an adventure and T ended chatting away for the next mile and and a half home! 😄 what a little trooper! We deserved these hot chocolates when we got home! Friday = 3.42 miles
Saturday we woke up to brilliant sunshine and as we had plans to see a friend in the afternoon I thought we would head out early and make the most of the weather. Today I decided to take us round the lake and back, this is a route we walk regularly and T had biked several times before. It started well, I was running and T biking, Poppy just, Well getting in the way really! Things started getting tough when we hit the open and the wind was head on. Soon after that T stopped peddling and just burst into tears! Her legs were hurting and she was finding it really tough so we went really slowly and a bit further up stopped for a rest. After that we had to walk home as she was just struggling against the wind so much. For this reason there was no picture as even though we managed the route poor T didn’t enjoy herself one bit! Saturday=2.6 miles Sunday
So today I knew Scott was going for a long one as he really wanted to get some miles under his belt in preparation for his half marathon in 6 weeks time. This meant I had to also go for it in order to try and stay ahead in the challenge! So this afternoon after T had gone out Poppy and I walked 4.2 miles! It was warm out but I’ll be honest my legs felt heavy the whole way round and if it wasn’t for my music I wouldn’t have been able to manage so far. Infact I was so focused on just getting round I forgot to take a picture! So this is Poppy saying ‘please let me in Mum, don’t make me walk any further!’ 😂
So as the week draws to a close it’s been a good one for getting the miles in and I’ve accomplished 17.28! BUT Scott really pulled out all the stops today and ran 9 miles so this makes him current leader with 50.7 miles!
I’m a close second with 49.1 miles.
I plan to try and catch him this week and hopefully keep him at bay to stay at the top until the end of the month!
I honestly never win anything and unlike T who has her talents in ballet and horse riding and Scott who is a brilliant windsurfer I don’t have much of a talent in any particular subject either. To be this close to winning something is pretty rare for me, ok it’s a challenge between me and my husband, but if I win it to me it means I can push myself to do something and have a drive inside me I perhaps had forgotten was there.
So our week off has been great, ok the weather hasnt aleays been kind to us and one day we were inside watching a movie with hot chocolates and hoodies on, in August, but we made the most of it and just have really enjoyed spending the time together!
Monday we caught up with some friends and all played mini golf together then stopped for coffee and a cake after. It was so nice to do something different and we all really enjoyed ourselves.
The weather turned a bit damp and miserable during the afternoon so I left Scott and T indoors with a mini science experiment and I took Poppy for a 3 mile walk round the lake.
When I got back they had made a mini diver that went up and down inside a bottle of water! Dvd and hot chocolate time followed because of the pouring rain! T didn’t complain at this when I brought this in as her hot drink!
Tuesday we went swimming and for a cheeky Mcds lunch after, well if we didn’t burn that off with an hour and a half swimming including 3 sessions of battling the wave machine at 10 minutes a time, I don’t know what we were doing wrong 😉
Yesterday it was raining, again so instead of a picnic at the park with our friends we went to theirs for lunch. We took another science experiment with us and ended up making a foaming dragon which the kids all thought was pretty cool! We were treated to some homemade scones and chocolate cake too which was delicious!
Today for the first day it was sunny!! So we finally got to spend a bit of time outside which was great. I had made T a nature trail ticksheet as I wanted to take her on a fairly long walk and knew she would only manage it with something else to focus on. So as we went round she ticked off things like a farm gate, cows, a fisherman, a bridge etc. She really enjoyed doing it and it meant she visited a woods she had never been to before and we all got a 4 mile walk in!
Also today we took my cousins to a trampoline park for their birthdays which are both coming up. They had never been before and we all had such a giggle, even though they were all exhausted by the time the hour was up! With it being pretty expensive it’s not something we would do all the time but it was a good thing to do for a special occasion and worth the trip.
Finally so far this week we have painted our shed! It may not seem that exciting but having had the paint bought for about 2 months it was so good to actually have some time together to be able to get on and do it, and with us all picking up a paintbrush at one stage or another it’s been a real team effort and we are so pleased with the finished article!
Here is a before and after so you can see what we were up against with needing a fair bit of time to get it done!
Tomorrow we have a friend of Tiana’s coming to sleep over and we plan to make pine cone bird feeders and paper mini beasts aswell as walking the dog, watch a movie, play games and whatever else T has planned! I think by Saturday I will be deserving of some Mummy time!
I hope you’ve all had a good week and I’d love to see what you have been upto!
So in my last post I mentioned a walking challenge I had signed myself up to with my husband and best friend. Now I knew I had stiff competition as I’m more of a little and often walker/runner whereas those guys just go for it! So every day last week i made it my mission to get about 3 miles in, yes every day! My legs were aching by the time yesterday’s walk came and ordinarily I wouldn’t have made the effort to go but I felt I couldn’t let myself down when Id made so much effort the rest of the week so off Pops and I went in the sunshine racking my total miles for last week to just over 20! I’m so chuffed with this and now just need to keep the momentum going through the rest of the month!
Other things I’ve been upto this weekend is dinner at my best friends house, secretly trying to fatten me up so I will do worse at the challenge, which was a really nice evening. You can’t beat hanging out with your best friend, daughter and the partners sometimes and it was really good to spend time with them.
Saturday I also picked T’s friend up and took them both to the library to continue their summer reading challenge. They really enjoyed being together and planning their sleepover for next Friday, wish me luck!
With the good weather I used some time to get a few things done in the garden too, Scott is in the middle of painting our shed a really pretty green so can’t wait for that to be finished and tie in with all my other pretty areas. I’m just waiting for it to be warm enough that we can actually spend a whole evening out there!
This weekend was new nails day and I don’t normally share my nails but I’m so in love with this pink design I thought I’d show you all. Yesterday T had a great hack out for her riding lesson and I made lasagne and salad for the in-laws followed by cheesecake which went down a storm! One busy weekend over and our busy week off begins!
So this month I have set myself a challenge to walk and run as far as I can do. Not that much different to when I started really enjoying my walking back in March/April time no? Well this month is different because i’m challenging my best friend and Scott to see who can walk and run the furthest in a month! Now we all want to be fitter and healthier than we are and we all have the means to do it, its just which one of us will go that extra mile to finish this challenge on top?
So we started the challenge on the 2nd August and so far the app tells us I’m in the lead with 9.2 miles! Now although i’m pretty chuffed with this I know it could change at any minute, all Scott needs to do is go for a run and he will top it and the same with Emma. But, for now, i’m on top and feeling good about it! 😉 I will keep updates on here as to how we progress through the month!
Tonight me and Poppy walked 3.2 miles and at a really good pace too, i’m so inspired when its warm and sunny.
Yesterday, now that was a good day! It started off a super windy day, for me this is an instant annoyance for all sorts of reasons one being any attempt I have made to try and look presentable is instantly ripped away as soon as I set foot outside! But with a windsurfing loving husband I have grown accustomed to being second place on a windy day so off he goes to the lake to windsurf with his Dad. I told him I would meet him down there after getting a few things done and surprised him by running down there, around the lake and meeting him on the other side. He was pleased to see me and even more pleased I had ran the whole 2 miles to meet him, although how he didn’t notice me and Poppy running past him I will never know! It was great to watch him, he was enjoying throwing a few jumps out there to give all the people on the bank a show, I cant help but feel proud when I see him out there, and laugh when he doesn’t land them so well, sorry babe!
After spending some time at the lake I jogged home and went to pick T up from her pony day. This is her third one since she started riding nearly 2 years ago and she loved it! Well I cant say she loved it from the start because this time she was the only one there so this meant her pony couldn’t just follow the others and trot round she had to really make him listen which at times was really tough. She ploughed on through though and when I picked her up she had a big smile on her face having had a much better 2nd lesson and a great hack out on a pony she doesn’t normally ride. She also really enjoyed the grooming/feeding and walking the ponies out to the field side of things, all things she doesn’t get to do on a usual lesson. One summer pony day down = 1 happy little girl!
Today went ate lunch in the sunshine then spent the afternoon at the park playing with friends. Its been a great couple of days and I cant wait for next week and a whole week off with lots of catch ups and activities planned!
So July is coming to an end, which means it’s time to tally up my miles walked for this month. With our trip to the Peak District and more days with T because of the summer holidays I felt like I was doing pretty well and it seems I wasn’t wrong.
July came in with a total of 56.83 miles! Now compared to June when I managed a measly 42 miles that is great but I still have a way to go to beat May when I walked a whopping 72 miles!
There have been some great walks this month with a couple of new routes and some stunning scenery in and around Castleton. Here are a few highlights from July.
This weekend was a great end to the month with a hen do reunion to celebrate 1 year since my weekend in Cambridge punting, drinking prosecco and wearing t-shirts with my face on with my nearest and dearest girls! This weekend was a much calmer affair with just a meal and cocktails but still so much fun getting everyone together!
So plans for August! I feel like I want to discover a new walk as it’s been a little while since I did and T is finding the usual routes a little repetitive now she is coming with me more. I want to keep up my running, weather permitted, yes I’m a fair weather runner! Hopefully next month I will make some progress and get slightly faster but if not just showing my friend Lisa that running really isn’t all bad has been great. We have a weekend away at my Nan’s which is by the sea so I’m hoping for some nice walks on the beach and round the fields with her dog too. We also have a week off planned so will hopefully get at least one picnic in and meet up with friends in some sunshine! Lots planned and hopefully we will make the most of these summer holidays! 😊
So another month has gone and it’s fair to say I lost my motivation with a weeks holiday in the middle so although I have done some walking my goal of 60 miles was far off! With the holiday excitement/blues I’m just pleased I managed 42 miles!
Me and Poppy have had some nice walks the last week or so and it’s felt good to clock up some 3 or 4 mile walks so I’m looking forward to starting a new month and finding my motivation again! This should be easy as with a trip to the Peak District approaching for our Wedding anniversary we should rack up plenty of miles!
Yesterday we took a trip to Stanwick Lakes with my sister in law and neice and just strolling round with the kids we clocked up nearly 4 miles over a few hours. It’s a lovely place to visit with all sorts of wooden activity areas for the kids and lakes to explore.
This has to be my favourite picture of the day though 😁
This was a walk me and Poppy took Saturday to our local rowing lake, it was a hot one and we both flaked out when we got back after 4.5 miles!
Lastly this was our walk on Friday, I couldn’t make my walking group so we went out on our own for an hour instead.
I’d love to see pictures or hear or any walks you guys like to take!
Wow so I made it to 100 posts! When I started this blog I wasn’t sure I would even have anything to write about but the more I write the more I enjoy sharing my life with you guys. I’ve had so much lovely feedback and support from you all over the few months I’ve been doing this and love keeping you upto date on my braces, fitness goals, family life and Poppy the cockapoo as she approaches a year old!
So for my 100th post I can tell you I have reached my walking goal of 60 miles in May! Woohoo I’m so pleased I managed to achieve this! For anyone that doesn’t know I work 3 days a week, am a Mum, wife and puppy owner so am not able to just pick up and go walking any minute I choose, it has to be a carefully planned and scheduled event around all other duties! Plus the great British weather doesn’t always play the game so quite often it’s a washout and walking is cancelled! So now for the good news, I’ve not just reached my target I’ve actually smashed it with a total of 72 miles!!
So how do I feel after walking this much in a month?
– I feel better in myself, fitter, I’m able to walk 3 or 4 miles and not need a nap straight after now! I feel proud I’ve set a goal and stuck to it.
– I’ve made myself go out and walk on evenings where I would really rather not and I’ve always felt like I’ve achieved something after.
– I feel like I’ve finally started to explore the area I live in more and I’m finding new routes all the time so walking isn’t boring to me.
– Mostly I’ve enjoyed walking Poppy so much, I love being a dog owner, getting out and meeting other dog owners and dogs is so interesting and fun for me and Poppy. She is now learning not to be so scared of other dogs and I’m learnim how to deal with it when she is nervous thanks to puppy classes so walks are now so much more enjoyable.
Tips from walking 72 miles in a month
– Good, comfortable shoes are a must. Yes I sound like my Nan but you can’t walk very far with blisters can you? I remember my first week at walking group being nervous that I would be the only one wearing walking shoes but getting there and seeing everyone was wearing them! I would never have been able to walk so many miles without them, fact.
-If you don’t want to walk on a certain day or at a certain time then don’t! I’ve had days I really didn’t want to go out so I made a promise to myself I would make up the miles another day. This is meant to be fun not a chore!
– Food and hydration are key! If I know I’m going to be out a while I will always make sure I eat and drink enough before I go or take something with me, for me and Poppy, usually if I’m thirsty so is she!
-You can never explore too much. Just when you think you are getting to know your area you can bet there will be another route you will find you never even knew about!
My goals for walking in June
Well I only have 3 weeks to walk in June as we are away for a week so I plan to try and manage at least 16 miles a week. I think before and after our trip this should be easy as before I will be sad I’m leaving Poppy for a week so will take her out lots to compensate and after I will need to walk/run to burn off the holiday pounds I have gained!!
So far I have learned I really love walking, getting out and exploring, seeing the countryside and finding new places to go has been so much fun so here’s to many more miles!!
Well this week has been a busy one for Poppy our cockapoo. Firstly the week started with awful weather so we had a few long walks in the rain and some short walks in heavier rain!
I have spent the week teaching Poppy to leave her treats until I give them to her and trying to complete the challenge set by our trainer at puppy class to have a treat on her paw and her not touch it. You can see I got a little carried away with this 😉 It’s not my fault Poppy is such a willing participant.
Poppy has spent plenty of time chilling with T as usual.
Today Poppy finally got groomed again! It has seemed a long 8 weeks and she was looking a bit scruffy so now she is back to a shorter more manageable coat and looking adorable once more! Today Poppy also came into season for the first time! This is our first dog so we are not too sure what to expect from her behaviour or if we won’t even notice a change at all, she is fairly late at 10 months but once we have this over with we will look at getting her booked for her op.
Today the sun finally came back out so we were able to get a nice 3 mile walk in after her groom, felt good to get out again.
Hope you are all having a great week, would love to hear what you have been upto!