Crockfit Fitness Weekend – Cuddlies for my Kiddies

So towards the end of January, I went on a Fitness Weekend being hosted by Alex Crockford, with Replenish You, held in a beautiful manor house in Loughborough. I will share with you soon as to why I did this and all the amazing details covering the exercise and food over various blog posts but before, that I thought I would share some of the photos I took over the weekend to send back to my children – rather fitting as we have just celebrated mother’s day – and just to prove the point that no matter where you are, even when having some me time, you are always a mum!

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Walkies!

So today was quite a laid back day, but needed to do my bit for Juneathon.  So this afternoon the Pink One and I walked to collect her brother from the child-minder’s and then a walk home – not saying it was quite a slow walk home, but my Garmin kept pausing!!!

It was a slow walk - the MapMyRun is the more accurate... poor Garmin!!!
It was a slow walk – the MapMyRun is the more accurate… poor Garmin!!!

The reason for the slow walk back to home is we did look at the stream, in the beautiful sunny weather with my small people

By the stream
Looking cute!

Then the kids were lucky enough to see a neighbours campervan, and he was kind enough to let them sit in it – he made their day!

It's a campervan - made their day!!!
It’s a campervan – made their day!!!

There was the walks to and from school to do drop off and pick up and don’t forget the three toes touches!!!  All in all, not a bad day!

🙂 xxx

50 things that make me happy 

I thought the blog post by Love From Clueless Mum was very inspiring, so thanks to her (and her inspiration mr and mrs t plus three) here’s my list, in no particular order, of 50 things that make me happy…

1. My children when they play nicely together – the laughter is lovely to hear even if I’m thinking at the back of my mind “this is probably going to end in tears!”

Having Fun!
Having Fun!

2. Taking photos – my Nikon D60 was my first baby, it was bought the October the year before the Pink One was born – I love taking photos, I take far too many, and when I find time I like to put my favourite ones on Redbubble – you can find my images here and I’ve written a post on some of my photography which you can find here.

3. Singing – it is a great stress reliever, I am a member of a choir too.  You can hear some of my singing on YouTube if you wish and I have also sung on some of my audio blog posts

4. Studying with the Open University – it’s been one of the most challenging things I have done, but also very rewarding and opened up other opportunities I could never have foreseen

Studying
Studying

5. Beautiful blue skies on a cold crisp winter day

6. Running – as an anxiety sufferer this has been great for my mentality and the subject of my first ever blog post! It’s even more enjoyable when I go with friends – Helen and Kay have been marvellous at supporting and encouraging me.

Running
Running

7. Big family gatherings

8. Seeing a Robin redbreast – it just feels significant to me

9. Seeing my friends succeed – that in itself is inspiring

10. Seeing my Social Media presence grow

11. Blogging – when you finish a particularly good post (in your opinion) and it’s taken quite a lot of work, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as hitting publish

12. Reading someone else’s blog and thinking what a fab post (and realising it’s not just me! Lovely not to feel alone especially when it comes to this parenting malarkey!)

13. My 100 Days Style Challenge (especially painting my nails!!!) – which I will be writing a separate post on (at some point! So much going on – need more hours in the day!!!) – but I was inspired by Kat Henry (links to her Blog and Instagram) who in turn was inspired by Kathryn (links to her Blog and Instagram) – amazing women!

14. Nights out with my mummy friends that I have known since the birth of the Pink One

15. Writing down the funny things my children say or mispronunciation of words – these are currently on my phone, but I am gradually transferring them into a book which I am handwriting that they can have when they grow up! (think I have about 2 years worth to write up for both of them!!! haha!!!)

16. Sitting on the sofa with my hubby and watching some crap TV or a film

17. Actually managing to go on a date night or day with my hubby

18. As much as I love my kids nothing brings a smile to my face as to when they go for a sleepover at nanny and granddads!!!

19. Getting an assignment for the OU submitted

20. Getting the result of assignment back (when it’s a good one!)

21. Starting and finishing a creative project that I’ve seen on Pinterest, or come up with myself, even if it takes me a over a year!!! One example I blogged about you can find here!

See I am creative!
See I am creative!

22. Seeing my kids facing when they see the birthday cake I have made for them, regardless of the sleepless night and tears that have gone into it… I’ve posted blogs about the Pink Ones cake and the Blue Ones cake and the amazing Sister who helps me!

Yummy! Cake!!!
Yummy! Cake!!!

23. Christmas – we love this festive season as a family and we probably go overboard, but the expressions on the kids faces makes it all worth while

Yay! Christmas!
Yay! Christmas!

24. The fact my Blue One is out of nappies during the day!

25. Getting to have one-on-one time with each of my children

26. When you email a company and they are actually very helpful – in the latest instance Sistema, the makers of the water bottles we use, I let them know that even with careful cleaning the bottles lids smelt of stagnant water and they posted me some new lids with no fuss whatsoever

27. My self designed tattoo – a tribute to my kids, if you look in the wings you can see their first initials A and a J – this is on my left thigh and I love it! Again, I designed it and then waited a year before I had it done. It was actually a major stepping stone in my struggle with anxiety!  What really helped was my phenomenal tattoo artist! I had it done at Jesters Tattoos in New Eltham, and my artist was Manda!

My Tattoo!
My Tattoo!

28. Getting an unexpected compliment

29. When my husband takes holiday time off work – love us all being together as a family (and it means its not just me telling the kids off)

30. When the kids do something the first time I ask – I also think this would make me faint as it does not happen often (if at all)!!!

31. When Stephen Amell personally liked a Facebook message I posted to him!!!

32. The smell of clean washing

33. Warm sunny days where you can just be lazy

34. The ‘dates’ I have with my Blue One in the Morrisons café – used to do this with my Pink One as well before she started school.

35. Getting a good bargain – regardless of what it is I am buying – it could be cleaning products to some lovely new clothes – a bargain is a bargain!

36. Watching my children sleep (they can’t answer me back when they are asleep) they look so angelic

Ahhh, sleeping angels...
Ahhh, sleeping angels…

37. The look on my Pink One’s face when she got a note from the Tooth Fairy for her first lost baby tooth (you can see the tinyletter in the photo of them sleeping above)

38. My kids excitement when Father Christmas has been

39. Developing my logo/brand for Jog on Mum

40. Having a lie in

41. Getting breakfast in bed

42. Getting my hair cut and coloured – I love it so much and afterwards I feel like me again! I have the best hairdresser!

43. Hearing my children say “I love you mummy, you’re the best” – I may not actually be the best mummy but to them I am so that’s all that matters! *grumble* *moan*

44. My tummy not being bloated and uncomfy at the end of the day – blooming IBS, still not great and I have  been following a low FODMAP diet since February!!!

45. A long hot shower without my small people for company (also in that line, going to the loo on my own too!)

46. Snow days with the kids

47. Days out at Brighton with the family, walking on the pier, playing dolphin derby and eating hot doughnuts! My hubby proposed to me on Brighton pier so it’s extra sentimental to me!

48. A lovely hot cup of tea – not one that has been reheated in the microwave for the umpteenth time, or left in there, or half drunk in a rush in the morning, one that you can savour as you watch some TV, read a book or are reading a particularly good blog post – ahhhh, bliss! Sometimes it really is the little things in life – the thought of this is just making me smile!

A hot cup of tea - bliss!!!
A hot cup of tea – bliss!!!

49. Looking through all my photos and videos (particularly ones of the kids) I could lose hours if not days to doing this!!!

50. People reading my blog, liking it and getting comments!!! It’s definitely a good ego booster!!! 🙂

It’s been nice to write a positive improve your mood kind of post, and 50 is quite a large number, really makes you think and sometimes you’ll be surprised that it really is the little things in life that make you happiest – such as that hot cup of tea or the sound of your children laughing – what would be on your list?

Comment below and please share this post – it would be much appreciated!

🙂 xxx

I made this…

So I can be a proud artsy fartsy creative mummy – I have actually completed something worthy of Pinterest and in this post I’ll take you through the process of how I went about making it! What I will admit before I start (which I haven’t seen on other creative/crafty posts – whether it’s because they’re just more organised than me or just don’t admit it) it took me from ordering the A2 canvas in August 2014 to planning this in September 2014 and finally producing the completed article in April 2015… only eight months… oops…

This all started because I love the song “This House” by Gary Barlow (My 5 year old has told me she thinks she’s “getting in love with Gary”, time to listen to another CD in the car I think – but I digress!!!) – I identify with the lyrics and just think it’s a beautiful song – I’d also been inspired by some canvasses my friend had done with her children – using masking tape and paint – remove the masking tape and you’ve got a beautiful canvas!

So I took the line I most liked from “This House” and planned it on an A4 piece of paper – laying it out and getting the idea of what I wanted my canvas to look like!

6th September 2014... Planning Commenced
6th September 2014… Planning Commenced

Then placed it in the plastic bag with the canvas (ordered from Amazon, link found above) where it sat (and collected dust) until 29th March 2015 – when I finally got to work! I used 25mm width masking tape – which I split into four;

Laying the plan out on canvas

This took me about three evenings, 2/3 hours each time, whilst watching TV and sometimes faffing! I did then find that this supposedly A2 board wasn’t quite four pieces of A4 – it was slightly narrower so had to adjust my measurements – I reduced the distance between the letters, so wasn’t too bad in the end!
Initially I was going to paint the whole thing using all our handprints, but I thought this might not be enough to make the words stand out, so I then split the image into four sections and make a paler version of the colour I wanted each of our handprints to be.

Adding the Background Colour

Next was time to add the handprints – so started with myself and the husband! My handprints are purple and the husband’s are green. I did ours top and bottom so that they surrounded our children.  Once these were dried, the next day was to add the children’s! By this point, I’d spent a lot of time and effort on this, so I was very vocal to the children that they were to only put their hand down when I told them and not to move it around so it smudged the colour (way to go mummy, removing the fun from this activity) – they were both very good! Unsurprisingly – I did the Pink Ones handprints pink and the Blue Ones handprints blue! Though the Pink One told me after she would have preferred red! I told a fib and said we didn’t have any red – she caught me out! “mummy – come here please, you said there was no red, I have checked the box and there is red…!?!” Oops…

Adding the Handprints
Adding the Handprints

I still find it strange that the Pink One and the Blue One’s handprints are similar in size, considering the Pink One is 2 years and 3 months older!!!
Next was the fun bit (though slightly nerve wracking after all that work) – well for me anyway – the removal of the masking tape!!!

Masking Tape Removal Part 1
Masking Tape Removal Part 1
Masking Tape Removal Part 2
Masking Tape Removal Part 2

The only annoying thing was, because I used really high quality ELC poster paint (about £1 per bottle), where bits of the paint were thicker on the handprints, as I took the masking tape off the paint flaked – but not to worry, a little touch up with some more paint and it was done!!! Yay!!!

The Final Creation!!! :-)
The Final Creation!!! 🙂

I am super chuffed with this, it may not be perfect, it may not be exactly as I imagined it, it may not quite have been the family affair I initially envisioned (yes I got a little possessive!) and the ‘A’ may not stand out as much as I would have liked, but over all it came out just great! The sentiments of the image may not seem to be in this household all the time – but this is a house filled with love… most of the time!!!

So, what’s the estimated length of time before it actually gets put up on the wall!?!  Haha!!!

Any questions don’t hesitate to contact me! I would be very happy for any comments or if you’d like to share this post – it would be much appreciated!!! Share with me any of your masking tape creations – that would be fabulous to see!!! 🙂 xxx

The times they are a-changin’

Or so Bob Dylan sang! This is exactly what is happening in my life currently – I’ve been going through a massive period of change and it’s very exciting but also in equal parts terrifying!

Towards the back end of 2014 I was struggling at work – not with actual work based aspect of it, I’m very good at what I do which is data analysis – I’m not bragging just being truthful, my issue lay with how stressed I was, the work life balance and to be totally honest the monetary reward against the amount of hours/work I was putting in was pretty pants. I’m not greedy, but it would be nice to actually feel slightly valued! I am sure you would agree.

Let me give you a quick synopsis of my work history…
Just before I had my Pink One in 2009 I was working full time for HSBC Global Asset Management – where I really liked working and the pay was very good. After my maternity leave I went back part time doing three days a week which was perfect – the money was still good even at the reduced hours.

HSBC Global Asset Management

I then went on to have my Blue One in 2012. Went back to HSBC starting my hand over – then the phonecall came. The department was restructuring and my job was at risk – after a very strange month where I went into work to job hunt – it is very surreal to be sat at your desk at work with you CV out looking for a job I can tell you – it all came to an end and I was made redundant. I went away with a good package and no hard feelings, I would be happy to work for them again in the future.

So I continued job hunting – I didn’t need something too urgently, but with what our mortgage payments were at that time, the sooner something came up the better.

After what felt like ages, but was literally only about a month I found the role I have just left. A data manager for a school. I found it in the jobs and careers newspaper – which I bought very rarely as I think it’s a rip off at about £3.99 for about what feels like six pieces of paper!

I liked the idea of a job in the school – and everyone tells you how lucky you are, it’s so hard getting a job in a school and it’s the perfect job to have with kids, and on paper this seem to be the case, I was only having to do 14 hours a week, term time only – so school holidays off, fantastic!

Though as time went on and I sat down and worked out what I was actually earning, especially once childcare had been paid, and the hours I was actually putting in, it was actually pretty pointless – it would be a great job if you didn’t have childcare to pay or young children of school age – as we’d also sorted out our mortgage so that payment had fallen to pretty much half – I might as well work in a supermarket again a couple times a week like I used too – less stress and not bringing work home with you (and if I did, my friend pointed out that’d be shoplifting!!!). The holiday that was most important to be off was the summer holidays but that was my most busy time doing the analysis on the A Level and GCSE results.

So I started considering stopping work to be with my kids, discussed it with my husband and checking we could financially cope for a couple of years and we could, but then I started to worry – what would I do when I wanted to return to work? What would my skills be? What work would I be able to do? As you can see I am a bit of a worrier!

Then an idea came to me, maybe I could be at home with the kids and study – so be there for them but also be doing something for me, as I don’t currently have a degree, which hopefully will make me still employably attractive when I want/need to return to work (and show that I am really good at working at home too 😉).

The Open University

So that’s where I am now, I resigned from my job in November 2014 finishing up January 2015, I am a stay at home mum and I’m doing the first module (TU100 My Digital Life) of a BSc in Computing & IT with the Open University part time – my current vision is to return to work as a Data Analyst in London, but things change as time goes along, but having an end goal in sight it helps you focus! It’s not been easy and definitely has taken some getting used to, and remembering how to learn but I’m adjusting! I must say the Open University is very supportive and I’d highly recommend them!

This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, I’ve had some sort of job since I was 16 (pretty much half my life) but I pray and hope it has been the right decision, I am so grateful for my husband’s and family’s support!

As I started with some lyrics it only fits to end with some, so in the words of Bon Jovi – “it’s my life, it’s now or never, I ain’t gonna live for ever, I just want to live while I’m alive

http://youtu.be/vx2u5uUu3DE

Check out my LinkedIn profile!

😊xxx

You can hear an audio version of this blog post on iTunes and do check out The Student Blogcast on Twitter.

Fallen out of love

Recently I’ve been caught up in remembering how to study, dealing with my kids, my low FODMAP diet getting to me, life just generally catching up with me and feeling quite run down…

I have lost my running mojo and it’s ages since I’ve worn these beautiful trainers…



Did consider taking some berroca but it contains things I should avoid on my low FODMAP diet! Blooming typical!!!

Anyone else gone through a running low? What did you do to pick yourself up and get running again?

Any suggestions gratefully received and much wanted!!!

Thank you in advance!

😊️xxx

All quiet on the blog front

It’s been all a bit quiet on the blogging due to the fact I have just started an Open University degree – it’s the first time I have studied with the OU, so just trying to get my head round everything and find out where everything is, know when my assignment dates are and all the rest of it. I have my first tutorial in London next Saturday, so all being well I can make that – definitely think it will be helpful.

Took the Blue One up to London Zoo where he’d been invited to do a photo shoot, in the Bug House, with Something Special magazine.  This was great fun, but rather tiring!

I’ve also visited my dietician at Guy’s hospital – I am now in the middle of the planning and prep to start a Low FODMAP diet (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols) – really hoping this will help with my IBS symptoms, it’s tiring being in discomfort all the time and it doesn’t help with my running – if I ate better I feel I could run more!  Starting this diet is like doing a second OU course – so much to learn and figure out with regards to what I can and cannot eat for the next 4-8 weeks.  There is loads on the what you can eat section – but it’s just getting used to these being your staple diet!!! Thank God for my wonderful hubby who is so supportive and helping me with this!

Finally, ending on a happy note, went for a lovely meal with some of my fellow Janathoners – it was so nice to meet them in person! Was a highly pleasant afternoon – and I really enjoyed it before I have to become more selective with my food for the next two months which will make eating out extremely awkward!

Now to study – and it’s the Blue Ones birthday this upcoming week, can’t believe he’s going to be three! It’s cake making time!!!

🙂 xxx

The end is in sight

It seems as Janathon is drawing to a close I have become a bit slack with what exercise I’m doing and today isn’t going to be any different!!! I’ve been on a couple of walks most at a relatively slow pace as I was walking with the Blue One – but there was one brisk one whilst pushing a pushchair with the Blue One in it!

Janathon Day 29

I am hoping to go for a run with Deputy Helen tomorrow, but I have a sore throat and feel generally achy, but hoping this will improve after a good nights sleep!

Goodnight all!!!

😊xxx

Wriggles and Giggles!

I had planned to go for a run this evening, but I would’ve been on my own and it was really cold and really dark and I quite quickly persuaded myself not to go! It might be me, but it seemed darker than normal tonight!

So instead I decided to involve the kids – literally, they were my gym equipment!

I had little people back lifts and little people air lifts – with increasing weights, starting with the Blue One and then finishing with the Pink One.

Back Lifts

Air Lifts

They thought this was hilarious and thoroughly enjoyed mummy lifting them up and down! I have to say it was one of my harder workouts – far tougher then a jog, especially as my gym equipment have minds of their owns! I think I pulled something! ;-P

Lots of fun and laughter was had so that can never be a bad thing.

Probably some Wii Fit for tomorrow – but we’ll see, only three days left to go!

😊 xxx

A sense of Déjà Vu

My main exercise today…wait for it…it’ll really surprise you…honestly it will…was 30 minutes doing Wii Fit Plus – shocked aren’t you? I can tell!!!

IMG_1191

As a mum of two young children you’d think I would be used to repeating myself! Haha!!!

Additionally I did play a game with the kids, whereby they’d sit on my lap and I’d drop them through my legs – which I can assure you is weight lifting!!! They found it hysterical with cries of “Do it again mummy” – to the point I had to tell them no more or I really would drop them!

Finally I have had the parental fun of my five year old finding any excuse to come downstairs and not go to sleep – numerous times going back up and down the stairs – which I am sure counts as at least 10 minutes of exercise!!!

😊xxx