40 before 40

Having been inspired by  Mrs Ayla’s 30 before 30 post and also my friend’s Helen’s 30 by 30 challenge – I decided to do my own ‘things to do’ list, but sadly I’m too old to do one before 30 *sob* that ship has well and truly sailed! So considered going for 35, but felt that gave me too smaller a time frame (I don’t need that additional stress in my life ;-P) so I have gone for the next major milestone birthday – the BIG 4…0…. – and then this at least gives me just over seven years to do it all – I may actually get a few of them completed in that time! Haha!!! Plus I do like a good list, so in no particular order…

1 Run a half marathon
I think this is something I could actually manage – it’s a feasible distance.  I’ve completed a few 10km races, so maybe one day!

2 Run a full marathon
Part of me thinks this is wishful thinking – I would just love to be able to say ‘I completed a marathon’ but I don’t know if I have the stamina or if my mind would let me do this! If I do get to do one, I would love to do the London one, the atmosphere looks amazing and I do love London.

Have you ever run a marathon? What would be your advice?

3 Learn to swim
This is something I have actually been working on this year, but had to be put on the back burner when I broke my ankle in March!

My friend, who has been teaching me, has been exceptionally patient with me and has told me I can actually swim, so it’s a case of getting over my fear of the deep end and it is an all encompassing, pathological fear of the deep end.  Now my ankle is almost back to normal this is something I want to get back to doing and would actually be very good exercise for my ankle – so technically it’s a win win situation!

Any suggestions on how to get over my fear?

4 Be an extra in a film/TV show
I always wanted to be an actress but it didn’t come about (my parents weren’t so keen), so this would be amazingly good fun – though not entirely sure how to go about it!

5 Get my degree
I’m doing a BSc in Computing and IT – so at the time of writing I’ve now completed three modules! My first one I passed with distinction, the next two I am waiting for my results.  All being well, and I pass, that will be all my level one OU modules complete and I will be starting my level two modules.
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Having a break…

No seriously – I’m not taking a break from my blog – I have a broken ankle! The image of my crutches may have given it away and a lot of you may already know this if you follow me on my Facebook Page or Instagram.

It all started at one of my beloved Boxercise classes – it was coming to the end of the class, we weren’t doing anything complicated, just running up and down the hall, when I turned to run back and so my foot was sideways but I still had forward momentum and my left foot turned under me – I heard a crack and felt a concentrated pain like being pinged by a bit of elastic and my first thought literally was “Oh shit, I’ve just broken my ankle” which was then followed by thoughts of how would I deal with the kids.

I collapsed on the floor clutching my ankle and my Boxercise partner called our lovely fitness instructor over who was brilliant and did everything perfectly with regards to an accident (I feel so guilty I managed to hurt myself in her class – what a muppet I am), she got me some ice and had me elevate my leg on a chair.

As I wasn’t crying, feeling sick, overly shocked and still quite coherent I’m sure people thought I was probably being overdramatic saying I’d broken my ankle. There was lots of discussion of maybe it was ligament/tissue damage – I said: “It could be, but I don’t think so, I’ve broken it!”. Even my poor partner had heard the crack!!!

We recorded the incident as we waited for my poor hubby to be dropped off by his mum (his dad sat in our house, as the kids were asleep in bed).  Once my hubby arrived, with the help of my lovely friends we managed to get me into the car (one of the perks of being a lightweight) and then it was off to Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup, and their Urgent Care department.  We got there around 8:40pm and registered with the reception, who were very kind but warned me that the wait for triage was 3 hours but x-ray  was only open for just over another hour – the wait was on! I was terrified that I wouldn’t get seen, and totally having my priorities right I was worried I’d have to cancel my hairdresser coming to me the next morning! The important things in life eh!?

Looks ok with the ice - slight swelling noticeable without the ice!
Looks ok with the ice – slight swelling noticeable without the ice!

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#TakeOffTheTape

I did something today that I found really scary – no I didn’t parachute out of an aeroplane or bungee jump off a bridge – I opened up about my anxiety and shared my deepest darkest fear publicly on social media!

IMG_9823Now in doing this I seriously suffered further anxiety, worried that people would think I was doing this to just get attention and have people say nice things about me and I can assure you this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Outwardly I am a confident and chatty person but I’ve always been a worrier – even as a kid I wondered if people liked me. When I saw the wonderful charity Mind doing their Take Off the Tape campaign today I knew I had to take part. We need to get people talking about their anxiety and not holding it in, it’s absolutely draining and exhausting (I speak from experience) – initially I thought I would put I get anxious about “Failing”, “Not being good enough” or “Affecting my kids with my anxiety” amongst about another 100 thoughts and then thought I do actually share that part of my anxiety with people, I am quite open that I am an anxious person, but what I rarely mention is that I am constantly thinking; “Do I annoy people?”, “What do people think about me?”, “Have I offended them by saying x, y and z” – boiling down to “Do people really like me?”.

It took me an hour to post the image – I was flushing and feeling so hot and terrified as I pressed post on Instagram and my true inner feelings were shared across Facebook (including my Blog page) and Twitter as well!  What I couldn’t have foreseen is the generous outpouring of support and lovely comments from my wonderful friends – I cannot thank you all enough, really I can’t! It means more to me than you can ever realise!

Everyday is a constant battle with these negative thoughts – One example being, you send someone a message on Facebook and you can see that they’ve read it, but they don’t reply and hours and even maybe a couple of days have gone past – logically you know it’s probably a case of they’ve opened it, been busy and thought I’ll read that later and forgotten, or they’ve written a reply and just haven’t hit send (things I’ve done myself) but that small voice in your head says “you’ve offended them”, “you’re just being annoying”, “They don’t like you” and you know in your heart of hearts it’s silly (and to be honest, and not in a horrible way – they probably don’t give you that much thought) but that’s the issue with anxiety – it isn’t logical, it’s all consuming and tiring! This is just one example of the hundreds of thoughts I have all day everyday. Some days are better and you do wonder how you can get so bogged down by your own thoughts, but it creeps up on you and suddenly you’re in floods of tears and you have no clue what to do!

Which is why I am very lucky I have such a wonderful supportive family, who though don’t always understand why my mind does what it does they are always there for me especially my hubby. Also a network of great friends (who, yes I do worry whether they really like me or not!) some of them who are also anxiety sufferers.

Then there is Mind who’s work and support to people like me is just invaluable, I have used them, the counselling sessions were so good, and I would go back to them again and I want to thank them and back them so that they can continue to help more people.

Join in the conversation – here’s how..takeoffthetape_infographic
Anxiety is shit! It really is! It makes you feel out of control, like you’re losing your mind, completely alone, like you can’t cope and that you’re a failure! It can make just stepping outside and talking with people the hardest thing. Let’s show our support for Mind and make a big noise on social media – Don’t be silenced – we can help each other know that we’re not alone and we can beat this!

What makes you anxious? – Feel free to share, comment or email me at jogonmum@gmail.com – I know how you feel and am very happy to listen! Don’t be alone and Don’t be silenced! #TakeOffTheTape – http://www.mind.org.uk/tape xxx

Traditionally Christmas!

I am the biggest kid – I love Christmas, with it’s true meaning of the birth of Jesus, but also all the magic and joy it brings, especially now that I have children of my own, and they are both at that age where Christmas is truly wondrous to them.

This got me to thinking about all the little traditions that my hubby and I have built  up over the years and truly mean Christmas to us and thought I would share some of them with you…

1. Decorations
Obviously the majority of us put up Christmas decorations, but since moving into our own home we aim to put them up on the 1st December.  Sometime it’s a bit earlier now, since having the children, we put them up on the weekend before the 1st so that the children can enjoy them for a couple of days before having to be at school or nursery.
The only thing is that I am not very good at sharing my Christmas decorations with my children, my tree has to be a specific way (ok, ok, I am a control freak), so they magically go up over night and are there for the children to smile at in awe in the morning!

AJXmas2015
Christmas 2015
2. Christmas Windows
This tradition has be going for years! This started with my brothers (possibly before I would born) – my dad tried to do spray snow and it went rather wrong, so my brothers took over by literally drawing Christmas pictures on the windows with a marker pens and painting with poster paint.
As my brothers got older my sister and I took over – my sister does all the drawings, she’s very talented. We thought we’d stop when we left home – but this hasn’t been the case. Since I’ve moved I have booked a day with my sister each year so that she can draw my windows and I can paint them! It’s good fun…

Windows 2012
Windows 2012
Windows 2013
Windows 2013
Windows 2014
Windows 2014
Windows 2015
Windows 2015
 

3. Films
My husband and I have built up quite a collection over the years, which include:
All three Santa Clause movies (firm favourite in our household)
Miracle on 34th Street (brings a tear to my eye every year)
Die Hard (yippee kay yay…)
A Christmas Carol (with Patrick Stewart)
A Muppet Christmas Carol (there goes Mr Humbug, there goes Mr Grim…)
Love Actually (Love actually is all around)
Trading Places (Mortimer, your brother’s ill…)
Home Alone (We forgot Kevin)
Polar Express (we used to watch this every year at the iMax prior to having kids, now we all sit on the sofa under a blanket and watch it together as a family – much loved in our home!)

Due to the joy of Sky+ we’ve also watched
Santa Paws 2
The Grinch who Stole Christmas (much better than I was expecting)
Naughty or Nice
Elf (thought it was ok but it’s not a favourite)
Arthur Christmas (Again, ok)
Saving Santa (It’s a good one)
A Christmas Princess
Many a soppy lovey dovey Christmas, “oh my gosh they have to get together” film
I’m sure that there have been many more!!!

I haven’t seen It’s A Wonderful Life – I really must watch this! It’s a Christmas resolution!

4. Christmas countdown
This has been a new one for 2015. My daughter was bought a Christmas Countdown and I have been doing a festive photograph each day and sharing on my Instagram!
Countdown

5. Christmas Eve Mass
I am a practicing Catholic and so I go to mass every (ok, most) Sundays, but Christmas Eve Mass has become a lovely tradition since having the kids. Before the kids, and when I was bit older, I used to go to midnight mass with my parents, but now we’re at our parish, which is St Lawrences on Sidcup High Street, they do a lovely family mass on Christmas Eve where the kids can go in fancy dress, as an Angel, Shepherd, Wiseman, Mary, Joseph or even a Sheep if they want to. It’s really lovely and a great start to the Christmas celebrations.

Christmas Eve
Costumes 2011 to 2014
6. Christmas jumpers
This is something I started in 2013 and not something my Hubby was initially particularly keen on! He kindly humoured me and wore what I would describe as a subtle Christmas jumper that first year – while mine and the kids were good and cheesy.
Christmas 2014 he joined in quite happily, and will again this year, so he’s now the proud owner of a jumper with a giant reindeer on the front and bells.  The kids are always happily decked out in festive jumpers – and my son usually has a festive shirt too as he gets rather hot in a jumper!
This year I am little too excited that I will be wearing something a little different –  a Christmas swing dress which I got from my much loved Joe Browns

 

2013
Christmas Jumpers 2013

2014
Christmas Jumpers 2014
IMG_7527
A sneak peek of what I’ll hopefully be wearing Christmas Day!
 

 

7. Father Christmas & Pizza Express
Since our Pink One has been old enough to understand the concept of Father Christmas we book to see Father Christmas at Ruxley Garden Centre.  It’s just so much fun, though I must admit the actual reality doesn’t always measure up to my rose tinted idea of how the magical event should happen! There was one year when we took the Pink One and the Blue One (who was now walking and talking) had a great big argument which ended up in a full blown tantrum and everyone going home grumpy and miserable.
Fortunately the last two years have been much better – as we’ve gone with my sister and her family and the cousins get on so well. We also go to Pizza Express, which my two always love!
Ruxley

8. Christmas Music/CD
As soon as it’s December it’s Christmas tunes in the car all the way! My Hubby has created some great play lists – I have three festive CDs in the car – love them all.
We also have A Christmas Carol on CD which is narrated by Patrick Stewart, which I absolutely adore.  Many moons ago, pre-children, my husband took me to see Patrick Stewart do his one man show of A Christmas Carol and it was amazing. I have never heard a theatre audience so quiet and mesmerised, considering there was just one man on stage, but he encapsulated every character so well – it was phenomenal!

What are your family traditions? I would love to hear about them!
Please like, share and comment on this post! Thank you! 🙂 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