Friday, 19 January 2018

5 Reasons to Travel to Belize, Central America

Belize beach
Image, thanks to Luxury Retreats

Belize, it might not be a destination you are too familiar with but after spending a few hours trawling the web, reading about it, watching videos and drinking in its beauty I can safely say I want to visit this small Central-American nation.

In fact I now have big future plans for a second-honeymoon trip for my husband and I, and there are certainly some vacation rentals in Belize that would make our time there super special. The amazing Belize coastline is just 630KM along the Caribbean coastline from Cancun and Playa del Carmen in Mexico. So you can be assured of a stunning white or golden sand beach if this is what you are looking for.

Belize is rich in culture too and shouldn't just be mistaken for a place to visit and sunbath. Yes, you can do that if you so desire and you'll find luxury rental properties and hotels that are unique and outstanding. Whether you fancy being on a private island, staying out on the sea on a stilted property or having a private infinity pool, these are all possible in Belize.

1.  Explore the Maya Culture
The Maya occupation of Belize began as early as 1500BC and during the classic period, between 250AD - 900AD it was thought the Maya population was as high as 1 million people. Compare that to the current population of around 378,000 and it must have been very busy. There are many temples and ancient ruins that you can visit whilst in Belize, including Caracol, which is one of the most grand. A lot of mystery still surrounds this ancient civilisation, making this is a really interesting place to explore.

Caracol, Belize
Maya Temple Image, thanks to Shutterstock

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Reasons to be Cheerful - I've had my Operation!


Happy Thursday, I hope you are well.

I had to write this and get it scheduled on Tuesday as Wednesday at 7.30am I went to the hospital for my scheduled operation and who knows what time they would get around to doing it, so the last thing I needed was to be worrying about getting my R2BC post out.

Hopefully if you are reading this Thursday morning (or after) I am lying in bed recovering from the operation and the general anaesthetic that came with it. I'm secretly really looking forward to Thursday and Friday being down days where I just read, watch TV and get waited on!

On the one hand I was nervous for the operation as they always scare you when you meet the consultant in advance and they tell you what could go wrong but I have put my faith in God and know that whatever happens will come to good.

I'm so thankful that we have our NHS in the UK. Of course it isn't perfect and in some areas it is better than others but I've been lucky and had great service from the Conquest hospital and especially my GP surgery. I really can't praise my local GP's enough, they have fit me in at short notice and gone out of their way to make sure my operation can go ahead.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Wearing Orthotic Insoles in my Hotter Shoes

Hotter Leanne shoes are a great choice for use with full length orthotic insoles as they have a removable insole and are deep enough to still be comfortable

It's funny how things change over time. When I was a teenager if anyone had said to me I needed orthotic insoles in my shoes I'd have probably cried and told them no way, they are just for old ladies! Nowadays things are changing, research shows that the orthotic insole market will reach around 3.5 billion dollars by the year 2020. With the increase of diabetes, arthritis and obesity more and more people are seeing their podiatrists and finding that an orthotic insole would help to alleviate some of their problems.

At the age of 44 years I am one of those people. I have been suffering with pain and various foot issues for quite a few years now and some of it I thought was bad luck (verrucas) and others I put down my being overweight. When I first saw a private podiatrist back in 2014 he treated my verrucas and tidied my feet up and I was very happy when the verruca went but the pain didn't so I headed back to see him again.

It was at this point he gave me a visual bio-mechanical assessment and declared I have short calf muscles and these are throwing my body alignment out of sync. As we talked and I told him of having been a tip-toe walker as a child, always having my feet positioned at ten-to-two and the amount of ankle sprains I have had in my life, he said it all made sense and could be the cause of my early-onset arthritis of the knees, the pain in the ball of my feet and my tight and uncomfortable calf muscles.

To cut a long story short, I was lucky enough to be able to be referred to an NHS podiatrist (as I am bio-mechanically incorrect) and have been seen over the last couple of years. I'm stretching every day (in all sorts of ways), I've had an MRI to rule out a Mortons Neuroma and if things haven't improved with my continuing stretching and the use of my orthotic insoles I'll be referred for calf lengthening surgery in a few months.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Things that make my Heart Leap! #R2BC


As I sat in my lounge yesterday doing a couple of bits on the laptop I could hear JJ singing to himself in his bedroom and it occurred to me that it is the small things like this that make my heart sing. It doesn't have to be big trips out or spending lots of money, it really is the simple things, the ones you could blink and miss.

*  Like snuggling on the sofa with both my girls New Years Eve and seeing the year in with them as we watched the amazing film - Hidden Figures.

*  Sitting in the prayer centre, enjoying the warm of the radiator with my feet curled under me as I did some bible reading and colouring

*  Cuddling up with Miss M for two nights in my big bed whilst my husband has been away

*  Finding 4 pairs of knickers in the M&S sale that were my size and just £1.99 each. I normally pay £6 each.

*  Enjoying a cup of tea with my friend Annie as we chat away and put the world to rights

* Getting my orthotics for my shoes, which I pray will make a difference to my leg and foot pain

Monday, 8 January 2018

Parenting in the Digital Age - We Have to be One Step Ahead

I was at a digital conference at the beginning of November and one of the streams was for anyone interested in young people and all things digital. It was a Christian conference so there were pastors, youth and children workers and parents like me. I went to a few different seminars and there were quite a few things that really spoke to me and I have pondering and praying on them since.

On the whole I think all the new technological advances have been a good thing and they add a whole new dimension to our world today but I'm not blind. I see how my 14 year old son gets sucked in to gaming on his computer and not wanting to come off and I'm super aware that one of my 10 year old's is already starting to judge herself by what she sees online. Those sorts of things are pretty scary.

You have to be a really intentional and involved parent to ensure that your kids are maintaining balance and not losing their grip on reality and it takes a lot of time and effort if I'm honest.

Look at this slide that was shared in one of the seminars -

We have to be one step ahead of our kids as parenting in the digital age can be scary. We must protect our kids online.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

#R2BC - Happy New Year Friends, It's 2018!

Happy New Year friends,

How was the festive period for you? I hope there was at least some times of joy and rest.

In general we've had a good Christmas and new year break, the kids have gone back to school today and I'm ready for routine and normality to resume. Today I'm blitzing the house and getting it all clean and back in order. I'm not particularly good when there is mess and chaos, so this is my kind of day! Yep I know, I'm pretty sad but it takes all sorts, right?

Reasons to be Cheerful is back with me for January and this week I'm sharing some photos of happy moments in December as I didn't manage to get an #R2BC post live at all. I am pleased to say I had loads of time away from blogging though and that was ace!

Miss E made me an advent tub and in it where around 100 little affirmations of how much she loves me. It is something I'll treasure forever.


And there is the little poppet in her new bobble hat!

Monday, 1 January 2018

Believe: My Guiding Word for 2018

Out of all the Christmas lights in Brighton on Boxing Day
this was the only one I wanted to take a photo of, I now know why!

I really love the idea of having a word for the year that guides you and keeps you focused on what you want to achieve. I've shared many times that I don't like resolutions as for me, they just end up dragging me down when I break them. I think having a focus word is a lot kinder and I am able to not beat myself up when I don't meet my own expectation of perfection, which of course is often.

Last years guiding word was Trust. I needed to trust more in the Lord and in myself that I could make changes and achieve the things I needed to. When I look back over the last year if I am using my critical eyes I'd say that nothing has changed, that I'm still in the same place as I was a year ago and most of that unloving assessment would come from the fact that I am still very overweight.

However what I have learnt over the last year is that I have far more value than the weight on the scales gives me. I am intrinsically valuable, just because. I don't have to be slim to be loved.

I've been on the Freedom in Christ course and that has been super helpful in making me put down lots of baggage around guilt and past actions. I've also done lots of work on feeling rejected and accepting that I am worth it.

I have my operation for my terrible periods coming up in 2 weeks and that is a big step forward. I also have my appointment for my orthotics to be fitted in a week and I pray that will start to help ease my foot and leg pain. With progress in both these health areas, my weight loss will become much more achievable.

Charity work that had run its course has been let go and I've started new voluntary work to replace it. I'm in a good place with my life generally and I really enjoy all the ways I get to serve my family, community and the Lord.

I need to look through my kind eyes and know there HAS been change and there HAS been progression and it is because I have been able to trust the Lord.

Trusting myself is the part I have found harder and after a lot of evaluation and introspection I have realised that I never achieve the weight loss because I don't truly believe I can. I'm not sure if this is connected to me believing I am worth it or just that I doubt my abilities.

Therefore my guiding word for 2018 is Believe.

I went through so many other words first and it wasn't a quick process to find the right one. Some of those considered were Peace, Change, Free, Fit, Wellness, Shine, Ready and Kind came a very close second. But in the end Believe won as you have to believe to achieve.
  • I need to believe I am significant and worthy of good outcomes
  • I need to believe I can make the right choices with food
  • I need to believe that exercising is necessary and can be enjoyable
  • I need to believe I will lose weight
  • I need to believe I am loved
  • I need to believe my actions make a difference
  • I need to believe the best of others
  • I need to believe I have the time to spend with God each day

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:22 

I am believing that at the end of 2018 I will be far more healthy and lighter than I am right now. That is my one goal for the year. To do this year what I have failed to do for the last two decades - lose weight so I can live a full and free life without being held back by my weight or the health issues it brings.

Lord, I believe that when I place my hand in yours and make an effort, I can do this. Thank you for sticking with me. Amen

If you need some further inspiration to find your word for the year check out some other posts from friends who have chosen their words - Becky, Tanya, Kate and Mari.

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Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Bells Palsy: The Day I Lost My Smile!

Saturday 29 July 2006.  The day I lost my smile.

The first day of me learning a big lesson in humility.
The first day of a few months of pain.
The first day of realising just how vain I was.
The first day of realising how strong my faith in Christ had become.
The first day of the rest of my life... my life with a wonky smile!

30 year old woman with bells palsy for 5 days

The above photo was taken 4 Aug 2006. I can literally only move one side of my face, look at my forehead and the lack of wrinkles on that side. I also have a droop to my mouth still at this point.

30 year old woman with bells palsy for 3 months

The above photo was taken 14 October 2006. Still no wrinkles by the side of my eye on one side and my smile won't lift properly.