O5rcB_NXbIeHbJV7JFNcdfqL-vY Mummy From The Heart...

Friday, 27 February 2015

It's OK to start all over again #FitandFree

The gorgeous countryside I get to look at as I run

This morning as I did my walk/run I found myself thinking I was a failure, I am unfit and very overweight and it is easy to think nothing has changed since January.

At the beginning of January I vowed to get fit and to lose weight. I signed up for a 5K run in June and I started the Couch to 5K program twice a week and committed to go to the gym once a week. I also joined Slimming World and wanted to lose 2lb a week for every week of this year.

Here we are about to start March, two months in and February has been a bit of a write off month for my #fitandfree targets. With regards to weight I have mainly been going to Slimming World each week but I've been off plan for the last few weeks. I've put back on what I lost and I'm only 2lb lighter than when I started on 8th January 2015.

My activity level has been a bit better - I've gone to the gym three weeks out of four (as one was half term) and I've also done aerobics to a DVD at least once a week. The running got shelved as my calves were hurting so much whilst I did it and to be frank I've had a ton of ailments during Feb that have prevented me doing too much. I have a verruca on the pad of my foot that has been there in excess of two years and as once too much time is spent on my feet it hurts, like really hurts. I also have two more smaller ones and I'm having cryo treatment for them all. In February the treatment really worked on one of them but it gave me a massive blood blister for over a week and how do you run on that? Can you imagine how tender it was.

Add to my feet issues the hurting calves and one of my knees has been playing up and very tender and I just have not wanted to pound the streets in the icy cold February weather. Well this week I decided enough was enough and I had to get back on track, so it has been a good week - gym on Monday, aerobics on Weds and a run today. I've also been much better with my food and want that to continue but I won't lie to you I find this incredibly hard, it is the hardest thing I've ever done, we all have our demons and food is mine.

I started this post by saying I felt a failure earlier but actually I turned that thought around. I know that by calling myself negative names I'll achieve nothing,  I'll just feel despair and want to give up. What I'm doing is saying February was not great, so I'll start again and it is OK to start again. Perseverance is a very underrated trait.
Perseverance = determination to do something in spite of difficulty or delay
I need to learn a lesson from Thomas Edison, the creator of the modern light bulb. He was told at school that he would make nothing of himself and he was fired from his first two jobs. Instead of giving up he ploughed his energies into something he loved - inventing. Edison became famous for saying “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

So that is what I am doing, using my perseverance to keep going and finding the way that will work for me. I know it is God's will for me to be slimmer and healthier, He told me so and now I must do the footwork to make it a reality.

Image Credit
I'm joining in with Sara at Mum Turned Mom for The Prompt. This week she asked us to write about reality.

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Thursday, 26 February 2015

I choose to be thankful and it makes a difference #R2BC

Good day friends, I hope you are well today. It's time to share our reasons to be cheerful/ thankful /glad. What is making you grateful today?

As always I'm feeling blessed and knowing I'm a very lucky girl. This doesn't mean that my life is peachy and I have everything I want it just means I have everything I need and I'm safe and content. Life is always full of issues and struggles but it is how we choose to deal with those that shapes our character and attitude.

I'm am spoilt for choice of which things to share with you as my chosen reasons. It could easily be the wonderful weekend I spent with my family in London at the Royal Garden Hotel or maybe the prayer course I attended last night and the good conversations that came out of that. It might be the fact that my parents are coming to stay in a week and I'm looking forward to good times with them but actually I'm going to set myself the challenge of coming up with reasons that have all occurred today (and it is only 9.30am as I type this).

1.  I getting up half an hour earlier at the moment and am using that time usefully. Yesterday I exercised and today I prayed

2.  I'm sat in a cafe watching the world go by and I've just had a cheeky bacon sandwich, I really enjoyed it and it is my treat for the day

3.  The water I'm drinking tastes good. I think after going to Ethiopia I can never again take clean water from the tap for granted. The added benefit is that I've upped my water intake over the last week or so and my skin and nails are looking much better for it

4.  I'm just off to weigh in at Slimming World, I have no idea if I have lost weight this week but I keep going back. I'm not avoiding the issue, I know I will shift this weight and be a healthier me 

5.  Then after I'm off for coffee and chat with a group of good friends, it will be a couple of hours of scintillating conversation

My life is good. I pray yours is too and if not, how can you change it or your attitude towards it?

Reasons to be Cheerful (#R2BC) is being hosted on OJo's World.this week but she is a little late with it going live so I've added in the blog hop code (Jo's code, don't worry - it's not a separate one) so you can link up your post and at some time today it will appear on Jo's blog.

Please do head over and comment on some of the others linked up, it makes such a difference when we all get to know each other. Mich xx

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Driving myself crazy

Image Credit

I know some people adore driving, they find it relaxing and could happily do it all day. Some do it as their job of course; there are plenty of delivery drivers and sales reps travelling around and spending more time in their vehicle than out of it each day. Never, ever could I do that! Last week I had to collect one of my daughters from my parents, this is just a 80 mile journey, so not far in the scheme of things but the round trip of just under 5 hours, much of that spent on the M25 absolutely wrecked me. All I wanted to do when I got home was sleep.

I’m a bit of a conundrum nowadays really as I think I am both an excellent and terrible driver all rolled into one. When More Than asked me to write about the worst driver I know, the only person that came to mind was me. This may well be because I don’t trust many people to drive me around and as such I am rarely a passenger to experience their driving nowadays. I’m not a terrible actual driver though, I consider myself to be an astute and cautious driver, even better since I had to go on the road awareness course for speeding and it even made me think about signing up for an advanced driver course. I think too many people underestimate the skill needed to drive really well.

So why do I say I am the worst driver I can think of then? Well, because I am (or was) a terrible passenger seat driver. The number of times my husband said ‘Michelle’ in an exasperated voice was beyond counting. Can you imagine how unnerving it is to be driving and the passenger next to you starts to brake for you, grabs the door handle and white knuckles it and sucks in her breath every time a car gets anywhere near us? I can imagine it was pretty hard to put up with me for a while, I often found myself saying sorry after I had made scared noises and tried to sink into the seat as a lorry driving perfectly well passed us on the motorway.

It was two car accidents (neither my fault I hasten to add) that made me really nervous. The first accident was when I was 17 and my silly boyfriend of the time decided to overtake his ex-girlfriend and show me just how great his car was, he had not banked on the bus coming out of a staggered crossroads and yes, you guessed it, we headed straight into the side of the bus.  His old beat-up Ford escort ended up the size of a mini and I was a very lucky girl with just some bruising and water on the knee. Not so much the same for my then boyfriend and best friend who both ended up in hospital with serious injuries.

Now I think about it this boyfriend was probably the worst driver I have ever come across, he was young and full of bravado and he thought he was invincible. When I was first going out with him he used to take me places in his car and it was only about 6 months later that I found out he only had a provisional license and no M.O.T! Thankfully he mended his driving ways after our serious accident, who wouldn’t when you end up with a kneecap replacement at age 19? But he did find it hard to get insurance for his next car as the premiums were so high, it is shame that you have one bad accident and combine that with a young age and the premiums become far too high.

Nowadays of course this does not have to be such an issue for young people, new drivers or those with claims/convictions as you can get Telematics or black box insurance from companies like More Than. The small black box is fitted in your car and it measures things like speed, times you drive, breaking and cornering control/distance and if you are driving careful your premium is adjusted month on month to ensure you do not overpay. It sounds like a really sensible idea.

Roll forward to the second accident, just 4 weeks before my wedding in 2002 and I was heading to work on a very wet and windy day. All of a sudden the cars in front of me started to brake suddenly and we all came to an abrupt halt, all of us that is except the woman in the car behind me who was on her mobile and didn’t notice until too late. Those 9 cars that then had no notice to stop because of her negligence all went into the back of my lovely shiny black fiesta too.  My pride and joy written off in moments, thankfully I had decent insurance and was not physically hurt.

And the good thing to have come out of those accidents? Well, I am a super cautious driver now, I keep a good braking distance always. I only overtake if there is a safe clear distance ahead and I stay to the speed limit (well I really try, now I know how to figure out what it is when there is no signage).

How about you, what kind of driver are you?

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Saturday, 21 February 2015

Bursting with joy in London

We are away staying in London this weekend for an end of half-term treat.

We are relaxing in the absolute lap of luxury in the 5 star Royal Garden Hotel but if you ever thought all quality hotels are stuffy, think again! Miss M asked the Concierge earlier if the hotel was too posh for sweets on the counter and the guy asked her in a deep South London accent "do I sound posh?" He then chatted and had fun with the kids. In fact we have spoken to four of the concierge since we have been here and even the one that did sound posh was really down to earth and joked with the children. They have helped us with meal times, games for the kids to play in the room, where to visit and the loan of scooters and helmets for some fun in the royal park next door.

I think that is the thing when you come away with the kids, you want to know you are staying somewhere they will be welcomed and we really are here. At breakfast the lady that greeted us chatted away to the children and knew their names, she acknowledged the girls were twins and the chef at the buffet cooked them waffles and eggs to order whilst they bombarded him with questions in their usual quick-fire style!

Reception provided the kids with a backpack each and gave them their own keycard and key to activate the lights. Very nice little touches but in truth probably suited to younger children as my 11 year old was a bit nonchalant about it. However the girls loved their activity packs, small teddies, healthy snacks, card game and drinking bottle.

We are staying in a suite which has been a fabulous upgrade from our norm of connecting rooms, it means the kids have been able to watch TV in one room whilst I read in another or they even had a disco at one point as they think it is pretty special to have a speaker in the bathroom! Two toilets also mean there is never an awkward moment where anyone is waiting.

Miss E tells me she is having a bath tonight whilst listening to the Voice and then she will wrap up in one of the bathrobes to have snuggles. I'm under order we need to buy a bath bomb today for this very purpose and she'd like to know why there are not any kids bathrobes for loan? It's a good question I think and child size hangers would be really useful too.

We are off out one heading over to the South Bank for a river walk and to meet Daddy at the Imperial War Museum where he is with his cub pack. I'm not sure where we are dining tonight but I'm seriously tempted to head just across the road to the Whole Foods Market and put together a luxury picnic to eat in the room. We went over there earlier for our free cookies and it is an absolute delight to all the senses.

Our day has been exceptional so far, fun filled but chilled. I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the weekend holds.

I'll be writing a full review of the Royal Garden Hotel in the next few days, keep your eyes peeled!

Disclosure: we received accommodation and breakfast for two nights for my family in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Friday, 20 February 2015

How do you stop kids bickering?

Can anyone give me any wisdom please? Is it just part and parcel of family life, that my kids will bicker, argue and try to get one up on each other? Or is there some kind of parenting fail here?

I have 7 year old twin girls and an 11 year old boy and in particular one of my twins and my son will do whatever they can to wind the other one up. Going into the other ones rooms, leaving notes, taking things, making silly noises - just anything to bait the other one. It is a game I think they both secretly enjoy and to some extent I am keen not to rise to it and to just let them sort it out themselves but very quickly they become really quite noisy and one or the other ends up crying and shouting 'Muuuuum'.

My son gets involved in every conversation and we often have to remind him he is not a parent and whatever is going on is not his business. Then one of the twins will try and wind up the other one as she is an easy target and will end up playing the victim and whinging, without retaliating.

I watched the Railway Children the other day and was in awe of the respect and good behaviour demonstrated by the children in the film. I just dream of my children accepting what I say, not arguing back and being nice to each other. We have always had a mantra of it being better to be kind than to be right but kindness towards each other seems to escape them.

Don't get me wrong they are not terrible. I haven't got feral children or anything but I'd just love some ideas for them being nicer to each other. My husband and I seriously considering taking away all screens and tech for quite a period of time and making them play together and share together. This will surely mean they have to sort it out and start being nice to each other, what do you think?

I took the two main culprits for a walk together the other day and threatened them with a boot camp together and they both quite liked the sound of that! Here they are having some fun (ahem) together -

If you look, you'll see JJ has a stick he is threatening to throw towards Miss M. He had no intention of doing so but it was still enough to provoke a reaction! 

Then being the kind big brother, breaking off a large stick for Miss M to carry and play with

Photo bombed by JJ's fingers!

Helping each other jump the stream

There are of course some harmonious times but I really would like to see more of them, so if you have any good ideas then please do leave me a comment.

If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, 19 February 2015

#GiveThanksThursday - Tell us your Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC

Good morning friends,

I've been doing some thinking and I've come to the conclusion I'm a bit fickle! I realised early this year that I missed being part of the community that comes with a regular weekly linky. I also realised the thing I love most is gratitude linkies and thus I started #GiveThanksThursday.

I had chatted to Becky and Jo who run Reasons to be Cheerful (#R2BC) and they were happy for me to start this new linky as we agreed the blogsphere is a big old place and there is enough room for us all. What I had not thought about is that the blogs I know, love and want to visit are mainly still part of that #R2BC community and I did not want anyone to feel they had to start posting to two different linkies with the same theme on the same day.

In conclusion I am a muppet and I'm going to stop doing #GiveThanksThursday (although I do adore the new badge I had created) and I'm just going to join in with Reasons to be Cheerful like I used to. It doesn't matter that it is not my linky anymore, that it is hosted elsewhere. What matters is that it includes a bunch of bloggers that I care an awful lot about and I want to stay in contact with.

So the linky on this post today is for Reasons to be Cheerful and it will be from now onwards!

And here are this weeks reasons from me -

1.  It is half term and I'm so pleased to have the kids home. Miss E headed off to my parents for 3 days at the start of the week and she has had a ball on her own, being thoroughly spoilt.

2.  Miss M and JJ stayed home and they wanted to get involved in community life where we live.  So Miss M and I helped in the kitchen garden and got stuck into some weeding and JJ worked in the Orangery tea room for a few hours.

3.  Hubby is off today which means we have headed out for a family swim, walk along the seafront and chips on the beach. Is there anything better than chips by the sea?

4.  Friday we head up to London for a couple of days to stay at the 5 star Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington.  The kids do not know this yet and they will think they have gone to heaven.  Having been to this hotel a few times I know just how wonderful it is and we are really looking forward to staying in a suite and trying out their cooked breakfast!

5.  Hubby and I had a great Valentines last weekend. Nothing big and expensive, just a quiet meal in our dining room without the kids, with good conversation and followed by a movie and cuddles. Those times of just being the two of us are the best.

6.  The girls gymnastics class has been changed to a Wednesday and whist this seems like a small thing it will make a big difference to them being able to join in with a monthly kids club run here.

As always there are lots more I could share, but I'll leave it there.

Reasons to be Cheerful is being run over on Jo's blog this month.  Please do go and visit her and join in and then comment on a few posts. Lets all share the love and pass on the good vibes.

Have a wonderful weekend, Mich x

If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Fancy joining #TeamHonk for the #RND2015 Danceathon?

Team Honk joins in Red Nose Day Danceathon 2015
I've got a group of blogger friends who have massive hearts and ambitions. This group of friends are collectively known as Team Honk.  Now many people would make the (wrong) assumption that Team Honk is just three ladies - Annie from Mammasaurus, Penny from A residence and T from Mummy Barrow.

Oh no, whilst these three are at the very heart of Team Honk and they were the catalyst that made it all start three years ago. Team Honk is much bigger and includes every person that gets involved, I've heard Annie, Penny and T say this enough to know it is true. It is those who shared personalised postcards three years ago when the terrific threesome went to Ghana to see all the #Goodwork coming out of the work of Red Nose Day and Comic Relief. It is all the people who got involved with the blogger relay last year for Sport Relief and it is the fantastic groovers who will be dancing for money this year, be that at Wembley with #TeamHonk or at home.

On the 8th March there will be a danceathon hosted by Claudia Winkleman where 2000 people will dance for 6 hours. There will be loads of celebs there, some just dancing and some leading the dancing. 12 different music styles will keep everyone entertained and you can dip in and out and bring your spectators. Team Honk will be there with a massive presence and I'm sure they will have a ball just look at Maddie from Gammon and Chips getting ready. You can join them if you'd like, click here to sign up (just £10) and use the password Danceathon2015.

Sadly I can't be at the dancathon as it is my Dad's birthday and we already have plans but there are lots of ways we can all get involved -
  • Donate to the Team Honk fundraising page, they have currently raised £9193 and are heading for £50K so every £1 you can donate makes a difference
  • Honk at Home, see the blog post here
  • Join the FB group and offer to run some twitter shifts for the TeamHonk account

Here is Claudia giving you an insight to the danceathon -

And there will even be a Team Honk professionally choreographed dance move, you can't say no to that!

Come on there is something you can do, why don't you get involved?
If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, 16 February 2015

What does domesticity mean to you?

I’ve been involved with a very interesting project just recently and I thought I’d like to share it with you and get some wider perspectives.

Every other week I go to a coffee morning with a group of mainly Christian women, the group has been going about 8 years but I joined just a year ago. It is one of my favourite things to do as the women and opinions in the group are very diverse but all equally supportive. Each time we meet there tends to be a topic that we will research or discuss and it is good to have a focus for the session and be challenged. In the year that I’ve been a part of the group we have discussed so many subjects - vulnerability, many aspects of parenting, sexualisation of young girls, the place of Food Banks in the community and in October we had a guest artist who came and discussed domesticity and the role of women with us.

Vanessa Marr has been working on her Domestic Dusters project for quite some time and it was very interesting to hear from her. She has created some amazing pieces of embroidery all on old fashioned dusters. She wanted to take something that was normally very mundane and used for a practical purpose and simply adorn it to create a narrative and explore the subjects of domesticity and women’s roles.

Vanessa told us how it was very common place in times gone by for a group of woman like us to sit together and sew or craft as they spent time chattering about the minutiae’s of their lives. She talked of these women being story tellers and this was how fables and fairy stories were captured and told through the ages. Vanessa made bound some beautiful books full of poems and stories and also created samplers with intricate patterns to go with those writings.

At the end of the session she asked us if we wished to create a duster to capture our concept of domesticity and women’s roles. Most of us agree we would and since then a few of us have been found to stitch as we meet together to discuss other topics.

Below is my creation, it is not at all perfect but I quite like that about it. When I first thought about domesticity all that came to mind was domestic bliss and how grateful I am for the life changes that I’ve experienced in the last couple of years. I feel more content and at peace. I feel like I have time to do the things God wants me to do and to develop and deepen my relationship with Him.

I love my home and it is part of my ministry to create a place that is secure and comfortable for my family and those who come to join us. If you know me from this blog You’ll know I like to speak from the heart and thus the blog name, so it seemed natural to me to create my duster with the saying ‘Home is where the heart is’. If I’d had more time and been a more skilled sewer I would have put the following verse at the bottom of the duster, as it is what underpins our family.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Josuha 24:15
I’ve sent my finished duster off to Vanessa, along with a short paragraph of text to be included in an exhibition she is having at the end of February in Eastbourne. The exhibition is open to all, so if you think you might fancy it, go along.

What I want to know is, am I alone in viewing domesticity as a positive state? Some of my friends who have sewed dusters had a more negative connotation and the discussions we had the day Vanessa was with us were all about how the burden falls to women, we try to be superwoman and men need to embrace it more.

So what does domesticity mean to you?

If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!Follow on Bloglovin
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