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.

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.

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.

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.


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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

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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?



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Saturday, 14 February 2015

How do you make your husband feel loved and valued?


Over the last month or so I’ve been reading a great book on marriage, it is both instructional and autobiographical and it has reminded me how important my marriage is and perhaps how my eye has gone off the ball. All is well but I just know it could be better, if you asked my husband if he felt really loved and appreciated, would he say ‘yes, for sure’. I think perhaps not, so this means I have some work to do.

Now if you are a non-Christian reading this you might be thinking ‘well that is all a bit one sided Michelle, you both have to work at it and surely he should be putting in effort too’ and of course you are right, marriage involves two partners and we both have roles to play but as a Christian I believe that actually there are three parts to my marriage and the third one is God.  By changing my attitudes and actions in prayer and consultation with God I know that my husband will see and hear those changes in a far more tangible and real way than if I was to sit him down for a deep and meaningful chat.

Love is an action after all, we choose to love someone. The flutters in your stomach and the hearts and romance notion of love does not last a lifetime unless you work at it and nurture that kind of love. So even when you are not feeling it, it is so important that you are taking actions to show it and actually what I’ve found to be true is that the feeling then comes back again.

Last week I asked my husband to take the 5 Love languages profile so I could find out what it is that speaks love to him. Gary Chapman is a very well-known author nowadays and his work on the love languages has changed thousands of relationships for the better. I’ve been with my husband twenty years but the second to highest love language it showed for him was a complete surprise to me, I’m looking forward to our dinner tonight to discuss this more.

It is so important to find out how your partner receives love, personally I like to do practical tasks and it is an act of love when I polish shoes, change the bed or iron all his shirts. This is not at all how my husband receives love and without understanding that I could feel quite taken for granted. Any time we can invest in our marriage is so important, a few years back my husband and I attended amarriage course run by the local church. This was not a course for those in trouble but for those (at any stage of their marriage) to strengthen it. It was truly wonderful - dinner cooked for us and then a romantic table for two with drinks and desserts and prompter questions to explore our thoughts, feelings and life together.  I’d love to do another one of these as I think you both change with time and especially as we have both matured as Christians in the last eight years or so since we did it.

As I’m wanting to honour my husband and to express my love for him I thought I’d ask a group of Christian women what they do to make their husband feel special, just the small actions that make a difference to him and their marriage. Here are some of the ideas they shared with me -

  • I do things that I know will make him feel loved (namely make him a coffee and buy/make him small pressies) - reading the book Love languages was really positive for our marriage as it showed us how we were communicating love differently. (The Fairy and the Frog)
  • For me it's keeping the house tidy (or trying to!!) as that's what helps him relax!
  • Some times are harder than others. Family life can be a challenge, particularly the often complexities of raising a family. Keep talking, through good and not so good times, reminding him, as he will hopefully remind you that your marriage is important.and for life.
  • We have set a night a week as a devotions night together - we read a passage, discuss it and pray through it together along with whatever else is on our minds. We found that by prioritising time with each other but also with God that our relationship was closer and out of that closeness with God we actually had some amazing evenings together.
  • I always greet him properly with a kiss, eye contact and comment when I see him. He addresses me before the kids when he gets home. I send him love texts and or bible verses every day by text. He sends me links to articles he thinks would interest me. We try to have a date night each week, though lately it's a home a lot. We try to hug and hold hands and have physical contact in the business of the day. We pray or read the bible together.
  • I feel a bit embarrassed saying this but making the effort to initiate sex makes a big difference to him! And booking a babysitter to take him out!
  • Use the time on Snooze to turn to face your partner, cuddle, chat or whatever. Also the ten second kiss to show you care, my husband teased me by counting with his fingers and claiming longer or saying I had forgot to kiss him long enough!
  • A big thing is saying thank you to each other. 
  • We have started to sit down on a Wednesday night with the calendar and work out who is where when for the next week!
  • I just started the 5 love languages (for her) bible reading plan on the You Version bible phone app and it's already helped me and my attitude after 2 days! Would recommend it (they do a for him one too).
  • Put a nice song on whilst the kids are around and have a slow dance with your hubby and let the kids join in too. Our daughter loves it and comes up for a dance in between us sometimes. Also it reinforces our relationship in front of her.
  • Date night & read The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie OMartian, very insightful. (Lizzie at LizzieSomerset)
  • Show him you respect him. Very important.
  • I'm loving doing the Love Dare book right now, a bible verse, addressing an attitude and then a daily dare to invest in your marriage,
  • We have a night away every 3 months or so. 
  • I heard something awesome this weekend. A woman was telling my friend about a marriage course called 'respect and love'. I don't know anything about it, but as she explained it my jaw dropped. She said men need to love their wives, then the wives can respect their husbands and women need to respect their husbands, making it easier for the husbands to love their wives.  Made me happy and think about my marriage in a new way.
  • I think it's realising what your hubby needs. For me notes, pressies and slushy texts are all what I like and make me feel loved but definitely not what makes him feel loved, he doesn't get it! Also my Hubby needs me to sit next to him and do nothing, my constant tidying, cleaning and planning make him stressed.
  • Supporting him in all things. I have the joy (not) of being secretary of his RC club even though I actually hate them but Alan enjoys them and loves his club so I will support him where I can. (Sara at Walking with Angels)
  • Not putting him down in front of other people. (Filipa at Gourmet Mum)
  • Making sure I thank him regularly for working hard. It's easy to forget as it's not as 'visible' as me looking after the kids or cleaning the house but his job facilitates me being able to do those things and he sacrifices being at home with us more for that.(Jess at Catch a Single Thought)
  • We did Mark Gunghor's Laugh your way to a better Marriage course at church and I think you can watch clips on Youtube, it is very helpful and humorous. It has helped us understand how men think differently than women, Anyway, he described men as thinking of one thing at a time ie , cars, TV, work, kids and that's it, whereas women tend to compartmentalise things kids, job, shopping etc but they are all interconnected and she can think about several topics at a time.
  • Prayer emails from the Unveiled Wife and the 5 day Valentines challenge from Time Warp Wife were suggested too
  • To look directly into each others eyes for four minutes (set a timer!) without talking. We did it for the first time yesterday, it was so powerful, bringing me to tears and repentance
Woah, that is an awful lot of good information there and I suspect it might be too much to take in on one sitting but I just didn't want to leave anything out. So book mark this page and come back again. In fact come back once a year, each year of your marriage and take on board a few new ideas each time.  That is how we ensure we have a healthy and fresh marriage.

Wishing you a very happy valentines day, I hope you enjoy the time with your spouse. Mich x


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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Come share some gratitude, it is #GiveThanksThursday


Good morning friends, I hope you are well today.

All is good here in East Sussex, a tad chilly but the sun keeps coming out and the sky is bright, I cannot moan.

How have you been this week, have you been practising the principle of thankfulness? I find it makes such a difference when I choose to be thankful and to look for the good. The beautiful Karin embraces the mantra ‘Every day may not be good but there is good in every day’ and Amen to that. When you choose to focus on that approach to life, things change. Both Karin through her Embrace Happy and me through my Reasons to be Cheerful which I started back in 2011 have seen our attitudes and lives turned around.

Today my thankfulness is all about my family. We do not live in a state of constant bliss, far from it. I might snap at my husband, the kids will bicker and he might seem distant at times but despite these perfectly normal annoyances I still know I am with the right people in the right place.

I am thankful for my husband – a man who can be trusted, who provides so well for his family, who worries and shoulders the burden of my actions, who adores time with his family, who is handsome and deep, who is obedient to the word of God.

I am thankful for my first born, JJ – who is bright beyond my wildest dreams, who will go places, who can happily chat to an adult on their level, who makes me laugh so much, who is not worried about following the trend, who loves to give his mum hugs.

I am thankful for Miss E – my twinnie who looks like a delicate flower but has the stubbornness and resilience far beyond her years, who is very kind and loving, who nurtures the young around her, who adores me with a passion I’ve never experienced before, who is a wonderful artist.

I am thankful for Miss M – this is my twinnie baby, my sensitive little soul who pretends she is so tough, who wants to help and be loved, who is outspoken, vivacious and confident, who walks along with her arm round me and feels the need to be accepted. Thank you Jesus for each one of these blessings in my life.

Over to you, why don't you link up a thankful post and join us in giving thanks -
  • Write your post or choose one of your many positive posts to link up
  • Please comment on my post as the host and I'll make sure I hop over and comment on yours too. I'll also endeavour to social share them all.
  • Then please visit and comment on at least 2 or 3 other posts in the linky. Blog-hops only work when people take the time to share the commenting love.
  • If you fancy grab the blog-hop code and put it at the bottom of your post, this means people can visit all posts from everywhere. The linky is not just here it is with us all!
Remember we are using the hashtag #GiveThanksThursday and using that will allow me and others to find your post.

If you fancy grabbing my new linky badge, here is the code, just paste it in to your HTML tab and if you're not sure what I'm on about then just shout I'm happy to help, we were all new bloggers once.

 Give Thanks Thursday at Mummy from the Heart

But at the end of the day, just link up and have fun and I'm sure you'll find that when you have a thankful heart others parts of your life start to fall into place too.  I look forward to reading your posts.

Wishing you a blessed week, Mich x

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Netflix: Recommended for me

Bloggers are an outspoken bunch, known for having strong opinions so in my quest to find some new viewing material I put the question out there -

What series on Netflix would you recommend and why?

This is the response I got -

Chris at Thinly Spread - Mr Selfridge - I love a bit of historical fiction - with glamour and shopping! (I've not heard of this before and I see there are two seasons available and it was originally an ITV program, which is good as far as I'm concerned. Cheers Chris, I'll give this a try)

Annie at Mammasaurus - Breaking Bad! I got into it late and watched it all in a fortnight - oo and House of Cards, since watching that I keep wanting to do a Frank Underwood in real life and talk to an imaginary camera !!! (Now of course I have to watch as I have no idea what she is on about!)

Sian at You're not from round here - agrees that Breaking bad is totally addictive!

Emma at Emma and 3 - Orange is the new black - I've always loved prison programmes ever since I thought I'd be a prison officer. I turned teacher instead can you spot any similarities!! (Lol, Emma I can;t imagine you are like any of those prison officers. I have actually seen this series and agree with Emma, its a good 'un)

The Boy and Me - Oooh, hard. Charmed - relieving my youth with humour and a little bit of sorcery.

Annwen at the Ramblings of a Surburban Mum - House - addictive, amusing and the brilliant Hugh Laurie. Great combo.

Sim at Sim's Life - House of Cards!! New season out this month! It is beyond awesome, Kevin Spacey is so manipulative and corrupt yet you cannot help but totally love his character!

My husband is currently watching the Tudors and he is getting through it pretty quick which tells me it is good. Both historical but also very watchable, depicting the life of Henry VIII.

Liz at Me and My Shadow - Sons of Anarchy. For Charlie Hunnam and Charlie Hunnam alone. You need no other reason. (I had to google him and yes he has a very nice body!)

Cass at Mmmy Never Sleeps - Orphan Black - really clever and enjoyable. (Yep this is another one I have seen and I totally agree with Cas, really clever and not what you expect when you start watching)

Steph at I'm Counting UFOs - Californication. An oldie but a goodie. David Duchovny at his finest (and hottest) (Ohh, I'd not even realised this was on there, so there is one I want to catch up on)

Laura at Max and Mummy is obviously a Netflix fan, as she could not decide on one recommendation for me - Ahhh. I'll give you 3. The league - great comedy. Think inbetweeners with grown ups. Chuck - gripping spy comedy series of a loveable tech guy and a brain full of gov secrets. Pretty little liars - a cult show of mystery and suspense. (Thanks Laura, I've nto heard of any of these so I'll go and check them out)

Chantelle at Mama, Mummy, Mum - the latest series I've been watching is Grimm. A bit different to the norm, easy to follow and reminds a bit of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, got to love a bit of demon slaying (not going to be my bag I'm pretty sure, but I'll put it on here as I know loads of people love this kind of thing)

And I'll leave you with my two newest recommendations -

Covert Affairs with Piper Perabo, there are 5 series and it is an eye-opening insight into life as a CIA operative.

Life Unexpected - I loved this and there is only one series on Netflix, which does make me a bit mad as I want to continue watching and see what happens to Lux now she is reunited with her parents sixteen years after they gave her up for adoption.

There we go, loads of great recommendations. Have you got any to add to the list?



Disclosure: I have received a years free membership to Netflix and a free device to become part of the #Streamteam. They have not instructed me what to write and I remain honest, as always. 
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Monday, 9 February 2015

10 Things you might not know about me

I'm really happy to be joining in with a blog hop set up by Jenny Cupido, it is pretty simple, all I need to do is share with you ten things that you don't know about me. If you have never read my blog before that's easy I could tell you anything but I know there are some of you out there who have been reading for the last seven years and probably know me better than I know myself, but I'll give it a go....

One
In 2013 I moved to the most gorgeous place, we have 220 acres to live in and enjoy. We share this with a community of about 80 other people. It is not a commune, our family has a house with its own front door but we share communal meals, worship, fellowship and fun. This photo shows the main house (it is a Christian conference centre and is where dh works and I volunteer)


Two
I hate the country lanes that surround where I live. If the road is not big enough to take two cars passing each other easily I won't drive down it.  Yes I know I am a complete woss!

Three
When I was a young teenager I loved music and break-dancing. Not me actually doing the dancing I'm afraid but watching friends (who used to carry their lino and ghetto blaster about) and I was often found wearing a shiny tracksuit top! (It was the fashion, honest!)

Four
I'm a thumb sucker. Not in public but if I get really tried then very occasionally I just catch myself! I used to get in so much trouble at school and I can recall my parents painting my nails with that foul tasting stuff and disciplining me, nothing ever worked.  You can take a dummy away but never a thumb, this is the reason my kids had dummies - I knew!

Five
I'm on a massive journey right now. God is talking to me and moulding me loads. It is absolutely amazing and also very tiring. I'm breaking free of strongholds and chains and stepping out from the lies that I have believed for too long. The journey ahead is bright and He has so much more for me, it is very exciting.

Six
I never wanted children. I was not maternal at all as I grew up and never really interacted with any babies or small children. It was only once I had married dh that I realised kids were on the agenda and now I am absolutely in love with my three small people.


Seven
I like housework, it makes me happy to see my house all nice and tidy. There are areas where I am a bit slobby - cleaning inside the oven and the windows for instance but in the main I enjoy seeing my house go from the chaos of a busy school morning to calm, organised and crisp once all the beds are changed, rooms dusted, bathrooms polished and hoovering finished.

Eight
I've been pregnant three times.  Once with JJ, once with the twinnies and I had a painful missed miscarriage back in 2010.  I had already fallen in love with that babe before they headed off to heaven to join Jesus. His name is Samuel Noah and one day I'll get to meet him.

Nine
I have a passion for justice. This is something that has been powerfully emerging over the last five years or so. As I grew up I never gave much thought to others to be honest but in recent years God has placed a desire on my heart to fight harder and to speak up for those living in poverty or suffering injustice. This advocacy work is one of the things I love doing most now and my trips to Washington D.C and Ethiopia with ONE have been life changing.


Ten
I was fired from my job (or I think the term they used was 'let go') when I was 14. It was my own fault, I lied and told them I was 15 and they found out the truth. I bet the Nancy Leigh book shop was never the same again without me! It didn't matter I went on to work at the local petrol and convenience store for the next four years and met a boyfriend, met a great friend, earned a lot of money for my age and learnt all about responsibility. It was a good time.

So there we have it, did you already know these things about me or have I shocked you with anything?


Last weeks post from Stasia at Our Life on a Budget was a great read and I learnt she is a fellow car slob! I'm passing the baton on to Sarah Ann at Faith Along the Way, you'll be able to read her post next week.

Below are all the ladies involved in this blog hop and if you are looking to find some more blogs written by Christian Women then this is an awesome list to take a look at and subscribe to -

Jo - Real Married Life // Stasia - Our Life on a Budget // Michelle - Mummy From the Heart // Sarah Ann - Faith Along the Way // Ailee - Snapshots and my Thoughts // Sybil - She Lives Free // Johanna - Our Joyful Home // Kate - Making Space // Rachel - Dreaming of the Country

Wishing you a blessed week, Mich x
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Saturday, 7 February 2015

JJ, I love you


So I've posted about Miss M and Miss E recently and thus it must be the turn of JJ, my first born, my one and only boy baby.  I can't really call him a baby anymore though as he is now 11 years old and about 5ft tall.

I was talking Sunday at our community celebration and JJ was there listening and he learnt tonight that growing up and all through my single years I never wanted children.  I didn't see the point and I didn't feel maternal and then dh and I got married and things changed. I suppose you just know when you have met the right partner and children become part of the plan.

We decided to try for a baby on our honeymoon in October 2002 and on New Years Eve 2002 I fell pregnant with JJ. I can remember the elation I felt when I realised the extreme tiredness I felt at work meant I needed to go and buy a pregnancy test (or four) and they all confirmed JJ was on his way.

It was a stress free pregnancy right up until the tenth hour when I developed pre-eclampsia and they decided to induce me. That didn't go well and I ended up with a crash section under general anaesthetic and to be honest I felt traumatised for quite some time. I came around after the section and recall asking dh who the baby was that he was holding as I hadn't given birth so it couldn't be my baby.

That first night in hospital, attached to the bed, I held JJ for the whole night and he fed and snuggled. The midwives told me to put him in his cot but I didn't want to, I couldn't let him go and that night I fell in love with the little baby that I could hardly believe was mine. We spent the night together in perfect bliss and I didn't get an hours sleep but there was no better feeling than knowing he was mine.

Lots has changed over the years, the girls have come along and I wondered if I had fallen out of love with him as he got so naughty but that was never going to happen as he is too precious to me. I decided to have a look through this blog and see what I had written about JJ, I have 117 posted tagged with JJ and some of the earliest ones in 2008 are about him. I particularly smiled at a post about the end of his reception year and felt a flush of pride as I read about how he was changing.

It is easy to forget all the trials we go through as parents and that is where a blog comes in very useful. I've read about how I made JJ cry 5 years ago and worries about him being assessed for a communications disorder. Then it was good to read posts to celebrate his 7th birthday and roll forward to his 10th birthday and probably my favourite post I've re-read is the one from his 11th birthday just four months ago. It sums up exactly how I still feel now.

JJ is great fun, fast witted, highly intelligent and all mine! I love you big boy xx




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Thursday, 5 February 2015

#GiveThanksThursday - Cakes, flags and the beach

I'm keeping it simple this week.  I have so much to be thankful for and I could just be here the whole day!





Over to you, why don't you link up a thankful post and join us in giving thanks -
  • Write your post or choose one of your many positive posts to link up
  • Please comment on my post as the host and I'll make sure I hop over and comment on yours too. I'll also endeavour to social share them all.
  • Then please visit and comment on at least 2 or 3 other posts in the linky. Blog-hops only work when people take the time to share the commenting love.
  • If you fancy grab the blog-hop code and put it at the bottom of your post, this means people can visit all posts from everywhere. The linky is not just here it is with us all!
Remember we are using the hashtag #GiveThanksThursday and using that will allow me and others to find your post.

If you fancy grabbing my new linky badge, here is the code, just paste it in to your HTML tab and if you're not sure what I'm on about then just shout I'm happy to help, we were all new bloggers once.

 Give Thanks Thursday at Mummy from the Heart

But at the end of the day, just link up and have fun and I'm sure you'll find that when you have a thankful heart others parts of your life start to fall into place too.  I look forward to reading your posts.

Wishing you a blessed week, Mich x

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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, 3 February 2015

Supporting expectant mothers in Laos

I announced back in December that I am now part of the World Moms Blog family and every couple of months I'll be publishing an article on their site. I've had a wonderful welcome to their community and it is fabulous to be chatting to so many like-minded women from all across the globe.

This month the World Moms Blogs (WMB) contributors are pulling together and introducing our readership to CleanBirth.org, a non-profit started by one of our fellow WMB contributors, Kristyn Kalota. I'd not heard of CleanBirth before and I suspect that is because it is US based and I'm here in the UK but having investigated the charity and seen what they are doing I am right behind it and frankly what does it matter where it is based as long as it is doing good work that we are behind.

I love the fact that Kristyn saw a problem and instead of moaning about it or feeling powerless she set about making change and doing something about it. This is really inspirational to me, as I often assume things are too big but Kristyn and CleanBirth are proof that each one of us can make a difference. If you want to read more about Kristyn then hop over to Third Eye Mom where Nicole has published an interview.


So what does CleanBirth do I hear you ask?
Simple - They provide inexpensive but sterile birthing packs to expectant mothers in Laos and also train up nurses to assist with the births over there. Just $5 will provide two kits so that two expectant mothers can rest assured that their risk of infection, disease and death is substantially reduced.

This year approximately 1 million women and infants will die of infection after birth. For every woman who dies 30 more suffer a debilitating illness or permanent disability, those figures are far too high of course. The WHO and the United Nations have been recommending clean birth kits for years and and "a systematic review identified 30 studies showing that clean birth practises can substantially reduce neonatal mortality and morbidity from infection-related causes, including tetanus.”

How can you help?
At the moment CleanBirth are in the midst of a 3 week crowdsourced funding appeal. They hope to raise $10,000 which will provide 1000 clean birth kits and train up 20 nurses (trained up by Yale midwives)

Right now $5,535 has been raised and that is over half way there, if you want to donate, please go to http://startsomegood.com/cleanbirthlaos and do your bit.  Every single penny counts, it does not have to be loads. Remember $5 for us in the UK is only about £3.50.

A great gift...
I'm off to a baby shower next week and you know what gift I am taking with me? A card to say I have donated on their behalf to ensure that someone in Laos has the kind of birth my friend can expect here in the UK.

It is easy to moan about our NHS, things are not at all perfect - people get discharged too soon, observations get forgotten and generally it is because there is not enough funding and staff are too busy but and it is a big BUT our healthcare system is amazing. When I had my son JJ 11 years ago I had to have a crash section as he heart was decelerating and I had pre-eclampsia; without medical intervention and a sterile environment we both might not have survived to tell our tale.


Then again with the twins in 2007, I was so blessed to spend three weeks in hospital prior to their birth because of pre-eclampsia and my scheduled C-section at 37 weeks went without a hitch as the consultants had made sure I would have no issues with the anaesthetic this time.


I'm off now to make my donation to Clean.Birth.org and I hope you will join me.

Have a blessed week, Mich x
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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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