Monday 27 April 2015

Dear So and So - The Girlie Day in London Edition

Dear Kate,

It was so fabulous to spend the day with you Saturday, I can't believe it is nearly two years since we have last seen each other. That is when you can tell a great friend, when you can just pick up and act as if we last caught up yesterday.

Uni pals rock, Mich xx

Sunday 26 April 2015

Three reasons why I'm proud to be British

I'm sat in a gorgeous tea room in Battle High street as I write this post and it is about 3pm Sunday afternoon. My husband and all three children are in a church just a stones through away. Why are they in church and not me you may wonder? You'll know I'm a Christian and love church, so it may seem a bit strange but I've already been to church this morning and worshipped and the service that my husband and children are in is jam packed full of beavers, cubs, scouts, adventurers, sea scouts and leaders. This is a little elusive club they now have without me! No really, I love that they all have something special in common with Daddy.

Thursday 23rd April was St George's day in England and this is our national day, a day where we are supposed to celebrate being English. That is the reason for today's parade through Battle town and church service that my family are all in. Growing up my husband was very involved in scouting and I've seen lots of photos of him marching through his home town as a cub and scout and he talks fondly of those marches and how he enjoyed them.

Friday 24 April 2015

Visiting Rye, East Sussex - Perfect for the family

Last weekend we took our pastoral group over to Rye for an afternoon out, enjoying time together and the local area. Our intention had been to have a picnic on Winchelsea beach and then head into Rye but for a lovely sunny day it certainly was windy and there is no shelter on Winchelsea beach so we left that for another day and picniced in the park in Rye instead.

This turned out to be just perfect as many of us headed in the children's play park for some fun and others laid back and enjoyed the sunshine and a relax. The park on Fishmarket Road is excellent and has something for everyone, loads of good play equipment, large fields, room to picnic and play, a bowling green and car park with toilets.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Am I Fat and Proud? #EffYourBeautyStandards

I've just been watching the Channel 4 programme Plus Sized Wars whilst I did my household chores and I have to say I'm left with really mixed feelings about being a plus-sized woman.

I am and have been for at least the last decade between a UK size 20-24 so I very much fall into the plus-sized category. Am I proud of being this size? No not really. Do I feel healthy at this size? Pretty much. Could I be healthier? Yes completely, in fact I often feel I am living on borrowed time awaiting the illness or ailment that might catch up with me because I am carrying about seven stone in excess body weight.

Your size, body shape and body confidence are massive issues for millions of women (and men I'm sure) and I truly feel we are all unique and should do what is right for us. God did not make us all to be a skinny size 10, he loves diversity and I believe there is beauty in all people. What appeals to me won't appeal to you and vice versa but that does not make either of our preferences the right ones. We are just different and that's good.

Image Credit: Tess Halliday

Monday 20 April 2015

Dear So and So - The failed runner edition

Dear Legs,

What is wrong with you? Why do you fail me? I've been trying so hard to complete the Couch to 5K program and to get into running but you just don't seem to want to allow it. Mostly it is my calves that seize up and cause me pain but when I'm really unlucky it could be my knees and ankles too.

I'm sorry I've made you carry so much weight for so many years, I'm sure this is probably the cause of you failing me but I'm really trying to lose some weight, that is what the running is about so come up and work with me on this. Pretty please?

Your aching owner

Friday 17 April 2015

Visiting Standen House and Garden - National Trust with Children

Since joining the National Trust early last year we have been big fans. I love that we can go somewhere as a family and all enjoy ourselves but for different reasons. Every property is unique and there is something fun at each one. Over the Easter holiday, we decided to take a trip to Standen House and Garden which is about an hours drive from our home.

We used the sat nav to get into the right area and then picked up the brown signs as the sat nav would have taken us further than the actual property. The entrance to the property is down a pretty single lane and we were greeted by very friendly staff who made sure we could park easily.

As we arrived it started to spit with rain so we headed straight into the house for a look round and as it was Easter real eggs had been hidden across the property for the kids to seek out and count. They love these kinds of activities at NT properties. 

Thursday 16 April 2015

I'm feeling happy

A lovely sunshiney day in the West Lawn

I was walking along in the sunshine yesterday and I was struck with this thought 'I am so happy'. I wasn't doing anything spectacular (I was buying sweatshirts for the girls to start Cubs that night), my view was not very impressive (an industrial estate in Hastings) and it was not even as if all was perfect and right in my little world (I'd just spent £100 on new tyres and I had stomach ache) but in that precious moment I felt content and happy and as I bought a burger and diet coke from a snack van I decided to embrace it and reveal in the moment, so I sat there with a big smile on my face and enjoyed before I drove back to work.

It got me thinking about happiness. I know for many it is a pursuit, something they are actively going after but as a Christian that does not feel right to me. Of course there is nothing at all wrong with happiness and it is good to enjoy the happy times but my pursuit is something different. To be happy is not my primary purpose, it is just an enjoyable by product of trying to live my life in the way God intended me to.

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Dear So and So - The I Need My Bed Edition

Dear twinnies,

Thanks so much that you fell asleep without fuss tonight. I don't know what it is making Mummy so tired but I appreciate you playing your part. I think we are all a bit wiped out after our Easter Break, there has been so much fun and laughter and instead of relaxing and charging our batteries we have had too much fun. It has been perfect, you are great company.

Love you my babies, Mummy xx

Sunday 12 April 2015

Families Have Fun at Drusillas Park, East Sussex

What a great day we have had, I'm sat here typing this up and I feel absolutely shattered, we have done so much today that all I am ready for is a night in front of Saturday night trashy telly!

When the invitation arrived to attend a press familiarisation day at Drusillas Park in Alfriston, East Sussex it was an easy decision for me to know we wanted to visit. Myself and the kids had visited on my 40th birthday a couple of years ago whilst my husband was working and we had lots of fun so I knew the day would be a hit and dh loves animals and watching his kids having a great time so I was sure he would have fun as well.

Saturday 11 April 2015

Why bother with a joint bank account?

Image by Hin255 from Free Digital Photos. Net

It really is true that children learn what they live. Growing up as a child my parents made all spending decisions in consultation with each other and they only had one joint bank account that was used for everything. I don't know why they choose to have a joint account, if it was what was done in those days, if it just seemed like the logical thing to do or if it was because both of my parents came into their relationship without any real earthly riches and were starting from scratch together.

I grew up knowing that what was Dads was also Mums and vice versa. there were never tense conversations about money and they were both very sensible and only spent when they could afford it. We didn't have abroad holidays or new cars as those things were beyond their means but we always had everything we needed and more importantly lots of fun and love.

I thought every family worked in the same way so I was super surprised when I found out from friends that many of their parents still had individual accounts. It seemed there were lots of different sets-ups within families, like totally separate accounts and no joint account at all or a joint account were a proportion of each salary went in and then separate accounts too. One partner might pay all insurances and the other for the holidays that year but I have to be honest this way makes no sense to me. What happens when one car is written off and the insurance won't cover it, would they just let one partner suffer alone?

Over the years many of my girlfriends have questioned why I would want a joint account with dh, I often got asked questions like 'why would I give up my independence?' or 'do you really want him to see everything you spend?' but for me it is all about trust and honesty. Yes there have been times over the years when he has felt I've spent too much (and on the wrong items) and I've had to face the music and we have talked about it and come to a compromise but it feels like it would be far more hassle to try and sort things from separate bank accounts and to hide things away from each other.

I've been with my husband for nearly 21 years and we made the decision to buy a house just three years after becoming an item. It was at this point that I started to ask him about having a joint current account so we could sort all our bills out from one place and with minimal fuss. It is quite amusing to think back to it now but I remember being hurt and insulted at the time, as my husband said he didn't want a joint account with me as he could not trust me with his money. I was gutted but realistically knew he was completely right. There were many times at university when my parents had bailed me out with a couple of hundred pounds and there was nothing I liked better than a good shopping spree. Spending really was something that made me very happy.

So the compromise was that we would have a joint account for all house-related bills and we would both put a set amount in there each month, We both earned around the same salary but of course the difference was dh saved and I spent. In fact we could never of purchased that first house if he had not had the deposit to place down for it. Over the next few years I proved myself with money and grew up an awful lot in relation to spending and being mindful of what was affordable.

By the time we married in 2002 we had a joint account where both of our wages were directly paid into and all bills and spending came out of. We both kept separate current accounts for a while but soon closed them down as they became a bit defunct without any money regularly being deposited. Now in 2015 we just have the one joint current account and no individual accounts for day-to-day spending. I only earn a minimal amount as predominantly I stay home and look after our family and I'm pleased to say never has dh pulled the 'it's my money' card. We both play valuable parts in our family life and therefore what we have in a monetary sense is shared and I'm so glad of our joint account as I'd hate to have to ask dh for money to pay for the kids clubs or to fill the car with petrol.

Our joint account gives me as a work-at-home mum independence and here are a few more reasons why I think joint current accounts are a great idea -
  • One bank account for all your income and expenditure makes life much easier to keep track of. You instantly know what your current monetary position is.
  • It also allows you to budget effectively together for shared costs such as food and holidays or save for bigger expenses such as a wedding. 
  • Either of you can manage/reconcile the account and keep an eye on what is happening. 
  • You are accountable to each other and therefore less likely to spend on a whim. 
  • It encourages open conversation around money, spending and saving and that is never a bad thing. 
  • It is good to be able to build up some savings in your joint account so that if you need to take a loan or mortgage you are able to prove your dual income and expenditure easily. 
  • The Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection limit of £85,000 is a per person limit, so you are protected for twice the amount in your joint account.

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Thursday 9 April 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful (Suits, Parents and Reaching Number 1!) #R2BC

Thursday has come around again, life seems to be flying by at the moment but it is all good as the kids are still off school and I'm really enjoying having them around and taking things easy.

1.  I took the kids down to visit my parents on Monday and Tuesday and it was so good to spend some time with them, we didn't do too much as my poor Dad is suffering with sciatica after only having his pacemaker fitted a couple of weeks ago. It was really just a couple of days of getting Mum out the house so she didn't go stir crazy and taking the dog for a walk whilst the kids played in the park. Two days in a row Mum and I got to sit and stare out at this lovely lake view and I always appreciate these simple times far more than spending loads of money. It is these times that remind me why I would love to live closer to my parents.

The rest of the week has been pretty much the same, spending time with the kids, fish and chips in the park and loads of loads of playing. I'm so grateful for the gorgeous weather we have had that has made all this possible.

2.  I practically whooped for joy last week when I discovered that Suits season 3 has been uploaded to Netflix. This is the first series I watched when we got Netflix last April and I adore it. I have been devouring the episodes and getting my dose of Harvey Spector.  That sly little smile on his lips just makes my tummy slip but sadly there are only two episodes left of this season and then I'll be left hanging waiting for season 4. I may just have to buy it on DVD!

3.  On Tuesday I was on my blog answering some comments when I noticed my sidebar and whooped with surprise that I am currently in the number 1 spot for faith blogs in the UK. I've never quite reached that heady height in the parenting charts, The highest I've ever reached in the Teads ranking was number 6 in May 2011 and I reached number 9 in the TOTs100 in March 2014. To be honest reaching number 1 in either of these would give me the same thrill this has done.

This is all God's doing and not mine. I only submitted my blog into this category last year when I've been part of Teads (eBuzzing and before that Wikio) since 2010 but I've always been a bit down on my blog as a faith blog. I made the mistake of comparing myself to all those wonderful blogs that fill the rest of the Teads faith charts. They are what I'd call proper faith blogs and are obviously written by scholars and well-read theologians. I'm just an average mum writing a blog about her average life but guided by a very awesome God.

I suppose a friend summed it up when she said I was doing an important job as I'm not preaching to the converted, I'm reaching out to the lost and that was so good to hear as I do think of Mummy from the Heart as my evangelistic tool. The place I get to show people that Christians are imperfect too but thankfully we are covered by grace.

I hope you have a fabulous week ahead.  Why don't you link up with Reasons to be Cheerful this week (#R2BC) over at Jo's blog.

Monday 6 April 2015

Dear So and So - A Very Happy Easter Weekend

Dear Kings Church,

Thanks so much for such a powerful service on Easter morning, it was perfect to come and celebrate with you all that our Lord is risen and the drama was awesome. We are really lucky to have found a church as great as you and I'm loving how involved we are becoming with the Food Bank, my small group and dh's men's discipleship group.

I'm also so grateful to see God working with the new Move dance group. We have just given notice for the girls to finish gymnastics as it is very cost intensive and the girls were not getting what they needed from it. This feels like an answer to prayer; for them to have an active club that is also able to encourage their expressive worship.

So grateful, Mich x

Dear Miss M,

You can be such a cutie.  Most people just see the vivacious and loud young lady but they don't know your soft side.  They are not the lucky one who you grab when you are walking along and wrap your arm around nor the one that you ask to pray with at night. It is such a privilege to sit alongside you and hear your inner most thoughts as you chat to Jesus. Thank you for your trust you place in me.

Love you so much, Mummy xxx

Dear Ash family,

It is not always easy living in community but for me I am more blessed than not. The fact that I never have to cook a Sunday lunch anymore and I can just enjoy church and my family on a Sunday cannot be underestimated. I hope I never take for granted all the activities that you organise like the egg hunt, prayer days, celebration services and community time.

I feel like one of the luckiest girls alive, Mich x

Spring has sprung and that makes me feel so happy.  Thank you God for your amazing creation. The colours that come alive and make me want to smile so wide. As the kids played over the long weekend and we enjoyed the warm breeze on our skin I silently thanked you and life felt just that little bit better.

Your loving daughter, Michelle xx

Dear Premier Inn,

You are so reliable and it is fantastic. I got asked today if I'm an ambassador for you as I'm always waxing lyrical about your hotels but no I pay for every stay and there seems to be lots of them. The comfy beds, the hot shower, the brilliant breakfast with kids eat free and now free wifi too mean you are my home away from home.

Thanks, a very satisfied customer, Michelle

Oh Miss E,

I know you enjoyed it as much as I did but you falling asleep in my arms last night in our big hotel room was just perfect. You calling me your big teddy bear (sorry daddy) and me stroking your silken hair was delightful. You really do have to treasure these simple but special times.

Love you sweetheart, Mummy xxx

Now it is over to you, do you have letters or notes that you wish to share (as few or as many as you like)? Link up your post and leave a comment and I'll come visit and do the same for you and also share your post on twitter.

Wishing you a blessed week, Mich x

Dear So and So at Mummy from the Heart

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Sunday 5 April 2015

Dreaming of Devon

You might have seen me mention that we were away last weekend in Kent and it really wasn't the best of breaks, such a shame as we had high hopes but I'm putting it all behind me and focusing on the future.

The best way is always to look forward and for us that means at break at the end of May to Mazzard Farm holiday cottages in East Devon. Just look at that photo above, we are definitely ready for a holiday to the Jurassic Coast. I can't for one minute imagine this break will be anything like the one we have just experienced as one of the first things I always do when checking out a holiday venue is visit Tripadvisor and see what people have to say. Mazzard Farm has 104 reviews on there and 91 of them are excellent,10 very good and even the last odd one is just average. I can honestly say that I've never seen any place before without a poor or terrible rating. It's a fabulous sign.

Thursday 2 April 2015

A cheerful Easter holiday #R2BC

Happy Easter friends, I hope you are all keeping well. I totally forgot that it was Thursday today and this is the first chance I've had to sit down and get an #R2BC post written, so here are the things making me cheerful right now -

1. My bloggy friend Clare and her son Little J have been to stay with us for a couple of nights. J is the same age as my girls and they have known each other a few years now so it is always good when they get together. Lots of fun was had and before they left today we had an Easter egg hunt which my kids loved.

2.  Time at the park. I love it when the weather is good enough to get out and about and especially when it is free and involves the kids using up some energy. My aim this Easter holiday is to try out loads of parks!

3.  Simple pleasures. I adore reading and especially easy to read girlie books, so when I picked this one at the library today it was great to start reading it at the park as the kids played just far enough away from me that I couldn't hear their bickering!

4.  Spring has well and truly arrived. All those wonderful colours, just bliss!

5.  The kids all received an Easter egg each from Nintendo and they were over the moon. Miss M found it awesome that the eggs had been iced and personalised just for her! Thank you Nintendo.

OK, handing over to you, what is making you really cheerful right now?

I'm linking up with Jo this week -

Ojos World
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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