Wednesday 23 March 2016

I May be Some Time..

I'm going to be taking some time away from blogging (yes I know, again). I've explained the reasons over on my other blog Progress Not Perfection, so you can nip over and read if you like but basically it all feels a bit wrong at the moment.

After a nasty episode last December, which I actually haven't mentioned over here as yet, but you can read about it in a piece I wrote for the World Moms Blog in January, I feel I need to have this break and allow it to take its natural course and just be as long as it feels right.

I've been blogging far less over the last couple of months anyway and enjoying just having time to relax and be with my family more but I thought I'd be a bit more purposeful for this next chunk of time and plan some activities that I want to do -

So don't miss me too much. I'm still around and you can email or tweet me and I'll be happy to stay in touch or pray for you.

Be blessed, Mich x
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Tuesday 22 March 2016

My Top 5 Bargains from Forever Baby

Baby Accessories from Shutterstock
I love to do a spot of virtual shopping and especially when there are bargains to be had. I've recently discovered the website and it is an absolute cornucopia of bargains costing £5 and under. In fact you can find some great items from just a pound.

1. Gift for a teething baby
When they were babes all my kids loved having a little set of keys that they could hold, rattle and teeth on. I particularly like this set as you get two brand new teethers for just £5.00. The colours are bright and there are a variety of textures to offer your baby a great sensory experience.

Monday 14 March 2016

Which is the best choice of bank accounts?

Jars with Dollars from Shutterstock

It’s safe to say that, after the recent recession, it will take many, many years before banks are able to establish a reputation that vaguely resembles ‘consumer friendly’. The question is, how hard are they actually trying?

The economic crisis from 2007-10, which was in many ways the result of irresponsible lending from banks themselves, led to a bailout from the taxpayer which peaked at £955 billion. And with the amounts of interest being offered by most banks on current accounts and Cash ISAs in recent years having plunged towards the derisory, they certainly haven’t endeared themselves to savers since.
That said, there are some good deals out there for those who are open to change in terms of who they bank with; not only in terms of new customer rewards, but also the interest, insurance and overdraft rates they offer.

Sunday 13 March 2016

Get Out of Self and into Him

I’m in a funny old place right now. There is nothing particularly wrong but if I’m honest I’m discontent, something is off-balance. It’s not that I’m wanting anything materially but there are a few areas that feel off-kilter.  The word that is coming to mind is that I am discombobulated and that is really strange as I could not even have told you what it meant but having looked it up, it is perfect –

Discombobulate – to confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate (ie: The speaker was completely discombobulated by the hecklers.)

That does feel just right for where I am at the moment.  Since I received some horrifying comments on my review blog a few months ago I’ve been all over the place. I realise I’ve lost my joy and I don’t have any kind of vision of where my blogging is going or even if it should be going anywhere.  I’m tempted to chuck it all in but as with everything I need to seek where God is in all this and do His will, not mine.

So I figure I need a break.  Yep, another break, all I seem to do nowadays is have blogging breaks but it feels right and necessary so it is what I’ll do.

I’m going to be focusing my time in a few areas –

  • Taking the focus off myself and putting it onto God and His agenda for me by spending more quiet time in the prayer centre
  • Eating well and exercising to ensure that I lose some weight but not making it my be-all and end-all.
  • Reading the 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and then putting into action some of what I have learnt to ensure that my kids are feeling love in the way that speaks to them most
  • Digging out my copy of Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O’Martian and reading a small chunk each night as I need to reconnect with my husbandfollow and what better way to do it than via my Heavenly Father. (As a Christian we often speak of marriage being like a three-legged stool, one leg is the wife, another the husband and the third God and the stool only balances when we all rely on each other and carry the weight evenly.

So there we go, my four big focuses for the months ahead. I’ve no idea how long this break will take. I’m just going to be led by God and not feel obliged to either stay away or to blog.

Psalm 37:39-40
But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, Because they take refuge in Him.

Take care of yourselves, leave me a comment or send me an email if you’d like some prayer and I’d be really happy to oblige.

Be blessed, Mich xx

Friday 11 March 2016

Great Excitement with Vertbaudet

I've not seen my little girl, Miss E so excited for a very long time. We picked the parcel up from the post room and she was beside herself with joy, 'do you think they are in there Mummy?' she asked and luckily for me they were. What is the 'they' in question? A pair of denim dungarees that she fell in love with upon first sight.

Both my twin girls have winter coats fromVertbaudet currently and they are wearing brilliantly, they wash up well, have kept their vibrant colours and the mock fur remains soft and beautiful. Therefore when they asked the girls if they would like to choose something else they both happily sat down with the laptop and started to choose.

In honesty Vertbaudet clothes are more suited to Miss E as she likes clothes designed for her age group, that are comfy and fun in design. So the denim dungarees she picked are a perfect example of this. Miss M on the other hand, despite being just 8 years would love to dress like a 14 year old and I have to hold her back and limit her clothes choices to things that fit with my modesty code. I'm pleased to say that Vertbaudet do not offer the mini adult clothes that so many of the high-street shops do.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

I'll Raise My Voice for You #PovertyisSexist #PledgeForParity

....and you .... and you.  Yes I'll raise my voice for all women and girls the world over and that is not because I'm a staunch feminist, it is because it is the right thing to do, whether you are male or female.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. 
(Proverbs 31:8–9 NIV) 
Image Credit: Karen Walrond for ONE

Look at these girls above, they are all aged between 10 - 15 and are part of the Bright Future project in the Merkato slums in Addis Abba, Ethiopia. I wrote about them back in 2012 when I visited Ethiopia with ONE to see the living proof that international aid really does work.

They are a beautiful group of girls, so full of life and hope but each one of them had a devastating story to tell us of how they came to be a part of this project - slave labour, gender based violence, sent away by their parents to earn for the family but it hadn't worked out and deaths of parents to preventable diseases and HIV/ Aids. They were so excited to hear that the group of western women who had visited them would go away and share their stories and people across the world would know what was happening to girls and women in Ethiopia.

We all know there are both men and women the world over who are passed by, shoved aside and not given the respect or dignity they deserve but the statistics tell us that women and girls fare far worse than their male counterparts in all parts of the world, especially where poverty is at its most evident.

Last year I wrote about the #PovertyisSexist report launched by ONE, this demonstrated two truths:
  1. Poverty and gender inequality go hand-in-hand. In 2016 half a billion women still cannot read, 62 million girls are denied an education and 155 countries still have laws that differentiate between men and women. 
  2. Yet, ironically perhaps, it is widely accepted that investing in girls and women lifts everyone out of poverty more quickly. So it really does seem like a no-brainer, doesn't it?  Ensure women and girls in the world poorest countries receive investment and the countries start to lift themselves out of devastation. 
I look at that graphic there on the left and if I'm honest it makes my stomach churn. How can it be that in 2016 there is nowhere on earth where women have as many opportunities as men? Gender parity is of course the focus of International Women's Day today, but we are not fighting for a world where women are treated better or differently from men, just one where we are given equal opportunity and judged on our merits rather than our ability to have children or our body parts.

Furthering the cause to ensure that men and women are equals is of course a good thing but I am fearful that many people only consider the issues affecting those of us in the developed world. Like the glass ceiling on the corporate arena or the lack of female political leaders.

There are girls and women in the poorest countries that cannot go to school, own land, speak in front of a group or men or give birth with dignity as they are denied these rights purely because they are a woman. It's an outrage, right?

As I was reading the new 2016 Poverty is Sexist report from ONE, I came across the following statement and this hit me so powerfully -
If you care about gender equity here, care about it everywhere.
It's simple. It's time we all looked outside of our own lives and offered some help to those who need it most.

How to get involved

1. Sign the petition and urge world leaders to put girls and women in developing countries at the top of their agenda. It takes just seconds -

2. Share the petition on any of your social media channels. After you sign, there are very easy share buttons that you can press and help spread the word.

Of course there is loads more you can do if you want to. Go ahead and write a blog to encourage others to share, meet your local MP, talk to your friends, host a coffee morning, inform the students at your school during assembly, give a presentation at the local W.I. meeting. Whatever works for you, just don't let all the voiceless girls and women go on being unheard. They all have powerful stories and we need to stand with them.

And if you want more information then read the open letter to our world leaders and also the full Poverty is Sexist report which is just launched today - You can find them here.

Thanks for any help you can give. With blessings, Mich x

I'm linking this post up with Lucy over at Lulastic and the Hippyshake for her International Women's Day 2016 blog linkup. Hop over and have a read of the many varied and inspirational blog posts there.

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

Sunday 6 March 2016

Setting some Targets and Rewards

I wrote this post just over a week ago but due to my haphazard approach to blogging right now, it has taken this long to see the light of day!

It’s practically March and I’m assuming that I’ve not really lost any weight this year despite such good intentions. I say I assume as I’ve not weighed for a few weeks and when I have weighed it has been across three different sets of scales, so that is no help to anyone.

I started out well in January, I got my bedtimes sorted so I didn’t feel so vulnerable and then I let it slip again and since half-term I’ve just not been able to get my energy level back up. I’m not sure if the menopause in on route (I am nearing 43) but I’ve got near continuous heavy bleeding, headaches and cramps coming and going every couple of days. It is so draining and all I want to do is curl up and read a good book. Maybe I should just give in to it?

Today I’ve been thinking about blogging and writing a post and everything that comes to mind is negative. Something is missing in my life right now and the post titles I’ve been coming up with are not very inspiring. They have all been about my lack of interest in, well, anything much at all really. ‘I can’t be arsed’ is probably the phrase to sum most everything up right now.

I’ve just cast my eyes towards the keyboard as I type this and I can see my right hand where my fingers are pulled apart and the skin all around my nails is red raw. It always seems to be something I do when I am low. I suppose it should have been a sign really to wake me up to there being an issue I needed to confront.

So what is the issue you might wonder?

And that’s a good question. I’ve been debating it for the last week or so and it’s not that easy pinpointing something as the cause as generally everything in life is very good. I just keep coming back to that old nugget of my weight and how I’m not happy with my body and this then impacts on my relationship with my husband.

So I must set some targets so I have something to aim for. I can’t keep going through life unhappy with how I look and the example I’m setting to my kids. I’ve been stuck in the mud and stagnant for far too long. So this is what I WILL achieve this year as a minimum –

  • By my holiday to Spring Harvest on 4th April – lose 1 stone
  • By two gorgeous friends wedding celebration on 10th June – have lost 2 stone
  • By my family holiday to Bournemouth on 6th August – have lost 3.5 stone
  • By the time I see a great friend again for the first time in 14 years on 10th September – have lost 4 stone

I realise that without targets it has been very hard to keep track of my weight loss and I was just floating along with nothing firm to aim for. Realistically I have far more than 4 stone that I need to lose but I must start somewhere and 4 stone will make such a difference to my health and what I feel I can achieve. I’m pretty sure that when I have gained enough momentum by losing 4 stone that I’ll be able to keep going and head towards a normal BMI and a healthy weight for the rest of my life.

I now need to think about what rewards I might like to give myself for persevering and doing well on my journey toward a fitter and healthier Mich. A Pandora bracelet and a charm for each stone lost feels like a nice idea, I better investigate what that would cost me! lol