Sunday 30 April 2017

Doing It Blind #SlimmingSunday

Morning friends, how are you today? I hope you have fab plans for this bank holiday weekend.

As you read this I'm away in Portsmouth with my family. We have taken a trip to see the Historic Dockyard as I've heard so many good reports about the attractions there and I'm so happy to be spending some time with them.

Last week in my Slimming Sunday post I said how I had finally realised things need to change. I can't go on as I am, getting more and more unhealthy and suffering from numerous health ailments because of this. Because I have such a large amount of weight to loss I don't want to do a crash diet meal replacements or such as I know this isn't a healthy and sustainable way to live.

So this week has been about making a start and cutting down. I set myself four small steps to follow last week and they were to -
  • Sleep for 7 hours each night - as I write this post I have achieved this each night and I don't think it will be a problem for this to continue as I know how much being well rested helps me to resist all the foods I shouldn't be eating
  • Glass of water before each meal - I've been very aware of keeping my water consumption up and need to keep with this
  • 3 meals and 3 snacks to ensure I do not get too hungry and reach for the wrong things. I've been really good with my meals, and haven't had as many snacks as I thought I might need
  • No cake. I forgot that on a Wednesday evening my husband and I are doing a Marriage course at the moment and at this they give us tea and cake. So I have had one piece but for me that is amazing, as I had turned into a cake most days kind of girl!

Friday 28 April 2017

Learning is Fun with Education Quizzes

Life is funny sometimes as a Mum, never would I have pictured myself and my near 14 year old son JJ sat at my laptop the other night at just gone 11pm (yes, yes, I know, it is too late for a school night but thankfully he got up OK) doing algebra together.

Now, let me be clear. I don't really have any idea about algebra, at the ripe old age of 43 I have managed to gain an OND, HND, Ba (Hons) and Masters without ever improving on my D grade GCSE Maths.

Maths isn't my subject. I can do business finance, give me a P&L to analyse and I'm your girl, I'll highlight all the areas of concern and provide a plan for improvement. But clever maths type stuff - algebra, Pythagoras and calculus, I haven't got a clue.

So you'd be forgiven for wondering what we were up to. Well, I'd been asked to take a look at the website Education Quizzes to see how useful I felt it might be for my children and more generally for my kids school. In fact, all schools.

What is Education Quizzes?
Education Quizzes is a site with over 4000 quizzes (all written by qualified teachers) covering most subjects/curriculum's for ages 5 to 16. There are quizzes for KS1, KS2, KS3 and GCSE. Oh and even for parents too, to help us refresh our knowledge so we can ensure we are available to help our children as they need us. Take a quick peek at this video for an introduction to Education Quizzes -

Thursday 27 April 2017

Family Fun at Petworth House, National Trust

Petworth House header

A few weeks back on a Sunday our family headed over to West Sussex to Petworth House. I've been wanting to visit this National Trust site for well over a year but as it's about a 90-minute journey we needed to have enough time available to us to make it worthwhile. Petworth houses the finest collection of art in the care of the National Trust and I thought my arty daughter and I would particularly enjoy seeing this.

Inside Petworth House

The Mansion
I wasn't wrong, there are some really magnificent pieces on display and my favourite by far was the walls and ceiling of the Grand Staircase painted by Louis Laguerre (1663 - 1721). I stood there and gazed in wonder for such a long time. There are many other internationally important paintings on display too with works by Turner, Van Dyck and Reynolds to name just a few. There are also dozens and dozens of interesting classical and neo-classical sculptures too and my girls were chuckling away at all the body parts on display!

Of course, what the National Trust always does well is engage the kids and they had a trail around the house to look for stuffed dogs around the house and then if they spotted them all they got an exclusive badge.

Most every day there is some kind of talk or tour within the mansion and the volunteers at entry will let you know what is going on or you can check the webpages before travelling. If you are thinking of taking your family in the next couple of weeks then I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear there is a Cadbury Easter egg hunt from 8th - 23rd April 2017 with a cost of £3 per child.

Monday 24 April 2017

Holidaying at Eurocamp - Playa Montroig, Costa Dorada, Spain

Last August we took our first holiday abroad as a family and we had an amazing time. So amazing in fact that we are again this year heading back to the Catalonia region of Spain and will be enjoying a holiday with Eurocamp at the Playa Montroig Camping Resort in Miami Platja, Costa Dorada and I was very impressed to see that it has made it onto the Guardians list of the top 20 family friendly campsites in Europe. We are all getting excited!

Situated right on the Beach and there are 4 Swimming Pools
I think this year we will probably spend most of our time on the parc, at the local beach or maybe just travelling into the nearest port town of Cambrils, which is about 15 minutes away. Of course it is the pools that the kids are most looking forward to enjoying and there are four of them so they won't be short of water-filled fun. This was in fact one of the main reasons we choose this particular site as the kids had such a ball in the water last year that I knew this would be what they would want to do at least 80% of the time. We just need to pray for some good weather now!

Sunday 23 April 2017

Facing Reality and Planning for My Future #SlimmingSunday

I love this picture. This was taken at BritMums in 2015 and I'm around the same size then as I am now
but we are lying down and it seems to be pretty flattering. This is how I'd like to see myself every day!

Morning friends, how are you this week?

I'm really loving reading the posts that you are linking up each week. It isn't easy starting a new linky to be honest and in this day and age everything seems to be judged on numbers and popularity and by traditional standards 2 - 6 people linking up to #SlimmingSunday in a week wouldn't necessarily be considered a linky success but I think it is a success.

You know why? Because you are helping me to stay focused on the goal. I seriously need to lose weight, not just for my vanity or my mental health but for my physical health too. I have so many aliments that are exasperated by my size and they will only get worse as I age but I don't seem to be taking them anywhere near as seriously as I should.  By being accountable and having to report in here each week I have to stay focused and whilst I have not been perfect with my eating, I have been so much better than if I wasn't being accountable with anyone. The good news is that I am continuing to take tons of steps and having a good nights sleep.

Friday 21 April 2017

Having fun with the National Trusts 50 Things to do before you're 11 3/4

National trust header

Originally launched in 2012 the National Trust's bucket list of 50 things to do before you're 11 3/4 is an amazing and successful attempt to get the nations tech-centric kids off the sofa and out into the great outdoors to experience nature as I did as a child 30-40 years ago.

The shocking findings of the National Trusts Natural Childhood Report in 2012 were the catalyst for the National Trust to take a pioneering role in helping families to get back to enjoying the great outdoors together. Over the last few decades, children's relationships with the natural world have been declining to the point that by the time the National Trusts report was published a third of children had never climbed a tree and one in ten cannot ride a bike.

Twin girls jumping in leaves

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Creating Great Relationships with your Kids

I've was away at Spring Harvest a couple of weeks ago, it's a large Christian festival that our family have been going to each Easter-time since our kids were born. It's a time I absolutely love as the kids get to go to groups each morning and evening (now they are older) and spend time with other kids that share our faith. Then my husband and I get time to be together - to have a coffee, attend a teaching session or maybe just take a walk. This isn't a holiday based on spending lots of money or doing amazing activities, it is all about each of our relationship with God and with each other.

The format for the teaching has been a bit different this year and the majority has been all together within a large venue seating around 3000. I can't say this is my preferred style of worship and receiving teaching and in previous years I've been able to go to smaller break-out sessions which are much more my style. I can however, totally understand why they have chosen to have the adult teaching all together as the theme this year is unity within the church and us all being 'one for all' but as I said I don't find it the easiest way to digest information.

Monday 17 April 2017

Taking care of my feet with Hotter Shoes

Increasingly over the last few years my feet have been playing up. For a couple of years I just ignored the niggling pain that prevented me from running and enjoying exercise because I thought it was the result of a longstanding verruca and if I'm honest I was embarrassed. I'd tried to treat it myself for months (years even) and it wouldn't shift so I finally met with a Podiatrist at a large cost in the hope he could help and he did, finally my feet were verruca free but sadly I still had the pain and it was getting worse.

Around six months later I decided I needed to go back and see if the pain was anything the Podiatrist could help with and it turns out that the verruca was never really the cause of my pain. I have short calves and this means my legs rotate out (hence having waked like a policeman forever) and this means I am misaligned. I finally have an answer to why I have early onset arthritis in my knees and pain in the pad of my foot. Just by walking I am putting pressure on the wrong parts of my foot as my feet tilt outwards and this explains why I have such trouble finding shoes that I can wear without pain.

Sunday 16 April 2017

#SlimmingSunday - Moving More...

Hello friends, welcome to #SlimmingSunday, the new Sunday linky hosted by me and Emma from Life According to Mrs Shilts. We'd love for you to link up any post that is diet/ healthy eating/ exercise related.

I've had a week off since I last posted as our family went away to Butlins in Minehead for a big Christian festival called Spring Harvest and we had the best time. I wasn't consciously dieting but I did make some really good food choices whilst we were there and enjoying the eat-all-you-can buffet breakfast and dinner. Thankfully I've got past the point where you have to stuff your face if you have paid for a buffet and I just go for one straight meal now. There was always jacket potatoes, salad and yummy roast meats available.

In the last week since we have been back home I wouldn't say I have been dieting but I also haven't been blowing out. I went and weighed in last Monday night at the fit club that I'm starting to attend and sadly it won't be on this Monday as it is a bank holiday. This does mean the kids can go back to school on Tuesday and I've got the week to get back to normal and focus on healthy eating before my next weigh in on 24th April. I'll let you know how I do.

The one thing I have been doing really well with over the last couple of weeks is my step count. Whilst we were on holiday I managed to clock up 123,314 steps, that was an increase of more than 30K steps from the week before and I am determined to keep it at this level as there is a lot of work to be done on my fitness level. Once the kids are back at school and normality resumes I've committed to a daily walk round the lake with the children after dinner most days and I'm even thinking of checking out the local gym again.

Oh and the other good thing has been my sleep. Of course I've been able to have a few lie-ins but I've consistently been getting over seven hours good sleep each night and I'm going to make sure this continues as I know I cope so much better with eating challenges when I am well rested.

So that's me right now. Not really dieting but being mindful of my food and making some good choices, whilst moving and sleeping more. I'll call it a win! But how about you, how are things going?

How to Join in

Slimming Sunday is a weekly linky hosted by Mich at Mummy from the Heart and Emma at Life According to Mrs Shilts. The posts go live at 7am every Sunday morning and you are most welcome to join in with any slimming/ weight loss/ exercise/ healthy recipe type post. Join as little or as often as you like. No pressure!

1)  Write or link up an existing post about diet/ slimming/ healthy eating/ exercise or anything related to these topics.

By linking up you'll receive a weekly email reminder about Slimming Sunday, of course there will be an unsubscribe button on every email so you can opt out any time but lots of people have been asking me for a reminder.

2)  Grab the badge or add a text link to either Emma or I (or both if you are feeling super generous)

3)  Go share the love. Please comment on both Emma and my posts and also at least one other but it would be great if you feel you could comment on a few more. I'm sure you'll feel the love back if you do.

Emma and I will come and visit you too and tweet out your links. Feel free to tag us with #SlimmingSunday, @michelletwinmum and @mrsshilts and we'll give you an RT.

I can't wait to read your post. Have a fabulous week, Mich x

Slimming Sunday at Mummy from the Heart

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Friday 14 April 2017

Tree Top Junior Adventure with Go Ape - Fabulous Summer Fun!

Wednesday I took the kids and the little boy I coach over to Bedgebury for the day. This is a Forestry Commission site of around 2200 acres and it is pretty amazing, we will definitely be visiting again.

Our purpose for going there yesterday was for the kids to try out the Go Ape Tree Top Junior Adventure which is sited within the forest. I've heard of Go Ape before but being a totally non-sporty type I've ever investigated as the idea of being up in the air with a harness as a very large lady is not appealing. I'm sure I've asked my children before as well and they have all been very non-committal.

I think a couple of years of Cub Scouting must have made my (near 10 year old) girls more adventurous as this time when I asked they jumped at the challenge and I knew that the little boy I coach would love it as he is like a monkey, climbing every tree he sees. I then asked my 13 year old if he wanted to go with the smaller kids and I fully expected him to laugh at me as he never really wants to spend time with his sisters but he too jumped at the chance, telling me that Go Ape is ace (despite him never having tried it before).

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Family Fun at Wookey Hole - The Variety Attraction (Somerset)

We are down in Somerset currently; it isn't an area we have really explored before but we always pass through on our annual visit to our favourite Christian festival at Butlins, Minehead. This year I tried to book our normal pit-stop hotel in Bristol and it was so expensive so we looked elsewhere and settled on Weston-Super-Mare and as it isn't an area we know we took the opportunity to have a couple of days here and extend our break away.

What a fab area this is, we made a good choice and I'd happily return another time to explore further. There is a very grand looking pier that we didn't get to go on as we arrived too late and the beach is sandy and massive but the kids favourite part was the 2p arcades and they came away with a ton of keyrings, noisy putty, sweets and other assorted novelties that they won.

Before we came away I was having a browse of what was in the local area and I spotted we were only about 30 minutes away from Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole. I knew I'd been to the area as a Girl Guide many, many years ago and recall I really loved visiting the caves. I have this memory of being told the water in the caves had healing power and I can remember rubbing it on cut I had. Funny, how the oddest memories stay with you.

So when we headed to Wookey Hole today I expected to get a bout of nostalgia and silly me, it must of been Cheddar Gorge I visited when young as Wookey Hole was a whole new experience for me, a good one!

Sunday 2 April 2017

Making Good Choices for Me! #SlimmingSunday

I'm finding this verse very reassuring. Others may look at me and just see fat, God sees so much more!

Happy Sunday friends, how are you doing?

I do hope your slimming efforts are going well.  Well, better than mine anyway. You may have read last week that I was in a quandary as to what to do - do I still stay with Slimming World and attend class each week or would something else work better for me? I wasn't sure but I knew I definitely need to stay focused on being more healthy and losing some weight.

So I've spent the week in thought and prayer, coming to the conclusion that I am going to step away from attending my Slimming World class at the moment as the timings don't really work for me but what I'll do instead is attend a weekly exercise class where I can also weigh-in.

I used to go to this class and I know the instructor and many of the people who attend and also (wonderfully) it is run in the grounds of my home, so you can't get much more convenient than that. I only stopped going as it is on the same night as the course I've been doing at church but that is now coming to an end and I pray the content of it and the personal exploration and reflection that I have been doing as a result of it will result in me being able to really get my teeth into this healthy eating lark and make some changes for life.