Wednesday 27 May 2020

Reasons to be Cheerful - Beach Walks, Relaxation and Cocktails!

Another week in lockdown is down, time really does seem to be going fast and I am loving that things have been relaxed a bit and we can get out as a family and take some walks.

Life is still generally really good and I am feeling super thankful. We should have been away on holiday in Devon right now, which would have been amazing with this great weather, but we're doing OK here at home too. 

If I could have one wish now, it would be that the girls would knuckle down and do their schoolwork better, but I can't have everything I suppose!

Here are just a few of the things I have been really thankful for in the last couple of weeks.

  • Having my pre-op for my next TCRE operation, I'm just waiting for a date for the actual operation now
  • Some good blogging work coming in and getting that all completed
  • My SEISS grant being paid from the Government
  • Chilled time out in the courtyard outside my home, enjoying a nice cool drink in the evening, reading, chilling and often having the cat keep me company. 

Monday 25 May 2020

Creating Perfect Pins with Custom Fonts in Canva Pro

Making pins header

{This is a collaborative post}

Never did I think I'd be writing a post about how you can create stylish graphics and pins to drive traffic to your website, but what I've discovered in the last couple of weeks is that using custom fonts is super easy and it doesn't have to be expensive.

Font Bundles offer loads of free fonts for you to easily download and use, whether that is just in your word processing or publishing package, or in a design one. I'm not a clever designer type, I don't have Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW. I'm just a regular blogger trying to do her best without these kinds of skills and until recently I thought that excluded me from using custom fonts but how wrong I was, because you can import them into Canva Pro, and that is really accessible and not expensive.

It is definitely worth checking out Font Bundles as they have loads of free fonts, as well as a premium one free for the week, each week. Then, of course, there are thousands of others that you can purchase if they suit your needs better and once you've downloaded them, they are yours forever! Why not look at some of the different ones, like tattoo font, seasonal fonts, script fonts and graffiti.

Saturday 23 May 2020

Making Magical Memories with Moonpig

What a fabulous evening I had Thursday and I didn't even have to leave my dining room. Thanks to the UK lockdown Moonpig had the inspired idea to run a virtual blogger event by zoom. This was particularly great for me, as I no longer attend many events having moved to the South Coast some years back, so this allowed me to be involved, see some familiar faces and have some fun experiences during the three-hour event.

What I discovered is that Moonpig has a super easy to use app for making personalised cards and choosing gifts and flowers to be sent with them. The app currently has the most features on iOS but they are working hard to include the extra features on Android. I have to admit that I'm not much of an app person, I prefer to log-on online but I may just be converted and this app does make it so quick and simple to order, and of course, there are times when we all need a card to be sent in an instant as we've forgotten, or nearly forgotten a special date.

I've enjoyed making a couple of cards for upcoming occasions and found it easy and quick to do. I can't show you them as they are being made and will be sent directly to the recipient.

Great Moonpig app features -

  • Over 10.500 card designs for all occasions
  • You can personalise the front of many cards with either/ or photos and words, or choose from a selection of ready to use cards that are being added to daily.
  • You can adjust the font, sizing, alignment etc of your personalised greeting inside the card
  • If you can't think what to say in the card, there is an inspiration feature within the app, that you can use 'as is' or adjust to what you want to say
  • You can add a handwritten note or doodle to your card (in the iOS version)
  • You can send the card direct to the recipient, or back to you and then you get an extra envelope, so when you send it, it is brand new
  • You can choose the date the greetings card is posted
  • You can add a note to the envelope
  • You can set reminders in the app, so you never miss a special occasion. It is quick and easy to do manually, or with iOS you can sync to your calendar and import the dates
  • There are eCards, regular-sized cards and giant ones you can send, and if you're not sure how big they'll look, you can try out the AR feature on iOS and see your chosen card standing in your environment where you are 

Friday 22 May 2020

Making your Health a Priority as a Middle-aged Woman

womens middle-aged health check header with flowers

{This is a collaborative post}

Lockdown has given many of us a great excuse to pause and a lot of time to look at our lives and assess whether we are satisfied with them. I'm lucky that I'm happy with so much of my life as I've spent the last six or seven years spending time in prayer and reflection to ensure I am using my time as I feel God wants me to.

What this period has done for me is to make me reflect on my overall health again and realise that change must happen. I'm not happy being so overweight and it's about more than just how I look. Being 46 and having all this excess weight is causing me to have many other issues, such as carpal tunnel in my hands, urinary incontinence, unexplained pain in the ball of my foot, asthma, menorrhagia (excessive menstrual bleeding) and serious calf pain when I exercise. As we age also, it becomes more important to know how our body works. For example, some women consider using progesterone tablets to help manage symptoms associated with hormonal changes.

So, I'm making changes and figured I'd share them as every middle-aged woman (I hate writing that, have I really reached that stage already?) should be looking after her whole health.

Eat Realistically

Your metabolism slows with age, from 30 onwards it will slow a little each year and this means you can't eat like you did in your twenties. I have to admit, that I am very late to realise this and sadly the pounds (stones!) have crept on over the years. So now it is time to go back to the 'healthy plate' way of eating and to make sure I have a good variety of foods, over three meals with a couple of small, healthy snacks in between and no evening snacking.

Move More

It really is pretty simple, the pounds tend to pile on as you get older and we generally move less, so change that. I have started to do an exercise DVD for 30 minutes as soon as I get up 5 or 6 days a week and that will help my muscles start to tone up and increase my metabolism, so exercise is a winner on two fronts. I've also started to wear a Fitbit again and join in with challenges with friends to motivate me to move more and get the steps in each day.

Monday 18 May 2020

6 Great Walks for Social Distancing in East Sussex

East Sussex walks header

Thank the Lord for a change in what we're allowed to do in the UK during this pandemic. I know that some people are not happy that lockdown has lightened and don't want to be heading out for walks, and that is OK, we are all different. It is your prerogative to choose what is right for your family. I'm happy for my family to go out together and enjoy the great outdoors and keep a 2-metre distance between us and other families, or if necessary to quickly pass each other on a path.

There seems to be agreement from the scientists that the risk of contracting the coronavirus in the great outdoors is far less than indoors, and it is certainly more fun to be to in the sun taking some exercise than it is to head into a supermarket.

We've decided to stay fairly local to home when we head out for a trip, as there doesn't seem any need to start travelling massive long distances when there are great places on our doorstep, and if everyone did this there would be far fewer worries about areas becoming inundated with visitors from afar.

Here are our recommendations for six walks you can take in East Sussex and enjoy the great outdoors, whilst also being sensible and applying the rules of social distancing.

1.   Seven Sisters Cliffs and Country Park (near Eastbourne - BN20 0AB)

This week I dropped my husband and children at Birling Gap (the National Trust car park is open and charging, but the toilets and cafe area closed) so they could take the 4-mile walk across the cliffs. The seven sisters are seven cliffs that elevate up and down, so this can be a bit of a challenging walk, but it is well worth it when you get to the Cuckmere valley and you can walk to either the beach or through the meandering river and up to the car park where I had parked to collect them.

A word of warning if you're new to this area, the cliffs are made of chalk and prone to crumble, so please stay away from the edge as they can be super dangerous and no photo is worth your life.

Brass Point on Seven Sisters cliffs
Thanks to my husband for this image

Friday 15 May 2020

Reasons to be Cheerful - Lockdown Continues

Morning friends, I'm pleased to see the sun has come out again and the rain us due to stay away, so that makes me smile a lot.

I'm just going to launch straight into my reasons to be cheerful this week and I'm going to have to be a bit, Pollyanna, on a couple of items too, as it hasn't been the most dynamic of weeks.

1.   Loving my mornings - the rest of my family are not morning people and this suits me just fine as I get some alone time. I'm enjoying waking about 8am (which feels like a lie-in) doing my exercise DVD, then having some breakfast and a cuppa, tidying the kitchen and putting the dishwasher and washing machine on and then having a shower and getting ready. There is definitely joy for me in routine. As I do these things I tend to watch/ listen to a devotional and then enjoy my latest boxset, it is The Rookie and then I have some good recommendations for future series.

2.   Walking with Miss E - I had a fab walk around the grounds of our home the other day, just chatting away to Miss E. It is so good when your teens (or near teen in this case) want to chat with you.

Monday 11 May 2020

Learning to Forgive - Freeing Yourself from Resentment and Bitterness

Beautiul gates and spring flowers

As a Christian it is important that I spend time reading, praying and working through my issues to try and help myself become more like Jesus. It's a really high bar to meet and I suspect I'll never get there, but that won't stop me trying.

It's been 18 years now since I found my faith and it is amazing, an absolute miracle to me, how much I have changed. I know that people who knew me as a teenager or in my twenties would be surprised by the person I have become, but I hope the surprise would be a good one. I know that my character is far improved from the angry, aggressive, prideful and competitive person I was.

I'm not without issues though. Oh no, not by a long shot and I still find myself going back to unhealthy and sinful behaviours. The biggest one for me being, overeating and turning to food for fulfilment, rather than to Jesus. Of course, I've known I need to work on this and I have been trying for many years, but I find it so difficult.

I haven't really been able to understand why I couldn't conquer this harmful addiction to overeating and to be honest it would take hours to detail here all my musings on this topic from the last couple of decades.  I have been aware that I am holding on to the fat and that it is me, who is not wanting to let it go, almost as if it is a protective layer, a shield against what I might need to face if I dare to become slimmer.

I know this will sound crazy to some of you reading this and that's OK. I think you need to have gone through similar to understand the situation. But, finally, through reading, praying and a lot of talking with a wonderful lady who listens to me witter on and challenges my thinking, I feel I am ready. Ready to invest in me, to shed the protective layer and to move forward, without any barriers and I wanted to share with you what I felt the key was that has helped me unlock this desire to change and to progress,

It is forgiveness. Being willing and able to look back on my past and to examine all the people and situations that I need to work through and forgive. This also includes forgiving myself. Over the last five years or so I've worked hard in this area and I have come to realise that forgiveness is not a one-time thing. It could be that I have to forgive some people every day for the rest of my life.

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgive you" Ephesians 4:32

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Staying Home - Reasons to be Cheerful

Two baby goslings born this week

Staying home is definitely starting to feel like the new normal. I'm suspecting we have a few more weeks of this yet and then at least a year of getting used to a strange new normal again, where we can't meet in big groups and don't go out anywhere near as much as we used to.

Thankfully I have a beautiful home in an amazing place and this is making staying home a lot easier for us. I still have lots to do and plenty of space to move about it. Here are the things that have been making me feel extra cheerful in the last couple of weeks -

1)   Finding my enthusiasm for exercise again with Leslie Sansone Walk at Home DVD's and I've got myself a new Fitbit to keep track of my steps. I'm enjoying starting each day with a 35 minutes 2-mile walk aerobics session and this gets about 3500 steps on the clock to start the day. It's so much easier to do the exercise when you do it first thing!

Saturday 2 May 2020

Creating a Coronavirus Survival Kit - Kindness Gift

Coronavirus survival kit header

During this very strange time, there have been a number of friends and family that I have been concerned about, either because they live alone, or I know they thrive on physical contact with people. So I wanted to do something small to let them know they were in my thoughts and that this time would pass and we could all be together again. 

I've made little fun, novelty survival kit gifts before, I shared one on here for a Christian Parents survival kit and I've made them before for mums, sisters, friends, teachers etc. You can adjust the items that go in the kit to suit the recipient and their relationship to you.

This time I made survival kits for some people who are normally here at the conference centre where we live, for my mum and for my aunt (but from my mum). They mostly had the same items in them. Here is a picture of what I included.

Survival kit contents