24 May 2015

My Captured Happy Days... 18th-24th May 2015

My highlights this week have been...

My 32nd Birthday on Wednesday! 

There were cards, candles, shopping for new clothes, smellies, dinner at Nando's, and lots of cake!

And no, despite me saying last week that I wanted to bake something with Harry this week, this wasn't a home-baked cake! 

Friday afternoon was Harry's Preschool Summer Fete Parade. Bad Mummy forgot he needed to wear black and white (to this day I still don't know why?!), so I had to rush out in the morning and quickly pick something up. There were a lot of children in full fancy dress outfits, but fortunately Harry was not the only one in a white t-shirt and black tracksuit bottoms!  

(Unfortunately the only picture I got was one where he looked like he needed the toilet.....)

 Yesterday, while hubby had the enjoyable task of marshalling a bike race, me and my friend took the kids to the park.

There was water fun, swings, a picnic and a very tired Sophie.... 

This is the car selfie picture we sent to hubby while he was marshalling (just to make him a little jealous ;).

I did manage to get to the Gym four times this week, as planned. Not only that, I smashed by target of running 5km in under 30 minutes! Woo hoo!

 I'm linking up this week with Jenna from Tiny Foot Steps and Katy from What Katy Said for 'Happy Days' and also, Hannah from Make Do & Push for 'The Week That Was Captured'.



21 May 2015

My 5 tips to getting more productive 'me-time'...

Over the past couple of years, I feel I have fallen victim to losing grip of my identity.

This has only really become apparent to me recently, since I've started to feel reintroduced with myself again.

I'm a quiet person at heart, and often hold my feelings hidden away inside where they tend to sit and stagnate. My husband can sometimes refer to me as cold. He's not being cruel, I don't take offence (often!). He's telling the truth after all!

I have totally absorbed myself in our children and our business in recent years, and last year was all about our Wedding. 

So what's changed for me?....

Well, we're now married. I have no Wedding to plan. As much as it was one of the best days of my life, it's done now. No more Wedding planning. (Read all about our beautiful Christmas Wedding).
Moments after we said "I do"

We've made changes to our business over the past 6 months so we are more in control. We have made some great long-lasting partnerships, ironed out the dodgy ones, removed negativity, and we are much more (although not totally) self-sufficient and non-reliant on the actions of others. 

We've found a routine with our children that fits our life, it works for us and I'm no longer worried if it's either 'wrong or right'. We don't have family help and I accept that now, but we work together to make it work, give them as much as we can and share the load.
Harry and Sophie on our picnic

I've even looked around at the stuff in our home recently and thought "I don't like that...", "What on earth made me get that!".. "Why did we paint it that colour!".... It feels like I had just been observing what others do, what I think is right and what magazines/websites tell me I should do and not had my own mind. We've had a little redecorate, replaced artwork and pictures that I don't like, and generally decluttered.

Redecorating and replacing artwork

This very process of writing and reflecting has also really helped me identify my feelings a lot more and made me realise what is it is that I want, irrespective of what others do. Writing has given me my own voice. A place where I can unload my thoughts and be me.

Something else that has helped me recently is getting back in the gym. I have always in the past worked in a building/s with a gym in it, or taught a number of regular classes per week. I'm not a total fitness fanatic freak, it isn't my whole life, but fitness and exercise has always been an important part. However, since starting our own business, albeit in fitness education and starting a family, the opportunity to workout has not been laid out on a plate for me as it had been. 

I'm always going to be someone with a lot going on. I'm a 'yes' person. Consequently, everything I do has to be done quickly. I don't do slow. Sometimes that's not always a good thing. My hubby hates me rushing around, pushing him out the way, getting stuff done so I can move on to my next task.

You may have already read me harp on about a gym opening literally opposite our house, but it has really been exactly what I needed. Being able to be out the house for 45 minutes and still get a 40 minute workout done is perfect for me. I can get out, and return to being Mummy, Wife, friend and home and business owner quickly.

Without this 'breakout' from my life, it can all become stressful and unenjoyable. 

In the last week, I've got to the gym 4 times, which is the frequency I used to go. It's my escape from reality. Some may go shopping, get out in the outdoors, have beauty treatments, sit in a quiet room and read a book, knit, paint, craft, bake, have a bath..... I have tried most of those things but I return from the bubble unchanged. 

'Me time' is precious and absolutely essential.

It is important that it involves something you will benefit from and gives you time to recharge and do something that interests you.

My five tips for finding you again....

5 tips for getting more productive me time

1. Plan time to do your 'me time' activity. It doesn't need to be a specific day or time, but if you can manage to do that, great! Alternatively, at least plan to slip it in somewhere. I don't plan specific times to workout. Instead I either go when both children are at nursery and drop them off a little earlier, or when I know hubby is doing their dinner or bath time.  I can switch off much easier when I know the kids are 'occupied'.

2. Don't do what everyone else does for their me-time. Find something that you enjoy that makes you feel revived. You should return back to your life and feel refreshed with a calm outlook and ready for anything.

3. Don't feel guilty. If you do feel guilty, then that says to me that you weren't totally absorbed in your me-time activity..... Find a new one!

4. Another reason for feeling guilty could be that you can't let go of everything else and really benefit from your me-time. Gain control over things that are bothering you. Accept them, make a plan, talk about issues, write them down so that you can put them to one side even if it is just for a short time.

5. Consider whether your me-time should be spent alone, with a friend, or other family member. For me, I get the most out of my me-time by being alone. It gives me an opportunity to talk to myself!

How do you spend your me-time? Do you really reap maximum benefits from it?
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20 May 2015

The Day I Turned 32!

This morning I woke up to a loud version of the Happy Birthday song courtesy of Harry. It did sound particularly loud at 6.15am! 

It's my birthday today!

I love birthday's!

Paul managed to get Harry and Sophie out to nursery for 8am this morning while I went to the gym. He joined me for a while once he got back. 

I bought myself a DSLR camera a couple of weeks ago, which was technically for my birthday, but I also woke up this morning to a couple of lovely cards! One of which Harry wrote 'Mummy' on for the very first time.

Harry wrote Mummy for the first time

It looks a little like 'Mumsy', but I'm proud anyway! The big smile and the look in his eyes as he gave it to me, clearly showed he was proud of himself too. I could really see that he was hoping that I would love it....which I did, obviously!

After a shower (and a little work I just had to get out the way), Paul took me shopping with the House of Fraser voucher he got me. 

I ended up buying some skinny grey jeans and a sleeveless pink top from French Connection and also a thin green jumper with lace shoulders from Linea. My hubby is really very good at buying me clothes!
My new clothes from the husband for my birthday

We stopped for a little Costa 'coffee and cake' break before going to fetch the two monkeys from nursery just after lunch.

We spent a couple of hours at home in the afternoon, but decided on Nandos for dinner. We like going to Nandos, not just for the food, but because you pay for your food first. With two young children, this is perfect as all they want to do as soon as they have finished eating, is leave. 
Me and the husband at my birthday dinner at Nandos

Sophie being cheeky and eating her Nandos

Harry pulling a silly face whilst eating a chocolate lollipop
As usual, my Son is eating a chocolate lollipop and is incapable of smiling for the camera.

My Mum came over to visit today, so she joined us dinner and a little early evening visit to the park.

Telford Town Park - Rocket Slide

Telford Town Park - Rocket Slide

Harry's first go on the slide with Daddy. Check out his eyes half way down! (Excuse the iPhone video's) 

Now, for the rest of the evening we shall by mainly drinking my birthday fizzy wine and eating this....
Chocolate Birthday Cake

Happy birthday to me :)


19 May 2015

Weight Loss Day 28 Update

I've felt really good this week! As planned, lots of exercise has been done!

I managed to get to the gym four times, and each time I've ran between 2.5km and 5km on the treadmill. I run about 6 minute/km pace so I'm currently doing 5km in 30 minutes. I'd like to get this down to 27-28 minutes over the next couple of weeks.

Weight training is something else I've REALLY been enjoying this week. I've completed one whole-body workout, one glute-specific workout, and yesterday I followed a 2.5km run with a shoulder circuit. I always work my core each time I go.

I like to go heavy with the weights, so I usually work between 6 and 10 reps per exercise and do 2-3 sets. 

Over the years, I've met many women who are apprehensive about, or not interested in weight training. This barrier is definitely diminishing slowly as more and more women become aware of the benefits of lifting weights such as;

  • raised metabolic rate, meaning you will burn more calories even when you're asleep!
  • more defined body shape due to toned and stronger muscles
  • improved posture
  • improved bone density

Weight training has also been found to have a positive effect on stress levels, and PMS symptoms! Good hey?!

Anyway, I've felt good for getting back to it this week. However, this may not have the desired effect on the number on the scales reducing. My initial plan was to get back to my Wedding weight of 9 stone 11lbs. This is a total weight loss of 7lbs. I've currently lost 2 pounds in 4 weeks (no further weight has come off this week).

The problem isn't that muscle weighs more than fat. It's just impossible for a pound of muscle to weigh more than a pound of fat. Muscle is actually much denser than fat so occupies much less space! As I only have a fairly small amount of weight left to lose (5lbs), I may well find, now that I've introduced weight training again that the numbers of the scales go up! It is likely that I'll see a change in my body shape though over time and my clothes will start to fit differently.

Eating well - never my strong point - has been OK this week, but just OK. 

There's been wine, there's been chocolate, there has been skipping lunch, but there has also been some balanced meals including lots of fruit and vegetables. Life has got to stay enjoyable after all!

17 May 2015

Am I being unfair, or am I teaching a valuable lesson?

As a work at home Mum, I'm constantly having an internal fight with myself to do my 'work' and 'Mum' jobs better than I do.

I wish I played, crafted, baked more frequently with my children. I wish I could clear my emails a lot quicker than I do. It's a constant battle to split my time and get the right balance. 

My role has shifted a lot since becoming a Mummy in 2011. I used to spend a lot of time out and about teaching and assessing, meeting and training our aspiring fitness instructors, however my time now is spent doing, what I tell my husband, are the 'important jobs'. Basically all the admin and office-based jobs....

I am very lucky to be able to have a home-based office, so as well as doing my job, I can also conduct (juggle) my new career as Mummy at the same time! 

At almost 4, Harry is really starting to observe and analyse everything around him. He will remember things from weeks or even months ago that I had deleted from my mind. 

As much as it pains me, there are times when I need to set him up with an activity while I work. I have to explain why we can't go to the park just yet, or why he has to just wait before I can get the paints out. It really grates on me when I have to do this, but if I don't work, we don't get paid!

I am starting to notice that he is beginning to appreciate that we have to earn money in order to pay for food, go to nice places, buy toys... etc.! 

A valuable lesson to learn, but has it gone too far at his young age?....

He said to me last week....

"Mummy, can I have an office in my room?"

This question stopped me in my tracks. 

I'm used to hearing, "Mummy can I have this toy?" or "Mummy can I have another bag of chocolate buttons?", but "Mummy, can I have an office?"!!

Is this an unhealthy request from a 3 year old? 

Or should I be proud? 

Is he developing a work ethic at 3 years old? 

Or have I just neglected his needs as a child?  

Does he just want to do what I do?..........God, is this how he sees me?

I'm still a little confused about how to interpret this question but I'm more likely reading too much into it!

I did end up putting one of our desks in his room and he does love it. I do feel proud of him.

He sits there quietly with his A4 100gsm inkjet paper, his notepad and his crayons, and designs treasure maps, practices writing his name, produces pictures that I'm starting to see actually resemble something. He often asks me to write some names down for him so he can try and write them underneath.

With the start of Primary School looming, just 1 month after his fourth birthday, he's got a lot of hard work ahead of him and I'd like to think that I've helped him prepare for this.

Ultimately, I think we have both been learning a valuable lesson recently..... 

Harry, to appreciate the value of hard work and the rewards that come with it.

Me, to spend less time working and more time playing!

Do you feel you have the right work/Mum balance?

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

16 May 2015

Happy Days - 16/5/15

I'm linking up with Katy at What Katy Said and Jenna at TinyFootSteps for the #HappyDaysLinky!

Out and About
We had a lovely picnic at Attingham Park in Shrewsbury today. We had two tired out children after so it was a success! Harry clearly rode his bike around the park and Sophie had a good run around.

Fun at Home
I have a climber! Anything she can clamber herself onto, she will! I think she thought she could fit in this toy pushchair!

Time for Me
Thursday night was my monthly dinner out with one of my best friends. I own Mummy Movers with Laura and we run pre- and postnatal fitness classes in Telford and Stafford. We try to have a non-work catch up once a month!

My Happiest Moment
My happiest moments this week were totally not family related! A new gym has opened in the golf club opposite our house and I have been LOVING it. In the past I've taught up to 13 fitness classes per week, but since starting our own business in 2009, this reduced to 5 per week. After having Harry, I launched two Mummy Movers per week but still managed to sustain 3 evening Bokwa classes. Ever since having Sophie last year I haven't been able to return to my evening classes. My evenings now are our family time.

Having this gym just across the road is the answer to my prayers. Here's to getting back to finding me again.

Next Week I Would Like To.... 
Get to the gym four times.
Do something crafty or bake something with Harry.
Try to enjoy turning 32 on Wednesday! :) 


1.....2.....3...... Jump!

Running in Lavender