Friday, 2 January 2015

New Year's resolutions

It's that time of year again when we all feel we should commit ourselves to some sort of life changing resolution, bettering ourselves and abandoning the bad habits that held us back from blissful happiness and extraordinary achievement in the previous year.

On the 1st of January last year I had nothing in the way of resolutions. Loathed to come up with a new list of the usual suspects; lose weight, drink less, excercise more, I thought sod it! No resolutions. That's my New Years resolution! 

Basking in the freedom enjoyed by commitment phobes the world over, I was powering through January evenings one glass of wine at a time...ok maybe 2 glasses on some evenings. The cold evenings and dark mornings did not tempt me out for a run or even the short journey to the gym. By April I was blaming an easter chocolate fest for the fact that my body was not summer or (God forbid) beach ready. Alas, more wine was consumed. Right through the summer, accompanied by much sucking in.

This year I'm genuinely committed to being better and doing better. I want a better relationship with alcohol and fitness. I want to de-clutter or revive 3 areas of the house. My wardrobe, the porch and my toddler's room will all receive the Anthea Turner treatment. Pinterest here I come!
The challenge however, is not in coming up with resolutions, it's in keeping them. So why have my previous attempts ended in before the finish line? I think it's all down to 2 simple facts: 

• The goal was epic and therefore felt unachievable even before I had a go

• I failed to define how I would achieve my goal

Taking weight loss as an example, I knew I needed to lose a stone, so that was the goal but I hadn't given sufficient thought as to how. I thought I could go to the gym two or three times a week and cut down on my sugar in take. My under - developed plan didn't work ofcourse. I believe this was because not having thought things through, I somehow forgot that wine consumption is a factor and if actual weight loss is to be achieved perhaps more than a couple of gym sessions a week would help. I would also lose interest because there were no short term goals to spur me on on bad days. I didn't do a weekly weigh in, I didn't measure inch loss, I didn't know how many calories were burnt per work out session. If I knew all this stuff and took the opportunity to review and evaluate my progress I may have been more keen to outdo myself or atleast achieve as much I did during the last work out.

So as I set my New Year's resolutions for 2015, I plan to have achievable goals with weekly or monthly milestones and progress checks to keep me on track and maintain interest. I do this with hope that I can confidently tick these off over the next 11 months. My resolution for 2015 are:

1. Lose a stone

2. De-clutter my wardrobe 

3. Give the porch a makeover 

4. Re - arrange my toddlers room

What are your New Years resolutions? How will you stop yourself giving up and how will you maintain motivation?

Saturday, 6 December 2014

My Christmas Wish list

Every year, hubby attempts to be organised by asking me in November, what I'd like for Christmas. I always give the same response - "I'll think about it". Fast forward a few weeks and I'm still thinking about it. By now he's bought something and this year I'm really hoping it's one of the following;

1. Mac KeepSakes Smokey face palette.£42.00 from

2. No! No! Plus Hair Removal System - now let's be honest, if this really materialised from beneath the Primark wrapping paper, I think I might be a little offended. Nevertheless, it makes my wish list. £173.99 from Boots

3. Anthea Turners book - "How to be the Perfect Housewife".
I really really want this book, but perhaps not from my other half. Too close to home. I'll make this a present to myself from where used copies start at £0.01 but new copies a rather elusive and expensive. Expect to pay upwards of £20


4. Heeled Tan Ankle boots to pair with skinny jeans and just about anything. This pair from Dune would be great! Currently £77.00 (reduced from £129.00) from

5. Michael Kors Rose gold earrings. Who doesn't want a bit of bling at Christmas? These are priced at £79.00 at House of Fraser

6. A Sports watch 
The day I thought I lost my watch in the gym changing rooms I was overcome with guilt for being so careless. I realised then that I could really do with an everyday watch. One that I could wear for mum duty and the gym without worrying too much about scuffs and scrapes or even the loss thereof. So this is the one I'm dreaming of.

7. A robot vacuum cleaner - yes really! Those things are amazing. Their invention an indicator that we really have arrived in the future. However, I'd hate for anyone to think they were gifting me and not the household with this domestic godsend. This little beauty from Samsung is priced at £800

8. Converse tracksuit - as the winter months roll on I've been finding leggings a bit boring for post school run gym sessions. I like to have my gym kit on then go straight to the gym after I've done the school drop off, but I need an alternative to my running leggings. And these converse joggers from Next (£42.00) fit the bill quite nicely.


9. As for stocking fillers, Ed Sheeran's new album X or "Multiply" would really make my day! I could listen to Ed all day.

What's on your Christmas wish list?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

9 Reasons to Appreciate Stay At Home Mums

There seems to be such a lot being said of SAHMs in our society, a lot of it pretty negative. All this 'talk' prompted me to think about the benefits SAHMs actually bring to society. If it's not accusations of SAHMs allowing their brains to become as soft as "over cooked spaghetti" (thanks Lowri Turner), it's the assumptions they are all addicted to Day time TV ( Jeremy Kyle seems to feature quite frequently) and coffee mornings.


In a small effort to redress the balance, here are 9 reasons to appreciate a SAHM

1. They call the fire brigade on an empty house letting off smoke (a true story - I honestly did call the fire brigade, turns out is was a real fire, brought under control just in time)

2. On the return journey from the school run (the journey to school is far too stressful to stop for anything), they actually read notices of missing pets taking note to look out for them. 

3. They drop in on an elderly person providing much needed company.

4. They organise school Christmas fairs and other fund raising initiatives, raising money to improve school facilities and therefore improving the community's schools.


5. They are the class reps who remind you about own clothes day or that cake sale.

6. They are regular users of local businesses. SAHM's are more likely to take a trip to the local butchers, then the bakery next door and that old clichè - the coffee shop. All this before the Tesco delivery arrives and just in time to turn the slow cooker off

7. SAHMs help make neighbourhoods communities. Since joining the ranks of  school goers, our family's world has really opened up in an unexpected way. Meeting other local families with similar interests means we are exploring our local facilities more. We are looking out for each other's families and really want to make our community a great place to live.

8. They are the unofficial neighbourhood watch - because they are home at "odd" times, SAHMs will soon spot undesirable situations in and around the community and report or question things which may otherwise go unnoticed.

9. They are neighbourly - from taking in deliveries during the day to moving your wheelly bins off the public pavement or walk way - SAHMs look out for their neighbours.

So you see it's not just coffee mornings and Jeremy Kyle for company. SAHMs are not just good for their own children and their immediate families, they do infact have a wider impact on their community, and dare I say, society.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

To Luxuriate – A mother’s Poem

Today I will luxuriate in a softly lit room accompanied by my thoughts

Today I will luxuriate as someone else takes the strain of vacuum cleaning under a sofa. The very sofa on which I must luxuriate

Today I will luxuriate in the company of Grazia magazine. Today I will read it back to back

Today I will luxuriate in the temporary absence of my darling children.

Today I will luxuriate in the cleanliness of my home, a cleanliness enhanced by soft playing classical music 

Today I will luxuriate, if but for one hour, I will luxuriate

Thursday, 6 November 2014


I've just discovered #wickedwedneday thanks to @brummymummyof2, a mum blogger I'm following on twitter. 

If I understand the #wickedwednesday rules correctly, I'm supposed to post a brief blog entry accompanied by a picture of some humorous or interesting recent occurrence in my capacity as parent. So here goes....

That my friends, was Wednesday's lunch. I have a feeling Pink did not approve...?

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Are We All Perfect Parents?

I recently read a great article on the parenting website I thoroughly enjoyed reading about various things parents feel guilty about and took comfort in many of the "not guilty" verdicts determined by the author Georgia James. The article, titled "Drop the Parental guilt (you're doing a brilliant job)", got me thinking about whether we are all "doing a brilliant job" as parents. As pleased as I was to be relieved of some parental guilt, I grew afraid that we can't all be "doing a brilliant job". 


With stories in the news about British children having milk teeth extracted due to irreversible damage and rot, and others starting school in nappies or barely able to recognise numbers or letters, we can't all be "doing a brilliant job", can we?,

Most parents try their utmost to provide the very best for their offspring, whilst dealing with the constraits of time, money and resources. But there are those few in our society who for a variety of reasons, just aren't trying. The parents who don't know any better or those who do know but can't be bothered. 

The fact is parenting is a tough gig, which is rarely without guilt. Those who are trying are rightly aspiring to be better parents and raise well adjusted children who we steer towards independence, happiness and the right attitude. We arm them with the advantages of education, culture, social skills and seek to refine their skills and talents.

Conversely there are parents, living in a "first world" country who simply aren't aspiring, trying or even taking advantage of so many tools and resources at their disposal. I have met parents who have never been to a (free) antenatal class because they don't see the point in having a medical professional tell them they'll have a baby in a few months. I also know of those whose children are consistently bribed or rewarded with sweet treats despite the parents knowledge that sweets are bad for teeth and general health. I know too of those who allow their children everything they ask for (because it's easier) yet can never satisfy them.

I do spare a thought for those who simply don't know that feeding their child ready meals on a regular basis is not good for their health; those who don't have time to read to their child every night; and those living on a budget so tight that any suggestion that they save some money for some cultural experience next summer would be met with laughter. Not because they don't value a cultural experience for their family, but because it's simply unrealistic for them to set aside money for future use when there are so many demands on their money right now.

Ofcourse the majority of parents are "doing a brilliant job". That's why Britain  continues to produce world class scientists, artists and sportsmen and women. But, sadly not all parents are striving for the very best they could provide. And that parenting style, which we lable "bad parenting" or "poor parenting" can only lead to one conclusion: no, we are not all "doing a brilliant job", but so many of us are trying, sacrificing, sweating and stressing for one of the most worthy of causes - our children.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Savvy Half Term - how we did it for (nearly) free

The cost of half term can add up so easily. From parents having to use annual leave to spend time at home with young children, to forking out even more than usual to make the most of this time together and entertain said children, the half term budget can grow beyond reasonable. So here are some savvy ideas for having a great time and spending next to nothing.

1. Visit a Museum or two.

Many museums offer free entry, charging fees for specific exhibitions or events. However, there's a lot to keep children (and adults) occupied without the fee paying events. Prepare a packed lunch or picnic cutting out the cost of dining out.

2. Visit a Shopping centre.

No, not for the shopping. Larger shopping centres often have half term events on. Some of these are free of charge. We recently saw Ben & Holly at a  shopping centre nearby, for free and were back home in time for lunch so spent nothing apart from the cost of petrol.

3. Visit your local park. 
The park is always a big hit in our family, and weather permitting, a picnic lunch follows on nicely. There's often a bit of bread left over for the ducks and bikes and scooters see some action.

4. Have a toy overhaul.
Spend sometime going though old toys, or as they are known in my household, clutter. Weed out and agree what can be given away to "other children who don't  have many toys". It is surprising how generous even young children can be if you explain the reason for giving with the above rationale. We took some old toys to a charity shop after an entire morning of examining, reminiscing, playing with and bagging old toys.

5. Have an Arts and Crafts day.

I often find the term "arts and crafts" a bit daunting as I imagine it means making amazing structures or knitting an entire blanket that an actual human could use. In reality, and certainly in my household ,it just means cutting pictures out of old magazines or catalogues (great for creating a Christmas wish list), practicing writing and drawing, and working on our home made rocket which happens to be Blue's half term homework. By the way I find a little classical music in the background gets the creative juices going and aids concentration.

What's on your list of low cost or free half term activities? 

Have you got any savvy half term tips to share?