{The Ordinary Moments 15} #2 'Logic will take you from A to B, Imagination will take you Everywhere.'

on Sunday, 11 January 2015.

'Logic will take you from A to B.  Imagination will take you Everywhere.'

Albert Einstein

As a parent I beat myself up a lot and I question myself as a mother.  Most nights I lie in bed and I think, I should have done more with the girls today, or I should have put my phone down a little more, or I shouldn't have lost my patience over something so small.  I know I am a good Mum but sometimes I worry I am not the best Mum I can be.  Perhaps they have watched too much television that day, or I gave them too much chocolate or I didn't pay them enough attention- I often feel a lot of guilt.  I think that is inevitable sometimes as a parent.  

I'm not a 'crafty' Mum. I think I can count on one hand the amount of times we have painted in the four years Mads has been here.  Don't get me wrong, we do it every now and again, but our dining table is quite small and on carpet and I just hate the mess it makes for about ten minutes of playing. If I am being deeply honest though, I could put a plastic sheet down, but I just would rather do it at play groups or let them do it at nursery.  We occasionally play with Play Dough because Mads absolutely loves it, but again I do it with reluctance as it always manages to find it's way onto the carpet.  We don't do other crafts much and I don't think I have ever made anything from an egg box.

I am not a teaching Mum.  Of course I teach them every day- I teach them manners, I teach them life skills and I teach them right from wrong.  I am helping them learn and shaping them into who they are going to be.  What I mean is I don't often sit down and really teach Mads curriculum based things- we do practice writing, or letters, or sums, but I don't spend ages teaching her.  I always forget my phonics and I need teaching in them myself!  I don't need her to be a genius and she isn't particularly advanced for her age, apart from in her speech, but she's doing just fine and is a bright little girl.  She's well loved at nursery and is turning out to be quiet the comedienne.

But when I am feeling a little down or guilty about what I have or haven't done that day then I remember what I am good at.  And that's fueling their imaginations.  I love to help encourage my girls minds.  Just this week we have been police officers, nurses and knights.  I have been a dragon that has been captured on the floor with a knight and a princess lying on top of me, I have been given endless cups of tea, and had to eat wooden pizza which was a little too hot from the oven at least 60 times.  I spent an hour shouting 'Ladies and Gentleman please welcome Harry and Zayn from One Direction' over and over again, while two little people ran on to the stage and shaked and danced while 'singing' into a microphone.  I immerse my girls into a world of make believe.  It's an ordinary part of our life and it's definitely an everyday occurance.

Which brings me to my 'Ordinary Moment' for this week.  One of the favourite presents I got our girls for Christmas were some story stones.  I randomly found them by chance when I was looking for inspiration for their stockings and I just fell in love with them.  Such a simple idea, just painted stones with a colourful picture each side, but I knew that the girls would think they were great.  They are little magpies, they love to collect 'treasures' and I more often than not find buttons, little bits of plastic and random stones in bags, pockets and under pillows.

We use the stones to create stories and to encourage their imaginations.  The sad man might go and fly a kite with a mouse and then become happy, so he drinks a drink of juice and then goes in a plane to find his baby.  I let Mads completely make up the stories and I absolutely love hearing her create these scenarios and tales in her head.  They definitely were such a brilliant present and I am currently waiting for another set to arrive that I bought with some of their Christmas money. 

I absolutely love to see my girl's imaginations grow and flourish.  It's a tiny little bit of make believe in our ordinary day to day lives.






It was absolutely amazing to see so many people link up to the 1st Ordinary Moments of 2015 last week- thank you to everyone who linked up.  As you read this I am currently doing something very unordinary as my little family are in the sunshine on holiday, so the lovely Donna over at What the Redhead Said is going to host the Ordinary Moments for me this week.  Head over to her to link up and I will make sure I visit them all when I get home.  And as always please try and comment on a few if you can as the whole point of linkies is to spread the blog love!  Do check back later in the week as people add to it all week, not just Sunday.  :)



NB: I paid for the Story Stones and the lady who I bought them off doesn't know I am writing about them- I just wanted to share them because they really are a lovely gift.)

A Year Of Fitness...

on Wednesday, 07 January 2015.

On January 1st last year I set myself a challenge.  To lose weight, get healthier and improve my fitness levels.  I was stuck in a rut- eating unhealthily, not doing any exercise at all, and generally not feeling particularly nice about myself.  I have never been overweight, but I had a spare tyre round my waist and I just didn't feel nice in clothes at all.  I had got to the point where I wasn't making any effort with my appearance, I don't remember the last time I bought any clothes and even when I did I still felt unconfident.  We had got into a habit of eating a lot of rubbish, we would eat chocolate, ice cream or desserts every evening, I would eat paninis and chips when I was out with friends at soft play and I would pile my plate high with food in the evening, my appetite even surpassing my husbands.

Until this year I have never ever stuck at a fitness plan or done any regular exercise.  Even at school, I was never really sporty and preferred to hide in our common room and paint my nails than go and do netball and hockey.  At university and in my early 20's I lost count of the amount of times I joined a gym only to go twice and then never return.  I just didn't have the motivation to do it.  But on the 1st January 2014 something inside me made me decide to start a fitness mission.  And this time for whatever reason it was different.

I took a photo of myself on January 1st 2014 as motivation to see if I could see any results and that photo still makes me feel really sad.  It's not like I am particularly overweight but I just look unhealthy- it can definitely only be described as a spare tyre round my middle.  I started off in January joining a gym with my sister.  We went a few times, but I don't know what it is but I just don't feel 100% comfortable at the gym.  So instead we went for a run one evening.  And bizzarely I absolutely loved it. I downloaded the Nike Running app and loved getting an instant result as to how far and fast I was running.  I started off running just half a mile, then a mile then setting myself a goal to work up to three. Then five.  Then a little bit more.  And even though it was winter and freezing, I still did it.  Eventually I cancelled the gym membership and just carried on with my running.  I started off going three to four times a week, just short distances and I loved beating my times and the way it motivated me.


(Photos from March)

The next thing was my stomach area.  I had two large 9lb babies, both by c-section and my core was just incredibly weak.  My tummy stuck out like I was about 12 weeks pregnant.  After some research online I found out I had a diastasis recti, which basically is separation of the ab muscles after pregnancy.  I did a simple exercise which I found online and found that my separation was about 4-5 cm, not the worst ever but certainly something that needed improving.  So I set about doing exercises to try and strenghten my core.  The worst thing you can do for ab separation is things like sit up's as they can make it worse, so I researched online and did simple exercises twice or three times a week at first to strengthen them.  It took quite a while but after about six months I started to notice a difference.  Now, it's not perfect, its about 1-2 cm so I still have a bit of a bulge and gap but it is a lot better than it was.

In terms of food, to begin with I really watched what I ate.  I cut down on all chocolate and sweet things and ate a lot healthier in the evening.  But the main thing I did was eat smaller portions.  Instead of a greasy panini and chips for lunch I would have a jacket potato or beans on toast (baked beans- best thing ever in terms of being tasty and low in fat!)  I measured myself at the end of each month and was excited to actually see some results for the first time ever, with my greatest loss in weight in the first month.  It was definitely addictive.  I began signing up to running races in the future as a motivator, with a 10k race in the June, a half marathon in the August and another half marathon in the October.  I also used my husband's kettlebells for a few minutes once or twice a week too.

After losing the initial weight I started to relax a little.  I had sweet treats, still ate chocolate a few times a week, and ate the things I enjoyed, I just ate them in moderation and if I knew I was going out for dinner and wanted to eat lots, then I would make sure I had a healthy meal the night before.  We went on holiday to Rhodes in June and I ate so much for the week, but I also got up early three times and went to our hotel gym.  I completed my first half marathon in August, something which I was incredibly proud of and then I did another one in October too.  I got a little bit lazy in writing my fitness mission posts each month, but I still made sure I stuck to it, although I wasn't as strict as I was before.  Nowadays I run about once or twice a week, mainly because it is so cold at the moment and I am really busy with my freelance work.  

great eastern run2

I definitely go through stages where I am really motivated and then weeks when I am not so much.  However in the whole year the longest I haven't run has only been about a period of two and a half weeks which has been recently over Christmas.  I also have been eating out a lot and of course eating all the festive food, so I have put on a few pounds and lost some definition in my stomach muscles- it is so easy to get out of the habit, but the weight I am at now is actually the most comfortable for me.  It is a struggle to get out the door sometimes but towards the end of the year, I stopped trying to get faster and began running with a good friend of mine, it's great as in the Winter even though I am not going as fast as I normally would, I am chatting and enjoying each run.  The start of the year was all about me beating my personal bests whereas the end of the year I have just been running to keep fit.

I am still eating fairly healthily but I do still eat even a small sweet treat most days, even if that is just a chocolate biscuit, a couple of pieces of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream.  I find if I cut it out completely then I end up wanting it so much more so I think it's best to eat in moderation.  I started the year drinking a lot of water, but over the last few months I have got terrible, I barely even drink a glass a day and I have started drinking even more diet coke than I used to- I really need to try and cut down, while I won't be able to stop drinking it completely, if I can drink more water then I won't feel so guilty about drinking it.  I am useless at drinking water so this is something I really need to try and improve on.


My results of my fitness mission after a whole year are...

Weight Loss- 2 stone exactly (although I have added about 4 pounds over Christmas)

Inches Lost- 7 inches from around my waist.

Running achivements- 2 half marathons, 1 10k race.  My fastest half marathon time is 1.51.  


a year of fitness

Here is a before and after photo to compare.


So what do I want for 2015?  Well I have got a little lazy the last few months and so I want to try and get more motivated again.  I want to run at least twice a week, back in the summer I managed to get quite good tummy muscles, so I want to work hard on doing exercises at home to work on that as it is still the part of me that I feel most self conscious about.  I have a wobbly bit of excess skin at the bottom from where I had my two c-sections and I know I won't be able to get rid of that, but I would like to tone up a little more.  Also where I have lost weight I now literally have no bottom, so I would like to try and tone and firm that a little more- the only problem is I literally cannot stand squats which I believe is the best way to do that.  I don't need to lose anymore weight but I want to maintain the weight I am now.

Running wise, I have signed up to two more half marathons- one in March and one in October, but I want to look and try and do a couple more as well.  I did something crazy and signed up to the full Brighton Marathon which is in April, but I am now wondering whether to defer it until 2016.  I just feel like I am not in the right place to try and run a 26 mile race- I am busier than ever with work and I want to enjoy these last few months before Mads goes to school.  Also we have a fair few exciting things booked because we are trying to get them in before she goes to school in September, so I just worry I won't be able to commit to training for it.  I almost feel like I am cheating myself by not doing it, but I will still make sure I do lots of other races instead, and hopefully I can do that one in 2016.  It's just such a commitment and I don't feel ready for it to be honest.

I am going to drink more water as well and try and cut down on diet coke, and try and perhaps get back into the frame of mind of not eating too much rubbish as I have definitely got worse and into bad habits again over the last few months.  That said, fitness and this way of thinking is a way of life for me now so I don't worry that I will completely fall of the wagon.  Above all I am incredibly, incredibly proud of myself for sticking at my fitness mission for this year, it has changed my life and I hope that I will continue in 2015!


NB: This is just my own personal fitness journey- I have no idea if it's the way you should do things, but it's how I managed to lose weight and get fitter.  I am not an expert and don't really have a clue what I am doing but I wanted to share my year of fitness in case it helps or inspires anyone else.  




You can see all my fitness posts from the last year below-

My First Half Marathon.

My Fitness Mission- July. 

 My Fitness Mission- June.

My Fitness Mission- May.

Some Questions About Running.

My Fitness Mission- April.

My Fitness Mission- March.

Run, Run, Run.

My Fitness Mission- February.

My Fitness Mission- January.




Three Christmases- Our Christmas 2014.

on Monday, 05 January 2015.

I know, I know it's January and people are sick of Christmas by now.  The tree has been taken down, the new toys have all their found new places in the home, and people are thinking about Easter, at least they are if the Easter egg adverts that are already on television will have you believe.  But I wanted to take a moment to reflect on our Christmas 2014.  

We ended up having three Christmases this year- one with my Mum and that side of the family, one with Mr E's side and one with my Dad and his side.  We aren't a large family by any means- although different members of the family popped in to say hello, but I am lucky enough to have all four of my Grandparents still around.  This, coupled with the fact that my parents are divorced, means that we end up having a lot of different celebrations which of course is most welcome.  The girls don't actually receive a lot of gifts from any one person, but inevitably with three sets of Grandparents, an Aunt, an Uncle, two step Aunties, two sets of Great Grandparents and some very close family friends, it does end up that they receive some truly lovely gifts.

As we have Mads birthday on Christmas Eve, it does end up that the girls are pretty hyper and tired on Christmas Day, but all in all we had a lovely time with my Mum's side of the family.  We started off the celebrations with a Christmas Eve party at my Mum and Stepdad's house, where our close family friends came over.  This has become a annual tradition and is pretty much my favourite part due to the anticipation. We stayed at my Mum's house for the night, before heading to my Grandparents house after a lazy Christmas morning in our PJ's.  This year we came home to our house to sleep and had a quiet evening just myself and Mr E, which was actually quite welcome after the madness of tired, hyper children all day.  Then we headed off to Manchester early on Boxing Day morning.  We had a great, relaxing time up there, having another 'Christmas' on Boxing Day itself and a quiet lunch out on the 27th, before it was back home on the 28th for our third and final Christmas at my Dads.

We have really enjoyed some quality family time, after all that is exactly what it's all about for me, and we have all thoroughly switched off which was exactly what was needed.  No one checked their emails, phones or social media for a good few days (apart from the odd instagram photo- you can't just abandon instagram!) and Mr E didn't go back to work until the 5th which was just lovely.  We relaxed and enjoyed each other's company and I actually prefer the period between Christmas and New Year the most- the pace of life just slows down a little yet you are still in the throes of the holiday season.

Here is our Christmas in photos and a little video...



Hooray he has been.  We put their main presents they have asked for from Father Christmas in their stocking, plus a couple of little bits too, which I know is a little different to others, it's just the way my Mum always used to do it.  It does mean Father Christmas gets all the glory though- this year he bought Mads a big Buzz which she was after for absolutely ages.

christmas 2014 b

Emptying their stockings.  LL didn't really know what was going on and was most interested in the Peppa Pig bubbles that came in hers.

christmas 2014 c

Matching Christmas PJ's with my sister and a cringey staged photo.  Awkward.  Sorry for putting this on the internet Anna.


I loved the girls beautiful Poppy England dresses they were wearing- here they are having a little dance while we were waiting for everyone to come outside to go to my Grandmas.


Such a pretty light- we were so lucky with the weather over Christmas as the sun shined the whole time even though it was freezing.


Still dancing.


Curly, mop heads.  Their hair is so frustrating to brush as it gets so tangled but I couldn't bear to cut it.


When I was younger, even as young as about 12, I was always allowed one Babycham only on Christmas Day.  I wouldn't allow my girls to drink alcohol at that age but it was different then.  My Grandpa got me some babycham to relive the good old days- I love it still!


I love a good brussel sprout and it's the rules that even though Mr E doesn't like them he has to have two- my Grandma checks to make sure he has them on his plate. ;) 


Most of us don't like Christmas pudding so my Mum always gets this amazing Malteaser cheesecake from a local deli- it's absolutely delicious.


Christmas tree lights.


Boxing Day was spent at Mr E's Mum's with his side of the family.  I love this photo of LL and her Baa as she really does take him everywhere with her.


All of a sudden she is just looking so grown up.


Our third and final Christmas was back in Cambridgeshire with my Dad.  


I love this photo of my terrible twosome.


We always take (and treasure) some photos with my Grandparents- my Grandpa is 92 and my Nana is 89.


Here is a little video of our 'three Christmases'...


{The Ordinary Moments 15} #1 'Family Days'.

on Sunday, 04 January 2015.

Christmas has been and gone, we have welcomed 2015 with a quiet evening on the sofa and a bottle of fizz, and the slightly gloomy month of January is upon us.  Christmas was wonderfully hectic and busy (I have a post coming up this week before we want to forget about it for another year!) and we rushed around seeing different members of our family and celebrating. 

However the highlight of our festive season wasn't the big day itself or indeed Boxing Day or New Year's Day either.  Of course these were lovely and slightly intense in good measure, I loved my girl's happy smiles as they opened their presents and I loved spending time with the people I love most.  But the time I have treasured and enjoyed the most is the quiet days.  Those days where we haven't done anything much at all.

Mr E has had a lovely long break from work and actually doesn't return to the office until tomorrow.  Normally when he has this long off, it's because we are going on holiday or doing something, we rarely have time off in the house just pottering about.  After the hecticness of Christmas we hibernated for a few days.  We spent almost a whole day tidying and giving the house a clean, finding toys new homes, playing with all the girls new bits and pieces and just generally getting sorted for a New Year.

We have done odd jobs, nipped into town here and there, had coffee with Grandma, and spent lots of time snuggling on the sofa watching new films under a blanket.  It's been just what we needed- a chance to spend some quality time together without constantly 'doing' something or being 'busy'.  Yesterday we headed into Cambridge to do some shopping, take some Christmas gifts back that were the wrong size and generally have a browse.

While we were there we decided to have an impromptu lunch out.  We went to one of our favourite bars, Mr E and I had a burger each with sweet potato wedges and Mads and LL had their favourite pizza, with a big fudge sundae for pudding.  It was just a simple morning out, but I love going into Cambridge with my little family.  As long as we go somewhere where the girls like the food, they love going to restaurants and are generally well behaved, so I really enjoy eating out as a family.

I've relished these simple days with my three favourite people and I will be sad to go back to normality.  Mr E always seems to end up using his holiday work days on holidays, days out or long weekends away, but we have both decided he should try and book some time off to just be at home this year.  


Some iPhone photos of our little lunch out...

lunch jan 15 c

Love eating out with these three.

lunch jan 15

Myself and my littlest lady.

lunch jan 15 a

So so excited to see ice cream!

lunch jan 15 b

I wish her mouth opened this wide for vegetables!



I can't believe it's the first week of January and time for the first 'ordinary moments' of 2015.  I am so glad I started doing this little project- it's just nice to record those moments I might otherwise forget.  It was so lovely seeing everyone else's posts throughout last year and if you haven't joined in before then it really is simple...


{the ordinary moments}

'The simple things in life are often the sweetest. While the fancy days out, weekends away or holidays are fun, it's the ordinary moments I will miss when my children are all grown up. The snuggling in bed reading a story. The giggles as they run around my overgrown garden with the grass that desperately needs a cut. Even the naughty ones. The ones we all have.

Just a photo (or photos) from your week. The simple. The exciting. The imperfect. The Ordinary Moments.'

I post every Sunday and that's when the linky opens but you can link up any time during the week.  You can join specially every week or join in with a random one off post if you have something you want to share. It can be one photo, lots of photos, no words or lots of words, there are no rules!  You can find out all the other details and see my 2014 posts here.  If you do link up, it would be lovely if you could visit a couple of the other blogs, the only reason for these linkies is to share the blog love with others!

I'm looking forward to another year of documenting those moments I don't want to forget.

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