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{The Ordinary Moments 14} #35 'A Not So Ordinary Evening.'

on Sunday, 21 September 2014.

This past week has been a little bit of a funny one in our household.  Our house has quite literally been turned upside down as we are in the process of having our bathroom renovated.  While this is incredibly exciting, I have been waiting to be able to afford to do it since we moved in five years ago, it also has caused havoc to our routine.  The week has passed me by in a blur of dirt, mess, builders and grumpy children who haven't been able to nap due to noise.

Therefore I haven't been able to even contemplate taking any photos for my ordinary moments post this week, my mind has been completely elsewhere.  Therefore I am slightly cheating and sharing some photos that are actually anything but ordinary.  Oops.

On Friday I headed up to London for the Mad Blog Awards.  For anyone who doesn't know what they are, they are a rather swanky awards celebrating parent blogs in the UK.  I couldn't believe it when a few months ago I found out I was a finalist in two awards, Best Baby Blog and Best Blog Photography.  

I met up with my good friends Morgana and Jenny who I was sharing a room with, and we had some lunch and spent some relaxing time chatting, getting ready and drinking birthday prosecco.  We also had a gatecrasher in the form of Katie, who writes one of my favourite blogs, so it was lovely to have some time to chat to her.  The afternoon whizzed by and soon we were in our dresses ready to head down to the awards.

I can't possibly name everyone who I met and saw but it was a fantastic evening, meeting new bloggers and chatting to old friends.  The awards were being hosted by Dr Ranj from CBeebies, something which Mads was utterly excited about.  The Best Baby Blog category was the second award of the evening, and I know that everyone says this but I truly didn't expect to win this year, therefore I was gobsmacked to hear my name called out.

I was shaking really badly as I headed up to the stage and I think I may have uttered the most terrible speech ever, speaking far too quickly and with my voice breaking on a couple of occasions.  I used to have to speak and do presentations in front of lots of people for my work all the time, but for some reason I just clam up when it comes to my blog- I think it is because it means so much to me.  I was so nervous.  The rest of the awards passed in a blur, with some incredibly worthy winners including some of my favourites My Two Mums, Little Button Diaries, lovely Fritha and Actually Mummy.  I didn't win the photography category, but my good friend Lucy was a very deserving and talented winner. 

We were actually quite tame (some of us were anyway Katie who broke the world record for the amount of sweets you can fit down a pretty dress) and didn't drink too much, but it was a late night, with the night ending with myself, Morgana and Jenny eating pizza at 2.30am in our huge big bed!    Waking up in the morning, my timeline was full of tweets congratulating me- thank you to anyone who took the time to do that and to who voted for me in the first place, it really does mean a lot.

I am honestly over the moon to have won an award, especially as the other finalists were all so fantastic.  We all care so much about our blogs, and to get a little recognition for your hard work out of a community of amazingly talented people, is just such a special feeling.  For a long time I haven't told friends or family that I blog, although a few have found out, but I really am starting to feel proud of my little online space.  More than that though, every time I go to an event, I feel so lucky to be able to call myself a blogger and to have met some such incredible people through writing about my little ladies.  

 

I only had my iPhone on me, but here are some photos.  They are a little blurry as the light was SO bad...

 

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 Beautiful Jenny in our huge room!

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Gorgeous ladies at lunch, it was lovely to be able to spend some quality time with Morgana and Jenny.

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All dressed up.

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 I was sat on a table with two other winners- Fritha and Tom.

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Jenny and I with Dr Ranj!

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Some lovely ladies- Fritha, Lori, Bex, Kirsty, Becky and Lucy.

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Katie, Morgana, Jenny, Sarah and Suzanne.

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2.30am pizza- always a good idea.

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A yummy omlette and waffle brunch with Morgana, Jenny and Katrina.

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Yippeee so chuffed and amazed!

 

A Lovely Week At Center Parcs...

on Wednesday, 17 September 2014.

Last week we went on a little week long break to Center Parcs with our good friends Lucy and her family.  After having a lovely long weekend trip last year we decided to add an extra night this year.  I was really looking forward to it, but was prepared for it to be a little hectic, with four young children in a pretty small villa.

It turns out it was the perfect week.  The children were all so well behaved, thoroughly enjoying each others company and making us smile with just how cute they were with one another.  Yes it was hectic, but we also got some relaxing time in the evenings when they all went to bed.  Lucy and I managed a spa evening which was just bliss, while our husbands cemented their bromance by two nights out.  

We all loved swimming, last year Mads was a bit unsure in the water but this year with swimming lessons and lots of trips to the pool this Summer, she was a changed girl, jumping in and splashing about without us holding her.  LL is also a little fish, loving all the slides and generally being more of a daredevil than her big sister.  I loved watching them in the amazing Center Parcs pools.

It's so lovely to be able to find a family to go on holiday with who have similar aged children, whenever we go away with Lucy and her family it just seems to work so well and we did genuinely have a great time- I felt so sad to come home on Friday with so much washing and cleaning to do.  It almost feels like this little break signals the end of our Summer.

Head over to Lucy's blog too as she has posted a video of our adventures too.  We were going to do a joint one but us and technology don't mix clearly!

Here is a snippet into our week through photos and a video...

 

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I love this photo capturing my girlies cuddling- they really are that affectionate with each other, although they do fight nowadays too!

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Her little Toy Story characters come with her everywhere, she loves them.

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It is compulsory when you are little to share a bath with your friends.

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It is also compulsory for your Mummy to take photos of you to make you laugh when you are older.

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These two were absolutely adorable together and we often found them cuddling up on the sofa.

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Her hair is so long and unruly, and she absolutely hates having it brushed but I couldn't bear to cut it.

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Whereas this little one is getting exactly the same curls as her sister.  I do love my little curly mop heads.

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Too much cuteness.

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These two are looking so alike nowadays, and their bond is growing stronger every day.  Although she's still a Mummy's girl.

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Two peas in a pod.

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The Roberts.

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Weeeeeee.

 

A little video of our adventures.... Roll on next year!

 

'My Fitness Mission'- August.

on Monday, 15 September 2014.

Seeing as we are nearly half way through September I thought it was about time that I wrote how I got on with my fitness mission for August.  I can't believe that I have stuck to exercise and (relatively) healthy eating for eight months now.  I still get a fair few emails and messages saying I have inspired people to take up running, and I still can't believe that anyone would actually find me inspiring- I have never kept up regular exercise before now.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it really has changed my life.  I have bad days, or bad weeks, and I have phases where I feel really unmotivated, but it is like it is a part of me now, and I don't think I will ever go back to being unactive again.  


Exercise

 

The main thing that happened to me exercise wise this month was that I ran and completed my first ever half marathon.  A HALF MARATHON.  I cannot actually believe it.  On the 17th August I ran 13.1 miles round the local area where I grew up alongside 437 other runners.  I hadn't done that much training before hand in the form of long runs, bar two 10 mile runs a couple of weeks before, so to say I was nervous was an understatement.  I wanted to run it in under two hours, but due to the fact that the course was quite hilly and I hadn't prepared properly in terms of fuelling, I wasn't holding out much hope.  However my official time was 1:58:36 which I was so unbelievably happy with.

It was so tough and there were points in the last mile where I honestly didn't think I could carry on, but I did it in the end.  My wonderful husband saw me in the last quarter of a mile and could see I was struggling and because he knew I wanted to get in under two hours, he ran the last quarter of a mile with me.  It sounds cheesy, but it was just so kind and supportive and I don't think I would have done it without him.

I learnt a few things from doing my first half marathon.  First is that crossing the finish line is such an incredible feeling, and now I know what people talk about when they say you get a runners high.  The second is that throughout the race I said I wouldn't do it again, yet as soon as I crossed the line I was already thinking about the next one.  And thirdly, I really need to train more and learn more about fuelling, I didn't experiment with any gels before hand and therefore was reluctant to take them during the race, and by the end I was really weak.  Overall it was an amazing experience though and I have another one to complete in October.

Other than that my fitness wasn't that exciting in August.  I ran probably once or twice a week, mainly 5k runs as they are the easiest to fit into my busy life.  I have still been doing my kettlebells in the evening, only for about ten minutes about twice a week, but I definitely have got something resembling abs trying to poke through my wobbly tummy!

 

Food

 

I think I am always going to struggle a little with food.  After being really good at losing the initial weight, slowly month by month I have started to let more treats and 'bad' things creep back into my diet.  I think the fact we have been away a lot over the Summer has meant it has been hard to resist meals out and sweet snacks.  I haven't been great in August, but yet at the same time, I no longer need to lose weight, just maintain the weight I am at now and I need to remember that.  I don't believe in denying myself treats, life is too short, but I definitely need to get back into more of a healthy routine again.

We are still being pretty good with evening meals, eating relatively healthily and not eating such big portions, but I do find that when we have sweet treats in the house I cannot help but eat them.  For years I couldn't stand banana but because they are so good for you I have been eating them in the morning with greek yoghurt and honey- it's a delicious breakfast and keeps me full until lunchtime.  For lunch I will have chicken in a wholemeal sandwich thin (they are great) with either some fruit and either wholegrain crisps or some popcorn.  We are pretty boring when it comes to our evening meals, but they are usually pretty healthy bar fajitas once a week (my weakness- I usually eat four!) and the occasionaly family pizza night.  I still am terrible with drinking water so I really need to work on this, diet coke is still my biggest weakness.

 

Overall

 

I just measured my waist and I thought I would have put on some weight after a month of not being as careful about what I eat, but in actual fact I am exactly the same, meaning that overall I have lost 6.5 inches from around my tummy area since I started my fitness mission in January.  My tummy is still a little wobbly and the bottom area still is a little rounded , especially in the evening when I am bloated from the day.  I think I will always have this though due to the fact my skin stretched and my abs separated so much during pregnancy.  I am loving that I am starting to see ab muscles in the top half of my stomach though and this is definitely from kettlebells and running.

Unfortunately when I lose weight, the first place I lose it are my boobs and bum, and so I definitely need to do exercises to make my bottom more pert.  Overall though I am happy with the fact that I am maintaining my new shape, yet also not letting it take over my life.  I think I have hopefully found the perfect balance.

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It poured down with rain before my half marathon which just added to my nerves.

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Yay first ever half marathon completed in 1 hour 58 minutes, and a shiny medal to keep.

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What did we do before we instagrammed our food?  If you haven't tried the Pizza Express Superfood Salad you must immediately- so healthy and good for you!

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And the not quite so healthy.  We went to The Breakfast Club for brunch and I may have eaten both of these.  Oops. 

 

(You can check out the rest of my fitness posts here)

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #34 'Friendship'

on Sunday, 14 September 2014.

I have never really had a 'best friend'.  I had my closest friend growing up at school, but also was in a little friendship group of four other girls, each of us as close as the other.  Then at university, I had a little group of special people, who I lived with and spent an amazing three years with.  Since I was twenty one I have had my husband as the best friend in my life, we were close friends for two years before we got together and I don't really remember a time in my life when he wasn't in it.

I have moved around a lot, living in Cambridgeshire, Leeds, London and back to Cambridgeshire in my adult life.  As such I have made friends in all of these different places.  I am still especially close to my uni friends, and I am still in touch with my school friends, but being in different places means we don't see each other as much as we would like too.  I tend to live 'in the moment' meaning that I am constantly in touch with my 'baby' friends who live near me and who I met through having Mads, but sometimes I realise I need to make more of an effort to see my oldest friends too.  That said, whenever we do see each other, it's like we saw each other yesterday, which to me is a sign of a true friendship.

One thing I didn't bargain for when I started blogging, was making friends online.  To me, online friendships were a bit strange, not something I could have ever imagined doing.  Although I wrote my blog and chatted to people I didn't know on social media, I wasn't one of those 'weirdos' who met up with people online.  Fast forward and three years later, I class my 'online' friends as some of my closest ones.  I speak to them most days, and there's a few select ladies who probably know more about me than some of my oldest ones.  I meet up with different people regularly at blogging events.

One thing I definitely couldn't have imagined was that we would make such amazing family friends.  I  think finding friends who you can socialise with as a couple are quite rare, it always tends to be that one of you is closer to them than the other.  This isn't a bad thing, but I do think it's often the case.  And then I think finding friends who have the same family dynamic as you is even harder- we have close friends who don't have children, or who have older children, and this often makes days out or weekends away not quite the same.

When I first started talking to Lucy on my blog three years ago I had no idea we would become such good friends, and I definitely didn't think that we would all become so close.  But ever since our families met at a blogging event, we just seem to have clicked and I would go as far to say they are definitely the closest friends we have.  Our children are very similar ages and love to spend time with each other, our husbands have a quite freaky bromance going on, and when we are with them it just works.  We have a great time together (mainly as we all have a sarcastic sense of humour!) and as we don't live too far away from each other, we tend to meet up relatively reguarly.

This past week has been spent at Center Parcs (another post on that soon!) where we spent a lovely few days with the Roberts family.  It was hectic, with four children running loose, but it was full of happy times, laughing until we nearly cried, and lots and lots of banter.  Our children couldn't have been cuter together, our husband's were actually probably more sad to leave each other than we were, and we just had a fantastic time.  It's our third little break away together (check out here and here) and I definitely think it has become a yearly tradition.  

It's lovely to think I have blogging to thank for bringing a friendship into our lives that I know will last far beyond my blog.  And that in years to come we can look back at our little spaces on the internet and smile at all we got up to.

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