Category Archives: Other

Ain’t Giving Up, I’m Going to Tell the World, Got to Make it Show!

Reaching my 50th birthday and having my 50 challenges was a brilliant goal to have. I have to say that since completing, I feel I have lost my way a bit. As I said in my last post of the challenge, I thought it would be a great to set myself a challenge for each year. I am still very keen with my cooking and am enjoying finding new recipes. Haven’t quite managed to do one a week but hopefully will catch up.

I did finish the year with a foot injury which set me back in my exercising. I first had a pain in my foot after a run on 29th April. It was a day when I was doing one of my challenges; bake a cake you haven’t baked before. This meant I was standing on my feet a lot so I didn’t rest it. The next couple of days I did and thought I did enough but unfortunately it wasn’t. I carried on walking and did take part on my 10k run. I finally gave in after my holiday, started driving to work, didn’t got to Zumba and my Fitbit challenges suffered. I did find that the more I rested, the tougher it was to get going. After three weeks the foot did start feeling better so I slowly started building up and managed a Zumba class. Surprisingly, I did find the more I exercised, the foot did feel better.

There were, or should have been some advantages. I had more time as I was driving to work so I was getting home earlier giving me time to do more work. Didn’t always happen! I did start doing Aquafit as it wasn’t so tough on my foot. I am now looking at a swimming membership at my local pool. Amazing as I am not keen on swimming at all. Probably a lot more disadvantages though. My fitness levels dropped; my appetite didn’t. Jeans do not fit. Motivation is at an all time low. Time to change all this NOW.

One area I have started on, and am planning to continue with is making 30 day goals using the ideas set out by Stuart Ralph in A Better You In 30 Days. I read this in April and started getting up early which helped me complete my challenges. I actually carried this on further than the 30 days and even though I haven’t necessarily been consistent since coming back off holiday, the days I do get up early, I find I am more productive. I am definitely going to try to get back into this one. My goal now is to set a different challenge each month and I am pleased to report that I started in July and have (in a slightly odd way) managed to keep to it. Here are my challenges to get me through to the end of the year:

July – To not buy chocolate or crisps

This was set to spur me on with helping me eating healthy. We have a local shop which is too close. It means we can just nip over and buy naughty food. Unfortunately have replaced chocolate with chocolate biscuits which defeats the object and they do have very nice Belgian buns. I am hoping that I will continue with this challenge though, ditch the chocolate biscuits as tea really does taste better without them and perhaps learn to have crisps as a once a week treat. I have not missed them but I do love crisps.

August – Choose an exercise DVD

I am slowly getting back into regular exercise so I need to start my morning routine. Jeans must fit me by September. I’m not quite ready to run again; this is a September goal but not a challenge. On my 50th birthday, I was very proud of having a flat stomach. Age is blamed on a lot of elements and I will not succumb to the fact that my stomach is not flat due to my age. The simple fact is I have eaten far too much. A lady that would certainly tell me this is the American personal trainer, Jillian Michaels so I am planning on doing her 30 day shred. She will be telling me if I want a stomach like her girls, I will have to work for it and to imagine going jean shopping. I AM going to look good in my bikini again! I am planning on getting up early again, starting this on the 31 July and having a rest day on Sundays. I will do a very long walk as an alternative.


50 and trim
Getting ready to be shredded!

September – Dry September

Although I don’t drink a lot, I am going to not drink at all in September. I will hopefully find a non alcoholic drink that I can enjoy all the time. If I manage to get Chris to join me on this one, I will donate £5 each week to my cash for kids page.

Nil in September

October – Clean and organise house

On holiday last year (on my 50th birthday holiday), I purchased a book called 30 days to have a clean and organised house. I think October will be the best time to read this and put it into action. I have neglected my resolution to declutter every Saturday but am planning to start this again. I so love decluttering!

November – Write a short story

This might be a tough one. I wrote my short story for my challenges and loved it. I got my motivation for writing a story by reading A Better You in 30 Days. The author made me believe I could do anything I wanted. As someone who reads a lot and dreams a lot, I had many ideas for writing a story. On a walk or a run, my mind is constantly buzzing. I like surprises in the books I read but still having the clues there. There are a few books I would love to read again so I can pick up the clues with me knowing the ending. Hopefully I will be able to succeed in writing something along those lines.

December – Make time for family and friends

I hate it when people say they haven’t seen me because they haven’t had the time. To me that is absolutely rubbish. What they really mean is they didn’t want to see me. I really try my best to avoid saying those words although I don’t actually tell people that I don’t won’t to see them. Give me a few years and I won’t care; I will tell them! My plan for December is to make sure I find that extra time to phone a friend, visit a relative or invite someone round for coffee. Hopefully it will carry on throughout the next year. After all, family and friends aren’t just for Christmas.


Making these plans will hopefully get my mojo back, get me back into the jeans and make me a better person.

It’s been a cold, cold winter

This is my last happy post of February. Whilst I can’t say January was unhappy (work was certainly less hectic than last year), February has been a lovely month.

My little girl turned 21 and she wanted a day in Brighton. Well in contrast to our beautiful day there in September, it was freezing. Even in my duffle coat, I was shivering but that never puts us off our family days in Brighton; I forced the kids to eat fish and chips on the pier in Brighton in the pouring rain for my birthday one year. We really do have some great memories of the place.

As Kathryn had taken so long opening her presents,( she only had time to eat a very nice panna cotta made by Aaron, her boyfriend), first stop for us all was lunch. We headed to the Lanes (I love this place) and enjoyed tapas in a lovely Spanish restaurant. Certainly warmed us up.

Apart from eating, what can you do in Brighton in the cold. Well you look in all the shops. I found the perfect sauté pan, found my perfect bag (I will share later!), bought my smiley faces biscuit cutters (make me very happy) and bought my frame for challenge number 14 – frame a photograph you have always wanted to. Very successful shopping trip for me.

My kids might be classed as grown ups but I did have trouble dragging them away from the Lego store. In the end, talk of food coaxed them away. Kathryn introduced us to Choccywoccydoodah, a shop that sells hand-made chocolate and cakes. They are located in The Lanes. We made our way up to their Bar Du Chocolat, which is their cafe selling drinks and delicious cakes. We decided to try one of their hot chocolates which was delicious.

Kathryn and Aaron were staying in Brighton for the night so Jordan and I made our way home, and after enjoying a lovely day, we were looking forward to our warm home.

After a happy February, I am looking forward to getting back to business and completing my challenges!

Walk like a man (fly like a bird)

Today is my little boy’s birthday. Well, not so little; Jordan is 24 today. Probably not as excited about his birthday as he used to be but he is still home to celebrate with us.

I did get to spend a lovely Saturday with him last week. For Christmas, he had bought me tickets to see the Jersey Boys so we were off to see that. It had been Jordan’s first week back in London in a new job so he met me at Victoria. He was keen to show me his skills with getting around the city.

The day, February 18th, was glorious which was a big contrast to our previous day out on the 9th February which I will share with you later.

After a lovely lunch in a restaurant we found by exploring down a lane, we walked down Regent Street towards Oxford Street admiring all the big shops. On our way back towards the theatre, Jordan did have to consult google maps so he is not so hot on getting about when cutting through the little lanes. We did pass Carnaby Street which I must go back to.

Jersey Boys first opened in London in 2008 in Prince Edward theatre and moved to Piccadilly Theatre in 2014. The final performance is on 28th March. The 2nd national tour has started so the show is hopefully continuing in our local theatres.

Jordan had bought very good tickets in the stalls although they were right in the middle so we had to climb over everyone who had not had a problem finding their way to the theatre! It did mean that we decided to give interval ice-cream a miss.

Jersey Boys is the story of how the Four Seasons were formed and takes you from their downtown beginnings in New Jersey to finding success with their wonderful voices. We learn that The Four Seasons wasn’t their first name, the line up changed many times and whilst finding fame, the competition was tough.

The show was amazing and the cast was fantastic. I did enjoy learning the story about The Four Seasons and recognised all the songs. Whilst I would have heard the songs through my mum’s old record collection (I am sure she had many), my greatest memory of Frankie Valli was singing the title song of Grease and Beauty School Drop Out. Grease is actually one of my favourite top 10 films so very memorable. With so many shows I would like to see, I am going to be a bit picky about shows I see for the 2nd time. Jersey Boys is one I would go to see again because it was an interesting story with great songs.

Whilst we have a great time, Jordan did miss out on flying. He is learning to fly at moment and it is a hobby which is weather dependent. Unfortunately yesterday was too windy for flying so fingers crossed next week he will be able to fly and perhaps go solo (trying not to think about that).

Thank you so much, Jordan, for my Christmas present and have a great birthday.

Can’t Buy Me Happiness

Monday 13th February was a happy day for me and one that made me appreciate all I have with no money spent.

After a very cold weekend, Monday was glorious. I walk 2 miles to work and sometimes I am faster than the traffic. It was surprisingly quiet on the walk in.

Work is something we have to do to earn the money to live. I would actually prefer to be home doing all the things I love to do but needs must, and I don’t actually mind it really. A few more holidays might be good though. The walk home was pretty amazing though. It was such a contrast to Friday which was freezing. It made me look forward to the summer.

I have to point out that I’m not one of those people who hate winter. I get a bit grumpy if I have to take the car to work because it’s raining but let’s face it, that can happen in June too. A dark, winter’s evening when all of the family are in is okay in my books. The sunshine on Monday did make me happy though and it did make the afternoon a bit longer enabling me to go out on a run. Exercise does release those endorphins that make you feel so good. Walking back to the house, I felt as if I was in a warm country when dusk falls. There were lots of people walking dogs. Winter was forgotten for a while.

The evening was spent with one of my favourite activities, baking. I had bought some happy faces biscuit cutters and decided to try jammy dodgers. Biscuits isn’t something I specialise in but I was keen to give them a try. As mad as it sounds, I got quite excited when pressing the shapes out. I was even more excited when I had put the layers together with butter cream and jam.

I went to bed feeling very happy and to make it even better, the bed had freshly laundered bedding on. Bliss.

I will share some of my happy days in February in the next week with contrasts in the weather.

She’s just a girl, she’s on fire

Happy 21st birthday to you, Kathryn, my beautiful daughter.

First of all, I must apologise for the title of this blog post; I know that this song isn’t a particular favourite but reading the meaning of the words sums up you. It is about new beginnings and to be on fire is about finding your inner strength and to take control of who you are. This is the bit I like the most:

To live your passion and shine your light unabashedly!!

As you start each stage of your life; different schools, college, university, career etc, you adapt to these circumstances but you have remained the same passionate girl who tries hard to achieve the best she can be. Coming last will not be an option for you.

As you reach 21, I can look back and remember my baby Kathryn and remember all the lovely memories. Even as a baby, you were keen to be first with a very loud scream. I think you just loved to be cuddled.

You were two when we first went to the pantomime after a visit to Santa on the Watercress Line. You were dressed in a deep red coat with a beret and an older gentleman remarked how pretty you looked. You did look amazing. That day started your love of theatre, nice clothes although wearing a coat doesn’t seem to come into the equation and being able to be bought drinks from pensioners!

A little after that, we took you on a plane for the first time. On landing, you covered your head with your favourite blanky! Blankies were your comforter and went everywhere with you.

When you started school, it was strange how you could spell so well. The other children would try to challenge you with finding a word that you might not be able to spell but I don’t think they succeeded. On to junior school, and the headmistress often said you were “quietly confident”. That perfectly summed you up and you did manage to surprise everyone by coming second in your first cross country. That wasn’t good enough for you though and first place was yours the following year.

School and college became harder but you did rise to the challenge and succeeded in gaining your place at University. The last few years have flown by and you will soon be entering the workplace. You will take that in your stride too.

The competitive Kathryn is amusing to watch especially the victims. Why is it the male species even think they should voice their opinions that they are the better in certain sports so you will never beat them. They are often taken down a peg or two by you!

You have always made lots of friends and as you are kind, generous and loyal, you have kept them. Can prove a bit of a problem when you return home and try to fit in seeing everyone. As well as dedication to your friends, I must not forget your love for McFly.

Whilst parents would love to take most of the credit for how their children “turn out”, we do have to accept that our children make their own choices and that whilst we can guide them, we have to allow them be the wonderful people they are. Can I ask for credit for two things; your love of reading which can also be shared with the lovely lady from the library who read to you in story time. I do miss our bedtime reads. The other is you being able to make the best Victoria sponges for your friends’ birthdays. Baking with you, Jordan and even your friends was a lovely experience.

Kathryn baking

Watching you grow up has been wonderful; you are an inspiration to me even with the challenges!


Have a wonderful 21st birthday in one of our favourite places.

I’ve been to the year 2016 and now I’m going to party like it’s 2017

Well not exactly party but I now have to work very hard to complete my challenges. Do I have doubts; I do but 2017 is going to start as I mean to go on – my glass will always be half full.

My 2016 started very well – or so I thought for me anyway. I felt positive, was happy in my job and I was loving life. I even shifted a few lbs that I wanted to lose. Sometimes things happen that become totally out of your control and it can be very hard to take the knocks and bounce back. This did happen in the first half of the year but although there were lots of days I wanted to crawl under that duvet, I bounced off the bed and got on with my life. My memories of 2016 are full of the positive things and some great achievements. Definitely these challenges have given me a lot to enjoy and be proud of.

My greatest achievement

Has to be running 10 miles in the Great South Run. Who knows I may do this again.

Funniest moments – more than 1!

  1. Trip to Fuerteventura – the trip back to Lanzarote on the ferry was a bit rocky. Funny watching the crew running round with sick bags. Okay I know I can say that because we were okay and enjoyed an ice cream when we got back!
  2. Making Viennese Whirls with Jordan. Great achievement but it was amusing watching Jordan doing some of the preparation!
  3. Learning how to skip – who would have thought that something I could do so easily as a child could be so hard
  4. Trying to sit back-to-back with Kathryn, putting our feed down and pushing back until we both stand up – there is a video of this – maybe I will share sometime!

Favourite Days out with the kids

Jordan – trip to London. We had a great day wandering around and going on the cable cars. A beautiful sunny day too.
Kathryn – On another beautiful day, we visited Brighton, a favourite place for me and the kids. Enjoyed seeing Brighton from the BA i360 and having our photos taken

Favourite Music this year

Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop the Feeling. This song is the song I think of when I remember the Great South Run. Inspired me at the beginning and is a favourite when running although I do have to be careful I don’t dance and clap my hands.

Craig David and Sigala – Ain’t Giving Up. I just loved this record. On listening to the words, it does sum up my year.

George Michael – December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas). This song used to be my ringtone at Christmas until I changed phones. After hearing it on a shopping trip before Christmas, I realised it was missing from my music collection. I kept hearing it after that and it is truly a beautiful song. It is now on my iPod and I will not be losing it again.

I have enjoyed my challenges so far. It is certainly making my 50th birthday last and I can’t wait to share more completed challenges with you.

One of the challenges I have found more challenging than I thought it would be was reading a different book in a genre I would normally. I love reading and some I have chosen have been tough. For January, I have decided to pick a book (this might lead to more than one) as a reference book to help goals. In the past, I have downloaded a few of this type and get fed up with them but thought I would buy one and give it my best shot. I have gone for one called 50 New Year’s Resolutions – How to Make Them, How to Keep Them. I don’t normally make resolutions, just goals and not normally at the beginning of the year. Hopefully this will help me complete my challenges. Will share later.

Happy New Year.

Jar of Pennies

In January this year, I saw a post on Facebook which suggested you put money away every day ,starting with 1p on 1st January and increasing by a penny a day, in a jar for a year and you would end up with £667.95. I thought that I would give this a go. The cynics out there would suggest that you could do this by simply putting £15 in a savings account each week but this is more fun.

I started in January and it became evident that the jar I first used was not going to be big enough so Jordan replaced it for me to quite a snazzy one.



Chris and I decided that the contents of the jar could be used as a deposit for the holiday. It was great to have a plan for it and then in September we decided to book a holiday for December. Although we needed to pay for it before the jar would be finished, I felt smug actually going into the bank with my money knowing that I had actually saved for this holiday daily.

It set me thinking that this could be a yearly tradition but I didn’t necessarily need to start the saving in January so restarted in October so hopefully can have another holiday the same time next year.


We went to Gran Canaria on 2 December for a week and it was fantastic. Getting away at the beginning of a busy season away from the cold is bliss even if it feels funny listening to I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas in temperatures of 23 degrees.