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I’m a girl of comfort these days and realised late in the spring I was missing something in my life, my trusty converse trainers!  I hunted high and low for my favourite pair of comfy casual converse, the ones I had for years, perfect for the school run and weekends, but to no avail. I knew they were pretty tatty and old, all dusty from the beach and scuffed from walks, so Thought I’d treat myself to a new pair! I couldn’t go all summer without a pair after all!

So I started trawling the Internet for ‘Converse trainers’ to see what came up in the search engine.  Lots of places sell Converse I soon realised and I was faced with plenty of choice and varying prices. I even looked on EBay but the prices were still a bit more than I wanted to pay.

I had been planning to buy a pair of Sketchers originally, as I’d visited a store with my mum recently and felt in ore of all the bright gorgeous styles. But I couldn’t quite step away from the idea of my trusty Converse and I knew I couldn’t afford both. Stick to what you know as they say!

The budget I had in mind was about £30, but the styles of Converse I liked were all around the £50-£60 mark, nearly double my budget! Typical! I wanted something a bit different, with a summery pattern. I added the word ‘sale’ to my internet search and lots of clothing and shoe companies came up as having Converse trainers in their sales. I spent ages trawling through to find the perfect style as they just had to be right. Then I came across these lovely beauties via Office, which specialise in shoes.

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Perfect! Just the type of style I wanted for summer, available in my size and half price too! I couldn’t have been more pleased. So I placed my order there and then! For some reason I hadnt thought of going to the Office  site direct to look for Converse trainers, so it was worth shopping around a bit.

The trainers arrived really quickly, within just a couple of days. I was very excited as I tried them on and discovered they fit like a glove! They were even more gorgeous in the flesh and I’ve basically worn them since! I love them because they’re a bit different. I didn’t want all white, but was looking for a design that was quite light and summery. The tiny roses dotted all over the white canvas trainer were just perfect, so delicate and pretty.

I’ve been getting a lot of positive comments about my new converse. ‘Where did you get those?’ ‘Really, is that all you paid?’ ‘Wow, love your converse’ etc. And guess what? I found my old faithful converse in the end, in the boot of my car! So Ive got a spare pair now! The great thing about Converse is they never go out of fashion and they go perfectly with jeans and a t-shirt or equally a floaty dress in the summer.

It was worth the hard work to get the perfect converse trainers for me, but what if you could have some of that hard work done for you? Not a personal shopper, but pretty close! A website where you could see all sales and offers in one place? A one stop shop taking you straight to all the current sales? Sounds useful huh?!

lovethesales.com is a website which finds all UK sales and puts them all in one place for you to browse at your leisure, without flicking from one brand website to another. Check out their website here: https://www.lovethesales.com/And the link to the Office sale on their website is right here: www.lovethesales.com/office-sale you never know you might find something lovely just like I did!

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As you may have read I had a umbilical hernia repair in March. This is something I have been putting off for a while, as I knew it would put me out for a fair while. This included no lifting (nightmare with a toddler) and no running (boo) for 6 weeks and a slow gradual recovery. You can read more about my hernia experience here ‘Why I’m putting my feet up’

When I reached 3 weeks post op I was keen to investigate what exercise I was capable of, I was getting itchy feet! So I contacted my gym instructor who booked me in for an appointment. I wasn’t referred for any physio and the general advice from the consultant was basically don’t do anything for 6 weeks, so I was unsure what I could do. When I met my gym instructor (who is amazing) she said my fitness rehabilitation would be similar to anyone recovering after a c-section, so this post may be of interest to those who have recently had a c-section and are interested in getting back in to exercise.

I must say at this point that this post is not professional advice but my story of what I am doing to regain my fitness post op. Please always seek advice from your GP and a qualified fitness instructor who has experience of this sort of recovery, like I have. I’m lucky my gym instructor is very experienced and knows what she’s talking about, I couldn’t have done any of this without her.

The plan 

My gym instructor is planning different gym programmes for weeks 3-6 and 6 weeks plus.  As the weeks post op progress I will be given more challenging exercises to do and my work out intensity will be increased slowly. Eventually I will be stronger enough to return to running, which I am very keen to do! On top of my hernia repair, I got runners knee after my last 10k so I have to be sensible about what I do and not rush in to anything that will cause long term damage. So no 10k’s for a while and my 2016 half marathon goal is delayed for now. One step at a time…! (Excuse the pun!)

What I definitely can’t do

The exercises that are strictly not allowed until the 6 week post op point are;

  • running (treadmill or road/trail)
  • lifting heavy weights
  • Lunges
  • squats
  • The plank
  • Sit ups (no abs at all)
  • high intensity aerobics
  • Anything where your having to use your tummy muscles basically!

What I can do

I was surprised about how much I actually could do at the end of week 3.  I really surprised myself as I hadn’t done any exercise for nearly 4 weeks! Everything is low level and slower than I’m used to, but I have to start light and work myself up to where I was before. It will take time and patience.

My Fitness Plan for weeks 3-6 post op:

Number if sessions per week: 2-3

Level: Levels on all machines were set as low, generally somewhere between level 2-4 and set on a ‘random’ setting.

Workout length: Approx 50 mins

  • Mobility exercises to warm up for a couple of mins, including gentle jogging on the spot, circling arms and rolling shoulders
  • 10 minutes warm up on the bike
  • Tricep dips (3 X sets of 10 using a bench)
  • Knee lifts (3 X sets of 10 or less depending)
  • 10 minutes on the stepper
  • 10 minutes on the cross trainer
  • 5 minutes cool down on the treadmill (fast walking pace)
  • stretches as normal (I always spend at least 10 minutes stretching)

As usual I’m finding it difficult to fit all the sessions in, but feel I’ve made a good start! I can run soon too which will be great! It will be lovely being able to run in the evenings during the summer and I can slowly build my distance up again.

Id be interested to hear about others experiences of exercising post op – do let me know how you got on and what advice you have!

Looking forward to getting these babies on again…

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This recipe was given to me by a friend when I was after a recipe for a syrup sponge.  My son had said how yummy his syrup sponge was at school and I wanted to surprise him by making my own. It was a good excuse to make a pudding too! I think the original recipe is one of James Martin’s but my friend found it on Facebook. The only difference I’ve made is that Ive put syrup at the bottom of the dish instead of poured over after its cooked, although we did pour some extra over too! I know I always say it, but this recipe is so easy! You can prep it and cook it in just 15 minutes.

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Preperation time: 10 minutes

Baking time: 5 minutes

What I used: 

4oz caster sugar

5oz Plain flour

4oz butter (melted)

1 tsp baking powder

2 x eggs

Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

Golden syrup (as much as you want!)

A pudding bowl (medium size although it doesn’t really matter)

What I did:

  • Firstly I put the butter in a saucepan on a low heat to melt gradually.
  • Then I put the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a bowl and mixed well.
  • When the butter was melted I added this to the dry ingredients along with the eggs and lemon juice and mixed well until smooth.
  • In a pudding bowl I squirted a good amount of golden syrup in to bottom (About 4 x tablespoons or more!).
  • Then I poured the pudding mixture on top.
  • I covered the bowl with cling film which I pierced a couple of times and this was microwaved on high for 5 minutes.

This pudding is now an all round favourite and went down a storm with my family! You can serve with custard, ice cream or cream. We had extra syrup with ours!

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Cuddle Fairy
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Today I realised something that has started yo worry me slightly. As I sat there finishing writing a blog post I noticed my son had joined me at the table with his Leap pad. My son is 6 soon and apart from the rare occasion when he’s played a CBeebies game on my iPad, he’s never bothered much with digital devices or computer games. He’s always been a bit telly obsessed, but has never bothered about phones or iPads or anything similar. That was until recently. Now, is it an age thing? Or am I influencing his like of digital? I am a blogger after all!

My son got a Leap pad for Christmas (from us) but it remained at the bottom of the drawer until recently, as he just wasn’t interested. Mainly because he struggled with it and then the batteries ran out, so there it stayed in the drawer for a while. Then yesterday he asked for it and then moaned because he couldn’t use it as we needed to get some new batteries. I’m not sure why he wanted to use it so much. So we put some new batteries in and he used it on and of all day. So I now ask myself, should I be limiting the time he spends on it? Of course I should! This is something I didn’t think I would have to face for quite a while! May e when he was say 12!

After a day of him using I found myself already telling him ‘just 5 minutes more, then it’s going away!’. Luckily he wasn’t too upset about that and obliged quite easily. He got really good at the games and knowing how to work the leap pad, starting from not having a clue and needing my help. Even my little girl ran off with the thing to try and have a go! She wants to do everything her big brother does!

Im already aware that I spend a lot of time on my iPad, but I do try not to use it in front of the kids. My iPhone use is far worse though, as I’m always taking photos and having a sneaky look at Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! My iPhone is a bit like a third arm at times, so what does this mean for my kids? My mum asked me the other day ‘when will you allow Joshua to get a mobile phone or iPad?’ Not because she thinks he should have one but just asking if I’d thought about it as it worries he too. I said ‘don’t be ridiculous not for years yet!’. But his leap pad is like an iPad and he even calls it an iPad!

Sometimes I think it’s the generation (blimey I do sound old now!) mobile phones only came out when I was about 13-15. I remember my first one, a Nokia, it was the size of a brick! I thought it was bloody amazing! But we are along way from that now, digital devices are everywhere and have a big impact on people’s lives. I mean, who doesn’t have a smart phone?! At school they have a class laptop (in class one) where the children have to sign themselves in and say what they want for lunch, which he is quite comfortable with.  After a while he started asking daddy if he could type his name using his laptop, which on occasion we’ve let him and he really enjoys that.

So what now? Should I worry? Am I being too strict? Should I stop using my phone so much? Digital free days perhaps? How much should I let my son use his leap pad? So many questions all of a sudden. It’s niaive to think my son wont want to use computers, phones, tablets, etc., but when and what is acceptable and do I even have any control? More trips to the beach I think….

What is your experience with your kids? And what’s your advice?

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Cuddle Fairy

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At times its felt like Spring has been getting through as we’ve managed to catch some great weather during the last few weeks. Yet at other times it’s been feeling so cold and wet like autumn all over again. Oh how I long for a long spell of sun and warmth! I can’t really complain though, as we’ve managed the beach and the moors this month, we love being outdoors!

1. Paddling in the sea! Who would have thought given some of the awful weather we’ve been having, that the kids would be paddling in the sea! We had a wonderful afternoon at Milbay one of the beaches near us with my sister in law and kiddies. The kids all stripped down to their undies and ran around on the sand and ran in and out of the sea. I got some fab photos, one of my favourites below. Can’t wait for more days on the beach like this as the weather slowly improves (hopefully!).

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2. Sport relief mile. I was so proud the whole family joined in with sport relief to raise some money for a wonderful cause. My hubby, son (5) and daughter (23 months) all ran 1 mile and I ran 6 miles. It was so cold, a million miles away from our day on the beach (above). I knew it would be my last run before my operation, so I was so proud to have made the 6 miles. All together we raised £55 for Sport relief. It was lovely to see my son enjoy running, hopefully it will be something he continues and my daughter made a good effort in too, even if she did get carried some of the way!

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3. My operation. I wouldn’t say this was a highlight, but it has been an eye opener! I had an umbilical hernia repair, quite minor surgery, in March. The recovery has been so much harder than I ever could have imagined and I had a bit of a bumpy ride. It’s been so hard not being able to look after the children like I normally do. Strictly no lifting for 6 weeks will be a challenge with my toddler! You can read more about my hernia experience in this post Why I’m putting my feet up

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4. Easter! Easter coincided with my op this year so I was more reliant on hubby to play the Easter bunny role! I’m normally out in the garden at night all weathers hiding the eggs, but it was hubby’s turn this year. I did manage to arrange the egg baskets and hide some eggs around the house though. The kids loved coming downstairs on Easter Sunday to find the Easter bunny had visited and left them their Easter baskets. So cute. My little boy ate far too much chocolate though and woke up being sick in the night! Poor hubby had to deal with it (shame that) and my son is now put off chocolate! I’m sure he’ll regain his love for it soon enough!

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5. Family Easter dinners. It was great to catch up with all the family over Easter weekend, although I probably could have done with a quieter one! The kids as usual loved being together and playing. The adults enjoyed some great food, thanks to my mother in law, aunts and mum. We even managed an Easter egg hunt or two I between the march showers, which the kids loved (below). They got more chocolate than anyone could ever need or want. In fact I’m still getting through it now (!) and even thrown some of it away. The kids haven’t even noticed! Wish I could get it to the children refugees in France somehow.

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6. Ladies that lunch! My lovely mum came and took me and the little lady out for lunch a few days after my op and Easter, whilst my hubby took my son for some boy time at Woodlands. It was nice and relaxing and I even managed a little walk in the meadow which my daughter really enjoyed. The weather wasn’t too bad either! My mums helped me so much whilst I’ve been recovering and taken the kids and I out so we’re not stuck in (I haven’t been able to drive) bless her. My mum is amazing.

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7. Proud work moment. I attended a work award ceremony this month with my colleague who had been nominated for an award. She was nominated for the nom-clinical individual award, for her contribution to supporting the health service. I was so proud to accompany her and then watch her get awarded in her category! So proud of her, it was well over due and so well deserved! We enjoyed a lovely meal and a couple of drinks too!

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8. Dartmoor walk & picnic. We met our lovely friends for day out on Dartmoor for a walk and picnic. We were so lucky with the weather, it was dry and the sun came out! We walked a goof few miles across the moor alongside a river (this was pre op of course!) and found a lovely spot to enjoy our picnic. It was great to see my son running around, picking up sticks and clambering across the rocks. My little lady did manage to fall in to some cow poo with beloved teddy, so teddy (actually a rabbit) had its first wash in 2 years that evening! That was interesting!

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9. Mummy & daughter time. At the beginning of the month my daughter and I had a morning out just the two of us. It was such a lovely morning and we had nothing planned, so I thought, right that’s it we’re going to the beach! So I packed us some snacks and warm clothes and off we went. We are lucky there are beaches just 10 mins drive away so we can pop there any time. Although the sun was out, it was quite chilly and we sat on the beach cuddled in eating our snack! Afterwards we went for a walk in some woods that are just behind the beach and looked at the wonderful views across the beach.

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10. Family and Daddy time. It’s always lovely when we all get to spend some time together as a family! We went to a garden centre for a bite to eat and then went for a walk along the river and around the meadow. Again , the weather was on our side and we managed a lovely walk. I really did try to cram in as much walking as possible before my op! The kids love it when daddy and I are both with them. It’s so important to spend quality time together.

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I have used this recipe a couple of times recently to entertain the kids this Easter. It’s a really simple recipe and quick to bake so perfect for inpatient kids! I usually weigh out the ingredients myself first as my kids are pretty impatient and the fun bit for them is rolling out the dough and cutting out the shapes. These biscuits are best eaten fresh from the oven/same day, they never last long in our house anyway!

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Prep time: 5 mins

Baking time: 6-8 mins

What I used:

This recipe makes approx 20 biscuits depending on the size biscuits you make/cutters you use.

8oz flour (I’ve used both plain & self raising)

4oz soft brown sugar

6oz butter

1 x tsp cinnamon

1 x tsp vanilla essence

A drop of milk

What I did:

  • Turned the oven to 180c.
  • I creamed together the butter and sugar first. This bit is the bit the kids don’t like as it takes a bit of elbow grease and as usual I do it by hand with a wooden spoon and not an electric mixer!
  • Then I added the flour and cinnamon and stirred the mixture together. Unlike cakes where the mixture is quite wet, biscuit mixture is a lot dryer and can seem a bit too dry sometimes. But don’t worry it all comes together.
  • Finally add the vanilla essence and bring the mixture in to a smooth dough. You may need a drop of milk to help bring it together. The dough should come together easily, you may need more flour or milk until you get the right consistency.
  • I lined a baking tray with some baking paper and we placed all the different shaped biscuits on the tray. Make sure they don’t touch as they will expand a little.
  • The biscuits were baked in the oven for 6-8 minutes, until the edges started going golden brown. Don’t over cook! Better to get them out early and pop them back in if needs be!

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The fun bit!

After you’ve got your biscuit dough, the kids can have lots of fun rolling out the dough and cutting out different shaped biscuits. We did a mixture of stars, circles, different sized squares and even some bats! My kids love getting sticky fingers and this recipe is quite good for re-rolling several times which is great.

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So today I’m not working, I’m not taking the kids out, in fact I’m not supposed to be doing much, but put my feet up! Who would have thought I would be complaining about having to rest, but I am, It’s so boring resting!!  5 days ago I had my hernia repair, so I am now recovering at home, trying my hardest not to lift anything (fun with a toddler) or do anything too strenuous. I’ve been dreading this so much, not being able to deal with the kids normally, look after the home, run or exercise, etc. Putting my feet up is actually really hard to deal with, weird huh?

It feels a strange topic to write about, but having not found much info online myself on this type of hernia, I thought someone might appreciate reading my story. One of my misconceptions was that it was only men who got hernias, so I felt a bit of a wierdo when I realised I had one! And then, there I was sat in my hospital ‘pod’ awaiting my surgery. Yep, Not a ‘room’ but a ‘pod’. It was very strange sitting there for hours in my glass fronted ‘pod’ waiting for my turn to be repaired. Even up to the last minute I almost changed my mind. It was the recovery I was dreading more than the procedure itself. Although that wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs.

The first symptom I experienced was when I was doing sit ups a few months after having my daughter in summer 2014. I was trying to get back in shape post baby (as you do) and noticed this cone shaped thing poke out of my tummy when I did sit ups. I didn’t think much of it at first, so just got on with things and ignored it. In fact I ignored it for about a year, as it never bothered me and only poked out when I did sit ups, so I just stopped doing sit ups!! Simple.

The second thing I noticed after some time, was that my outy belly button that I got when I was pregnant, was still there over a year later! I’d never had an outy belly button before, so thought it was a bit odd, but just put it down to my new mum tum appearance! I had had two kids after all, I couldn’t expect it to look the same as before.

As time went on, probably well over a year after first noticing something, I started experiencing some discomfort in my tummy area. This included mild pressure after a long run and a straining feeling after lifting my daughter. Over a few months the pain increased and then this small bulge started popping out of my belly button and I discovered I could poke it back in. This was a very strange sensation indeed! This strange bulge got worse when I had a bad cough. Every time I had a coughing fit, the bulge poked out and I was bent over in pain. I found I was constantly poking this bulge back in and the more I did, the more it hurt. I had started googling about it and came across ‘hernia’ but mine was right in my belly button, which I thought was very odd. By now it was October 2015, about 16 months after I had first noticed something was wrong.

This was when I decided to see the doctor for the first time about it and they confirmed my suspicions that it was a hernia, and the doctor referred to mine as the umbilical kind, which I’d never heard of before. We talked about surgery, but the doctor didn’t seem too concerned and said it would probably get better when the cough got better and if it wasn’t really bothering me after that, it would be best to just leave it be. I was more than happy to leave it be, as the last thing I wanted was any surgery!

So I Ignored it for a while, and carried on running, I even managed a 10k in the November.  But even after my cough went, I was still experiencing increased problems. We had now reached Christmas 2015 and I was finding the hernia was becoming more painful every day and my tummy was sticking out a lot more than normal (and it was’nt just that post Christmas bulge). The hernia was popping out on a daily basis, sometimes more than once, it was horrible. I Put it off for weeks but in the end I had no choice and went to the GP again. It was really effecting me at this point and I was experiencing constant discomfort from it. It had started effecting my daily life, for example not being able to pick up my daughter and struggling to move around normally. And so I was referred to see a surgeon.

What I found strange was that it was day to day life, not exercising, that made the hernia symptoms worsen. I hardly experienced any symptoms running and going to the gym. But when I lifted my daughter or if I rushed up the stairs, then the hernia would become painful. But this also meant I couldn’t avoid it either as it really impinged on my daily life as a mummy.

When I saw the surgeon in February 2016 he straight away recommended surgery. I was a bit taken aback as I thought there would be more of an investigation and options discussed. But he took one look at me and said ‘yep, that’s and umbilical hernia and we will need to operate’. Simple as that. He said I had ‘classic mum tum’ (I know, charming) where my muscles in my tummy had seperated and that had caused me to have a hernia as there was nothing there to keep it all in. We discussed more significant surgery whereby they stitch your separated tummy muscles back up, but he said my mum tum wasn’t too bad (such flattery I know!), it was more major surgery, the scar would be bigger and the recovery was double. I was immediately put off, although secretly a small part of me was tempted to have it all stitched back up! The surgeon booked me in for the 24th March, there and then, to have my hernia repaired.

So on the 24th March I had my umbilical hernia repaired with mesh, via key hole surgery (very clever indeed). I was expecting just the one hole but ended up with at least 4 all down my left hand side. Don’t worry, I won’t post any pictures, it’s not pretty! A day case turned in to an inpatient stay, as I had an asthma attack caused by either the general anaesthetic or the ibuprofen, there not quite sure. I had a reaction to the GA before when I had my emergency c-section 6 years ago. It’s a rather scary experience.

My tummy is 4 times as big as it was right now. In fact I look 7 months pregnant! The bloating is so horrendous and heavy like carrying a baby. I’ve read this is pretty normal. It’s pretty tough, for someone who’s normally so active and fit, to literally sit and do nothing. Thankfully I’ve got strong pain relief and my husband is doing a good job at taking care of everything (not to my standards, but not bad!). My son and daughter are getting used to be flinching every time they knock my tummy by accident and my husbands getting used to me being more bossy than usual. ‘I know what needs doing, I don’t need you telling me’ he says ‘I’ll do it all in my own time’. God this is torture! 3 weeks of work and I should be able to run again in 6 weeks. I’m still aiming to do a half marathon in the not too distant future. But for now, the trainers are having a bit of a rest and I’m putting my feet up and should be making the most of it!

 

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Better late than never as they say! It’s absolutely amazing that I find myself in March 2016 already! But yet here I am and retrospectively reflecting back on the weeks and months that have been and gone. It’s been a manic year so far personally and at work. I feel like we have crammed so much in and the year ahead doesn’t seem to be letting up any time either! But that’s how I like it, life’s more interesting when it’s busy!

January highlights

1. Discovering a new baking recipe! For New Year’s Eve I baked a gorgeous chocolate and banana cake with two different chocolate icings, for my friends New Year’s Eve party. I love baking and trying new things. With this cake I hadn’t a clue what I was doing really, just made it up as I went along and I was quite impressed. I might share the recipe one day!

2. My friends New Year’s Eve party. We all went up to my friends to stay for New Year’s Eve this year. We normally always spend new year with our friends, it’s become a kind of tradition now. This year they held a party for all the kids and adults, with lots of fun party games (including the brilliant ‘pie face’) and a lovely spread of party food. I took my chocolate and banana cake to contribute! Needless to say a few drinks were enjoyed and we danced the night away!

3. My January fitness challenge. I was lucky enough to work with Sportsshoes who set me a running challenging which I undertook during January. This was just what I needed to kick start the new year, it really motivated me to get out there and run. For each week in January I had to complete one treadmill run in the gym and one outdoor trail run and write a diary about how the different activities made me feel. You can read all about it here My January Fitness Challenge

4. Going out to a fancy dress party! Well, I can’t actually remember the last time I danced all night…hang on a minute, yes New Year’s Eve of course! So it sounds like I’ve done a lot if partying in January doesnt it?! Well at least it cured any January blues! The hubby and I had a great laugh getting dressed up as Fredfie Mercury and Brittney Spears for some friends birthday party!

5. Making a fool of myself! I had a classic ‘you’ve been framed moment’ in the park with my sister, brother and all the kids. So for a laugh I decided to get in the baby swing and when I got stuck the laugh was at my expense! My lovely siblings instead of helping me, they filmed the whole thing! I might share the video one day!

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February highlights

6. Celebrating our anniversary. It was our 7th wedding anniversary this February (although we’ve been together 20 years!). So we planned a date night at our local tapas bar. We nearly chickened out and stayed in and had a takeaway instead, as we’re so exhausted. It’s an effort making an effort sometimes isn’t it?? But we did go out and we had such a lovely evening, full of wonderful food and cocktails. I am so glad we went out and didn’t cop out!

7. Visiting my very special friend. We so rarely catch up considering we only live an hour away from each other, but when we do catch up its like we e never been apart! I went to stay with one of my oldest and dearest friends in February, a well over due catch up. It was lovely to see her and her gorgeous family once more. We had a lovely evening with wine and a takeout and just chilled out perfect! Hopefully it won’t be so long next time.

8. Celebrating one of my best friends birthday. We were invited for another night out to a party for one of my best friends birthday celebrations – have just realised how much we’ve been out recently, considering we’re parents! My friend held a lovely house party with lots of food and prosecco and fun. My friend always puts on a great party and always makes so much effort for everyone. It was great catching up with everyone and having a drink or two!

9. Reminiscing with photos. Time shops great isn’t it? I love how it reminds you of the good times from before. I loved seeing this through back picture of my son and I, 3 years ago! We were at Paignton zoo on the train and my little boy was only 3! How cute does he look?!

10. Messing around taking selfies. My son and I have always had so much fun taking selfies, pictures and video. In fact, this has kept him amused for ages, when it’s been rubbish weather and we’ve been stuck in! Well we had one of those days! So we had such giggly and silly fun taking lots and lots of silly face selfies, with his sister trying to join in too! So funny! Here’s some pics!

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A Cornish Mum
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So to kick off the new year I was set a very exciting January running challenge by Sportsshoes.  This couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’d rejoined the gym just before Christmas to start getting fit again,  but had only managed a couple of workouts inbetween work and mummy duties. I knew January would be ultra crazy at work, so needed an extra push to make time to exercise, for my mind and body! I took up running at the beginning if 2015 and have run a couple of 10k’s, so a running challenge was right up my street!

So the challenge was set and for each week in January I was challenged to complete one treadmill run and one trail run. At first I wasn’t sure what a trail run exactly was! Thankfully I was sent some information on trail runs including a link to a trail running hub, that came in useful! A trail run was described as ‘a run anywhere in the natural environment’. Ok, I thought, I live in the countryside by the beach, so that shouldn’t be too hard! I could immediately think of lots of places to run, it was quite exciting really! Before and after each run I was asked to write a diary of how I felt mentally and physically and what I thought about during each run.  I couldn’t wait for January to come and to put my trainers on and get going!

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Week 1

Treadmill

My first workout in week 1 was a trip to the gym for a treadmill run. It was exciting to get my trainers on for my first gym session, but an effort at the same time after a long week at work! It felt like ages since my last visit, probably at least 8 weeks (if I’m honest!) so it did feel a bit of a struggle and I was really nervous too! There’s something about the gym that makes you feel quite self conscious, when you’ve not been for a while or when it’s your first time. Once I was there it was fine and I soon got in to it and focuses on what I was there to do. It felt great running on the treadmill and I immediately felt better. Work was on my mind still, and I spent a lot of time thinking about it and then trying not to!

Trail

I was so excited about my first trail run and where it might take me. I’ve been road running for about a year and have really developed a love for it. But trail running was something I’d not really done before. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to mud if I’m honest! I decided to take myself off across the fields around where I live, just outside my front door – easy. I definitely felt more motivated compared to the treadmill run in the gym. I don’t think I’d realised how muddy it was going to be though! But it didn’t put me off (surprisingly) and off I went! At the end of my run I felt amazing and such a sense of achievement.

Week 2

Treadmill

I felt quite motivated to go to the gym and run again, but when I got there and started running it felt like a bit of a chore. I kept thinking ‘how much longer!’. I think I’d had a long day at work and I felt really tired. Thank god for my music to keep me company and keep me going! Music always does the trick!

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Trail

My week 2 trail run was very exciting! I’d been feeling a little poorly so it was a bit of a struggle, but I’d already arranged a run with my brother, so that gave me the extra push I needed to get out of bed! We met down at the beach and ran between the beach and the ley. It was a bit of a dull grey morning but it was still beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I actually surprised myself by running 4 miles! My brother ran a lot faster than me but it was great having someone to start with and wait fir me at the finish! This is a photo of him in the distance running further away from me!

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Week 3

Treadmill

During week 3 I still felt a bit under the weather with a cough but I wasn’t going to let that stop me! The challenge really helped me to feel more determined about exercising and getting out running. I managed to run a bit further than my last treadmill run, which was great and I felt a lot better afterwards. It’s strange how exercise gives you more energy than you had before!

Trail

I was at my mums house for my trail run this week, so didn’t know the area as well. My run today included some road running, which I enjoyed and I did managed to find a bridal path and some fields to run through. It was quite fun not knowing where the run was going to take me and I managed 5k which I was really happy with. Look how happy I look!! When I finished I felt like I could have run further, I had so much energy.

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Week 4

Treadmill

Week 4 was delayed due to my cough not letting me go unfortunately. As an asthma sufferer it can be more challenging exercising but running is particularly good at strengthening your lungs.  After a week off I was keen to get back running as soon as possible! It felt good getting back in the gym again, I was quite enjoying it now.  I found I felt more motivated, may be because I had to have a week off, but I was definitely more motivated this week.

Trail

For my trail run this week I was back out running around the fields where I live and enjoying it more than ever! I could run 5k quite comfortably now and really enjoyed the different terrains and weather conditions, I’d had sun and rain today! Once again I felt line I could have run further and really picked up my pace at the end.

My thoughts on treadmill running

Ive always enjoyed the gym and have been visiting the gym on and off for the last 20 years! It’s great to switch off and have some time out and do something for myself. The flexibility of the gym compared to a fitness class suits my lifestyle as I can fit it in when I like. It’s hard sometimes to self motivate though and I need some strong willpower to get me there at times! On the whole I enjoy running on the treadmill, but it can get a bit boring after a while. I find I run a bit faster on the treadmill compared to the road or a trail run and I try to alternate the incline to make the effort more variable. 30 minutes is probably the max time I can run on a treadmill, which is about 3 miles for me and I’m normally knackered afterwards!  I’m better if I’ve got my music plugged in as I find music keeps me going and helps set my pace. I’ve been lost before when I’ve forgotten my iPhone! I’ll probably always go to the gym as I love the variety of weight training and CV training it offers me and I can go when it suits me. I found that treadmill running helped keep my fitness up and increase my distances when it was winter and the weather was not so good outside. Really useful right now!

My thoughts on trail running

Trail running was a change for me as I’ve always run on the road (which I love!). I had to think about where I could go, but soon came up with lots of ideas (some I haven’t tried yet!) and it became really exciting! Running outside is great for the mind and body. I felt more able to switch off from my day and just take in the outdoors. There’s something really great about being outdoors in the fresh air surrounded by nature. I really enjoyed looking across the fields and countryside, it sounds really corny but it makes me really appreciate life! Running across the different terrains makes running more challenging and you have to concentrate a bit more and think about where your putting your feet! I’m glad I have a separate pair of trainers for the gym, as you can’t worry about getting your trainers dirty on a trail run! The only thing I found was I kept stopping to take photos of the scenery and the sky! Like this photo of a rainbow! There’s only so many photos you can take of a treadmill…

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*Collaborative post with Sportsshoes

Life Unexpected
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OneDad3Girls
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