bad chocolate cheesecake and a letter from the queen.

The other day when I was sifting through the post, there was an envelope to Chloe.  It was good paper.  I opened it just in case Chloe had somehow come into millions of pounds.  Turns out she hasn’t.  But it was still very very cool. 

It was from Queen.  Well not exactly from the queen, it was from one of her ladies in waiting.

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Back in the Spring Chloe wrote a letter to the queen in celebration of the Jubilee.  This letter was thanking Chloe for writing.  That is pretty cool, right?

The changes I’ve made to my eating habits is taking some getting used to.  The meals are fine – I’m not going hungry.  But I’m seriously craving sugar.  Chocolate.  Sweets.  Cake. I didn’t realise how much sugar I was consuming until I had to cut right down. 

Cadbury’s Curywurlies are a lifesaver but there are only so many so can eat over time…! I browsed through all of Slimming Worlds recipes online and bookmarked a load of promising recipes that might curb these cravings.

The first one I tried was a chocolate cheese cake.  The ‘syns’ (extras you’re allowed) were well within a day’s allocation and it looked amazing.  Surely it was too good to be true!  I gathered all the ingredients together and gave it a go.

 

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It looks way better than it tasted.  I needed to add more margarine to make the biscuit base stick together, and there was a ridiculous amount of cocoa power in it, making it way too bitter.  there is potential and I’m going to play around with it – I’m determined to make it work!  Next on the list is a cupcake recipe.  A girl needs her cake!

I lost 1.5lb the first week, and I’ve just been to get weighed and I’ve lost another 2lb this last week.  Slowly but surely, I’m heading towards a healthier weight.  Why do I put that out there?  Accountability.  If I keep this stuff to myself it would be way easier to just let myself go, one cream cake at a time.  I want to be a stone down before Christmas so that means pulling out all the stops, until I can start to exercise again.

Yeah.  I never ever thought I’d be chomping at the bit to exercise.  What is this world coming to?

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real.

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This is what we saw when we opened the curtains this morning.  Getting kids to school in this rain is tough and I was so grateful that grandma and grandad helped me out picked the girls up.  The Husband is based at home this week (to sleep) but is out of the house to Liverpool before I wake up.  So I’m super happy to be in my PJs in my warm house, sitting with ice on my back.

I read on another blog that (I don’t know the source) Some poll/research looked at American women’s mental health and it concluded that one of the contributing factors to their low self esteem and depression was…blogs!! Apparently they read blogs, all rosy and full of organised perfection and compare their lives to this.  It made me more determined to whine and vent as much as sharing some great stuff I’ve learnt and experienced.  I want to bring the good the bad and the ugly to the table.

Sometimes we think we’re the only ones struggling with something so it must be something to do with us. In reality there a gazillions of people facing the same thing. Sometimes just being reminded of this can help. A bit like when you see another child taking a tantrum in the supermarket and you’re relieved and encouraged that that (a) its not just your children that do that and (b) its not you that has to deal with that right now. 

No-one’s life is rosy and perfect.  There’s always some amount of disorganisation, relational problems, personal disasters, tragedy and mess.  There’s always some mess.  As I mum I feel like I’m constantly battling against mess.

Last week The Husband was away Sunday to Thursday.  If my back was not as weak and causing so much pain, this would have been much easier – but it was so if I’m honest it was really tough.  When the girls were home I kept asking them to help me keep the house tidy.  They’re 4 and 6.  Right now its’ in their DNA to make mess.

Those first two mornings it felt like my girls didn’t listen to a thing I asked them to do.  I had to get ready myself to get them to school so I was having to move them on from another room.  At one point I called the girls upstairs to brush their teeth – and nothing.  After about four times of calling them I went to investigate.  I found Chloe was half dressed and Ruby was walking around with a lamp shade on her head.  Only it was bigger than her head so fell down to her shoulders.  It looked like the lamp shade was her head.

I was stressed and I was crossed. I started telling them off and didn’t finish until we arrived at school in the car.  We were running late and all the children were in the classrooms when we got there. I was stressed and all clammy from rushing. As I walked out of school I immediately felt relieved that the panicked rush was over.  I saw another mum heading towards me with her son in tow, rushing into school. I wanted to hug her and say “You’re me five minutes ago!!”.

All day it was all I could think about.  Yes, they should have helped me out a bit more.  Chloe is old enough to get herself ready for school and in the main she does.  Ruby is old enough to know that lamp shade do not in fact belong on your head.  But I wasn’t reacting to them – I was reacting to my anxiety/stress.  I felt awful about it.

I needed to make it right.  I needed to just love on them.

There’s a little cupcake shop in the village.  Part of me hates paying 1.50 for a cupcake when I could make a whole batch myself – but the girls LOVE it when they get to have a cupcake there.  So on the way to pick them up from school I called in and got some.

We got home, sat on the floor in the living room and I said I was sorry.  And I got the cupcakes out.  It felt good just being mummy and nothing else.  Not hurrying somewhere.  Not stressed about getting something done.  just being mummy, playing dominoes and eating cupcakes (which I reluctantly admit taste amazing).

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smugness and sleep.

Ok so The Husband has been away Jet setting for two days now, and we’re just turning in for night number three.

Night one started out great – in the lead up to bedtime I worked hard at making the downstairs neat and tidy and getting jobs done so I could enjoy a relaxed evening when the girls were in bed.  I was smug that I’d done it all by myself.  Go me.  But bedtime involved Ruby fighting sleep to the bitter end causing me to hide out in my bedroom.   My stupid mobile conked out in the middle of the night so we woke the alarm didnt work, making us wake up late and through the haze of pain and panic, the three of us stumbled around getting cross with each other.  No, thats not fair – I was getting cross at the girls, Chloe was decorating the bathroom with a roll of toilet roll and Ruby was walking around with a lampshade on her head – only it was too big so looked like the lampshade was her head.

On night two I took a different approach and made plans to stay upstairs hoping it would settle Ruby, so I ran a bubble bath.  Only she kept walking into the bathroom with life-threatening problems like she forgot to bath her baby so could she put her dolly in the bath with me(?) and she couldn’t sleep with the noise of the bath (!!!).  Eventually she gave in to slumber but by then I wasn’t moving anywhere from my bed.  Before I’d even put the light out she was crying in her sleep.  She has this thing – I’m pretty sure it’s not night terrors (Chloe had them) because although the answer to everything is ‘no!!’ she does respond when you ask her something.  Either way she gets’ seriosuly distressed.  You can see she just wants a little peace in that beautiful little heart of hers and then as her breathing regulates, slipping back into sleep she starts crying again.  So last night, I didn’t think twice to bring her in with me.  Hey, I’m in survival mode.  That would have been ok.  But then, in the middle of the night a noise woke me and I got the shock of my life to loook at the door and see Chloe just standing there.  Thankfully she’s only just woken up but she was all upset about a bad dream (I know everyone has their own ideas/position/opinions on how to deal with night time disturbances with their children.  You may be shouting at the screen that I’m making a rod for my back.  But sometimes you just got to go with your instincts, and I still vividly remember having horrible dreams as a child and the feeling you’re left with when you wake up in the middle of it is nothing short of awful, and you just need comfort).  At least with three of us in the bed we didn’t have to worry about sleeping in.

In comparison to night one and night two – tonight has been a.m.a.z.i.n.g.  Chloe was great, Ruby was great and I even made it downstairs.  I settled in on the sofa with my knitting and my laptop, ready for an evening of on-demand TV.  I rarely watch anything on schedule anymore, but I kinda like it that way.  It feels like I’m being purposeful with it and not watching the screen aimlessly.

I pottered around the kitchen for a while, tidying and getting the girls lunch boxes all prepped and in the fridge (a source of stree for the last two mornings!). I’d say I was feeling as smug as I felt on Sunday when I had everywhere nice and tidy and jobs done – but I knew where feeling smug had got me.

Its  now afterr 10.30 and the house is silent.  Why I’m still writing rather than going to sleep I have no idea.  I read on another blog earlier that this writer needs to offload whatever she is thinking in order for her mind to relax, and I so related to it.  For me it’s like lifting it out from my brain and onto the computer.  Absolutely therapeutic.

Also therapeutic is sleep, and I need that to keep going for the girls until The Husband comes home.  In another two days. So with that, I’m off!

Adios x

aware.

Ok so I know this is the third (or fourth??) post in a row about food.  Can you tell it’s on my mind?  A friend made a good point when she noted how we feel when we’re told we can’t have something… It feels like it’s constantly on your mind.  what is it about the forbidden?

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What has really struck me though is not how much I’m thinking about food I’m trying to avoid (though I am thinking about it quite a lot) but how little I thought about the chocolate/cake/biscuits/crisps I was consuming when nothing was off limits.  It like it didn’t even register.  And when something doesn’t register, you can’t keep track and so it’s crazy easy to work your way through a giant bar of Dairy milk or a giant size bag of Walkers Sensations.  It’s just too easy to do it.

If nothing else this whole thing has made me so aware of what I am eating.  And how much I am eating.  I have this thing about being intentional.  I want to be intentional with my time. I want to be intentional with my money.  I want to be intentional with my relationships.  Because being intentional necessitates prior-thinking and care.  There’s no blagging it.  There’s no coasting. There’s no taking it for granted. So if I’m intentional with food then I’m thinking about it.  I’m caring about it. Not over thinking – there can be too much of a good thing – but just keeping everything on the radar.

Last night I broke off three triangles of toblerone and took them to bed with me (lets just say that there are some time’s when women need chocolate…).  Because I’ve stood back from all things that make me put weight on, this was a huge treat for me.  I was seriously apreciating it.  And in complete honesty I satisfied my longing for something sweet half way through the second triangle (you should have seen how slowly I was eating it).  Old habits die hard though and I continued nibbling away, finishing off that piece.  And I really regretted it! Honestly! Not because I thought I was going to hell for gluttony, but because I felt a little yuk.  That third triangle sat, in it’s foil, until I took it downstairs this morning.  A few weeks ago I would have eaten a good half of a big bar of toblerone without thought.

 

But I’m refusing to believe that that will be the only thing I take from this season of eating/thinking about food (can you tell I hate the word diet?!). There’s no specific deadline for my weight loss – there’s no event that I need to squeeze into a certain little black dress.  I don’t mind too much if it comes off slowly.  It just needs to come off.  By the grace of God no-one has congratulated me on my ‘baby bump’ – but I know that if I don’t flatten my midrif it’s going to happen sooner rather than later!

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I’m almost certain (you never know) that I won’t ever become a health-food fanatic. I’m not crazy about seeds and…..what else to healf-food fanatics eat? mushy green ‘smoothies’?  Plus, I just like chocolate and cake too much.  Meals wise I don’t mind sticking to the Slimming world plan completeley for the rest of my life.  For me, it’s everything in between.  I’ll never be able to give up sugar.  I kinda don’t want to, if I can make it a treat that I can really appreciate.  I mean could you imagine a world without Cupcakes or Marsbar cake?

3 days.

Its been three days. Three whole days.

I think I’m having sugar withdrawal. Not that I’m a completely sugar free zone but the sugar levels have dropped mahoosive amounts.  You don’t really know how much you eat until you have to limit it.  And my body doesn’t like it. It’s missing the white stuff. If I wasn’t so determined to lose this extra weight I would have caved in by now and reached for some chocolate. Or baked a cake.  Here’s some things that have helped me to resist ransacking the ‘snack box’ so far: 

– I had a coffee. Even the making of the coffee kept my mind off what my body and my brain wanted, and then afterwards, I had something to hold in my hands.  This would kinda defeat the point if you have three sugars in your coffee. Thankfully, I’m ok with coffee-sans sugar.

– I got busy with work. Rather than procrastinate I threw myself into the list of jobs that needed to be done on the computer. I’m someone that becomes consumed with the task in hand so rather than dream of cream cakes, my mind was otherwise engaged.  Everytime my mind wandered to snacking I’d give myself just ‘one more’ job to do. 

– I picked up my Slimming world magazine and look at some success stories.  Some serious encouragement was needed and reading about people who had managed it made me feel I could do it too.  I think out of everything I tried, this was by far the most effective.  Distraction is great, but nothing beats a good dose of motivation.

I ate a salad and I liked it…

I have never been able to eat a salad.  I really can’t eat raw tomatoes so had visions of just leattuce and cucumber.  Hhhhhmmmm, not so appealing.  I had no problem with side salads with meals but could not understand how people could eat a salad as a meal in itself and be satisfied.  Seriously, boggled my mind.

But then I went to our local Harvesters Pub.  They have a free salad bar with main meals, so you take a bowl and fill up.  I dubiously walked over to it and it was like a light flicking on in my brain.  Could you really have this stuff in a salad? Baby potatoes? Grated carrot? Beetroot? Light mayonnaise? Crispy Onion? I know this will be old news for everyone but for me it was a revelation!  I stocked up my bowl with all these foods and took it back to my table.  I ate it.  Then I was kinda feeling a bit full.  Ok, really full, and I had fish and chips on the way.  Uh.

This was a little while back now it it was only just recently when we started to look at healthy eating that I said to The Husband “Hey, we could recreate the salad bar at home!”  So I went to Aldi and bought some cheap plastic clip-boxes and loaded up with salad-stuff that would curb the craving for not-so-healthy food (We have to be careful at home because we don’t want the girls thinking that any food is ‘bad’).

Today I was starving by midday so I took a plate to my fridge.  A couple of minutes later I chastised my eyes that are bigger than my belly.

 

 

This is not a side plate.  I looked at it and figured that I’d eat half of it and leave half to finish with dinner later.  Only I ate the whole thing.  The whole yummy, beautiful thing.  And man alive, I was full.  But full on really great stuff: Lettuce, Spinach, Cucumber, grated carrot, diced beetroot, wafer ham, cold baby potatoes, a drizzle of ‘lighter than light’ mayo and a sprinkle of crispy onion type things.  The only indulgent stuff on there was the mayo and crispy onion sprinkles and to be fair, there wasn’t much of it.

So, go me! I ate a salad and I liked it….

disappointment.

It has been said that a successful blog needs a niche.  A specialism.  So you’ll find cookery blogs, crafty/DIY blogs, foody blogs, mummy blogs, etc.  I don’t have a niche.  I just try to record the ‘little things’ that can easily be forgotten, make sense of my jumbled thoughts and share a little bit of me.  Sometimes I write about silly stuff.  Sometimes I write about good stuff.  And sometimes I write about struggles.  I’m guessing the former make for easier reading! But you don’t walk through life without struggles, n o-one does.  And I pray that as I write about stuff that I find tough, that it will encourage you wherever you’re at.

There’s always an ‘uh!’ moment when I wake up and my back/pelvis/legs are playing up. I’m like a disappointed child that’s been told they can’t go to the park, because this stupid injury stops me doing all I want to do. But right now, I’m grateful for what I can do. I’m so sorry for ranting and whining, the frustration might make a little more sense soon.

We had a load of Avon work to do Saturday afternoon and because it was so warm we combined it with a bike ride for my 4 yr old and 6 yr old. Never ever combine work with a bike ride with a 4 yr old and 6 yr old. It was awful. The girls were riding into the road. I totally misplaced a receipt I had for one customer. I was all sweaty in the ridiculous September heat (too much information) and delivered the wrong products to a different customer which meant I had to go back with my tail between my legs. I walked away feeling like possibly the most unprofessional Avon rep EVER. There was a slight turnaround in the whole experience when I delivered to the last customer. She was so lovely and a little amusing. She was asking me if I had popped brochure through a door over the road and kept saying she’s ‘gone away for the weekend’ – and she kept winking and grinning when she said it. it was a little bit wink wink nudge nudge. I grinned back. And had absolutely no idea what she was going on about. Maybe she’s a little ‘wo-hoo’ but hey, if she happy to buy with Avon… SAM_0855

On the way home we walked past some brambles and found blackberries, Much excitement followed and we improvised with Ruby’s bag to collect some. This is when a nice little picture of our foraging efforts would be fitting, but I didn’t have my camera with me. A lesson learnt. Take your camera everywhere.  So here’s what we came home with.

 

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Not quite enough to make a blackberry crumble but it was still a very cool little ‘bolt on’ to the afternoon.

We got home and almost immediately realised I’d walked way too far. For the first time in months I had all tingles and pins and needles down my legs. Gutted.  Some ice, rest and X Factor later my legs feel a little better but the ‘sciatica’ symptoms are still clinging on.

Yesterday I continued to ignore the pain and spent the morning in kids church, moving tables and carrying Ruby.  She has been exhausted since she started school and she’s not really caught up yet.  By the end of the morning church meeting she was showing major signs of flagging and so when The Husband took her this was pretty inevitable:

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Pushing my body when it was trying to tell me it was struggling took its toll and as we arrived back home at lunch time I crawled onto the sofa and upped my pain meds to the point that I was at before I started to reduce them.  Because I am chomping at the bit to get off all the medication I’m on, this was a bit of a blow.

Disappointment is rubbish isn’t it?  It makes you feel robbed and that all the hope has been sucked out of you, leaving you a little empty.  But it doesn’t have to be like that! There is hope in everything.   Here’s what the bible says about it:

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.

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We’ve heard its been said that we are what we eat.  It’s a good thing I don’t believe that or I’d be slow cooked chicken. I should eat more glamorous food.  We’re not what we eat.  We’re not even what we feel.  I wonder if our feelings get too much of a look in, and this comes from some one who mostly allows her heart to rule her head!  Feelings can be deceptive so we need to stand on what we know to be true.

Sometimes I just don’t feel I have what it takes, but I hold on to the truth that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).  Sometimes I can feel like plans have gone wrong but I stand on the truth that the plans of the Lord stand firm forever (psalm 33:11).

Sometimes I feel frustrated that ‘stuff’ just gets in the way of the important stuff – But I know that Our God is greater.