Friday, 31 May 2013

a time I will never forget














I've done it! I've made it to the last day of the Blog Everyday In May challenge. I wasn't sure I would be able to write a post every day, as I don't normally. I am so glad I have stuck with it, as I do tend to give up on things very easily and talk myself out of things.

Well, on with the last post for May; a vivid memory. One event still remains as clear as day to me; giving birth to my eldest daughter. I was only twenty when I had her and you know what people are like with advice! I was given that much my mind was in a fog!

I reached forty weeks and there was no sign of her. I even spent days going for long hikes as I'd been told an old wives' tale that if you do a lot of walking it helps the baby come. No, it didn't, as two weeks later I had to be taken into hospital to be induced. I think she was quite happy where she was!

Being dropped at the hospital and left alone was quite scary. You can read as many maternity books as you like and still be nervous. It didn't take long before I started to have contractions and then it all seemed to happen rather fast.

I ended up being in labour for six hours, which I know from my friends is quite a short birth for the first time. I didn't use gas and air and had pethidine instead. I remember all the little details of the room I was in and the nurses' faces, even though it will be twenty one years ago in September!

Meeting her was a time I will never forget, as she was so cute and nearly nine pounds in weight. I connected with her the moment she looked at me with her big blue eyes. This photo of her was taken a couple of hours after she was born. Peacefully asleep.

I feel quite emotional writing this last post. I would just like to thank every single one of you for taking the time to check my blog out. It has been great getting to know you and I feel I have made some special friends. Please keep in touch everyone.

I will be back on Monday with my three normal posts a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday.) I have some great posts coming up; lots of recipe, style and DIY posts. I would love for you to join along with me in my adventures.

Have a lovely day.





Thursday, 30 May 2013

five tips for spring cleaning your closet

react to this term: letting go


It's that time of year again! I have been doing some spring cleaning and re-organizing. One of my new year resolutions was to go through all the rooms in the house and let go of all the clutter. My mission was to only keep items that we used and gave us positive vibes. We have been removing everything in the house that makes our heart sink a little or brings bad thoughts when we see them.

So, I have been applying this to my closet. It had become a source of stress as it was so messy. It was time to create space for something new and to make better use of what I have. I applied five simple rules to help me.

Use it - enjoy - move on
Accept that what is 'you' for a while, may decidedly not be you later on. So, as life changes, use - enjoy - move on. Let it go.

Keep the clothes you wear - the others go
Follow the 80/20 rule. You will wear 20% of what you have 80% of the time. So start sorting honestly your clothes into two piles. Get rid of the rest. I have been quite ruthless and applied a one year rule; basically, if I haven't worn it in a year, put in the pile for the charity shop. 

This isn't wasteful. You can sell on Ebay (do it now), give to friends or give the good stuff to charity shops. Just do it now or it won't happen. We had one letter which told us that just a part of what we had given to a made them £90 which I could never have made trying to sell them. Some clothes are exported by charities to third world countries.

Only keep clothes that make you feel good
Try clothes on and, if you don't like anything about it, let it go. If anything is the wrong colour, the wrong cut or the wrong fit, let it go. Don't give yourself second best, have the best you can to lift your spirits.

Buy fewer but better
Never buy anything again which isn't quite what you want. It is so easy to be lured by a cheap item that is reduced, but how much have you saved if it soon ends up in the 80% pile? That sale item may not be such a bargain! I have been following this rule for a while and I can't believe what I have saved. Instead, buy a few outfits that make you feel gorgeous, preferably which you can mix and match, even if they cost more. You will save money and look and feel better.

Don't be afraid to let go
Don't hang onto things that might 'come in',which just need a button or repairing. If you are going to repair it, do it now or it won't happen. (I carried out repairs on three dresses the day the photos were taken). Also, don't keep things which are too small for if you lose weight. You are more likely to lose weight if you look good in clothes which fit you as you are now, and which make you feel good. 

Letting go, in itself, can be uplifting. Plus, I have been left with things I love and want to wear, and the joy is I can now add more of what I like!

Have a great day




Wednesday, 29 May 2013

five songs I love


Alfie Boe - Bring Him Home

This is one of my favourite songs from the West End musical Les Miserables. It brings me to tears every time I hear it. It's one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have heard. Whenever I hear it I think of the time when we took my daughter to London to see it for her 18th birthday. She loves musicals just as much as me (and knows all the words) and we were sitting in tears at the end, completely blown away by what we had just seen. One of the best evenings of my life!

Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley - Time Of My Life 

Who doesn't love Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing? This was the first time I fell in love! I can see the first time I saw him so clearly. I was at the cinema watching the trailers and this film was one of them. I was like, 'Hello, who is that?' I was hooked! I wore the video out I watched it that many times! Every time I hear this song I think of him and remember how wonderful he was.

Gotan Project - Revancha Del Tango

This song always brings back lovely memories of being in Lake Garda, Italy. We had just been out for a meal and we heard some beautiful tango music. The music was coming from a little restaurant on a square and couples were getting up from their tables and doing the Argentine Tango, it was magical. They were all so good, it made me want to learn to dance!

The Lion King - Hakuna Matata

A fantastic, upbeat, happy song. My girls fell in love with this film when they were little, I remember the times me and my girls would sing the song at the top of our voices when it came on. We loved it!

Mcfly - Shine A Light

I can't do this post without a Mcfly song. They have a place in me and my girls' heart! We go to all their concerts, play their music and sing around the house all the time. We are the best fans.

Hope you enjoy the songs I love.

Monday, 27 May 2013

a heartfelt thank you








I'd like to thank every one of you who has visited my blog. Time is precious, especially if you are taking part in the challenge to blog every day, so I am touched that so many of you have taken the time to read my posts and share your thoughts with me.

How can I ever thank you all for your kind comments and good wishes throughout this month and during the past year. I have been so encouraged by all the supportive and caring comments that you have given me.

I was a bit nervous, when I first started this challenge, as it was a step into unknown territory for me. I haven't blogged everyday before and my posts are not usually full of writing. The last time I did any serious writing was for my college course, so I wasn't sure I could do it.

However, I am so glad I did as I have felt a real part of a community. I have enjoyed learning about, and been inspired by, the different lives you lead in all parts of the world. Some of you have difficulties to contend with on a regular basis, but are still incredibly positive and encouraging. I feel I have come to know some of you really well, even though we have never met.

I feel I have made many friends and I look forward to following you in the months and years to come.

I would also like to thank Jenni for a great link up, and for giving me the chance to meet some lovely people that maybe I wouldn't have if it wasn't for this challenge.

Thank you again to each and every one of you for visiting my blog and sticking with me.

Have a great day everyone



Sunday, 26 May 2013

breathtaking beauty

'something you read online'

Okay, so this is a site full of beautiful pictures of nature. I know it's not something I read but I thoroughly enjoy looking at these stunning photographs. I found this site as I was perusing Stumbleupon and fell in love with it straightaway. These photographs are just a few of my favourite ones. Take a look at more here and here, or click on the images below for these collections.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina











Bora Bora













The Tunnel of Love - Ukraine













Three times a day this was a passageway for trains and also a lovers walk. It is said the tunnel is used by lovers to make a wish that if they are sincere in their love, their wishes will come true. How magical!

Enjoy your day

Saturday, 25 May 2013

School days

'Something someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget'


You know how cruel children can sometimes be at school? Well, unfortunately for me I always seemed to be the odd one out. I think this was due to the fact that I spent a lot of time ill as a child and never had the chance to build those first friendships. Being shy, sensitive, quiet and having an unsettled home life didn't help.

I have never told anyone in my adult life about this so writing this post is a way of release for me, well that's what I'm hoping!

There was one particular girl who made my school life a misery. She took an instant dislike to me and I didn't know how to handle it as I had no self-confidence at all. I remember this all started when I was seven and continued until I was thirteen. Talk about dread going to school! Some Sunday evenings I would be sick, because I was worried, so my mum would think I had a stomach bug and keep me off school the next day.

My parents were not the easiest people to talk to and part of me thought I must have done something to offend her and that's why she was being so horrible. So I kept it to myself. She came up with names for my lips and long hair and this stuck right through school. It was mean and cruel and I have never forgotten as I was called it by lots of girls. I was much taller than the rest of the girls in my class as well and started stooping to look smaller.

Isn't it silly that I still have difficulty saying and writing down the names she called me. It was incredibly personal and I began to believe what she said was right. I remember having an operation and being off school for six weeks. The first thing she said to me on my first day back was 'I wish you had died.' Lovely!

I put up with the bullying for years. One day, at the age of thirteen, she called me the usual names that I was known as. But instead of getting upset, I turned around and asked her what she wanted me for. She was stunned, shocked and didn't know what to say. I walked away and never looked back.

After that day she never called me those names again, I remember thinking if only I had been brave enough to stand up to her when I was seven! I know to some this might sound trivial but it really did knock my confidence and it took me a long, long time to regain it. (Still working on this.)

Have a lovely weekend






Friday, 24 May 2013

my three worst traits

Well, this topic isn't a difficult one for me as I can easily reel of three traits that I am not proud of. Unfortunately, I do lend myself to being more negative than positive about myself #MustTryHarder!

My worst trait has to be my perfectionism. I find it incredibly hard not to be overly critical with myself in a lot of things I do. Over the years, this trait has held me back from trying new things. For example, learning to drive, going to dance classes and turning down good job opportunities due to my lack of self confidence.

As I have got older I have got more self-confident. I think this is partly due to having a wonderful partner, who is supportive and makes me feel good about myself as well as realising that, 'if you look for perfection, you will never be content,' as Leo Tolstoy said.

I won't go on to tell you all about the OCD issues I have, including making sure all the labels are facing the right way and checking I've locked the door, numerous times.

Someone once told me to give myself a break and not to be so hard on myself. She said, 'You would
never think those awful thoughts about another person, so don't think them about yourself.' This is a piece of advice I've never forgotten.

I am so not a morning person! I cannot start my day without a cafetiere of coffee to rid me of my morning drowsiness! I am grumpy and my partner has now got used to my groan as he says good morning to me!

My snooze button is my friend; I must hit it five times before I manage to squint out of my eyes! Then I have to try and remember what day of the week we are on! Not good am I?

But what can I say? I am so in love with my duvet. I believe there should be duvet days built into the week!

I have a terrible addiction to Haribo Starmix sweets. I never get sick of them! I get excited when I pull a sweet out of the bag, wondering which one it will it be.

Will it be the cola bottle, the egg or the jelly teddy?

I know that they are bad for me, what rubbish goes into them and I know I need to cut down. I put it down to the sugar rush!



Do we share any traits?


Thursday, 23 May 2013

how to budget






Things that you've learned that school won't teach you.

This has probably been one of the hardest life lessons I have learned. In fact, I still struggle with budgeting. Lessons on money management would have made me aware of budgeting instead of thinking 'money grows on trees.'

As a child, I didn't think about how my parents paid the bills; I just took it for granted that we would always have a roof over our heads.

We didn't have holidays and I had a lot of hand-me-downs so I knew they didn't have a lot of money.

This was more of an issue to me as I became a teenager. When I wanted the same things as my friends, I was the typical selfish teenager blaming them for not having much money.

When I left school and started to look for a job I had rather a rude awakening! Firstly, I had no idea how to present myself into the world of work, never mind budget!

I have to say, money burned a hole in my pocket and would still if I didn't keep a check on my spending. I have always found it so easy just to keep swiping my card and lose track.

I had to learn the hard way about budgeting. Getting out of debt was a really difficult part of my life, and I don't want to be like that again, so I have tried to pass the importance of this onto my girls.

My eldest daughter is a bit like I was regarding money. She spends it all and then struggles for the rest of the month. However, my youngest daughter is excellent at budgeting. She knows exactly how much she has got in her account and spends wisely. I have always tried to teach them the value of money, giving them pocket money for chores they have done and opening them savings accounts from an early age.

To keep on the straight and narrow, I have learnt a number of useful tips to pull my finances into order:

I made a spreadsheet on the computer and I put everything we have to pay for on it.

On payday I see how much everything will cost for the month and if we have a little spare, which is not very often, we treat ourselves to maybe a meal out or a night at the cinema.

I started writing everything I was spending down in a daily diary.

If I go on a night out, I leave my bank card at home and just take a certain amount of money and stick to it.

Planning meals for the week and taking a shopping list when I buy groceries has been very effective. It avoids waste and makes impulse buys less likely.

Having said all this, as it's nearly payday, I think I deserve a treat for having blogged every day of this challenge ... just a little one.




Wednesday, 22 May 2013

my ten pet peeves




my girls getting make up all over the floor!



my partner pushing more rubbish in the bin even though it is overflowing!



my partner not putting the top on the toothpaste.




people talking loudly on their mobiles at the next table.



people who scrape their teeth with cutlery when eating.





when my personal space is being invaded.



when men wear socks with sandals, get the style police in!






people with bad manners.




when my daughter cracks her knuckles.




people who say they haven't got any pet peeves!








What are some of your pet peeves?