Friday, 31 January 2014

Five Friday Favs

So so happy it is Friday! Despite it not being that great a week due to colds and today being absolutely horrible weather (grey, pouring with rain, freezing cold), I have still managed to muster up some Friday Favs! So without further ado...

1) Our new slow cooker- I popped in a leg of lamb, seasoning, potato and some white wine and the smell is delicious! Can't wait for supper :-)

2) Our new kettle- OK, so in England you really just can not get through a day without using your kettle. We use ours for a hundred things besides just a cuppa (tea) and when our trusty kettle (which we got for our wedding nearly 8 years ago) broke this week we were distraught! So we special ordered the exact same one in the upgraded model (they don't make the exact model we had any more) for overnight delivery! The kettle has just been plugged in.

3) 24- My husband and I are finally finishing up series 8 of 24. We absolutely love this series and will be looking forward to the new one set in London set to air (fingers crossed) this spring!

4) Coffee- Again, I know, this could really be a reoccurring fav as I simply couldn't live with out a good cup of coffee. Love!

5) My boys- Dylan's sweet smiles and Francis' excitement in his first proper week potty training!

Although neither boy wanted to smile for the camera ;-)

That's it for this Friday. Hope you all have a great weekend! See you back here soon with some adventures in potty training and info on my next big race (well I suppose first race on the blog). Stay tuned!!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

No Sick Days For Mummy

This week has been a bit of a bummer to be honest. The boys and I both got sick Sunday night with a pretty bad cold or flu. So since then we have been battling runny noses, fevers, sore throats, ear aches, etc... All I have wanted to do is stay in my PJs and sleep but there are no sick days when you are a mummy (at least in this house) ;-)

Looking after my little boys was my priority. Although they have the energy of monkeys even when they are sick. A little bit of flu never stopped them from running at top speed around the house, decorating the bathroom with Mummy's makeup and reprogramming the TV. I was watching them of course, it's just that these things all take place in the time it takes me to sneeze or blow my nose.

I am now completely worn out!

My fitness plan this week has not really happened so far and my meal plan for the last couple of nights didn't really go to plan either. Oh well. No big deal. Sometimes you just need to rest when you can.

Here are a few things that have kept me going in the last few days:

Coffee- yes, even when I am sick I drink it!

That weird film is actually cinnamon sprinkled on top...yum!
Slipper Socks- love these! Got them from Bath & Body Works about 5 years ago but they are still so soft and comfy.

Fleece blanket- my Aunt made this for the boys but the three of us have been snuggling under it most of this week.

Calpol- this is children's medicine for colds, aches, pains, teething, fevers giving the boys some relief.

& all my favourite blogs which I got to read when the little angels were tucked up in bed.

I don't want to push it but thinking about heading to the mum's running club tonight. Some fresh air might do me good!

What are your thoughts on exercising when you haven't been feeling well?

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Diastasis Recti

When I was out running with the mum's running club last Thursday night I was chatting with one of my friends (also an American living in the UK) and she asked me 'What actually  is Diastasis Recti?'

Good question! I have mentioned on the blog previously that after the birth of my second son, Dylan, I was diagnosed with a severe case of Diastasis Recti. Which is:

a disorder defined as a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle into right and left halves. Normally, the two sides of the muscle are joined at the linea alba at the body midline. It is essentially a cosmetic condition, with no associated morbidity or mortality.

  • Women are more susceptible to develop diastasis recti when over the age of 35, high birth weight of child, multiple birth pregnancy, and multiple pregnancies. Additional causes can be attributed to excessive abdominal exercises during the first trimester of pregnancy. (from Wikipedia)

Strangely, the main causes listed did not apply to me. I wasn't older than 35 at either of my boys' births, both boys weighed in the low 7lb range, I didn't have multiples, I wasn't exercising my abs at all besides some light yoga before my sons' births... but it was after my second birth that I realized I had it.

According to my doctor, there really isn't much that can be done to correct it aside from having surgery which is basically a tummy tuck. However, because that is considered a cosmetic procedure it is not covered on the National Health Service over here and is only performed when the woman is 100% certain that she will not have any more children.
Note: If you search Diastasis Recti online, you will find lots of 'systems' that are supposed to help reduce the separation of the abdominals but I can not comment on any of these as I have not tried them.
I didn't investigate the surgical procedure to correct my Diastasis Recti much further either, as at this time, it really is not for me- for the following reasons: I may have another baby at some point, I am really really scared of surgeries especially for cosmetic reasons and I really want to exhaust all other possible options before I have a serious surgery.

So, that being said, I opted to have some physio therapy (in which I was given a couple of simple exercises to work on every day) and was then recommended Pilates. It was also suggested that I  lose a bit of weight so that there was less pressure on my very weak abdominals (I was still 20lbs over my pre-second baby weight and slightly over weight for my frame). I was also advised not to do traditional sit-ups or crunches as they may further exacerbate the separation of my abdominals.

I started taking Pilates at the beginning of December and so far I love it! I take the class once a week at my local gym and we'll see how things go but I may take another class if I can. I have also taken a serious look at how I eat and have begun to get back on track with healthier options using Weight Watchers ProPoints.
Note: I am not using Weight Watchers as a diet (I am now in a healthy weight range) but rather as a guide to help me get back on track with portion control and choosing healthier food options. This is a lifestyle 'adjustment' for me. (Also, I am in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers and pay out of my own pocket for my monthly subscription)

So far, things have progressed very slowly with reducing the separation of my abs and of course it probably doesn't help that I had such a late diagnosis (I only found out about this condition when my youngest was one!! Um...why do I still look about 5 months pregnant??) but the good news is that things are starting to look and feel better in my stomach/abdominal area.

Still a little round in the belly (sorry no naked belly shot as I also have a umbilical hernia which is not pretty)
I know being a mum I may never have my old body back and I am totally OK with that. After all I have two absolutely gorgeous boys to be with everyday, they mean the world to me and they are more than worth it!

**Please note (again), these are my opinions on my specific experience with Diastasis Recti. I am not a medical professional. Many women have variations of symptoms with Diastasis Recti and what was suggested to me may not be right for someone else. With this in mind some women suffer tremendous pain with this condition and the surgical procedure is not cosmetic for them and in fact very necessary. I am not at all against having the procedure it is just not for me at this time.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Weekly Planning

Hello, I hope everyone has had a lovely weekend. We have had a bit of a lazy one given the horrible rainy and cold weather. The weather people are talking snow on Wednesday, but we'll see.

Tristan catching up on reading his 250 word book!
We got a lot of reading, colouring in, forts, dancing and cuddling in this weekend!

Daddy and Dylan reading!

Francis colouring in Dinosaurs!
Now though, it is time to start preparing for the week ahead. So, in the spirit of getting things organised, which let's face it is a never ending task, at least for me, I thought I'd share with you my meal and fitness plans for this week.

Running with Racheal

Monday- Rest day
Tuesday- Swim (at least 900 meters)
Wednesday- Rest day
Thursday- Spinning (am) and Running Club (pm)
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- Run maybe 3.5k or 5k depending on how I feel
Sunday- Pilates

Monday- Turkey Sloppy Joes
Tuesday- Chicken cacciatore with pasta
Wednesday- Ham, pepper and onion calzones with salad
Thursday- Salisbury Steaks with mash and peas
Friday- Take away
Saturday- Left overs
Sunday- Roast dinner (the husband will be cooking this one!)

Breakfast each day will probably be one of the following: oatmeal or yogurt
Lunch each day will be one of the following: soup, salad or leftovers

Think this just about does it. Have a great start to the week!

See you back soon with a post on Diastasis Recti.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Five Friday Favourites

Thank goodness it's Friday! Although this week seemed to go by pretty fast, by the time I got to Thursday I was ready for the week to end.

Here are five of my favourite things this Friday:

1) Mexican Discovery Green Jalapenos! My husband said to me the other night 'You know you can't add these to everything right?' Nope! Today I had about 6 in my chili for lunch. YUM!

2) Health & Fitness Magazine. I got a subscription for Christmas and the first one arrived yesterday. I am hoping I'll be able to get some quality reading time in tonight!

3) Healthy Cookies. Yes, one is already gone. These are awesome! The recipe for these cookies is here off of Skinny Taste.

4) My Next thick cable cardigan. Today I have been freezing all day. I don't think I have really recovered from my run last night in a very windy 0 degrees. I bought this cardi last year and still absolutely love it.

5) The Incredibles. This Disney Pixar film has given me enjoyment as well as a few minutes of quite when I really needed it. The boys are in love with this film and really want to be superheroes like The Incredibles.

Image off Disney Wiki.
Have a great Friday and see you again soon!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

A Real Shock (for me anyway)

Today was a busy day of running around. Nursery runs, food shopping, cleaning and generally trying to get organized. I also had a play date arranged but it had to be postponed as my little monkey Dylan was having an extended nap!

When Dylan woke, we decided to get out of the house for some fresh air and a bit of exercise. So we bundled up and headed out on a lovely but slightly muddy walk.

About 10 minutes in I thought hold on, when was the last time I had chocolate? I couldn't remember!!! Had it really been 3 weeks since I had had some decadent chocolate? Shock!! But then I remembered I have had a tiny bit when I have had oatmeal. I bought a little packet of raisins, hazelnuts and chocolate chips at Sainsbury's recently and have been adding a bit to my breakfast oatmeal. Phew ;-)

I have to pat myself on the back though, previously I had been eating at least a chocolate bar a week or chocolate digestives by the handful, etc... Even though I have not intentionally given up chocolate, I have been trying to make smarter food choices and in doing so have neglected my little sweet treat.

Lucky for me, there are still two Ferrero Rocher that need eating from Christmas so I might have to treat myself. What do you think? ;-)

Since I haven't had a chance to update you on my fitness for the week I will now!

Tuesday was a swim day, got 26 laps done but also received about 26 stink eyes from the older women swimmers. Sorry but you might get splashed a little, you're in a swimming pool!

Tomorrow will be spinning in the morning and running club in the evening. I have been thinking about signing up for the running club boot camp but I'm not too sure yet. I would love to do it and take on the challenge but not so sure I want to give up all the time in the middle of a Saturday.

Saturday I plan on going on a run and would love to do a 5k but we'll see.

Sunday back to Pilates! Am really looking forward to it as I was pleasantly sore after last weeks class (first class since before Christmas) and I wasn't even fully participating since I had fallen down the stairs the day before! Sore ankle and bum!

Have a good rest of the week and see you back here soon!

PS I am thinking of buying a slow cooker with a Christmas gift card any suggestions on good ones big enough  for families?

Monday, 20 January 2014

Some Days Nothing Gets Done

Some days no matter what I do and no matter how much I do actually accomplish, I feel like I have done nothing worthwhile. Today was a fantastic example of that. This is how my day went and how I felt:

5am Boys are awake!!  I tried desperately to get them back to sleep.
6:30am Gave up on the boys going back to sleep and I set them up to play a game for a bit while I tried to wake up.
7:30am COFFEE and boys breakfasts.
By 9am we are all washed and dressed for the day.
9:15-9:45am Tried to get the boys to either play a new game or go for a walk outside...they finally decided we would all make a fort out of pillows.
9:45-10:30am Baked a banana bread with the boys.

10:45am Dylan went down for a nap and I finished laundry while Frankie coloured in.
11:45am Dylan wakes, both boys want lunch.
12:45pm I have lunch while the boys run around the kitchen table.
1pm I get the boys dressed to go on a walk with the dog. A lot of screaming and crying ensues.
1:30pm We set off on our walk.
2pm We are back from walk, give boys a snack and we read some library books.
3pm My mother and father-in-law pop by for a cup of tea.
3:45pm I start getting things ready for their supper as I have no idea what I will make them.
4:30pm I make them a delish Annabel Karmel chicken noodle meal, they both hate it and Frankie insists the vegetables are making him sick.

5:30pm They begged for the TV so I give in.
6:30pm I can stand it no longer, so start getting them ready for bed.
7pm Both boys are in bed. I quickly tidy and get supper for me and the husband going.
7:20pm Finally sit down to blog.

So you see I have actually had quite a full day and done loads but I just feel a very lazy exhaustion. I guess the problem is that we did not really get out of the house today.

I don't at all mind not leaving the house sometimes. I am certainly not one of those parents that must have an activity or group set up for the children every day. However, I agree with one of my friends when she said 'Mondays are the hardest.'

How has your Monday been? Anyone else have a tricky day with the little ones? 

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Coffee Drought

It has dawned on me that since the beginning of this year, I have not had as much coffee as I usually do. Perhaps that my friends, this is why I am having more headaches than I usually do! Coffee withdrawal!!

In my attempts to drink more water I have given up my more preferable caffeinated drinks. Each morning I usually have a lovely Nespresso coffee with milk but then, I am not having any more through out the day. Today though, I started my day with two giant mugs of coffee! It was a great morning ;-)

Also I suppose I should add that I have been filling my evenings with tea which I normally don't have but in trying to keep from munching on chocolate all night long (yes, we still have loads of Christmas chocolate) I have been on the tea.

I do have some interesting insider info that a Starbucks has opened nearby and so will obviously have to check out the intel soon!

In addition to my coffee excitement, I also downloaded a new app on my phone called Runkeeper. I had never heard of this app before but that won't be a surprise as I find more and more that I truely am technologically challenged. Since I have never used the app before I took a shorter than usual run around the neighbourhood to see how it all works. I really liked it. I ran down to the canal and back and it was about 3.5 kilometres. I ran it in roughly 23 minutes. Pretty good! I also took some photos on the run so maybe that slowed me down but I was happy for the distraction as it was really cold and rainy this morning.
Local canal

All the fishermen with their umbrellas
In other news, it looks like my husband has finally fixed some of our internet issues! The electrician however has still not been around to check out the flashing light situation. Hopefully he will come over this week but who knows.

Anyone else cutting back on the coffee this year? 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Burnt Kale Chips

Noooooo!!! A major fail tonight.

I don't know what it is but recently, by the time Wednesday rolls around I really do not feel like cooking and worse than that, I don't even know what I want or really care what I have to eat. It is not good. So tonight I planned ahead and made some fish cakes and kale chips.

I know loads of people who dehydrate their kale to make kale chips and it takes ages. I sometimes put the oven on high for awhile and then put them in for about 10min after I have turned the oven off...tonight I thought I'd cook them with the fish cakes and after 10mins in the oven they were brown, the house smelled and they tasted BAD. I was really looking forward to some nice crispy!

Anyway, dinner was saved with a lovely salad ;-)

No photos tonight as we are still struggling with the internet and also now the electrics in our house. The electrician is coming over tomorrow and I am hoping it is a simple little thing that needs a quick fix. I really hope the whole house doesn't need rewiring as that would be a massive nightmare but I suppose that's what happens when you have a house over 100 years old.

On a positive note, got my nails done today by a new and very lovely beautician. I have been to him twice now and he is very entertaining in addition to obviously being very good at his job! ;-) Chose a pretty purpley colour and love it. Will try to add a photo of my lovely nails next post. But for now will sign off for the night.

Have a good one!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Fitness Plans

Hello! Sorry I left the blog world for a little while. We have been having some internet connection issues here so even though I was planning on saying hello on Sunday, I couldn't.

Rather than recap my fitness successes from last week I will just update you on my plans for the week ahead:

Sunday: Pilates, well, these got cancelled as my gym was still on its Christmas schedule! So had a 40 minute workout in the gym (sans supportive sports bra and iPod...not great people!)

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Swimming (hopefully 30 laps or at least 25 in the 33 metre pool)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Spinning in the morning and Running Club in the evening

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Virtual Spin Class and a run on the treadmill

Then with any luck I'll be back in Pilates on Sunday! I can't wait and neither can my abs ;-)

This is pretty similar to the fitness schedule I worked from last week and let me tell you it felt great! Yes, I hurt and was exhausted by the end of the week but I think it is better to feel that way than a very lazy tired if you know what I mean.

A little soggy after Thursday night's run!
I started with a local running club last Thursday. I wasn't really sure upon joining if I would like it. Was I joining to run (back to the couch to 5k plan) or for the social aspect or a bit of both? I decided it is probably more a social thing with the running thrown in for good measure ;-) I was put in the beginners group which was ok since it was my first night (a more advanced group was running a 6k that night) but I felt like I was probably to advanced for the beginners group and not quite ready for the 6k group. I did however meet a nice woman from New Zealand so the running went by quickly with someone nice to get to know. I definitely have to get used to running in the cold and wet but mainly in the dark. I have never really run in the dark before so I am finding it a little strange.

Anyone else have a good fitness plan set up for the week? Advice for running in the dark? 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Double Session

Good morning! I hope everyone's week is going well. I really can't believe how quickly it has is Thursday!

Today is pretty much a chilled out day. No big plans. We went on a little walk this morning, with the added bonus of 'Daddy' joining us! This afternoon we'll mainly be out at the shops buying birthday gifts for a new baby and a 3 year old birthday party that we'll be at in a couple weeks. I might even buy Francis a new puzzle. I know, I know Christmas has just happened and yes he got a lot of new things but this boy is a puzzle genius! He is currently working on puzzles with small pieces and that have more than 30 pieces meant for 3 year olds. He completes them on his own pretty much immediately so I'd like to get him one from an older age group or maybe with more pieces to keep him challenged. He is really a big boy now ;-)

My boys
Tonight I am off on my first ever run with a mum's running club! I am excited but also dreading it to be honest. I can't wait to get out and run and meet some new people that will be great, BUT I hate running in the cold and wet. I guess I will just have to toughen up. Unbelievably, I have already been to the gym this morning as I thought my spinning class was on but the gym is still on its Christmas schedule so it wasn't. I did a little mini workout though and felt good after even though my alarm went off at the horrendous hour of 6:15am! Starting to feel a bit tired now...

So, what are your plans for the day? Anyone doing a double workout session? 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Online Shopping

Happy Monday everyone! Well, it probably isn't really as most people are back in the office today, but it is good to be optimistic ;-)

We had a very busy day over here. Met up with a lovely friend and her son and two daughters. Went on the most wind swept walk I have been on in awhile and had a great time just catching up! I always think that it is rather a miracle that we managed to: make it on time(ish) and actually complete the walk we set out to do which is around a lake (2.5k), as with 5 children under 3 years old things can be tricky!

After meeting up and a quick nap for the little ones we went out on the second adventure of the shopping. Personally, I love food shopping. I always have. However, taking two toddlers food shopping when you literally need to buy a house full of groceries is a task I would rather not take. I always set out thinking: this will work, we'll all be fine, I have come prepared with snacks...but usually about 5 minutes in I realize that I have lost my mind. There's pinching, hitting, spitting and shouting all coming from two very small angelic looking boys in a trolley. So I end up gently shooshing everyone whilst running wildly through the shop to get as many things on my now half chewed tear stained list as possible. Ah the joys!

So that brings me to a question; what do you think of online food shopping? Is it really worth it? I have only ever bought other things online never food and with mixed consequences. Don't even ask me about my sister's Christmas present that came with swears printed all over it! Don't want to finish my shopping list only to find that the online shop doesn't have half of it in stock or get my order with all the wrong items...Yikes!

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

To Resolve or Not To Resolve

New Year's Resolutions...tricky little things aren't they? The majority of us set out at midnight on the 1st day of each new year with a thing or two (or in some cases a few dozen) that we resolve to change, make better, stop, start, etc... and a majority of that majority decide somewhere between that 1st day of the year and a few weeks later that well, really maybe we'll work on that/those another time ;-)

I really don't know how I feel about New Year's Resolutions. I think I love to hate them. But due to the fact that I am always on a mission to better myself and my surroundings, I am one that resolves not only at the beginning of each new year, but also on my birthday (in May) and again in September (used to be the beginning of a new school year, so why not eh?!). Normally, I forget what I have resolved to do or not do very soon after I have made the decision to do them or not! In fact, in many cases something outside my realm of power stops me from making good on my promises. How on Earth can I stop swearing when a kitchen drawer has fallen out on to my toes very nearly breaking them all; I ask you? ;-)

This year, I have taken a new perspective on the old resolution issue. This year, I have not resolved to do anything in particular, but to work on a couple things with no time lines really. So I guess I am cheating a little here but I feel I can NOT fail!

I feel great already!

So what will I be working on this year?

1) Drink more water. Most of the day, especially living in England, I drink tea all day long. So now I am going to add more wonderful water each day.

2)Take more time for me. I have spent quite a lot of the last few years completely and utterly doing so much for all the boys (husband and dog included), the house and friends that I have forgotten about me. I will still do as much as I can for others don't get me wrong but I am definitely carving out some 'me time' this year. Started this out already with a great manicure and getting back to blogging!

3) Pilates! I found out last year that I have a condition (that many women get after pregnancy) called Diastasis Recti. My case is particularly bad. I have done some physio and now I have been recommended Pilates. I started going to classes at the end of last year and loved them so I plan on making that a big part of my fitness this year.

4) Get back to my pre-baby weight or as close to it as I can. I am not obese. I am only slightly overweight for my frame, but with Diastasis Recti any additional weight hinders getting your abdominal strength back into fighting form. I have about 20lbs I would like to lose although that is not set in stone. As long as I am feeling healthy and getting my stomach back to where it should be I'll be happy.

Christmas present from my sister!
5) Spend more time on people who I care about and care about me. I am a people pleaser. Sometimes I get taken advantage of because of this. I refuse to continue on in relationships with those who really can't be bothered making the effort. I love my friends and family and want to spend my time nurturing those relationships this year!

So those are my things to work on. Five doesn't seem many but they are quality things and I really can't wait to see how they go.

Do you believe in New Year's Resolutions? What are some of your's if you have made them?

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A Fresh New Year!

First of all, Happy New Year! I hope 2014 turns out to be a wonderful year for all of you.

Secondly, I'm back! Nine whole months have gone by since I last wrote a blog post. For those of you who used to follow and are back; thank you for sticking with me through my hiatus. For those of you new to my blog; welcome and I hope you enjoy it!

I want to be honest and say that the reason I took a little break from the blog was three fold:
The first reason being that I simply didn't have much time to commit to the blog. This time I am going to schedule in blogging at least once a week or more and I am much more tech savvy than I was last go around so that should help with posting while travelling etc...
Second, reading some of my posts I realized that things were looking pretty boring and quite frankly I was embarrassed. In hindsight we definitely did some awesome stuff last year but I was too burnt out with other things that I didn't have the energy to blog about them. Heck, we even moved to Norway for a month and that would have made for some great blog stories!
The third and final reason was that I didn't have many readers. I totally appreciated the readers I did have but I didn't have many and I don't know if they were regular or not as not a single comment was made on my posts, despite trying my best to be inclusive. Now, I'm not blaming anyone at all for this but myself. Looking back and knowing better (I used to work in PR and Marketing before becoming a full time mum), I should have spread the word. I know just how to do this and this time I will!

So out with the old and in with the new! I am really looking forward to getting back into blogging as I definitely have some things I'll be working on this year that I will be able to share with you and that means many more interesting posts to come (fingers crossed)!

And with that said, I'll leave you with a photo of our lovely but quite droopy and sad 2013 Christmas tree.

Back soon with a post on New Year's Resolutions.