Getting away

After the hectic fun that was the Holiday Club, hubby and I needed a bit of time to relax. Relaxing at home isn’t really the same as you can still see all the housework, all the jobs that need doing. We are lucky that we have some lovely friends who own a caravan by the sea less than an hour away, and they let us have a couple of days away. The kids love being by the beach, hubby loves the sea and me? Well I enjoy the quietness you get being by the sea. I packed some wool and my crochet hooks and was really looking forward to some down time.

I wasn’t disappointed. The weather was warm, dry, sunny. The sea was cold, wet and pretty calm.

Sea on the rocks

We spent time on the beach, we played in the park, we even had a ride on a double decker bus! The kids had a whale of a time!!

Crazy golf bridge

The kids played cars, built sandcastles, ran around and generally had a fun and exhausting time.

Caravans with view of the sea

It was so warm I even braved a paddle in the sea. Normally me and water do not mix but I decided I would go for a paddle and I could cross another item off my Day Zero Listmum and kids paddling in the sea

Not the most flattering pic of my behind but the best of a bad bunch lol!

Have you been on holiday this year? Where did you go?

Lonely at the Top

I am a big fan of social media. Okay FaceAche gets on my nerves sometimes with all the “look at me” and “poor me” statuses but on the whole I am a big fan of social media. Why? Well it’s a great way to keep contact with people you may not see very often but also for me it stops me feeling lonely.

I am pretty much on my own every day. I work from home most of the time and most days I spend my time with D. Hubby works every other weekend so one in two weekends I spend on my own with the kids. Don’t get me wrong I love my kids and love being able to stay at home with D but it can be very lonely.

Conversations that revolve around Paw Patrol or Team Umizoomi is not my first choice I must admit. By the end of the day I am desperate for some grown up conversation, desperate to connect with another adult.

Even at work, I spend most of my time with children and young teenagers. I spend my working days doing things like checking which felt pens work:

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Or sharpening a gazillion colouring pencils by hand

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Only to be complained at because I bought the wrong type of biscuits/squash *rolls eyes*

And after a full day of conversation with a 3yr old who is currently undergoing intensive speech therapy, twitter is my saviour. Twitter has people ready to share their own stories of being a SAHM/D or workers who share their commuting problems, making me grateful I don’t have to do that. But most of all, people who make me feel “normal”….. Whatever that is ;)

What’s your take on social media?

With a little help from my friends

It has been a busy week her at alifetimeofdiy. Hubby and I have been running a week long holiday club at our church. Though it’s only 2 hours a day for 5 days and a 45min service on Sunday, it takes weeks of planning.

Months before the holiday club I need to come up with a theme. This year I chose Superheroes as what kid doesn’t like superheroes? Personally I’m not “up” on superheroes so I spent hours researching superheroes and their powers in order to chose which ones to use each day. Once the superhero had been chosen and the corresponding bible hero, we needed games, crafts and talks each day.

On Monday I told the story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt. I had seen an epic cardboard box maze on Pinterest and was desperate to use it for the game. The boxes had to be big enough to fit our biggest child (and the adults!!) through so I put a request on my personal FB page and also on my local village FB page. The response I had was amazing. So many people keep large cardboard boxes “just in case”. They know they may come in handy but don’t know what for. I was helping a whole community declutter their garages lol!!

Storing the boxes was a bit of a pain and the church congregation spent a few weeks avoiding large boxes taking up space in the vestry. But when made the maze was fantastic. So good we redid it on Friday as the kids, well and adults to be fair, wanted to do it again!

cardboard box maze
The maze was epic but what on earth were we going to do with the boxes once we had finished with them? They were too big and too many to put in the recycling. We had cut entrances into them so they couldn’t be reused as boxes and we couldn’t possibly store them any longer.

I wanted to get rid of them responsibly. We reused some to make 3 Goliath’s for another game and used some to protect the carpet while we did messy games. But we still had so much left to dispose of.

A friend of mine has her own craft business and I asked her if she wanted to take some for packaging. It was an offer that benefitted both of us. She gladly used recycled cardboard for packaging and took everything. I think her husband was a bit bemused when he came to pick his kids up and was presented with 2 car loads of boxes to take home :D

It just goes to show that a simple question can lead to better environmental choices. I disposed of the boxes without sending them to landfill and she now has a shed full of recycled packaging for her business. Win/win for us and a win for zero waste.

Have you ever had a simple question lead to better environmental choices? I’d love to know

ZWW – my pledge

On Wednesday I told you about Zero Waste Week and it’s theme for this year. The theme is Re-use and I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can use that theme in our family life. We re-use a lot of things already.

We re-use glass jars to store food in the fridge. Very handy to write the “use by” date on using a wipe off marker too. We re-use shopping bags and I always have one in handbag, plus a few in the boot of the car for bigger shops too. We re-use the backs of Christmas/birthday cards to use for notepaper and re-use printing mistakes as drawing paper for the kids.

I wanted ZWW to stretch me, like last year, but I also wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a gimmick, that it was something that would be useful in our everyday lives. After a lot of thinking we (hubby and I) came up with our pledge:

We will re-use and re-purpose items that we already have, or can get second hand, to have a handmade Christmas (as far as we can)

As many gifts as possible from us at Christmas will be handmade. This includes upcycling and repurposing as well as making from scratch. We will try not to buy anything new and either use what we can or buy second hand.

During ZWW (7-13th September) I will be offering tutorials on handmade gifts so please do come back to have a look. I won’t be able to list all planned presents as I know my sister reads this blog periodically and I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise. :D I also plan to end the week with a giveaway so be sure you don’t miss out on that.

Are you planning to take part in ZWW? What’s your pledge?

Zero Waste Week 2015

Zero Waste Week is fast approaching and I need to start making preparations. I took part for the first time last year and loved it. I have since incorporated a lot of tips and tricks I learned through social media last time around, into our everyday lives. This year it runs from the 7th-13th September and I have the priviledge of being a Zero Waste Ambassador this year. Yay! Go and check out the names I am in with though. Talk about giving me an imposter complex lol! Big names in the Zero Waste/Sustainability category.

Last year I didn’t do very well during the week. You can read my pledge for last year here and how I got on here. On the upside, it wasn’t much after ZWW that we finally cracked the potty training and D has been an absolute star since. So proud of him and his efforts :D

This year the theme is Re-use. There have been a lot of pledges made already and as always there are tips and resources on the website if you were looking to join in. You can find the website here. Rae, the lovely lady behind all this has even given a list of ideas to start you off. They include:

 

  • Reuse shopping bags
  • Reuse foil for zero waste lunches
  • Reuse jars for storage
  • Reuse leftovers as ingredients
  • Reuse blank paper for notes
  • Use a refillable bottle

These ideas are so simple yet so effective. Here in Wales (and Scotland now too) we already have the 5p carrier bag tax charge so reusing shopping bags is second nature to most people here now. I believe the charge is coming to England in October so what a perfect way to prepare yourself than to practice during ZWW?

 

Race For Life 2015

One more running post then I’ll change the subject for a while. :D

Little Lady and I completed our 2nd RFL together recently. As I mentioned here we have been following a simple Couch 2 5k programme together while I also used the Kiqplan* programme alongside. This year Little Lady wanted to beat last year’s time and run a lot more of the route so that was our aim.

She decided that we needed to wear a lot of pink and a tutu if possible. :D So in the run up to the race I made 5 pink tutus and bought us all matching tops. Now the matching tops were not my best idea. I couldn’t get the top in a child’s size so Little Lady wore a different top anyway and after the race I swore I wouldn’t run in a cotton t-shirt again! I think I sweated more than at the Caerphilly 10k!! Not great for running in at all!

Do our bums look big in these? :D

When we got to the park a local radio station had DJ’s on the stage and Little Lady wanted to go to see them. We were right at the front and were able to see ourselves on the big screen. That prompted a friend of Little Lady’s to come and find us to say hi! That worked well as the two of them ran together and encouraged each other to keep going. We made it around with hardly any complaining from either of them which was amazing really as 5k is pretty far never mind when you are only 7!

Little Lady ran so hard she hardly had anything left for the sprint finish, which is her favourite part! She loves beating me to the finish line :D

But she did and we were 3minutes faster than last year. I am so proud of her. 3 minutes is huge. That’s a minute a mile she’s knocked off! She is amazing. Well done sweetie. I am so proud of you.

Oh and let’s not forget D who also had to take part as Hubby was working and both my mum and sister were taking part in the RFL as well. He decided he didn’t want to wear a tutu (lol!) he wanted to wear a cape! So he ran/walked dressed as Superman. He had so many comments from strangers saying how cute he looked. I could only agree ;)

You would be forgiven for thinking this is an “after” photo but it was actually taken before we had even set off! Good old Anti messing about with the kiddies :D
*I was given free access to the Kiqplan programme for the purposes of a review. You can find my review here but I am also mentioning it in this post for clarity of posting.

Caerphilly 10k

The Caerphilly 10k is in it’s third year this year and this was the first year I had entered. Ridiculous really as it’s right on my doorstep! Anyway this year was an important year for my running club as we have just been affiliated with Welsh Athletics and being a home race we were expecting a sea of blue. 

The club was not disappointed. After the race we couldn’t fit everyone on the stage for a club photo! 
The morning itself was overcast. I debated whether or not to wear a top under my vest as it wasn’t very warm. Thankfully I decided against that as by the time we had started the sun had come out and it was boiling! Sun burn was definitely a worry. 

In the run up to this race I kept saying I wanted a sub 70mins. I had told everyone in my running club my desired time and I was determined to do it. I had recently broken sub 30 5k and I knew I could break the 70minute mark for 10k. On paper it should have been easy for me to beat it. I regularly run 5k in 32-33mins. Double it and add a bit extra on and it still comes under 70mins. But I just couldn’t do it when I run 10k. I’d end up having to stop or I’d convince myself I was no where near and slow down. Every time I sabotaged myself. :(

I was determined this wasn’t going to happen this time. I worked out the pace I needed which is pretty easy to work out really. I just needed to keep each km under 7mins. Maths isn’t my strong point but I do know my 7times table well enough to be able to work out each km as I’m running. 

I set off at the gun and ran the first km a bit quick really. The first part is uphill and I wanted to get that out of the way as quick as possible. Trouble was I’d gone too fast. I almost blew it before I’d started. I gave myself a good talking to and slowed down a bit. I told myself to go at my own pace and not worry what everyone else was doing. 

I met up with two other runners from my club and ran with them for a while before they went off in front. Normally that would have finished me off but I kept telling myself it didn’t matter. I continued to run at my own pace and it really paid off in that I actually got a half decent action photo kindly taken by a member of the running club. Thanks Rich x  

My hair is doing a mad thing and I look thick around the waist but I actually really like this shot. I look exactly how I felt at that point. Strong, happy and able. :D

The council had advertised water stations at 4km and 8km so I didn’t take any water with me! Big mistake. Due to a council mess up there wasn’t any water at 4km or again at 8km. Massive fail. Thankfully the course double backs on itself at the 8km mark and the water station is at the turn around point. As I was running up the hill I spotted 3 ladies from the club running down the hill. They practically forced a bottle of water in my hand. Not knowing there was no water I almost didn’t take it but it was so hot I decided to take it anyway. As I got to the turn around point and saw the empty table I realised why they were so keen for me to take the bottle. I was so grateful to them at that point. Running down the hill I kept an eye out for another blue shirt and passed the bottle on to another club member. At that point who cares about germs! Lol! So many people who had been lucky enough to get water were passing them on to other runners. Good job we are all a friendly bunch! ;)

I started to lose it towards the end and had to walk. Another talking to though and I picked the pace back up. As I turned the last corner I saw one of our club coaches standing there. I knew he would have finished already (he does 10k in approx 35mins!) He was stood there looking for me! He ran the last part with me, forcing me to pick up the pace. The picture of me at that point is not as flattering as the first one!!

So….time? Did I get my sub 70? 

I did :D  

I treated myself to an ice cream that I didn’t have to share with the kids! Bonus!

 Apart from the water mess up, which to be fair is inexcusable as they know how many people have signed up, I really enjoyed this race. The medal was pretty cool too. One of the nicest I’ve had and I got my sub 70. So a good day all round.  

Sub 65 next lol!