Opening my eyes

I know I’m not the best blogger in the world. I don’t post regularly, I don’t have one particular topic that I write about, I don’t have hundreds of followers. I started writing this blog for me. To keep track of the work we were doing in the house. It has moved away from that a little bit as DIY isn’t the only thing I talk about (or very often these days!) but I still write mainly for me.

After Christmas I started writing my round up post. In order to do that I read through a year’s worth of blog posts. Okay so I skim-read my way through šŸ˜‰ While doing that I came across this post. The post shows my first running medal of 2014 and also talks about the virtual run idea. I was amazed as I read it. In one part I talk excitedly about my time “Iā€™m pleased to say I smashed my PB by over a minute and I ran the whole way!” A whole minute! How fantastic. I looked back to the photo to see what my time was and I was shocked. The PB I was so excited by?? 36:32!! I was gobsmacked when I saw this time.

Back last year I joined a running club. I am always the last (wo)man home. Always!! I am so slow sometimes I wonder if it’s worth me being part of the running club at all. They have to wait around for me to get back to the studio when we do a long run. They have to hang around at the end of races to have the group “with medals” photo. No one can move on to the next interval until I’ve finished the previous one. And I’m not getting any faster! It’s deflating to say the least.

Reading this post really opened my eyes. I decided to sign up for the Virtual Run for this January to actually compare my times. To have visual proof of how far I have actually come in a year. To prove to myself that I have the right to be a part of the running club.

So I signed up.

And I went out and ran 5k.

My time? 33:47 on a very hilly route!

My current 5k PB? 32:52 šŸ˜€

3 minutes and 40 seconds faster that the PB I set this time last year. šŸ˜€ I actually can’t believe it! I’ve been getting so hung up on recent times that I haven’t been able to see how far I have actually come! Now if I can do the same thing this year then that sub 30mins is mine šŸ˜€

Mickey-ing around

Wow well as the title suggests we have been to Disneyland Paris šŸ˜€

This was part of hubby’s big birthday celebrations and we have been saving for quite a while for this holiday. If you read this blog regularly you will know that we don’t have a lot of money so in order to afford this holiday I signed up to an agency and have spent a year doing extra shifts, working nights and weekends while hubby was at home with the kids. It was hard work but so worth it.

Before I show you my holiday photos let’s get 2 things clear

1. Paris is cold in January!!!!! I wore leggings under my jeans, a t shirt, a jumper, a hoodie and a coat and I was still cold!!! Rule number one – pack your thermals!!

2. You will do a LOT of walking! And I mean a lot! I am slightly disappointed in myself for not packing a pedometer. I bet I walked 3-4miles everyday if not more! Wear trainers or walking boots. Don’t even think about heels or those shoes you bought last week! Rule number 2 – pack for comfort not fashion!

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We decided to drive and catch the ferry over. Big mistake! Well no actually it wasn’t, more like bad timing. Our first crossing was soooo rough, I couldn’t get up out of my chair. There were people being sick everywhere!! Thankfully it was a late crossing so the kiddies slept on chairs and didn’t notice a thing!

We stayed in the Santa Fe hotel which is the cheapest of all the Disney hotels. But do you know what? It was awesome!! Our room had a Cars theme and as D loves Lightening McQueen and Mater (his fave) he absolutely loved it. Little lady was also impressed by the bunk beds! To be honest if I had known how easily pleased they would be we could have saved a fortune šŸ˜‰

A friend had very kindly given me 2 sketchbooks. You know the ring bound, hard back type? She advised me to let the kids decorate them and take them to collect autographs in. I am so glad I did. The Disney equivalent were approx 8Euros and were much much smaller. Another bit of advice here. Take a normal pen for the Princesses to use but a Sharpie or other thick pen for the “gloved” characters as they may struggle with a normal, thinner pen.

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If you have girls then let them wear their princess outfits. Little Lady had a few for Christmas as we had asked various family members to buy her some. This helped us as Little Lady didn’t look at the (overpriced) costumes in the shops plus any character who saw the princess costume automatically bowed/curtsied to her. All the staff/ cast members (as they are called) addressed Little Lady as “Princess” which she absolutely loved. It made her feel so special!

Going in January meant that queues for the rides were virtually non-existant. šŸ™‚ The longest we queued for a ride was 10 minutes, although saying that we did queue twice for the Princess Pavilion and the queues there were 45minutes to an hour! It was inside and warm though šŸ˜‰

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We took food with us to the park in a backpack. We had heard from a lot of people that picnics are not allowed inside the park. We took food, everyday, in bags that were searched, everyday and not one comment was made. There are loads of benches/low walls to sit on to eat your picnic. There are also water fountains so take a bottle and fill it up. We took 3 water bottles with us. One for the kids to share, one for hubby and I, and one with pure undiluted blackcurrant squash in. We then added the squash to the water bottles as and when we needed to.

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We treated ourselves (and the kiddies obviously šŸ˜‰ ) to a character lunch in Cafe Mickey. At over Ā£90 for the 4 of us it wasn’t cheap but it was worth it. We booked our lunch for 2pm as the cafe closes at 3pm. Hubby and I could chose a starter and a main and the kiddies got starters, mains and a dessert. We hadn’t even had our mains at 3pm and yet we didn’t feel rushed to finish at all. There was 6 characters in total and each one came round to the table and spent time with the kids. They were happy to have photos and sign autographs. D has been terrified of characters for a good few years but he is much better now, despite refusing to look at Spiderman.

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Haha! Yes D is wearing odd socks. Loooooong story!!

However, he really took a shine to Mickey and loved him sitting next to us. He gave him kisses and everything. D was so taken by him, it was lovely.

Would we go again? Yes. Little Lady already has a piggy bank started to save for next time. Personally I want a bit of a break from the extra shifts for a bit before I start again for another holiday. But we’ll see. We all had such a fantastic time. Have you ever been?

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Christmas Hair

Just a quick catch up really. I was planning on writing this post before Christmas but time got away from me. The pictures are not great and taking better pictures is something I want to work on this year. I tend to snap and go rather than stage photos. It’s a bit more natural but they don’t always turn out great. These photos for instance suffer from bad lighting as they were taking early in the morning before Little Lady went to school.

Anyway, enough waffling. During the last week of school little lady wore her hair in a different Christmas style every day.

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Day 1 – Christmas jumper day (Friday) and it’s a snowman

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Day 2 – (Monday) a simple plait with a Christmas bow

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Day 3 – Santa

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Day 4 – a star

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Day 5 – Rudolph

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Day 6 – (Friday) a Christmas tree with a star on top

They are not perfect but we loved doing them and a lot of the staff at Little Lady’s school commented to me how much they loved seeing all the different designs. I need new ideas for next year now šŸ˜€

Running down Memory Lane

Hubby and I used to live in Greater Manchester. It seems like a lifetime ago now so when we went to visit my in laws after Christmas, I decided to pack my running kit and go for a run down memory lane.

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Dawn broke on the 20min drive from the travelodge and the car display told me it was -2*C. Brr!! I drove to the lake where hubby and I first met all those years ago, parked up and set off running.

The lake itself hasn’t changed but the pathway around it is in much better condition that it was.

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The views are still as amazing as I remember although the cafe was shut – how rude! Although understandable I suppose at that time of the morning!

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There was snow on the ground and it was so cold there was black ice in patches every now and again meaning that the run itself was very slow and careful. I ran to the back of the lake, to the centre where I was taught to sail. I knew the centre had since closed but it was so sad to see it boarded up

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It was such a big part of our lives for so long and now it seems forgotten, abandoned šŸ˜„ so sad.

I finished my run, almost missing the lovely views as I tried to concentrate on not falling over.

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I got back to the car and as I tried to stop the run app on my phone I realised that somehow it had paused itself half way round! Meaning I only had records for half the run and also the picture map looks as though I can run/walk on water!!

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Maybe it’s time I invested in a GPS watch or something. I don’t know.

2015

I have put off and put off writing this post as I look for the “perfect” thing to write about! I wanted to publish my goals for 2015 on New Year’s Day but I kept changing my mind over and over again about what to actually put on the list. I am going through a pretty tough time personally at the moment which has really affected my self confidence. Comments have been made which has made me question everything I do. I won’t bore you with details but the whole situation has saddened me more than I would have thought it would.

My main aim in 2015 is to simplify my life. I am guilty of trying to do too much and then stressing when things are getting too much. I really want to do my part to reduce my impact on this world but I am afraid of failing. Everytime I decide how I will do this, my self doubt tells me I will fail šŸ˜¦

So what I have decided to do is set out smaller aims and update them as and when I claw back a bit of self confidence. In keeping with the “reducing my impact” theme I am “reusing and recycling” a lot of last year’s goals šŸ˜€

1.Curtains for D’s bedroom I have bought the fabric so I have no excuse really. Just procrastination!

2.Decluttering I really need to get on top of this. I am fed up of the house being so full of clutter. I still don’t have my craft room in the attic properly due to all the stuff in there. I will concentrate on sorting and getting rid of items that I no longer use, ethically of course, not just throwing them away. I will also aim to use a lot of the fabric I have in boxes in the attic. What a waste that they just sit there!! I’m so embarrassed! šŸ˜®

3. Running I want to imporve my running again this year. I am looking for a sub 30min 5k and a sub 1hr 10k. The 5k is definitely doable but I will have to work harder at the 10k. I am also planning on running another 2 Half Marathons and would like to get 2:30hr for at least one of those.

4. Be more adventurous in the kitchen I want to bake more. I want to know more about what foods and snacks my kiddies are eating and what goes into them. I would like to buy more from local independant shops rather than big supermarkets but I can’t commit to going supermarket free like westywrites

5. Sewing Jen has posted about her aim to make one item a month in order to produce a handmade wardrobe. I don’t think I will achieve this as I want to make dresses for Little Lady and I would also like to start dabbling more in boy’s clothes so that I can make something for D. I will however, commit to weighing up whether or not I can make something before I buy anything new. If it can be made (out of fabric – I’m not that good!!) I will make it instead of buying it. Which leads me onto….

6. Handmade presents I was embarrassed by how little presents were handmad this year. In fact the best handmade present all year was the one made by hubby for his parents. Good for him!! I’m not committing to ALL presents being handmade as I don’t think, at this moment, that I would cope with the stress, but I would like as many presents as is possible to be handmade.

So there you go. My goals for 2015.They are not earth-shattering but they are good enough and I need to be content with that!