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2017 = Healthy Mum

What is more important that our health?

 

I started a diet before the Christmas break.  It was going quite well but I know I’ve slipped back into bad habits again over the break. Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been sticking to my healthy diet again.

On the 3rd January I weighed:

I now weigh:

 

Weightwatchers old system worked for me years ago and I can work out the points system quite well.  I think the main thing for me is exercise if I’m honest.  I just don’t find the time and I should. One thing I’ve come to realise is that health is so important.  There are a couple of friends of mine (in their early thirties like me) who have suffered from Cancer.  It really hit home just how important health is!

 

I didn’t have a drink all over the Christmas and new year period, and I’ve stayed dry for January too!  I actually don’t drink a lot anyway, especially in the house but I just didn’t actually fancy a drink at all.  I would have been drinking for the sake of drinking. Usually, I just drink and don’t think about it, but this year I did think about it and I just didn’t feel the need to drink!  Staying off alcohol is beneficial health-wise, so that’s one of the ways I’ve been staying healthy this year.

 

I like grapefruits, so I’ve been having half of a grapefruit alternating with an Activia yoghurt every other day.

 

I’ve also cut down on carbs in my diet too.  For one meal of the day, I don’t eat carbs and I replace my carbs with other things.  For instance, I’ve been eating spiralled butternut squash, sweet potato, courgette or carrot instead of spaghetti or noodles.  I’ve replaced potatoes with butternut squash or sweet potato too.  If I made stroganoff and rice I’ve replaced the rice with vegetables or eaten with cauliflower rice.

 

I think it’s important to point out that I haven’t cut out carbs completely! If you want a balanced diet then it’s important to still eat some carbs.  I’ve been buying low-fat crisps as a snack (not every day) along with cereal bars as a sugary treat.

 

Another thing I’ve cut down on that I love is cheese. I adore cheese and would eat it every day.  I’ve been buying a lower-fat cheese and cottage cheese and I’ve cut down my portion sizes.

 

For exercise, I’ve been doing…

 

Now I’m being healthier, I feel great! I hope I can keep losing weight at this rate.  Being fit and healthy is really important to me and my family because life is too short and I feel I need to be a good influence.

 

Have you been on a diet following Christmas? Or have you been trying to lose weight? Are there any diets you would recommend? Maybe there are exercise routines that helped you get back into shape? I would love to hear your tips and advice, or about your experiences!

 

Should we (as a family) have Savings?

A lot of families struggle and over the past few years things haven’t been easy for us.  We used to have some savings but we currently don’t.  Things happen, and my husband has been out of work for quite some time now.

Saving is important for me this year.  I started off on the right foot last year but it didn’t continue and I was not prepared for Christmas at all.  We had numerous repairs to make on our property, and as I currently work on a self-employed basis, I had a dry spell between August to December in which I barely made any wages. It’s been tough!

My roof recently started leaking and it cost hundreds of pounds to fix.  I had to borrow the money from my Mum because I couldn’t afford to pay for it.  Things like this happen but I realise that I need to have backup money behind me in case things like this happen in future.

This year, once my teaching course is complete, I’m going to be in a better position to get a higher paid job. That’s great news for me and I hope everything goes to plan.  I work part-time on a self-employed basis and I also do some freelance writing too so if I can keep this up, then I should make enough to be able to save for the future and have plenty for Christmas 2017.

Savings rates aren’t the best at the moment but I’m not going to be saving necessarily to make interest, I want to save to be a good example to my children and so we don’t need to worry about things that happen that we can’t control.

Do you have any savings or would you like to save? How important do you think it is to have savings? Do you have any savings tips?  

Can you save – I will be honest, I struggle with saving as I like to spend and there’s always something I feel that we need? 

Christmas Money Experiment: What did the Children think?

 

1# What did you get from Santa this year?

Abbey:

Freddie:

Alex:

 

2# What did you think about the money you got?

Abbey:

Freddie:

Alex:

 

3# Do you like to get money and choose some of your own gifts or do you just like to receive gifts?

Abbey:

Freddie:

Alex:

 

4# What was the best part of having money to spend after Christmas?

Abbey:

Freddie:

Alex:

 

5# What was your least favourite part of going shopping with your money after Christmas?

Abbey:

Freddie:

Alex:

Growing Feet: Keeping up with the shoes

I’m sure that any parent can appreciate what I’m about to discuss.

I feel the need to moan about the number of shoes my children go through. We are now at mid-January and I buy shoes at the beginning of every school year.  The amount of money I must have spent on shoes for my children is mounting already.  Children should come with a warning similar to the labels we see for hazardous waste; parents beware, children’s feet grow rapidly, and you must be prepared to buy several pairs of shoes within the space of four months and God help you if they have any extra-curricular activities like football or dancing!

 

So since September my kids have had the following shoes:

My youngest son: 1 pair of school shoes, 2 pairs of trainers, 3 pairs of football boots, one pair of regular boots, 1 pair of plimsolls, and a pair of wellies.

My eldest son: 2 pairs of school shoes, 3 pairs of trainers, 2 pairs of football boots, 1 pair of plimsolls, and a pair of wellies.

My daughter: 1 pair of school shoes, 2 pairs of school boots, one pair of plimsolls, 1 pair of trainers, 1 pair of football boots and a pair of wellies.

 

I mean shoes cost a fortune and there is well over £400 worth of shoes there and guess what, my daughter needs a new pair of school boots and trainers, and both of my sons’ need a pair of trainers.  How am I supposed to compete with this? 

 

How dare our children’s feet grow?  I mean it’s just rude! Do they have no consideration for us?

Don’t they know that by growing their feet means their parents are out-of-pocket? 

Money doesn’t grow on trees you know, and neither do shoes!  Today I’m just choosing to moan about shoes but what about uniforms, and regular clothes too.  I mean the costs are never-ending!

The next time I get a job, I’m going to see if staff are offered discounts on footwear as a perk of the job – maybe I should actually consider getting a job in Clarks or a sports shop instead of teaching!

Rant over for today!

A Library of my Own

Another instalment of DIY in our home!

When I moved into our property back in April, I struggled.  We had downsized, and I had no space to store my books.  I wanted my lounge to look minimalistic so I ended up temporarily storing my books and folders in bookshelves in the cupboard under the stairs.  This meant that I had nowhere to store items like my Hoover.

I’m obsessed with books.  Because I’ve studied English degrees, I adore English. I love to read and have so many books it’s unbelievable!

When I got my bedroom decorated the plans were to move my books there. Due to a roof leak, we were delayed but finally, I could make preparations for my books to be stored properly.  My husband promised to line the back wall of our bedroom (the room is very large) with shelving especially for my books.  He certainly delivered on that and bought me a desk too!  Although, that was for Christmas and we haven’t put that up yet.

Now I have a space of my own to work and read in peace!

Another good job by my husband – I will have a beautiful house soon if this continues!

 

 

My 5 Writing Goals for 2017

For anyone who knows me or has read my current blog/previous blog, you will know that I’m a writer.  Recently, I’ve let my writing slip a little.  The thing is, being a good writer comes with practice.  I don’t deny you have to be creative too but I just haven’t felt inspired to write anything lately.  I didn’t feel inspired to blog or to write anything worth reading.  I felt quite robotic in my writing.

Now it’s a new year, it’s important for me to find time to write again.  Even if this is simply digging out old writing and improving it – that’s fine.  I have quite a portfolio to work from. Even if I don’t necessarily feel inspired to write, I have so much material I could edit and improve so there is really no excuse not to make progress with my writing.

So, I was thinking about setting some writing goals for the year.  I don’t want to feel pressurised this year because I have a lot on but surely setting some goals couldn’t do any harm so that’s exactly what I’m going to do – you never know, it might help keep me motivated!

1# Firstly, I’m going to research and write a proposal for a possible PhD thesis.  I’m looking at politics and terrorism in an American Gothic fiction trilogy.  I hope to have a draft proposal written by mid-January.

2# I plan to improve my poetry.  I am co-teaching an Access English literature class and part of this is poetry.  I haven’t studied poetry for a while now and I tend to shy away from it.  I’ve bought some poetry books that contain works of Carol Ann Duffy and Ted Hughes so I’m going to refresh by reading through my old poetry, reading through my new books and writing some poetry in the essence of these poets.  I’m also going to practice analysing some of their work too! My main aim is to write some poetry in different styles and forms here.  I want to finish this by the middle of February.

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3# I plan to submit two stories to the Mslexia Short Story Competition.  This year there is a Flash Fiction competition, up to 300 words and then another for the longer short story, 300-3000 words.  I want to submit a story to each of these categories and have to submit these by March 20th, 2017.

4# I want to write an academic blog for an academic Gothic site about child monsters in a specific Gothic text. Hopefully, this will be completed over the Easter break.

 

5# I’ve already discussed the novel I’m working on in a previous post from last week.  My writing goal is certainly to complete and to have edited my novel over the year for publishing towards the end of 2017 (or before if possible).  The first draft is to be ready by July!

If I can overcome this over the next 7 months then who knows what the rest of the year will have in store for me!

 

Do you have any writing goals this year? What is your ultimate writing goal? Do you have any words of wisdom for me?