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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? 

AWM is now self-hosted!

How exciting?

AWM is now self-hosted!

I’m so pleased about this but it means that I now have to redirect you wonderful people to my new site – now I am trying to do this automatically but everything seems to be a challenge for me at the moment! Within about an hour of buying my account I was freaking out and sending messages to my friend – I wanted a refund because it didn’t work!!!

Thankfully, it was just me and I hadn’t wasted my hard-earned cash!

I have self-hosted before, just I went with a different host and I panicked. As it appears, this host is in fact better than my old host and much easier to use so I am thrilled.

Onwards and upwards for Aspiring Warrior Mum!

So check-out the new look and if I could ask my wonderful followers who have started to follow me over the last two weeks to subscribe to www.aspiringwarriormum.com just in case the redirection isn’t working properly?

Have a great weekend and look out for tomorrow’s post.  If you’ve missed any of my posts over the last couple of weeks, it’s the perfect time to skip back and check them out (as I was capable of importing my WordPress account without freaking, lol)!

Janet

🙂

Wasting the NHS Time – is it as bad as wasting police time?

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There has been a lot talk of the NHS being in trouble.  Of course, this is old news because it’s been in trouble for a long time now, but it’s apparent that the situation is getting worse.  I’m probably going to have a bit of rant now and voice my opinion on the matter – that doesn’t mean you should agree with me!

I read an article last week about the reasons that some people in the north-east of England visited A&E (accident and emergency) over the festive period and I was astounded.  We are lucky enough here in the UK to have free health care and yes, it isn’t perfect but there are some countries without this luxury and our National Health Service is precious.  In the article, you had your usual festive excuse; alcohol.  As well as this, other reasons included toothache, coughs, colds, flu, oh, and the reason that left me aghast, a broken nail!

Yes, that’s right, if you have a broken nail you no longer need a nail technician or a simple nail file. you need to simply make a visit and wait hours on end to see an emergency doctor! I once jammed my fingers in the door and lost two nails and still didn’t visit a doctor, never mind accident and emergency. From my own point of view, I could not block spaces in A&E due to those excuses, I mean what if someone died as a result of having to wait longer because I was blocking up a bed with my torn fingernail? I could not be that person, it’s really outrageous!

I started thinking to myself, people in the UK can be prosecuted or fined for wasting police time so why is this allowed to happen in A&E?

This might sound harsh to some but a vital service is being abused!

I’m far from perfect and I have visited A&E with my children when I was scared or worried that something was really wrong, but I would always say don’t take any chances, especially with children, someone with health issues, and the elderly.  I would go as far as to say that I took the service for granted until our A&E was taken away.  Our urgent care centre deals with broken bones so even when my son broke his foot, I took him to the minor injury clinic for an Xray rather than A&E.  This took a lot less time to be seen and as it was actually broken, we were sent to the fracture clinic at our local hospital the next day (as that department is still open).

All I’m suggesting is that people should be aware of the choices that they have and sometimes this even saves them time and in our case, travelling.  Visiting a hospital can be expensive as our parking charges are extortionate!

This article really hit home for me, in fact, it annoyed me.  Last Wednesday my Grandfather, who is in his nineties, was taken to the hospital via ambulance.  We have already lost our town hospital A&E so he had to travel out of town to a neighbouring town to our closest A&E.  My mum is almost sixty-eight and she accompanied him.  He could put no weight on his feet whatsoever as he had no strength.  The previous year he had a stroke and although he used a walking trolley for safety, he could walk but he couldn’t stand and his chest was poorly.  He looked really pale and felt terrible.

The ambulance staff took him and my Mum to the hospital and they assessed him.  The hospital was over-stretched and nurses commented that they were struggling for beds so there was a chance he would have to be transported to a hospital further away.  They decided he could be discharged.  So he was and it was left to my elderly mother to sort out care but as this was now into the evening and too late to arrange, she had to lift him herself until she could make arrangements.  It turned out he was weak due to a UTI and he also had a chest infection. His own doctor came out the next day and said he thought he should be in the hospital.  He said he could arrange the admittance himself but after being messed around the day before, my Grandfather refused.  He was ill and he couldn’t be bothered to go through all of that again.  If something had happened to my Grandfather, maybe

If something had happened to my Grandfather, maybe we would have felt it was the fault of the NHS, but what if someone who didn’t need to be had been admitted?

I realise that we have a crisis in the UK and sometimes people phone an ambulance because they are alone, need a hot meal, or have other issues but maybe we need to try and deal with those issues.  There are a lot of people in poverty and a lot of people alone.  If we just took notice or if we were just that little kinder and called on our neighbours, could we make a difference?

There are lots of charities out there to help, but I get it, people are embarrassed sometimes by their situation in life. Others feel that they have a right to use the NHS as much as they like, and actually, they do, but the NHS is a privilege and we should nourish it.  If we don’t, it could be taken away from us! Whatever the reason, phoning an ambulance or visiting A&E unnecessarily is something we should think more about because it’s a life-saving service.  It’s struggling because of the pressures, so why make it harder? I will admit that I’m not always happy with the service they provide, but nothing is perfect.  Without them, my husband might not be alive today because they performed brain surgery on him almost 2 years ago and I can’t thank them enough.

If anyone is unsure as to whether you need to visit A&E just ask yourself is it an accident, or is it an emergency and no, if you accidentally break a nail, that doesn’t count!

Or you could review the guidance here, to find out when it’s appropriate to call 111, dial 999, visit A&E, visit an urgent care centre, visit a pharmacy, or see your GP by clicking here! 

Be smart and know what choices you have.  The health service needs to make undoubtedly improve in certain areas so let’s do our part!

Do you have a positive or negative experience of the A&E (I think the American equivalent is ER) department that you would like

to share?  Feel free to comment – maybe you agree with me or maybe you think I’m too harsh?

would like to share?  Feel free to comment – maybe you agree with me or maybe you think I’m too harsh?

Would you go to A&E with a broken fingernail or toothache? Is wasting the time of the NHS as bad as wasting police time? 

 

Movie Review: Rogue 1: A Star Wars Story

Over the Christmas break, we went to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  I hadn’t really looked into what the movie would be about and I assumed that it would be a continuation of The Force Awakens but it wasn’t, it bridged the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. 

I missed the writing at the beginning due to toilet duty!  I don’t know if this actually gave any clue as to what Rogue One would be about and where it was placed within the Star Wars movies.  Obviously, when the film started and I saw Darth Vader, I felt very confused – why was he alive? Why was there another Darth Vader?  It was also jarring getting used to new characters, including a new protagonist yet again.  Maybe if I had done some research or paid attention before I watched the movie I would have felt less confused – this confused feeling was obviously down to me.  I kept wondering where Luke Skywalker was!

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The story itself was great.  It was action packed.  Of course, we had the good versus evil battle as well as a back story of how the empire had hurt families with their dictatorship rules.  The ending was sad, and the death of Carrie Fisher over the Christmas period actually made that sadness worse!

Lucas didn’t disappoint at all.  As I’m dopey at times, it actually took me until the end of the film to realise that Rogue One was in fact, the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.  I think I will actually have to watch it again when it’s on DVD to see if I missed anything.  I really enjoy sci-fi movies and we own all the Star Wars films on DVD so this was definitely a movie that I expected to enjoy.   Once I got over the initial shock of it not being as I expected, I did think the plotline and characters were strong and well-rounded – the force was with them!

 

Have you seen Rogue One? If so, what did you think? Did you know it was the gap between movie 3 and 4?

How do you feel when films aren’t what you expect, do you find it jarring?

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