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? 

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!



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)!



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


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!


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?


How I love my Fireplace (and of course my husband)!

I’ve been waiting to decorate my lounge for a while, but so many other things in the house needed upgrading so I’ve been delayed.  We only began decorating in December which meant that the putting up of Christmas decorations was delayed this year.  But it was well worth the wait.  I wanted a feature wall with brickwork and I bought a stove electric fire as I wanted a vintage style look.  I wanted a floating shelf style mantelpiece but these worked out quite expensive.  My husband decided that he could make one himself from our old mantel so he did and nobody actually believes it’s our old mantel.  The framework around the fire is made from old dado rail, also taken from our lounge.  He sanded them all down and stained them the same colour and it’s amazing!



I absolutely love it!

I couldn’t find a coffee table I liked to suit my room anywhere.  We ended up buying a table that needed some TLC – all the paint was scratched and peeling.  It cost us £5 from a charity shop.  My husband (being the talented man that he is) plained it all and varnished it to match the fireplace.  Just look at the detail on the legs!

my-table                                                             my-table-leg

Anyway, my room is now complete.  The other walls are navy and white.  Then I have navy throws, curtains and cushions scattered around. Overall, I’m really pleased with how my room is looking.  It’s like a little cosy cottage in here and finally, I feel at home!  I was actually upset to have to put up my decorations but now they are put away, I can enjoy the decor once more!

Have you been decorating lately or are you planning to?  What sort of look are you going for?

Are you a spender or do you prefer to up-cycle/recycle what you already have?  Let me know what you think!

Our Top 5 Favourite children’s Xmas Gifts from 2016

I’m briefly going to talk over our best buys for Christmas this year. It’s been quite successful this year and there was very little that I felt I had wasted my money on (thankfully).  I have children aged 11 (girl), 9 (boy), and 5 (boy) so I bought quite a wide range of gifts.  My daughter actually got a dressing table as her main present and my youngest son wanted wrestling figures and a ring.  The only major disappointment this year was for my 9-year-old son, and that was Skylanders Imaginators.  He collects Skylanders but this year he didn’t like the new game. He has played on it once which was a let down considering it was £50.  In previous years, I’ve had to prize him away from his PlayStation because he’s always loved Skylanders. My son doesn’t think that the latest game is as good as expected.chalk-board

Our top 5 favourites are… 

1# Easel and Chalk Board

This was a great choice for my five-year-old.  He actually asked for an easel because his friend has one but the chalkboard was an added bonus.  I got him a wooden one rather than a flimsy plastic character one and it has storage underneath.  It was around £60 but well worth the money.


2# Air Hog Zero Gravity cars

All three of my children asked for these.  My children are aged 5, 9 and 11.  I have a girl and two boys and all got pleasure from this gift.  At the price of £35 I didn’t think it was a bad price.  The only negative point is that it doesn’t climb up wallpaper, just smooth walls.  As our house has poor quality walls due to its age, most of the walls are papered with wallpaper and that means limited use.guitar

3# Electric Guitar with mini amp

My boys both asked for this gift.  The recommended age is
from age 6.  The mini amp is ideal as the lads can hook the amp over their body and
play, whilst carrying the amp.  It’s not too loud, but the sound is adjustable.  The lads have really enjoyed playing these and at £65, I can’t complain, especially if they want to play professionally.  Learning music is always an added bonus!monopoly-1356307_6404# Monopoly

Good old classic Monopoly is great as a family game.  Although it does seem to cause fighting if the children play this themselves.  They do love the game and what I like is the fact it promotes thinking skills, maths and reading.  A lot of enjoyment that can include the whole family having fun!  I do think it’s expensive now though ranging from around £20-25 but it is well used!newt-book

5# Newt Scamander’s scrapbook

My youngest son loves Fantastic Beasts and where to find them.  I found a scrapbook in WH Smiths for £15 that talks through the characters and beasts and provides cards and maps etc… You can work your way through Newt’s travels and learn further about the characters and the beasts he has in his suitcase.  It was a great addition to the film and really interesting! Another good buy as I don’t believe you can ever have too many books!

What were your best buys at Christmas? What did your children get the most enjoyment out of (usually mine get more enjoyment from the boxes but this year was more successful than usual)? Did you buy anything that was an absolute flop or waste of money? 

My Random Musings

5 Reasons Why I think Swimming Lessons for my Kids are a Good Investment

I read an article just a couple of days ago about children not being able to swim by the time they left primary school and I decided that this would be great for me to discuss as a blog post because I have first-hand, experience of this.

Just to clarify, I could not swim when I left primary school.  All three of my children, aged 11, 9, and 5 attend swimming lessons and have been for around 16 months. My daughter left primary school in July 2016 and could only swim as a result of these private lessons.  They all get half-an-hour each week and it costs me £16 each per month.  I know that this is a lot of money in theory because I have to pay £16 X 3 because I have three children (that’s £48), however, if you divide it by four weeks, it’s about £4 per lesson per child.


First of all, I want to tell you what I get for my money…

  • They get a qualified swimming instructor that teaches them to swim and breathe correctly.
  • The follow an approved programme of ASA Stages.
  • They get passes for the local leisure centre, and that means they can actually go and swim for free at any time (this usually costs £2.10 per hour).
  • They learn a little bit of theory at each lesson about safety in and around the pool.


So what prompted me to pay for swimming lessons for my children? 

Maybe it was quite naive of me, but when my son had been completing swimming lessons at school and told me he could swim I believed him.  He could swim – he showed me!  So I allowed him into the swimming baths without his armbands.  He was jumping in with his friend and launched himself to the centre of the pool and couldn’t touch the floor.  He panicked and started shouting ‘help me!’  Of course, I was close by with my little one so I stuck him on my back and swam to him – the lifeguard clearly didn’t want to get in the pool as he was leaning over, but I must stress that my son wasn’t sinking – he was simply panicking and shouting whilst treading water because he couldn’t touch the bottom.

The fact he wasn’t drowning and a woman next to him passed him to me in an attempt to calm him didn’t stop it from being embarrassing on my behalf.  I should have checked he was confident in the water and I should have made sure he knew what to do – how to swim after you jump in and can’t touch the bottom.  I also thought of what danger he could have been in as he was panicking.  I made him wear his armbands as a safeguard when jumping in.  I’m not the strongest swimmer myself but his dad is brill so I told him his dad would work with him on our Summer holiday to help him.  I had to fill an accident form out in relation to the whole incident and I felt like a bad parent.

His dad did do work with him on holiday, but I was still apprehensive.  I observed my daughter and discovered that at 10 years old, she couldn’t swim either and was, in fact, walking along the bottom of the pool.  We didn’t go swimming very often so I hadn’t really noticed before as when we did go swimming it was usually to have fun on holiday and not to necessarily swim.  Enough was enough and I decided to enrol them in swimming lessons.  My youngest was 3 and there was no way this was going to happen to him too.  He could enrol on a ducklings class and I had to go in the pool with him until he progressed to the last stage.

16 months later, my eldest two are in the bigger pool, can dive, swim on top and under the water, even when they can’t touch the bottom and they breathe properly whilst swimming.  My youngest child has progressed into the 1st level class (what his sister and brother were in the previous year) and can swim under water.  They all love swimming and are much more confident.




Finally, after my experience over the last 16 months, here are my top five reasons why I think swimming lessons are a good investment…

  1. Swimming can be a life-saving skill – it can save your own life or the life of another.
  2. Swimming keeps you fit as it’s a sport that encourages the use of a lot of your body’s muscles.
  3. Swimming lessons have built up my children’s confidence in the water. This ultimately means more enjoyment for the family!
  4. From my point of view, as a parent, I feel less nervous (although I still keep a close eye on them) when we go to swimming pools and they go down water slides as it always used to worry me. This means we can relax a little more as adults.
  5. Swimming lessons have taught my children a lot about safety in water and at poolside, like not running and getting into the pool safely etc…


I will continue these lessons for as long as I have to, plus they are in a routine of going every week now – practice makes perfect!


Can your child swim? Do you think every child should be able to swim when they leave primary school? Do you think swimming lessons are a good investment? Maybe you have a different view – are they reasonably priced or expensive? 

Returning to work: Training to Teach is Scary

I’ve returned to my teaching placement in further education this week.

I’ll admit, I’ve felt quite apprehensive about this because I find teaching scary.  As I’ve worked as an Assessor and have some teaching experience, people have asked me, why I chose to go to university to complete a teaching qualification when I could have went straight into a job and trained whilst teaching hands on.  I know I could have done it this way but the truth is I was worried about teaching.  I want to be a good teacher and I didn’t have confidence in my own abilities just to walk in and begin.  Sure, I know my subject, English but now I’m used to English at MA level.  I felt I needed to ease myself into teaching lower-level qualifications.

Sometimes, I go through life feeling like I’m just winging it.  I’m tired of feeling that way; I want to be good at something.  To me, teaching is so important because a good teacher can impact a person’s life and education is really important to me.  Due to personal reasons I left school with no GCSEs.  I hated English literature and since returning to education a little over 6 years ago, I’ve found that with the right teacher, I actually love it.

Before the Christmas break, I had three weeks to settle into my teaching placement.  I’ve now taken three weeks off.  I was so anxious about heading back because of the break.  I’ve just started and then I’ve had such a long break.  I was scared, this was such a daunting prospect.  Over the Christmas break, I’ve actually questioned if I want to be a teacher or not because of how anxious I’ve felt about returning.  I know in my heart that I want to teach, I just need to find the right job (after my course) and settle in.  I wanted to actually teach in a University but I need to complete a PhD first and this will be very expensive so things are a little up-in-the-air in relation to whether I will progress that far due to funds.  I have written to some universities with my ideas and do have some interest which sounds hopeful.

I think that I feel so anxious about teaching because of the need I feel to be a good teacher.  Surely, that’s a good thing, isn’t it?  I also imagined that I would be teaching those who wanted to be taught in further education, but with some people being forced to keep studying at GCSE or Functional Skills if they haven’t achieved a grade C makes teaching English difficult in some cases.  Don’t get me wrong, English is a very important skill so I’m not saying that this is a bad idea as such, it’s just when a student has no intention of ever learning or achieving in English, you can’t make them and it just disrupts the whole class and those who want to learn.  Teaching GCSE and Functional skills to under 18s is very much like teaching in school, and it’s very challenging.  This is why I need to build my confidence in teaching because behaviour management is an area that I need to address and develop.  When a student leaves school and starts college, they feel that they are more adult and hate being told what to do and this can make teaching even more difficult.  You also have students that differ widely in ability from those who are so close to getting a C to those that are F and G grades so teaching and covering everything in under a year is very challenging.  Hopefully, if I keep gaining my experience and guidance, I will become a confident and able teacher. I think I have to remember that I am also learning because I’m learning to teach and the topics I am teaching are things that I haven’t done myself for such a long time.

So yes I feel scared! 


This is my first week back and I feel like I’m starting again, from scratch!

I’m assuming that this is normal – what do you think? Are you a teacher? Or is there anything you have done that you feel scared about? Do you think it’s normal for me to feel scared/anxious? 

Do you think it’s normal for me to feel scared/anxious?