March photo a day

29 February 2012

The other day I came across a post by the fantastic Fat Mum Slim about the March photo a day challenge. Being a bit of a blogging newbie I'd never heard of it before but think it's a brilliant idea and thought I'd give it a go. Here's how it works:
  • Starting on March 1st take a photo each day with inspiration from the keyword.It's totally up to you how you want to interpret it.
  • Once you've taken your photo you can share it on Instagram, Facebook {on your own profile or business page}, Twitter, Flickr, your blog, Pinterest, Tumblr or even just keep them in a folder on your desktop. If you're sharing on Twitter or Instagram add the hashtag #Marchphotoaday so others can find your photos too.
I'm so flipping excited to start it! I've added a new tab to my blog - it's the tab above that says 'Photo a day' - where I'll be posting my daily photo and I'll also be putting them on Twitter.

Bottom of the list

28 February 2012

I was getting the darlings ready this morning... got them dressed, washed, teeth brushed, hair brushed and there was me still standing there in my nightie! I said to Oliver 'my turn now!' and it made me think that I'm always last... bottom of the list!

Obviously this isn't a sudden revelation! Yesterday, I made omelettes for lunch. Hubby and the darlings sat at the table devouring them (they were very popular!), when they'd finished I cleared everything away, cleaned hands and faces (the kids, not hubby!) and finally sat down to eat my lunch! Another example of me being last.

Now I might sound like I'm moaning about being bottom of the list of priorities but I'm not, because it's MY list of priorities. I really don't mind being last. I had 33 years of doing whatever I wanted so now it's time to put others - namely my children - first.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a martyr and I'm FAR from the perfect mum! I occasionally do things just for myself too. I'm having my hair cut and highlighted on Thursday afternoon and I can't bloody wait! Two whole hours to myself, to read a magazine and have a cup of tea in peace!

Weigh In - Week 7

27 February 2012

Another 1lb lost this week... yippee! So a total of 13lbs in 7 weeks. I'm really pleased with how its going. I can feel that I've lost weight... my clothes are looser, I've had to buy some new jeans in a smaller size and a few people who don't know I'm dieting have commented to say I look like I've lost weight!

I still treat myself to a takeaway on a Saturday night. But now instead of pizza or korma, I'll  have something healthier like a chicken kebab in pitta bread (356 cals) or a KFC Brazer burger meal (640 cals). I wouldn't be able to do this diet of I didn't have something to look forward to and have a treat now and again.

I don't want to deprive myself of anything or else I'll just get obsessed with wanting to eat it! So if I fancy some chocolate or crisps, I'll have a treat size bag of chocolate buttons (74 cals) or a packet of Walkers French Fries (84 cals). Before I might have had a KitKat Chunky (263 cals) or a packet or McCoys crisps (258 cals).

It's the small changes like these that are making a difference but mean that I'm not suffering too much!

Silent sunday

The reasons...

25 February 2012

Only three and a half years until my 40th birthday *screams* so here are all my reasons for losing weight before I hit the big one.
  1. I was either pregnant or breastfeeding (or both) for 3.5 years and now I've got my body back to myself I want to make as good as it deserves
  2. I want to be able to buy clothes from anywhere, not just plus size shops and websites
  3. To feel fitter and not so knackered all the time
  4. Not to ache all over when I get out of bed in the morning
  5. When my children get older, I don't want them to look at other mums and wonder why their mum is so much bigger
  6. To stop looking around and realising that I'm the fattest person in the room
  7. To be able to climb around the playgym/play football/run around with the darlings and not get out of breath after 2 minutes...  I want them to grow up with memories of a healthy and fit mum
  8. To feel attractive and get noticed by people
  9. When I look in the mirror I don't see a fat person (I'm in denial!) so I want my body to match what's in my head!
  10. To be able to wear skirts (with tights and long boots in the winter)

Eat less, move more

24 February 2012

So a bit about my weight loss plan... as I mentioned before I've signed up to Nutracheck's online food diary service. It's basically a calorie counting weight loss plan (don't like calling it a diet!). You put in your personal details... age, sex, height, weight, activity levels, weight goals and it tells you how many calories you can have per day and how many calories to burn from exercise per day.

I want to lose 2lb per week so based on all my details I have 1727 calorie intake and 200 calories to burn per day. Then you can choose an 'easy' day so you get more calories that day and less calories for the rest of the week. My easy day is Saturday when I can have 2245 cals, so the rest of the week I have 1641 cals per day. A typical day would be:

Breakfast = 323 cals
Plain porridge made with semi skimmed milk and 1tsp Canderel, Alpen Light Cereal Bar, Banana

Lunch = 432 cals
Vegetable soup with 2 slices of Weightwatchers thick sliced bread, Mullerlight yoghurt, Walkers French Fries crisps

Dinner = 607 cals
Home made bolognaise sauce with a small portion of pasta, cheesy garlic bread

Supper = 228 cals
Weetabix with whole milk and 1tsp Canderel

Total = 1590 cals

I usually have a few calories spare at the end of the day so that if I go a little over one day , I will still be under for the whole week (hope this makes sense!)

The eating part is fine but I'm struggling to do any exercise at all. I try to go to Aqua Zumba on a Sunday afternoon but haven't made it for a couple of weeks. I've got a fitness DVD but have yet to give it a go as I've been too lazy and knackered on an evening when the darlings are in bed!

Oh well, hopefully with summer coming and lighter evenings I'll make a bit more effort!

Weigh In - Week 6

22 February 2012

In between cleaning up sick and looking after a poorly Lydia, I managed to find the time to weigh myself on Saturday morning! So I lost.... *drum roll*..... 4lbs!!! I was so chuffed! I've not done anything different this week but it seems to have caught up with me at last after 2 disappointing weeks.

So I've lost 12lbs in total now! Only another 16lbs left to my 1st target of 10% weight loss. I'm setting myself small targets, taking it a little at a time, although I do have an overall goal weight but I'll carry on with what I've been doing and get there eventually... no rush!!!

My baby in hospital

21 February 2012

I feel like I've been neglecting my blog this week but I've had a pretty traumatic few days. It all started on Thursday evening. The darlings went to bed at 7pm as they usually do but at about 8.30 I heard Lydia crying so went up to see her. As soon as I opened the bedroom door, the smell of sick hit me! It was everywhere!!! She was sat up in her cot looking all forlorn! After a massive clean up operation (I was nearly sick myself!) she went back to sleep only to wake up a couple more times in the night to be sick again.

I didn't go to work on Friday as she was still throwing up and just wanted to cuddle and sleep. This carried on all day Friday, throughout the night and Saturday too... my poor baby was being sick about every 2-3 hours, sometimes more often. It was just water though as she wasn't eating anything so I was making sure she drank lots. It was awful to see her like that but I wasn't overly worried as I've been through sickness bugs with Oliver and thought she would start getting better soon. Anyway, she had a nap in her cot on Saturday afternoon, and when she woke up, I went up and she had just been sick again but it was a horrible greeny browny colour. I shit myself then!!! I rang my mum in tears (hubby was out watching footie!) she told me to ring NHS direct which I did and spoke to a very nice nurse who told me to take her to A&E to get her checked over. Hubby arrived back home and was really worried when he saw me crying and how much worse she'd got. Oliver was crying too because I was upset so it was all a bit traumatic!

We dropped Oliver off at my mum and dad's then went to A&E which luckily is just round the corner from where we live. It was heaving in there! We had to wait for what felt like an eternity(but was probably about 1 hour) to be seen by the triage nurse. Lydia was just laying there in my arms and by now had been sick a couple more times which looked like it had blood in it. Anyway, the triage nurse sent us to see the out of hours GP who works from the A&E department as there was a 3+ hour wait to see an A&E doctor! The GP checked her over and said she wanted a pediatrician to look at her as she was concerned about her being dehydrated. Unfortunately, there are no pediatricians at our hospital so we drove to another hospital which is about 10 minutes drive away. We were seen quite quickly there and the doctor was also concerned about her being dehydrated so decided to admit her to the children's observation ward.

My poorly baby on the children's observation ward.

By now I think it was about 11pm but I'd totally lost track of time by then! The nurse on the ward told us that they were filling up fast with babies of a similar age being admitted with a sickness bug.

After quite a long wait for the ward doctor to arrive, Lydia was examined again, and while he was there she was sick again, this time there was definitely some blood there. It was just the most awful thing seeing her like that and I just wished it was me rather than her. The doctor explained that her food pipe had a small tear in it from the constant retching and she was slightly dehydrated. The plan of action was to give her some anti sickness medicine and to try and get her to drink some Dioralyte (it's a sachet of powder that is mixed with water and helps replace salts and water lost by the body when you have sickness or diarrhoea). If she wouldn't drink it they would have to put her on a drip to give her fluids intravenously. They also wanted to take some blood from her to check that it wasn't anything else causing her to be ill.

So she had the anti sickness medicine and a really big drink of the Dioralyte (after I put some dilute orange into the water as she didn't like the taste of it on it's own!) then the part I was dreading... to put a cannula into her hand. To be honest she took it all in her stride and only cried a little but she was so tired and weak by then that she probably couldn't be bothered to cry. They took the blood samples, then put a splint and bandage round her little arm in case they needed to give her some fluids intravenously. 

By now it was 2am and the nurses got my fold up bed ready and we both got our heads down for some sleep. Lydia was out like a light, she was so exhausted. I was surprised at how well I slept too! She woke a few times for a drink but thankfully no more sick! We woke at 8am and she sat up in her cot and seemed much better, she even had a little play with one of the toys in her room.

Feeling better the next morning!

She was still sleepy and soon nodded off again so I went to get some breakfast! She woke up while I was eating my toast and pointed at it so I gave her a tiny piece which she had a little nibble of. The doctor came round a while later and was really pleased with how much better she was and said we could go home! So her cannula was taken out (she cried much more than when it was put in!) and hubby came to take us home.

It was so lovely to get home and see Oliver, I missed him so much! Lydia slept most of the afternoon, then woke up just in time for tea and even ate a little bit.

So all in all it was a traumatic weekend that I don't ever want to repeat again! I've never ever been as worried about either of my children as I was whilst sat in that A&E waiting room. It's only today that she has finally seemed more like her normal self and has been really smiley and chatty. I'm so grateful to all the doctors and nurses who looked after her, they are all truly amazing people.

Playing out

15 February 2012

When I picked the darlings up from my parents house this afternoon, we came home and had a lovely play in the garden! Something we've not really done for a while. It was quite warm (still wrapped them up in loads of layers though) and the sun was trying to get out too!

I tidied the garden up a bit and got rid of a few weeds. Oliver just ran round like a maniac for a while then had a few goes on the slide. Lydia played on the rocking horse for ages and then I put her on the bike (her first time on it). It's a smart trike so she was strapped in or else I think she's have fallen! I think I pushed her round the garden about 100 times -well,  it felt like it!

It was lovely and it just reminded me of last summer when I was on maternity leave and we were out in the garden every day... I can't wait for summer to come and we can play out all the time! I think we might have to have a bit of a garden makeover though because it's looking a too scruffy!

A difficult conversation

13 February 2012

Me and the darlings went for lunch at my friends house today. On the way there we drove past a cemetery and Oliver asked 'What's that mummy?' I think it must be the first time he's noticed a cemetery, although we drive past a different one all the time, but it's behind a very high wall so he's never really seen that one either.

Anyway, I was a bit stumped as to what to say! I don't really like talking about death with him as he's only 3 years old and being the type of mum I am, I want to protect him from all the sad things that happen in life. I wasn't sure he would understand it either and if he did, it might scare him as he can be a bit sensitive. On the other hand I'm a firm believer in answering his questions (within reason!), not ignoring or fobbing him off and I try to explain things in a way he can understand. So I said to him:

'It's a cemetery'
'What's a cemetery mummy?'
'It's a sad place'
'Why is it sad?'
'People go there when they die and when people die their family is sad that they won't see them'
'Oh right'
End of conversation!

Maybe I said the wrong thing? Maybe I said enough for now? I feel ok about what I said and Oliver was cool with it all. I'm sure there'll be many more conversations like this in the future!

Silent Sunday

Weigh In - Week 5

11 February 2012

Saturday is my weigh-in day but I wasn't holding out much hope of a loss this week. Not because I've been eating badly (apart from the cream tea at the spa on Monday!) but because I have done a couple of sneaky weigh-ins during the week! I weighed myself on Tuesday and had gained 3lb and weighed myself on Friday and had gained 2lb. Anyway the official weigh in was this morning and I have gained 1lb.

So I stayed the same last week and gained 1lb this week but I've done nothing different to the first 3 weeks of the diet when I lost 9lbs. I've not gone over my daily calorie allowance all week. I wonder if my body is now getting used to having less calories? Should I do more exercise? I'm disappointed that I've hit this wall so early on. Oh well I'm just going to carry on and stick with it and hopefully the weight loss will catch me up next week!

The joys of the playgym

10 February 2012

It snowed a bit this morning. So while I was at work I was trying to think of something to do with the darlings to get us all out of the house this afternoon. There was by no means inches of snow but it was freezing and I didn't fancy going out in the cold today.

Anyway, I decided to go to a playgym, soft play or whatever you want to call it! So after a quick lunch (quiche with salad today) off we popped to Fizzy Lizards. We go to quite a few different playgym's in the area but this is one of my favourites. It's located in a huge complex called Cathedral House which also includes a coffee shop, book shop, conference facilities and 2100 seat auditorium!

Anyway, the playgym is really light and bright, having floor to ceiling windows along the full length one wall. It's really spacious which is a big plus for me as I tend to feel a little claustrophobic in some playgyms when all the tables are tightly packed together and there are no open spaces! The cafe is brilliant too, with a really good choice of food for both adults and children... paninis, jacket potatoes, baguettes, kids meals... all yummy stuff! It also has a fab outdoor play area which is lovely when the weather permits! The only negative about the place (in my humble opinion) is it's quite pricey. £3.50 each for entry and the food is a bit expensive too. So by the time I've paid for them both, bought drinks, snacks, a coffee for me, I've spent well over £10.... I don't mean to sound tight because I'm not (well not much!) but I'm just comparing it to other playgyms we visit that are cheaper.

The darlings love it too! The actual playgym bit is quite small which is great for their age group as Oliver feels confident to go in by himself and Lydia can even manage to do a bit of climbing (with my help). There's a lovely baby section too that is great for the really young ones. I must admit that I love going in too! It's such a great workout! I'm sure I burn loads of calories climbing round after the darlings.

So what do you think about playgyms? Personally I love them and wish they'd been around when I was a kid! I do however think there's pro's and con's to these places. I'm a firm believer in getting the darlings out in the fresh air and enjoying as much time as possible outdoors so I would never go to a playgym when it's nice weather, we prefer to go to the park or playground. We had a brilliant time this afternoon though and the darlings were both tired out and fast asleep by 7pm and I'll be in bed very soon too!

An Average Day

9 February 2012

Today was a very average day. Work this morning was nice and busy, I've recently taken on a bit more responsibility in my role and I'm just getting to grips with it but really enjoying the new challenge. When I got home, hubby was collecting Oliver from playgroup so I got changed out of my work clothes and had a quick tidy round (is there any point? No. But I'm a bit of a tidy freak!) before they all arrived home.

I then made lunch for the darlings and me. They had bagels followed by fromage frais and strawberries and I had chunky veg soup. Yum! I had a quick hoover round the living room, sorted out the washing, then spent the next couple of hours playing with the darlings. About 4pm we went to my parents house for tea (chicken hotpot and Yorkshire puds!) came home at 6pm, bathed the darlings and they were both in bed asleep by 7pm!

This afternoon's masterpiece!

So now it's time for me to relax and chill out. Hubby is at work till 10pm so I'm going to watch some telly, have a shower, straighten my hair and have an early night with my book!

Balancing Act

8 February 2012

Hubby is on the late shift this week which means he works from 1.30pm till 10pm. So he stays at home with the darlings while I go to work from 7.30am till 12.30pm. We kind of do a quick swap over when I get home, then he goes off to work! When he's on the early shift (6am - 1.30pm) my parents look after the darlings. I realise we're VERY lucky to have this arrangement so that we don't have to pay for childcare.

Work was nice and steady today. The company I work for is a network of independent financial advisers and my department investigates complaints about them! My job is to do the admin for the department, so I deal with correspondence and requesting information from various different parties so that we can investigate the complaint. 

Me at my desk a few years ago!

This wasn't originally my career of choice but various events have led me to where I am today! I graduated from uni in 2000 with a degree in Marketing. Shortly after graduating, I went to work for a carpet manufacturer as Marketing Assistant but a couple of years later the company closed down and I was made redundant. Luckily I was offered a job with the parent company in customer services which I took as a stop gap until I found another marketing job. Well I ended up loving the job and stayed there for 5 years! I left there to work for a bank call centre which only lasted a year as I hated it! So in January 2007 I started work for the company I'm with now, firstly as a Complaints Co-ordinator and then as Complaints Administrator when I returned to work part time after maternity leave when Oliver was born. 

I enjoy my job and work with a fab bunch of people, I feel like 'Debra' for a few hours a day instead of 'Mummy'! I love the darlings with all my heart but I feel that the balance between my work and home life makes me a better, more relaxed mum!

Total Relaxation

6 February 2012

What an absolutely amazing, relaxing, chilled out day I've had today! Me, my sister and my friend arrived at Titanic Spa at 9.30am for our Heat & Ice Experience day. After a quick tour of the facilities, we changed into our swimwear and towelling robes and made our way to the 'Experience Rooms'.

We spent the morning going between, the Crystal Steam Room, the Herbal Infusion Room, the Aromatherapy Room, the Saunarium and Sauna cabin, the Ice room(!), the Plunge pool and the Experience showers! Then we had a  leisurely 30 minute swim followed by a dip in the jacuzzi and a lovely rest on the sun loungers around the pool. 

The Crystal Steam Room

Lunch was then served in the Bistro which was a buffet consisting of vegetable curry and rice, chicken in tomato sauce, new potatoes, jacket potatoes, noodle salad, potato salad, greek salad, rocket salad and ciabatta bread smothered in butter!It was delicious but probably didn't help the diet!

Full from our lunch, we headed to the Relaxation Lounge which is filled with beanbags, loungers, pillows and lovely soothing music and dimmed lighting. I got very comfy in the beanbag pit and laid back and read my book while my sister and friend had a little snooze! When we finally emerged from the Relaxation Lounge we were surprised to discover we'd been in there for 3 hours!

The Relaxation Lounge

Then it was back to the Bistro for an afternoon tea of scones smothered in jam and clotted cream with a lovely cup of tea.

After a quick shower, we headed back home to reality... where I was greeted by the darlings with lots of big smiles, cuddles and kisses... I had a fantastic time but still missed them a bit!

Diminishing Debra!

5 February 2012

I forgot to mention yesterday that Saturday is my weigh in day! I've lost 9lbs in the last 3 weeks and yesterday was my 4th weigh-in. Well I stayed the same this week which was a bit disappointing but I'm still feeling positive and motivated to lose lots of weight this time.

I've tried diets in the past (some successful, some not!) I was lucky that I didn't put on too much weight during both my pregnancies and any weight I gained disappeared almost as soon as I gave birth! But I was overweight before I had the darlings and have wanted to lose weight for a long time but just didn't have the inclination or motivation... until now!

My sister lost a lot of weight a couple of years ago using the online food diary service Nutracheck so I thought I'd give it a go. I won't go into great detail about it but it's basically calorie counting. I've found it easy so far and have made a few changes to my diet... mainly swapping to lower calorie/fat versions of what I already eat and eating smaller portions. I've also been trying to do more exercise and have started going to 'Aqua Zumba' once a week. I was a bit skeptical about it at first as it seemed a bit too good to be true but 9lb lost in 4 weeks proves that it really does work!

In other news....! I took the darlings to a 3rd birthday party this afternoon. It was a pirate and princess themed party so Oliver was dressed in his pirate pyjamas and Lydia had the cutest ever little princess dress. Don't they look adorable!

Tomorrow I'm having a spa day and I absolutely can't wait! I think it's the first ever time I've had a whole day to myself since before I had the darlings and I'm going to thoroughly relax and enjoy it. I'm even planning to have a little nap in the relaxation room after lunch!


4 February 2012

Wow my first ever blog post. I'm quite excited about all this!

I've been thinking about starting a blog for a few months and have finally taken the plunge tonight. I've been using Twitter as a bit of a mini-blog recently... just tweeting about my everyday life and thoughts, so I wanted to sort of expand on that and create a proper blog. It's taken me an hour to choose the name and design; I'm happy with it for now but I'm sure it will change in the coming weeks because that's what I'm like! I chose the blog name as it's mainly going to be about mine and my children's everyday lives. I just want to create a diary of what we do on a day to day basis and have a place to record my children's developments.

So a bit about me! I'm Debra, 36 years old, married to Ben and we have two beautiful children, 3 year old Oliver and 1 year old Lydia. We all live in a 'too small' house in West Yorkshire which we have been trying to sell for nearly 2 years!  I have a degree in Marketing but I currently work part time as an administrator for a financial services company. I absolutely love being a mum and my children are my life but I love working too so think I've got a really good balance at the moment.

Well I'll leave it there for now or else I'll be rambling on about myself for ages!