Sunday, 29 January 2017

The End

I started blogging in July of 2009, two months after Charlotte was born. I was inspired by a friend but also because I love to write and with my family staying so far away from us, I thought it would be a lovely way to keep them updated on the kids and to have an online diary for the kids to read when they are older.

Over the years I've documented lots of adventures, memories and moments that have shaped our family. I've watched the kids grow in real life and recorded the milestones on my blog. I love reading old posts and remembering those moments.

I've shared my journey of returning to college and studying hard to pursue a job I love. It's been a hard one but I'm so happy with what I've achieved.

I've been cautious of sharing too much in terms of my personal life and married life. And my friendships. In all three there have been hard times but that's part of life. Some things aren't meant to be broadcast over the Internet.

I've reached a point in my life where I'm struggling to find the balance. And, in fact, I've struggled with this for some time. Social media is so easily accessible these days, it can be really easy to live in the virtual and forget to live in the real world. And my blog has been a big part of that virtual world that I need to come away from. When it impacts the real life, it really isn't worth it.

So I have made the decision to stop writing my blog. It has become less enjoyable and more about making sure I updated it. But who for? When I started blogging, I did it for me. Now I just do it for the sake of doing it. It's a habit that is taking away from, not making memories with my family because we do do that but it's taking away from living in those moments. It's become about "let's make sure we get a photo of this for the blog" instead of capturing a moment to remember forever.

I've been feeling this way for awhile but recent events have made me wake up and realise what's truly important to me. My kids and husband aren't going to remember their mum and wife writing a blog. They'll remember me being present in their lives.

I do want to thank those of you have commented and shared in my blog over the years. I've had some amazing opportunities and met some amazing people and I'm truly grateful for those experiences.

Saving Money Using Tesco Voucher Codes

Food shopping can be super stressful whether you're feeding yourself or your family. Food can be so expensive depending what you like or don't like to eat and I know so many people who buy their weekly food shop from several different stores to get the best value for money.

As a working parent, I do our weekly food shop at the weekend. The shops are so busy which is why I prefer to stick to online shopping and use My Favourite Voucher Codes to find money saving coupons to use in Tesco.

Finding great deals is really easy. You go on to their website, type in the name of the retailer you want to shop from and see what offers are available. You click to buy the deal and when you purchase, My Favourite Voucher Codes will donate 20% of their profit to a chosen charity of the month. So you can save money and give back to a worthy cause too.

There are loads of retailers you can find money saving vouchers for so it's definitely worth checking out My Favourite Voucher Codes before your next online shop.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

When Everything Aches

This morning I woke up in pain. All of my joints were aching and my chest was so sore whenever I coughed. My nose is still running like a tap.

I think I have the flu. The joys!

Still, I powered through the day at work, mainly fuelled by paracetamol.

I've not felt great all week to be honest but today is definitely the worst I have felt so far. The only good thing about this week is noticing the mornings have been lighter as have the evenings. I hate the driving to and from work in the dark so it's a sign Spring is on its way when these lighter and brighter days begin.

Are you excited for Spring?

365 Project 2017 - Day 26

How to Organise Your Kitchen Cupboard

We all have big plans when the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve and we begin a New Year. Perhaps it's to lose weight, eat more healthily or to get your home in some sort of order. So if you're thinking of having a good old de-clutter and start a bit of organisation, have a read at this post from one of my contributors to see how they managed to get their kitchen cupboards looking fantastic.

I am a neat freak. I’m neat to the point of madness. Move a vase slightly ajar and I’ll set it back in its place. Put items in a jar without a proper label and I get anxious. And considering all this you’d think that my kitchen was spectacularly organised, but for some reason my food cupboard has always been somewhat of a mess.

The reason? It’s that when I think about how to organise everything in my mind I start putting things into subcategories, and by the time I’m done it’s all too complicated. I have tried a number of times, but by the time my husband and kids get in there it’s a big mess again. I’ve just kind of come to terms with it. It’s my messy corner.

So what changed and why am I writing an article about how to organise your kitchen cupboard?

When we moved house last summer, we got a fresh start as it were with the kitchen. I wasn’t actually thinking about how to organise (I’m not that crazy), I was just looking to Pinterest for design ideas. It was there that I found this amazingly organised store cupboard. What was so amazing was the fact that it didn’t look complicated. It looked like something the whole family could keep in order without too much fuss.

If you too are struggling with kitchen tidiness, maybe you’ve been wondering if pasta and flour go together in the same area – then let me share with you how I’ve been doing it. You’ll need to buy 10 clear plastic containers, 5 large, and 5 medium. Here’s how it works:

All breakfast items like cereals, breads, spreads, and any flour product like pancake mix in one container.

All no-sell-by-date items like canned goods, flower, pasta, rice, etc. in one container.

All baking items in one container.

Oils, daily use spices and any other daily use items in one container.

Speciality items like a sauce you might only use to make a particular Asian dish, dried fungi, and spices you don’t frequently use in one container.

OK, next you’ll want to have 5 smaller containers - each with a label (buy handy write-on labels instead of the standard stock to mix things up a little). These smaller containers are where you keep the specific ingredients for your weeknight meals. That way you don’t even have to consider what you need to put together and you’re ready to go on those meals. This is especially helpful for those busy weeknights where you come home from work too tired to think. Sometimes automated motions are all we have energy for.

There you have it: this system really works for us. The best part is that I no longer have a ‘messy corner’, and that puts my mind at ease, even if that does sound a little crazy. But hey, who isn’t a little nuts right? Oh, nuts go in a separate container with other snacks – don’t forget the nuts!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

What I Ate Wednesday

I started the day as I do every morning with a bowl of porridge and fruit. I find it so filling; it keeps me going until lunch time. I want to try it with almond milk instead of semi-skimmed to see what it's like.

I made up a wrap with ham and cucumber for my lunch as I was at a course all day. I did have a mid-morning coffee and piece of shortbread which was delicious. Along with my wrap I had grapes and a fruit bar.

Dinner was salmon with potatoes and veg. We try and have fish at least once a week and usually I'll steam the salmon because it's much healthier than frying it. I do oven bake it too whenever I remember to buy kitchen foil.

I'm craving cereal just now. I don't know why; maybe it's because I'm not feeling great but I've been having a bowl before bed every night this week. It's better than chocolate I suppose.

365 Project 2017 - Day 25

Celebrating a Special Birthday

Last week was a very special birthday for Husband and I decided to book a surprise weekend break to celebrate. We stayed local but being able to get away just the two of us is such a luxury given we don't have a lot of people to watch the kids and only my MIL nearby to take them overnight.

We arrived at our hotel just after 3pm, checked in and headed straight to the spa. We started off in the steam room but it wasn't on so we left and went to the Jacuzzi. After chilling in the bubbles for 10 minutes, we headed to the sauna. It was really warm in there so we didn't stay too long. A quick look in the steam room and we could see it was working so we headed in to get rid of our blocked noses. We were the only ones in there so we got to lie across the seats and rest our eyes. Bliss!

I had booked massages for us both as part of the deal. We used to get massages once a month for ages but the girl who came to our house stopped doing the treatments so we've not had one in ages.  I get a lot of tension in my shoulders so it felt so good to have some of the knots worked out.

After a quick shower and a few episodes of Blindspot, we headed to dinner in the hotel. The meal was lovely! I had vegetable tempura, Thai green curry and a caramel, chocolate and toffee pavlova to finish whilst Husband had Cullen Skink, steak and chips, and a sticky toffee pudding to finish.

We fell into bed, exhausted and full. We watched a few more episodes of Blindspot and fell asleep around midnight. Typical that we were then awake at 7.30am, an hour before my alarm was due to go off.

The breakfast was just as good as dinner. We checked out just after 10:30am and went to collect the kids from their Gran's house. It was so nice to enjoy some time together just the two of us.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Cheeky Chops

Look at this cheeky face! Butter wouldn't melt!

Today was such a quick day, I feel like I blinked and it was bed time. I managed to get up at my usual 6:30am time and do my exercise but I'm still feeling a bit bleugh.

The kids went to their after-school club and played pool. They are really enjoying going to the club and making some new friends.

It'll be another early night for me because I'm still not feeling 100%. I'm on a training course all day tomorrow which I'm looking forward to. I just hope it goes as quickly as today has.

365 Project 2017 - Day 24

Monday, 23 January 2017


When I'm feeling rundown or exhausted, I eat. I don't eat particularly bad for me foods but I do eat a lot more than I probably should. I've just finished a bowl of cornflakes and I could eat another one!

I don't really know why I'm feeling so tired. Perhaps it's working full time that's doing it? It may be the weather or I'm hanging for something. Whatever it is, I'm fed up feeling so exhausted.

This morning I really struggled to get out of bed despite an 8 hour sleep. I snoozed on and off until 7am; my alarm was set for 6am. I had no notion to exercise either.

I'm off to bed for an early night tonight in a hope I can shift whatever it is that's making me feel this way.

365 Project 2017 - Day 23

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Three Day Weekend

Our weekend has been pretty full on; I feel like I need another two days to get over it. It started on Friday night with a work's night out. We went for dinner and a few drinks at a local pub. I was devastated when I went to order Chicken Tikka and they had run out. I had to settle on fish and chips which were nice enough but not what I fancied. I didn't have a late night as I knew I had to be up early for our next adventure, but it was a lot of fun to be out with my work chums.

365 Project 2017 - Day 20
After doing the food shop and picking Zachary up from Karate, we drove to my Mother-in-Law's house to drop the kids off for a sleepover. I had booked an overnight stay at a lovely hotel with dinner, bed & breakfast and a massage included in the price for Husband's 40th as a surprise. I told him on his birthday so he had something to look forward to and we were both excited to get massages and enjoy the Jacuzzi and steam room. The hotel was really beautiful and our massages were amazing.

365 Project 2017 - Day 21
Charlotte had a pony party at horse riding and my MIL reported back that she had a brilliant time and was absolutely shattered when she got back to her house. Zachary spent his time with his Gran playing Scrabble...and beating her.

We picked the kids up this morning around 11.30. We had a busy afternoon of ironing and more horse riding. Charlotte had so much fun playing with her friend from the stables and riding little Tommy. I rode a horse called Summer. She's just a baby so I was a bit nervous on her and didn't do my best riding. It put me off a little bit but it's nice to know that my instructor has the confidence in me to ride a young horse.

365 Project 2017 - Day 22
I'm going to go to bed now because I am shattered and I never seem to sleep right on a Sunday night. I think I panic I won't wake up in time for work!

Roll on next weekend so we can just laze about for 2 days...I think we need it.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Under the Weather

Thank God it's Friday tomorrow. I am so ready for it to be the weekend and I think the kids are too. This week has been busy and we've all been feeling a bit run down and under the weather with colds and aching limbs. We are all ready for a rest.

Husband picked the kids up when he had finished work from their after-school club. We pay for the session and not by the hour so I came home and got on with the housework and the kids got to spend another hour there enjoying the games and playing with their friends from school. Of course, when they arrived home, they said a quick hello and then ran upstairs to their electronics. At least they are in the same room playing them!

365 Project 2017 - Day 19

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A Mid-Week Treat

To celebrate Husband's birthday, we decided to order a Chinese takeaway for our dinner. It was such a lovely treat and was probably even more delicious than normal because it's mid-week and not Friday night. My favourite Chinese dish is beef satay with boiled rice. It was so good!

We seem to be coming down with colds which doesn't bode well for our weekend plans. On Friday I'm off out with my work colleagues to let our hair down and enjoy a meal and a few drinks (!) together. On Saturday, the kids are off to their Gran's for a sleepover and Husband and I are off for an overnight stay in a beautiful hotel. We've got massages booked and we'll have dinner there too. I can't wait; I just hope we're feeling better.

365 Project 2017 - Day 18

Do You Dislike Your Child's Friends...?

Apparently you are not alone! I have to say though, my children have excellent taste in friends. Charlotte has a few close friends whom are all really lovely whilst Zachary has a great group of kids around him. They have been close since they started school and can see them being friends for life. 

As responsible adults, we like to think we’re above the politics of the playground that our children may bring home with them. But here’s the thing: we aren’t, and that’s kind of “official”, no matter what we might think!

A fascinating new study reveals that very few of us can prevent our basic instincts, whereby the protection and care of our children is paramount, from sneaking up to the surface and clouding our otherwise objective viewpoint.

Most mums will know the feeling of developing a bit of a dislike for one of our children’s friends, perhaps based on meeting the child in question and/or from listening to our own children’s comments about what the child said or did etc. So if you do feel this way, you’re not alone and it’s perfectly natural. According to the research provided by Voucherbox, a staggering 40% of parents surveyed actively dislike at least one of their child(ren)’s friends. Meanwhile, around 33% of parents surveyed also said they actively dislike the parents of their children’s friends as well.

The reasons for this dislike are many and varied but include things like bad behaviour of the child(ren) in question, the fact that these children are perceived to be spoilt, and/or that they are manipulative or bullies. What’s more, the males of the species are slightly more intolerant than we women are of our offspring’s friends' parents – and they’re also more likely to have to voice their “concerns” in this regard when it comes to advising the kids. That’s right; the Dads are more forward than we Mums are in encouraging our children to seek friendships elsewhere.

And finally, the survey reveals that over a third of us won’t even invite the children we don’t particularly like to our own child’s playdates as we try to discourage further friendship forming.

So those feelings you may have been having about your children’s friends, and that you may have been feeling you really ought to rise above, are far more common than you may have been thinking. But this should come as no surprise; after all, we’re only sophisticated apes at the end of the day and no matter how sophisticated we may be in other areas - when it comes to our own children, our more primeval instincts tend to kick in. It’s a little like the old “fight or flight” type response that explains a lot of human behaviours; where our children are concerned, the bond of love is so strong that we are sometimes blind to the imperfections in our own children and we tend to be overly protective.

Maybe we shouldn’t be beating ourselves up about this stuff too much, but at the same time, maybe we should try and reflect in our more rational moments that we aren’t always being too rational here. Learning to cope with difficult people is a life skill that we all need to develop. And if your child is choosing difficult people at an early age, maybe it’s not necessarily all bad. Instead, it’s positive for development. If they can see for themselves the fundamental flaws in others, and learn to cope in the way they see fit with your help and guidance – this is surely better for their longer term development than the avoidance we may naturally try to impose on them?

Either way, please stop worrying – you certainly aren’t alone in your most natural of feelings here.

Look Who is 40!

Today is Husband's 40th birthday.

He's an amazing husband, father and person. He would do anything for his family and friends, dropping everything to help someone out.

He works really hard, even when he's feeling under the weather or in his own words "crabbit".

He is funny (sometimes), caring and gives the best cuddles in the world (aside from Zachary and Charlotte!)

He is not happy about turning 40 but I think he has gotten better with age.

And how much does Charlotte look like her Dad?!

Happy birthday Baby, love you lots, always and forever xxxo

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

I'm no Pussy Cat

As the alarm went off this morning, I seriously contemplated rolling over and going back to sleep. I always find it harder to get up the later we get into the working week but it seems to be starting sooner this week.

Husband very kindly made me a cup of tea and brought it upstairs so I could "wake up" at my own pace. The cat then joined me. He made himself comfy, the lucky git, and looked at me as if to say, "well, are you getting up then?" How I'd love the be a cat and lay about all day.

The kids left school and headed to their after-school club. They really enjoyed themselves and didn't want to leave which is such a good feeling, especially when we're paying a small fortune for it. Charlotte played with the horses and then the babies and Zachary beat someone in a game of chess. We got home, had our pasta dinner and they were in bed for 7:30. Exhausted.

As tiring as these working weeks are, they go so fast and I can't believe we're almost at the 20th of the month. New Year doesn't seem like it was that long ago! At this rate, our holidays will be here before we know it.

365 Project 2017 - Day 17

The Perfect Work-Life Balance

Is this actually a thing? Can you really find the perfect work-life balance? Sometimes I think we've hit it right on the money and then other days I feel so exhausted, both physically and emotionally, I just want to go to hide. Being a working parent, whether it's full or part time, is pretty hard going. Sometimes I feel like the only way to strike the perfect balance would be to win the lottery and never work again!

RBS have found the answer the work/life balance answer by creating their guide to running a business on a 20 hour week, which sounds amazing! I remember when I worked just 16 hours per week and it was perfect for us. I was always there for the kids and when I was at work, Husband was there for the kids. There were no childcare costs and I only worked a Saturday morning so we always had our weekends together after a few hours. But these flexible working hours have to suit both employee and employer and when it no longer suited them, my employer stopped the flexible working so many staff had become used to and grateful for. This can be one of the biggest reasons so many people look into starting up their own businesses from home and be in control of their working patterns.

There are plenty of times I've thought about starting up my own business so I can be in charge of my own work schedule and be there for my kids when they need me. But when I looked in to it, I felt like I needed a lot of time to get things up and running and, of course, the costs. RBS are working with small businesses in 2017 through their Boost programme and Business Growth Enablers, helping those with the dream of achieving that 20 hour week and perfect work-life balance a reality.

As a working parent, managing your workload is definitely key to going some way to achieving the perfect work-life balance. It's about making sure you maximise your time to work and then completely shut off when it's time to be with the family. I am a person who is highly organised and it's the best way for me to feel like I'm getting the best out of my work. I have lists and check things off as I go. I have routines and schedules to make sure things are done on time. It's a method I used to help me cope with going back to college and writing reports.

In terms of running the house, I am also really organised with when the housework is done, what meals we are having every week and setting out the school uniforms the night before. I don't do housework at the weekend; that is our time with the kids. Being organised with my time means I'm not stressing out, worrying about when I'm going to get things done and it makes me feel a lot better about myself as a parent.

How do manage your work-life balance?

Monday, 16 January 2017

Blue Monday

Apparently today is Blue Monday. It's the third Monday of January and it is on this day that everyone feels a bit depressed. Whether it's the darker days, the weather, the diet or pay day being a long way off, apparently Blue Monday is a thing and people are feeling it all over the world.

I choose to be a fairly optimistic person. Sometimes things happen that, of course, derail my positivity train but it's only for a short while. I always look for the good in whatever happens in life even if it doesn't appear so clearly initially. And I chose to be positive on Blue Monday.

It was a great day. Work went well, the kids were happy with where they'll be going for after school for the next few months and we managed to sort out after school for the kids. Husband had to take a half day from work, which isn't ideal when the business relies on you being there but I can't take time off my work yet as I haven't accrued any annual leave. It's a juggling act being working parents. Bless my Mum, she has text every day to make sure we got something sorted. I know she'd help us out if she were nearer.

It's going to be a better week. Last week was so stressful but I'm putting it behind me and looking forward to a night out on Friday with my new team and celebrating Husband's birthday as a family on Saturday. I intend to keep looking for the good in everything because when I do, I feel better for it.

I've also been more conscious about what I'm eating. I don't want or need to lose weight but I do want to be healthier and to watch things like portion sizes and how much bad stuff I'm putting into my body. For dinner, we had homemade chicken curry with pitta breads. I had a small portion with one pitta bread and plenty of water.

2017 is going to be a year of healthy body and healthy mind.

365 Project 2017 - Day 16

Finding A Service with Bidvine

Social media is such a wonderful platform for businesses to advertise to potential customers and for your friends and family to make recommendations on any of the services you need, whether it be a cake maker, a nice restaurant, a cleaner or a photographer. But the hassle of contacting each individual company for a price and availability can be a mammoth task. This is where Bidvine comes in and does all of the hard work for you by bringing the quotes to you. 

Bidvine is an easy to use website, and is also available to download as an app, where you can submit a request for a price from a local business. I was looking for portrait photographers near Glasgow because there are so many pages on Facebook, I had no idea where to start and who to go with, so I gave Bidvine a go. When you're buying professional photos of your family, you really want the best of the best but with so many recommendations from friends and beautiful photos to look at, I wanted to be able to compare prices and packages.

I started the process by filling in a form for the service I wanted. I was able to be very particular about what I was looking for including the style of photography, if I wanted the photos printed or on a USB, and how far I was willing to travel or if I wanted them to come to me. It took a few minutes, I clicked submit and I waited for my responses. The process was really simple and the site was easy to navigate. 

I received a few responses within hours of posting my request. They were all very detailed, provided prices and a number of options for packages, styles and time. Alongside the bids were the contact details and reviews from previous bookings. 

Bidvine offer a simple search engine facility where you can type in the service you are looking for and your postcode and they'll do the rest for you. The list of services include cleaners, decorators and guitar instructors. 

If you are looking for a very quick and easy way to find a local service, then Bidvine is worth a look. 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

When Life Gives You Lemons...

It's been a pretty stressful weekend with trying to manically sort childcare for the kids for the week and for the next few months. These things happen and whilst it hasn't been easy, I know it will all be fine. It's at times like these it's really hard having your family live so far away. My Mum, bless her, said, "if I was there and I didn't have to work, I'd do it for you, no problem!" I did ask her if we could borrow Pops for a few months.

But it wasn't all doom and gloom. Zachary played with his friend from around the corner all weekend and Charlotte attended a birthday party. She isn't in to wearing dresses anymore and wanted to go in her leggings and t-shirt until I found her horse dress; she felt this was a good compromise. To let me curl her hair, she watched her tablet. You have to pick your battles.

The party was a lot of fun. All of her school friends were there; they bounced on the bouncy castle and ate far too many cakes and sweets.

I'm feeling more positive going into this week. I hate feeling stressed out and pessimistic. As Zachary said today, "when life gives you lemons, throw them back at life as hard as you can!"

365 Project 2017 - Day 15

Sibling Moments #37

And so begins another year of the Siblings Project where, on the 15th of the month, I publish a post and photos of my two to document their relationship as brother and sister. 

They'll be 10 and 8 this year which is crazy to me. One entering double digits! That is a scary thought. 

Their relationship continues to grow and get stronger over the days, weeks, months and years. They are very close; always playing, sharing and laughing together. Zachary always looks out for Charlotte and Charlotte always looks out for Zachary. They have a great bond; a bond that will last an eternity I'm sure.

But of course, they have their moments too. When Zachary starts being silly and Charlotte isn't in the mood. That's his cue to wind her up even more. She goes into such a strop!

She looks grumpy here but she's actually trying not to laugh and pretend to be in the huff.

I can't see their relationship changing much over the year. I think next year will be a big one for them, when Zachary moves to high school and Charlotte doesn't have him in the playground at break or lunch time. But that's still a long way away!

The Me and Mine Project



Saturday, 14 January 2017

Missed Post and Working Parents

Yesterday was a pretty stressful day and it was Friday the 13th which, if you are superstitious in any way, can mean a pretty unlucky day. With everything that was going on in the house, I didn't have time to upload my daily photo but this is a pretty good description of how it was. Manic and everything all over the place.

Stress levels are still quite high in the house today. We're all fine, health wise, but being two full time working parents can be pretty hard going. Childcare costs are so expensive, you wonder why you even bother going out to work. But we'll get there; we always do.

We had a little visitor to our garden this afternoon; a beautiful robin. I took this photo through my kitchen window with my phone as I didn't want to frighten him away. Apparently a robin visiting your garden is a loved one sending you a message...whether that's true or not is the same as believing Friday 13th is superstitious. But it would be nice to think that it was a message sent to us to say, everything will work itself out.

365 Project 2017 - Day 14

Thursday, 12 January 2017

It Snowed...

Little footprints in the snow. Who do they belong to and where do they go?

We thought we had escaped the snow when we woke this morning but it wasn't to be. As we sat down to eat breakfast, the blizzard started.

I hate the snow and I hate when the temperature drops and the slush turns to solid ice. I don't like walking in it and I really don't like driving in it. But I live in Scotland so it's bound to happen at some point in the year.

Despite this, we seem to go into panic mode and the roads can come to a standstill. Or, you go to leave for your work at 8am and find that no one gritter has been on the road. They've known it's been coming for the last 10 days but they have failed to prepare our roads for travel.

I managed to get to and from work in one piece, thank God! And it the blizzard eased off fairly quickly. Here's hoping we've had our annual visit in one day!

365 Project 2017 - Day 12

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Their Cuddly Friends

This week has been exhausting for all of us. It's always the way when you go back to school or work for your first full week after any holiday. Last week I only worked 3 days so right now I'm feeling like tomorrow should be Saturday. But it isn't; it's Thursday.

The kids have been coming in from school, getting changed and having their snack, and heading up to their rooms to lie down and chill with their tablets and cuddly friends.

Charlotte has her ever faithful Ted. She's had him since she was born and he's never far from her arms when she's feeling tired. He sleeps beside her in her bed and if I check on her during the night, she's still cuddling him or at least holding him by the paw.

Zachary doesn't sleep with a cuddly toy but he has a small collection of Pokemon plushies. Bulbasaur is his favourite. I always liked Squirtle the best; I felt like Bulba was always a bit lazy!

I am so looking forward to the weekend. I think we're just going to chill out and do nothing and I think we're all needing it.

365 Project 2017 - Day 11

A Look Back at 2016

When I think back to 2016 and how it was for us as a year, I would say it was pretty good overall. There were some hard times, of course, but mostly it was full of amazing moments and wonderful memories created.

In January, we welcomed a new niece into the family, this time on Husband's side. What a beautiful little girl she is. She's now a year old and is such a sweet little girl. We saw a lot of snow and the kids had a lot of fun playing in it. I hear it's on the way again and I have to say, I'm not looking forward to it.

In February, my Mother-in-Law celebrated a very special birthday. I went along to her birthday party and had a lot of fun. Husband celebrates his own special birthday this year and I can't wait to enjoy it with him.

It was Mother's Day in March and we spent it at one of my favourite restaurants, enjoy lots of yummy food. It was also the month we went tile shopping for our new bathroom. Very exciting!

With it being half term in April, Charlotte went to horse camp and loaned Jocky for a week. She had a great time caring for him and riding twice a day. She was knackered when she got home and slept so well. We visited a really lovely park with a fairy trail too.

In May, our beautiful girl turned 7! We celebrated with a small gathering at the house and we ordered Chinese for dinner. It was so simple but just what Charlotte wanted.

In June, we celebrated our beautiful boy turning 9. He also had a small gathering at the house with his best friends coming for pizza and a sleepover. We also went to our favourite Italian restaurant for our dinner. It was delicious.

Summer holidays began in July and the highlight of not only this month but our year, was attending my Sister's wedding. It was an amazing day spent with family and friends.

In August, I started working as a supply nursery teacher and absolutely loved where I was working. The kids went back to school; Zachary to P6 and Charlotte to P3. Working full time meant I had to start finding the balance between motherhood, being a wife, working, cleaning, cooking and blogging.

Charlotte had her first ever eye test in August and ended up needing glasses for doing her school work and reading. She really suits them and was very excited to be getting her very own pair.

It was my birthday in October and I was feeling very reflective on turning 31. There was another special occasion towards the end of October; our niece's christening. It was a lovely ceremony and a great opportunity to get all dressed up.

November was very exciting for two reasons. Firstly, we headed to Aviemore, child-free, to celebrate one of our best friend's birthday. We stayed in the most beautiful lodge, had a private chef and spent quite a lot of time in the hot tub. Secondly, I successfully interviewed for a permanent job at the nursery I was on supply in. It was a huge weight off my shoulders. However it was also a sad month where we had to say goodbye to our little cat, Morgan, who became very ill, very quickly.

Just like that, it was December and so began all of the Christmas madness. We went to George Square to ride the carousel and drink hot chocolate, watched Charlotte in her last ever nativity and the big day itself was amazing. It was lovely to spend the time together and we made lots of wonderful memories.

What a year 2016 was! I wonder what 2017 will hold for us all?

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Winter Can Do One

If I thought yesterday was a tough waking, today was even harder. I don't know why I struggled so much to get out of bed but I really could have stayed under my covers for the rest of the day.

But I got up. Eventually.

Still aching from horse riding and yesterday's workout, I put on my gym clothes, got my mat out and did my exercises. I had my porridge and fruit. All day I watched what I ate and actually, come dinner time, I wasn't that hungry.

I made pasta with tomatoes, spinach and ricotta. It was lovely but I couldn't eat a lot.

As I was reading Charlotte's book with her, I could feel my eyes getting heavy. I had to stop reading because I knew I was going to end up falling asleep. I shut my eyes for 5 minutes whilst Charlotte cuddled in. If she didn't keep talking to me, I would probably have slept until tomorrow morning.

I really believe it's this weather making me feel like this. I feel this way every winter. And apparently it's to snow! I can't wait for the spring months where the mornings and evenings are lighter. I think my energy levels will be restored then.

365 Project 2017 - Day 10

Monday, 9 January 2017

The First Day Back

Although I've been back at work since last Wednesday, I found it really hard to get up this morning. Perhaps it was because last Sunday I knew I didn't need to get up early so I slept great whereas last night I kept waking, worried I would miss my alarm. Maybe it's the weather. I think I might suffer with the disorder where the seasons affect your wellbeing. I love winter for Christmas time but then I'm over it and ready for summer when the festivities are done. Whatever it was, I literally could have stayed in bed for a week.

Sadly I couldn't so I forced myself up and I did a workout. I ate a healthy breakfast of porridge and fruit. I got the kids organised for school and I headed to work.

I only ate three miniature heroes on my lunch break despite there being a full tub.

I ate a good dinner and had some cornflakes for supper. I am still drinking water.

I can see me being in bed for 8.30pm because my second wind isn't coming and I'm really struggling to stay awake. The joys of the first day back.

Oh and the kids have been zonked since 7.30pm.

365 project 2017 - Day 9

Sunday, 8 January 2017

I Want to Buy Him

Meet Ernie; how beautiful is this boy? He's 4 years old however I'm not sure if he is a colt or a gelding; I must remember to ask. He is the most gorgeous skewbald I think I've ever seen and has the sweetest nature. He would stand for ages to be fussed over and pampered. I've been admiring him ever since he came into the stables last year and watching him being backed and schooled over the last few months. I hoped one day our instructor would let me ride him.

Today was the day. I was so excited to try him and I loved him. He's a bit forward and he's still a baby but I like that about him. He needed very little from me and was responding to my voice and encouragement with little input from my feet. His canter was amazing!

He is for sale and I have to admit, I am seriously tempted to look into buying him. He's a great size just now and would be great for a mother/daughter share in a few years when Charlotte is bigger. I'd like to be a more competent rider before I took a horse like him on but I do just love him. And sometimes life is just too short...

365 Project 2017 - Day 8

Your Trunk's a bit Bent


Saturday, 7 January 2017

So Fresh, So Clean

After the full on day we've had, the kids were eager to get into their beds and watch a movie. I think they were also excited to have new bedding. Who doesn't love a fresh bed?!

We started our day at a soft play birthday party for one of my friend's son. The kids had a great time running off some energy and eating party food. I enjoyed a coffee and a biscuit. That was my lunch!

It was then on to round two party at my Sister-in-Law's parents' house for our nieces 1st birthday party. I ate a sausage roll, some banana loaf and a few sweets. The kids found a friend in my SIL's Dad as he kept them going with snacks; sandwiches, crisps, chocolate, more crisps, more sweets and cake. They were high on sugar.

In fact, I think they were so desperate to get to bed, not because they were tired but because they were on a sugar come down.

It's the last weekend before they go back to school so I'm glad they had a lot of fun today even if it was pretty unhealthy.

365 Project 2017 - Day 7

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