Week 2 of Living Arrows and for us this week has been all about getting back into a routine. If you are wondering what a Living Arrow is then this post should bring you up to speed.

The Christmas holidays always feels quite long to me (maybe because post Christmas my purse is usually pretty empty) and this one was no exception. That said, I loved having everyone at home, it was really more the children wanting to go back to see friends.

Moose

This photo was of Moose with his very first reading book from school! He was really keen to get stuck into reading and to show me what he could do. As soon as we got home he sat up to the table and asked me to listen to him read. Moose took his time and there were a lot of words he couldn’t quite get but quite a few that he recognised! He has obviously been trying hard and it is already starting to show.

Bess

Bess and I went to the cinema to see Fantastic Beasts 2 this week. I know that it has been out for ages but I managed to side step any spoilers thankfully. Bess loved it, she loves all things Potter anyway so it was a pretty safe bet. I really enjoyed the film too and it made me want to go back and do the Harry Potter Studios tour again.

Even though she is now a super cool teenager, Bess couldn’t resist having her photo taken in the cinema foyer when she saw this promo for the new Lego movie due out next month.

I feel another trip to the cinema coming on.

 

Living Arrows

 

 

Starting Slimming World in January does feel like a bit of a cliche, but sadly needs must. Please don’t misunderstand me though. I am not ashamed of my body. Far from it.

My body has carried me through to the age of 37. It has walked for miles when I couldn’t afford any other kind of transport or just when I fancied a bit of a walk. My body can really move (when it wants to) especially through water. I think maybe on account of my oversized feet which make for effective flippers.

It has carried and fed 3 children. My tummy is covered in stretch marks and my breasts are not as perky as they once were. They aren’t ugly to me. I see them as a map of the pregnancies I have been fortunate enough to have experienced.

I don’t care what anybody else thinks of my body. I have strong legs and capable hands and shoulders which I know can handle some weight. Metaphorically and otherwise.

I want to be clear. I’m not starting this because I dislike my body. I am doing this because I love it. It deserves better than how I have been treating it for the last <cough> few years.

If I am honest I would quite like to be able to buy clothes a bit more easily. It might be nice to queue for a theme park ride without thinking “oh shit, what if I don’t fit”. The thing I really want though is to be healthier, to be stronger and to give my amazing body its best shot at a healthier future.

So, this morning I joined a Slimming World group.

If Mondays on the blog are about the children with my Living Arrows post, Wednesdays will be about me. I will be making an update every Wednesday as that’s the day after weigh in day and I will talk about how I got on and share any meals I liked from the week. I feel really positive about this change in lifestyle. Hopefully it will help me to feel better and look better.

The plan seems relatively simple to follow. My biggest change I think will be just being aware of what I am eating and also trying to drink enough water. I am pretty awful at this really.

I just hope I can stick to it! Either way, I’ll keep you informed.

Each week Donna from What The Redhead Said hosts a post which other bloggers can link up to. The series is called Living Arrows. It’s inspired by a line from a poem.

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

More about the poem in a moment. The premise of the series though is that it is a weekly post where we can share a photo or 2 from that week and talk about them. I really like the idea and for the first year ever I am starting from week 1!

Week 1

Bess

This week saw Bess turn 13. I have always done my best to raise all of my children to use their voice. I want them to know that they have a say. That they are important. Great things to instil in a person, right?

It’s all fun and games until said child starts forming an opinion which differs from your own. This week Bess asked me whether, for her birthday, she could cut her hair into a much shorter style. I hated the idea initially. It is bad enough that she had to grow from my beautiful baby into a toddler. From my cute little toddler into curious child and then from my curious child into a teenager. But to add insult to injury by getting a much more grown up look straight away?

I may have sworn. I at least kept it internal. Then I actually thought of the poem which this series is inspired by. Here it is for anyone who hasn’t read it:

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Kahlil had a point

The fact is that whether I like it or not, this girl is growing into a woman. She has her own ideas about who she is going to become and how she will carve out a path for herself. Who am I to stand in her way even if I wanted to? I think the best thing I can do is just hope to guide her. Of course it would be lovely if she could just pause every now and again for me to catch up but I am so proud of how strong and independent my funny little girl has become.

Besides, it seriously suits her.

Moose

This week was Moose’s first back at school. Second day in was a dress up day. Luckily I had lost the letter so I was able to experience the pure panic of finding out about the dress up day 24 hours before the costume would be needed.

I am more than a little pleased that I can cobble together a costume in no time at all. Yes, a bit smug. I’m not able to be smug very often so I think  I can be forgiven?

When my siblings and I were young we had a relative who made us a few outfits for playing dress up. I kept them and they have been passed from child to child. This Green top with white sleeves has made Princes, Lords, Knights, Pirates and this week, The Highway Rat!

Moose loved his costume and he had a really fun storybook day.

 

Living Arrows

Well, I for one am glad to see the back of 2018. The only thing that year had going for it was that it wasn’t a leap year and therefore didn’t last as long as it could have. This year though, I feel like I am already in a better headspace. I am going places. It might even be somewhere other than the fridge to scout out more snacks too! This year is all about goals.

I know it’s all semantics really but I dislike the term New Years Resolution. I think it just sets you up to fail.

The moment you say you have one, people tend to dismiss whatever follows as a flight of fancy. Instead, I like the idea of outlining what I would like to get done – or at least start to get done – in the shiny and untarnished 12 months we have at our feet.

I know how this is going to sound in a post of 19 goals for the year but my first goal is to stop making lists. Who doesn’t love a list? Too much crowding your brain? Make a list! What is not okay though is that often that’s as far as my ideas get. They make it onto the list but I am such a procrastinator that nothing comes of them. This year I am aiming to actually complete what I set out to do. Sometimes.

One of the (few) downsides to working for myself from home is that I find myself always on the clock. The flip side of course is that if I need to free a day up to deal with a sickly child then it’s easy to get permission. On the most part though that’s not how it works. My email is open (as is my Facebook) most of the day and night. I am forever playing with Moose with 1 eye toward my phone or my laptop and that needs addressing. School time is when I create most of my clay figures but the other bits and bobs regularly seep into family time.

I need to be more present

So, my priority for 2019 is to be in the moment with my children. Not just Moose but the older two too. I know they are less inclined to want to spend time together nowadays. They have Mates to hang around with. That’s ok. But I want to be here when they do. It’s important. Maybe more now than when they were younger?

Why can I never find a pen in this place?

Short one, this. I need to organise the house. I cannot and will not dress up the idea of housework by giving it a nickname. It’s tidying up and I hate it but it needs doing and since I cannot bare the thought of others sorting out my stuff. I will be pulling up my XXL’s and getting it done.

Another major (and I do mean major) thing I need to focus on this year is to watch my spending. I totted up how much money I spend on needless crap (oh haiii Starbucks) and it’s ridiculous. Not to mention what I spend on food. Less spending means less waste and (hopefully) more savings. I am closer to 40 than 30 and I need to rein it in. I will be completing this one with a combination of meal planning, leaving the house with no more than £10 in my pocket and staring longingly through bakery windows at things I shouldn’t really be eating regularly anyway.

One of the biggest events of 2018 for me was discovering that I have a really rare eye disease called Punctate Inner Choroidopathy. It has taken me a while to get my head around it but basically if I don’t take care when dealing with stress, I could very well lose my vision. I currently only have it in one eye but the scarring from my big retinal bleed back in March has left me with constant double vision. I am learning to live with it but I miss reading books.

My aim for 2019 is to read a whole book.

Something which prior to my condition I could easily do in 48 hours. Now I am not sure I can do it at all. But I will.

I do 95% of the cooking in our household and I think that because I do it a lot, I have fallen out of love with cooking. This year I want broaden my gastronomical horizons and learn to cook something new. I really want to enjoy cooking again, I might as well since I spend so much time doing it. As an extension of this I have decided that Col and Bess will be cooking once a week to give me a night off! Because of the issues with my vision I have been prompted to examine my lifestyle. My aim is to try in 2019 to eat less meat and far more vegetables. I am not sure I could bring myself to stop eating meat entirely but I recognise that eating more veg will be helpful for my health. Hopefully I might lose some weight too!

I am also going to walk. Not just for my weight but for my mental health. I always feel better after some fresh air and I used to walk everywhere. In 2019 I am planning on completing the couch to 5k – this is so far from my comfort zone but definitely something I want to achieve.

I have wanted to visit Scotland for ages and every year it gets forgotten about. This year will be different. In 2019 I am going to plan a trip to Edinburgh for us. I think it will probably be during the summer holidays. I really want to visit Edinburgh castle. Wanting to see more of the Uk generally is something I have been thinking about. 2019 saw us visit Somerset and Southampton so hopefully we will be able to make a few stops on the way up north!

Prioritising myself

I am sure it’s not just me who feels like they have lost touch with who they were. Before the kids and the house and the husband (and the stress), I mean. This year I am going to set aside time for self care. I started doing this last year and I think it is really important that I continue. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, even just a few minutes a day to drink a hot coffee or dry and style my hair or (see above) read a book! I would like to throw away my old make up and learn how to properly apply what I have. I have so many random bits of makeup which are, I suspect, older than at least 2 of my children..

When I was younger I had the luxury of sometimes being a bit selfish and spending a lot of time on myself. I want to reconnect with myself and find out what I like now. Not as a Mum but as me. It would be lovely to learn a new skill. I suspect that having that time will help me be a better Mum and Wife. It’s important to me that Bess sees this. I want her to know that she needs to take time to reconnect with herself too.

One of my goals this year is to spend more time with the people I care about. I need to be a better friend this year. I drifted a bit last year and it wasn’t good for me. Spending time with friends (and my siblings) makes me happy. I have booked my ticket to BlogOn in May which I know will be some good quality me time!

I know what I said about writing lists but there is an exception. This year I intend to write Kickerlists! A Kickerlist is a daily to do list. It’s the brainchild of Katy from Katykicker and it really resonates with me. A great way to get motivated and organise your time!

One of my goals for 2019 is definitely to give back. I intend to go and give blood. I will continue buying the odd coffee or sandwich for homeless people and I will be making donations to our local women’s aid branch during the course of the year. We can and should make time for self care but I believe that helping other people brings true happiness.

If that’s something I can achieve this year then I will think it a year well spent.

 

 

This week, in the midst of a flurry of last minute frantic Christmas preparations, an oddity has appeared in Peterborough.

Bah Humbug! Fest is a welcome break from all things festive. With not a Christmas tree or even a mince pie in sight, families are invited to spend some time having (non festive) fun together. We were lucky enough to be invited to attend the opening and so I thought it might be helpful to offer a beginners guide to all thing Bah Humbug!

Here’s what you need to know

What is Bah Humbug! Fest?

Bah Humbug! Fest is comprised of over 40 fairground rides and attractions. Once your admission is paid the theory is that you can enjoy your 4 hour allotted slot – either 12 until 4pm or 5 until 9pm depending on your preference with very little if any additional expenditure. No festive decorations or songs will be around to irritate your senses here – if you recoil at the thought of hearing THAT Slade song one more time then this is the place for you!

But what is there to do?

I was a bit dubious about the poster. “Over 40 rides and attractions” was the claim and I wondered what the quality of those rides might be considering that they are all free and unlimited upon entry. So. Here is a list of just some of them:

For the younger guests
  • Thomas The Tank Engine ride
  • Runaway Train
  • The Fun House
  • Frozen Swing
  • Helter Skelter
  • Mini Miami
  • Flying Planes
  • Teacups
  • Wild West Coaster
  • Go-Gator
  • Mini Wheel

For the older ones
  • Dodgems
  • Freak Out
  • Superbowl
  • Waltzer
  • Miami
  • Extreme
  • Ghost Train
  • Crazy Bulls
  • Haunted House
  • Twist

A well as the fairground rides, Bah Humbug! Fest also offers a whole host of inflatables including some Wipeout style big balls! Moose spent ages playing on the inflatable slides and also the Toxic Labyrinth – think mini inflatable assault course. I don’t THINK it was actually toxic…

 

What age group would this suit?

I think 4 to 14 would be a safe bet here. There is plenty to keep this age range occupied at Bah Humbug! Fest. The younger ones spent ages playing on the inflatables. Especially the inflatable slides! It was great that the smaller rides were indoors too which offered a bit of protection against the colder weather for the younger children. Outside, the larger rides appealed to the older ones – so much so that Bess doesn’t appear in many of my pics. She disappeared to try out those bigger rides while I enjoyed the smaller ones with Moose.

What can I eat?

I always feel a bit apprehensive about the costs of refreshments at this kind of an event. This Mum needs her coffee – especially when I am in charge of some very excited small people. A cup of tea or coffee here will set you back £2. There is also a covered seating area if you get the chance to use it.

There were a few food vendors selling burgers and jacket potatoes which were priced at around £5 each. Pretty much what you would expect to pay I think. Donuts were 4 for £3.

There is no signage to suggest that picnics are unwelcome but it was really only toward the end of our session that the children seemed to feel like they might want to eat something. They were having too much fun to care!

How much will it cost me?

Individual tickets priced £20 per person

Family of 4 – reduced ticket price £70

Spectator only tickets priced £6

Under 3s go free

Tickets give unlimited access to a four-hour session at Bah Humbug! Fest

There are two sessions a day: 12-4pm and 5-9pm

 

What’s the parking situation?

It’s free and there is lots of it! Peterborough arena has 22,000 spaces. There is also a half hourly bus service nearby for non-drivers.

Is it really worth it?

£20 per ticket could be thought of as quite steep. Especially so close to Christmas. However, rides at a fairground can be anywhere between £2 and £5 per ride. That soon adds up!

Based on a cheap night at the travelling fair where rides are £2 a go, you would need to ride 10 times to get your moneys worth. My lot went on 10 rides in the first hour easily.

If your child isn’t really into fairgrounds then I would say it would be one to avoid. Maybe the panto instead? But if  like mine, your kids love rides then Bah Humbug! Fest will be a massive hit!