Confessions of a Naughty Girl

It is Monday so after waving off the little darlings to school, I jump on the weighing scales.

I was expecting a weight gain. It was my birthday last week and also Him Indoors was off work. Sins or indulgences included several full English breakfasts, cakes, buns, cheesecake, meaty mains, biscuits, copious amounts of booze. Well it is my birthday and I’ll sin if I want to plus I have a good feeling about Christmas this year so am out to celebrate.

I have put on 2 pounds which I think is amazing considering just how naughty I was last week. All I can think is that the dashing round the shops counted as exercise and stopped it being half a stone gained.

What I really love though is how the weight gain does not threaten me. I am in charge of what I eat and if I want a treat, so be it. It does not make me a failure or weak. It does not make me a bad person. It does not mean I am useless.

The plan for this week is to stick to healthy eating until Christmas Day when all bets are off just for the day.

Thanks again to #groovingmums and #mumentum ladies for all the support on my journey. It is lovely to be entering the New Year having already gone down 3 dress sizes. I have absolutely every intention of more success in 2012.

Here’s hoping you see less of me next week.

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Silent Sunday

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What Am I Grateful For?

Tonight I feel blessed and grateful.

Here is a picture that represents that pre-Christmas feeling where everyone is easing up on each other and deciding that love and togetherness is the best policy.

My three lovely children often squabble but tonight, they are watching Christmas films all cuddled up together. The house is decorated in over the top wonderful fashion.

Two Labradors, one yellow and one chocolate are snoozing peacefully.

Him Indoors and I have a little tipple to get us in the Christmas spirit even more than we are already.

Cards are done, pressies are almost done, we have our cottage confirmed and our food planned. Next week, we will see family members and take our gifts to them.

Right, now I am grateful because all is well in my world.

I am grateful for the simple pleasures of family life especially at this time of year.

I am also grateful for the new friends made during the year online particularly through the #groovingmums initiative. You mean the world to me and I can’t wait for the day when we meet up and really get into the groove. Merry Christmas!

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What Makes Christmas Christmas? – Listography

Everyone probably does their Christmas in their own way. What makes Christmas Christmas to me?

1. The Tree And Decorations – I like all Christmas trees whether real or fake. Our current one is champagne coloured and bedecked in an eclectic mix of baubles, stars, angels, beads, bells and ribbons. The lights went on today and are great ones that change colour all the time. Other decorations appear on hooks, on the mantlepiece and on our shelves. I always think it is so sad when all that colour disappers on Twelfth Night. I imagine many people would find my decorations tacky which is fine because I would probably find theirs pretentious.

2. Sprouts – I am huge fan of sprouts, possibly my favourite vegetable of all. I really don’t get why they have such a bad press. If you don’t like them, I will eat yours for you.

3. Children – For me, Christmas became as wonderful as it was when I was a child when I had my own children. They help you to buy into the magic of it all.

4. Stockings – I always had the same stocking, a plastic one with various festive patterns on it. When I returned home from my first term at university, it was not hung up. My Mum explained that she thought I was probably too old for it. I was so distressed and insisted on it going up. I buy stockings for my children and love their colours and wondering what surprises they will hold on Christmas morning.

5. The Christmas Story – I really do feel that it is important to remember what we are actually acknowledging. I love how the Nativity plays at school really remind you of the true meaning of Christmas. The Christmas story needs to feature whether listening to carols, attending Midnight Mass or reading a book about it.

This is one of those Listography topics where it is tough to stick to just five. Close runners included …

1. Terry’s chocolate orange
2. The spirit of giving
3. Opening presents in age order
4. Pantomimes
5. Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
6. Leaving out a drink and snack for Santa
7. Compilation albums of Christmas songs to get even the grumpiest in the mood for festive frolics

and lots more to boot.

Yes, I have really bent the rules this week but, hey, it’s Christmas.

Now get ye across to the olde blogge at Kate Takes 5 and see what everyone else thinks makes Christmas Christmas.

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What Am I So Cheerful About?

Here are my very good reasons to be cheerful this week. It is always good to focus on the positive when we can but particularly lovely when thinking of the good stuff is really easy to do.

1. Him Indoors took notice of me and booked plenty of holiday to help me with Christmas shopping and preparations. We have had lots of fun out and about in various towns selecting gifts for family members and getting into the festive spirit. We have also enjoyed two lovely greasy spoon breakfasts together something we used to do lots back in that getting to know you period many moons ago. It is rare for us to have time together as a couple without other people and we are loving it.

2. We are going to the Pantomime tonight. Oh yes we are! It is the local one and then we get to go again to the big celebrity one that we won via Netmums later on in the year.

3. We have secured our holiday cottage of choice for the Christmas period. I am really looking forward to a change of scene.

4. I had a brilliant birthday with lots of lovely little treats that are still going on throughout the week, the latest being a pencil drawing of the lovely Freddie Mercury.

5. I got a surprise parcel yesterday with lots of Christmas essentials in it.

6. All my children did really well in their school plays getting their words right, projecting their voices well, singing and cossack dancing to boot.

7. Having started the whole shopping thing for Christmas late this year, yesterday I realised that it is all under control with most things in place.

8.. The Gods are smiling on me. I went on a tombola yesterday and said I wanted one prize in particular, a lovely illustrated hardback version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. The first ticket was the right one for that prize and out of the other 3 tickets, two were winners too! On returning home, a brown envelope was waiting for me with the news that I have a big tax refund coming before Christmas. You can rest assured that this little windfall still has me rocking around the Christmas Tree.

Now head ye over to the little olde blogge at http://mdplife.blogspot.com for more happy people sharing their joys.

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Remembering Mum And A Surprise Christmas Present

I guess those of us who have lost a loved one find ourselves reflecting on them lots generally but particularly at Christmas.

I went to my children’s school play earlier this week and saw my pre-teen son dancing away without any obvious embarrassment. It made me smile to think that having spent so much time in my late Mum’s care, he would have seen many a merry dance over the years. She did go dancing socially all her life but also was prone to launch into song and dance at all sorts of everyday moments.

I came home and told my Dad about his grandson and the dance. He said “So long as he does not pick up all her bad habits. She once got so sloshed that she was buttering the bread board forgetting to put the bread on it to make sandwiches with.” It is an old story, told many times but it made us laugh together.

I needed that laugh. School plays remind me of times when Mum was there in the audience so very proud of her grandson and helping me cope with out of control younger children. Those are some of the harder moments when you feel a strange feeling catch at the back of your throat and the grief feeling threatens to encompass you totally. Just as I was feeling the loss, along came Mum’s favourite Christmas story of “The Little Matchgirl” followed by her favourite carol “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”. Another sense of her pulling the strings from afar.

Later in the week, I went charity shopping and bought two deep soup bowls for my Dad. He has wanted some for a while and these were perfect. When I gave the to him, he immediately turned them upside down to look for the maker’s name. I do that too purely as my Mum always used to do it. A tiny legacy but still there and a reminder of how much we take from our parents.

Penny over at the Alexander Residence blog talks this week of her family’s foodie connections. My Mum was a cook by trade working in schools, hospitals and social clubs and it was her passion in the home too. At this time of year, she would not stop with a constant round of baking and preparing meats for Christmas.

I take a more relaxed approach and this year am escaping wider family tension by going to a little cottage in the country for a few days with my immediate family. It is expensive at this time of year. Yesterday, I came home to a letter from the taxman. I don’t know about you but these always strike fear in my heart.

Amazingly, this time it is good news with a huge tax refund heading my way. Just in time for Christmas and perhaps an early Christmas gift from my Mum, still playing those tricks from afar. Maybe from where she is, she can see very clearly what is happening unfairly in our lives and is determined to redress the balance. Well, I like to think so anyway.

Pop over and share special memories from lovely people.

@AResidence

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Are You A Mum Ready For A Christmas Challenge?

With Christmas just around the corner, it is a funny question to ask Mums if they are ready for a challenge? Don’t we spend most of December trying to manage budgets, negotiate Christmas lists, curb family conflicts and try to live up to some society-imposed ideal?

However, this blog includes encouragement to mums who like to make changes in their lives and put themselves first occasionally so challenges it has to be.

Here they are …

1. Set aside a 3 hour time slot between now and New Year’s Eve which is just for you to do what you want when you want how you want and where you want. Diarise it and try to stick to it and insist on it.

2. Think about one element that has never featured in your Christmas Day and see if you can incorporate it. It might be going for a walk, breaking with tradition, attending a church service, buying a gift for yourself, you get to decide but just do something different.

3. What can you do to honour a good cause this Christmas? Could you set up a standing order for your favourite charity? If money is tight, can you give your time in some way either to an organisation or to an individual who might appreciate a friendly word or visit?

4. This post is part of the #groovingmums initiative. If you blog, why not consider setting up your own initiative that brings bloggers together?

5. Buy yourself a journal or notebook where you can record thoughts and feelings as you start to make positive changes in your life and world. You can jot down inspirational quotations, nice things people say about you or whatever helps you most. It would be a good place to write down the #groovingmums challenges too. Give some thought to what sort of notebook, pretty, funky, stylish, you decide and then share a picture with us.

As for me, I am still on the journey towards the groove losing weight, getting out more and so on.

I had one of my best birthdays in a long time yesterday knowing I have made such progress and many new #groovingmums friends since this time last year. I took my birthday money and look what was waiting for me.

In fact, I seemed destined to find lots of items with various “groove” related words on them – a mouse mat, a plate etc. I just bought the mug and am very happy with it. It makes me smile and think of my new cyber friends.

Today has worked in my favour in both expected and unexpected ways. More about that tomorrow when I blog my reasons to be very happy indeed. I blogged yesterday about whether #groovingmums makes participants lucky or not. At that point, I did not know about the rather lovely surprise in the post today. Christmas looks like it will be very Merry indeed. Ho, Ho, Ho!

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