What film characters inspire you?

They say you should never ask a question that you cannot answer honestly yourself. The film that springs to my mind is Erin Brockovich played by Julie Roberts (who I used to think I had a look of until I did a celeb lookalike thing and it came up with Minnie Driver. I know. I sometimes think ridiculously big and why not?

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So why do I rate Erin?

Well with a background in Law, that side of the film made me watch the film. When I intended to be a barrister or solicitor I always wanted to be one who would fight miscarriages of justice.

Erin has a mouth on her and I do like it when women speak up.

She has the guts to ask for a job and sometimes it is so true that if you ask, you receive. The problem is most of us don’t operate like that most of the time and then wonder why we are disappointed with things.

Erin is a risk-taker and that side of her appeals to me.

She has passion and I know that passion has the power to persuade.

She is cynical enough to question things – also a good trait in my view particularly when dealing with authorities.

It all comes right for her in the end – happy days!

So what film characters inspire you?

This is my question for you this week and as usual if you want to blog about the question or about any way that you are changing your life proactively, please do link up and I will promote your post via social media.

Mums are very good at inspiring each other and we need to commit more time to that as it moves mountains.

Julie or Minnie? Minnie or Julia?

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My son says both are wrong and this one has a look of me.

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When my dear Dad saw my boudoir pictures (the tamer ones) he said I looked like a real film star.

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So tell me which film character inspires you and if you like which one you think you look like.


Did you enjoy the Eclipse 2015?

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It got me thinking about the life experiences of mums.

There are times in our lives when the individual spirit and qualities we hold are obscured a little. Sometimes, life throws something at us that makes the skies dark for a while. We can feel cold and hopeless. It can be a quick rush into blackness.

There is light even on the days when it is not quite visible to us.

It can be dangerous to force ourselves to look at that light. However, we can take baby steps towards it making little changes every day. I set up Striking Mum to help myself and other mums to toddle in the direction of a brighter future.

Most days we have a choice. We can think everything is a bad omen and our best times are over. It would do us far more good to face the future with excitement.

Does an Eclipse mean the light is being eaten and the end is nigh?

Or should we face it with butterflies of the right type proactively seeking out what might come next?

Sometimes stuff just happens and we can give it too much meaning. King Henry died in 1133AD. Was it the Eclipse that caused it or was his time just up?

So this week’s questions are …

1. How have you changed since the last total eclipse of the sun in August 1999?

2. Has anything obscured your light? What was it and how did it get that power over you?

3. Are you going through dark days now? What can help you move forwards? Who can help?

4. Where do you want your life to look like in 2026 when the next Eclipse heads our way? What can you do today to help you move towards that?

In case you were wondering, it is not the end. If you take control and seek support, it may well be your best beginning.

Please link up any post that shows you are taking baby or huge steps to change your life or have a go at the questions above. Roll up if you see yourself as one of the Striking Mums – all mums welcome!

Have you heard that a long-term study has pointed to a link between breastfeeding and intelligence?

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The research in Brazil published in The Lancet Global Health traced nearly 3,500 babies and found those who had been breastfed for longer went on to score higher on IQ tests as adults.

I am not against research but sometimes I wish they would tell us why they are researching something in the first place together with who is funding the research and the gender balance in who is coming up with the conclusions.

Day in and day out, mums wake up to these sort of stories often after a sleep-deprived night or where they really are doing their utmost to juggle it all. In my experience, most mums question themselves constantly and make decisions with the basic idea of doing the best by their children. Such stories and the attention they get in the media do little to build self-esteem of the mum which for me is a very good thing for a child to have in their life.

If we are going to say that mums should do something, please can we ensure that funding and other resources are put in place to help them to do so?

I wanted to breastfeed but struggled to do so. I felt very bullied by some midwives. Breastfeeding hurt and I was concerned my son was not getting enough nourishment. Nobody had warned me not every mum finds it easy so I felt a failure.

When I was pregnant with my second child and a midwife told me I had a choice whether to bottle-feed or breastfeed, I felt so relieved and it made for a happier pregnancy.

Having said that, I wanted to breastfeed all my babies. I just did not feel capable and lacked support.

As for myself, I doubt I was breastfed considering the circumstances of my birth but I managed to get into Cambridge University if that is a marker of intelligence.

I have 3 children and only the one who was breastfed has learning difficulties.

For me, these facts prove nothing and I am not sure the research does either.

Apparently experts say that much more research is needed to explore any possible link between breastfeeding and intelligence.

Does it matter? Is it desirable to force every mum to breastfeed so we can have a society full of highly intelligent people? Shouldn’t the research be watertight before the media take it up and beat mums over the head with it?

Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing, Public Health England, said there was strong evidence said “PHE’s advice remains that exclusive breastfeeding for around the first six months of life provides health benefits to babies.

“We recognise however, that not all mothers choose, or are able, to breastfeed and infant formula is the only alternative to breast milk for babies under 12 months old.”

Dr Colin Michie, chairman of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s nutrition committee, said: “It is important to note that breastfeeding is one of many factors that can contribute to a child’s outcomes, however this study emphasises the need for continued and enhanced breastfeeding promotion so expectant mothers are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding.”

Janet Fyle of the Royal College of Midwives said new mothers needed breastfeeding support.

Very interesting how it is a woman and a mum who highlights the need for support.

In conclusion, I am not a big fan of the parenting police particularly when there is still a woeful lack of support for some women who are trying to be the best mum they can be.

Do you struggle to shed the pounds? Are you like me with stones to lose? Do you want to strive for your best weight loss?

I would like to tell you how to think slim and lose weight.

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I started on a Thinking Slimmer programme in late January this year. If you are still chained to the idea that losing weight has to be difficult, you will probably also want to know my results really quickly.

Results

I have lost 1 stone since starting Thinking Slimmer. I am also thrilled to have lost loads of inches particularly from my tummy area but also from my hips and waist. It is great to not have to squeeze my arms into sleeves too.

How does Thinking Slimmer work?

You simply listen to a recording at a time of day to suit you. I find it forces me to take time out for myself and let’s face it most mums could do with that me time whether they need to lose weight or not. Slimpods are one part of the offer but you can also tap into Fitpods and Chillpods.

What I love about Thinking Slimmer

You are not made to feel bad nor do you beat yourself up emotionally when you make certain food choices.

You really feel that Thinking Slimmer care about you as an individual and are committed to helping you make progress.

You are given so much information to support your journey and take it at a pace that suits you.

You learn to recognise when you are full and feel OK about not clearing the plate.

You seem to feel better about yourself and become more self-accepting.

What I am celebrating partly due to Thinking Slimmer

Feeling liberated from weight loss being a struggle or upsetting in any way.

Making positive food choices most of the time.

Walking faster and feeling fitter.

Loving myself enough to dress nicely and to see there is actually quite a lovely figure going on already.

Knowing I have lost 3 stones since starting to lose weight last year. Believing that I will lose the rest and not feeling stressed about the process.

I asked Sandra from Thinking Slimmer for her view and loved it when she said

“For me, the most important part of all, it works from the inside, building self-esteem so you reconnect with who you are and begin to love who you see in the mirror. When you are empowered, anything is possible!”

Want to retune your mind so food is in its rightful place in your life?

Check out Thinking Slimmer.

Let’s get this week’s Muffin Top Monday started my blog hop for mums who are trying to shed stones and pounds.

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You can post about weight loss as you see fit and if my headings help do use them but don’t feel constrained by them.

1. How was my weight loss journey this week?

On the whole, I have done well.

I seem to have put on a pound but I did not get an accurate reading as I usually do at the weekends.

My measurements showed a reduction particularly around the muffin top which please me loads.

2. How much had I hoped to lose?

I had hoped for a 1-2 pounds loss. I appear to have put on a pound but I did have my time of the month which can always stir things up a bit.

3. What have I enjoyed eating this week?

The thing I enjoyed eating most was the chocolate and coffee mousse I made for Valentine’s Day. I have enjoyed all my food this week the healthy and the not to healthy,

4. Have I eaten anything unhealthy this week?

I had an Indian takeaway.

I drank rum and coke two nights in a row. I also had 3 helpings of that chocolate mousse.

5. How are you feeling about losing weight?

I got upset when my GP noted my weight loss but did not do a merry jig, give me a gold sticker or invite me to become and inspirational speaker. I wish they would realise that a little praise is a very motivating thing. I feel this drove me to comfort eating for the first time in months.

I am taking part in a Thinking Slimmer focus group and enjoying visualizing how I will look in the future.

I am celebrating the changes I see in my body particularly in the bath where instead of a huge mound from under the boobs there is now a spare tyre forming. Who would have thought when I was in my twenties that I would have celebrated that? It is progress and I intend to monitor it all because when I am slim, I hope my story will help others.

5. Do you have a top tip to share with us?

It is important to forgive yourself and to get right back on track.

As I say, you can link up any weight-loss related post and I look forward to getting to know you and celebrating our success in due course.

I will visit all posts and encourage others to visit too via the blog hop and by promotion on social networks. Please do try to visit other posts to lend your support with a friendly comment and if you can share on your social networks, even better.