The Gallery theme this week is Inspirational People.

Who has inspired me?

There is the teacher at school who did not have a television and challenged my thinking.

There is the solicitor who fought miscarriages of justice.

There is the lovely Freddie Mercury who I admire for his creativity and his willingness to live his life his way.

I could talk about my late Mum who inspired me to blog in the first place. However, I tend to write about her as part of the Little Legacies Project organised by Penny at the Alexander Residence blog.

So family wise, here is an inspirational person.

Mum always said she would be happy if I worked on the Pick and Mix in Woolworths. I think if anything my ambition frightened her a bit. In reality, she need not have worried as I did not achieve much in the end.

The photograph below is my lovely Dad. He always encouraged my ideas about what I might achieve. He is a decent man and I strive to be as good-hearted and true. He always believed in me and used to tell me to walk tall as I am as good as anybody. Dad has travelled the world and understands about different cultures. When Dad talks, it is always good conversation and plenty of laughter too.

I now live with my Dad and as I attempt to revive myself after the first 10 years of parenting, he inspires me to work to be the best that I can be on all fronts. He has developped a keen interest in my blogging and social networking which is not bad at all for a 84 year old. He teaches me that it is never too late to learn or to try new things. His example has also demonstrated to me that although never the same, there is life after loss.

In the last couple of years, several people have said I inspire them. How I do this when I am a stay at home mum battling huge weight issues and struggling to get back whatever va-va voom I had in the first place, I have no idea. However, it does please me that people make changes to their lives saying they were inspired by something I did.

Are you trying to do any of the following?

1. Put yourself first occasionally
2. Rediscover your personality and interests
3. Reinvent yourself
4. Live with sparkle

Some mums lose themselves a bit in the midst of all the business (chaos) of being a mother. This blog hop encourages them to return to old passions, try out new things and generally get their groove back. Changes can by small or big and you get to define what you want to achieve. What the first two weeks of the blog hop have demonstrated is that women are out there ready to support each other on their individual journeys.

Every week, I set some little challenges which particpants in the blog hop can join in or not as they see fit. This blog hop is not about harsh rules, it is about peer support. Are you a Mum? Do you want to change aspects of your life? Grooving Mums can help.

So what do you do to take part? Write a blog post about getting your groove back and link up. Simples! However, what we really encourage you to do too is to visit the other blogs on the linky and offer your support to them. Whilst doing so, you just might pick up some very good ideas too. If you have any questions or concerns, you can email me on mums-the-word@live.com

So how has my groove being going this week?

1. I stuck to my healthy eating plan although I did give in to a glass or three of wine.

2. I went out in dresses twice this week. I know that does not sound particularly earth-shattering but for a woman who lives in trousers and baggy T-shirts, it is a major move. One of the dresses was a pin-striped office type affair. The other was pure white and I felt like Vanessa from Eastenders (minus the nice figure and the blonde hair). I very nearly rethought the white dress but then I thought how wonderful it would be to report on it to you lovely mums and I think I carried it off with aplomb.

3. I finalised my start date for volunteering in the local charity shop. I also liaised with school about pursuing volunteering there too.

4. I did my first sessions ever on the Wii Fit and went for a long country walk yesterday.

5. I did the breakfast challenge from last week enjoying scrambled eggs on toast with tomato ketchup.

6. I am considering attending an very exciting event. I imagine I will bottle it but the fact that I have not totally ruled it out immediately is progress.

As you can see, my steps are small ones but are heading in the right direction to becoming more of who I am.

How did your week go? I can’t wait to hear or if you are new to find out what you have planned for yourself. It can be anything at all. Writing up a CV, looking into courses, volunteering, trying out a new style, doing exercise, taking time out to do something you love. You decide.

Here are some challenges that you might want to try. A reminder – you don’t have to do these, they are just there as ideas you might like to try.

1. Life is Pants – Well it is when you haven’t renewed your underwear for weeks, months, years. This week, how about going and getting measured so you know your correct bra size. Alternatively, go and buy yourself some knickers. Not the big Bridget Jones ones, not the skimpy things he would prefer but something you love the look of. Then take a picture of the knickers or bra or whatever you get and share it with us next week. You don’t have to be in the bra or knickers when you take the picture. Some of us have to crawl before we can walk.

2. Do It – There is a volunteering website called Do It. www.do-it.org.uk I am not asking you to volunteer although I can highly recommend it. What I am asking you to do is to investigate the site and find out what sort of opportunities appeal to you. That might tell you things about yourself and suggest future directions in terms of hobbies, jobs or study.

Ready, steady, go!

Write up your blog post and link up here.

Promote your blog post and those of others on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites with the hashtag #groovingmums

Visit the other blogs taking part and leave a supportive comment.

Remember that I am on the early stages of getting my groove back too and let me know how you think I am getting on.

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I love those days where my Dad says “Take your time” when I visit the charity shop. The children are in school, Him Indoors is in work and the wifey type person will play.

I have always enjoyed bargain-hunting and it is even more fun now knowing I can share my quirky finds as part of the Magpie Monday blog hop hosted by the lovely Liz on the Me and My Shadow blog. I use Liz as evidence to Him Indoors that there are other women who can define the most quirky items as “absolutely essential”.

So this week, I have a lovely pair of jugs. Nowt new there I hear you all cry. Well, once I am sorted, I will even show you the pictures but in the meantime words will have to suffice.

One of my jugs is huge and the other is dinky. One jug is real and the other is plastic.

My favourite is the dinky one in glass. It has words as follows etched into it “Allenbury’s Food Meaure – One Ounce is Two Tablespoons”. It has a vintage feel about it. It is one of those items that continues to bring pleasure every time I use it or look at it. I don’t think I have ever had a utensil that measures tablespoons so I like this very much. It was £2.50 but I do seriously love it. The other jug is huge and can hold over 2 litres. It was only 50 pence too.

Other finds this week included a pair of brown leather boots for just £3. These were as new and I am delighted with them although surprised that my feet appear to have grown one size.

Then there is a weird white and purple angel type ornament that cost 50 pence, a wooden lighthouse in bright colours also for 50 pence and a cash box with a lock that works for £3.

The angel is absolutely essential as it consoled me after breaking one of my ghosts from the other week. The lighthouse is absolutely essential because I just have a thing about lighthouses. The cash box is absolutely essential to stop my Mapgie daughter in her tracks and also to hide all manner of things when the need arises.

In other news, I am going to volunteer at the charity shop from 21st October.

In other news for those who know what a fan of the Netmums Nearly New boards I am, I actually saw Robbie Williams for sale on there the other day. I wonder if he might like my jugs.

Lots of great things have come my way since I started blogging.

Blogging has helped me actually do what I want to do which is to write every day. Blogging has helped me deal with the emotions surrounding my mum’s illness and death. Blogging has introduced me to a new network of cyber friends. Blogging has brought a number of freebies my way.

However, the most important thing that blogging has done for me is to make me feel less alone and different.

Before going to school, I was the adopted child so different to those in the local community.

At primary school, I had really old parents so was different to the other kids.

At secondary school, I loved learning and was often top of the class, marking me out as a swot or whatever term of abuse the other children wanted to hurl my way.

At university, I was the one from Yorkshire when everyone else seemed to come from London or Surrey. I was also the obvious working-class kid too. Different again.

When working in charities, I was the one with the degree from a posh university.

In the Maternity Ward, I was different as my husband already had children to other women.

At the school-gates I was the “outsider” and the one who had given her children funny names.

In mummy social groups, I was the one who said what I thought and was ostracised as a result.

The first blogging post that touched a nerve with mums I knew was about a Pampered Chef evening. It appeared I was not the only one who was thinking the products were over-priced. I was also not the only one who was secretly giggling at how some of the words the demonstrator was using could have shown up equally well in an Anne Summers do.

When I spoke about my struggles with motherhood, another mum I knew told me she had thought she was the only person in the world who felt like that. This was the first time that I realised through blogging, I might help others.

I know now that I am not the only woman who hates the way her body looks after children. I am not the only woman who really does not see the point of make-up. I am not the only woman who struggles with her child’s special needs. I am not the only woman who has found step-parenting challenging. I am not the only woman who is shy and struggles with self-esteem. I am not the only woman who has struggled to find her way after post-natal depression. I am not the only woman who still grieves years after loss. I am not the only woman found it hard to bond with one of her children. Knowing there are others like me makes me feel OK about being me.

Blogging or rather those who read and comment on my posts have made me feel less isolated and that actually although I share much with many of you, I remain a unique person who has something to give that matters.

I jumped on the scales this morning which is now my Monday morning routine. Had I lost weight? Nope.

I have had a good week on the whole sticking to the healthy eating plan.

I did have my Friday fish and chips splurge with my Dad. It is difficult to handle this one as there are no low calorie options on the menu and Dad would feel uncomfy eating if I just had a drink.

I have also indulged in a alcoholic drink or two for 3 nights this week. I am stopping that again and felt better without it. What led me to drink was tension after a children’s Magic Show. Seems I am an emotional drinker as well as an emotional eater.

On the really good side, instead of staring at the Wii, I actually did a couple of sessions of Wii Fit. The first one almost killed me and all to “earn” 30 calories. However, once I had stopped shouting about my Wii Fit age and being defined as obese, I did enjoy it especially getting into a rhythm and becoming familiar with the exercises. Another lovely thing is how proud my children are of me for tackling my weight.

I had an argument with Him Indoors about his lack of support. His idea of support is going and buying in lots of my favourite healthy food whereas what I need are the right words of encouragement from him. He does care but he is never particularly great at expressing his feelings. Also, I think he genuninely does not care for himself what weight I am which I guess is a good thing.

So my weight remains at 224 pounds.

Having said that, it is the time of the month and apparently I may be retaining water so we will see what next week brings.

Whatever happens, I am sticking with it.

Thanks again for all the supportive comments which really help me stay on track. The reality is that in 4 weeks, I have lost ten pounds so have every reason to be proud of myself.