It is 7 weeks since I wrote a blog post about how mums might want to join a blog hop about getting a sense of self back. Since then, ordinary mums have joined in and bravely shared their personal journeys of revival, their quest for the “me” in the business of life and their strategies for how to get through those difficult days.

Here is where I currently am in this journey.

1. I have pre-menstrual tension so it is taking every iota of my commitment to #groovingmums to do this post. However, I feel it is really important to focus on how we are changing even on the days where we are struggling a bit. I hate it when I read that mums did not feel able to participate in #groovingmums because they feel there is some standard to be met in terms of great strides made or feeling good. This is real life and we can sometimes help each other most on the worst days.

2. I have now lost just short of 1 and a half stones in just 7 weeks. Isn’t that a coincidence, not? I started the healthy eating plan as I started #groovingmums and I put a lot of the success down to the support of my fellow groovers. You make a huge difference to how I feel about myself and what I think I might be capable of. Yesterday, I was over the moon having lost another 5 pounds but today the PMT is making me feel hopeless, like I will never shift all the weight and so on.

3. I love #groovingmums but again, due to PMT, I am feeling a bit at odds with aspects of it. I hate it when it feels like I have opened a can of worms for mums that is causing them discomfort. I am pleased that people are honest in their posts but I really don’t want to make things harder for people. That was never the intention of this blog hop, quite the opposite in fact. I also don’t know how many ways I can say that individuals can take this journey in their own way, post or not as the case may be, use the badge or not as the case may be and so on. Hey, ladies, I am on your side.

4. I feel a bit scared right now about what this journey might lead to. I keep balking at buying a size 16 top because it is probably 10 years since I was that size. Isn’t that silly? PMT is also making me question attending the very events that I am normally shouting about how excited I am about.

5. Time for some positivity, Kate! I did not exactly dance at a recent event but I did sort of move and shuffle a bit. When my son asked for a spiderman cake, instead of giving into the panic, I rose to the challenge. I am getting out and about more than I was. I get to start my voluntary work at long last on Friday. I have agreed to my Dad’s offer to buy me tickets for the “We Will Rock You” Musical. I love theatre and it is one of those joys that I have denied myself in recent years.

OK, every week, I suggest some challenges that mums might want to take up.

1. What Are The Groundrules? – I know this might not please everyone but I think it would be helpful for me to have a page on the blog that describes #groovingmums so I don’t have to rehash it every week. I also think it would be useful to have some groundrules. I an not talking hugely rigid things but think there are things that it might be helpful to set the scene about how we want #groovingmums to operate. So, your first challenge is to email me your thought and ideas on this to mums-the-word@live.com

2. Embrace the Spirit – This will mean different things to different people so respond in a way that makes sense to you. It might involve revisiting a place of worship, taking part in a religious festival, meditating, looking at which goddess you most identify why or whatever makes sense to you.

3. Body Fun – Do something to your body that you would not normally do. Paint your toe-nails, wear lipstick, colour your hair, wear make-up to take it off for a day if you usually wear it, play around and experiment.

Please do try to share the comment love with other #groovingmums who are all being brave however big or small the steps they are taking. Usual reminder that to see what we are up to on Twitter and other social networks use the hashtag #groovingmums.

If you want to see what sort of mums are taking part so far, check out my post from yesterday which lists some of our mums and links to their stories.

Newbies are always welcome and I am usually a much cheerier soul that today.

If anyone has concerns or questions or to send the link to your relevant blog post, just email me on mums-the-word@live.com

What does it feel like losing a sibling to adoption?

Last week, I promised to acknowledge National Adoption Week with posts from various perspectives on the issue. I have a few more to share and here is one. It was written last year. Too often, we forget the impact on the wider family members of adoption.

“I don’t cry very often.

For various reasons, I have learned not to show my feelings and to bottle things up. I like to appear hard. Don’t let them in and they can’t hurt you. I am not going to trust people with my feelings and be abused again.

They took my little brother and sister away. I know they had to go and they are better off in their adopted family. But I love them and I don’t get why I can’t see them when I would never harm them in any way. I need them and I bet they need me too.

I cried today when my social worker brought me some news about them. Could not stop, curled up in a foetal position, sobbing.

I miss them so much.”

This post is dedicated to 3 amazing women who know who they are.

Treacle Tart Recipe

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

200g DS-gluten free Shortcrust Pastry

Filling

300g golden syrup

25g butter

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

200g breadcrumbs made from a DS-gluten free White Sliced Loaf

1 medium sized egg yolk

Method

1. Knead the pastry on a work surface lightly dusted with gluten free flour for a full 2 minutes until smooth.

2. Roll the pastry out and use to line an 18cm/7 inch round pastry container or foil container. Trim away any excess pastry and set aside.

3. Prepare the filling. Place the golden syrup, butter, lemon zest and rind into a medium size covered bowl in the microwave. Microwave on full power for 30 seconds or until the butter has melted.

4. Stir ingredients together and add the breadcrumbs and egg yolk. Stir to combine and spoon into the pastry case.

5. Rest the container onto a preheated baking sheet and cook until the pastry is golden and the topping is just beginning to brown.

6. If necessary, cover topping with foil for the last 10 minutes to allow the base to cook without further browning the top.

7. Serve warm or cold with custard, pouring cream or ice cream.

Regular readers will know that the first thing I do having seen Him Indoors and the children off to their various Monday lives is to get weighed. I am very good and only get weighed once a week and at the same time.

I am delighted to report that this week I have lost 5 pounds. I am over the moon. In fact I am so excited that right now I cannot be bothered to work out exactly how much I have lost and in how many weeks. I will probably keep that till tomorrow when I do my #groovingmums post.

Here is my learning which I hope will help others tackling excessive weight issues.

1. Fill your eating plan with healthy foods that you really love. For me, this includes smoked salmon and eggs. You will have your own favourite so by incorporating them, you will still feel like you are having treats.

2. It is OK to have fish and chips and takeaways. It is what you eat most of the time that makes a difference. This week I have had fish and chips, a Chinese takeaway and a roast chicken dinner and lost 5 pounds.

3. Visualizing myself at future events I have coming up in smaller sized clothes has really helped me make positive progress. I go window-shopping now and gaze at clothing in smaller sizes and really do believe I will be in them one day.

4. You don’t have to measure yourself but it is another way of marking progress and can sometimes be more heartening than the weighing scales especially if your weight is affected by the time of the month. I have lost 7 inches off my bottom in less than 3 months!

5. Reporting to your diary, your blog or people on the same journey as yourself helps to keep you accountable and on track when you are tempted to sabotage all your lovely efforts.

6. Exercise helps shifts the pounds but don’t become a slave to it. It is important to enjoy your life and not feel bad on the days where you don’t do as much exercise as you had hoped.

Health Warning – There now follows a pleasing but potentially embarrassing photograph. This is me in trousers that not too long ago were tight but that fell down for pretty obvious reasons from this photograph.

National Adoption Week – a birth mum’s tale
I know she doesn’t understand. She will blame me I am sure. I can’t see her. I can’t face the upset it will cause to my family. What will she expect of me anyway? I can’t be her mum now. It is too late for that. What good would it do?

I had her in the Sixties. It is true that they were swinging and I had a great time in the dance halls of London. Away from Ireland, away from my parents, being young and free.

I thought I was in love. An Irish lad of course. A plumber by trade and a great dancer to boot. We talked of marriage. I was probably young and daft. I fell for his charm and was easily led. I don’t like to talk about it but he hit me. In the end, I decided he was not a good bet.

The problem was by then I was pregnant with his child. I had to hide it from Mammy and Daddy. This was difficult as I usually went home at Christmas every year. As I was due in mid-December, I had to say I was working over Christmas. I don’t know whether they believed me. They never knew about their grandchild.

He came to see his new daughter and said she was beautiful. A big baby with curls and soft skin. We argued though and he went away. I don’t know where he ended up.
My daughter went to a Yorkshire family. I told them to make sure she had a big garden to play in and to keep her in the Catholic faith.

I had to take my baby up to Yorkshire and hand her over to the nuns. I left her with a blanket and a doll I had bought her. I wonder if she still has it. (SHE DOES BY THE WAY)

Cuddle Fairy