What does inspiration mean to you?

I find myself on the finalist list for the Inspire category for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2014. I look at the others on the list and am humbled to be in such amazing company. These are bloggers who are overcoming adversity or at least learning to navigate a way through it. These are bloggers who step up and make a difference to other people.

I check some dictionary definitions on what the word inspire means.

To stimulate somebody to do something: to encourage somebody to greater effort, enthusiasm, or creativity

Do inspirational people set out to do this or does it just happen?

The people who have inspired me would run away from the label and be very self-effacing about it. I suspect that the Inspire finalists may react in a similar fashion.

Although it is lovely to be on such a list, it is also a bit uncomfortable. Remember, I know my dark side. I can be moody and give in to pessimism too easily. I can be lazy. I don’t deal well with criticism. I am rubbish at the practical aspects of keeping house and so on despite my best efforts. For goodness sake, I often struggle to say hello.

I spoke with my family and here is what they had to say about how I do or don’t inspire.

My 13 year old son said “Of course you inspire Mum. You encourage people’s hearts and that is really important” My own heart melted at this point.

My 8 year old son said “You do things well and that encourages us and other people to do things well”

This reminded me of meeting a school bully on a train years later. She was in her mid-twenties and on her way to study for her degree at the local Polytechnic. I was nervous remembering her harsh words of the past. She came up to me and said that she wanted to thank me because I had inspired her to go back into education after failing all her O-Levels. It was lovely to make peace and know that she was on a much better path.

My 10 year old (rapidly growing up!) daughter said “The trouble is Mum because I am already good, I don’t really need to be inspired” Well, you can’t win them all!

I emailed my husband about making the finals and this is what he replied.

“Why do you question the fact that you are included in a group of pretty amazing people?

Think back to what your dad once said that people wouldn’t invite you to a party if they didn’t want you there.

You wouldn’t have been nominated/voted for if the voters didn’t think you deserved to be.”

Another part of my dark side is that I over-analyze things.

I think on looking at the blogs in the Inspire category, what stands out is that they are written by people who keep on keeping on and who try to do good when life is going well and also when it throws some pretty rotten challenges. And perhaps that is what being inspirational is all about?

If it is, everyone can inspire and that is a lovely thought.

Little Hearts, Big Love

What are my reasons for cheerfulness this week?

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1. Although my 6th wedding anniversary did not go to plan in various ways, my husband did get me a lovely necklace and make me one of his famous steak dinners.

2. All the children are now kitted out fully for their new schools. Why is there so much to think about?

3. My teenage son is being particularly lovely at the moment. He brings me little treats on the way home from school like pain au chocolat. He goes on walks with me and says he wants us to do things together. I sense somewhere in the mix I must have done something right to have such a kind-hearted son.

4. All the children have new friends and are missing their old school that bit less every day.

5. We are getting the house sorted well now with new (to us!) furniture. I am particularly pleased with the arrival of a blue bed for my youngest son and a pink one for my daughter. We have less space here so the beds are high sleepers which also include sofa/chair beds, desks and drawers.

6. On the subject on smaller living space, this means there is far less housework to do and you can make the place look ship-shape much quicker. Happy days!

7. We have a Bank Holiday weekend and a school holiday coming up. I feel our family need this now we have got so many things sorted out so that we can relax and chill a bit. I am hoping to get to a car boot sale on Monday.

8. We had a lovely meal out as a family at the local pub restaurant. The service was disappointing but it was a good night in other ways.

9. The children has a good time at Film Club and just as I was thinking I did not want to climb the hill home, I spied my husband driving towards us to give us a lift home. We went for a sneaky little white wine on the way back.

10. Obviously shamed my his son, my husband brought me a posh sarnie for lunch the other day. He went to get it before setting off for work. Romance is alive and well.

11. We have found our kitten. It went missing a week ago. I am quite smitten with him so was upset. A card in a local shop resulted in a lady telephoning me today and Indiana (don’t ask!) is back where he belongs.

12. I am happy and humbled to be mentioned on the finalist list in the Inspire category for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2014. I am in the most amazing company who have overcome such tough challenges and done so much for other people.

WE visited Morrisons to check our their “I’m cheaper” claims.

What do you look for when you go shopping in a supermarket?

What makes the experience a good one?

We have moved house and were looking for a good supermarket with a wide range of affordable products.

We visited the Morrisons store in Horndean. We parked easily and noted how the staff in the car park seemed so happy in their work.

As my husband collected a trolley, myself and the children skipped off to check out the new cheaper prices at Morrisons.

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There was so much to love about this visit.

Cheaper Products

As soon as we arrived, there were signs everywhere highlighting the new cheaper prices at Morrisons. The really good news is that these prices are dropping permanently and not just for a short-term promotion.

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You just need to look out for the “I’m cheaper” signs to identify the everyday items that have come down in price and for good.

There are so many of them all around the store including on food, cleaning products, baby and toddler items and feminine hygiene.

Fresh fruit and vegetables

I love it when you are tempted into the healthiest of eating. The fruit and vegetable choices at Morrisons range from the everyday to the exotic.

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I got really excited at all the bright and different colours.

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As you can see, as well as the newly reduced prices, they also have tempting special offers.

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It was very difficult to leave the fruit and vegetables section where you could find treats like asparagus and herbs kept in such a fresh manner. The children loved the theatre of the dry ice!

Something Fishy

I am so impressed by the range of fish on offer and the advice from the fishmmonger. I love fish and want to eat more but don’t really know how to prepare or cook some varieties. How fabulous to have so much available and tricks of the trade too.

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Marvellous Meat

My husband does not like fish at all. He investigated the meat counter and I will enjoy eating his steak dinner.

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So many bakery choices

I find all too easily I slip into eating the same old bread when there are much tastier options available and I fully intend to investigate them at Morrisons.

Drinks of both varieties

This was one of my favourite reductions.

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This one was delightful too.

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Catering for individual needs

I noticed that there were plenty of products catering for those who need to go dairy, gluten and wheat free.

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Let them eat cake!

I was very surprised and delighted to see that even items for special occasions featured as “I’m cheaper”

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Family dining

I do like a supermarket with a good cafe to add to the whole experience and love how kids eat free on week nights at Morrisons

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Here is just one of the meals we enjoyed this week. Herb-crusted chicken with new potatoes and carrots. It came in at just over £2 per head although I felt it could easily have served 4 which would have brought it down to just over £1 per head.

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I made this scrumptious dessert from the Morrisons recipe section. It went so fast that I did not get a photo but I am making it again today so watch this space.

Check out which of your everyday needs feature in the “I’m Cheaper” campaign on the Morrisons website.

I received £80 vouchers via Morrisons and BritMums to inform this review.

 

Morrisons - I Am Cheaper!

I find myself mentioned as one of the inspirational bloggers

Yesterday, I got a huge surprise when I was informed I was shortlisted in the Inspire category in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2014.

I had not even looked for my name when the shortlist was published so sure was I that it would not appear. To be honest, I have hated the quality of my blogging this year. I really do feel it has suffered due to my distraction as we tried to re-establish our security and happiness following my husband’s redundancy. It seems to me all I have done this year is moan on even whilst knowing so many bloggers and readers face far greater and longer-term challenges than myself.

I never set out to inspire people by blogging. I think I did help some mums via Groovy Mums and also getting naked that time but I think that was more by fate than design. I do like helping others where I can. Is that inspirational? I just think if you can lend a hand to someone, why wouldn’t you and anyway it gives you a good feeling to know you make a difference.

Is it because I am open and honest that I inspire? The truth is I treat this blog as my very best friend and sanctuary and often think my readers are just a pretend world that I can escape into from time to time. I am quite scared when I meet them in real life having never expected that to happen.

So if you nominated me, know that I appreciate it and will try to live up to the inspire tag somehow this year. I am not sure how yet but with a new home and my husband back in work, there will be time and space to contribute something.

If you read my blog, please do check out the amazing company that I am in on the Inspire category not to mention the shortlist as a whole.

I am not asking for votes. If I won, I would only end up drinking too much rum beforehand and fall up the steps to the stage flashing grey knickers. I would be lifted up only to babble on inanely for far too long and forget to thank all the important people.

How would I hope to inspire in the coming year?

I would like to throw my heart and soul into something new

I would like to get involved in a campaign of some sort

I would like to get that book finished

I would like to do what my mum did for me and teach my children to aspire

Most importantly, I have learned that if people say you inspire or say anything good about you, however crazy it sound to you, you just have to go with it out of respect to them.

How many of us see ourselves as others do?

BritMums Live 2014 – free ticket available to one very special blogger.

Today is a day I have looked forward to for some time plotting with my friend Elizabeth to sprinkle a little fairy dust.

Who wants to go to BritMums Live? We have a FREE ticket to giveaway.

Last year, I did a Golden Ticket as I wanted somebody to experience the joys and surprises that I had at BritMums Live 2012.

Being me, I said I would go very much on instinct as to who should get the ticket. Lots applied of course some bloggers that I knew and some that I didn’t.

I had narrowed it down to two potential recipients in my own mind so asked my husband to help me choose between them. As I worked through the emailed entries with him, a new email pinged into my inbox. Pretty much from the first line, it was clear that it would be difficult not to go with this new entrant. It felt like reading an email I would write myself. It felt like somebody I would like to get to know better. It felt right.

I still mulled it over to be absolutely sure and asked further questions of the three main contenders.

How delighted I am that I chose Elizabeth. I stressed that she did not have to feel any future duty-type connection with me but I think we have become friends over the last year or so. I have needed that friendship in ways that I never envisaged at the start of last year.

Elizabeth has bought a ticket and we are giving it away. You can check out all the details on Elizabeth’s pos

We want you to give us your email address as we will be sending you an email but basically all we will ask you to do is to say why you would like the ticket. You don’t have to try to be clever or witty. Just tell us your thoughts and feelings about why you want to.

We will then gather in a top secret location with cocktails (bit of a fantasy that bit!) and make our decision.

I can’t wait to find out where the fairy dust will fall this time and what magic it might bring.

Don’t stress it – just apply and see what happens.