How can I finally make my best weight loss journey?

I am joining in the blog hop run by New Mum online to do with losing baby tummies (or in my case teenager in training tummies) and this is my second week of documenting my hopefully best weight loss journey,

Last week, I had a mixed week. There was certainly progress with me eating healthy breakfasts of cereal or boiled eggs.

I did an online supermarket shop and bought in lots of Weightwatchers meals. I did quite well at eating those and not giving in to fatty meat and so on.

Two things defeated me. Although I did not drink to excess, I drank more than I had planned to when starting my week. I think this is a relatively easy one to handle. If I don’t have drink in the house, I can easily avoid it.

For some reason, I ate butter on my bread. I don’t do that normally so what that was about I have no idea. It is a weird thing this losing weight campaign. There is a little voice in your head that encourages you to be naughty.

I have not got weighed yet but may work up the guts to face the awful truth later. After all, I can’t shout about my weight loss without a starting weight, right?

I have also invested in some clothes in a size smaller. Well, actually I got them for free but I felt they might give me another little push in the right direction.

The exercise front has not taken off at all so that is something to work on this week.

It is great to feel part of a group of women and mums facing similar challenges.

We can do this and just think how proud we will be when we do.

To find out more about the group of mums working wonders, check out #mumentum on Twitter or visit the New Mum Online blog.

Wish us luck on our best weight loss journey!

Love from the Striking Mum x

I think the Blog Prompt over at Britmums is very timely. What would I advise when starting a new blog?

In the last few months, quite a few bloggers do seem to be studying their/our navels are bit and wondering why we blog, what values we should have in blogging, how we define success, what networks we should participate in and how we should communicate with other bloggers.

I started my blog when my late mum told me to keep a diary. She said I had always wanted to write and keeping a diary would give me a focus. I started “How to laugh in the face of it all” in early 2009 as a bit of New Year’s Resolution to start doing things that I enjoyed. The title came because I really did feel overwhelmed with juggling it all and wanted to lighten up a bit.

That all went a bit awry when my mum announced that she was terminally ill with cancer. The blog became therapeutic, a way for me to deal with strong emotions. Mum passed away 2 years ago and partly to mark her anniversary and a new phase in my life, I have started blogging here at Kate on Thin Ice. With all 3 children in school now, it is time for a little personal and professional revival. Starting this new blog is a commitment to myself to make things change.

I love my title inspired like most of my creativity by stuff I see on the telly. I like the idea of me gliding but reckon for the minute there might be the odd wobble or bump along the way. Hope you like the title too and who knows, there might be the odd sparkly outfit at some point.

I started my blog as a blogspot thing but would now always choose WordPress. Blogspot, in my experience, has a habit of playing up for no apparent reason. Not often, but often enough to be frustrating.

When I started blogging, all I did was write. If I could give a message to new bloggers, I would say not to worry if you don’t know all the bells and whistles bits of blogging. If your writing is good enough, people will read you.

That leads us to another point. Think what you want from your blogging. It is great when you see your numbers of followers/subscribers go up. Ask yourself do you want a few supportive readers who engage with you via comments, twitter and more. Or do you want to crow about just how many followers you have whilst never getting a sense of who they are or what they think and feel. For me, what matters most is when someone offers support or even more, when someone says I have helped them in some way. Blogging brought the revelation that mums/women/people who struggle a bit or even a lot are quite common. That means there is huge scope to develop communities of friends in cyberspace and perhaps even in the flesh.

The other thing I did not know about when I started blogging was the existence of blogger networks like Britmums. I found them by asking on Twitter whether anybody knew of any. I used networking to good effect in my career and it is great in the blogging world. Therer are other networks but Britmums remains a constant source of support, ideas and information. There are even blogger events and conferences that I knew nothing about. I bottled it this year but next year will be different.

Last year, I was nominated for a blogging award. I am not one of the top bloggers in the rankings and have no awards. Does that make me a bad blogger? Not a bit of it or if it does, I am a happily deluded blogger. Should I try and appeal more to the masses or the award-givers? After much thought, I don’t think that is a game I want to play. It has taken a long time for me to develop the confidence to be me in life so no offence intended but please either take me or leave me and the same with my blog. My blog is my friend, my sanctuary and a place where I can luxuriate in being myself. I think there is a danger of getting sucked into the award and statistic chasing game especially for those mums who are feeling a bit down on themselves or missing the cut and thrust of the workplace.

Eventually, like many bloggers, a public relations company offered me a sample to review. It was a talking hamster of all things. That seemed to open the floodgates to lots of other offers for product review. I enjoy receiving samples and reviewing products. It is a bit of fun and a different way of writing. However, it is easy to let your personal blogging suffer at the hands of product reviews. I have a balance I am happy with now but that took a bit of working out.

If I was to start my blog again, I would absolutely stick with my policy of being open and honest, warts and all. I warn family and friends that if they read it, they might not like what they read or hear about my feelings. I find that very liberating. I would network earlier not so much for the advice (although that is fabulous) but for the connection with other women and mums. I would join in blog hops as often as possible not for statistics but to get to know circles of blogger friends (waving furiously particularly at the Reasons to be Cheerful smilers and the Magpie Monday crew). I would also include photography which I did not do for many months because I did not know how to upload photographs.

Fundamentally, blogging is a journey. As in life, it takes unexpected twists and turns. Some of those are pleasant, some of them less so. So if blogs are not perfect from the start, it does not really matter at all. If nobody reads your blog but you enjoy writing it, that is fine too I think.

In conclusion, blogging did indeed enable me to laugh in the face of it all and has given me the confidence to stand up on thin ice and declare that I will get my groove back. Watch this space ..

Love from the Striking Mum x

I had planned in the week that marks 2 years since my Mum passed away to post up the eulogy that I wrote for her. When she died, I set up a memorial site to her. On her anniversary, they sent me a message which led me to revisit and read the kind words left by family and friends along with the eulogy itself.

However, having read the school memories over at The Alexander Residence blog who came up with the Little Legacies idea in the first place, I am going with that theme.

I remember Mum taking me to nursery where we actually really did have a teacher with a bun in her hair called Miss Bun. On the way back, we would stop and feed horses. We would call at Halfords which was the local newsagent and I imagine I was bought sweets. One embarrassing incident was when Mum would not stop chatting to Mrs Halford and I was going “Mum, Mum, MUM!” all to no avail. I peed all over the shop’s floor. Mum was a great talker. She would talk to everyone and anyone. She was never phased by striking up a conversation whereas I still find that really difficult to do. Often I would be embarrassed and think “Mum, they really don’t want you talking to them”. Mind you, she had lots of friends and I don’t which says a lot in itself.

I remember my Mum at the school gates and she was the same age as most of the Grandmas it seemed. She was an “older mum” having adopted me at the age of 42. I am 42 now so how she found the energy I do not know having already brought up two boys. The good side of this situation was that Mum knew a lot of family secrets about the people I was at school with. She had style though again not like me. I remember a male friend saying I must be lying when I said just how old she was. Old at 42!

Later I went on the school bus. One day, I was punched in the stomach. Mum was fiercely protective so this one incident led to her persuading Dad to move house so I could walk to school. She was one for extreme reactions. I guess I am like her in that.

When a teacher sussed that I had a bit of a brain, she told my Mum that I had a very high IQ. (Yes, dear readers, I know nobody would guess that now). Mum had no idea what an IQ was so said something like “That’s nice Mrs Plachinski” and scurried off. Mum was not stupid, she just had not had the education or life to know about these things.

When official jobs came up like attending parents’ evenings or becoming a Governor, Mum would let Dad take the lead probably through a lack of self-belief. It winds me up that even though I have the education and life experiences that she did not, I find myself doing the same thing sometimes, writing myself off unecessarily.

So Mum largely avoided coming into secondary school. Maybe this was because she had once worked as a dinner lady there. I don’t know really. One time, she did come in as she had lost her house key so wanted mine. I had started my period but had bottled telling her. We had this coded conversation where she had clearly worked it out and was asking me and I was saying yes with a look on my face that said “If you embarrass me by saying anything, I will kill you”.

The sequel to this story is that she insisted on sending my Dad to buy a cake to celebrate the day “your daughter became a woman”. I was all of 13 years of age. After she died, my Auntie told me that the same day Mum phoned the entire family to announce my first period. My Auntie laughed saying Mum was always like that, always announcing every little milestone and achievement as if I was the first child to ever reach them.

Some women do that and struggle to tell the person themselves. I never felt that I measured up well enough for my Mum. As I get older, I realise that I probably did but she just did not always have the words to tell me.

Oh well, there are my memories of Mum and school.

Mummuddlingthrough

Joining in with the Friday Carnival over at the Notes from Home blog.

My husband has seven children in total. He has 3 from his first marriage, 3 with me and also has a little girl who was adopted into a new family as a baby. What would I like them to know?

Here are some father facts for you.

1. Your father loves all his children deeply. When I met him, he told me adamantly that if I could not accept his children, then there was no potential for us to be together. “They come as part of me” was how he put it at the time. We all know that your Dad is not the greatest at expressing his feelings but the love is there. I think (but can’t know) that he copes better with parenthood second time around. He does realise that he made mistakes in the past. He cries more than you know. He is also fiercely proud of all of you, each and everyone. One day, he will wake up and tell you so.

2. Your father is a really hard worker. He helps other people every day whether in paid or voluntary work and always goes the extra mile to give a good service to them. It is one of the things that first attracted me to him.

3. Your father lives with almost constant pain these days. He gets very little help from the medics and when he does, it does not seem to alleviate his condition. Sometimes he is grumpy and although it gets on my nerves and yours, I am sure I would handle pain less well than he does. When scales fall from his body and you or I make remarks about it, it really hurts his feelings. We need to do better on that one.

4. Your father will always leap in to help others when he sees them in need. Sometimes I think he should just put his underpants over his trousers and redefine himself as Superman because not only is he keen to help but he also has the intelligence and skills to sort most things out.

5. Your father put me back together again when my heart was broken and I saw no reason to live. He held my hand, he told me I was worthwhile (brilliant in fact) and made me laugh. I thank God that my heart was broken so that I could meet your Dad and have our lives together.

With love from the Striking Mum x

Here is the weekly round-up of cheerful things posted as part of the wonderful Reasons to be Cheerful blog hop that is guaranteed to help you make blogger mates and smile on the most challenging of weeks.

So let me show you how to be cheerful.

1. All three little darlings have gone back to school. They all seem to be settling in fine although my youngest protests every morning about having to go but that’s just him really. Battle first, winning smiles later. My daughter has moved to Junior School and is loving every minute of it having worried about going for the last year. She is flapping a lot which is always a good sign with her, little bird wings going up and down all the time with excitement. My oldest son is doing fine too, a bit of a teenager in training but happy on the whole. From my point of view, one lovely surpise is that the council now send a minibus to my front door to take my children to school. Shhhh, don’t tell Mr Cameron!

2. I have had contact via email with all 3 of my adult step-daughters this week. Four strong-willed women have not always found it easy to get on so I celebrate the new level of understanding and forgiveness of past crimes that exists these days. One I bond with on the grounds of both having 3 children so knowing how challenging that can be. One is a kindred spirit. The other gave the wonderful news that she is engaged to her girlfriend. For a girl/woman who struggled to love and be loved (and for very good reasons), I am over the mooon that she has found happiness and where she fits best.

3. With the children back at school, I am staring a New Year, New Me regime on many fronts. I have made a less than perfect start but still a start. Small steps and all that. Will be holding myself accountable for positive moves on the health department via the Mumentum blog hop.

4. I am going out with my Dad today for fish and chips. Sometimes, spending time where he enjoys has to be put above losing weight for me. It will be great to return to an old routine after many weeks where he has had to go on his own or not at all.

5. My beautiful ginger cat is recovering after coming off worst in a cat fight. Thank you to our wonderful vet.

6. My husband went away with work and I did not throw my usual fishwife mood about it. I get the most illogical insecurity sometimes and am a bit of a madam to say the least. Good to behave reasonably this time and to feel relaxed about it all. Maybe recent events with my brother have made me wake up to what and who is really important in life.

Big apologies for my cock-up on my old blog with #R2BC. Was gutted to mess it up but actually not really my fault hence my change to a WordPress blog.

Massive thanks to all those women who have come to see me here and left such lovely comments.

That’s me but there is whole lot more cheerfulness going on in the blogosphere. Check it out at http://bod-for-tea.blogspot.com/2011/09/reasons-to-be-cheerful_08.html

Love from the Striking Mum x