Monday, 17 January 2022

Our weekly meal plan! 17th - 23rd January. #MealPlanningMonday

Our Weekly meal plan

Last weeks meal plan was a huge success. We ate everything on the day it was supposed to be eaten and we all loved everything which was an extra bonus. The Sausage and apple traybake was the biggest hit of the week. I did add sliced onions and peppers to it and skipped on the cubetti di pancetta as I didn't have a clue what it was until I Googled it and the spinach as we are not keen. When I was dishing it out the kids were asking for gravy as they thought it was dry but as the olive oil and apple mixed together it made a sweet sticky sauce/glaze and they were pleasantly surprised.

We are trying something new with the food shopping. Instead of getting a food shop every week we're trying to get it fortnightly and then just do little top up shops for bread, milk, fruit and things like that. So far so good, we didn't get any shopping delivered over the weekend have been to the local shop for bread and milk and we're not missing a big shop. We are hoping it saves a bit of money. When I get the food shop I buy fresh treats like doughnuts or silly things like ready made sandwiches which really do add to the bill.

On the menu this week we have:

Monday - Easy beef stew and mashed potato.
Tuesday - Soup with ham sandwiches to dip in.
Wednesday - Richmond Family Tomato Sausage Pasta and garlic bread.
Thursday - Fish fingers chips and baked beans.
Friday - Homemade pizza.
Saturday - Burgers in buns with corn on the cob.
Sunday - Chicken pies, mash & veg.

I am linking up with Karen over at Cat's, Kids, Chaos who is the host of the meal planning linky. If you blog about your meal plan do come and link up!

Sunday, 16 January 2022

The nights are getting lighter. #MySundaySnapshot

I noticed the other night when I was cooking tea that it was nearly 5pm and it wasn't fully dark. When the dark nights first start coming I don't mind them, in fact I like shutting the curtains and getting cosy but now I am ready for spring and summer to arrive and it being lighter longer on an evening is the first sign that brighter, warmer days are coming.

Sunset

My Sunday Snapshot

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Week 2 of #Project365. 8th - 14th January. A photo every day for a year!

Hooray for the weekend. I have had a bit of a stressful week but all the issues are dealt with and my family have all learned some lessons from the past week so it's not all bad. Today we're off to the hospital for Ellie to have her MRI scan which surprisingly I am not that worried about. It's just a check before she gets fitted for her hearing aids, just routine and it's not expected to throw up any other problems, it might even shed some light on why she is deaf in one ear. Ellie is looking forward to it, she loves hospitals.

Now for a photo every day!

Quality Street and dare shake
Meatloaf
My dad's car and wraps
Pancakes and fruit and me!

8/365 - 8th January
I think we are going to be eating the Christmas sweets until Easter. lol I think Quality Street are my favourite over Celebrations and Heroes. The strawberry creams are the best.

9/365 - 9th January
I was sent some motivational Shakes from dare to try out. I have been drinking one on a morning instead of coffee. I think they're great.

10/365 - 10th January
I made meatloaf for tea. It's such a faff and it reminded me why I don't make them very often. It did taste amazing though and my family loved it, it was worth all of my effort.

11/365 - 11th January
My dad popped over to drop something off and gave his little car a run out. He build it up from just the base and even though he says it's finished now he keeps working on it. It is of course legal to be on the road. He took Becky for a run out in and she wants it. hehehe

12/365 - 12th January
I messed up and bought wholemeal tortilla wraps instead of the plain white one's. I didn't think my family would approve but apart from a slight grumble they wolfed them down, it was me that wasn't that taken with them, they were nice but not the same as white wraps.

13/365 - 13th January
Pancakes and fruit for brunch.

14/365 - 14th January
Me. I went into Ellie's room to open her window and took advantage of her mirror. It really is the best one in the house and would be even better if there wasn't a pile of clothes in front of it. lol

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, 14 January 2022

This week my Word of the Week is: Lesson! #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

Lesson

What a week! I am so glad it's almost the weekend although we do have Ellie's MRI scan to deal with tomorrow, it's nothing to worry about, it's just to check her ears before she gets fitted for a hearing aids. My family and I have had a week of lessons this week, learning them and booking them.

A couple of times a year I will think it's a good idea to make a meatloaf and every time when I do I remember why I don't make it often. It is such a faff to make and takes so long to cook. It is delicious but I just don't learn my lesson. I would love it if shops would sell it ready made so we just have to heat it as my family love it so much.

Becky has finally booked her first driving lesson! In an ideal world she would have started them a couple of years ago but the virus and lockdowns put a stop to that. Even when the driving instructors started working again there were waiting lists and Becky was on a few but we got the name of a driving instructor who was taking on students and thought it was worth a shot. Her first lesson isn't for a few weeks but it's progress and the company she's booked with has some great offers on. Her first 2 hour lesson costs the same as an hour lesson elsewhere and the block booking of 10 lessons are much cheaper than elsewhere too. It seems her waiting to start her lessons is better for her bank balance. We are going to see how her first lesson goes and then book her in for her theory test as I have heard there is quite a wait for that too.

On Wednesday I was enjoying my day home alone and had a list of things I was planning to do when I got a phone call from Ellie's school which really threw me. She has been involved with online bullying, not the victim but one of the bullies. After suffering years of bullying herself I was so ashamed and I really did think she would know better. I am not going to say much because I don't know who reads here but things are not as black and white as they initially seemed. I am not defending her, she was in the wrong and is now banned from the internet for the foreseeable unless it's to do her homework. I think she has learned her lesson.

I learned a lesson from Ellie's bad behaviour too. Even though I thought I was keeping an eye on her activities online she was doing things that I didn't know about. When she is allowed back online her computer is being moved into the living room where I can see exactly what she's doing. 

How has your week been? I hope you have had a good one?

Word of the week linky

Thursday, 13 January 2022

How to stay positive and stay on track with your resolutions!

We are a couple of weeks into the new year and even though we start the year with good intentions it is now that we seem to lose motivation. The Christmas cheer has well and truly gone, the cold, wet and dreary weather is just rubbish and trying to keep bank balances afloat until the next payday really takes it's toll.

January is a long month but doing little things such as making sure you have something to look forward to during the year ahead can really help to keep your good intentions and positivity going.

Think positive

How to stay positive in the new year and stay on track with your resolutions.

 Set yourself a Goal.
It’s important you keep the goal realistic and achievable, don’t make your goal too unobtainable as it’ll only serve to de-motivate you should you veer off it slightly. Start small, then increase your goals each time you’ve completed one. It’s best to start with a series of short term ‘mini-goals’, and then have a think about setting a more long term one when you’re getting the hang of it. This is proven to help resolutions stick.

Take some ‘Me’ Time.
We often spend so much time making sure everything and everyone is ok that we can accidentally neglect our own needs and mental health. Have a think about what you can do, just for you and make a deal with yourself to dedicate some time each week for yourself. So, maybe it’s reading a favourite book or trashy magazine it could be having a leisurely browse online at your favourite clothes shop or having a long soak in the bath.

Get up and get Active.
At this time of the year the last thing we often feel like doing is to jump around in the cold or sweat it out in a gym. However, exercise is proven to boost your feel good hormones and brain chemicals, and really can make all the difference to our mood and motivation. So, if sweating it out in a gym class isn’t for you that’s ok have a think about what you’d enjoy, maybe it’s swimming (with a nice hot sauna afterwards) or even working out at home. Boosting our physical health really can help with our overall happy and positive vibes.

Plan something Fun.
When we’re juggling work, family and keeping New Year’s resolutions we can sometimes hit a wall and feel a little overwhelmed. Making plans for the near future is a great way to lift your mood and look forward to something fun. A day out, a holiday or even a meal out.

Have a chat and cuppa.
We’re all so used to checking our smart phones and social media umpteen times a day that it can be really easy to forget the importance and benefits of having a proper face to face chat with someone. Have a think about who you could have a cuppa and natter with maybe it’s a family member, or that friend you keep putting off. The positive benefits of having a chat with someone and offloading any worries and in turn listening to theirs can have such a brilliant and positive effect on your wellbeing. So go on, ditch the mobile and put the kettle on!

How do you stay positive at this time of year?

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

(Ad - Gifted) Motivational Shakes from dare!

In the middle of last year I had a bit of a lifestyle change and started exercising more and thinking more about what I was eating. I did well with getting fit and losing some weight and then Christmas came along but now it is a new year I am determined this year I will be healthier and fitter than ever.

Recently I was contacted by the lovely people from "dare" who are a are a nutrition brand and their core products are vegan complete nutrition shakes also known as the “motivational shake”.

dare motivational shakes

The dare shakes are a nutritionally complete powdered plant based beverage that can be used as a nutritious snack or as part of a Meal Plan. They contain a bespoke all in one blend of seeds, superfoods, herbs, phytonutrients, pre and probiotics and all 26 essential vitamins and minerals. Each serving is dosed at the right levels for a perfect balance of complete protein, essential fats, Omega-3, slow-releasing complex carbs and fibre for a ridiculously tasty, filling, nutritious and motivating all purpose shake. 

Nutrition shakes from dare

The motivational shakes are not intended to be a diet shake or a trendy cleanse. You can incorporate the shake to fit around your needs and your daily routine or lifestyle. They are not a meal replacement product and it isn't something that "dare" advocates. You are to think of the motivational shake as an alternative to helping you avoid unhealthy junk food. They are perfect and most ideal for when you are time pressured, stuck without access to a wholesome balanced meal, for pre/post workout or on the go.

I was sent two of the different flavours to try out: Cocoa & Jaffa Orange and Cocoa Vanilla Frosting. You simply just need to add water or milk to the powder and voila, a shake is made. If you’ve got time you could be creative and blend with bananas and all your other favourite ingredients.

I made a couple of shakes up over the weekend just using milk to try them out. My favourite was the Cocoa & Jaffa Orange. You can really taste the orange and yes they did remind me of Jaffa Cakes. The Cocoa Vanilla Frosting one tasted really did taste like frosting off cakes, it was a little sweet but next time I know to add a little extra milk.

Cocoa & Jaffa Orange dare shake
Cocoa Vanilla Frosting dare shake

I am rubbish at eating breakfast, I do try and manage a few days a week but the other days I am missing a meal so a shake will come in handy. There is also some afternoons where all I want to do is drink fizzy pop and eat cake and I think these will be a fantastic alternative!

The Motivational shakes contain no nasties no artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols like Sucralose or artificial flavourings. They use natural ingredients such as cocoa, peanut, orange and no flavourings. They do contain a small amount of caffeine. They contain Green Tea Extract which has a very small amount < 5mg per serving. A cup of coffee would usually have 40-90mg of caffeine. The shake contains natural stimulants such as Maca Root and Acai Berry.

In each bag of powder there is 15 servings and to buy each bag costs £30 but if you choose a regular delivery you can claim 10% off bringing it down to £27 per bag.

As well as being good for us they are good for the planet too. They have a long shelf life of 12 months, a low Carbon Foot Print the ingredients are 100% vegan and use minimal packaging.

Are these something you would try?

I was sent the Motivational Shakes from dare free of charge in exchange for this blog post.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

A hearing check and hearing aids.

Ellie was diagnosed with Auditory Neuropathy when she was about 4 years old and every year she has a hearing test to check that her good ear is still good and that her bad ear is still bad. She is totally deaf in her right ear but has amazing hearing in her left.

My youngest

In 2020 we didn't have the greatest appointment at the hospital, he was a stand in doctor so at the appointment in the middle of December I was expecting another new doctor and that is what we got. I would like to say he was a massive improvement on the previous doctor but he wasn't. He got off to a bad start reading the notes on his computer about a different person and started talking about cochlear implants. The nurse put him right and he apologised. I just rolled my eyes and thought here we go.

The doctor was so arrogant questioning why Ellie hasn't got hearing aids, we have always been told that hearing aids wouldn't work and why she has never had a MRI scan? We said no to it when she was little as she was recovering from heart surgery and then when she was older the doctors have said they only want to do it for their own research and nothing would benefit Ellie. It makes you feel pretty crap when doctors are questioning things without actually realising what Ellie has been through in her life. I am thinking that the training doctors get in bedside manner is given to the nurses and assistants as they are always amazing and the doctors are arrogant, rude and have no people skills.

The doctor mentioned a type of hearing aid which wouldn't need surgery and Ellie and I got interested. CROS hearing aids are designed for people with hearing loss in one ear like Ellie has. These are made up of a conventional hearing aid that sits in the hearing ear and a microphone that looks like a hearing aid which sits in the ear with no hearing. The hearing aids pick up sound from the side with no hearing and feeds it into the hearing ear. 

The doctor was asking me if I thought this type of hearing aid was a good idea and would Ellie like to give them a try? I said yes, it sounds like a great idea but it's not up to me to decide for Ellie, it's her body, her choice. Ellie didn't look convinced by what the doctor was saying but the nurse told us more about them and how they come in most colours that you could want and you could even get them to match your hair colour so they are not noticeable. The doctor said that if she feels self conscious about the hearing aids she doesn't have to wear them at school which I thought was a bit stupid as that would be where she would get the most benefit. Ugh. Ellie ended up agreeing to give them a try, she has nothing to lose apart from a couple of afternoons at school.

The doctor did say that he would like to give Ellie a MRI scan to investigate more about her hearing loss and as she is at an age now she won't need knocking out or sedating and it could be done at the same time when she gets fitted for her hearing aids which we have agreed to, well Ellie did. She loves all things medical and said she can't wait for the scan.

I don't understand why this type of hearing aid hasn't been offered to Ellie before? All the previous doctors have either said nothing can be done to help or she would need hearing aids involving surgery. It's frustrating that Ellie has got to 14 years old and she just seems to be getting the help that she needs.

We haven't had long to wait to get an appointment for Ellie's MRI scan, she has it on Saturday. I am dreading it but she is looking forward to it, she loves anything to do with hospitals.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Our weekly meal plan! 10th - 16th January. #MealPlanningMonday

Our Weekly meal plan

Last weeks meal plan went well until we got to the weekend. I got a big delivery from Iceland and I overbought so things had to be eaten before they went to waste. We had pizza on Friday night and then sweet & sour chicken balls, egg fried rice, spring rolls, chicken chow mein and salt and pepper chips on Saturday. On Sunday we had roast gammon, mash and veg.

I seem to have got my mojo back for cooking. Before Christmas I had no motivation to be in the kitchen or for food really but now we're into more of a routine, it's a new year and I am enjoying cooking again.

We don't have much on this week. I will mostly be trying to keep warm and keep up with my exercising. Becky is spending the night at her girlfriends mid-week. They haven't seen much of each other since Christmas because they've both been working so they are taking any chance they get to see each other and Ellie has her MRI scan on Saturday. We got a new appointment through and it is way better than the half past seven one we were offered before. It's nothing to worry about, it's just routine so she can get her hearing aids.

On the menu this week we have:

Monday - Meatloaf, veg and roast potatoes.
Tuesday - Vegetable fajitas if my family don't notice. If they do I will add chicken.
Wednesday - Chicken & bacon pasta. 
Friday - Fish, chips and mushy peas.
Saturday - Subway sandwiches, a treat after the hospital.
Sunday - A roast dinner of some sort.

What will you be eating this week?

I am linking up with Karen over at Cat's, Kids, Chaos who is the host of the meal planning linky. If you blog about your meal plan do come and link up!

Sunday, 9 January 2022

Ice crystals. #MySundaySnapshot

It has certainly been cold this past week. It has tried to snow but it hasn't settled, it's been too wet. There has been plenty of ice though, when I have been out and about I've nearly slipped a few times. I really don't like this cold weather but there is lots of good things about it. Hot chocolate, cosy blankets and pretty things to look at.

I can't take credit for this photo. Stu took it while he was at work. There was ice on a window and he thought I would appreciate the photos. I did. 

Ice

My Sunday Snapshot

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Week 1 of #Project365. 1st - 7th January. A photo every day for a year!

So here we are another year of Project 365. I do love these posts of mine they are a great way to remember the ordinary moments and random things which would generally be forgotten.

How is it only 2 weeks since Christmas day! It feels like it was ages ago. We are just about back into our normal routine despite me not knowing what day it was for most of the week. The kids went back to school and college on Wednesday and have settled right back in. I am glad it was a short week, those early mornings are hard especially when it's cold out.

Have you had any snow? It tried to snow here on Thursday but it was too wet and as I am writing this yesterday afternoon it's raining and I think it might actually be sleet. Eek. I don't like winter!

Now for a photo every day! 

My fitness watch and Lego
A cake and my girls
Exercise video on the TV
Xmas pudding cookies
Roxi microphone

1/365 - 1st January
Considering I didn't leave the house and have had a lazy day 2000 and odd steps ain't bad. All the steps backwards and forwards to the kitchen making a roast really do add up.

2/365 - 2nd January
Ellie got on with building some of her Minecraft Lego. We have decided she needs more shelves in her bedroom to store all her Lego, models and figures. I still have my Harry Potter Hedwig Lego set to start, I will get around to it eventually.

3/365 - 3rd January
These tasty treats are called Popdots and I got them from the Co-Op. It's the first time I had spotted them. They are strawberry and cream icing with doughnut inside, they are very tasty.

4/365 - 4th January
I took my girls out for lunch and we ended up seeing my dad. We stopped for a sit down and I was the only one to have the sense to get a hot drink to warm me up.

5/365 - 5th January
The kids went back to school and I was back on the exercising bandwagon. I started with an easy walking workout. 

6/365 - 6th January
We are still eating all of the goodies from Christmas and these Christmas pudding cookies were so good. They're all gone now so I'll have to wait until December and see if they start selling them again.

7/365 - 7th January
My eldest does have some random deliveries. She got a Firestick for Christmas and started messing about with the Roxi karaoke app and saw the offer for a microphone for £1. I have found out that she must have subscribed to the ad free version to get it so she has been told to cancel.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, 7 January 2022

This week my Word of the Week is: Confuzzled! #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

Confuzzled

Confuzzled is a word which makes me chuckle and means: to be confused and puzzled about a particular topic or situation. A combination of confused and puzzled. I have been confused and puzzled about many things this past week.

I have felt confuzzled for most of this week with what day it is. Monday seemed like a Sunday with it being another bank holiday then Stu went back to work on Tuesday and we had one last day of fun so the girls and I went out for lunch and went to see my dad at work which made it feel like a Friday.

 The girls returned to school and college on Wednesday which made me think that it was a Monday. I even argued with Becky over something convinced I was in the right because it was Monday. I was of course wrong. I then told her she couldn't do something next week because she was at work that night, she isn't. It's this week she works Thursday and Friday.

Today is Friday, I have checked and double checked. Hopefully today will put me back on track with what day it is as we are doing normal Friday things. Ellie is at school, Stu should get an early finish from work, Becky is on her normal night shift and I have shopping being delivered, all the Friday things.

We got an appointment through for Ellie's MRI scan which the doctor wants to do before she is fitted for hearing aids. I did mention it a few weeks ago in a Word of the Week post. I didn't expect an appointment so soon but we won't be going to it and they're sending a new appointment out. I know I said to the doctor that I didn't want Ellie getting a hearing aid to interfere with her schooling but booking her in for a MRI at half 7 in the morning is taking it a bit too literally. We could get there, my dad would have taken us but we would have had to be there well before half 7 and it's just a silly time. When I rang up the person dealing with appointments was a bit confuzzled too, those appointments are usually used for people who are in-patients in hospital. 

The weather has confuzzled me over the past week too. This time last week we had washing out on the line drying and it was actually drying as it was so warm and now as I am writing this it's snowing one minute and raining the next. The cold weather is what we expect for this time of year but I don't have to like it. I am all for hibernating but I have been making a point of going out every day for at least a 10 minute walk.

How has your week been? I hope you have had a good one.

Word of the week linky

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Cleaning your house can keep you fit!

I did laugh when I read that cleaning your house can keep you fit but it actually does and cleaning your house can help you lose weight too. It means you don't have to go to the gym, buy fancy exercise equipment and it's the whole killing two birds with one stone thing. Get fit and have a clean home!

Polishing, dusting, mopping and sweeping are great for keeping arms in shape and bending and stretching when you make the beds, wash windows or do the laundry is good for toning thighs and improving flexibility. Running up and down the stairs as you tidy up is a great way to get your heart rate up and get a good aerobic workout.

In January we are always all about starting new keep fit regimes and losing weight and making an extra effort around the house is a great way to start.

Mop and bucket

1. Scrubbing the bath.
 Removing soap scum from your tub with a bit of added elbow grease for 15 minutes can burn up to 50 calories, which is the same as 250 jumping jacks. This chore is great for toning arms and shoulder muscles.

2. Laundry.
Loading and unloading the washing machine, hanging up the clothes and putting them away can burn around 70 calories in an hour which many will be pleased to hear is the same as doing 70 sit-ups.

3. Cleaning windows.
If your windows have seen better days, spend an hour giving them a good clean and burn 136 calories while you're at it. That’s the same as jogging for 15 minutes.

4. Washing up
Scrubbing away at the dishes can burn an impressive 180 calories over a week if you spend 15 minutes doing it every day. This equates to swimming for just under 30 minutes.

5. Vacuuming
Giving your carpets a good clean can burn 90 calories in half an hour, which is the same as 15 minutes of kickboxing. Depending on the size of your house, vacuuming can get you nearer to the daily recommendation of 10,000 steps.

6. Dusting
Something as easy as doing the dusting can burn 25 calories in 15 minutes.

7. Ironing
If you spend three hours over a week getting the creases out of your clothes you can burn 264 calories. Even standing still for long periods of time burns calories and works your core muscles too.

8. Making beds
 Changing the linen of a family of four’s beds can burn 52 calories in 30 minutes, the same as a mile walk.

9. Mopping and sweeping
Cleaning the floors for 30 minutes can burn 145 calories, which is equivalent to 15 minutes on the treadmill.

10. Gardening 
If you're working in the garden, 30 minutes can burn 213 calories which is same as 45 minutes of cycling on flat terrain. Digging works your shoulders and abdominals, so it’s great for an all-round work-out.

Mopping the floor

Top Tips:

Make a playlist of fast paced music: Music with a fast tempo will encourage you to move more quickly. Create a playlist that lasts at least 30 minutes. This can serve as your timer. 

Use a wax polish rather than spray. You’ll need to rub much harder to get a good shine on furniture and it will help tone your arms and shoulders faster.

Don't stand idly by until the microwave dings or the water boils. Do squats, star jumps or simply march in place. 

Put the effort in! Do not slow down or take a break. Move swiftly from one chore to the next until your housework programme is complete.

Did you think of doing your housework as an exercise routine? I didn't but it is a good idea to use it as a workout.


Wednesday, 5 January 2022

This time next year...

Here we are in 2022 and it's a time for new starts and new goals. I always like to make a list of things that I want to achieve over the next 12 months and this is my list.

January calendar

This time next year we will have a fantastic garden.
We have put a new fence up and have more privacy and hopefully over the next couple of months we are going to give the garden a good tidy and get it how we really want it. Hopefully we can get some new garden furniture too.

This time next year we will have been on holiday.
I am not asking for much, just a few days away or even a week to somewhere different from here.

This time next year I will be worrying less.
I feel like I was born worrying and it sometimes get me down when all I seem to do is worry, mostly about the little things. This year I am going to give myself a shake and sort myself out and stop sweating the small stuff. I know it's easier said than done but life is good and I waste so much energy worrying.

This time next year I will be reading books again.
I want to read books but never make the time. This year I am going to try too.

This time next year we will have replaced the hall and stair carpet.
It has been on our to do list for the last couple of years but not at the top of our list so hasn't felt important but now we are sick of the old carpet and really want a new one.

This time next year I will have a massive collection of family photos.
I am great at taking photos of random things but not the things that count like family. I am going to make more of an effort to take family photos. Photos of my dad and his partner, me, Stu and the girls and just the girls.

This time next year Ellie will have done her mock GCSE's and will have done well.
It's crazy to think that this time next year Ellie will be in her last year of school and so close to doing her GCSE's. As long as nothing changes she will be doing her mock GCSE's in December of this year and hopefully will be heading in the right direction of getting good grades.

This time next year we will have some money saved.
Every year we seem to be getting better at saving and hopefully this time next year we will have more than usual still saved at Christmas.

This time next year I will have lost some more weight.
I was doing great with my weight loss before Christmas and for Christmas I got one of those fitness watches to count my steps among other things which has given me a whole load of motivation. I would like to drop a couple of clothes sizes too.

This time next year Becky will have passed her driving test.
Poor Becky hasn't had much luck with starting her driving lessons. She was just about to start when Covid hit, we were put into lockdown and all the driving lessons stopped. When they were allowed to go ahead they were booked up for months. Fingers crossed that Becky can start her lessons soon and pass her test.

What will you have done by this time next year?

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

The Highs and Lows of 2021.

Can you believe we are here in 2022? To be honest after writing the highs and lows of 2020 I was majorly worried about catching Covid. I of course was and have been keeping myself and my family safe but over the last year and a half we have lost friends and family to the virus and the people who have died were healthier and fitter than I was/am. I'm still here though, Stu, my girls, my dad and his partner are here too and now that is all that matters.

For the last few years I have done this tag on recapping the last year! I think I originally got it from Woman on Thin Ice at the end of 2017 and I think it is a great way to remember the year. There has been years where not much happened like in 2018, 2019 was all about us starting a new life in Scunthorpe and 2020, what a year! The year of lockdowns, home learning and lots of worry!

Clinking glasses

1. What was your happiest event?
I don't think there was just one thing which made me happy last year it was more little things but I think the biggest thing that I am celebrating is that we got through the year without catching Covid! Go us! I'd like to say it's because we have been superstars at keeping ourselves safe but I think it really is just luck at the moment. I feel like we've dodged the bullet several times and it scares me.

2. What was the saddest thing to happen?
My great Aunt passing away. It was expected but it still wasn't nice. It was expected because she was nearly 90 years old, suffered from COPD and spent all of the last 18 months alone because of Covid which really wore her down. She was so happy that Covid didn't kill her, it was just a chest infection. Just a chest infection, after a fall and an operation which she wasn't meant to survive. 

3. What was the most unlikely thing to happen that actually went ahead and did?
Becky getting the job of her dreams. Since Becky got into doing health and social care at school she has always said that she wants to work in a care home with people of all ages not just elderly and her dream came true, she got a job in a care home with a right mix of residents and a big bonus it is on our doorstep, well a 10 minute walk away. Potentially it could be a job for life. She is working part time at the moment and her employers have already asked if she would like a full time job when she has finished college, she of course said yes. The other unlikely thing to happen is Becky working night shifts. She's a girl who likes her sleep and when she was on day shift found it such a struggle to get up at 6am. She's a person who can sleep anywhere at anytime so night shifts were no problem for her. I am so proud of her!

4. Who let you down?
Nobody really. I have had little gripes with people but nothing major.

5. Who supported you?
My dad! In 2020 it was all about people who supported us while my dad was ill with Covid but last year it has all been about my dad. I think Covid gave him a scare and he has really been there for me and my family. He always was before but this year he has gone above and beyond. He really is the best dad, my girls might disagree but I couldn't ask for more.

6. Tell us what you learned?
Home learning is hard, really hard! When we first did home learning in 2020 it was a breeze, the school wasn't prepared and it was more of just winging it but when home learning happened at the beginning of last year the school were on the ball and had Zoom lessons set up, online and offline work to do. Ellie was doing a whole school day at home and it was no fun. If Ellie was doing traditional home schooling we could choose when to do lessons, have breaks and lunch. It was so structured and with that a massive pain in the backside.

My youngest hating home learning

7. Tell us what made you laugh?
TikTok!! I have got so into watching TikTok over the last year and there is some brilliant creators on there. I used to be an avid watcher of people on YouTube but I haven't really bothered with it since I started scrolling through TikTok. I will admit I watch it when I go to bed and Stu has often woken up asking what's the matter because I have been laid there chuckling to myself, chuckling so much that I've rocked the bed. lol

8. Tell us the things that made you cry?
My great aunt passing away obviously but apart from that not much. There was the usual TV shows but this past year hasn't been one for crying.

9. Tell us three things your child or children did to make you feel proud. Please miss this question out if you are not a parent.
Ellie coped so well with everyone wearing masks. She is deaf in one ear so does partially rely on lip reading. She struggled but coped and despite her falling behind at school before the summer holidays she has done more than catch up in the new school year! The prospect of the kids wearing masks again is filling me with dread but this time around the teachers are more prepared to support Ellie.

Becky has done so well with her job. Better than both Stu and I expected and she is now handling her money well after blowing her first wage in a couple of weeks. She did buy everyone Christmas presents but budgeting wasn't on her radar. She's getting the hang of it now.

My girls are lovely lasses and I couldn't ask for better girls. Yes they drive me crazy most of the time but a few years ago I didn't imagine they would be the people they are now. They have changed so much since we lived in Northumberland, for the better!

10. Tell us the things that made you proud of yourself.
I've been exercising and losing weight. In the middle of last year I was feeling pretty rubbish about weighing over 15 stone so decided to do something about it. A cross trainer in our local auction gave me the motivation that I needed. Soon after a treadmill came up and we bought it and there has been no looking back. Yes, I've struggled since the weather has got colder to find motivation but I'm getting there, the weight is coming off. Clothes are feeling looser and the scales are showing it. I got one of those fitty bit watch things for Christmas which has given me a new bit of motivation. It was just what I needed after everything which I have eaten over Christmas.

11. Tell us the challenges you overcame?
I have stepped back when it came to the kids. It has been hard but has been needed, especially with Becky. She was sat here filling in forms applying for her job and as much as I wanted to help her she needed to do it herself. I could have given her the answers but what would happen if she had a face to face interview and she brought up the answers I had written? She had an issue at work that she had to deal with herself, I would have loved to have helped but she is 19 now and needs to stand on her own two feet as much as I hate it. With Ellie I have let her take on more responsibility of doing her homework and sorting out things for school. She hates doing homework and without me nagging has ended in her having a few detentions but she's learning.

12. Tell us the things you would like to change about your life in 2022.
In 2020 I said "exercise more and eat better". I did that and I am so proud of myself. I want to continue that and maybe buy myself some new clothes as lots are getting loose now.

Happy new year! Wishing you all the best for 2022.