Category Archives: exercise

Old

I’m getting old.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but I’m making a far bigger leap into the unknown this coming Wednesday (6th, in case you were wondering) than I did when it all happened a year ago.  I’m actually going INTO my 40’s.  Up until now, I’ve just teetered on the edge, looked down, smirked at you all swimming about down there and gone. Nope, not yet, not me,ha ha.

Forty bloody one, eh?

*sigh*

So with time marching on I reflected on the year that was my 40th year.  I was in Rome on my birthday, which I knew about because I’d chosen the destination.  Just hubs and me and a boutique hotel.  We nearly didn’t get there because of the snow, not just in the UK but in Rome as well.  Taxi’s weren’t running and our hotel kept calling us with updates.  In the end our flight wasn’t cancelled and the snow cleared enough for most things to get back to normal in Rome so off we went.year older

I got an IPad on my birthday which was a HUGE surprise not least because I didn’t ask for one and hubby had to do some sort of secret handshake with the security men at Heathrow to allow it to be scanned without me seeing it.

I wasn’t doing twitter very much on my 40 year old account, so all my updates were done on my real account and it wouldn’t have even occurred to me to blog about it.  I had 0 followers on my blog, wasn’t connected via all the social groups I am now and I think I had 2 followers on twitter at the time.

Which brings me neatly on to what the last year has taught me.

  • I can write.  Occasionally quite well.  Most of the time adequately.  Most importantly, I enjoy it.
  • I mustn’t tie myself in knots about trying to be a popular blogger. Do what I like and if other people like it, celebrate that.
  • I can sketch.  I bought a little book in January and have done 3 little sketches.  They look alright. They aren’t amazing, but I quite enjoy doing it.
  • With a bit of effort, a lot of blog reading and ten tonne of googling I can put together an outfit and look ok
  • Shoes still allude me
  • I’m ready to have my hair chopped off.  The delay is that my hairdresser keeps extending her maternity leave. Watch this space.
  • My twitter followers are really good at choosing the right outfit for a night out.
  • I’m ok at exercising if it fits in with my routine.
  • The UK can kick arse at hosting the Olympics
  • I can manage a nursery, school, work run……albeit in a mild panic.
  • I’m reeeeeally good at keeping a secret .
  • I’m only going to have 2 children .

So, once more unto the breach I go.  I’ve got a meal booked for the 7th, then apparently we’ve got something going on on the 16th.  What it is I don’t know.  It came to light when The Monster got an invite to a fellow nursery child’s 2nd birthday party on the 16th.  I said I didn’t think we had anything on and was about to rsvp when hubby got a bit panicked and confessed that I can’t take The Monster because I’ll be doing something else and he needs to work it out.  I’m not getting tooooo excited.  It could just be a meal with friends or a beauty treatment or something (which will be lovely).  We’ve now RSVP’d to the party and he is taking The Monster which made me think I will need to be getting ready for something most likely.  Any way, it’s all very intriguing, I’ll keep you all in the loop.

So, off I go then. 5 more days of being 40. Ticking a new box on a questionnaire (41-50, Gah!) and desperately trying to hang on to my looks.  See you on the other side.

Being a working mum of a nursery and school age child

When I was pregnant with my daughter I couldn’t even begin to work out how I was going to look after her and earn money.  Everyone said it would just work out.  Somehow the most sensible option will make itself obvious and we’d be fine.  It did. Through my maternity leave we worked out that hubby could do childcare on Monday and Tuesdays, I would do Fridays and we found a nursery that Pickle could go to on Wednesday and Thursdays.  So I submitted my flexible working hours to ensure I had Fridays off and worked a shortish day on the nursery days so I could do drop off and pick up if Hubby wasn’t around.  It was accepted. Hoorah.

When I was pregnant with my son I couldn’t begin to work out how I was going to look after 2 children and get two children out of the house and into nursery and then make the dash to work. I also had no idea how we were going to pay for it either.  For 2 children, for 2 days a week for a month was nearly £1000.  I also wasn’t paid for the majority of my maternity leave and we had needed to cash an ISA in to get me to 10 months.  Somehow we managed to tighten our belts and thought we should be able to do it. My company had kept paying my childcare vouchers (themselves. Not taken out of my statutory maternity pay) and my nursery had kindly given me 2 half days for free during the maternity leave so I accumulated childcare vouchers ready for the expensive onslaught when I went back to work.  The big help was having a little bit of financial help from the family every month whilst we had the year of having both kids in nursery.  That was a wonderful gift.

Now that Pickle is at school and The Monster is at nursery we have an altogether different dilemma.  Pickle started school at the end of September and we got our first choice which is within walking distance.  The Monster is still at the original nursery which was a 10 minute, traffic jam ridden journey away.  Hubby and I went through every conceivable scenario to see how it would all work and quite frankly this is it, but oh my goodness it’s a stressful old setup.

Photo courtesy of Ask a mum.co.uk

I follow a lot of stay at home mums on twitter and have a few friends who are and things aren’t rosy on that side of the fence either, especially when they have several children still at home. Of course, when I’m dashing about like a mad woman all I can think of is easy it must be for them, although I’m not that stupid to actually believe this to be the case.   I can only talk about what it’s like to do the school run from a working mum perspective and it’s true what they say…………You really can’t have it all. Not that I ever thought I would.

Firstly I have to get everyone out the house on time, fully dressed, fed (well at least Pickle), school lunch done, reading bag ready, nursery bag packed (dummy, nappies, drinking bottle, comforter, spare clothes) and into the car.  I drive the 10 minutes to The Monster’s nursery where he is dropped off ready for breakfast.  Pickle and I (annoyingly) have time to spare, so we take our time, kiss TM goodbye, natter to the nursery staff and then get in the car.  I then drive 10 minutes back again, to right near our house to park up.  Pickle plays on the phone for 10 minutes or so, I stare out the front windscreen like a deranged inmate muttering to myself that “I used to just stare when I didn’t have a smart phone and what is the matter with me, how about doing some thinking?”  We then walk the 5 minutes to school where I hover like bee by the door anticipating every shadow that walks pass it might be the teacher about to open the door.  Finally it is opened and Pickle is shoved through so I can turn and do that embarrassing half walk/run back to the car.  From this point I have 1 hour to get from the classroom door to work. I start at 9.45am.  I do my journey, park up about a 20 minute walk away for free parking, don my cycle helmet, high vis vest, bicycle clip, put my handbag in the brompton C bag, unfold the Brompton (I blogged about it here) and ride for 5 minutes to work. Where I unfold the cycle, take off some of the stuff I have on me that makes me look like a plonker and push the Brompton up to my desk.  Depending on the day, I arrive dead on 9.45am or at about 9.50am. Either way, I am breathing like Darth Vadar and my blood pressure is sky-high.

**insert 6 hour work day here which, quite frankly, is a doddle after kids and the journey.  I get to drink several cups of tea too**

So the whole journey is in reverse on the way back (obviously).  Bike ride, in car, drive to nursery, pick up the Monster (get slightly annoyed that the slow talking nursery teacher is trying to tell you something because all you want to do is get out the door) and then drive 10 minutes to pick up Pickle from the after school club.  At this point I find out whether her journey from school to the club was smooth or peppered with tears and attempt to find all the bits to her school lunch bag that has been overturned and scattered about in the room.  I’m stressed for my car journey to both of them because any slight traffic jam can push the journey back 10-30 minutes.  10 minutes is about the only buffer I have.

I then get both kids back in the car, drive the 2 minutes to the house. Off load kids and bags and make a bee line for the kitchen because it’s now 5.45pm and I need to feed them around 6pm.

Of course, my journey is not unique.  This is the same journey thousands of working mums have to juggle with whilst getting to work and I’d like to say that I work to keep my own identity, to have adult conversation, to challenge myself, but the honest truth is that I do it for the money.  All that other stuff, yeah, great, I’m sure it helps and I probably couldn’t be a full time stay at home mum, but I do really wish I had the option.  It’s cheaper for me to work and pay childcare than it is for me not to work and not pay childcare.  In fact, we just couldn’t afford to live if I didn’t.

Those 2 days in the middle of the week are so stressful that I start thinking about it on Monday. I check my diary in the hope Hubby isn’t working on those days (he’s self employed) and if he is, I start bracing myself for it.  Things will only improve when The Monster starts school as well (although the dash from school to the office will still exist and that isn’t great)  and that’s another 3 years away.

So now I have a child in nursery and one at school I have worked out how I’m going to do it.  It isn’t easy and is incredibly stressful, but we get through it, somehow.  I’d be interested to hear what you do, whether you have an easier journey or find a way to deal with the stress of it.  I’d also like to hear from any stay at home mums, is it a walk in the park?  😉

Arse!

What has happened to my arse?  

On minute it was sitting high (and large in a good way), the right proportion of muscle and fat and now it’s gone horrendously width ways and changed into a shape I don’t even recognise anymore.

I used to have my arse serenaded to by sailors (I kid you not, it did happen!)

It hooked every man I EVER went out with including my husband and now it hangs there like some sort of lumpy, cheap, sprayable, foam filler.

Where once I could have tucked my arse neatly into a tight pair of trousers, parading it about like a thing of wonder, I’m finding myself adjusting the length of my tops to create the right silhouette.  Get it wrong and having THAT atop my skinny (ish) legs just looks comical.

I don’t think there are exercises available to rescue my arse from the cliff top its falling from, but if there are then please send help immediately. Otherwise I intend to either wear a bustle under everything and start wearing Victorian bathers in the shower to spare me the horror.

The fortnight I strayed……

I’m so dreadfully sorry.

I did it without thinking, without considering your feelings.

I did it out of pure selfishness and I’m sorry for hurting you………..but I don’t regret it for a second.

The Olympics were FAR more interesting and inspiring for me so I’ve chosen to neglect you all on Twitter. I haven’t died or moved to Facebook. I’m still here, caught up in the frenzy of gold medals and amazing athletes.

Wow. It’s been great hasn’t it?  I’ve managed to make it to beach volleyball and a diving event in the Olympic stadium.  I’m off to 2 events there on Tuesday as well.  I’ve also benefitted from living near Twickenham by seeing the road races and managed to get a view of the Olympic Torch.  If there was a medal for immersing yourself in the spirit of the Olympics I’m surely in for contention.

I know ALOT of people aren’t interested and I’m cool with that.  Whatever floats your boat.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  I think even more people thought they wouldn’t be interested until they saw some familiar streets, an opening ceremony that made our hearts soar and our national pride soar even more and then we actually started WINNING. I mean – heck!  We are winning Golds, man.  So people are hooked who didn’t know one athlete from another and had a hard time even naming some Olympic sports.

I do like the Olympics.  I get very emotional at the idea that all of these nations that usually argue, fight, have wars etc.. suddenly agree to meet somewhere and do some running races and give each other a pat on the back.  I like that, it makes me cry. ALOT.

It makes me google athletes (where are they from?  How did they start? Where did they train?) and it makes me find out more about countries too.  Watching the women’s 3m springboard and the awesomeness of the Chinese divers made me find out more about them.  I’m not so naive as to think they are frolicking through daisy strewn fields when they are on their way to training but I can’t be happy about their Golds at all.  It just makes me sad for what they had to give up in order to get them.  Surely it’s not worth all of that.

I googled Wu Minxia (or I may have read an article – I can’t remember) and it revealed that she hadn’t seen her family in over 8 years.  She is not allowed contact with them at all and it was only after she won her gold that they revealed that her grandparents had died over a year ago and that her mother had been suffering with cancer.  Is that really an acceptable way to treat an individual.  It makes me shudder.  However, perhaps I want them to win gold because I’m not sure how they would be dealt with if they didn’t.

At any rate, for all these sad stories come the amazing ones like Oscar Pistorious, other wise known as Blade runner.  He ran on artificial legs and was the first double amputee to compete at the Olympic Games.  What an amazing story and what an inspiration to the hundreds of people both able-bodied and disabled at what can be achieved if you just believe.

So I’m sorry I’ve neglected you twitter friends but I’m thoroughly enjoying my dalliance with sport.  It will be over too soon and I will be back seeking inspiration from you all in no time.

Update on the exercise

I’m without laptop today, so this is being produced on my iPad, whilst sitting scrunched up on the floor of my bedroom. Hopefully it will be readable.

Thought I’d give an update on the previous Brompton post I did here I was musing on the pros and cons of parking for free further away from work an using a fold up bike for the rest of the journey. Having bought the bike about 2 weeks ago I can say……

Wheeeeeeeeeee

I absolutely love it. I did buy a Brompton (at great expense – £810!!) but I got an interest free loan from the bike place and it’ll cost me around £50 a month. Half the cost that a parking space will cost me and I get is very clever bike at the end of it.

I rode it down to the women’s bike race in Twickenham today and due to the rain I also test drove my rain cape (again – it worked brilliantly).

The bike is really sturdy and quite comfortable. I’ll say “quite” as I’ve not really ridden a bike since I was about 17 and those seats take some getting used to. Whilst sitting on this pillow I can feel a small twinge in my backside.

For a bike with small wheels, it goes pretty fast and I overtook much bigger wheeled ones. It was actually quite fun and I’m now really looking forward to using it on my commute the week after next.
I’m still getting to grips with the fold up mechanism though, not quite got it down to 20 seconds but I’m no where near where I was on the first day having to google you tube videos because I didn’t even know how to do the first step (release the handlebars). It would have been quite funny if I hadn’t been so angry about it. :)

So there you are. I’m officially one of “those” cyclists who will cause you to slow down and will no doubt have a few fists raised at her.

Wish me luck.

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