Monday, 23 September 2013

New Trainers


Wow good trainers cost a lot.

I bought some new running trainers over the weekend to see if it helps with the pain in my lower legs.The are a really big investment for me as I honestly cant throw that sort of money around lightly and they are now my most expensive pair of shoes.
I also paid extra for custom made inserts which I will come to in a minute.

I went to Sweatshop which is my local running shop. They also sponsor the half marathon that I am hoping to take part in early next year. They establish what the best running shoe is for you by taking you through several different exercises. 

Firstly you stand on a mirrored screen that highlights the areas of your foot that you have the most pressure on. they then take a picture of the back of your legs to see where your achilles is to also help asses you running stance. At this point they then make a custom innersole. You don't have to purchase it but they make it anyway so you can see how it feels in any shoes you try on.
The young girl that helped me showed me several different pairs a listened to me when I advised what I was looking for in my shoe. One of my requests was that it be a wide shoe. 
The first pair I tried on where very comfy. I had the opportunity to try them on a treadmill. My running was also recorded onto the computer so the staff member could show me how they preformed and point out anything that I might need to be careful of when running. 

Even though they where very comfy for a first pair I tried on. I could feel them cut slightly across the top of the toes. Normally for such a small discomfort I wouldn't worry about it, but these are suppose to the one pair of shoes I spend out on for the most comfort so I did mention the slight discomfort to her. She found me a pair which came in a wide fitting along with several other pairs that I could have tried on.

The wide fitting New Balance shoes felt extremely comfortable when I tired them on. I tried them on the treadmill and felt no pinching at all. I tried them without the custom innersoles and I could feel the difference. SO these where the ones I chose.

I didn't see much point in trying any of the others on, but the staff member would have spent as much time as I needed making sure I felt happy with my purchase. 
In the pictures below, the red innersoles are the original New Balance ones and the Pink ones are the custom made ones. I can only describe the custom made innersoles as feeling like you trusty old pair of trainers that you don't want to throw out compared the New Balance ones that obviously have that new trainer feel.

I've tried to take pictures so you can see they are made of different material. Unfortunately there not much difference visually as I have a neutral foot and pronate normally. 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Week 1 of c210k app done

I've completed the first week of training on the app.

Unfortunately I am going to have to do it again. I'm not ready to move on to week 2 yet.

In week 1 you run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds.  You do this 8 times.  In week 2 you run for 90 seconds and walk for 2 minutes. 

I am still struggling to run for 60 seconds 8 times. It's not my breathing its the pain in my legs.  By the 6th time I just want to collapse and sit in the middle of the road in tears. I'm only managing about 40 seconds on the 6th 7th and 8th run. I don't see how I can push that to 90 seconds at the moment. 

Really not wanting to do myself an injury I'm not going to push it.  Hopefully another week of week 1 and I'll be ready to move forward.  At the end of the day this is the first time I've run for 15+ years.

I really need to be proud of myself for accomplishing this first week. 

I felt a bit down on my run this morning but I need to try and push that to one side.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Still going

Went cycling Monday night with H again but for some reason I found it harder this time. 

Yesterday morning I did day 2 of the c210k app. I held my iPhone this time rather than having it in a pouch on my arm.  I found this worked so much better for me.  I was able to look at it when I felt like giving up and see that I only had 15 seconds more of running and keep going. 

I did cheat a little towards the end.  On the last 2 running times I paused it and walked a little longer before starting the run. It wasn't because I was out of breath but because my legs were hurting so much.

I think a lot of the pain is down to the weight I'm carrying and the fact I'm not use to running.  Although I am also wondering if some of it is down to my trainers.  The more I read the more I understand how the trainers you wear can effect you.

Our local running store Sweatshop explains some of this and I think I'm going to have to find some money to buy a decent pair.

It's interesting seeing different people's reactions to me doing this.  On the whole people have been very supportive but there has been some that haven't even to the point of making me doubt myself.  I very much doubt I will be able to run the whole half marathon in 6 months but I hope to be able to run a big chunk of it.

Not sure what I'm doing today.  I have factored Wednesdays as either a second rest day or some sort of cross training depending on how I feel.  I might go out for a walk or something later.  I plan on running again tomorrow.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Couch to 10k iPhone app

I decided to do some research into how is best to try and train.

Most training schedule's follow a similar pattern to the couch to 5k. To be honest Thursday night when I started I probably wasn't too different with my time running to walking.  Only I had nothing telling me to start/stop and I didn't time myself.  It was primarily a session to see where I was.

I started looking at all the c25k apps on iTunes.  (My normal phone is a Samsung Galaxy tab II, far too big to take out running with me. So I dug out my old iPhone 4) While looking I happened upon the couch to 10k app I figured as I'm actually training for a half marathon this might be a better training app. From what I can see,  it starts off on a similar routine to the c25k.

Today I started day 1 week 1. I took H out with me as I really want to show her that this is a good thing to do.  (She hates running) I wish my mum had done something like this with me. I might not be in the position I'm in now if I had learnt to enjoy keeping fit and making healthy choices.  I really hope I can show H how beneficial this can be.

Honestly it was hard. It was my ankles and lower legs that took the brunt of it. I found the time in between was enough to get my breath back but not enough to stop the pains in my legs. At the forth run I was glad to hear the voice on the app tell me I was half way. It really helped keep me going.  Seconds earlier I was thinking of extending the walking and missing the next run minute.  But I didn't I kept going not wanting to cheat myself on the first day.

H on the other hand hardly ran at all. Not sure why. She's fit and healthy.  Not carrying any weight. So she should have found this exercise easy. She hates running though.  I think I heard every excuse under the sun when it came to running.  "My foot itches" "my legs itchy" "I'm hot". I wasn't running that fast so it wasn't like she couldn't keep up just by walking fast.  It was nice having the company but I'm not sure if I'll take her again.  I do feel a little upset that she couldn't get into it though.

The app was great.  It told me when to start and stop. It also told me when to warm down and for how long.  I'm not sure I will be able to progress as fast as it suggests but I will try my best.  Worse case I redo a week a bit longer.

I just wish I could get past the pain at the moment. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Day 2

H and I went on a bike ride in the rain yesterday after she finished school we did about 3.5 miles. 

We didn't go overly fast as her bike couldn't keep up.  It took us about 30 mins including warming down and waiting to cross very busy roads.

I've said to hubby I want to drag H along regularly so she learns to enjoy keeping fit and it becomes her natural lifestyle.

I am really aching today. It's my rest day.  I will try running again tomorrow.

H kindly took some pictures of me in leggings and a vest top so I can compare before and after.  I will hopefully see some changes as the weeks go by.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Midlife Crisis

I think I'm having a midlife crisis since I turned 30.

I'm 5'4" and approximately three and a half stone over weight.

Before I fell pregnant with S I attended weight watchers for about 6 months and lost just over a stone.  I felt so much more body confident and I truly believe it was because of the weight loss that I finally fell. I suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome so had been trying since H was about a year old.
I reckon I probably weight the same as I did before weight watchers.  But dress size I've only gone back up one from the two I lost.

The most exercise I get is walking to the nearest village and back a couple of times a week at tops. Which is about 2 miles away. Very occasionally I cycle.  And as you can see from my previous blog post here I also very occasionally use the trailer with the bike.  But man that thing is heavy to pull.
So with all this in mind I decided I will run a half marathon at the beginning of March 2014.

Yes you read that right.  Like I said at the beginning. I don't think I'm of sound mind. I hate running always have.  I remember hating running when I was 7 and I did my first school sports day. I was always last.

H's school PTA did the half marathon last year to raise funds for the PTA and their charity PACT. I was truly inspired by the mum's and dad's that took part. Some of the mum's were in a similar situation to what I am in now. I think they are amazing people to have completed it and a true inspiration.

Last week the letter came home from school asking if anyone would like to join them this year.  I jokingly said to hubby shall I do it.  At which he laughed and said "you!" Then went on to say he doubts he would even be able to do it.  This coming from the man who regularly cycles 14 miles a day. 

I then got thinking about the mum's that did it last year.  If I try to keep up the training all through the winter then maybe I could do it.

I spoke to a few of them and some how I agreed to do it.  Honestly I'm still in shock that I've said yes. I don't think it was me talking.

Last night I started my training.  A friend of mine who has been running for about 5 years offered to help get me started. She was very encouraging but I did feel I was slowing her down.
I went round a 2 mile circuit, walking and running.  I amazed myself at just how much running I did do.  It wasn't easy and I didn't expect it to be.  But I just need to keep telling myself that it will only get better from there. 

I also didn't follow any time limits on how much walking/running I did.  I just listened to my body.  Pushed it a bit further then walked until I felt I could run again.

I think I'll keep a bit of a diary here of my progress. So apologies in advance if I bore you.

Disastrous cake

I thought I would surprise a friend with a cake for her birthday as she had already celebrated it and received her present a month earlier.

I should have given up at the start.

I used a recipe I've used a few times and has always been fool proof for me. The morning started with the first cake to be baked taking twice as long as norm to cook through.  Don't know why.

Then later one of them broke whilst trying to manoeuvre it onto the cooling rack.

I then decided to try something I've not made before.  A chocolate ganache to go between the cake and the icing.  This took forever to set.

I then iced it with fondant icing.

I had to rush off out to a meeting.  When I returned the whole back of the cake had collapsed. 
Nightmare

By the following morning it was worse than the picture.  I'm glad I had it up against a wall otherwise the top would have slid right off the back. 

I think where I went wrong was rushing the ganache trying to get it to set and worked with it far yoo soon. 

Had I waited until maybe the morning to ice it and put the ganache on it may have been ok.

Oh well lesson learnt. I now know for next time.  I showed it to my friend in the end and she didn't mind. Just my pride a bit dented.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Summer holidays are nearly over


I'm sure lots of you are counting the days until the kids go back to school.

For the first year in ages I have to admit I'm not.  I've loved this summer and the six weeks have flown by.

Although money's been tight and we didn't have a proper holiday.  We have had so much fun and haven't done half the things we planned to back at the beginning.

Most weeks Miss H has had at least 1 friend round to play.  Sometimes more. I have found its been the cheapest way of keeping her entertained and away from the tv or laptop. All it's cost me is a bit of lunch. It's also allowed me to continue to spend some one2one time with Little Miss S. Other days we have gone to friends houses. Some days a group of mums have got together and had a cuppa while the kids all play together.

I must be honest I don't think it would have been half as much fun if it wasn't for the great sunny weather we have had this year.

For two days none stop 13 children aged between 18 months and 10 were entertained with a sheet of plastic laid on the grass and a garden sprinkler. They also all played nicely together.

We upgraded our second hand climbing frame that I bought on eBay for £10 four years ago with a second hand slide from eBay also for £10. I was then kindly given a second well loved slide this week for it so now H & S have races down the slide together.  It's so magical watching them play.  I know in the not too distant future H will no longer wish to play with her little sister.

We have had a major garden party with 43 guests this summer.  We have lived here 9 years and we have never got round to holding a party in our garden.  Which was a shame as we have a tiny house but a huge garden.  This year I took the opportunity that it was my 30th birthday and as it fell on a Saturday it felt wrong not to take advantage of it. We had a BBQ and everyone including the 20 children had a great time. I may have even convinced hubby to hold an annual party.

So as the summer draws to the end I refuse to think about Christmas. So instead I'm looking forward to next summer.  I know the weather probably won't be as good as this year but our holiday is already booked. We are going to Camp Bestival. We have never been before and never done a festival of any kind before.  We camped before S came along but had given it a break until next year.  I'm so excited.

Funky bottoms in real nappies


Real Nappies or cloth nappies whatever you want to call them. I've not long found them.
This is one of those subjects that I have friends that just don't get me on. I'm sure they think I'm going all hippy dippy with my extended bfing and now the cloth nappies.

Truth is that because I haven't gone back to work.  Money is getting tighter and tighter. If I can find ways to reduce our weekly out goings I'm going to give it a try.

I've thought about these a few times before.  Even with Miss H I browsed websites unable to get my head around them. This time I took the plunge.
There are so many to choose from and to be honest I still haven't got my head around all the different types.  I'd still like to learn more about pre folds and wraps. I started easy with the ones most like a disposable.  I have 4 pocket nappies and 3 close parent pop ins.


Left to right in the picture above you have my  3 close parent pop in nappies one white and two pink pattered. I honestly thought these would be the ones I would get on most with.  In reality I don't think they are.  I can't make my mind up on them.  I think they have the smallest fit. Considering Little Miss S isn't that big I'm not sure they will last until potty. I also find them fiddly getting everything in just the right place. I do however love the night time booster as it works really well for a 12hr stint through the night. 

Then you have one of my two blueberry nappies.  (One is currently on her bottom) I love the patterns and I'm finding the pocket style nappies a lot less fiddly. They are quick and easy to put on and off and seem to give a good fit. My only issue is the poppers are a bit week on the pad you stuff the nappy with. I will be buying more of these. 

The Gray nappy with pac man on was a cheap one off eBay from China.  Considering it cost me about £4 I'm actually quite impressed with it. The inserts weren't the best. But I have replaced that with a blueberry one. The only thing it's missing is tabs for the Velcro when washing to stop it sticking to everything but I've found a way around that. 

Lastly you have the Charlie Banana nappy.  To begin with I hatted it. I didn't get on with the adjusting of it.  And I hatted the popper fastening.  But I have to admit it is growing on me.  I've figured out the best way to fasten it around the waist and it has nice clean lines.  I reckon I will be buying more of these too.


One of the first things I noticed when I changed her first real nappy was what do I do with the wipe.  I very quickly changed from.  I don't get cloth wipes why on earth would you use them.  To I need cloth wipes then I can just chuck them in the pail with the nappy rather than having to separate everything out. You will see on the line there are some wipes I made myself which aren't holding up to the constant washing too well and also some cheap baby face cloths I found at the £1 shop that work a treat. I'm not sure what is best at the moment.  Leaving them in a container wet or using a foaming bottle each time. 
I opted for a dry pail bag which I wash each time with the nappies.  I really need a second one as I have no where to put nappies while this one is drying. 

I also really need more nappies. With the seven I have we can only wear them every other day with a wash and dry on the line in between. I can for see this becoming more of a problem when this glorious British summer comes to an end and I have to try and dry them indoors.

Now I need to learn more.  Pre-folds are much cheaper but I don't understand them.  Cost per nappy is the main thing holding me back at the moment :(
My other Bueberry Nappy

Monday, 19 August 2013

Two Summer Dresses

Following on from the previous post here is how I got on making my version of the simple summer dress I watched on the Great British Sewing Bee.

To begin with I started with two pieces of fabric.  Both measure, width the total circumference of daughter's chest by desired length


In this case the toddler dress for my 18 month old measured 20 inches wide by 16 inches long.  Including seam allowance.

My 8 year olds was chest was 26 inches but the material width was 43 inches so I just folded it in half to create the two pieces as I noticed when I made the toddler dress the body came up a little large.  ( you need at least 1.5 x the chest so they have room to walk)

To put an end to the constant fraying I roll seamed the top and bottom first.  I then did a french hem down one side.


Now came the big step into the unknown.  I researched this lots by reading lots of blogs from Pinterest. They all have slightly different ways of doing it.  It's something even my mum hadn't done as she always bought the already shirred fabric when I was little. So I had no one to ask if I got stuck.

To begin with I marked lines half an inch apart across the material to help me sew in straight lines.
I did the one thing most blogs tell you not to do and I filled my bobbin with the elastic thread using my machine.  I haven't got the patients to sit and do it by hand.


Normal thread up top. Elastic thread down the bottom.  Set the top tension to the highest and the stitch length to the longest. Off I went along the lines keeping the material as flat and taught as possible.  After each row I knotted the beginning and end by hand before trimming the excess.

It ruffled up instantly but once I finished I also held the steam of the iron over it (not on it) and watched it ruffle up some more. 

I then did another french hem on the other side and used some biased binding sewn in half as the straps.

I must say I've impressed myself.  And amazed I did it without a pattern.  I can see Little Miss S spending next summer in a whole array of these.

Fabric Valori Wells Fabric Mamma Birds

New sewing machine

This weekend I made two dresses one for each of the girls.

To be honest I shocked myself a bit. It's the first time I've sat in front of the sewing machine for years.

The Great British Sewing Bee was my inspiration.  While watching it a few months ago they made a simple summer dress for a toddler.  It struck me just how simple it was.

Now usually when I get stuck with sewing I just pick everything up throw it in the car and take it to my mum's for her help. Mum was the one who taught me to sew so she can help trouble shoot too. Only this time I don't have that option any more as she's moved 3 and a half hours away.  So any problems I have to solve myself now.

First things first the machine.  There was a time I just borrowed my mum's when I needed one. Then about 10 years ago I used some inheritance to purchase a second hand computerised machine.  Big fail. When my mum took it to be serviced for me she was told it wasn't worth it.  Trust me I did not get my money's worth out of it. Then when mum purchased a new one I inherited her old one. But when it came to doing the shirring in this project it just wasn't working. So then came my purchase last Friday of my first brand new machine.  

I spent ages researching online what I wanted. Went to a very big department store in our local large town to be told that I can only purchase it with cash (birthday monies) from their London stores. Not helpful.  

So round to the local sewing shop I went.  The staff there were so helpful and to be honest although I hadn't researched this machine I think it's probably a lot better than the one I originally was going for.


I'm still on a learning curve with it and I'd like to get some other feet for it so I can try new things. But I have high hopes for this machine.

Thanks to pinterest I have a hole load of things I'd like to try and make as well.

Party favours

So party bags, love them or not they are part of children's party's.

Personally I hate them.  Especially when Miss H brings them home.  They are either full of sweets that end up going stale in my kitchen cupboard or full of plastic rubbish only fit for the bin. Worse still that 'tat' cost some poor parent a small fortune.

That's why I have made it my aim that if I have to do these things then I will do them properly. 

A couple of years ago I made up party bags that had a fashion scarf. A silver picture keyring, a bracelet and a small sand filled beanie toy. I had so many lovely comments back from the mum's that I was glad I had put in the extra work.  To be honest they didn't cost me much more than normal thanks to the many £1 shops.



The following year she had a much smaller party.  Just 2 friends to the cinema and then out for a meal.  I felt given the money I saved on the party I could spend a little more on the party favours.
As we were going to the cinema I decided to use that as my theme.  I found some lovely plastic popcorn holders and added hair clips a bracelet a bar of chocolate and some microwave popcorn.  Once again they were a huge hit.

I'm Back


So much for this being a reflective diary of Little Miss S. She's now 18 months old and defiantly has her own personality.

So much has changed year. I've been converted to cloth nappies and I'm even contemplating other ways of going green.

So as I said S is now 18months old and we are still breastfeeding (even after I spent a week away from her out of the country without expressing). Considering I would have been over the moon to get to 6 months. I'm amazed at our progress. I have to say a lot of it has to do with the support I received from BfN. I still have very few mums that even BF to begin with let alone extended BFing. I know they would never say anything to my face but I have heard they way they speak about other bfing mothers so I now they find me strange in that way, but I'm fine with that I know I'm doing what I'm happy with and what I feel is best for my daughter. What is right for one may not be for another.

Little Miss S is so different to my first daughter. Both myself and my husband have noticed how much her motor skills are so much more refined than H's were at that age.

So where now.

Well I guess the reflective diary of our day to day life has gone out the window. So maybe I'll show you some bits and pieces of things I've made for the girls and other snippets from our lives.

I will probably link the things I've made to my pinterest account.