Sunday, 1 March 2015


This weekend has been a fairly nice weekend weather wise. A little breezy but dry, today was sunny too. I started the day being ill with a bug. I felt better through the day, but then I ate at tea time and I'm feeling rough again!

Ii was so excited to be able to do this when I got the first load of washing cleaned;

I got three loads of washing dried outside today. Look at the sunlight in this photograph- it was glorious to be out in it. I spent the afternoon in the garden with Dylan getting the garden sorted for planting.

I planted lots of seeds ready to get growing. I am determined to grow as many of our own vegetables as I can this year, after all it was one of the many reasons for moving here!

Once they were all planted I watered them and put them into the little greenhouse I picked up in the sales last year. Watered them and zipped them up tight for the evening.

It's not easy to see in the picture as the sun was bright over the garden, but on the left along the fence I planted the raspberry canes I bought with us from the other house. Next to the garden fork I planted the little blueberry cane Stephanie asked me to buy the other day. I am really looking forward to enjoying these. Whilst I was busy doing all this Dylan did this;

It's a raised bed made from one of the free pallets I got the other week. I'm so impressed he has done a fantastic job.
It is perfect to place up on the grass to start the veggie growing. All for the cost of a few wood screws. I'm not sure how Dylan felt when he'd finished I declared it perfect and asked him to make me 5 more! LOL.
As soon as I have treated the wood I will be able to get planting into the bed.
The patio area after a quick tidy up. Those are two more pallets waiting to be turned into plant beds. I am really looking forward to being able to sit out here and enjoy the sunshine.
How are your plans coming along?


Sunday, 15 February 2015

A little story

This morning a very tired person was woken up by her alarm at 5:30- yes you are right 5:30 on a Sunday! She lays there for a while wondering what on Earth made her think that this would be a good idea. Eventually, she persuades herself to get up and get some breakfast. Putting the porridge in the microwave she gets a large glass of water and downs it. No she is not hung over!

She slowly persuades her body that it does want to accept breakfast at 6:30am on a Sunday then goes and gets dressed. The clothes she puts on look a little like this


Once dressed she packs all the things that she will need for the morning
And gets in the car. Soon she arrives where she would like to be.

she follows similarly dressed people until she gets to the building here she is given a piece of paper with a number on which she need to pin to her top like this;

Waits for the horn to signal go and moves one foot in front of another. Realising a little to late that in talking to her friend (who is speedy) she has started way to close to the start line! She moves to the side to let more accomplished runners pass. One foot in front of another up and down lots of beautiful country lanes. Very refreshing scenery to pass and enjoy. People pass at a regular pace. That's ok it's early on we are only at mile 4. Steadily she keeps going chatting to others as she passes, some she recognises but many new faces. Eventually she passes the 10 mile mark. This is where she suddenly feels weary and a little downhearted. What on Earth possessed her to do this? Why would she thinks it's a good idea? Her feet hurt- one of her toes is rubbing against the other, her knee is sore, her hips ache. Maybe she should just give up. Oh look an aid station ahead
Would you like water or coke? asks  a cheery lady. Never having had coke on a race before decides to give it a go, accepting  a fun sized mars bar with the coke. Quick drink and slowly one foot moves in front of the other. feeling a little refreshed, just maybe this is possible after all. Still she thinks that she is going so slow that she must have taken 2 hours 20 minutes already. So much for beating her previous record of 2hrs 28 mins. Oh well just to finish will do. A quick glance behind she realises that she can see no other runners. Those in front are disappearing rapidly into the distance. MOG am I last? Resigned to the fact that she is last- well someone has to. I will make sure I smile when I get there and pretend like its cool.
 Whilst thinking all of this one foot moves in front of the other autonomously. Suddenly a cheery voice from behind says hello. I'm not last! there are even people behind me I can hear them laughing now!A little light chatter about how the 12 mile marker must be somewhere soon- this mile has been the longest so far. The lady next to me has a watch that beeps at 12 miles. I ask her the time. "Oh we've been going about 1:57 now. I saw you a while back and decided you were going to be my target" Comes the reply. I knew what she meant by that. I often pick out someone to be my target, once I pass them I set a new target, And 1:57- I hadn't been running as long as I thought. My target of 2:15 is till in my sights. I speed up, come on then I'm going for it- I might still make my PB I challenge. I speed up- I hear the ladies feet moving faster behind me I keep pushing myself. Then as I approach the end of a road a man says to the right and its just at the end, you are in the home straight now. By now there is the first lady with me, and another has joined in the effort (we passed her a while back). "come on girls lets sprint finish, we can do this!" After you comes the reply from the other two. I start sprinting. suddenly, a voice calls "come on Sarah you're nearly there!" It's my speedy friend wiaitng at the side of the road for me. I move my legs faster still and cross the finish line- 1 second before the lady who decided I was her target. "Thank you," she pants "that was great, and I got a new pb. we are at 1:08 is that the PB you wanted?" We are greeted by other members of our running club. All ecstatic about our times. A quick photo finish and then we realise we still have 3 team members out there- we head up the road to cheer them on as they finish. One arrives, a few minutes later another. A quick phone call is received to say the last team member has had a problem- her knee has popped out apparently this is something she suffers with. "I'll go find her" says one of the gentleman who has finished. Worried we all wait, cheering on other competitors as they finish. Soon they arrive back. She manages to cross the finish line- smiling as she winces with each step.
We all finish. We are all pleased for each other for our times, whether it was 1:27 (our speedy gent) or our injured friend at 2:40. We all are pleased with our times. See for the runners which I have met we are not about beating each other, it's about beating ourselves. It's keeping going even when our bodies want us to quit. That feeling at the end of a run, that's why we do it. That's why we become runners!

Saturday, 14 February 2015


Food shopping is becoming more and more expensive every week. We are living on a meal plan which I write at the beginning of the month, based on the food I already have in and then anything I can get cheap when I shop. I then shop on the weekend to buy things which are perishable- milk, fruit and veg etc. Today was one of those days where I needed lots of fruit. I have had many people tell me that I should try shopping in Aldi as opposed to my choice of the 'big 4 supermarkets'. As I was in the nearest town which has an Aldi I decided to pop in. I was running late for Stephanie's swimming lesson this morning (forgot to set an alarm!) so I didn't have a list. I knew I needed fruit and veg so I picked up the bits and pieces I needed of these. I didn't need any cupboard staples so I didn't buy any but did peek at the prices. I don't think the prices are any different from the bits I would usually buy in the supermarket, although I have been told they are massively different. Perhaps, this is because I do no t buy brands I stick to the value range mostly.

This is my shopping

I have;
 a bag of 4 yellow peppers
1 cucmber
2 bags of carrots
3 bags of bananas (they only had bags of 3!)
1 pack of tomatoes
bag of salad leaves (they had no whole lettuces)
1 bag of satsumas
1 punnet of grapes.

The prices of these vegetables were very similar to those I buy in the normal supermarkets.

I also bought 3 packets of Easter lollies for 99p each- they are for my class before they go off on their Easter holidays.

As you can see my total shopping came to £11.36 if you take away the Easter shopping then I spent £8.39 on my food shop. Not hugely different- although I was not tempted by buying things just because they looked like a good offer which does happen when I go to the big supermarkets. I may resort to the little shops from Aldi- especially when I have weeks like this one where I need to stretch out the last few pounds in the bank account due to some unexpected spending to the monthly budget. I definitely wouldn't be able to do my weekly shop there as there is not the range of products and the meat didn't look very differently priced, most of our meat is bought in the yellow stickers section of the supermarket and so is lot cheaper anyway.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

preparing for the month

Wow January seems to have flown by. we stuck almost rigidly to the menu plan, a few swapping of days here and there but I like that flexibility. We had dinner out 2 nights due to being held up even later than anticipated in swimming fun and secondary school opening evenings. Despite this I still had £70 left in my bank account by payday! That has been transferred over to my credit card bill. Oh and I booked a couple of nights away in a hotel for my brothers wedding in March. Not a bad month at all.

With this in mind I have just sat and menu planned for this month too. The menu plan takes us right up until the 01.03.15.

I have also been busy trying to organise our back garden ready for spring. I have been lucky enough to accumulate a couple more pallets. There was one in the shed when we moved in here, I collected 2 from freecycle in the week (well my brother in law did as they needed collecting during office hours) and as I was driving home from shopping yesterday I went through the industrial estate and passed a sign which said free wood. Next to it were 4 pallets. Now my tiny little fiesta only fitted in one of these pallets- the smallest one. So I will be talking nicely to family members with larger cars to see if they will collect some more for me over the next couple if weeks if there are still some left.

This afternoon I have been out in the garden dismantling pallets for use to make my raised beds. It's hard work- and cold but will be worth it when I have finished.

The pallets waiting dismantling

some of the dismantled wood. This is only half a pallets worth. I will build up one raised bed and see how many pallets that takes then I can source more as and when needed.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

More swimming

Today saw us attending the last day of the big splash. This time I sat on the edge- it looked fantastic but the activities she is doing are way out of my comfort zone! Today saw her diving, jumping off the 3m diving board. Then going for a swimming lesson with a club coach- who suggested we may like to consider signing her up to a club as (in his words) "She's a very good swimmer she could do well."

Swelling with pride I have to confess!  He couldn't give me to much about the club today as he was there in a different role and he would get into trouble. But suggested I look on their website and contact them. I spoke to Stephanie about this at the end of her session. The club were in training as we left so she watched for a minute and decided she "would like to try because it will help her to become an Olympic swimmer." An aspiration she has had since she watched 2012 Olympics. I love that that motivation is still there. I have contacted them via email and will see what happens next. The difficulty I foresee is if her training clashes with my work.

My brave girl diving- she also jumped off of the next board up.
Also today she completed her Rookie lifeguarding bronze award

All ready for Baywatch! LOL
With her award, I thought it was just a taster session. I had no idea it was an actual thing- how cool is that!
I know my little lady has thoroughly enjoyed her weekend of water. She was very tired this evening when I dropped her off to her dad's. I am sure she would have had no problem sleeping, getting up in the morning might be though. At least when she stays at Daddy's she doesn't need to get up as early as when she is at home do to the times I have to leave to get to work. So she can have a nice lay in in comparison.
Next year I am determined to be brave enough to join her in some of the activities, I have to confess the diving looks fun, maybe I should learn not to panic jumping in the pool feet first to start with though...

It's all about the...

pool, just swimming!

This weekend has seen me washing swimming costumes and towels constantly.

Friday night saw Stephanie and I head out for what is fast becoming our usual Friday night splash at the local pool. 1 set of costumes to be washed.

Saturday morning was Stephanie's swimming lesson where she swam over 400m. 2nd lot of swimming clothes to be washed.

She then went to her dad's who took her to her gymnastics lesson. Ready for me to collect her at just after 5 ready for...
you guessed it another swim session. this one is run by our local council they run a free weekend at all of the local council run pools where there are different swimming events. There is a challenge which they altered slightly (for the better, in my opinion) this year. You booked yourself a time slot and got 20 mins to swim as many lengths of the 25m pool as possible in that time. We booked the same time as Stephanie's swimming friend and his mum. We managed 18 lengths in the 20 mins, not bad for an 8 year old who had already done so much exercise that day! So proud of her.

With her certificate and medal.

As we were collecting our certificate we were asked by people who were in the other pool diving if the children would like to join them. We said we hadn't booked it. That's ok we have space they can have the spaces if they want them. As if they would have let us say no! LOL

We were asked how old they were, on hearing they were 8 the instructor said. Hmm, maybe just snorkelling then as they are very young. They were both very pleased with that, we signed the permission forms and in they got.

snorkelling with the instructor. After swimming around the pool with the instructor a few times. He announced their swimming was very competent and he would actually be more than happy to scuba dive with them, he would have one adult with each. So another instructor joins them they get their tanks and off they went.

As I had been swimming I only had my phone camera with me (because Charlie's dad kept an eye for 2 mins while I ran and retrieved it from the locker.) So the pictures aren't the best quality. I will never forget how nervous I felt watching her get strapped up with the oxygen tank, but then the swelling of pride as she swam round the pool as if she had been doing it all her life!
That face at the end of it says it all! She loved it.

And is also very excited to learn that there is a local lake, where these people scuba dive/ open water swim/ kayak regularly just 25 minutes drive from our house. Guess where we are heading soon! LOL

I love my children to have new experiences, and we are lucky enough to be offered them for free. Thanks to our local council/ sports teams. So that brings the total of swim kit washes to 3 for 24 hour period. But I am not finished yet, today Stephanie is booked in for 4 hours of water related activity, she is going ot be diving, working on stage 8 swimming, snorkelling and rookie lifeguarding.

I have to say, washing several sets of swimwear is a more than fair price to pay! I can't wait to see the pictures the diving team were taking underwater last night.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

this years goals

I am making good progress on one of this years goals. I want to spend more time with my family. I am always busy, usually with work. I am trying to find more of a balance between the two.

Last night I went swimming with stephanie. We now live just a few minutes from a sports centre so on Thursday I was asked to take my little lady swimming I checked the pool opening times and discovered they have an inflatable session on Friday evenings. Guess which time she picked! We had a fantastic time, it was like a mini wipeout we were there for 2 hours.

What a work out, my arms are sore today lol