Time Flies

I can’t believe that we are already on Wednesday and that I have not got round to writing my blog again this week. I also can’t believe that it is the middle of August already, where does the time go?

This week it will be my eldest daughter’s 21st birthday, the last milestone birthday of the year for us as a family. It has certainly been a year for milestone birthdays, with me being 50, my youngest being 18 and my eldest being 21. That certainly wasn’t planned in any way, but it has made for a very busy, exciting, if not slightly expensive year.

This week also sees the week, where my youngest daughter will receive her A Level results. She is not particularly concerned about this, as she does not wish to go to university and has already found herself a job, but I do feel for all those other students and parents out there, who are anxiously waiting to see what Thursday will bring.

Making Progress

Over the last couple of weeks I have felt really motivated to keep up with my running and also to keep on with the healthy eating. I certainly feel much better for it and feel that I am definitely making progress with my fitness.

On Tuesday I attended at my usual Slimming World class and it was the evening to award the “Woman of the Year”. The people who had been nominated talked about what had been the defining moment that brought them to lose weight and what a difference that it had made to their lives.

It was very inspiring to listen to their stories and very moving too. It certainly got me thinking about the difference losing a couple of stone and increasing my exercise has done for me. Interestingly, some of the women had no photos from when they started losing weight, which said a lot about the lack of confidence that you can have when you are overweight. I certainly felt that I didn’t want to appear on photos. I’m still not the most photogenic person , but don’t completely hate having my photo taken anymore.

Hopefully I’ll keep up the hard work and continue with the progress. I’ll let you know how I get on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Eventful Week (1)

On Monday my husband, youngest daughter and myself travelled to London for our eldest daughters graduation from The London College of Music at The University of West London. She has graduated with first in BA hons in Musical Theatre. Last week I mentioned how she had overcome the initial let downs and has worked hard and been so determined, that even though I may be biased I honestly believe that she deserves that achievement.

Proud parent moment

The graduation ceremony took place yesterday at Wembley Stadium, which in itself is a pretty impressive place. I’ve never been to a graduation ceremony before. Other than my sister in law, who I didn’t really know when she was a student, my eldest daughter is the first person in the family to go to university.

The ceremony ran like clockwork, from registering, collecting gowns, having photos taken to entering the Great Hall, it was obviously meticulously planned. The actual walking across the stage was a “blink and you might miss it” moment, but was still worth the wait.

Afterwards the graduates were allowed out onto the terrace to take photos, which was great. Then it was into central London with some friends and their families for a meal in the Coppa Restaurant next to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Afterwards the young people went off to party and us older folk went back to the hotel for a well earned rest.

It was a great day, marred very slightly by one of the mum’s not being very well at the end of the night, so I wish her a speedy recovery.

I want to thank everyone at the University, who has tutored, encouraged and inspired my daughter through the last three years. Particularly the group of friends who have been an inspiration, support and an endless source of entertainment for me.

I’d also like to wish them all the best of luck as they begin their new journey out in the big wide world. Continue to support each other as you’ve done over the last three years and you won’t go wrong.

Here’s  to the future, embrace it, whatever it may bring.

Just for me

Run Forrest Run

I surprised myself this week by taking part in a running session at an athletics track. I had signed up on line with Tingely Runfit and it seemed like a really good idea at the time. I thought that it would be fun and a bit of a new challenge for me. On the night however it was absolutely pouring with rain. I briefly thought about cancelling, but felt that this was unfair to the lovely lady who had organised it.

So I turned up in the pouring rain, expecting to absolutely hate it. Bizarrely I found myself really enjoying it. Running the different distances around the track was different and allowed me to get a bit of speed up (and I do mean a bit!) without worrying about whether I would make it to the end of the run.

On Saturday I also got a personal best (43;08)at Oakwell Parkrun. This may still be really slow for most, but I was really pleased with my progress. On the back of that I’ve also signed up for the Abbey Dash, which is a 10k run in November. Hopefully this will spur me on to keep training and hopefully get round the 10k in a fairly reasonable time.

If anyone had ever said to me that I would be running because I enjoyed it rather than because I had to, I would never have believed them. now I do it just because I can.

 

Just Sing!

On Saturday night, I was honoured to be part of the Summer Harmonies concert as part of Batley Community Choir.  Also in the concert was Batley Parish School Singing Group and the Gawthorpe Brass ’85 Youth Band. The Town Hall was full and the concert went really well. The children sang beautifully and the band were excellent. I loved singing with the choir and the evening ended with the whole audience standing up and singing and dancing to “Walking on Sunshine”. It was great! The money raise will go to #more in common, the charity set up in memory of Jo Cox.

Being part of the choir has been a great experience, as it was one of the first things that I did just for me. I’m not involved in the organising, the planning and I don’t have to feel responsible for anyone else. It has been brilliant to go along and do something purely for pleasure, which has got me involved in other community activities along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Inspiring Weekend

The beginning of the week started off as fairly average really. Not that I’m complaining, sometimes having an ordinary makes me perfectly happy. However, this weekend was something else.

Volunteering Warms The Heart

On Saturday, because there was a shortage of volunteers, I helped out at Parkrun for the first time rather than running. I have to say, it was really great to see it from a different aspect. All the runners were so friendly and were thanking the volunteers as they ran past. I know when I run, I struggle to speak at all, but always try and give a smile to the volunteers just to let them know they are appreciated. I really enjoyed volunteering and as the last person came past, I walked around the rest of the course and then walked across the park too, just to make sure I got my steps in for the day. I’m glad I volunteered, as without people volunteering, things like the Parkrun wouldn’t exist.

Saturday afternoon was our church Summer Fair. I had created some activities for the children to do and some games and challenges for the adults too, all on a teddy bear theme. I think that most people enjoyed them. One was a matching game, a bit like the game of pairs, but timed to see who could do it fastest. It never ceases to amaze me how competitive adults can be! There were some who had to just have another go when someone had beaten their time.

The main event of the afternoon was parachuting teddy bears off the church tower. They  were hauled up in a basket, attached to a parachute and then launched off the roof. The winner was the bear who landed nearest to the target. A few of the bears got near the target but there were quite a few that had to be bravely rescued from trees and from the church roof!

Run For Jo

On Sunday I took part in the Run for Jo at Oakwell Hall Country Park in Birstall. The day started with me singing with Batley Community Choir, as we opened the days celebrations in memory of Jo Cox. It was warm but quite drizzly, but we sang our hearts out on the little stage. Everyone was excited by the fact that Eddie Izzard was joining in the run and he gave a short speech before a warm up for the runners.

Luckily the rain dried up and the sun started to show its face, just before the runs started. The first run was 2.5k and there were people of all ages taking part, from really small toddlers, to grandparents. It was great to cheer them on at various places around the course.

The next run was 6.5k, which I had signed up for, but to be quite honest, a few minutes before it started I was having serious doubts about why I had! I don’t know why I do this. Whenever I have put my mind to something in the past I always manage to achieve it, so I need to stop convincing myself that I can’t.

The run was through the park, across fields, paths, through trees and bridges over streams. Interspersed along the way were singers, drummers, buskers and cheerleaders, along with the marshals, all willing everyone along and keeping us all going. There was even a climb over a style at one point, which allowed everyone to catch their breath whilst they waited. I managed to have enough energy on the way round to say thank you to the musicians and marshals.

The finish of the run was down hill and I managed to run all the way to the finish line hearing people cheering. It may have taken me 57 minutes, but what an amazing feeling!

After We had food, there was then a mascots race, where Ronnie the Rhino, The Fairtrade banana and various other mascots raced against each other.

It was an absolutely brilliant day, with people of all ages coming together to run together and to celebrate #more in common, remembering Jo Cox, whose vision for a better world has inspired so many people.

Long may it continue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Together

Blimey my blog is late again. I’m not quite sure what’s happening. My weekends seem to be so packed that I don’t seem to get round to writing on a Sunday evening.

Community Spirit

This weekend was a really important one for the community of Batley, where I have lived all my life. It was also a really important weekend for communities all over the country.  This was the weekend of the Great Get Together, where people of all different backgrounds joined together to celebrate their diversity and to recognise the things that we have in common. I loved reading the updates about the various events that were taking place and the heart warming photographs of people from all walks of life coming together.

A friend of mine wrote a really good blog about this, which I would recommend if you want to know what it was all about

https://grimois.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/why-my-great-get-together-weekend-wont-be-soured-by-events-in-finsbury-park/

As part of the “More in Common” weekend, I attended an open air service at All Saints Church, Batley with my mum and my eldest daughter. I haven’t attended church much recently, as I have felt unsure where I fit in and just exactly how I feel about my faith. However the service on Sunday was relaxed and informal. The hymns were modern and upbeat and the sun was shining. It made me really think about the fact that  whether you had the same faith as others, or any faith at all, doesn’t really matter. What is important is that we treat others with respect, kindness and as we would like to be treated.

Family Gathering

As Sunday was Father’s Day, we had a family barbeque. The sun was still shining and it was great for us to get together and have chance just to sit and chat and have some food and drinks. My mother in law and father in law couldn’t come as my mother in law has just had an operation on her knee and had just come out of hospital.

After we had eaten for some reason the women were sat inside and we began chatting about faith, beliefs, learning about different cultures and tolerance. It was really interesting to hear other peoples views and to understand that although we may not always agree with others, sometimes it is good to air your views and let other people know how you feel.

Tomorrow my eldest daughter returns to London, to start looking for work and a new house, so I wish her luck with that. It’s been wonderful to have her home, but my bank account and my healthy eating have suffered whilst she’s been at home. I’m not sure which one of us is the bad influence.

 

Damage Limitation

After eating my body weight in cake and ice cream over the last couple of weeks, I dragged myself back to slimming world tonight and unsurprisingly I had put weight on. It’s now four weeks to my eldest daughter’s graduation and youngest daughter’s 18th Birthday party, so I have had to give myself a stern talking to and get myself back on track. I have made myself a healthy breakfast and lunch to take to work tomorrow. I realise how much money I’ve spent buying unhealthy food over the last few weeks, so not only will it be better for my health, but also for my bank balance.

I won’t dwell on it, its done now, so I’ll draw a line under it and start again tomorrow morning with a clean slate. I’ve also booked myself in with run together tomorrow to make sure I get my exercise back on track too.

 

 

Reflecting on the good things in life

After all the sadness and unsettled feeling about the world in general, I am happy to say that I am feeling much more at peace with things this week.

A new life and new beginnings

I found out in the last couple of weeks that my lovely niece is pregnant with her first baby. She had had her first scan a couple of weeks ago and felt comfortable in sharing her good news with people. I am so happy for her and her partner and hope that everything goes well with the pregnancy.

It was also great earlier in the week when one of my lovely work colleagues brought his brand new baby son into work for everyone to see. He was a beautiful baby with lots of hair. Everyone was really pleased to see him and all the ladies wanted to have a little cuddle with him. It doesn’t seem to matter what is going on in the world, but a pregnancy or a  brand new baby always seems to bring such hope for the future. Who knows what these children will achieve in the future, or what the world may be like by the time they are adults, but for the present time they are safe and cared for by those who love them most.

A different new beginning

I was honoured to be invited to my friend’s retirement party yesterday. When I say retirement, he is only in his very early fifties, but has served with the Police for over 30 years. It was lovely to attend his celebration and to catch up with old friends and colleagues.

One of the really great things was that quite a number of the people that were there had not seen me for quite a while and were very complimentary about how I looked. I guess when you see yourself on a day to day basis, you don’t realise how much you have changed over several months. Losing a couple of stones and growing my hair a bit longer certainly surprised some people and have to say that I felt very pleased with myself. Hopefully this will now spur me on to keep up with the healthy eating and exercise.

 

All together again

Another reason to be grateful this week is that we have our eldest daughter home from university for a visit and it is nice to be together again as a whole family. She is only here for a visit and will be returning to live in London to look for work, but it is nice to have her home for even a short time. Our youngest daughter starts her new job this week and has her final exam at school next week, so I guess that it is a new beginning for both of them.

New Challenges

Whilst I was tidying out the spare room I found a notebook with a list of things that I had hoped to achieve this year. Looking through it I was pleased to say that I have completed some of them and am on the way to completing others. I now need to think about new challenges for this year and also for the years to come. My friend wants me to complete a 10k run with her, which will be a challenge as I’m only just managing the whole of Parkrun, which is 5k. In a couple of weeks I am taking part in a 6k run in memory of Jo Cox and will also be singing with Batley Community Choir at the run (obviously not at the same time, I can’t actually speak when I run never mind sing!). We are also singing at a concert on 1st July in aid of Jo’s charities.

Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

 

First week back

Sometimes the first week back after your holidays is really difficult. It can be hard to get motivated, you can feel a bit low, or have the holiday blues. Although I was jet lagged initially when I returned home, it has actually been a good week.

And the winner is

On Friday night I attended an awards ceremony at work as I had been nominated for an award. I’m not really an awards kind of person, as I become quite embarrassed and uncomfortable with being praised. This sound a bit weird, but I am quite happy going along doing what I do.

I did feel quite honoured and proud. The nomination was for my work with vulnerable victims. The evening was quite a splendid affair, with dinner and drinks. It reminded me of the BAFTAS or Oscars, where the nominations are shown on a video clip and then the winner is announced on the opening of an envelope.

I didn’t win the award, but it was lovely to be nominated and to hear positive stories about work, rather than the day to day moaning and griping about things, which I am as guilty of as anyone.

A sense of achievement

Yesterday two of my friends and I attended and took part in the Moonwalk in London, in aid of Breast Cancer Charities. My lovely friend has fought a very courageous and dignified battle with breast cancer and I was honoured when she asked me to take part in the walk.

So last Sunday we set about decorating our bras, as the idea is that you complete the walk in a bra. The decorating took most of Sunday, but our team was called “The blue light brigade”, so we decorated the bras in blue sequins, diamante, blue feathers and flashing blue lights.

The walk last night was amazing. the organisation was unbelievable and to see thousands of like minded people all walking together was inspirational. There were hundreds of volunteers who assisted by giving out water, serving food, selling merchandise, directing people, picking up litter and cheering the walkers along as they continued around the route.

The walk was 26 miles around London, through the night. It felt like a long way (well I guess it was!) and it was hard work on the feet, but we kept going. the weather was generally kind to us, being quite mild with only a few showers of rain.

We managed to complete the walk in 9 hours and 18 minutes, which was well within the target that we had set ourselves of between 8 and 10 hours.

It was quite emotional coming over the finishing line, both because of the reason we were there, but also because of the sense of pride in such a great achievement. After a short rest and a cup of tea, we got back on the tube to Kings Cross, then had something to eat before getting back on the train home. Needless to say we slept quite a bit on the train home, but we all arrived safely barring a few aches and pains and blisters. The really great thing is that we have raised over £1000 too, so thank you to all our friends and family who donated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Progress

Worth the work

My husband has finished decorating our eldest daughter’s bedroom this week. The decorating didn’t take long, once we had sorted everything out and packed it all away. We bought a lovely sofa bed and some very minimal furniture just to finish it off. I decided not to put all her bits and bobs back out, but just a few selected items, to make it look like her space. It looks so much tidier and much more grown up than it did before.  She’s due home on Saturday, just overnight so I’m hoping that she really likes it.

Three Dresses Later

After much searching, I’ve finally found the perfect dress. It’s the third one I’ve bought. The other two were okay, but just not quite what I was looking for. However I’ve got this one now and it is everything I wanted. I also found a lovely pair of shoes in my daughter’s wardrobe, which she bought for prom. They’ve been boxed up ever since, but go really well with the dress, so I’ve decided to borrow them.

The other dresses will come in handy anyway as I’ve got my youngest daughters eighteenth birthday and my eldest daughters graduation, both in the same week in July, so will need something to wear for these.

Still going strong

I’m still managing to stay off the coffee, even though we are a couple of weeks in to Lent now. It’s really helping me to stay off the biscuits and cakes too, which can only be a good thing. I’ve managed to do plenty of walking this week and a couple of runs, so that’s helping me to stay on the straight and narrow. I walked nine miles with my friend this morning. This is as part of the training sessions for Walk the Walk (moonwalk) which is getting closer. We’ll have to do some longer walks as the weeks go on, but we are really pleased with our progress so far.

 

 

Smashed It!

Pleased as Punch

My first “smashed it” day was on Tuesday, when I finally managed to reach the point where I have lost a stone! I am so pleased and it feels like a massive achievement. I know it’s taken about nine weeks, but it has definitely spurred me on to keep chipping away at that weight bit by bit.

The second “smashed it” moment came on Saturday morning at Parkrun. Again this has been slow progress over the last nine weeks, but I managed to get my time down to under 40 minutes (actually 36:51), which considering that when I started in January it was taking me 46 minutes, this is definitely a big hurdle that I have managed to finally leap and makes me feel that all the hard work has been worthwhile.

Proud as a Peacock

I had one of those moments on Wednesday when I remembered how wonderful it is when your children do something that just makes you so damn proud. I attended a BTech performing arts concert in which my youngest daughter took part. She had been talking about the fact that she was going to do a solo of some sort and by Sunday night, giving herself only three days to prepare, she finally decided what she was going to do. Sitting in the concert my husband and I were convinced that she would chicken out, but were also really nervous that if she did do it, it might not be the best performance we’d seen, considering the lack of rehearsal. Needless to say, her rendition of “Cabaret”, was superb. She has the knack of just being able to pull things off when she really needs to. This left me wondering why I ever doubted that she would, which is often the case with her.

Confusing Contradictions

This week was International Women’s Day, which saw a number of inspiring events, celebrating Women and their achievements. However there were some stories in the news that felt a bit of a contradiction to this.

One was the Bishop who stood down after attracting criticism for his opposition to women priests. I don’t agree that anyone should come under personal attack, but what other organisation would employ someone in such an important position, who automatically alienates a large part of their members.

The second was a female Judge who made comments regarding women who get drunk and are raped. I think as women we should certainly be aware of our own safety and should not take unnecessary risks, but to mention this as part of a trial and seeing the sentence that was handed out, makes me feel like we have stepped back in time to the days when victims were made to feel shame for being victims.

So ladies let’s keep celebrating our achievement, because although we’ve come a long way, we still have very far to go.