Thursday, 26 March 2015

More luck than judgement.

After last week, and my poor effort at restarting Slimming World which actually saw me putting on weight rather than losing it, I am happy to be able to say that this week I have lost 1lb

I can't say I'm proud of it as it was more by luck than judgement to be honest.   Still I have not really planned my meals any further than the next one, and usually then only coming up with a choice at the last minute.

Although I have mostly avoided sweets, sandwiches and biscuits, I have not weighed or measured anything, and have eaten far to many weetabix and not much fruit and had a drink or 2 most evenings.

I can't for the life of me work out why I am not taking my own advice, I have been doing this, and doing it well for years now.

I have a lists of excuses as long as my arm, and I know they are all rubbish. Once you have spent as much time going to SW groups as I have there can't be many excuses that I've not heard, and they are just that - excuses rather than reasons.

I'm just not feeling the SW love this time, if I can drop another 2lb I'll be able to go back to group without paying as I will be back in my (cheats) target range.  Knowing I would not be able to afford to go back after a break I changed my target back in January, making it 1/2 stone higher than I actually wanted it to be and therefore appearing to be at my target weight- yep huge cheat!

Despite not going to a group, I'm still having a weekly weigh in, and being spurred on by my fellow blogger - Midlife Single Mum who is doing brilliantly. I've also found  Slimming World specific link up so hopefully that should inspire me too!

What I would really like to do is join an exercise class, I fancy Zumba having done it many times on the Wii and trying out a real class last year.  For now I'll have to stick to the DVDs though, and that requires a little more motivation!

It's not that I need to tell myself that I can do this, I KNOW I can do this, it's trying to convince myself that I'm going to!

image credit

Super Busy Mum

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Good intentions

There is a difference between a plan and good intentions.

This week I did not have a plan.

Last week I wrote about wanting to lose a stone for summer and get back on the Slimming World plan, after writing the post I had a comment from Midlife Single Mum and we made a deal - the following day we would both get on with it and then report back on our progress today. 

I had good intentions but I did not have a plan.

I ate the remaining chocolate on Wednesday night and prepared a nice big Slimming World breakfast for the following morning. I got up on Thursday picked a workout from my huge selection of fitness DVDs and got stuck in. 

Thursday was good, a great start - exercise, plenty of water and good food. 
Friday, was ok - nothing particularly bad but more by luck than judgement
Saturday, well in my head that was fine - I had almost a week to make up for any slipups. 
Sunday, Monday and the rest?

Well, I just slipped back into sandwiches for lunch, biscuits with the boys and even sugar (not sweetener in my tea - what's that about?! I always have sweetener! 

The good intentions were not enough. 

I want to lose the weight, but it seems I don't want to do the stuff that I know will make that happen - but WHY?  I've always done it before?

It doesn't work without the group, every time I stop going to the Slimming World meetings it goes pear shaped (literally!) but I must be able to do it on my own, I've been going so long I could run a group by now!

I nearly didn't write this post, I nearly told MSM that I wasn't going to but realised that would not help at all!  I didn't weigh myself until early evening as opposed to the early Thursday weigh I did last week but I decided to post anyway to make myself accountable. 

I put on 1lb, not a disaster  but not what you do in the first week of a plan!

But there was no plan.

Tomorrow I am making Slimming World 'KFC' style Chicken for dinner, tomorrow I am planning the weeks dinners. 

Next week I am aiming for a 2lb loss, if you see me eating something that will not help please feel free to slap me!

I will plan and I will prepare and I have to otherwise I'll have to come back and write yet another post about being a bit rubbish!

Image credit

Super Busy Mum

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Yesterday you said tomorrow...

Don't put off tomorrow what you can do today...

Yes, it's true I do sound like my Mother but annoyingly she is sometimes right (sometimes, I can't actually say ALL the time or it will go to her head!)

To a degree I'm quite good at sticking to the rule, better than many but every now and again I slow down at a certain thing or two and need to kick myself up the bum!  I say I need to as it never works if its someone else trying to do it, if anything it tends to make me put it off even more!

For ages now I've been about to start to lose the extra stone I put on since stopping going to Slimming World, but I can't get my head back into it. WHY?  I've done it so many times and I know how to do it, I know why to do it and I know it will make me happier in a relatively short space of time.

I know that when I put my mind to it that I'm bloody good at Slimming World, I know that it works and I know that I could lose a stone without any major drama.

For weeks now I've been going to start on 'Monday',  then I miss Monday and decide that diets don't have to start on a Monday and it becomes Tuesday, Wednesday and then oh look it's Monday again!

Yesterday we had glorious weather, and for a while now we've not had the heating on, I'd even gone down to wearing only 2 layers!  Yesterday I thought it was perfect beach weather and was going to take the boys but I arsed around all morning and it got to school pick up and I had not dug out the buckets, towels or made lunch. I was going to put a washload on but thought I'd just do it today instead.

I decided that this morning I would do all the above and go straight from school for a beach picnic.

Then this happened...


Yep, should have done it yesterday.

My first thought this morning, (other than I really wish I hadn't left Leo's school shoes outside in the rain)  was that I would do the school run and go back to bed, to be honest that still sounds appealing, but then I will have to do all the things tomorrow that I should have done today and then the sun will probably be out again.

In just a couple weeks I'll be out of jeans and jumpers and I will face the yearly problem of nothing else fitting me, it's possible that somehow I'll avoid the problem again until I'm wearing loose sundresses and bikinis which always fit and carry on without losing my stone.

The plan - get off backside, start exercising again and plan SW meals - seriously how hard is it?!

Maybe I'll just go back to bed for an hour and think about it...

Image credit

Monday, 2 March 2015

A Pirate Adventure

On Saturday the boys and I boarded the good ship 'Tiny Acorns' for a Pirate Adventure!

My boys have never been particularly interested in pirates for some reason but this didn't stop them both having a fantastic afternoon.

The centre had been transformed for the day, and the usual 'Big Kid's' group was replaced by the first of many 'Children's Adventure sessions'    With themed decorations, crafts, games, snacks and even a visit from a 'real' pirate it really was an afternoon well spent.

First up the 'sprogs' were given personalised eye patches, and made Pirate flags and hats.

Then each child was given a bag, and a scroll with a list of treasure to find - gold coins, nuggets and rubies were hidden around the place, and what was great from a Mum's point of view was the fact that there was more than enough to go around so not a single argument occurred in the hunt!

'Anne Bonny' from the Black Pearl was the special guest, and with her pirate training all the children became real pirates after taking the special pirate oath (which involved raising one hand and putting a finger up their nose much to the childrens delight!)

There was so much going on, they made their own pirates, took part in an obstacle course in which of course they had to walk the plank and hoist a flag among others and learnt a Pirate dance.

Pirate tattoos were painted on those who wanted them (of course not my boys as they hate face painting or anything like it!)  and pirate snacks were given to all the crew.

There was also 'Pin the Patch on the Pirate', plus activity workbooks for everyone and each child got to dig in the sand to find their own piece of buried treasure to take home.

Of course us Mum's all got a cuppa too!

From a Mum's point of view I couldn't find fault with the event at all - and that is rare for me! (as you may know, Sam is a friend of mine so I've been really racking my brains to think of how I would have improved it so to give her some feedback but I actually can't think of anything)

I can usually see room for improvement in most events (in my opinion of course!)  but I am struggling with this one!  For me, its not just the huge amount of activities that were going on it's the little touches that make a difference....

The box at the door which said 'Please leave ye weapons here, this is a peaceful voyage',  which of course meant no sword fighting and chaos like you would usually end up with when you put a bunch of kids dressed as pirates together. And the assurance that all the kids would get an equal share of the treasure so they knew not to worry are just the type of thing that makes me love Tiny Acorns.

Long term readers of my blog will know that I have been known to bemoan the lack of activities in this area and become frustrated at the facilities available but Tiny Acorns I think is well on the way to changing things.

Bring on the next adventure! 

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Winter time fun at Fig Tree Bay

Scrolling down my facebook feed last night I spotted a photo of local beach, Fig Tree Bay being prepared for the summer season,  huge piles of sand ready for distribution across the beach.

Well that's just asking to be climbed on isn't it!

I collected the boys from school and we drove straight there. It was the first time this year that we all kicked off our shoes and felt the sand between our toes.  

Louka managed to climb the 'mountains' very well and was so proud of himself when he got to the top of them all. 

Leo jumped around and rolled down everyone, backwards, sideways and every way possible!

Of course I had to join them,  you know to erm check it was safe, and to get the photos,   I managed not to roll down any however but did fall over several times when running up them.

It was a really enjoyable time, only cut short once the lure of the water had become too much for them and the inevitable happened. 

I rolled up Leo's trousers as they paddled in a channel running to the sea,  predicting that Louka wouldn't stay upright I took his off and sent him running in his jumper and nappy. 

Of course, Leo's trousers soon become soaked as the splashing in the channel turned into running away from the waves, which then progressed a little deeper until they didn't manage to run quick enough. 

As I went to suggest we left the water, Louka fell face first and stood up soaked to the skin and covered head to toe in sand.  I had a towel, but it was in the car so I persuaded Leo to give up his jumper as he was dry and warm and Louka (the colder of the two - my 'Cyprus' baby ) was already shivering. 

We took that as time to leave with Leo wrapped in a towel, and Louka wearing a 5 year olds jumper, but with a plan to return on another sunny day armed this time with a change of clothes!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Tsiknopempti, Carnival and Green Monday - Spring is coming!

I love this time of year in Cyprus, Carnival time, Tsiknopempti and Green Monday and the signs of spring!

Although our temperatures are generally higher than in the UK our winters can feel surprisingly cold, and it they feel worse the longer you live here as you get more used to the summers!  It's hard to explain to someone with snow or frost on the ground but living with central heating, fitted carpets and insulated houses just how cold our houses get in winter,  so the start of spring is very welcome.

As Easter is a big celebration here it follows that the lead up is equally important, and it starts with Tsiknopempti, which this year was the 12th February.   Tskinopempti or 'Smelly Thursday' as it is sometimes known (literally translates to 'the scent of cooking meat' Thursday) marks the last week of eating meat until Easter for strict Orthodox followers and the start of Carnival celebrations across the island.

At Leo's school they invited the parents in for the morning to join them in a morning of games - much like the sports days I remember from primary school but with added souvla and salad!  It was the first time I'd been there for it and Leo was so happy to see my Mum and I watch him playing the games.  I always love to see him in that environment and it never fails to amaze me to watch him talking and understanding everything in a language that I cannot speak very well at all.

The following week is known as 'Cheese Week' and this is the last week of eating dairy products before Lent, and this ends with the big Carnival parades all over Cyprus before the fasting and the solemn time of Lent begins.

We are not Greek Orthodox and I can imagine the boys not being too impressed if they thought they would have to wait 40 days before having any dairy products but that doesn't mean we don't LOVE carnival...

We first watched the Carnival parade in 2012  but for the last two years Leo and I have taken part in the parade, having blatantly invited ourselves to join people - Performers Academy last year and a local school that my friend was walking with the year before that!

This year we got to be honorary members of the Dinotours team for the day as we joined Diego and Loops to walk in the parade.

Image credit: Dinotours Childrens Parties
Leo was a bit unsure as we arrived at the meeting point. I think a bit nervous of the crowds and the loud music but as soon as the girls and the Dino's arrived he had a brilliant time.  As you would expect the parade was late starting and we had to wait over an hour to get moving but he was surprisingly good about it, largely helped by the fact he had the Dino's to play with all to himself!

The drawback of course to being in the parade is that you don't get to see it, especially as we were almost the last float so by the time we reached the end everyone had dispersed into the crowd but I don't think Leo would have had the patience to stand and wait to see them all go past anyway. 

We saw them all waiting to go though, and my facebook feed has been full of them ever since so I think we got the best of both worlds!

Image Credit: What's On Cyprus

We were lucky with the weather after a very cold and windy few days beforehand and escaped with just a few drops of rain,  I had been expecting to freeze but at one point I ended up in a short sleeve t-shirt for the first time this year, and Leo and I shared our first ice cream!

After the crazy day of Carnival the long bank holiday weekend is nicely rounded off with Green Monday, a day when the locals take to the fields for bbq's (no meat of course, just fish) and kite flying.   We joined some friends and had a lovely afternoon with the kids playing in the fields and a BBQ in the street but with an English slant on the proceedings - meat on the BBQ and refusing to go undercover when it started to rain!

Today was a lovely warm day, and even now it's dark it's nowhere near as cold as it has been. No heaters on tonight and I'm only say here wearing two layers so Spring must be almost here!

Friday, 20 February 2015

Inkly Cards Review

I'm sorry to say that over the years I am becoming increasingly bad at sending greetings cards at any time other than Christmas (I never have a problem with Christmas, they are usually in the post by the 1st Dec!)  I could blame 'baby brain' or the slow postage from Cyprus or facebook for enticing me to send a message as a lazy way out but really its me being just a bit rubbish.

I have ordered cards online before and it makes sense, especially living in Cyprus and sending cards to the UK but I do miss the ability to write in a card as it seems to make it a bit impersonal when printed even if you have chosen the words.

So when I was invited to try Inky Cards I jumped at the chance to see what they had to offer.

Inkly Cards enable you to send a card via their downloadable app with the option to put your own handwriting inside.

I downloaded to app via google play and it was so easy to use.

There are 1000s of cards to choose from and you have the option to upload your own photos, apply filters and even put photos inside the card too if you wish.

If you wish to add your own handwriting as I did, its very easy - just write your message on a blank piece of white paper, take a photo and upload it.  The app then magically removes the paper and prints the message inside your card.

I decided to send my card to Karin as part of the #Embracehappy  'Happy Mail' challenge, using a combination of my favourite quote and the whole idea behind #Embracehappy - just in case you thought I'd not bothered to rewrite it after making a mistake!

It was so easy to add the hand writing, and if you use an ipad you can even have a handwritten envelope.

Another great aspect to the app is the ability to not only store the birthdays and events for future use but if you wish you can connect to facebook and receive birthday reminders with sugested cards based on age, gender and their relationship to you.

The cards are well priced, and generally cost less than it would to buy a card here and post it to the UK - of course you get the added bonus in that they are printed in the UK so you don't have to try and guess how long it will take to arrive.

I will certainly be using Inkly Cards again - now I'm just off to connect to facebook to remind me!

For more information, and to download the free app, visit 

I was provided with an offer code to order a free card for the purpose of review but the opinions are all my own .

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