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Mum on the Run

Hey all, just a quick post today as I’m about to zoom off to work.

Today’s post is about running, about my running. I class myself as a runner, I started running properly in 2013 when I completed the NHS Couch to 5k podcasts. I can’t describe how running made me feel, time to think, some space, something that was only mine and all the while burning calories.

Unfortunately as my eating disorder took hold I came to be at odds with my running and ended up running far too much for far too long on far less fuel that I needed. This was like a kind of self harm, I got up at silly o clock in the morning, if I didn’t I felt I wasn’t working hard enough, I had to push myself constantly, to be better than the day before, to be fast and of course to lose weight. It became such a huge part of the cycle of me needing to lose weight that when I started therapy with the Eating Disorder Service in my area I was asked to sign a contract promising to cut down my physical exercise by 50%.

I am today two stone heavier than I was at the height of my eating issues at the end of 2014. This is for many reasons, the main one being that I now actually allow myself to eat! Others are that I am now happier with myself, eating a balanced diet and accepting of the fact I was never built to be a size zero.

My running then has had to evolve massively to the me I am today. For example getting up early to run is something now that feels alien, why would I want to go running when I could lay in bed cuddled up to my boys and listening to the birds outside the window. See, that’s happiness, contentment and allowing myself to not be so regimented. I accept that to stay the weight I am (still healthy for my height) that I can’t sit around doing nothing so now I run to keep fit and enjoy the world around me (oh and eat cake!).

I managed to pull myself out of bed this morning and did a run around the woods, it was hot, sunny and beautiful. The light breeze in my face, birds chirping and fellow runners greeting me as I went by. I am so much slower than I was when I was lighter, I still struggle with not looking at my Map my run too often as it’s no longer important how quickly I do it I just need to remember that actually being out and doing it is what it is all about.

I was mean and nasty to myself and my running helped me to continue that. I now see that being healthy and fit is a far greater part of being happy than being skinny ever was. Don’t get me wrong I still have those days where I look in the mirror and groan but…. Ladies that’s normal! 

Embrace who you are, what you do and how amazing you are! Walking, running round, swimming, cycling, you name it, it’s all exercise and all does us a world of good, not just physically but mentally too. 

Leaving you with a very sweaty picture of me after my run and another lovely Roald Dahl quote:

‘A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.’

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My mum and her garden

This afternoon the boys and I walked the the forty houses or so down the road to my Mum and Dad’s house (Nana and Grandad as they are more commonly called nowadays). I live on the same road I grew up on, it’s seems very odd to think it now with all my dreams growing up of where I would go and where I would end up but home is home!

When my parents bought the house on our road in 1992 I was nine. I remember coming to look at it and although I recall it was a bungalow I remember nothing about the house other than the garden. A huge space going back as far as the eye could see with beautiful miniature apple trees and huge horse chestnut trees around the edges. Growing up the garden was often used for adventures, camping, barbecues, quad biking and the occasional sunbathing session with baileys on ice (only after I turned 18 of course!). 

My parents had for many years talked of a dream to build their dream home in the large garden of the bungalow. I always loved listening to them talk about it but being honest never thought it would happen, the bungalow was big, lovely and well… Home.

Fast forward to 2010, I was long since married and living in another town in Kent with my husband and then newborn Nate when mum and dad got their planning permission and building works began. I couldn’t help but be sad, the gorgeous garden, the house I grew up in wouldn’t be there anymore and instead someone else would be living in the bungalow and my parents in the garden in a new house that had never been my home. I think I may have behaved a bit like a spoilt brat but I didn’t go and see any of the progress of the new house until summer 2011 when I was heavily pregnant with Leo who came a week before mum and dad moved into their new home in August.

Fast forward again to today, I walk or drive past the house I grew up in almost everyday and down the little private lane that leads to my parents house, The Orchard Farmhouse as they called it. A lovely couple now live in the bungalow who have looked after it and are cheerful and always nice to the boys (even when they are being noisy). When I get to the end of the lane and see my parents house I still feel like I’m coming home because you realise of course as you get older and become a parent that home is really where your mum is.

I’m not discounting Dad’s please don’t get me wrong but as a mum myself I have never felt closer to my mum. Sure we drive eachother mad at times and my decisions have left her fretting (let’s not talk about tattoos) but wherever my mum is she makes home, not just for me but for my boys too. I love the feeling of knocking on the giant metal door knocker on the wooden front door and walking in and smelling whatever is cooking that day (they feed us a lot, shift work again!) but what I love most is the garden.

When I was growing up I recall mum doing a lot of gardening and the garden always looking pretty but that was as far as my interests went however today I would go as far to say as I am fascinated by flowers and I can spend hours looking at the beautiful plants and flowers mum painstakingly grows in her garden. There are different areas that remind me of different times and things, like the rockery with Passion flowers and overflowing pink clematis climbing down it or the zen like pebble garden with old pots and fountains with different plants growing out of them, there is the vegetable patch and the country garden part which is literally anything you can imagine used to grow flowers from (old fire buckets, enamel jugs, clogs, you name it!).

I spend so much time taking pictures of mums garden and enjoy the moments we spend talking about what she is growing and me learning all the names (I’m getting there!).

I did just that this evening and would love to share some of the pictures with you. 

I love the saying ‘home is where the heart is’ but I think really home is where the family is. I’m just lucky that I have two homes, the one you have already seen a bit of where I live with Karl and our boys and the one in the garden of my childhood home that for a year I refused to look at! 

Lucy xx

Can we really have it all or am I just another cliche? 

Hey lovely people. I have just got home, I have been at work today for ten hours, I left my children in bed watching Deadly 60 with my husband who didn’t have to go to work until this afternoon.

It’s half term, what mother doesn’t want to be at home enjoying some rare ‘free’ time with her children but due to a holiday later on in the year no time off for me or hubby this school half term.

Our cleaner came yesterday, yes we have one, she is amazing and literally allows me to have a small amount of time back to get other jobs done mostly. When I left this morning everything wasn’t perfect but it was calm and mostly in order.

My husband dropped the boys off to my parents on his way to work this afternoon, my parents took them to their weekly swimming lessons, fed them and took them back to their house where I arrived at half past six, they fed me (shepherds pie, love you mum) and then we sat over a cuppa and the boys watched one episode of Operation Ouch (hot identical twin doctors, I don’t argue too much!). Then came the ‘I don’t want to go home’, ‘I want to stay at Nana’s’ and the half an hour long struggle while I am yawning my head off and trying to collect up the copious amounts of belongings the boys travel with.

When we finally get in the car and drive home all the while with the boys arguing I turn the ignition off and look at my watch, it’s twenty past eight in the evening. I’m bloody knackered.

I turn the key in the front door, in my hands are one handbag, one swimming bag, one carrier bag full of today’s dirty clothes, one plate of shepherds pie for hubby when he gets home, two small minion raincoats, a shopping bag with some birthday bits for hubby’s birthday tomorrow and a set of car keys. I open the front door and look around the hallway. There are living room cushions on the floor. There are toys all over the floor. The breakfast bowls are still on the breakfast bar, the bed isn’t made, the living room is covered with sofa cushions from the conservatory (a makeshift boat the boys tell me) and I want to scream. 

I have now read the boys a story, put on their Roald Dahl audio book (bfg) and come and sat on my bed. I’m looking at the piles of washing that need putting away, the birthday presents that need wrapping and the clock, telling me just how fast time is going and how rubbish I am at time keeping.

How oh how do we do it? I don’t even work full time (thirty hours a week), how many women tonight are in my position, we want to earn money to have nice things, nice homes and to set examples for our children of strong women with successful careers and yet all I want to do some days is be here, share their time with them while they still want to spend it with me, to keep the house as nice as I possibly can, to be able to relax and enjoy the world around me instead of feeling stressed and tired all the time!

What’s the solution? The lottery? A dynamic career change with a huge pay cut but more time at home? 

Answers on a postcard please! Considering on changing my name to tired and useless from Whitstable! 
Lucy X

The weather at work today somewhat reflecting this evenings mood!

My Kitchen 

We have lived in our house for the last 7 months, looking at houses to buy in Whitstable can be like torture. Some of them are so beautiful but you can never have them as the prices are he highest they have ever been so you have to view everything which a sense of ‘imagination’. 

Our home by far wasn’t the biggest we viewed, it wasn’t the most modern but has such potential that I kept coming back to it. One of the things that was so attractive was the kitchen, newly installed in a neutral style with plenty of space for a breakfast bar come extra space for food prep or just sitting with a glass of wine.

We ordered some reclaimed wooden planks (a great find on Etsy) with a view to putting up farmhouse style open shelving and selected some lovely wrought iron brackets for them to fixed to the wall with. Originally I had planned three one on top of the other but in reality we decided that one above the sink would be handy and give us some more space in another area.

As you do when you move into a new property and start to make it a home the shelves have adapted somewhat and not only store lots of kitchen essentials but also have become home to my new collection of Emma Bridgewater pottery (how gorgeous are the patterns) but also to hang mugs from, to keep the occasional pen, the boys money jars to save money for the upcoming holiday and a general space to pop pretty things on. 

The breakfast bar I settled on was not the conventional choice and is actually half of a very old circular French table sanded and painted. It’s so imperfect it’s brilliant and does exactly what I had wanted, quirky but totally functional.

Added the the quirky is my ever expanding range of prints, I love quotes (you may have noticed), I have the best Alice in Wonderland quote ever in a frame which was a gift from my parents, a couple of Sass and Belle prints which I couldn’t resist the colours of and a wooden sign with a quote from one of my favourite programmes as a child, Father Ted. Anyone else remember Mrs Doyle, the ever loyal housekeeper and her ‘go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, GO ON!’ When insisting someone have a cup of tea? 

Anyway until the extension goes onto the back of the house (a post for another time) and I can expand the kitchen further I’m quite happy with my country, shabby chic, eclectic kitchen. Would love to hear what you think!

Lots of love, Lucy x

Having your cake and eating it too….

Hey all and a very happy bank holiday Monday to you!

I have just sat down, yes you read correctly, just sat down. I got up and starting cleaning my mess laden house at 0730 hours this morning and have just sat down, about 4 minutes before our guests are due to arrive for a bbq. 

I love my home, it’s still very much a work in progress but it’s full of things I love and I like to think that anyone can feel relaxed and happy here. However, my husband and I are both shift workers with four and six year old boys, two cats, a leopard gecko and a diary full of lovely things to do. So… On the weekends that Karl is on nights and I am on earlies and we literally work and sleep the house ends up looking a bit like a bomb has hit it. 

I am so grateful for my efforts when I sit down and can enjoy how calm and peaceful everything seems when it’s all tidy and everything back in place however I will now need to try and stay awake long enough to have a lovely evening with some of our best friends.

Now…. Pass the prosecco xx

Space and Time

For today’s post I have been inspired by mindfulness. You know those times when you are sat or standing and waiting for something? Be it for a late appointment at the doctors surgery or for the bus etc, where does your mind go? 

These moments when we have no choice other than to think or day dream, what do you think about? I used to think about problems, all the jobs I needed to do, what was worrying me, pouring over decisions trying to decide if I have done the right thing. Nowadays I still occasionally let the negative in however I have started to cherish these moments a little more and spend some time on me. 

I have always been a doodler, at school I would decorate my books and those of my friends with pretty patterns and copies of designer logos, I doodled whenever I could and it helped me to be calm and to feel like I was really good at something. 

When I recently started going into school as a youth mentor I bought a new notebook, mostly for jotting down my dates that I come and any ideas of activities or things to do that might assist my mentee. In November last year I turned towards the back of the book and started a doodle, just like the ones I had done at school and I spent the couple of minutes waiting for each mentee to arrive doing nothing other than doodling. Now in May I look at my doodle and realise that those few precious moments have been my own form of mindfulness. No negative thoughts, no worries, just black lines on a page.

What do you do? Might be a time to give yourself a break, think about your holiday, think about the next fun thing you have to look forward to, even the lovely glass of wine or hot choc you will have this evening when you get home.

Enjoy! 

Lucy x

Having a massive word with myself

It’s amazing how a couple of days can give you some perspective, Monday I felt useless and ill, Tuesday I dragged myself to work still not better but with the thought of a huge ‘to do’ list spurring me on, Wednesday a day off, boys at school, husband on a golf break so a day of sorting and organising the many many piles of paperwork in the drawers we ‘file’ stuff in and then a mooch around the many charity shops Whitstable has to offer. 

I have come home again boys in tow but with a clearer mind, a sense of purpose and a feeling of achievement. A very wise friend of mine said to me on Tuesday that I need to stop putting myself down, I questioned it and thought… But I’m positive, I can weigh things up and I’m always trying to empower others, then I read my post from Monday and thought….. Ah.

Something I accepted sometime ago was that we have good days and bad days, sometimes it’s sunny, sometimes it rains and I have become very good at giving situations and circumstances a perspective however it appears I am not as good as I thought, so in the words of the ever wise Albus Dumbledore I leave you ‘happiness can be found in even the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light’.