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One Small Step Outside My Comfort Zone

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Ahh, my comfort zone is like my snuggly old dressing gown. Warm and cosy I can mooch around all day with it on, it’s the first thing I put on the morning and often straight after work. My comfort zone is safe and familiar, it asks and demands very little.

However nothing changes.

There are no new experiences here, in my comfortable safe place. I find myself avoiding new things, places and people. I make excuses not to do little things, well things that other people believe are little.

Take our shed for instance. Now I want you to image an old I’m-amazed-it’s-still-standing shed. When you open the door you have to take a sharp step backwards as an avalanche of mouldy old dirty stuff slides down towards you. That is our shed.

I’ve been thinking about clearing the shed for over a year now. Skips are easy but expensive when you factor in that the tip is only five minutes drive away. I reckon it’s fine if you think I’m a chicken “cluck, cluck” as the thought of driving to the skip, of doing something new by myself makes me pause.

And you see it made me think…if I avoid this ‘small’ trip to the skip again it makes other new and different things bigger and scarier. A camping trip with just the boy and I will be impossible if I can’t drive somewhere new by myself. Downstairs will never get redecorated if I can’t get to the tools at the back of the shed. A rubbish monster will evolve from the damp rubbish and devour us one night*.

So I bravely filled the boot and went to the tip. Tension built in the car as I approached the entrance, panic and tears threatened when I was asked for evidence of address – I didn’t know I needed that! – which the hi vis gentleman obviously saw and he kindly waved me through with the warning not to forget it next time. Did you know that tips really really really smell? Yuck.

I arrived home victorious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Only three hundred more smelly* tip runs to do.

It may only be a tip run to someone who has done them many times and it may only be a very small step outside of my comfort zone but it was a step outside of it. And many small steps can take you a long way…..

 

*Unlikely but it could happen!

**I did mention it was smelly right?

 

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Do You Enjoy Stretching Chicken?

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One of my favorite simple meals is roast chicken. Put it with salad, fresh bread and I’m in heaven. Roast potatoes and stuffing..drool…it’s soo good!

Hubby and I can easily eat a whole bird in one sitting and the kids love the drumsticks* but with meat being the most expensive part of most meals we’ve learnt to stre—-tch our roast over a few meals.

Did you know that some people call it rubber chicken because they focus on getting every last tasty nutritious morsel from the bird, even the bones? I’ve always stripped the carcass bare of meat, urgh, and while I’m not keen on chicken under my nails it’s worth it every time. Not least because I then get to nibble on the tastiest bits – tip: it’s the oysters every time.

This week I went all out with a full roast complete with stuffing as I had a hankering for a chicken stuffing sandwich. Stuffing is a great way to bulk up a meal and I added some cranberries I found in the cupboard for a touch of sweetness. Lots of veg and gravy with the juicy chicken – tip: roast the bird upside down for the first half an hour to keep those lovely juices in the chicken breast so they don’t dry up.

A family of four – fed.

Then the next day I got to have my chicken stuffing sandwich with a drizzle of gravy – if you haven’t tried it you should. I’m pretty sure the office was in awe with my amazing sandwich.

Me – fed.

IMG_20180327_125319604As the roast dinner was such a hit the first time hubby and I had it once more and again I made work jealous. I promise that it was much prettier (though just as tasty) the first time round.

Two adults – fed

Last but not least I boiled up the chicken carcass to make a quick stock for noodle soup. Not a slow cook for a concentrated stock but a quick boil for an hour with plenty of seasoning. A few grated bendy carrots and celery tops snuck in to use up a few bits in the fridge. Today I chose garlic, ginger and soy for flavouring which always goes down well.

A family of four – fed.

Have you been counting? That’s eleven individual meals I made with one chicken as the star. How do you stre—tch your meals?

 

 

 

*It’s a sign of our love that we let the kids have them!

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Out of Odour

pexels-photo-264870.jpegI ran out of my perfume this morning and when I went to hunt for another I found…nothing, nothing, NOTHING…eek!

Now I walk to and from work averaging an hour total or at least 10,000 steps a day, I shower/bath daily, I use deodorant (although currently not my favourite brand) and I’m sure I don’t smell. However not having a quick spray of perfume in the morning is just odd, it’s such a part of my routine that I really missed it this morning. (and I did keep sniffing myself all day, work probably think that I’m acting odder than usual)

The whole idea of Make Do March is to do just that – to make do – and so I won’t be buying myself a new perfume. I do walk past seven shops selling fragrances on my way to/from work* and amongst the brightly coloured adverts and enticing proclamations of SALE! Up to 50% off! I noticed that not one of the perfumes supposedly on sale were under £25. A quick online search shows that I can buy bottles of branded perfume for under £15 although I’m sure that postage will bump up the price.

I did hit jackpot in work and found a cheap body spray in my locker and a mini perfume in my gym bag meaning that I’m not entirely out of fragrances. They come firmly under the need to use them up regime so that I’m not producing needless waste, am saving money and am decluttering my many, many items as I go. It’s a win-win all round as far as I can sniff see.

I’m going to make a deal with myself. If I can go without perfume for a month then I can go without for a while longer and for my birthday I’m going to ask for, you guessed it – perfume!

*Seven! I never counted them before and I don’t even walk through the main high street.

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Happy (Let The Kids Do Stuff To You) Mother’s Day!

IMG_20180311_093156262I was woken this morning to the sound of elephants with giggles outside my room. Then said elephants piled into my room with cuddles and cards and breakfast in bed.  Coffee and a croissant with jam in bed…yummy…I almost got to eat it all myself.

It was really heart warming to see the excitement on the kid’s faces and the effort that they had put into the cards. This is the first year that they’ve really paid attention to Mother’s day.

There was even a bath run for me with personal attendants who washed me* and kept me entertained with discussions about Minecraft and endless rubber duckies to play with. Plus play-dough soap, which is awesome.

Hubby took advantage of a quiet moment and taught me how to make paper tulips which is slightly addictive when you figure it out and I can see that they are going to be my favorite thing to make for friends and family. My Mum thought they were delightful, hopefully as delightful as I found her Sunday roast!

I hope that everyone has had a good day.

P.S. Obviously I still had to clean the kitchen, wipe down the bathroom and arrange clean clothes for the week ahead. There was a cut finger, a muddy walk and at least two strops to deal with. It was all in all, a normal day with an remarkably nice start.

 

*Being washed was odd. I quite enjoyed the buckets of water thrown over me though.

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Foodie February

img_20160611_113808366(Written last week!) In those odd quiet moments you get throughout the day I’ve been pondering what I would like my month goal to be in February. Something beginning with F would be nicely fitting although I can see myself getting stressed trying to match each month with an appropriate word and that’s not the point of this exercise now, is it? However my favorite ideas so far have been:

  • Filing as paperwork appears to be taking over the house.
  • A Use it Up challenge to finish all those half bottles and bits around the house.
  • Fit February to continue the exercise from Janathon.
  • Frugal February to see how ‘old style’ I can be.
  • And of course, Foodie February.

Overall I’m expecting February to be busy with half term, expensive as it’s start of birthday season for our family and most all I’m expecting the majority of February to be grey and damp although I am very pleased to see the mornings getting that little brighter each day.

It’s the perfect month to focus on food and never a bad idea to go through the kitchen and meal plan.

(Written today) The last few days have disappeared in a blur and whilst I undertook a full stock take of the freezer and cupboard supplies plus wrote a meal plan; life has thrown us a bit of curve ball and I didn’t jot down what we ate last week. Bet you’re totally excited to see what we’re up to this week, eh?

Btw: I’m still running, walking lots and aiming to be at the gym twice a week too.

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A Super Lazy Sunday (Where Stuff Still Got Done)

Hubby’s taken the kids to church and so what’s a person to do… apart from take a super bubbly, super long, super hot bath.

I was given several bath bombs for Christmas and today is the first time I’ve had a chance to use one. It turned the bath water pink and whilst I was relaxing in the bath I also gave the sides a rub with a cloth. You can’t really see soap scum until it really starts to build up – no thank you – but you can feel it if you choose to pay attention. No kids meant that I stayed in the bath until wrinkly, got to moisturise* without help and then with a towel wrapped round my head I gave the whole bathroom, walls and all, a wipe down and left it sparkling.

Lunchtime saw me preparing a delicious saucepan of tomato soup and noodles** and clearing the kitchen sides.

I watched lots of junk TV and tidied the living room. Even fixed a torn princess dress with my shaky sewing skills.

I have basically lazed the day away, ate too much, not drunk enough fluids, watched trashy TV and my hubby remarked when he came in “the house looks great!”.

A super day overall which shows just how far I’ve come from here and here and oh, here too when just tidying one room was a cheer worthy event.

Janathon weekly report:

  • Monday: Walking and Yoga
  • Tuesday: Weights and Running
  • Wednesday: Walking
  • Thursday: Running
  • Friday: Walking
  • Saturday: Yoga
  • Sunday: Yoga

*a rare occasion

**just like my Mum used to make me when I was a kid

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The Weekend the Grump got me.

I’ve been a mopey grouchy grump since Saturday where the world has continued to turn*and I’ve spent most evenings torn between the decision to eat everything or to drink entire bottles of wine. Oh woe is me!

On the up side there is now less chocolate, not even cooking chocolate, in the house.

The weekend with its seemingly nonstop rain had me crawling the up the walls and as duvet days become a thing of the past with young children, well there was nothing for it but to clean the windows. So whilst I may not have been the most active person and I’m prepared to admit that I have not been the easiest person to live with recently; I’m still managing a fairly tidy house, earing clean clothes and the windows are clean to boot! It can only get better from here.

Here’s last week’s Janathon review:

  • Monday – Walking
  • Tuesday – Gym and Running
  • Wednesday – Walking
  • Thursday – Running
  • Friday – Gym and Walking
  • Saturday – Grump Day
  • Sunday – Grump Day, does eating count…?

 

 

*how dare it.

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A week’s review: Janathon

I’m a day late with this but had an interesting day yesterday when I managed to smash a bottle of nail polish over the bathroom. I had that split second decision whether to start wiping or to run for my phone to take a picture – dark purple splattered liberally over the sink looked surprising beautiful – common sense prevailed however and with lots of elbow grease and vinegar I’ve managed to shift the blasted stuff.

Despite being accident prone yesterday I’ve had a decent week fitting in that bit of exercise each day and we still have clean clothes and the house has not fallen into disrepair. I’m managed…

  • Monday – Walking
  • Tuesday – Weights and Running
  • Wednesday – Walking
  • Thursday – Running
  • Friday – Weights
  • Saturday – Ran around soft-play, trust me it’s a workout!
  • Sunday – Running

When I say running though – I’ve joined a couch to 5k group so I’m not running very far or fast but it’s a start!

Hope you had a great week.

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A week’s review: Janathon

Christmas and New Year are now and truly over as we’ve all survived the first week back to some semblance of normality and I have packed all the decorations away. I will happily admit to not having hoovered the living room as the great tree removal has yet to happen. The poor thing is to be thrown on the roadside this evening.

I’ve been hearing a lot about everyone’s January diets which sound super fun and very sensible after weeks of indulgence. No one has actually told me what they do with their excess wine, chocolate and crackers….do they eat them in secret?…..give them to the Food Bank?….put them to one side for the arrival of visitors?..or god forbid, have no treats left over!?! There is a reason why I know not to restrict my food intake in January as I appear to lack the ability to give food away/not to eat treats when in the house.

So the challenge of doing some exercise everyday inspired by Janathon is, I find, the ideal healthy new year start for me in this cold, grey, treat filled month. Clean dishes and clothes are still demanded by the family as are cooked meals and individual attention so any little bit of exercise I can fit in will be celebrated and shouted about from the rooftops. This week I have done:

  • Monday – Yoga
  • Tuesday – Yoga and walking
  • Wednesday – Walking
  • Thursday – Yoga and walking
  • Friday – Weights and walking
  • Saturday – Hobbled around*
  • Sunday – Slow and sore Yoga

Onwards to next week!

 

*I may have overdone it at the gym slightly.

 

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GOOD MORNING!!! No, I can’t keep it down…..

Did you have a good New Year’s Eve? If you enjoyed a glass or three too many I hope you HAD A GOOD TIME and oh, your poor head…you’d better go back to bed cause I’ve got things to do. Not too quickly however as I’m enjoying a quiet cup of coffee in my fluffy penguin pj’s.

I’m currently contemplating New Years resolutions as most do at this time and like last year I don’t plan to make a big change as I don’t remember any of my previous declarations amounting to much after a few months.

Instead I’m going with a challenge each month this year to install some good habits that I’ll hopefully carry over to the next month and the next month and so on.

I’ve joined Janathon for my January challenge which is all about doing some exercise every day. Even just a little bit. I’ve always liked the idea of doing yoga in the mornings and this is the month I’m going to give it a real go.

Here’s to doing sun salutations in your pj’s!