Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Changing exercise needs for a women’s changing body

Guest post by Mishfit

When we are young, our exercise routine may be influenced by factors such as wanting to look hot for Friday nights. Or perhaps maintaining or improving our fitness to be competitive or injury free in our regular sporting commitments.

When we become pregnant, our exercise needs change again. We may need to increase strength in particular parts of our bodies to make us labour fit. Or help manage unnecessary weight gain or work on aches and pains that we have never experienced before.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Pick a decent family calendar

Despite one of my facebook friends beginning her countdown to Christmas last week (?!?), I am in no way thinking about 2013 at this stage. Let’s get the summer holidays out of the way without my being admitted to the Briary Wing. In fact, let’s actually HAVE a summer before the nights start drawing in and the central heating goes on.

When the kids are off school for weeks on end, I have a two-pronged approach. Firstly, I plan activities, playdates and outings for July and August and put them on the calendar before the schools have even broken up. This year, for the first time, I asked Prima and Secundus’ grandparents if they would mind having them to stay for a few days and they said yes. Result! I was probably too busy trying to cope and not be overwhelmed by depression to ask before…

The other approach is to take each day at a time, as if I am a member of AA. Otherwise six weeks of diplomatic skills, cooking, cleaning, tidying, refereeing, encouraging independence, and generally being a walking entertainment service gets, as my stoic mother would put it, “a bit much”.

Friday, 27 July 2012

BrocanteHome Life Audit #2

Idea and image : Brocante Home

Today I am: glad to be through the first week of the summer “holidays”. Premenstrual and losing energy fast. Pleased to have caught up with my dear friend Cagey this morning. Hoping I can have a quiet weekend. Running out of food and not due an Asda delivery til Monday.
Feeling: Guilty about not going to the gym (due to the King being home later than usual each night). Lethargic and apathetic. Worried about the King’s day at work. Incompetent at making things or summoning up the energy to be creative.
Reading: Fast Fabric Gifts by Sally Southern and knowing I am unlikely to make anything in it
Eating: Probably Heinz tomato soup for tea.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Exercise your Right to Have a Life

My idea of a “trip out” is taking my kids to watch me at my Zumba lesson. No it ain’t Alton Towers. But my dance teacher was happy for me to take them along since I couldn’t get a babysitter for 10.30am on the first day of the holidays, and I thought it would be an excellent way for me to get my exercise and (kind of) “me time” whilst giving them an opportunity to see a really full-on fitness class. Perhaps it would be an introduction to the concept that I am a person, for example.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Foods that Heal

Reviewer: Jane Legge, aged 34, from Caernarfon

Reviewing: The Essential Guide to Foods that Heal by Suzannah Oliver

Attitude to food, nutrition and health: I am becoming increasingly interested in nutrition and food, having recently been on a raw food diet. I would like to train as a nutritionist one day, to be able to help people with diet and health.

Hopes for this book – what do you want it to achieve for you? Provide me with information about the best foods I can eat for my health, and ideas for new ingredients to use in recipes. I have also been an intestinal candida sufferer in the past so was interested to find out more about this also.

First impressions of the book :
This book gives the impression of being a factual informative book, full of figures and information. The clear photographs on the cover give the book a school-book/learning sort of feel.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Guest post from The Mad House : Make your Own Olympic Medals

Hi everyone, it is Jen from The Mad House, A Thrifty Mum and Frugal and Fun

Make your own Olympic medals
There is nothing better than winning a medal, well perhaps winning a medal you have already made yourself.  So we set about making your own set of Olympic medals.

  • Ribbon
  • Silver foil
  • Gold and bronze pain or crayon
  • cardboard or milk bottle lids prepped with PVA glue or polymer clay
To make our medals we pained or colored them in or covered them in silver foil and then drew our chosen design on them.  To get some inspiration we took a look at the past Olympic medal designs and discussed the symbols and their meanings.   I then punched out a hole in the top and threaded the ribbon through.
We also made some out of Filmo and airdring clay.  We rolled out the clay and then cut out a circle with a cookie cutter and made a hole at the top with a straw and drew on our designs.  Dry or bake as per instructions and paint in the appropriate colour and allow to dry before threading your ribbon through.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Made in Britain #4: Pants or Handkerchief?

It’s hayfever season so I’m standing sniffily outside the school gates, waiting for my partner-in-crime (i.e. fellow WAHM) so we can mosey off down to the Home and Gift Exhibition together. Yesterday my eyes were streaming. This morning it’s my nose. 

I smile at the other parents hot-footing it out of the school playground, including the dad of Prima’s good friend Future Actor, who approaches the gateway. “Hi” I say, sniffily, but brightly, so he doesn’t think I am hungover. To prove that I have hayfever I wipe my nose delicately on my handkerchief.


Not my handkerchief.

A pair of pants.

American readers please note, I am not talking trousers here. UK pants.

So that’s a good start to the day.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Main Breadwinners, I salute you.

If I have learned anything in my nearly twelve years of married life with the King, it is that more often than I might expect, I need say nothing.

Road to 31
Perhaps for the first time I am finally able to respect the fact that men don’t always want to talk about what’s gone on when they’ve had a bad day, and that our well-meaning questions and voicing concern don’t help them process it. 

We can take our cues from the restlessness at night, the lack of appetite, the sudden depletion in the wine rack: we all know the signs if only we would attend to them. Men will talk when they are ready. We have to accept that they may not want to talk to us.

So often I’ve greeted the King at the door with a glum face, telling him the nightmare walk home we had from school or the fact that I’ve had to send Prima upstairs or haven't got any plans for tea before he’s even got his shoes off. My idea of a bad day involves rain, broken-down household appliances, lethargy after a rotten night’s sleep, lack of motivation, arguments with the kids and generally losing the will to be a stay-at-home mum. But at least I have the option to be demotivated. If I have PMT I can attempt to nurture myself by resting in bed after the morning school run or watching Sean Bean DVDs and then cobbling together toasted sandwiches for tea. In fact, I need to make sure I look after myself well so that I can offer support during the tough times.

PhotobucketSo, main breadwinners, I salute you. The pressure of having to get out there each day and work full time to provide for the family is intense and long-lasting, and I can see it taking its toll on the King at the moment. How often do I count my blessings that I have a husband who supports this family? We need to stop analysing, trying to find solutions or coaching our breadwinning partners – they are the ones doing the job after all, not us. I would hate it if the King told me I should organise my housekeeping tasks in a different way, for example, or spend less time writing and more time cooking. What he appreciates is non-judgemental listening, trust in his abilities to provide, quiet hugs and a home that blunders along okay while he fights dragons for us. After almost twelve years, I think that’s the least he deserves.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Giveaway : $25 voucher for Clean Mama printables (ended)

The first thing I loved when I happened upon Clean Mama’s Etsy shop were her gorgeous printables. Not only are they designed in fun fonts and colours, they are a lovely mix of practical and eye-catching, which makes me more likely to actually print them out and use them in my housekeeping regime.

The second thing I love is that Clean Mama agrees with Mumtopia that “it's tough being a mom”. No pretence that forgetting birthday presents or medical appointments doesn’t happen, no expectation of keeping it all running tickety-boo all the time (and without writing anything down). Among the many useful printables Becky of Clean Mama has designed, including those designed for budgeting, working at home and cleaning schedules, the kit that shouted out “buy me!” is the ALL NEW Busy Mama Kit, which is “for all the busy mamas out there in need of a few great lists to keep it 'all' together.”

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Five things under a fiver… to make life a little better

Bach Rescue Balm£4.26 from amazon. A product which doubles up as both a moisturiser for lips prone to dryness and chapping AND can be applied to the temples to soothe and relax. An easy way to get the calming results of the world-famous Bach flower rescue remedy, without having to take drops or mix with water. 

Magic Eraser £1.03 from Suntekstore.This is an unassuming piece of Melamine foam which can be cut into any size for cleaning. It is amazing at removing stains without detergent or any cleaning products. Really good if you have pale-coloured walls or kitchen cupboards, and children who think that the container of hand-soap is just there to decorate the bathroom basin. I was very surprised that it actually does make dirt disappear.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Brocante Home Life Audit

Idea and image : Brocante Home
Today I am: Going to my weekly Zumba class at Creative Dance Studio, hoping there’ll be some photos from our Summer Show to look at. Looking forward to having Soni round for coffee after weeks of not seeing her. Loving my carpet sweeper – same results as a hoover, no electricity.  Enjoying a moment to myself and getting my head and house back together after the busy weekend.
Feeling: Capable. Hopeful. Loved. A little worried about whether Prima will be fretting about her new class and teacher when she talks about it with her friends today.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Introducing Mumtopia’s chosen Good Cause – Finding Fraser’s Feet

 If you had asked me a couple of months ago what Good Cause I would chose for this blog to support, I wouldn’t have had any difficulty – I would have picked the NSPCC. This is an organisation close to my heart, insisting as it does that child abuse must stop. Full stop. Neither does it pretend that parenting is an easy journey.

However, Mumtopia’s chosen fundraiser is one you will have probably never heard of. It’s not an international presence like Amnesty International, it doesn’t work on a global scale like Oxfam. In comparison with these organisations, it is small and unassuming, but determined, and its aim is life-changing.

Finding Fraser’s Feet has been set up to raise £60,000 for a life-changing operation for Fraser Russell, a five year-old boy in my son’s class at school. Fraser has Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy, a condition which affects muscle control and movement. For him this means the tight muscle tone in his legs causes him problems with walking, balance and posture and he relies on support all day everyday. In school he is unable to sit on the floor properly due to muscle tightness so he has a little chair in the classroom which obviously makes him stand out from the rest of the class. His physical limitations also mean he is unable to ride a bike or swim. Fraser is a very determined little boy, and fights against his disability trying everything his friends do – unfortunately he just can’t do them like they can.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Lose Inches By Getting Rid of Books

Guest post by Lorie Marrero, Creator of The Clutter Diet
Today I was thinking about how many traditional reference books we no longer use because of the web. I am not saying you SHOULD get rid of these if you like them, but I am merely asking some questions to get you thinking.
  • How much shelf space are these thick books taking up?
  • How much use are they getting?
  • Are they even up-to-date with the information they offer?
  • Could you use the voluminous shelf space they currently occupy for something more relevant that you need handy?
Here's my list of books to consider:
  1. Atlases: An atlas is outdated as soon as it's printed, given normal growth, political changes, and boundary adjustments that occur regularly throughout the world. Google Earth is great for these needs, as well as Google Maps and Mapquest. Not perfect either, but definitely where I would go first to look.
  2. Medical references: Would you open this book first, or go to WebMD orMayoClinic.com?
  3. Movie guides: Every year new versions of books like Leonard Maltin's are updated and printed. Do you go there first, or IMDB?
  4. Almanacs: The Farmer's Almanac used to be the go-to resource for moon phases, long term weather forecasting, and other useful information. Now they have www.almanac.com, where things are more updated and searchable. 
  5. Quotation references: There are lots of places online to search for good quotes, such as Freeality.com and others. Books will not have up-to-date quotes from more modern sources.
  6. Encyclopedias: Talk about shelf space! I am sure we can have a lively debate about Wikipedia's validity, and that is a good debate to have, but if I am going to look up something I will always go somewhere online and search until I find the most credible source.
  7. Cookbooks: I love cookbooks as many people do, but nowadays I am finding I go online first when I need a recipe. I keep my own recipe binder for the ones I use and love (see our Clutter Video Tip here about creating a recipe binder). I would encourage you to think twice before buying new cookbooks, and if you have some on your shelf that you've owned for years and only use one or two recipes out of them... you can photocopy the recipes you like, put them in your binder, and donate the book.
  8. Dictionaries: I am a writer and I am sitting at a computer doing that, so it makes sense for me to jump over to The Free Dictionary for look-ups. We do have a small paperback dictionary here for the kids if they need one for manual-style homework, but the days of owning a gigantic copy of Webster's on our shelves are over.
  9. Thesauri: Yes, the plural of thesaurus is thesauri. I know this because I looked it up on The Free Dictionary.  ;)  I use The Free Dictionary for thesaurus lookups too, because when you search for a word there, it gives you the dictionary definition and then you scroll down and see the thesaurus entries for that word on the same page. I also have enjoyed using The Visual Thesaurus, which can take you on a fun journey of springy, web-like word connections. You can try it but then it is a paid service for about $20 per year. There are many other free thesaurus options out there.
  10. Household maintenance and repair references: Now you can go online and watch videos of someone doing repairs and remodeling projects, which is so much easier to follow than crazy line diagrams and vague instructions. Hometime.com is a good place for this, as well as eHow.com
Again, I am a book lover, so I am not suggesting you get rid of books you use and love. But I am going to lead the charge by donating several books, including a thick 1995 copy of A Writer's Companion, along with an old thesaurus, a paperback quotations book, a medical encyclopedia, and a couple of books on editing and punctuation--total linear shelf-inches freed up, FOURTEEN!
When you donate to Goodwill®, you can use our Donation Impact Calculator to learn how your books helped someone in your community! For example, donating 10 books is equivalent to:
  • 17 minutes of resume preparation,
  • 16 minutes of job search class,
  • 12 minutes of career counseling,
  • 15 minutes of financial planning class, or
  • 19 minutes of on-the-job training!
What will you "go digital" on today from your bookshelf? Argue with me, or tell me how many shelf-inches of books you are donating in the comments!  :)
Follow Lorie on Twitter for her Daily #ClutterTweetTip, "Like" her on Facebook, and see her weekly #ClutterVideoTip on YouTube athttp://www.youtube.com/clutterdiet
Reproduced with permission. 
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