Tag Archives: life lessons

New year, new me! I’m afraid not…

Well 2015 has been harsh to us.  But let’s stay positive – I’m finishing the year knowing how truly resilient I am – how strong and determined I can be.

Everyone is thinking about new year’s resolutions – “I’m going to do things differently next year, a new me!” Well unfortunately, you will still be the same person when you wake up tomorrow, with the same likes, weaknesses and so on… I’m not trying to be negative or put you in a bad mood, but trying to make you think slightly differently if there are things you want to achieve or do differently in 2016.

I’m the same person I was in 2014 but life has demanded more of me this year, challenged me to up my game.  I still have my weaknesses (chocolate and wine!) but I have also worked out what my priorities are and what is realistic because I’ve had to – a person can only do so much in a day.  So I’m not going into 2016 thinking life will be any different – the twins will still keep me up at night and life will still be chaotic – BUT there are things I want to change and achieve and I want to keep evolving as a person.  One example for you is that I want to stop eating so much chocolate, but I’m not going to stop eating it all together because that’s not realistic and it won’t make me happy!  But the reason and purpose behind wanting to change that element of my life is because we all know sugar is bad for us and I would like to be healthier, in order to help achieve the body shape I want.

So what do you want to achieve or change in 2016?  Why?  What is the reason?  You must find your purpose if you want to stay focused and must really want what you are trying to achieve not just think it is the right thing to do.  If you don’t believe in the purpose or actually really want it, why try?  It’s not enough to say I’m going to reduce my sugar intake because I know it’s bad for me, but to have the purpose of trimming up the fat on my body and being happy with the way I look.

And is your goal realistic?  I’m not cutting down on chocolate to lose weight as I’m not sure that is realistic – instead cutting out some of the sugar in my diet will help aid me in toning up, in combination with working out.  If you want to go to the gym four times a week but only managed once a week this year, then that isn’t realistic for you – either because the motivation or purpose isn’t there for you or because life puts different demands on you that aren’t going to make this possible no matter how motivated you are.  Maybe aim for twice a week with one run or workout at home?  Or just accept that going to the gym isn’t for you and find something that is.  When you plan to be realistic with real purpose behind it, you will find change much more achievable.

And remember – this is life!  It doesn’t slow down and it will throw challenges at you to make you question yourself and that’s when you will wobble and find those excuses – ‘I’m too tired today’, ‘I’ve had a stressful day’, ‘I feel down today’…  But believing in your purpose means you can be strong in those moments and when you can do that, those small changes become part of your daily life.  They don’t become the added extras or things we do just when we can be bothered or if we’re having a good day.  Working out becomes part of you; eating healthily becomes what you do, not what you think you should do; making more time for family/friends/whoever becomes part of your week, not something you plan to do next week.

So if you want to make tomorrow different then do it!  But don’t use a new year as the reason, use a new day.  Be better tomorrow than you were today IF you have a reason to be.  Find your reason why and be realistic – small changes with purpose and you will find change is possible.  And then we can achieve anything!

Remember that today is the youngest you will ever be #noexcuses

Good luck and happy new year!


Inspirational women

This post was prompted by two things – I’m afraid the first thing was a Gary Barlow song (This House). I was listening to it on my way to work and two lines got me thinking (it doesn’t take much) – ‘What makes your heart ache?’ and ‘What makes you thankful for every day?’
Of course, you can guess, the first people I thought of were my kids and Chris and the rest of my family. Nothing can make your heart ache like the love for your kids. Then I thought about all the people in my life who I’m thankful for, and there are many.

I seem to have adopted the name ‘Supermum’ – it’s lovely that people call me that and it makes me smile that they think that, when I’m just doing what I have to do! But it has made me think a lot about how many of the women in my life are an inspiration to me. (There are men too but this one is just about the women!) We are all just doing what we have to every day, but life throws challenges our way to test our strength and to push us into being better people. The women in my life who lost their dad a little over a year ago and have their battles to deal with it; the women who have lost close family members and have to support the rest of their family whilst they themselves deal with it; the women who visit their family in hospital so they’re not alone; the women who are raising family alone; the women who are juggling work and raising families; the women who stay home to raise their children; the women raising children with special needs; the women who are working long hours just to do a good job; the women who have successful careers and are supporting their families.

And then there is my mum, who has been most of the women I have written about above. 22 years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, just a few years older than I am now. I remember my dad coming into my room to tell me and I remember visiting her in hospital after her surgery. I don’t remember much else, because my mum did what she does best – she just got on with it. I think my mum knows how much she means to me, but I don’t tell her enough. She inspires me because she stayed home to raise me and my brother, even though I know we drove her crazy sometimes! She did it because she wanted to do the right thing for us. She inspires me because she re-trained as a teacher when we went to school and then juggled her work, the home and her family. She inspires me because she had the strength to protect us during her cancer treatment from what she was going through, even when she sadly lost her own dad, my lovely Grandad, to cancer during that same year.

So the second reason for my post – she has inspired us both to run the Race for Life this year, raising money for Cancer Research. It’s only 5k, which wouldn’t be much to many of you, but for a 59 year old (sorry mum!) and for me, still recovering from my c-section, it will be a challenge for us. It’s actually not just about running a 5k but having the chance to actually think about why we are doing it – a time for reflecting about life so far, as cheesy as that sounds. I have put the link to our fundraising page below if you feel you would like to donate – but don’t donate just because we are doing a 5k. Donate because of the journey my mum has been on; because of the person she has become and the inspiration she has been to me and many others. For the support she gives me daily because thankfully we didn’t lose her to cancer. Donate because there are 2.5 million others living with cancer in the UK right now and this is a chance to try and make a difference. My mum might not be here today without the work people like Cancer Research do.

This post isn’t just to ask you to support us and donate – hopefully it will make you think about those people who inspire you. And to let you know that you are inspiring others, even if you’re not aware of it! I’m not going to name names, but all of my friends are one of those women above! And maybe this post will inspire you to challenge yourself this year, to do something different, to try something that is difficult for you and to be an inspiration to yourself!

For all the inspirational women in my life – you are amazing! I hope that as my sons grow up, I can inspire them to be good people and that they in turn will inspire others too.

Keep on trucking along, doing what we do – we’re doing a great job :O)


Lessons of right and wrong

Having children makes us think so much about life, about ourselves and about the choices we make every day. If you want to be a good parent, we have to make choices for our children that we believe to be the right ones and then we have to live with the consequences – wow, no pressure! From the minute they are born, we are responsible for the path they take.
Daily I wonder if I’m doing the right things, making the right choices for my kids – especially with Max as he now wants to make his own choices and they often don’t match up with mine!
I think most parents will battle with themselves when they want to make the right choice but know that sometimes the right choice will take so much more time and effort, and sometimes we just want the easy option at the end of a long day.

Don’t let them have chocolate for breakfast, even though they will now scream and throw things for 15 minutes. Don’t let them fall asleep in your bed even though you actually would love a cuddle after a crappy day. Don’t let them wear pyjamas to nursery, even though spending 20 minutes trying to dress a child having a tantrum is like attempting a physical challenge on the Crystal Maze. Don’t let them spend all day watching the ipad, even though they would sit still and you could have some peace and quiet. We’ve all spent an hour trying to get them to sleep at nap time, even though neither of you want to do this but you know they will be the devil child come 5pm if they don’t have a nap. Don’t call Daddy a plonker in front of your children, even if he has forgotten to do all of the three things you asked him to, because you are trying, so hard, to be a good role model.

I know we won’t always make the right choices, nobody’s perfect, but we’ll try. Here’s to the battles we’ll have this weekend over Easter eggs. I’d like to eat three in a row but I have to be a good role model…

35 things to do by 35!

So it’s 19 days until my 33rd birthday! A friend of mine has been writing a blog about doing 34 things before she’s 35 and she has inspired me to write my own list! And what better time to do it than the 1st January, a fresh new year.  She only had a couple of months to achieve her list and I thought I had ages to do mine, then realised it’s actually only 2 years until I turn 35, which is slightly scary!

I’m a list person – I love a nice list.  Everything in order, you can see it all at once instead of a jumble in your head and you have something to aim for!  I’m writing my list slightly differently to my friend – it’s not just a list of fun things to do, but also the more serious things that I want/wanted to achieve in my life.  I’ve started mine with the things I have already achieved – it will tell you a lot about me!  And then there are the things that I haven’t got round to yet.  Some people don’t like having a list of things to do in life – they just want to see what happens or aren’t really bothered by doing certain things.  For me, I believe life is made by the things we experience and the memories we make – when I’m old I want to be happy that I did everything I possibly could in life and be surrounded in my amazing memories.

So here goes:

1. Buy my own house (aged 31)
2. Get married! (aged 28)
3. Start a family (aged 30)
(The big three! Now for the slightly less serious ones…)
4. Travel around Australia (aged 22)
5. Travel across Asia (aged 23)
6. Live in a campervan (Travelled from Melbourne to Perth)
7. Learn to surf (In Australia)
8. Visit the Taj Mahal (aged 23 with my besties Claire and Nic)
9. See the Grand Canyon (aged 22 with my besties Claire and Nic!)
10. Drive a Ferrari (for my 21st birthday)
11. Ride in a hot air balloon (across beautiful Gloucestershire with my mum)
12. Ride in a helicopter (across Cheltenham aged 29)
13. Stay on a boat (Weymouth, Fiji and Vietnam!)
14. Complete a degree (aged 21)
15. Visit Disneyland (aged 11!)
16. Eat something weird (crocodile in Australia)

Now for the things I’d like to do:

17. Drive an Aston Martin
18. Do a wolf run
19. Watch all of the James Bond films
20. Get back into Martial Arts
21. Catch a fish and eat it!
22. ‘Do’ a festival
23. Go on a girly trip to New York
24. Do a sushi making course
25. Do a Thai cookery course
26. Try Cristal Champagne
27. Try caviar
28. See Macchu Picchu

I’m going to need some suggestions for the last 7!


This time ten years ago, I was in Fiji. Slightly different from my current situation, surrounded by laundry and tripping over baby items. I was two weeks in to my six month ‘trip of a lifetime’ with two of my best friends. I often think about those six months away, especially now – it was the best 6 months of my life and I made some amazing memories.

Life couldn’t be more different from then to now – travelling the world was about being free to go where we wanted, when we wanted; to explore the world and its cultures; only thinking about ourselves and being responsible only for ourselves (harder than it sounds). Life now is all about being responsible for three little people’s lives, making a home for my family and having no freedom at all!

I’ve said before that I’m not very good at living in the present – I have great memories of the past and I look forward to what’s to come. Looking back at my time travelling, I was discovering who I was. I was 22 and had just finished my degree and I felt like my life was really beginning! The things I really wanted to achieve in my life were to find a wonderful husband to spend my life with, to have a family and to buy our own home to raise our family in. The funny thing is, ten years on, I have everything I dreamed of having! (Well apart from an Aston Martin but it’s good to have dreams).

My point of writing this, is to remind myself that even though this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done – the first six months of raising twins, with a two year old as well – that ten years ago, during the best six months of my life, this was everything I wanted!

Sometimes we have to look back, to see how far we’ve come. And I know how lucky I am.

The big ‘C’

I’ve been reading a lot of posts recently about people who have cancer.  Some are battling it and some have lost their battle with it.  Cancer affects all of us – my mum battled breast cancer aged 36 and thankfully won.  My husband’s dad battled bowel cancer and is also thankfully still with us.  One of my best friends lost her mother in law just a few months ago to this horrible disease.

I reached a breaking point on Sunday morning – Chris had been away most of the week and I was exhausted.  The twins were both screaming, Max was throwing toys and spilling cereal everywhere and Chris was on a work call.  It wasn’t even 9 0’clock and I’d already had enough.  All parents have their moments when they say ‘I can’t do this’ and then we have a break to re-charge and we say ‘It’s alright, I’m ok again now’.  The importance of having support from our loved ones.

Once Chris came off the phone, he gave me 10 minutes to re-charge.  During this time, I read a heart-breaking blog written by a mother who had lost her battle with cancer.  She urged parents to hug their children tightly and to embrace every moment you can spend with them – she will have no more minutes with her loved ones.  I was in tears reading her blog because the timing couldn’t have been better.  This might seem a bit dramatic to those of you reading this – what does having cancer have to do with having children?  But at that moment I needed a reminder of how blessed I am – a reminder of how lucky I am to have time with my children and a reminder that time can be taken away with no warning.

Some people will never experience the joy of having children and I always remind myself of this as I realise how blessed I am.  However, those people will also never experience the hardest job you can ever do – the daily challenges that push us to our limits and learning what heart break really feels like every time our kids hurt themselves and every time we worry about them.  Hearing these heart-breaking stories won’t make the challenge of raising three children under two and a half any easier, but they do make me stop and take a breath.  The challenges I’m facing are good ones and sometimes I just need to be reminded of this.  And of course there are a million happy moments to the one bad ones – this is why we keep having these gorgeous little people!

If you are having one of ‘those’ days, stop and take a breath.  We all know there are people worse off than us – we don’t need to be told this – but sometimes we do just need a reminder of our blessings.  I’m going to go and give my blessings a big squeeze.

The daily grind

I think I’m just coming out of the hardest year of my life. Sounds dramatic I know. I’m not feeling sad, just reflecting on a whirl-wind of a year. Carrying twins was easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done – physically and emotionally – and the last three months haven’t exactly been a walk in the park! Some of my best friends have lost their parents at such a young age, which is something you can never prepare for and is truly heart breaking. Our family have had challenges to face and even though you support one another through them, you never feel like you’re doing enough.

Like my wise friend, Jon Hancox, once said to me, the three areas of your life, (personal life, work life and love life), can’t all be good at the same time – it makes the world unbalanced. When 2 out of 3 are bad, then life is hard; and this past year I’ve truly learnt how great my friends and family are. Although I wouldn’t wish hard times upon anyone, I do believe that it is only through suffering that we develop our characters and discover who we really are. Without suffering, we don’t develop humility, kindness, strength, love, compassion, empathy, endurance, patience, appreciation…
Hard times have really brought the best out of my friends and I know we will stick by each other to the end! Sounds morbid but life is short and we should surround ourselves with good people, spending as little time as possible on the bad ones.

I’ve never been very good at living in the present; I spend my time looking forward to the future, even though I remind myself that life is a journey not a destination! (A cheesy quote I came across on my travels!). This is proving hard at the moment, staying home with twins – I’m not sure when we’ll be able to go on nice holidays again or trips away, which is what I like doing most! I’ve written blogs about finding yourself again when you become a mum – it is especially hard when all the usual things you like to do are not accessible. Going for drinks with friends, going to the gym, going out for dinner, travelling the world and going on nice holidays are all the things I do to be ‘me’. You can feel a bit lost when all the ‘normal’ every day things are temporarily taken off the agenda.

So for now, my daily grind has to be feeding babies, changing nappies, doing laundry and generally running around after my family. We all have our daily grind – some enjoy theirs more than others and we enjoy it more in different stages of our life – but as long as we have good people beside us and 2 out of 3 areas of our lives are good, then I think we are doing ok.