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Working parent woes

postit Last week I was presented with my first bill for childcare for when I return to work in August and it’s given me a lot to think about. I’ve been paying nursery fees for 3 years and it was only when my daughter started pre-school last September that we started to use a childminder.
But despite their differences they ultimately have one thing in common and that is they like to take all of my money. I spend roughly 90% of my wages on childcare so the last 3 months have been truly amazing, well the first month after that I went on maternity pay and that sucks big time too.
So now I have two to pay for, although I am lucky that my eldest will start reception in September so I won’t have to pay for two children for long. But I still have to get her dropped off and collected and pay the childminder to look after her till 6pm. So how much do you think I was quoted? Well it was less than £1400 and more than £1250, to be fair my childminder knew this would be a shock and pre-warned . But my husband just said we’re not paying that!
Which led my mind into overdrive, could we afford for me to stay at home, which then led me to freak out and all I could see was me in 4 years sitting in front of people trying to sell myself in job interviews, it makes me shudder just thinking about it!
Not that I’m not good in interview situations, I tend to ramble and let my personality take over, apparently that’s a good thing.
In my experience in being the interviewer I’d much rather hire someone I liked with personality than someone with the skills but no people skills. You can always train someone, well not always, I definitely learnt that, but most of the time. I guess that’s what got me into training, wanting good people to genuinely learn and grow.
But the thought of starting the career ladder again is daunting and I genuinely love my job so it doesn’t seem like an option for me to stay at home. So I’ve thought about using this as an opportunity to move into teaching, do a degree and teacher training course, but the more I think about that the more daunting that seems. Basically I need to stop thinking! Which is kind of what I’ve done, because if I don’t think about it, I don’t have to make a decision and it will all go away, problem solved Ta Dah!!
Not that easy though, is it? I feel like I’m 15 again having to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I didn’t know then and now I just ride at what I’m good at and that’s training and teaching. So I got even more confused when I went to help a friend with a business plan and she suggested that I could be a business advisor and charge people for the privilege of my knowledge. It was a great compliment that she thought I was good enough but it just confused me even more!
So I made a decision and that is to think about it another day and right now enjoy my baby and what’s left of my maternity leave. I’m going to embrace the arts & crafts, enjoy time with my mummy friends and coffee mornings and not stress about something that basically I knew was going to happen. What’s your experience? Did rising child care costs prompt you to change careers or put plans on hold?

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104 Miles and counting

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I’m still buzzing from last week’s 3lbs weight-loss, and have found it extremely easy going into this week on a health food mission.
I can not believe that it will be 4 weeks since I sold the car and started my new walking regime. By the end of this week I would have walked 104 miles and possibly more as that’s not including my short journey’s to the shops or the doctor’s and there have been a few!
I’m feeling great and really embracing my new routine. Initially I thought it would be really difficult to give up the car, but it really has been an easy transition. This week has been all about healthy eating and breaking bad food habits so my dinners have mainly consisted of salads. But what I have realised is I have to be weary of my portion size and those hidden calories.
What I mean by hidden calories is the calories that are sitting in plain site on my daughter’s plate, I just can’t help myself.
My husband works late most nights and I wait to have dinner with him, so this is a huge time gap inbetween my lunch and dinner for me to snack. So I have tried to buy dinners this week that I can cook separately, hence the salads. But I’m still snacking, so I’ve bought lots of fruit and 0% fat yoghurt. But I think I’ve finally found that balance, between a healthy diet and easy exercise routines, it’s got to the point where I don’t even have to think about food or exercise. And any exercise I do is because I want to do it, not because I feel guilty and have to. Now I just have to maintain this lifestyle and not drop into bad habits again!

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Who Are Bronies??

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This week has been all about dry nights and my little ponies or MLP as I have learned this week. To say I have been distracted over the past few months would be an understatement, however I have taken my eye off the ball when it comes to getting my crazy threenager dry at nights. But all it took was a sympathetic friend and some wise words of wisdom to give me the kick-start I needed.
So as MLP is the toy of the moment for her we thought we would reward her with an MLP blind bag for a dry night.
(A blind bag is a foil bag with a small random toy) I’m not going to bore you with the success and the failures as there has been an equal amount of both, just know that overall all is going well!(I will do another post all about tackling that one).
But I have learnt something new through out this whole process, and that is I’ve discovered Bronies! Yep that’s what I said, Bronies, for those who don’t know like my husband and I, let me explain.
Bronies are teen and adult men that make up around 70% of the fan kingdom of MLP but what I’ve recently found out is you don’t need to be male to be a Brony, I think the title is just reserved for any teen or adult that is a fan of the MLP show. Just in case there’s any Bronies reading this I do not write this to offend but just to educate.
We stumbled upon this information after researching the Internet trying to work out which blind bags had the characters our daughter wanted.
My husband was intrigued and then went on a Brony fact finding mission, which brought up documentaries and countless articles which all had the same underlining thought, WTF!!
I still really didn’t understand so I did some reading myself and after reading this article I had a much better understanding of the fan base. From what I gather they are slightly misunderstood, and I can see why. But if it makes them as happy as my three year old than who cares what we all think!
My husband however went to great lengths while buying the latest series of MLP blind bags to explain to the lady at the checkout why he was buying them, just incase she too had stumbled across a Brony’s  documentary.  So next time you notice that you’re still watching cartoons when the kids have gone to school or having their naps, or you find yourself wanting to know the outcome when they want to watch something else, don’t feel bad just Remember the Brony’s! There proud and love My Little Ponies!

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84 Miles Later

blog picI have been obsessed with weighing myself this week despite my scales being broken.
But I thought I was on top of things this week, don’t get me wrong I’m still tired, but what’s different now is I’m used to the night feeds and the early starts. Well that’s what I thought until I checked my diary and realised that once again I had double booked my doctor’s appointment with my baby group. I’m seriously not having much luck with my dates at the moment!
But this week we opted to keep our appointment at the doctor’s and miss half of group. I have noticed without a car, situations like this seem much more stressful than what they are, but I’m not deterred from walking, Despite the cold and it has been cold!
I could put this second mishap down to the tiredness but as well as being tired I’ve not been able to stop thinking about weigh in or should I say not being able to weigh in, pretty sad really! So even though the scales stopped working at the beginning of the week I couldn’t help but try them again and guess what? They actually worked, I couldn’t believe it, especially as they showed a 3lbs weight loss. Which means I’ve now lost 12lbs since child-birth and 6 lbs since I begun the 12 month challenge!
This really makes it worth it, now that I’m seeing some results from all the miles I’m walking.
But really I’m not sure if the scales are still broken after the weekend I had, I am seriously gobsmacked!
So now starts a new battle, the battle of the weekend indulgence. I have to get my head straight and stop making allowances. By rewarding myself at every opportunity, but I’m still not ready to diet. However if I’m honest I could eat healthier, so that’s what I intend to do, next week! Seeing this weight-loss has prompted me to make more changes and be honest about my eating habits.
So I’ve started doing a spin class that I found on YouTube, I only have a regular exercise bike but it feels good to be doing something other than walking, I know my real struggle is the weekend so that’s where I’m going to start and concentrate my efforts. I’m going to try to cut out takeaways and sweet treats and start to eat healthier meals. Even though I’m going to watch what I’m eating I’m not going to label this as a diet, being on a diet is too restricting and if I want to feed my baby I have to eat. I’ve just got to be sensible about what I do eat and make those calories count and most importantly remember that fat is not my friend!
I thought giving up my car would be the hardest part of this challenge but so far I’m finding walking the easiest part of this journey, now my battles with FOOD! Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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Life is no life without cheesecake

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Life without cheesecake….Nah
The last few weeks has been a struggle and I have battled with my love for greasy, fatty and sugary foods. But I have come to realise that I can’t and I won’t live without cheesecake, it’s not realistic to me and it is definitely a staple part of my diet.
There are hundreds of different cheesecakes, you name one and I may not have had it but I sure as hell want it! I have always loved cheesecake and always will and I won’t give it up! So there!
So what am I going to do to counteract my childish and self-destructive behaviour?  Well that is the question isn’t it? I’ve got to do something and I mean literally, so this is what I’m going to do and I will call it the cheesecake rule!
For every serving of cheesecake I have I will complete one 30 minute spin class session on top of what I usually do. Now this does seem a little  implausible due to the time factor, so I will either have to get up earlier or neglect the cleaning one afternoon. What a shame!! I think I know which one I’ll be doing and it gives me more of a reason to eat cheesecake!
But if this doesn’t work than I may have to look into low-fat alternatives, because as serious as I am about shifting these pounds, my life can not live without the creamy sweet dessert, cheesecake!  
So if you can help by recommending any recipes that have been tried and tested and are as yummy as their full fat sugary counterpart than I will be eternally grateful!

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To Takeaway or Not

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Friday’s in my house historically is a takeaway night, Wether it’s burgers, pizza’s or fried chicken, you name it we have it. And even sometimes we eat out on a Saturday, but as we eat well 75% of the time these two cheat days of the week are OK, aren’t they? Mmmm then why do I feel so bad! Because this past weekend was no different, I made no changes and indulged when deep down I knew it wasn’t what I should be doing. But this is when the choices I make impact on the others in my life. If I don’t have that takeaway than my husband feels he can’t have it and is missing out. It’s also about breaking habits and routines and most importantly taste and cravings. That’s a lot to conquer and I won’t lie I’m gonna find it hard, but I knew this path wasn’t going to be easy. For once I’m not looking forward to the weekend and that is a first!
So after another disastrous indulgent weekend (Watch me rant here)I decided not to weigh myself this week, otherwise I’d just be setting myself up for failure. I’m just sulking, I guess, but it didn’t last long, the more I thought about it the more I just had to know, good or bad!
But ironically when I finally built myself up to stand on the emotional roulette weighing device, fate dealt me a cruel twist…..the scales didn’t  work. All that fretting for nothing, typical!
So I was back where I started but with no choice but to get on with my day, so why couldn’t I stop thinking about it? I needed to know! The not knowing is doing my head in. People always say it’s not about how much you weigh but it’s about how you feel and look. Well I feel bad and look frumpy so bring on the scales, because in my head I need the scales to confirm this as crazy as that sounds. Will I ever be free from them?

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So, So Tired!!

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Waking up early isn’t a problem when you have a 6 week old baby, because most of the time you were up anyways! Having more than 3hrs of consecutive sleep is a real treat for most mom’s in the early weeks. What I’m finding difficult is the dreary cold mornings, it’s so uninviting when you know you have an hours walk ahead of you.
But despite this I haven’t flagged and am still rocking up to the school gates early.
Not always as organised as I think though, for example the other day I woke up at 5:30 had a coffee watched the news and chilled out before the madness ensued. By 7am I was waking everyone up confident in my morning routine as I had got myself already first for a change. It wasn’t until I neared the pre-school gates that I thought back to my morning and couldn’t remember getting my daughter to brush her teeth or clean her face! So much for waking up early, luckily I had wet wipes to hand and a quick wipe over the face and she was good to go!
It’s only my second week of walking and in total I will have walked 30 miles this week, which is 6 miles a day. I’m feeling good, albeit a little sore still and I may need to find a really good chiropodist by the end of the month but I’m not looking at getting a new car any time soon. So far I’ve lost 9lbs and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to see some real results soon. But my eating habits haven’t changed, I’m hungry all the time and I’m spending energy all day. When I’m not walking I’m nursing and I’m already tired due to the lack of sleep, so food is definitely my friend at the moment as it’s the only thing keeping me going, oh and the caffeine!
So I haven’t lost any weight this week but I’m not disheartened and I’m not surprised. I know I should be watching what I’m eating but that’s not proving to be easy. Especially with the weekend looming. Look out for my video update next week by following the link Rantings of a #madmummy to see how I got on over the weekend.