A week of contemplation

I’ve had another mad busy week and I’m so glad tomorrow is Saturday. I’m debating a lazy parenting day tomorrow that involves taking the kids to a Wacky Warehouse and sitting drinking indulgent amounts of Costa coffee.

A number of things have happened at work or connected to work. Some are quite major, having a big impact on me, my career path and where I go from here. Others have helped and hindered the internal debate I’m having as I contemplate what to do. Sadly I can speak about them here. I had a great day today but it involved signing a confidentiality agreement so you’ll just have to guess what I’ve been doing (it won’t be as exciting as you think – but I had a good day).


This week we also had a visit from one of my oldest and loveliest friends. Sadly she is emigrating to New Zealand next month so the visit was a good bye one. It was the first time we met each others children and the first time we had seen each other in a very long time. We talked about Skype – something that has passed us by – and I wonder if we will now see more of her living in New Zealand than we did living here. We have also decided that any trip to Australia will involve tagging New Zealand on as well (fingers crossed for all those lottery rollovers this weekend). Jo was with me on holiday when I met Steven. Here is a dodgy old photo from then. I can remember being adamant that the person taking it should have ‘Bad Boys’ in the photo???? and I ended up married to ‘Tosser 1’ (what a catch). Please remember this was taken over 12 years ago.

And so I go back to my inner turmoil, contemplation, list making and furiously scribbling notes in my journal. I have a tough few months ahead with some major changes whatever I decide to do. Thankfully I have a coaching session on Wednesday that I pray will shed some light.

Get fit feel epic: week 4

Week 4, must try harder. I’ve had a difficult week. Work has not been particularly fun and my coccyx have been very painful. I’m waiting for another nerve block but after 5 months on the waiting list the hospital will give me no indication of when I can expect to be seen again. The pain is affecting me at work and generally getting me down. I’ve spent the week trying to sort out alternative treatments and will try and see my GP this week to ask for more help.

  • Lose 8 pounds

Another pound lost this week so 2lb so far 🙂 I’m happy and sticking with the higher calorie allowance as it appears to be working.

  • Attend at least 2 exercise classes a week

Managed it this week 🙂 My gym membership covers three separate leisure centres and this week they opened a 4th. On Tuesday I went to have a look and go to a zumba class. Unfortunately the instructor didn’t show up messing up my plans for the week.  Wednesday was an awful day at work so that evening I went to a different zumba class and it made the world of difference. I really enjoyed it and it definitely made a difference to my stress levels. Thursday I went to my usual aqua.

  • Complete three craft projects

No time for crafting this week but still time to get that third project in.

  • Complete the daily ab workout app at least 5 times a week

Not completed any this week. Coccyx have made it too painful at the moment.

  • Track daily, and track honestly

Similar result to last week. Have missed a few days out on myfitnesspal but still keeping an eye on things and happy with how it is going at the moment.


And the group challenge……it was a home crossfit workout out of 3 rounds for time  – 10 burpees, 20 squats, 30 push ups.  I haven’t tried it at all. I will give it a go this week and confess my time next week!

So yes, still not a great effort but still hanging on in there and trying where I can.

Tipped over the edge by NHS procurement and audit

Time is flying at a ridiculous pace. I cannot believe October is nearly here. Its a little depressing as well…

This week has not been good. I’ve had a really stressful and difficult week at work that started with me falling out with someone who did not provide support when requested, instead criticised me for a decision taken by my employer. Over a number of years our staffing levels have been reduced as cost improvement targets were deemed more important than the delivery of services to patients.  This week things have started to go wrong. Despite our best efforts we are unable to provide a suitable standard of service. This appears to be my fault for failing to create a contingency plan. In December I had highlighted to senior management that there was no capacity for a contingency and nothing was done. There is a consistent expectation that we will do more with less. I do believe that there is wastage in the NHS and areas can be improved but last year our service went through a long period of change implementing a number of measures to improve our productivity. I believe we have achieved as much as we can on our own. We have ensured service continuity on half the amount of staff we had 5 years ago (in fact we see 30% more people) but the service has absolutely no flexibility to cope with sickness.

The middle of the week saw an incredibly frustrating time over ordering a cable for a computer that left me mentally writing emails to the Secretary of State for Health.  After waiting 6 weeks for a cable from IT I contacted them. It appears they did not understand what I was requesting. The cable in question is available on ebay for £1.30. IT told me that postage alone would cost £10 and looking for the cable myself through NHS Supply Chain showed that the cable would cost £12.45. How on earth can a business the size of the NHS accept £22.45 for a cable that is available on ebay for £1.30?  We have no petty cash and I cannot reclaim costs so again, I bought the cable myself online. I wonder how much is the NHS propped up by well-meaning employees who would rather spend their own money than waste an exhausting amount of time and money going through the official ordering channels.

By Friday I had completely had enough and I sat and debated looking for a new job. This is the first time that I have very seriously had this thought.  At present I believe that I am a nurse first and a manager second. This week has felt the furthest from nursing that I have ever been and instead I have had to battle audits, risk assessments, sickness cover, procurement, finance and IT. All elements of my job that need attention but the demands on my time have been particularly hard.  The NHS cull of middle management was meant to protect patient facing services. My time and workload is proof that this isn’t true and I am now expected to do the work of the two managers above me who were made redundant and still carry on with my clinical caseload. When I’m constantly being told that audits and risk assessments are essential (I agree they are important) it is my clinical work that gets left behind. There seems to also be a trend in sending emails demanding a response ‘by close of play today’ – a phrase that I would happily see banned.

My service is about to enter into a difficult period of time as we’re in talks with our commissioners to create a specification for the next financial year. My thoughts at the moment are to see the service through that process and then evaluate and plan my next move. Is it time to look for the next step or further afield?


Get fit, feel epic: week 3


I’m shamefully late in posting and linking this up. Just been too busy as usual!

My progress on my goals this week –

Lose 8 pounds

I lost a pound this week so feeling a little more convinced about increasing my calorie intake. Overall it has been easier to manage and less demoralising so I’m less likely to completely lose the plot and have a complete blow out food wise.

Attend at least 2 exercise classes a week

Only managed one again this week. On Tuesday I randomly felt unwell and dizzy so decided to stay at home.

Complete three craft projects

Doing well here. I’ve finished the jelly roll quilt and also a scarf for myself.


Not too sure what to make next. Christmas is preoccupying me so I should get started on some projects and presents for that.

Complete the daily ab workout app at least 5 times a week

Managed 3 days this week. Time and tiredness are working against me. On the mornings I’m working things tend to be a mad rush and I forget or run out of time, in the evening I’m too tired. Need to sort this out and be honest with myself – its only 5 minutes!

Track daily, and track honestly
I tracked 4 days on myfitnesspal. I went to my parents for the weekend and although I wasn’t logging at all I was conscious of what I was eating. I’m not saying I was perfect but I think the pound weight loss was a fair one.

The group challenge for the week was to put our goals in a visible memorable place to prompt and remind us through the week. I’ve always loved how Becks put hers up on a window (how do you do that?!) and I keep debating getting a chinograph pencil. Steven will accuse me of losing it though. I’m a fan of the post it note and a list – my office is covered in lists.

This time I’ve stuck one on my computer monitor and another at home in a prominent place in the kitchen. I find work the best place for motivating myself. I have a laminated sheet of things to remember when I’m stressed stuck to my desk. I cannot find the link to share at the moment!

So I’m sorry, a poor effort this week and my next post its not going to show much improvement. Never mind!


Another jelly roll quilt

After months of no creativity I decided to make a quilt this summer. Steven’s youngest sister has started university and remembering how cold student houses can get I thought a quilt would be a good present for her.

I chose another pattern from my jelly roll book and took a bit of a cop out by going for the simplest pattern in there. Time was against me so I went for something simple that I knew I would complete without too much stress.

Deciding on a suitable jelly roll took ages – eventually I settled on Moda Tradewinds. It had a great range of colours and I liked the variety of prints – paisleys, floral, Indian elephants and teacups.

I bought a jelly roll and coordinating fabric for the sashing and backing in green and red – Penny’s favourite colours. I panicked from the start that it was a little too bright and busy but eventually I came round to liking it.


Its now finished after 4 weeks – not a bad effort. Its huge. I always underestimate how big the jelly roll quilts are and its fine until I come to quilt them. Getting that much fabric and wadding through my sewing machine proves a challenge.

Get fit, feel epic: week 2


I think I’ve had a good week. Things have not been straightforward as I’ve been away with work but I managed to keep on track overall.

Update on my goals –

  • Lose 8 pounds

My weight has stayed the same this week. Had a discussion and think over my calorie intake and really not sure what to do. More than one person has told me I’m eating too few and I’m wondering if that’s true. On myfitnesspal I’ve got it set up to lose 2lbs a week but I’m debating changing it to 1lb a week and upping my calories. Overall I’ve been good. I’ve stayed on target and balanced out the one bad day with fewer calories on two others.

  • Attend at least 2 exercise classes a week

I got scuppered by going away Wednesday-Friday. I managed one class on Tuesday but not been able to go since (can’t go at the weekend as the kids are around).  Nothing to stop me going to 2 or 3 this coming week though.

  • Complete three craft projects

I’ve very nearly finished the patchwork quilt I’ve made for my sister in law. Sadly I missed her heading to university this week (blaming that work trip again!) so I’m not entirely sure when I will get it to her. It is likely to be finished this evening once I’ve finished this post. Plans already made for the next projects to keep me on track.

  • Complete the daily ab workout app at least 5 times a week

Managed 4 times. I’m finding this easy as its only 5 minutes, done quickly in the morning before I get in the shower. I’ve also redone all my measurements this week to see if I lose any centimetres over the 8 weeks.

  • Track daily, and track honestly

Yes – feeling very happy with this. I’ve got back into the habit of meal planning each morning. Dinner is tracked first so I know how much I have for the rest of the day. I used to do this with weight watchers and it worked then so hoping getting back to good habits will help.


The weekly challenge was to do something that made you feel fabulous. I’ve done a little bit of shopping. Firstly I got myself the Great British Bake Off book. I’m loving the current series and watch each week thinking I really should be more adventurous with my baking.



I also managed a trip to my favourite fabric shop in Birmingham. I was restrained and for the first time left without any fabric. I did buy to patterns though. I’m planning on making some clothes for myself and got the patterns for inspiration – hopefully something will be completed in the course of this challenge. I have a habit of buying patterns and fabric and not actually completing or even starting.  I am determined that this will not happen this time!


I’m now looking forward to a ‘normal’ week after the school holidays. I haven’t worked a full week for a long time. Although that sounds good it creates problems at work so I’m keen to get back to normal and get myself sorted out!

Get fit, feel epic: Week 1


I’m busy with a home organisation challenge and decided to go the whole hog and sign up for a fitness challenge at the same time. My weight loss and exercise has plodded along over the summer. Its not awful but its not good either so I decided to sign up to give it a bit of a kick start and to get some motivation and encouragement from like minded people online. The challenge is being hosted by my lovely friend Becks at Weight Wars and runs for 8 weeks. There is also a prize on offer – a fitbit. I have to confess -this is a major motivational factor and I predict that I am likely to buy myself one in the coming weeks.

Part one of the challenge is to set 5 measurable goals. After much deliberation I have settled on –

  • Lose 8 pounds
  • Attend at least 2 exercise classes a week
  • Complete three craft projects
  • Complete the daily ab workout app at least 5 times a week
  • Track daily, and track honestly


I am getting into exercise after joining a gym a couple of months ago. I’ve decided that going to the gym doesn’t really do much for me. I don’t enjoy it and I struggle to stay motivated and stay there (the steam room and sauna start calling me within 20 minutes of arriving). I find that if I go to a class I enjoy it and I stay there for the full hour. I usually play safe with aquaerobics or pilates but this week I decided to take a gamble with a couple of higher energy classes. On Tuesday I went to legs, bums and tums and didn’t really like it. It hurt, a lot. It did put me off for a few days. On Friday I decided to get back onto it and went to dancefit. It was the same instructor as Tuesday (initial horror) but I loved it.  I never knew I had an inner street dancer but I seriously enjoyed myself. Sadly the class is at a time that I will not be able to regularly go and the only other one on the timetable is on a day I work 😦 Samuel starts preschool next week so I will have Tuesday morning to myself and I have decided that I will be going to a class. Initially I’d planned yoga but now I’m going for it! My choice is either body combat or zumba. I’m going to give both a go and see what I feel. My biggest battle will be deal with my self-consciousness!