Beat the Heat round up

A very late post – I’m sorry.  The last two weeks have been really busy. All for good reasons but so busy I just haven’t had the time or energy to blog.  So here I am!

1. Achieve a better work/life balance

Feeling very pleased with this one. I start my reduced hours at work tomorrow. Getting it all sorted out was more difficult than I thought but it all got sorted in the end. In general work is better, I’m happier, have more confidence in myself and my ability as a manager/leader and feel things are balanced well with home.

2. Get back into reflective journalling

Dabbling with this but the thought is there. Its helping with work but I’m not really committing to anything personally. I still keep looking for an altered book course. I would love to do a reflective altered book.

3. Lose 5lbs

Had a number of social occasions recently that have given me trouble. We also keep seeing reps at work who arrive laden with food. Overall I’ve lost 4lb during this challenge. I think I will carry this onto the next challenge and put it a little higher on my priority list. Someone at work is doing Lipotrim much to everyone’s horror. I’m not sure if her continued boast of 8lb loss in a week is a help or a hindrance.

4. Learn to meditate and/or relax

Absolutely nothing!

5. Complete 3 things on my DayZero Project


Did really well here –

  • decorate our bedroom – its starts on Friday so can I have that one?
  • join a book club – found a group and go to first meeting in October
  • run 10k – done
  • join the WI – done
  • put 5 books on bookcrossing – done
  • get mobile device at work – done
  • buy Eloise an alphabet poster for her bedroom – done
  • fix the toilet – done

6. Complete one sewing project (regain my sewing mojo)

Very nearly there – Jack’s quilt just needs binding now and I’m planning to do that tonight. Will post when its done.  Also thinking about the next project and knitting away on my wrap. Feeling like my mojo is returning 🙂


I’m pleased I made it to the end and will definitely look out for the next one.


Beat the Heat – week 8

My Goals

1. Achieve a better work/life balance

2. Get back into reflective journalling

3. Lose 5lbs

4. Learn to meditate and/or relax

5. Complete 3 things on my DayZero Project

6. Complete one sewing project (regain my sewing mojo)


1.       What did you do this week to work towards your goals?

Failed miserably on the work/life balance. I’m in love with my work laptop as it makes things much easier but the downside is I can now work from home. Things were mad last week and I ended up sitting doing a pile of work Saturday night – not good. I’ve found a new nursery so just have to get Samuel signed up there ready to change in November and I think everything is sorted there.

I lost 1lb. I don’t feel very worthy of that pound and was surprised but I will take it thank you very much. Will just be a bit wary of next weeks weight but happy to have lost 5lbs in 3 weeks.

Also on a random note – join a book club is on my DayZero list. I’ve been looking for a while with no success. Out of the blue I was followed on twitter this week by Northampton Literature Group. Not sure why, I do not display any literaery skills! Anyway, I had a look at their website and they have a reading circle. Had a look  and they meet very close to where I live. I’ve made contact and will be going to the next meeting 🙂

2.       What did you do this week to make yourself feel fabulous?

Nothing. Still struggling this week. Decided on an impromptu trip to Mum and Dads caravan for bank holiday weekend so looking forward to that.

3.       What has been your biggest challenge this week?

Our washing machine died on Thursday. I’m just really fed up and feel we’ve had 4 weeks of continual rubbish and upheaval – nursery, illness, Steven’s bike and the garage.  I came home from work and Steven told me about the washing machine. After my pathetic attempts to fix it it was clear that best case scenario was paying someone to fix it, worst was a new machine. I wasn’t happy. I went upstairs, locked myself in the bathroom, cried, got it out of my system and then came downstairs like nothing had happened. It can’t be fixed for a reasonable amount of money and we were advised to just get a new one.

I spent the weekend taking my washing to my sister in laws and neighbours so we have clothes to wear. The new one arrives on Wednesday so we’re just getting on with it now 🙂

4.       Do you need neatness and order to feel good or does a bit of untidiness not bother you?

I like order but I am very untidy. A room can look like a total tip but I generally know where everything is.  I can’t handle too neat – it feels a bit clinical and OCD for my liking. I need some kind of system but its fine if that system is organised chaos.

5.       Would you rather be attacked by 20 duck sized horses or 20 horse sized ducks?

I am still totally puzzled by this random and bizarre question. I’ll go with the duck sized horses – I’ll be bigger than them and hopefully can run faster than them.

Positive picture

A random one. My car started making a horrible noise on the way to work this morning. Eventually I found a piece of wood with a nail through it stuck in the front wheel. It was on the edge so I thought I was now going to have to get a new tyre.  I managed to get to work. The little garage by my office didn’t do tyres so he recommended someone round the corner (didn’t know this place existed). He looked at it, said straight away that he could repair it and I could leave the car there and he would fix it all whilst I was at work. I left very happy, feeling much more positive with a bill far better than a new tyre.

(Please note, this isn’t my actual wheel – mine are filthy. It does look like that though for accuracy)

Beat the Heat – week 7

Evening all. I don’t really feel raring to go this week. Been busy with nothing much. Feeling happier but battling against a desire to sleep uninterrupted for 3 days. Uninterrupted sleep for 8 hours would be wonderful – I’m not asking for much.

1.       What have you done to help you achieve your goals?

Nothing specific to report. I lost another 2lb so motivation still high (she says eating a muffin). I’ve done the edging on Jack’s quilt and got that all sandwiched up so need to get it quilted this week.

2.       What have you done to make you feel fabulous?

I had this wonderful idea for me to take the kids to pick blackberries yesterday. Sadly it turned into a long and wingey trip with few blackberries. I have a secret spot over the other side of the field at the end of our road. Like and idiot I’d forgotten about the stile and couldn’t lift the buggy over. We had to stick to the main footpath and there wasn’t much left. Anyway, getting to the point, I’d planned on making a batch of bramble jelly but the pathetic amount of fruit meant this wasn’t possible. Eloise harassed me to death and we ended up making muffins which were lovely if I do say so myself. Just praying no-one finds my secret spot before I can get down there alone.

3.       If your house was on fire, and you could grab ONE thing (outside of people and your computer/laptop, they are all out) what would it be?

Does the cat count? No way I’d leave him. I also have a box under my bed where I keep all the sentimental stuff for the children – first cut of hair, umbilical clamp, hospital bands, consent forms (!) the usual things. I think I’d go with that as its easy to grab.

4.       Tell us about your blog. Treat it like a book, what’s happened so far?

It all started a bit dark when I wasn’t a happy person, trying to get my head around Samuel’s heart but things have cheered up. I’d like more creative stuff in here as well but time just doesn’t let me. I think it reflects lots of things like my life – too much going on to have a proper direction!

5.       Fun Question:  Tell an embarrassing story about yourself. No dodging.

Firstly, I keep reading that last bit as ‘no dogging’ – not sure how that reflects on me. I would just like to clarify I have no embarassing stories regarding myself and dogging.

Really do not want to share mine. It involves me, IBS, a traffic jam on the Dartford Bridge (the day we didn’t get to EuroDisney in the snow) and one of Samuel’s nappies. You can fill in the rest as you like.

Positive picture: this was emailed to me this morning. It was timed well at the start of a slightly manic week.

Beat the Heat – Week 6

Weight Wars 

Is this half way?? Still going strong. Last weeks dire week is behind me. Nothing great to report, the ongoing issues aren’t resolved but hey-ho. I’m plodding on!

1.       What have you done this week to help you achieve your goals?

1. Achieve a better work/life balance

All systems go to start reduced hours on 12th September. I’ve gone public with the rest of my team and the response was positive and supportive – I had a fear there would be cries of ‘what about me?!’ but there wasn’t. I spoke to my manager about the nursery situation. She can delay the change if I need to but I’ve said to keep going and I will sort nursery between now and November.

2. Get back into reflective journalling

Nothing on this

3. Lose 5lb

My new goal. Setting a small achievable target with a long term plan tied into my plan online. Lost 2lb this week so pleased with that 🙂

4. Learn to meditate and/or relax


5. Complete 3 things on my DayZero Project


I went to my first WI meeting last night and had a great time 🙂 Saw people from my sewing group that I stopped going to a few months ago due to stress and tiredness. It was great to catch up with people I’ve not seen in a while and I’m aiming to get back to sewing group sooner rather than later.

6. Complete one sewing project (regain my sewing mojo)

Not finished the quilt yet! Jack was born last Wednesday so I’ve got the rest of the fabric and will get that sorted this week.

2.       What have you done this week to make you feel fabulous?

Nothing that I can think of! We are both so tired and run down we have decided tomorrow we are having a take away and will be in bed by 8pm. I can’t get any time off work so we’re trying to do little things to recharge our batteries at home.

3.       Do you feel you get everything out of your life? Would you like to change things or are you happy where you are (I know a bit deep but I’m thinking about major life achievements this week achieved and not!)

Hhmmm……. that’s a question to ponder. In general I’d say yes.  I think its easy to sit and think ‘what if’ and you’ll never know the answer. I wonder why beat yourself up over things that haven’t been achieved. It’s not necessarily about making do with a situation but being more proactive to make that change. I’m happy with where I am.

4.       What’s your ultimate favourite food? Is it healthy? Can you make it healthy?

My ultimate is parsnips, preferably roasted. Surely a vegetable is healthy! I also do a mean parsnip cake. I keep thinking I haven’t made one in a while so may have to do one this weekend.

5.       Fun Question: What do you want to be when you grow up ?

I can remember being at playgroup and telling people I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up so I achieved what I wanted. Career wise I’m happy where I am and where I’m going. The only other dreams I have related to highly unlikely lottery wins!

Positive picture –

The London riots have just totally stunned and angered me. I really do not get attacking innocent people in an attempt to attack the state. Totally inexcusable. Today the people are fighting back against the rioters and this photo cheered me up. I really hope tonight is quieter with less trouble and the majority of people send out a strong message to the mindless minority who think they are above the law.

Beat the Heat – week 5

Weight Wars 

Another week! Had a totally rubbish day that has thrown me into panic and I really couldn’t be bothered posting but here I am pulling myself together!


1.       What have you done this week to work towards your goals?

1. Achieve a better work/life balance

The source of today’s trauma. I thought it was all sorted – the official forms have been signed and submitted and all plans in place. Gave notice to my childcare provider to reduce Samuel’s hours and they have declined it. I’m very upset and could write a long post on this alone. Essentially I am left with two choices – remain full time at work and make no changes or find a new childcare provider in 6 weeks. Neither option is palatable hence my upset.

2. Get back into reflective journalling

Still working on this and finished and submitted my application for the clinical leadership fellowship on Friday. I felt so confident with the application form and then I had to do a numeric reasoning exercise. It was very grim. Lost confidence there.

3. Run once a week

Nothing. Will ditch this one!

4. Learn to meditate and/or relax

Nothing done here either but will stick with it.

5. Complete 3 things on my DayZero Project

  • Have booked someone to come and decorate our bedroom (September)
  • I got a plumber to fix the toilet (its only been 3 years!)
  • My new laptop arrived at work last week when I was off sick. It’ll be up and running on Thursday when the IT man comes back to see me (woo!)
  • I’ve rejoined Sainsburys diets to get back to my goal weight as I’ve recently lost the plot
  • 8 books added to bookcrossing – just need to release them this week

(Feeling very productive for this goal!)

6. Complete one sewing project (regain my sewing mojo)

A very successful days sewing last Tuesday. Still waiting for the baby to arrive so I can finish it off – I’m getting impatient now! I also went to the Bramble Patch with my sister at the weekend. That always helps to be a bit more productive. I bought a charm pack to do a quick and easy project. Just need to decide what.

2.       What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

Had a lovely day on Sunday with Steven and Samuel (Eloise is away with my Mum and Dad this week). Just a simple day mooching around Ikea and then dinner.

Also have cleared the dumping ground down my side of the bed. I’ve promised myself I will not dump there again and so far so good. I got some new storage boxes in Ikea to help sort out under our bed but had a minor disaster there – I measured them in Ikea and they grew 2cm on the way home….gggrrrrr.

3.       How are you finding your goals this challenge? Do you still think you can achieve them?

Yes – feeling good. Tackling the DayZero list is going well and getting into the others. I still feel time is on my side so motivation remains high!

4.       Freebie! If you want to change one goal change it. Explain your decision even if you don’t change any.

Yes – I’m going to forget about running once a week and chose another weight loss or food intake related. Not sure how to quantify it yet. I’ve just slipped into eating total rubbish and lots of it. I weighed myself yesterday and I now weigh more than when Samuel was born. Yesterday was day one of being good. I’ve joined sainsburys diets for 3 months which works on just basic calorie counting so intend to stick to that. I find just keeping a food diary is a huge help. Will decide on a quantifiable goal this week.

5.       Fun Question: If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Your funds are unlimited!

We’ve always fancied Cyprus. A nice blend of Greece and Britain, not too far from home, warm all year round, vineyards, beaches, mountains and mezes (never underestimate the mezes!!!)

My positive picture: needing  a hug today and this is from a book that Samuel is currently obsessed with

Beat the Heat – week 4

Weight Wars 

I’ve had a grotty weekend and feeling all doom and gloom but lots of good things have happened so I’m thinking of them and not my tonsilitis!


1.       What have you done this week towards your goals?

1. Achieve a better work/life balance

I’m now settled on dropping my hours and not worrying. Eloise had a trial ballet lesson last week and loved it so I’ve booked her into start those in September and they will be on my day off so it’s all starting to come together. I’d also had problems with my tax credits hanging over me with a very large overpayment being talked about and causing most of my stress. On Saturday I had the final letter relating to it all saying I don’t owe any money, and they owe me so a big relief all round. I think this has helped settle my mind on the money side of things.

2. Get back into reflective journalling

Had a good go at this and its helped me put together my application form for the clinical leadership fellowship. Struggling to get down to the word limit and need to get it sorted and submitted this week.

3. Run once a week

Missed this one again – busy and ill. Same old excuse!

4. Learn to meditate and/or relax


5. Complete 3 things on my DayZero Project

Join the WI has been on my list. I like the idea of the WI but don’t really fit into their typical stereotype. A couple of years ago I rang them and asked for a ‘young’ WI they could recommend. They pointed me in the direction of one which really wasn’t me. Anyway, getting to the point, I’ve heard that there is a new WI being set up in Northampton by a group of people my age, people that I know from my sewing group so I know it will be my cup of tea. I missed the first meeting as we were away so I’m planning on going to the next one.

6. Complete one sewing project (regain my sewing mojo)

No real strides made here but I’ve already rung in sick for tomorrow. The kids are at nursery so I will have the house to myself. Sewing machine will be out and I WILL tackle the quilt for sister in law’s impending baby (still no sign much to her frustration).


2.       What did you do to make yourself feel fabulous?

Cleansed, toned and moisturised and its made a big difference to my skin so I will be sticking to that for the next week. Clearing my rubbish has been stifled as I’ve been ill and really not in the mood. My mum is coming next week so she is acting as a good motivating factor 😉

3.       Do you exercise? What is your favourite kind and why?

Not really. Exercise is not part of my genetic make up (my family will vouch for this inherited trait). The only thing I’ve ever really enjoyed is aquaerobics. You feel like you are working really hard, ache like mad afterwards (I view this as progress) but don’t get out of breath. You also don’t get sweaty. My perfect exercise.

4.       There are loads of fantastic bloggers here in the Beat the Heat competition, which blog or blogs have you discovered through the challenge that you particularly enjoy? Show that person some love!

I’m loving Munchberry at the moment – you’re making me smile! 🙂

5.       Fun Question: What song makes you want to dance at the moment?

My ipod is cluttered with Eloise’s playlist of songs. Some I can handle (Beauty and the Beast theme) some make me want to scream (Dora theme tune) but some are tolerable.  After our holiday in February I spent several days googling the songs that had been at the mini disco each night. This is the current favourite – we all have a good sing and dance and it reminds us of holidays


Right, positive picture time and I’m excited! Got another round of results for my masters today and here are mine –

The blue highlighted bit is me 😀 with 85%. Very very chuffed about that. I didn’t think it was that good so now desperate for the feedback to be emailed to me!

Fabulous on a budget aka photos of shame

I’ve been thinking about the challenge to do something to make yourself feel fabuolous each week. I never really plan it as such and then get to the end of the week and feel like I’ve failed it. I also use the excuse that I’ve run out of money, its the end of the month etc etc. I have decided to try something diffierent this week.

I’ve sat and thought about what bothers me day to day and what I can simply and easily sort and change. I think just resolving a few niggles would make me feel fabulous so here we go with a weeks trial.

My skin is really bad at the moment. I never take time to do any ‘beauty’ routine as such (I haven’t the time!) so this week I will cleanse, tone and moisturise daily to see if it makes any difference.

Our house and its untidiness infuriates me. Flylady makes me feel woefully inadequate but at times I think she rambles sense. I’ve decided to tackle three areas that wind me up on a daily basis. They make my heart sink whenever I see them. I’ve taken photos to a) shame myself b) motivate me to tidy them and keep them clear.

Sideboard in the lounge

My side of the bed (Steven’s is no better – its not just me!)

The ironing basket that never gets emptied and a bag of unfinished craft projects that it attracted


So then, my name is Karen and I have a clutter problem.


I hope to have fabulous progress pictures next week!