Monday, 31 January 2011

The 2011 mission to get fit - Update 1

Thought you might like to know how my 2011 'mission to get fit' was going, so here is a brief post to update.

I went into 2011 knowing we were going away to Florida in Feb and potentially away again for a second time in the Summer for P's 40th birthday.  The prospect of walking, walking and more walking around the Orlando theme parks and having to wear a bikini had me a little worried.  I'm certainly not overweight by any means but my fitness levels are, well.......*blows raspberry* and I really do have far too much flab hanging round the old tummy and hips.

Since January the 1st I have been keeping a food diary with the aid of Nutracheck (which I find extremely helpful) and limiting my food intake to 1500 calories and 52 fat grams per day (as Nutracheck suggest for my size and weight).  In addition to this I am now visiting the gym 2 - 3 times per week along with running, walking or kinect on the other days.  Obviously, I occasionally have bad days where my calorie and fat intake goes over what I'm allowed (yesterday being one of these days...whoops! ) but as long as I don't let it happen too often and keep up the exercise then everything is fine and dandy.

I am 5ft 3 and when I started out with my 2011 healthy life plan on Jan 1st I was 9 stone 5.  In the first couple of weeks I lost 6lbs taking me down to 8st 13 but this was probably mostly due to water retention and just basically getting rid of the initial crap out of my body.  I was a little disappointed to have not lost any weight over the last  couple of weeks but upon measuring myself I have now lost 1.5in from my hips and bust and 1in from my waist so my body is now adapting muscle wise to all the exercise I'm doing.  Losing weight isn't so much a priority for me but more so toning up, although I know I need to lose just a few more lbs for any muscle to start showing definition.

I am planning to let go with the old food diary while we're away (yes, I will be sampling the american cheesecake!) but hopefully the constant walking will help me maintain my current size and weight.  Will keep you posted!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2011

Just finished a lovely leisurely hour sitting in the kitchen with a nice cuppa, completing the RSPB's annual 'Big Garden Birdwatch'.  'A' and I did this for the first time last year but were a little disappointed - as you might know, the second we sat down to complete our hours 'twitching' hardly any birds visited our usually busy garden!  This year, however, was a different story and it was quite nice to be able to actually record something on the RSPB survey.

The RSPB 'Big Garden Birdwatch' takes place once a year normally towards the end of January.  By visiting the RSPB website it's possible to print off a bird ID sheet to mark down your sitings.  The basis of the birdwatch is to spend one hour noting down the maximum number at any one time, of a particular kind of bird seen in your garden and then submit your results on the RSPB website.  By completing the birdwatch we are able to give the RSPB an overall view of bird numbers in the UK, and specifically from different regions.  They are then able to see which birds are in decline or species that have increased in numbers.

Here's a look at our results for this year:

Blackbird - 2
Blue Tit - 1
Goldfinch - 5
Greenfinch - 1
Robin - 2
Starling - 2
Woodpigeon - 1
Wren - 1

Friday, 28 January 2011

Holiday Countdown

It is now 2 weeks until we set off to sunny Florida for a holiday of a lifetime and I can't begin to tell you how excited I am!  It's not just our imminent Disney encounter but for me it's the whole experience.  This will be the first time we've experienced a long-haul holiday as the furthest we've travelled before is Tenerife or Majorca.  Although I'm a little nervous at the whole 7 - 9 hour flight thing, I think 3 weeks in the sunshine state (and a few glasses of vino before the flight) will make up for any anxiousness.

We've hired a villa in the city of Davenport and we're flying over with Virgin atlantic.  We have 14 day ultimate tickets to Disney and Universal with extra tickets to Sea World and the Kennedy Space Centre.  I think though, the absolute pinnacle for us will be the visit we have planned to Discovery Cove on 4th March where we have booked to swim with dolphins.  'A's favourite creature is the stingray so she is over the moon at the prospect of being able to experience these lovely fish while we're there.

As we're visiting for 3 weeks we're hoping to also slot in a visit to one of the beautiful beaches and will maybe combine this with our trip over to Kenndy.  Our Sea World and Kennedy passes also include a free return visit so hopefully we'll get to visit more than once.

I can't believe it's now only 2 weeks till we go as I feel like we've been planning this holiday forever!  I feel like my life currently consists of list upon list, checking and double checking that we've done, bought and thought of everything we need to.  We're actually off to P's brother and sister-in-laws tomorrow night for a full on disney 'heads up' as they've done the trip twice before.

There are so many things I'm looking forward to, one of which will be the new Harry Potter world at Universal Islands of Adventure.  I have to say, I've never been a good 'rides' person but believe me, I will be making sure I experience everything there is to offer while we're there, with or without sick bag!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Gallery - Mother Nature

This week's theme over at 'Sticky Fingers' is.........Mother Nature.

For this theme I thought I'd show you some of my favourite sunset pictures that were taken at Pershore, near Worcestershire.  When the children were little we used to spend many a weekend down at P's mom and dad's caravan.  It was always a lovely relaxing time when the children would play outside, ride there bikes and we'd end the day with a lovely stroll by the river.

The theme Mother Nature for me made me think of the many beautiful scenes we see everyday and as our river walk was one of these it was only right to include it.  I loved the way that Mother Nature can paint the same scene in so many different shades and colours to make it look like a completely different display each time.  I hope you can see this reflected in the pictures below.  I have to say though, the first picture is definitely my favourite with the whole landscape bathed in a beautiful orange glow.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Tuesday's Treasures - Choir memories

Thought it was about time for another of Tuesday's Treasures!

My treasure this week is a group photograph that was taken last Summer of our 'then' school choir with Jo and I.  Although we have now been running the choir at our children's primary school since January 2008 this was the first time I'd been around and available to have my photo taken with the children (we're normally away on holiday that week...........yes I know, shouldn't take them during term time blah blah blah!).

If you count up you can see there are 40 children on the photo which includes our own daughters.  Choir started up again last week and we welcomed a new batch of year 3 children along with new members from the other key stage 2 classes.  We now have the grand total of 55 - our biggest choir to date..........a much wider photo required this year I think!

PHOTO REMOVED due to request of an 'anonymous' party

Sunday, 16 January 2011

My apologetic return to blogging.........

What is it about taking a break from the blog?  A week off over Christmas, turned into a chilled fortnight, which before I knew it turned into a neglectful month!  The trouble was, the prospect of getting back into blogging became like that 'thank you' phone call you should have made a month ago that you know you still need to make but now somehow seems somewhat embarrassing as it's taken so long! (Does that makes sense?)

So, before I unleash my first post of 2011 upon you all, please accept the above ramble as my sincere apology and rest assured I am now back to full posting health!

Where to start? Well, Christmas was quiet but lovely (as always!) with Christmas Eve spent with family, Christmas Day at home and New Year at Steph and Dave's.

[caption id="attachment_494" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Hydrotherapy Pool - Lion Quays"][/caption]

P and I also had a lovely night away at Lion Quays in Chirk, Oswestry just after Christmas.  This was our first visit to Lion Quays and we were very impressed.  Our room booking included use of the main pool and gym but for an extra £15 each we were also able to use the Lion Quays Spa.  I have to say this is the nicest spa I've ever visited and our afternoon there was complete heaven.  The spa included a hydrotherapy pool, steam room, sauna, warm room, experience showers, snow cave (yes, I was brave enough to give this a try) and sun meadow.  There were also many treatment rooms, a bistro and relaxation room with complimentary herbal drinks etc.

[caption id="attachment_497" align="alignright" width="137" caption="Lion Quays"][/caption]

We ate in the main restaurant on the evening and once again we were impressed with the service and quality of the food.  Lion Quays is definitely one for the hot list and we will definitely be visiting again, hopefully in the not too distant future.  Rest assured the seed has also been planted with 'the girls' ;).

The new year routine has now kicked back into action with our first choir rehearsal for both the school and ladies choir last Tuesday.  Both went really well, especially the school choir where we now have quite a few new members.  We've introduced some new choir rules where the children compete against us as leaders to win chocolate at the end of the term.  Week one saw excellent behaviour from the children and concluded in a point to the them but I remain confident that the choir leaders, ie, us, will reign triumphant and the chocolate will be ours :).  The ladies choir went well on the whole but 'Somebody to Love' was a little rusty after the Christmas break.  A little work on this over the next couple of weeks should have it polished and ready for April's concert.

Work is steady but mainly spending our time tying up loose ends before our trip to................wait for it..................Florida! Yes, Florida!  This requires a separate post of its own, but our much awaited holiday to Florida is now only 4 weeks away and I'm so excited I could vomit!  Florida preparations to follow shortly.

An 'A' update

Couple of good bits of news for 'A'.  The dancing exam she took before Christmas saw her achieving a distinction with 82 marks overall and Friday also saw her receiving the achievement certificate at school.  Her teacher comments were that she's "an all round ray of sunshine".......awww, if only she could see her when she's screaming at her brother or unable to get out of bed each morning.  Seriously though, I am very proud of her and pleased that she's settled back in at school after a rough term before Christmas.

After being introduced to the group through one of our course delegates, she's now also joined the group Youth On Stage who put on shows twice a year in the Birmingham area.  We went to see their pantomime before Christmas and they truly were superb, especially considering they range in age from only 9 to 21.  She's loving every minute of the twice weekly rehearsals although she is struggling with the late nights.  None the less, the prospect of performing 'High School Musical' at the Old Rep in May is motivation enough to keep her going.

An 'S' update

Not much going on for 'S' at the moment although he is coming close to the crucial options choices at school.  He's decided he would like to be a sports teacher as his main love has always been sport.  He's now in the process of speaking to various teachers to assess what subjects he needs and which teachers will accept him for their subject.

So there you have it, first post of the year.  Ok, so it wasn't so painful (for me anyway) and now I've broken the blogging 'seal' I should be ok to spout off a bit more frequently.

Now for piccies..........bye for now!


Sunday, 2 January 2011

2010 in review

Just had my 2010 stats through from Wordpress and the results say not a bad start to blogging at all!  Been a little slow with my blogging over Christmas (so much going on!) promise to post within the next few days though to let you know what's been going on :).


The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here's a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2010. That's about 4 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 49 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 63 posts. There were 163 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 104mb. That's about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 1st with 114 views. The most popular post that day was 'The Gallery' - 3 Kings.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and WordPress Dashboard.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for bellatrix lestrange, young voices, young voices 2010, bellatrix harry potter, and dancers urban strides nec 2010.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

'The Gallery' - 3 Kings December 2010

'The Gallery' - Before & After Nickelodeon November 2010

'Young Voices' 2010 November 2010

About me October 2010

The Gallery - Arnold's Autumn Adventure November 2010