Lifestyle

Self Care Sunday 4th March

How is it March already! I don’t know about you but I am really looking forward to Spring, especially after this week. Like most of you we have had snow this week. And not just a little sprinkling. It started snowing here on Monday night and didn’t stop until the early hours of Saturday morning. Throughout the week we had over a foot of snow. And we also had to contend with strong winds at the end of the week which blew vast amounts of snow off the fields onto the roads causing 3ft drifts and cutting off some of the villages on the Hoo Peninsula. We were lucky in that respect, that being the first and largest village on the peninsula we escaped being cut off. But we did endure several hours of having the one main road out of the Peninsula being closed due to abandoned cars and lorries.

Now I love a bit of snow and last year I was a little disappointed not to experience snow in my first Winter living out in the Kent Countryside. We rarely used to get snow that lasted very long in London. When it did snow it would cause chaos for those of us that had to commute to work but by the end of the day most of the white stuff would have disappeared. So it was nice to have a blanket of snow for a few days especially for the first two days when I was ab,e to work at home because we closed the school. But under pressure from working parents we decided to try and get the school back open as quickly as possible and on Thursday and Friday, even though it was freezing cold and windy, we decided to open up for those parents that wanted to send their children into school. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team I had to make the effort to get into school too. It was my job to coordinate staffing and meals and to also liaise with parents. This meant that I had to walk the three miles to school because buses were not running and we couldn’t get the car out. It was an exhausting week, physically and mentally draining. You would think being at home I would have had plenty of time for a little Self Care but no. My time was spent fielding enquiries from staff and parents and making sure that regular communications were sent to everyone via social media and our parent comms system. I was up early every day and working late into the evening. I had to inspect the school grounds and also walk to the local shops after my food shopping delivery was cancelled. Honestly I really don’t know where the time went this week.

I did manage a couple of trips to the Village pub, which was packed all week. Afterall what else is there to do when you are snowed in.

Luckily I had the foresight last Summer to invest in a nice thick Parka, which has been a godsend this week. Along with my blanket scarf which is years old and the extra thick bobble hat I bought last Winter at the Dickens Festival Christmas Market. I have popped similar below.

La Redoute £70.00

The only thing I didn’t purchase on moving out of London was a new pair of wellies. Big mistake. When I retrieved mine from the shed (and yes I did check for spiders… I have made that mistake before) I realised that they were not in the best condition. I have had them for about ten years and never really thought about replacing them, because quite frankly I hardly ever wore them. But with nothing else to wear on my feet I had to make do. They did get me through the week but what I did realise is that they are not actually very warm when you are wading through deep snow.

After checking out what other locals were wearing in the snow I am not going to buy another pair of wellies, I am going to invest in a pair of snow boots instead. I have been looking around this weekend online, although I am going to wait a few weeks in the hope that I can pick a pair up in the sales. These are a few that I quite like.

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Sorel Tivoli
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Millets Alpine Brundall
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MandM Direct Karrimor Alaska
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Decathlon Quechua 
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Sports Direct Nevica St Anton

Yesterday morning the temperatures had risen to above freezing and the snow is slowly starting to melt. I took the opportunity to get outside and meet up with a couple of girlfriends for breakfast. I feel that Girls Breakfast Out could be the new Girls Night Out. We spent a good couple of hours drinking coffee and catching up and I was home before midday and with no hangover to look forward too. It’s so nice sometimes to just get out of the house and spend some time just relaxing and not thinking about work or chores.

I spent the rest of Saturday with my feet up on the sofa catching up with some of my favourite TV shows. I’m hooked on Marcella again and love Life in Pieces on Amazon. Hubby organised a curry for dinner and then I made the most of an early night.

Today I am planning on doing very little. Work will be hectic this week as I have so much to catch up on after last week’s closure. I am also going to take the opportunity to have a little pamper session. The cold weather has taken its toll on my skin and it needs a little tlc. I’m planning a hair mask, face mask and lathering myself in my favourite body lotion.

I’m also still hunting for a holiday for May half term. My husband is very picky and I haven’t found anything that he has given his nod of approval to yet. Plus we also don’t want to spend a fortune. I have come across this fab website that has some amazing deals on luxury breaks. Voyage Privé. Has anyone booked through them before? I’m always a little nervous about spending money with a company I have never used before so I would be interested to hear if anyone has had any dealings with them. Some of the offers seem a little too good to be true.

One last thing I wanted to share was a campaign I came across on Instagram following the Kardashian Weight photo. If you pop over and check out the hashtag #iweigh you will see a whole host of ladies who have posted a picture highlighting that they are so much more than what they weigh in KGs. As someone who has battled with mental health issues for years I know only too well how damaging a photo like the Kardashian one can be to someone’s self esteem. If you want to read the article that prompted the campaign. Follow this link.

Anyway that’s all from me this week. I will leave you with some of the snow pictures I took when I visited my school on Tuesday. Let’s hope this is the last we see of it for this year. Well until maybe December. I don’t mind doing it all again at Christmas time.

Have a great week. Thank you for reading.

Love

Melanie xxxx

Depression · Diary · Health & Fitness · Lifestyle · Menopause · Mental Health Awareness · Mindfulness · SAD · self care · Wellbeing

Self Care Sunday 25th February

This week has been a good week for me. I may not have had the time for my usual beauty treats but I have felt relaxed and content even without spending too much time on myself. On Sunday of last week I decided to start a week long alcohol detox. I don’t drink a huge amount and rarely touch spirits but I had noticed that alcohol had crept into my weekday evenings. I had always been a weekend drinker, it used to be because I had kids to ferry around from clubs and friends most nights during the week, so I only ever had a drink on a Friday and Saturday. But since the kids left home and we moved out from London into a Kent Village, we have found that we have the odd midweek trip to the local pub or have a glass or two in the evenings after a busy day at work. My units have been slowly creeping up and last week, when we were both on holiday from work, we drank alcohol almost every day. Whilst I’m not at the stage where I am concerned for my health (my idea of too much is probably less then most people’s) I do know that I don’t sleep as well when I have had a drink and my skin suffers from the dehydration effects of alcohol.

So I started Sunday and woke on Monday morning feeling very refreshed and started the day with a healthy smoothie which contained spinach, lime, avocado, Greek yoghurt, oats and water. Which, I had with my daily supplements. Even though I eat well I still have to take certain supplements everyday due to going through early menopause.

Each morning I take four supplements. Calcium and Vitamin D along with Omega 3, to maintain good bone density and keep my joints nice and supple. I also take Vitamin B12 as this helps combat tiredness and depression and also helps me concentrate. Since going through the menopause I find that I suffer from brain fog sometimes and my Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms are definitely worse if I don’t take the Vitamin B12 or the Vitamin D. I also occasionally take Magnesium if I am going through a period where I have disturbed sleep, which used to be a lot when in was in the middle of going through the menopause, now I am five years post menopause I find I need to take it less frequently, but I still make sure that I have a supply to hand, just in case.

I buy my supplements online at Amazon, I have been using Solgar supplements for about seven years and I find them to be very good quality. They are not the cheapest, in fact I could probably buy what I need a lot cheaper on the High Street, but I know these work for me so I would rather spend a little more.

Solgar Vitamin B12
Solgar Omega 3
Solgar Magnesium Citrate
Solgar Calcium with Vitamin D

I had a busy few days at work this week, which is nothing unusual for me and I found little time in the evenings to switch off. Even so, I stuck to my detox and ate really well this week which left me feeling a lot more energetic, so I had a very productive week at work. My week was made all the better as after months and months of working my backside off I finally had my promotion and pay rise finalised. I was tempted to celebrate with a glass of something bubbly when I got home from work on Thursday, but instead we avoided the pub and I stuck to water with my dinner. A huge achievement. I also got stuck into some more studying, which meant I actually stayed away from social media Thursday evening and most of Friday. I was so busy I didn’t miss it and it was actually quite nice to have a little digital detox.

I think I might start to unplug one night a week now. Especially as I have more studying to do and I want to find time to read some of the books I received at Christmas. I think everyone should try it. Social Media can sometimes become a little all consuming, you feel like you are missing outif you miss a day. I am sure I am not the only one who feels like this. Instagram is both my best friend and my worst enemy. It is an important tool for those of us trying to promote our blogs and I also run a daily photo challenge which means I feel that I need to have a presence each day, which can become very time consuming, but in all honesty it is good to have a break every now and again as it can also be very draining and when I am not feeling my best it also has a tendency to enhance my feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes it is impossible not to compare yourself to other people. It’s easy to forget that not everything you see on Instagram is real life and is actually often a enhanced version of someone’s life. But although I know this I still get sucked in and allow myself to feel self-conscious. Which is why I practice self-care. It is a way to remind myself that I am special regardless of how I feel I compare to other people.

A coupe of years ago I bought a fabulous little book aimed at encouraging you to enjoy the simple things in life. It is one of those coffee table books that you just dip in and out of when you feel the need. As I have been researching a lot about self care for a future blog post I am working on, I decided to pick it up the other day for a little inspiration. On Friday whilst rushing round the supermarket after work, I decided to stop and treat myself to some flowers. But not just any flowers, my favourite flowers in my favourite colour. It was quite a large bunch so I now have them in three rooms in the house, including my dressing table, which is a lovely treat for the mornings when I am getting ready for work. And they remind me to enjoy the small pleasures in life.

If you want to check out the book. You can buy here on Amazon for £8.99

This week seemed to fly by and before I knew it the weekend was here. And after six days of no alcohol I finally caved and enjoyed a couple of glasses of Prosecco on Saturday afternoon. I spent a lovely few hours with my family celebrating my great-niece’s 4th Birthday. It was the first time I had my family since before Christmas. I sometimes have a somewhat fractured relationship with my sisters, it all goes back to events from my childhood, which left me with some major insecurities, but I have been working through some of these issues and I certainly felt more relaxed on Saturday and more comfortable around my family. It was not easy being the eldest of four children and having a mum with mental health problems.

Sunday is my favourite day of the week. I normally try to get all my chores done on a Saturday so that I can just relax on a Sunday. Today was no different.

After a lie in and a lovely cup of tea in bed, my husband cooked brunch while I started trawling through the internet looking for a potential holiday for May. We both work in education and have to take our holidays during the school breaks, which is a bit of a nightmare, especially when you don’t have kids yourself. We are trying to find somewhere that isn’t family orientated as to be honest, now that we holiday without my children we don’t necessarily want to spend our holiday being surrounded by other peoples kids. Plus I spend everyday at work in the company of 400 kids aged between 3 and 10. Adult only holidays are not only hard to find but they are also quite expensive. So I have my work cut out. My search was not helped by the fact that our internet went down for the third time in two days. We were without broadband and phones for 5 hours today and in the end I couldn’t even use the data on my phone as the whole Village were obviously all trying to access the internet via 4G at the same time. So I ended up pottering around the house doing a few odd jobs, it was very frustrating though as I had planned on getting some work and studying done and typing this blog post (which has now had to be posted on a Monday). I felt completely lost without my internet fix. And there wasn’t even anything decent on TV. Which is why we rely on catch or box sets so much.

Anyway it finally came back to life at about 7pm which gave me enough time to jump on and set up a text alert to all our parents ready to send should the snow descend on us over the next few days. We have been issued with an amber weather alert for heavy snow this week. It is certainly freezing cold, but we will wait to see if the weather report is correct. It rarely is.

So that was my week. I’m trying for another week of zero alcohol and I’m in the last two weeks of Cycle 1 of my Bodycoach 90 Day Plan. Next week will be the big reveal in terms of what I have lost. I’m keeping it a secret until then so check back next week for the update.

Have a lovely week and thanks for reading my post.

Love

Melanie xxxx

Depression · Diary · Health & Fitness · Lifestyle · Mental Health Awareness · Mindfulness · SAD · self care · Wellbeing

Self Care Sunday 18th February

Where did that last week go? Oh of course, it’s half term, I had most of the week off work, so true to form, the week disappeared in a flash. I really am not ready to go back to work tomorrow. I have been having far too much fun this week.

It has been a fabulous week, with plenty of self-care time and quality time with my husband.

I got off to a good start, Monday was one of my days off work so I made the most of being at home and the sunny weather. After my first kettlebell workout in months I took myself outside for a two mile walk around my Village. I am desperate to get back to the gym and circuit classes and weight training but my ankle is still not as strong as it should be. It has taken months for me to feel confident enough to start exercising. Ligament injuries do not heal quickly. I have been trying to follow the Bodycoach 90 Day Plan but illness has made it almost impossible to stick to any fitness routine. I have felt better this week so I am hoping that this virus that I picked up at the beginning of the year has finally moved on.

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in school working. And I am so glad I picked those two days as the weather was awful. Then hey presto the rest of the week was warm and sunny. It doesn’t normally work out that way does it? Someone must have been smiling down on me.

Wednesday was of course Valentines Day. We don’t celebrate it. If I am honest I don.t really agree with it. But that’s just my opinion and I don’t have a problem with other people celebrating. My husband and I work at making sure we do not take each other for granted. My husband is very good at making me feel loved all year round. It’s the everyday little things that matter to us. We don’t need the cards, flowers, presents or overpriced meal out. So as a way to participate in the day we decided to pop down to our local pub for a drink (the first of many this week). They were holding a anti-valentines night. I was expecting it to be quiet. But much to my surprise the pub was packed and full of middle-aged couples like us. We ended up having a great night chatting and drinking beer with friends. I did, however do a little nod to the day of romance, by adding a bit of pink to my outfit. The flowers in the photo below are very special to me. It is my bouquet, which I made myself, from my wedding 2 1/2 years ago. They take pride of place in my dressing room so I see them every morning when I get ready for the day.

On Thursday we decided to venture out for a spot of retail therapy for the house. I did want to go to Ikea but my husband broke his toe last week so cannot walk too much. So opted to stay local and ended up in The Range, one of my favourite stores for homeware. I picked up a few items for the bathroom, which is nearly finished. I can’t wait to get to the styling stage where I can faff with all the lovely accessories I have bought. We also bought new blinds for the whole house. A bargain though. Three 6 ft blinds and six 3 ft blinds for just over £100. Obviously no shopping trip is complete without a spot of lunch. So we popped into Chimichanga for Burger and Cheesecake. They do a really good lunch menu. Two courses for £10.50. You really can’t go wrong with that. And if you are in a Mexican restaurant it would be rude not to have beer with lime. It took me back to the late 1980’s when I worked in London and our favourite night out was beer and tequila in a fabulous restaurant just off Regent Street called “Break for the Border”. Many a hangover was caused by that place.

Friday night was Date Night. Once a month we try to have a proper night out. Not the local pub. Usually we go out for a nice meal or take a trip to London. This month we decided to use a Cineworld Gift we received for Christmas. A trip to the cinema is a rarity for us, much to my husbands disappointment as he is a big film fan. The reason we don’t go is because to the cinema is because I struggle to sit still in one place for too long. It is a real problem for me. About 45 mins into a film I start to get fidgety and then completely lose concentration, sometimes I even fall asleep (and I have been known to snore – very embarrassing). We tend to try and get to the cinema at least once a year though, but we have to pick the film carefully. To be honest musicals tend to feature very heavily. The last three cinema trips have been to see La La Land, Jersey Boys and Sweeny Todd. And this trip was no different. We went to see The Greatest Showman. Which I have to say was a fantastic film. I was transfixed. No fidgeting or heavy sighing. I stayed put until the very end. If you haven’t seen it I can totally recommend it.

After the film we popped over to one of the nearby restaurants for food and cocktails. How pleased was I to find out that they have a late Happy Hour. So of course I took full advantage. The food was amazing and a great night was made even better when the couple at the next table told us that if we downloaded the restaurants app you could get 50% off the food bill immediately. Bloody brilliant. A three course meal, cocktails and a beer for hubby came to less than £30.

After the excesses of the previous few days we decided to spend a day at home on Friday. Hubby busied himself putting up the new blinds while I spent a few hours trying to clear my ironing pile and writing a couple of blog posts. I also made the most of the sunshine on both Friday and Saturday by getting out for a four mile walk/gentle run. I extended my route to include the local Marina. And made the most of just sitting for ten minutes watching the little sailing boats. I love being near the water. It always makes me feel so calm. Maybe it has something to do with being a water sign.

Saturday Night was another night out at our local pub. We were showing our support for their first ever Quiz Night. And we also love a good general knowledge quiz. I wasn’t holding out much hope of doing particularly well. We went along with three other couples, who like us enjoy a drink. So imagine my surprise when our team or four won. I think it was only down to the fact that they didn’t ask any sports questions or anything about modern music. We won a cash prize too which was enough for a couple of rounds of drinks. We left before things got too messy though. I really didn’t want to be nursing a hangover on my last day off work.

This morning I had a little lie in and enjoyed a cup of tea in bed. I feel completely shattered. We have had such a busy week. It’s rare that I get more than a day or two off work during half terms and when I do I usually just want to curl up in front of the TV. Especially at this time of year, as I am normally feeling low and suffering from quite bad Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms. This Winter has been one of my better years. We went away to sunnier climes at Christmas and this always helps alleviate my symptoms. Despite having an ongoing illness, I haven’t felt depressed or lethargic or wanted to hide away from the world. I have also been taking better care of my mental health, spending more time practising self-care. This may be helping me in some way. I think it has definitely made me more conscious about the need to be kind to myself and take time to enjoy the little things that make me happy. To help me with my quest for a calmer, healthier life, I started reading this book at the beginning of the week. I am really enjoying it. I’m not going to give away too much now as I will write a review when I have finished it and post it on the blog.

Anyway, back to today. When I eventually got out of bed I spent the rest of the morning busying myself with household chores, food prep and getting everything ready for work tomorrow. And after a little pamper session where I had both a face mask and hair mask I am now sitting down for the rest of the afternoon. I am planning on writing a couple of blog posts, doing a little reading and then one of my favourite tasks….meal planning. Later we will have a roast dinner and find a movie on Netflix that we can watch together, although to be honest this normally results in him watching the movie and me half watching the movie while flicking through a book or social media… I do know better though, not to ask what is happening in the film.

I hope you all have had a fabulous week and are enjoying a restful Sunday. I’m trying not to think of my week ahead. The first week of any term is always a little stressful. And its nearly the end of the financial year so I have a mountain of work approaching plus the next module in my School Business Manager course starts tomorrow with a web tutorial at 6pm. This time I will not procrastinate and leave all the studying until the last minute…. Who am I kidding !!

Thank you for reading.

Love

Melanie xxxx

Lifestyle

Colourful La Redoute Sale Picks

The onset of Spring ignites our desire to add some new season clothes to our wardrobes and embrace some colour. I don’t know about you but I don’t have a bottomless bank account. So I always look for ways to add key trends while saving money. Spring & Summer 2018 seems to be all about colour. So with this in mind I have picked out a few ideas from the sale section at La Redoute. They have 70% off most items with a further 10% if you use the code EXTRA10. I have ordered a couple of the items below and I have noticed that there are limited sizes on some items, so if anything takes you fancy then pop over to the La Redoute website. Link Here.

RED

Red Leather Biker Jacket £99.50 (was £199.00)
Backless Jumpsuit £41.40 (was £69.00)
Kimono Dress £23.60 (was £59.00)
Satin Feel Blouse £10.00 (was £25.00)
Red Wide Leg Trousers £14.50 (was £29.00)

 

Red Floral Wrap Dress £24.50 (was £49.00)

 

BLUE

Navy version of the Red Floral Wrap Dress (Above)
Turquoise Addidas Gazelle Trainers £60.00 (was £75.00)
Blue Vero Moda Polka Dot Blouse £21.00 (was £35.00)
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Blue Star Print Blouse £9.50 (was £19.00)

 

GREEN

Green Tropical Print Shift Dress £21.00 (was £35.00)
Green Floral Kimono Dress £29.50 (was £59.00)
Khaki Jumpsuit £34.50 (was £69.00)

 

CITRUS

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Multi-Coloured Court Shoes £14.00 (was £35.00)
Across Body Clutch Bag £15.00 (was £26.00)
Yellow Graphic Print Wedges £19.50 (was £39.00)

 

PINK

Magenta Ruffle Jumper £11.70 (was £39.00)
Pink Converse High Top Trainers £45.50 (was £65.00)

 

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Pink Print Blouse with puff sleeves £10.00 (was £25.00)

 

There is plenty more on offer on the website but the extra 10% offer ends on Monday.

I would love to hear if you manage to bag yourself a bargain.

Thanks for reading.

Love

Melanie xxxx