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

Self Care Sunday 21st January

This week was one of those hectic weeks that quite often lead to me neglecting myself. Work was extra busy this week with government returns to process, a training day and about a dozen meetings. All on top of my normal workload. I also had to commit some time to my studies this week. My assignments are due to be submitted in a couple of weeks and I have three 5000 word essays to complete. When will I learn not to leave these things until the last minute.

Anyway I promised myself this year I would make self-care a priority, even during the busiest times at work.

I started the week off with an early night. I do love the dark Winter nights, it is the perfect excuse to get into my pjs, pop on a face mask and get into bed to watch TV or read something lighthearted such as this book, which is one of those great little inspirational books that you can dip in and out of. Each page has a different quote to inspire you. The book is available at Amazon. I try to do this at least once a week and get to sleep before 10.30pm. If I’m not feeling particularly sleepy I swear by Sleeptherapy pillow sprays from Avon, I have used them for years.

Also on Monday I started the new Bodycoach 90 Day Plan after being offered it for free. Joe Wickes has kindly offered all of those people who competed and graduated from his first plan the opportunity to do his second personalised plan free of charge. Of course I jumped at the chance. I had great success on the first plan back in 2916, losing one and half stone and dropping two dress sizes. I have since put on half a stone and am back to a size 10/12 due to not being able to exercise for the last 5 months following an injury to my foot. I started the workouts on Tuesday morning and really felt the pain later in the day. It’s been a bit of a struggle getting up and down the stairs all week but it has been a while since I did this level of exercise.

The first half of the week was a little challenging at work. I had to deal with a couple of staff issues which saw me having to reprimand a couple of members of staff. Not something that comes easily to me but it’s part and parcel of being a senior manager. I was pretty stressed out and feeling very low when I got home from work Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m lucky that my husband is great at looking after me when I feel down and he took over cooking dinner while I treated myself to a luxurious shower with another product from my monthly Birchbox.

I have to say I don’t think I have ever used such a lush shower gel. It is so creamy and smells divine. My skin felt so silky afterwards. One word of advice if you go and get this product is you only need a tiny amount. It comes out of the pump as a clear gel but as soon as you rub it in it turns to a gorgeous creamy foam. You can purchase this Shower Foam at www.rituals.com

Thursday was a long day at work. It was Spring Census Day. It is the day that all schools have to produce various governments returns and each school has a specific time to run their report and there are always errors and queries to resolve before it can be submitted to the Department of Education. The return is used to formulate some of our funding so it is really important that the data is correct. After such a busy day I didn’t feel like cooking so my husband took me to one of our local pubs for dinner. It was freezing cold so I took the opportunity to wear my favourite big cosy jumper from Next. This really is a fabulous knit at a very reasonable price. Unfortunately it is no longer available online but I have seen it in store in other colours.

Because I had been really good with my diet all week and I had stuck to the no sugar, reduced caffeine rule of the 90 Day Plan all week I decided to have a little Friday night treat. I used the Black Forest Hot Chocolate powder that was in my Christmas stocking, for the first time. It was an interesting flavour and if you are looking for a hot drink which is a little different then it might be worth a try. I can’t find the powder available to buy at the moment, it may a Christmas product but you can purchase Black Forest syrup at Amazon.

My Friday night treat set me up nicely for the weekend. Saturday morning was taken up with normal weekly chores of cleaning and ironing. Normally on a Saturday evening we would either pop to our local pub for a drink or have a Netflix and takeaway night. This week we had arranged to drive across Kent to meet up with my husband’s Sister and Brother-in-Law. We hadn’t seen them since last Summer. We both have busy lives, full time jobs, kids and houses that we are renovating, so we only ever seem to catch up at family gatherings. This time we met up at a lovely country pub in Westerham It was the first time the four of us had been out without kids in tow and we had a really great time. If you are ever in this area check out the Aperfield Inn. Very cosy, amazing food and fantastic customer service. We all enjoyed ourselves so much we are planning to do it again soon.

Sunday is my favourite day of the week. It always has been. When my husband and I were first dating, we would have every other Sunday to ourselves because my children would be at their dads for the weekend. We used to make the most of it by having a lazy day. We would stay in bed all morning, reading the newspapers, eating bacon sandwiches and drinking coffee. The afternoons would have been spent on the sofa watching a movie while a roast dinner cooked.

Today we did much the same, minus the newspapers as they just make me angry now. But we stayed in bed late drinking coffee. Then instead of cooking bacon sandwiches at home we wrapped up warm and walked to the Marina in the sleety snow, stopping at the old fashioned river side cafe for a cooked breakfast.

On the walk home we stopped at the Co-op in our Village square for roast dinner ingredients. The rest of the day will be spent on the sofa under the blanket. Hubby watching movies while I catch up with social media, write a couple of blog posts and indulge in some online shopping, I wont be buying anything exciting… just food and toiletries.

So there goes another hectic week. The week ahead should be a little calmer at work, but I have a lot of studying to catch up on so I’m still going to be busy. I will still make sure that I fit in a little self-care though as I am finding that I really look forward to it now. It is slowly becoming part of my daily routine.

I hope you have had a good week and don’t forget to make some time for the things that bring you joy.

Thank you for reading.

Melanie xxxx

Week 3 (Sculpt & Tone) – THRIVE DIARY

The first day of my final week of the Sculpt & Tone Stage was an epic fail. I woke up late, hungover from an impromptu Sunday evening party in my local pub. All good intentions to get off to a good start went completely out of the window. I spent most of the day either in bed or on the sofa.

Tuesday was a little better but to be honest I struggled at the beginning of the week. The weather was awful and my mood was low. I almost felt like I had a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is something I have suffered of for as long as I can remember.

I did manage to force myself to exercise on Wednesday. Only a short Yoga session at home but it was better than nothing and helped lift my mood. The rest of the week I felt a little better and getting out of the house to meet with a friend was the best medicine. 

Saturday I made sure I ate well during the day and worked out in the morning to make up for the fact that I had a night out planned with my Sister and her Husband, who were coming to stay. We went out for dinner at a local Indian Restaurant and then onto our Village pub for an Ibiza Party Night. Too much to drink again. But no hangover on Sunday thankfully.

It has been difficult keeping on plan during the holidays and I feel that I have let myself down a few times. So as I have several events this week, including an all inclusive weekend away, I am going to take the pressure off myself and take a little break from my plan. I am going to give myself a little holiday and allow myself to relax, have fun and enjoy a little over-indulgence. It is just as important to know when you need to step out of a routine and relax. I think it will do me good to have a little holiday and to come back refreshed and remotivated. 


MONDAY 7th AUGUST

Movement - Rest Day
Steps - 1,930
Breakfast - Banana Smoothie
Lunch - Beans on Toast
Dinner - Cold Gammon, Fried Egg & Chips
Snacks - None
Wellness/Beauty - Mini Facial with Liz Earle Products

TUESDAY 8th AUGUST

Movement - Rest Day
Steps - 9,380
Breakfast - Banana Smoothie
Lunch - Courghetti Bolognaise
Dinner - "Picnic on a Plate"
Snacks - Hnadful of Mixed Nuts
Wellness/Beauty - Spending the Day with my Son

WEDNESDAY 9th AUGUST

Movement - 20 mins Yoga (Barbara Currie Power of Yoga DVD)
Steps - 2,005
Breakfast - Slice Wholemeal Toast with Ham, Avocado & Poached a Egg
Lunch - Avocado & Lime Smoothie
Dinner - Grilled Pork Chop with Beetroot & Feta Salad
Snacks - 1/2 Packet of Haribo Sweets & Glass of Prosecco
Wellness/Beauty - 10 min Meditation (Calm App on i-phone)

THURSDAY 10th AUGUST

Movement - 10 Mins Kettlebell Circuit
Steps - 9,595
Breakfast - 2 Slices Bacon, Fried Egg, Beans & Wholemeal Toast
Lunch - None as I had a late Breakfast
Dinner - Grilled Chicken & Salad & Pitta Bread
Snacks - Large Latte & Bakewell Tart
Wellness/Beauty - Coffee & Cake with a friend

FRIDAY 11th AUGUST

Movement - 5 km walk
Steps - 13,590
Breakfast - Avocado & Lime Smoothie
Lunch - Grilled Halloumi & Chorizo followed by Chicken Burrito
Dinner - Chicken & Vegetable Chow Mein
Snacks - 1/2 Packet of Haribo Sweets & Glass of Prosecco
Wellness/Beauty - Manicure

SATURDAY 12th AUGUST

Movement - Bodycoach 20 min HIIT workout
Steps - 14,450
Breakfast - Scrambled Eggs with Spinach & Tomato
Lunch - Fruit Smoothie
Dinner - Meal Out at Indian Restaurant
Snacks - None but had several drinks throughout the evening
Wellness/Beauty - Liz Earle Intensive Nourishing Face Mask

SUNDAY 13th AUGUST

Movement - Rest Day
Steps - 4,675
Breakfast - Full English
Lunch - None
Dinner - Roast Beef, Roast Potatoes, Broccoli, Asparagus & Carrots
Snacks - Lemon Cheesecake
Wellness/Beauty - Early Night

So I will be back with my Diary in two weeks after a little break from my plan.
Enjoy the Sunshine that is meant to be on the way.

Thank you for reading.

Love

Melanie xxxx

Week 2 (Sculpt & Tone) – THRIVE DIARY

Week 2 was a week of two halves. The start of the week was good. Eating well and fitting in plenty of exercise. Then from Friday onwards all good intentions went out the window.

Friday was my second Wedding Anniversary and as we were both off work we had planned an indulgent day out in London. In the morning we did a little shopping in Covent Garden and met friends for coffee, then we walked along the Southbank and enjoyed a late lunch on the 31st Floor of the Shard, followed by drinks in a couple of bars in the London Bridge area before jumping on a train home at a very respectable 9pm. Saturday was a lazy day. Luckily I didn’t have a hangover but I was very tired. So much so I fell asleep on the sofa at 8pm. Sunday wasn’t much better in the end either. I woke late after over 10hrs sleep and as I still felt exhausted I skipped the gym and spent the morning on the sofa. I finally found enough energy to do a little yoga session before heading off to our local pub for more celebrations late afternoon. Epic fail on the alcohol consumption this week.

I am hoping the final week of this Sculpt and Tone stage is better. I have no lunches/dinners or drinks planned until Saturday and I am off work for the whole week along with my husband. So we have plenty of time to fit in exercise.

My biggest challenge this next week will be to not eat and snack out of boredom. I have a very busy demanding job and not doing anything for the whole week is going to be difficult for me. Although my husband reckons he can find me a few jobs to do if I get too bored !!

MONDAY 31st JULY

Movement - Walk 5 km
Steps - 26,390
Breakfast - Frankie & Benny's Vegetarian Breakfast
Lunch - Small portion of Chips while out shopping
Dinner - Grilled Chicken, Salad with Chilli Dressing and Pitta Bread
Snacks - No snacks but 2 x Lattes and 2 x Beers while out shopping
Wellness/Beauty - A Day Out with my husband

TUESDAY 1st AUGUST

Movement - 30 Mins Dynamic Yoga (Jillian Michaels Yoga Burn)
Steps - 7,440
Breakfast - Bagel filled with Hard Boiled Egg, Ham and Spinach
Lunch - Wholemeal Wrap filled with 
Dinner - Moroccan Spiced Kofta, Grilled Halloumi, Spinach Salad & Coleslaw
Snacks - Handful of Mixed Nuts
Wellness/Beauty - Hair Colour, Haircut & Blow Dry

WEDNESDAY 2nd AUGUST

Movement - Rest Day
Steps - 9,430
Breakfast - Danish Pastry
Lunch - Pineapple Smoothie
Dinner - Peri Peri Chicken, Sweet Potato Mash & Green Veg 
Snacks - Feta Cheese sprinkled on Dinner & Chocolate Mousse
Wellness/Beauty - Liz Earle Deep Cleansing Mask

THURSDAY 3rd AUGUST

Movement - (Gym AM) 10 mins cardio on Bike, 30 mins Resistance Machines 
           and 7 km walk in the evening
Steps - 15,660
Breakfast - Mushroom, Tomato & Feta Omelette
Lunch - Pineapple Smoothie with 1 scoop of Protein Powder
Dinner - Sticky Soy Salmon, Griddled Aubergine & Green Veg
Snacks - Handful of Mixed Nuts
Wellness/Beauty - Manicure & Pedicure

FRIDAY 4th AUGUST

Movement - Walking around London (in heels)
Steps - 10,670
Breakfast - Sausage Sandwich
Lunch - 3 Course Meal at Aqua Shard including 
Starter - Dug Leg & Heart with Green Salad topped with a Poached Duck Egg
Main - Pork Rib Eye with Crispy Crackling, Apple Gel, Rainbow Chard and New Potaotes
Dessert - Raspberry Fool topped with Whipped Cream and Pistachios
Dinner - Mushroom Omelette 
Snacks - None but drank 1 glass of Rose, 2 Pints Czech Lager and 1 Aperol Spritz
Wellness/Beauty - Celebrating my Wedding Anniversary with my husband

SATURDAY 5th AUGUST

Movement - Rest Day
Steps - 3,220
Breakfast - 1/2 Tin Beans on a slice of Wholemeal Toast
Lunch - 2 x Rye Crackers with Garlic & Herb Soft Cheese
Dinner - Mixed Grill (1 Chicken Thigh, 2 Sausages, 1 Homemade Chilli Burger) 
         with Spinach Salad, Avocado, Halloumi and Coleslaw
Snacks - 1 Handful of Mixed Nuts
Wellness/Beauty - Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask

SUNDAY 6th AUGUST

Movement - 15 mins Yoga (Barbara Currie Power of Yoga DVD)
Steps - 9,615
Breakfast - Sausage & Scrambled Egg with fresh Tomatoes & Feta
Lunch - Avocado & Lime Smoothie
Dinner - Slow Cooked Gammon, Dry Roasted Potatoes, Steamed Green Veg
Snacks - 4 Pints of Beer
Wellness/Beauty - Drinks with friends

I am disappointed that this week ended so badly but I need to just pick myself and start over and make sure I do things better this coming week. I don’t think I will have made any progress this week either. I am trying to avoid jumping on the scales as it’s likely that I will have put on a couple of pounds and knowing this will only diminish my motivation. As they say, “Ignorance is Bliss”.

Thank you for reading.

Melanie xxxx