Mama OWL Blog: January 2012

#Mumentum / Free Skinny Me (Week Three)

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A day late, sorry! I was busy with housework, groceries and exercising yesterday and today I have woken up with a stinking cold... But asides from that I am feeling good, people. The start of the third week and I am surprised at how much I am actually enjoying this. I have successfully completed seven days of my exercise program (should have been eight by now but I missed a day because I simply could not fit it in). Today will be day eight and as soon as little miss nods off I will be on it.

I have lost 1.2lb this week, I wasn't expecting a big loss on the scales but I have also lost 1 inch off each thigh, 1 inch off my waist AND 1 inch off my hips which is fantastic progress, I am thrilled. So I am at a total loss of 9.6lb so far.

I can slip easily in to the pair of jeans I couldn't get over my thighs at the beginning of January. I bought them from DP in the sale at a bargain price of £4.30 (including delivery!), so imagine my despair when I couldn't get them on! I wanted to cry. Now however they are up, over and buttoned and I am very pleased indeed.

Yesterday I had a massive craving for a Cadbury's caramel. I think that was more to do with other reasons than to do with my diet or exercise and in a couple days the craving should pass. It happens, what can I say haha, but I resisted the urge to go and buy a massive bar and nom my way through it. I also haven't had any Pepsi Max for three days now, which is HUGE because I was all but addicted to the stuff. Lots and lots of water and the odd coffee & cream have taken its place.

That's all for now, see you in a week!

Meal Plan Monday

Monday, 30 January 2012

Monday 30th January - Brinner

Tuesday 31st January - Beef Casserole

Wednesday 1st February - Baked Cannelloni

Thursday 2nd February - Gammon with egg, home-made chips and vegetables

Friday 3rd February - Chicken Fajitas with nachos

Saturday 4th February - PIP (pizza, ice-cream & popcorn) NIGHT in honour of Joshua's birthday (5th Feb)

Sunday 5th February - Roast, with birthday cake for dessert

#Listography - Top 5 Websites

Monday, 30 January 2012

Over at Kate Takes 5 this week's Listography topic is your
Top 5 Most Commonly Used Websites
so here are mine!

1. Facebook
Via my phone usually, when being held hostage under a sleeping child, or sitting in the kitchen waiting for the oven to bleep at me. I chose this 'cover photo' on the new timeline as I don't like they are all public by default.

2. Blogger
Of course, otherwise I wouldn't be here now! I don't have a dashboard for this blog, as according to Blogger it doesn't exist, despite the fact that it clearly does. I have sent several messages asking them to fix it, and have never once had a reply.

3. Topcashback
I love this site, I have saved over £300 in the last couple of years that I have been using it. I save it up on all of my online purchases (including utilities and insurances) and then use it for birthdays or Christmas, whatever occasion is coming up that requires it! Free to sign up, no annual fee and pay-outs are free of charge and done via Paypal, BACS transfer or Amazon vouchers. You can check it out BY CLICKING HERE.

4. Pinterest
I am obsessed. I pin everything. It is stiff competition for Facebook in the 'waste your time' website list, but it IS fabulous and has lots of great ideas to browse through. Come follow me!

5. Etsy
Last but not least, the lovely Etsy, home of all things handmade and beautiful. I love just browsing around this site, looking at all the pretty things (and wanting almost every single one).

#R2BC - Reasons to be cheerful... 1, 2, 3

Friday, 27 January 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
Head over to Mummy From The Heart to see the winners of the January giveaway!
Have YOU won? Because *I* have!

1. I have won AGAIN! I think I should buy a lottery ticket tonight as I have been on a winning streak lately, I am never this lucky so I am thrilled! Back in November I won Dino Bite from Larger Family Life, and this week I have won a Fitness DVD from a random online thing I entered, a pack of three Skylanders from Kate Takes 5, and now a beauty hamper from Mummy From The Heart! YAY! Thanks so much to the lovely ladies who ran the competitions/giveaways and to the PR companies, very much appreciated.

MY PRIZE from Mummy From The Heart - A stunning beauty hamper containing over £100 of products. A Sheer Cover Deluxe VIP make up set containing 2 x Mineral Foundation in two shades (4g each), Duo Concealer in two shades (3g), Extra-Length Mascara (9ml), Base Perfector (15ml) , Sheer Cover Studio Foundation Brush, Sheer Cover Studio Concealer Brush and Sheer Cover® Sophisticate Palette. Also WEN Volumising Treatment Spray and Re-Moist Hair Treatment and finally Proactive green tea moisturiser.

2. New Year/New Me is going very well. I have kept up my exercise daily so far and not missed a day, so today will be day five. I have yet to do it today but plan to as soon as little miss E takes her nap so I can do it without tripping over her. She tries to join in with me, it is super cute. I have also not cheated on LCHF, so all is going well and I am feeling great. I am not expecting a massive loss on the scales this week as I have been exercising so much, so I will be checking inch loss too.

3. We have booked our family holiday. Thanks to The Sun, which means we haven't had to pay an arm and a leg to have a long weekend away together. We're off to Torquay this time, we went on a Sun holiday before to the Isle of Wight and had a lovely time, so we are all very much looking forward to getting away as a family and having a great time together! We are planning our day trips and activities, the kids are SO excited and so am I, it's been a while since we have managed to get away with the husband becoming self-employed so it will be very well deserved, I can't wait!

WOOHOO I have won again!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

After winning the Dino Bite game at the end of last year from Larger Family Life, I have just received a tweet (well, five hours ago but Twitter doesn't ever notify me of mentions or tweets!) from Kate Takes 5 to inform me that I was one of the lucky winners from her Skylanders giveaway, and have won the characters Hex, Dino-rang and Wrecking Ball!

Logan and Harrison are absolutely thrilled! Thanks very much to Kate and to the PR company, you have made two little boys very happy indeed!

#Mumentum / Free Skinny Me (Week Two)

Monday, 23 January 2012

What can I say besides WOW. First week of LCHF and I am 8.4lb lighter. I haven't weighed myself this morning as I weighed myself yesterday, so for accuracy I am going by yesterday's weigh-in and will stick to Sundays ready for my Monday update, I have decided.

More importantly than the pounds, I feeling really good. I'm haven't had any 'crashes' mid-afternoon like I normally get, where I am so tired I am struggling to keep my eyes open when preparing dinner. Still no chocolate cravings, no hunger in the evenings after meals, staying fuller for longer. I have noticed that I am more thirsty, and have been drinking loads of water. And also, no more bloated belly! That's been the most noticeable thing for me, it is almost like my bum/belly/thighs have deflated, it's fantastic! I realise that such a big drop is also from water retention, but it feels great to not have to squeeze into my jeans any more. Eventually I am hoping I will be able to get some new ones in a smaller size hehe.

My evening meals this week have been mostly made up using selected ingredients from the meals I have made for the family so it hasn't been extra work. For example, on Monday they had cottage pie, so I kept back some mince for myself and made burgers which I had with loads of veg and a 'lettuce bun' and on Tuesday I had a vegetable & bacon stir-fry topped with cheese... that sort of thing. It's been very easy to follow and I have always been satisfied after.

I started my exercise today too, and took some pictures that I *can* share on the blog haha, but I will wait until I have some "before and after" to show at the same time (which will be in a month). It was a great workout, I nearly vomited lol but I feel great right now so it must have done me some good! I know I will feel it tomorrow but I have to keep it going and do it every day.

So I am very pleased to report a successful first week, long may it continue!

Meal Plan Monday

Monday, 23 January 2012

Monday 23rd January - Brinner

Tuesday 24th January - Rigatoni alla amatriciana

Wednesday 25th January - Baked potatoes with cheese, baked beans & coleslaw

Thursday 26th January - Toad in the hole with mashed potato & vegetables

Friday 27th January - Chicken Fajitas with nachos

Saturday 28th January - Homemade burgers & chips with salad

Sunday 29th January - Roast Gammon with mashed potato, roast potatoes, mixed vegetables, onion rings and yorkshire puddings served with gravy

#R2BC - Reasons to be cheerful... 1, 2, 3

Friday, 20 January 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

It's that time again! And don't forgot to pop across to the home of this fab linky to read the lovely Michelle's blog.

1. I am LOVING this new style of eating. I can't believe the difference I feel in myself. My skin is clearer and more supple, the weight is falling off, the meals are filling me up for longer meaning I am not snacking, my intense cravings for chocolate have all but disappeared, I'm not bloated any more, I feel GREAT. I have only had a touch of a headache (from carb withdrawal I guess) which lasted only a day so, so far so good! I plan on following this for at least a month, and if it goes well (which as of the moment it is) I am going to be sticking to this for good. There is more information here if you are interested in reading up on it.

2. It's FRIDAY. Gosh this week has seemed to drag, it felt like Friday was never going to come. Tonight we're having Fajitas (of course) and family game night, and will be playing Hasbro Family Game Night on the Wii. I'm really looking forward to spending quality time with my wee ones!

3. Our first 'coffee morning' was a success! I created a group on Facebook and invited some friends to my house for tea/coffee & cake/biscuits (I made a lemon drizzle sheet cake for them, which I of course couldn't eat, but everyone else seemed to enjoy including my kids who managed to pilfer several slices of it!) with their toddlers & babies. There were five of us for this first one, and I had a really nice time. The toddlers were all immaculately behaved and played & shared so nicely together, and it was really nice to just sit and chat with grown ups. Erica really enjoyed it and shared all of her toys so well, I am so proud of her. I am really looking forward to having another meet up very soon!

4. I have to add a fourth this week. And it's a bit of a brag I have to warn you because I am SO proud of Alicia. Last night we went to her Year 9 Options evening at her school to visit her teachers and collect her options form for her GCSEs. They have divided the groups in to pink, green and yellow in order of ability and she is in the pink group which is the pathway for more academic subjects, and her teachers were singing her praises. When we got home we discussed what she wants to do after her GCSEs and she has a very clear career path in mind, and is on track to achieve it. She is already working at GCSE level in some subjects and has had several notes and certificates home to congratulate her on her hard work and great attitude to school. She's a star! Not to forget the boys, I have had "well done" notes home for all of them this week for reading (Logan), maths (Joshua) and writing (Harrison). They are fantastic kids, I am so lucky to have them.

Tuesday Tea & Sympathy

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

(to learn more about this linky go visit 'Here Come the Girls' > here)

My fridge freezer has decided it is going to play silly beggars. This morning I found it overheating and all of my perishables basking in a balmy 24 degrees... JOY!

It went up to 30, and has been yo-yoing all day, from 11 degrees back up to 30 again. I have bagged up all the groceries that arrived yesterday (of course, this would never have happened at the weekend when the fridge is starting to need replenishing), covered them and put them in a box and put them in the garden. Never have I been so thankful that it is Winter. At least the freezer half still appears to be working... *touch wood*

And so now, the hunt for a new fridge freezer begins. Just what I needed so soon after Christmas.


Cheesy Broccoli & Penne Bake [Recipe]

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Serves 4
Ready in about 55 minutes
Syns per serving EE - Free* Green - Free*
(* add 6 syns if not using the Cheddar cheese as a healthy extra)

11oz/312g dried penne pasta
1lb 2oz/511g broccoli florets
Fry Light
1 medium onion, sliced
7oz/198g cherry tomatoes, halved
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 large eggs
7oz/198g cottage cheese with onion & chives
Salt & pepper
4 tbsp dried parsley
4oz/113g Cheddar cheese, grated
  1. Preheat your oven to 200c/400f/GM6. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, adding the broccoli for the final 3 minutes of cooking time. Drain and set aside.
  2. Spray a heavy-based frying pan with fry light and place over a medium high heat. Add the onion and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the pasta and broccoli mix and the cherry tomatoes. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes then transfer to an ovenproof dish.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, eggs and cottage cheese until smooth. Season and add the parsley. Pour the mixture over the pasta and toss together. Sprinkle over the cheddar cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the mixture has just set. Finish with a twist of black pepper and serve.

#Mumentum / Free Skinny Me (Week One)

Monday, 16 January 2012


I have previously mentioned that I am kick-starting a new me for the new year. So far so good, however the batteries have died in my scale (of course, just when I plan to start using them again, should have seen that coming a mile off) and so I cannot weigh myself. I have been almost angelic in my efforts thus far and I can definitely see and feel a difference already.

BUT (and I have a big butt)...

After some research and some handy hints & advice from one of my friends, I am going to go about this in an entirely different way. It's not a 'diet', because if this works for me I intend to do this indefinitely. I am going to start this almost as a trial, for the next month I am going to follow this style of eating and stick to it, and see not only whether it brings weight loss (which would be a bonus) but also to see if it rids me of the bloated, heavy, sluggish feeling I seem to have had constantly for a good few months. I want to feel BETTER not just slimmer. It's about feeling good, as well as looking good. In addition to this I have chosen a fitness regime, and will be doing that too.

I'm not even going to attempt to explain the diet because I am new to this and still learning and I don't want to give out wrong information, but there are some great links and videos on youtube, and websites that will explain it better than I ever could.

I have made a little ticker which is on that <<< side of my blog, and I have also taken my measurements and some photographs (of me in my underwear, which I will not be sharing haha. I might take some clothed ones for the purpose of my blog). I'm really looking forward to seeing how this goes.

(Note: The meal plans I am posting are still valid, that is what I will be cooking for the family, just adjusting it to suit me. And the funniest thing I noticed after my first dinner last night, an hour later I would normally have gotten intense cravings for chocolate, and maybe a couple of hours later I would have been hungry again, I didn't get that at ALL last night. A great start!)

LilySlim Weight loss tickers

Meal Plan Monday

Monday, 16 January 2012

Monday 16th January - Cottage Pie

Tuesday 17th January - Cheesy broccoli and penne bake

Wednesday 18th January - Turkey, bacon & thyme hotpot with mashed potato and carrots

Thursday 19th January -Cod in parsley sauce with vegetables & homemade chips

Friday 20th January - Chicken Fajitas

Saturday 21st January - Baked Cannelloni

Sunday 22nd January - Roast pork with roast potatoes, mashed potato, yorkshire puddings, mixed vegetables and gravy

Our Favourite Family Holiday

Friday, 13 January 2012

Tots 100 are running a fab competition in association with Al Fresco Holidays open to those who share their favourite holiday in a new blog entry, so here is mine!

My favourite holiday to date has to be our most recent visit to Center Parcs at Longleat Forest in March last year. We have been twice before and had a fantastic time on both occasions so it was natural to visit there again and we will definitely be going many times more in years to come.

What I love most about Center Parcs is how it has something for everyone. Our favourite part is most definitely the pool, the children would just swim all day every day if they could no questions asked and they would never get bored.

We also take advantage of the many activities they have on offer, which can be paid for in advance online or at the sports desk while you are there. Last time the children had a go on the climbing wall again, which they have used before and thoroughly enjoyed doing, even Logan who has hip/leg & mobility issues gave it a good go before he got tired.

They have a great little Crazy Golf course which the kids LOVED, while they were playing my sister and I were treated to a visit to the Aqua Sana Spa and so we left the kids with the husbands and they had a great time although it did take a little while for everyone to get round the course!

Another great aspect of Center Parcs is that there are parks dotted around the village, which is wonderful for just letting the kids run free and enjoy themselves, mine especially like the zip wire (or 'Flying Fox') and took numerous turns zipping up and down on it, sometimes two at a time.

On our first evening there we went bowling, it's only a small bowling alley but clean and the staff in the bar area at the back are very polite and understanding if your little one perhaps knocks your Pepsi all over the floor... bless the barman, he replaced the drink without me even asking, I only asked for some cloth to clean up! It was a fun start to the break (the bowling, not the drink spillage) and a nice way to spend our first night.

And of course I couldn't not mention the absolutely gorgeous scenery in the forest, which is just beautiful at any time of year. There are little waterfalls in some areas, I would definitely recommend taking a walk or riding your bike around the village and taking it all in. There is a land train for getting around too if you need a bit of extra help or just fancy the ride! We used it a handful of times when we stayed on the far side of the village.

The accommodation was excellent, very clean and tidy and when we did have to call guest services out to replace a bulb they came out straight away and had it done in no time, with no fuss and no interruption to our stay. We stayed in one of the new Woodland Lodges but have previously stayed in Comfort Plus, and we were delighted both times with the standard of cleanliness and the comfort of the villas. We chose to take our own groceries and cook for ourselves but there are plenty of restaurants on site as well as a supermarket and they also have a takeaway delivery service which offers pizzas, Chinese, and Indian food.

We have only eaten at one restaurant on site, "Hucks", and we were very pleased with their service and the food. They offer a buffet style menu for children which is out ready so no hanging around with hungry kids waiting for food! And also have a play area and even a little area with computers for the kids to use, so the grown ups can choose to let the kids eat and then go and play while they eat, if it suits.

I look forward to our next visit, which we are planning for the end of this year. I really enjoy our family time together, and there is nothing quite like a family holiday for making memories!

#R2BC - Reasons to be cheerful... 1, 2, 3

Friday, 13 January 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Don't forget to pop across to Mummy From The Heart to check out her blog and join in with this great blog hop

1. I have been featured as a hidden gem on Mummy From The Heart! Thank you so much for suggesting my blog to others, I really appreciate it. Since starting again last year I have found it to be a great way to gather all my thoughts in one place and share things I think others will be interested in. It's also a handy place to store all of my recipes! I hope that I will gain some new readers, and likewise find new blogs to read!

2. My 'new year, new me' plan (not resolution!) is going well. I have sneaked the odd shortbread biscuit (or three...) in I will admit, but I know I have lost weight already, weigh in day is Sunday and I am keen to see how my first week "back on the wagon" went. I am also measuring inches this time as well as using the scales. I managed to get a couple of walks in this week, and plan to do even more next week too. It's good, I'm feeling really good about it and about myself. I plan on joining in with #mumentum too so I will write a proper 'update' after my first weigh in.

3. I am torn on this last one. I know what I want to write, but I am not sure how to write it. I am pleased that Logan is being referred for the further testing that I know he needed... but not pleased that he has to have it, if that makes sense. I will explain all in a new entry but I am pleased that things are being investigated further and hope that we will have proper answers for him soon, and also happy that someone has listened to me at last and taken my concerns seriously. Phew, that was a hard one, I hope I didn't lose anyone there haha.

Sweetheart Shortbread [Recipe]

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Erica and I made some 'Sweetheart Shortbread' today, it was super simple and tastes delicious, it was also a good practice run for making it for the children as a treat on Valentines Day.
  • 125g/4oz Butter
  • 55g/2oz Caster Sugar
  • 180g/6oz Plain Flour
  • Red or pink food colouring paste or gel
  1. Preheat your oven to 190c/375f/GM5
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth
  3. Add a touch of the food colouring paste and mix until colour is even, you don't need to add much with a paste or gel
  4. Incorporate the flour until you have a smooth paste
  5. Roll out on a prepared work surface to about 1cm thick
  6. Cut in to desired shape (I used hearts) and place on to baking sheet
  7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until pale golden brown
  8. Cool on a wire rack, then enjoy!

#TheGallery Phone Photo

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Joining in for the first time with The Gallery, this week the photo is "Phone Photo"

I have chosen this photo, that I took back on that weekend that was bizarrely roasting hot back in October. The children had their breakfast and raced outside to the garden to play in the sunshine, littlest was still in her jammies even! So I grabbed my phone off the side and snapped them under their parasol making the most of our Indian Summer. I added some "camera effects" app treatment to it to make it 'pop'.

Kids Birthday Cakes 2011

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

With my son Joshua's 11th birthday fast approaching I have been thinking about what cakes I am going to make for the kids birthdays this year. Joshua has asked for a football pitch cake, which should be (famous last words) simple enough to do and I have bought all the little extras I will need ready to make it. I have also decided on adding a 'twist' to the filling, something I saw on Pinterest and am really keen to try out!

I am trying to decide on a a theme for Erica's birthday too, we'll just have a little tea party with some close friends and family but I want it to be nice. Last year we had her party on the day of the Royal Wedding, so we had a 'tea party' theme. I'm not sure what we'll do this year. Anyway, this is just a quick entry to recap 2011's birthday cakes with some pics, so I can look back on them in the future, and of course to share with you.

^ Joshua's little football man in his team colours, and some matching cupcakes for his 10th birthday ^

^ Erica's Butterflies & Roses 1st birthday cake, mini victoria sponges and teacup rose cupcakes that were served at her birthday party, and the pink cupcakes we had on her actual birthday ^

^ Alicia's Twilight Saga 13th birthday cake, including the apple from Twilight, the ribbon from New Moon, the tulip from Eclipse and the Chess pieces with chess board from Breaking Dawn ^

The sugarcraft tulip I had specially made was STUNNING, the detail was just amazing. It was by a fantastic lady who can be found on Facebook, this is her page:

^ Logan's Pokeball & Pokemon cake, and matching cupcakes with Pokeballs that read "Logan is Eight" ^

^ and last but not least, Harrison's Fire Engine cake, with matching towering inferno of cupcakes ^

I also made a paint can inspired birthday cake for my husband's 30th, as he is a painter/decorator. The design was inspired by the lovely Shelly at Mrs Baker's Cakes, and made by me. I also designed the label that I had printed on to icing to add to the cake.

Have your cake and eat it, too

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Mrs Baker's Cakes is based in Swindon, Wiltshire

They design cakes and cupcakes for every occasion including birthdays, naming days, bridal showers and anniversaries. All cakes are baked fresh to order, and are designed to incorporate the personality of the recipient or chosen theme of your choice. 
No cake is ever reproduced to uphold their belief that every cake should remain unique.

Mrs Baker's Cakes also offer cupcake classes in a variety of themes, with classes to suit everyone from total novices to those with experience. Learn skills such as piping the perfect rose, embossing icing, making flowers, models and so much more.

Classes are held within a relaxed and welcoming home in Swindon, just 5 miles from Jct15 M4.

From shabby chic and vintage style to their novelty classes with vibrant colours and seasonal themes they have a class to suit everyone's taste. Getting married? Book a hen party with them and enjoy a great day filled with lots of fun.

All classes are just £75.

Visit the website :
Or find them on Facebook :

Meal Plan Monday

Monday, 9 January 2012

Monday 9th January - Brinner

Tuesday 10th January - Egg, chip & pepper bake

Wednesday 11th January - Chicken Korma with pilau rice, peshwari naan, samosa & poppadoms

Thursday 12th January - Baked Cannelloni

Friday 13th January - Chicken Fajitas with cheesy nachos

Saturday 14th January - Lasagne with garlic bread

Sunday 15th January - Sunday Roast with mashed potato, roast potatoes, yorkshire puddings, mixed vegetables, stuffing and gravy

#R2BC - Reasons to be cheerful... 1, 2, 3

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Welcome to this week's #R2BC! It's been a quiet week, just getting back in to the swing of things really. But still lots to smile about!

1. It's 2012! The year I turn 30, the year I celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary, the year my brother-in-law marries one of my best friends, and of course the year of the London Olympics! Lots of things to look forward to this year. The husband and I have been making plans for the year ahead, and he tells me he is whisking me off for the weekend to celebrate my birthday which I am VERY excited about. I was pregnant on my 18th birthday, and had given birth only a couple of weeks prior to my 21st birthday so my 30th birthday is going to be just for me, I can't wait!

2. The kids are settled in back at school for the new term. I love having them home but they are so glad to be back with their friends and in their routine, especially Logan who really does need it to keep him on an even keel. Both he and Joshua are very excited about their school trips this year, and Joshua is getting quite excited about the final stretch of his time at Primary school before he goes off to 'big school' in the Autumn.

3. New year, new me. After losing a lot of weight previously I became a bit complacent and didn't keep up my efforts. it's not just about weight loss, it is about fitness and health and I will getting back on the Slimming World wagon properly, and taking up regular exercise, even if it is just walking for an extra half an hour every day. It'll be nice to be doing something just for me, too. I'm looking forward to 'starting over' on Monday and will be thrilling you all with regular updates, bet you can't wait! ;)

Welcome 2012

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Happy New Year!

I trust everyone had a nice NYE, even if it was spent tucked up in bed sleeping through the chimes of midnight!

We had a nice evening together, we played lots of games - Guess Who, Disney Scene-It, Cars 2 Monopoly, Boggle Flash and Twilight Scene-It and watched television. Quiet and uneventful, but lovely all the same. Apart from when WWIII broke out because Joshua won Monopoly and Logan was rather displeased, but you take the rough with the smooth haha.

The little three went off to bed a bit later than usual and then we played Twilight Scene-It with the older two. At midnight the old man and I had a glass of pink bubbly to welcome the new year and watched the fireworks on BBC1. Spectacular display I thought, well done London!

I have spent the first few days of 2012 reflecting on 2011, and wondering what this year has in store for me and my family. Last year was good... Eventful, and unfortunately included some very sad times, but overall it wasn't terrible. But it's done and dusted now, time to look forward to the year ahead.

Next week is our first appointment with the Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon for Logan. I am rather anxious. I don't know what to expect and I have been driving myself crazy wondering. The best thing for me to do is relax and just wait and see what they have to say. I think he is starting to worry about it too, he has known about it since we received the letter (we got an appointment so fast, I can only assume there was a cancellation because they told me it was going to take months) but just this morning started asking me questions about his legs. I know he is nervous about it which is making me more nervous, I need to stop and hold it together, he doesn't need me getting uptight about it too. It's hard though, I just want him to be okay.

I hope that this year brings some better luck our way. Not just for me but for certain friends and family that have had a difficult time and truly deserve some good fortune. Besides that, I don't really know what I want from the new year. I don't want to make resolutions that I will never keep. But I do want to set some goals that, at some stage, I would like to achieve. No pressure on myself, just some things to work towards.

I would like to lose weight and tone up. I don't want to go mad, because I am tall and I don't want to be skinny, just slimmer and more toned. About two stone (28lbs) would be ideal.

I plan on doing some more charity fundraising this year. Last year I decided that I wanted to make a difference, even a small one, to somebody somewhere. I didn't raise a huge amount, and the Ben Nevis trek did not go entirely as planned but I reached my goal and it felt good to know that I had done something positive to benefit the lives of others. So, I would really like to do something else this year. I haven't decided what yet... But I will let you know as soon as I do. My husband is planning on getting involved this year and doing some fundraising of his own for The National Autistic Society which is great, I will keep you updated on our plans.

From now on, I also plan to follow some of the advice on 30 things to stop doing to yourself. I found myself nodding to several of the things listed which I think is rather unhealthy and so from now on I intend to make better choices concerning who I spend time with, who I spend my time on, and really putting more focus on what is really important. I am one person and can only do so much, I am not super woman and breaking my neck trying to do everything for everyone really isn't doing me any favours. More focus is needed on what is truly important, time to prioritise people and responsibilities. And if anyone doesn't like it...? Well I am afraid that's just tough. I am putting me and my family first, our needs and feelings, and while I will be mindful of others to a point, I will not tip-toe around people to the detriment of my family nor will I allow us to be surrounded by negativity. I don't have time for people who don't have time for me, and who suck the joy from life. If 2011 taught me anything, it is that life is short, and so I plan to enjoy it with people who make me happy.

"Enjoy life today, yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come".
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