I need to vent, I am sat in tears at the laptop. Since we moved in to our lovely new build house just over three years ago, we have had nothing but issues with the heating and hot water culminating in 4 weeks without either heating or hot water for more than 24 consecutive hours last November. Now we haven’t had the best year as most people are aware. I went into hospital for surgery in February and due to massive complications developed a major infection and nearly died, so spent most of March, April and May in the hospital. This meant that MadDad had to take unpaid leave to help more »
Many people are posting about New Years resolutions and I keep seeing updates on facebook and G+ about dry January and diets. So I wanted to do a quick update on my Winter Manifesto and also my word of the year Joy. I posted last year about the fact that I was choosing Joy. I was making a conscious decision to focus on the good stuff and make the bad stuff less relevant in my life.
It is all about choice and it is my choice. Way back when a very wise person taught me that we always have a choice. Yes there are things in life that we can not change, these are the things that it is not worth expending energy on. It is like worrying about a plane crashing, not matter how much you flap your arms you will not be able to effect it. However, you can change the way you think about it. You can make the choice not to worry about it. It doesn’t take the worry away, but it does give you power over it. So this year I am actively choosing Joy.
However, I am also making this year more joyous by choosing to learn more. I have started a craft course and am making Mini a quilt. I have had the fabric for over six months, but had a mental block on cutting it. I booked the lessons (2 hours every Tuesday) and asked for some help and in two weeks I have cut the fabric, stitched the top and sandwiched it all together ready to quilt. I made this happen.
I have also enrolled on a Collect the Moments e-course from Capturing Childhood, which was recommended to me by my friend Kelly.
Whilst talking about resolutions, goals and aims for 2013, I have been asked to tell you about Hillarys Facebook competition, yes that is the people who have a vast vertical blinds range available. They are currently running a New Year, New You competition on Facebook. The competition offers a chance to win a different prize every week for the next four weeks, and began with a Wii with Wii Fit Plus to get fit this new year. This week is a chance to win a £100 spa voucher, Week 3 is a chance to try something new with Zorbing, and in Week 4 the prize is a Merlin annual pass for a family of four.
I have mentioned before that I am not a New Year resolutions person, however that doesn’t mean that I do not love to plan, set goals and have aims, as I do. I am just not sure that the dark, dank and dismal January is always the best time for them.
But I do want to encourage my children to set goals and learn how to plan to achieve them. The safest way for us to do this is to set a family manifesto for the year. We have sat down and discussed what we would like to do and get out of 2013 as a family. A family holiday was on our list and we have that booked for November with my wonderful brother nad his family. However, I wanted to do something that brought me closer together with the boys and they both love exercise and sports.
Now I am not the fittest person (that is something of an understatement and although I do watch them play Junior Football. It is not something that I really enjoy. But one thing we all do have is cycles. So we decided the time has come to dust off my Bike. My bike that has been hanging in the garage since Maxi was born. It is over eight years since I got on my bike! That cycling is something that we can all do and have fun doing. Something that brings us together as a family.
So the boys got new bikes for Christmas. Mountain bikes with gears and mud guard and MadDad got a bike carrier for the car.
We live in a beautiful part of the world, but with hills each side of the house, there is no way that I am capable (yet) of riding very far from the house, so the bike carrier was essential.
Our plan is to use our family discovery pass for Dalby Forrest and get cycling followed by a BBQ. Our discovery pass was gifted to us by the Forestry Commission and would be an annual cost of £42, which is super value as Dalby is peppered with bike paths suitable for all levels.
Plus Dalby is a fantastic place to explore, play and just relax. It is somewhere that we love to visit as a family, as you can BBQ in designated areas and is just a wonderful relaxing place.
By taking the boys to Dalby I can ride as far as I can and then return and cook us all a treat. I am hoping that by doing something together, it keeps is all together and helps me get fitter.
We have had a fantastic, but flu ridden Christmas in The Mad House. Many of you that follow me on Instragram will already know this. It started with Maxi on 23rd and then went through the house. I was taking lots of precautions, but eventually it caught up with me big style and I am the one suffering now and typically MadDad has just returned to work.
I am not a fan of New Years resolutions, but I do a seasonal manifesto and have done for over a year now and I realised that I had missed my winter one out. I guess I was far too busy enjoying the build up to Christmas. I have really enjoyed all the crafting, making and baking that took place and I feel that it might have kick started my creative side again.
Make a seasonal Wreath. I have ideas already for the January and February (valentines) ones.
Get back to using my SAD lamp. I had to take a break due to the eye surgery.
Speaking of eye surgery, it went really well. I have a slight issue with a lose fiber in my right eye, but I am kicking myself as to why I didn’t have it done sooner. so I am going to endeavor to make more of my eyes and try to wear a little bit of eye make up.
I WILL make a start on Mini’s quilt.
I am also going to join a weekly craft group locally and have looked in to joining a local WI, so am going to pluck up the courage to attend.
I am also going to turn the camera off auto more and will be attending a lesson with Cass from Frugal Family.
My main focus this year will be to continue choosing joy and focusing on doing one thing everyday and doing it right.
I am delighted to say that my Choose Joy post has been featured at the Tots100 as one of their posts of 2012 and having read through the others, there are some great posts, so if you want to be inspired by some of the fantastic blog posts and bloggers out there, then grab a coffee and what is left of the quality street and take a read though the others.
As you know I have been taking part in the Tots100 Swagbucks competition along with 12 other fantastic bloggers and I wanted to tell you about my experience before the winner is announced next week. I am not sure yet that Swagbucks is for me, I haven’t been very stressful with it, but I do think there are a number of reasons. Firstly the toolbar doesn’t work in Chrome and that is my preferred browser and secondly the major one for me is that I think it is possible to get many more points if you are willing to use Swagbucks to register with gambling sites, but I don’t gamble, so it didn’t really work for me. Another issue was that often people post hints and tips to the Swagbucks facebook page and with the changes on facebook I often didn’t realise they were there until to late.
I am not sure that this time of year was the best time for me to focus on Swagbucks, as I am short of time and I think that if you have time to use it to do the daily poll, survey and searches via them you can make a lot of cash. Wendy made £100 in just three weeks, where I made less than £10! Pippa also made an amazing number of points too, which highlighted to me that it is more than possible and it was me that wasn’t using the site right!
Also I think it is really important that you get other people registered and using swagbucks as you get a proportion of their bucks too and neither of my referrals used the search function.
So my top tips would be:
Get in to a routine (I will try again after Christmas)
Use the seach toolbar
get your referrals to use swagbucks
So I am going to try again in the new year when I have more time and if you want to have a go with me, http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/MuminTheMadHouse
Each season I make a manifesto, rather than setting New Years resolutions and there is something about Autumn and September that calls out to me to make a new start. I think it is something to do with all those years of September. I still lust after new stationery and new beginnings at this time of year.
We didn’t make any resolutions this time last year, in fact just getting through the new year intact was a bloody miracle and guess what I didn’t feel any worse off for not having these things hanging over me. I am not sure the beginning of the year, when the nights are dark and the days dank and wet is the best time to make resolutions. So as I did in Autumn, I am doing a Winter Manifesto.
Start Pilates lessons, I have found beginner lessons and the consultant things it would be good for my back
Keep on using my Philips goLITE daily for up to 45 minutes (it really makes a difference in my mood)
Get my craft back on. I have enjoyed the small things I have done at Christmas, so I have ordered a cross stitch kit to give me a kick start
Get the raised beds sorted and plant some seeds
I was busy updating my list of Kids Advent and Christmas Books and I realised that actually over the years our collection has grown to include many Advent and Christmas books to cherish at any age. You know the type, ones that will become family heirlooms or that you get out each December to read again and again.
I have a friend that always buys the best gifts. She is a gift fairy and someone that I aspire to be. There is a real knack for buying the perfect gift, a gift that will be loved and used. I have partnered with Braun to produce this Father’s Day gift guide to help you no matter what his style find a Father’s Day gift that he will use and love day in and day out
Sony Xperia XZ1 A review is a paid collaboration with Sony and Tots100 and a follow up to our Sony Xperia XZ1 First Impressions post three weeks ago. Since getting the Sony Xperia XZ1 in November we have been putting it through its paces as a family. However, it has mainly been split between Maxi and me, so this review is from that perspective. We also tried to make sure that we really put the camera and phone through its paces, so this is our view after a month with the phone.
I have been challenged by The Institute of Inertia in partnership with Comparethemarket.com as part of my work with them, to share my Spring resolutions. Did you know that Spring is the ideal time to set goals and resolutions? Spring is the point of new beginnings, the clocks going forward bringing lighter nights, life is awakening and the days are getting warmer. In Spring, our good intentions to get things done and make positive change are given a welcome boost by, quite literally, a brighter outlook. Not one to shy away from a challenge I got together with the rest of the Mad Family and we decided to set a resolution of reducing our screen time.
I was introduced to the Word of the year by Cathy from Nurturestore far to long ago to even remember! It is something that comes from the amazing Susannah Conway. Last year my word grabbed me immediately and it was such a fitting word, it was “Nurture”. I needed to learn how to nurture. To support my family, to cultivate relationships and to grow this website and my business.
We have had a really mild winter this year in the UK and no snow yet for us all all. I love how normally in the UK we have four distinct seasons and that we have regular activities that we do as a family to celebrate the seasons. These 50 winter activities for kids are perfect for this time of year and are all pretty low cost or even no cost.
Welcome to 2016. I have been sat for the last couple of hours colouring in this beautiful, but simple 2016 Calendar to colour. It is perfect for the front of my to do book, so that I can check dates quickly if I am on the phone I am also tempted to keep one on my desk for doodling in when I am on the phone.