5/52

Stood in the beautiful sunshine, we watched our 2 elder children take part in a multi-school cross country race. I’m so impressed with how they keep going all the way through even though they find it hard. I take some strength from that too, as we all inevitably have to keep going even through challenging times.

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A winter warming recipe

Roast Pumpkin Soup

Can you believe I still had a pumpkin left over from Halloween? We bought a pumpkin for each of our children to carve on the actual evening of Halloween, but then ran out of time to actually carry out the carving…and it never happened. For months they have been staring at me from the huge amount of space they have taken up on the kitchen worktop, so it was time to take a deep breath and dive into cutting, chopping and cooking them into something more than a kitchen ornament.

So here is an adapted roast pumpkin soup recipe, free from dairy and gluten.

Ingredients:

Splash of oil (I used coconut oil)

onion

pumpkin

1-1.5 litres vegetable stock

tin of coconut milk

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Slice the pumpkin into 8 segments, scooping out the seeds and pulp. Brush/spray with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, place on a baking tray and roast for 25-30 mins at 180 c, until soft.
  2. Dice the onion and cook on a low heat with a little oil for 10-15 mins.
  3. Scoop out the roasted pumpkin from its skin and add to the pan along with the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Continue to cook on a low heat for 15-20 mins.
  5. Blend the soup to desired consistency, add more stock, salt & pepper if needed.

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4/52

4/52

Nothing better than a leaf fight in beautiful sunshine….still finding little bits of dried up leaves deposited around the house, in shoes, coats, jumpers etc. Lovely to see the joy the simple things in life bring.

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Money Well Spent

I remember when my parents would suggest going on a beautiful, countryside walk, especially when we were on family holidays. My dad would be armed with walking leaflets, clearly mapping out the 2 or 3 mile route and off we would we set on a leisurely morning or afternoon stroll, or that was the plan! Unfortunately, in the days before google maps and 4G, our walks were often rather doomed – those clearly mapped out routes became vague and badly signposted, leading us onto paths previously unchartered. A route that should have taken a few hours inevitably turned into 5 hours and a few miles turned into many more.

My clearest memory is of a walk around Robin Hood’s Bay, we set off in bright sunshine in the appropriate attire for such a beautiful day, got inevitably lost en route and caught in a torrential down pour. In true British style, the weather returned to a beautiful summer’s day and we walked back into the village looking like we’d been for a dip in the sea fully clothed, much to the confusion of locals and tourists alike. So I understand why my children often display the same reticence when I suggest going on walks – which oddly enough is one of my favourite things (maybe marrying someone with a degree in Outdoor Education and a great sense of direction has helped me overcome any demons!). Of course I ignore my children’s cries of woe and we go on walks anyway, especially as 5 minutes in they have forgotten why they didn’t want to go in the first place.

One of the best investments we have made over the past year is National Trust membership. The houses are beautiful and rich with history, the gardens and grounds are stunning and it is so family friendly! Our children have absolutely loved exploring the houses, taking part in treasure hunts and dressing up, as well as learning about how people used to live. There’s so much to see and do that we keep returning to the same places over and over again, as well as using the opportunity to stop off at places on our journeys around the country.

 

So if you’ve got some spare money burning a hole in your pocket, or you want an excuse to get out more and see the beautiful sights this country has to offer I would definitely recommend National Trust!

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How to make habits stick…

I thought this was a really interesting topic to investigate alongside the New Year, goal setting and the dreaded ‘resolutions’ that are made and often broken. What makes the difference between setting goals, or essentially trying to form new habits, and actually making them stick?

I used to be great at making and keeping goals and I really enjoy working towards something and feeling that real buzz of achievement. However, over recent years this has really tailed off and I have struggled to even find the motivation to really get my teeth into something and make any headway. I could blame the lack of sleep and general exhaustion associated with rearing a family of little ones, or moving house and locations every couple of years, but I possibly need to attend a few therapy sessions to discover the real reason behind it all. The long and the short of it is I’m stuck and need to embrace my theme for the year of being ‘brave’ and moving forward into pastures new and unknown.

I found this article intriguing, even though the title was quite horrifying ‘As soon as you wake up, put your feet on the floor’….what?! Are you serious? In the depths of winter, with the house in darkness, stick my feet out of bed and onto the floor, it almost feels like a step too far! Once I recovered from the fact that I might not be quite ready to take this one small step, I was already caught up in the gist of the article. Sometimes it only takes one small change to impact positively on other areas of our lives. This had potential! I could do this (with a little more information and guidance), which led me on to this book about forming and keeping habits (as mentioned in the article above). I’m still working my way through the book, but I have already picked up some great tips and knowledge to help me become more successful at building effective habits. The highlights so far:

  • understanding what ‘type’ of person I am (as this impacts on how to approach habit formation)
  • monitoring behaviour – providing a form of accountability
  • focusing on eating, sleeping, exercise & clutter, as these impact on everything else in our lives
  • making a clear timetable/plan/routine to work by each day

My first small step to work on is sleeping, this is one of my weak areas. After the children are in bed this is the time I get to choose what I would like to do (within reason) and often I put off going to bed so I can have more me-time. My goal for this week is to go to bed early and get up early and monitor the impact this has on other areas of my life. I have managed it 2 out of 2 nights so far so it’s going well! I’m looking forward to seeing some positive results.

Check out this video for some more simple ideas to successfully keeping up those New Year’s Resolutions, from life coach Holly Smith.

 

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3/52

We made an exciting discovery at the weekend of an Iron Age hill fort near where we live. It was really exciting to show the children where the mud embankments still stood firm even to this day, bearing record of defences in times past. It’s almost unimaginable all of the many things that have happened in times past, in the places we stand today. Places so peaceful and serene, that were once vicious and merciless battlefields.

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In survival mode, campfires were erected with the delicacy of ‘warmed’ jaffa cakes served to keep morale up for the soldiers defending their fort!

It always amazes me how many hours of fun can be had with a few sticks and a huge imagination.

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2/52

This is working out to be a great project to fit in with some other goals/habits I would like to improve and add to this year, including using my camera more and exploring more places together as a family. I always face the same response from the children when suggesting a walk, but within 5 minutes of getting out of the door they are having a whale of a time (this is an improvement on past experience, when within 5 minutes one of the children would have gone splat in the squishiest mud puddle known to man!).

2/52

Absolutely love our National Trust membership! It’s a real incentive to get out and about and discover some beautiful walks, learn about historic buildings and how they played their part in the rich tapestry of this land, along with the people and families who lived in them.

M – loves to climb trees and plans on living in her own treehouse one day.

E – has a great imagination and loves the magical world of Pegasus, unicorns and of course Harry Potter (as guided by her older sister).

D – loves to meet all of the friendly dogs we see on our walks…something we feel lacking on our walks is our own dog (maybe we could just borrow someone else’s for such occasions!).

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The 52 Week Project 1/52

A photo of my children once a week every week for a year. On a positive note I have taken the photos, but due to illness I am already behind oops! Do here I am catching up…

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Enjoying playing the ‘squishing’ game that I remember playing with my siblings when we went round a sharp corner in the car. They are all at a wonderful age where they enjoy playing games with one another and have common interests..long may it continue!

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The Year in Books

As part of my new year goals, I am excited to take part in The Year in Books initiative set up by Circle of Pine Trees. In a nutshell, the aim is to read a book each month of the year. I was lucky enough to receive a few book from my Amazon wish list for my birthday and Christmas, so I will be working through those this year.

I have chosen to kick off with Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier for the month of January. I’m looking forward to evenings snuggled up in front of the fire.

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New Year, fresh start!

I do love New Year for that feeling of a fresh start, making plans and renewed energy to reignite the flame under forgotten or broken goals from the previous year. I think making some kind of commitments for the upcoming year help me not to be just pulled along in the flow of life. I notice the difference in achieving, moving forward or changing myself when I don’t make any goals to work towards.

There are many approaches to making new year resolutions. Some people go for a theme for the year, choosing one word or a few words to define a feeling or sense to surround them throughout the year. I really like this idea as a framework to hang everything else from, I think my theme for 2017 would definitely need to be ‘Brave’, as there are some scary things I have to do and there are some scary things I need to do.

I don’t think I can get away from making my yearly list of things I’d like to achieve, but this year I’m going to go that extra step and plan how I’m going to fit it into the year to avoid things slipping away. My natural tendency is to try and achieve too much, so I’m going to simplify things down to fewer goals which should guarantee a higher success rate.

I’m hoping that this extra element of planning will be when bullet journaling will come into its own. I’ve been dabbling in it for the past few months, and it definitely helps with keeping on top of the endless list of things to do, with the added benefit of assessing the items that can drop off the list and be approached at some point in the future. This is a great clip to learn the basics of bullet journaling, and of course there is always Pinterest if you want to take it to a whole new level!

Here’s to a great new year!

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