Stop crying mummy

Tonight, as I sat with my son in my arms waiting for him to fall asleep (as I had already done once this evening with the baby) I once again felt the crushing weight of responsibility heavy on my shoulders. 

Until you become a mother I don’t think you can ever know what it feels like to be needed so absolutely by one person (or two, or three…) I love my boys, of course I do, but my life now is just an endless stream of feeding and washing and cooking and trying to get a baby to sleep or trying to stop a toddler taking an accidental car nap which will lead to a bedtime that can last for hours. It is a never ending chorus of ‘mummy do it’, ‘my cuddle mummy’, ‘I hurt my finger’, ‘I did a poo’, ‘I want my daddy’. 

It is having a toddler hanging on my leg as I try to put my shoes on, of little eyes watching as I sit on the toilet. 

It is a baby who is actually endlessly patient as I plonk him in his bouncer or on his playmat yet again so I can make breakfast or lunch, or change a nappy or pack a nursery bag. A baby who is so good as he is bundled in and out of the car several times a day as we run another errand. But it is also a baby who has me up by 5am every day and who I spend at least two hours of the day trying to get to nap, or stay asleep. 

It is a two and a half year old who still wakes up crying almost every night and who will only settle for me, usually when I get in bed with him. It is trying desperately to stay awake so I can creep back to my own bed rather than wake up in bed with a toddler at 3am when I hear the grumbling of the baby next door in my own bedroom. 

I have the best, most supportive husband I could wish for, but there are so many times at the moment when only mummy will do. And as much as he helps with the chores (and sometimes it seems our only conversation is about whether there’s washing to be done, or how many bottles need to be made) he can’t help me escape from the suffocating neediness that two small children have for their mother. 

And so as I waited for the toddler to fall asleep (anything to avoid the crying and wailing which are inevitable at the moment if I try and leave the room while he is still awake) and the tears rolled down my cheeks I heard a little voice say ‘stop crying mummy’ and that only made me cry some more. 

What the. . .? Another blog??

If you’re reading this the chances are you’ve come here via Toby Goes Bananas. And if you didn’t, well then hello. You might be wondering why I’m writing here, instead of over there on my well-established, moderately successful parenting blog. Well, the answer is quite simple…

When I started blogging back in 2009 (and you’ll find the very first post here) I was primarily writing for myself. A few friends read my posts and the odd person would stumble on my comedy reviews via Google but mostly I just wrote whatever I wanted and I was happy if my post views got into double figures. Then I had my son Toby in 2013 and I started reading parenting blogs and I wanted to write about my new life. I decided that the friends that read this blog (or rather it’s previous incarnation over on Blogger) wouldn’t really be interested in reading about my life with a new baby so I started a new blog and Toby Goes Bananas was born. In the early days I used to write whatever I felt like there too, but then I started getting more interest and I was lucky enough for some review opportunities to come my way. I was, and still am very grateful for those opportunities but I started getting caught up in it, always thinking about stats and SEO, and whether what I was writing fit with the Toby Goes Bananas ‘brand’.

And somewhere down the line my mum and dad, and my mother-in-law, and people I hadn’t spoken to since I was 15, and friends of my mum, and did I mention my mother-in-law? Well those people started reading Toby Goes Bananas, which was great and I know they’re just really interested in what we get up to, and they like to see pictures of Toby (and now my other son Gabe too). But it means there are loads of things that I find myself wanting to write about that I feel like I can’t. I talk to my mum a lot and we get on brilliantly. I tell her lots of things, but not everything. I think the last time I wrote a really personal post it was this one, when Toby was about eight months old and I thought I maybe had post-natal depression. I got I fantastic response from the people who read it, and so much support. But I also got an email from my mum telling me she had no idea and had been awake all night worrying about me…which if I’m honest didn’t make me feel massively better about myself.

So sometimes I want to write about how I really feel now I’m a mum, or how I’m struggling to come to terms with my post-natal body, or how I sometimes miss my old life, and sometimes I just want to swear about how no-one really tells you how ridiculously fucking hard it is being a parent to a toddler and a baby who tag team you through the night so you haven’t had a full night’s sleep in nearly a year.

And now I have somewhere I can do that. And I can do it without worrying about SEO or how many people might have read my post, or making sure I’ve got a Pinterest worthy image (not that I ever do that anyway!) as well as without censoring myself so my mum doesn’t worry about me. This new (old) blog isn’t going to be anonymous as such (clearly, as I’ve already told you who I am!) but I won’t be mentioning it on Toby Goes Bananas, or on Facebook. I have set up a new Twitter account here (because my mum can just about manage Facebook but Twitter is beyond her) so you might find me over there sometimes too. And I know with the great interconnectedness of the internet there is every chance my mum or someone who knows her might come across a post from here, or maybe I’ll have a post go viral and become an overnight internet sensation (you never know!) but I’ll deal with that if or when it happens.

I toyed with the idea of starting another new blog but I had this one already and it’s quite interesting reading back on some of the things I wrote six or seven years ago (do feel free to have a wade through the archives if you fancy). And Toby Goes Bananas won’t be going anywhere; I’ll still be posting there about life with the little ones.

Oh, and if you were wondering… ‘We must be bold’? It comes from a speech made by John F Kennedy in 1962 about how it was important that the US government invested money in putting man on the moon. Because sometimes, even now, being bold is what we have to be.


A baby in a digital age

So, since last time I wrote our baby boy arrived in the world and unbelievably he is already 8 weeks old! In a way it’s flown by but equally it’s hard to remember what life was like before he turned up. He’s amazing and he makes me smile every day but they weren’t kidding when they said being a parent is hard. Looking after a newborn baby is singularly the hardest, most frustrating and stressful thing I have ever done. I think I have probably cried more in the last 8 weeks than I have in the last 8 years. I might have read a dozen parenting books, gone to all the antenatal classes and listened to advice from everyone who gave it but nothing prepared me for the sleep deprivation, the worry (What’s wrong with him? Am I doing it right? Why is breastfeeding so bloody painful?) and sheer amount of effort that a newborn baby needs. The health visitor said to me the other day ‘everyone loves their baby but it can take a while before you actually like them’ and I reckon she’s right. Apart from looking at his beautiful face and wondering how we managed to create this tiny, perfect human there is very little reward in looking after a new baby. You feed them, change them, hold them, sing to them, rock them, feed them and change them some more, and in the beginning the best you can hope for is a baby that isn’t crying! But already our little one is starting to smile, starting to really look at you when you’re talking to him or feeding him and it’s starting to feel like a real relationship. I can’t wait to see him continue to grow and develop and turn into a wonderful, walking, talking little boy.

Which sort of brings me to the point of this blog. Watching a baby grow and develop is amazing – I’m so proud of my little boy when he does something new, or just looks particularly cute, and I want a record of that. So I take pictures and I post them online with little updates about today’s progress. I do this for me and for my husband but also for our baby’s grandparents who all live over 300 miles away and don’t get to see him that often. And I admit it’s also just to show off a bit to all my friends – ‘look at this tiny human that we made, isn’t he amazing!’. But I’ve seen a few different people mention recently that there is perhaps something wrong with filling the Internet with photos and information about our children – are we robbing them of the option of privacy in the future? Someone tweeted a link to this article ( ) and it did make me think a bit about what I’m doing when I post yet another photo online…but while our little one is still a baby I don’t think I’m really doing any harm. I don’t think I would be bothered if there were baby photos of me online – photos of my dodgy perm and massive glasses when I was 13 might be a different matter and by the time my son gets to that I’d age I’d like to think I’ll give him the final say about what, if anything, I post about him on the Internet. There’s no question that this issue is something we should consider in this new digital age – it certainly isn’t something our parents had to think about. But are we creating a massive problem for the future privacy of our children? I’m not sure…

It was a very good year

I’ve been thinking for a while that it’s time I wrote a blog post and when I came to look at it today it turns out it’s exactly a year since I last posted anything here. And what a bloody year!

We had an absolutely amazing honeymoon in America – we went to so many different and interesting places I find it hard to remember them all, we ate an awful lot of delicious food and I think we had ice-cream pretty much every day! So despite the fact I put on half a stone in three weeks I reckon it was the best holiday I’ve ever had.

Coming back from our honeymoon in the middle of the summer holidays I still didn’t have a job for the start of the new term but once again something came up and I’ve been teaching French, and now Spanish as well (even though I’m still learning myself) in my third school in as many years. This school is less than half the size of the last two and after a bit of settling in I’ve really quite enjoyed this year. I got to teach some Social Education this year too which was fun – I even got to talk about condoms and STDs, and did it with a straight face! It was only another temporary one year contract though, which is causing a few problems now mainly due to the massive news of this year…

Once we knew I had a job at least for a year we decided to try to have a baby. We were thinking that even though we’ve not even really known each other that long, and we had only been married 6 months, we knew it was something we both wanted. We’re both in our mid-thirties and until you have a go no-one has any idea how long getting pregnant might take…so we decided to start trying…and two months later I was pregnant!

Which kind of brings us to now. I’ve got two weeks of school left, and about 4 and half weeks until the baby is due. Although judging by the size of my bump, the wriggling, hiccuping baby in my tummy might just make an appearance sooner rather than later!

I am going to write something in another post about being pregnant, and hopefully more when the baby is here – as much for us to have a record of things as anything else. I know that some of you who have read this blog in the past have no interest in such things and so I won’t be offended if you choose not to read future updates. But I hope you’ll all be happy to know things are going pretty well in my world. So much has changed since I started this blog and I reckon in the next few weeks and the months (and years!) to come life is going to be very different…and freakin’ awesome!

Me and my massive baby bump!

King of the road

I may, perhaps, possibly have already mentioned this… But it’s now only just over two weeks until we fly to America for the honeymoon road trip of a life time. To keep a record of what we get up to (and to have something I can tell my mum about rather than her reading this blog with all its angst) I’ve set us up a tumblr.

You can find it here:

Apparently tumblr is where all the cool kids hang out these days so I’m sure we’ll fit right in. Anyway, that was all for now. I’m writing this lying in bed full of a cold while my lovely husband is braving Tesco alone. I need to rest up – there’s no way I’m having this holiday hindered in anyway by me being ill! So I’m self-prescribing at least a morning in bed – I will not be defeated by a stupid cold.

Those who can teach, can’t teach

It’s that time of year again where I’m stuck in limbo, waiting to find out if I’ll have a job for the next school year. I wrote about this last year here but to recap very briefly:

  • In Fife the council holds ‘generic interviews’ for teachers in April. At this point they don’t know how many jobs there will be or which schools these jobs might be in.
  • By the end of May most schools will know how many teachers they need for the next school year and if they will have any vacancies. This information is passed to the council.
  • At some point before the summer holidays (this year we have been told we won’t find out until 18th June, ten days before the end of term) teachers who have attended an interview will be told the outcome. 
  • There are three possible outcomes to the interview; you are unsuccessful, you are successful and allocated a job (usually on a one year temporary contract), or you are successful but there are no suitable positions and you can go on the supply list.

The third of these possible outcomes is what happened to me last year. Luckily I managed to get a job in a local school three weeks after the start of the new school year but this wasn’t through being on the supply list or any official channels, it was simply a case of that old cliché – it’s not what you know but who you know that matters. So I’m now coming to the end of my contract and I already know that there won’t be a position for me at my current school next year. Due to a combination of factors they simply don’t need as many modern languages teachers next year.

This leaves me, and hundreds of others, to wait and hope that a job is available somewhere else. I’m pretty confident I did well in my interview – mostly because the interviewers told me so, so I’m not worried that being unsuccessful is an option but I know that the situation hasn’t really changed since last year and it’s fairly unlikely there will be a job for me anywhere in Fife. 

There are some benefits to this system both for the council and the candidates. For a start rather than applying individually where there is a job and having to (hopefully) be interviewed by each one, candidates only have to complete one application and one interview. Likewise for the schools and the council, centralising this system saves time and probably money too. However, where this system falls down is that for Secondary teachers it is entirely possible that there will be no vacancies in certain subjects and therefore the council has wasted time and money and put the applying teachers through an unnecessary process when there is no possibility of a job at the end of it. Even if there are positions available having to wait two months to find out the outcome of the interview adds more stress and worry to what is already a stressful job. 

As far as I know Fife is the only council that conducts its recruitment of teachers in this way. So while I’m waiting to find out whether I’ll have a job in my home county I am applying for any other half suitable vacancies with other councils. I have applied for two jobs in Edinburgh (both permanent contracts which is virtually unheard of in Fife) and although both posts were advertised as being for teachers of French and Spanish I applied anyway and tried to make the most of the fact that I am trying my best to gain the necessary qualifications to teach Spanish even if this will be two years away. And… I’ve already found out I’ve got an interview for one of the jobs and fingers are firmly crossed for the other one. Although I don’t relish the prospect of commuting to Edinburgh every day both schools are fairly near the mister’s office so I could drop him off on my way in and pick him up after school. And on the plus side schools in Edinburgh all finish at lunch time on Fridays!

I’m trying my best to push the worry to the back of my brain because I can’t do any more than I already am but with a wedding related credit card balance that doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller and a three week honeymoon coming up I really don’t want to be in the same situation I was last year when I found myself applying to temping agencies because I couldn’t afford not to work. Added to that now is the fact that we would really like to start a family quite soon but without a permanent job there’s no maternity leave and so finances would be stretched very tight. The other depressing thing about this is that unless I do manage by some miracle to get a permanent contract I’m going to be in exactly the same position next year and the lack of teaching jobs is a situation that’s going to be with us for a good few years yet. There aren’t as many people taking early retirement as predicted and although the universities are reducing the number of students they are allowing onto teacher training courses it will take a few years before the effects of this filter through.

So after a year of teacher training and a probation year (both funded by the Scottish government) and a further year of teaching I may yet find myself in less than a month with nowhere to teach. I’ve had plenty of doubts in the last three years as to whether I made the right decision to embark on a career in teaching. There were lots of times I didn’t really like it much and last year I was almost secretly relieved that I didn’t get a job so I could legitimately do something else. But after this year I’ve realised that actually I really do like teaching, being able to make even a small difference to a young person’s education is a very special thing. I just hope that someone, somewhere makes a decision that goes my way and lets me carry on doing it.

While I’m waiting I’ll try and keep this in mind…

Honeymoon Pre-amble

In just under a month the new Mr and I are heading off on our big proper honeymoon. We’re flying into Boston where we’ll spend three nights, including the 4th July. Fireworks and hotdogs here we come! Then we’ll pick up a car and head off on our East Coast road trip ending nearly three weeks later in Washington DC. We’ve got a hotel booked there and one for a couple of nights in Philadelphia in the middle but other than that we’ll just see where the wind takes us.

The vague plan is to head north from Boston into Vermont simply because I want to go to the Ben & Jerry’s factory. From there we’ll come back down into New York state making our way to Philly. After that we’ll probably head coast-wards to Atlantic City then right down the coast to Virginia then up through historic Williamsburg and Richmond and finally into Washington. If anyone has any suggestions for places we should go or things we should see then please do suggest them!

We are both super excited about the whole thing; it somehow seems especially poignant because our relationship started while I was on my last US road trip on the other side of the country. That time I was sending emails every night telling Barry what I’d been up to – who knew that less than two years later we’d be married!!

Anyway, I’d like to share some of what we get up to while we’re away and I’m trying to figure out the best way to do it. I’ll only have my phone to get online so the options are; just keep using this blog – but I’d like my mum and dad to be able to read about the trip but don’t really want them to read the rest of what’s on here, set up a new blog or maybe try something like Tumblr. I was hoping I could maybe put up short posts with a photo direct from Instagram, which I can after a fashion but I’d have to edit the blog post after so that kind of defeats the object. So, I’ll have a think on it and let you know. I’m sure you’ll be waiting with baited breath…

It had to be you

I have now been married for precisely twenty three days and it feels fantastic. Well, if I’m really honest it doesn’t really feel any different to when we weren’t married apart from that I no longer have wedding planning to stress about and I’m not having dreams where we’re getting married in a massive gospel church in America’s Deep South and all Barry’s family turn up late. But I would count both those things as big improvements!
We had an absolutely amazing day on the big day itself. All my stress and planning paid off and everything went exactly how I had hoped it would. From arriving at the hotel on the Friday afternoon and handing over 8 boxes of jars filled with mini-eggs, 90 cupcakes, a table plan, a handmade personalised post box and various bits of decoration and bunting that I spent the last 6 months making to portioning up leftover cheese for our friends and family on Sunday morning there really wasn’t anything I would have done differently.
We had a lovely meal in the real ale pub attached to the hotel on Friday night with the rest of the wedding party and then after a quick introduction to Barry’s relatives (who, apart from his mum and dad I had never met before) I kissed my fiancé goodnight and headed off the to twin room I was sharing with my bridesmaid Claire to try and get some sleep. I think I probably managed about 5 hours over the night and after lying awake for an hour we decided at 7am to head down to breakfast (in our pyjamas) as Barry was under strict instructions not to leave his room until he had the all clear.
The hours from 7:30am to the wedding at 2:30pm were some of the longest and most nerve-wracking I have ever experienced. I’m not a girl who takes hours to get ready so even on my wedding day I wasn’t going to need 7 hours! So we watched a bit of TV, I read a bit of my book, at some point my mum appeared and I did her make up. We managed to go and sneak a look at the reception room and I got a chance to make a few last minute tweaks then finally at about half past twelve the ‘bridal suite’ was ready – we moved all our things and it was time to get ready. Having short hair meant I didn’t really need my hair ‘done’ and we did our own make up. I don’t wear make up very often although I do enjoy putting it on for a night out and I was a bit worried I would look over done if I got someone else to do it. I’d spent the last month or so (and quite a lot of money!) trying to make my skin look the best it could and despite a scare caused by a nasty allergic reaction to some Clinque stuff two weeks before I was really pleased with what I’d achieved and how it turned out on the day.
After the make up it was into the wedding underwear – stockings and suspenders no less (Well, when else was I going to get a chance to wear them) and it was finally time for The Dress. I knew very early on that I didn’t want a traditional, strapless, the same as a hundred other brides wedding dress, and this was confirmed when I first went to try on dresses with my mum and Claire in Blackpool last June. Going into a run of the mill bridal shop and asking for something that isn’t strapless is like asking for a vegetarian option in McDonalds. I think I managed to find two dresses that I sort of liked but I knew they still weren’t really what I was looking for. As my wedding plans were taking shape I knew we were heading for a more ‘vintage’ feel to the day than a sort of formal, matchy matchy kind of wedding. So my dress search lead me to Google where I discovered Dragonfly Dress Design in Glasgow.
The wonderful, friendly, helpful and just all-round awesome Lisa makes bespoke wedding dresses but also supplies (and alters vintage dresses). So in July last year Claire and I headed to the Hidden Lane off Glasgow’s Argyle Street and found the tiny studio Lisa was working from. As an added bonus we also found the Hidden Lane Tea Room and had some lovely cakes too! Anyway, I must have tried on 15 or so dresses. Some weren’t over my head long enough for me to catch a glimpse in the mirror before Lisa had whipped them back off assuring me that I really didn’t want to see what a dress that wasn’t right for me looked like. And then we got to the last dress of the day. It was just what I was after – 1950s, full length, beautiful broderie anglais detailing but nothing sparkly, not strapless. There was only one slight problem – I am not the shape of someone from the 1950s, especially in the boob area, and the detail on the top wasn’t quite the right shape. “Not to worry” said Lisa, “we can just take the top half off, make a new one that fits and gives you more support, use the material from the original to put the detail back and add a coloured sash!”. Perfect. And that’s exactly what she did. I bought the dress in July and didn’t see it again until February. When I went back to see Lisa in March there was no dress, just a skirt and a half made top. But with a few more fittings I ended up with a perfect dress. And a dress that had its own history, but had also never been worn before. It was like having a bespoke dress made but at half the price. I loved it. It had a pale pink sash with a bow at the back and I wore it with a full length veil that I found for £15 in a coffee shop where I live that also sells a bit of vintage clothing on the side. Apart from Lisa and Claire no-one had seen the dress until the big day, but seeing me in it made my mum and dad both cry and most importantly my husband thought I looked beautiful. I had lots of compliments through out the day. I felt fantastic, and mostly comfortable. The only slight issue I had is that dresses from the ‘50s use a lot of man-made fibres and after some energetic dancing (more of that later) I was just a teensy bit hot and sweaty.
I don’t wear high heels very often and I had a very specific style in mind. Something with a low heel, round toes and a buckle. Preferably in pink to match the sash on my dress. After quite a bit of trawling the internet I couldn’t find anything even close when I was reading the Love My Dress blog (which I looked at several times a day throughout the planning process for inspiration and ideas) and I came across Shoes of Prey. Shoes of Prey are based in Australia but they will ship any where in the world. You use their online tool to design your shoes choosing every detail yourself. I will admit my shoes were a bit pricey but they are comfortable, they’re stylish and they look great with jeans so I’ll definitely be wearing them again!
Once we were all dressed – Claire had a sort of raspberry pink knee-length dress, the best thing about which was that it had pockets. How awesome (and useful) is that? – there was just time for a few more photos before the ceremony. All the photos of the day were taken by my brilliant sister-in-law Becca who is a photographer by trade but not usually the wedding variety, ably assisted by my brother Mark. The ceremony was for me (as it should be) the best, and most nerve-wracking bit of the day. I wasn’t nervous about the actual getting married but more that, unlike with a church service, you don’t get a rehearsal with a civil ceremony so I didn’t really know exactly how it was going to go. In the end I needn’t have worried because the ceremony was just how we wanted it to be. I think it reflected our personalities, it was honest and romantic without being overly serious and we got to say what we wanted to say, in front of all our family and friends. I walked down the aisle with my dad to Nina Simone singing ‘Feelin’ good’ and I couldn’t stop grinning the whole time. My brother did a brilliant job of reading ‘I like you’ by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, we made our promises to each other, did the legal bit and exchanged rings, Barry’s school friend Matthew did another reading then we signed the register while the ukulele version of ‘Over the Rainbow’ and ‘What a Wonderful World’ by Israel Kamakawiwo’oleplayed. We did a proper Hollywood ‘kiss the bride’ moment too and then finally danced our way back down the aisle to ‘All I Want Is You’ by Barry Louis Polisar – from the Juno soundtrack.
After the ceremony we headed outside for some photographs. Although the weather wasn’t great it was dry and warm enough for a few outside photos, just about. After the photos were done we headed back inside for a bit of mingling before taking our seats for the wedding breakfast. I know it’s called that because it’s the first meal you have as a married couple but it still sounds weird to me. Anyway, the food was lovely and the waiting staff very polite and professional. The hotel staff were great throughout the whole thing actually – especially on the day checking on the details and making sure everything was how we wanted.
After we had cut a cupcake – we were meant to cut the top cake but the cake stand was really wobbly and we daren’t actually put any pressure on it – it was time for the speeches. My dad was very sweet and managed to be just the right balance of entertaining and embarrassing. Then it was Barry’s turn who despite being pretty nervous managed to get plenty of laughs and while still being very lovely about me. After that, I had my say. I’m too much of a show off to let an opportunity to make 70 people listen to what I have to say pass me by. I didn’t say too much though – I just didn’t think it was right that I didn’t get to say my thank yous too. Although, I did forget to mention Barry at all – oops! After me it was the Best Man Ben’s turn and thankfully his speech passed without incident or embarrassing revelation.
Ater the (delicious) meal and (funny and heart warming) speeches were over, Barry and I escaped for 15 minutes up to our room where, despite spending a small fortune on my shoes, I changed into my custom designed red Converse hi-tops, which have the date of the wedding embroidered on the side, and Barry changed into his brand new shiny white Adidas shell-toes. And we were ready for the dancing!
We had hired a three piece Harlem Swing band called 52 Skidoo to entertain us and our guests and they were awesome. Not that we are particular fans of Harlem Swing but we really wanted live music, but not a typical covers band. 52 Skidoo (Henry on piano, Howard on drums and clarinet and Tommy on vocals and guitar) play songs from the 20s and 30s – prohibition jazz and speakeasy classics. Not many songs you’ve heard before but absolutely brilliant to dance to. We did our first dance to ‘It had to be you’ which has been recorded by hundreds of times but I love the version from the ‘When Harry Met Sally’ soundtrack. The 52 Skidoo boys did a great job and hopefully we managed to avoid the ‘awkward slow shuffle round the dance floor’ first dance.
People were on the dance floor all night and there were a few star turns – most notably from my Iranian step-grandad Houshi (I know, don’t ask) who, with his wig and yellow tinted aviators, became the legend of the evening! There was a mid-evening rest stop for sausage butties, cheese and cupcakes and then the dancing just carried on until it was time to call it a night. We had a last drink in the hotel bar with a few stragglers – and we were pretty proud to be the last ones to go to bed, we wanted to enjoy every possible last second of our day.

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day

I know I’m always going to have to think about what I eat in order to maintain a ‘happy’ weight. I had a lot of success and lost nearly 3 stone with Lighter Life as has been much documented on this very blog. Since reaching my lowest weight in May last year I have gained and lost the same stone and a bit quite a few times. I know I’m always full of grand plans but this time I’ve got a new one and it’s really really simple…

Eat Better
Eat Less
Move More

I don’t want to be ‘on a diet’ again because at some point that ‘diet’ has to end and that’s when the weight goes back on. So the new plan is pretty straight forward and hopefully sustainable in the long run. On a day to day basis I (and the boy) are cutting down our portion sizes, with the aid of smaller plates, but if we’re going out for a meal, or really fancy a pizza or some chocolate, then we’ll have it but just not every week. 

And as for the moving more – I am almost at the end of my third week of Fitness Bootcamp. It’s just half an hour of exercise, four times a week, outside in the cold and dark of a Scottish winter and it’s hard going, but bloody hell it works! After the first two days I could barely walk, I even had to use the lift at school because walking up and down stairs was so painful. But by the end of the first week most of the muscle pain had gone and now I’m just getting fitter and the pounds and inches are dropping off me. 

It’s not like one of those military fitness camps with lots of running and shouty drill sergeants either. Brian, the trainer is a very encouraging Geordie man who just shouts things like ‘good squats’, ‘keep going’ and ‘nearly there’ even when you’ve still got another 30 seconds of thigh burning squat hold to go. It is really hard while you’re doing it but the half hour is over before you know it. On a Tuesday I’ve even been managing to go to the 6.15am(!) workout because my Spanish class means I can’t go to the evening one. And for a person renowned for her dislike of mornings (early or otherwise) that’s not bad going.

Anyway, each camp runs for 4 weeks (with a free taster week before that) so I’ve got another 2 weeks to go of this one. I’m not sure what’ll happen over Christmas but I’m planning on going back in the New Year so I’m in tip top shape for the wedding in April. The other good thing about it is that once you’ve been going for a while and know the exercises there’s nothing to stop you doing it in your living room –  although I imagine I will be slightly less motivated without a Geordie man shouting encouragement at me. Still I really hope I can stick with these recent changes and that this really is the beginning of a new life. I’m certainly feeling good.