Monday, 18 April 2016

Two Stone!!



This morning I weighed myself for my 13th weigh in since I started in January and I lost a whopping 6lbs! This makes up for the 1lb ½ I put on the week before and to be honest the bad month of March.  

I found myself as usual losing a bit going down a dress size and get complacent. The problem that is I am still diabetic and I still have quite a bit of weight to lose to get to a healthy BMI.

Last Monday I gave myself a stern talking to and go back on track and it worked.
My total weight loss is now 2 stone. That’s 28lbs!!

The best thing I feel so much better for it. Last Monday I felt bloated and sluggish as I had eaten so badly the week before.  A bonus result is that I have gone down two dress sizes and I now a size 16 which feels really good!


I still have quite a bit to lose but I am on the right track!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

It’s Not Luck, It’s Bloody Hard Work

I have been freelancing from home for the past 5 ½ years and I love it and I love the work I do. It gives me the flexibility to be with my children, I have really low childcare costs (Little Miss funding has just kicked in so zero costs now) and I get to choose who I work with.

When I tell people I am a work at home mum they generally tell me I am really lucky and for a very long time I agreed with them.

Oh yes I am lucky not to have to go out to work

Oh yes I am lucky that I get to be at home with my children.

Oh yes I am lucky to do I job that I love.

But I’m not lucky; I work really, really hard to be able to do this. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn't have it any other way but it’s not come easy.  I spent many years working away late into the night and grabbing precious minutes at nap time to fit work in and build up a reputation and client portfolio.  

During that time I had a second child and a lovely bout of depression to help things along.
I still work in small pockets of time as Little Miss only goes to tom playgroup 3 mornings a week, I am praying really hard that two extra mornings become free soon! Life is hectic and sometimes down right exhausting. My recent illness has not helped but I am on the mend now.

I let myself devalue my own work. I think it’s because for such a long time I felt like a fraud, not believing in my abilities. I have come to realise that I am good at what I do!!

I feel like I am on the go constantly. Today I have dropped the girls off, BG at school and Little Miss at playgroup. Before we left the house I swapped the washing over. When I got back from the school run I filled the dishwasher and swept the floor while I waited for the kettle to boil. I have then done an hour and 20 mins work and have written this blog post (yes I am skiving), very soon I will have to walk back and pick Little Miss up (I don’t drive so the 20 min journey is done on foot), we will then walk home, have lunch, I will attempt some tidying, have a cup of tea and then do my 3rd school run of the day. Then it will be dinner time, bed time, I will then do a few hours work, get the kids’ stuff ready for the morning, watch a bit of TV and go to bed. I do that on a Monday and Wednesday. On a Thursday OH is off so I get a full working day. Tuesday and Friday I work in the evenings.

My house is a pit; I have piles of washing everywhere.

This is my desk, the house is even worse!



I wouldn’t change the way I work. Yes it’s hectic and the days are long but Little Miss goes to school next year *sob* and things will then get easy. This September she goes over the pre-school side will be doing two and half days and that will really make a difference. Until then I will carry on the way we are, I am trying not to think about summer!


So I am not lucky to be a work at home mum, I work really hard so I can be one. 

Right I have 20 minutes before I have to leave. Time for some more work! 

Monday, 4 April 2016

Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker Blog Tour: 5 Things I Can’t Write Without

Its been a while since I have written about books or hosted a book tour so what better way to reintroduce this to Lipstick and Lace than with a book blog tour for a debut novel. 



This made me want to read it straight away:

For fans of Twin Peaks and The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair, this brilliant debut is dark yet hilarious, suspenseful and sad. Everyone has a secret in Tall Oaks . .

When three-year-old Harry goes missing, the whole of America turns its attention to one small town. Everyone is eager to help. Everyone is a suspect.


Desperate mother Jess, whose grief is driving her to extreme measures. Newcomer Jared, with an easy charm and a string of broken hearts in his wake. Photographer Jerry, who's determined to break away from his controlling mother once and for all. And, investigating them all, a police chief with a hidden obsession of his own . . 

Luckily for me I was sent a e copy to read and it is a brilliant book. I read it in two day, totally ignoring my children and the housework. I have to admit that I found it a confusing read at first as there are quite a few characters and I kept getting them mixed up, though to be fair it doesn't take a lot to confuse me. once I got pass that I was totally gripped and just had to know who had done it.

I won't give much away because there is nothing worse that a spoiler but I will say Manny is my most favourite character in the book.  You seriously have to read this book and luckily for you its out on ebook on the 7th April.  

Even more exciting than a new book is that Chris Whitaker has written a post for me to share with you. 

I have always wanted to be an author and in my fantasies I get to write uninterrupted for ours in a huge office lined with books and I of course write books that everyone loves. In reality I write blog post sporadically which trying to work from home, fending off children by throwing them food, in an office which is essentially a hallway between the bathroom, living room, kitchen and utility room. I am always fascinated by how authors write, where they write and what they need to be creative. 

Chris is kindly sharing  the 5 things he cant write without *takes notes*

5 Things I Can’t Write Without


1. A daily target.

It might not work for everyone, but I need to set myself a daily target. I’ve varied it over the years. With Tall Oaks it was 5,000 words per day, this is insane and I would never do it again. My wife was due to give birth in a month and I wanted to get a first draft finished before all the screaming and crying began. It didn’t work, as when I saw how awful that first draft was I did some screaming and crying of my own. So now I’ve settled on 1,250 words per day. There are no excuses, I have to write 1,250 words. I don’t write at the weekend (unless a deadline looms) but I know that in roughly four months I’ll have a first draft. It helps to look at the calendar and see the end in sight. There are times when I’m not in the mood to write, or when life gets in the way, but I always push through.

2. Microsoft Word 2007.

I know, I’m a dinosaur. In my defence, 2007 was a vintage year for Word. I have friends that write on Macs (the cool kids), Zoho (me neither), and even by hand (Amish/ masochist), but for me I’m a Word fan. I’ve heard good things about Scrivener, but would probably need Mr/Mrs Scrivener to move in with me whilst I got to grips with it.  

3.Silence.

I work and write (according to my accountant never the twain shall meet) from home. I have a five-year-old son and a two-year-old son. Their favourite game is called Cobra vs. Mongoose, there’s lots of hissing and screeching involved. This means I do a lot of writing at night. I’ve tried writing whilst listening to music but just find it a distraction.

4. The Internet.

Though it can be hugely distracting, I find it impossible to write without internet access. From research to dictionary and thesaurus, I’d be completely lost without it. And Twitter. Twitter has been a revelation. I knew it was a necessary evil in the days of self promotion, but through Twitter I now have a group of writer friends that have talked me down from the ledge more times than I care to admit. They are such a diverse group that if I need anything from advice on the correct use of the dream sequence (don’t use it) to the best way to hide a body (blend and drink), there’s always an expert on standby.  
 
 
5. Laughing.

Seriously. If I can’t make myself laugh then I go back and re-work. Every line that is supposed to be funny needs to elicit a laugh. If you think trying to make yourself laugh is narcissistic then you’re probably right. But it’s really important to me!
 
You can find Chris on twitter and can pre order his debut novel Tall Oaks here

Checkout the rest of the blog book tour.





Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Changes

Just before Christmas I wrote about my diabetes and vitaminD deficiency. At the time I was hoping they would let me try to control my diabetes through diet and I would have to go on medication but that was not to be and I ended up on two lots of tablets!

I still want to control it by diet so in the New Year I joined Weight Watchers.  One of my main problems with food is not what I eat but how much I eat, I eat huge portions and I needed something to help me control that. I liked WW as it has just changed it point system to help decrease sugar increase and let’s face it with diabetes that’s not a bad thing. I have tried dieting many time but always give up after a lose a stone but this time as I know it’s for my health I am really determined to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

Its not just sugars I need to control but also my carbs as they turn to sugar and that is just as bad as a bar of chocolate. When I have done WW or Slimming World in the past I tried to eat as much ‘free food’ as possible and then use all my points to carb out or eat chocolate but as I know I can’t have them I have found better ways to use them and eat well.

I spent the first 4 weeks counting and weighing everything religiously and it really worked, my portions decreased as did my stomach which means I now get fuller quicker. I have now switched to no count which means I can eat as much as I want from a list of food which includes lean meats, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice, eggs, veg, fruits, beans, pulses and quite a bit more.  Because I know how big more portions should be I find that even though I can have as much as I want, I am sticker to smaller portions of carbs and bulking out with veg and protein.

Its really paying off I have lost 1 stone 5.6lbs so far, 7 ½ inches off my bum, stomach and waist and gone down a dress size. 



Even better is I am starting feel myself, my energy is coming back and my skin looks really good. I still have a long way to go but I am feeling positive and motivated to carry one. It’s been a real wakeup call and changes need to happen.


Now if I can just get my children to sleep more!

Monday, 25 January 2016

#WhatICrochet Rowan Granny Square Blanket

One of my highlights of last year was being asked to be a craft ambassador for Make It Coats. My first little project for them was little strawberries for charity and then they asked me if I want to make a Granny Square blanket designed by Sarah Hatton and I couldn't resist.

I always underestimate how long it is going to take to make a large blanket but I eventually got it finished in the new year. Illness and a bad back didn't help my progress but it was a joy to make. 



The colour palette and yarn choice really make this blanket special. It wasn't until I stitched  it all together that I noticed the genius of the square placement and I am so glad I got it right! 







The yarn is Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted and its really lovely to work with. Its firm but not scratchy and actually washes up super soft. The colours are so great together that it makes me smile every time I see it.

It was supposed to go in the living room but has made its way into my office to keep me warm as I work.


If you are looking for a great project this winter I would highly recommend this blanket. because the wool is worsted weight the squares work up pretty quickly. And once you start putting it together it will keep your legs warm.

I can't wait for my next project.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Stop. Slow Down


2015 has been one of the busiest years for me. My freelance work has grown and I took on several new clients. I went to conferences and even spoke at one! I even squeezed in a few gigs and some Rugby World Cup Matches. Not to many the many craft projects I took on.  While all that is amazing, I should have been listening to my body and slowing down.

 I’m not well, not in I’m dying kind of way but in an if I don’t stop and look after myself I may collapse sort of way. I haven’t felt right for a while, if I am being honest with myself I haven’t been feeling great for about a year, but I am a strong woman I carry on.

It started with feeling tired, just a little bit. So I tried cutting down on the boxsets and going to bed earlier but that didn’t help, and I got more and more tired. I also started to get pains in my thighs at night and then in my heels and ankles. Recently I have had pain in my shoulder and my right hand which I though was from too much crochet.

My hair started growing in damaged, my fringe looks like it’s been singed and the front my tongue constantly feels like I have scolded it. I then started having problems with my periods, actually I had an issue last year and it sorted itself out so I didn’t worry about it! Then  it happened again so I knew it was time to see the doctor.

My doctor was fantastic and even though she could give me a diagnosis straight away she sent me for a lot of blood tests.  They tested for 16 different things including my thyroids, the menopause, love and kidney function, diabetes and vitamin d.  I honestly expected it be my triode as there is a family history of it but to my shock I have vitamin d deficiency. It was causing some of the tiredness and the aches and pains. My glucose also came back high so I was sent back to be retested and I am also diabetic. That wasn’t a huge shock as I had gestational diabetes with both pregnancies and was left with glucose intolerance after Little Miss was born.

I am extra strength vitamin d tablets to boost my levels for the next three months and then I will probably be on tablets for quite a while. I am waiting for an appointment to see the diabetes nurse, I am hoping that she recommends I start with diet control fist but I have a feeling it will be straight on to meds.

So it’s time for me to stop and slow down, well at least for a while.   The vitamin d can take up to 6 weeks to start taking effect and who knows how long it will take to control my glucose levels. When you have two conditions making you tired it’s really hard to just keep on going.

Looking back I realised I only took two weeks holiday this year, so I am having two weeks off over Christmas. I also plan to take the half term holidays off next year and at least a week off in the summer. I had to make a tough decision in the past month to reduce my workload, it wasn’t an easy one to make but I feel it was best for all parties concerned.

2016 will be getting better, living a little slower and good health. I have some many plans and things I want to achieve but I need to sit down and have a talk to myself and be realistic with what I can take on.

Thankfully we are keeping Christmas simple this year and apart from wrapping and few crafts with the girls I have nothing to do.


Have a brilliant Christmas and an awesome New Year!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

What I Crochet: Ripple Infinity Scarf

I am addicted to yarn and making scarves so when the people over at Cosy Wool asked if I would like some yarn to make a scarf I couldn't turn them down!

I ordered Stylecraft Special Aran in Meadow and Granite, which is really nice yarn and the colours are gorgeous.  I was really impressed in how it was posted. 

They vacuum pack the yarn!! How fantastic is that! It means it can be posted straight through your letterbox, no missed parcels.


I decided I would make a little infinity scarf for my #AutumntimeSurpriseProject partner. I already had a ball of Stylecraft in petrol and as they go lovely together I decided to add in into the scarf.


I crocheted a ripple pattern using Attic 24's neat ripple pattern as it always turns out really well.  I crocheted a starting chain of 31 and used a size 5 hook. I kept going until I felt it was the right size and then weaved in the ends and slip stitched the ends together.



I love it and I really hope my partner does!

There is plenty of yarn left so I may have to make myself one. I do love Stylecraft yarn as I find it nice to work with and it washes up really soft even though its acrylic.

Scarves make such lovely gifts and then don't take a very long time to make. You could make a few by Christmas! 

I am after some yarn for a Sky Blanket project I am starting in January so I will be pursuing Cosy Wool over the next few weeks to add to me stash!