The Sunshine Blogger award

A couple of weeks ago I was tagged by Em, author of Em’s World to take part in the Sunshine Blogger Award. If you don’t know what this is it is a fun Q and A type post, with all the questions being set by the blogger who tagged you.

What is your favourite social media platform for promoting your Blog?

Pinterest is a really useful tool for generating blog traffic. However my favourite is still Instagram. I know it has had a lot of bad press recently, what with all the algorithm changes, but I haven’t fallen out of love with it. 

If you forget about numbers, ignore all the bots and follow unfollow nonsense,  it is a great way of making genuine connections with people of similar interest. Just keep liking and commenting on the type of content that you want to fill your feed! 

Do you prefer TV or films?

Can I cheat and say Netflix? I tend to watch TV programs more than films I just rarely do it in the traditional way anymore. 

What was your proudest accomplishment of 2017?

Last year I was promoted at work to Supervisor. I genuinely didn’t think I’d get the position. However I applyed with a  ‘Whats the worst that can happen? They say No’ mentality. 

Having got the job and proved myself this has now led me to now stepping up to Assistant Manager on Maternity cover basis.  It’s going to be hard to step down again but is proving great experience for the future. 

What is you favourite song right now?

I don’t know? Sorry a a massive cop out but I can’t pick just one. 

The last song I downloaded though was fire in me by John Newman.
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I would love to visit Iceland. It would be amazing to see the northern lights, geezers and volcanoes. 

Do you have any pets? If so, what?

We have a King Charles Spaniel named Izzie, who we adopted from my cousin. She is getting rather old now bless her, she spends most of her time seeking out cosy corners around the house to have a snooze in.


What is your favourite quote?

This isn’t really a quote but an acronym of the word FAIL – First Attempt In Learning.

What do you do to motivate yourself?

I respond best to a list. It sounds boring but i am a very visual person. Physically seeing items ticked off my list never fails to push me to achieve more.

What is the best thing that has ever happened to you?

Agghh! It is really hard to narrow down just one thing. My answer is going to sound extremely mushy but I’m going with…meeting my Husband. This is because I consider it to be a defining moment in relation to the direction my life has taken. We met at work 17 years ago when we were just 17 years old. He has officially been in my life longer than he hasn’t. It wasn’t planned but I fell pregnant nine months into our relationship. We were very young and had a crazy amount of growing up to do. At times it has been hard but I wouldn’t change it. We now have three children, live a comfortable life and both have careers that are moving in the right direction.

Do you have a bucket list? If so, have you ticked anything off yet?

It’s not really a bucket list, more of a list of goals for 2018. I recently went to see the west end show, Wicked, which was on that list. You can see my full list of goals in this blog post. 

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

I don’t have time in my day to join in with many blogger chats. I definitely think this has limited the speed at which I grow my readership. 

As the rules state is is now my turn to tag 11 other bloggers to pick up the baton and answer somw questions from me.

 

My Questions

  1. Who is your favourite fellow Blogger?
  2. How would you describe your personal style?
  3. Would you ever consider plastic surgey? If yes what would you have done?
  4. Where is the favourite place you have visited?
  5. What one piece of advice would you give your teenage self?
  6. What is your earliest childhood memory?
  7. Can you remember what your last dream was about?
  8. Do you have a shopping wishlist? If yes what is currently at the top of it?
  9. Have you had more than one career?
  10. What meal would you choose for your last supper?
  11. What advice would you give to anyone considering starting a blog?

I’m tagging 

Ashleigh from ashleighsteaparty.com
Megan from Beauty-ful World

and anyone else who things this is a fun tag and wants to answer my list of random questions. 

      April Reading List

      Just a quick one from me today. This post is about keeping me accountable. I’m trying to get myself back on track with my 2018 reading goal. At the start of the year I vowed I was going to read 24 books, which breaks down to two a month. So far I’m only a quarter way through my 4th book. Not great progress then as I should be starting my 7th by now. 

      The plan for April is to finish Jo Jo Moyes After You, and then two further books. 

      Those books will be; 

      Who’s That Girl?  – Mhairi McFarlane 

      This is a Call: the life and times of Dave Grohl – Paul Brannigan 


      I do not seem to be be able to pick short books which could be why I’m finding it so hard? Perhaps I will have to find a couple of short stories to help me out? If anyone has any suggestions please help a girl out and drop them in the comments section. 

      2018 Personal Goals – 1st quarter update. 

      At the start of 2018 I set myself a moderate list of things I wanted to achieve this year. You can see the full list here. Now that we are three months into 2018 I decided to revisit the list and share with you some items I have ticked off.

      Last Thursday I finally went to see the musical Wicked. My sisters surprised me with tickets for my birthday (much better than a physical present). 

      Having wanted to see the show for such a  long time I am pleased to report that it didn’t disappoint. The alternative look at the world of Oz is clever, thought provoking and very funny. 

      On this occasion Elphaba was actually played by the understudy Laura Pick. She was brilliant, and to be honest, If my sister hadn’t told me she was actually the understudy I never would have known. 

      If you love musicals but haven’t seen Wicked yet book it up, you won’t be disappointed. 

      I can now officially say that I can cable knit. Surprisingly It is actually pretty simple once you know how. That is provided you stick to the pattern you are following. I rely heavily on a stitch counter and may have had to un pick my mistakes a few times. 

      I’m currently working on a cardigan for my Manager’s new baby. I really need to pull my needles out and finish that one whilst on annual leave this week otherwise he will be too big for it. Did I ever tell you that I deserve an award for advanced procrastination? 

      That will be why I have unfortunately fallen behind with my reading schedule. I love reading however I just seem to have got out of the habit. My goal of reading 24 books in 18 is going to be tough to achieve. I’m currently on my 4th book at the moment, whereas I should be starting my 7th by now. Oops! 

      Note to self…Step away from Twitter! 

      So that’s my quarterly update. I don’t think I’m doing too badly but there is definitely room to pull my proverbial socks up.

      2017 – It’s been Bittersweet 

      This time last year I felt a total sense of impending doom. I wasn’t really in the mood for Christmas and New Year festivities. I was coasting, just about getting through all the challenges I had in my day to day life, not really feeling that I had anything to look forward too. 

      I knew 2017 was going to be a difficult one, you see my Mum was very very sick…..She was in fact dying. At this point though we still had hope. The Doctors hadn’t yet completely pulled the plug on her chemo. 

      As far as we knew 2017 was going to be about looking after mum and making her comfortable for as long as she was with us. Little did we know at the time though mum would pass away just 3 weeks into the year. Mum was just 58 years old. She never got the chance to retire and do all those things she talked about doing in the future. 

      Death is very final, that is the hardest thing to get used to. It’s knowing that you will never see or speak to that person again, regardless of how much you want to. I still have this dream where my Mum is not in fact dead, but just in hiding. What from I haven’t got a clue but that is my current recurring dream. 

      So much has changed and happened in my life this year. I’m constantly wishing I could tell Mum just how well I’m doing. Alas I can’t. 

      The irony is though had my Mum not passed away when she did, I probably would never have taken those chances that helped me to succeed. Mums death taught me that life is short, you only live once, you have to take risks to get what you want. What’s the worst that can happen? You fail and have to try again? Perhaps that is Mums lasting legacy? She left me with the confidence to go out and grab hold of what I’m wanting from life.

      This new mentality has seen me promoted at work and opened exciting new doors. I’ve been challenged into facing my fears. Hello Motorway driving! I’m working more hours and harder than ever, but I’m happy. 

      I used to bear a grudge towards my Husband because he was doing what he wanted with life. I think I saw myself as a bit of a maitre always putting the family first before my own happiness. In being brave enough to be a bit selfish towards my family we are all actually happier. Family time is less, it is however considered more valued. This year we have made the conscious effort to do more together. Even if it is just sitting down with the youngest and playing a board game. I’m focused on creating good memories with my family because that is what you have to cling onto when you lose a loved one. 

      This importance of family has extended beyond my immediate household and we are now doing more things with our cousins, aunts and uncles. This years has seen a hilarious weekend trip to Ireland, Christmas dinner in a power cut and plans made for a girly weekend abroad. I’m currently looking forward to our annual New Years meal out, minus my little brother, who is seizing life by the balls,  and has just left to work in America for a month. 

      Who knows what 2018 will bring? Life can be very unpredictable. It can be that little bit better if you can accept life for what it is, embrace challenge, and realise that just because one day is a little bit sucky the next isn’t necessarily going to be. 

      My Sunday Photo


      This was my Friday evening… It was a very abnormal evening for me… I sat on the living room floor and played Lego with my 10 year old. 

      Here’s the thing, I can’t remember the last time I sat and played with one of my children. It probably would have been a game of Monopoly though? 

      Usually when asked my response can vary from, ‘Im too tired’ or ‘I have jobs to do’. Worst of all I can find myself panicking at my complete lack of imagination. I sometimes feel Ive actually forgotten how to play. What was different this time though? 

      We had just sat and watched Channel 5’s Rich House, Poor House and It really struck a cord with me. 

      In this particular episode the Rich family had a huge disposable income. They worked crazy hours to achieve that. This meant they could provide their Kids with a Big house, expensive golf lessons, money to spend on whatever material possessions they wanted. Guess what though? They rarely spent any time together. Sitting down for a meal at the same time was unheard of. 

      Swapping their lives with the ‘poor’ family forced them to live in closer proximity to one another and actually spend time together. The kids described the experience as having ‘had fun’ that week. 

      Our family live a fairly average but comfortable life. My Husband and I work full time. Any free time we get is precious. We do try to take them for days out as often as possible. 

      The kids don’t get everything they want but money isn’t a worry. They have a warm roof over their heads, clean clothes on their backs and don’t go hungry. They don’t have to miss out on school trips because we can’t afford it. That is unless it’s the annual letter home  about the bloody £900 ski trip. Yeah…not happening! 

      My point though is that kids aren’t any happier for all the material stuff. It’s the quality time spent with them that makes them happy. Watching rich house, poor house reminded me of this. 

      So when Jed asked me to play Lego with him on Friday evening, I squashed the initial ‘ughhh I’m too tied’ reaction. Jed was thrilled. Two hours of Lego building fun later I realised that I had also actually had fun. I will definitely be saying ‘Yes’ to play more often. 

      My Sunday Photo 

      I’ve seen quite a few other bloggers share a Sunday photo each week. This is usually accompanied by a little explanation of what is happening in that photo and what it means to them. I loved this idea so have decided to introduce this as a regular feature on Schoolrunbeauty.com.

      Now my first photo is not a deep and meaningful family shot. Nope it basically demonstrates what a Plank I am. 


      Yes Katy managed to set fire to the dinner this week! The downstairs of the house stank of smoke for about three days! 

      In my defence I was knackered after a very busy day at work. I didn’t want to cook! I wanted a takeaway! Listening to the Husbands reasoning on why we really should be well behaved and cook, I got on with it. This is where it went very wrong!

      Cooking pasta is piss easy. My ten year old can do it! Apparently my tired brain can’t though. I had put water on to boil, managed to switch on the wrong hob, of which I’d left a packet of pasta on. Queue the flames! Bang went my quiet five minutes to indulge in a cuppa. 

      Did I get that much wanted takeaway? Nope. We now had a mess to clean up alongside trying to get something edible on the table. I’ve spent several days since trying to scrape melted plastic of the ceramic hob. Alas I think it’s probably ruined. Bugger! 

      So moral of the story….I should shave got the Takeaway!!! 

      2017 Bucket List Update

      At the start of 2017 I created a list of the  17 things I wanted to do this year. I have actually managed to do a few things on that list. 

      It’s is crazy to me that it is the end of July and we are officially over halfway through the 2017. Where has the year gone? 

      So much has happened in such a relatively short space of time. My life now  is very different to what it was like at the start of the year. 

      Some of those things have been amazing opportunities such as going full time and being promoted at work. Other things have been very sad such as loosing my mum back in January. It has been bittersweet.

      I decided it was about time that I revisited the Bucket List and gave you a little up date on my progress. 
      London Zoo 

      Way back in April we visited London Zoo. I enjoyed seeing all the animals but also loved all the old architecture, many of which are listed buildings. The Giraffe house with its huge split doors was built in 1836. 

      Catch a Wave 

      I said I was going to embrace the sea this summer and catch a wave. Well yay for it being so warm in the run up to summer as it actually wasn’t that cold when we finally headed down to North Devon for our summer holiday. 
      I tried out both bodyboarding and Surfing. The later is much harder and I still haven’t got up off my stomach. I have the bruised and scratched knees to prove though that I did  indeed catch and ride a wave. 


      Not quite sure if I’m pulling of the surfer girl look? 


      Try Avocado on Toast 

      I’m counting this Smashed Avocado and Bacon on Sour dough toast, from Jamaica Blue in Chelmsford, as ticking something off my list. It’s not quite the super healthy blogger cliche version but this appealed to me much more. In fact I enjoyed it so much I’ve been back a couple of times. 


      Read the Harry Potter Series 

      My son and I are making good progress reading through the Harry Potter series. We  have got as far as Goblet of Fire. 

      I love this one to one time I have with my youngest. We don’t get to do it every day due to work constraints, which is why it has taken us so long. I’m sure we will have finished the series by the end of the year.

      Visit Ireland 

      Lastly I have booked my flights to visit family in Ireland this coming September. It will be a whirlwind weekend trip but I can’t wait. We are have a big girly weekend at my Aunts in a part of Ireland I have never visited before. 

      We are a little over halfway through the year. So far I have ticked off or planned for 5 items on my list. With 12 still left I’m going have to pull my finger out if I want to tick them off before the end of 2017. 

      Of course I will keep you updated when that happens.

      Confession time | Addicted to my iPhone? 

      My name is Katy and I’m addicted to my iPhone. Yup I have a terrible habit that I need to break. Honestly I would have so much more time in the day if it wasn’t for my unhealthy attachment to an inanimate object. 

      I know I’m not the only one, my husband and kids are often just as bad. In order to get the teens to get any homework done I have to confiscate their phones. Well, what with all the games and apps and Internet access they are the perfect procrastination tool! 

      Don’t even get me started on the number of times I’ve bickered with the husband about his phone usage. Sounds like a touch of the old pot calling the kettle black doesn’t it?  

      My mornings start like this, wake up and grab a tea. Drink tea whislt scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Bloglovin and WordPress and not to forget the News App, before I know I’m late for the school run. Bad Mummy! 


      As a blogger it’s very easy to use the excuse that I’m working on promoting my online presence or being a good blogger and catching up with and supporting other people’s work. There comes a point though when it really is time to switch off otherwise I find I get nothing done and my mood can start to be affected. Not only that it’s terrible for my posture and the old aches and pains start to return in my neck and shoulders. 

      I realised it really had become a problem when I found I had stopped reading. I used to be such a book worm and would devour book after book. This year I’ve read approximately four books, and two of those have been in the past month since I’ve started trying to restrict my phone usage. 

      As ridiculous as it sounds I am having to make a conscious effort to break my smart phone habit. I can compare it to that of trying to give up smoking, it took a few attempts but I did that successfully in the end. So this really shouldn’t be a problem, right? 

      The key to my success this time will be to keep my hands busy with more constructive activities such as knitting, colouring in or simply doing the ironing. Otherwise I find my self fidgeting and then reaching for my iPhone. I know that that works I just need to be stricter with myself. 

      I’ve actually started leaving my phone in a different room to me, out of sight out of mind right? Well once I’ve got over the initial feeling like my right arms been cut off. 

      I’m hoping if my kids see me less attached to my phone they will develop better habits too. You never know?  That and maybe the hubby will stop calling me a hypocrite when I moan at him for paying more attention to his phone then me?  Errr Awkward! 

      #MummyMonday | Pokemon Go the bane off my life??

      Unless you’ve been under a rock somewhere remote you can’t fail to have noticed the latest craze that is Pokemon Go. My two boys are obsessed, and to be quite frank they are driving me up the wall.

      Honestly If I had a pound for everytime I heard “Mum, Mum, MUM!! Can we go look for Pokemon?” I’d be rich. It’s fair to say that at times its doing my head in. 

      Now as weird as it may sound after that little moan, I actually think that the Pokemon Go app is a good thing. Let me tell you why. 

      Just before the school summer holidays I wrote a blog post talking about how difficult I found it to keep the boys Screen time down to an acceptable limit. Pokemon Go does require a smartphone, which I class as screen time, but here’s the difference, it is actually encouraging the boys to not want to sit on their bottoms and get out and about more. 

      If the boys have a Pokemon egg they want to hatch then they are desperate to go out for a walk as walking a certain distance is the only way to hatch Pokemon eggs. This is great as it means they are much more active and getting some fresh air. See here’s one they hatched earlier. I couldn’t tell you what Pokemon it is though.


      It’s not just the kids that are benefiting from this as we have made a habit of going for a family post dinner walk now. I’m getting out for regular walks as well. 

      I make the time to go out with the kids as having heard a few horror stories about people being the victims of muggings or more bizarrely managing to walk off cliffs (how??)  whislt playing Pokemon go I am reassured that they are safe. 

      Even when I’m with the boys I am constantly having to remind them about road safety. 

      This may also sound like an over reaction but if I see a group of what I consider to be undesirables ahead of us I make the kids put the phone away till we have passed them. Okay I’m judging people by appearance and body language but it’s important for the kids to understand that there are people out there that would be more than happy to steal their phone given half the chance. So why advertise the fact you have one on you? 

      One thing I’m not so keen on when it comes to Pokemon Go, well…that’s the cartoon itself. Yup it’s available for viewing on Netflix, and Oh My God it’s annoying! I’m definitely not up for cuddles on the sofa watching that. 

      So yes the constant “Mum Mum MUM! Can I check Pokemon Go ?” is blooming annoying, but it has found a positive place in our lives. 

      Why I have voted to remain in the EU

      I have just got home from my little trip to the polling station, where I casted my vote to remain as a member of the EU. This wasn’t an easy choice, my gut has been very much in the remain camp but In the run up to polling day my opinion has wobbled a bit. In fact until last night I was undecided. 

      It is the notion of retaining our countries soverancy that would tug me towards the leave camp. I don’t like that key decisions about this country are made by politicians we haven’t voted for. 

      Regardless of whether you have followed  the Brexit and remain campaigns it has been difficult to hide from the murky aspects of politics. There has been plenty of scare mongering, disturbingly racist  remarks from the far right extremist end of the leave campaign, compelling ideologist arguments for both sides. It’s all been a bit confusing really, hence my opinion has wobbled a bit over the past couple of weeks. 

      In the end my decision came down to one key question. 

      ‘What is the governments contingency plan should we leave the EU and our economy suffers?’ 

      When this has been put to the leave campaign, time and again, they couldn’t answer it. 

      The cold hard reality is NOBODY has left the EU before. NOBODY knows what could happen to our economy should we leave. NOBODY can answer what they would do to reduce the risks. 

      I consider the whole idea of voting leave as taking a chance on other peoples ideologies. I’m a fairly risk adverse person so for me  voting leave is not an option. It is too big a risk. 

      Once we are out of the EU we can’t go back, well it would be very difficult to anyway. A Vote remain doesn’t mean that it can’t still be looked at again in the future with better preparation for those ‘What ifs?’. 

      I’m not telling you which way to vote, that is entirely your decision. I just felt as an ‘undecided’ compelled to share how I came to my decision of remain. 

      Regardless of whether you are stay or leave, DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!!