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!!

My favourite Poem | #BEDM Day 12

I have something very different to what I would normally write about here on schoolrunbeauty.com. 

The prompt for today’s #BEDM post is poetry. Well I’m no poet. So instead I thought I would share with you my favourite poem. 

This poem is nearly 100 years old but it is still very powerful and has relevance with me even today. 

I was first introduced to it as part of my GCSE work almost twenty years ago. I can still quote many of the lines off by heart. 

It is a War poem written by Wilfred Owen in 1917 called Dulche et Decorum et

Yes it’s a little bit on the morbid side but every time I hear it it reminds me of how lucky I am. That neither my children or I have to live through the sort of horrors that were supposed to end ‘war to end all wars’.

Of course there are still major conflicts today, and sadly probably will be for many years to come. 

Let’s remind ourselves now how lucky those of us that live in peaceful communities are and how both men and women, such of as those in the poem, have sacrificed so that we can. 

Dulche et Decorum et

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, 

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, 

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,

And towards our distant rest began to trudge. 

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, 

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; 

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots 

Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. 
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling 

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, 

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling 

And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—

Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, 

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. 
In all my dreams before my helpless sight, 

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. 
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace 

Behind the wagon that we flung him in, 

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, 

His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; 

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood 

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, 

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud 

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— 

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest 

To children ardent for some desperate glory, 

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est 

Pro patria mori.

By Wilfred Owen 

Makes you think doesn’t it? 

The featured painting is titled ‘Gassed’ and it by American Artist John Singer Sargent. It was the image that accompanied the poem in my GCSE textbook. 

Bye for now, Katy x

Date Night at The Viper Beer Festival | #BEDM Day 7 

Last week was another one of those crazy weeks. It saw multiple hospital trips for the men in my life. Yes it was a bit stressful. So I’m even more thankful that hubby and I had managed to have a rare date night before all the craziness started. 

My face in this picture? I must of known what was coming! 

Our date night saw us dusting off our leathers and hopping onto the Husbands motor bike for a ride out to one of our favourite beer festivals, The May Day weekend Beer festival at The Viper, Mill Green Ingatestone. Over the weekend it showcased over 50 beers and real ales plus ciders and perriers from local breweries. 

This pub always fascinates me as it is set in the middle of woodlands yet still receives a great turnout. It’s a true English country pub. 

The Bi annual Beer Festival is always a popular event. I’m sure it helps that there is some great live music over the weekend including popular local band Breakforcover. I am a bit biased in my support for them as my father in law is the lead singer. 

They do have a very loyal fan base though with gigs always being packed out. For there latest dates follow the link above to their web page. Are you a Chelmsfordian? They are playing at the Fleece in Chelmsford on Friday 13th May. 

August bank holiday will see the the return of the beer festival at the Viper. Let’s hope it’s nice and hot! 

Bye for now, Katy x

Let’s cause Mummy worry!| Emergency Hospital Admission for DKA! 

Just when you thought managing a diabetic child’s  condition wasn’t challenge enough, the pre teen hormones kick in and it’s a bit like the poop hitting the fan. 

So this wasn’t what I had planned to write about today but as I’ve committed to blog everyday in May and Im unprepared whislt stuck in hospital with my Son I’m improvising. 

We are currently, fingers crossed, coming out the tail end of a DKA (diabetic ketoacidodis) after two stints of being placed on DKA protocol treatment. 

I have had one very sick young man on my hands and I’m not going to lie he scared me this time. Even when he was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes he wasn’t this poorly. 

Initially it was thought Harrison had a sickness bug, which in itself can cause complications but after 3 days of continued sickness and no body else becoming ill, well this couldn’t be the cause. 

No Harrison was in the early stages of DKA, the sickness was actually one of the symptoms that he was deteriorating and untreated this could have been life threatening. 

The Doctor’s suspect that due to his age and the increased hormones and growth spurts this meant his levels have been rising overnight for a prolonged period of time meaning his body wasn’t getting enough insulin. 

Instead of using insulin to absorb blood sugar for energy his body was breaking down fat. The harmful waste product of this process is ketones. 

As it stands the doctors have treated the DKA and are now working on getting his insulin dose increased to the right level. Fingers crossed it is enough and we don’t have a third day of going through the protocol again. 

Let’s hope that things will be resolved very soon. Though I think I’m in for an interesting few years of keeping on top of his control. Oh yes as well as all those other teenage challenges! Wish us luck!