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.

February’s Reading List 

At the start of the year I set myself a few personal goals. One of those goals is to get back into reading by finishing up 26 books throughout 2018. 

So far I’ve finished two books;

Helen Forrester Lime Street at Two 

Paige Toon All about the hype 

Both of these books are part of mini series’ that I have now finished. They are very different but both equally great reads. Let me know if you would be interested in a book review on either of these. 

In order to stay on track and keep myself accountable I have decided to share my monthly reading list here on the blog. 

These are the books I plan to read in February; 

Paige ToonThe one we fell in love with 

Paige Toon is my favourite author. I received this book from my husband for Christmas… I just haven’t got round to reading it yet 

Jo-Jo MoyesAfter You 

I read Me Before You last year and really enjoyed it. It’s about time I read the sequel then. I also have the book on loan from my little sister so need to hurry up and give it back to her. 

I’m open to pushing my reading comfort zone so if you have any suggestions for books that you think I should be adding to my reading list please leave them in the comment section.

5 things that happened when I stopped eating refined sugar 

For the past 30 days I have been taking part in a challenge to remove junk from my diet including things like crisps, cakes and anything that contains added or refined sugar. 

People that know me well will appreciate how much of a challenge this has been for me. The first few days of this were tough. I had a withdrawal headache and was cranky because I couldn’t eat what I wanted. 

Fortunately I am part of a 30 day challenge group on Facebook, and my husband has also been on this challenge so there has been plenty of support. 

Now  at the end of this challenge I thought I would share the five things that I have discovered since giving up the sugar. 

  1. At the beginning of my sugar detox I felt really hungry. I started having to look at food in a different way. I am now looking at food for its nutritional benefits and its ability to keep me full.    For example at breakfast I am now eating overnight oats made with natural greek yogurt and berries rather than a cereal bar. My sugar levels are no longer spiking and then slumping. I have so much more energy and no longer have a dreadful late afternoon slump. 
  2. My skin is looking clearer. I can’t give you a scientific reason for this, it just does. I am definitely a vain person so this is enough for me to make a go of sticking to a sugar free diet. 
  3. Now that the natural flavours of food are no longer masked with sugar it tastes so much better. I’m really beginning to appreciate food again. Fruit like grapes and strawberries taste amazing and are enough to satisfy my usual post meal need for a sweet fix. Home made sweet potato crisps are heaven! 
  4. I have got used to the taste of food without added sugar. I can really taste hidden sugars in food. Simple things like a tin of baked beans taste really sweet. Too sweet In fact. I’ve now switched to Heinz No added sugar beans, which I hated before. 
  5. In a bid to avoid those hidden sugars I have made an effort to take a packed lunch to work. This has saved me money. Win Win! 

I know I will struggle to stick to a completely sugar free diet on long a term basis. There will always be the temptation to indulge In the odd bit of chocolate, particularly around my time of the month. Going forward though it is about making sensible choices. 

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.

The Gym Playlist 

Music is such an important thing in most of our lives. 

Different music can have an impact on how we feel and influence our moods.

I’m sure you’ll agree that we all have our own selection of songs that will evoke memories, both good and bad. 

We have those songs that motivate us and make us work and train harder. 

For this reason I put my gym playlist up there as one of my most important training tools. If I forget my headphones and don’t have my music it actually has a negative impact on my performance. 

I’m unable to run at the moment has my scholiosis has flared up. Instead I’m cycling so the playlist has had a little tweak. It’s working for me though. 

I can guarantee not all of the music in this current playlist is to everyone’s taste, but it has relevance to me. 

So confession time, this is what is on my current gym playlist with a little explanation of why that particular song has earned its place. 

1. Danza Kuduro (Through Your Hands Up)
Lucenzo & Qwote

This is our honeymoon song and never fails to put me in a good mood. Perfect for  warming up. 

2. Heart Attack

Demi Lovato

Im starting to lift the tempo a bit here but  this is not too fast that it helps with pacing.

The next few songs I’m looking to maintain a steady pace. Music that is at a certain tempo is really important to helping me maintain that. 

 3. Roar

Katy Perry

4. The Edge of Glory

Lady Gaga

5. Uptown Funk

Fleur East

By this point I feel like I’m hitting a bit of a wall. So I need something that is loud and motivational. Yup it calls for a spot of  Prodigy!

6. Invaders Must Die

The Prodigy 

It’s time to wind down now, but not too much. 

7. Figure it Out

Royal Blood 

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Why we should be Celebrating those small achievements 

Yesterday I hit a goal that I have been working to for what seems like  a very long time now. To some this achievement may seem very minor but to me it was big. I managed to run on a treadmill for ten minutes consistently without taking a break.

Now I know to some people ten minutes, approximate distance 1.75k at my place, this is a very small achievement but I have have had to work very hard to achieve this.

Why? This time last year I couldn’t walk without the use of crutches. I had a twisted pelvis that was causing a curve in my spine and also trapping the nerve that runs down the front of my leg. Walking was excruciatingly painful and very slow I was not running anywhere.


Things had gotten so bad I had to leave my job as I had exhausted my allowed sick leave. Working as coffee barista on crutches just was not an option. I was at a point in my life where I felt I had hit rock bottom, even though I actually hated that job!

I’m not going to lie, for a while I felt very sorry for myself and was wallowing in self pity. My life felt like it was completely on hold and I was angry at how unfair it seemed.  I wasn’t someone that you would want to be around at that time.

Something happened in my life though that changed that, I can’t even say what exactly but a light switched on and I was ready to start clawing by life back. I didn’t want to be that person.

I was lucky to be put on a pain management program that involved alternative therapies such as acupuncture and ultrasound massage. This got me to a point that I was ready to begin physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

The process has been very long and I have had to take baby steps on my road to recovery. At times I would be in so much pain I didn’t want to do my exercises, other times I would push it too far only to cause more problems and regress.

The whole process has been a huge learning curve. I have always been someone that hates to ask for help, or listen to advice for that matter. In this though I had to a) listen to medical advice and b) accept help when needed.

What I have learnt is how to listen to my body and what it needs. This had meant eating properly and allowing myself to put weight on.

What’s that saying? “Strong not Skinny”

This is my mantra now. Meaning focus is on eating well, and training to increase my bodies strength.

So yes this may seem like a small achievement to some, but to me it has been a big one. I chose to announce that achievement to all and sundry on Facebook as I was so proud of myself. I actually got a bit emosh when I finally achieved it, as I had fought so hard for it.

My goal may have been small but it’s one I’m celebrating. Why? Well it feels good and I’m discovering that positivity is catching. The more positive my outlook on life the more positive people are towards me.

So I say celebrate those achievements no matter how small or insignificant you think they might be. That little goal is just another step further towards achieving something big. If you’ve worked hard for it it deserves a celebration.

What has been your big or little achievement of late that you are proud of?

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