Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022

“It’s been a funny old day”, I can never think or say this without thinking of old Arkwright in Open All Hours (those of a certain vintage will know what I’m on about!). It’s been a funny old year too! Lots of happenings not happening…

Lockdown no lockdown, mask no mask, stay in go out and every possible mixed message in between! Then there’s the lockdown parties in Whitehall which our Government say didn’t happen but then they did but weren’t parties they were working lunches with wine and cheese. I’d love a working lunch with wine and cheese, although I fear I’d be the size of a house and be jobless after having wine during the day if I did!

If I were to sum up the year of 2021 I’d say it was a slightly skewed, aiming to get back to some form of normality year. It wasn’t all negative there have been some real positives to come out of it. It’s all too easy to focus on the negatives in life and this is especially understandable given the strange happenings of the past eighteen months to two years.

There was some good news Climate challenge wise, COP 26 wasn’t necessarily a complete whitewash. Yes there were parts of it that failed the climate completely and yes some elements didn’t come out as strong as they could have but there are some small achievements that we can be positive about. Small steps, but steps all the same.

My year? It was pretty much the same as many others I should imagine. I managed to work, the kids were educated, and we experienced some strange weather. The latter part of the year meant we could go out more and enjoy some of the things we once took for granted such as a visit to the theatre as a family to see the Panto (absolutely brilliant I hasten to add!) and popping to London for a day trip (super quiet by the way – so not like London at that time of year, or any time, to be honest it was eerily quiet), then Covid decided to mutate a little and numbers were going up but thankfully the number of deaths has remained relatively low considering. Although not necessarily any easier for those who have lost friends or family, loved ones to the awful virus. My heart goes out to you if this is your situation.

Did anything happen to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Yes actually, there were some great moments. We had a fab week away in Wales, where I really felt close to my kids and saw a different side to them. I felt it was the break we all needed. Yeah, ok, they had their moments but they were also bloody amazing and they made me so proud to be their mum.

I was really happy that some of my nearest and dearest friends and family have managed to make real successes of their small businesses during a tough year, so it is my pleasure to encourage you, my fantastic readers to check them out! They are all fabulous people who are making their way through the minefield of business but they are amazing and why not give them our support. So, whether you like and follow them on Facebook or buy one of their products I’m sure they will love you for it.

Here are some of these amazing small businesses – really, you must visit…

First up we have the lovely Little Vines at https://littlevinesholiday.wixsite.com/littlevinesupton. Little Vines is a fantastic holiday let that focusses on the personal touch. Sally is trying to get her husband to buy her a fab KitchenAid Mixer like mine so she can whip up more of her delicious homemade cakes that are always waiting for her guests! If you’re looking for somewhere to spend a nice little break away then check out Little Vines but hurry as they’re booking up fast with a lot of returning vacationers.

Another fabulous small business I’m super proud of is my lovely cousin in-law Yvonne at https://www.facebook.com/fireandfilemetaldesign/ she has the most amazing jewellery in her store. She uses eco silver and has designed and made some really quirky but super wearable jewellery. She doesn’t just make jewellery, she makes wall art/hangings and book marks. I’ve bought a couple of bookmarks from her for the kids school teachers as thank you gifts so if you’re stuck for ideas then go pay her a visit at her Etsy shop and like and follow her for regular updates on Facebook.

One of my school run mum friends has a small business making gemstone bracelets. She does this as a hobby which has been a real booster to her wellbeing. You can find her gorgeous bracelets at https://www.facebook.com/natcmusi. I’m all for supporting the independent business and small local is always good for the community.

Although I’m part of a style club online and have actively promoted RuthEssex.com of which you may find a little treat in a future post by the way, I also have a lovely school friend from way back in the day who is a brilliant personal stylist. She has a small business where she does colour analysis and style advice. She has been in the business for a few years but recently made it a full time occupation as the perfect opportunity arose. Sometimes you just have to take that risk, and occasionally it pays off. If you’re interested in colour and style then Wendy is another person to check out at https://www.styleandcolour.co.uk/.

Last but not least if you want some lovely Cornish made crafts then pay my friend Lynn over at https://www.facebook.com/Kents-Cornish-Crafts-609845416339903/ a visit. She makes some lovely personalised crafts that invoke some very special memories for her customers. Lynn has made teddy bears from some treasured baby clothes which is a lovely keepsake, so if you have anything special in mind have a look and see what she can do for you.

What do I (we) have in store for this New Year?

A lot! We have a huge amount planned to be going on this year, but whether it will all happen remains to be seen but we can just roll with it and see what pans out. I’m still super busy with teaching, and blogging but you know me things will get done regardless. I have the usual stuff going on at home as well as a potential belated honeymoon on the cards too! We’ve been married over ten years but we never managed to get a honeymoon. We’ve been promising to have one all this time and maybe, just maybe we’ll get one this year. A global Pandemic stopped us last year, so we’ll just bump it over to this one.  

Coming up on the blog is an interview post with Ruth Essex @RuthEssex.com which will be coming out at soon so make sure you get in on that one. I just need to finalise a few more bits and pieces to it and it’ll be all good to go. I have lots of helpful blogs planned but again, it all relates to what’s happening with me and my life so if it doesn’t fit it won’t be written about at that particular time. I do wonder how some bloggers manage to post several blogs a week when I can barely manage one a fortnight! My life just isn’t that interesting perhaps?!

Photo by Vincent Gerbouin on Pexels.com

What else?

So, I’ve decided I’m not partaking in any fad month this year. Dry January, Veganuary, or any other. It’s not because I don’t believe in following them I just don’t feel we need a month of doing something to make it right. I know it’s about focus and making the general public aware of the causes but for me it doesn’t sit right. Too many years in marketing and being slightly cynical of these events has had a lot to do with it. I will cut down on the amount of meat I eat, it’s a small thing that makes a big difference. I will drink dry wine instead of sweet dessert wine… no, no, sorry that’s not dry January. I mean I will reduce the amount of alcohol I drink. I’m not a heavy drinker anyway, but I do like a glass occasionally so it’s not a huge game changer but will make me a little healthier. I will make an effort and do more exercise. I have become far too sedentary and it’s not doing me any favours. All of these steps are small but important and I don’t need a designated month to get me doing them. If we make small changes over a longer period of time then we are more likely to stick to them, at least I know that’s what works for me. If you choose to do dry January, Veganuary or any other ‘month’ I applaud you and good luck with them. Either way we’ll all come out slightly healthier in the end.

The weather, well that’s always a good topic to talk about 😆

It’s funny I hear so many parents and carers on the school run saying its cold and they can’t wait for the warmer weather. I actually like the seasons. I know it’s cold, I’m sat at work with thermal undies on and several layers of clothes as I have to have my classroom window open because of Covid requirements for adequate ventilation and I have a hot water bottle on my back and a heater at my feet – chilblains anyone!? But, despite the freezy feel it’s refreshing, just as I like a clear spring day and a balmy summer’s evening I think all weathers have a part to play. I’m not so much a fan of fog and rain though. That just gets to my bones. Brrr. I did buy a thin pair of gloves to wear whilst I was working at my computer but as is the usual with my online purchases these didn’t fit. I must have very long alien fingers or these were designed for a child! My daughter now has a lovely pair of satin gloves! I got asked if she could wear them for school. She would be very glamorous if she did 😎

I am worried about the more extremes of weather we are experiencing and as I’ve mentioned before I am trying to do my little bit to ease the environmental strain on resources and helping Mother Nature along a little. But if, I’m honest, Christmas is always going to be hard on the environment. There’s more paper and plastic to deal with. More of everything that we as a nation have wasted.

I was super good this Christmas just gone and had very little food waste as I shopped wisely and used up leftovers. It was surprisingly easy to do for those that don’t/haven’t manage/d it. I’m good at reducing food waste most of the year, there are loads of really good websites and apps that help, but always struggled at Christmas. I’ve always viewed Christmas as gluttonous and where we overbuy and overeat. But, also rather tellingly we over waste too. I can remember in past years disposing of leftover food in the waste and chucking mince pies out because they were past their sell by date. But now I’m savvier about waste. The sniff test on milk (thank you Morrisons, but I have been doing this for ages!), the use by is the date you need to be watching don’t worry so much about the best before as it’s only a guide. Use a bit of common sense, if it looks off it most likely is, if it smells funky it’s probably not worth trying it.

So there you go, there’s the first instalment of the New Year for you.

Here’s wishing you a belated, but important, Happy New Year and let’s hope it’s a good for us all.

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo

The run up to Christmas…

I’ll keep this one short!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s that time of year where the final couple of weeks run up to Christmas is upon us, everyone is busy planning, buying and wrapping, going to parties and enjoying themselves. For me, these last few days are a nightmare. Don’t get me wrong I do love Christmas, and usually in the last week/couple of days, its lovely. It’s just all the stuff that comes before it! It’s super busy, and I’m having to juggle more than usual this year.

It’s been a tough couple of months, with Mum falling and breaking her hip and needing extra care when she came out of hospital, and the simple fact that I have family sending me text messages telling me to go and help out as my Dad is tired from having to look after her isn’t helping! What do they think I’m doing sitting on my arse all day and larging it up?! I have been helping out and thankfully she is now in a much better position as she is able to do so much more for herself. And then there’s hubby been away abroad working, Kids to manage, house to manage and work all thrown into the mix. Oh and there’s all the house stuff going on too. More on that another time I don’t have the energy to go there!

I have the headache from hell most days and to say I’m feeling stressed is an understatement. Hubby is doing his usual last minute shopping for his family, which is always right up to the wire. Why? As usual he’s been super busy working and hasn’t had the time. I have most of my presents already bought, just not wrapped, there are only a few more to get but as they’re foodie ones these are best left as late as possible. We have 12 months of the year to go and buy gifts for loved ones and friends, so whilst in the past I may have been guilty for last minute shopping, the reality is there is no excuse. I can’t believe I managed to write the Christmas cards early this year, although I’m sure I will have forgotten someone along the line!

We are visiting hubby’s family the weekend before Christmas and will be spending some time in the neighbourhood. Will have to take the bigger car this time as we certainly won’t fit all four of us, luggage and presents in my little dinky toy! My car is not what you would call a practical family car 🤣. I’m looking forward to spending some time away albeit only a couple of nights, it is a break away from the daily grind at home, I’m hoping the tiredness will pass and let me enjoy my time away. Plus I get to dress up a little as we are staying at a nice hotel without the kids as they’ll be at their grandparents, and we get to eat out in a posh restaurant for a change. To be fair I do like a Harvester pub, but sometimes something a little more refined is welcomed.

We also have the Theatre booked, the Panto to be precise, and I’ve heard great things about it, hoping it lives up to it. I’m sure it will – Peter Pan is a classic, although it’s been brought right up to date apparently this year. I’m sure the kids will love it, I may have to pack an extra Tena pad – apparently it’s hilarious!

Photo by Tuur Tisseghem on Pexels.com

If you were wondering if Hubby and I had finalised our Christmas dinner menu yet, well the answer is no. Not yet. And, if I can’t get a click and collect booked then it might just be chicken instead of turkey this year 🙄. I don’t fancy doing anything super amazing this year, not that I could anyway not being that good a cook and all, but I’m still not feeling full on festive yet.

There’s niggling doubt over Covid at the back of my mind, we’re promised things won’t change, and it’ll be a normal Christmas, but I’m dreading the bit after Christmas. Omicron has a lot to answer for! I’m now booster jabbed, if I’m honest I feel quite crap with it. I wasn’t too bad with the AZ, but this third half dose has made me sore, and very achy. I did have the flu jab done at the same time which I admit could have something to do with it. In all likelihood the simple fact that I’m just completely shattered is probably the underlying issue!

In fact, I’ve been feeling decidedly grumpy of late. I’m trying to figure out if its just me getting older and having less tolerance for stupidity or actually whether there is something more going on. Perhaps its hormones kicking in, now that I’m over 40 there are obvious hormonal changes going to happen but I’m starting find my sleep patterns are getting worse, my tolerance levels are lowering and I’m generally feeling… just bleurgh! (If there is such a word?!).

Anything and everything seems to irritate me these days. I also notice I don’t feel the cold as much as I once would have. Although this may just be down to the fat content I have keeping me well insulated 🤣🤣🤣.

It could be the dreaded Menopause kicking in although it’s a bit early, my family don’t normally experience it until 50+, but you never know. It may be that I just need an MOT and a break away from everything. I might be waiting a while though, I’ve been married ten years and still haven’t been on a honeymoon, somehow something always gets in the way 😞. Perhaps it’s just good old fashioned frustration getting the better of me. If you know the answer give me a heads up 😉.

I’ll sign off until after Christmas. Will catch up with you all after, until then have a great holiday everyone, wherever you are, whoever you’re with and whatever you do x

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo

Christmas, food and all the bits that go with it!

Each year I buy a tonne of Christmas magazines. You know which magazines I’m talking about… the ones that promise you the perfect Christmas. Well, I’ve done it again, spent a small fortune on magazines that will somehow take me to the holy grail of Christmas perfection.

Presents under the tree

Inside they are filled with perfect images of the perfect décor scheme, the perfect Christmas tree, the perfect Christmas countdown, the perfect Christmas family crafts to make, the perfect Christmas menu, the perfect Christmas collection of drinks, the perfect Christmas gift list and it goes on… I love the idea of getting perfection at Christmas but the reality is far from it.

Food

I’m an awful cook, and I don’t know much about putting the perfect scheme together, but I do know I have an amazing family and I love doing our silly Christmas stuff together. So what if I over cook the sprouts and burn the turkey a little, we are still alive and we can laugh about it and that’s what is important to me. Enjoying the time we have together, being silly and doing daft things. So yes, I would love the perfect everything at Christmas but sometimes perfection isn’t really what we need, what we need is for things to just be a little bit okay.

Hubby and I have the same conversation each year about what we are going to cook on Christmas day. We peruse the magazines with the aim of identifying a really first class menu for the day, but after looking at a lot of the ideas and images we come to the conclusion that we wouldn’t eat most of it and it’s all a bit too fancy. We’re simple folk and like old fashioned, simple, hearty food. So we end up doing a more traditional meal of turkey, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, veggies including one or two Brussel sprouts even though there are only two of us in the family that will eat them, gravy, cranberry sauce (although hubby puts mint sauce on his instead of cranberry as he’s a fussy one!), pigs in blankets and occasionally a Yorkshire pudding if we do beef instead. We don’t normally have a Christmas pudding as I’m the only one who’ll eat it, and we often don’t have room anyway! We might get in a cheesecake or something simple just in case.

There are always mince pies in the house, as the kids merrily munch their way through them, and we always have the kid’s version of a trifle, minus the sponge fingers, custard and cream. Yes, I know it’s just jelly, humour me will you?

I did find a fabulous recipe for a Gingerbread Soufflé which I’d like to try, never baked a soufflé and I’m sure it will sink in the middle but I might just have a go at it. Recipe can be found here if you’d like to try it for yourself https://www.yourhomestyle.uk/recipes/desserts/hot-gingerbread-souffle/

I have had a request from hubby to get in some stinky cheese (Stilton fyi) and some cheddars too, which is fine as both the children and I like to have crackers with cheese (although not stinky cheese!). It’s nice to have something different other than the usual chocolate and sweets that are usually abundant at this time of year. I confess to not buying tins of sweets for us at home, we do buy for others, but we usually get given plenty as gifts from friends and family. Oh, and I’m aiming to get hubs a Colin the Caterpillar Advent Calendar this year as he’s been hinting at it for ages! Although it’ll probably be sold out by the time I get to buy one!

Drinks

My kids love their hot chocolate, squirty cream and marshmallows, so much in fact, that we’ve had to cut them down on it to once a week as they were getting into the habit of having one several times during the week. They’ll get a few more this Christmas though as they like to prepare it all. There’s something about giggles when they’re using squirty cream, they sneak a squirt directly in their mouths too! Grim monsters 🤣.

There’s lots of ideas for the perfect Christmas cocktail, I’d love to try some but I have to admit I usually just end up with a G&T with a citrus twist for my tipple of choice and we usually have bucks fizz or prosecco for Christmas lunch. It’s all a bit of a faff, and takes up too much space on the sideboard, plus there’s always the risk something will get knocked off the side with us being quite a clumsy family. I do like the idea of all the loveliness of a cocktail trolley, just not sure it would work in practice.

Decor

I mentioned in the last post about our Christmas decor this year and pointed out some of the trends and how we tweaked the latest trends to suit us. I also mentioned I would be attempting to dig out the deccies from the garage. That has and hasn’t happened. What? I see that confused look on your face. I know. I only managed to get in the garage the day hubby left for work abroad, very much last minute too! So, this meant I didn’t have the manpower to help with the lifting and ‘getting of things up high’, with me being a shortie and all that. I ended up just getting the kids Christmas trees and their box of decorations as they were easy to hand and it meant that at least they got to do some decorating for Christmas. We can wait until Dad comes home and get at least one family tree up before the big day. I’m not bothering with outdoor decorations this year, we haven’t the time to put any up really.

Outfit selection?

So each year I say to myself “right time to really snazz it up this year”, meaning in Becky speak time to find an outfit that’s all sparkly and christmassy. The reality of this is a pair of loose fitting trousers and a top without fail every year. It is essential for the consumption of all of the mince pies!

I did attempt a sequin outfit once, I scoured Pinterest for ideas and identified a really great looking outfit. Sequin skirt, top and shoes. Fab. Well I attempted it. Slippers instead of shoes as we don’t wear shoes in the house. Family trait I’m afraid. Never can see the joy in dragging outside dirt in on carpets and flooring, especially when dogs and people might have peed on the pavement, or spat on the pavement, anyone whose worked in the city will know what I’m on about. And whilst were on the matter why do people feel the need to put their feet up on public transport seats, dirt on clean clothes, really! It’s unhygienic enough when the ‘boys’ in the house miss the toilet seat (mums of boys will know exactly what I mean here!), I certainly don’t want anyone elses ‘ickiness’ in my house or on my clothes if I can help it.

Anyway, I digress, so sequins were donned, and a white top with a cardi to top it off. It looked awful, the skirt showed my massive mum tum and teamed with dark nora batty wrinkly tights (only those of a certain age may get this), the top was a ill fitting and the cardi just didn’t cut it! I looked like a granny gone wrong. I knew as soon as I donned the outfit it was just wrong, so took a pic to prove how bloody awful it was and immediately went to the backup outfit of loose trousers and top! Failsafe, not attractive or particularly stylish but great for slobbing out after Christmas lunch.

Lesson learned. The Pinterest image I found was the look I was going for but I completely misinterpreted the outfit. In the image I found the individual had on knee high boots in black, gold sequin skirt (similar to mine) and a black polo neck top. She was also very slim and as I mentioned in a previous post it’s hard to find images of plus sizers in the type of outfits I like. It’s a learning process and I know what went wrong which is a good thing to come from it. And you get to have a good laugh at my awful choice in footwear!

I still have the skirt even after a couple of years, It’s in the pile of ‘not sure abouts’. It may go to the charity shop, or someone I know might benefit from it. I may be able to make it work with skin colour tights, and keep the outfit light but I may just give up and use the darker sequin skirt instead. I can see how unflattering the skirt is it just highlights the mum tum too much.

So, I’ll be revising my wardrobe choices this year and maybe, just maybe, might don something a little more jingly this year. Funny Christmas jumpers anyone? 😁

Let me know in the comments below or over on the facebook page if you’re planning on donning a fancy Christmas Jumper x

Whatever your choice of food, tipple or outfit this Christmas, I hope you enjoy it.

Decorate to your heart’s content and cherish the moments you have with loved ones.

I will try to post again before Christmas, but until now, take care, stay safe.

Becks Xo

Christmas decor trends in our house

And other Christmassy things!

With the month of December almost upon us, some of us may be thinking about digging out the well-worn and much loved decorations and dusting off the tinsel. Yes, it’s that time of year again.

I feel I can mention the C word (No not the really rude one! That’s just wrong!), as it’s almost December and only a few more weeks to go before we all start to overindulge and go into overdrive at how much we’ve spent… really? That much… again! But I budgeted this year! You know the drill.

I’m planning on fighting my way into the garage this weekend hopefully and will drag what I can out and see what is still useable. Much of our tat has been about for years and is looking a little beyond its best. But, sometimes that’s the way I like it. It means it has a story to tell, it’s seen a few Christmases and many changes along the way.

I am trying to be a little more eco-friendly and using what we have rather than buying new. I am using a fake tree – I would love a real tree, and have had a few in the past, but if I’m honest the fake ones we have will have already had their carbon footprint and it would seem such a waste if we binned them. They are a few years old so I’m hoping to keep them in good condition for as long as possible to minimise the damage they would and have done. They were expensive in the first place and are good quality so I’ll continue to use them for as long as I can. It’s better not to cut a tree down anyway, much better to have a potted one and grow it on – there’s lots of schemes out there where you can buy potted trees and when they get too big or after 7 years (assuming they are still alive) then they can go back to the supplier to be planted in the ground and you then start the cycle again. Cutting a tree down doesn’t always mean eco.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

What are the Christmas Trends for this year?

What I do try to do each year is see how the Christmas trends pan out and identify what is predicted for the year and use what I already have in storage and adapt it to suit. Looking at the predicted trends and what has been in the shops for what seems an age now, I know we have quite a few items that I can use this year. I’m not a minimalist when it comes to decorating a Christmas tree. I go for the more is more approach. I like it stuffed full of baubles, silly decorations and of course family heirlooms. This goes against the grain of the less is more trend some have predicted, a more stripped back approach for this year it seems.

The rustic, handcrafted trend is very much in this year, so of your love crafting little handmade gems will come in handy this year if you’re big on handmade. If you’re not a crafter you can still get the look but you’ll have to buy it and there are some super glamorous decorations out there, albeit made with more natural materials such as wood and berries!

There’s also a love of all things DIY still and this means plenty of garlands with dried fruit and foliage, going au naturel. I think the idea behind the DIY trend is due to last year 2020 being a year where we couldn’t see family and friends and do the ‘group’ activities we perhaps might normally have done and so this is a symbol of a new normal and getting back to some of the fun times we may have had in past Christmases.

I have to admit to failing at setting a perfect table display in our house. We have a small, tatty old table that fits the four of us and not much else. We have been meaning to invest in a bigger one but just never got round to it. We’ll probably look to getting a new one next year, we’ve so much on at the moment we just don’t have the time to go furniture shopping. So, I usually keep it simple with our nice John Lewis white crockery and our posh Oneida cutlery set (the stuff that only comes out for special occasions, I’m too clumsy to use it everyday!). I use a simple tablecloth and runner just to make it look a little more festive but that’s about it really. I dream of a huge table with lots of room to create a really elaborate display. I have a friend who puts on the most amazing table displays when she holds her dinner parties, and I’m sure Christmas is no different at her house, she puts so much thought into everything from the wine to the food to the decor. I would love to be able to do such things I admit, but we just don’t live that lifestyle. We are simple folk and rarely have guests over.

It looks like the colour trends are following clothing colours at this time of year, lots of burnished berry tones and natural earthy muted tones paired with gold and bronze. These are many of the colours I use each year anyway, and as we have a huge amount of decorations (7 Christmas trees, yes, you read correctly, 7!) this will not be hard for me to put together a scheme. I try to vary the colour schemes each year although clearly I can’t use colour schemes that will clash with the current wall colours or any of the permanent colour schemes in the house, but I do like to harmonise as best I can. I do let the kids go wild with their trees though, as kids should be allowed to be creative in my view.

Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

What else will I be doing?

I will be using my new anniversary/Christmas gift mixer this christmas to make some cookies and I think I will get the kids to decorate them, they can use their imaginations, you never now we may end up with another day glo colour on the cookies (long story, for another time maybe). We will probably put a few in for close friends and family presents and also for just munching whilst watching cheesy Christmas movies.

Talking of movies, there are a few films we always watch at Christmas, we were put off last year as I don’t remember Die Hard being on mainstream telly. Christmas isn’t Christmas without Die Hard! I did watch Love Actually though which is also on my list of must see Christmas Movies. What’s your favourite CHristmas movie? Here’s a list of mine, in no particular order:

  • The Holiday
  • Love Actually
  • Last Christmas
  • Lethal Weapon 1987
  • Ghostbusters 1989
  • Gremlins
  • White Christmas 1954
  • Die Hard
  • Muppets Christmas Carol
  • Bridget Jones Diary
  • Bad Santa
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Deck the Halls
  • Jingle All the Way
  • Christmas Chronicles 1 & 2

I’ve quite possibly already peaked on the Christmas movies front as there are loads on daily at the moment and I dip in and out occasionally. If I peak too early I get a bit Bah Humbug, but I’m slowly starting to get into the spirit of things. We popped into a garden centre the other day on our travels and I was getting more enthused by the decorations as I was walking round. I did almost buy something but decided I probably wouldn’t have enough room in the boot along with the luggage from our weekend at the folks!

We booked the Panto this year too. The kids haven’t been to the panto and we were looking at perhaps booking The Play That Goes Wrong, but after the kids watching it over and over on iPlayer I’m all ‘The Play That Goes Wrong-ed out!’ We are really looking forward to spending some quality family time together with a few big belly laughs along the way. He’s behind you… Oh no he’s not!

We are not expecting any visitors to ours this year, although my parents do pop over for boxing day occasionally. We will do the trip to see the kids grandparents down South of which we all thoroughly enjoy visiting. We will take the bigger car this time, it’s got a bigger boot. I need say no more 🤣. It may all be a little different this year all depending on my mum’s recovery from her big operation. I’m hoping she’ll be able to make it to ours as I really enjoy having them both over. I’m lucky to have both my parents still around and hope it stays that way for a long time. It must be hard for some who’ve lost parents, especially if they have lost them recently or if they had a particularly close relationship with them. My heart goes out to you if this is you, you never forget them. This time of year can be tough for many and my thoughts are with them.

The light show!

Every year hubby usually does a big light display in both front and back gardens for the kids but the past couple of years has toned it down considerably. When we used to live at our old house the lights were really bright and you could see them from the car park at the back of the house, I have to say the garden glowed! This year with all the things we have on we won’t have time for a big display so will keep it simple and pop up a couple of strings of lights in the garden. It’s just time that is keeping us from doing a big display. It takes a whole weekend to sort it all out. Time we don’t have free this year. It seems to have come around so fast.

Are you doing anything special for Christmas? Comment or visit us on the facebook page, I’d love to know what you are up to this Christmas.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks Xo

What defines the perfect beauty regime?

Is there even one?

According to experts, and it seems everyone on the internet is an expert these days, there are three main steps to a beauty regime: Cleanse, Treat and Moisturise. Ok, fair enough but being a teenager in the late 80’s early 90’s I thought Tone was the middle one. Well it seems I’m wrong and Toning is an optional activity these days and we do it to redress the PH balance of our skin, but apparently the key thing we need to be doing now is Treating our skin after we’ve cleansed and before we moisturise.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Fair enough I’m no expert but this is what I have found out and if you are like me and don’t use much by the way of skin care products then this may help. For those of you that do use products daily you might just find you are using too many products and actually overwhelming your skin.

So what does ‘treat’ stand for?

I can tell you it’s not a lovely chocolate biscuit treat unless it’s one specifically made for skin! I do have a rather lovely face mask that smells so chocolatey and delish that it always makes me feel hungry… but I digress. Treating is where we use, serums or creams which are packed full of skincare superheroes like vitamin C, retinol, hydroxy acid and more.

Of course everyone’s skin is different and we need to adjust to suit our skin and our age but after looking at what is recommended the following seems to be the ideal skincare regime:

Daytime

  1. Cleanse – use a gentle face wash to take away the impurities of daily life. Using a gentle face wash is important if you are using several products in your skin care regime as you don’t want to overwhelm your skin. Don’t cleanse too often or use too harsh a cleanser otherwise your skins natural barrier will be washed away and you’ll end up with redness and potential problems with other products.
  2. Tone – this is an optional stage but is good for rebalancing the PH levels of your skin. Make sure you are using the right toner for your skin type though. If you have dry skin use a hydrating toner to soothe skin and if you are prone to acne then using a toner with salicylic acid in will help keep spots at bay.
  3. Serum – whatever your age or skin type it seems as though vitamin C is the skin saviour. It helps reverse the damage caused by the sun and pollution. It’s also good for hyperpigmentation, and especially so if used in the morning routine.
  4. Eye cream – find one that suits you and dab with your ring finger to prevent damage to the fine skin under the eyes. Our ring finger is the weakest one so ideal or delicate areas.
  5. Moisturise – this is designed to keep your skin hydrated and create a protective barrier for your skin against damage and pollution. Depending on your skin type choose a lighter moisturiser that will soak in quickly, if your skin is on the drier side then a thicker cream based moisturiser will do the trick.
  6. Sun cream/sunscreen – this is essential, our skin can get damaged by the sun even on an overcast day. It is the number 1 cause of skin damage so we need to use it daily and at least an SPF of 30 is recommended, even if you spend most of the time indoors. 

Night-time – this is the perfect opportunity to ensure your skin is getting all the key nutrients it needs

  1. Cleanse – this is where a cleansing oil is recommended as it is designed to take off your makeup and cleanses your skin in one go.
  2. Tone – again optional but do it before you apply serums.
  3. Serums – apparently retinol is the skin saviour for anyone to use at any age but especially in our 40’s and 50’s. There are recommendations to using alpha hydroxy acid to encourage collagen but this will need to alternate so as not to put too many ingredients that may fight with each other if you now what I mean.
  4. Eye cream – use as you would in the day, but using eye cream at night helps the delicate skin around the eyes deal with stronger ingredients like retinol better.
  5. Acne cream – this is about prevention rather than cure. If you know you are prone to the odd or regular breakout then putting spot control cream on can help keep them at bay.
  6. Moisturise – uber important to moisturise using a night cream as this is designed to hydrate and protect your skin and make sure it is glowing when you wake up.
  7. Face oil – these are designed to give that extra boost of moisture for your skin overnight. They add an extra layer of protection. Don’t worry if your skin is oily these if the right formula is chosen can work wonders for your skin.

To me this seems a lot of a faff, although it is why many women and men have fantastic skin and I don’t. I look at my own skin care regime and for me to do what is recommended I’d be there all day messing about. Especially as it’s advised to wait a little between stages to let the skin settle and for the products to sink in. But with the pressures on us all to look good every day, and keep the aging process at bay we are ‘encouraged’ to follow complicated regimes.

To be honest in the grand scheme of things if you only do half of the recommended régime you are doing something right!

Essentials are – cleansing, applying serum and moisturising the other bits, are for when you have time if you can.

What about me? What do I do?

I’m such a heathen when it comes to my skincare, or lack of care as is mostly the case. I do put sun cream on I confess to that, but if I’m honest I don’t much do the other stuff. I have the odd phase where I go all out and do all three steps, but mostly I wash with a bamboo or organic cotton flannel, yes you read that correctly a flannel. I was born in the 70’s and some of the things I did as a kid have stuck with me. I have a pile of bamboo and organic cotton flannels in the airing cupboard as they get used regularly, I’m not for these environmentally damaging wipes (they don’t do your skin much good either) and the washable wipes that companies seem to keep coming up with as the new environmental alternative, well open your eyes they’re just cut up flannels made from bamboo or organic cotton, marketed as the new way to save the planet! And, yes I can be this cynical I used to work in marketing, kinda know the tricks they use to get people to buy into the ‘product’. And spot cream! I just use toothpaste! It works a treat and leaves my face smelling minty fresh 🤣, the other half has grown accustomed to seeing me with toothpaste on my face occasionally he doesn’t bat an eyelid these days.

I will use a moisturiser on occasion when I remember to, although I confess I don’t always do this every day. I forget. Unless I get into routine and remember to do it or I’m putting on makeup, it just doesn’t get done. I do put sun cream on though, as I mentioned before but I don’t much like the combined moisturisers with SPF in them I find them far too greasy for my skin. So normal mineral based sun cream does the job for me. I do remember to put moisturiser on at night, and I’m even choosing a night time one for extra Oomph. So I suppose I might get some brownie points for that!

My mum always encouraged me to ensure my skin was clean but she used to suffer terribly with allergic reactions to most skin care products and so she rarely wore makeup, in fact I think she only ever wore mascara and lipstick as everything else made her skin react. She would react really badly and have to have prescription cream to put on, usually some steroid cream or …

What’s it called? …

Hang on…

It’ll come to me in a bit…

This is one of those walk into a room moments and you forget what you walked into the room for! It’s an age thing.

Antihistamines! That’s the one.

Mum used to wear a moisturiser but it was the same one for years and she rarely changed the brand, she had to though on the odd occasion as the formula and ingredients had changed and caused a really nasty reaction where her face swelled up and went burning red it started to peel in places. So as you can imagine skincare and makeup wasn’t foremost in my teens. Most of my influence came from teen mags like MORE and when I was older Cosmopolitan. Ahh, those were the days 🤣 Anyone of a certain age will remember More Magazine, Cosmo is still about and is even more racier than I remember 😜

I can’t say I’m much of a girly girl and I never really have been, but on occasion I do like to make an effort. And, this means when I do remember to use skincare products I want them to be as skin, animal and environmentally friendly as possible.

I will only use animal friendly products those with the Leaping Bunny and Vegan logo on them. I have long been an advocate of animal friendly products and positive ethical practices in the beauty industry and I naively used to use many of the high end brands Estee Lauder, Clinique and such like, but I found out that they were and are still not animal friendly. They are often owned by parent companies who sell in China and their products must be tested on animals before they can be sold there. So at some point there will have been an ingredient that has been tested, if not the actual product, on animals. It is hard to find a truly animal friendly product but if you care enough then look for the leaping bunny and the vegan V and you can’t go far wrong.

You don’t have to pay high end to get a good product. Many cheaper products use the same ingredients as the more expensive brands, it’s just the bigger more ‘high end’ brands market to a ‘lifestyle dream’. We all like a bit of designer but we don’t necessarily need it for our moisturiser. Do your research, there are plenty of informative websites out there.

I’m not here to tell you which products to use, you are old enough to make those decisions on your own. All I ask is that you consider the impact on the environment, animals and your health and do your research you can’t go far wrong.

Thats it from me for now. Have a rummage through your skin care products and take a careful look. Hopefully you’ve perhaps picked up a little snippet of useful information in this post.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks xo

Is it really all about the likes and stats?

I’ve found myself becoming more and more concerned about the amount of engagement I have and focusing on my stats of my page recently. I mean let’s face it, I’m putting myself out there and opening myself up to the world so why not, right?

But I’m finding myself becoming quite anxious about it, checking the stats on an almost minute by minute basis. I’m becoming almost addicted to checking and for me it’s a concern, I teach kids about screen addiction and social media issues and yet I’m now following that path!

Photo by Susanne Jutzeler on Pexels.com

I’m not sure why I’m worried about the stats, perhaps it’s because I wrote a post that I thought might have appealed to more people and it didn’t, perhaps it’s because I felt I’d laid myself bare in my honesty and now I’m wondering if I’ve done the right thing, perhaps I expected more engagement, perhaps I did something people didn’t expect and readers were put off, should I have paid more attention to SEO as bloggers are often told to do to maximise their readership and engagement, perhaps people just didn’t get to read it, maybe I posted at the wrong time? Who knows there are so many what-ifs and could haves that I’m slightly overwhelmed by it.

Part of the issue I think though, is that I have been inconsistent in posting. For me this is a personal blog, about me and my life, so I don’t post every day, week or month – my life just isn’t that exciting! I am a busy mum, teacher, crafter and blogger, I’m perpetually knackered, so something has to give somewhere at some point. I post when I feel something important or useful happens and this goes against blogging advice, but there are so few blogs out there that aren’t out to make money that I wonder if that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I rarely do recommendations on anything and when I do I do it because it’s genuine and not because I’m getting paid for it, I switch off reading most blogs that have constant ad pop ups and so this doesn’t appeal to me. I like my little blog because it’s clean and free of the interruptions of everyday internet bombardment.

I know from looking at the blog and stats that the only comments I’m receiving are spam and they’re filtered out anyway, and it seems that only a handful of followers are commenting on the Facebook page and they’re usually close friends. Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board with the blog and social media and make some changes.

Am I going to be going against what I originally set out to so?  Probably, but we evolve and I suppose my little slice of the internet has to evolve too but I honestly don’t want it to. I’m happy with change, but not when it’s forced. I’m more of a natural evolver.

I get so wrapped up in what I’m writing that maybe perhaps I don’t focus on the structure of the post enough, I certainly don’t plan the post, everything I write is written from the heart and perhaps it comes across as a bit rambling, and loses its intention. There is so much information on the internet about ‘how to write the perfect post’ its information overload. And maybe I don’t want to write the ‘perfect post’ maybe I just enjoy writing and getting my personal story out there.

Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

I’m not even sure how to plan a blog post for my type of blog. I mean it’s a little slice of my life and how I manage things. I don’t want to churn out just anything to meet a statistical requirement but in my head I’m thinking the opposite – reader engagement, get the likes, get the comments, post, post, post! My fear is I’ll lose the feel of the blog and it’ll become another blah blog. How some people manage to churn out post after post day in day out is beyond me. Do they not sleep?! They can’t have a life surely? Or maybe they are just so incredibly organised they have planned everything months in advance like a professional!

I remember when I started out during the pandemic lockdown 2020, I researched online about how to start a blog, I grabbed as many planning tools as I could and filled them all in planned to the hilt and then put it all to one side and forgot about it. I do dip in and out of the pack every so often but I don’t give it my complete focus I admit. I found it easier to maintain a consistent posting schedule and there was plenty to talk about with the pandemic and all. But now were back to the new normal life has become busier (work, kids, home, crafting and blogging = busy, busy, busy) and it’s not quite so interesting. I’m not off on jolly’s out all the time and neither have I been on a posh cruise or exotic holiday so it’s all about the day to day stuff going on which can be a bit… well… dull really.

I’m not sure what you want to read, I don’t know what you find interesting or not about the blog so it’s difficult to write interesting things and insights for you. I’ve been told in the past not to change what I’m doing, I’m just not sure anymore, I don’t know what to do.

I guess it may be time to re-evaluate and look at what to do for the future with Mylifeandstyleover40.com. If you have any ideas (keep them clean!) pop a comment below, or on the Facebook page.

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo

A little bit of style is all you need…

I guess as my little slice of the internet is about my life and style I ought to put my money where my mouth is and write a post on said style bit. This may get a little embarrassing but be kind, I’m all about being kind here.

I mentioned ages ago in an old post (Archived post: Surprised? I was… https://mylifeandstyleover40.com/2020/08/ scroll down a little in the archives to find it if you want to have a look) about how I need to get grip on finding my own style as I’d kind of given up on my appearance and how I looked in others eyes. I tend to be the type who doesn’t always practice what they preach and I must get out of that habit! Definitely not a good habit to have if you’re a teacher like me 🙄

I’d like to think I know a little bit about style, I know the a bit of the ‘theoretical’ elements, which some might deem to be ‘common sense’, and I think know how to put a stylish outfit together (most of the time) and I’m a good learner. But, I think the problem is I’m quite lazy and I also quite often have a ‘so what do I care what others think’ approach. Believe it or not, I actually do care how I look. To me it’s not being vain it’s a part of self care, just like taking five minutes to ground ourselves and refocus. Something we are told to do for our mental health. I do care about what others may think about me and how I look but it’s easier to hide behind ‘a cloak’ and appear nonchalant about things.

Photo by Kat Smith on Pexels.com

Why is this? Is it a British stiff upper lip thing? Who knows! But, I do think there is something in the feeling that if we change how we look, even if it’s a smart pair of shoes rather than the usual scruffy trainers we may wear on the school run, someone might notice the little change we’ve made and may comment on it. Oh no, how do we deal with that!?! Especially if it’s a compliment, because let’s face it, for some of us, we are not good at receiving compliments are we. It often makes us a little uncomfortable, it may even sometimes make us think in a negative way “OMG, if they make a comment on what I’m wearing then I must have looked really bad before”, which can go either way and make us think positively enough to make us care a little more or as I suspect I have done in the past, we may verge towards the negative side and will hide away going back to our old ways because if I don’t’ change they will never notice. The truth is, if we try to hide we get noticed just as much as when we make an effort. And any changes we make get quickly absorbed into our daily look and become the norm to others. Ironically I like to compliment others on how they look and yet feel a little awkward when others compliment me.

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut where you just grab the nearest thing to hand and throw it on hoping that it might look reasonable, I am busy like most people, I am time deficient, and planning what I wear often doesn’t work for me. I have off days, fat days, happy days, down days and every kind of day so what I may plan to wear may not be what I actually wear as I might just not be feeling in the mood that day! I am very much an emotional dresser, much like my emotional eating. I wear happy clothes if I’m feeling buoyant, but I wear scruffy clothes if I’m feeling tired and worn out. My clothes fit my mood.

I find it difficult to find clothes that I feel really comfortable and confident in, many of my comfort clothes do not scream style and make me look frumpy (see the dress in the pic as an example!😲) which then puts me in a negative frame of mind and thus the continual cycle goes on. I do have some really positive days where I will wear something I really like and makes me feel confident.

This has been down to learning a lot about style from a group I’m part of. ALERT!!! Shameless plug of the Lessons in Style Club I’m in (I’m recommending this service because I love it, I don’t get any commision for doing this at all so this is genuine!!!). Visit RuthEssex.com for more information. If you are feeling in a style rut, or just want to understand a little more about colours that might suit you believe me there’s a lesson for everyone there. Have a peek and sign up for her newsletter – you’ll find some really interesting helpful hints and tips there. She really is one of a kind when it comes to stylists.

Beware, you will be subject to some awful photo’s but I’m all about keeping it real! 🤣

The photo, although a couple of years on, does show I’ve improved my style I think. The dress in the first image makes me look overweight and frumpy. I would have worn trainers with it or sandals I’ve come a fair way in a couple of years. The second photo shows in my opinion a much better more refined me, despite the grumpy face 🤣. I’m still the same size, you just don’t notice it so much, I’m just wearing a much better outfit. And, yes, I still wear colours that don’t suit my colouring but I wear them away from my face (most of the time). I’m also not one for a full face of war paint, I bow to you if you have the patience to apply everyday, but I’ve just bought some new mascara and concealer so will be slightly more presentable than I was!

I remember being slim, and wearing miniskirts because I had good legs, I’m not being vain when I say I think I still have half decent legs and although the skirt lengths may have come down a little I know from the help and guidance from the friends I have made in the club I can still make the most of the good parts of me. I’m still learning the art of disguising the not so good parts though 🤣 Mum tum anyone?!

Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.com

I thoroughly enjoy my lessons in style in the style club (again if you want more information go to https://ruthessex.com/ to find out more). It’s a lovely family community, very supportive and not bitchy like other groups I’ve been in, and the lessons are well thought out, and very insightful. I learn a lot, although I may not always put the learning into practice, but like I said I’m an emotional dresser. There are going to be days where I don’t wear what I may have initially planned to wear and throw on some old trousers and a jumper – I unlike many cannot pull off the ‘looks amazing in a bin bag’ look.

I often have this concern that if I try to follow trends I’ll look like overweight mutton dressed as lamb! I’ve always been a little bit old fashioned I guess. I love the idea of coated jeans with an oversized jumper and heels, and in my head it looks great, and I’ve scoured Pinterest and gathered loads of images, sadly there are so few images of larger ladies there in the styles I like that I’m fast losing interest in Pinterest. And let’s face it how many times would I wear said heels?! I can barely keep my balance in flats at the best of times – oops. Maybe I should start flooding Pinterest with awful images of me 🤣. Yes, I have bought a pair of Matthew Williamson Butterfly black coated skinnies on a whim but they were from a charity shop so I’m not buying new and I’m doing my bit for the environment which is quite apt considering we’ve just been through COP26. Haven’t been brave enough to try them on yet though!!!

I have a daughter who is a real shopper, something I never really got to do much with my own mum. But little one knows what she wants and goes for it. We went charity shopping (again) the other day, and she got herself all dressed up in sequins and fluffy fake fur with sparkly trainers and a full face of makeup too! She outdressed and out accessorised me! It was so lovely having the proud mummy moments when shop assistants commented on how lovely she looked and ‘why shouldn’t we wear fluffy fur and sequins whenever we want?’

Not sure if you’ve experienced this but if you have you’ll know, but when you are out and you’re browsing through the rails and somehow listen in on people’s conversations? Well, it was so funny when we were out my little one was chatting away to me about bags and clothes, and she saw a bag she liked. Purple rosette flowered clutch to be precise. Anyway, she was talking about all my bags, I do love a good bag, and how “I can borrow them whenever I like, can’t I mummy?” and I could feel myself getting a bit anxious over this, I am quite precious over my bags, when I noticed another customer chuckling to herself whilst listening in to our conversation. She looked over and gave me a smile and then said to my little one “will mummy be able to borrow your new purple bag if she wants too?”, to which my daughter replied with a stern “No, only if she pays me”. I snorted, couldn’t help it. She is such a character, and very strong willed. The poor woman, had to bite her lip to stop herself from laughing.

Lesson learned here? Must make more of an effort in my choice of outfit when shopping with my daughter! Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any of these moments… I love to hear your stories. Or if you prefer pop a comment on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/Mylifeandstyleover40/

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo

A little catch up…

A huge heartfelt ‘I’ve missed you all, I’ve missed writing and sorry for not being about much’. I feel this is like being at church in the confessional, “Dear father, it’s been 8 months since my last confession…”.

Okay so maybe it’s no quite so, but I do feel guilty a little for not being in touch sooner. It’s been a mare of a year to date and I honestly think the only thing keeping me sane is my family (most of the time!) and my lovely supportive ladies in the style club I’m part of. It’s funny how we turn to particular people or groups when we need a little pick me up from time to time, of which I’m sure we have needed one more than a little often during the past twelve to eighteen months. I know I’m not alone in feeling a bit weird about how things have panned out but we’re in this together and many of us have hit highs and lows during this time.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

I’m not going to dwell too much on what’s been going on with the pandemic but I will just sum up the past few months for you so we can move on and look forward.

I read through a few of my old posts on a whim, I just somehow felt the need to check in and I’m glad I did as it’s spurred me on to engage with everyone again. I had been feeling quite down and had been finding it hard to et out of that blah feeling. You may know the feeling, the one that is difficult to describe but blah seems to fit in many ways. I think I needed the pick me up from others in a small way.

At the start of the year I posted about resolutions and setting small goals. I both succeeded and failed in those that I set! I did lose the stone I aimed to lose and then put it all back on again and more (story of my life!), and I managed to save a fair amount of money but ended up spending a bit of it on a newer car as my old one was 13 years old and although still going strong, Nissan Notes are practically bombproof – well childproof anyway, it was getting to a point where I fancied a change. I went for a more funky car this time around although if my boy keeps growing the way he is he’ll outgrow the back seats in a year! Oh well, best start saving again!

Anyway, it’s been crazy with work, I’m now teaching four subjects back to back day in day out with next to no prep time except the time I have at home which as any parent out there will experience is next to none. Covid is going around the school like wildfire and if I’m honest it’s not nice. I’m wary of it being coughs and colds season as at the back of my mind there’s the ‘it could be covid’ thought. I’m jabbed and although this makes me less worried it doesn’t make me invincible. I can still get it, it could still hit me hard and I could still infect someone else with it without knowing, but I could also get hit by a bus (always ensure you have clean underwear on as my nan used to say). I am staying careful and still masking up where needed, I’m keeping my distance and doing what I can to keep my family and others safe. It’s about being sensible and considerate to others which to me is good manners and common sense.

I’ve been checking in to friends and family on Instagram and Facebook as I’ve not seen some for a while, even though we’ve been out of lockdown for an age now. Things are the new normal and I’m adjusting to it, but time seems so lacking for me to squeeze in all the things I need and want to do. I’m organised but still it just seems to fly by! I love seeing what people are up to and I class myself as an avid people watcher.

Myself and hubby have recently discovered this joy together – at the beach. We usually try to pick a slightly overcast day and when the kids are at their grandparents for the weekend, we pop out to the beach, grab some chips and a hot drink and sit in the car nice and dry and people watch. It’s funnier on a dreary day, but nicer on a warm and sunny one as we can sit out and swap chips for ice-cream! It’s great just sitting there watching the world go by. It’s a nice time to switch off (as much as we can at least) from the world. I find it very therapeutic.

I used to love sitting at a cafe with coffee and cake and just watching passers by. I enjoyed seeing how people interacted with others, what they wore and even what they said – Shh! dont tell.

Whilst it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I just find myself fascinated by others. Are you a people watcher like me? I have a friend who likes to sit in a café, notebook and pen ready to make notes on ‘life’ as it goes by. It gives her inspiration for her teaching and allows her to engage with her students on a more realistic up to date basis.

It’s been a bit of a hard couple of weeks recently. My mum fell and managed to break her hip. sadly she had to wait over four hours for an ambulance by which time she was in so much pain, I can’t imagine how she was feeling. I have to say the problems aren’t the poor ambulance staff, it’s the mismanagement of the NHS in general. We have a wonderful resource at our finger tips and yet it’s been abused for many years by so many. Dad is missing my mum terribly, he’s not used to life on his own, and not being able to visit her is really playing on his mind. He calls her every night and is happier after talking to her. We’ll have to see how she goes with her physio to find out when she can come home. Hopefully soon.

Hope you and your families are all safe and well. Time for me to sign off for now.

Take care, stay safe

Becks Xo

Happy New Year

I was hoping that this was going to be a good 2021, but as I write we have been thrown back into a third lockdown here in the UK. That said there is still an opportunity to make it a little more positive.

The start of a new year usually heralds a host of new years resolutions that will most likely get thrown out by the end of February, sooner if you’re me! I usually make a token gesture of exercising more, losing weight, budgeting better… the list goes on.

This year I’m not setting any major goals, I think for many of us it’ll be another year of living the new normal, with a lockdown or two in place and a bit of a wait for the vaccine to come our way, but all that said I do think small goals are something we can aim for at the moment.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

What am I going to set as my small resolutions?

That’s the big question, especially as I said I’m not good at sticking to them. So, whilst I know I need to lose a lot of weight I’m starting with just 1 stone. One is a magic number. To me it starts things off. makes it easier to breakdown large goals. I am also planning to save a little more money.

How am I going to attempt to lose the weight?

By not wasting my money on the usual weight loss methods! In the past I’ve spent a fortune on Weight Watchers, Slimming World, what was Rosemary Connelly, diet books galore and even Paul McKenna. Some were small successes but most were a waste of money. When it takes over a year to lose a stone and a half there’s something not right somewhere.

I know what I need to do, I’m not stupid. Just lazy. I’m not a huge fan of the sweet stuff, I’m a savoury fan. Which also means that crisps and salty goodies are not friends with my hips, bottom, thighs, oh what the hell, just about anywhere really!!!

I think that if we use a modicum of common sense small goals can be achieved in a sensible timescale. I have decided I am going to follow some very simple and basic guidelines:

check portion size

half of the plate veggies

quarter of the plate carbs

quarter of the plate protein of some sort

keep snack foods to a minimum and making sure they are healthy-ish

drink a more water

It’s all about moderation, it’s ok to have a little treat occasionally, just not too often. I am aware that I do need to have a realistic mindset about it all. I am like most people I should imagine, we all want results fast. But, doing things fast doesn’t always last. If you are anything like me you will end up putting on the weight you lost and some extra to boot!

My main problem is lack of exercise. I can be on my feet all day as a teacher but with the Covid-19 pandemic I have started to teach more from my desk and keeping my distance from my students, which doesn’t always make for amazing lessons. Needs must. Now that we’re in lockdown I will need to make sure I get out and walk a little with the kids and at least get some fresh air.

I will start slowly I’m not built for Marathons 🤣

What about my other resolution?

I didn’t want to set a lot of resolutions as I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed, especially with all of the extra pressures of another lockdown, so my other resolution is to save a little more. I thought long and hard about it and have come across what looks like a fairly easy was to save just over £1000 by the end of the year. Ok, it’s not big money but it’s enough to get through the difficult patch after Christmas which some find themselves in.

The general principle of the was to save is to start week one with £1, then in week two double it. Week three you put in £3 and so on. So after five weeks of saving you have £15, by ten weeks you have £55. As I said it’s not much but it’s easy to save these small amounts. Carry on saving these regular amounts and by twenty weeks in you’ll have £210. Forty weeks in you’ll have £820 saved away. Fifty weeks in, almost the end of the year a lovely £1275 sitting in your bank account.

I will admit it gets harder throughout the year to save as the numbers get bigger each week, week fifty is a whopping £50 to put away, but there is nothing to say that you can’t juggle it about a little and save the bigger amounts when you can afford it. I would just keep a tally/table/record of when and how much you’ve put away to make it easier to keep track of.

I know I will be finding it hard on occasion as I’m only being paid for the lessons I teach at the moment as I don’t qualify for flexible furlough so my income will be significantly reduced. But I am hoping once schools are back and things settle down late Spring I will be in a much better position to save the larger amounts.

I will of course be aiming to save as much as I can throughout the year but thought the scheme I found was quite simple to do. If you try it let me know how you get on. Remember you can always post a comment in the comments bit below or on my facebook/mylifeandstyleover40 page. Join in and get the conversation started. Remember, be constructive I’m not about being nasty here it’s a positive blog and that’s how I want to keep it.

I’ve waffled on for a bit so I’ll leave you for now, but do let me know what your resolutions are and how you get on…

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

Xo

Christmas

Ah, Christmas. Love it or hate it you can’t escape it. with just less than two weeks to go it really is upon us.

Collage of our Christmas trees, image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

Everyone who knows me will know I really do enjoy Christmas. I usually have a bit of Christmas burn out mid November as I’ve binged out on Christmas films by then, but bounce back within a week full of plans and gusto on where to put the tree and which colour scheme are we going for this year, which to be fair is a no brainer in the living room as we always have a tree covered in warm soft white lights, soft toy decorations, handmade delights and family heirlooms (or soon to be family heirlooms!). Thankfully my daily décor in the room is usually neutral enough to handle the red, white and greyish Christmas theme I go for, although I’m glad we went with the box green on the walls this time it really makes the Christmas decorations sing this year!

Last year we had a green, pink and purple in the kitchen/diner as we had some funky Orla Kiely style print curtains with a purple and green colourway, but this year its changed a little as we have a navy and blush pink colour scheme. I let the kids go wild on the tree in the diner as we have loads of baubles and I wanted them to feel it was their tree, despite them always being involved in the family tree decorating in the living room. So this year its a pink and purple colourway with the odd bit of blue tinsel and a few blue baubles placed several to a branch, mostly at kid height! I resisted the urge to remodel their efforts. Ok… I admit I let it go for a couple of days and then did a slight bit of rearranging. Only a little bit though, in my defence there were eight baubles on one branch and the tree was starting to lean a little!

I didn’t get as enthusiastic this year as I normally do. Maybe it’s the general ‘feel’ of this year, but I have felt a little ‘un-Christmassy’ on occasion, that’s not to say I’m completely Bah Humbug, just a touch here and there. What I am aware of is that not everyone is happy about Christmas and the pressures and expectations that are pushed onto us this time of the year. It’s not just this year either. For some the pressures and expectations for us all to be the perfect family, have the perfect time, spend vast amounts of money we may not have, cook the perfect meal, panic buying the perfect present, dealing with crowds of people in shops that we really don’t want to be in but can’t justify giving our money to conglomerates like Amazon (I’ve nowt against them for the odd item or two but would rather shop small and local if possible). The constant pressure from Instagram feeds where the perfect Christmas décor starts way back in September so by the time Christmas arrives it’s already become a pressure cooker of emotions and stress. I used to really like Instagram but sadly there are just too many fakers out there making ordinary lives a nightmare.

For some the sheer thought of having to put on a brave face for others is exhausting, leaving them hiding away from the season completely. There may be many reasons why Christmas can leave a bitter taste in the mouth and sprouts aren’t necessarily guilty! For those who have had a bereavement at this time of year they are reminded of it at every step. I can’t imagine what they must be having to do to keep it all together. We shouldn’t judge others for not perhaps enjoying Christmas as much as us. Just like anything we don’t know their story, or what their reasoning is. We are all individuals and need to be supported.

We also need to remember that not all religions celebrate this time of year the way Christians do. I’m not a particularly religious person I’ll admit but I still like to celebrate Christmas in my own little way. I have Muslim friends who put up a tree and give presents and send cards as they like to reciprocate at this time of the year.

So whether you enjoy this time of year or not, it doesn’t matter. You are you, I am me and we may chose to celebrate or not in our different ways.

I’m off to do some wonderfully lovingly made crafts to give as gifts… er… no I’m not. I’m off to buy someone else’s beautifully crafted items 😉

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

xo