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

There I go again, pondering life…

And it’s little amusements. I have to admit the first bit of my post title gave me an ear worm I can’t shift! Hint: A popular Whitesnake song!!!

I haven’t posted for an age, I’m super busy and it seems as though I have few hours left in the day to do anything these days! To be fair there hasn’t been much going on to write about. The kids seem to have more and more school work to do lately so they’ve been grabbing the laptop whenever they can which leaves me stuck as the old laptop is on it’s last legs – it is eleven years old though!!!

I’ve been pondering a lot but haven’t come up with many answers to any of them 🤣.

Work has been going quite well, it suits me as it fits in with the school day and to be honest apart from ESL barriers it’s fun. I have some great kids in my lovely small classes, even though I have to teach three different classes in one which is a challenge, but, yes overall I’d say its fun. I’m waiting for the school to dot the i’s and cross the t’s and I’ll be a member of their staff as a contractor not through an umbrella company. Keeping fingers crossed the agency doesn’t charge the school too much to release me otherwise it’ll go tits up lol. It’s nice to be able to plan a little bit more financially for the upcoming Christmas season and hopefully a bit more beyond that too. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

We’re back in another lock down, but this time the kids are still in school and so am I. Hubby is working all over the place at the moment so can’t see him being one of the working from home crew this time round. I’m not dreading this lock down so much as it’s not as long or as harsh I don’t think. Although that said if it does carry on longer than anticipated my views may change. Christmas is only seven-ish weeks away and a lock down Christmas isn’t what I’m looking forward to. I need to get planning as I haven’t bought any presents yet! I know, I’m such a bad mother! I get told I hate you mum/I love you mum every day and not even presents at Christmas will change the kids views – 🤣🤣🤣

I’m so not prepared for Christmas. One of my lovely neighbours is completely bonkers and has hers up already! I’ve told her it’s too early and she’s too enthusiastic. Food and wine were used as an excuse when she replied back! I couldn’t quite muster up her enthusiasm so instead of putting our decorations up I decided that we would tick off another of our jobs to do on the ever expanding list – decorating the living room after having lived with the dull grey for almost three years. To be fair it was only supposed to be a stop gap but we have had so much to do to the house it just got put to one side. I know people love Mrs Hinches grey home and have tried to decorate theirs in the same colour scheme but ours was so disjointed and soulless I couldn’t take it any more. Crown paints were perused and a colour from their Period colours range was chosen. Box Tree is so much more ‘hygge’ or ‘gezellig’ as my Swedish and Dutch friends would say.

Work in progress – part 1. Image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020
Work in progress – part 2. Image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

You can see I live in a house full of chaos and clutter. It drives us all mad but I guess we’ll never change. I might have to do some more reading up on decluttering and training hubby’s and kids to put things away!

Work in progress – part 3, almost finished. Image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

As you can see from the images there’s still a little bit left to do but it’s much more cosy and liveable now. I still have a new carpet to buy and get fitted, I need to get some better lighting in the room along with some nice new cushion covers. Oh, and I forgot, we need some picture frames to put up on the wall as the old ones just fell apart. I’m sure there will be lots of other things we need to get to ‘dress’ the room but as long as the hubby doesn’t say another bigger telly he’ll live 🤦‍♀️.

When we first moved in! Image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

Do you like the lovely 1980’s wallpaper and aren’t those wall lights just lush!? This is what we moved to just over three years ago. The whole of the house hadn’t changed since it was built and decorated in 1982. Everything was circa 1982 – the old kitchen still had the date on the carcasses.

It’s not just the living room we’ve been finishing off. The kitchen has had few extras added to it but still isn’t quite done yet. We decided to buy some new posh curtains for the large window we have in the dining area and as we have a dark blue, cream and blush pink colour scheme we chose Orla Kiely Whale print in Navy. They haven’t arrived yet so I can’t post a picture just now, but I will when I get them up. Our picture wall is looking better, although we need to change a couple of pictures as there were a couple of temporary ones that don’t quite ‘go’ but all in good time.

There’s plenty more to do, including finding a space for our slightly more compact tumble dryer that we ended up having to buy even though we have a washer/dryer it just wasn’t enough with the amount of washing we were piling up. Honestly, it seems as though I’m washing for an army the amount we have. There’s only four of us! The new dryer is quite noisy despite being a quieter model so I definitely need to put it somewhere I can hide it and the noise.

My list isn’t getting any shorter, and the slow cooker has been bubbling fiercely for a while now, so I’ll sign off. Hope you’ve enjoyed a sneaky peek at our hard work. Maybe it’s inspired you to tick one or two things off your own list.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

Xo.

My favourite Bloggers

I’m new to the blogging game as you know and I am in awe of those who are able to pull off a super clean, professional look to their blogs and also be a joy to read. There are lots of bloggers out there who claim to have made thousands in their first two months of blogging, but the reality of this is far from the truth. It takes years to be successful in the blogging world and it takes a lot of hard work – even if writing is your passion and you are super good at it. It takes a lot of time to research even a short post and then you have to write it up, and then check it and check it again!

There are lots of bloggers who fulfil the clean professional joy to read category for me. They aren’t all in the same arena either. I follow a variety of different bloggers as I have lots of different likes and interests. Here are a few of my favourites, maybe you might like them too.

(Please note that I do not receive any money or perks from these bloggers/websites so feel free to click away! I like these for what they are not for what they could pay if I were affiliated with them).

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

That’s Not My Age aka Alyson Walsh – this is a brilliantly put together blog on all manner of fashions and other things from another fabulous woman over 40. Alyson is an jumpsuit wearing now convert of skirts and has been featured in broadsheet newspapers and magazines alike. Always worth a read. She pops up on my Facebook feed regularly, so it’s a joy to read her acerbic witty approach to being over 40!

Not Dressed as Lamb – You’ll recognise Catherine Summers from the L’Oreal Advert on telly, with her beautiful red hair and equally fab style full of colour, you can’t miss her! I like her upfront and honest approach to style and being over a certain age. Her love for colour and quirky hats is abound and she writes in a truthful and inciteful way. Well worth following in my book!

Scary Mommy – very american in it’s approach but I love this blog so much for the straightforward and very honest, if sometimes scary, ‘lifebites’. I occasionally have a eureka moment when reading posts on this blog. Very informative and honest.

The Londoner – A nice little blog by Rosie who writes about her life and travels. Initially starting out as a way to keep in contact with close friends and family her blog soon grew and now she has an extended family all over the world.

Forever Amber is another blog by a beautiful redhead. She calls her blog The Awkward Girls Guide to Life. Her Awkward Guides are a must have read. They really make sense to us awkward girls.

Hayley Hall aka London Beauty Queen talks about beauty, life and a host of other delights. She’s young but knowledgeable in all things beauty and is a great read over a cuppa. It’s no lie Hayley likes the best things in life and clearly has the budget or affiliate relationship to be able to do so, but her approach is honest and her experience in the industry clearly shines through.

Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs is a blog I have recently started reading. It’s a simple lifestyle blog from a mum with two young boys. Her journey hasn’t been easy but she writes all about it in her blog. Worth a quick read over a cup of tea.

Midlifechic is a fabulous blog written by the brilliant Nikki Garnet who is just peeking at the other side of 50 and has a great uptake on life and looking good. Her articles are well written and well researched. A very good read indeed. Nikki’s lockdown analysis was interesting, and how she managed during it.

Pushing the Moon written by Catherine who has dreams of being in her words; “Norfolk’s version of Martha Stewart, but in reality, I am probably more Kat Slater crossed with Ma Larkin”. She has a nice approach to her writing and as with many of the blogs I’ve mentioned always a nice pick me up read over a nice cuppa.

The Twinkle Diaries is a heartfelt blog originally set up to document the beginning of a new family with twins on the way seven years ago. Suffice to say things have moved on a bit in those seven years but the essence of the blog is still the same.

The Skint Dad – Full of useful and sometimes quite brilliant money saving tips from a man’s point of view. I have found this blog to be absolutely brilliant in its simplicity. Another must read. This blog was established in 2013 and has been growing ever since. It’s now one of the top money saving financial blogs in the UK.

Hurrah for Gin – just bloody hilarious! Cracks me up every time I read it. Probably one of the more well known of the blogs on here. But I can;t say anything more than if you haven’t read it and don’t get easily offended by a bit of naughty language then READ IT! But make sure you have your TENA pads to hand, you’ll need them!!!

So, if you have a spare few minutes, put the kettle on, or grab a glass of ‘vino’ and pop over to check these brilliant blogs out. It only takes a couple of clicks. All of these bloggers are knowledgeable and are always a good read. Don’t forget to leave a comment😊

Just a short post for now, take care, stay safe.

Becks

xo

Let’s talk about Boobs…

Boobs, bosoms, breasts, the girls, puppies, tits, baps, call them what you will. To me they’re just boobs. Love them or hate them they are a part of you, whether you are male, female or anywhere in between. Small, medium or large. Pert and perky or saggy and baggy, baby ravaged or battle scarred they are a part of you. Man boobs included here.

Our boobs are just one of those fascinating things about our bodies, they provide food and those essential first nutrients for babies, they can make us feel attractive, they are unique to you and can empower you. You don’t have to burn your bra to be a feminist these days you know. They can also do the complete opposite and make you feel like an ‘object’. They can be ravaged by disease and cause you pain. But remember they are a part of you and you are amazing.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Here’s a few facts about breasts for you:

Boobs are just glands and most mammals only have them when they become pregnant, humans are the only ones whose start growing at puberty, hence why we have permanent mammaries.

Statistically the left breast is larger than the right breast. A scientist friend once told me that this was due to the way the heart pumps blood through the body and the left side being the dominant side but how true this is I couldn’t tell you. I don’t disbelieve her though.

Both breasts are sisters and not twins – there will be subtle differences in their shape, size, nipple, colour and so on.

Apparently men are also able to breastfeed. I’m hoping this isn’t an internet fib, but apparently they have all the equipment and hormones can be stimulated enough to bring on the process. I’ve never met a man who has admitted to being able to do this, and if I’m honest I’m not sure the world is ready to accept it yet if it were true. Let’s face it women still get frowned at when they breastfeed in public even in this supposedly open minded day and age!

5000 women under the age of 45 in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. The figure is higher if you are over 45. So remember to check them once a month at least. Breast screening here in the UK is offered to women at 50 or over. Earlier if there is a history of breast cancer. It’s not just women, approximately 390 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year too. Get and check them, don’t be shy. Get your other half, if you have one, to check them too. They know your boobs as good as you and may notice something you don’t. There are plenty of websites to visit if you need help. Coppafeel.org is a brilliant easy to view site, with all the info you need.

A pair of D cup breasts can weigh up to a stone! So we can all blame weigh gain on our boobs now!

So why am I focusing on boobs in this post?

Why not!?! It’s breast cancer awareness month so it’s high time we paid attention to our boobs for a change. Do I love my boobs? Not really, I’ve found them cumbersome and awkward for years. As I’ve got older and had kids I don’t see them as a way to look better, they are just in the way and I think your mindset changes when you breastfeed. They no longer become the sexual element of your body, they are there to serve a purpose and feed a baby. I don’t look after mine as much as I should and I have reached a point in my life where the baby making stage is well and truly gone and I can now be more focused on being me. This is important for me coming into my mid to late forties and realising that there is more to life than being just ‘Mum’, I’m a woman who, like many others, has been through a lot and I feel its time to take life back. Take some control.

Boobs are important, for our health and wellbeing. Especially, in terms of style when we look at what we wear and how the ‘right’ undies can make or break an outfit. A good bra can give you a defined waistline, make you taller and improve your posture, raise your boobs up with support and minimise them where needed. It can work wonders!

I am more of a budget bra girl. I can’t afford to spend a fortune on a Rigby & Peller bra. Whilst they are absolutely beautiful and I am sure are the best there is, I do not have the budget for one. I’m a good old M&S girl. More in my budget. I do know of two of my friends who own Rigby & Peller bras and they do say they are the most comfortable they’ve ever owned and maybe one day when I feel frivolous and there aren’t more important things to buy I may change my mind go get ‘eye measured’ (Yes, that’s how good they are!) for one. But for now, I’m sticking with what I know and can afford.

I’ve had little luck over the years buying bras. My body shape changes so much even in the space of a month so I kind of have to take pot luck most of the time when it comes to choosing which one to wear/buy. I’ve spent a small fortune in little boutiques getting fitted, thinking it’s the perfect bra and merrily handing over the money, and wearing because its soooo comfy, only to find half an hour later I want to rip the damn thing off! I’m a fresh bra everyday girl too, you change your knickers every day so why wouldn’t you change your bra every day, so I have to have a few in my arsenal to see me through. I hand wash not machine wash and never tumble dry so I know they will last – although it is recommended you ditch them after a year as they stretch and lose shape regardless.

I have a drawer full of t-shirt bras, vest bras, sports bras, balconettes, push-ups, full cups, underwired and non wired and anything in between! Most of which I can truthfully say I haven’t worn in ages 😲. I know, heathen! Anyway, I have been wearing sports bras for months as I wanted something comfortable during Covid lock down and beyond. But now I’m back to work I feel the need for something more structured under my outfits. This is causing me a few problems, not least due to the extra covid calories I’ve accumulated, but also to an ever changing body shape. Once you get to 40+ the middle area starts to spread and is harder to control. I seem to be losing my waistline, I’m not sure where my boobs end and tummy starts they’re merging into one 🤣🤣🤣.

Anyway, I digress a little… I decided on a shopping trip to M&S as I thought I really needed to get something more shapely so my clothes wouldn’t look quite so sack like on me and they’d hopefully hang in the right places. So in I go, straight to the undies section, wandering around looking at all the pretty fancy delicate bras and then feeling miserably depressed because I just ain’t gonna get these boobies into those cup sizes! So, I move a bit more to the dd+ bras. Wow, they ain’t no ‘Hello Boys’ Wonderbra style ones that’s for sure! More of a ‘Cross Your Heart’ style from the 70’s. I have come to a point where I really dislike the uncomfortable digging in of underwires, no matter how many I get measured for not one stays on for more than half a day before I start to feel very uncomfortable and want to take it off. So, for support I’m going to have to get into the habit of wearing non wired ones. Which as we all know the under band is the support factor in a bra and the underwire gives it the structure so non wired ones have to have the support factored in differently into the design. This doesn’t always make them the most attractive. I also have had many a wire poking out incident of which a friend of mine will happily tell about one such occasion in class! Only me 🤦‍♀️. I can remember the underwire poking out whilst I was merrily teaching a class full of boys, not noticing why they might have been looking at me a bit strange, they usually looked like it so nothing different, anyway… said friend pointed out the offending wire at the end of the class as one of the SEN students couldn’t stop chuckling to himself. I can’t believe I didn’t notice it. Doh!

Anyway, back to the buying… I chose a bra in the end. A twin pack. Bargain I thought. Merrily paid for them and toddled home. Brilliant, I thought I’d be onto a winner and finally get some decent shape and support. Well, I was wrong. I bought the wrong shape for my boobs. Something I hadn’t thought about much before. The shape of your boobs really does make a difference to the type of bra’s you should be buying and what will fit you best. It’s not just about measurements. I recommend you take a look at this website for advice about boob shape and the right bra to match. brafittingsbycourt.com

I now know that I need a full soft cup (with or without seams) to give me shape and support. I know that a bra that is designed to give cleavage is not a good choice otherwise I end up double cupping and whopping one in the eye! Guess I’m going to need to go shopping again. Oh the joy!

How you put a bra on that makes a difference to the shape and fit. I was told by my mum when I was young that I needed to put the straps on over the shoulders and then bend over so that my boobs fell into the cups and rested in place. ‘Hoicking’ them up I so to speak. The excess boob at the sides is also encased as it should be and then tighten up, you can ease the back fastener off a notch or two later on in the day apparently. Something about it being like our feet and swelling during the day. It works. I have been putting my bra on like this ever since and although I’m sure if people were to look at me doing it, apart from it not being a pretty sight, they would think its strange – I don’t care. It works for me.

There’s loads to talk about when it comes to boobs, but maybe I’ve covered enough for now.

Just to let you know, as this is a personal blog and I have no affiliate partners I post links to sites because I want to not because I’m paid to. I am not gaining any payment from the sites you may click on so feel free to know it’s genuine. Maybe one day I may develop a partnership with businesses but for now I don’t want that.

The moral of this story? Get a good bra, get fitted and check those boobs regularly.

Take care, stay safe

Becks

Xo

A nice weekend away…

I’m really surprised sometimes by how much writers block I can get, especially when there has been a fair bit going on over the week. There’s also the fact my kids keep hijacking my laptop when I’m in the writing mood. Not even the secret biscuit club makes them give it up!

Maybe its because I’ve got lots going on in my head and I seem unable to switch off. Especially at night. I am still waiting for the amazing quality sleep I ought to be getting now I’m in my 40’s and the kids are not so dependent at bedtimes. My kids have great sleep, they can sleep all night and have a lie-in! I can only dream (excuse the pun) of nights like theirs.

Maybe I need to get a teddy bear and have a glass of milk before bed 😉, it works for them!

It could be now I’m working more I just have so much to do and remember and not enough hours in the day to fit it all in, or perhaps it’s just how it is?!

Work seems to be going well. I’m lucky to have really small classes and its local and fits in with my needs. I’ve had a job offer from the school, who knows where it will lead. It’s nice that I’ve only been there three weeks and they think highly enough of me to want to keep me. I can feel a bit smug about it I think. Although I do have concerns over the amount of hand gel I’m using I’m sure I’ll be getting alcohol poisoning 🤣, I wonder if you can use so much you’d be over the limit if you got stopped by the police? 🤔 Ooh, these are good ponderings…

So that’s why I have no time left in the day!

So what’s been going on this week then?

Hubs had a couple of days booked off Friday and Monday, and bless him just assumed that the kids and I would be able to have a long weekend away as we haven’t been able to go on holibobs this year. I guess he was just doing the man thing being thoughtful but not thinking about term time and the fact that I have a contract to fulfil bless (she says forehead slapping in despair), so we still went away but went straight after school had finished and came back on Sunday.

When hubby had booked the break away to Weymouth the weather reports looked fair but Storm Alex put paid to that. It chucked it down all weekend. I’m usually fully prepared for most eventualities the British weather can throw at me, not this time though. The kids and hubby had waterproof coats and waterproof shoes i.e. wellies for the kids and hubs walking shoes, but me? No, I forgot to pack my wellies and a waterproof coat. So I ended up with soggy feet and just as soggy bottom and back!

Despite it being so wet and windy, we had a great time. There is something about the seaside that is magical, even when its stormy. I do know that I’m going to remember to pack the essential gear (waterproofs and wellies) next time. Along with Gin. Purely medicinal of course.

Spent a lovely first day at West Bay beach, and yes the rain was coming down sideways, but that didn’t matter. We walked for what seemed like miles but it wasn’t really. The kids were fossil hunting and must have collected half the beach in their pockets! Sea water came up over the wellies and we had given up trying to stay anywhere near dry. We managed to squeeze in another walk through the nature reserve near where we were staying and ended up at Weymouth beach. Only thing is the kids were only wearing their trainers. I’m sure you can imagine how wet they got! So much so that it poured out of their shoes when they took them off! I had to put them in front of the fire for two days to get them dry!

Image owned by Rebecca Palmer – West Bay Beach, Dorset

The drive back was eventful! Littlest one was so tired, and excited from the weekend that she threw up, good job I can deal with it. Hubby was noticeably green, although I suspect he was more concerned about his car stinking of kid sick than anything else. The boy went green and made much more of an issue of the ‘vomit’ event than was helpful. Good job I had hand towels in the luggage!

Back to school after a busy, wet weekend was the usual chaos and constant badgering my kids in the morning. I feel I’m on repeat every morning. “Eat your breakfast”, “Get dressed”, “Have you done your teeth yet?”, “Have a wee”, “Don’t forget your glasses”… the list just goes on and on. I know I’m not the only one who experiences this. There are a lot of frazzled faces in the mornings!

Reaction to a furry thing…

It was interesting how parents and children reacted when I found a furry caterpillar just as I was queuing up to collect my eldest. Said caterpillar was quite active but it had the same reaction as a puppy would! Kids were fascinated by it. I wasn’t sure what type it was so we looked it up when we got home and it was a Pale Tussock which is a grey furry moth of the quite large variety. I’m fascinated by nature so this was a great find in my eyes.

Image owned by Rebecca Palmer – Pale Tussock Moth Caterpillar/Larvae

I have noticed the kids, and myself, are much more tired at the moment which is normally something that happens a bit later in the term. But I guess the new normal is vastly different to what we are used to and adjusting to it all is taking its toll. Perhaps half term can’t come soon enough!

I’ve wittered on long enough, so until the next post…

Take care, stay safe

Becks

Xo

Musings of a mum

I find myself pondering a few insignificant things of late. Nothing of any real interest but just those little things that make me go “I wonder why…?”.

Things like:

How many people live in my house when we have four tubes of toothpaste and nine toothbrushes, I’m pretty sure we don’t have any lodgers at the last count.

How come we have so much washing when there’s only four of us?! There are three laundry baskets overflowing. If you put them one on top of the other they’d be taller than me. Alright, I grant you, me being only five feet four inches that’s not particularly difficult, but it’s still confusing as to why there is so much washing. Also see point above re: lodgers!

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Why does the carpet always look like someone’s trailed mud through the house despite only just vacuuming it!

Where does all the Lego come from! I swear I picked it all up. How did it manage to get attached to the leg of my trousers and stuck on my bum! Probably best not to go there.

Why do I never have any change for parking when I swear I raided the change pot for some!

Where does all the loo roll go? We don’t have an ‘Andrex’ Puppy! (other brands are available – haha)

Why has one of my giant pumpkins decided to grow in next door’s garden?!

See… Lots of things to ponder and waste time! I do have the answer to one of my ponderings though…

I figured out the answer as to why the kids bedrooms smell, of which I’m pretty sure if you have farty kids that blame everyone else other than themselves or ones that secretly squirrel food into their rooms and then leave it to fester into a wonderfully green science experiment then this one isn’t such an ‘I wonder’ musing, more of an ewww pass the antibacterial room spray moment.

I love my kids, honest.

I’m surprised I’ve had the time to ponder, I’ve been so busy. I’m nicely settled in at my current contract placement and have managed to make it work quite well to fit my needs what with staggered drop offs and pick ups at the kids school and prepping for classes and such like. But it’s nice to be back in work and having others around me, despite me sometimes being a little anti-social and grumpy. We all have days where we just can’t be bothered to talk to people. I find there is one benefit in the pandemic, I know what you’re going to say, but hear me out here I’m sure I’m not the only one… I don’t have to make mindless conversation with some (not all!) people who I have little in common with in the school playground when I’m feeling anti-social! If I talk to you it’s because I genuinely want to.

There are other things I’ve been thinking about and I have yet to find the answers to be honest.

I wonder how Halloween will happen this year? Sweets are usually wrapped but do I really want my kids trick or treating and touching sweets in bowls that have probably been handled by umpteen others? Knowing what kids are like they aren’t going to hand gel themselves up every time they touch a sweet are they!

One of my neighbours had a great idea; rather than take sweets from others we could still go trick or treating but parents/guardians take a big bag of sweets with them and every house they see with a display up then give their own kids a sweet from the bag. That way there’s no calling on others, but you still get the fun of going out trick or treating and have the sweets too. Just safer.

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

It’s a shame the school Halloween disco isn’t happening as although we moan about the noise, a sign of getting old, and the faffing about I’m sure we secretly enjoy the occasion. The kids are on a high for half term and it starts it off with a bit of fun. Never mind we’ll have to have our own disco this year. I love decorating the house and garden for Halloween so I’m going to have to go all out for the kids this time around.

Christmas is going to be a bit trickier too this year. I’m not sure I can get away with saying Santa can’t come to visit because of covid! Although it’s tempting to leave an elf hat on a chicken bone skeleton shaped like an elf with a note from Santa saying ‘the elf was delicious!’… maybe too much? Yeah, probably traumatise the kids for life. I’ll rethink that one.

Have I managed to sort out the wardrobe ready for Autumn/Winter?

No. Not fully. I have managed to sort out a bit of it, but I need to get some new vacuum bags – those ones that squash down to nothing so I can pack away summer clothes. I really need to work out better storage for my bags and footwear as I have managed to accumulate a few more into the collection and this house hasn’t got the best storage. I will be scouring the depths of Pinterest for ideas on how to solve this small problem. Another small project for me to do.

I do have workwear sorted for now, although the weather is changing and I’m going to need to dig out warmer top layers. The heating isn’t on in my classroom and a chill has been noticed by my students. I’ve been banned from opening a window as they moan at me it’s too cold. They are softies. I can’t believe I actually wore tights for the first time in months it was a little chillier than I expected it to be. That’s another area I’m going to need to look into. New funky coloured tights! Boring black is too dull. Although I might have to invest in SNAG tights this time round as they are reported to be excellent fit wise, you don’t get the extra long baggy legs that usually come with having to buy the bigger sizes! Oh, and they come in some really amazing funky colours. ** Update** These really are amazing tights! I bought a pair and they are fab.

I’m going to look for clothes that have both comfort and style to them when shopping for new ‘to me’ items. As my friend says ‘reflecting our changing needs due to the pandemic’ comfortable lounge wear that can be made to look smarter is how many of us will be dressing over the next few months. Who knows where it’s all going to lead but we can’t slob about in joggers everyday especially for those of us who are going into the workplace, but we may have a few more calories on board so I’m all about comfort!!!

Oh and note to self – don’t wear heels when there are cobbles on the way to the classroom. It does not make for an attractive looking gait. I have a sore ankle from attempting to hobble over the cobbles in wedge heels.

Anyhow, I guess I’ve rambled on enough for now. I’ll continue to ponder, as usual and I’ll no doubt think of many more useless ponderings. But it’s fun and fun is a good thing during this odd time we’re having.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

xo