Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Big Fat Round Up

Ok, I know we've kind of half celebrated this before 
but this week we had emotional and physical closure as Kenzie's ear drum was finally fixed and he was given the big heave ho by Royal Manchester Children's hospital. 
(sorry - I know I've already said this on Instagram - fast forward to GB's birthday if it's dull but I need this for my blog diary!)
It's really bizarre that all those years ago (when he was 2) during a routine operation to remove what they thought was a polyp from his left ear, lots and lots of tumours were found in Kenzie's skull. Many years after he finished treatment 
(he was discharged from Oncology last year) 
the only thing that seemingly refused to be fixed was a hole in that very ear...the one the polyp (that wasn't a polyp) grew out of.

The operation I blogged about (here) last year was a partial success in that it was 90% closed - but there was still a hole. This meant there would be a high chance of recurring infection if he ever got even the tiniest bit of water in it.

 We were advised that there was little chance of it ever being fully fixed - but a chance meeting with the main ENT man changed that.
He completely understood why Kenzie would want his ear fixed - 
and said 
'why, I'll do it myself'.
And he did. And it worked.
(it involved an operation...he didn't just fix it in the corridor!)
Then he discharged us. For good.
And that's that. And I don't think we can say often enough how fortunate we are.
us out celebtrating...on a school night!
Amongst other things that have happened recently - 
our littlest boy had his 9th Birthday.
Birthday breakfast..."any 9!"

Geordie Boy is addicted to MineCraft so it was a 
no brainer for the cake:
pre printed icing sheet from Ebay
 He chose the cinema and sleepover with his mates - 
so was all partied out the next day!
 I saw a great book on Yvestown IG recently which made me smile - especially as I have recently met another local blogger Victoria (yarnaroundhook). It's a funny thing meeting someone you've 'spoken' to for a couple of years - and as expected we found we had plenty in common, not just mutual frustration with the Manchester weather and a love of complicated crochet!

I love how blogging allows you to 'meet' people from all over the world who share something in common (be it crochet, love of food, a sick sense of humour, a cancer journey, crazy genes, love of photography...) but it's even better when you meet them in real life.
(you know we're going to Australia/NZ next summer - 
you ladies better be in!!!)

Anyway, Victoria and I took tea and cake (OK, only I had cake...) at a lovely little teashop called The Teahive in Chorlton. Must do it again soon new real life pal!
Cleggy and I had a cheeky night in Belfast. 
(to be fair Cleggy was working)
We only had 24 hours but man we managed to fit in a whole lot of eating and drinking!!!
We started at Mourne Seafood
I was glad I'd done my research cos it doesn't look much from the outside - but fantastic food and service inside.
seafood chowder....Mmmmmm
We stayed at The Merchant, which is a beautiful building, previously the headquarters of The Ulster Bank.
It was BEAUtiful. Don't get me wrong - I appreciate the sleek lines of a sharp modern building as much as the next girl - but I love when the fabrics are sumptuous pink and orange, the mirrors large and gilt, the artwork paintings of real women 
with their knockers out!! 
(my boys would LOVE this hotel)
 Our room was a rich mix of taupe and orange  - not a colour combo I normally like but it worked here
 and with wonderful attention to detail
 It had perfect magazines

and the sort of turn down service that included a weather forecast and a quote of the day!


The public areas were dark and quirky - with original art work galore

We ate in the restaurant - possibly one of the most ornate rooms I've ever been in
 check out these toilets:
 ...but we didn't eat much because we couldn't WAIT to get back to the cocktails!!
The cocktail list was immense - and the cocktail waiters amusing and very slick. I could have watched them all night 
(ooops, I did!).
I bloody love a cocktail, and am not proud to say there's not much on the menu I wouldn't drink! Cleggy on the other hand is very discerning - and managed to find a couple to his liking. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

The next day Cleggy went to work, then we went a trip to St George's market - on recommendation of a blogging and IG friend (DMAC76) who lives just outside Belfast (we almost met up - but my lack of organisation meant we missed each other...next year!)
It was fab - loads to browse, live music and a food opportunity (well, it was food from all over the world -rude not to)
THEN, unbelievably, we managed to squeeze in afternoon tea 
back at the hotel! 
And I'm so glad we did - it was special.
We went for the selection of cakes 
rather than traditional cream scone.
and look at this - a choux pastry swan! brilliant.

Back at home it's work work work.
We have been running our own series of ABC Does conferences
(Cleggy's Early Years Education consultancy business)
The first day was in Manchester - at a fab venue called thestudio. It was such a fun building - with great views across the city.
It's been fun meeting lots of the lovely people who follow Cleggy's blog and share his passion for teaching.
In stark contrast....my own work has taken a back set of late. Partly because we've been too busy with the above - and partly because my workshop LOOKS LIKE THIS:
 Yes, I am ashamed. But nowhere nearer having the time to clean it.
But I have managed to make some commissions! Here are some of them:

Run update: I have stuck to the program (couch to 5K) despite 
a) hideous weather
b) a tummy bug 
c) being nipped by a small West Highland Terrior!!! 

What? who gets nipped by such a small cute dog? I felt slightly better when another dog walker told me he was a 'devil dog' (!) who bites all the runners. RUNNERS! ME!! he he.

I haven't lost single pound in weight - but then if you've just read the above you'll know why!!  

THANK YOU for all the encouragement and advice after my last post. I replied to everyone that I could - but you know if you are a 'no reply blogger' it can be impossible to get back in touch? I didn't realise that until recently - and have thought I have sent messages to loads of people who will never have received them (doh)
I think that's covered all areas of life - apart from a couple of photos from the garden. The apple blossom only lasted a week or so (before being battered by rain and wind)  but looked and smelled divine. fee x

Monday, 13 May 2013

run, fat girl, run (walk) run!

I love Myrtle's blue eggs
 Well, my #keepingitreal series on instagram went down a storm - who knew we all felt so unable to share the mess!! I won't be sharing any more (less risking my otherwise strong marriage!) but for one day only it was refreshing to see lots of other homes looking just like mine rather than lots of people enjoying their perfect life!
(Husband aside) I found it unbelievably liberating - but will be going back to photographing the pretty bits of my life from today! On a day to day basis it's that which keeps me sane.

Anyway - while I'm feeling frank (not literally) I thought I'd share another couple of my demons. Cleggy - I can hear you groan. Please don't worry - there will be no sharing of cellulite.

Here's the very brief background to my run.

I'm 42, 5ft tall and currently at my heaviest ever weight of 12 stone. I'm not proud. 
boy's room sign - available again in shop soon!
I have struggled with my weight (physically and emotionally) since I was about 13 and tried (literally) every single diet going. My husband 
(who appears to be getting MORE handsome by the year - how?!) and I are going to Venice in a couple of months time to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. 
A few years ago I wouldn't have seen 'a couple of months' as a problem - I would have set to on some (REALLY) extreme diet and lost a couple of stone!!!

It's taken me to my 40's to realise this isn't the way - and probably explains why I've been fat/thin/fat all my life.
blocks for Wilfy

Don't get me wrong, I'm not moaning here. Despite my protestations over the years about genetics/glands/contraception devices/the fact that my bosom alone weighs about 3 stone I know the main reason I am overweight is because I bloody love my food. LO♥E it. I love everything about it from the planning to the making to the socialising. I also know that I am lucky to be well and healthy. If my only worry is that I'm over weight then I'm extremely fortunate.

The one thing I have never tried is proper exercise (if anyone fancies a fitness DVD  let me know - I have them all. Literally)

a poncho in the making (for meeee!)
So, back to Venice. Accepting that 2 months is in fact a very short time I've decided to set myself a very rough goal of losing a stone (I need something to work towards) and much more than that I would like to feel better. Recently my hip has started to ache when I get up or walk a long distance - this scares me.

A finished poncho (for Mabel)


I have always said I would love to run. The big thing (s) getting in my way have been the puppies. They just can't be restrained - no matter how big the bra. But this time I did some proper research. I don't mean scientific - I sought out reviews of from ladies with MUCH bigger boobs than mine and bought the bra they said worked.
(it's called Enell (Elma? ha ha) and is from www.lessbounce.com 

...or as Cleggy called it 'let's bounce'. Reckon that's a whole different website!!)
It's not easy to physically get the bugger on, at least not with your dignity intact, and I'm not sure where my boobage actually went - but they don't move when in it. LITERALLY!
(I did find some of it when I tried to apply some deodorant but couldn't find my arm pit for boob! Too much info?? sorry)

another poncho in the making - my favourite colours, navy and pink
I also did a bit of research on the App running programme thing and decided upon the original 'couch to 5K'. A couple of people also recommended alternatives but I knew that if I looked into it again (with a coffee and a biscuit) I'd never get started.

I asked Cleggy yesterday if  he would come to the park with me lest I faint on my first attempt (long story) and his reply 'what...the local park'?
Yep - that's where I went ALONE today! 

The app is a 9 week programme where you basically do a mixture of jogging and walking (a minute or so at a time) three times a week, which gradually builds up the running. There are lots of versions of it and an NHS one - they all look much of a muchness (feel free to comment with your own view on this - it makes me laugh out loud to think there might ensue a discussion on RUNNING on my fluffy blog!!!)

Did I complete the first workout? Yes I did
Did I think at a one point I was dying? yep
Did I think my (proper) trainers were squeaking? Yes I did. It was my bloody chest!
Did one of the local dogs look up at each squeak like I was communicating with him? yep
Did a dog nearly wee on my lovely water bottle placed at the base of a tree? yep (thank you kindly owner - with hindsight it was a stupid place to leave ones bottle)
Did I meet anyone I know? No. Thank goodness 
Did anyone laugh at me, fat girl almost running? No
(but they may have giggled behind my back at the large pair of knockers protruding from my shoulder blades)
first girl blocks I've made in ages!

I'm not going to do a weekly report (or anything that publicly sets myself up for failure!) but I might just add a one liner at the bottom of my infrequent blog posts. 

There;s bound to be someone out there who is currently procrastinating and might need to see how I get on

Couldn't do a post without some pretty photos. Many more makes to show soon.
fee x
PS the phone speaks to you - as in tells you when to move from a walk to a jog. I couldn't hear the annoying woman (over my wheezing!) so had to turn her right up loud. On the way back, just as I passed an elderly gentleman walking his dog, she said 'pheeweee, lets walk'. He smiled at me like, 'oooh, lets!' I would have told him that it wasn't me it was my phone, but I couldn't breathe!