We did it!

It's Sunday, the day after the St Luke's Midnight Walk and I am so pleased and proud to say 'We did it!'

My daughter Amy and I completed the Midnight Walk in 2009 and although we did finish, it was not a pleasurable experience. I was ill prepared, unfit, nearly 4 stone heavier and just generally naive! I did plan to have another go in 2010, but chickened out, using ill health (labrythinitus) as an excuse.

2011 dawned and I knew I wanted a successful year both professionally and personally, so set myself goals. The Midnight Walk was on the list! I wasn't going to let anything get in the way and even incorporated it into my cancer recovery

Our start time for the 13 miles was 11pm as this year St Luke's had staggered the times dependant on which route you were following (7 miles at midnight, 13 miles at 11pm and 26 miles (!!!!) at 10pm) When we arrived at Argyle's Home Park, the atmosphere was electric with several thousand woman dressed in pink, getting ready for the off

After a Zumba warm up (which has inspired me to check out the Zumba for the Wii) we were off and it must have been an amazing sight as we all poured out onto the streets of Plymouth. There were a lot of people milling around to wave loved ones off, beeping car horns to encourage us along the route, and I lost count of the number of people waving from bedroom windows (probably woken by the car horns and decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em)

The Marshall's all the way along were brilliant, clapping and encouraging us when I'm sure all they wanted to do was be tucked up warm at home. Although it was a warm night for us walkers, as soon as you stopped, it soon chilled down. So I totally get the fleeces and thick jacket wearing! Other Marshall's were dressed as parrots, sheep, pirates, I even saw a Batman and Robin so am sure they were warm too!

The camaraderie was palpable as we all shared a common goal, to raise as much money as possible for this worthwhile cause. As  we left Home Park the charity had counted pledges from the 26 milers and  it already stood at £70,000. What a way to start us off.

Amy and I had been practising the route and we knew our particular weak spots and planned accordingly, and encouraged each other where needed. All toilet breaks available along the route were taken advantage off, which is something we didn't do in 2009. Feeling knackered, sick with fatigue and crossing your legs, is not a good combination, take it from me! And before we knew it the 10 mile marker was crossed.

Both of us, although tired were in very good spirits physically and mentally. The training was paying off. And when we approached the last mile, which was up a very steep hill (I know, who planned that!?) we were ready. Head down, we just powered through. The short sharp sessions on the treadmill came into there own now, as I had the stamina to actually speed up as we went up the hill. I think we over took at least 30 other walkers at this point! It wasn't a race, but for me, I needed to conquer the hill (I cried all the way up it in 2009) and the speed and determination gave us both the energy needed.

Crossing the finish line and getting a medal was almost an anti-climax after beating the hill! But then the realisation we had done it, were functioning and could still walk (I couldn't talk or walk after in 2009) kicked in! MrC picked us up and we went home at 4am to bacon butties and mugs of tea before bed!

If anyone is thinking of taking on a challenge like this, I would say do it. It feels amazing. I am proud of the training and planning and also the support I've had along the way. People on Twitter and Facebook have been very supportive, not only with sponsorship, but also with encouraging comments.

I also need to send out a special thank you to MrC and our friends Adrian and Leah. Adrian and MrC were our support crew and available to drive out with anything we needed! And MrC has been a star throughout helping me prepare and just being there. He was part of the team which made this possible, so thank you.

A big thank you to everyone involved (you know who you are) So far I have raised £537 and Amy £168 and its not too late sponsor either of us through our Just Giving Pages

Fay Churchward
Amy Churchward

So, will I do it again next year? I think I will volunteer as a Marshall in 2012 .......or should I look at the 26 miles as my next challenge?

#R2BC Reasons to be Cheerful

My favourite time of the week, to reflect and record the good things which have happened.

1 - I work for a wonderful company, and my job means I sometimes get to visit other sites. This week I was lucky enough to visit somewhere in Wellingborough that we call the 'Big Red Shed' Its our huge distribution centre, which feeds into over 40 'Little Red Shed's around the country.

I had a meeting at the office, which gave us all a chance to have a tour of the 'shed' (I should just point out, that it isn't actually red, or a shed! ) For someone whose job is primarily organising other people or resources to be places, I was in heaven! It was so tidy, so organised and efficient! It was a pleasure to behold in all its glory.

Okay, so I'm a bit of a geek, but I have never seen anything done so well on this scale before and it was just mind blowing!

Got a feeling it might only be me which appreciated this reason to be cheerful this week!

2 - I've managed my first full working week and although I'm tired (which could be down to spending 3 nights away from home, plus 16 hours in total driving) I survived and it feels great. Can see my life getting back to normal!!!

3 - Tomorrow is the long awaited and planned 13 Mile Midnight Walk. I'm really looking forward to it, it's going to be a brilliant evening.

But what I'm cheerful about is that I am only £45 short of my total. I'm just overjoyed at the generosity, some of which have been from people who I have never met in person! If anyone reading this would like to push that total a little more for me, then please visit my just giving pages


Added note at 29th Friday 22:21
Just surpassed my original target of £500!!!! Thank you! But have just added £100 to it, can you do it? YES YOU CAN!

Hopefully next week I will be telling you all about my night! In the meantime, don't forget to hop on over to Michelle's Mummy From The Heart for other reasons to be cheerful

And I will leave you with my favourite picture from this week!


I'm lying in a bed which isn't mine at ten to one in the morning, thinking about the week I have coming up.

Monday I am in a Voice Forum meeting, which means I represent a group of people in my department and pass their feedback upto the senior leadership team. Which is why I am tossing and turning in bed which isn't mine because the meeting is in Wellingborough!

Tuesday I will be in my own office of Plymouth, but have to fit in a doctor's appointment to get a new HRT prescription, a full days work, (which includes numerous conference calls and e-mail and voicemail returning from my day out of the office) and do the weekly shop.

Wednesday I have to be in Hook, near Basingstoke, for a job interview and trying not be the one person who loses their role to redundancy. So I am fighting to keep a job, a job I love and am good at, with a company I have worked for, for over 14 years.

Thursday I have a one to one with my new manager in Hook, who I haven't met yet. She took over while I was off sick and we haven't had chance until now to meet face to face since I've been back to work (three weeks) although we have spoken on the phone.

Friday, I am hoping to have a team meeting, to find out plans going forward for the department and then drive the 3.5 hours back home.

Saturday night I am walking in a 13 Mile Midnight Walk and still haven't reached my charity target.

So I believe I can be forgiven for thinking I will be having a tough and stressful week.

But will that help me get through it? I have suffered with stress in the past (MrC nearly died 6 years ago and I needed time of work to cope and nurse) I have looked after MrC since then, and nursed him through six operations. I have battled through my own recent health issues.

This is nothing compared to then.

So to get me through this week, I will;-
- Delegate and arrange an internet shop
- Imagine the interviewer is naked so I don't get too nervous
- Remember I have an 80% chance of getting a job at the end of the process
- Sleep is for wimps
- Take each day as it comes

And remember, I got through that awful time with MrC in ICU, I can certainly get through this week.

Monday Meal Planner w/c 25th July

It's Monday, so meal planning, but really don't know how I am going to fit the weekly shop in! I am under going consultation at work, and have a job interview on Wedneday which I'm busily preparing for. This means I am potentially staying away three nights this week, which hasn't happened for a long time! When I'm not here, cooking doesn't happen! The boys (MrC and my son who is nearly 18) seems to exist on tins of beans and sandwiches!

So this week's meal planner is very light! I will be stocking up on some TV dinners, bread, beans and spagetti hoops! However when I am here I will be cooking the following

Beef & Tomato Casserole
Chicken Salad with mango salsa
Stir Fry beef and noodles
Chili Con Carne

Wish me luck with the job and check in over with Mrs M for better planning than mine!

Netmums Bingo

I'm sure we've all seen the adverts on the telly and on the internet inviting us to play bingo, but I have never really got it. Why would I want to spend my hard earned money in the hope I could win some back, when we all know the chances of doing that are very slim.

I used to play bingo with my Nan at the local social club when I was a kid, but it wasn't my money I was spending! Plus compulsive gambling is a serious problem for some and I wasn't sure making it ready available on the TV and Internet was a good move.

However I only had my childhood experiences to base my thoughts on, so decided to give a go.

I created an account on the new Netmums Bingo Room through Sky Bingo, chose my bingo name (an inspired 123FayC) logged into the room at 8pm and I was off ready to flap my bingo wings into the bargain!

The first few minutes were like a whirlwind. The screen seemed full of information, I didn't have a clue what was going or what I should be doing. Soon noticed a chat box and did what all good communicators do and typed

'Hello, I'm new. What do I do now???? Please help'

Within seconds another player called CM Tiffany, explained I'd joined the room mid game. When a winner was called I'd have the option to buy cards for the next one.

What I didn't realise at the time was that Tiffany was the 'moderator' or help person for the room. She was brilliant. Chatted with everyone throughout the evening with helpful advice no matter what was asked. I asked and there will be a help person for every Netmums session. So if you are unsure, take advantage, don't be shy!

I needn't have worried about working out what to do, what seemed to be a blur of numbers, colours and noise, as a watched started to make sense

I could go into loads of detail about how to use it here, but really you don't need it. The site is intuitive if you watch for a few minutes. You can easily work out what's going on.

When I played, card prices were as little as a penny each with the most expensive being 25 pence. Payouts were for 1 line, 2 lines and a full house. The amounts won ranging between £3 and £50. Card prices and payouts varied throughout the evening.

When the game is in play, your numbers are automatically checked off (unless you change this option) which leaves you free to enjoy the chat. The guys in the room that day were a friendly bunch, swapping names, locations and ages of kids. This is a good feature of the site, a real plus point. Yes, you are sat in your living room/dining room/tucked up in bed but you can still have a natter with people and get know some of the regulars into the bargain. (plus no babysitters required or to dress up and apply the slap!)

Two hours flew by and I did enjoy myself, however the fact the computer does all the work for you, did leave me feeling what was the point of playing.

You can see how much you are spending at each stage of the proceedings and if you do run out of funds mid game, it will allow you top up your credit, taking the money from your credit/debit card registered when setting up the account.

It was at this point, a safety feature came into its own. When I set up my account, I was asked how often and by how much I would like to top up my credit. It started from as little as £5 per month. This does allow a bit of a safety net for someone getting carried away in the moment and adding a money here and there, until it mounts up to a large credit card bill hitting the mat at the end of the month.

It was a good way to spend a couple of hours and you don't have to spend a lot of money to join in if you don't want to. I can imagine virtually meeting up with a couple of friends, drinking a glass of wine or a cup tea and spending about the same amount for a good takeaway to play. However, even with the safety feature described, I think it would be very easy to spend more money if you really wanted to.

So have I changed my mind about online gambling? I still think its too easy for people susceptible to gambling to get swept up and caught up with the whole thing. But if you play sensibly, see the stake money as the same amount you would spend on a night out with the girls or the boys, and play for entertainment, not profit, then it was great night.

Now for the legal bit!
I am a member of the Netmums Parent Bloggers Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team from our database to review products and brands on their behalf. I am paid an expenses fee to cover my time (and childcare if the fee is big enough!) but Netmums have no editorial control whatsoever about what I blog about. Being a member of the Netmums Blogging Network means that I get to try out products and brands and get my expenses covered but that I retain full editorial integrity.

Tuesday 19th - Saturday 23rd July


Tuesday 19th
Lazy day today, no exercise! Therefore no surprise the step count was only 2033 with 1.4km walked all day! Must try harder!

Wednesday 20th
Made an effort today and spent over an hour on the treadmill to increase my step count. Watched Torchwood on the TV, so the time soon flew by! Manged 7.2 km and a massive 10,146km

Thursday 21st
Another motivated today, so went onto the treadmill after work, but was quite tired so didn't manage the required 10,000 steps. 40 minutes of walking resulted in (plus the step completed at work) 8,861 and 6.2km

Friday 22nd
No training, so a lowly 2.6 km walked with 3,739 steps

Saturday 23rd
Been cooking all day, so although I have been on my feet for most of it, steps are not included (my kitched is tiny!) so only 3,132 steps and 2.2 km

However on a more important note, the fund raising has gone well! I'm upto £360!

Still more to go to reach the target, so please donate by visting my Just Giving Site 'www.justgiving.com/fay-Churchward'

#R2BC Reasons to be Cheerful

One of my favourite times of the week and a chance to review and pick out the good bits. Some weeks are easier than others! But it is a good exercise in celebrating the great things which have happened. So once again, thank you to Michelle at Mummy from the Heart for the prompt each week to do it!

Here are mine (in no particular order)

1 - I came back to work after 3 months sick and was immediately embroiled into the consultancy process as my department undergoes a restructure. How does it affect me? Well, there are five people who do a similar role, which needs to go down to four. It will be heart breaking to lose someone, but we are now all resigned to it. So this is a bitter sweet reason to be cheerful when I say 'hooray! I have an interview date' I can now start planning and prepping in earnest and have a date for when this horrible time will end (silver lining thinking at its best!)

2 - Training for my Midnight Walk on the 30th of July is going well. Last week I managed 9.5 miles on the Friday and 4.5 miles on Sunday. Also in the last week I have managed to attain 10,000 steps, 4 days out of the seven. Not bad I think!

3 - I finally managed to write a post which has been going around and around in my head for a few weeks. I was personally pleased with the result (it was finally on virtual paper for a start!) but I've also received a lot of positive feedback via, e-mail, twitter and phone calls. I have been feeling the love!

The post is question was 'What's in a Word?' and featured the word nice.......a lot!

4 - My wonderful Nan is staying with my Mum & Dad on holiday for a week or two! She is 90 and such a character (read between the lines on that one!) I enjoy spending time with her, so will grab as much as I can while she is down.

Well, there you go! My cheerful reasons and I'm feeling good inside from just thinking back to my week. Why not pop over to Michelle's blog to see what other people have been getting up to?

What's in a word?

What does the word nice mean to you? 

How many successful people got to where they are by being nice do you think?

I get described as a nice person a lot but will that trait help me progress at work? When I think about my working persona, will being a lovely person, make sure I meet my performance rating and get awarded full bonus for the year?

I've had a problem with the word ever since I was at primary school.  Whenever a pupil used 'nice' to describe something they were told by Mrs McGill, year 3, under no uncertain terms to 'try again with a proper word, a word which actually means something!'

During a team building exercise a few years ago we were asked to write down a word to describe each other. At the end of the exercise out of 5 written words, 4 said I was nice. Was that all I was to them? What about fun, knowledgeable, helpful, wise, thoughtful? No, I got bloody nice, four bloody times!

How was being nice in life going to help me succeed? How many people have been nice in their life only for a not so nice person to take advantage of that? So although I know I am nice person am I destined to not progress?

So it was wonderful to watch The Apprentice on Sunday and see a nice person actually win. Not someone who was back stabbing or manipulative. Not someone who was loud or arrogant or rude.

Tom came across throughout the series as a thoroughly decent nice and lovely man (maybe a little eccentric, mind!) His good manners and cheerful disposition shone through. Although a little quirky in places, his little flashes of brilliance twinkled and weren't clouded by bad manners. He was described throughout as 'nice and lovely' and someone said they thought he wouldn't last! His success in part I felt was because he was nice and not in spite of it.
'Nice' does not mean 'weak'.  by @inspirationguy
So thank you Tom for inspiring me to think I can succeed in anything I want, and still be a nice person in the process.

Guest Blog

Was so pleased, but a little bit scared when I realised a guest blog for the wonderful @kateab over at the five fs blog had been published.

Please take a look by clicking here and let me know what you think!

Saturday 16th - Monday 18th July

Saturday 16th of July
Nothing, nada, nowt, zero, sat on my arse!

Feet hurt, another blister has appeared and I ache all over....but I did 9.5 miles yesterday, it feels great!

Sunday 17th of July
Went for it today and walked the last bit of the route. Managed 4.5 miles but it felt more than the 9.5 miles I did on Friday. Was so tired before I even got my walking shoes on, which probably wasn't a great way to start! But the good point was we completed it, plus it has the most uphills of the route (At least it's at the beginning!)

Think I need to now concentrate on regular small walks and conserve my energy for the night! Had the lovely man jumping up and down on my pedometer though, managed 12,787 steps!

Monday 18th July
Tired, grumpy and in a very bad mood. No training today as I have decided to rest up. Even more tired than yesterday. Feeling out of sorts....must work on my attitude for tomorrow and choose one which is more upbeat and positive.

Don't think it helps that I have only managed to walk 1.9 km all day as tracked by my pedometer. I think my school report would say 'must try harder'

But I have managed to raise £295 so far!

Don't forget to sponsor me by clicking onto My Just Giving Page (fetching photo of me too....well, not so fetching!)

Monday Meal Planner w/c 18th July

Another week, another meal planner. I really enjoy planning and blogging it each week for At Home with Mrs M. It makes things so much easier for Slimming World. I've had a successful week too with a 1 pound loss! Feeling good! You can check out my last plan here.

This week in no particular order we are having:-

Roasted Chicken with Thyme, roast potato and vegetables
Carrot and Butternut Squash Tagine
Pasta Bolognaise
Slow cooker cooked gammon with potato wedges and minted peas
Chickpea and Red Roasted Pepper Pilaff
Homemade Burger and Slimming World (SW) Chips and Tomato Salad

On Sunday we are heading out for a barbecue with my daughter's, in-laws to be. To keep as much on Slimming World plan as possible, I'm making the following:-
SW apple coleslaw
SW potato salad
Tomato Salsa
Sweet Mango and Chilli Salsa
SW pretend Syn free Mayonnaise

I can fill up on the barbecued steaks and chicken and with the SW sides, I'm then giving myself the best chances of success.

Hope you have gotten some inspiration, give me a shout if you'd like a recipe and don't forget to click over to Mrs M's for more!!

#R2BC Reasons to be Cheerful

I love writing these post's, they are just up my street. I like to review my week and pull out, celebrate and share my top things. Please go and take a look at other people's by going over to Michelle's Mummy From The Heart blog. She's had a fab week!

My list is

1 - I pushed through an invisible barrier in my battle to train for the 13 mile Midnight Walk yesterday. I managed 9.5 miles and a massive 26,615 steps. I am really starting to feel I can complete it!!!

The more training I do for it, the more I realise the main battle will be in my head (a dangerous place at the best of times!) I won't bore you with the details here (you can pop over to my blog for that!) but am feeling very proud of myself!

2 - Managed to get through my second week back at work. For anyone new to my blog I have recently had a hysterectomy following a diagnosis of uterine cancer. (Have the all clear now, don't worry!) And not only did I complete a second week, but it also included two days off site visiting a couple of our company offices.

It was brilliant to see people I hadn't for a while and catch up. Everyone has been so lovely through all of this and very supportive. Plus I actually managed to use my brain! Amazing its still there and in semi-working order!

3 - Another proud about me reason, is I stuck to the Slimming World eating plan while on my business trip! I find it really easy when out of my comfort zone and travelling for work, to slip into old and very bad habits.

But I made a real effort to stay on track. So my evening meal was at Wagamma's, noodles and vegetables, plus miso soup and those green pea things with chili salt. The plan was eat so much good stuff I wouldn't have room for their delicious white chocolate and ginger cheesecake!

Breakfast was beans on toast with fruit salad and lunch was baked potato, beans and tuna. Followed by a banana and melon pot. The ploy again, to fill up so I wouldn't want to eat the afternoon meeting treats which are put onto the board room table! It worked and I feel amazing!

4 - And last, but by no means least, I had my first get blog post on the wonderful @kateab The Five F's It was good to write the post, but scary actually reading it!

Just realised this week's post has all been about me, I am not normally this selfish, but do you know what? Its been a great one!  And for once, it is all about me, I am worth it!

Friday 15th of July

<<< Previous Day

Getting There
 Today was a proper training day! After work Amy and I walked part of the Midnight Walk, the same as last weeks but were aiming to add a bit more on.

The weather was messing me about as I really didn't want to walk in the rain, but luckily it stopped and we decided to chance it. If it should start pouring down, we'd call in the support car (MrC!)

So we set off and the first couple of miles seemed to whizz by, practising the route does seem to help me physcologically. However I was struggling around 4 miles. I think the fact I had worked longer hours this week and not getting back from an off site meeting until 9pm the night before was catching up with me.

But soldiered on, the weather held out and we reached our end spot last week (Sainsbury, Marsh Mills) and had a comfort break! I really didn't want to carry on. I hurt all over, and was very tired, but knew if I didn't, it would just make it so much harder for next time. I am beginning to really appreciate the battle in my mind is what will make the difference on the day.

So, I bought a chocolate bar for quick energy release (and make me feel better) slurp of my diet coke and carried on, through the rain!!! The heaven's decided to open at the worst time, but I was determined to push through that invisible barrier. I don't want to let anyone who has sponsored me down on the day. I just kept repeating 'I can do this' and 'Think of the money' over and over in my head!

God it felt great, when I looked back at the distance and realised I hadn't just done another half a mile as I whispered and promised to myself, but at least double that!

Finally called it a day when we realised the time, and called MrC for a lift, but we weren't far from town at all! Amy and I managed 9.5 miles (to view the route click here) plus a massive 26,615 steps for the day!

Feel amazing to have completed that much, but also proud for physically and mentally pushing myself!

But OMG! I hurt when I got home ALL OVER! My poor feet! Am hoping the more I do, the pain will lessen! Please tell me that is so!

So, I am calling on you the reader to help me overcome the barriers in my head and my body by going over to my Just Giving Page and being another person I don't want to let down by donating some money. Go on, you know you want to!

And please, pass it on

Monday 11th to Thursday 14th July

I feel like a very lazy blogger just like I said in my last Midnight Walk post. The trouble is, there is a life outside of social media and the days move on very quickly. Before you know it the week has gone and you haven't written a word!

However, that's ok. If I wasn't busy doing stuff (oh and working!) I wouldn't have things and experiences to write about. So I am sorry if I've disappointed but hey, real life sometimes get's in the way.

Busy Bee

But onwards and upwards to this week. I have been busy at work, out and about visiting people at two of our companies offices which means no formal training registered.

I have however enjoyed using my new pedometer. It's been worn mostly just inside my shirt so it isn't obvious and I'm not knocking it about all the time. Been interesting trying to increase my steps. The ploy to walk to the office networked printer has worked (81 steps each way) Going to the furthest water fountain has too (147 steps each way) and using a smaller cup, so there are more journeys!

My footstep count and kilometre's walked are:-

Monday 11th July          1560 steps - 1.1 km
Tuesday 12th July         4218 steps - 2.9 km
Wednesday 13th July   3410 steps - 2.4 km
Thursday 14th July        4197 steps - 2.9 km

Wednesday and Thursday I was out of my office, visiting two others, so being out of my normal environment meant I was more active. Something to explore going forward maybe?

It looks like I'm averaging 2.5 km just generally, so need to fit 7000 steps into my day to reach the magic 10,000 a day target. Doable? Don't know, but can feel another goal being worked into my plan!
Next Day >>>

Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July


Trying to pay catch up, have not blogged all weekend! Sorry but this process is meant to be fun, so I'm not going to feel bad about it! Here is my weekend

Friday 8th of July
End of what feels like a long week at work. I feel like its been 12 hour days but really its only been 4 a day. I have a pain, low down on the left which is worrying me a bit seeing as I have been constant pain free for a while. I'm due to see the consultant very soon, so have decided to rest up and not do any training today.

Just pottered and went round to see Mum instead!

Mind you, had some good news. Friday's are weigh-in day and I have lost 5 lbs. So that is 5 lbs less to drag myself around the course!

Saturday 9th of July
Managed to persuade Amy to join me on a training walk today. She needs to train too as she is completing it with me! I did feel sorry for her though as we left not long after her shift finished, so had been up since 6am!

Just dawned on me that we live not far from the actual St Luke's Midnight Walk Route, so decided to practise part of it. We left and walked up to Tesco's and had a fruit (and loo) break. We then walked back, but rather coming home, carried on. Turned left at Crownhill and down to Forder Valley eventually having another tea (and loo) break at Sainsbury Marsh Mills. I definatly needed the break as I was eyeing up bushes for suitable 'resting' points if you know what I mean.

The break was our downfall and we couldn't get started again! So rang for lift home (Thank you MrC) If you'd like to see the route click here and was over the moon when we realised it was 7 miles! The only downfall was a blood blister on the heel of my right foot.

Sunday 10th of July
Woke up this morning and had a lot of chores to do, plus IT support for my Mum & Dad, so just had 20 minutes on the treadmill. Managed my 1km this time as my side is still sore, but hey, no pain, no gain! 

Monday 11th July

New working week and longer working hours. Still not full time, but will take a little while to get used too.

Decided not to do any 'formal' training as I am still sore on my leftside. Got to take notice of what my body is telling me. However I have come up with a cunning plan to get moving!!

Before I left for my operation, my printer was on the desk next to me. One good stretch, and I could lift the pages up and away. Upon my return, some three months later,  I discovered it had been removed! It's been replaced with one huge printer/copier/scanner for the whole floor. And someone appears to have put it as far away from me as it could get! (its also near the microwave and fridge. Not that that has anything to do with it, am trying to paint you a picture)

Your network ID and password need to be keyed in before it actually prints. I had been sending stuff to it in batches and only walking to the end of the office when actually needed. This made great time and motion sense. But now, if I send something to print, I'm going to walk up and get it straight away. Should add a few hundred steps to my daily figure without even really thinking about it. Should also ensure I am moving around and away from desk regularly as the pain in my side started when I returned to work. I think my body needs to get used to sitting at a desk again, but moving around will help!

So with that in mind, I paid a visit to my local Argos and bought myself a Walking Style Pedometer. It's worn around your neck or in a front pocket. I can now track not only how many miles I have walked, but how many steps taken. Should motivate me to keep moving!

Will be interesting to see if it works on the treadmill!

So although I haven't completed physical work, I have used my brain! Now that has got to have used up some calories!

Meal Planning Monday w/c 11th of July

Here we are again! Last week's meal planner worked really well! I went into a lot of detail because it was my first week back at work, but also because I'd had a break from Slimming World and needed to get back onto the metaphoric horse.

I am pleased to say I lost 5 lbs, so result!

I did change a couple of the meals around, but the main difference was instead of chicken I cooked a gammon joint in the slow cooker as recommended by @reluctanthousedad from

Take a look here for the original post ,it was so easy and tasty! Having the left overs tonight!

I am now back in Slimming World mind set, so am more relaxed about lunches and breakfasts! Won't include this week, unless anyone missed them!

So this week I have planned the following:-

Creamy Gammon and Artichokes Tagliatelle
Egg & Watercress Salad with Slimming World Chips
Carrot Soup and bread (I won't be having this as I'm away for work this night)
Beef, Onion and Tomato Slow Cooker casserole with couscous
Chicken Stir Fry and Egg Fried Rice
Minced Beef Hash ( will blog this one, as its lovely!)
Minted Mince Beef with Vegetable Couscous (new recipe for me, will blog it if it works out!)

Am also going to be making Scan Bran Scotch Eggs for packed lunches (as I'm back at work) plus Scan Bran Banana Cake which is lovely and filling, but great for cake cravings.

Don't forget to take a look at other meal planners for inspiration at the wonderful At Home With Mrs M

Wish me luck for this weeks weight loss, Friday's are weigh in day!

#R2BC Reasons to be Cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Oh what a week! Lots to be thankful for, lots of reasons not to too, but this post is about celebrating the good things, so here goes!

1- My little girl received her degree results yesterday and it was a brilliant 2:1!!!! Apparently you could hear the screaming from two streets away! I am just so pleased for her. She's had a difficult year with some serious health issues But she has battled through, asked for help and continued to work hard. Now all that hard work has paid off!

Well done and congratulations Amy!

2 - This one is for me! I've survived my first week back at work! My workplace agreed to a phased return, which at the time I thought was going to be a bit OTT. A week in....and I don't! I'm only working 4 hours this week and its been hard. Who knew sitting at a desk would hurt so much (if you didn't know I'm three months out from having a total abdominal hysterectomy following early diagnosis of uterine cancer) I wasn't expecting it to hurt quite so much!

But it is great to be back, doing a job I love, and speaking to lots of lovely people on the phone & via e-mail!

3 - Now this one is going to be a shameless plug and wanted to get it out there at the get go! Before my diagnosis I had signed up for St Luke's Hospice Midnight Walk in Plymouth. 13 miles of loveliness (or the last time I did it, 8 miles of loveliness, 5 miles of hell!!!) The date in the calendar (30th of July) has been one of the things which has kept me going, something to aim for, something to train for!

So last Friday, I decided to try and ramp up the training and blog daily about it. Click here to see my progress I am pleased to report I have managed to walk 18 miles this week! Am really pleased considering I felt quite poorly and tired with going back to work.

But now for the shameless plug. I have set myself a target of £500 to raise. If you could donate or share my link to help me reach it I would be grateful. My experience this year has made me realise how lucky I am, but also how different things could have been. I may, if I hadn't been so fortunate, have one day needed to use this facility or something like.


So I am not going to apologise for the brazen begging!!

But don't forget to keep checking back and see how I am getting on plus all the other reasons to be cheerful on Mummy From The Heart blog

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Thursday 7th of July

<<<Previous Day
What a day! Am getting more tired as the week goes on with work plus more sore, so really didn't want to exercise today. I decided to forego the walk and was planning on grovelling when I posted.

But something funny happened when I got home, I actually wanted to go for a walk. I craved a bit of exercise! What's all that about? I'm not going to complain! It's a good feeling!

Started off thinking I'd visit Mum & Dad and take a very short walk to their Tesco, but then decided to shake it up a bit and walk to the one near me. It's part of the 13 mile route I will be doing on the 30th of July. So exercise plus practise, bargain.

You can view the route by clicking here Am pleased to report it was just over 4 miles. Broken up with a Tesco mini shopping interlude plus a sit outside to drink a diet coke, eat a fruit bowl and July's issue of Slimming World mag. Which incidentally was what I went out for, purchase then realised I already had it! Think I'm going senile!

So that is the end of my first 7 days. Only three more weeks until the BIG WALK! By my reckoning, I've clocked up 18 miles this week. Not bad for someone 3 months out from total abdominal hysterectomy (none of this keyhole stuff for me!)

Roll on next days! Wish me luck!

Wednesday 6th of July

Big fail :(

Today has beaten me! No exercise for me. Feel a bit flat about it to be honest. 

I'm trying hard to train for my big walk, but am struggling today! 

I had a very late night last night picking my daughter up from the station. She had a job interview in Scotland and nine hour train journey back. I wasn't about to let her get a taxi at midnight! 

Also, because this is my first week back at work, I have been caught by surprise at how tired and a little bit poorly I feel. Last week I was buzzing with energy, this week flat, tired and sore.

So today has become a rest day.

Will pull myself up by my bootstraps and try harder tomorrow, but will need some encouragement! 

Can you help? I need some kind words, practical advice for getting started again, plus more sponsorship to make me feel guilty! 

Tuesday 5th of July


Oh my goodness, getting up today was hard! Who decided it would be a good idea to have a big surgery and then three months later start training for a 13 mile sponsored walk? Oh...that would be me then!

I think I was kidding myself this week would be a doddle, only working 4 hours a day! I am so tired. And even though I work sitting at a desk, my tummy hurts. Obviously sitting at a desk uses different muscles to lounging on the sofa, who'd have thought?

However I did get up as planned and did 20 minutes on the treadmill. I managed 1.7 km, which is a mile a real money. At one point I was up to a walking speed of 6km per hour, my little legs didn't know what had hit them!

Came home from work and had to have a nap, just underestimated how tired I would feel. But am hopeful tomorrow will be easier.

How long does it take for a habit to form? Oh yes, about 28 days. About as long as I have left to train! Better crack on........

Listography - 5 Things I Want To Do This Summer

All my friends and family know I love a good list. So I really enjoy Kate Takes Five Listography. This week the Listography has been hijacked looked after by Keith of Chronicles of a Reluctant Housedad fame.

The theme this week is '5 things I want to do this summer' influenced in part by the school summer holidays looming. Here are my five:

1 - I want to have a few days in London and do some more of the touristy things. I've had a couple of city breaks in the big smoke and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's the atmosphere, getting to see all the landmarks and eating out in new places. The next on my list I want to explore (see what I did there?!) in no particular order are London Zoo, St Paul's Cathedral, Highgate Cemetery and Tower of London (again!)

2 - I want to raise my target sponsorship of £500 for The St Lukes Midnight Walk happening on the 30th of July. And then actually complete it! The last three months have been a struggle physically following my cancer fight and I've had some wonderful support. I want to help give something back.
If you are interested in sponsoring me (or have some rich friends or companies who would like to donate for tax purposes (I'm not proud!)) you can,by going to my Just Giving Pages

3 - Get myself back to The Eden Project. While recuperating I finally got to see it for the first time, and loved it! Managed to go four times in two weeks but still haven't seen everything. If you are ever in Cornwall, its got to go on your list of 'must see's'

4 - Lose more weight! I have managed to lose over 3 stone, but want to have dropped another by my birthday which is 2nd of September (just in case anyone wants to send me a card!) The training for number 2 will help!

5 - And finally I would love to spend some time with my wonderful sister. We don't get to spend enough together as we live at opposite ends of the country. She is my best friend and laugh so much when together. I'm very lucky to know her, let alone be related. I think she is an inspiration and I aspire to be more like her (even though she is my little sister and that should be the other way around!)

So there are my five, what are yours? If you want to join in, let me know in the comments, or blog it and link back to Chronicles of a Reluctant Housedad where you will find lots of others!

Monday 4th of July

<<Previous Day

Phew.....what a day, the first one back to work and am so glad I'm working on a phased return schedule.  Just four hours a day for the first week and am only just realising how hard the getting back to work is going to be. Am fortunate my company allow this approach, others people aren't able to lucky.

So being back to work meant I wasn't able to go out for a work, so took advantage of the treadmill.

I managed a whole 1.7km, which in old money is 1 mile. It took 20 minutes and I was pooped at the end of it! Was very disappointed when I converted the distance. Don't think I will be able to maintain a 20 minute walking mile for the midnight walk! My little legs were very tired at the end it!

I did however start the speed at 3.5km per hour, increasing it to 6km gradually and dropping it down when it started to hurt.

Tomorrow I will go for the walk in the morning, maybe I can go a bit further then (here's hoping!)

Sunday 3rd of July

Traditionally Sunday is a day of rest, and today is no exception.

Two reason
  1. It's bloody hot today and I hate walking in the heat!
  2. I go back to work tomorrow for the first time since the operation
I have used the day to rest up and plan. I'm not only training for the walk, but also following Slimming World (SW) to lose some a lot or weight. To success at SW you need to be organised, and I have found linking in with At Home with Mrs M Meal Planning Monday certainly helps!

Therefore my Meal Planning Monday is invaluable!

Because I am back at work I won't be able to pop out for a walk when the urge takes me, so have decided to take advantage of the treadmill during the week. I plan to walk for at least 30 minutes before work and another session in the evening or a spot of WiiFit yoga. Using the treadmill will mean I can ramp up the walking speed without the fear of being left stranded somewhere (I am still recovering from a full hysterectomy so need to be careful) and increase my strength

Weekends can then be devoted to practising problem areas of the route and walking longer distances.

Well, thats the plan! Let me know if you have some top tips for me.

I'd also appreciate your support and encouragement on Twitter and Facebook (lots of hugs as I'm needy like that!) But also by donating on my Just Giving pages, to shame me into completing; I don't like letting anyone down!

Check back in soon to see how I'm getting on

Meal Planning Monday - 4th of July

Military precision went into this week's meal planning

I went off the grid Slimming World wise last week and ate rather a lot of chocolate and cake so have put 6lbs on! Not only do I need to knuckle down and get back on the healthy eating plan, but I'm also back to work for the first time in 3 months!

I'm also in training for a 13 mile walk in less than a month! (I don't do things my half!) A lot of pressure, which means I need to arrange everything and leave nothing to chance to increase my chances of success!

I follow the Slimming World diet, and they advocate writing everything down in a food diary, I will be going back to that, plus this week I am also detailing breakfast and lunches (I am leaving no room for error!) Am sure once I see the scales going in the right direction and I'm more comfortable back at work, I will be able to be a little more relaxed.

So with military precision we have:-

Breakfast - Omelet
Lunch - Scan Bran with soft cheese, yogurt and fruit
Dinner - Chickpea and red roasted pepper pilaff

Breakfast - Loaded grilled bacon sandwich on wholemeal bread
Lunch - left over Chickpea Pilaff, fruit and yogurt
Dinner - Vegetable stir fry with rice noodles and SW sweet & sour sauce

Breakfast - Scrambled egg on wholemeal toast 
Lunch - Rice noodle salad (left overs!) yogurt and fruit
Dinner - Beef and tomato slow cooker casserole with couscous and vegetables

Breakfast - cheese omelet 
Lunch - left over beef casserole and scan bran and fruit
Dinner - Butter Chicken and rice

Breakfast - grapefruit pieces and boiled egg
Lunch - couscous salad, fruit and yogurt
Dinner - Gammon and SW chips, plus salad

Breakfast - Omelet with saute potatoes (left overs from the chips) 
Lunch - pasta salad
Dinner - Homemade burgers, peri peri wedges and salad

Breakfast - Slimming World Full English 
Lunch - not planning much, so probably fruit
Dinner - Roast chicken, potatoes and vegetables

Think if I stick to this not only will I not want to snack, I won't have room!!!!

Please pop over to the lovely At Home with Mrs M for lots of other delicious meal plans!

Fingers crossed for some weight loss this week, wish me luck!

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

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Saturday 2nd of July

<<<Previous Day

Oh my goodness, today was really hard, physically and emotionally.

I completed the Midnight Walk (just!) in 2009 and I didn't prepare enough at all. You know after you have given birth, you remember how much it hurt, but it was worth it because of the end result? Well that's how I feel about it looking back. It hurt, it was hard, but worth it.

However there is one part of the route which sticks in my mind and I am not looking forward to it. Its the last mile and half or so which will be my nemesis.

This is the part of the route I am least looking forward to and realise I need to mentally prepare myself if I have any chance of success. So I've decided to practise this bit  two or three times to help me replace the negative feeling and thoughts with more positive ones.

So today was my first attempt. I parked at the finish line, walked into the city centre then picked the route up from where I remember I had my first meltdown! If you want to take a look, click here

As soon as I rounded the corner, it felt like I'd hit a brick wall. And I had, an emotional one. It's up a long hill and in 2009 it nearly killed me. I was in tears, everything hurt, I wanted it to stop, but I was only a mile or so from sucess, so battled on.

Today I could feel all the negative feelings flooding in and dragging me down. (not helped by the fact its a very warm day) So I gave myself a proverbial shake and started the mantra 'I feel good and I can do this' and continued saying it as I plodded on

I felt relief and elation wash over me when I could see my little silver car shimmering in the heat. Now that is the feeling I need to remember ( and forget 2009) and pull strength from on the 30th of July.

Friday 1st of July

<<<Back to Walk Pages

Friday 1st of July
Beautiful day and I managed to get my chores done early so decided to go for a walk around Saltram House. It not very far in the car, has some lovely walks around the grounds with a couple of hills to get your heart racing. Tried to drum up a walking partner but failed miserably, so was billy no-mates.

On the way there though I changed the route a bit, and tagged a mile or two on! Here is the route via mapmywalk.com (click here to view) It's telling me it was 9.82 miles! I am gobsmacked and can't quite believe it. I felt I had pushed things a bit but not 9.82 miles of pushing! Am sure the measuring is wrong, will try harder next time to get things a little more accurate!

Either way, it was a great start to the training and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So keep checking back to see how I am getting on!