Monday, 31 January 2011

Tall Tales

As a child I was always taller than my peers until I went to secondary school. On many a school photograph I stood out as being ahead of not only the other girls but the boys too! This wasn't without it's problems as some of the kids at primary school nick named my Godzilla because of my much greater height. It felt good at secondary school to have 10-12 girls in my year group of 150. By the time I stopped growing at 14 I was 5ft 8 1/2 (173 cm) which was well above average then but nowadays isn't very unusual.

My kids seem to be following in my footsteps which is partly due to me and partly due to their dad being 6ft 1. In her class my daughter is one of the tallest and comes on the 75th centile on the growth charts. My son at nursery towers above most of his class and is taller than children 2-3 years older being on the 98th centile.

As I can't remember my exact height until I was 10 - I was level with my mum who was 5ft 4 - its not easy to compare how they match up to me yet as they are only 7 and 4 respectively. However by looking at photographs I can see myself in relation to other people and then compare this with my kids today.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

eBay shop now selling!

For 1 week only I have the items listed in this post available on eBay.

If you have an interest in stamp postcards or San Marino coins/stamps please go and look at what I have to offer via this link LakesBecky. Feel free to share with others!

#SilentSunday: yummy

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Kay Linford 1912-2011

Much loved, much missed:

Donations in her memory to the Kendal Mountain Rescue team. She loved walking up the mountains of the Lake District.

My latest eBay items

Need to flog a few things on eBay to boost the old cash flow so I'm putting my Royal Mail stamp postcard collection plus some other related bits up this Sunday (30th January) at 20:00. Meanwhile if you are really desperate for a set make me an offer before they go live and I can withdraw them! They are being put up in related sets but I am willing to split if required. To see the full collection please watch this slideshow:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

This free photo slideshow customized with Smilebox

Once the auctions are live I will post the link on here.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Fitness Friday - week 5

Short and sweet this week as nothing new to report! Still not able to exercise with my ear problem but mostly sticking with the Rosemary Conley Solo Slim programme.

I was unable to attend the weigh in and class this week so only have an approximate loss of 1-1.5 lbs based upon my home scales (they seem to vary wildly!). So going down slowly... hope I can get back on track if the second lot of antibiotics work!

Please click on the picture above to find out how everyone else is doing in the challenge.... 

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Competition Time!

As I may have mentioned a couple of times in this blog I am now running 2 little businesses. This year I really need to get them to make me self sufficient and not just supplying a little bit of income, so I have got a competition going for each business!

Becky's Usborne Books

This is my work as an Independent Usborne Reseller selling their lovely children's books. I do home parties, school fetes and any other fair that has outside stalls. The website for this is over at Becky's Books and I have created a Facebook Page to help promote it: 

When I get 500 fans I will be giving away either a Make and Do Activity Book or a Sticker Book to a random fan! So please go and Like the page. In the meantime feel free to browse the online catalogue and place an order or book a party. Whilst on my website don't forget to enter the Prize Draw for a chance to win £100 worth of Usborne books. I am also looking for new team members so if you fancy earning some extra money this year please get in touch! 

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Gallery: Children - when I was young

It's that time if the week again for Tara's Gallery (click image above to see more) here is my take on children with some photos of me and my family as children:

Baby me with both grannies

toddler me with my cousin and brother
with my American cousins and my brother

Happy Healthy Children - Guest Post

Back in November last year I tweeted that my daughter was having sleep issues. Following the recommendation of Sue Atkins I ordered some CDs from Relax Kids. These have been a great success and Marneta from Relax Kids has kindly agreed to write this guest post so other parents can get assistance in getting their children to relax.

A recent poll run by Netmums showed there has been a 70% increase in children emotional problems.  The Office for National Statistics says that 1 in 10 children are suffering from mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

These reports are worrying for any parent but there are things we can do to prevent our children from suffering from stress and anxiety.

I do believe children are never too young to learn tools to help them cope with stress.  Signs of stress and emotional strain can appear at any time and even the most happy child can start to display signs of irritability and anxiety.  Relaxation, play and exercise are key to ensuring children grow up feeling relaxed, happy and positive.

Teaching children to manage stress has now become as important as teaching them to eat well, sleep well and stay physically healthy. To cope, a child needs to understand stress as a “normal” feeling. One useful exercise is to trace around the child on a large piece of paper and then draw on to the body where they feel stress and how it appears ie headaches, unable to sleep, butterflies in the tummy, etc. Ask your child to talk about when they have those feelings and tell them about your experiences. Then help them to manage their stress: they should tell people how they feel, take some steady breaths, blow out imaginary birthday cake candles, keep a journal, distract themselves, take some time out and play a game or listen to music.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

A few thank you's

Back in the mists of time, well the beginning of December, I won a couple of blog competitions. Due to a combination of snow chaos and Christmas I only received my prizes this month! Both of them were well waiting for and I need to say thank you to the ladies hosting the prize draws and their sponsors.

The first one was over at Little Mummy where Argos where giving away a goodly collection of Christmas presents. It was a very exciting prize to win when you are on a tight budget like mine! In the end the prize was converted into vouchers so I can spend them on birthday presents for my children instead as they were unable to deliver before Christmas. So thank you Erica and Argos my children will be perusing the new Argos catalogue for their choice of Playmobil or Lego for their birthdays!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Becoming self sufficient - update 1

One of my targets for this year is to become financially self sufficient so I can move off from relying on benefits. This post will set out what steps I have taken so far to realise this dream.

1) A second blog

In order to hone my technical skills and work on my professional skills I have created a second blog Lakes Single Mum's Tips. On here I am putting simple IT tips and advice on researching family history. Hopefully I can work on my training techniques on this site.

2) Improving my qualifications

I have been investigating undertaking a Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector course. This would enable me to tutor in adult education or be a self employed trainer. I have bought some training manuals and will investigate as to whether I can get financial help to undertake the course. To get some real life experience I have volunteered to help train senior citizens in sheltered accommodation.

3) Getting advice

I have signed up to the Become a Mumpreneur course. This is giving me ideas and a focus as to how I can start building up various incomes from what I have already and others for the future too.

The Essential ‘Start Your Mumpreneur Business‘ Pack

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Change4Life: Step 2 - Me size meals

So it's not rocket science our children are smaller than us so they need smaller portions of food. Excess food is turned to fat so by giving our children adult sized portions we are setting them up to overeat and gain weight. Another problem is that when they leave leftovers the adults have a habit of finishing them off. 

Here are some simple ways to ensure that your kids have portions that are the right size for them:

  • Base their portion on the relative size of your fist to theirs. 
  • Use different sized plates so that their plate still looks full but its not too much for them.
  • Don't nag them to clear their plates, it is better to serve them less and let them ask for seconds if they are really hungry.
  • Packets and bottles are often based on an adult serving size and not a child size one. Get your children to share or put some aside for later. 
  • Eating at the table without the TV to distract enables children to listen to the signals from their body saying they are full.
  • Regular meals and snacks will train the children's bodies to cope with correct portions.
  • Get them to just have a single mouthful of the foods they aren't keen on rather than forcing them to eat everything on their plate.
  • If the children say they are hungry whilst you are cooking then offer them water or juice so as not to fill them up before their meal.

For more tips and to see the questions other parents have asked go direct to the Change4Life website.

#SilentSunday: Freezing Fog

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Change4Life: Week 2 - How are the kids?

Last Saturday I set out the challenges that the Change4Life campaign suggested I should try to get my kids fitter and healthier. So how has it gone this week?

Up and About

Limit TV/Computer time to 2 hours:
Some days we have had virtually no TV at all. My daughter is finding this harder than her little brother and I have come back into the room to find she has switched the TV back on! They are finding ways to entertain themselves without resorting to just sitting there watching CBBC/Cbeebies. I have to admit that when I am trying to get chores done with the 4 year old home alone the TV was on for longer.

Have an activity day chosen by kids:
Unfortunately with me being unwell I haven't felt up to being too energetic with the kids! I did get them signed up for weekly swimming lessons at L.I.F.E.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Fitness Friday - week 4

This week always had the potential to be a big let down after last week's big loss. When I was diagnosed with an ear infection on Monday it put a stop to my fitness plan so I wasn't expecting a decent drop. So I was very pleased to be told I had dropped another 2.5 lbs this week. That makes 8 lb over the last fortnight and 16 lb in total since I started at Rosemary Conley in October. I even got another certificate to celebrate this milestone. 

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Reasons to be cheerful 1,2,3

This is a lovely idea from Mummy from the Heart and after the previous post I need to counteract it with something positive!

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy with a Heart

  1. At my weigh in today I went through the stone mark for my overall total! I should have got there before Christmas but my new determination has seen me shift 8 lbs in last 2 weeks.
  2. My daughter got a Headteacher's Award badge today for some fantastic work in literacy. She came out of school beaming and finally seems to be settling in to the school.
  3. Whilst chatting to the Asda delivery man (he had spotted my Asda track suit bottoms) he had said his wife was too old to do Rosemary Conley. When I said I was one of the youngest in my class at 40 he was gobsmacked as he thought I was only 28 or 29!

How not to do Internet Supermarket Shopping

Regular readers of my blog will know that my kids and I are very good at creating chaos out of the most simple tasks e.g. cooking or being a domestic goddess. Today was no exception as I had finally given in to the lure of getting my shopping delivered from the supermarket.

It all started so well when at the weekend I logged onto and started to fill up my virtual shopping trolley. I reserved my delivery slot with Asda and browsed the aisles for the products I needed. The icon telling me how to get a cheaper version of what I had chosen was very useful at saving me money. I looked at the calorie saving swaps too but as most of what I was getting was for the children I didn't swap anything. What I didn't realise was that as I didn't checkout I lost my delivery slot - newbie error!

Having completed the latest meal plan with the kids on Tuesday I went back to the site to complete my shopping list. I managed to get the same delivery slot that I had lost before but then realised that I wouldn't actually be home at that time.. so I found a slightly later £3 delivery slot that was available. This time I successfully completed my shop and checked out. So now all I had to do was sit back and relax until tonight when it was delivered.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Libraries and Health

I have been thinking about how I can fit in the campaign to save libraries from their threatened closures and the main theme of my blog this month health and fitness! Here are a few reasons why libraries are good for your health:

Mental Health

Reading a good book whether factual or fiction is good for your brain and your mental well being. You can escape from the stresses and strains of your life with a novel and if you use your library you can keep on borrowing more at no cost.


Walk or cycle to your library each week when you go to return your books. A little bit of exercise added to your day will help towards improving or maintaining your general fitness and health. As a child I used to love walking to the library on a Saturday morning to get new books. And of course if you borrow your full allocation in hard backs you can add in some weight lifting too! You may also be able to borrow a fitness DVD to try it out for a week at a reasonable rate - better than buying one then finding its useless.

General Health

If you are looking for advice on diet, health and fitness then browse the library. There are plenty of books giving information on all of these. Borrow one and see it if works for you - you may find you end up buying a copy!

What other ways do libraries help us improve and maintain our health and fitness? 

Monday, 17 January 2011

L.I.F.E. at Troutbeck Bridge

My run of luck with online competitions continued this month with an e-mail telling me I had won an hour with a personal fitness instructor at L.I.F.E. at Troutbeck Bridge near Windermere. They run a monthly draw for answering a simple question on their web site and you can choose from a range of fitness prizes at the gym.

LIFE stands for Leisure Initiative Fitness Excellence and the centre is a charitable trust providing a swimming pool and leisure facilities for the South Lakeland community. The current facilities are:

  • 25 Station Gym
  • 25m Swimming Pool (swimming lessons for children and adults)
  • VibroGym Suite
  • Personal Training with personalised fitness programmes
  • Dual Lane inflatable for kids
  • AquaFit classes

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Change4Life: Step 1 - 3 meals a day

As per my first Change4Life post yesterday I am going to do a post each week based on each of the 8 points they recommend to get our kids living longer, healthier, more active lives. So this week it's getting your kids to eat 3 meals a day. If you have a blogpost that goes with this topic then please add to the link below (it's supposed to be a blog hop so hopefully you can grab the code...).

I have to say that having 3 meals a day is not a problem area in our house. The children are not allowed to leave for school without breakfast and we always have one light and one main meal as well. Making these at a regular time is not as successful. One way to make them more regular is to plan ahead. I have found that since the week's menu is clearly up on the wall in the kitchen I can work out how long it will take to make. This means that meals are happening at an appropriate time and therefore at better intervals for the children. 

#SilentSunday: Reflections

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 15 January 2011


Many of you will have heard of the UK government's Change4Life campaign to get our children healthier following concerns that the younger generation is fatter and less fit than it should be. I know that my children need to do better when it comes to a healthier lifestyle and it's up to me as their mum to point them in the right direction. So I signed up on the web site and filled out a questionnaire which resulted in an action plan arriving through my door yesterday. I have also signed up as a volunteer to help promote the campaign so we can all keep out children healthy and help them live longer more active lives.

The key 8 good habits we need to encourage are children into are:

  1. meal time: try and make time for 3 regular meals a day
  2. me size meals: remember kids and grown ups don't need the same amount of food
  3. cut back fat: keep fatty foods like burgers and sausages to a minimum
  4. sugar swaps: swap food and drink that is high in sugar to no added sugar versions
  5. snack check: limit unhealthy snacks
  6. up and about: active play is much better for kids than vegging in front of TV
  7. 60 active minutes: kids need at least 60 active minutes a day
  8. 5 A DAY: make sure they get a variety of at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day - fresh frozen, canned, dried or juiced

Friday, 14 January 2011

My kids menu plan for the week

As I am on a pre-packed meal plan this week I asked my kids to plan their own menu (aged 7 and 4) this is what they came up with (spelling is as my daughter wrote it down!):

monday cheese paster

tuesday chicken nuguters chips

Wendsday fish pie

thursday pees and wothels

friday fish & chips

Satday bolnaise and pees

Sunday roast cicken

Not bad for their first ever menu plan and my daughter says she wants broccoli with her cheese "paster". Though she did also ask for baked beans with roast chicken!!

Do you let your children plan their own meals?

Fitness Friday - week 3

So did the last week live up to my hopes from last week? Having had people comment that I looked slimmer I was hopeful when I went to class today and the answer is a very big YES!!! At my weigh in yesterday I had lost 5.5 lbs which is a great start to the Fitness Friday campaign. It makes me 0.5 lb away from losing a total of a stone since I started! The psychological effect of the first digit of my weight now being lower made me feel great, it also got me the Slimmer of the Week award.

How I did it:

Thursday, 13 January 2011

BBC Radio Cumbria - my radio debut!

When I started blogging 2 years ago I never expected to get a telephone call from a BBC local radio station asking me to read out some extracts on air! But that is exactly what happened back in December, when, out of the blue a lovely producer from BBC Radio Cumbria called and asked if I would like to do just that for the Little Cumbria slot on the Ian Timms' show. Having agreed to do so I then had to re-tune my radio to the right frequency to hear the kind of thing that was on the slot. Until then I had been listening to a local commercial radio station (my youngest thought we lived at Ken-dal Col-lege and that the place to shop was K K K K Village!) and I was glad to find a good BBC alternative.

Check out the Getaway Giveaway

I’ve entered the Getaway Giveaway. They are giving away a £1,000 holiday every week for 5 weeks! All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is tell your friends about the money they could be saving at Social Twist has all the best voucher codes and money saving deals for you to use online, in shops or your favourite restaurants.

Check it out and enter the Getaway Giveaway Draw while you’re there.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The gallery: body parts!

Interesting theme from Tara this week over at Sticky Fingers with a potentially risky body parts challenge! Here is my offering:

A lovely couple of pairs of feet. Mine and my daughter's taken a few years ago - doubt we'd fit in the bath together now she is so tall!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Body Image and Health

A certain Z list celebrity whose only claim to fame was a short appearance on Big Brother has been creating a furore on Twitter this week by advertising his "anorexia" pill. He is claiming that only size zero girls are sexy and that by using his pill anyone bigger than this can have managed anorexia to look good. What message is this to give to girls (and boys)? Anorexia kills and is not a way to look sexy just unhealthy.

As a mum to young children I feel that I have to teach them to be healthy and to keep in shape without taking it to extremes. My daughter is naturally very skinny and has no fat on her whatsoever. My son is more of a well built child and weighs more than his older sister but again has no obvious fat and is perfectly proportioned. If I let them they would happily eat fast food and crisps, chocolate etc all day. As a parent I have to try and limit their intake  of "bad" foods and encourage to eat healthily.

Yes I am currently on a "diet" and trying to lose weight but that is because my weight is not in the officially healthy BMI range of 18-25. I once went down to the lower end of this scale and it didn't suit me as I looked quite gaunt. My daughter doesn't want a skinny mummy she wants a cuddly one. I keep reassuring her that I just want to be slim and healthy and not skinny. 

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Wii Just Dance 2 - A challenge!

My Rosemary Conley instruction recommended Wii Just Dance 2 as a great way of boosting our fitness levels and getting in some exercise whatever the weather. As the kids and I had a very generous Christmas present from a cousin I went and ordered the game. This evening I tried it out for the first time and managed 4 routines on the Sweat section for a pretty good 15 minute workout.

There seem to be a lot of people who have also got the game so I thought how about a challenge? So here's the deal over the next week try and get a higher score as possible on track 1 Avril Lavigne – "Girlfriend". Then post your score in the Linky below. There are no prizes just a bit of fun and healthy competition! If this works then next Sunday I'll create a challenge for track 2...

Saturday, 8 January 2011

#SilentSunday: Three Blind Mice

Silent Sunday

Treasure Trails: Kendal Murder Mystery Walking Trail

The lovely Sean from Treasure Trails Cumbria brought me a copy of his Kendal Murder Mystery Walking Trail to check out and review on the blog. It says on the front that it's:
The fun & healthy outdoor activity for all ages

To check out this claim I rounded up a team from 3 generations to go and attempt to solve the mystery this afternoon. We were lucky in that the weather this afternoon was dry if cold and so suited for a stroll around town. 

The actual walk leaflet is made of what appears to be water resistant paper so presumably it doesn't matter too much about the weather. Before you start your walk there are clear guidance and safety tips to follow whilst undertaking the walk. You can even text for help if something prevents a clue from being viewed (e.g. scaffolding or vandalism).

Friday, 7 January 2011

Burneside Amateur Theatrical Society - Panto 2011

I took my daughter to Burneside so that she could watch the opening night of Aladdin with her Beaver colony at the Bryce Institute. I then found myself buying tickets for my son and myself to watch it too! Apparently this was B.A.T.S. 35th pantomime.

I am so glad I did go myself as it had all the ingredients for the perfect amateur pantomime. There was comedy including bad jokes and double entendres. There was a very funny cast of supporting actors and a couple of villainous characters to boo. Plenty of audience participation was required and most of us joined in enthusiastically.

Fitness Friday - week 2

Well the good news is that having gone for my first Rosmary Conley session since before Christmas is that I didn't gain weight over Christmas! So I am starting 2011 without having gone backwards and adding to the weight I need to lose.

Last week's progress

As of the 2nd January I got back on the healthy eating programme and have cut out the naughty snacks and the alcohol. I am fitting in more walking into my daily schedule and went to my Rosemary Conley class which includes a 45 minute workout (hard work after month off!). At the class I tried to stick to doing the level 3 toughest routine which is higher impact and much more energetic.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Twitter Singup

A while back on Twitter I came across some fantastic "Twitter singup" videos created by Paul Steele. The basic premiss is that he gets lots of people to volunteer to video themselves singing along to his chosen song.

What a good idea I thought I know I could do that...

Fast forward to Christmas Eve when with the start of a stinking cold I recorded myself singing along to the Lion Sleeps Tonight whilst capturing it on my web cam...

Fast forward to tonight and a DM pops up on Twitter with a link to YouTube....

See if you can spot my first ever singing appearance on YouTube!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Bloggy Moms: Dare 4: Why I started blogging

a mom blog community

I wasn't sure I wanted to do this one I was worried about how I started the blog! Then I checked my first post: Starting Off from back in November 2008 and it just comes across as banal...

So why did I start blogging in the first place? Back then I had just lost 5 stone at Lighter Life and was feeling really positive. The blog was my way of starting a new phase in may life having just started to sell Usborne books (successfully) and even trying some sales calls for a web site (not very successfully!) as well as my paid part time job.

My marriage was already a bit flaky and I didn't really have anyone to talk to so I decided to post to the Internet instead. As its not an anonymous blog I never got into specifics back then and only intermittently posted. It is only since my husband left that the blog has developed from that to a way to get things of my chest and now more of an informational blog sharing ideas and events.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Kendal - Cumbria or Lancashire?

It's confusing enough living in a county that a lot people don't seem to know exists or where it is but Facebook keep insisting that the town I live in is in Lancashire and not Cumbria! My friend Donna has had enough of this and has formed a group on Facebook to try and get them to fix this geographical inaccuracy.

Here is a map to show how wrong FB are:
Nilfanion, created using Ordnance Survey data

Moving forward in 2011

As part of my resolution to move on with my life in 2011 I have set up a new more professional blog over on Wordpress. I am putting together some IT and Family History tips to get myself back in the saddle for writing training material!

I am also looking into getting qualifications in teaching adults so if you can recommend any courses that I can take then please comment. If you have any burning IT or Family History questions drop me a line and I'll do my best to answer them on the other blog...

Moving on in 2011 :-)

Book Challenge 2011 - 1 down 99 to go!

With limited time this year I'm trying not to give myself extra work so instead of posting a review direct on here I am using Good Reads to log my reading and reviews! The widget showing this will live permanently on the left of this blog but just this once I am posting it here:

Becky's bookshelf: read

Under the Eagle

More of Becky's books »
Becky's  book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

I am only recording the adult books I read - I have already read 4 children's books at bedtime!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Bloggy Moms: Dare 3: Morning Routine

a mom blog community

Today's dare is to talk about our morning routines... this for me is more of an aspiration than a reality. So here is the wishful thinking followed by the reality... 

My alarm goes off and I jump straight out of bed and raring to go
My alarm goes off and I hit the snooze button several times before finally crawling out of bed

Whilst I have a shower my kids jump out of bed and get dressed straight away in the clothes they left out the night before
Whilst I shower DD crawls back under the duvet and DS keeps asking where his clean socks/pants/trousers/shirt are

Guest poster required!

In line with the launch of the Facebook group Kendal is in Cumbria, not Lancashire I am looking for someone to write a post about the geographical history of Westmorland, Cumbria and Lancashire! I vaguely know about it all but not enough to write a good post in short time...

So if you are an expert in this area and would like to write a nice simple explanation of how the boundaries have shifted then please drop comment on here so I can arrange for you to do it! Or leave a message on the group wall (you will need to like it first).

Thank you in advance!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Bloggy Moms: Dare 2: Hopes and Dreams for 2011

a mom blog community

This is a slightly different take to the resolutions made yesterday and before New Year's Eve. It is about what I want to achieve or to take place as 2011 unfolds...

My daughter

I want her to settle in fully to our new lives in Kendal. She still misses her best friend P from Hastings and isn't completely happy at her new school. I would like her to continue changing into the lovely, kind and caring young lady that she is showing more and more.

#SilentSunday Happy New Year

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Bloggy Moms: Dare 1: Resolutions

a mom blog community

Having signed up to this I need to add some blogging resolutions to my new fitterhealthier me and book reading ones!
  1. write better articles on my life and parenting on this blog
  2. keep up the photography side both on here and on blipfoto
  3. move my reviews to a new blog to keep them separate! [watch this space]
Hopefully the prompts on Blog Dare will help me to keep on track!