Friday, 19 December 2014

My Hen Weekend!

Today is the day before our Wedding and I am shaking with excitement! 

I've (somehow!) managed to reach 9 stone 11lbs, which is 2lbs short of where I aimed to be, but I feel happy and for it to have dropped off with not too much effort has been great! I always expected I would be writing about my detailed eating plans and fitness routines but everything has been so sporadic from week to week. I can't say I've used a particular method to achieve this. I've exercised for 45 mins two to three times a week and cut my portions down. I haven't particularly changed what I eat, but have been more aware of how much I put in! I haven't got a problem with that 'hungry feeling' so with that and my chasing around looking after Harry and Sophie as well as trying to work as much as possible has really helped! My dress fits perfectly and although it has had to be taken in slightly, it was only off the bust :(

I also managed to not put on any weight during my Hen Weekend a couple of weekends ago now! I have to say, it was probably the best weekend EVER!!! My Bridesmaids, Laura, Becky and Jess did a spectacular job in arranging and managed to keep me totally in the dark. All I knew was where we were staying and who was coming!

We stayed in a the Curlew Cottage at Eaton Manor Country Estate. It was beautiful and just perfect! 

Becky picked me up on the Friday evening after work and following trying to shove all our bags in her TINY boot, we made our way on the 40 minute journey in the howling wind and rain. When we arrived, Laura and Jess were all kitted out in their onesies, making a Chilli for dinner! They had pre-arranged a food delivery from Asda and some bright spark in their home delivery department decided to substitute beef mince for pork mince! So, dinner was.......... interesting! 
The 11 bottles of wine we consumed that evening (between 7 of us) were drank on fairly empty stomachs! Jess came equipped with her drinking card games and we played a hilarious game of Articulate. I don't think it was expected for us to drink so much that night but we all surprisingly woke up quite fresh!
On Saturday morning, we all got kitted out in our outdoor gear and wellies and made our way to The Edge Adventure in Much Wenlock. We spent the morning doing a Jacob's Ladder where you have to climb your way to the top of this!......... (although none of us got to the top!)
That was hard and scary but very funny! We also did some team building games, which bought out the competitiveness in us. It was a really great morning! I loved it!

By this time, we were all starving! We made our way to a lovely pub (dressed in our specially made t-shirts), called the Plume of Feathers in Much Wenlock and had a beautiful lunch. It was exactly what we all needed following a wine-filled night and tiring morning!
Saturday evening was planned to be a 'pizza night' but Asda let us down again and hadn't delivered them! Despite the efforts to get them re-delivered, we had to stop at the local store to pick up some more.

We arrived back at the cottage late afternoon and we all had a cuppa and a recharge! Following instructions, we were informed to get ready for the evenings 'activities'......

My friend, Anna was due to arrive that evening and as the cottage was so hard to find, I went outside to see if I could see her car approaching but instead, I was approached by another car with a nice looking man inside. He asked if I was my friend Laura..... How does this man know who Laura is???..........

Then my stomach did a flip! 

Oh my word! This man is here for my Hen-Do! A man!!..... A man!!!

The moment I got back into the cottage, we were all shut in the living room, while he 'set up'!

I knew my girls wouldn't do that to me! It was in fact a Cocktail Party!

Again, it was amazing! We watched him make some cocktails, and proceeded to drink them all. We also had a go at mixing them ourselves, which was quite hilarious! I think our favourite cocktail of the night was a Garden of Eden, which had gin, mint, lime and apple juice in it! A bit of a twist on a Mojito!
Oh, and the activities didn't stop there! A game of Mr and Mrs had been arranged! Here is my hubby-to-be on the TV looking quite scared and nervous about being interrogated by my Bridesmaids a couple of weeks before (when he told me he was going out to fetch a curry). I wondered why it took soooo long! 
It was a good job, I had had a few cocktails before as it was so embarrassing and to be honest we were pretty rubbish and I'm not even going to divulge what questions were asked during that game!  

Overall, it was just a perfect weekend of friends and fun! I can't believe the organisation and thought that went into it and I am so lucky to have the friends that I have! Love you all xxx

Now onto the big event!.........TOMORROW!!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

#35in35 - 2 stone lost!

I am ecstatic with my weight loss so far following giving birth to Sophie on the 3rd April, earlier this year. If I'm totally honest, I'm not sure how I've done it, but breastfeeding Sophie has been a major help I think! 

I can't really be specific in what my diet has consisted of, nor what exercise I have been doing. I have had 'good' days and 'bad' days, but I've generally kept my diet balanced (in other words, I've had the odd treat and glass or two of wine here and there!). I don't believe in eliminating things I like and enjoy from my diet, it's about getting the right balance. 

The exercise I have managed to squeeze in has also been very mixed - walks, short runs, circuit training, and toning-style classes.

These last 6 lbs I plan to lose before I get married on the 20th December, I know are going to be hard. I need to 'up' my resistance training now in order to 'tone' a little more but I know this is going to stall the weight loss on the scales. My cardio will therefore also need to increase in order to keep my calorie expenditure up.

I would love to hit my target of 9 stone 9lbs by our Wedding Day and even though I am currently 2lbs ahead of my schedule of 35lbs in 35 weeks, I won't be disappointed if I don't reach it. I can do my Wedding dress up now as I am, and I do feel happy.

Right, I'm about to tuck into my dinner and relax with a glass of wine ;) 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Milestones - Weaning and Pre-School

I had always planned with Sophie to give baby-led weaning a try. We didn't do it with Harry. Not sure why, but we went down the whole puree route from when he was around 5 months. This suited us at the time, although we didn't know any different! 

Having breastfed Sophie now for 6 months really comfortably, I did find it a little more challenging with Harry. He didn't have any issues breastfeeding, but I think I didn't fully understand that feeding would be so irregular and life had to fit around that. I thought every time he hit a growth spurt that I just couldn't keep up. I have been much more relaxed this time and have been prepared to feed Sophie as and when she requires it. Everything else comes second and we push through those growth spurts really well!

Now she is 6 months, we have started to wean her. I have introduced her to some foods, just as and when I feel like she is in the right mood to try them. She has tried some baby porridge where I have put a little on a spoon for her to put in her mouth. She didn't seem phased by it really and I was pleased the 'first meal' was successful!

Sophie also sits down with us dinner and has had a little try of baby corn, cheese, breadsticks, tender chicken, rice and yoghurt so far.

The rice was interesting but she loved it! The yoghurt has definitely been the messiest so far!

I'm not as apprehensive as I thought I'd be about the mess that baby-led weaning causes. I've made sure a tablecloth has been laid out on the floor, or we've been on the kitchen tiles, had cloth ready to wipe down her chair, and I've just been prepared to get her changed afterwards!

Ultimately, I can see that she is loving it! I've noticed a decline in the amount of breast milk she's requiring already (mainly by the size of my boobs at the moment!). I'm also hoping, no, I need her to be weaned off breastfeeding within the next 8 weeks as I'm going away for my hen weekend! Whoop! 

I will really miss breastfeeding her. I am trying to not take the easy option at the moment and breastfeed her when she's hungry. I have bought a selection of sippy cups for her to try and am finding that she prefers the ones with a straw. She also likes the ones with handles either side so she can hold it. She is only taking up to a couple of ounces though at the moment before she gives up and asks me to carry on. I am hoping that with perseverance she will eventually take a full feed from a cup.

Harry has been fantastic with helping with Sophie at dinner times. He finds it really funny when she's trying to get something in her mouth and she finds it hilarious when he laughs at her! He's been offering her food from his plate and telling me that Sophie wants to try it. He's so sweet! When she drops it on the floor, he says that's because she didn't like it!

My boy is growing up so fast! He turned 3 in August and went up to Pre-School in September. Here he is in his "smarty pants uniform"!
He was a little worried initially about going up to Pre-School. Following his taster sessions in there over the Summer he told us regularly that he didn't like it as it was "so busy". I think it was all a bit over-whelming for him, plus there were lots of older children in there at the time, who have now gone on to School.

Now though, he loves it! We've noticed that his communication has really progressed and just his general understanding of things around him is amazing. They also feed him a lot more in Pre-School which means he's not been getting home still hungry, begging for food!

He is currently learning about 'Autumn'. He tells us all about the brown leaves, the conkers, the wind and colder weather. They have also just learnt about Harvest Festival and along with his friends he took part in a production with the Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 from the main school. The Pre-Schoolers had to sing a song and hold up their picture of a vegetable, which they painted earlier in the week. I have no idea what Harry's vegetable was, nor did he murmur one word of the song, but me and Paul were grinning with pride the whole way through!

I do love my babies so much!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Wedding Plans and Baby Showers.....

Well another week has passed and we're now less than 11 weeks away from mine and Paul's wedding. I've started making a list this week of people and companies I need to change my name with after the Wedding. I can't believe how long it is already and I'm thinking of new ones all the time. My Passport and Driving Licence are the obvious ones but I've also got down so far things like my Boots advantage card, my nectar card, banks, credit card, insurances, subscriptions, household bills...... Oh my gosh, it makes me not want to get married!

Only joking!! (Paul probably won't read this anyway :) )

Michelle Louise Bailey

That'll be my full name as of Saturday 20th December 2014.

I will finally have the same name as my children! 

I'm very much looking forward to changing my name despite the hassle it causes.

Wedding plans are coming along nicely. I've made our card Post Box and our Guest Book. I've started on the Table Plan but I can't finish this off though yet until our final RSVP's come in and we've decided on the seating plan. I've designed us our own 'wedding logo', which I've put on most of our stationary. I'm not going to post any pictures yet until after the day but it's a selection of blue snowflakes in the shape of a heart, all very sparkly, icy and nice!

We have 70 guests attending with currently nine under 5's! I think most of my time has actually been spent on thinking of ways to entertain the little ones all day but I'm confident that there will be plenty to hold their attention so the parents can enjoy the day too. I'll make sure I post about my 'children's entertainment' after the wedding.

We have very much started shopping to decorate the venue and our house looks like Christmas already!  Paul needs to order the drinks fairly soon, just so I can tick this off the list! He has also kindly offered to book us a little getaway straight after the wedding, just to extend the occasion even more! Harry and Sophie will of course be coming too. Despite it technically being a honeymoon, a Christmas holiday wouldn't be the same without my babies!

My baby weight loss is coming along fine too...... Another 2lbs lost in the last 2 weeks, which gives me 9 more pounds left to lose in the next 10 weeks. 

Do-able?........ Yes.
Easy?......... No!

Sophie is now 6 months old and is just about starting to accept milk from a bottle cup, so I hope that I'll be able to venture out more to do more regular exercise in the coming days/weeks. I managed a couple of 3-4km runs last weekend, but I need to introduce more resistance work now, to help boost my metabolism and help me change my body shape.

My diet needs to improve a little more too. I'm still treating myself a little too much and can easily change this going forward. I had two cupcakes at my friend, Laura's lovely Baby Shower yesterday afternoon, for example! 

It was such a lovely afternoon of funny games, cakes, presents and natter! My other friend, Becky and I made Laura a nappy cake, of which we were both quite impressed how it turned out! Following a little research on You Tube and a couple of saucepans and elastic bands later, this was our masterpiece! 

Monday, 15 September 2014

New York and Florida.... Our first family holiday as a 4!

It has been sometime now since I lasted posted. Life has taken over recently since Sophie being born at the beginning of April, up until our holiday which we returned from last Thursday. 

We had an excellent week in New York, followed by a lovely relaxing week in Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Overall, the four of us had a fantastic time and taking a 3 year old and 5 month old on a long haul holiday was no problem at all. The flights were the easy bit!

In New York, we stayed in a hotel in Midtown, so it was quite central to everything. What we didn't realise was how big Manhattan was! We did A LOT of walking and Harry coped excellently considering. We did make a few stops at various toy stores and playgrounds along the way! Sophie settled into the background as she usually does, but it did take Harry a while to settle into eating out 3 meals a day although some evenings we did just get a take out and watch TV in our room. 

We didn't get to do everything that is recommended to do whilst in New York, but we did go to Central Park, to the Top of the Rock (Rockefellar Center), ride on the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. We got to see Times Square at it's quietest time and mistakingly also at it's busiest time! I think mine and Paul's favourite thing to see and experience was the 9/11 Memorial and new One World Trade Center. It was amazing how the atmosphere changed and how people were just so mesmerised by the amazing waterfall memorial. It was incredible.

I also got to see a couple of little sights I wanted to see including the 'Friends' apartment building and I had a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery which became famous following it's appearance on Sex In The City.
We also managed to go on a day trip on a train from Grand Central Station to Greenwich in Conneticut. It was a lovely quaint little town and we stubbled upon their own ferry to their own private little exotic island beach! What a find that was!

Unfortunately, Harry got poorly on our last evening in New York. He had a fever all night and it was quite scary for us as he has not been poorly before (yes, not in 3 years!). We were due to catch a flight from JFK to Miami at 8.50am which meant having to leave our hotel at 6.15am. At 5.00am we were all awake with Harry again. He had not got any better during the night so I called for an ambulance as I knew this would be the quickest way to get him checked out prior to getting on a 3 hour flight. We were in and out of the hospital in a flash following the diagnosis of a virus and dose of a Calpol equivalent (if only we had thought of going to a 24hr pharmacy and buying some ourselves?!). However, we didn't have quite enough time to catch our flight so we missed it by just a few minutes. The fast cab ride to the airport also resulted in Harry being sick everywhere so by now Harry was in just his pants and Paul stank of vomit. But there was no time to change, the airline had transferred us to a flight to Fort Lauderdale and we had to go straight through to board.

Paul was on hand with a sick bag the whole flight, much to the horror of the people sat around us, but Harry managed to hold it down. Near to landing, Harry did then need a wee so Paul then managed to also get covered in urine whilst helping him wee in the aeroplane toilet.

Once we had got to our hotel, just a few minutes from the airport, we all got showered and got down by the pool. Harry and Sophie slept while me and Paul just sat and did nothing for a couple of hours. Bliss..........
The 8 days we had in Florida was fantastic in a totally different way....... Lots of swimming, relaxing, casual waterside restaurants, shopping...... Just brilliant! I did get a wisdom tooth infection, but after a visit to a dentist (who offered to whip them out! - I declined!), I was dosed up on amoxicillin, which fought most of the pain away in a couple of days.

Back to reality with a bump now and I've got Harry and Sophie by myself for a week while Paul is in France riding his bike around the Pyranees for charity. We are still adjusting to the USA/UK time difference but Harry starts Pre-School tomorrow so hopefully the routine will get us all back to normal. 

If you are wondering how I'm getting on with my 'Lose 35 lbs in 35 weeks' target, I am now 10 stone 9 lbs, so 14 weeks until the wedding and 14 lbs to lose. Despite me being on target, this next bit is the hard bit! I hope to be able to update you regularly on my progress and weight loss methods!

Monday, 26 May 2014

#35in35.....30 weeks to go!

Well, five weeks in, I have lost 9 lbs so far. I'm happy that I'm 4 lbs ahead of schedule but I know I could have done better. If I'm totally honest, I haven't really made any significant changes yet. I'm definitely more conscious of what I'm eating, but not necessarily acting on it!
I've given myself a target weight loss of 2lbs this week, so by Saturday 31st May, I hope to see 11 stone 5 lbs on the scales!

I know this is going to take some effort this week, so absolutely no evening puddings or chocolate. This is both my and Paul's weakness and we're both as bad as each other! We can have a really balanced meal, but then follow it with something high in fat and sugar! 

I'm also starting to consider my beauty regime as well with the final 6 month run up to the wedding fast approaching. I've booked my treatments already for the 18th December, 2 days before the wedding which consist of Bee Sting Facial, Eyebrow wax, Shellac manicure and Deluxe pedicure. There is just no point me following a skin routine if I'm going to shovel fat and sugar in my body and not keep hydrated.

I had the pleasure of my other half doing a BodyStat test on my this week and it was absolutely shocking!! I can't actually believe I'm going to publish this information on the internet but it's HUGE motivation for me to achieve my goal this week.......

Body Fat Percentage: 30.3% (should be 20-27%)
Fat Weight: 22.2 kg (that is shocking!)
Water: 48.6% (should be 50-60%)

Ultimately, to me, that says I have a lot of fat and I'm dehydrated.

Exercise for me is also irregular at the moment. With Sophie still only 7 weeks, routine is very difficult. However, I'm also not making the best use of the time when she is asleep. Well, that's not entirely true. I'm currently spending the time she is asleep working. I hope that in the next couple of weeks, I have put things in place to make work more manageable for me and I can use this time to do some exercise.

Sophie has been taking a bottle of expressed milk very well in the last week too, so I also hope that I may be able to get out to an evening class once a week fairly soon too.

I look forward to updating you on Saturday with my 2 lbs loss achieved! 

M xx

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Sophie - 1 month old

So, my little angel turned 1 month old yesterday! I can't believe how quickly it's gone but then on the other hand, I can't believe that only 1 month ago I was still pregnant!

Sophie - 3rd May 2014
Sophie was 7lbs 5oz when she was born and dropped to 6lbs 12oz. She now weighs a healthy 9lbs. 

She has been feeding very well and we've settled in to breastfeeding on demand, which Harry seems to find fascinating! What he find really funny is when he is holding Sophie and she starts routing around on him! 

She has been incredible at night too - mainly waking just the once for a nappy change and feed. During week 3, she was suffering from wind and an uncomfortable tummy but since I've cut out dairy from my diet, this seems to have reduced a lot and she seems happier.

Following all that deliberation on what pushchair/pram to buy, we ended up not buying anything. We have so far coped when the one pushchair we have. Sometimes Harry sits in it and sometimes Sophie is in it when Harry is happy walking. I bought a Close Caboo wrap for Sophie and we have used it successfully both out the house and round the house when she doesn't want to be put down (or I don't want to put her down! :)
Me and Sophie out on a walk.
Harry is now 2 years and 9 months. He has now found his 'terrible twos', which at times has been a challenge but he has also gone through such a growth spurt recently, I feel for him. We had to buy a smart shirt for him yesterday as we're going to a wedding on the 31st and we had to buy Age 5!!!! Mainly due to the length of his back. When I have Harry to 'deal' with, Sophie is often left safe in her moses basket so she does seem to be able to settle herself. I'm sure if she was my first child, I would be straight over to her to pick her up once she started even the slightest whimper (as I did with Harry!).

Having two children is just amazing, especially when Harry obviously loves Sophie so much. It's just lovely to see. He clearly can't wait for her to be able to play back with him but I'm happy to treasure each day and hope they pass by as slowly as possibly.