Saturday, December 28, 2013

These boots were made for walking

 Looking back over 2013, one of the things I'm most happy about is how much walking I did. I started off the year feeling unfit. Whenever I did any walking over a mile or so I'd get out of breath and sweaty. It wasn't enjoyable to walk so I avoided it where possible.

I wanted to change so I decided to challenge myself to walk more in 2013. I enlisted my Dad's help to join me on a weekly walk. JD joined us once he was back from visiting family in March. We walked, usually from a walk book, at least 3 miles each week. At first it was hard work and my legs ached for days after each walk. But gradually I could walk further with less aching. I felt generally fitter and got less sweaty when we walked. I started really looking forward to each walk and missed it when we couldn't go due to weather.

Which wasn't often, we walked in all weather. Even snow :)

 In the school holidays (with only a bit of complaining) we got the kids to come along too and had some really nice days out walking.

I especially enjoyed getting to spend more time with my Dad. We'd talk as we walked (when I had enough breath) about anything and everything. It was also a good opportunity for him to get to know JD better. I know my Dad loves nature as much as me so it was great to be appreciating it together.

Another thing that came from walking lots was that I lost weight. Without really trying I lost 2 stone. It felt great to feel fitter and to see the difference in my clothes getting looser. It spurred me on to eat healthier and to be more active in the rest of my life. A thing I'm going to continue into 2014.

All in all we did 37 walks throughout the year. A total of 153 miles. I'm really proud of myself for sticking with it, even on weeks I didn't really feel like it. I couldn't have done it without the help of JD and my Dad. Thanks guys xx

I feel like I've got to know a lot more of the countryside where I live. We've seen some lovely views and visited lots of places I've never been though they're close to home. We've walked through tons of mud and got lost several times but I've loved every minute of it. I'm looking forward to lots more walking in 2014! :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Homemade gifts

I love the idea of making gifts to give to my family for birthdays and Christmas. They're often cheaper than shop bought gifts and they can be personalised to suit the recipient more too. Plus they get the added bonus of imagining me sat on the sofa swearing to myself because of some fiddly thing taking ages to make. Hah!

The last couple of years I've sporadically made gifts but lack of organisation has let me down. I leave the buying of materials too late and then panic that I haven't enough time to make something. I have plenty of ideas of things to make as gifts so that's not a problem. I think I've made about a 3rd of presents this year but I'd like to do better. Next year I'm going to challenge myself to make at least one thing to give each family member. Even if it's just some biscuits to go with something I bought.

Another thing to think about is what people think about getting a home-made gift. I really like getting something that someone has made just for me and put time/effort into. Not everyone feels the same though.

Making something to give as a gift feels much more personal and satisfying to me. I feel I care more if they like what I've given. I also worry more that they hate it, haha.

Here's some of the things I've made as gifts over the last two years:

 I made these huge bean bag cushions for Leigh and Erin last Christmas. The material was a reversible duvet cover I got from a charity shop for £2. Really easy to make too.

 Chocolate and coconut truffles for my Mum to go with her birthday gift this year. I got the cards made up to put on anything I make to make sure I get credit for homemaking things, hehe.

 I made this cushion for my Mother-in-Law Andina as a gift. It's made from a pillow-case I bought in a charity shop plus red material and buttons I already had.

 Giant chocolate buttons for my nephew Jake's birthday. I bagged and ribboned them up too. You could vary these to give to anyone who likes chocolate. Really simple to make but look great.

 A jar of lemon curd for my Step-mum Maureen. I think this was 3rd time lucky after making a lot of green lemon curd.

 A hamper for my Mum for Mother's Day. Hamper's are a fairly pricey thing to make but can be very personal to the recipient at least.

 A felt Panda pencil case for my panda-crazy daughter Leigh. The felt cost about £2 and the zip was £1.

A fluffy blue scarf for my sister Cas last Christmas I think. It looks and feels really nice but the wool was horribly fiddly to knit with. I got the wool from a charity shop 50p a ball x3.

A knitted wrist cuff with skull buttons for my sister Sally's birthday last year. It was one of the first presents I made and I was really pleased with it.

Looking back through the pictures of gifts I've made has made me feel more determined to make more next year. It's doable with more preparation and less procrastination. Wish me luck! :)
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