365 project, Photography

Day 308 – McSnowflake

Day 308 – Jan 20th

Two days off at the weekend is always a great feeling, and it is nice to keep one day to relax, but I do also like to get a few things done on a Saturday and make a few plans. Its good to feel at least a little productive. Sadly todays plans didn’t quite work out as I’d hoped.

The mornings dance lesson for Olivia was about the only thing that we’d planned that didn’t change. Our next destination was a McDonalds for lunch, a bit of a treat for the girls, followed by a trip into town so we could visit John Lewis. We hadn’t even got to McDonald’s before Chloe was asleep in the car and the rather unexpected snow started coming down, so we had little choice but to abandon our trip into town, and took our McDonalds meal home with us instead. We’d assumed Chloe would go straight to bed and sleep for a few hours, but as it turned out getting her out of the car was enough for her to open her eyes and spot the burger and fries that her big sister was tucking into… meaning she was instantly awake and refusing to go to bed without eating.

So now we’re at home, Chloe has only had a 20 minute nap, a far cry from her usual 2hrs+, its snowing and we have already scrapped our plan to head into the city centre. At least the girls have had lunch, and I even had a cheeky cheeseburger and fries, probably not the best ahead of a gym session, which was my only other plan for the day, but it was lunch for me at least, and I figured its not so bad as long as I am not snacking between meals, which has been my biggest downfall up until now.

With my gym bag ready I am off to carry on my training, which starts off with a 15 minute warm up between the exercise bike and the cross trainer, followed by a run on the treadmill, a run I am aiming to increase by 5 minutes each time I do it, and today was set to be a 50 minute run… it has been quite a while since I ran for that long, but my 45 minute run went well the other day, and so I had high hopes. My legs were still aching a little from Thursdays run… although, as it turns out, that was to be the least of my worries.

I had only made 10 minutes into the run before I instantly regretted the decision to have junk food for lunch, my stomach was very quickly in a pretty bad way, and the more I ran, the worse it got. I was not going to complete my run today, this was as much as I could manage. The best thing I could do for now was to abort the run and save my energy and my legs to try again tomorrow.

I was hugely disappointed in myself, my instinct was to not have fast food for lunch, but I was hungry, I don’t have McDonalds vey often and I do have a weakness for a tasty cheeseburger!! This moment of weakness looks like it cost me todays run, which I was really looking forward to smashing. Maybe next time.

365 project, Photography

Day 304 – Not just tired, but parenting tired

Day 304 – Jan 16th

After our previous nights excitement in hospital, today we were feeling the full effects of missed sleep. I’d worked out that I’d got just over three hours before my alarm went off, and knew that today was going to be a long day. As it happened, I coped fairly well for the morning, but then I sat down for lunch and it hit me… and all I could think about from that point on was bed.

Now it’s fair to say that I’m a bit of a night owl, and have never found it easy to get to bed early, but I knew that if I was going to maintain my running at the gym this week then I’d need to do something a bit more drastic than usual to make sure I had the energy.

After the girls were in bed, I did what I had to and started getting ready for bed much earlier than usual, and was actually in bed before 10pm, the last time this happened I’d taken the day off work and felt like I was dying with some flu virus.

Hopefully, with a little light reading of my new book, I’d soon be off to the land of nod!

365 project, Photography

Day 289 – Time for a few changes

Day 289 – Jan 1st 2018

Happy New Year everyone!!

Its New Year’s Day 2018, and its fair to say that although I wasn’t feeling too clever when I woke up, I have certainly woken up in far worse states than this in previous years.

It marks the end of a period of overindulgence during the festive period, as like most people I like to eat and drink well, up to and over Christmas, and then allow myself to wait until January before I begin to feel guilty about it.

This year felt slightly different though, I woke up on new years day actually feeling a little bored with drinking. It was definitely time for a few weeks off, and although I got fed up and caved in after two weeks the last time I tried, I was determined to see this one through. I am not normally one for resolutions, but I felt that I also needed to make a few other changes this year, mostly based around the diet and the sleeping habits.

Firstly the diet… biscuits, beer and chocolate all banned, at least for the first month anyway, and we’ll see how it goes after that, maybe I can introduce things back in slowly. Snacks are certainly my one big weakness, and I am worst in the evening, usually when I stay up too late and have a drink in my hand.

So on we come to the second part, sleeping habits, and this is the real tough one, a real engrained habit. I am a night owl, and have been for most of my adult life, getting to bed at a sensible time seems like such a challenge. Well, this year is about challenges. I have yet to weigh myself, but my weight has to be the focus of my efforts initially, and all these resolutions are going to work towards getting my weight down. Sleeping better, drinking more water and less alcohol, and cutting out the snacks are all going to help. All I need to do now is make sure I can get to the gym often enough. I am already going weekly, I just need to commit myself to at least twice a week.

I can do this, I am armed with all the tools I need. My iPhone, Apple watch and bluetooth headphones are going to help me track my fitness and sleep, as well as my old friend myfitnesspal to help me track my food, plus the support of my wife. Yeah, I’ve joined the “new year, new me” gang!

Who else is feeling determined??

365 project, Photography

Day 268 – The question is, how long?

Day 268 – Dec 11th

Well I didn’t see this coming… a second snow day! The snow was pretty much as heavy as expected, and while the main roads were allowing some traffic to move, the side roads were still pretty much impassible for anything that didn’t have 4 wheel drive! So while we were confined to staying at home, we could at least be happy that the cupboards were full enough for us to not have to worry.

The sky had cleared and we weren’t expecting any more snow, at least nothing significant anyway, and it wasn’t long before the girls were dressed and wanting to get out in it again. There was plenty of snow being thrown about and the girls seemed to completely forget how cold it was, as kids do, and loved playing in it, falling over in it and kicking it about… but I had the less fun job of clearing the car and the driveway. If I could get it done quickly before midday then I’d be doing myself a huge favour as the sky was completely clear and the sun falls on the front of our house in the morning. As weak as the winter sun was, it meant that I’d get the added benefit of the sun helping to melt any snow patches on the drive and clearing the last of it from the car once I was done. I was very aware that the temperature was going to drop below freezing over night, and I didn’t want any snow or ice left on the driveway or car to freeze as I would almost certainly be expected to head into work tomorrow, there’s no way they’d give us a third snow day! Pupils or no pupils, I’m sure we’ll be in tomorrow, and my only way is going to be taking the car. At least now I can rest knowing that when I get up in the morning I am not going to slip on the drive and knock myself out, or be wrestling with a foot of frozen snow in freezing conditions that doesn’t want to go anywhere!

This snow is damn pretty, thats for sure, its lovely watching it fall and seeing the girls play in it, but with the temperatures hovering around freezing for most of the week, we’re unlikely to see these roads clearing any time soon! It could be a while before things are back to normal!

365 project, Photography

Day 260 – We’re not the only ones preparing for christmas

Day 260 – Dec 3rd

With the weekend landing we didn’t have any plans for Sunday, and by Saturday night it is pretty much laid out before us. We start the day with a visit to my mothers so that she can see the girls, and I can see her after a couple of weeks.

Sadly it was a short visit and then straight off to the park to meet friends, as we’d thrown Olivia’s bike in the boot of the car so she could ride around with our friends little girl who is the same age and had also taken her bike. It actually turns out to be a nice calm walk as the girls don’t make it very far before they stop and want to get off again. There was plenty of screams as we stopped to feed ducks and the angry geese chased both of the girls sending them into a frenzied panic. Part of me wanted to laugh a little, but a part of me also wanted to send the damn geese flying with a punt from my size nines! In the defence of the geese, if the girls hadn’t run off holding a big piece of bread, they geese may not have chased them quite so much!

We did spot a few squirrels hoarding a last few nuts before settling down for their winter snooze. I have never been able to get a decent squirrel shot as the little buggers always disappear up a tree, which most of them were doing today, until I found the little fellow in todays photo who seemed a little twitchy, but was more intent on filling his face instead of running for safety.

So without the day being too crazy, we felt like we’d spent our time well and enjoyed ourselves. That evening I even managed to get a load of christmas presents online, which is my preferred method of buying presents, so that was a bit of pressure off, as it meant we were a little more prepared for christmas now.

Only two more weeks at work!

365 project

Day 258 – There’s a new elf in town

Day 258 – Dec 1st

So we’ve joined the Elf on the shelf club, I have committed myself to a month of headaches trying to find different things for this elf to do each night! I think the worst part about it is remembering to do it in plenty of time before bed so that you’re not scrabbling around at the last minute trying to find something that won’t take too long just so you can get to bed! Thankfully I found a list of ideas that are going to prove useful, and now all we have to do is see if the girls are even remotely interested… can I make it believable enough?

Anyone else getting sucked into this new trend?

365 project

Day 257 – Baby it’s cold outside

Day 257 – Nov 30th

Back before the girls were born, before we’d moved into the house, the wife and I lived together in her flat, which I guess you could say eventually became our flat after we were married.

It was a lovely little place, perfect for us as a childless couple, and even though there was no proper heating system it never really got cold in there as we had a flat above and below insulating us. Some nights we’d put a film on and light a few candles, very romantic, but the practical upshot of this was that the flat, due to its size, got very warm after a while.

I loved lighting up a load of tealight candles for a cosy night in, especially on the colder nights, and it is something we haven’t done much since moving into the house as we were only in here for a few weeks as a couple before our first little baby arrived and suddenly we were parents. Early on into the parenting thing we were too distracted to think about romantic nights in front of the tv, and now the girls are at least sleeping well every night we just don’t like to have candles out at any point with those inquisitive little hands exploring, and tend to forget by the time they have gone to bed. Still, I am keen to teach them the importance of not touching things when they have been told, and they stayed well away from these candles when we lit them up the other night. I didn’t stray far from the candles while they were lit, and it was as much an experiment to see how they’d behave around them as it was for the pretty light and any heat they’d give off. It went well, they didn’t get too close and listened when we told them not to touch.

365 project

Day 248 – Hold onto those purse strings

Day 248 – Nov 21st

Its the time of year that few people look forward to, the government budget announcement where we get to see how financially difficult or easy the government want to make the next 12 months.

Rarely is it good news.

Previously I’ve just tutted and rolled my eyes, not usually paying too much attention to it, apart from the obvious increased costs of petrol and alcohol, the two things that may have affected me the most back then, but in recent years I’ve started to listen a bit closer, as there are more implications from being both a homeowner and a parent.

Tonight I intend to forget all about it and get myself back in the gym, as it has been a couple of weeks since I was last in there and I need to get that heart pumping!

365 project, Photography

Day 233 – Less excuses, more exercising

Day 233 – Nov 6th

We’re a week into November, Winter is knocking on the door, and this morning we get a reminder of that as the mercury has only crept up to 1ºC as I climb onto my motorbike and head off to work, a little nervous that the last time I went out with frost on the road I wasn’t able to keep the bike upright as I pulled out of a junction. I was still quite new to riding and a fairly lively wobble and the bike went down. Thankfully that wasn’t the case today, and I made it to work in one piece.

The next three days I’d be cycling to work, a much more preferable option when its frosty out, firstly its easy to keep warm when you have to peddle uphill, and secondly the bike is easier to keep upright than a heavy motorbike.

Tonight I had committed myself to hitting the gym again after work, as I hadn’t been for a few weeks. I seem to have found plenty of excuses to not go, but really needed to just get off my lazy ass and do it! Usually I head straight for the cardio equipment when I am at the gym, but with a niggling foot injury giving me some bother I decided to do something different and get on the weight machines instead. It was nice to do something different, even though I was aware I had to cycle in the morning and could easily wake up in the morning with stiff legs. In the long run, if I use the weights regularly it will make the cycling easier.

One thing I that would really benefit me is some kind of training plan, but where do you begin with something like that without throwing money at a personal trainer??

365 project, Photography

Day 232 – Autumn gives the summer a beautiful send-off

Day 232 – Nov 5th

Its actual bonfire night in the UK, but seeing as it is Sunday most of the fireworks will hopefully have gone off on Friday and Saturday night, although there will always be those that are determined to wait until the actual date to set some off, and the few weird ones who seem to hang on until Monday or Tuesday… what is THAT all about??

We’d already had fireworks on Friday, and a bonfire at home with sparklers on Saturday, so we were done for this year.

I had to pop out at lunchtime to meet with a couple, they are getting married next year and were visiting their venue and had asked if I could join them to take a look over the place. I’d seen a photo of it, and it looked nice enough, so I really wasn’t expecting to be quite as impressed by it as I was once I’d seen it in person. It was a beautiful venue, and the attention to detail was very impressive. With the passion of the people running the place it sounds like the day will run very smoothly indeed, and I am very much looking forward to their wedding day there, I have no doubt it will be an amazing day.

I did grab a shot of the place before I left, but came home to find these three leaves at the bottom of the driveway, just crying out to be photographed. Here is Autumn at its finest, well done mother nature!