Four F’s sake!!!!!!!! (Fun, Fellowship, Family, Friends)

The one thing I miss when on holiday is weekends! It’s not that weekends don’t exist on holiday, it’s just that you lose track of the days, they all roll into one and then the next thing you know the holidays are over! Don’t panic I am not complaining about my holidays – I appreciate I get long holidays as a teacher etc etc etc

HOWEVER I have really enjoyed this weekend. Last week was slightly manic at work, the husband was away with his work, and I went slightly overboard on making sure I didn’t get lonesome by going out every night! So by Friday evening when he returned home we were both so exhausted that we sat on the sofa falling asleep and barely able to talk to each other! But then Saturday came, and the weekend started! 

I know I’ve spoken about fun, friendship, fellowship and family before but it really is someone that is on my heart at the moment! And it is something that I have really cherished this weekend, as I have experienced all of it!

I’ve spent loads of time with the husband, catching up with each other and catching up with TV; it was my nephews 7th birthday so we had family time; I thought I’d have a quick chat with my mum – 53 minutes later I got off the phone; I watched Kung fu panda; went to church and spent time with friends over lunch! 

The perfect weekend which has left me energised and ready for the week ahead – which I know faces challenges and changes – more on that to come! But by spending time having fun, in fellowship with friends and family it encourages you and gives you the strength to know that support is there even if you’re unsure what lies ahead!

This weekend was a bit of an anniversary (more on that to come as well) and a chance to reflect on the year that has passed. On Friday my pray as you go podcast asked me to think about relationships which nourish, strengthen and challenge me – and to thank God for them. I am lucky that I have those relationships and I do thank God for them. 

I am realising more and more the importance of having those relationships where you can be yourself, have fun, rest, relax and re cooperate – ready for what is to come! 

I feel I should end with a quote from Kung Fu Panda “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that’s why it’s called the present”

It’s an exciting and scary week ahead, I look forward to sharing it with you, but for now I’m going to enjoy the present, by going to bed! Goodnight everyone

It’s good to be awake! 

Yesterday was a fantastic day! I did my first 30 minute run; I reached the 4 stone mark; I had an epilepsy sister appointment which was so short, and highly encouraging (I’m now on phone contact only for the next year); I walked along the sea front from Tankerton to Herne Bay; had a lovely chat with my mother in law who then took me and the husband out for a LOVELY Turkish meal as an early anniversary present.

On our way home the husband said ‘it’s great having the new you at home’! Considering he hasn’t said a huge amount about everything other than ‘what do you mean we’ve got to go for a walk’ and ‘you’re going for another run?’ Or ‘what are you going to make me do now?’ So I was rather shocked when he said, I asked what he meant, but he wouldn’t explain and I decided not to probe – that doesn’t normally work, believe me I’ve tried!

So later on, I just quietly asked ‘what did you mean earlier?’ To which he replied ‘it’s just so nice that you’re awake, and not out of it all the time,’

If I’m honest, I was firstly overwhelmed by the sweetness of the comment, but then a bit horrified that that’s what he used to think of me.

My husband would never ever have said anything to me, he doesn’t complain about anything, he just gets on with it all.  This was my first thought, he didn’t tell me to change! Although I know he wouldn’t have anyway.

But as I’ve been mulling over the statement in my head, he possibly didn’t even realise that I wasn’t awake, or that there was a problem, until he’s seen me since.

It really is fantastic to be awake! I feel like I’ve experienced more since January than I have done for ages! It’s not that I’ve done more, but what I’ve done I’ve appreciated a lot more and I’ve enjoyed a lot more. The afternoon naps are a thing of the past, and I’m going to bed later.

I had a conversation with a colleague the other day which went something like this

‘Helen you look fantastic’

‘Thanks, well I’ve lost nearly 4 stone now’ (whilst doing the awkward dance’

‘No, it’s not the weight, you are just glowing and look like you’re having a great time – what’s your secret?’

I’ve got my own ideas of what I used to be like, but I don’t think I really knew that that was what others thought as well. What I do know is that I have absolutely no intention of going back to the Helen I used to be! Life is great, and I have every intention of enjoying it’ll the full. 

Saying that I’m off to the gym, then for a swim, then do some school work, then head to a fancy dress party for the afternoon/evening/night!

Fun… Friendship… Fellowship


This time last year the word ‘hermit’ could have easily been used to describe me, and yet the last week I’ve  had friends over for dinner, been to friends for dinner (whilst drinking my friends very tasty home brew), been shopping, and ended the week leading a service at church and then going to a friends and spending about an hour on a bouncy castle!!!!!
Is hermit too strong a word? The more I think about it, I really don’t think so. As I was walking to the gym today I saw a teenage boy wearing a t.shirt which would have been perfect for me last year… Achievement unlocked 100% got out of bed.

I’ve always been an early riser, and have never really had the capacity to sleep in. But I’m not sure why I bothered, as I never did anything. I would sit on the sofa and I would watch TV and that really was about it, a walk into town would constitute a busy day and would be one episode of a box set missed!!!!!

Now, by 10 on a Saturday I’ve normally been for a run, had breakfast, made soup for the week ahead, put a load of washing on and out,  and tidied up. This means I can then get on with ‘social saturdays’. Since making the decision to not work on Saturdays, but to do all my school work on Sunday’s, I have made a point of meeting up with people on Saturdays. I regularly head over to see different friends, spend time with them and their kids, have lunch or breakfast in town. Just having fun and friendship.

I’ve noticed that a lot of my relationships have developed over the last year, and that is mainly because I haven’t been leaving it months between visits. This means my friends children see me regularly, and also half the visit isn’t spent talking about everything that has happened in our lives, but just what has happened in the last couple of weeks. If I’m completely honest, as well as being slightly hermit like, I think I also didn’t feel that I belonged, as much as I made out that I was ok, I was very aware that I was in my 30s had been married for a long time, and yet didn’t have children. I know none of my friends judged me, but that didn’t stop me judging myself, and I think that did affect me meeting up with people.

Last summer me and my husband decided to move church, this wasn’t an easy decision but it was something we both felt God was calling us to do. We were part of a large church, with a lot of our friends. This was a very easy way to meet up with people. We would see our friends every Sunday, we would chat, say Hi, ask how the week was etc… We are now in a much smaller church, but many of our friends go to the previous one. This again has meant that we have to meet up outside of church, and when we do the time is much better spent and  the friendships develop.

I know that I would not have got this far without the support and love of my friends. They have done nothing but encourage me, which was evident at my birthday this year when I was given, graze box vouchers, hair mousse for curls, new clothes, and vouchers for new clothes. 

The other thing that moving church has done is to help me realise who I am, and what my identity is. I am finally happy with who I am, and I know that that will continue. Rather than worrying about the fact that I don’t have children, I’m making the most of being fun Helen who is chosen to be on a 6 year olds football team because I’m better than his mum, or Helen who buys toys for the kids, Helen who bounces on a castle for an hour with a two year old because I have the energy to do so! My identity before was Helen, the epileptic, who didn’t do anything. Now I’m Helen who has epilepsy, but does not let it rule her life because she is a child of God! I’m also involved in so much more than just Sunday church, which is helping me to realise what is really meant by the fellowship of Christ. 

My friend who has been my main encourager and confident from the off, and will from now on be referred to as ‘E’ was telling me at the weekend that she had been talking about me. She too has lost a lot of weight over the last couple of years and would be first to say that she has done this purely by changing eating habits as opposed to exercise! She told me something which has stuck with me since Saturday. Whilst talking about me she told her friend that she has seen a COMPLETE change in me, with the hair, the weight, the exercise (possibly the most shocking for her) and also the church things, and the quote that has stuck with me is ‘God clearly had a plan for Helen and she is where and how God wants her to be’

Today I was up early, I read my book, ate my breakfast, got dressed, washed up, did school work, ate lunch, did school work, went to the gym, had a swim, did school work, chatted to a friend, had dinner, wrote a blog! It really is a holistic thing, knowing that I’ve probably done the same amount of work today that would have normally taken a week, which gives me hope for heading back after the summer holidays.

Life is great – the core being fun, friendship and fellowship.

Healthy Holidays: With Blackforest and Beer

On Saturday we went to Cambridge on holiday for 3 nights. This time of year we would normally have spent a week camping in Kent County Showground at Detling Celebration, that was cancelled this year, the husband had annual leave already booked so we decided to go to a hotel for a few nights!!! This was a very different holiday to any that I have had before.

Firstly you probably need some idea of what usually happens on our holidays, at least 2 or 3 times I get stroppy and sulky, we normally end up having an afternoon nap most days, and I’m normally ready to go home. 

But this time… No afternoon naps, only one very short stroppy moment, and I didn’t want to go home!!!!! 

If I’m completely honest I was slightly worried about the holiday… Especially with the healthier lifestyle thing going on. But I decided I was going to make sensible choices, most important decision being that I was going to have a good time.

When we ate out I tried to make sensible choices, which worked on the whole, but there were two pitfalls, my love of ale, and the great British bake off!!! Ale… Ah ale… The first evening we’d had a lovely meal, I had sea bream, then a lovely dessert of strawberries with lemon sherbet. But then… We went for a walk and ended up at a pub. There was a beer called ale-Oha and the pump had a Hawaiian skirt on – how could I resist. On the last day The husband took me to Cambridge brew house – it would be wrong to go to a brew house and not drink a pint (or 2). So that explains the ale, but the Great British Bake Off?????? On the Sunday we’d gone to church with a friend and then went for lunch, I ordered a chicken and chorizo salad, and then she asked if we wanted dessert. I had a look at the menu… And they had Blackforest gateau, the show stopper of the first week of GBBO!!!!!!! So I thought, OK, I’ll try it. OH MY GOODNESS I’ve never seen a slice like it, it was HUMONGOUS! I had to stop part way through… Although I did finish it!

So there were moments of indulgence, but we were on holiday, the intention was to relax, to enjoy myself, and that goal was most definitely met. It’s difficult when you are not preparing your own food to be in control, or to stick to a healthy regime. But as I’ve said from the beginning, I don’t feel like I’m dieting, therefore there are no hard and fast rules. We were walking a lot, but we also had a gym and pool at the hotel, which we used all but one day. And actually most days I was still under the calories/or on track.

This was definitely one of the best holidays I’ve had, I enjoyed the indulgences, I enjoyed the exercise, and I enjoyed having more energy that I didn’t get tired, or stroppy which meant the husband enjoyed it a lot more as well!!!!! 

So…. Advice for holidays, make sensible choices, but don’t feel you can’t indulge every now and again, ENJOY yourself!!!!