“Fitter, happier, more productive”

The realisation hit me this week that spring is almost here. They are forecasting double-digit temperatures for the next two weeks; you cannot imagine how happy that makes me. And if spring is near, then summer will be on its way too. And since I have been feeling pretty down recently, I need to get my training game back on. Yes, I have signed up for two runs this year, but that doesn’t mean anything unless I actually start training for them.

So, it begins here. Because I know that training makes me happier and fitter and stronger. And that is what I want – especially the “happier” part, which could fill a whole other post. As Radiohead said: “Fitter, Happier, More Productive.”

At some point last year (albeit only for a month or so), I was training five times a week. And it felt so good. I think that five times a week might not be sustainable. I suspect that was the reason it did not last when I tried before.

I have already managed to train three times this week: my regular Monday session with my trainer, a second go at Patty’s 10-minute sweat-and-shred workout, and running yesterday. If I just do one more workout this weekend, that is four times this week. And that sounds manageable.

And I even managed to improve on my first attempt at Patty’s sweat-and-shred. The first time round I did two rounds, plus the first ten squats and five push-ups of round 3.

This week I managed all that plus the first five burpees of round 3. A small step, but a step forwards regardless.

The plan
  • Train more – four times a week is the goal
  • Eat better – there will be days that slip up (hello, today’s tapas lunch) but healthier eating overall is never a bad thing
  • Walk more, cycle more, take the bus less
  • Restart mindfulness sessions – aiming for three times a week to start with
  • Drink more water
  • And, most importantly, focus on the positives

As the sign on the door frame at the CrossFit gym says: “A little better every time”

An English Mamma in Stockholm: crossfit training a little better every time

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Action for Happiness

In a recent issue of Red Magazine, I read about the Action for Happiness website, which aims to “build a happier society”. I’ve only just started looking into the many actions on the website but a few caught my eye, including Find three good things each day and Use positive parenting techniques.

action for happiness

Source: Action for Happiness website

The three good things action appeals to me a lot at the moment, mainly because I know that I have a tendency to moan about things and only to see the negative. (I used to think it was just that I was cynical, but now I realise that it has developed into whininess, which is not a good look.) I’ve become more interested in trying to fix this: I’ve started reading a book on mindfulness and am becoming increasingly interested in coaching and ways to improve my happiness. I definitely would not say that I am unhappy (but who would not want to be happier!) but I realise that I need to find better ways to cope with the stress that everyday life throws at me. Really, fuming and raging about every little thing that goes wrong is not helping.

And now that Little O is a toddler, we are starting to see that trying to diffuse any potential tantrums before they happen is a great tactic. Sometime he does get frustrated or upset or tearful, but if we can find ways to steer him away from unnecessary upset, that can only be a good thing, right?

Three good things

The Action for Happiness website suggests starting by writing down three good things that have happened during the day each night before you go to sleep and then write down why it happened and how it makes you feel. If you do that for a week, the idea is that you start to look at things in a much more positive light.

So, I am going to take action as of today and post my “three good things” each day for the next couple of week. At the end of those weeks, I will aim to link up with a weekly “Reasons to be cheerful” post for the blog hop over at Mummy From The Heart.

So, Monday’s three good things:

  • Little O had a successful first day back at preschool today. His best friend was there when he arrived and the two of them, who had not seen each other for three weeks, gave each other a big hug and then ran immediately off to play. It made me feel happy that he settled back down into “preschool life” so easily after three weeks away. I guess it happened because he is, on the whole, a happy little boy who enjoys playing with other children.
  • Baby E and I had a fun day at a nursery rhymes sing-a-long session. I thought he might have been a bit young but he seemed to enjoy bouncing on my lap in time to the songs and helping me clap along. I was glad that I had made the effort to attend this event not only because it gave me a chance to do with Baby E something that I did with Little O when he was this age, but also because 13 people had signed up for it but only five (myself included) actually went. 
  • I had a great session today with my personal trainer * – it was the toughest I’ve done for a while and was just what I needed. It felt great that we had done the conditioning training today because, much as I dislike it, I know that is what I really need to do and what is good for me. 

There we go: three good things about today.

* Yep, I am that bad that I need someone standing over me and shouting encouraging me to get me training…



I’ve been tagged by Anna at Dummy Mummy in a Q&A that started with Kerry Jean Lister and is based on The Guardian’s Q&A. She actually tagged me a few days ago but it’s taken me this long to get my answers down and posted, mostly because I then read a post where Gemma at helloitsgemma was tagged and she said that, according to Northern Mum, your answers to the questions show whether you’re: 1) a knob, 2) a nice person, or 3) someone worth having a pint with. So, no pressure then…

Which living person do I most admire and why?

Too many different people, and the answer changes on a regular basis depending on my mood.

When were you happiest?

Probably our wedding day and then the days since I’ve settled into motherhood and really begun to enjoy my time with Baby O. The first weeks (or perhaps months) I felt totally bewildered and overcome with so many emotions that I was not really able to appreciate what an incredible experience it is to have a baby. Yes, I loved him from the first minute, but it took me a long time really to learn to appreciate motherhood.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Again, so very many…!

Aside from property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?

Probably the iMac that I’m typing this on. And I LOVE it!

What is your most treasured possession?

My wedding and engagement rings.

Where would you like to live?

I love living in Stockholm most of the time, but sometimes I long for London (when I’ve seen a film set there and they use a fab location) but this lasts until my first journey on the Tube… I fell in love with both Chicago and San Francisco when we were in the States in 2009. I like the idea of living in Rome too.

What’s your favourite smell?

Baby O, freshly baked bread, petrol, soil.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Husband would probably say Meg Ryan, and while I’d prefer Reese Witherspoon, I think Renee Zellweger in her Bridget Jones phase is more realistic.

What is your favourite book?

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute is one I can read over and over. 

What is your most unappealing habit?

Being judgmental, I’m afraid to say. I really wish that I wasn’t and I try hard not to be, but sometimes I just cannot help myself.

What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?

I almost went to a fancy dress party as Holly Golightly but then it got cancelled, so I wasn’t able to. Probably a good thing really as I doubt I would have been able to pull that off.

What is your earliest memory?

Having to use the outdoor (and only, at the time) toilet on a hot, sunny day. My parents bought a rundown Victorian semi when I was about two and a half years old and the only toilet was outside for the first good few months – urgh.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Red wine, chocolate and a hot bath, while reading a good book.

What do you owe your parents?

So very much, not least my life!

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?

A friend who I allowed to drift. I then tried to resume our friendship after about a year but too much time had passed and now I miss her.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Husband and Baby O.

What does love feel like?

Panic-inducing initially, then overwhelming, but ultimately comforting and nurturing.

What was the best kiss of your life?

One sticks in my mind – when Husband and I had only been dating a few months. My stomach just dropped down into my feet. It has happened a number of time since, but that was the first time he kissed me like that and I can still remember exactly where we were.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Super, great, bizarre, insane

What is the worst job you’ve done?

I’ve not really had a really terrible job per se, but I did have a strange experience once where I was given £500 by my boss’s boss for my “continued loyalty to him and the company”… It wasn’t as dodgy as it sounds, I promise, and I was a student at the time, so the £500 was very much appreciated!

If you could edit your past, what would you change?

Nothing. I think all the decisions that I have made and paths I have taken – good and bad – have brought me here and made me the person that I am today. Editing and changing them would change me.

What is the closest you’ve come to death?

Being swept out of my mum’s arms and out into the sea by a massive wave, aged 3, when we were walking around to a hidden cove in Cornwall. I don’t really remember it, but I think maybe this is why I have always been afraid of the water and am such a terrible swimmer.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Two things: my career so far (not bad for someone who had to drop one A-level and was told that I was too stupid to go to university) and becoming a mamma and managing to do it for almost a year without major damage (hopefully!) to me or Baby O.

When did you last cry, and why?

At my cousin’s wedding, the weekend before last. The emotion of the moment overtook me.

How do you relax?

(See “What is your guiltiest pleasure?”)

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

The cleaner that Husband promised he would hire two and a half years ago…

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Find out what others’ agendas are; everyone has an agenda and once you know what it is, people are so much easier to understand. And “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

And now it’s my turn to tag. Passing this one to Crystal Jigsaw, The Moiderer, and Fiona at somewherebetweenfacebookandflickrsitsfiona.