What's so Great About Florida Anyway? Part 2

In my last post about Florida I said there was lots more to talk about, so here I am again.

What's So Great About Florida Anyway P2 | Morgan's Milieu: Daytona Beach, on a sunny day

Daytona Beach

Daytona has to be my favourite beach in the world, okay so I haven't visited many but of the ones I have, it's my fave. Even when it's busy there's plenty of space for everyone and the sea is so welcoming.

Why You Should Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Being a stay-at-home mum can turn you into a recluse. You spend so long cleaning the house, tidying up toys, and taking care of your family that you forget there are other people 'out there'. The thought of having to interact with these people can make your stomach turn.

Why You Should Step Out of Your Comfort Zone | Morgan's Milieu: Black and white, moody photo of a loner.

That was me a few years ago.

I had two children and no friends to speak of. I had plenty of family support but friends? Not so much. 

The worst part was that I had no idea how to make friends. I'd forgotten what it was like to talk to people. I'd been living in my toddler filled bubble for far too long and didn't know how to interact with others.

When BP started school I kept to myself, dropped him off and picked him up from school without really speaking to anyone. He was very much like me, quiet and shy, so didn't like to spend much time with his peers. We were both comfortable with our situation and happy to continue in our hermit-like life.

Then LP started school and it was a different story, he has always been sociable. He had friends within hours of starting and suddenly I was thrown into a world of play-dates and after-school clubs. I had to talk to other parents, meet up with them, even go for a coffee!

Being forced to step out of my comfort zone did me the world of good. I made friends, found people I had things in common with and, more importantly, enjoyed myself. 

Lately I've noticed comparisons between being a stay-at-home mum and being a blogger. 

In December 2011 I started blogging, sharing only snippets of my life. I didn't write very often, or very well for that matter, but I'd started sharing. I lived my online life very much like my life as a stay-at-home mum; I kept to myself and didn't interact very much with others. 

Over the years I blogged more often, even started to chat to other bloggers (via a computer), and found that I enjoyed being a part of the community. However the thought of actually meeting these bloggers scared me to death. I didn't see myself as that kind of person, I couldn't go out there and talk to people. 

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to an event (info to come soon!), one that I really wanted to attend, but there was one problem...

Attending this event meant being around other bloggers, talking to them. 

I was terrified.

I decided to go, again stepping out of my comfort zone. 

The day before the event I almost backed out, my stomach was doing somersaults, but I'd already told LP that we'd be going to the event together and he was excited. I couldn't let him down.

I attended the event, met some amazing bloggers that I've admired for a while, and LP and I had a wonderful day. 

After these similar experiences I've learned that although I like my comfort zone it's nice to step out occasionally. Challenging myself to do new things is how I grow, how I become a better mum, a better wife, a better me.

Why You Should Step Out of Your Comfort Zone | Morgan's Milieu: Life begins with that first step!

Stepping out of your comfort zone is not easy.

The next step is meant to scare you, it's supposed to be a challenge.

I'm here to tell you you should take on the challenge.

Speak to the stranger.

Go to the event. 

You'll meet new people, make friends, and maybe start a new, exciting, journey. 

What's stopping you?

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Health and Weight Loss Tips 31

My motivation is with me this week and I'm going to start my exercise. I haven't lost much weight at all but I'm thinking if I start being more active it'll start to shift.

11st 8.1lbs

29,089 steps

So again my steps are pitiful, I haven't been very active at all. All I need to do is start the exercise and I know I'll continue with it. That first step is so difficult!

What I Read 26

After going through my notebook this week I found loads of posts that I hadn't shared yet but planned to. Some of these posts are from back in May and June, I think with the holiday looming at the time I'd forgotten about them.

Even though they're a little older I don't think there's a limit to when you can share good posts. With that in mind let's get on with it shall we?

The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep Review

I've never had much trouble with my boys and sleeping, they both slept through the night at about 12 weeks old. Apart from illnesses and the occasional nightmare our nighttimes are fairly quiet. 

BP has always been a heavy sleeper and can fall asleep anywhere, he once fell asleep while we were at a wedding reception (loud music and loud people). LP on the other hand is not a heavy sleeper and finds it difficult to sleep anywhere but his bed. Even when we're in the car and he's wiped out he struggles to get to sleep.

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep Review | Morgan's Milieu: My boy enjoys playing in Seuss Landing, Universal Studios.
I'm sure LP thinks about Seuss Landing all the time!

At bedtime we wind down with a good bedtime story but it still takes him a while to settle down. He goes up to bed at 7:30pm but sometimes he can still be awake at 9pm. I've tried getting him to sit and listen to the stories, I've tried getting him to read some of the pages, but nothing helps. Once we've read the story he still struggles to settle down.

5 Ways to Feel Better When You're Ill

It started yesterday, around lunchtime.

The sore throat that scratched every time I swallowed, the headache that wouldn't go away, and eventually the achy muscles. 

The boys have been back at school almost three weeks and I've already caught a cold. 

By bedtime last night I was wiped out, I could barely walk up the stairs, but I slept. I slept so well that I couldn't even remember falling asleep. Once my head hit that pillow I was out.

Tips for feeling better when you're ill.

This morning isn't much better, my throat still hurts and my muscles are complaining. The headache is lingering too. I feel pretty rough and when that happens I tend to feel sorry for myself. I shut down, do nothing, and let the illness take me.

Dreaming of Retirement

On days when the kids have done nothing but bicker, my washing basket is over-flowing, and my to-do list seems never ending, I dream of retirement.

Dreaming of Retirement | Morgan's Milieu: Carpet filled with toys

I dream of a quiet, and tidy, house.
I dream of an empty washing basket.
I dream of sitting, with a hot cup of coffee, watching the world go by.

Becoming A Parent Is Momentous

Before becoming a parent life is simple.

You want to go out, you get ready and go.
You fancy a new outfit, you buy it (providing you have the money).
You want a holiday, you scour the internet, choose your favourite and book.

Life is easy, the only person you need to think about is yourself and everything you do is for you (or your partner).

Then you decide to become a parent.

So simple. 

I want to be a mum

And yet, do you really think about what you're doing?

I didn't. 
I had no idea that I was about to change my life forever. Deciding to have children altered my life in a way I couldn't possibly have understood at the time.

From the moment you conceive life is changed. First of all your body morphs, your breasts get bigger, your belly grows, and the smell of food you loved a few weeks ago suddenly makes you want to throw up. 

Inside something momentous is happening.

You are creating life.

You can FEEL it.

I remember early pregnancy well, I was so sick and felt terrible for the first 12 weeks, but at the same time I felt amazing. The little baby growing inside me was my baby, it was my son or daughter, and without knowing why, I loved it.

I was utterly devoted to this tiny person I'd never even met.

Pregnancy flies by and before you know it, after lots of pain and screaming (at least for me), you're presented with a tiny person who is completely dependent on you. In the first few seconds you hold that baby in your arms and nothing in the world is more important. Pure love flows through you and it's enough to make you cry. You vow to do everything in your power to take care of that child. 

You are a parent.

Just like that. 

Once out of the hospital you have to learn so many new things. Learn to dress the tiny person who doesn't want to get dressed, learn to change their stinky nappy, learn what their cries mean. The first year is tough, some entire days are spent crying (both you and the baby). The emotional roller-coaster is tiring. You don't even rest when the baby is sleeping.

You never realised how hard it would be.

Some days you wonder whether you're a good parent, if you're doing it right. You wander through the supermarket with a screaming baby, your hair looks like you've just rolled out of bed and your clothes are creased and covered in spit-up. You spy another parent in the same aisle as you, they're smartly dressed and smiling, the baby is sleeping soundly, and you wonder what you're doing wrong.

You didn't think you'd be so rubbish at this.

It certainly doesn't seem like it at the time but as a parent of a 6 and 11 year old I can tell you the first year of parenting is the easiest.

But what that first year taught me is to be prepared. 

Be prepared for projectile vomiting at 2am. 
Be prepared for bumps on the head and falls in the canal.
Be prepared for hating yourself.

Be prepared for tears streaming down your face as your child grips your finger.
Be prepared for beaming with pride as your child sings at the top of their voice when on stage at school.
Be prepared for unconditional love.

Be prepared for ANYTHING.

That first year was nothing compared to the ones since and I've seen my boys grow into wonderful human beings. My heart is so full some days I'm not sure I can cope with the love I feel for them. 

Nothing in this world could make me want to go back to life before I had children.  

No one can explain what it's like to be a parent to someone who doesn't have children. It's not possible to understand the complete devotion you have to your child without having one. 

As much as my kids drive me mad I wouldn't change a thing. 

They are my world.

Life will never be the same again.

And I couldn't be happier about it.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

Share the Joy linky at TheJoyChaser.com

Health & Weight Loss Tips 30

I had quite a shock this morning when I stepped onto the scales. It's not that I didn't expect more weight gain, but the amount threw me and that voice in my head screamed awful insults at me.

11st 8.8lbs

30,706 steps

Probably the worst week I've had in a long time. I haven't been eating healthy, we went out for a curry on Wednesday to celebrate my mother-in-law's 60th birthday, and yesterday we took the in-laws out for a meal at TGI Fridays to celebrate their anniversary. 

The calorie monsters seem to have got their hooks into me since I got back from holiday and I've consumed far too much. What with alcohol, chocolate, and crisps, weight gain was inevitable.

It's time to make the switch again. 

Weight loss is required, but I don't want to be silly about it and lose too fast. I've done the shopping this morning and I bought no crisps, I've even resisted the temptation to grab a bag out of the cupboard to eat while working. A mini win!

Tip: Lose weight the healthy way

Right now I could easily dive into a crash diet, I could replace meals with shakes and cut out everything I love. I could stop drinking coffee, I could ban crisps and eat nothing but salad. Within a week I'd be craving all the good stuff, guaranteed.

That's the problem with the crash diets, they don't work for very long before you NEED the good stuff. 

My plan is to reduce everything; reduce portions (they've increased since the holiday), reduce chocolate intake. Since Friday I've had no crisps, they're usually my downfall and I've tried really hard to resist them. The cupboard is full of crisps and I know there's a huge bag of Doritos (my mouth is watering right now) but I'm going to let the kids have them. 

There's only one way to lose weight and that's to stop eating so much. So from this week that's what I'm doing. I have my motivation back (yay!), and I know it's time to do something. I'm starting out with the food but as soon as some weight has dropped off I'll be back to the exercise.

How has your week been?

Blogging To Jogging

Fitness Friday

Sim's Life

Fitness 4 Mamas

What I Read 25

So many posts have moved me this week, for varying reasons. My list is growing again, which is always nice, and I'm happy to be back sharing these posts with you.

What I Read 25 | Morgan's Milieu: Louisa, who writes at Life As We Know ItIf you're anything like me when you hear the word Cancer you cringe. It's such a scary word isn't it, and covers such a wide range of possibilities. For women it could be breast cancer, for men it could be prostate cancer, either way it's terrifying. I would hope that by now most women out there know how to check their breasts and know what to look for, but how many of you know the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer? 

Ovarian Cancer. Know the Symptoms. Is a post written by Louisa, who's mother has recently been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, in the hope that other women notice the symptoms and get checked before it's too late. Please read the post, it'll take five minutes out of your day but could save your life.

Thomas Sabo Charm Club Freshwater Pearl Bracelet Review

I love Thomas Sabo, their collection of charms is large and they have a range of necklaces and bracelets on which to display your charms.

Thomas Sabo Charm Club Freshwater Pearl Bracelet Review | Morgan's Milieu: A pearl bracelet, available from House of Fraser.

I own a necklace with a charm carrier and five charms, the necklace and a couple of charms were a Christmas present last year and the other charms were gifts throughout the year. The charm carrier can really only hold three charms at a time so I've had to put two charms away. I do swap them around when I fancy a change though.

Then I found this...

What's So Great About Florida Anyway?

As a family we love Florida but not just because of Walt Disney World. We love active holidays, not ones where we sit on a beach all day and do nothing.

The Monorail exited the Contemporary Resort as we drove a boat on Bay Lake

In Florida there is a never-ending list of things to do.

Walt Disney World is one of them, with four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot) and two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) the place is huge. With rides, restaurants, and street entertainment to keep you happy, plus the "Magic" that everyone talks about, Walt Disney World is amazing.

Jellycat Bears from Say It With Bears Review

Meet Bashful Bunny, one of the Jellycat bears from Say It With Bears.

Jellycat Bears from Say It With Bears Review | Morgan's Milieu: Bashful Bunny, a cute teddy bear suitable for all ages.

Bashful Bunny is a 30cm high soft toy, all of his limbs are floppy and he will sit unaided. He has small black eyes and a cute pink nose, both surrounded by soft beige fur. The fur covers his entire body and is so soft and touchable. He's sitting on my desk right now and I can't stop cuddling him, he's so cute.

Taking the Next Step

For months now I've been saying that I want to take blogging more seriously and writing every day has been a huge step in the right direction.

When I was preparing to go on holiday I was motivated to get on with it as soon as I got back. I wanted to step it up, work harder, and do better. I even said I might attend BritMums Live when it came around, or other conferences too.

Then I got an email about BlogFest 2015. I had no idea BlogFest was in November and the thought of going filled me with dread. I may have been saying it for months but they were just words. I wasn't ready.

Only they weren't just words. I did want to go. I do want to go.

When I was growing up I had huge ambitions, I wanted to travel with work, I thought I'd be some high-flying executive by the time I was 30.

Well that didn't happen - I met the perfect man and became a mum instead. I love being a mum, it has fulfilled me in many ways, it meant being at home with my boys, taking care of them and making sure they grew to be healthy and happy. Being a mum also meant that I never travelled anywhere without my little family.

I've never travelled anywhere alone. 

Not even to London.

Now the boys are older I can start to think about my wants and needs, I can start to do things for me. Blogging has been a big part of that and I love it, I love the opportunities it brings my way. And now I'm faced with BlogFest 2015 and I'm afraid, it would be my first conference. It would be my first trip alone.

It would mean getting up at 5:30am, driving to London, taking the tube to King's Cross, staying all day and then driving home. I'd be out all day, I probably wouldn't even see LP who goes to bed at 7:30pm, and it would be tiring.

And yet, that ambitious 20-something in me is screaming at me to do it, to take the next step in what could become a brilliant career.

Taking the next step is huge, it is me deciding this is what I want to do. It's me deciding this isn't just a hobby anymore, it is real. Is that what I want?


Even though I am terrified of that trip I'm going to do it. I'm going to travel to London and attend a conference. I'll meet people, actually talk to other bloggers (using spoken words and everything!), and maybe come away inspired.

I'm taking the next step.


Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Health and Weight Loss Tips 29

Not much has happened since last week, I walked LP to school on Thursday and my legs complained the whole time. 

11st 6.7lbs

54, 016 steps

So the weight is going on and the steps aren't nearly enough to fight the extra food I've been eating. Not good. I can feel it in myself too, I don't have as much energy at the moment. It could be the come-down after the holiday and the miserable weather but I think it's more to do with doing no exercise.

I'm finding it really hard to motivate myself. The fridge is full of chocolate, the Hubby bought lots of sweets from Asda the other day, and I keep craving crisps. 

Here's the thing though, I can see my weight slowly increasing and the closer it gets to 12st the more I cringe. I can't let myself get there again, I've worked so hard to lose the majority of the weight and to gain it again would be so depressing. 

I'm going to start cutting my portion sizes again, not drastically to start with but if I do that (and cut out eating crisps) then I might make a dent. 

Tip: Pay attention to that nagging voice

We all talk about that voice inside our head telling us we're not good enough and most of the time it's okay to ignore it. In fact I champion ignoring it when it's criticising you but when it's nagging you to get back to the exercise, and you agree, it's probably time to listen. 

That voice has been telling me to cut out eating crisps. It's been yelling at me every time I much on a bar of chocolate. I know it's right, I'm doing no exercise so I can't justify eating all the goodies. I'm going to take my own advice and listen to that nagging voice. 

It's time to get my weight gain under control.

Blogging To Jogging

Sim's Life

Fitness Friday

Fitness 4 Mamas

What I Read 24

Welcome back to another What I Read. I've been working hard this week trying to get caught up on things, I've still not managed it but I'm getting there. I have been enjoying your posts this week though and here's a few of my favourites.

What I Read 24 | Morgan's Milieu: Leigh Kendall, Headspace Perspective

I haven't suffered the loss of a child and cannot imagine the pain and grief. I am in awe of Leigh's strength and whenever I read her posts she has me in tears. I have to build up to reading the posts because I am so touched by them. #SayTheirName and Eastenders: Helping break the taboo of babyloss is a fantastic post. Leigh shares her thoughts on the recent storyline and talks about her experiences. I wasn't in tears but the post moved me.

5 Reasons Why Tweens are like Toddlers

My eldest, BP, turned 11 in August but I've noticed subtle changes since the beginning of the year. Occasional outbursts and crying for no reason are just some of the things I've had to deal with. Lately I've been comparing my life now to when BP was a toddler and realised that not much has changed.

5 Reasons Why Tweens are like Toddlers | Morgan's Milieu: Pinnable image saying 5 Reasons why tweens are like toddlers

How NOT to Talk to your Friends

The other day I was in a restaurant and happened to overhear a conversation between two women sat at the table next to me. 

One woman, let's call her Sue, was talking about colouring her hair. Both women were in their late 40s, early 50s (I'm guessing). Sue was saying that she'd found grey hairs and wanted a good colour to cover it. She'd looked around and decided that red would be a good colour and thought it would suit her.

The Dinosaur that Pooped the Bed Review

Since being asked to review The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas in December last year LP has fallen in love with this series of books. When I was asked to review a new book in the series I jumped at the chance, I knew LP would be over the moon.

The Dinosaur That Pooped the Bed Review | Morgan's Milieu: Pictures of the Dinosaur that Pooped the Bed and The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet Sound Book

How Another Woman's Stare Empowered Me

Back in June Honest Mum posted a photo of herself on holiday, she was wearing her bikini. The photo got attention from other blogging mums and we were all moved by Vicki's strength. 

As a result Vicki wrote a blog post and prompted us all to join her, posting photos of ourselves in our bikinis and tagging them #proudinmybikini

How Another Woman's Stare Empowered Me | Morgan's Milieu: Morgan Prince, in a bikini, at Daytona Beach
At Daytona Beach soaking up the rays - still no tan though. Bikini from Tesco, F&F.

It was a great idea and I watched as other blogging mums posted their bikini photos. I liked, shared, and retweeted their photos and thought about sharing my own. I was due to go on holiday for the summer, the perfect opportunity to get a few snaps of me in my bikini. 

Health and Weight Loss Tips 28

I've been back from Florida for more than a week now and I'm still exhausted. I have gained weight (lots) and I'm struggling to find my motivation.

11st 5.8lbs

First of all that weight is not great, I know this. Since arriving back on 29th August I've gain a few pounds but I'm giving myself a break (you'll see why soon). When I weighed myself on Saturday I was 11st 1.2lbs, so I gained about a stone over the holiday. 

Halibut - one of the few meals I managed to finish.
Lamb chops - the Hubby's dinner

If you have ever been to America (not just Florida) you'll know that the portion sizes over there are massive. Really. I couldn't finish any of the meals I had and half the time they looked as if I hadn't touched them, even though I felt stuffed. After six weeks of filling my face with steak, fish, chips, cake, and dessert I'm not surprised by the amount of weight I gained.

Don't think for a second that all I did was eat though. No. No. No.

During the six weeks I was in Florida I did 893,011 steps, not including hundreds of steps in water parks. That means I walked more that 369 miles during my 'holiday'.

Like I said, that's not including walking through water parks. At least twice a week we would spend a couple of hours in a water park going up stairs, sliding down slides and going up steps again. I must've climbed hundreds of flights of stairs. 

And now I'm home.

Yes, that's a strawberry and cream filled doughnut, a doughball, and a strawberry milkshake, and yes it was yummy!

Since March the Hubby and I have been trying hard to lose weight and get fit in preparation for the holiday. It paid off, not once did I find myself too tired to walk. Admittedly there were a few times when we chose a ride that would give us a rest but still...

When we arrived home on the Saturday we both knew there would be a period of adjustment. We didn't want to go straight into healthy eating and exercising every day. We needed rest.

Tip: Don't expect too much of yourself

The holiday has worn us out. There was no way we were returning home to do walking every day, that was never going to happen. 

More dessert - but at least this one was small - ish.

For the last week I've done no exercise. None. It might sound lazy but my body just couldn't do it anymore, I needed to give it a chance to recover.

I don't feel too bad for doing it, although I can tell that I've put on weight. Today, when doing the shopping I considered what we were eating and bought healthier options. This time we'll take it slower, cutting down the chocolate and bad food but still allowing ourselves the odd treat. We're in no hurry to get to that perfect weight and taking our time will ensure that we don't get sick of it any time soon.

I'm happy to be eating normally again, soon I'll be ready to start with steady exercise, and I'll see how things go. My aim is to get back to 10st, but there's no deadline. If I could be below 11st by Christmas I'll be happy. 

Of course let's not forget all the amazing cocktails. Here's just two of them.

How was your summer?
Did you gain weight or was your willpower on hand to keep you going?

Blogging To Jogging

Sim's Life

Fitness Friday