Category Archives: Challenge

First Steps

I don’t know if many of you have spotted that my challenge to myself this year isn’t competition related, instead I set myself up to at least start to beat my agoraphobia and finally last week I have started to do something about it instead of just thinking about doing something about it. I’ve also decided to share my journey on here, recent events have shown that mental health problems really shouldn’t be hidden away, help is out there if you need it, even if it’s just reading how others cope and learning to cope yourself. The main thing I’m learning on my journey back to living again is that life is worth living, yes, horrible things can and do happen but to let them rule the rest of my life would be giving in and letting those who hurt me win. They’re out of my life now, I’m not going to let them rule it still, I AM going to get better, have a fantastic life and enjoy every moment of it 😀

So, to start, here’s a very brief history: for the last 5/6 years the only time I have left the house has been with Dave, he makes me feel safe and secure and I know I can trust him. If anyone is wondering why this might be a problem, before I met Dave, I was in a string of bad relationships, the last one nearly killing me on a couple of occasions but now I’m free of all that and Dave has given me time and helped me to heal and now he’s helping and encouraging me into living again, showing me how life should be and it is pretty wonderful!

Anyway, last week I had a problem, I needed to make an appointment to have my Nexplanon implant changed but I wasn’t sure where to go for it over here. I struggle with making telephone calls as I have to plan in advance what to say and I couldn’t figure out the right string of words to ask if I telephoned my new GP which was making me feel very frustrated. It eventually boiled over and without thinking I put my shoes on, grabbed my coat and walked down there. It was only once I was half way there (it’s about 800m away) when I realised what I was doing, I felt so surprised but really happy that finally I believed myself that it would be OK to go out and it was.

I got to the doctors, spoke to the receptionist, made and appointment and have been back twice more since then, all on my own (OK, Dave gave me a lift half way for one appointment as we have a busy road between us and them and it was rush hour!lol) and I know I will be fine to go back again when I need to. I guess the next thing to work on now is going out on my own for pleasure not just because I need to be somewhere or do something. I know it will come in time, I’ll convince myself that it’s OK and that I can do it and I will 😀

I’ve also finally started back on my weight loss mission too, I’m not doing any fancy diet, just eating healthily (mostly) and keeping the calories under 1600/1700 each day with doing some exercise. I finally found something I really enjoy doing and it’s the most simple of exercises but it really gets a sweat going. I use a step and just go up and down on it while I watch something on TV or a movie. It’s amazing how much time goes past without you noticing if you distract yourself and keep exercising, hopefully I’ll keep going this time and this time next year, I’ll be on the way to being half the woman I am today 😀

#My99pSummer – A good old fashioned picnic!

I have to say I was quite excited when I heard about #My99pSummer, some of the 99p stores I’ve been in around the country are huge and have a lot of stock to browse through (and all obviously at one great low price) but sadly that’s not the case with my local one, it’s tiny! This doesn’t stop it from stocking a wide range of toiletries, household products and food/drinks but the seasonal items can be a little lacking and this was the problem I was faced with when I went along to use the £10 vouchers I was sent to do this challenge and see how much fun I could have with a 99p Summer!

After having a good look through all the summer items we decided we’d have to look elsewhere around the shop, the aisle was dedicated to gardening and had some really good looking items IF you have a garden, sadly ours can only be described as a car port on one side and a tiny piece of grass on the other, so this was not a good idea for us. After looking around we decided the only real option we could find was to have a picnic, now, these are always good fun and finding items that would make it more fun is always a challenge so off we went on a hunt and this is what we decided upon:


Each of the sandwich boxes has 2 compartments so you can pack quite a lot into them and I love the easy closing snaps on them so I had to pick 2 of these up! Then I spotted the jelly moulds, I figured these would actually be great multi-taskers, not only can I make some nice jellies to take with us but we could also use them for dips, sauces and small snacks since they each have a lid. The last non-food item was in remembrance of what our summers are normally like, so something to have at home when it’s too rainy to go out but you still want that summer feeling – ice lolly makers! this 12 pack makes nice sized little lollies and you can make whatever flavour you want to, I feel some experimenting coming on here!

With the food we went with a ‘just add bread’ picnic. Sandwich spread seems to be a favourite in this house so a jar of that had to be included. We then turned our attention to the nice bit of any picnic, the snacks and treats! I just had to get Cadbury’s brunch bars as I love them, they’re so chewy and chocolatey they’re heavenly to me! Next into the basket was the mallows (sneakily followed by the clubs while I was off looking at other things) and then on to savoury snacks. We saw the offer for 2 packs of Kettle Ridge Chips for 99p so decided that would be a good way to go as they would be fun to share and different to the normal multipacks we get. After doing a quick add up we found we were 1 item short and looking around at first I couldn’t think what else we would need, then I realised I’d not thought about drinks! A quick scout around showed me they had some Robinson’s in stock so i figured a bottle of that would be great for many picnics (as would many of the other items as well) and we were set!

We took our picnic with us when we went over to the New Forest and ate it (with company) at Hatchet Pond

99p - Hatchet 1 99p - Hatchet 2

So thank you to 99p Stores for giving me the £10 vouchers to see how much fun we could have with My99pSummer, we did have a lot of fun and we can still have a lot more too since so many of the items are reuseable so there’ll be more fun days out to come!

Road Trip Challenge – The New Forest

Some of the few memories I have from my childhood are of the car being packed up in the summer and our family driving off on holiday. We’d travel from home in Essex up to Skegness one year and Blackpool the next. Even as a child I remember feeling so happy being on the road, traveling, excited about where we would end up as well as enjoying looking at all those places we traveled through as well. As an adult I have not lost this love of traveling and when I heard about this Road Trip Challenge from I just had to get involved and share with you all something that is an important part of my life. Luckily for me, they accepted my application to be a part of this and provided me with £50 to put some petrol in our car!

Road Trip Challenge

Since I’ve been with Dave we’ve taken many trips, some for a holiday, to visit family or friends and sometimes to go to an event but the ones we do most often is to just go for a drive with no real destination in mind, just to get out of the house and see whats there and so it’s one of my favourite trips we take like that which I am going to share with you. We are very lucky where we live, there are so many interesting places to visit within an hour or two’s drive but the one we keep going back to is this one through the New Forest which takes in a lot of the attractions where we can (and do) stop at for a while and also a lot of the breathtaking scenery as well as the inhabitants too!

Like all good road trips ours starts out like this:

Morotway - Going

Oh the joys (not) of motorway travel! but at least it’s not for long on this trip and soon enough we’re off the end of the M27 and headed South on the A337.  As you can see from the above picture it was not one of the blisteringly hot days we have had recently when we did this trip but it was still very warm so I enjoyed the pleasure of winding down my window and feeling the breeze on my face as we drive through the tree’s.

Lyndhurst - 1 Lyndhurst - 2

One place that you really have to visit when you go into the New Forest is Lyndhurst, not only because it is a pretty little village but also because it’s kind of a hub for most of the roads you would want to take to get anywhere, this also means the traffic is generally quite bad so we’ve learned to plan our outings here to try and avoid the worst times (rush hour and lunch time mainly) but even with the traffic issues it’s well worth stopping and having a wander around, there’s a reasonable car park but the time’s we’ve stopped there we have noticed it gets full quickly so again, I really recommend, go early and outside times when it gets really busy 🙂

Lyndhurst - 3 Lyndhurst - 4

Upon leaving Lyndhurst we traveled further south on the A337 and then turned left onto the B3055 and drove a little longer through the trees but after a short while they start to thin out and you enter the almost treeless part of the New Forest National Park. I know this sounds strange, for a forest to be treeless but there are some, just not that many and it makes it so much easier to spot the animals roaming about freely.

We did have a destination in mind, we were headed to Hatchet Pond, here you can fish if you care to (and have the appropriate licenses/permissions), have a nice walk, make use of the facilities (this is one of the few parking area’s that have toilets, they’ve always been clean when we’ve visited but I would advise making sure you have some tissues with you!) you could even try to have a picnic here and I do mean try! There have always been horses here when we have visited, they’re very friendly but you have to follow the rules posted about them on the signs there (and they will try to enjoy your picnic with you I promise!lol) There are also a lot of wild birds there to watch and it’s just a really nice place to have a walk, and get out in the fresh air.

Hatchet Pond - Horses 1 Hatchet Pond - Birds

After leaving Hatchet Pond we continued along the B3055 to Beaulieu and here I have to mention something else you really need to be aware of when driving in the New Forest. The horses, cows, donkeys and many other animals that live there do not have much road sense so you have to be prepared for them, they also have a habit of causing traffic problems when they decide to have a run about, today for example, we saw a horse decide to cross the road just as a car was going past it and then just stand around in the road watching the cars having to edge round it

Horse crossing the road Horse in the road

We also saw a cow in the road on the other side causing a tailback, it then decided to run down the middle of the road in the opposite direction (the way we were traveling) to meet up with it’s friends who were causing a jam on our side of the road too!

Overtaking cow Cow in the road

You really have to have a sense of humor when you’re traveling around here and try to not be in a rush to get anywhere, other than the danger to you and the animals, you’d miss out on so many things as you speed past them!

Anyway back to our trip, after going past Beaulieu (we decided not to go in this time but we will head back over there again soon!) we were headed North on the  B3056 for a while but turned left on to North Lane and then made our way further North until we were on Deerleap Lane and headed in to the New Forest Wildlife Park (Formerly New Forest Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park) where we made another stop and went in. The website lists all the various entry fees but please remember to take with you your Ikea Family card as they discount entry by 30% when you show it which is a great saving (and covers the cost of a slice of cake in the tea room after you’ve been to visit all the animals!)

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After spending most of the day visiting with the animals (some you can see above but most were difficult to photograph well due to the cages they are kept in, my camera kept focusing on the wire or glass instead of the animal!) there we decided it was about time to head home and so back on the motorway it is again!

Morotway - Going home

So thanks to we had a fantastic day out, got to see some of the wonderful countryside around here and the lovely animals who live there too!

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