4 articles Articles posted in #thisgirlcan

Upcycling An Old Dolls House

Dolls House My actual dolls house, in the process of being built!

Just recently, I was having a conversation with my sister and we both agreed that some of the best presents we got when we were kids were things that had been bought secondhand and upcycled by our parents.

One of my favourites was a bike I got when I was around Burrito Baby’s age. My dad bought this bike month ahead of Christmas and spent weeks in the shed stripping off the old paint, re-spraying it with a cool flame design and sticking custom stickers all over it, so that by the time it was given to me for Christmas and it looked brand-new and actually way cooler than it had looked before he started upcycling it.

As you’ll know if you’ve read my blog, another toy from my past that is precious to me is the dolls house that was made by my Nan and Grandad, from scratch. I’ve talked about renovating this for many years and just recently I’ve had some new ideas of ways that I can update it and get it looking back to brand-new again. Here are a few of the ideas: despite having been up in the loft for many years now,

Update the Exterior

Despite having been up in the loft for many years now, The exterior of the dolls house is actually in pretty good condition. There are however a few areas where it could do with a little bit of renovation and while I don’t have the same level of skill as my Grandad, who made the brick effect on the outside of the house from actual brick dust, there are now brick patterned wallpaper for dolls houses on the market which will make a really good replacement for my grandads original method.

New Wallpaper

As you can tell from the brickdust anecdote, my Nan and grandad were all about authenticity when they made this dolls house, which means that the inside is decorated with real wallpaper. The house was made in the very late 80s which means the decor on the inside is very “of the time”. Something that I’ve been planning to do is grab some samples of some more modern wallpapers from a decorating store and use these to repaper the inside of the house to give it an updated look.

New Lights 

My grandad was an incredibly skilled person in so many ways and one of the things that he did in the original dolls house would put individual lights in each room that could be controlled with separate switches and were connected to a battery pack in the loft. Over the years some of these lights have stopped working and I don’t have the same skill as Grandad so fixing individual lights is a little bit beyond my capabilities. There are however individual battery powered LEDs that can be stuck in each room without needing to rewire the whole house and this is something that I would definitely consider doing.

10 Benefits Associated with Quitting Alcohol

How many times have you told yourself that this is the last time you will have that massive hangover again? That you are taking your very last bottle? The struggle to quit drinking, especially when it has become such a central part of your social life can seem endless and impossible to win. However, if you think about all the positive health benefits that will come with quitting, your resolve to stop will be strengthened. Here are a few of those benefits.

1. You will feel better

Alcohol has a numbing effect on the brain. Alcohol weakens your body and also compromises your reasoning capacity. It actually turns your brain into mush. When you are addicted, you go through life with every function of your body reduced to 60 percent efficiency, which is not good for you at all. Detoxing from beer and wine is not an easy process, but you can be assured that as soon as you begin the process, perhaps at one of the alcohol rehabs in Colorado, and manage to handle the withdrawal, you will feel healthier.

2. You will look younger

Did you know that alcohol is a natural diuretic? It dehydrates the skin and reduces its elasticity. When you have been drinking for a long time, collagen levels are depleted making you look much older than your actual age. To make matters worse, if you get cirrhosis, which damages the liver, your skin will turn yellow because of jaundice. When you give up alcohol, your collagen levels start getting replenished slowly, and if you adopt healthier dietary options, your youth and radiance will last longer.

3. You will get Social and emotional stability

People develop serious social problems and become isolated when they develop drinking problems. The main reason people get isolated is that the society does not have a high tolerance for alcoholics. Many friendships, marriages, and even family relationships have been dissolved because of alcohol addiction. When you are not drunk, you will be in a position to have healthy relationships with others and restore the social balance.

4. You will save money

Alcohol, just like any other addiction will cost you a lot. The money problem is even worse because unlike hard drugs that are sold in privacy and mostly abused in secret, alcohol is part of social interactions, which makes it costlier. When you add issues like DWI cases, legal problems, losing licenses and having to get a cab everywhere, you realize alcohol is a costly habit.

5. You will lose weight 

Did you know that alcohol contains almost double the caloric content that protein and carbs have per gram? Your body converts alcohol into fat and stores it under the skin or in the abdomen, which explains beer bellies. When you remove the alcohol calories from your diet, you will experience a dramatic loss in weight.

6. Your heart health will improve

Drinking alcohol causes problems such as high blood pressure and cardiomyopathy, which increase the chances of heart health conditions such as cardiac arrests and failure. After you quit alcohol, the chances of developing heart problems drop significantly.

7. You get a healthy liver

If you have been drinking for a while, it is possible that you have damaged your liver. If you stop drinking, there is a chance that you can heal the damage which has already occurred because the liver regenerates itself.

8. You will get your life back on track 

After you quit drinking, you make amends with the people who you wronged when you were addicted. You will have more time for friends and family, and you will get back to chasing your goals in life.

9. You will sleep better

Chronic alcohol consumption leads to sleeplessness, nightmares, frequent urination, and an erratic sleep pattern. When you stop drinking, you get to relax for longer hours, and you wake up better rested and ready to face the day.

10. Better thinking capacity

When you quit alcohol, the process of reversing the damage it had done to your brain starts immediately. You free up your mental energy and stop going through life foggily. You focus on what is important and do everything possible to achieve it.

These are the many benefits that you get from quitting alcohol. Whatever your dreams are, whether it is looking healthier, getting a promotion or writing that book, you will only achieve it when you quit alcohol completely.

Working On My Self-Esteem

A post shared by Mum’s the Word (@mumstheword84) on

Something that I’ve always struggled with is self-esteem. I don’t come from a particularly “build you up” kind of family (when I got my first pair of glasses, aged 11, my family decided to tell me I looked like Dennis Waterman and called me that for many years, knowing how much I hated it). One of my worst character traits is my ability to be self-deprecating, and as much as I find it hilarious to make mean jokes about myself, my kids are starting to notice and it’s probably not the best thing for them to hear.

Just last week, Husband said to me “you look nice”, and I replied “don’t be ridiculous!”. I should have just said “thanks love”, but I didn’t and as much as he didn’t say anything I could tell he was disappointed with my reaction. I know I need to work on my self esteem, but the sad fact is, I don’t know where to start.

I’ve heard a lot of women say that a good place to start when trying to make yourself feel good is with your underwear, so I was thinking of investing in a whole new load of undies, like this. I’m not much of a ‘frilly knickers’ kinda girl, so something simple yet pretty would be perfect for me.

Another thing I know I need to do is get back to the gym; when I started weightlifting last year, I felt like I’d finally found an exercise that I loved…and I was good at it, too. But a few things happened to knock me off the rails and I managed to completely give up on what I was doing, watching all the gains I’d made slip away. It was a a double blow because my self-esteem was already struggling and having to admit I’d failed at something AND watch all my hard work go down the drain had a bad effect on my mental state.

We had some friends over last night for the football and they asked me if I was still exercising, and while I was telling them (or more accurately, reeling off the list of excuses that I’ve cultivated about why I quit), I realised that I missed exercising and taking control of myself. I missed being productive and showing my girls that we should look after ourselves. And most of all, I missed that daily sense of achievement I got when I got my butt to the gym, ate within my macros and lifted a little bit more weight than last time.

So, for the sake of my girls, I’m going to try to get back to it.

I’m re-taking control.

What’s Your Excuse?

I’ve been thinking long and hard about writing this post because I don’t want it to seem like I’m attacking anyone. My friend Kate bestowed a mantra upon me a while back – “You Do You” – and I really strongly believe that everyone is free to do whatever the hell they want when it comes to their own body, but I’m not addressing people who CAN’T exercise here, or even those who don’t want to. If you’re happy the way you are or have physical difficulties, this post is not for you.

Now I’ve cleared that up, I want to talk about EXCUSES.

Last week, I saw an article about how “fat shamers” were on the wrong side of science and cited 7 different studies which apparently proved that some people were fat for reasons completely beyond their control and how people who “shame” others into exercising are bad. It gave reasons such as an “obesity gene”, poor sleep and how being overweight can make it harder to lose weight. In fairness to the people who wrote the article, each point was based on an academic study which proved the points they were making in a roundabout way. But here’s the thing:

They aren’t REASONS. THEY ARE EXCUSES.

I feel really well qualified to talk about these things because up until January of this year, I made a lot of excuses, including but not limited to:

  1. I have a range of conditions which make it hard to lose weight
  2. I don’t have time to go to the gym
  3. I can’t justify the money I spend on a gym membership
  4. I don’t want to be left with a lot of loose skin
  5. I can’t ask someone to look after the kids every time I go to the gym

There are SO many more that I could list, but we’d be here all day. Back in January, I decided to get real with myself and start being brutally fucking honest. I’d spent the majority of my twenties being overweight and I was damned if I was going to be unhappy with my body for the whole of my thirties too, so I decided to do something about it. And when your state of mind shifts, it’s amazing how those EXCUSES that you’ve made in the past become irrelevant.

Yes, I have diabetes and an under-active thyroid and endometriosis, but those things don’t stop me from exercising or moderating what I eat. Yes, I have a busy life, but so does everyone and if I can make time to binge-watch whole series of shows in a week, then I can definitely find time to exercise. My current gym membership costs £9.99 a month – I used to spend more than that in a week just on sushi! Loose skin wont kill me. High body fat will. I’m lucky that my MIL is an absolute gem and looks after BB when Husband and I work out, but even if she didn’t there are PLENTY of forms of exercise which can be done for free and with a toddler in toe.

As I said above, if you’re happy with yourself and don’t WANT to diet or exercise, then all power to you. But, if you fall into the HUGE percentage of people I see who give excuse after excuse for why you can’t eat better or move more, can I suggest taking a really long, hard look at those reasons? If you look and come up with solutions, that’s awesome. If you look and realise that it’s actually more to do with the fact that you don’t WANT to exercise, go from there.

I usually hate motivational bullshit which assumes that a one-size-fits all approach works for everyone, but there’s a poster up in my gym which really speaks to me;

If you want to make a change…I mean REALLY WANT IT, you’ll do it. Start small, install MyFitnessPal and track your food. Walk a little bit further than you normally would. Join a gym and try ONE class. You have nothing to lose except the weight and it will happen if you make the effort. Don’t allow the part of your brain which wants to sit at home eating ice cream and watching Netflix to overpower the part of your brain which wants to be healthier. Articles like the one which prompted this post are really not helpful because they just nurture unhealthy excuses for you to remain overweight or unfit. I’m all for love and support and being happy with yourself, but kidding people into thinking that their weight is completely out of their control is damaging and dangerous.

As I said, I’m not attacking anyone, just hoping to make you think a little differently about things in the hope that it might help you a little bit. What excuses are you making to yourself? Leave me a comment below.