Tag Archives: working Mum

More…. good food + fizz = more of me

Last year I had 2 beautiful suits tailored just for me.  I feel like a million dollars when I am wearing them and they (used to) fit me like a glove.  Starting in Spring of this year, I noticed that they felt a little tight around the middle, but put it down to the winter layer of fat reserves that would naturally fall off with the arrival of warmer weather.  🙂

However, once I returned from our summer trip back home to the UK (and Germany), I could not even pull the zip up on both suits.  Now, 1 suit I could convince myself that the dry cleaner had shrunk, but BOTH suits……  One solution would have been to take the suits back and had them altered to fit me now but I immediately dismissed that as NOT an option!

It was time for drastic action!  I love my food and I love a glass or 2 of fizz/wine so I obviously needed to introduce something else into the mix.  My friend Earoel had been talking about joining the Gym across the road from our office as she wanted to get fitter.  She was looking for some additional motivation and had been trying to convince me to go with her.  3 weeks ago, we decide to check it out and give it a try.  Thanks to her great negotiating skills, we got a 3 month membership at a good price and so started the regime.

In looking at the rest of my life and priorities, I decided that I would have to squeeze the work outs into my day very early in the morning.  This works on multiple levels because Owen is primarily in charge of the kids in the morning (getting them up, fed, dressed ready for school and off to the school bus).  If I could get an hour in at the Gym before work, then I would not have to cut any more precious family time out or compromise my work calendar and commitments.

3 weeks on and it is working!!  It is such a struggle to get out of bed so early on the mornings that I exercise, but once I am there I feel great.  Also, I feel better during the whole day: my mind is clearer and I have more energy.  I am mixing cardio with weights and set myself goals to improve just a little bit from the previous day.  In just 3 short weeks, I can see a little more definition on my arms and although I still cannot get my suits on, I know that I will be able to by Christmas.

I am writing about this because I believe that if I make this a public commitment, then I will have additional motivation to keep going.  I am determined to have toned arms, belly and legs by Christmas.  8 more weeks of regular exercise and I should be there.  I even took my exercise stuff on holiday to Thailand and used it!!!!

The Gym we go to is brand new and as they are still building their membership, it is always empty (especially so early in the morning!)  They have the latest and greatest equipment, wonderful locker rooms/shower facilities and it is spacious, clean and modern.  I am actually enjoying the exercise and I like that Earoel and I support one another and push each other to meet on our exercise days.

A Shang-high and Shang-low week or Juggling Act Part 2

Last week, Owen was in the UK for the week.  I took Thursday and Friday off so that I could focus on the kids (plus all the Christmas activities that were taking place or needed to be done).  I am so fortunate that the Ex-pat community is so supportive of one another.  My friends here all know that I work (sometimes long hours) and I had many emails offering to look after the kids, feed us or cover school bus drop off and pick up.  It is such a relief to know that I am not alone when Owen has to travel back to the UK for his pain relief medication.  In fact, I was over whelmed with the emails that came pouring in.  I am not alone here. Neither is Owen.    This is truly a community that cares about one another.

So, the Shanghai-high part of the week was the support that I received.  The Shang-low part of the week was the juggling act…..

I feel guilty calling upon my friends to help.  I know that they really want to help and that they do not think anything of it.  But, I still cannot help feeling guilty.  In my head, I am trying to work out when I can repay.  And, I know that they don’t want repaying!  It is part of the Ex-pat life to support one another and I am trying really hard to be a part of that.  It is so difficult to release some of the independence and “I can do it” mentality.  Work is especially difficult at the moment as we approach year end with lots of changes for 2013.  I am feeling under pressure all round.  It is a constant juggling act between home and work – the experts are right – you really cannot have it all 😦

While the mice are away……..

It has been a very lonely existence for me in Shanghai all by myself.  Owen and the kids left at the beginning of July to spend the summer in the UK and I will join them at the beginning of August.  Work is so busy for me and I have so much weekend work during July that I would not have seen very much of them had they been in China.  BUT, this weekend was my 1 weekend at home alone and it was a horrible feeling.

I would like to send my sincere thanks to Steve Jobs for inventing FaceTime.  I hope he can feel my gratitude beyond the grave.  FaceTime is what keeps me sane – I can actually see my beautiful children and feel like I am in the same room as them when I check in each night.  (Not forgetting my gorgeous husband either!)  The other great thing about FaceTime is that it is free over wifi!!!

Back to the weekend…….  Friday night was supposed to be a casual dinner with a group of people from the office (ex-pats and locals).  We went to a Japanese restaurant for Teppanyaki and Sushi, which was a great choice as I love Japanese – especially the Saki!  The thing about Saki is that you do not feel any effects while you are sitting down and drinking it – it is only when you stand up that you realize your legs do not work any more…….  Which is exactly what happened to me!  I quickly realized that I probably needed to be at home before I made a fool of myself so made a fast exit.

5.00am came banging through my dreams – I knew I had been drinking Saki the night before and needed pain relief!  6 hours later, 4 Tylenol Extra later and I felt much better!  After several weeks of overcast, cloudy and rain, this weekend was perfect – glorious blue skies and sunshine.   I spent the afternoon at our compound pool before getting ready to see Shrek the Musical with a group of friends from the office.  The Shanghai Cultural Center is a modern, great acoustic theatre that has an intimate feel to it, despite seating seating about 2000.   Normally a great facility for experiencing a musical, however, “This is China” and things are a little different.  I should have been warned when I saw people walking up and down the aisles with signs saying “quiet please” in Mandarin and English.  The show starts and it is in English with big screens either side of the stage displaying Chinese translation.  Only issue with this is that most Chinese kids in the audience cannot read Chinese so their parents are loudly explaining what is going on in each scene.  As the show progresses, the kids are getting more animated, louder and more fidgety.  No-one cares about the noise level!  We get through the show – not bad, but not in my Top 10 of musicals.  I probably would have enjoyed it more with Isabelle and Oliver.

After the show we all headed out to Zahapats Mexican for dinner and drinks.  After a little dancing on the bar (a la Coyote Ugly!) it was time for me to call it a night.  It was a fabulous night out with a lovely mix of locals and ex-pats who all had fun together.  As this is 1 of my only weekends in Shanghai while the family is away, it was nice to have some plans to be out and about.

Juggling Act

I am not very good at Juggling.  This week, Owen is back in the UK and I am trying to juggle being a mum full time and work full time.  It just doesn’t work and I am failing at both.

In the continuing on-going saga of the medical coverage here, Owen has had to return to the UK at very short notice to meet with his UK Doctors.  We have International Medical insurance for our time in China and are also registered with an International Medical facility here.  At first glance, this is state of the art, with modern equipment, English speaking Doctors and staff, clean facilities and very professional looking surroundings.  However, it is almost impossible to get a straight answer and the answer can change from week to week.  Consequently, information we were given on our look/see visit in December has proven to be false and has left Owen unable to get some of the medication that he takes to alleviate the back pain he continually suffers with.  So, it is back to the UK for Owen this week.  I hope he comes back……..

Meanwhile, I am juggling school bus stop drop off, pick up, dinner, laundry, homework, remembering and planning for all the different school activities, commuting, meetings, deadlines, projects and conference calls.  For only 4 days. 

Luckily, the Ex-pat community really do support one another.  My meeting ran late yesterday and I was cutting it fine to get back in time for the school bus drop off.  1 quick text and my mind was put at rest with an immediate offer to collect them and keep them until I got there (I was 5 minutes late!)

This week I feel like a total failure at everything.  I really don’t know how single mothers cope – to my mind it is impossible to do it all.  I am so grateful for such a supportive husband who takes care of so much that I often take for granted.  Never again!!!!!!!