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Can I add, this is NOT me, Yet... This is Krish.....
Its 5am and I am woken by the all familiar sound of the alarm clock buzzing away.

I thump my hand down on the “off” button and roll my way out of the bedroom and pour myself into my gym clothes, wiping sleep from my eyes whilst I go.

Slowly I pad down the stairs, grab a glass of water, 4 of my weights and my work out sheet from the fridge (I find this helps me avoid the wrong stuff if I know how hard I have to work to make up for it!) and head to the living room.  I choose a channel and start my work out. 

You see this has been the start of my day for the past few weeks (give or take a few days where I am able to get to the gym); this coupled with a great nutrition plan has made me see changes in my body that I never thought possible.

You see for a little experiment, and to test my levels of determination, I have enlisted the help of a personal trainer.  No, I have not come into my millions, nor am I punching above my (over) weight to turn all “Essex”, and those who know me, will know that I certainly do not need to be shouted and screamed at down the gym to keep me motivated (though occasionally a friend HAS done this and its helped!).  This is something different.  I have a VIRTUAL TRAINER.  And if you are like me, with minimal time to spare and limited funds, but can also be quite self-motivated, then this option is a perfect one for you.

My Personal Trainer (I love saying that..!) is called Krish.  She has an amazing and inspiring story to tell which is touched upon in her blog (http://k-lossfitness.blogspot.co.uk) and as an added bonus is super clued up on the nutrition side of things, which is where I have struggled in the past.

So here is what I have been getting:

-          one to one advice about my personal goals

-          personal work outs tailored to my goals and the time that I have

-          recommended nutrition to aid my goals

-          advice and support at my finger tips (mobile, email, text, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Facetime, Skype etc)

Firstly I need to add that the 5am starts are my choice.  I work full time and have two children. So that time in the morning is the only time I have where the house is peaceful, there are no text or telephone interruptions and there also happens to be some great re runs of Jeremy Kyle on the likes I haven’t seen since I was up feeding my kids as babies!  I feel that getting up this early to workout not only sets me up for the day, but it gets the exercise done with for the day so that I can have a guilt-free cuppa of an evening knowing that my muscles are using up energy whilst I rest.

My worksouts have been tailored for me so that I can work on all muscle groups (and that all important cardio) within an hour.  If I feel that the workouts are getting too familiar to my body or they need tweaking a little, Krish is always on hand to pop another one on email to me to keep me going.  Or, she will offer advice as to make each exercise harder.  These workouts have enabled me to see major changes to the muscle groups that I have wanted to focus on, and that has spurred me on to want to keep going and determined to “compete” with myself on a set of mini challenges.  Although I will never learn to love a squat – NEVER!

I am lucky in the sense that I enjoy eating well.  But I have in the past fallen into bad habits such as skipping meals, grabbing something “convenient” to eat and grabbing the nearest thing to me (normally biscuits or chocolate!).

Krish has inspired me to “eat clean”, to the point now where anything processed will not pass my lips.  I have realised the meaning of “fast food” in that it doesn’t mean processed rubbish in the microwave.  I can still use a microwave, but rustle up some scrambled eggs.  And with a little bit more organisation I am able to prepare good, lean, clean and nutritious food.  I have also learned to bake my sweet treats but without sugar – how great is that?!

I am still very much in the beginning phases of my goal.  But boy am I starting to see the results.

I have much more energy and enthusiasm for my day.  I am able to complete my morning work outs, lunchtime walks and evening runs without even thinking about it.  My nutrition is helping me keep the levels of energy to sustain this.

I am stronger physically and am starting to see big changes to the major muscle groups I wish to improve on.  With my drop in body fat the muscles are slowly starting to show through and I can now see how the focused exercises are shaping them to be just how I like them.  And for a control freak like me, this is perfect.

So what are you waiting for?  Get motivated, fit, inspired and also learn about the Krishy Krunch (the abs on Krish prove this, the woman looks amazing!), I guarantee you wont find it on YouTube!  All you need to know is right here:

http://k-lossfitness.blogspot.co.uk/

@klossfood (Twitter & Instragram)

klossfitness@gmail.com


 
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Look really carefully at this picture.

I want to draw your attention to something pretty special, to something that is the most amazing thing that I have seen in a long time.  Something I inspire to be....or more accurately something I aim to have.

No, not her gold medals.....God no that is far too much like hard work.  I am referring to her perfect, shiny, toned, bouncy and ripped abs.

You see since the Olympics, I have been inspired more by just their drive and ambition.  I have been inspired by their bodies.  I NEED to get into serious shape.

Throughout my adult life I have always had an interest in healthy eating and fitness.  I have dropped from the food and exercise wagon a few times.  When having my babies for example.  But its always been at the back of my mind to achieve a certain look and just recently, this is at the top of my priority list.

Through the support of my family and friends, I have been able to get to the gym more regularly than I have done in a long time.  Bored with my normal routines I have been researching certain exercises, coupled with a cleaner eating plan and I am slowly starting to notice small differences. 

Of course I am no where near the picture that i show above.  The "baby belt" needs some serious work (mothers, you will know this look, its like a muffin top but we can blame the fact we have kids on this....).  And I think I need some serious guidance and some pointers on how to really shift things up a gear.

So I appeal for help.  I am not looking for a freebie personal trainer.  I am appealing for a virtual trainer.  Someone who can lead me in my goal me to look like our dear Jess (without me becoming a triatlete).

Anyone willing to take the challenge will be rewarded with blog recognition galore.  They will receive super shout-outs on Facebook and Twitter, and the oppurtunity to to have a virtual client willing to take on the ultimate challenge.

So, anyone up for it?


 
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Hugs on the last day of school
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Thats me with all the hair!
There has been a lot of talk in the news this week about the nations 16 year olds getting their all -important GCSE results. 

Instantly I am propelled back to that time.  Of waking up early and eager to get to the school office to get my results, anticipating that this little slip of paper could determine my future.  If only I realised back then that the future would hold more worries than I would care to imagine than just this.

It also made me think.  Who was I back then?  Who have I become? Should I be proud?  If only I could have a glimpse in the future.

So 17 years later, here is a letter from a woman, to a girl…

"Dear Colette

I write to you on the morning you are getting your GCSE results.  I know you have worked hard, but I also know you could have worked harder.  You know that.

The friends, who have led you astray these past few weeks I can tell you now, will not be part of your future.  You have bound to be friends forever, and they will also hold a special place in your heart, and you WILL be in contact again.  But for now leave them behind you.  They each have different paths they wish to take.  Give it a few years and you will understand this.

However you do have two friends in particular who will go on to be the best friends you could hope for in your adult life.

When you open your results this morning, please don’t be disappointed.  You have done ok.  Not brilliantly, but ok.  And that will get you started.  You will just have to work that little bit harder at college to prove to everyone that you are capable. 

You are not a natural academic, you will come to realise this in time.  But you do have a lot of confidence and that will count for a lot in your future.  Just keep striding forwards with your head held high, and for goodness sake, wear a pair of heels.  Those clumpy DM’s do not impress anyone!

I know you look in the mirror and see someone fat.  You are not.  The last few years you have been the slimmest you have been for a while.  Just go easy on the chips and mayonnaise at college.  And the beer!  I know you won’t believe this now as you are not keen on exercise, but in the future you will adapt to a healthy lifestyle that makes you love exercise and the benefits it can bring. 

Be kind to the boy that keeps asking to walk you home from school.  I know you are seeing someone else at the moment.  Someone much older.  But this kind, local boy will one day make you the happiest woman alive, and will give you the greatest gift of two wonderful children.  Yes!  Children.  I know you don’t wish to consider children in your future, but they will be there.  And you will be overjoyed.

Stop smoking.  Seriously.  Stop.  They may be cheap now, and it may be a little dark and dangerous habit to impress the peers.  But when you are trying to give them up in the future when they have drained your health and your bank account you will wish you never started.

Dye your hair.  Please.  The bleached front and brushed out perm look really does nothing for you.

Work hard.  Put in all the hours you can and save up as much money as you can.  You have a wonderful life ahead of you and so many nice things to look forward to and pay for…..DO NOT, I repeat  DO NOT apply for that credit card.

Be nice to Mum and Dad.  You may not realise this but in the future when you have children of your own you will appreciate what they did for you and the sacrifices they made.  Think twice before you slam that door.

Ring your Grandparents.  You don’t have much more time left to talk to them as adults.  They are good, kind, knowledgeable people. Pick up the phone, pay them a visit.  They love you more than you will ever know.

Learn how to apply make up.  Seriously, you still don’t have a clue in 17 years time and that “grunge” era did women our age no favours!"

So there you have it.  My older “responsible” self advising the girl I used to be. 

What would you say to your 16 year old self?


 
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They live amongst us.  We see them in most of the places we visit on a regular basis, and they know us as much as we know them…..but we never speak.  They can appear at the local shop, the gym, work and the kids’ school. 

Let me explain:

I am lucky enough to work next to a major Supermarket.  Well it all depends on how you look at it.  Lucky in the sense that I can pop there at any time to get my essentials, but unlucky in the sense that they do the most AMAZING salad bar that I just cannot resist the urge to tuck into for my breakfast.

So there I am, in the car park waiting for them to open.  And around me are my stranger friends.

There is the man who leans on the post reading his paper.  His socks are pulled to up to his knees which are neatly encased in some rather fetching sandals.  He glances up every now and again to check the time on the giant clock outside the supermarket.

There are the two workmen, eager for their morning fry up.  They side step around the front entrance chatting about football and what their plans are for the weekend.

Sat in the car opposite is an old man.  Ready with his reusable shopping bags to grab the early morning discounted bargains.  I will see him later inside.

I take comfort in my stranger friends.  These are the people that I see most mornings, to whom I never speak to, but if they were not there I would be concerned. 

I don’t just have them at the supermarket.  They also appear at the gym, at the same time each weekend on the same machines or set of weights.  We quietly work out side by side, occasionally stopping to rest, change the channels on our Ipods or take a drink.  We never talk.  No, we never talk.

They appear at the school gates.  The parents of other children in the older classes.  We smile, we nod, we pass. We never talk.

I was quite touched recently by the depth of feeling my stranger friends have for me.

I have changed my gym patterns, meaning that my gym stranger friends have not seen me for a while.  I bumped into one in the changing room one weekend.  We smiled and exchanged a look of recognition then went about our business.  Just before she was leaving she turned and said:

“I am glad I bumped into you, we were getting worried”

Surprised, I questioned “Worried? How come?”.

She then went onto tell me that I had been the talk of the mornings gym goers.  When I had not turned up for a few mornings on holiday.  Then after a couple of weeks assumed that I had just decided to change gyms.

It was very sweet and I assured her that it was just because we had a shift in family life.  We stood and put the worlds to rights for a bit, before I left and pondered why I had not struck up conversation before with this lovely lady.

So, next time you see your stranger friends have a chat.  They could turn out to be a real friend!


 
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A couple of weeks ago, I lost the use of my right arm.  I was unable to do so much as text or dial a number without so much as a yelp of frustration or a carefully chosen word of distress turning the air blue.  It was painful, taxing and damn right annoying.

The right arm I am talking about is my smart phone, which went in for repair, and I am ashamed to admit, I was in agony.

Since the social network revolution I have embraced it.  I enjoy sharing my life with others through Facebook and Twitter, and with the invention of the smart phone this has become easier by being able to share photo’s, check emails, check the weather and even (gasp, shock,) RING people!  The smart phone has enabled me to work more efficiently, but by the same token it has also distracted me from my work.

I never really, truly understood how much I relied on my phone until I was without it.  I embarked on a digital diet, but one which was enforced, not chosen.  Here is my diary:

Day 1

Having established that my smart phone really has died on me, the decision is made to pop it in for repair as soon as possible.  I say a tearful goodbye at the counter whilst popping my little SIM into my old phone. It had been charged and ready for action, but the only action I can get from this phone is an old fashioned vibrate when a text comes through.  I scream in dispair desperately trying to tap a reply in, only to give up and ring my contacts. I don’t think I have spoken to so many of my contacts so much in my life….

My husband and work colleagues look on sympathetically.

Day 2

I have tried with the phone.  I really have.  I even pop a little case onto it to make the silver bulk of the phone look more attractive.  But I admit the love just isn’t there.  The ONLY benefit is that it takes just one charge over night and that will be it for the day, where it sits on my desk at work reminding me of what I have lost.

Day 3

Having endured two whole days of agony I ring the shop to find out the status of repair.  They refer me online where my status is “received for repair”. I cry.

Day 4

I miss Twitter. I miss Facebook. I miss the notifications that it’s my turn to play Words with Friends. I miss the pictures on Instagram but most of all I miss my phone.

Day 5

Having tried to use the social networks on my lap top I have since given up. It’s painfully slow, takes ages to log on and its just not familiar enough.  I have decided to give up until my phone is back and I can go back to normal.

I got told off for not even bothering to take my phone with me today when I left the house. I mean what’s the point?

Day 6

It’s the weekend and normally getting up early with the boys is no trouble at all.  I can happily endure the cartoons because I have my friends to chat to on the social networks, or emails to reply to. My phone isn’t even in reach. It sits there like a brick on the dining room table whilst I try and get the gist of Handy Manny, again.

Day 7

Sunday. Not a chance in hell of receiving my phone back today. I stomp, and sulk, and shoot daggers at my husband sat there happily tweeting. Smug git.

Day 8

I feel bad for calling the husband smug. He has kindly offered me use of his phone as he can see the agony I am in.  I politely decline; it wouldn’t be fair to put him through the pain. That’s love….

Day 9

I hate to say it but I feel rather liberated.  It’s been well over a week now since I had a functional 21st Century phone and dare I say it? I’m actually getting used to it.  My kids are getting used to having conversations with me which do not end in “in a minute” and I am no longer losing hours of my day playing Scrambled with Friends.  I no longer feel the urge to call the shop every day harassing them for an update. THis is just as well as I am sure they are on the verge of a restraining order...

Day 10

My phone is back!!

What I can conclude from this experience is that it really does us good to have a break from our digital lives once in a while.  I know mine was enforced, but this did make me realise how much I relied on my phone and since its return, I have used it less.  To the point where I am seriously considering choosing a few weeks in a year to take my digital diet, much in the same way I abstain from certain foods in Lent.

Who is joining me?


 
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I have never been particularly academic.  That's not to say I wasn't smart.  I firmly believe there are different levels of "smart".

I know someone for example who is an extremely bright and academic Lecturer yet it took her seven attempts to pass her driving test.  Something that I proudly did first time (just..!).

I guess in life I have been lucky to have been able to climb the career ladder from a combination of drive, and people I know.

Let me take you back to my first "proper" job.  This was working for 12 hours on a Saturday for a large chain of bakers.  This job was offered to me by an old friend of the family who managed the shop at the time.  Before long I was Head Saturday Girl (this is the drive I was talking about) but also gazing wistfully across the road at another large chain of cafes who I knew paid slightly more than the £1.45 per hour I was on.  I was friends with a girl who worked there, who put a word in for me and before long I was waiting tables and sweeping carpets for 10p an hour more than I was used to.

Back to the "drive" that I have.  It was becoming apparent that I had no interest in making waiting tables a long term career path for me.  With my late teens became a sense of vanity and before long the smell of grease and burgers seemed to seep from every pore.

A friend of my Mum's told her at this time that as soon as I was 16, I was able to start working at a Call Centre with her. This Call Centre were crying out for flexible staff so I found myself happily hanging up my apron, and donning some rather swanky (but second hand) office wear.  It was from working at this Call Centre on and off for the following 4 years, that I was able to make the contacts I did to start working for a Global Pharmacuetical Company as an Adminsitrator, which lead to working as an Account Manager and subsequent Business Development Manager (there's that drive again!) and now onto doing a job that I love as a Marketing Manager.

I could (if I'd had the brains) lead a very different career path.  If I had managed to scrape higher than 3 GCSE passes I would have gone onto do A-Levels rather than a basic business course at college.  If I had passed the A-Levels I would have perhaps gone onto University and got myself into masses of debt and permanent liver damage.  But this would have meant I would not have had to oppurtunity to work aboard and thus broaden my horizons.

No, I am happy with the brains I was born with.  And ever happier with the friends and family I have been blessed with! Its them I have to thank to be leading the life I am today.  Thankfully, because its not like I could have relied on brains alone!

 
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I blogged recently on my exposure to hormonal pregnant women.  These pregnant women are now starting to pop the babies out left, right and centre and it really has confirmed things for me good and proper - I. DONT. WANT. ANY. MORE. KIDS.

This is not a decision I have just made.  I knew from the minute I held my youngest son in my arms that I was NEVER going through that again.  It was such a relief to finally come to the end of my pregnancy and meet my little bundle that I swore there and then I would have no more.

This revelation may upset the PM's (Proper Mummy's) out there.  Yes I was extremely lucky to have fallen pregnant in record time with my two children (much to my husband's dismay there wasn't much "practising"), and up until I had children I had always wanted three children (having experienced the cost of having just two I have no idea how normal people survive financially with more than that).  But pregnancy to me was a means to an end.

I make it sound like I had a rotten time and wanted the pregnancies over and done with.  This is not the case.  Apart from a mild case of SPD (Symphasis Pubic Dysfunction) I sailed through my pregnancies.  Of course I had all the usual ailments, but I did not suffer from morning sickness, nor did I go off any food (I wish, it was the opposite!), nor did I have any major back pain.  Both of my children were born exactly a week early, with very simple and quick births where I did not require any stitches or medical intervention (including pain relief....this I may add was not a choice, I was SCREAMING for some but I was "too far gone" apparently - what do they know?)

I just wanted to see my babies, and lived for every scan so I could get a glimpse at the little bundles.

I breast fed for the minimal amount of time (I had wine to drink, it had been a while) and a body to get back into shape.  I was looking forward to getting back to work and more importantly, was looking forward to living my life with my two beautiful children, knowing that I had so much to look forward to.

So now they are pretty self sufficient.  My youngest starts school in September and things are FINALLY starting to get easier.  So when I held my friends new born baby in my arms last week I cooed, mmmm'd and arrrr'd.  I stroked his little cheek and rubbed his little nose. I fell in love instantly with the little bundle.  But when he started to squirm and produce something very sticky and smelly down below I happily passed him back to my friend (who has 3 other children I may add) and thanked my lucky stars that I didnt have to go through all that again.

I had another reminder of my firm decision at a picnic at the weekend.  I was happily sat back with a glass of wine in my hand watching my two gorgeous boys running around the park together, whilst my friend battled with her toddler.  He knocked glasses over, he picked up mud, he tried eating the mud, he cried, he filled his nappy, he toddled off everywhere he shouldn't do and my friend looked exhausted.  I carried on drinking, and smiled smugly.

Oh but I'm not a rotten person. I certainly do not want this blog post to come across as me being a selfish Mum.  That is SO not the case.  I think I'm a pretty good Mum.  My children are my world and I want to give my two children everything that I can.  But I also want to have a little piece of my life back and this is just starting to happen.

So to all the parents out there, are you done? Or are you looking to bake some more lovelys to add to your brood?

I think you know my take on the matter......!





 
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I  had a conversation recently with a peer.  This peer happened to be a work colleague and I was trying to explain the benefits of social networking in the work place.

Now I have to add that work colleague is from the generation above me.  They have survived life away from Sky television, mobiles and even faxes (as have I), but they have just spent that little bit longer than me doing so.

The conversation went as follows:

Me: "Ah, just tweeted out that promotion, time for a coffee".
Colleague:  "tweeted?"
Me: "Yes as in twitter.  I have put a message on twitter to all the people who follow us about that promotion".
Colleague:  "Followers?"
Me: "BIG SIGH"

You see some people just don't get it.  And never will.

Don't get me wrong.  When facebook was first introduced to me, the only experience I had of social networking was the kids (I speak of others, the younger generation, not my own kids who were not around then!) talking about MySpace.  Oh and a bit about chat rooms.  But when I recieved that invitation to Facebook I had just given birth to my eldest son and wanted to show him off to the masses, which I did.

Admittedly Twitter took a little longer to get used to.  But now I flit between the two depending on what social (ahem sorry SOCIAL network) mood I am in, or depending on the needs of my business.

However when talking to the people who just don't the whole social networking thing, I do feel like I need to elborate on the language.  Have any of these appeared in the Oxford Dictionary yet?

Tweet
DM
IM
Retweet
RT
Facebooked
Liked
#

Mmm put like that I can see what they mean.

Do you "get" social networking?

 
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My twitter time line is full of swearing, my husband is shouting at the telly and there is a familiar drone coming from the telly.  That God awful noise of crowds chanting, of whistles blowing, and over-paid young men throwing themselves and and down a football pitch.  Yes, its the bloody Euro Football Cup Champions League Country Final thing.  And I hate it.

I haven't always hated football.  Being the youngest of 3 girls, my Dad had high hopes that may be this time, just maybe his youngest daughter would have a little interest in the game that he loved so much. 

I have a hazy recollection of collecting Panini stickers for the 1986 World Cup, and often shock male peers with my knowledge of footballers from around that time.

Needless to say my brief love affair with the wonderful game quikly disappeared along with Englands' World Cup dreams, and my Panini book became relegated to the bottom of my sock drawer to help keep the bottom from falling out.

It was at this point my Dad lost interest in trying to prise me away from my books to watch a football match with him.  The closest I think he got was my participation in helping him with the weekly "spot the ball" competition (we never won).

I feigned some interest when I started dating my now husband.  I would stand dutifully at the side lines of his teams' football match cheering them on.  I would sit awkwardly week on week in the club house bar, smoking endless Mayfair Lights and supping pints (pretty classy back then...!) whilst my eyes glazed over listening to the men and their football talk.  Concentrating more on the need NOT to go to the toilet so I wouldn't have to venture into the "ladies"...brrrr the memories.

With the honeymoon well and truely over, I was happy for the men to do their football thing, and I was rolled out at every England Euro or World match when it was clear to me that there was going to be lots alcohol involved.

But over the years my dwindling interest in football has turned to resentment.  Once famed for their talents (and I am not doubting this), the footballers of this generation are more about the sponsorship, celebrity and waif-wife. Their weddings are plastered over the glossies, their affairs are splattered over the tabloids and their childrens faces hidden from public view.  Yet on they strut at each match.  Looking coifed and chisled to within an inch of their lives, only to roll around like they are have been shot if an opponent happens to knock a carefully gelled hair out of place.  I find it rather sickening.

However, there was a little glimmer of  a few weeks back.  Whilst flicking through the channels I happened to find Soccor Aid.  Ok granted I was only drawn to this when I see the gorgeous Robbie Williams looking very fine as he was limbering up at the side of the pitch, but aside from this capturing my attention, I did watch the match for a good 20 minutes. And it was then that I realised that if every football match was like this, I would watch a lot more football. 

Yes it was slower, the skills were not honed, and quite frankly I was worried for a lot of the older players/celebrities old tickers as they huffed and puffed up and down the pitch.  But the game was friendly, they all seemed to be enjoying it, and I am told it raised a lot of money for charity.

So I guess its not the game I hate, its the players, the attitude and everything that surrounds the footballing industry.

How do you feel about it?


 
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Well all know one, may be two.  If you have lots of friends you may even have half a dozen.  They lurk within the realms of their Ipads, Iphones, lap tops and work desk tops.  Waiting, just waiting for the oppurtunity to worm their way out and try and make you feel as small as possible. 

I am talking, of course, about the Facebook Braggers.

Ok ok, I know we ALL have an element of this inside of us.  What's the point of updating our status unless its to shout something from the roof tops?  We all do it.  But there are some who do it ALL THE TIME.

Quite recently I have been on the verge of deleting a certain someone from my friends list because of this.  Once intrigued about this persons life (as we used to be back in the day when Facebook was a novelty), I now have the urge to make negative comments every time they post an update (I never do).  They irritate the hell out of me with their daily comments that seem to somehow have the knack of touching every fibre of every nerve in my body.

If I have had a rough night with the kids, you can bet your bottom dollar that this person will post the next morning about the amount of sleep they have had and how they are feeling refreshed.  Money worries? Its a dead cert that this person will post about a bonus they have been given or how they are booking their next luxurious holiday.  Crap day at the office?  Ah dont worry this person has just got a promotion.  And those days when the kids have been absolute devils? Their cherubs and their achievements are plastered all over my timeline.

I sound mean, bitter and jealous.  Its not how its meant to come across.  But sometimes the Facebook Braggers we all know and detest can get right on our humps.

So will I ever delete them?  I doubt it.  Its not their fault really.  They are doing what we all do.  Being proud of the good things in their life and why not at the end of the day? 

And besides, I have every certainty that I am someone elses Facebook Bragger, but they wont be so rude as to blog about me....yet!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post has NOT been advtertised on Facebook.