2018 – THE YEAR AHEAD

Happy New Year!

I’m back from my blogging mega-break (9 weeks!) and so excited for the year ahead. I absolutely love New Year.  I know some people think it corny or depressing after the excitement of December but I find myself getting giddy at the possibilities of a whole new year. Will 2018 finally be the year I make it into the World Series of Poker?? OK maybe the year I finally just learn to play poker but you get the gist.

As soon as Christmas Day is over I’m boxing up baubles and clearing the decks ready to say goodbye to the year gone by and welcome the next with open arms.

New Years Eve is my day. It starts early with a train journey to Brighton armed with coffee, a notebook and a pen. To start, some mooching in The Lanes and a visit to the art gallery then lunch and a glass of bubbles. After weeks of Christmas planning, visiting relatives and the general chaos of school holidays it’s a welcome breath of fresh air. Not to mention a walk along the seafront and a literal breath of fresh air to blow away the cobwebs of 2017. The journey home is spent scribbling my hopes and dreams for the year ahead. By which I mean a giant ‘TO-DO’ list with a few personal goals thrown in here and there. I won’t bore you with the entire lot but here are a few of the things I’m looking forward to in the next 365 days:

Health & Beauty

One thing I won’t be doing is starting another flipping diet! Nope. Wasted enough of my life to that soul-sucking nonsense. I ate my own body weight in Christmas cake, stuffing and stollen over the past few weeks and don’t feel remotely guilty about it. In fact I’m not even done yet so jog on Slim Fast.

My fitness goals come from a desire to challenge myself or try something new. Last year I did a couple of 10k runs (my first ever ‘proper’ races) and really enjoyed it. I’ll admit I’m definitely a fair weather runner though and there is nothing that would get me out pounding the pavements on a cold, dark day. For that reason I want to sign up for another 10k race this year to give me the incentive to dust off my trainers and get training again. Other than that I’d like to learn a bit more about strength training using my own body weight in a bid to tone up before we start peeling off the layers for Summer.

Drink more water. Urgh, I know I say it every year but I rarely drink enough and I know it’s a really good habit to get into – please tell me I’m not alone!! Despite its many benefits I still struggle to force myself to down anywhere near the recommended 6-8 glasses a day.

Wear SPF daily, book dental appointment to finally replace those two fillings (*cries*) and while I’m at it sort my barnet out.

 

Style.

I know what I’m comfortable wearing. I can walk into any clothes shop and easily pick out what’s ‘me’ and what isn’t. I know if a colour works with my pasty Irish skin and dark hair or makes me look like the undead. I’m bored though. My Converse/skinnies/jumper combo is my safe place and I love it but I need to be more adventurous with my choices. Nothing too mid-life crisis-y, I don’t want to to look like the lovechild of Grayson Perry and Lady GaGa. I’ve already made a start with my new Honey & Toast saddlebag, in a much braver colour choice than usual. I love it, but to be honest I’ve never met a leopard print I didn’t like.

Interiors wise I’m planning to ditch one of the sofas asap and replace it with a cosy armchair to free up some space for my children to fill with tat. Before Christmas I painted the master bedroom white and am on the lookout for some new bedding and copper/marble accessories for zhuzhing. Spud fancies a bedroom makeover this year for his 10th birthday which luckily is 9 months away as it will probably take us that long to agree on a wall colour.

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SHE LOVES HERSELF – BABIES, BISCUITS & BOOZE

 

A massive thank you to everyone who read or commented on the first SLH post – I was so happy to see such a positive reaction and hope you all found it enjoyable and inspiring! This week we’re joined by Ellen from Babies, Biscuits & Booze who very kindly agreed to take part to show her support and sprinkle a few body positive vibes onto the interwebs…

Name 3 parts of your body that you love and tell us why they’re so fabulous?

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SHOVE YOUR SPIRALIZER – I’M OLDER AND WISER

I’ve written previously about my own experience with diets over the years but when I read recently that leading members of The National Obesity Forum had resigned following a disagreement about their latest diet report I found it unnerving. I mean, if these guys, the ones with the findings of numerous scientific trials and years of medical research under their noses can’t agree on basic guidelines for healthy eating then who can we rely on?!

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As we know there are no shortage of diet options to consider, from the multinational, multi-billion pound big boys (Weight Watchers, Slim Fast et all) with their processed but convenient offerings to the current wave of self-confessed, (often unqualified) healthy eating ‘foodie’ experts. You know, the ones with the bone-broth recipes and the trust fund? Well I’m the first to hold my hands up and admit to entrusting my diet to all the above and more, certain that it would result in me rocking my bikini on the beach this time.

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Eventually I realised I was basically funding the industry that was preying on my own insecurities and reinforcing the idea that physically I wasn’t quite up to scratch. It was probably the combination of getting older and having kids that made me realise 1. life’s short, I should probably stop wasting time weighing chia seeds and 2. suddenly wobbly bits aren’t as big a deal when you’re busy keeping humans alive.

My children are 5 and 7 and both understand the basic effects of healthy or (too much) unhealthy food already. Personally I believe this is important but I am all too aware how it can quickly turn into an obsession later in life, especially with girls – not to mention the emotional issues to boot. The best I can do is stress the importance of a healthy balance and raise them to be confident, clued-up individuals (no pressure!)

I completely understand a quick ’emergency health kick’ a few weeks prior to the holidays or following a month of existing on mince pies and green triangles for example, but when half the weekly food shop requires a trip to Holland & Barrett, sorry I’m out.

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So, older and wiser (?) I have finally realised that what has been made to appear difficult, almost impossible all these years, is actually very, very simple. It’s not sexy, it doesn’t involve ground Peruvian root vegetable powder and it won’t get you a book deal. It IS common sense, moderation, a bit of self-discipline, a bit of exercise and a lot of positivity.

Below are a few sources of inspiration I enjoy using these days that don’t promote any type of extreme diets or require any form of food w*nkery. They cover a range of aspects that I consider to be important to my overall health, I hope you enjoy them too and find them useful:

**FOOD**

Food & Nonsense A registered dietitian, Helen tells it like it is and debunks the myths surrounding foods and fads. A really great site for anyone with an interest in health, nutrition and exercise.

Nic’s Nutrition Also a registered dietitian,  I have followed Nic online for a few years and although she does incorporate foods that could fit into the ‘trendy’ category, the recipes on the site are generally very doable and usually offer alternative ingredient options. Not a fan of protein powder? No problem, use hot chocolate powder instead! There are also recipes for special dietary requirements and many articles on nutrition.

**FITNESS**

Fitness Blender Free workouts for any fitness level – so many home workouts to choose from. You can tailor your programme to suit your own needs, oh did I mention,  IT’S COMPLETELY FREE?!

Food For Fitness I first discovered Scott through his podcasts when I was looking for something fitness related to listen to while I was out walking. His guests come from a wide range of health and fitness industry professions and cover topics such as motivation, eating disorders, mindfulness, food quackery and much more. Bonus points for the healthy, high protein recipes made from – wait for it – normal food!

**HEALTHY MIND**

The Moderation Movement brilliant, interesting, no BS articles with a common sense approach to health, fitness and body image. I could spend my entire day on this site!

Honest Mum Vicki’s site is jam packed full of articles on food, fashion, blogging tips, lifestyle, family (her adorable boys!) and much more. Most importantly for me, Vicki is all about encouraging women to believe in themselves and helping you to achieve success (however you define it). Her positivity is contagious, building women up and leading by example! This article actually inspired me to ‘go public’ as a blogger which was a huge step in self-belief for me, as someone with no writing experience.

Headspace “Gym membership for the mind”. A great little meditation app for when things are getting a bit much and you just need to Ctrl-Alt-Delete your mind. I used the free trial and then took out an annual subscription which gives you lots of options to choose from based on what you need. Cheaper than therapy and more socially acceptable than gin before lunchtime.

Deliciously Stella Yes I did spell it correctly, no I don’t mean the other one. If laughter is the best medicine then there is nobody better to tickle your ribs when it comes to mocking the current wave of Insta-foodies. Follow her on twitter or Pinterest for ‘alternative’ options to green juice or avocado on toast. Oh and she does podcasts too!

So there you have it. Now I’d love to hear any recommendations you have for similar no-nonsense inspiration or body positive champions. If you enjoyed this please feel free to comment below and share the love. X

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION FAIL!

This year I was pretty confident I’d sussed the New Year’s Resolution thing. Aim low. Keep it simple and achievable. Anything weightloss/diet related – doomed to fail almost immediately if my previous 25 year track record was anything to go by. Gym memberships –   might as well save the hassle and just burn a few notes. In fact anything more ambitious than wash, dress, keep everyone alive warranted a degree of doubt.

Feeling pretty confident about this year’s resolution I decided to invest (a whole £4.50!) in a sexy piece of kit bound to guarantee success.

What do you mean it’s not sexy? It’s Tupperware! Look it’s got clippy bits and twisty bits and everything! OK, so it’s no Cumberbatch but I was quite excited with my new purchase and the prospect of the great times we had ahead of us, all plump skinned and sharp minded. Yes I was simply going to DRINK. MORE. WATER.

Easy as that, fill her up in the morning and off I go, happily sipping my 2 litres throughout the day. Which I did, for a week. Then things went slightly off plan where most days I’d either pour a glass and just about manage to get through that or forget to drink any then begrudgingly gulp a couple of glasses down before bedtime leading to the 3am ‘OMG I’m desperate for a wee but I’m SO tired, maybe I can hang on for 4hrs’ thing. Last time my trusty Tupperware friend saw the light of day was for a couple of hours at Flump’s birthday party, so not a total waste of £4.50.

How ironic then, that exactly halfway through the year I was invited by Robinson’s for a kick up the bum talk on the importance of the wet stuff as part of their Enjoy Drinking More Water campagne. While the kids were entertained by staff at the beautiful WWT London Wetland Centre venue, the gorgeous Helen Bond (Registered Dietitian and living proof of the drinking water = glowy skin and sparkly eyes theory) explained just how much our bodies need water in order to function, kids even more so!

We all know we should be getting more H2O into us on a daily basis, I’ll admit I’m shockingly bad at this at the best of times but especially when it’s cold outside! My kids put me to shame really, glugging bottles of the stuff throughout the day and even taking water to bed with them every night. Naughty Mummy.

I shall be entirely grateful to Helen for debunking, once and for all, the myth that tea/coffee dehydrates the body – it doesn’t, woo and indeed hoo, I am not destined to live my life as dehydrated as Tim Peake’s next meal. Phew.

Obviously there was an array of Robinsons squash flavours to try (I didn’t even know apple squash was a thing, but I like it!) and we left laden with the good stuff to enjoy at home- yay! (N.B. as upper body workouts go, hauling litre bottles of squash around every kind of London public transport you can imagine, is hard to beat.)

Thank you to Robinson’s and the staff at London Wetland Centre who invited us to be part of this event, with the importance to ‘drink up’ fresh in my mind, some lovely (sugar-free!) squash to pimp my drink and the help of my two new mates here I’m quietly confident that Resolution Revisited:Return of the Jug will be a roaring success!
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