She Loves Herself – Motherhood:The Real Deal

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I’m so happy to have Talya from Motherhood: The Real Deal join me as a guest for the She Loves Herself series this week. If you haven’t already, then get yourself over to her blog for a whole heap of funny, informative, warts and all posts on the joys of parenthood!

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Name 3 parts of your body that you love and tell us why they’re so fabulous?
My arms – they are pretty toned apart from some very stubborn bingo wingy bits that have taken up residence on the under side…whatevs!
My back – it’s pretty defined thanks to my shoulderblades!
My bum – because it still seems to give my other half great pleasure haha!

Share a memory of when you felt particularly good about yourself.
I think as a mummy, we get so used to knocking around in whatever the hell we pick out of the cupboard with sleep still in our eyes. I think, for me it’s when I actually get to wear the stuff I want to wear, spend some time on making myself look and feel good,  love my body in whatever that is, and look at the mirror and think…hmmm pretty foxy! Sadly, that opportunity doesn’t come round much – *sob*

Has your relationship with your body changed over time?
I think I used to nurture my body a lot more – I had time for infinite amounts of exercise, and to make sure I ate what was best for it. Now times have changed and there is a lot of compromise but I do try to keep working on it, just the emphasis has changed. I no longer can be, or want to be that person. I think there is a form of acceptance that has come, me and my body have an agreement – it’s not the same version I had before, but it’s like we’re better friends as a result.

If you are a parent (or have little people in your life), has this changed how you perceive or discuss healthy body image?
Definitely, while my body has changed a lot since parenthood – more on that in my vlog here – https://youtu.be/hIixCMtJ-aM – I think so too has my idea of what a healthy body is. Once upon a time, it was all about the skinny. Now it’s all about the strong and nourished…because ultimately I want that for my child so I feel that’s something we should all aspire to too.

What advice would you give to your teenage self on the subject of body image?
You are a work in progress. The body you have now is not the body you will have in ten or twenty years time. Accept what you have now, and don’t want anything too much. Don’t look to other people’s bodies, and especially don’t be fooled by everything you see on social media for you’re only ever seeing the best, edited versions of themselves…not all the wobbly bits they have probably edited out!

What’s the best thing you’ve ever done for your body?
Exercise. My whole body just feels a lot better when I exercise, and to me that has to include some form of resistance training as part of that. It’s no good just “losing weight” or whatever, you need to be strong too as we are effectively laying the path now for ourselves and what we will be in old age. And I am seriously concerned about frailty in old age!

Share one confidence boosting trick for days when you’re feeling a bit ‘meh’.
Dance! The days when you feel meh, put on some really cheesy music, grab you little people if they will let you, and bounce around for 10 minutes or so with them if they will let you. Guaranteed pick me up.

Who in the public eye do you admire for celebrating natural body shape?
I love Davina McCall’s attitude. She has worked hard to attain her physique but looks like a woman, curves and all. She knows that nourishing your body is important. And that we are all a work in progress.

Give us your best body positive quote or mantra.
Your body is a sacred vessel – so treat it that way.

I pledge to love myself a little more today by…
Getting up and dancing around with my three year old!

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Thanks so much to Talya for such a positive and inspiring post – I love her view on having an agreement between you and your body, such a healthy mindset and one I’m stealing for myself from now on! 

If you enjoy this series and would like to take part then please get in touch – I’d love to hear from  you!

100 Things Chuck Out Challenge

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Whaddya mean never heard of it? The famous ‘100 Things Chuck Out Challenge’? Come on you must have seen the book? Alright, I admit I made it up. I mean AS IF someone could write an entire (best-selling) book about chucking stuff out and how it can lead to a more confident, successful you, giving you the courage to move on from negative relationships, achieve all your life goals and even lose weight while dancing in a meadow with magical unicorns, or something. That would be INSANE.

I just fancied chucking some stuff out and thought 100 things would be a nice little challenge (yes I do know I need to get out more thank you very much). I’m generally pretty good at ditching stuff and even have my own little mantra: ‘If in doubt, chuck it out’, with one small caveat being ever-so-slightly out of date food, in which case I’m a bit more ‘It’s probably fine, just scrape that bit off’.

Anyway, much to my 5yr olds disgust I’m constantly sneaking her “really, really most favourite ever *insert useless tat*” into the bin while she’s at school. In fact I’m pretty sure she’s become the terrible hoarder she is as a direct result of my efforts to rid the house of her junk prized possessions. Mean Mummy.

To address this I’ve implemented a pre-chuck stage, a ‘trash stash’ if you will, where I now temporarily move the offending items into a secret holding station (cupboard under the stairs – shhhhhh!) and if Flump doesn’t sniff it out like a little truffle pig it gets ditched the next week. Small victories.

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Due to the school holidays starting stupidly early this year I didn’t get a chance to do my annual, sneaky pre-Christmas toy cull in preparation for the arrival of shiny new treasures. Eye-twitch aside, the shiny new treasures proved to be a welcome distraction and I actually managed to ‘relocate’ some of the old stuff unnoticed! What. A. Buzz. The risk of getting caught at any moment, the thrill of concealing that Moshi Monster up one sleeve while they were right there next to me, oblivious.

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Continue reading

Compact Home Office On A Budget

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One of the great things about blogging is that wherever you are, as long as you have access to your PC, tablet or mobile you can always busy yourself in someway or another. Drafting up a post from the comfort of your own bed or catching up on your favourite Instagram feed on the bus. This can be really handy but I never feel like I’m in the best frame of mind to write unless I’m sitting at a proper workspace. For months my proper workspace was the end of the kitchen table but I got sick of the laptop constantly being there along with the homework, marker pens, unidentified crafty creations etc etc. Oh, and sometimes we even needed to eat our meals on there.

I’d been eyeing up the only teeny available spot in the house (living room bay window) as potential ‘office space’ but knew I had to move fast to get in there before it was commandeered by Barbie and Co. I got busy with the measuring tape and realised I had all of 110cm x 45cm to work with, ah. Well on the plus side, the Borrower-esque dimensions majorly limited my options so I didn’t have to concern myself with all that pesky ‘decision making’; in fact I wasn’t fully convinced I’d find anything at all to fit. To make things even more tricky the miniscule space had a minuscule budget to match so bespoke was out of the question.

As Himself will confirm once I get an idea in my head I’m like a dog with a bone – I will not let it go! I was determined that I would make it work. I simply had to create a workstation that met the following criteria: Continue reading

Lean in 15 (years!)

Happy 2017 lovely readers – I hope you’ve had a fantastic Christmas and New Year filled with family, fun, food and festivities!!

NOW DROP AND GIVE ME 20!

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Because I saw you sneak that third slice of pudding with custard AND double cream and now you must be punished OK? At least that’s how I used to see New Years Day. One seriously big dose of guilt and self-loathing after weeks of eating and drinking with abandon, sometimes (but not always) served with a side of optimistic enthusiasm for the new me. The ‘definitely being good from today’ mentality that year after year guaranteed the same outcome – TOTAL FAILURE! Yup, whatever half-cocked new foodie hogwash was topping the Amazon book charts, it was in my basket quicker than you could say alkaline acai bowl. Sometimes, if I was feeling really enthusiastic I’d even treat myself to the celebrity endorsed fitness DVD de rigeur to ensure optimum success. Six-pack sorted.

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Sound familiar? I swear I started every year of most of my adult life hopeful that this time it would be different because I really was going to change everything. I’d prep and blend (and spend!) my way to a healthy glow. I’d (mindfully) Pilates and plank the sh*t out of life for a body taut enough to make Davina weep. Ultimately, it was my ‘go at it guns blazing’ attitude that was my downfall every single time. Once the initial enthusiasm wore off and the reality of everyday life crept in I was back to square one, only worse, because this time I’d failed AGAIN.

Thankfully I’m a pretty fast learner and after ooh, say 15 years of repeating the same sodding routine with the same sodding outcome, I finally cottoned on that this wasn’t quite working for me. I wasn’t ever going to want to stop eating Kit-Kats with my cuppa and no amount of (very expensive, home made) raw energy ‘bliss balls’ were ever going to change that. I did the one single most important thing I’ve ever done for myself and gave myself permission to just stop. Stop constantly berating myself for what I did, what I didn’t do, how I looked, lived, ate, thought…all of it. I had equated happiness with something that realistically I was never going to achieve and that needed to change. At first the thought of not following the rules terrified me. I was an intelligent adult and mother of two and yet the thought of being left to my own devices when choosing what to eat made me feel sick. Yes, I’m fully aware how ridiculous and sad that sounds.

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Today I’m 100% happier when it comes to all that stuff. It takes time to change a habit of a lifetime and I’ll admit that sometimes I’ll find myself sneaking a peek at a latest food craze or fitness plan but these days I do it with a much healthier, sensible attitude. I can look at the pretty pictures, appreciate how tasty and nourishing a chickpea and sweet potato curry is but most importantly I can tuck into a Sunday roast with all the trimmings and savour every mouthful without feeling remotely guilty about it – it’s just food!  I no longer feel the need to restrict food groups or calories. I take responsibility for what I put in my body and am fully aware of the consequences of a healthy versus unhealthy diet. Some days I have the sweet potato, some days the roast dinner- it’s called balance.

You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m not a fan of New Year Resolutions but actually the opposite is true- I love New Year! I think it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past and make exciting plans for the future. To draw a line under the not-so-good and start afresh. I even love a Davina DVD now and again and after hearing her speak at Blogfest this year I really believe that she works hard to juggle work, family life and exercise just like everyone else. She was warm, open, funny and had a vulnerability that you don’t usually see in the public eye.  Continue reading

She Loves Herself – Mackenzie Glanville

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Aaaaand we’re back, this time joined by Mackenzie Glanville of Reflections From Me , a blog full of beautifully inspiring posts bursting with positivity and  warmth (and a stunning Instagram feed guaranteed to give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside.) Enjoy!

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Name 3 parts of your body that you love and tell us why they’re so fabulous?
My hands, because let’s face it they are the thing that helps me to get my words onto paper! From the time I was a little girl and had stories bursting out of my mind that i just ‘had to” write down my hands helped me do this. Now we can dictate, but still writing has always been my biggest passion and my hands help me fulfil that dream! It was my hands that wrote my first novel (yet to published), and my hands that typed my very first blog post. They continue type me blog everyday, and give me the freedom to express all the things I am passionate about that I share with my readers.

On a more personal note they are also they are also how I get to hold hands with my 3 precious children and that’s pretty awesome!

Secondly I think my ‘women parts’ yes ‘all of them’ are pretty fabulous! The reason being I am sure is obvious, to carry a baby in my womb, to give birth, and to feed my babies was such a blessing. (Now don’t get me wrong those things were not something that came easily to me and you can read more about that in a question below.)

Thirdly I have give my arms a mention, because I love hugs, hugging my children is the best feeling in the world!!!

Share a memory of when you felt particularly good about yourself.
One moment that flashes into my mind is my honeymoon in Vanuatu. I remember lying on the beach and feeling so loved and happy, which made me feel really beautiful.

Has your relationship with your body changed over time?
Absolutely, how could it not? From feeling like a chubby little girl who was told how “cute” she was, I developed into a teenager who lacked body confidence. I was always told I was pretty and got lots of attention from boys. I was one of the so called ‘popular girls’ who people automatically assume is snobby and confident, but I wasn’t! I felt overweight, short and like I didn’t like my body at all.

After dating boys at school who seemed to only be into me for my looks, rather than my mind I lost all confidence in myself and felt like I had nothing to offer, no surprise then I ended up in a very bad relationship with a guy who treated me like I was a possession who no other man was allowed to look at. The situation became dark, dangerous and isolating. Somewhere deep down I had to learn to love myself and to respect myself enough to escape.
Escaping that relationship was the beginning of me changing my life. I was suddenly no longer that scared girl, and I didn’t need a man to make me whole. It was a long journey though, but I was determined to not let my past define or control me. I had to learn to stop seeing my body as something shameful, or as someone else’s property and start seeing it as my own. I and only I have control over who touches my body, I am no ones property. (Though on a lighter note, as any mums out there would agree, our children seem to believe we are their own personal climbing gym lol).

When I met my husband I was at a point where I had respect for myself and my body. But after miscarriages and then my body stopped ovulating I began to feel bad about my body again. I felt like a failure. I had to learn to stop blaming my body and nurture it. Finally I got pregnant and I was so happy, yet terrified, and after giving birth to my little girl I was more grateful to my body than ever before. I struggled to breast feed, my milk never came in fully, no matter how many things, both medical and natural I tried I always had to top her up with formula. It was the same for all three of my babies. Yes my breasts stayed looking awesome, but I felt let down, I mean they (my breasts) weren’t there to look fabulous they were there to feed my children. Again I had to learn to not be so hard on my body, and see it as beautiful and powerful.
So yes my relationship with my body has been up and down, but I can sit here now and say I am so proud of everything my body does for me!!

If you are a parent (or have little people in your life), has this changed how you perceive or discuss healthy body image?
Most definitely, I am now a role model. As a child my mum was always putting herself down and it had a huge effect on the way I saw my own body image. I was determined, and am still determined to never put myself down in front of my children! With two girls who have very different body make ups I am careful to not make comments that would make them feel it is better to be a certain body shape. I have one daughter who is curvy and fit, and the other who is model thin. I want both of them to see their bodies as perfect, powerful, beautiful, and strong. I also want my son to respect a woman’s body, and also respect his own body.

What advice would you give to your teenage self on the subject of body image?
Loving yourself is a good thing! It is not selfish to put your needs first, to voice your opinions, and respect your mind and body.  This is your life and your body, so embrace it and love it!

What’s the best thing you’ve ever done for your body?
Learning to love it, and to see things I thought were faults as my gifts. Make friends with the mirror.

Share one confidence boosting trick for days when you’re feeling a bit ‘meh’.
Have a coffee with a girlfriend who totally makes me giggle, and if all else fails put on red lippy!

Who in the public eye do you admire for celebrating natural body shape?
To be honest I don’t know. I am not a big celeb follower. Although I wrote a post on Kate Winslet a while ago where I spoke about being disappointed with one of her comments on body image. I think all women, celebrities or not, are beautiful when they are embracing their true selves. Although I do admire Charlie for promoting positive body image in women on this blog, she’s totally fab!

Give us your best body positive quote or mantra.
You’re gorgeous, so go out there and rock!

I pledge to love myself a little more today by…
smiling at the girl in the mirror, and telling her I love her! 

Thanks so much Charlie. You really are awesome!

 Thanks to Mackenzie for taking part in the series, I hope you found it an enjoyable experience!

 If you are reading and fancy taking part in 2017 please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!

You, but better.

Does anyone know what day it is ? Anyone? Christmas was on a Sunday, OK so Monday, Tue- it’s Tuesday! Definitely Tuesday. Oh no hang on, has it been two days or three?

Every year we have this weird week of not knowing much for certain, other than our bank accounts have been well and truly drained and our tummies have been well and truly stuffed. In a Quality Street-induced sugar coma we bumble our way through the post-Christmas fog, trying to find homes for the mountain of ‘stuff’ that has appeared and wondering how long until we can start boxing up the baubles and getting the house back into some sort of order.

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I like Christmas as much as the next person but as soon as Boxing Day arrives I’m done. Over it. My tolerance for Bublé and baubles has a limit and it’s been reached. It’s usually around this time, while rustling through the wrappers (throw them in the bin) for a good one, that my thoughts turn to the New Year. Aaah the promise of a fresh new start, full of dreams, life goals and as many half-price Boots gift sets as I can fit under my arms, chin(s) and between my knees.

Yep, come January 1st 2017 things are gonna change around here, ya here me?! I’m gonna climb the highest mountain, I’m gonna swim the deepest sea, I’m gonna, gonna…..ooh, mini Bounty – ha! Missed that one, suckers.

It took me over twenty years (from the age of 13!) to realise that ‘Lose Weight’ was neither a realistic nor necessary New Year’s Resolution given my aversion to anything remotely sport-related and the fact I was never really overweight. Now that I’m a (reluctant) grown up I actually enjoy the whole process of acknowledging successes of the year gone by: start a blog- tick, run 5k without stopping- err…pending; and goal setting: grow the blog, run 5k without stopping. New Year’s resolutions are less about the juice cleanse, more about the #lifegoals.

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I do love a personal project and have been known to fill all sorts of notebooks, charts and spreadsheets (yes, spreadsheets) eagerly in the quest to *insert mission of the moment*. Last month I received a book called ‘The Elephant In The Mirror’ by Annette Earl. At first I assumed it was related to body confidence but I discovered it was about so much more than that (literally don’t judge a book by it’s cover – lesson learnt!). The author is a qualified life coach with with an interest in women’s well-being and the book looks at ways to identify and improve feelings of low-confidence or insecurity in all areas of life whether it be relationships, money, diet, career or something else.

Now I often wish I was the type of person who could get lost in a book for hours on end but for whatever reason I’ve never been able to manage it. This book is written in such a friendly and lighthearted manner however that you feel like Annette is just chatting to you personally and guiding you through the chapters. She covers the subjects of confidence, influences and authenticity and helps you identify areas where you need to make changes while holding your hand along the way.  There are lots of little exercises to do as you work your way through each section (my copy is more like a workbook now, full of scribbles and highlights!) and it was such a worthwhile read. I identified where I was holding back or at least not helping myself to move forward- surprisingly in relation to areas of my life where I thought I was ‘sorted’. Who knew?

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Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror (literally and metaphorically) but if you’re feeling in need of a little post Christmas sort- your-life-out inspiration this is a great place to start. It’s the kind of book you can revisit again and again because let’s face it, there’s always room for improvement- think of it as a little life-coach in your pocket but without the appointment fees. Oh, and for those of you who can’t bring yourself to deface your shiny new copy you can even download the worksheets separately here so no excuses – go sort your life out!

Click here to view on Amazon (available in paperback or Kindle)

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I was sent a copy of The Elephant In The Mirror free of charge. This post is an honest review.

The Christmas Tag *VLOG*

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Are you feeling Christmassy yet?  Our countdown calendar tells me it’s officially 9 more sleeps (although Flump keeps changing it to ‘0’ sleeps – nice try Missy!) I’ve been Christmas tagged by Jane at Maflingo so here are my festive factoids – enjoy!

What’s your favourite Christmas Movie?

The Snowman – makes me cry every time!

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Probably, but not that I can remember.

Where do you usually spend your holiday?

At home in the morning, then over to the in-laws for a Christmas feast. We then fly to Belfast and do it all over again!

What is your favourite Christmas song?

Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

No but we do a Christmas Eve box with a few treats for the kiddies, new jammies and a DVD.

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Er, nope sorry!

What holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?

The whole shebang – Santa, turkey dinner and being with the family.

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

Always fake, far too much faffing around with a real one for my liking.

What is your all time favourite holiday treat/food/sweet?

Massive tins of chocolates and Baileys.

Be honest, do you like giving or receiving gifts better?

Giving, especially when you know it’s something the recipient is going to LOVE!

What is the best Christmas present you ever received?

Mama Snugglebum, here she is!

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What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season? 

If it was just me and Himself a nice beach holiday somewhere otherwise a family Christmas experience somewhere like Lapland would be amazing.

Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?

I’m pretty good.

Most memorable Christmas moment?

Seeing Santa arrive by helicopter as a kid.

What makes the holidays special for you?

The excitement of my kids – it’s infectious!

 

Thanks so much to Jane for tagging me, I’m going to nominate Gemma at Life is Knutts and Dawn at Rhyming With Wine!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas whatever you have planned!