Wear it, Rock it, Love it Mama!!

Let’s talk fashion.

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One thing that I have learnt about motherhood is that you tend to put yourself second to your children. In my pre-children life, I would not even think twice about buying a pair of £200 boots and you could often find me wandering around a shopping centre trying to find a bargain. After having children this all stopped, as I quickly figured out that £200 was a week’s nursery fees for one child and that I now had a nursery pick up curfew. For me, charity shops, jumble sales, eBay and car boot sales are now the norm when I’m considering updating my wardrobe. The amount of bargains that you can acquire always gets me excited and has me in awe. I get a sense of euphoria when someone compliments my outfit and I know that I only paid pennies for it. Shopping in this manner helps ensure that, as a family, we are able to maintain the lifestyle that we have become accustomed to but can still save money. Despite my savvy second hand shopping, there are still times when I need or want to go to the shops. I was desperate for a new coat, as the one I was using was practically disintegrating after 6 years’ wear. I found a lovely coat in Zara and hit the after Christmas sales to ensure that I was able to purchase it in an affordable manner.

As a person, I want my clothes to fit well, be timeless and last. As mother of two, I want my clothes to be practical, well made, quick and easy to purchase and affordable. So I thought I would share how I find a balance, especially when I either cannot find what I want second hand or do not want to shop on the second hand market. The answer – a Personal Stylist.

In this respect I’m lucky, as in my workplace I am blessed to have Runway Rus, who in my eyes is the ultimate shopper. I have never seen this lady wear an outfit twice and she always looks fabulous! When I told her my dilemma she was more than happy to share her fashion expertise, and she has not only provided her top tips for us busy women, but also put together some reasonably priced on-trend outfits that are affordable and can be worn by anyone.

So I am Runway Rus – doing a colab with the wonderful Mummy, Ru&Ri. Below is a list of outfits that I have attached links to, which are extremely versatile for work and casual wear. You have probably seen that leather is very much ‘In Season’. It can make anyone feel glamorous, whether you decide to dress down (with a pair of trainers) or glam up for work or evening wear, whether it be date night or night out with the girls.

Below is a link of spring’s ‘Must Haves’ that you can mix and match depending on the weather.

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Get the look – White T-Shirt or knitted polo neck jumper
Checked trousers
Beige coat
With either trainers or heels

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Get the look – Leather-look trousers
White T-Shirt
Checked blazer
With either trainers or heels

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Get the look – Leather-look trousers
Knitted polo neck jumper
With either trainers or heels

Runway Rus’s Top Tips

  1. Download shop apps on your phone and add items onto your saved list so you can see what has gone down in the sale – make a wish list.
  1. Although certain items may be trending, do not buy as they may not be timeless and may go out of fashion (e.g. Aztec print, Kick flare trousers). Buy clothes that you know will last many seasons.
  1. Quality over price – do not buy a lot of outfits from the sale just because the price is low.
  1. Ask family or friends for student discounts or look online for voucher codes.
  1. If clothes or shoes are out of stock on a particular store’s website, try Asos, Zalando or Shopstyle – as they stock a mass of generic brands.
  2. Leave a pair of heels in the office- which will go with every outfit. They could come in handy for those rare after-work dinners or an important meeting.
  3. Try to buy clothes that do not need to be ironed, i.e. polo-necks, ribbed materials. This will save you time in the morning or evening having to undertake this chore.

Runway Rus – as outfit inspiration

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Links to products mentioned:

https://www2.hm.com/en_gb/productpage.0693759001.html

Knitted Polo Neck Jumper – £24.99

https://www.asos.com/asos-design/asos-design-tapered-leather-look-trousers/prd/10266252?clr=black&SearchQuery=leather%20look%20trousers&gridcolumn=1&gridrow=1&gridsize=3&pge=1&pgesize=72&totalstyles=21

Leather-Look Trousers £30.00

https://www.asos.com/asos-design/asos-design-ultimate-t-shirt-with-crew-neck-in-white/prd/10862514?clr=white&SearchQuery=white%20t%20shirt&gridcolumn=2&gridrow=1&gridsize=3&pge=1&pgesize=72&totalstyles=840

White T-shirt £6.00

https://www.asos.com/vila/vila-double-breasted-check-blazer/prd/10922275?clr=black-aop&SearchQuery=checked%20blazer&gridcolumn=3&gridrow=15&gridsize=3&pge=1&pgesize=72&totalstyles=117

Checked Blazer £36.00

https://www.asos.com/pullbear/pullbear-checked-crop-trouser/prd/10611754?clr=brown-on-grey-base&SearchQuery=checked%20trousers&gridcolumn=1&gridrow=15&gridsize=3&pge=1&pgesize=72&totalstyles=260

Checked Trousers £15.50

https://www.asos.com/esprit/esprit-tailored-car-coat/prd/9895025?clr=beige&SearchQuery=beige%20coat&gridcolumn=2&gridrow=1&gridsize=3&pge=1&pgesize=72&totalstyles=56

Tailored Beige Coat – £129.00

https://www.office.co.uk/view/product/office_catalog/2,33/3182300078

Pointed Mules £40.00

https://www.asos.com/asos-design/asos-design-daisy-trainers/prd/9056400?clr=white&SearchQuery=white%20trainers&gridcolumn=3&gridrow=2&gridsize=3&pge=1&pgesize=72&totalstyles=334

White Trainers £12.00

I hope you found this article useful, especially the colab. What fashion hacks do you use to make your life easier? Please let me know below.

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Goodbye 2018.. Hello 2019

 

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Hello, me!

As I write this, I still cannot believe that 2018 is over.  Surely I can’t be the only one who is thinking, “where did the year go?”. This past year was a really adventurous for me, I started the year as a single mother and finished it back in relationship with the father of my children. I developed myself, accepted forgiveness in my heart and challenged myself in order to do what was right for myself and my family.

In April I returned to work after 13 months on maternity leave and had to adjust to many workplace changes. These took me outside of my comfort zone and made me question my ability to do my job,  making me feel a sense of misplacement. I was blessed to receive paid forward coaching support from Yellow Life Coaching, who knew me when I passionately started working on the project that I currently manage. This went a long way to helping me to change my self beliefs. Her support ensured my affirmations were positive and reminded me of the remarkable achievements that I had accomplished over the past seven years.

Ri, my new born baby developed and grew into a lively, curious and loving toddler, who is keen to experience and learn. He emulates his older brother Ru and is passionate about bananas ( otherwise known as yayas), dancing and singing.

 

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Ri at Old Macdonalds Farm, Nov 2018

Ru graduated from pre-School, started Reception (he looks so cute in his uniform), obtained his first martial arts belt and began reading books. When I reflect on the developments of these little people, I am in awe. There is literally no fear, there are no thoughts about what could happen – its just a let’s try and see. As their mother, I love the carefree nature of my sons, I want them to know their are no boundaries except those that are self imposed and to a degree I want to be like them.

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Ru and I at Lapland UK, November 2018

 

 

The biggest thing I learnt in 2018 is something I already knew but needed to be reminded.

“I control my thoughts, feelings and future. It is my decisions, actions and choices that determine my pathway and whatever anyone may attempt to do or say – I always have the power, means and determination to choose the outcome.” Juli Browne, January 2019

Whilst being a single mother on half pay, I managed to accomplish many items on my Family Bucket list that I wrote last year. To refresh your memory I have updated it and placed it below.

Mummy, Ru and Ri bucket list is as follows:

  1. Go to a family festival
  2. Visit CBEEBIES Land
  3. Take the boys on a family holiday
  4. Have a girly break
  5. Go to a spa break
  6. Visit Mersea Island and rent a beach hut
  7. Eat at Bob Bob Ricard
  8. Eat at Duck and Waffle
  9. Visit Centreparcs
  10. Go to a country park and have a scavenger hunt and picnic
  11. Visit the London Aquarium
  12. Visit the postal museum
  13. Undertake the 365 saving challenge aka 1p saving
  14. Enroll on a course and learn something new
  15. Listen to audio books
  16. Do a course to learn about investing
  17. Start, manage and maintain a share club
  18. Take the boys on a day trip to the beach
  19. Take Ru ice skating
  20. Experience Reggae Brunch
  21. Take part in the Colour Run
  22. Practice gratitude for at least 21 days
  23. Undertake a 3 day detox
  24. Go to afternoon tea
  25. Take the boys camping
  26. Launch my blog and update regularly

Despite limited funds I paid for a family holiday to Spain, I took them to CentreParcs, visited a number of museums of the list, started listening to audio books (My first book was the Barefoot Investor and I’m currently listening to Becoming – Michelle Obama), amongst other things.

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Boys and I in Spain, June 2018

Again for 2019, I am not setting any goals. I will continue working through my Family Bucket List and probably add on a few more experiences. Personally I have set myself a number of challenges for the year which include:

  1. To feed my family for £25 per week until April 2019
  2. To not buy my children any toys for the year
  3. To practice meditation daily (even if only for 5 mins)
  4. To ensure I nourish and take care of myself – so I have a full tank to care for others
  5. Practice the Barefoot Investor

The challenges I want to overcome are partly to save money,  but also ensure that my family’s focus is away from consumerism and materialism. As Ru grows I am desperately trying to ensure that he does not focus on instant gratification and the need to want and owe but to appreciate all of the amazing things that are the now or currently owed. In addition I find I take care of myself physically, but often neglect my mental health which is just as important. I hope to blog about all of my challenges so that you can follow my journey.

For me I felt like 2018 was growing period. A chance to learn and develop skills that I had long forgotten I had.

For 2019, I will be owning it!!

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I hope you all had a fabulous break and I wish you all an amazing 2019 – I know mine will be. x

What are your plans for 2019? Are you glad 2018 is over – have you set goals? Please feel free to comment below.

As usual if you liked this post please share, spread and follow.

 

 

 

 

 

Shhhhh, its the S word

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Shhh, it’s the S word

The S word, what is that I hear you say? A new swear word that the young people use are using that has not yet made it towards those in their late 30’s?

Well I’m happy to say that you’re not out of touch and its actually ‘sugar’ that I am referring to. For the past 28 days, I have been part of a challenge group with the theme being ‘Detox’. This group consists of a mixed group of ladies, within my department at work (I don’t necessarily work directly with all of them). We share similar values and seek to motivate, inspire and encourage each other to excel in all areas of our lives.  When I was invited to join their monthly challenge group, I was honoured and jumped at the opportunity. Each month a new theme is selected, you choose a challenge based on that theme, but make it personal to you. This month the theme was Detox, in preparation for all the rubbish that we will potentially put into our bodies in the run up to Christmas. Next month is ‘Spiritually and Service’ as December is about giving not only to others but ourselves by taking care of our mental well-being.

So why did I choose sugar? I love Haribo, I mean I love sweets in general. Nothing makes me happier than munching on a packet of pic ‘n’ mix as I watch my favourite TV programme. To be honest, as much as I enjoy it – when I have a binge; my teeth get a funny coating on them, my skin becomes spotty and I gain weight. Not to mention the fact that my four-year-old loves sweets and it must be hard for him to work out why Mummy tells him that they are bad, when she is always eating them. Sugar is so addictive, time for a reprogram!

Whilst preparing for my no sugar month, I did some research and the more I looked the more I discovered and pondered whether sugar would be legal today.

Ten sugar facts:

  1. Sugar and alcohol have similar toxic liver effects. Additionally, liver damage can occur even without excess calories or weight gain.[8]
  2. According to brain scans, sugar is as addictive as cocaine.[15]
  3. Sugar has been shown to cause wrinkles through glycation, where excess blood sugar binds to collagen in the skin and makes it less elastic.[4]
  4. There are at least 115 names for sugar in its many forms and for other types of sweeteners. To avoid listing “sugar” as the first ingredient, food manufactures may use a different name.[9]
  5. Too much sugar can increase the overall risk for heart disease. In fact, sugar actually changes the muscle protein of the heart as well as the pumping mechanics of the heart.[12]
  6. Worldwide, people consume 500 extra calories a day from sugar, which is roughly the amount of calories needed to gain a pound a week.[9]
  7. Excess sugar consumption has been linked to cancer production. Studies have found that high sugar intake negatively affects the survival rates in both breast cancer patients and colon cancer patients.[8]
  8. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends people consume less sugar than is found in one regular soda per day.[16]
  9. High Sugar intake can lead to tooth decay.
  10. The only taste humans are born craving is sugar.[12]

Taken from https://www.factretriever.com/sugar-facts

The above website has 66 facts, but the ones I highlighted really shocked me and made me feel like if sugar was newly discovered it might have been made illegal.

 

colorful sweets

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The Journey

My sugar free journey has not been easy, particularly as there have been so many occasions this month where cakes were available. Despite the cravings including a few glasses of prosecco sneaked thorough my barrier, once I became determined it became easier and eventually the cravings stopped.

Here are 5 things that have happened for me since I gave up sugar:

  1. My skin has improved drastically. I have a tea zone and certain times of the month battle spots on my face but have found that apart from a handful of spots my skin has cleared.
  2. I now longer experience highs and lows throughout the day. Remember when you were tired or lacked energy, had a sweet and felt like you could run a marathon and then 30 minutes later you would be back on the floor again! That is no more, I feel level throughout the day.
  3.  I feel like I have lost weight. This one is yet to be confirmed as I will not be weighing myself until the final challenge day. I do feel that my mummy belly has shrunk and a few inches have definitely gone. I will give an update next month.
  4. I now eat healthier snacks, so the highs and lows have now gone. One of my go to snacks is carrot and cucumber sticks, both boys also love these.
  5. I no longer crave sugar. Sugar now feels like a choice rather than a habit.  I can choose to have some (when the challenge is over) but it will no longer become a need. I feel like my taste buds have been retrained and my snack priorities have changed drastically.

What do you think? Would you consider giving up sugar? Do you think you would manage it?

Please comment below and if you liked this blog, please share x

 

Time Moves So Fast

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I felt it was only natural to write a blog about time, as its taken a great deal of time for me to find the time to write this post. Did you like my play on words there! I last posted in May 2018 when I turned 38 (such a memorable occasion, at least not because my phone was stolen – separate blog post). It was then my phase return to work ended and I was back on condensed hours. I have had numerous adventures during the summer that I wanted to write about, but could neither find the the time or energy to do so. I went through a number of changes in my personal and work life, then before I knew it the temperature was dropping, Ru was telling me it was Autumn and my blog had been neglected for months.
But at my back, I always hear,
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near. 
 from To His Coy Mistress
Andrew Marvell 1621–1678
Time is the most precious commodity in the world. Its highly valued but all too often taken for granted, something that is totally priceless and once gone can never return.
I have felt so time poor that I am literally playing catch up with my life. I took two weeks off work to settle my son in reception and get my household and life admin in order, but the time passed and I had barely touched the surface. Time is the one thing we just never have enough of!
I think one of my issues is I want a decent looking home, but when it comes between spending time with my children or hoovering, my kids will always win! Lets be honest its so much more fun to play rather than do housework. A few weeks ago before my eldest started school I took some time off work to have some quality time/ settle him in school before he started full-time. There were plenty of times to de-clutter and clean but instead I spent it doing what I deemed important being memories with my son. We played board games, went on trips, read books and just fooled around. I felt light-hearted and free, it was so much fun!
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Asaru learning the value of weight at the Science Museum

Herein lay the problem, after the children were in bed I then had to do all the neglected chores resulting in very little sleep each night. So then I wonder as a mummy, how do you get the balance?? I have lowered my cleaning standards; try to do things little and often to ensure nothing piles up and becomes a big job and have adopted Marie Kondo’s,  KonMari Method™ as discussed in her best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up . All this in the hope of creating more time for myself.
In recent months I have truly seen how precious time is and how quickly the hour glass can run out, while thinking, “have I positively affected enough peoples lives and will I have left my mark on this earth?”. When I look at Ru, I still cannot believe he is four years old and attending reception class at school. I have daily conversations with this child who constantly gives me advice about how to live my life. “Mummy, you should leave earlier so we will not late”, despite me attempting to leave an hour before a stated time for a 10 minute car journey!!
Over the last few months, I have come to the realisation that the only way to manage time is prioritise the most important things to me and not spend all my time on the things that do not add much value to my life. Just like the ‘Rock, Pebbles and Sand Story’, which you can read more of here.
So what techniques do you use to manage your time? Do you feel that you use your time effectively? Any advice to help me manage my home in time that I have available?
If you do please comment below and if you liked this post – Share it!

 

 

 

Happy Birthday To Me!!

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Its been so long since I posted on my blog and I’ve really missed writing. I have started drafting this post so many times, but going to back to work has left me time poor. Despite using my own tips I am still trying to get the balance, but I am hoping I soon will.

Today is momentous occasion for me, not because of the Royal Wedding  tomorrow, but today I am blessed to turn 38 years old. Rewinding to 20 years back I was in college turning 18 and with such youth and innocence, I cannot even begin to remember what I envisioned for myself all those years ago.

I feel that every birthday should be celebrated fully: a representation of the year that passed and of what is to come. There are a number of people who I have met along my life journey who not made it to 38 so were unable to have some of the life experiences that I have. My mum once said to appreciate life walk around a graveyard and you will see so many lives that were never lived. I am so grateful for every milestone that I have been able to enjoy.

On reflection, this is the advice I would have given to my 18-year-old self.

  • Always seek out new opportunities and chances to make new friends and meet new people – I have always been an introvert and have had to really push myself to make new friends. Despite pushing myself to try new experiences, it is only in my later years that I have embraced the power of networks.

 

  • Enjoy life but remember to save and invest – Life is short so should be enjoyed but you also need funds for the future. It’s important to grow these funds and one of the means to do this is through investing. Whether this be property or stocks and shares.  Never be afraid to take a calculated risk.

 

  • Always heed your parents advice – Everything they say comes from their life experiences and because they love you more than life itself. Okay, I barely listened to anything they said as I’m argumentative and very stubborn. Despite having no regrets in life, my choices have not always been great. Even though I learned from all these lessons my life would have been easier if I have heeded just a bit of advice from my parents.
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November 1980

Have you got any advice that you would give your 18-year-old self?

What about now is there things you have learnt which you think would help you in the future?

If so, please comment below and if you liked this post share x

Time To Get Back In The Race!

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So less than two weeks today, I unofficially finish my maternity leave and returned to work. Officially,  I went back to work at the beginning of March and have been using my annual leave to extend my break. When I take my first steps into the office and sit at a desk,  I would have been away from work for 14 months Yikes!! This is my second round of maternity leave,  so I’m no stranger on returning to the office after an extended break, but this does not stop panic from setting in!

Not only has my maternity leave enabled me to bond with my new addition,  it has provided me with the opportunity to deepen my relationship with my toddler, by allowing me to spend quality time with him as a stay at home mum. Despite this,  there are elements of being a working mother that I do miss, like having a hot cup of tea; going to the bathroom on my own; internet shopping on my commute or actually having the time to read a book of magazine on the bus. If I had the chance to stay at home full time, would I???  To be honest I’m not sure. My mother stayed at home to look after me until I went to infant school. They survived on my father’s salary and as an adult I have never thought that I missed out on anything.  She often tells me things were tight, but my mum is frugal and even though Ebay had not yet been invented,  jumble sales were about. I do remember being at a sale and being given my bag of change to go to the toy room and spend, which is what I did – Barbies, Sindys and board games were always in plentiful supply.

The socioeconomic environment is slightly different from the 1980s when I was small and I have not got the benefit of salary of a partner as support, so its definitely back to the grind. I do know that I love my children; I have lots of fun with them going to various places and groups but I do sometimes feel guilty for going to work (even though I try not too) and leaving them in nursery. This is probably why when I’m not working I try to give them my full attention. I am not perfect but just a mama bear trying to do her best.

As I return to work I thought I would share a few points that helped me when I went back after my first pregnancy.   I will be using these when I go back to work in less than two weeks.

  • Meal Plan – Its awful to come home from work tired and hungry. You complete bedtime with the children and then have to figure out what your going to eat!! Meal planning is your best friend here. Sometimes I will be really organised and as part of my plan have a meal in the slow cooker, other times its a quick chickpea curry with naan. Whatever is on the plan I know I will have all the ingredients and can plan around my schedule, I can even take the leftovers to work so my lunch is now covered and I can utilise my lunch time to have some me time,  rather than fighting the crowds to buy food.

 

  • Sort your child care and have a back up – Have a plan for who is going to look after your children when you return to work at least six months before your due to start. When I started visiting nurseries for Ri,  he was eight months old and many of the parents I met on open evenings were still pregnant with the child that they wanted to attend. I was lucky to be able to secure him a place at the nursery I wanted,  but I should have been more organised. In addition,  it’s important to have a back up plan as children are always catching viruses, colds, illnesses and if you do not have enough annual leave, family, etc.. who is going to be able to help. Its far less stressful to have a plan in place just in case,  as even though many employers are understanding they have no loyalty to us or our families.

 

  • Treat yourself – If your anything like me whilst I have been trying to lose my  postpartum weight I have been in capsule wardrobe. I have been so excited to fit back into my old clothes and most of them I still like. Even so I have treated myself to a couple pairs of new work shoes, a new bag and a few new dresses. If your a parent its so easy to shop for your children and neglect yourself. But its so important to treat yourself good and take care of your self so that you feel good and your children model this behaviour whilst acknowledging their worth. So I know when I walk into that office in two weeks I may not have have clue what I am doing anymore but I will look the part.

 

  • Stagger your return – If possible,  do not return to work and then start working five days a week straight away. You have been away for while and you need to be kind to yourself and give yourself a chance to find your rhythm. If it is feasible,  try using your annual leave to work reduce days for a few weeks so that you can get used to your new schedule. For myself,  I will be doing three days a week for a month to get back into the swing. I did this after Ru and it really helped me get back into movements of work, especially the drop off and commute.

 

  • Organise the night before – Do as much as you can the night before. I can assure you that the mornings will no longer be your friend. I’m the sort of person who thinks I’ll do it in the morning as it will only take five minutes,  but when you have a toddler and baby to get ready too, minutes runaway into hours. Pack nursery and work bags, prepare lunches and dinners, put out the clothes that you will be wearing and the make up you will be using the next day, and leave shoes and hats all by the door. I always write a checklist and tack it to the back of the front door, so its the last thing I see before I exit and will know I have everything or have done everything I need to do. Pre-children if I forgot something when I got to the bus stop, it was not mission impossible to run back and retrieve it.

 

  • Utilise Your Lunchtime/ commute – Now that your back at work, your time is even more precious. The days of Netflix and feed are over. In a working day you could be away from your child(ren) at least nine hours per day and in my case I do condensed hours so even more. When you do get home its dinner, bath, tidying, preparation for the next day before you even get to rest. If your lunching on your own,  rather than wasting time on Facebook use it. Go for a run or walk, read a book, buy a birthday present, use it to make the rest of your life easier but have time for yourself. The same can be said for your commute, I love listening to audio books at the moment. I can close my eyes and chill,  while a train takes me to my destination.

 

  • Shop online – This is something you can do with you lunchtime or on your commute. As I’m an Aldi lover, so I am unable to do my food shopping online but do buy alot of other things such as clothes, shoes, birthday presents etc… My kids get bored shopping, so I try to avoid dragging them around the shops unless I am buying their shoes.  I like to use our precious time together to enjoy ourselves and do activities such as going to the park and visiting friends.

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What do you think of my list? Have you got any suggestions of things that would make it easier for me returning to work? If so please comment below.

As usual if you liked this post please share, spread and follow x

 

Happy 1st Birthday, Ri!

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Happy 1st Birthday, Ri!! Love you loads, Mummy x

So Ri turned one, two weeks ago and his birthday party/ naming ceremony left me so exhausted that I just could not muster the energy to write a post. I am extremely happy with the memories that the party has created but I am also pleased that it is over. I spent so long seeking inspiration, planning and organising the event, then the delivery was over so quickly.

As Ri has now turned one, I have an opportunity to reflect on spending the last year with him. He is an amazing child who is extremely contented and knows how to light up a room. When Ri is about you cannot but smile as he is so infectious that he has that effect on you. This period of thought has inspired me to consider words of wisdom that I would like to share with both Ri and Ru as they grow. As a mother who wants to raise men that are respectable, empathetic individuals; who do not bottle up their emotions and function well in society I have listed five words of wisdom that I want to remind my boys every year.

  • Be You – Whoever that may be. I want you to never feel like, you have to alter, compromise or change yourself to fit in. You are amazing as you are and need to remember this. At times life may try to put you into a box or give you a label that does not match. Do not ever feel that you have to conform to those standards, instead remain true to you and your values.

 

  •  Every day is a new beginning – Try not to think about the mistakes or failures of yesterday. As the day ends and the sun rises, each day provides a new chance at success and achievement. Enjoy the journey that each day brings and see any challenges as lessons to learn. Do not dwell on yesterday, take notes and use these as improvement for your next opportunity.

 

  • I am so proud of you – I am your biggest cheerleader and only want you to succeed in life. I may not always understand and appreciate the choices that you make in your life, but I will accept them. Your life is your opportunity to leave a legacy on this earth. No matter what you choose to do, as long as you stay true to yourself – I will always be proud of you.

 

  • I love you unconditionally – I love you unconditionally, no matter were your life takes you my love will always follow. This does not mean if you make poor choices that I will not reprimand you, but it does mean that this love may at times be tough. Sometimes my love will not be in the form of a cuddle or words of warmth. Instead it might be myself making a tough choice and you receiving words of truth that you do not want to hear. Despite this whatever the future brings, know that I do, will and always love you!

 

  • Don’t put up a wall – Always tell the people who you love in your life that you do so. Never bottle up your emotions, instead express how you feel. Never feel that you cannot talk to me about whatever you may be experiencing or trying to deal with. I may not have the answers, but together I am sure we can come up with a solution. Life is a blessing and time is short – spend it with those you love and never hold back as tomorrow is not certain. Your main efforts and time should always be spent enjoying time with the people you care about, not posing on social media trying to get more likes from unknown people who do not care about you. Use social media sparingly and remember what you see on there is never a true reflection of life. Talk to people, not through an app or phone but actually sit down, meet and speak to people. Stay truly connected without the use of a device.

 

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Ru, aged 2 nearly 3 and Ri, aged 7 days old

Can you think of any other words of wisdom I should be sharing with my boys? If so, please comment below.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you could spread it by sharing. Thank you x

 

 

 

 

 

My body is amazing!

Disclaimer: I am not a body expert, nutritionist, personal trainer or doctor. The following words are just my thoughts and should not be used as medical guidance.

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Two days ago, I sat on my bed in the dark breastfeeding my soon to be one year old son Ri, before his bedtime. I started thinking that although I would be returning to work soon, I am still not sure if I will fit into my work clothes in time. My back still has rolls of fat, my belly is full of stretch marks and extremely loose and let’s not mention the bags under my eyes. I could not help comparing how I was by the time Ru was this age. I had lost the baby weight and was rocking my own clothes, not still in my postnatal capsule wardrobe. Its been such a struggle after Ri my second child, gravity is still trying to claim my body rather than let it pop back. Then it dawned on me – my second child! My body is actually amazing and needs to be celebrated not shamed and talked in a hateful manner. Its not just myself that needs to be reminded of this, but all women – mamas or not!  We have sexy remarkable bodies no matter what age, race, size we are!

So why do I think my body is amazing? Let me break it down

  • My body has provided nutriments, shelter and protection for two human beings for a total of 18 months. It stretched itself to house these individuals and then again so they could enter the world. (Those who have been through childbirth know a watermelon through a golf ball is no easy feet).
  • After producing these individuals, my body provided me with the ability to be able to give them warmth (skin to skin contact) and to nourish them by being able to produce milk and breastfeed. Then despite the tenderness, tears and sore nipples my body took the pain to enable me to continue breastfeeding.
  • My body never fails me when I have to wake up for the 5th time of the night, have only had 3 hours sleep and despite the bags under my eyes I can still function like a person who has slept continuously for 8 hours. I meant I can still operate machinery – the car, toaster, stroller.
  • My body has the ability to shape itself if I have the determination, commitment and time. Six months after the birth of Ru I had joined slimming world and restarted my personal training sessions. Losing just over three stone.

After Ri’s birth I have had less weight to lose but following the advice of  some older second time mothers,’ I started training after three months as I was told it may be harder but decided against Slimming World as I felt I did not need to support to nourish my body.

I have found that on this journey of raising children, its important that they see their mums, sisters, dads portraying positive body images. The media bombards kids with unrealistic images placing unattainable standards. The use of social media has ensured that 24/7 these images are streamed around us. In order to raise resilient children, we have to ensure that those closest to them love themselves so that they have realistic standards and will be happy with what they have and know how to work it.

This does not mean not taking care of ourselves but loving every stretch mark, wrinkle and bit of jelly belly/ cellulite.

I am time poor when it comes to fitness, so to maximise my minutes and stay focused I have invested in a personal trainer, Tony. I know once a week for 90 minutes that I can bitch and moan but I will focus on getting/ staying fit and healthy despite my arthritic knee, whilst pushing my body to it limit. Some people invest in new shoes, others in handbags – knowing the person I am (I just cannot push myself in the gym) I invest in my making my time count by being productive and supporting my long term health.

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Me training that core – outside temperature 1 degree

I’m not fond of the training sessions that Tony plans but I feel amazing afterwards. I never get bored as each session is so varied and despite the fact that I only train once a week I have still managed to get fitter and have nearly lost all my baby weight. One session I could be sprinting, using battle ropes and boxing. Another session could I could be carrying a sandbag, running 3km and using kettle bells. I whine, moan and sometimes scream in pain but I get the job done and feel so proud when I have finished.

At the moment my trainer has set me a challenge, its called the fruity press up challenge. There are various levels all named after fruit – I am a banana on his chart and totally committed. I am currently on the final week or my six week challenge. I started by doing 65 push ups a week for 5 days; then 70; 75 and will now finish 80. Do I feel stronger – yes! Do I feel fitter- yes! Will I do it again – mmmmm not sure! But I will complete it and be proud that my body did it, as really its all mental. Our bodies are capable of infinite possibilities but its our mindset that control our levels of commitment and willpower. Sometimes progress will be slow, you can train alongside someone and you do exactly the same things but they get muscle definition in a week and for you its a month. We are all different and what works for A does not for B.

Remember there are three different body types:

Ectomorph – naturally skinny, hard to gain weight – Kate Moss

Mesomorph – Naturally lean, build muscle easily – Sylvester Stallone, Angela Bassett

Endomorph – Curvy and round, look a cake and they wear it – Danny Devito, Oprah Winfrey

What body type are you?

Whatever your body type is just remember its amazing, just breathing is a remarkable feat. Lets make a pact and not say things about our bodies which we would not want to overhear from others. Instead lets just say – I love me ❤

What do you love about your body? What sort of things do you do to stay nourished and healthy? Please comment below and if you liked this post – share it x

 

Why I did not set goals this year!

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So it’s now February; by now all those New Year goals that were set are just a distant memory!  Real life has taken over, all these plans have been deferred, so the list grows.

This year, 2018, I have decided to do something different and instead of setting goals, I have made a family bucket list. If you’re unfamiliar with a Bucket List, it was devised as a means for people to list all they wanted to do before they ‘kicked the bucket’.

Life is so short and precious and sometimes we can get caught up in the ground end. Each day should be celebrated rather than waiting for a special occasion. You want to go to the spa – go! You want to buy that new dress – buy it (after you have checked that you are getting it for the best price, that you actually need it and can afford it). I did not say waste your money. To enjoy and experience life, for the most part does not have to cost money – go to a park, visit a friend, go on an imagination trail.

In addition, writing a bucket list provides me with the space to create the life I want for my family, rather than letting life create itself for us. It allows me to discover the experiences I want to share with my boys and my village. Writing it down makes it tangible and placing it on my blog makes me accountable, which will push me even more to make sure I achieve my list.

I find that my bucket list helps me focus, as there are many competing priorities in life, so sometimes we need to refocus. It reminds me to devote time to working towards achieving these aims and objectives. Also, let’s not forget it’s quite a lot of fun carrying out the items on the list and this makes them exciting to look forward to in the year ahead!

So what’s my main tip for drawing up your own bucket list – direction. Think about  what do you want achieve this year? What experiences do you want for yourself and your family? What memories do you want to make?

Mummy, Ru and Ri bucket list is as follows:

  1. Go to a family festival
  2. Visit CBEEBIES Land
  3. Take the boys on a family holiday
  4. Have a girly break
  5. Go to a spa break
  6. Visit Mersea Island and rent a beach hut
  7. Eat at Bob Bob Ricard
  8. Eat at Duck and Waffle
  9. Visit Centreparcs
  10. Go to a country park and have a scavenger hunt and picnic
  11. Visit the London Aquarium
  12. Visit the postal museum
  13. Undertake the 365 saving challenge aka 1p saving
  14. Enroll on a course and learn something new
  15. Listen to audio books
  16. Do a course to learn about investing
  17. Start, manage and maintain a share club
  18. Take the boys on a day trip to the beach
  19. Take Ru ice skating
  20. Experience Reggae Brunch
  21. Take part in the Colour Run
  22. Practise gratitude for at least 21 days
  23. Undertake a 3 day detox
  24. Go to afternoon tea
  25. Take the boys camping
  26. Launch my blog and update regularly

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What have you done to help you plan for the year? Have you got a bucket list or something similar? Please comment below and if you like this blog, share it!

 

10 Things I Have Learnt Since Becoming A Single Parent

pexels-photo-532389Happy Belated New Year, everyone! This is my first blog post, but it is something that I have wanted to launch for many years. My life has changed immensely over the past six months and I feel that sharing some of the lessons that I have learnt may help others. Therefore, I thought I would share 10 things that I have learnt since becoming a single mother.

In September 2017, I became a single mother to a six month old baby and a three-year-old toddler, both boys.  Did I ever imagine this is how my life would turn out, Hell no! I always envisioned getting married first (which I did not), a big family house (I own a small starter home) and then children.

Adjustment , acceptance and alcohol are the words that came to mind as I look back. It has been difficult to find information regarding the things that were available to me as a single mother on maternity leave after losing my co-parent and part of my household income. I hope this list can provide a bit of support to anyone else who may be experiencing similar circumstances or that it will just be an interesting read for someone searching the world wide web for something to do.

1.   Do not feel guilty

I felt a lot of this at various stages after the breakdown of my relationship. Feeling that that I had reduced the chances of my children growing up successfully, as our household no longer consisted of a mother and a father. Feeling that the breakdown in our relationship was my fault. It took a long time for me to accept that my children would be fine as long as I remained consistent and stable. I also had to keep reminding myself that I have no control over the choices that others make – only of how I react to the circumstances created by those choices.

2. Find your village

They say it takes a village to raise a child. It was my village that helped me deal with my guilt and enabled me to be a present mother through praise and reassurance. My village consists of family members and friends that I have met during my life journey. I know I can tell them anything and there will be no judgment, they will just be there. They are my cheerleaders, my bodyguards, my cuddle bears, my babysitters, my getaway and my rescuers.

3. Take time for you (and again don’t feel guilty)

After the breakdown of my relationship I was absolutely drained. All those days of crying, lack of sleep coupled with the needs of a six month-old baby and entertaining a three year old had taken their toll. When the break up first occurred my boys were not spending weekends with their Dad, therefore I was looking after the children 24/7 on my own whilst trying to manage emotionally. I knew I needed to refuel. So called on a friend to watch the boys so that I could take an undisturbed bath (your village again). It was just what I needed and it helped immensely. It’s important to take care of yourself, otherwise what state will you be in to care for others. Its important to remember that you’re primary carer for the children and need to be in a good place spiritually, emotionally and physically.

4. Do not be afraid to ask for help (relates to above)

I was exhausted, I could hear myself constantly snapping at my toddler, and I knew I needed time for myself so had to ask for help. My request was well received again for my village. In addition, I also undertook a parenting course called Parentgym at my local children centre. As I would now be undertaking the journey with my boys 80% on my own, I wanted to ensure I had the tools to be the best parent I could be. It was an amazing six weeks journey with a bunch of incredible women, learning techniques that have been life-changing for my parenting style.

5. Re-frame the situation

I listened (still do) to a lot of positive talks, podcast and motivational speakers and it all came down to mindset. Initially, when the relationship ended, all I did was question the breakdown of my relationship and wondered if the emotional pain I was feeling mean t I was making the right decision.  But once I re-framed the situation, I saw an opportunity and an accepted challenge, with endless doors. “What can I do to learn from this situation or what can I do to make this situation better?” were my key thoughts going forward.

6. Use MoneySavingExpert to check benefit entitlements

Having never been able to claim anything in the past, I needed to see what kinds of support were available to my household whilst I was on maternity. It was a nightmare trying to find what I could be entitled to and it took months for my claims to be processed. But, searching carefully, I found there is financial support that can at least alleviate the pressure.

7. Stay civil with your ex-partner (if you can)

In most situations there must have been love once, as you would not have created your children. Try to use this mindset as the basis of your relationship with your child’s father and stay civil for the sake of your children. In addition,  it is important to never bad talk your ex-partner in front of your children. This will avoid bad feelings sprouting up in the children and stopping the children feeling like they were the cause of the break-up.

8. Allow yourself to feel

It’s OK to feel disappointment, anger, or any other emotion about how the relationship turned out. Just be sure not to wallow in that place, preventing you from being the best mother you can be.

9. Have fun with your children

We can learn a lot from our children about being playful, creative and imaginative. When you’re under stress or feeling a bit low, having fun with your children can alter your mental state immensely. So run, jump, skip and laugh with them – trust me, it will help!

10. Plan the next stage – what’s your vision?

When things have calmed down and you‘re feeling more like yourself, think about what you want for your life. What is your vision for the next 12 months and what small steps can you take to get there? Whatever your circumstances as a single parent, it does not have to define your parenting style or your future. Take 15 minutes to visualise what you want and mentally refer back to that picture when the going gets tough. I have a vision board that I look at each morning with gratitude. Whilst reviewing my board I am thankful for all the life experiences that have led me to these moments; all I have received and all that I will receive. Claim the life you want, it’s yours!!

So what are your tips for adjusting to becoming a single parent? I would love for you to comment below.

Also, if you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share.