Tuesday, 31 October 2017

17 Things To Try When Working Out In Winter

Even when you’re the most motivated of people, finding the desire to work out in winter can be tough. You can have your routine down, you can be inspired by your results, and you can even know that focusing on your health and fitness is going to help you to feel good; but somehow, the winter months just make you feel unmotivated. With the colder weather, darker nights, and bad conditions outside, it’s just so much easier to want to stay in bed for an extra hour, or get straight home to your sofa. But when you really want to stay on track, you’re going to want to try anything you can.

And there are definitely things that can help you want to exercise and eat well - even when an extra helping of pudding calls. Because we all know that as the months go by, we’re all going to be coming up with reasons why we can’t make that class, don’t want to go for a run, or just need the extra carbs for comfort. So let’s look into ways that you can keep yourself on track even at the worst of times. With a bit of balance, and a selection of these seventeen ideas, you should get through winter as fit and healthy as you can.

Change Your Workout Time

First of all, you might find that changing your workout times can help. This isn’t always going to be the best option for everyone, but it’s often a good way to make sure you stay on track as the seasons change. If you usually work out in the mornings and you’re struggling to get up early, then why not go after work instead? Or if you don’t want to go after work, get up earlier and do it before work instead. You may even find that a midday workout is better for you at this time of year too.

Go With The Girls

Maybe you struggle to motivate yourself? Well then, instead of trying to go on your own and completely failing to get yourself there, commit to going with some friends instead. Exercise is always better with friends, so if you can rope in some girls from the office, or some other mums you know, you may find that you find it easier to stay focused and committed to your winter fitness regime.

Do More At Weekends

If trying to get more done in the week is really putting a strain on your happiness and your schedule, then scrap it altogether and go for a weekend workout or two instead. That way, you can make sure you stick to your work or family commitments and fit your workouts in around them instead. This can often be really good for you if you have more time on the weekends anyway.

Do It As A Family

Sometimes, you start to get strapped for time when there’s not enough ‘day’ time anymore (thank you winter nights!). When that’s the case, why bother waiting until your little ones are in bed? Just do it all together instead? That way, you can get the entire family involved and have fun at the same time. A good idea for this would be to play sports together as a family.

Get Active

Next, you could think about how you could get active without really ‘exercising’ - according to your mind anyway. When it's cold and dark, you don’t always feel in the mood to workout. So trick your mind instead. These activities are great for working out without realising it. So if you want to do something to stay active, but not feel the pressure to actually ‘work out’ then these ideas are great.

Try New Recipes

But the physical process of working out if just half the battle. Because the other side of things is your diet. And when winter comes around, you really want to say hello to all of the carbs and kick the idea of any kind of diet out the window. But you don’t have to! With these hearty and healthy winter dishes, you can get your winter feast on and still be good. You don’t have to pile on the pounds over winter if you’re just smart about what you make!

Rotate Your Meal Plans

Then, you should definitely start to think about shaking your meals up too. When you usually stick to one kind of meal plan, you can soon get bored of it when winter comes around. Instead of letting that happen, try a bunch. From the ketosis diet to the Atkins, give a few different mainstream meal plans a go, rotating them every so often to keep you interested. Then you can stay in shape without getting bored.

Increase Your Carbs

Next up, if you think you’re going to struggle to carry on with any kind of diet that you’ve been doing throughout summer and autumn, why not think about increasing your carbs for a short period of time? You may even want to just do it a few times a week, so you feel as if you have enough energy to get through your workouts as well as feel a little more comforted in the cold too.

Hire A Nutritionist

Or maybe that’s not even going to cut it. If you’re an all or nothing kind of person that can’t be trusted to up their carbs just a little, you’re going to need a little more help. For this, you could think about finding yourself a nutritionist. There are lots of different healthy eating Instagram accounts you could follow to help with this, or even a range of health and fitness experts that can set a meal plan for you.

Hire A Trainer

And while we’re on the topic of hiring people, you could also think about hiring a trainer too. If you really are struggling to keep to any kind of exercise regime, this could be the best solution for you. When you have someone to hold you accountable and push you, it’s easier to want to work out too.

Move To A New Gym

Or maybe it’s the distance and time it takes for you to get to the gym that’s putting you off? In winter, you need to make this as easy on yourself as possible. So why not move to a gym that’s closer to home or close to your work? That way you’ll feel more motivated to go and won’t have any excuses about it taking too long.

Reduce Your Workout Plan

If it's your actual workouts that’s putting you off, change them. There’s no real need to do anything too intense at this time of year, so you should definitely think about working with something a little lighter. That way, if you know you can get it done quicker, and still have more energy for work or home, then you’ll be more incentivised to go.

Incentivise Yourself

And about that, you might be more incentivised to go if you actually incentivise yourself at the same time. And no, not with food! Don’t promise yourself cake if you make it to the gym. Instead, use non-food rewards to keep you interested and going. That way, you can give yourself something to look forwards to when you’ve been able to stay on schedule.

Keep A Journal

You may even find that if you hold yourself accountable, that’s incentive enough to keep you on track! While some may need a trainer to make them turn up and get them through each workout at certain times of the year, for you, it may be as simple as knowing you’re not failing. Because if you have to write in a diary what you’ve done, having to leave blank pages may guilt you into going!

Set Up Health & Fitness Social

Similarly, it may work for you if you think about setting up a health and fitness related social media profile. Lots of people have an Instagram account solely to track their eating plans and workouts. So why can’t you? If you have to photograph everything you eat and post it on Instagram, it will definitely make you think twice about slipping up and keep you motivated to stick to your workouts too.

Make Guilt-Free Indulgences

And don’t forget to indulge. But don’t go wild. You don’t need to gorge on all of the naughty stuff when winter arrives. In fact, sometimes, you could work on switching out for healthier alternatives instead. That way, you feel as if you’re eating what you want, but you’re making healthier choices too.

Make Yourself A Promise

Finally, you should think about promising yourself something to get you through. Kind of like the idea of incentivising yourself, but on a much bigger scale. Say, if you can get results and not do too badly by February or March, you’ll finally book yourself on that holiday that you’ve spent the winter dreaming about!

By choosing a few of these, or even working on all seventeen, you should find that you’re able to get through the winter months without falling off the health and fitness wagon too much!

*This is a collaborative post*


Sunday, 29 October 2017

10 Mums You'll Meet at the School Gate

I survived my first term at being a school mum. I'm not gonna lie the first day was awful after a nasty encounter with a fellow mum. People tell you about the different types of mums at the school gate and I honestly thought it was a load of bulls**t but actually they are there.

1) The Super Involved Mum
There she is, super chatty, super smily and she can make you sign up to volunteer for the next disco or fair quicker than you can run out of those school gates. She's the first one baking cakes and she's always on the school trips. She's on first term names with the teachers and of course she is on the PTA. Watch out for over use of the phrase 'for the good of the school'.

2) The Always Late Mum
I'm sure we've all been late, in fact I'm normally sprinting to the gates at least once a week. However, there's always that one mum who arrives after the bell rings looking red faced, stressed and harassed. You always see her after you've dropped your kids off and you're half way home. When it comes to picking up, she has always just 'lost track of time'.

3) The Fitness Mum
There she is in her gym gear shoving that peachy, pert bum in your face (yes we're jealous).   With a book bag in one hand and a water bottle in the other, she looks incredible and manages to make you feel like shit. How does this woman get to the gym every single day??? You're left drooling thinking 'I wish I could be her, perhaps I should go to the gym everyday!'. Haha.

4) The 4x4 Mum
Watch out for the 4x4 mum, she'll run you over if you get in her way. In fact, she's parked her car right outside the school on the double yellow, no parking zone, just because she can. She's in the wrong but no one dares to tell her.

5) The Dad Mum
Who's that I hear you say? Well it's actually a Dad. Yep there are dads there too but they'll have a whole blog post of their own.

6) The Fashionista Mum
There's always one mum who walks through the gates looking like she's on a catwalk. Not a pair of trainers in site and sunglasses glued to her forehead all year round. How does she manage to scrub up that well and still arrive on time looking so glamorous?

7) The Multiple Mum
How does this mum do it? She has a buggy, a lively toddler in tow and a few kids of various ages at the school. She is rocking motherhood whilst the rest of us can barely get one child ready.

8) The Wing It Mum
This one comes to school in her pyjama bottoms with not a care in the world. She'll have a messy bun on her head, no make up on and she couldn't give a t*ss. 

9) The Mean Girls Mum
Yep there's one bitch that still think she's in high school. She's a sour faced, nasty piece of work. Looks down on you, gossips about you and goes out of her way to make you feel like a piece of crap. Grow up!

10) The Super Mum
Oh to be the super mum. The one that looks good, has the kids' lunches ready in perfect boxes, the children look immaculate, she knits, she crafts, she works, she's super organised and man do you just want to be her. The homework is always done above and beyond expectation and she never forgets anything. She's like a walking calendar. 

Now i've written this in more of a piss take of myself as quite frankly, I could be any one of these mums depending on the mood i'm in when I wake up in the morning. I'm on the PTA, I have a 4x4, I go to the gym and quite often i'm late. The moral of the story is never judge a book by its cover. You are all mums after all and who knows you may end up having a blossoming friendship with the mum you feared the most.


How To Fight The Lurgy: Five Survival Tips For Autumn

Autumn, the time of year when we like to retreat indoors and get cosy. The leaves are fast falling off the trees, the heating is being turned up, and with that comes sickness! Before you know it members of your family are falling ill faster than those leaves are falling off the trees outside. It becomes survival of the fittest. You adopt techniques similar to what you would expect to use if you were in a zombie apocalypse. It really is every man and woman out for themselves. Therefore, what can we do to try and ensure that we don’t get sick this autumn?

Autumn is always known as the season of bugs and sore throats. This is especially true if you have children at preschool or school. What preventative measures can we take to try and stop us and our family falling ill?

Tip 1 - Your 5 A Day

It’s obvious but making sure that you and your get their 5 a day really will help! Remember the saying

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

If you have children who claim that they are allergic to fruit and vegetables, don’t worry because there are ways around it.  You could hide their vegetables in pasta sauces, and you could make them yummy mixed berry smoothie bowls. They won’t even realise that they are getting lots of goodness because it will taste so delicious.

Tip 2 - Take Your Vitamins

Vitamins can help you put your mind at rest that you and your family are getting enough vitamins. Bassets Vitamins have just launched a new multivitamin aimed at 3-6 year-olds. Your child won’t even realise that they are taking a vitamin as they come in a yummy peach and apricot flavour. You will be able to find vitamins that are suitable for every member of your family.

Tip 3 - Get Outside

When those days start getting shorter we can find ourselves spending longer indoors. Being inside with the heating on isn’t good for our immune systems. We all need some fresh air. Wrap up warm and get outside and start exploring. If you have children you could encourage them to do a scavenger hunt. They will suddenly be very happy to leave the sofa!

Tip 4 - Sleep

Sleep is crucial. People boast that they can survive on only 4 hours sleep but the reality is that their body won’t be thanking them. Their body will probably be screaming at them for more sleep. When we don’t have enough sleep we become rundown. This is when we start picking up every bug going. We need sleep so that our body can rest and repair itself.

Tip 5 - Water

Staying hydrated is key to fighting off those bugs. In autumn we might feel that we don’t need as much water, wrong! You still need to be drinking lots of water. You should aim for at least 2 litres day. As well as drinking water, you need to make sure that everyone is washing their hands with hot water and soap!

What To Do If You Do Get Ill

Ring your Doctors for an appointment. If you are unable to get an appointment then you could visit Dr App Online, which is an online doctor service. Using the app you can make an appointment in seconds and see a doctor in minutes!

Good luck fighting those bugs! You can do it.


Saturday, 28 October 2017

Embracing the Outdoors during the Winter with JoJo Maman Bébé

One thing I didn't do enough of with Eva was to spend more time outdoors. I'm not sure why but I think it was more to do with my own personal preference than never having the time. I hated the thought of being out in the rain, both of us getting muddy or being out in the cold. I definitely regret that decision as when I now see how happy both of the girls are when they are outside in the fresh air, enjoying nature , I realise it's the normal things in life they love the most.

Fresh air is good for the soul and since the start of this school year i've been making sure we have daily walks. We've been around mountains, forests, fields and the beach. I've even made the effort to go out in the rain, which let's face it, makes an appearance frequently in our British Winter.

Both the girls seem to have had growth spurts in the last few months and they needed new outerwear for the winter. Luckily, JoJo Maman Bébé kindly sent us some items to keep them going. I've always been a big fan of Jojo Maman Bébé. I've bought their clothes since Eva was born and they have stood the test of time. So much so, Ophelia is wearing all of her hand me downs and they still look as good as knew.

My personal favourite item that we were sent was the 4-in-1 waterproof polar fleece jacket for Ophelia. You can wear it 4 different ways which means it's perfect for every weather eventuality over the winter. It's waterproof, has a fleece liner for colder weather and a detachable hood. 

Both of the girls were sent new wellies which were super handy as their feet are always growing at such a fast rate. The designs are cute. They wore them to the beach and walked around in them all day so they must be comfortable.

We also received a colour changing umbrella which both girls think is amazing. In fact they end up having a fight every time we go out with it over who gets to hold it. It's easy to grip and lightweight.

Ophelia's favourite item was the waterproof fleece lined all-in-one. I've never seen a child so happy in a snowsuit. She honestly thought she was the bees knees. Such a cutie. It's designed to keep the wind and rain out and keep her warm and snuggly. She adores it.

We've been blown away with all of our JoJo Maman Bébé outerwear and i'm sure we'll have many more adventures with them. For now i've got my eye on their adorable Christmas range. There are so many lovely dresses, cardigans, jumpers and pyjamas. Make sure you check them out.

Here are the quick links to the items the girls are wearing:

*Thank you to JoJo Mama Bébé for sending us these clothes to feature in this post*


Friday, 27 October 2017

Ghoulishly Affordable Costume Hacks For Halloween

It’s everyone’s favorite holiday. Nope, it’s not Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving but Halloween. The 31st of October is the one day every year where kids and adults alike get to pretend. Whether it’s trick or treating or knocking and running, it’s acceptable on All Hallows’ Eve. But, kids and adults can’t rock up to the scariest night of the year in a pair of jeans and knitted sweater. To get the most from the holiday, a costume is essential, and an awesome one at that.

Costumes don’t come cheap, and finding the money to buy multiple outfits is never easy. Still, there is no reason to pay a premium for something you can make at home. At the very least, it’s possible to find a great deal. So, if you’re ready to forget about ghosts, let’s go bargain hunting instead!

Be Flexible

As soon as someone asks the question, an idea pops into view. Yes, going as The Joker or a zombie clown is kinda cool. However, there is no need to be rigid regarding the apparel. As long as the outfit is creative, it will stand out and look the part. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to bounce ideas around and get imaginative. In fact, don’t even hone in on a costume until you visit the fancy dress store. When you walk in, there may be an outfit which is scary and affordable. Lots of people dismiss ideas out of hand because they have their heart set on a particular costume. Don’t make the same mistake this Halloween.


Speaking of the costume store, don’t take no for an answer. Okay, so it’s Halloween and the ball is in their court. But, the owners want to make as much profit out of the holiday as possible. After all, fancy dress shops don’t do as well when All Hallows’ Eve passes. There is no doubt they will play hardball and try and get you to pay full price. As a rule, don’t give in to the pressure and stay strong. Haggling is an excellent way to cut costs and make an outfit affordable. For example, you may and try and get a discount for more than one item. That way, they make a sale and you don’t have to spend a fortune. It’s a little late now, yet going to a store weeks before the holiday is a savvy move. The worst they can say is no.

Do It Yourself

Of course, the cheapest option is making your own gear. Lots of Halloween clothes don’t come from fancy dress stores but a parent’s imagination. Saying and doing it, however, are two different things. The key is to use regular items around the house as the foundation for the costume. Do you or your kids like the A-Team? A chain for the every day customer which most men own is an excellent accessory for wannabe Mr T’s. Maybe Gandhi is more your pace? In that case, it’s brave but a couple of fluffy white towels will do the trick. Remember that the best friend of a DIY Halloween-enthusiast is cardboard. It looks dull and inflexible, but it can turn into pretty much anything if you arty enough.

Go Second-Hand

Kids want all the latest equipment as soon as it hits the shelves. Halloween, thankfully, is a time when this mentality goes out of the window. The point is to dress to impress, and no one needs to know about the price. Indeed, no one needs to know if it’s new or old. Far too many adults and kids purchase top of the range costumes and pay a hefty price. By going online to eBay and Amazon, you can get used clothes that are almost identical. Because they aren’t new, the price is far lower yet they still look the part. Plus, the odds are you will wear the items once a year, which means they just have to get you through the night. Even better, charity stores and vintage outlets are on the high street nowadays. So, they are cheap and easily accessible. It’s a no-brainer.


People take Halloween seriously, and the chances are you do, too. Are there outfits in your closet which are old and not in vogue anymore? If the answer is yes, don’t throw them away yet. Instead, think of them as a bargaining chip to secure a better costume. Just like you, hundreds of men, women and children have clothes which they use for Halloween alone. And, like you, they get bored and want a change. All you have to do is find someone who is looking to mix and match and trade costumes. That way, no one has to show up at a party wearing last year’s ensemble. What will the neighbors say? Of course, you can swap back on the 1st of November. Just make sure you have something “new” to wear on the night.

Branch Out

It’s tempting to follow the Halloween theme to the letter, like dressing as a zombie or a maniacal clown. However, Halloween is about resurrecting the undead. As long as the person or thing is dead, it’s fair game this 31st. For example, young people have been dressing as undead sexy nurses for quite a while. A nurse has nothing to do with the holiday, yet stick the word “undead” in the mix and it works. Simply put, any person, animal or thing is a good costume as long as it is pale and oozes blood. So, rather than do the same old thing, try a different character or famously deceased celebrity. In the past, Halloween night has seen everyone from undead Florence Nightingale to undead Sandy in Grease. The last one is still alive, and that is how flexible the holiday is because it doesn’t discriminate. You know? Unless it’s against living people.

Ultimately, there is no room to panic. The holiday is coming up fast and you need a killer costume. By being creative and flexible, you’ll be the zombie belle of the ball.

*This is a collaborative post*

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