Tuesday, 23 January 2018

My Fitness Goals for 2018

At the end of last year, I really began to get a passion for fitness again. I saw the benefits it had on my mind and body and I was actively going to the gym through enjoyment, rather than it being a chore.

This year I want to focus on doing exercise for self-care. I want to use it as a form of relaxation and a way to escape when I am stressed or feeling too busy. With that in mind these are the goals I have set myself for the year.

Outdoor Running:
I am rubbish at running. It is the one form of cardio exercise that I am not good at. However, everybody I know that runs outdoors, absolutely loves it and says it’s a great way of focusing your mind.
I’ve never been able to run on a treadmill let alone outdoors but this year I am determined to give it a go. I have set a goal of being able to run 5k outdoors by the end of the year which I think is a sensible, achievable goal.
I’m going to have to buy some outdoor sports wear as even though I have things to wear inside a gym, I don’t have anything long sleeved or any jackets that would be suitable for running outdoors. I’ve been looking for fashionable ladies sportswear and I’ve found plenty of choice.



Yoga and Pilates:
I’m aiming to do a Yoga or Pilates class at least once a week. It’s a great way of relaxation and clearing your mind. I didn’t do them enough last year but this year I want to make sure I am doing it weekly. I particularly enjoy ‘Hot Yoga’ so I’ll be looking to do that class.


Swimming:
I’d also like to swim at least once a week. It’s a great way of loosening up any sore muscles which I sometimes get after intensive exercise.

Walking:
I am terrible for jumping in the car for short journey’s and this year I have to change that. It’s so lazy. I always just get in my car to pop to our local shop but I need to get out of that habit.
I am hoping to walk more with my family. I think at least once a week we should be going on a nice long walk with the dog through the mountains seeing as we are surrounded by them. It will do us all some good.




What are your fitness goals for this year?

*This is a collaborative post*



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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Be in the Picture Weekly Favourites - 1

It's been a long time since I featured #beinthepicture over on my blog which is such a shame. I seem to have neglected it over the last few months but with it being a new year, I thought i'd start doing a weekly favourites post.

For those of you that haven't heard of #beinthepicture, it is an instagram hashtag that myself and Alana from Baby Holiday created. It is designed to encourage you to get in-front of the camera as opposed to behind it. I used to always be the one taking the pictures and I was never in them myself. 

You can use the hashtag on any pictures that feature you whether that be fashion, parenting, travel, with your partner etc. You name it, we want to see it.

Each week i'll be picking my favourites and showcasing them here in a blog post. 


First up this week is this gorgeous pic of the lovely Alex who you can follow here, https://www.instagram.com/alex_gladwin/. Alex and her family always have beautiful pictures but this one of just her and her husband caught my eye this week. I never get enough pictures with my hubby so this has inspired me to get more.



Next up is another fab picture of a couple which is by https://www.instagram.com/dilan_andme/. I adore the lighting in this, it's just perfect. She also wrote a blog post to go with the picture which is such a sweet read.




This fun family shot was by Colette at https://www.instagram.com/goingonanadventureblog/. I just love how silly it is, they all look so happy.


A post shared by Colette B (@goingonanadventureblog) on

This next picture by Rachel Anne at https://www.instagram.com/rachelanne_bee/ has had my ovaries beating. It is so beautiful. 




The last picture that I have chosen this week belongs to Helen at https://www.instagram.com/treasureeverym/. Helen always takes lovely pictures and this one was super cute. I miss the baby wearing days.






The favourite from my own account that i've shared this week would have to be the one below. I've been a bit slow at posting over there this week so there wasn't many to choose from.


Time for a change!! I’ve always been honest and open about my mental health and last year I suffered, especially towards the end of last year. I was always so busy that I had no time for myself and I completely burnt out. This year I’m going to take more time for some self care. I need to remember to look after me and set some time aside in my day to do just that. My gorgeous new watch from @icewatch will serve as my reminder to set time aside for myself and practice self care. More on that over on my latest blog post. P.S I’ve made a mental note to tan my face next time I go on holiday. It appears to be a completely different colour to the rest of my body ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿป‍♀️ #ukparentbloggers #lbloggers #asseenonme #styleinspo #momblogger #lifecloseup #wiwt #fbloggers #ad #parentingtruth #mumstyle #momstyle #icewatch #parenthoodunplugged #motherhoodrising #motherhoodsimplfied #motherhoodunplugged #portraitphotography #motherhoodinstyle #mentalillness #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthmatters #pnd #pndchat #pndawareness #postnataldepression #postnataldepressionsupport #postnataldepressionawareness #beinthepicture

Make sure you join in with #beinthepicture over on instagram and also follow it to see everyone's pictures. 
A post shared by Kerry Norris (@kerrylouisenorris) on
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Saturday, 20 January 2018

Flying Etihad A380 Economy with Children - Review

We recently flew on Etihad airlines A380 to Abu Dhabi and Australia from London Heathrow. We flew with our two girls who are aged 5 and 2. Here's our review of our experience of flying with them with young children.

Image from the Etihad Press Centre Website

Seat Selection:
We were able to preselect our seats upon booking at no extra cost. The layout was 3-4-3 so we chose to sit in a row of 4 towards the back of the plane. 

Checking in:
Checking in was all very straight forward apart from in Sydney. We waited in a very long queue (for over an hour) and were not offered to check in at any other desks (such as business or first, which were empty). This was a long time to try and keep young children entertained in a long queue. There were also other families with young children who were also struggling with the long wait.

Boarding:
We were allowed priority boarding which was very handy with small children. It's so much easier not waiting in the massive queue to board as you can get on the plane and get them settled and familiar with their surroundings as quick as possible.

Children's Fun Pack:
The children were gifted with fun packs before the flight took off. On the shorter, Abu Dhabi flights these were a colouring pack which was shaped like a suitcase. On the longer, Sydney flights these were bags with colouring inside. My eldest daughter loved the bag and carried it around everywhere on our holiday. 

Comfort:
There was plenty of room around the seat area for young children. You can easily place their bags under the chair in-front of them which still left room for them to stand up etc. We sat the girls next to each other in the middle of our row of 4. When they were ready to sleep we could lift up their arm rests so they could stretch out and lay down, side by side.


Blankets and pillows were provided. The blankets were much nicer than any other airlines we have been on. They were soft and very big.

The plane itself was large. We could walk around the toilet area to stretch our legs without feeling cramped. 

Entertainment:
The entertainment system was a large touch screen display. It also had touch screen remote control. There was a section on the entertainment system designed for children which was designed like a town that the kids could swipe through. There were tv shows, movies, music and games.


There wasn't a great choice of movies or tv shows for the children which we were quite disappointed with compared to what was on offer for adults. More needs to be done in this area.

There were cameras on the plane located at the front, underneath and on the tail which you could watch on the screen. The girls enjoyed watching the plane take off and land.

Service:
All of the staff were excellent with the children. They all interacted with them and they made them feel welcome. 

Food:
Meals were served twice on both flights and also a snack was provided. The children's meals were served about 30 minutes before everyone else's. The trays took a long time to be cleared and the children's trays were only cleared with the adults which was annoying as the kids had tended to finish their food before we received ours and we were then left trying to stack the trays up on our tables for hours.

There was a good selection on the tray such as a hot meal, salad sticks (carrots etc) with dip, desert, drink, chocolate and more. Both of the girls enjoyed their meals. They also enjoyed their snack of a sandwich.


When we were looking for more snacks (especially during the 13.5 hour flight to Sydney) there wasn't a great deal of choice. There were only muffins. It would have been good to see a bigger variety on offer with fruit and drinks cartons.

Toilets:
The toilets were a good size. I could fit myself and my 5 year old in without feeling too squashed. The changing table was large. They were kept very clean throughout the flight.

Onboard Nanny:
According to their website, there is an onboard nanny who can help provide an extra pair of hands during the flight. They can help settle the children or help keep them entertained if you need a bit of me time.

We did see the Nanny on the flights delivering the kids packs but barely had any interaction. That may be because the nanny felt like we didn't need it perhaps or maybe she was busy down the other end of the plane, who knows.

Overall

Would we fly with Etihad again, yes. They aren't the best from experience but certainly in the top 5. Some improvements on the above would certainly make the flight better but as our flights went without a hitch id say we enjoyed our experience.


Image from the Etihad Press Centre Website

**Please note, Etihad did not know I would be writing this blog post. We purchased all of our tickets ourselves. My opinions expressed in this post are my own**





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Monday, 15 January 2018

Time for a change

I know writing down goals for a new year seem very clichรฉ but I knew I needed to do something. I rarely stick to goals when they are written down as just that 'goals'. When I don't stick to them I feel like a failure. However, last year wasn't the best year for me. I suffered endlessly with my Postnatal Depression (PND) and I also lost a cousin to suicide who was battling a mental illness. I wanted this year to be different. I sat down with pen and paper and couldn't think of a title to write in my diary. I didn't want to use goals or achievements or anything like that. It was only when I glanced at my new Ice-Watch that an idea came to me. It reminded me of 'time' and how precious and valuable that is.


Last year, I tried to do too much with the time I had. Day to day i'd be running around like a headless chicken. I'd be on the school run, going to work, blogging, cooking, cleaning, going to the gym etc. It was all too much. I was so busy that I hardly made any quality time for the kids because I was running around doing everything I thought I needed to do. I was tired and irritable and all of these things would set off my PND. 

It has made me realise that it's time for a change. This year I need to make some time for myself. I need to embark on some self care in order to be happy and be the best mum I can be. 


Each day, I need to slow down and do some things for me. I'm going to try and get some fresh air everyday through either walking the dog or going for a run. Hopefully I can do both. Fresh air is good for the soul.

I'm also going to try and read more books. I used to love reading but I never found the time to do it. I'm going to make more of an effort with it this year.

I'm going to get my passion back for exercise. Exercise releases so many good endorphins so I need to do this more for me and not because I feel like I have to do it to shape up etc. I want to do it because I enjoy it and not because I feel like I have to do it as it then becomes a chore. I'm hoping to do a Yoga class once a week to help me relax.


Most of all i'm going to set aside more quality time for my girls. Eva started school last year so she's out of the house most of the day. When she comes home from school i'm going to make more of an effort to do the simple things that she enjoys such as going to the park, painting and reading etc. This needs to be my priority, not worrying about how untidy the house is or how big my ironing pile is. Time with my girls is irreplaceable. 


My new watch will serve as my reminder to change seeing as it helped me realise what I need to do this year. Hopefully every time I see it on my wrist it will remind me to set aside time in the day to look after myself and to enjoy that quality time with my girls. 

The watch is from the beautiful new 'city sparkling' collection by Ice-Watch priced at £90. Mine is Sparkling Glitter Black which also comes in Gold and Silver. I love it because it goes with dressing up outfits or it makes a casual outfit pop. 



Eva also has a watch which is the Ola Candy in White which is £55. Again when I see her wearing it, it will serve as a reminder to embrace the change.

*This is a collaborative post with Ice-Watch. All words and opinions are my own*



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Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Chin Up Mask Review

If there's one part of my body that I am extremely self conscious about then it's my double chin. As i'm getting older, it's getting worse. I used to only have one when I pushed my chin back but now I have one permanently that's not only visible from the side but the front of my face too. I hate it. It's the first thing I notice in photos. 

I'm like a yoyo when it comes to my weight but it seems even when i'm in my best shape, my saggy chin is still present. 

I was asked if I would like to try out the Chin Up Mask which is a non surgical way of reducing the appearance of a double chin. As you can imagine I jumped at the chance. I received a trial pack which contains everything you need for two treatments which is a tape measure, a band and 2 masks. 



The Chin Up Mask is designed to visibly improve the appearance of a double chin by up to 2cm in 30 minutes. It provides instant results by facilitating fat release and aids in the contouring process. It has a special Skintronics serum which helps to convert fat into stabilised fibrous tissue. It boosts the density of collagen and therefore increases cell tension to provide a lifting and firming effect. The mask also contains natural extracts from Acacia, Mint, Aloe, Grape, Olive, Apple and Citrus Fruits. I couldn't wait to try it.

The first thing you have to do is measure your chin from ear to ear. You measure across the front and underneath. I was 28cm around the front and 25 underneath. I think this is a great idea as this allows you to actually measure the results afterwards rather than just seeing a visual difference, so you know whether it has worked or not.

Next you apply the mask to your chin. Your skin needs to be clean and dry and without make up. Then, you wrap the belt around your neck and head and secure tightly. I must admit I found putting the belt on quite difficult so I asked hubby to help. I had it on the wrong way around to start with, but that's probably just from my dopiness and not reading the instructions properly. 


Once I had the belt in place my chin and neck started to feel very warm and tingly. I was quite alarmed at first but this is a sign that the mask is working. For a few minutes I wasn't sure whether i'd be able to wear the mask for the full length of the time as I felt like my neck was burning a lot but it eased down and I got used to the sensation. 

I was worried that I may have some redness or irritation when I removed everything because I have super sensitive skin but my skin looked absolutely fine. Instead of measuring the difference first, I decided to check the results in the mirror. I could instantly see a difference especially from front on. My skin certainly looked lifted and more youthful. I couldn't wait to see what the cm loss was.

Around my chin went from 28cm to 27.5cm and underneath went from 25 to under 24. Even though there's not a massive change in the actual results, i'm sure you can agree that there's a huge difference in my photos. My before photos make me look like I have a Turkey neck (so embarrassing). The difference from the side is amazing. 


Overall, i've been massively impressed with the Chin Up Mask. I was so skeptical about using it but i'm amazed at the results. They last for a few days on me so I would have to keep using it once a week i'd say to keep up the full effect. 


The trial set is currently on sale at £13.98 instead of £34.94 (price correct at time of publishing this post). You can then buy refills for future use. I don't think I could afford to use this regularly but I certainly will be using it for holiday's, night's out and special occasions. 


*I was sent the Chin Up Mask trial set in exchange for this blog review. All opinions are my own*







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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Our Top Picks in the Hunter Valley Australia

Every time we visit Newcastle in New South Wales (NSW) Australia, there is one area that is always top of our list of places to go, and that is the beautiful Hunter Valley. The Hunter Valley is north of Sydney and is one of Australia's major wine regions boasting world renowned brands to family run, boutique businesses. It's a wine lover and foodies idea of heaven.

Over the years we have tried lots of different wineries and other places to visit and here i've listed our top picks which we keep going back to.


Petersone House
Any place that lives by the motto 'life's flat without bubbles' is a winner in my eyes. I couldn't agree with the motto more. Peterson House specialises in sparkling wines. They have sparkling whites, rosรฉ, reds, dessert wine and ciders. Personal favourites of ours are the Brut Rosรฉ and the Shiraz.



Peterson House also has a restaurant and an Oyster Bar. My husband and I love the Oyster Bar which is open on the weekends. You can sit on the terrace and soak up the picturesque view with a cold, bubbly glass of whatever you fancy whilst sharing an Oyster or Cheese platter. It's total bliss.



Tintilla Estate
For our first ever visit to the Hunter Valley many years ago, we embarked on a guided wine tour. One of the stops was the amazing Tintilla Estate. Tintilla Estate was established in 1994 and is a family run vineyard. They produce award winning wines and olives. It is one of the prettiest wineries we have visited. 



When you arrive you immediately feel welcome. The estate has a cosy vibe that makes you not want to leave. The staff are always friendly and they are happy to advise and educate you on their wines.



When we visit we always purchase a glass of wine to enjoy on their terrace. It is so quiet and peaceful. You can simply sit back, relax, admire the breathtaking views whilst enjoying one of their wines. It's the perfect place to unwind.



Make sure you sample their Patriarch Syrah. It's one of the nicest wines i've ever tasted. 

Sabor in the Hunter Dessert Bar
I've only got to say the name of this place out loud and my mouth starts salivating. Sabor in the Hunter Dessert Bar has some of the most unique and mouth watering desserts around. It has a stunning backdrop which you can enjoy whilst eating and drinking. 



There are over 50 different desserts to choose from and you will struggle to narrow it down as they all look so tempting.



Children are also able to enjoy Sabor and they have their own menu. Our girls like to have either Chocolate and Strawberries or the Chocolate dipping plate.
Sabor is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth.



Binnorie Dairy
The Binnorie Dairy produces fine cheeses and they specialise in soft cheese. They are delicious. It is open Tuesday to Sunday and as all of the other places i've mentioned, the dairy also has a cracking view which is ideal for photo opportunities. 
I highly recommend trying the marinated Feta and the Labna which is a yogurt cheese marinated in chilli, garlic, rosemary and olive oil. It is divine.



Come and watch our video of our day date in the Hunter Valley:





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