Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Run the Race for Life with Kiqplan

Kayla Itsines BBG Guide

I have been blogging about my fitness for over a year now, I can't quite believe that the time has ticked away so quickly. I recently shared my 12 month update with you all, how I had got on, how I had changed in ways other than with the obvious weight loss. A year doesn't really sound like a long time, but it is amazing what you can achieve when you set your mind and your efforts in the right direction. 

Of course like any idea, you need fuel to get off the ground. For me starting out on this journey, it was completely foreign to me. I had no idea where to start, how to train my body, how to achieve results. We don't all have the financial means to hire a personal trainer to map everything we should be doing out for us, we don't all have that kind of time to afford to someone. For parent's out there like me who want to make a change, it really can all be done at home.

That's exactly where the Kiqplan app comes into the equation. The app is just like having your own personal coach at your side, except that it is all on your terms, and your terms alone. It guides you through exactly what you need to do in order to build up your capabilities and find your strength. The app can be completely tailored to your own individual needs and has been designed with the goal of shifting you off the coach and to get out running a race within 12 weeks! No matter your fitness level when you commence Kiqplan, you will be training up your fitness so that you can run the Race for Life 5k or even 10k race

Train with Kiqplan and run the Race for Life!

'Ladies, lace up your trainers because Kiqplan is here to get you ready for battle! Kiqplan, a digital coaching plan, will stay with you every step of the way for the next 12 weeks, getting you ready for the big day. Whether your goal is to run, walk or charge your way round to the finish line, we've got you covered with 5k and 10K plans to get you there.

Kiqplan is designed to help women of all ages, shapes and sizes and uses information from your activity tracker, smart phone or app about the number of steps you take or calories you eat to design a training plan specifically for you.'

I have certainly improved my stamina in the past year, and although the most running I have done has been going for a jog, I am tempted to don my best running shoes and see how I fare in a race. Maybe even the Race for Life. It would be a massive achievement for the girl, who 12 months ago didn't do much else other than watch Netflix and sip a can of Coca Cola, let alone run a race!

I think this year is my year for something like this, and it really would be a true test of how far I have come, a new challenge to sink my teeth into, while doing a good deed at the same time!

You can download the App for just 4.99 from both the Apple and Android Store.

What are your fitness goals for 2015?

Would you travel without the kids?

'Would I travel without Leo?' It's a question that I have been thinking about a lot recently. With Leo starting school in September and the opportunity to actually travel being resigned to school holidays and premium prices.. It does make the answer to that question lean more toward 'yes' than it does 'no'.

The idea of flying solo does seem more appealing these days. In no way am I saying that I would just want to travel on my own, but there are occasions that I think a week away just for me would be ideal. A week completely to myself at a hotel with no children for instance. That does seem pretty appealing, no children, a good book and a cocktail That to me is a ready made heaven. 

I have been considering a break for November time, just to catch a few sun rays and to un-wind. I could take advantage of the low cost breaks outside of the school holiday's and just take several days for me. How long do you think is to long to be away? Would you consider a week? Or have you actually taken a break on your own?

MyVoucher Codes have recently looked  into parents holidaying habits and have found that, when asked, 22% of parents would prefer to go onholiday without their children. For me I don't think this is to out there, sometimes grown ups need some time to just be grown ups. Of course family holidays are amazing, and I loved nothing more than taking Leo to Tunisia. We had such an amazing week, and it was such an amazing learning experience for him. It provided Leo the opportunity to see an entirely different culture and way of life. I can't wait to take him away again and show him more secrets of this big wide world we live in. 

In an ideal world I would love to take Leo on a two week break each year, I prefer traveling a little further than Spain and seeing far away lands. I would love to take Leo to the Caribbean, America and The Gambia. Each offer something so different and unique that I think he would really thrive on. Of course if I ever did jet away on my own, I would never be able to take any longer than a week, and a week at a real push. I love the idea of it but I know that I would miss him terribly and feel so guilty for actually going. So the question is still a little up in the air for me, would I travel without Leo? Maybe. Maybe I would.

Mark Pearson founder of My Voucher Codes, commented on the findings, he said:

“We can understand some parents feeling like they need a break from their children and holiday without them, however we don’t know how happy the kids would be, being left behind. It’s interesting to see that those happy to go on a summer holiday with their children would also like a shorter break away without children, factoring in partner time. Which can be easy to forget when you have a family.”
Would you travel without the kids? I would love to hear your responses!

My Four Year Old

BeBop Wizards Den

Almost 4 weeks after Leo's birthday, I am still finding it hard to believe that I have a FOUR year old. When did he suddenly get so big, and so grown up? It's been a busy few weeks, and life with a Four year old is so much fun. All of a sudden he's an actual little boy, not a baby. Not a toddler, a little boy, who walks, talks, and even starts school in September. As if I wasn't finding it hard enough to digest that my baby is Four..He's now starting school in a matter of weeks!

My four year old is funny. So very funny. Not a day goes by where he doesn't have me chuckling away at something he does, or more often than not something he says. According to Leo there are certain songs I can't sing along with, because they are 'boy songs'. It's amazing how young they are before the context of gender roles comes into play. Although having said that, when he is zooming around on Mario Kart with Mario at the helm..It's Peaches Pink car that he covets the most, yet he hates Pink...Because 'It's for girls!'.

My four year old is clever, and he knows it. He knows things that I didn't even realise he knew. We have been practicing our letters somewhat recently, only through fun games usually involving Mario and Luigi.. They are his absolute superheroes at this moment in time, and thanks to them he now recognises the letters M and L straight away. While we were looking at DVDs in Tesco recently Leo pointed at the Shaun the Sheep DVD and picked out the 'M' of the word 'Movie'. I almost choked on my Caramel Cappuccino he caught me that much off guard. 'M for Mario Mummy!' he shouted. The amazing thing is he recognises the letter for a number of words beginning with 'M', which of course is pretty great as this is the year my little man is going to learn to read!

My four year old has a love for adventure, and after our recent holiday to Tunisia he has been determined to return. Unfortunately due to everything that has happened in the country recently it hasn't been a possibility. He's picked up that something awful has happened through the news, he knows that a bad man has hurt lots of people. He doesn't understand how and why this has scarpered our plans to return however. It was just yesterday that Leo told me that he wants to go back, he wants to see his friends and party in the hotel bar again like before. Of course I explained that one day we would take him back, but at the moment no one is out there because of everything that happened. His reply? Well.. Obviously I am just being mean and 'I'm not your friend now Mummy! I want to go back to Tunisia!' was the only fitting answer he could muster.

Toyz World Storm Y Glider Scooter

My four year old loves to get outside, he loves to run, hop, jump and skip and scoot. Scooting is one of his passions, and not a day goes by over the summer months where he doesn't take one of his prized possessions out to play. He never ceases to amaze me with the control he exudes over his scooting, from the movement to the handling, he really is a proper little skater boy. All he needs now are a pair of Heelys to really complete his look!

He loves to keep me on my toes, and he loves popping the roof on the Mini, turning up the music far to loud and playing his current favourite song. 'Life is Life' blasts from the speakers as we drive along the road turning heads...All the while I can't help but smile as I see Leo bopping along and singing as loud as his little voice will let him. 'Life is Life, na na na!' he sings at the same time demanding 'I want it nosier! A little more, a little more!' when the volume isn't to his satisfaction.

Mini Cooper S Convertible

My four year old is my entire world, and I am especially excited for the new challenges that are heading our way this year. I love that he is still a complete and utter Mummy's boy, and there is nothing better than snuggling up together for a movie night under the duvet with a big bag of popcorn, and of course a whole array of naughty treats! While we were away Leo actually shouted at a man who asked to dance with me. He ran over and broke up the two step within seconds. My little body guard.

He's growing up so quickly, and school is going to age him entirely. As soon as he puts on that uniform for the first time, he is going to be a school boy.

And I know he is so very ready for it.

Mummy and son

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Life Unexpected: Top 5 ways to get out of debt

Money can be a real worrier, and sometimes there is just to much month left at the end of the money. This month has been one of those months, and it seems that if something can go wrong...It will go wrong. It's been a month of car troubles, starting off with car tax and followed closely by brake pads, a funny creaky noise on the left hand side, and finally the left hand wheel not retaining air... It has been one of 'those months'.

In fact it is months like this that make getting into debt so very easy. I like to spend as much as the next person, but I haven't budgeted for any of these eventualities.. 

With the month of money grating on me I wanted to share my top 5 tips for staying out of debt. Let's face it, no one wants to get neck deep in money worries.

1. Map out your essentials: Do you really need to spend? If the answers no and it isn't one of the 'musts' for the month. Put it back, add it to the wish list and focus on your bills. I know this is so much easier said than done..

2. Keep track of where your debt actually is: How much do you owe? Who do you owe? How much can you afford to pay back a month? Chart everything and keep a spread sheet so that you can see exactly where you are and how much expandable money you have this month,

3.  Leave some money aside for things you enjoy; I think worrying about money is one of the worst things that you can do. Where there is a will, there is a way. Once you have mapped out what you owe and how you are going to re-pay, you need to remember to save a bit for a day out, something fun, taking the kids to the cinema and not take life to seriously. 

4.If you need help..Ask: Sometimes pride gets in the way, we don't want to ask for help. We want to stand on our own two feet and show the world that WE CAN do it. When it comes down to it though, family will want to help if they can. Talk the situation through with them, it may be the best thing you ever did.

5. Smile even through your darkest days: This has to be the most valuable piece of advise I can give you. Smiling is a proven way to make yourself feel better, surround yourself with people that you can't help but smile around. Leave the stress and worries for a while.

This month may have got under my skin a little, but I know I will get through it and that in the months to come all will be back on track. Once the car is sorted, then that's done and dusted and I don't have to worry about it (Crosses Fingers) for a little while. 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Custom Tee's from Lush T-Shirts

Summer holidays, tropical waters, blue skies and sandy shores...It's easy to let the mind wander, let the soft sea breeze blow you towards that white sandy beach as the palm trees sway from side to side. I find it hard to believe that I have only been back off my holiday a month, but those memories already seem like a life time ago.

Time goes by to quickly in paradise...

It got me thinking back to my 'younger days', I know, I am 25.. But I am a 25 year old with responsibility, with a little boy who needs me in so many different ways. What I am trying to say is, there are certain experiences that I never really got around to, and one of those experiences is the larger than life girls holiday.

It's not something I kick myself about by any means, but I guess if things were different it would have definitely been something I would have done. Something I would have enjoyed. 

When I have jetted off on my family holiday's, I have watched these young girls in their matching t-shirts as they hustle around picking up the last bits and pieces they need for their week in Ibiza. I have always lusted after their matching outfits, the preparation that they have put into jetting away together, the excitement exuding off them.

Lush T-shirts have a number of custom designs perfect for jetting away on holiday. Whether it's for a break with the boys or a handful of your favorite ladies, they have something for every occasion. There is so much choice even in the customer shirts that they stock, and that's before you even begin customizing your own!

Here are a selection of my favorites:

I was very recently at a rather special sporting event, Kayla Itsines came to London as part of her very first world tour. A number of the girls in attendance had personalized work out tops made up with a few of the popular hashtags that get used online #SweatWithKayla #DeathByKayla, and I remember thinking how I wished that I had thought ahead and done exactly that.

I will definitely be remembering Lush T Shirts for the future, and if I ever do make it on a girls week away, or Kayla makes a return to the capital.. I will be making a order.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Meerkat Movies 2 for 1 Cinema Tickets

Meerkat Movies 2 for 1 Cinema Tickets

My teenage years were full of cinema trips, and this was especially true on a Wednesday when the Orange Wednesday 2 for 1 ticket scheme was in place. It really did help as a student, and I always looked forward to seeing the latest films in the cinema setting. Of course all good things come to an end, and it was recently announced that Orange Wednesday...Is no more.

It was a sad day when EE pulled their socks up and closed the door, because even today when I am grown and pulling my very own socks up, cinema dates on a Wednesday evening was a great way to break up the working week and spend time with friends.

You can imagine the smile on my face when Comparethemarket.com stepped up to the mark, they have given cinema fanatics reason to smile again. They have given me reason to look forward to Wednesday's again! 

You see Comparethemarket.com have launched a brand new reward scheme known as Meerkat Movies, it can be accessed in the form of a smart phone app and will provide users with 2-for-1 cinema tickets every Tuesday and Wednesday! How great is that!?

The app is available to download now from the Apple or Android store and can be used by any customers who have purchased a qualifying product through comparethemarket.com in the last 12 months. 

There are a number of different types of products you can purchase through the comparison site which qualifies the use of the Meerkat Movies App:

By taking out Home/Content Insurance, Car Insurance, Motorcycle insurance, Van Insurance, Pet Insurance, Landlord Insurance, Life Insurance, Travel Insurance, Taking out a Credit Card, Obtaining a loan, Switch your energy provider, TV and Broadband supplier. 

It's so easy to use the app and get your movie reward, all you have to do is download the app and follow the instructions. Once you have your voucher you can then use it every Tuesday and Wednesday at your local supporting cinema. I for one am really looking forward to making the most of the blockbusters hitting the silver screen over the summer. I will be able to make use of it with Leo for the likes of Minions and Inside Out, and of course for the more grown up tastes...*Cough* Magic Mike *Cough*.

Enjoying movies and saving money? That's got to be a winner right!

You can download the Meerkat Movies App right here.

Happy cinema going fellow Meerkats!

Disclaimer: This is a featured post

1 Year Later... & The Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

It's amazing how much a person can grow in a year. I have completely shocked myself in many different senses of the word. When I started my fitness journey a year ago in June, did I think I would ever get this far? Far enough to actually celebrate an entire year of my new lifestyle? 

Who knows... 

I honestly can't say yes or no, all I know is that my goals were burning a path right before me, and as this fire spurred me on form the very pit of my stomach, I was adapting. I was making changes, evolving. I was growing.

Goals start off as dreams and that is what makes them so powerful, and when you completely set your mind to something, you best believe that you are un-stoppable. One of the biggest things that I have learnt about myself is that if I say I am going to do something, I will do it. One way or another, on the very tips of my toes, I will do it.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation
Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation

How else have I changed in a year? 

Well aside from the obvious weight loss my tastes have changed. My food, my drink, my likes and my dislikes have all been shaken up. My diet is the best it has ever been in my entire life. I love egg, fruit, vegetables, meat, nuts, tea and coffee! Those last two for anybody who knew me before all of this knows that I never touched the stuff. EVER! When everyone else fancied a brew, I would be the one reaching into my bag and pulling out my bottle of Coca Cola. I took one everywhere, I drank it morning, noon and evening, often multiple times a day. I was ploughing hundreds of empty calories into my body, without knowing and without really caring. 

Now I enjoy water, lots and lots of water. I drink Green Tea, Mango and Lychee to be precise. I LOVE a morning Costa... That may be my new downfall, but I honestly can't explain how alive I feel after that morning caffeine rush. 

Everything I prepare, everything I enjoy is now much better for me, it fuels my body and gets me through the day, It's become a second nature, I don't consider myself 'on a diet', because this really isn't a diet. It's sustainable, it's realistic. It's who I am and it's my life.

Deliciously Ella

I am a huge, huge, huge fan of Deliciously Ella. Her food, her recipes and her concepts blow me away. I was so very excited to meet her very recently at Brit Mums Live, and even managed to get my hands on a signed copy of her AMAZING cook book. I use this book regularly, and add my own spin on things. A firm favorite in my house has to be the Pesto Pasta, but I have to admit I cheekily add Chicken and a drizzle of honey. Honey is a staple sweetener in my day to day life and although it's obviously additional calories, I don't feel guilty because it's something I enjoy. I add it to my Green Tea, meals and sauces. Absolutely everything I can possibly think of, and you know what this real life Pooh Bear thinks? Everything tastes better with a little bit of honey!

I am asked all the time 'How do you eat so well all the time!?' - The honest answer is that I don't. We all fall off occasionally, but for the most part I eat well because I have further goals that I want to achieve. I still can't quite believe how far I have come, the 2 stone weight loss I have achieved, and absolutely everything since I hit my target weight. I am now 21 weeks into Kayla Itsines Bikini Body guide, and in a few weeks time I will have completed the second guide. I am the strongest and fittest I have ever been in my life, but as I say, this is a lifestyle, I am only going to continue along this path because it empowers me, and it excites me.

You may have read in my last post that I actually got to go along to London and take part in Kayla's World Tour, it really was a week for meeting heroes that week, as in a matter of days I had met the very lovely Ella! Kayla's work out left hundreds of girls sweating, and so excited for the pain that they were now feeling. it really was the most amazing ache, because you just knew that you had worked hard, and that the Queen Bee herself had shown you first hand, how it's done.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

So what exercise do I do these days?

My exercise routine is determined by Kayla's Bikini Body Guide 2.0, and I make sure to complete each work out, It's a series of resistance and cardio training (LISS) over the course of the week with Sunday's designated as your day off. I complete all of Kayla's resistance exercises at home, I can often be found thumping around my room with my trusty bar bell, squatting and performing ab bikes. Exercising has been a complete eye opener for me, when I started and for the first 8 months for that matter (pre BBG) I was a cardio fiend. I didn't know how to tone up. I didn't know where to start, and that was one of the things holding me back. because how can you achieve something if you don't have the fundamentals on how to do it? I had considered a personal trainer but that didn't seem like a sustainable solution to me in the long run, and of course money was a factor. 

Somehow I had started following Kayla on Facebook, I think I clicked through on one of the adds one day. I don't remember exactly how I ended up there, but I remember looking at these fantastic transformations, and you know what? I was skeptical. So very skeptical. In 12 weeks some of these girls had completely re-modeled their entire bodies. How could that be real? How!?

I stuck around though, even liking Kayla's page. I watched in awe as these girls kept on coming, and one evening I decided that I had seen enough. I was GOING to buy the very first guide. That was 21 weeks ago now, and I haven't looked back or regretted my decision once. Kayla's guide WILL work if YOU WORK. I cannot stress this enough, it isn't some magic guide that suddenly slaps abs on you and does the squats for you, but with these tools you can achieve great things.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation

Do I do any exercises along side the guides?

This is another question that I get asked a lot and the answer is that yes I do. On resistance days I attend the gym following the resistance training that I complete at home.I spend an hour working with weights on the limb of choice for that session. I do think that this combined with everything that Kayla has instilled in me, and of course my culinary lifestyle aids the results that I have seen.

My LISS sessions consist of 40-50 minutes on the cross trainer, and I have finally worked my way up to the top of the effort level on the machine. I guess it just demonstrated that I had been taking it way to easy on myself, so I am looking forward to seeing how this helps me going forward.

I go for the occasional run, and I have a rather beautiful selection of trainers these days. My favorite to run in, and the most comfortable for that matter are my shiny Blue Downshifter 6 Nikes. I am a size 6 and I have found with other brands that my feet can feel a little cramped, but these running shoes have proved ideal for everything I need out of them. I actually took these away with me on holiday with the best intentions of going for a run...However this was one of those occasions that I fell off the healthy eating cart into a mountain of cake... 

Nike Running Shoes

What's next?

A year into my fitness guide I do feel like I have achieved a lot, but...And yes there is a but! I have so much more that I want to achieve. This next year is going to be amazing. I can't help but think... 'Where will I be this time next year?' and the truth is, that's exactly what I thought when starting out. Did I expect to be here? Nope, never in a million years, but here I am.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation

What are my goals?

I want to tone up the bits of me that are being reluctant. I have lose skin on my stomach that seems to want to stick around.

I want my inner thighs to be leaner and stronger.

I want my arms to become more defined and my underarms to get some shape.

I want to keep working on my chest and feel confident in strapless clothing.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

It's always good to set goals, give yourself realistic timelines and if you don't hit it right away, just keep at it. These things don't happen over night, they are a reflection of your entire lifestyle. If you really want something, go and get it. Make it happen. It is quite honestly the best feeling in the world, and I cannot explain how happy I am with everything that has come to light in this year.

Set your goals on fire and just do it. 
You so totally CAN!

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation