Monday 31 August 2015

Those Who Sparkle

Life Unexpected

It's funny how un-predictable life can be, one minute everything is ticking along exactly like it should be. Your life is on the right path and you feel like everything is heading in the right direction...Then lightning strikes and life as you know it is turned on it's head. 

You are kicked to the floor, and you think about how easy it would be to just lie there as everyone takes a little piece of you, bit by bit, piece by piece. It would be so easy to just stay curled up in that ball you have formed on the floor and let the tears roll, but no matter what happens you will never give anybody the satisfaction. You will never just lie there in that ball, never.

Whether it's your car suddenly testing your patience and presenting you with a hefty bill to fund, opening your eyes to the idea of personal loans, or even the loss of a job, you pick yourself back up. You hold your head high and you smile. You smile through everything. You don't just smile though, you laugh. You laugh a lot, even when people look at you and wonder how you are managing to save face through this trying time, you realise that you aren't just saving face. You are genuinely smiling, you are happy. 

You realise that when one door closes another is just waiting to open, and you are positive. You see light at the end of the dark tunnel, and you realise that no matter how bleak things may look at times, you will get through it with your head held high. You will come out the other side stronger, more prepared and enlightened. 

Life Unexpected

You have always been the kind of girl to push for something when someone tells you that it's outside your reach. When people doubt you that is when you shine. When he said you were getting fatter by the day...You changed your life right around. Those words didn't hurt you, they made you stronger. You came out fighting. When you got made redundant, you didn't cry. Not once. You realised that the whole world was at your feet and with a little bit of confidence and sparkle there was nothing that you couldn't handle.

When people think they can chip away at you, when people try to part their negativity in your general direction, you feel sorry for them. You are at a point in your life where you know what matters and what doesn't and regardless to absolutely anything that has happened in the past, you just want everyone to be happy. You don't want to fight, and despite any bitterness that may fly in your general direction, you have taken a stance. No matter what is said, no matter how it is said, or who it is directed at, you are going to be the bigger person. 

Self Confidence Quotes

You won't retaliate, you will continue to smile and you will be pleasant, overly so. You won't be a push over, but you will lay down the law with a friendly tone and a beaming smile on your face, because that's just who you are. 

So when you feel like the world is dealing you a bad hand, just remember that you are above it. It is really just a shake up of life as you know it, it's the sign of a change and no matter what it is, you will stand tall, you will smile and you will find a new path through it all.

Self Confidence Quotes

The one with a week before school

start rite school shoes

There is one week left of the summer holiday's, and although I have spent Monday to Thursday in the office, I am still trying to get my head around the fact that my not so little man is starting school. I guess this right here is actually going to be a reflective post, how could it not be? Starting school is such a huge milestone and this next year is going to be one full of transition and growth.

School marks the pathway to the rest of Leo's life, what he will do, who he will be. It will lead him right the way through to his adult life, and that is both a scary and rather amazing thought. Everything that has happened in his past, and everything that is coming in his future, are shaping him to take on life in his very own way. To help him achieve his goals and ultimately be the very best version of himself that he can possibly be. 

I could say that time has been on warp speed since the day he landed in my life all those years ago, but every parent knows that, it simply goes without saying. Did I think the day he started school would come around so fast? Never. Did I think my baby would ever grow up on me? Not on your life. Well not this quickly anyway.

Starting School 2015

Do I think Leo is ready to enter the big wide world that will open to him when school does commence? It's a question that I have actually been asking myself for the past year, what with all of the bumps in the road we have had in terms of his developments, I guess that the answer would change depending on which day of the week you asked me. Right now I am completely, and 100% sure that he is ready for this next step. It goes without saying that it is going to be a complete shock to the system (for both of us!), but in terms of development and over all readiness, yes. He is very much ready for this next chapter.

I think that it is definitely going to open his eyes, and it may even result in a potential dislike after the initial novelty wears off and he realises the expectations of the teachers and fellow pupils. Like every child who has entered the school before him, Leo will adapt. He will grow and he will conform. Over the years I have spoken so much about conforming, and how children should conform in their own time and in their own way, and I guess that the time is fast approaching for that little man of mine.

start rite school shoes

In preparation for the historic day Leo has been sent the perfect pair of school shoes, the start rite Hat-Trick, Black Leather School Shoes. I am a firm believer in children having a pair of shoes that fit them properly, especially a pair that will be worn day in and out for a substantial amount of time. Leo and I were out in Cheltenham a few weeks back when we decided to pop into our local start rite store to get his feet measured. The staff were so accommodating and gladly measured little man up so that we knew his exact size.

When the shoes arrived the first thing we did was have Leo model them, it's almost a coming of age moment getting those very first school shoes in, and we certainly treated it as such. Little man was just as excited and had been talking for weeks about getting this very special pair of shoes, un-boxing them was something that couldn't happen quickly enough, he wanted those shoes on his feet, and he wanted them now.

start rite school shoes

start rite Hat Trick Shoe Specifications:

- Comes with a football keyring
- Riptape fastening for adjustability and comfortable fit
- Glow in the dark feature on upper
- Mesh linings for breathability 
- Lightweight rubber sole for comfort
- Padded ankle for comfort and support
- Scuff resistant rubber toe bumper

Reception Class 2015

They are a lovely pair of shoes and fit like a dream with plenty of growing room, which of course is exactly what we need for a growing boy. With a price tag of £47.00 they don't break the bank and I can rest assured knowing that Leo has a quality pair of fitting shoes on his feet. start rite believe in children having well fitted shoes throughout every stage of development, and I couldn't agree more. 

I now have one 4 year old very much ready to start school, and one Mummy ready (She says!) for him to go. We shall see how I fare when it comes to dropping him off on that very first day. I get the feeling that I am all talk and really not ready to wave him off... But one way or another, that little man of mine is on the path to growing up, and walking it in a pair of very well fitting school shoes. 

Disclaimer: We were sent the above pair of start rite Hat Trick School Shoes for the purpose of this post and our honest opinion. All views expressed are those of Life Unexpected.

Friday 28 August 2015

Clean Eating

The last few weeks my healthy eating plan has really been put to the test. My birthday came along and suddenly my eating went to pot, we even found ourselves having a slap up meal with all the trimmings at a local pub! I know it is one of those things, and in reality it really isn't the end of the world, but for me I really notice a difference when I don't eat the way that I usually do. 

It's funny how when you start to eat a certain way, when you slowly but surely adapt your lifestyle to pave the way in achieving your goals, how your mind set changes and although I do still enjoy the foods that I used to eat everyday, I know that in the grand scheme of things they don't really have anything to offer me or my body.

As soon as my food choices turn to mud, my tummy bloats, I feel lethargic and I notice an increase in spots. Spots have been a big thing for me throughout this entire process. When I first cut all of the rubbish out of my diet, I broke out in spots. I was told that this was my bodies way of detoxing and getting rid of all the toxins that were within my body, and it makes perfect sense. Now if I so much as dare enjoy a bottle of Coca Cola...I break out in spots! Our bodies are always telling us things even if we aren't really paying attention...

For me it is a real rarity where I will actually allow myself to indulge in fizzy drinks these days (I still have cans of Coke in the fridge from last Christmas!) but every now and again I let myself kick back and un-wind with one. Over my Birthday weekend I did just that, and of course following a week or two with everything that I wouldn't usually touch with a barge pole, I seemingly found myself with a spot or two to show for it. This prompted a wide scale search for remedies and ways to prevent them, when really I knew the underlying issue was actually me shocking my body with a number of food items that it wasn't used to.

I am still sporting a bloated tummy much to my horror, and my abs have gone into hibernation. I have however really kicked up the clean eating and been a regular back in the gym this week. It might take a few weeks to completely feel myself again... But I know that it all comes down to what I am eating and I will be back on track again very soon.

Wednesday 19 August 2015

The Red Lion Birthday Lunch - Stratford Upon Avon

I often blog about my fitness, what I eat, how I train and even what I don't eat. I am so in love with what I do that it doesn't actually even feel like a hardship, it's just who I am and what I do. Of course that's not to say that I don't let my hair down, I can eat cake with the best of them and thoroughly enjoy myself. I am human after all, it's just not something I choose to do everyday.

I was recently invited along to the Red Lion which is part of the Table Table pub chain, right in the heart of Stratford Upon Avon. I had rallied up two of my closest friends and booked a table in for Sunday 9th August over my birthday weekend, we had been out for celebratory drinks, and finishing up with a slap up lunch and giggling over the events of the night before seemed like a fabulous idea. We arrived and were greeted by Rachel, she welcomed us and made us feel very much at home, and she looked after us throughout the entirety of the meal and nothing was to much trouble.

The 3 of us sat down and studied the menu, there was so much to choose from and our tummy's were grumbling in the anticipation of a hearty pub lunch. Of course put 3 ladies together, the chatting starts, the giggles erupt and soon you are neck deep in conversation that you have completely forgotten to process what you want for lunch...It took us a little while but we got there eventually. 

Our starters arrived with us promptly and all at the same time which was super. I had decided early on that I was going to have absolutely everything I fancied on this occasion, so that meant the rare treat of Coca Cola and even venturing in ordering fries for the first time since December! I started with the Calamari and wasn't disappointed, everything arrived piping hot and was served with a smile. 

The conversation and giggles from our table flowed through into our mains and well into dessert. The mains were delicious and we all opted for something a little different. I had the Steak Dianne that was tasty and satisfying, and I may have swooned over the skinny fries, taking the time to dip them into the tomato sauce one after the other. 

Pudding was equally as delicious, I had the cheesecake which a must try for the cheesecake lovers such as myself! The portions were all very generous and by the time I polished off that last mouthful, I was at a new level of contented.Suffice to say I classed this feast as my dinner as well that day.

When the bill came I was impressed with how reasonable it was. For 3 of us to have a 3 course meal, and enjoy a number of drinks, it came to £74.10 which is under £25.00 a person. I felt that the service we received was friendly and welcoming, and in the heart of a tourist destination such as Stratford Upon Avon, the value for money was great.

Myself and the girls had a lovely afternoon putting the world to rights and we would definitely visit again should we be in the area.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a £60.00 voucher in exchange for our honest feedback on our meal and experience at the Red Lion. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Netflix Stream Team: August


So things have been pretty quiet around here recently because instead of blogging... I have actually been watching Netflix. So ironically the post I have been planning on writing up about Netflix has been delayed...Because I am to busy watching Netflix. 

You see the dilemma here? 

So tonight I have turned on some music, forgotten that I hold an all singing and all dancing Netflix subscription... Pushed the fact that I quite simply have an addition (maybe a borderline problem that needs addressing), and that I am in so deep into Season 5 of Pretty Little Liars, that I am inevitably growing ever closer to finding out who 'A' actually is!

Over the last few months I have been totally addicted to Pretty Little Liars, I am the kind of girl that simply can only watch one box set at any one time. I feel like I am doing myself a terrible in-justice if I swap up what I am watching, I guess you could say that I am an all or nothing kind of girl. If I do watch something in between my one and only, it may as well be down right cheating and it does not sit right with me. So while I have been completely loved up and feeding my infatuation with Pretty Little Liars, there has become a bit of a back log of things that I JUST HAVE to watch.

The day is fast approaching where this love affair I have going on is going to come to an end. It is going to be a sad day, because I have absolutely loved the twists and turns that have come with this series. Is it just me that get's a little bit attached to a show? To the characters? What I mean is I am going to be really sad to get to the end... Like I said. I think I have a borderline Netflix addiction. 

My mind is already wandering to finishing this post...Hopping into bed with a cup of tea and putting on Pretty Little Liars. This is not helping my case right?

When I finish the series up my next point of call has to be without a shadow of a doubt....Orange is the New Black. I attended the screening back in June and watched the first 2 episodes, and since then haven't had the opportunity to revisit the series just yet, but I am very much excited to. I adore it, I love the humor, the plots, the laughs and all of the characters. I find it crazy to think that the first time I watched the show...I thought that I wasn't going to like it. That very first episode changed all of that forever!

Following on from Orange is the New Black I have a bit of a list that I will be working my way through....Are you ready?

The Originals - I LOVE The Vampire Diaries, so for me this is the most logical next step!

The returned, I don't know much about this one but it keeps standing to me and is one I definitely need to see.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - This has been on my list for months and months! I loved the first two episodes and giggled in all of the right places. Such a great series that I am pretty excited about continuing.

Once Upon a Time - This series has been recommended to me time and time again. I haven't yet looked into the story and I don't know what to expect...But between all of these new series, I have a pretty full plate and also lots more to talk to you guys about once I get my teeth sunk into it all!

So if things do go a little quiet, please feel free to drop me a tweet @lovelyleosmummy and tell me that I have lots to be getting on with. I am most likely tucked up in bed after a gym session, relaxing in the bask of the television glow with my favourite companion...Netflix.

Disclaimer: As part of the Netflix Stream Team I am provided complimentary Netflix to meet my addiction. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Netflix: Race to Dragons Edge

Netflix Race to Dragons Edge

Back in June Leo turned Four and the very next day we were on board a train to London. Netflix had called upon me and my not so little man to come and celebrate the launch of the Netflix Original Series Dragons Race to the Edge.

In true Netflix style all the stops had been pulled out and we arrived to find that all of the children were being issued their very own swords, axes and shields, much of course to Leo's delight. I couldn't but chuckle as he was lead off to battle, because it was only earlier that morning that I had told Leo to stop sword fighting with his cousin. Of course... Who am I to argue!? It provided the perfect opportunity to find a glass of bubbly to fill my empty hand! (I won't mention that this was an afternoon event!).

Netflix Stream Team

Netflix Race to Dragons Edge

Dragons Race to the Edge is the spin of series to the very popular How to Train your Dragon, and both Leo and myself had really high hopes for it. The series picks up in between the first and the second feature film, and in the first couple of episodes that we were lucky enough to view on the day, we saw how Hiccup came into possession of the Dragon Eye. The Dragon Eye is a mysterious object jam packed full of secrets and mystery that ultimately point the way to the undiscovered dragons and the islands in which the Dragon Riders will embark on countless adventures.

Netflix Race to Dragons Edge
Netflix Race to Dragons Edge

The children all cuddled up on bean bags, goblets in hand and enough goodies that they could muster and began to watch the new series. It gave me a break from having to make sure Leo was not taking anyone's eye out, hand off or even knocking Hiccups head off as he later came to do... (Sorry Netflix!). The kids were all so engrossed in the show, and it provided the perfect opportunity to catch up with my blogging bestie Lottie over at Berice Baby. In fact we had to step outside of the showing as our giggles were getting louder and louder...In true Laura and Lottie style of course!

After the showing we were free to stick around and enjoy all of the festivities that had been put together in honor of the event, Among the sea of bubbly, the viking theme had really been carried throughout and I was probably just as excited by this fact as the children. Dragon Sandwiches, goblets of tasty juice (Some with eyes floating around inside! I am still not sure what they actually were!) Not to mention the absolutely fabulous Hiccup Dragon Cake! 

We had such an amazing day, and Leo was in his absolute element which is always nice to see. The nice thing about these events is that you get to know everyone, and in turn the kids do to. It's always more like meeting a bunch of your friends, and that means that I can give Leo a little bit more freedom.

Netflix Race to Dragons Edge

Before we left Netflix bestowed a Birthday Surprise on Leo, and presented him with a box of cupcakes. Leo was too excited to get on the train and tuck in, and I have to admit that even I snuck one and they were absolutely delicious! 

A few days after the excitement of the event had subsided, we took in our very own dragon! Since Hiccup arrived we have been having so much fun with him. I admittedly took him out to play before Leo even saw him... So yes it is my fault that Leo still thinks Hiccup can fly...And it is also my fault that Leo gets frustrated when he wont fly for him...

Here is what we have been getting up to!
Netflix Race to Dragons Edge

Netflix Race to Dragons Edge

Netflix Race to Dragons Edge

Netflix Race to Dragons Edge

Netflix Race to Dragons Edge

A big, big, BIG thank you to Netflix for inviting us along to see the new series and for spoiling us rotten. We had a fantastic day as always and Leo still talks about his amazing time to anyone who will listen!

Disclaimer: We were invited along the Netflix Race to Dragons Edge Screening as part of the stream team. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and my own. 

Saturday 15 August 2015

The one with the leavers assembly

It's been a funny old year, one that has involved speech therapy, development concerns from outside elements and then watching as Leo came along in leaps and bounds, entirely in his own time. 

At the end of July Leo finished his time at nursery, a coming of age moment. A day that was both sad and exciting, a day full of smiles and memories that we will always treasure. We had been invited along to the school that Leo will be attending in a matter of weeks, an assembly had been put together by the nursery as it is set within the school premises. 

I love that the school and nursery is attached, it has helped make this massive transition so much easier, and Leo doesn't seem to have any concerns over the next chapter of his life. We weren't certain we were going to be able to attend the assembly as Leo had been poorly just after arriving at nursery the day before, and of course there is a 48 hour period after a child has last been sick before they can return to the school environment. To say I was disappointed was a massive understatement to say the least. I wanted Leo to experience this, because in the years to come he is going to look back on the photos and the memories of that day, he will see how much the children have grown, how he has changed and evolved. I wanted him to have that because I don't. 

I moved around as a child, so the children I attended nursery with, the children I first went to school with, they are all strangers to me. High School however is a different story, and over 10 years since leaving, I am still friendly and still see many of them. I was always a little envious of the children who knew each other from those very early days, and when a Facebook photo appeared in my timeline I would always look for me, only to discover that it was before we moved here. I wanted Leo to be one of the children who was in those memories.

Nursery cleared us to come in for the half hour assembly as Leo wasn't under the weather and hadn't been sick again. I was over the moon, I was going to get to see everything that Leo had done and put together.

They sang songs and danced about, Leo looked a little un-sure but he joined in. A far cry from the child he once was where he refused to do anything like that (just like his Mummy!). It was so amazing to watch him, this little person who was now stepping outside his comfort zone. Outside that box he had once been so firmly placed in and joining in. I sat there beaming from ear to ear the entire time, and that smile only got bigger when he was asked to stand up and announce to the entire audience of parents what he wanted to be when he was older. He took the picture he had painted, that was actually really well put together. That along with him announcing 'I want to be a race car driver' Just made my beaming smile grow ten fold.

The nursery leaders awarded all the children with their own individual awards, and it made me really appreciative to just how well these amazing ladies actually knew all of the children within their care. There were awards for who was most likely to be famous, most likely to be a singer, most happy all of the time... And I already knew what Leo's was going to be before they even called his name out. Leo was awarded the train award, for being the little boy who is ALWAYS found to be playing with trains. I had to giggle at the fact they had actually ran with this, when once upon a time they were concerned about Leo's love (or obsession) with the objects... But a long with everyone else they have seen that Leo is just a little boy who likes to accomplish things at his own pace, and in his own time. Leo is just a little boy with a big love for trains, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

The nursery wrapped up the very special assembly and invited parents to try the food served in the school hall that the children had the option to have from September. Boy have school meals come on a lot since my day, and I think it's going to be a great way of broadening Leo's taste palette.

We collected Leo's school bag with a number of goodies inside, and that was the start of the summer holiday's. 

I cannot believe that in a matter of a few weeks, my little boy will be starting school.