Sunday, 24 April 2016

Top 5 Tips For Surviving A Summer Road Trip With Kids

With so many long bank holiday weekends on the horizon, it’s tempting to plan a change of scenery with a mini-break. If you’re dreading the thought of travelling with kids, you’re not alone. It’s stressful for everyone involved; cranky babies hate when their routine is so rudely interrupted, and crabby toddlers often find long journeys distressing, mainly because it means being cooped up for so long!

A company called Book Mallorca recently got in touch with the results of their parent travel survey. In April, they asked 1000 UK-based parents with children under the age of six to share their number one item they couldn't live without when travelling with small children. Whether you’re hopping on a flight to Spain, or loading up the car for a road trip to Grandma’s, here are a few indispensable tips to make the journey as smooth and stress-free as possible.

1.    Keep everyone entertained. The number one item on the list was a tablet device. This isn’t surprising, as keeping kids entertained on long journeys is a constant struggle. Load up a tablet or smartphone with videos and games that they love to keep them happy on the long drive. If you’re not keen on all the screen time, another great form of entertainment is music, which came in at number 5 on the list. Ebooks are a great option for older kids, or you can create a playlist of nursery rhymes for the little ones.

2.    Take your own food and drink. If you take snacks and drinks from home, you can make sure your rest stops are all about stretching your legs and going to the loo, rather than waiting in line for food. Pack a range of snacks that will last the journey, like babybel cheese, muesli bars and watered down juice in sippy cups. Avoid anything too high in sugar, or you’ll have the sugar highs and lows to deal with.

3.    Figure out your best solution for car sickness. There’s nothing more miserable than car sickness, so try to identify the cause and the best possible solution. Some kids need to look out the window, while others simply need to stay hydrated. Try using car sickness bands if all else fails. And if the worst should happen, always keep a sick bag in the glove compartment.
4.    Tidy as you go. Only one person in the survey said that an in-car bin was essential for travelling with kids, but just over 7% agreed that wet wipes are non negotiable. Make your own bin by placing a plastic bag inside a plastic cereal container with a lid, then you won’t have to worry about the bin being up-ended 10 minutes away from home. You can also use a pack of wet wipes to clean grubby faces and sticky fingers before you arrive at Grandma’s. They also double as makeup remover wipes if you’re staying overnight.

You can see the full top ten list of items in this infographic. Do you think there’s anything missing from this list?

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Live the Age You Feel Inside


Life often throws us a few curve balls, and sometimes us ladies seem to get the rawer end of the deal don't you think? I mean we grow up and suddenly we have 'that time of the month' to contend with.. Then of course there's pregnancy and....Child birth. It's a never ending roller-coaster of  female surprises, some I am sure that we could do without? 

Of course after you have had a baby, your body is an entirely new ball game. Everything you think that you know.. well throw that hand book out of the window. It's time to get to know your body again. I was religious with the pelvic floor exercises I was provided with after I had Leo, and thankfully I had a smooth birth and even smoother recovery. I know that some ladies have a very different experience, and I was surprised to discover that 1 in 3 women suffer from bladder sensitivity.

As this is such a raw subject, one that is tinged with embarrassment for many of the women who do suffer, they usually suffer alone and in silence. That of course isn't how it should be, and in a day and age where there are some great incontinence products around and people are that much more open minded about the way our bodies work, or sometimes don't quite work as they are supposed too.. What better way than to highlight some tips to help you take care of your sensitive bladder.

Share how you are feeling with someone. If you feel too embarrassed to speak to a loved one then set up an appointment with your GP. Millions of women in the UK suffer from sensitive bladder, you are not alone and there is help available.

Your bladder is trainable: if you’re troubled by needing to pass water very often and needing to rush to the toilet, talk with your doctor about a daily schedule to build up your bladder’s holding capacity. Remember; allow your bladder to empty completely each time you go to the toilet.

There’s no need to avoid drinking in order to reduce the urge to visit the bathroom. Limiting your water intake makes your urine more concentrated, which boost your chances of bladder irritation.
Keep hydrated.

Caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks could be your new worst enemies– they can irritate a sensitive bladder. Everyone with sensitive bladder could benefit from cutting down on alcohol. If your symptoms include needing to rush to the loo, try limiting those coffees, teas and carbonated beverages for a week or two to see if it helps.

If you experience anxiety, worry and concern because of your sensitive bladder, mental relaxation can be a very valuable aid. Avoid worrying about problems excessively. Deliberately include activities in your daily life that bring you pleasure for example meeting friends, going to the cinema or taking a walk.

Pilates, yoga, cycling, tai chi, brisk and Nordic walking are all great low impact activities that will keep you fit.

Strong abdominal exercises can put too much pressure on your pelvic floor. Opt for gentler core exercises instead, to keep your abdominals in shape.

By practicing at least three times a day, these exercises can help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and give you more control when you need it. If you’re not sure how to do them, speak to your doctor or visit 

Be aware of your posture whilst you exercise and go about your daily activities. Slouching inhibits your deep core muscles from working properly.

Learn to breathe more efficiently with Pilates or yoga. Never hold your breath while exercising as this puts pressure on your pelvic floor.

We perform many of our daily activities without consciously thinking about our movements. Stand square and close, bend from your knees and hips, keeping your back straight.

Top tips for embracing ageless style with confidence: from Style Expert and That’s Not My Age founder, Alyson Walsh

Wearing comfortable shoes will help you stride down the street with confidence.  And the good news is that comfy is no longer a byword for ugly; brilliant colours, metallic leather and mannish styles look and feel fantastic. Try brogues, penny loafers or pointed flats.

That said, the other good fashion news is that kitten heel is back – a low heel, that you can actually walk in, will add an elegant touch to any outfit. After all, no one ever looked glamorous when their feet hurt.
Well-fitted clothes are a quick and easy route to feeling confident; no need to faff, hoick, or worry that seams are going to grin. Tailoring is a great way to flatter the figure in all the right areas; bust, waist and hips. 

For casual glamour, wear a tuxedo jacket over a t-shirt, try a denim jacket over a shift dress or roll-up a blazer sleeve to artfully show a flash of silk blouse.

Ageless style isn’t about jumping blindly from one trend to another; it’s about staying modern by making a subtle nod to the season. Try a pussy bow blouse, a polo neck sweater or go khaki crazy.  The many shades of military are a good way to manoeuvre into autumn. This is the new neutral, the colour of the season that is far more flattering than black.

Bold is beautiful! Try out your favourite items – a pair of Capri pants or a tunic dress - in brighter shades, like: hot pink, burnt orange and pillar box red. These colours will brighten up a winter complexion, look amazing with grey hair and boost your confidence.

Confidence comes from finding the right clothes, the styles and shapes that work for you. Spend time finding fail-safe basics in good fabrics that fit and flatter and can always be relied upon; the perfect pair of jeans, a great white shirt, a figure-flattering jacket. Then pep them up with a pair of chandelier earrings or a faux fur collar and a bold lipstick –  adding the finishing touches to your wardrobe favourites is the easiest way to stay stylish forever.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A Fitness Update

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

It's been a while since I posted about my fitness, but it is still something that I am actively pursuing, and more importantly enjoying. The last few months I have turned everything I was doing on it's head, I seemed to plateau and my results went backwards instead of forwards, and I found that I was no longer enjoying what I was doing. I was disappointed in myself and realised that I needed to make some changes in order to regain the control over something that I was loving.

In hind sight I realise that I was over doing it, it's true what they say, there most certainly is the possibility of to much of a good thing. I found myself at the gym multiple times a day for the many different classes that were going on, I was enjoying them, but my back track seemed to continue. I kept ploughing forward almost trying to convince myself that more was better. 

I knew that something had to change.

I took absolutely everything back to basics, I thought about what worked for me and decided to revert back to the plan that I had been using and loving before I took things a little bit to far. I decided to listen to my body and re-gain the control that I had lost. 

I haven't been to the gym now in 2 weeks.

I have realised that I have everything that I need at home in order to get everything that I need to do done. I decided to restart Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide from week 1 and really get my eating back on track. I am now 5 weeks into the guide and I am already starting to feel leaner again, and it couldn't come at a better time, because in just under 5 weeks time I am jetting off to the clear blue skies of Greece, and I honestly believe that it is because of this that I have finally pulled my finger out.

To think about just how much I have turned things on their head, you really have to look at how my habits have changed. I am the perfect example of an alarm snoozer. I am the least morning person you could meet, and I have been known to leave it until mere minutes before leaving the house in time to get Leo to school. However over these last few weeks I have been making the conscious effort to get up in the morning, get outside and do some high intensity training or getting my work out's done bright and early in the lounge. Of course I can't function before I have had some caffeine, but in the spirit of being healthier I have been enjoying some Mighty Matcha Green Tea!

Mighty Matcha Green Tea

For me getting the work outs done and dusted in the AM, really sets me up for the day ahead. I am up hours before Leo awakens, I can finish the work out and shower before I need to awaken my sleeping beauty and get him up, fed and off to school. 

I am doing all of my cardio in the great outdoors, which is proving to be a lovely way to burn those calories rather than staring at the cross trainer screen for an hour every other day. In fact I am doing so much more walking, that I am going to treat myself to a Sketchers Memory Foam Leisure Trainers! 

Now once that morning work out is done, that's me done for the rest of the day. No more hours spent in the gym, I am getting everything done, seeing results and im back to enjoying it again.

Enjoying what you are doing is ultimately the most important aspect in anything you apply yourself to. It keeps you moving forward and on target.

We have some news!

It's been a little quiet around here of late, but it's been a very busy few weeks. So much has been happening and I have been spending my time with that beautiful little man of mine. In fact we have some exciting news, and no...Before your mind races to 'She's pregnant!' I can rule that one out before the rumor mill really gets going. It is exciting though, Leo and I, in the next few weeks to months will be moving out of the family home... Just the two of us. 

It's been a long time coming, but it's actually becoming a reality. Day by day we edge ever closer to our new lives, and I am over the moon about all that is to come. Leo has always been my right hand and as we enter this next chapter of our lives, I know that we are going to become closer than ever. Of course as it's coming up to two years since we moved back into the family home (temporarily...) all of the furniture is in less than great condition, it basically means that we are starting all over again. 

Although we aren't completely set up just yet in terms of our perfect home, I am still using this valuable time to prepare everything that we will need. I am on the hunt for bargains and deals that are going to put us in a position to just move straight out when the perfect house pops up. It all seems to be happening so quickly right now, and slowly but surely I am ticking the essentials off the list. There is still so much that I need to purchase, but that's what sales are for! I have been loving the House of Fraser Sale over on Love The Sales, and it quite simply could not come at a better time!

Here are a few of my must haves:

Amalfi coast set of 3 scented reed diffusers £15.00 (Was £30.00) *Bottom Right*
Lucia jacquard super king duvet cover £88.00 (Was £110.00) *Top Right*
Mocha faux fur throw £84.00 (Was £120.00) *Top Centre*
Nova Rim Side Plate Set Of 4 £24.00 (Was £48.00) *Middle Centre*
Regatta set of 3 tea towels £9.80 (Was £14.00) *Middle Left*
Arthur Price Grecian Box Of 4 Stainless Steel Serving Spoons £27.70 (Was £36.00) *Bottom Centre*

Speaking of great deals, if you are in the market for some new kitchen pieces or gadgets, make sure to check Aldi out on Thursday 5th May! Aldi's Special Buys are bringing in some great items from leading names, that are going to be snapped up as quickly as they come in.

Russel Hobbs is a house hold name and from the 5th May for a limited time, you can purchase the Grind and Brew Coffee machine for a fantastic £69.99! I have to admit that I do have my eyes on this, and may just have to purchase it and hold onto it until we move out. Alongside this they have the Russel Hobbs Canterbury Toaster (£14,99) and Kettle (£14.99) that will spruce up the kitchen work tops.

One of the products that I really like the look of is the BWT 2.7 Litre Mineral Water Jug (£12.99). I am always buying bottled water, but with this useful kitchen gadget I will simply be able to fill it up and store it in the fridge.

Along side these great products you will find:

Russel Hobbs Digital Microwave - £44.99
3 Piece Ceramic Coated Pan Set - £19.99
20cm Ceramic Coated Frying Pan - £12.99

These are just a selection of my favourite items, there is so much more coming in. I will most definitely be popping along to Aldi next month to purely stock up on house essentials.

Remember... 'Once it's gone, it's gone!'

I do love a bargain, but I do also enjoy the finer things in life, so a sale is the perfect opportunity for me to stock up on a few of the essentials I want to see around my home. I have some big plans over the coming months for sorting out our future home, so you can expect to see me sharing some good deals along the way. 

Right now I am just feeling so incredibly positive about the future, and I know this excitement is only going to continue to grow as we prepare for our new lives in our new home.