Wednesday 25 January 2017

Longing for Summer

Family Scooting

I have some fond memories with Leo out scooting around during the summer months, and I have to say that I am now longing for the warmer days to come back around. We have so much to look forward to this summer, and I can't wait to make the very most of those sunny days, especially now we are in our own space and can get the paddling pool out and indulge in a BBQ.

That little man of mine loves a challenge, it was only back in the summer that he hopped on a neighbours bike (minus the stabilisers I hasten to add) and just took off! Leo had never even shown an interest in having the stabilisers off his bike, so I think him taking to it so naturally was as much a shock for him as it was for me!

Now we have Lux I am always looking for new innovative ways to get Leo to come along on the walks with us, those of you who are familiar with this here blog will know that Lux is a cheeky Dalmatian Puppy, and even though he is only 7 months old, he's bigger than most fully grown dogs, and he has the energy to match his height! Walks and lots of exercise are an essential part of his day to day life (and mine, I happen to like what is left of my sanity!), and getting Leo to come along with me is often easier said than done.

Family Walks with Children

Dalmatian Puppy

It was easier back in the Summer when it was nice and warm, Leo would happily come out on his scooter or hop on his bike. Now that it's as cold as it is, he often cannot be persuaded to leave the comfort of the heated house. I have promised Leo that when winter is over, I will treat him to a pair of Proline Skates. I loved mine as a child, and when I was a little bit older my Dad got himself a pair of rollerblades and we used to skate around together which was always a good giggle.

January seems to be dragging it's feet in the ground now, and I for one am going to be happy to see the month transition into February. February always seems to have a little bit more going for it, and it's another month closer to Spring of course! 

We have just booked a big family holiday to Crete and to say I am excited doesn't quite cover the anticipation. It's going to be a beautiful week spent under the warm Greek sun, and I intend to make the most of it. I am going to have a look at the local excursions and see if there is anything that ticks the boxes for Luke, Leo and myself, we did so much while we were in Tunisia a few years ago, Leo even got to go on an off road quad bike adventure! 

Dalmatian Puppy

Dalmatian Puppy

So Winter your time is officially being called, you may continue to freeze my car each morning, you may make my hands numb and my cheeks blush, but in a few short months it's going to start getting warmer, and I won't be sorry to see the back of your chill.

Thursday 19 January 2017

Getting Fit For Less

How to get abs

Getting fit doesn't have to be as complicated as you might think, I know when I first started to get my wheels into gear and the momentum started to build, I was presented with one big obstacle. Everything I wanted or needed required £££ and at times it felt like I would need to consider a few Quick Loans just to kit out my gym kit and actually sign up for a membership!

When you think about what it will take to get fit it is only natural to create hurdles in your own mind, when you think about it though and realise what you actually need to do in order to reach your goals, it's actually a lot more simple than you might think. 

Ultimately you need to eat less and move more. 

You Don't Need a Gym
That really is the general consensus here, with emphasis on the move more. You don't even necessarily need to join a gym, you could do it all from home. This is what I do these days, I am saving a bomb now I don't have to pay for the gym, and because I now work out in my own living room, I can get up in a morning and smash my work out before anyone else is even awake, I can do it later in the evening when Leo has gone to bed, and I can make sure that it fits in entirely with my schedule. 

Over time I have purchased weights and things to use at home, my settee has a bar bell hidden behind it at the moment, along with a kettle bell and a medicine ball. You would never know it to look at it though, and my cupboard under the stairs is home to my beasty Bowflex Dumbbells, they really are my babies and I love them dearly. I just this week upped the weight to 7kg, which might not sound a lot, but it's a step in the right direction for me, and it completely blitzes my arms!

To start out with though you could simply use large bottle of water as Dumbbells or even tin cans. You don't need to fork out a fortune, you don't need the latest designer gym kit, all you need is a work out space, drinking water and a towel if you intend to get a sweat on.

I would highly recommend getting down to your local Lidl or Aldi at some point this month as they have had some great fitness wears in recently at great prices!

I even get the puppy involved, if it's not for cardio then he often joins in my work out's like this...

Use the Internet
All you need to do is have a look online to see what fitness routines you can find. The Bodycoach often has some amazing HIIT work outs available on his YouTube account, and they really will get the sweat dripping and the blood flowing. 

Having a look online also gives you the opportunity to try new things out in the comfort of your own home without the pressure of signing a contract or parting with any money.

I personally follow Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide, and I have done since the beginning of 2015. This is something I pay for, but it is a routine that I always go back to because it really motivates me and shows me how capable I am when I am consistent and hard working. 


Join Forces
Sometimes it is the mere prospect of going at it alone that put's people off starting a new fitness routine. There was a time when I would have refused to go out for a run on my own, but the further I have got into this fitness lark, suddenly it doesn't phase me at all anymore. Of course it is still nice to have that support, but trust me when I say that you are more than capable of smashing goals solo. 

When I started out my sister in law was going to come to the gym with me, I quickly worked out that if I sat around waiting for her, I was never going to get anywhere as she was constantly cancelling gym dates. I very quickly motivated myself enough to go it alone, and I am so glad that I did.

If you can find yourself a fitness partner then it is amazing having someone who has similar goals to your own, but if not you can still do this!

Stay Focused
It is so easy to get sidetracked and loose will power, it will happen from time to time, but when it does just keep moving forward. Remember why you started this fitness mission in the first place and when the phases passes (and it will), you will be so proud of yourself. 

Getting fit does not mean that you have to remortgage your house, yes it is going to be hard, and it is not going to happen over night, but whether you see it or not, when you work hard, eat right and keep moving in the right direction, you will be astounded at how quickly your body starts to transform. 

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Back to Fitness (3 weeks in)

Kayla Itsines BBG Transformation

This month I have finally got around to kick starting my fitness regime again, it's been a long time coming and three weeks in I am starting to feel so much better for it. It's amazing what a little TLC and consistency can do for your body, that combined with a range of healthy foods, water and no sugar for 16 days really can spur your body into action!

Last year I treated myself to a Polar A360 and for the first month I was really pleased with it, and then it started to fall apart...Literally. The Bluetooth stopped working altogether which ultimately made it useless as it would no longer sync with my phone. I contacted Polar and they addressed the fact the band had deteriorated but ignored the issue with syncing. They never did actually send a replacement band for it, and after discussing the issue with fellow A360 owners, I realised that this was an issue that many of them faced themselves. 

I soon gave up on the idea of Polar and found myself without a fitness tracker. I hadn't realised how much I had come to depend on the statistics that it provided me with, and I felt like I was working out blind. I was at a loss, because I had spent so much on the Polar that was now broken, and I couldn't justify forking out more money, and even if I did I didn't know what I would want as a replacement.

I began to fall out of love with my exercise regime, I work out at home so the stats provided by my heart rate tracker are the only way I get an idea of what I achieved during any one work our. Without that information I began to loose interest, and before long I just stopped. 

Flash forward to January, and I am now 3 weeks into Kayla Itsines BBG program, and although I was yet to invest in a new fitness tracker, I pushed on. I decided that as a treat to myself, and to keep me moving in the right direction, I would buy a new Apple iWatch 2 for myself. Yes it was a lot more money, but I figure that you get what you pay for, and I know that it is something that I will make use of. 

Kayla Itsines BBG Transformation
Before I purchase anything, especially of high value I always have a look online to find out what the average price is, where is the cheapest I can find it and whether there are any voucher codes available to get some money off, I always have a look at this website to see what deals are going on.

I did all of my research and decided to bite the bullet last night. I ordered a shiny White iWatch 2, and as I type this I am waiting for it to arrive. It was a rather extravagant gift to myself, but do you know what? Why not!? I figure if it gives me that additional motivation and helps me achieve my goals, then it's money well spent. 

I have a long way to go to get where I was....

Kayla Itsines BBG Transformation

Now I am back on the right track though, I know that with hard work, determination and willpower that I can get back to where I was. My New Year's Resolution wasn't about finding a new me, it was about slipping back into a well worn pair of shoes and buffing them back up.

Which is exactly what I am going to do...

Watch this space!

Wednesday 11 January 2017

5 Reasons to Get Fit in 2017

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation

Hey January...

So this is the first time I have sat down at the keyboard since mid December, how shocking! I have had very good reason to shy away though, and that is because I have been busy with the family over the festive season and haven't quite got around to dragging myself back to work again...

I have however dusted off my dumbbells, and I have taken those tentative first steps to getting back into my fitness regime which definitely slacked during the later part of last year. I have started by cleaning up my eating habits which had definitely gone to pot over the Christmas holiday, and a week in I am already feeling the benefits of not over indulging, and I am hoping that very soon I will start to see a physical change.

I am back working out, and I know from experience that this combination of clean eating and exercise is going to help me push forward and reach the goals I have set myself. One of my resolutions this year was getting my iPhone protected so I don't smash it during a work out again... So I was excited to find a stunning range of leather iPhone cases here. Another of my resolutions was to dust of those dumbbells (11 days in and I am off to a good start!) and finally to get more walks in with the puppy! In fact the dog decided to get over involved in my work out the other evening... I will leave the video below...

January really is the perfect time to start getting your fitness in check, because lets face it... Summer bodies are made in the Winter, and with the warmer weather only months away... Now is the time to plough forward with those New Year Resolutions!

So why get fit in 2017?

1. Because you can do it all from home these days, you don't even need to go to the gym and you especially don't need to over complicate the process (I workout in my living room!). Weight loss and results do indeed come from hard work, but you only need to flick on over to The Body Coach's Instagram Feed to find a whole load of tasty nutritious lean in 15 meal ideas! You only need to try one of his online HIIT routines on your living room floor to start making all round improvements, and I promise you, you will feel a whole lot better for it!


2. Because it feels incredible - If only that feeling of being fit could be bottled up, it would undoubtedly get the world up on their feet! You would be amazed how quickly change happens when you eat well and train consistently. Take photos each and every week, keep taking photos, because YOU WILL see changes happening.

3. You don't need to eat rabbit food - Diets are a thing of the past in my eyes, diets themselves are not sustainable, you will crave other foods if you are not enjoying the food you are eating. That is why I enjoy The Bodycoach's recipes so much, because I look forward to my next meal, and I love what I am eating. It doesn't feel restricting, and it's a sustainable lifestyle for me.

4. Wear what you want - This was one of the reasons that got me working out almost 3 years ago. I wanted to wear clothes that would have looked slightly ridiculous on my heavier frame. It gave me a real push in the right direction and the reward of reaching my goals meant that I had to replace my entire wardrobe after I dropped 2 dress sizes!

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide Transformation

5. Body confidence - Perhaps the most important reason of them all. When you feel confident in the skin that you are in there is nothing that you cannot achieve. When I started working out I surprised myself, I achieved things I didn't think I was capable of, but I also saw huge emotional changes starting to shine out. I started grasping at new opportunities that I would never have reached for and I subconsciously demanded people treat me with respect. I used to be quite shy and reserved, but 2016 definitely saw a more feisty side coming out to play!

So there we have it, my 5 top reasons to start working out in 2017 (and a cute puppy video!). Today is abs and arm day, and I am working extra specially hard as we have just booked a big family holiday to Greece at the end of May, so that is my first goal... I will be posting further fitness updates in the coming weeks/months ahead.

Good luck everyone, you can do this!

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Our Shabby Chic Living Room and Office Space

Would you believe that over 5 months since I got the keys to our new home, I am still in the process of unpacking boxes and getting a sense of order around here? I think I really under-estimated just how taxing getting an entire house together was going to be. 

As tiring as it has all been, I have to admit that seeing it all come together as I had dreamed it would has been more than satisfying. The living room has been the next room I chose to tackle on my list of rooms, it has been a mixture of getting essentials for Leo's room (which did take the priority) and ticking small things off the living room essentials list. Now Leo's room is pretty much together bar a few small finishing touches, I can really assert my focus on the room we all spend a lot of our evening time, and for me a large portion of my day as I work from home, and this is where I have finally set up my office space!

Design your own canvas at Zippi 

Cinematic Light Box from Totally Funky.

The fairy jar was a craft I put together myself back over the summer holiday's.
The majority of the furniture in the front room is Cream/White because I wanted to give the room a crisp feel, and as we have gone for darker carpets in this room (the french doors back out onto the garden and the puppy is always in and out again and I was determined to avoid mud stains all over the lounge!).

I wanted the lounge to have a simple, but warming vintage feel to it, I am loving the shabby chic furniture and I found some gorgeous pieces on our local Facebook selling page. There was an older console table that had been painted cream, and lovingly restored to keep it's original charm and character. The inside of the draws have been embellished with beautiful butterfly paper which just gave it that little bit extra. I couldn't not purchase it when I saw it, and it now sits proudly in the corner of my living room.

I was originally going to place it out in my hallway, but when it came down to it there wasn't really room and it seemed like a much better fit to have it in the lounge where it could really be admired. I expect at Christmas this will be the spot where the tree has to reside, so I may have to find a new spot for this gem over the festive period. The console table is home to my Black 2 Acrylic Jewelled Table Lamp, family photos and off course some decorative flowers. I love the cosy ambience that each addition adds to the room, and my next mission is to add some fairy lights.

Another of my Facebook purchases was this gorgeous corner unit. I have always loved these, I think they fill an otherwise dead space and make it look open and inviting, a great place to put photo frames and little trinkets. This unit was someones project, and they did a wonderful job with it. As I found the lady who was putting it together early on, she allowed me to choose the paper that has been used on the back of the unit. We went for a light theme with highlights of White and Beige with a French theme. One of the nice aspects with this piece is that it has a darker wood aspect on the shelving which perfectly matches my antique desk that you can see above!

I finished the over all look off with some vintage photo frames that I picked up from Matalan. In fact everything that I have put together on the unit was a complete bargain. The lady statue I picked up from Dunelm a few months back for the bargain price of £3 (down from about £12-£15!) and finally the Kath Kidston bunting I picked up on eBay from an independent seller, which for me really just finished the look off. It really does go to show that you don't need to spend a fortune in order to achieve the look you really want, and it definitely pays to shop around.

The sofa was another eBay job for me, it's a second hand DFS that would have no doubt cost the first owners an arm and a leg, but I picked it up for a bargain £99 all in (including the large cushions!). I loved this suite as soon as I laid eyes on it, and it is such a comfortable settee. It definitely helps the room come together, and has allowed me to sort of split the room in two. The living room stops just over half way, and has meant I can sneak my desk into one corner and for the first time in my life, have my own office space. 

I absolutely love this room, it's a great size and really is coming together beautifully. One of the biggest things I have had to wait to do with this room is get a large mirror to go above the television, but with so much still to do around the house, that may just have to wait.

One of my favourite features in this room has to be the Shabby Chic Chandelier from valuelights, it sits proudly right in the centre of the room looking majestic. It's the first thing you look at as soon as you walk into the room. I loved it as soon as I laid eyes on it as it in kept with exactly how I wanted the room to look, and even added a little bit of glamour with the dangling crystals, which was a fantastic touch as I had kept everything else so minimal and simple, that the bling didn't detract from anything else I had added.