Friday 19 May 2017

Dog's Birthday's and the Lily's Kitchen Birthday Surprise Box

Dalmatian Puppy

Having a puppy has quite honestly been one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life, but equally it has also been one of the most rewarding, did I think it was going to be quite so challenging? Nope. Even after all of the breed research I did, was I mentally and physically prepared for all that having a dog really meant? 

Honestly... Nope.

On the 9th June, Lux turns One year old. The little puppy I brought home back on the 6th August is substantially bigger, stronger and more head strong than ever before, and you certainly know that you have him.

In the 9 months since we brought him home (It's only 9 months!? Wow it definitely feels like longer) he has caused some real mischief. He's chewed up shoes, pants, socks, doormats, toys, and oh yeah... He also ate a hole in my vinyl floor. 

Thanks pup.Dally Smile
This is just what goes on in the house... Outside the house he has never managed to nail the 'walking to heal', he does however do a great impersonation of a freight train, maybe you have seen us fly past you at speed in the street, and by fly I mean that I have been hanging on for dear life behind him like one of those parachutes on the boats you find abroad. 

Let's just say, there is never a dull moment. 


It was just over this weekend that I was told by someone that they have never seen a dog who is so excited by the world. Lux literally loves to experience everything. Other dogs, people, children, you name it, Lux wants to be involved. This can make walking him an experience no matter how you choose to look at it. 

He doesn't have an aggressive bone in his body, but his sheer size combined with his energy can make some people understandably feel uneasy.

Dalmatian Lily's Kitchen Birthday Surprise Box

With Lux turning One, Leo has insisted that he has his own Birthday treat. Leo loves Birthday's and apparently his puppy's is no different. There was talk of me getting into the kitchen and baking a dog friendly Birthday Cake. No kidding... Leo meant every word. 

Turns out that Leo is not the only one who wants to celebrate his canine friends special day, 75% of pet owners celebrate their pup's birthday's! This is why Lily's Kitchen have responded to the growing demand with the launch of their Birthday Surprise Gift Box.

Dalmatian Lily's Kitchen Birthday Surprise Box

The Birthday Surprise Gift box is gorgeous, it is hand illustrated in golden Yellow and Red. Of course it has been Inspired by a steak frites dinner, it means your dog can enjoy real steak with potatoes, broccoli and herbs. It’s the kind of birthday cake every dog really wants on their birthday – nourishing, wholesome and tail-waggingly delicious!

Lux was lucky enough to be sent his very own sample to taste, and from the above photos you can see just how happy he was to take part. He automatically knew this feast was for him and his tail was wagging even more than usual.

Lily's Kitchen Birthday Surprise Box

Lily's Kitchen Birthday Surprise Box

What’s inside the gift box:
400g Steak Dinner with organic potatoes and broccoli
50g Organic Cheese & Apple Treats with apple and farmhouse cheddar
A birthday card all about your wonderful dog
Lily's Kitchen Birthday Surprise Box

Lily's Kitchen only use the best ingredients, it's proper food that’s easy to digest and deliciously nourishing so you don't need to worry about any nasties being included in your dog's diet. The Lily's Kitchen recipes never include overly processed ingredients, added fillers, artificial flavourings, preservatives or sweeteners, and never any meat derivatives or meat meal.

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Body Shaming - It comes in all shapes and sizes

Body Shaming - Skinny Shaming

I am a supporter and I like to help build people up. If someone asks me for help or advice then I will take the time to talk to them about what it is that they want to do. I believe in raising people up and watching them fly, call me crazy but I like watching people succeed. It is for this reason that I just cannot get my head around anybody promoting anything less than that. I cannot understand body shaming no matter which perspective that I look at it from. 

Body shaming is everywhere.

Body shaming is anything negative that is said about ANY person, and body shaming is not just directed at women, it is directed at the entire human race. Body shaming is pointing out specific qualities on a person and viewing them as a negative, body shaming is using the qualities about what makes them who they are, against them. 

I have been targeted in the past for being 'skinny', and the ironic thing is that the people who have made comments about me, have never once considered that what they say is exactly the same as comments that are made about larger people. Of course when people say horrible things about bigger framed ladies, this is rude and is referred to as fat shaming, but those same comments targeted at smaller framed girls are equally as damaging, and should be seen in the same light.

Body Shaming - Skinny Shaming

One of the main points directed at me is my small chest. I have small boobs, and do you know what? That's ok. As a teenager I felt very self conscious about this fact, I willed them to grow but not even with all the wishing power sent their way did they ever really blossom past a B cup. It's taken me well into my late 20's to really accept them and realise that even though they aren't as big as I once wished them to be, they are still part of who I am and that makes them beautiful.

I finally realised that I am in proportion, I am slim and so are my boobs, and I am happy in the skin that I am in.

Lady Gaga Fat Shamed

You only have to look to the tabloids to see body shaming in it's finest form, whether Victoria Beckham is being ripped apart for her slender physique or if Lady Gaga's incredible voice takes a back seat as fans go into a frenzy over her supposed 'flabby tummy', the everyday likes of you and I are surely in for serious trouble!

We have to ask ourselves what gives us the right to comment? What gives us the right to an opinion on the way that somebody looks? No matter how hard I press myself to think about it I just cannot come up with an answer that would validate the comments and the hate that body shaming generates. 

Fat Shaming

We live in a generation that puts girl on girl, boy on girl, boy on boy and girl on boy, there is an expectation to how we are supposed to look, an expectation on having the 'perfect body', but what even is a perfect body? Does such a thing even exist? Surely if you are happy in the skin you are in  then it does not matter how everyone else around you looks, all that matters is that they too are happy in their own bodies, and we provide the support and guidance in order to help the rising generations feel accepted and loved for exactly who they are.

I can only imagine the damage that today's judgement and hate for one another will have on our children.

As a Mother I am raising Leo to understand that people come in all shapes, colours and sizes, it's what makes us all so unique and so different from one another, and that's ok. Can you imagine if we all looked the same? How boring would that be. We are diverse and not one person is the same, whether we have birthmarks, different skin colours, one leg, we're big, we're small, one eye, no eyes, big hair, flat hair, big boobs, little boobs or ANYTHING that makes us stand out from the crowd, they are things that we should be promoting and CELEBRATING!

They are the things that make us who we are, and the things that make us beautiful.

Laci Green Quote

Body shaming is pointing out specific qualities on a person and viewing them as a negative, body shaming is using the qualities about what makes them who they are, against them. 

I put myself in the public eye, I share my fitness journey, and I accept that I won't be everybody's cup of tea. The reason that I share my fitness journey is not about vanity, it is not about putting myself in the limelight. It is to showcase that anybody can make a change if they so desire. I get messages everyday asking for advice on how people can live a healthier life, and I love that I get to try and help so many different people from my own personal experiences, but then equally I get my share of negative comments...

I have thick skin, and I am very proud of that thick skin. I can read the negative comments about myself and smile. I can laugh it off, but then I think about it.... Not everybody is as thick skinned as I am. Why should they have to feel inferior about comments that are made about them in public? The answer is that they shouldn't. 

The internet gives everybody a voice, and they use that voice to say things to people that they would ordinarily never say to somebody's face. The internet provides a comfortable setting for people to literally say whatever pops into their heads, and I don't really think that these people give much thought into what they say.

The time has come for people to stop and think, because the things they say will have repercussions, maybe not directly on themselves but almost certainly to the people that they address them to.

It's time to remember that kindness has the power to make you the most beautiful person in the world, no matter what you look like.

Thursday 11 May 2017

Homecooked meals

I spend a lot of time in my kitchen, I think it is fair to assume that most people do, because after all the kitchen really is the heart of the home. 

I love cooking, and I can only really say that this is a hobby that has come around in recent years because of my passion for health and fitness. I discovered that by cooking from scratch, I could eat tasty food that I enjoyed, and also know the exactly ingredients of what went into the recipes, and in turn this helped me to achieve my personal fitness goals. 

I think the beauty of preparing your own home cooked meals is that you can be that little more adventurous, you can spiralize some zucchini noodles to throw into some home made pesto or you can cook up a lasagna using butternut squash slices in replacement of the pasta sheets. The possibilities really are endless, and it puts you in complete control of what goes into your body.

As I cook up to 3 times a day, and it has to be said that I'm not the neatest chef in the world, I am prone to dropping things all over my freshly cleaned stove or splashing sauce up the back of the cooker and inevitably the wall behind it, and this does not sit very well with my inner neat freak. I have been looking at getting some acrylic  kitchen splash-backs from Simply Plastics to sit behind my stove, so that I can easily wipe away the daily mess that may land there (thus saving my magnolia wall).

It was only a few years ago that I was ordering ample takeaways each week, and I thought preparing my own food meant grabbing a shop bought jar of pasta sauce and boiling some spaghetti in a pan. Somewhere along the way I found a love in cooking healthy wholesome food that now feeds the whole family, and none of us have looked back.

Takeaways are a rarity these days as I much prefer to cook a healthier curry at home, where you get all the taste of a takeout, but none of the bad bits. I realised that you don't have to compensate on taste when you eat healthily, but you can cut all of the bad bits out and still enjoy your meal. 

Tuesday 9 May 2017

SSE: The Energy Behind Women's Football

SSE Women's FA Cup

Leo has recently been expressing an interest in learning to play football, at almost 6 years old I think that this is fantastic, and it is something that I have really wanted to encourage and nurture as I feel like this would be an incredibly beneficial experience for him. I have been researching local teams that I could enrol Leo into so that he can learn the rules of the game, get some experience out on the pitch and playing as part of a team. By chance I got talking to another Mum who was also trying to find a team for her child, only she was looking for a girls team for her daughter, and she told me just how difficult that task was turning out to be...

In the small town where I live in Worcestershire, there aren't as many women's football teams, and there are even less opportunities for younger girls to get involved in training or as part of a girl's team. According to recent research by the Football Association, only 36% of girls aged 10-16 play football, compared to 83% of boys. It also found that 42% of girls aged 10 who don't currently play football would like to.

Women's football although gaining momentum, is still not on a level peg with the male's equivalent and although I was aware that it wasn't as publicised as the male teams, I had never once stopped and thought about how accessible it would be for younger girls who wanted to get involved in a football team.

SSE Women's FA Cup

Being a parent in 2017 means that we need to be educated in gender equality, whether we are parents to boys, girls or even if we have one of each, because believe it or not, gender inequality is a still a thing, even today, and it really does affect us all. 

I for one would love to see this change, I have been looking into the fantastic sport that is Women's Football and it has been incredibly enlightening to see just how far it has come over the years and one of the biggest waves forward for the sport has to be the generous sponsorship from SSE, who are one of the UK’s leading energy companies and supply energy to around 8.21 million people throughout Great Britain and Ireland. 

Back in June 2015 SSE announced a four year sponsorship deal for the largest cup competition in women's football - The SSE Women's FA Cup. This partnership sends a precise and strong message to the world, and it is helping to strip away barriers and helping women and girls to reach their fullest potential in Women's Football.

This is a really exciting time for the sport, and SSE have got involved because of their firm beliefs that everyone deserves the same opportunities, regardless of gender. Every girl and every boy have the right to discover new skills and confidence, the opportunity to make lifelong friends, the opportunity to be inspired and the opportunity to walk out in front of a passionate crowd at Wembley Stadium. 

SSE Women's FA Cup

SSE are the energy behind women’s football and they are creating more and more opportunities for women and young girls to get involved, and it is really making a huge difference at all levels of the game, whether it is getting girls involved in coaching sessions in local parks or playing the big league at the SSE Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley!

The below film demonstrates three separate stories playing out in parallel across one day – A football match at Wembley. Each of the stories shows the shared experiences of girls involved in the game from grassroots right through to the elite. Despite all these stories taking place at different levels of the game, they are all brought together by their love for football. It showcases the power of the game and the opportunities it provides women, at every level.

Some of the way's SSE support Women's Football

- Dad's and Daughters

The Dads and Daughters campaign aims to get more young girls to start playing football with the support of their dads. It celebrates fathers around the country who have played a major part in encouraging their daughters to get involved in the sport. 

SSE Women's FA Cup

- The FA & SSE Link Up

The recent launch of SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Clubs will provide girls aged 5-11 with regular opportunities to play football and take part in organised sessions in a fun and engaging environment created exclusively for girls. SSE continue to show their commitment to increasing participation in the women’s game through this new initiative. The clubs will run from spring through summer on a weekly basis and aim to provide a fun and safe space for girls to learn the game and make friends
- SSE Women's FA Cup Final: Kids go Free
The SSE Women’s FA Cup Final 2017 will be played at Wembley Stadium connected by EE for the third year running on Saturday 13th May 2017. The FA’s partnership with SSE means that all children can attend The Final for free. 

It has been really interesting reading more into the powerful sport that is Women's Football, and I am so pleased to see that the sport is becoming more accessible, and as for girls wanting to get involved, there has never been a better time to put on your boots and kick a football.

SSE Final Ticket Competition

If you would like to go along to the SSE Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley this Saturday (13th May 2017) then keep on reading because we have 5 tickets up for grabs so that you can take your whole family along!

It's a great chance to go along and cheer on Birmingham City and Manchester City as they go head to head for the first piece of silverware of this season! It is set to be a great turnout and I can only imagine that the vibe will be something to remember!

The winner will be announced before lunch this Friday 12th May 2017. As we have a pretty tight time frame to play with, I will get an email out to the lucky family as soon as the competition is drawn, and I will need a reply within a quick time frame so that I can make sure that the tickets are ready to collect at Wembley on Saturday 13th May 2017.

All you need to do is enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!