5 Ways To Treat Yourself

You work extremely hard – admit it! A mum never does.

You’ve had a challenging summer attempting to entertain the kids and now it’s time to think about yourself. They’re all back at school, and whether you’re a working mum or not, this means a little more alone time to unwind and relax.

There is always plenty of room to treat yourself and here are just 5 amazing ways you can make yourself feel like a trillion pounds:

Retail Therapy

There’s nothing like a new top or shiny pair of shoes to brighten your mood. Us shopaholics get that little rush after purchasing something so delectable that we often have to wear that item straight away! What is more of a treat than splurging on jewellery? Whether your birthday is coming up or you’ve had a tough month, any excuse goes.

If you love accessorising then the high street always has affordable and on-trend options for you to adapt your look with ease, however for something a little more distinct, head to the specialist jewellery stores. You’ll get something unique and 100% YOU.

Still in need some more inspiration? Why not update your watch?

You’re so used to the functional style that solely informs you that there aren’t enough hours in the day; something a bit more special will make you feel a bit more special too.

Brands such as Chanel and Chopard are wonderful delicate choices available at stores such as www.watches-of-switzerland.co.uk and there are hardier versions too if you’re worried your busy mummy lifestyle means a limited lifespan.

A wonderful timepiece is the ultimate treat.
watch

Chocolate

From an amazing piece of jewellery to something oh-so simple; chocolate. This will be especially relished if you’re usually so restrictive in your diet. And chocolate doesn’t need to be so bad

It is a known fact that a certain amount of chocolate will make you feel happier and fuller too; dark chocolate has been proven to be far more filling than other types of chocolate AND lessens your cravings for other sweet, salty and fatty foods.

And there are more health benefits too.

Dark chocolate in particular has been proven to reduce your risk of heart failure, strokes and heart attacks and can lower your blood pressure by up to a third when eating approximately one or two serving each week. What’s more, if you’re a bit of a health and fitness nut, a little bit of chocolate can actually aid in weight loss when teamed with your usual regime. It contains healthy antioxidants when combined with lowering blood pressure can benefit exercise for overweight individuals. Why not make it a weekly treat?

chocolate

Get decorating

I’m not talking about uprooting entire rooms, plastering and spending hard earned cash on new appliances and expensive furnishings. Just adding a few bits here and there that make your house feel more like a home. With kids, your home can sometimes resemble a toy explosion and we all have a room that is just our own, whether it’s the bedroom or a study.

When out and about, if you see that little trinket or a few cushions that don’t necessarily go with your assemble but love anyway, treat yourself! These little bits and bobs will remind you of great times when you’re feeling low.

A bubble bath

A spa day might be a little out of reach. After all, Christmas is just around the corner and who exactly has the time for that anyway!

If you really can’t squeeze in a delightful spa day with friends and family (or in pure solitude if that’s what you prefer) then a simple bubble bath can works wonders, especially if you’ve had a taxing day. Why not make it a weekly ritual? Complete with your favourite magazines, new book and soothing music. But how can you run the perfect bath? Here are a couple of simple tips:

  • Make sure you have that decent amount of undisruptive time, and make sure your family knows too! 30 minutes is usually an ideal time for the perfect bath during the late-ish evening an hour or less before bed. Perfect wind down time.
  • Get it hot! You’ve now got 30 minutes of blissful alone time. A chilly bath after 10 minutes is going to have the opposite effect of treating yourself. The air around the bath can hinder its heat so make sure you’ve got the heating on too.
  • Get into the habit of keeping magazines and great books near the tub.
  • Lastly, don’t forget the extras that make it complete; candles, scent sticks and aromatherapy smelling bath washes will all help you wind down.

bubbles

Explore

When you’re in a bad mood, it can be easy to just recluse. However, make sure you get up and about to combat the mood and treat yourself. Whether it’s a relaxing wander around the surrounding countryside or a trip to your favourite local coffee shop for your favourite cake and a chat with an old friend, exploring makes you more active, productive and your day more worthwhile.

To take it one step further, why not book a long weekend away exploring the UK or even Europe? You can get many cheap flights to amazing destinations such as Amsterdam, Barcelona or Rome for just a few days and you’ll come back refreshed and rejuvenated.

Europe is right on our doorstep and we don’t take advantage of it the way we should, but we’re the same on our own soil too. Staycations have been forever growing in popularity over recent year and you can find some absolutely stunning locations from user reviews and recommendations.

Enjoy the Autumn spells with Bingo

Autumn has made a pleasant visit to us with slight breeze and may be we will have fewer rains compared to last August. Winter is coming soon, so we need to start piling up our warm clothes. The temperatures swinging from one extreme to the other leaves us little space to wander about. Sometimes, it could be too rainy or windy to travel or even take a walk around the park. Feeding the birds are my favourite but with gusts of wind, it could be quite unpredictable.

Well, now that we have got accustomed to the unpredictable spells of our British weather, we tend to look out for other things. Being with our kids is one of the amazing past-times, a mother would get but once they sleep off but sometimes we still have the energy. My tiny tots even ask me, mum what would you do when we are not around. I pondered for a while, when you become a full-time mother, it’s quite hard to remember when we had given ourselves the the time. I remember when I was with my family as a kid, I would play Bingo with my Nana.

It’s no rocket science in this digital era, I just typed away Bingo in my search engine and voila I was ladled with so many bingo sites. I had quite lost myself in the melee out there.What’s more, you get to play with games which brings out a smile on your face in a gloomy day. You could be playing with your next door neighbour too, fancy aliases helps in keeping up with confidentiality. I could be a super hero or Harry Potter ( my kids love that character). With so many bingo sites available out there, you will be definitely puzzled for choice.

One of my friends told me about GameVillage Bingo, a fun site with the village theme. You could play with an amazing round of bingo games along with my personal favourite Dingo! The welcome package is good and hey, you could even listen to Bingo radio. The best part is the RJ plays non-stop latest tracks and some retro too with no commercials at all! That did catch my whims and fancies. Glad to have a site where I could listen to my music and even play good bingo games. Guzzle down at Village Inn or catch the Speed Train for a quick session. Pre-buy tickets for the big games in case your hands are full!

Check my favourite bingo site , I will give it an A+ with their unique games in offering and their varied monthly promotions. Well, my eyes are on the free prizes now as they have got prizes perfect for my kids too. This is the best way to beat the gloomy weather out there!

Making running a spiritual experience…

Or, my favourite fitness apps.

Just a quick post today because while I was out pounding the canal paths today it occurred to me that I should share my favourite apps with you. A few months and several hundred miles ago, I admitted that running for anything over an hour was pretty boring.  My runspiration sister suggested that I maybe apply elements of my meditation to running and soon after, I discovered Chi Running.  I can definitely feel the Chi pulling me forward, when I am in the correct alignment.  If the app is a bit pricey for you, there is plenty of Chi Running guidance on YouTube.

I’ve always used Endomondo, to track my workouts, and sometimes use MyFitnessPal to track my nutrition.

Although I felt strong, my body started to also feel stiff, and so I’ve rediscovered Daily Yoga, which contains loads of Yoga workouts including pre and post-run stretches.

Do you have any to add to this?

 

The Avios Travel Rewards Programme – What Exactly Is It?

You read, and hear about reward schemes all the time – supermarkets, for example, offer shoppers rewards all the time for choosing to shop for groceries with them. But how do you sort through the various schemes to pick the ones that are the most useful to you? With so many companies and brands vying for your attention, it can be hard to focus on the reward schemes that can really count towards something. The bare essentials of the Avios Travel Rewards Programme are simple. When you’re wandering along the aisles of a supermarket, or filling up your car with fuel, you could be adding points to your Avios stash at the same time. Of course, it depends where you shop, and whether you’re part of the programme!

The travel reward programme offers members the chance to collect Avios via their everyday purchases, which accumulate over time. Various companies are part of the programme, meaning that you can redeem the Avios you have collected. Perhaps you want to broaden your travel horizons and use the Avios to pay for a flight to Dubai, or maybe you’d prefer to stay a little closer to home and take the family to Butlins for a week. Maybe you would prefer to use them to cover the cost of the Eurostar to Paris, or to pay, in part or in full, for a hotel room in the heart of Barcelona. The options are endless!

How do you collect the points? It’s easy to do. Simply sign up to the programme and shop at the places that work alongside Avios. So, for groceries, shop at Tesco and use your Club card. You can trade in every £2.50 Club card voucher you have, for 600 Avios. Alongside the grocery shopping, fill your car up at a Shell petrol station. Sign up to their Drivers’ Reward Club and if you swipe your card every time you fill up the car and opt in to receive Avios as your collection Reward, you will receive Avios automatically. You can also collect via the Avios eStore, while the Lloyds and TSB credit cards also give you the chance to collect Avios on eligible purchases.

When it comes to spending, it’s worth checking the Avios.com website for more information about where you can go, and for how many points. When it comes to travel, naturally, the further you wish to fly, the more Avios it will cost, but you’ll be surprised at how many Avios you can accumulate if you make the most out of your program memembership.

It’s completely free to sign up to the programme so why not join today, after all, you need to be in it to win it!

Two and a bit weeks till the big day….

..by which – I am sure you’ll be aware of if you follow me on twitter – is the Half Marathon Day. Four years ago I had a bad knee, went on dog walks with a stick, and my doctor told me not to run.  Well, I have never liked being told that I can’t do something so when I discovered barefoot running could enable you to run without the usual joint problems I gave it a go.  For a year I did short one and two mile run/walk combinations and then my sister encouraged me to sign up for a half.

Well, a few months in and having gone from one to six miles in distance rather rapidly, I was finding the eight mile stretch really hard.   I wanted to reach ten miles before the summer holidays because I ran while the Cub was at nursery and I knew I wouldn’t be able to run much in the holidays,but this didn’t happen.  I also wanted to spend as much time with him as possible before he entered the school system and so we had an amazing and blissful holiday in the sunshine,having adventures, teaching him to ride a bike and swim and just having a relaxed last few weeks of freedom.

My running was scaled back to one, two or three miles, once or twice a week. I had sustained an ankle injury, and needed some new more protective footwear, I thought, as my Vivobarefoots were wearing down, plus I needed a running style makeover.

IMG_20140911_105343So, the week he started school I knew I had one month of intensive training to do to catch up, restore and increase my mileage.  I was lucky to receive a grant so that I was able to replace my footwear.  After a lot of research and against the advice of my running coach I bought some Inov8 (Terrafly 277, I really want some Mudclaws for winter, dream on!) shoes (she recommended I visit a running shop for gait analysis after my ankle injury but I didn’t have the time or money for this).  My running bag is by Work play bags, it is very comfy indeed, the perfect size for my key,my S3 and a shewee & some running gels, but I do put my phone in a plastic food bag because it gets a bit sweaty and I don’t want my body-steam to harm it.

I also happened to find out about Chi Running through #ukrunchat.  Chi Running felt right for me, it was a variation on the energy efficient style of running that I thought I had invented myself.  It also made me concentrate on “nose before toes” to reduce joint impact, and (my words) kicking up the dust rather than feet out front.  I also got some Xero shoes, which is as barefoot as you can possibly get, for every day use and so that my posture would be correct even when walking, because heel striking jarrs when you walk in barefoot shoes, so they teach you to move with much less impact.

So, armed with new shoes and new technique I have battled my way up to nine miles, breaking through my eight mile mental and physical barrier and getting myself a 10k medal to boot.  Googling “half marathon training” only told me not to do a half marathon a your first race.  Oops! Too late, running advice websites.  So I’m ditching the online training plans and going by what my body tells me.  Tomorrow I will run my first ten miles and then I am at the minimum required for race day.  Next week I want to do two eleven miles, just for my own peace of mind, and then it’s scale back and rest week.

Someone asked me, in response to my declaration of runner status “doesn’t anything good ever happen in your life?”, a comment that I found odd, and indicative of a very overweight man trying to justify his unhealthy life choices.  But I used to look at runners and think they were a bit mad too, and I didn’t understand the obsession.  I understand now.  Yes, it takes over your life just a bit, but compared to a night on the booze or a shedload of cake, the feeling I get from a long run far surpasses the temporary pleasure of being drunk or stuffing my face.  Indeed, the euphoria I feel after eight or nine miles lasts me until bedtime, and the hangover of aching hips and crumbling ankles and feet the next day is so much better than an alcohol hangover (pain, but no brain fog), and, it is beneficial and not detrimental to my body.  The freedom of a short five mile run after the battle of the long run makes me feel so positive and light and happy.

I’m hooked.   I feel ten years younger, I can eat anything I want yet I choose healthy, I am strong, I can do this.  I have beaten my own body.  I can do ANYTHING.

Text: MUMC73 £1 (£5/£10) to 70070

Visit: justgiving.com/mummylion

 

#Germie #BootsBackToSchool

So, The Cub has started school and what with school uniform, shoes, drinks bottles and all the other bits and pieces that I had to  think about, I neglected to consider the new big Germ Factory that he was about to enter, not to mention: NITS! 0647_BackToSchool_Blog Post_FA_Landscape

Well, my clean-freak-OCD tendencies have been stretched to their limits living with a dog and an adventurous boy so when I saw that Boots had identified digit-ill potentials for cross-contamination of young people in schools, I had to sit down and do some Big Deep Breaths.

LUCKILY, the benefits of growing up with a dog has strengthened my son’s immunity.  If you Google “dog child health” you find many links to articles suggesting that the muck a dog brings into the house boosts a child’s immune system.  The health benefits of walking the dog and the emotional benefits of petting and looking after them are quite obvious but dogs can help to protect your child from ear, nose and throat infections as well as reducing the need for antibiotics.

So (and this is becoming a theme of mine now!): Get a dog (but only if you can look after it properly including picking up the poos and vaccinating it, get it from a rescue not a breeder, and make sure you have plenty of time and energy for a lifetime of training and exercise (training includes training yourself and your family about proper care and  how to respect your dog).  It seems like a lot of work, but it’s worth it, even if your carpets will never be the same again.

Mind you, the advice seems that the benefits of the dog-child immunity partnership occur in the first few years of life, so if you’ve hit school age, the window of opportunity may have passed.

However, if you don’t have a dog (and if you do), I still think vitamins and minerals in addition to eating good “clean” (fresh, home prepared) food and plenty of fresh air and cuddles (and hand washing)  is a really good way to protect yourself against any nasty germs.

So, time for a #selfie.  Or, should I say, #germie:

Which one is your favourite?

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Review: Lady Soma Detox

Don’t ask me why I did this, I think I must be a bit mad!  Lady Soma asked me to review their detox pack and I said yes.  I’m a healthy eater normally, and exercise regularly and have no particular problems with my bowel movements but I was curious enough to experiment and see what all this detox business was all about.  Following is my Detox Diary:

lady soma detox

Day 1:  Feeling run-down and had a cold.  Astonished at the amount and size of the pills in one packet. Twelve! And massive! I have to take twelve tablets THREE TIMES a day.  I struggled to take the first lot. Felt quite nauseated by bed time.

Day 2: Feeling exhausted and quite sick all day.  Took all my pills with a pint of water each time and tried not to focus on the amount and size of them, which made it easier.  I took one with one sip, had one sip to wash them down, then another with another sip and so forth.

Day 3: Feeling a bit less exhausted today but woke up with a banging headache.  Took headache tablets so that I could get on with my day, which felt rather counter-productive on a detox. Pooed a few times but not uncomfortably or urgently. Feel very thirsty.  Very twitchy eyelids.

Day 4: Slight headache lasting all day. Very drowsy. Massive poo in the morning. Glad I’ve passed the halfway mark. Still had twitchy eyelids.

Day 5:  Feeling exhausted and had a very foggy brain all day.  Couldn’t wait until bed time.  Couldn’t fall asleep though. Twitchy eyelids had subsided and only a mild headache.

Day 6: The weather has changed today and I felt full of a cold again.  Tired, but at least the fogginess had gone.

Day 7: Felt quite rubbish and my kidneys feel sore..  This can’t be a good sign so the rest of the pills are going in the bin.

One week later:  I don’t think the pills have made any difference. After taking 36 pills a day I would at least expect to feel quite zingy at the end of it.  I didn’t.  I’m not sure if I had a virus as well that week but all they seemed to do was make me poo lots.

Did you know that the liver renews itself every three days? So if you’re looking to detox from your fat filled rock and roll lifestyle you really only need three days and a continued programme of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, quality protein and plenty of water?  Exercise and meditate daily and you’ll feel like a new person.  Oh, and get a dog.  I do think dogs are essential to health and happiness. But that’s just me.

What health tips have you got that don’t involve a week on the loo?

Maintaining Inner Beauty

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I’ve always been a believer in the phrase “beauty comes from within”, though like everyone else, in my younger days I didn’t always stick to the healthiest possible lifestyle! As we get older, though, and especially when we become parents, it seems to me that living as healthily as we can, as often as we can manage, genuinely does bring almost immediate results. And if we can ingrain healthy habits in children at an early age, I think we’re doing them a favour. Let’s take a look at the three most important steps towards inner beauty; if you feel beautiful on the inside, it’s got to show on the outside!

Sleep

Perhaps the most important element of a healthy routine is regular, quality sleep. They don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing! It’s just as important for kids as it is for adults, and researchers have found that both not getting enough sleep, and getting too much, can be bad for your health. Creating a good “sleep environment” is important if you’re having trouble; and that starts with the bed. Mattresses don’t last forever, and I try and replace mine every few years. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t have to involve carting huge items around on a roof-rack! Companies like Bedstar, for example, offer next-day delivery. They’ll also take care of recycling your old mattress.

Drink

Drinking the right amount of water is something that sounds obvious, but a surprising number of people don’t actually do it. Coffee and fizzy drinks do count, but remember to factor in the negative effects of sugar and caffeine! Adults should be drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day, though obviously you need to take into account your size and how much exercise you’re doing. Milk is a good source of your daily fluid intake – while adults might want to drink skimmed, very young children should be given whole milk. Your skin will thank you for drinking the right amount of water, and your digestion and powers of concentration will benefit as well.

Eat

Eating the right foods – and I don’t just mean “superfoods” – can work wonders with your skin, nails and hair. Protein is what they’re made of, and it’s important for vegetarians and pescatarians (like me) to make sure they’re getting enough. Legumes, like lentils and beans, and dairy products are a good source. Oily fish is a great source of essential omega-3 fats, a lack of which can cause dry skin; if you don’t eat seafood, linseed oil is useful. Healthy skin, hair and nails also require iron, and if yours seem a bit lacklustre and you feel a lack of energy, you may need to up your intake. Non-meat-eaters should turn to legumes again, as well as whole grains, though you should really make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C as well to assist with absorbing iron from these sources.

So, there are some basic tips which I try to stick to as often as I can; I certainly feel better on the inside when I do, and I hope it shows on the outside!

(Image: devaleela / pixabay.com)

Review: Clarks shoes

School uniform! Who’d have known what a minefield it would be!  Not only is there a large spend on school logo-ed gear but all of the extras like shirts, shorts, socks, and of course some sensible black school shoes.  Just getting four pairs of shorts in my son’s size proved to be quite a mission and so I was really not relishing the shoe shopping.  Add to that the fact my lively lad has to be  there in person for the fitting of the footwear and I was getting worried before we had even left the house!  Facebook friends had been regaling their torrid tales of their attempts to find appropriate shoes and the expeditions and waits involved and School Shoe Shopping was not on my Things I Want To Do Ever list.

But it had to be done so off we went.  Tamworth Ventura Clarks looked like the best bet for good school shoes, and I managed to park right outside the door, which proved to be a good omen.  When I saw the queue and the amount of people there though my heart sank, and there was nobody to explain what I had to do so I asked another mother and took a ticket from the ticket queue machine.  In the interim I browsed the shelves and noted a couple of pairs of shoes that I liked the look of, though they didn’t have the ones with flashing lights that I had seen on the website.  The Cub had brought a sheet of stickers from home, quite of his own invention, and was busy handing them out to all the children -what a kind soul he is – and so in the end the wait did not seem all that bad or that long.

There was a new system of measuring his feet that involved a tablet slotted into some kind of machine and in no time at all we were measured, shoes chosen and out again.  There were only two pairs that I really liked, one of which wasn’t available, and we ended up with some Stomp Roar ones, with a nice protective toe area and really cool dinosaur prints on the underneath, which I can’t wait to see in a bit of mud.

The purchase was so stress free we went for a nice bike ride round the castle grounds afterwards to burn off some extra energy and then home in time for tea.

He looks so grown up in his smart shoes.  What do you think?  Are Clarks still the best for school kids?  I was a bit disappointed to see no minimalist or barefoot-style shoes, as a minimalist runner myself.  I wonder if Clarks will try minimalist in the future?

new school shoes from clarks ABM_1409083360 (1)

Online Bingo an absolute fun only at NewLook Bingo

Popularity of the much loved bingo is growing by leaps and bounds. Well, with lives of each one of us getting busy we hardly have time for each other and hence find few people to provide us company with. It’s during those lonely times that bingo fills our time up and along with that helps us find some lovely like minded people. You would agree with me that we ladies love chatting and communicating with each other especially if we find people with similar likes and dislikes and bingo helps us find just that.

Bingo has now entered the online space like never before and we love it all the more as all we need to do is log in. Dressing up, getting our hair done (we love looking pretty don’t we) etc. not required. We can simply sit in front of our PC’s, laptops or better still punch in our log in details through our mobile phone and all this in our pajamas and play bingo, win some easy cash and make new friends.

Almost all the online bingo sites have taken notice of this amazing quality in us – of being able to communicate well, of being amazingly social of being lively and all the rest! And, thus they have tailored all their games mainly keeping we the ladies in mind. Here’s one such site which I think you would simply love playing in – New Look Bingo.

A site where you would find some of the coolest chat hosts, endless witty conversations in their chat rooms and your favourite – online bingo games. This site is powered by Cozy Games making a site you can blindly trust on. They have everything that you can wish for from an online bingo site. You can indulge in a plethora of bingo games here.  No it’s not only the 90 ball, 75 ball and 80 ball bingo but also the much loved 30 ball and 50 ball bingo.

All you mommy’s, aunts, grand-moms and pretty ladies, NewLook Bingo also has their set of cool chat games which I say mustn’t be missed. They have an entire range starting from Lucky 2’s, Crazy 8’s, Nextout, Charmmed, CH’s Favourites and many more. You simply need to be there to know about these exciting games in detail. Lastly, if you are wondering what if you get bored, then what? Then, NewLook bingo has for you their special break time quizzer which would make your mind go for a spin!