Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My 2014 Plan

I have written before about how I have managed to finally accept my body for what it is, and even to embrace it. It has taken me 27 years to feel good about myself, and acknowledge that I am fat, overweight, obese, however you want to say it, but that doesn't mean I need to hide every bump, curve, bulge or part of me that may offend people. I am me, and that is that.
Along with the confidence I have gained, is also more of an awareness about how unfit I am. I don't really do exercise, I could never see how people got enjoyment out of it, or find the time. I am currently a housewife/stay-at-home mum/unemployed lady, with two kids both in full time education, so I can't use the excuse of having no time to do anything. I hate the idea of going to the gym, paying £50 a month to have all the already fit people looking down their nose at me and wondering why I am bothering. But I have seemed to reach a point in my life where I have realised that, although I will always be a big girl, I need to start thinking long term, and start thinking about my health.

Both of our children aren't biologically mine, and the thought of being a mum fills me with joy. I have learnt so much for my parents throughout the years, and knew that my purpose in life was to be a mum. For now, that is to two amazing children that I love so much, and one day I hope that we can have a third child. But to do this, I feel I need to change my lifestyle.
I know that being overweight is seen as a big problem when it comes to conceiving and having a baby, and I don't doubt that it can cause complications for some people. But I have know quite a few ladies that are overweight and gone on to have beautiful babies with no extra complications than any 'normal' sized lady.
Anyway, apart from that, I just want to be able to run around with the kids, feel like I can do things without getting out of breathe and not being able to fit into seats in cinemas without being reminded I am 'that big'. I just wanted to explain to you that I am comfortable with my body, but I am going to try and make it fitter, and possibly smaller, on my quest for 2014.

The first step to a healthier me in 2014 is juicing!
A few months ago, I saw a video on YouTube where these people were doing a 5 day juice detox. The idea of a juice detox confused me a little, and so I began my search on what this involved, and was pleasantly surprised. I found a lot of videos on or by Jason Vale or 'The Juice Master' as he is known, and started to understand the point of juicing as a way to detox, get healthy and lose weight. Only after a few days, I realised that this was something that I should try as I have found it hard in the past to eat well. There are different types of juicing, and I see the best option for me to be juice fasting, which is basically where I have nothing but juice and water for a set number of days.
I am bad at eating. Well, I am technically good at eating, as you can tell by my size.....but I mean I am bad at eating the RIGHT things. I rarely would eat my 5 a day, not because I don't like fruit and vegetables, but because it was easier to eat chips than boiled potatoes, or a chocolate bar rather than an apple. When I had decided this was something I wanted to do, I told some friends about it and who were a bit sceptical. One said why not just eat better, but I told her that with me, it's all or nothing. If I am eating normally, I can just as easily think, I can't be bothered to cook some veg, I'll just have a jacket potato, with butter, and cheese.......and defeat the point of eating vegetables. So, once I had read up about juice fasting, I knew it was something I should at least give a go. I told Mike what my plan was, and he was up for giving it a go too, as he is keen to loose some weight too. We then started looking at juicers to buy, and after a few discussions, we opted for the Philips HR1861. At the time, it was £74.99 on Amazon, and I had a £25 gift voucher I had left over from my birthday, so we used that and got it as our Christmas present.

And I love it! I have used it everyday since Christmas, trying new things all the time. I have bought fruit and vegetables nearly everyday, and I am loving it! I've told people that we got one, and the main response is 'oh that will only be used for 2 months'. But it's not. I am loving the taste of the juices and feel so good when I drink them, knowing I am feeling my body with all their nutrients and goodness :)

I also went out on 28th December and bought myself a bike. I haven't been on one properly since I was about 15.....but I used to love going round to my friend's house on it, and just love the feeling of freedom whilst riding. So I used a voucher I got from my parent's and got myself a hybrid bike, helmet, nice seat and some gloves. I went for the Apollo Code Men's Hybrid Bike as I needed a 21" frame, and all the ladie's ones went up to 20" and were either pink or purple.... and I like the black look. It was quite weird trying it out for the first time, it was very wobbly! But I got the hang of it and loved it! Now that we all have a bike, Mike and I plan to take the kids out at weekends for some nice nice bike rides. Can't wait!

I will be keeping a Vlog diary on my YouTube channel, and will be updating each week. I hope you will join me on this quest to find my healthy side!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hey friends!

Just wanted to say a big MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all! We had a great morning at home with the kids opening all their presents, and then we headed off to my parent's for some more presents and an amazing lunch! Mum also does so well! Then we had some play time with the kids and mum's foster babies, before Toy Story 3, some chocolates and a maybe a little nap! We finished off with Dr Who, Eastenders and some cheese and biscuits :) Great Christmas day!

Hope you all had a fabulous with you family and friends, and hope you have a few more days of festive fun!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Scents

Whilst doing our Christmas food shop in Asda last week, and Mike caught site of an offer on some Glade candles. Then I turned round to see him having a good sniff! So I joined in. They had a selection of different fragrances, but in the end, we choose Spiced Apple and Cinnamon, and Spiced Pomegranate.

We both love cinnamon, so we were in heaven when we had a smell of the red one, and new we definitely had to get that. The we had a sniff of some of the other scents which included, Blackberry Frost, Sparkling Spruce and Warm Orange and Spice. None of them had jumped out at us, but then we saw a second stand of the candles. there we found, and smelled, Spiced Pomegranate. I was divine! 

The Spiced Apple and Cinnamon was the first one we decided to try. It tool a while for the scent to spread, but when it did, it was lovely. Not too strong, but the scent would linger in the air. I loved the design on the candle too. It does look like a Christmas candle, but when you look closely, it only has the small snowflake/floral white detail around the top. So I think that they would look good as decoration the whole your round.

The next night we tried the Spiced Pomegranate candle. This was such a lovely smell. It had the spices you would expect at Christmas, but with the sweet smell of pomegranate. I think I actually prefer this to the first one, which surprises me due to my love of all things cinnamon. But, they we go! You never know until you try!

The decoration on the glass votive is a plastic cellophane wrap, so you could easily take it off for a plain glass look. These were a bargain reduced from £4.50 to just £2, so we decided we could treat ourselves.....as it is Christmas.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Mr Stuffy's Christmas Party

Last weekend, Mike had his work's Christmas party and award ceremony at a hotel near his work. It was staff only, no partners allowed...boo. But it was good for them to have some social time together outside of work. The dress rule was black tie optional masquerade. I bought Mike a Silver mask whilst out shopping a few weeks ago, and he wore his black suit. He looked pretty handsome, but I am a little bias!

Doesn't he look handsome! He headed of on Saturday evening, all suited, and ready to party. They had some food, and then it was time for the award ceremony. Mike had been nominated for 'Support Person Of The Year', which was great. After all of the effort he had put into his job this year, and after having three months off for his operation and recovery, he deserved the nomination. 
And he won!! I was so pleased when he text me to tell me. I couldn't have been more proud of him. He is so good at his job, and he enjoys doing it.

As soon as he got home, we put up the trophy in pride of place in the lounge. Jack and I had also made a little 'Well Done Daddy' sign for when he got home. We are so proud of him, and am so glad that he has been acknowledged for all the effort he puts in at work.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Early Christmas Presents

As I mentioned last week, I went to a Christmas Blogger Meet up in London on the 30th November (find that here). And, as it is nearly Christmas, we exchanged presents in good old Secret Santa style! The organisers, Claire @ A Bit of This and That and Emma @ Meet The Millards, had assigned us all another blogger to buy for, and therefore, be given a present by another blogger. I really enjoyed buying my presents for my person and really hoped she liked it all :)

As each blogger arrived, the pile of presents got bigger and bigger, and it was exciting to see which one I would be getting....then it was time for them to be handed out. I watched in anticipation as my Secret Santa gift was given to my person, and then getting mine...I was so excited! 

So my gifts came in a little gift bag, and there were a total of 4 individually wrapped presents inside, and a card that read 'Open me to find out who Santa is! Merry Christmas'. Even though it was a 'Secret' Santa present, I like the fact I would be able to thank the person that had bought me things. I opened up all my gifts and found some lovely bits in there! My gift-giver had obviously had a good look at my blog and knew what I liked. So here is what I got...

1. A lovely pack of material, ribbon, buttons and lace - perfect for my crafting! 

2. Some monochrome polka dot and stripy Baking Cups - can't wait to make some cupcakes in these. 

3. A cute papier mache heart box containing a Stainiac Hint Of Tint and a flower shaped tea light candle. 

4. An amazing smelling Lush Magic Wand Bubble Bar - going to really enjoy my next bath!

Then I opened the lovely little card which told me who had been my 'Secret Santa' - Tamsyn-Elizabeth @ Peach Pow. I loved the fact that I knew who get my gift, so that I could say thank you to her. Tamsyn was really nice and said she focused on my crafty side, which I loved.

A big thanks to Tamsyn, and please go and check out her blog here.


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas Party Dresses - George @ Asda

This is my last instalment of my search for a new party dress for this Christmas season, and I have been having a good look through the George @ Asda Direct website.

1. Metallic Flower Mesh Dress - £20
I think is really lovely, and I love the mesh top part. The pattern on the top part is pretty.

2. Chiffon Batwing Dress - £18
I think this is amazing. I have a batwing top from ASOS and it is one of my favourite items. I think it gives you a great shape.

3. Moda V-neck Dress - £18
This is in a beautiful cobalt blue, and I love a V-neck!

4. Lace Shift Dress - £20
What better colour to wear at Christmas but red! And the lace sleeves are lovely.

5. Barbara Hulanicki Patterned Collar Dress - £18
This is a great black dress, and with the little collar, I think this would be a great staple dress for different occasions.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

DAPW review

A few weeks sent a product to review from Duvet and Pillow Warehouse. I had a few items to choose from, but in the end, I went for their Luxury Mulberry Silk Throw in Seaspray.

I had been looking at getting a throw for our lounge for a while, not just for just a visual impact, but to act as a blanket on these cold winter nights. The throw comes in 3 gorgeous colours, Seapray, Taupe and Biscuit. I opted for the Seaspray colour as our lounge is painted a mixture of light blue and turquoise shades. I was so excited when it arrived to get in on the sofa! So that's what I did....

It came just before the school pick up, so I had a good look at it and put it onto the sofa, then went down to my son's school. When I got back, this is what I saw.....

Well at least it gets the seal of approval from Lulu! She looked so comfy all curled up on it, and it took her a while to want to get off it! Anyway, then it was my turn to have a go! That evening, as usual in our draughty house, it started to get cold in the lounge, so I pulled the throw over my lap and continued to do my work on the laptop.

It was so comfortable and kept me so warm! Even Lulu decided to curl up next to me, which she never normally does. It is so soft, and is a great size (140 x 200cm) and a good weight (380gsm). I have looked at throws before and they have either been really light and fleecy, or heavy and uncomfortable. But this throw is the best of both being 100% Mulberry Silk! I also love the tasselled edges, they are so soft and add a lovely flair to the throw.

This throw has an RRP of £100, but is available for £46! I think it is such a great deal, and at the moment, they have an extra 20% off everything on their site, and with free P&P on orders over £30. And with the amount of amazing items on their site, it would be easy to do that!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Our Santa Experience

A few months ago, along with Mike's family, we decided to book tickets for Ruxley Manor Garden Centre in Sidcup to visit Santa. The were really popular and sold out very quickly, but we were some of the lucky ones. I had never been to a proper 'Visit Santa' thing before, only really seen him at school fete's or at local shopping centres. So when we got the confirmation email through about our booking, I was pleasantly surprised to see that we would be spending an hour seeing Santa! 

I had told a few of my mum friend's at Jack's school about our booking, and they all had said how great it was and that they had missed out on tickets. This made me even more excited to go! So, we headed off there last week and met all of Mike's family there, as we were all coming from different directions.

We first were lead into a little room by Santa's elves where we were told about a rat problem and how we were going to help Santa. Then we had to sing a song called Reindeer Pokey - which was in the tune of Hokey Pokey - and the kids enjoyed that, and maybe me too. Then we went through the next door and we greeted by a coconut shy-style set up, but with rats and snowballs. We had to throw the snowballs at the rats and see how many we could knock down. This is where the guys got a little competitive and a a bit violent in trying to smash the hell out of some toy rats!

Then we went into another room where the kids got to sit at desks and decorate their own Christmas Tree decoration. Jack went for a Santa and Maria chose a reindeer. They got a little pack with their wooden decoration and a set of 4 colouring pens. They loved this, and I wish I could have done one too!

Next, we went into Santa's kitchen where the children got to make some reindeer food. They had to sprinkle in different things into their little hessian bags from fairy sprinkle dust to elf crystals, and they loved it. Jack can't wait to sprinkle his reindeer food in the front garden on Christmas Eve.

Family photo

Then it was time to see Santa! We weren't really allowed to take pictures in there...but I took a sneaky one just of the room with Santa in.

Santa had a little chat with the kids about Christmas, and then it was time for presents. Santa had a magic chimney, and the children had to clap twice, then a present fell down the chimney. All of the kids got a present - Maria got a badge making kit, and Jack and his cousin who is 5 got a dinosaur fridge magnet making kit. Their little cousin who is 2 got a reindeer cuddly toy which he really liked. They also gave the kids a baby Christmas tree to give to their parents as a 'Thank you for bringing me to see Santa' present. Jack handed me his one and said it very politely! We were in there for exactly an hour and the kids had a really good time.

The kids tree decorations and reindeer food

We then popped over to the ice rink to watch people going round. There was some great music on, and the kids were high-fiving the man dressed as a penguin going round. It was a nice evening, not too cold, and a really nice atmosphere.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas Party Dresses - New Look

I'm still looking for some dress-piration for Christmas parties this festive season, and now is the turn of New Look.

1. Teal Chiffon Glitter Cuff Long Sleeve Tunic - £26.99
I was immediately drawn to this as the colour is beautiful. And I love me some long sleeves!

2. Burgundy Lace Contrast Embellished Neck Maxi Dress - £34.99
I have seen these dresses for a while, and I think I would love to try one, and this is a lovely colour.

3. Dark Red Embellished Bandeau Prom Dress - £49.99
This is a little bit on the girl side, but I think it is really cute.

4. Red Sequin Mini Dress - £24.99
This is fab! I love the sparkle, and the colour is gorgeous!

5. Black Beaded High Neck Dress - £26.99
I don't own anything with a high neck, but this looks so lovely.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

I Feel Good

You know sometimes when you spend ages getting ready for a night out, an event or even just a blog post, and the reflection in mirror isn't what you hoped?  This challenge is for those times when you look in the mirror, no pre planning involved, and think "I look good today".   

We all have our good days and our bad, but this challenge is to record those good days and to remember that confidence, at any size, is beautiful.

Last weekend, Mike and I took the kids to see Santa at Ruxley Manor In Sidcup with the rest of Mike's family (post coming soon!) and after we had finished our hour doing Christmas fun in his grotto, we all went outside and watched people on the ice skating rink. There was some great music, and it was a lovely atmosphere. So, being me, I took a selfie in front of the rink and thought I looked quite nice :)

Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas Party Dresses - ASOS Curve

Welcome to the second part of my search for a Christmas party dress. This time, I have had a good look throught ASOS Curve and found some beauties!

1. ASOS Curve Skater Dress with Lace Applique - £38
I love this monochrome looking dress, and the long sleeves make it even better!

2. ASOS CURVE Smock Dress In Holographic Sequin - £55
I love the bit of glitz and glamour with this one, and it's a little different to the normal Christmas colours of red and green. 

3. ASOS CURVE Exclusive Swing Dress with Embellished Cross - £45
I love the cross on this! A bot of glitz, and you can't beat a swing dress.

4. ASOS Curve Exclusive Skater Dress With Lace V Back - £35
This isn't as 'dressy' as some of the others, but I like the colour and you could easily dress it up.

5. ASOS Curve Skater Dress With Baroque Embellishment - £75
I really like the patterning on this dress, and how it transfers from the top down the skirt.

Another lovely range of dresses....more choices!!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A day with my mum

Last month, I was lucky enough to accompany my mum along to a spa day at Rowhill Grange in the lovely Kent countryside. Luckily, it is only about 15 minutes from where I live, and after navigating my way there, I realised I have actually driven past it a few times! 
Rowhill Grange is a hotel and Utopia Spa in Wilmington, Kent, and is set in 15 acres of private grounds, including a Victorian walled garden, some beautiful wild flowers and ancient roses and was so tranquil. We arrived at just after 9am and drove up their amazingly beautiful driveway, meandering through their picturesque grounds. 

We started off by having a nice cup of coffee and perusing the lunch menu to make our choices for what we would like. Mum and I both went for the Leek and Potato soup with croutons for starters, then I followed that with the Salmon, and mum went for Chicken. We then had a little chat before being shown around the spa so we knew what we were doing. Then we got changed and got straight into the pool! 

There were three different pools - a full length swimming pool, a hydrotherapy pool and a jacuzzi - and a sauna and a steam room. We had a lovely morning and used most of the facilities, and then got showered and dressed for our lunch.

It was gorgeous! The soup was lovely and thick, and tasted very leeky - this sounds weird, but a lot of leek and potato soups I have had in the past have been a lot creamier in colour, and therefore contained more potato. This soup was a lovely green colour, and the first thing you could taste was the leek. It was very nice. Then along came our main course, and they both looked amazing. My salmon was cooked perfectly, and went really well with the chorizo and bean cassoulet. Mum enjoyed her chicken, and the red wine joux was delicious.

After lunch, we headed back down to the changing rooms, spent a little time in the sauna, then headed back to the swimming pool. As we were one of the first ones to have lunch, when we got back to the spa, everyone else was still eating. So we had the pool to ourselves. I swam about 15-20 lengths, something I miss doing when we go swimming with the kids as I have to be watching them all the time. But being able to just swim, something I used to love doing as a child, was so nice. I could clear my mind and just concentrate on swimming, and that was a great feeling.
After a couple of hours of going between the steam room, hydrotherapy pool and jacuzzi, it was time to get showered and dressed. In the changing rooms, there were some great hair dryers that worked wonders on my thick hair, and also some GHD straighteners. I made full use of those bad boys!

So after getting dressed and packing all our bits up, it was time to head home. We had a great day, and it was really nice to spend time with my mum. We both lead very busy 'mum' lives, and don't get to spend a lot of time away from the children, let alone with each other, so it was great to just chat and relax.
The setting was amazing and I wish we had had more time to explore the gardens of this beautiful place. The staff were all very helpful, the facilities were brilliant and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the food. I would highly recommend this spa for a lovely relaxing day. 

Check out their website here.