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Category: Lifestyle

The Body Positivity Movement and Why I’m Not Sure I Like it

The Body Positivity Movement and Why I’m Not Sure I Like it

You’ve probably noticed over the past few months, that the internet has been taken over by the body positivity movement. It’s all about the girls and the guys, almost bearing all to let the world know that they’re happy with what they see in the mirror. Whether it’s big, small. round, plump, smooth or bumpy. They want everyone and their mother to know that’s who they are and if you don’t like it, well you can jolly well lump it. For the most part I think this is great. I am after all a mother of two girls, who isn’t quite as sleek as she once was. There’s something that unnerves me about this huge emphasis on body positivity though and I’m not sure I like it.

Body positivity and health –

I don’t mind telling you that I’ve always been conscious about the way I look. Being incredibly thin was a big thing for me for a very long time. Since having children my mindset has changed immeasurably and these days I am more body positive, even though I’m not the thinnest person in the room. I’ve made my peace with this and my confidence has soared since doing so, but just because I don’t strive to be stick thin doesn’t mean I don’t strive to be healthy. Therein lies the problem for me when we’re declaring ‘body positivity’ every five minutes. Those advocates for bearing all with a smile might be happy with what they see, but are they healthy?

As much as I think people should share their confidence with others, to encourage them to believe more in themselves. I can’t help but think that there is a fine line between being confident and happy, and allowing impressionable people to believe that overindulging too often because ‘life’s too short’ is OK. It appears that the tables have turned  so much, that we’ve stopped showing stick thin models and have replaced them with larger than life ones. There doesn’t seem to be a healthy middle ground, the average person. Frankly, this worries me.

Educating the next generation –

The hardest thing about writing this post has been trying not to offend anyone, because I honestly believe it’s what’s on the inside that counts. I don’t want people to think I’m ‘fat shaming’ anyone, or ‘skinny shaming’ them for that matter. I just want my girls to grow up in a world that doesn’t revolve around what people look like. I want them to see past all that and to appreciate people for who they are and what they have to offer. People are so much more than skin and bone, people are intricate creatures with a hell of a lot to give.

I think it’s so important to educate the next generation on how to be healthy, rather than how to achieve a certain look. It’s not about being skinny and it’s not about being big, it’s about being your healthy. Nurturing your body to the best of your ability, to keep it working well for you, for as long as possible!

 

 

 

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NOROVIRUS – Surviving Illness as a Parent

NOROVIRUS – Surviving Illness as a Parent

This week has been totally awful for everyone in our house. Within three days of the Biggest going back to school, we had been struck down by an array of germs. Bringing with them a virus or three that would last the entire week. At first it was just a cold and as much as I can’t stand them, it wasn’t as bad as what was just around the corner. With a cold we can curl up in front of the TV and feel sorry for ourselves for a couple of days. Which we did. When Norovirus hit though, it turned into a whole different story.

Sickness is never fun –

After having two HG pregnancies I honestly find even the slightest bit of nausea traumatic, never mind actually being sick. So just as I felt like I was recovering from the cold and happened to wake up one the next morning feeling slightly off colour, panic really set in. I knew I wasn’t pregnant, so there and then I had to resolve myself to the fact that I would spend the next couple of days with my head firmly glued to the toilet bowl. Joy.

Luckily Hubs was off for the first day, so I could freely alternate between the bathroom and the bedroom. Leaving behind the aroma of bleach, desperate to rid the place of germs so no-one else would catch them. It’s really difficult to explain to toddlers why you feel so rough though. I didn’t do the school run for an entire week and felt so guilty for ‘leaving them to it’. Between them, his Lordship and my parents managed to keep things afloat without me. For some reason, as parents we believe that we aren’t allowed to be ill, as the world will obviously stop turning. If this week has taught me anything though, it’s that it’s OK to take some time out when you need to. Things will be just fine, in fact the kids will probably enjoy the novelty of the situation!

When everyone else gets sick –

After a couple of days I thought I’d be on the mend, the dreaded Norovirus had other ideas though. Not only did it decide to linger with me for days on end, it also decided to infect Hubs and the Biggest. No. Fun. At. All. The last few days have seen Hubs attempt to keep the contents of his stomach down, as he hates being sick more than I do. They’ve witnessed the Biggest projectile vomit on the way home from school, right in front of the neighbours gate – whilst she was stood there. They’ve also endured more acoustics in the bathroom department than I care to remember.

I wish I could give you a very definite answer to how to survive illness as a parent. The truth is, I don’t think there is one. All you have to do is power through, or sleep through it. It’ll pass – one way or the other! 

 

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Autumn Family & Blogging Bucket List 2018

Autumn Family & Blogging Bucket List 2018

I’ve been blogging for a few years now and I’ve noticed that bucket lists are a bit of a thing. I’ve gotten so many brilliant ideas from those I’ve read, but they’re something I’ve never gotten around to writing myself. Over the past few months though the reality of life hit me like a tonne of bricks. Our girls are growing up rapidly before my eyes and so I want to make as many family memories as I possibly can.

That’s why I’ve decided to jump on the bucket list bandwagon. I intend to create a list of must do experiences for every season, that way I won’t forget any ideas and I’ll have a tick list to work my way down as the months go on. I’m also going to keep a blogging bucket list. Over the summer I noticed myself losing sight a little bit, as I was so focused on giving our girls a season to remember. By creating a blogging list too, I hope it will keep my passions alive and ensure that I’m still achieving in my work life as well as in my personal life.

 

Our Autumn family bucket list –

  • Take a trip to the Wensleydale Creamery, Hawes.
  • Take our girls pumpkin picking and create some spectacular pumpkin designs!
  • Book a 5th wedding anniversary spa day for myself and Hubs.
  • Head out for some yummy food as a family for my birthday in November.
  • Take the girls on a half term holiday!

I know there’ll be days out and other fun things that I haven’t planned. Even if we only manage to achieve what’s on this list, I know it’ll make for another great season for our girls to remember.

My Autumn blogging bucket list –

Blogging has evolved so much over the last few years, things have changed immeasurably in the relatively short time I’ve been part of the community. For that reason I think it’s important to step back and take stock of where you are every once in a while. So after a serious blogging brainstorm, here’s what I’d love to achieve this season;

  • Spend time developing the quality of my video content and on developing my YouTube channel.
  • I’m a huge fan of Instagram, but I don’t feel like I use stories enough. So, I’m going to aim to share more of our daily life through Instagram Stories.
  • Spend more time thinking about content that I love. Use my platforms to share this content, rather than worrying about and comparing myself and my work to other bloggers.

 

I’m feeling hugely positive about what life and work has to offer this season, let me at it!

 

 

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Reasons Why Volunteering for The National Trust is Good for the Soul

Reasons Why Volunteering for The National Trust is Good for the Soul

If you’d have asked me if I’d be open to volunteering at the beginning of my working life, I’d have laughed in your face. I’ve always been driven by money and the thought of giving my time to anything or anyone, without receiving monetary compensation was outrageous. No way would I have given my time away for free. No way would I have gotten so involved with a company or charity, without it benefiting my bank account.

Now, when I look back at my naive and ignorant younger self, I’m a little bit ashamed. As I’ve gotten older and hopefully a little wiser, I’ve realised that money really isn’t everything. Don’t get me wrong, earning cash is often at the forefront of my mind. I’ve always been business driven, so leaving this mentality behind altogether isn’t an easy shift to make. What I know now though, is that it’s not all about making every single penny. It’s not all about working until the wee, small hours each night. It is all about making life as enjoyable and as rich with experience as possible.

Why I chose the National Trust –

I’ve lived very close to a beautiful National Trust property my whole life.  I have a real passion for the property and love to learn more and more about its history. I’ve been a National Trust member for many years too. Visiting new properties with Hubs and the girls is one of my favourite things to do. So when I decided that I wanted volunteer, my local National Trust property was the obvious choice.

I also felt like I would have a lot in common with other volunteers within the Trust. All with an interest in the same property and all with a love for our heritage, I was sure to meet like-minded people with whom I could build lasting relationships.

Reasons volunteering for the National Trust is good for the soul –

  • I get to meet and spend time with interesting and valuable people. This includes fellow volunteers, trust employees and visitors to the property I volunteer for. I love to spend time with people from all walks of life. We have serious conversations, debates and so many laughs. It’s good for the soul and certainly good for the mind.
  • I get to offer my areas of expertise to help the Trust. For me, this area is mainly focused around social media, over the past few years blogging has taught me so much and it feels good to be able to apply that knowledge to another worthy role.
  • I get to learn new skill sets, in areas that I’ve never had experience in before. Each and every time I turn up to do a volunteer shift. I learn something new. My mind is constantly being given a workout and I’m gaining valuable experience that I wouldn’t otherwise get if I didn’t volunteer for the Trust.
  • I feel proud of myself! There’s no better feeling that of self-worth and I think working with a charity is one of the best ways of inducing that feeling.
  • I get to broaden my historical knowledge. There’s always something new to learn and by spending time with people who are passionate about history, I’ve found that my own knowledge base is expanding. I learn something new on every shift and I love it!
  • I’m actively showing my children that life doesn’t always have to revolve around money. I’m showing them that life is all about balance and that finding the right level of work and play is essential for a happy soul!

 

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Learning to Drive – Why Getting Behind the Wheel Early is a Good Thing

Learning to Drive – Why Getting Behind the Wheel Early is a Good Thing

*This post was written in collaboration with TrackDays.

 

Ever since I was old enough to understand the concept of driving, I’ve couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel. With parents who have always been interested in cars and two brothers who could drive as soon as their feet could touch the pedals, it was inevitable that I would follow suit. The trouble when I was an early teen, was that there were very few places where I could gain driving experience. It just wasn’t a thing then, so I had to wait until I was old enough to get my provisional license, before I could really get to grips with a car.

As soon as my license came through, I stuck the ‘L’ plates on and was away! My parents sat by my side in the car for hours as I learnt the ropes. In the end I passed my test around three months after my 17th birthday, as I was so determined to get on the road. Even though I had a few hours of lessons from a professional driving instructor, I really believe that it was the hours I spent driving my own car that gave me such confidence on the road.

Getting behind the wheel early –

I know that I would have loved to have driven a car as a teenager, so when I found out about Junior Driving Experiences, I had to write about it. It would have been an absolute dream for me, so I know others would love to have the chance to begin driving sooner than their 17th birthday too. Whether driving is just a means to an end for a person or whether it’s a passion, there are so many benefits to learning to drive as soon as possible. Driving brings independence, freedom and prospects that every person needs in their life.

The benefits of learning to drive –

You’re ready – even if you don’t intend to take your test any time soon, learning to drive sooner rather than later will mean you are ready. You won’t have to worry about learning a new skill at an older age, because you’ll already know what to do. Forewarned is forearmed as they say and it’s always good to feel like you’re one step ahead.

It’s a lifelong skill and one that you will most likely cherish – now we all know people who don’t drive, who actually wish that they could. Don’t put yourself in this situation, you’ll only regret if you don’t do it!

Driving could widen your career prospects – even if you’re too young to have chosen a career at this time, having driving experience can only be a good thing. Imagine how much easier every work situation would be if you’re able to drive!

The longer you leave it, the less likely you are to learn how to drive. So start early and get comfortable with driving now, you won’t regret it and you’ll have heaps of fun along the way! 

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The Snowman Tour from Carrot Productions – 2018 Tickets NOW ON SALE!

The Snowman Tour from Carrot Productions – 2018 Tickets NOW ON SALE!

*We have been provided tickets for the 2018 show in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

 

Last year we were lucky enough to have been invited to see The Snowman Tour with live orchestra in our local town. It was such a brilliant night and one that Hubs and I vowed we would do again. Well, as it happens we’ve been invited back for the 2018 tour and we can’t wait! Carrot Productions will be embarking on their sixth tour this festive season, it’s one of the most magical shows around and one that is definitely not to be missed!

Not only does The Snowman Tour feature this classic, family favourite animation, visitors are also treated to an extra animation to kick-start their festive season. Last year we saw The Bear and the Piano, with narration recorded by Joanna Lumley. This is such a beautiful tale, that’s based on the award-winning book by David Litchfield. If The Bear and the Piano is on at a venue near you, you won’t be disappointed!

Other venues will have the pleasure of witnessing a world exclusive in the form of A Donkey’s Tale; an ordinary donkey with an extraordinary dream. Written and composed by Daniel Whibley. Each of these performances are accompanied by a live orchestra, which is made up from some of the best musicians in the country. Last year I was completely blown away by the talent of these ladies and gentlemen. They were absolutely incredible!  Not to mention the young vocalist, who sings Walking in the Air.

 

Copyright Snowman Enterprises Limited

Where can you get your tickets?

Tickets are on sale now and can be bought HERE! Carrot Products have secured venues all over the country including; Chesterfield, Blackburn, Gloucester, Chester, Durham and Liverpool among others. I know from experience that The Snowman Tour is the perfect night out, it will be a yearly occurrence for us. When The Snowman Tour comes around, we’ll know our Christmas has begun!

Wallace and Gromit’s Musical Marvels –

Carrot Productions also have some exciting news for 2019; for the first time ever you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy The Wrong Trousers accompanied by live orchestra! Tickets are now on sale and can be bought HERE! 

 

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Girls Back to School Essentials + Debenhams 10% Discount Code

Girls Back to School Essentials + Debenhams 10% Discount Code

This is the first year that I’ve had to jump into the back to school rush! As our eldest started a state nursery at the end of last term, I’ve had to spend some time making sure we have all of the back to school essentials. If you’re a parent of school age children, you’ll know that getting ready for a new school year isn’t cheap. For a start, one set of uniform is never enough. It’s all about buying multiples of everything!

Spectacular Event –

With only a couple of weeks to go before the new term starts, I’ve done all the research for you and found some of the best uniform, at the nicest price. For those of you that love to grab a deal too, there’s a Spectacular Event (up to 30% off in store and online) until Monday 27th August. As well as this, there is 25% off school uniform during the Spectacular Event (Tuesday 21st August 2018 – Monday 27th August 2018). Plus, there’s an extra 10% Debenhams discount available, across all departments when you spend £60 online. All you have to do is use the code CK33 at the checkout.

It won’t be long before I have to start buying school uniform for two girls, so perfecting the back to school rush now is sure to set me in good stead for the future. So without further ado, read on for some of the best deals on back to school essentials for girls!

Girls uniform essentials –

I like to mix school uniform up a little, so that our girl can choose what she’s like to wear each day. I think it’s good that she makes decisions like this herself, she’s becoming a real fashionista!

White shirts – 

Like most other kids at school, my daughter gets through no end of white shirts. I’ve found that some brands discolour much quicker than others too. These white polo shirts are super good quality. I always buy more than i need too, you can guarantee we’ll get through them!

 

Grey pinafore dress – 

I love to see our eldest dressed in a pinafore dress, they’re super cute! There are a few different styles to choose from too depending on your preference. As we’re heading into the colder months, I’ll be investing in some tights to go with these too.

 

 

Winter coat – 

This is definitely an essential with the colder season just around the corner. Kids love to play outside and schools really encourage outdoor play. So a warm and weatherproof winter coat is a must!

 

 

 Jeggings – 

For the days when the weather is just too cold to bear, jeggings are ideal. They’re super comfy and so easy to wash and iron too!

 

 

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Five Reasons Why my Marriage is (Currently) Working so Well

Five Reasons Why my Marriage is (Currently) Working so Well

Recently we attended a friend’s wedding. The venue was an old barn purposely converted for these kinds of events. It was picturesque and its rooms were filled with loved up couples, all fighting to hold back tears of joy. There’s nothing more romantic than a wedding celebration. Even for the stone hearted among us, it’s hard not to soften even just a little.

As we sat down to the wedding breakfast, the father of the bride stood up to give his speech. The poor guy was finding it so hard to hold it together in front of his radiant daughter, but he managed to part with some good advice for a long and happy marriage. My better half and I have been married for a while now and so I couldn’t help but think about the advice I could give about staying happy in marriage. After some thought, I decided that the recipe for the perfect marriage is difficult to concoct.

What I do know, is that being married is a lot of hard work. It involves a lot of give and take, as well as being incredibly frustrating on occasion. There’s all the good stuff too; having someone to come home to every night, sharing your thoughts, worries, hopes and dreams with someone you love is never to be taken for granted. As much as I can’t give you the recipe for a perfect marriage, I can tell you how we’re currently nailing being wed:

I stay at home to look after the house and the kids –

I imagine this statement will resemble the equivalent of a red rag to a bull for some of you, but one of the reasons our marriage works so well is because I’m always here. Ever since having our first child, I’ve been at home. Granted I’ve managed to carve a career out of writing, but initially it was intended that my role should be ‘stay at home mum‘. This wasn’t forced upon me, it was a mutual decision and it works.

My husband has a very successful career. He works hard and he continues to climb the ladder. All of which would be made much more difficult if I decided that I was going to go back to work full-time, outside of the home. There would have to be a lot more give from his side and that could really affect his progression. That’s something neither of us want to happen. I might be a housewife 70% of the time but I’d rather that, than have my actions impact seriously on the goals of the person I love.

We’ve learnt to communicate adult to adult –

I want you to be aware that no couple is ever perfect, we all have our moments. What my husband and I have learnt over the past few years though, is that to make sure our marriage stays on an even keel we need to make sure we are communicating adult to adult. We don’t play games, we don’t purposely wind each other up out of the realms of jest and we work hard not to raise our voices. Turning disagreements into a rational discussion saves wasting a lot of time and energy.

We’re a team before all else –

Since having children especially, we’ve become a solid family unit. We are a team and we make important decisions together, before any outside factors are considered. Have you ever heard the saying ‘teamwork makes the dream work‘? It’s cheesy, but it’s one of my favourites! We bring up our family together, we graft together and we take time out together. Et voila, teamwork at its best!

We’ve learnt to accept each other’s bad habits and how to let the niggles slide –

We all have bad habits, yes even you. I for example, am a chronic over-thinker and I’m hard work because of it. My husband is a perfectionist and he’s hard work because of it. There have been times in the past where we have completely and utterly clashed as we can be so different, but frankly behaving that way has never gotten us anywhere. Accepting bad habits really is essential for a happy marriage, niggles will always be there – you’ve just got to let them go.

We do go to bed on arguments –

How many times have you been to a wedding and the best man advises never to go to bed on an argument? I’m pretty sure I’ve heard this bandied around at every wedding we’ve been to. Well, I completely disagree! How many times have you woken up after having a total barney the night before and thought, what the hell was the point in that anyway? So often things seem brighter in the morning, which is why I think putting disagreements to one side and getting some kip is a far healthier approach to marriage.

I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to have a marriage that’s perfect, as we get older and wiser though I can’t help but think there are certain ways to go about making life as simple as possible. I can only recommend that you compromise, reassess how you communicate, work together, accept bad habits and don’t waste time on pointless arguments. Maybe I do have a good recipe for marriage after all?

 

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Does Staying at Home with the Kids Mean I Lack Ambition?

Does Staying at Home with the Kids Mean I Lack Ambition?

My husband and I had a conversation recently, mainly about the family life of professionals. He told me that one of his colleagues had informed him that he does so well at work, because his wife ‘lacks ambition‘. What he meant was, his wife had given up her professional role to stay at home with the kids and that it was the right choice for their family. It would seem that he appreciated this ‘lack of ambition‘ though, as he felt it allowed him to progress swiftly in his own career. As you can imagine, I was a little taken aback by his admission.

I’ve previously written about my marriage and I’ve commented on the main reason it’s working so well. That reason was the fact that I stay at home to look after the kids. Yes this is so my husband can progress in his career and yes it meant I had to leave my first business behind. Does it mean I lack ambition though? Am I forever destined to be mother and housewife, with no desire to follow my dreams? I think not.

Ambition doesn’t always wear the same mask –

The thing about ambition is that it means different things to different people. From being a teenager, it was always my ambition to work for myself. I knew I wanted to be my own boss and a lot of hard work got me there. My husband always dreamt of working as a medical professional, he continues to work hard in this field and he will go far. This demonstrates ambition in two different ways, but both are ambition nonetheless.

Stronger than my ambition to build a business, was my desire to become the best mum I could be. It was my ambition to become a stay at home parent, that was and still is the environment in which I want to raise my children. How can that not be ambition? It’s a dream and it takes a lot of working towards, I believe I have succeeded. I have have fulfilled my ambition.

I do always put my husbands work needs before my own, but that’s because I want to, not because I have to. Just because I want him to achieve his goals and because I’m happy to work around his aspirations, doesn’t mean I’m faltering on the ambition front. Ambition doesn’t just have to be associated with career prospects, it covers life as a whole.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat –

The comment this guy made frustrated me most, because my ambition to be self employed will never disappear. That’s why I built up a blogging and freelance writing business from home. Just because people don’t always fulfil their ambition by taking the traditional route, doesn’t mean it’s not achievable. I know from my own experience that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Referring to your loved one as ‘lacking ambition’ is entirely unacceptable, given that there’s so much to be achieved without leaving the comfort of your own home.

So whatever your ambition may be, whether it’s to rise through the ranks of your company, to be a stay at home parent or to build a business of your own. Never, ever believe that you are lacking in ambition. Never let anyone tell you that you don’t aspire to do anything or be anyone. You are you for a reason and you’re already achieving so much.

 

 

 

 

 

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Smoking in Public Places and Why it Makes me so Mad

Smoking in Public Places and Why it Makes me so Mad

As you can probably tell by the title of this post, I’m a non-smoker, as are all of my immediate family. I do think smoking is a dirty habit and I do get annoyed when people think it’s OK to smoke around myself and my children. I do understand that smoking is an addiction. I’m aware that once you’ve started, it must be terribly hard to stop. However, I also think that just because you have an issue that you can label as an ‘addiction’, it doesn’t automatically give you the right to make other people suffer along with you. Especially when they don’t consent.

My inspiration for this post came from a recent visit to a children’s play area with both of my girls. On one the hottest days of the year, we donned our hats and sun cream and headed to the park. The perfect Sunday morning jaunt. After we’d been there a little while, we were joined by a toddler and her grandmother. The issue was though, that the grandmother thought it was entirely acceptable to smoke on the playground. She showed absolutely no concern for the health of anyone else’s children, never mind that of her own granddaughter.

Smoking and health –

This blatant act, of what I believe to be anti-social behaviour, made me so angry. If she really couldn’t wait until she was in the privacy of her own home to smoke, the least she could have done was taken herself away from the children’s play area. I will never think it’s acceptable to smoke around other people and their children, public area or not.

It’s a well know fact that smoking is a contributing factor to many serious health concerns. According to the NHS, smoking is responsible for a whopping 90% of lung cancers, as well cancers of the mouth and oesophagus. Smoking can also cause significant damage to the heart and blood circulation, increasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Not to mention an array of respiratory diseases.

What about our children though? What are the effects of passive smoking? Well, children that are exposed to cigarette smoke are at far greater risk of developing health problems than those that don’t. Illnesses such as meningitis, persistent coughs and an increased risk of cot death are all associated with second-hand cigarette smoke. Asthma can also become worse if sufferers are exposed to smoke.

No excuses –

The thing is, in this day and age we have been so well-educated on the risks of smoking. Steps have been taken to protect the public to a certain extent, there really are no excuses for smoking. There are NO benefits to such a destructive habit. I’m absolutely sure that some people will disagree with my opinion, I’m sure there are people who believe that they can do as they please. To me this just shows ignorance, a lack of education and a lack of empathy.

 

How do you feel about smoking in public areas? 

 

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