The Knife Edge of Motivation

Okay, here’s a quick update! The summer got busy – again! But that’s all good, business is growing and I absolutely love it but it does mean my time is spread pretty thinly. Juggling motherhood, housewife duties, the business, a second job and a new school routine can be quite tough.

I started getting up before 6am to get ready for the day before the tribe surfaced but by 11:30pm having finished work I was exhausted and burnt out, especially as I was up 3-4 times during the night also. I had three visits to the GP in two weeks. I had a constant sore throat, body aches, worrying glands constantly up and I had a mini meltdown. I just wasn’t taking care of myself and I was exhausted and scared. My health was not good, mentally and physically.

The docs talked about medication. But I felt there was a better way. Me and hubby went on a weekend spa break and it helped put a lot in perspective. It was good to talk as I’d bottled everything up. I thought to myself – at what point though do we start listening to ourselves and acting to put things right – long term – as opposed to putting up with the problems and reaching rock bottom?

Before, my attempts to be healthier were mainly focussed on the way I look and losing the baby weight I still carry but this time was different. I wanted to feel happy and energised!

I really struggle with motivation and find myself, within a matter of minutes literally, going from super driven to oh I want cake! I’m not sure what the solution is yet – willpower maybe?! Let me know if you’ve found the answer please!

So let’s see – it’s the 1st November. The season of over indulgence is pretty much here but can I avoid it? I’ve been pretty inspired by Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) again recently as his plans fit well into modern busy life so I’ve written my shopping list for this week, planned my exercise sessions and caught up with reading his books. Just gotta take those selfie before photos now (urgh!) and see how it compares next month! Wish me luck!

Chia Pudding Breakfast

My whole life I’ve eaten cereal out of a box for breakfast. Always. I’m not even a toast girl really but museli, chocolate cereal? Yes I’m there.

So when I started eating healthier a few weeks ago I decided to reduce the amount of hidden refined sugars and grains in my diet – and the major one was breakfast cereal. But it left me with a problem – what should I be eating instead? I avoid bread where possible anyway as it makes me tired and bloated and through each period of breastfeeding my children oddly I’ve become intolerant to egg, which is something that still hasn’t sorted itself out yet even three months after weaning.

I did some research and found there are lots of other breakfasts that are super simple to make, even before the school run or in advance the night before that taste great and fill you up. My favourite so far has been chia pudding and lots of you have asked me to share the recipe so I popped it below at the bottom of the post!

I’ve taken inspiration from Jamie Oliver and Hemsley + Hemsley mainly but there isnt really one way to do this – experiment and see what you can come up with!

If you don’t know much about the superfood chia seeds here are a few facts (there are masses more!):

  1. They are small (mainly black) seeds that contain loads of fibre, vitamins and minerals
  2. They are low in calories
  3. They are naturally gluten free
  4. Full of anti oxidants
  5. They absorb water – up to 10 times their weight so help you feel full
  6. They contain a good amount of protein and Omega 3 fatty acids

These little guys are so versatile, can be bought in the supermarket and I often sprinkle the kids’ food with them for a little added boost.

Chia Pudding Recipe

Ingredients: banana, 400ml coconut milk (full fat), 1 tbsp honey, 6 tbsp chia seeds, 200g fresh of frozen fruit (my favourite is mango), 1tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Fill four bowls with the mixture and place in the fridge to set (I do this the night before).

So simple, so tasty! When you’re ready to eat, you can top the pudding with fresh berries, cinnamon, yoghurt, seeds, whatever you fancy really. If the recipe above is too sweet, maybe reduce or remove the vanilla extract and see how you get on.

I’d love to know your results!

Week 3 Diary of a Motivated Mum

Last week I managed to injure my hip whilst running, which was a real motivational sap. It’s funny how quickly you can go from being so dedicated one minute, eating well etc, to really off track. I’ve been stretching and have given myself a week off running to try and help as I really don’t want a set back – this would never have happened ten years ago – I’m feeling my age!

I’ve been getting the kids involved in cooking healthy family meals and they really surprised me how much they enjoyed them. Foods we never usually eat went down a treat! My three year old is a famously fussy eater so I was a little worried and it’s taken some serious persuasion but we’re getting there and he’s now prepared to try a little, which last year he would have absolutely refused.

Today I managed a 15 minute HIIT cardio workout (from Joe Wicks’s book Lean In 15) with the kids ‘helping me’. I think it’s important they see me exercise, I really want to be a role model for them.

We’ve also been baking some vegan, gluten and grain free chocolate chip cookies using almonds (Hemsley + Hemsley) which have just come out of the oven so I’ll let you know how they go down!

So…to the important part…and I’m writing it here so I keep at it-no secrets! I started three weeks ago on my mission weighing in at 10st 2lb and unfortunately couldn’t find my tape measure so have started the measuring today! This week I’ve weighed in at 9st 12lb so I’m losing a pound a week which is fab and exactly what I hoped to achieve. This isn’t all about weight loss, it’s also about body confidence and health for all my family.

Today’s measurements have been waist 78cm, hips 96cm, chest 79cm, thigh 57cm. There, no hiding from it now!

My aims for the next week? To add in resistance HIIT 15 minute workouts, get up early to get them done before the day (no talking myself out of it then!), aim to do these 4 days a week and watch the food intake. I’m a secret eater and finishing off the kids’ meals is my worst habit.

Now, I must get back to trying those cookies….

Finding The Motivation

So I’ve been away for 6 months, focussed on my business (which has been great and was very much needed) and spectacularly fell off the healthy bandwagon!

Summer is now kind of here, Love Island is on the telly and my need for my healthy lifestyle I achieved and worked so hard for last year is back with a bang!

But how do you find the motivation and the time when you’re busy, you run a business, you’re a mum, wife, friend?

I battle with this daily and I find it incredibly easy to talk myself out of exercise or resisting that biscuit. But I simplified things in my mind – instead of focussing on the fact that I find exercise boring and a mental battle to keep going when I’m doing it, I instead focussed on how much better I’d feel afterwards. How I’d sleep better, feel better, look better, be happier and more energised. And I basically didn’t give myself a choice – this has to be done and I keep my eye on the goal ahead.

What is my goal? As every mum may empathise I’d like to lose the baby weight (1 stone left of the three I gained with each pregnancy) tone up (I have a large split (diastasis rectii) in my abdominal muscles from my twin pregnancy, which has left me looking 15 weeks pregnant at all times and I’d love to get this a bit flatter. I’m also really conscious that I want to be around for a long time for my kids so I want to be as healthy as possible and be a good inspiration for them to lead their own healthy lives.

So baby steps first! I’ve been running 2 miles twice a week, been adding in some sit ups, I’ve cleared our fridge of processed food, such as ham etc as much as possible (BBQ sausages have stayed though!) and cut down on the food that makes me feel tired and bloated such as cereal and bread. I’ve also been less hard on myself with regards to restricting gluten and dairy as I found this so hard to maintain last year. Wish me luck!

So what things do you find keep you motivated to stay healthy?

A Very Special Christmas Message

This is the first year Thomas really ‘gets’ Christmas so we’ve been doing the usual fun things leading up to the event – Elf on the shelf, Christmas tree decorating, parties, etc. My sister in law let me know about a really special tradition you can also start – a video message from the proper Father Christmas himself!

So we went online and filled in a really short questionnaire about Thomas and what he gets up to plus important things he needs to do this year – we chose being kind to his siblings as this has been the biggest change in his life so far!

The video was then emailed to me so last night we sat down as a family, put the video up on the TV and watched the magic unfold…

It started with a photo of Thomas calling the elf’s workshop and Father Christmas addressing him, by name, and introducing his elves. I’ve honestly never seen Thomas so enraptured by something – I was holding back tears the whole way through (soppy Mummy).

The video is interactive so it encourages you all to wave to the elves, speak back to Father Christmas and is full of Christmas magic – it was truly special. And the best thing of all – it was free! You do get the option to upgrade and Father Christmas can also record a message for their birthday too.

Their website is http://www.portablenorthpole.com – definitely worth a visit!

Mummy Matters Too

This Mummy is pretty busy (understatement!). Recently I’ve seen lots of posts pop up in my Facebook newsfeed and my inbox about looking after yourself as a busy mum and how important it is.

This week I hit another of my now pretty regular walls of exhaustion. With three little people I’m often woken up a crazy amount of times a night – for feeds, bathroom visits, nose wiping, drink fetching, cuddles and re-settling usually – so by the morning I’m super tired. I’ve had moments where I’ve nearly fallen over with dizziness and it can make me feel nauseous, achey and pretty run down. I work hard too and enjoy my business, but I struggle to find the balance sometimes, and I don’t like the person it causes me to be.

As Mums we spend the majority of our time caring for others – children, partners, pets, etc. Add in work maybe. Then there’s the housework and shopping. There’s literally not enough hours in the day! It’s very easy to feel undervalued. So I thought to myself what can I do to be more relaxed, organised and stress free? So whether you’ve got one little person or many here are some thoughts…

  1. Get organised the night before. I have the change bag ready to go at all times-as soon as we get home from a day out it gets restocked. Make the lunches, clean up and get the washing on. That way, in the morning you won’t feel rushed
  2. Don’t do too much just before bed – take some time to relax, even if it’s just half an hour – for me that’s switching off the computer!
  3. Go to bed an hour earlier, then if you need to catch up on stuff, maybe get up a little earlier
  4. Make an effort to put on some nice clothes, do your make up and hair – it’ll make you feel ready to face the day
  5. Have a good breakfast. If you’re not a cereal kinda girl maybe have a smoothie?
  6. Put the kettle on – have a break for 10 minutes
  7. Spread out the housework and chores through out the week so they don’t seem so daunting – tackle one job a day – Monday’s ironing, Tuesday’s bathroom cleaning, etc! I get mine done when T is at preschool and the twins are napping in the morning so it’s all done and, literally, dusted!
  8. Don’t stress if it doesn’t get done – ultimately in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter
  9. Spend time with the kids just being silly – it puts the whole world into perspective to see things as they do
  10. Eat healthily and drink plenty
  11. I work from home in the evenings so fitting in exercise is tricky, but when I have the time I pop down to the pool for a swim for half an hour and I feel immensely better – my muscles relax and it lets my mind empty
  12. Meet up with friends, especially those in a similar situation to you. Meeting other mums with multiples or children of different ages and chatting about the joys and challenges makes me feel like I’m not alone
  13. Do something just for you. I enjoy getting out somewhere busy – I occasionally go into the city for some shopping or a coffee
  14. Don’t let the kids stop you from doing things – I take all three with me everywhere during the week. We go on days out, for lunch, shopping, coffee, walks, playgroups, etc. Yeah, it’s really really hard work sometimes but it benefits all of us to get out of the house. In the early weeks I found taking them out and being stopped by strangers to talk about them (the world loves twins!) really made me feel proud. True there will be times where people will tut and huff when you take too long or the kids are too messy or noisy but there’ll be others who will pat you on the back and tell you how wonderful they are, what a blessing, and how great you’re doing
  15. Don’t dwell on how little sleep you’ve had – in the early days with the twins I slept for 30 minute blocks between feeds if I was lucky but found if I thought too much about it I felt even more tired and worried. Honestly mums you are amazing – we can survive on the tiniest amount without it affecting much of our day! Fellow breastfeeding mums – you have the most amazing hormone swirling around your body which will help no end, the glorious oxytocin-enjoy it!
  16. Having kids there’ll be good times and tough times. My mum said something to me the other day when we were chatting about our respective crazy days and it really hit home – she told me to ’embrace the season you find yourself in’. You can’t change it. I can’t stop a toddler from having tantrums or a baby from waking in the night. It’s ultimately just a phase and before you know it, you’ll be onto the next and the worries from the last will be forgotten.

Hope maybe that helps a little – now…time to take my own advice! Let me know if you have any tips to add!

Book Exchange Club

We recently joined up to a local book exchange club via Facebook that a lovely friend of mine has started. The club selects a book buddy for your child each month and you exchange addresses – then the fun part begins!

We went to a bookshop in Norwich to choose a fun book – something different and one that our buddy may not already have. Thomas chose a lovely collection of Christmas stories and songs – he’s already so excited about next month – it’s the first year he really ‘gets’ Christmas!

We had a lovely surprise waiting for us when we got home – a big parcel with the little man’s name on it on the doorstep – cue great excitement – the post is a big deal in our house!

He received two lovely books -‘Is There A Dog In This Book?’ by Viviane Schwarz and ‘The Deep Dark Wood’ by Algy Craig Hall & Ali Pye. Both brilliant reads and we highly recommend them.

It’s really given us a reason to sit down together – all of us, twins included – although I do have to wrestle with all of them to turn the page! It’s tricky to read with two babies on your lap but another skill to master! We’ve always read bedtime stories but it’s nice to sit together during the day too with a book.

The loveliest thing is that our buddy had included a special letter, drawing and photo in the parcel too 🙂

If you ever get a chance to join a book club with your little ones I definitely recommend it! The process of choosing a book for your buddy, writing a little letter or drawing, posting it then receiving another in return is a really special experience and we’re now so excited for next month!book exchange

Taking The Girl Out of The Countryside

So this weekend I was set free to the big city London for a fabulous lady’s hen do! I’m not sure whether it’s my rather embarrassing love of Made In Chelsea or a fascination with anything polar opposite to my Norfolk life but it was exciting! I must admit I’m pretty naive and innocent (read: not at all street wise) and the news has probably made me fairly cautious/negative (one of the reasons I stopped watching it). Got to say though I spoke to loads of people!  I’m generally happy to chat to absolutely anyone about anything, striking up a conversation is not something that frightens me although I can’t guarantee I’ll talk about things that’ll interest you! (A smile and nod is lovely though, thanks!)

The train ride down allowed me the time to read a book (and who knew there are now electrical sockets on trains?!) a few magazines and sort my thoughts.

I must admit I did walk quickly when I got off the train, was pretty terrified of getting lost on the way there…but then I slowed down. I saw the enormous amount of coffee shops (heaven), huge variety of people and languages surrounding me, the warmth and wind of the tube, the colours and sights. And I loved it. One of my favourite pastimes is people watching and I had plenty of opportunity. I’m hoping this will inspire my photography work too.

And if you’re thinking of stopping for afternoon tea somewhere we had a beautiful spread at Drink Shop Do (www.drinkshopdo.com) near Kings Cross station and made necklaces too as part of the hen do fun! Lovely staff, great food and drink, welcoming atmosphere and loads of crafts – they have an amazing timetable of events, take a look at their website for more info.

I’d love to take the kids one day but I’m not sure London or the tube could handle the monster truck double buggy and all the stuff I carry with me just yet! I’d love to hear if you’ve been to London with children and how you kept it safe?

September Cider Home Brew!

Every year we gather up all the apples from our tree in the garden to make cider (and a freezer full of apple pies and crumbles!). This year we were blessed with the warmest September day and our little three year old to help out whilst the twins napped. This is the first year he’s been interested in what we were up to so it was an extra special day.

Cider 2015We sent some apples off to be identified as the tree is very mature and has obviously been there a long time! It came back as Laxton’s Fortune, a Cox hybrid, so I think we’ll call the cider Nurse’s Fortune this time as we’ve been incredibly blessed these last few years! We were even joined by a beautiful butterfly who thoroughly enjoyed the spoils! It’ll soon be ready for bottling so now looking forward to the tasting!

The Supermarket Sugar Take Over

As you all know I’ve been eliminating refined sugar from my diet for a while now and it seems Jamie Oliver has been inspired too so it was great to see his Sugar Rush programme on Channel 4 last week about the dangers of hidden sugar. I’m at high risk of getting type 2 diabetes and was on the verge of gestational diabetes throughout both my pregnancies which is one of the main reasons I’ve decided to ditch bad sugars for the main part of my diet.

I personally don’t usually do the weekly food shop as the trolleys just aren’t big enough for my brood and the food but this week we only needed a few bits so me and the small ones decided to take it on.

My husband has a normal kind of pack up for lunch at work so I thought I’d see if I could get some healthier cereal bar type snacks and yoghurts which had a bit less sugar and weren’t classed as ‘low fat’. There were hardly any! In the ‘grown up’ yoghurt section all the six packs were low fat and unfortunately I don’t have the biggest budget to splurge on the premium brands so this week he has Munch Bunch (which reports to have 30% less sugar)! I have full fat greek style or whole milk yoghurt generally on my cereal but I don’t think he’d appreciate taking an enormous pot to work every day! (And I’m not sure it’d survive the backpack!)

The same goes for cereal bars – the so called diet ranges are ridiculously high in sugar. It seems you can’t avoid it if you want the ease of pre-made bars. I guess the key is to make your own so at least you know what’s in them. All comes back to time and the lack of it as a busy mum! I’ll let you know if I find a good recipe though.

As promised I said I’d go through some of the books I’ve been reading. Here’s a few things to keep in mind about sugar …

  1. Can make you overweight
  2. Can affect the nutrient absorption of other food and masks the taste
  3. Upsets your hormones, especially insulin
  4. Empty calories – there’s really no point in eating it from a nutritional point of view
  5. Even healthy forms of sugar such as honey and fruit are simply registered as ‘sugar’ by our bodies so it’ll still be processed the same way – any excess is stored around your organs and waist (argh!)
  6. So really low fat options which are high in sugar (to give it flavour) will still cause weight gain

What can you do?

  1. Eat one or two portions of fruit a day, the rest should be veg
  2. Use coconut sugar, honey, dates or stevia if you need an alternative to the refined stuff
  3. Make meals from scratch
  4. Increase your protein intake (will help with the sugar cravings)
  5. Keep an eye out for hidden sugars, such as in breakfast cereals, bread, diet/low fat foods, drinks and of course the obvious biscuits, etc! My kids now have porridge instead of the Weetabix type cereals for this reason.

All this info has been taken from Madeleine Shaw’s book Get The Glow and Amelia Freer’s book Eat. Nourish. Glow. if you feel inspired to read up on it! I don’t get much time to read but I have a little look every morning at breakfast to inspire me for the day! And I’ve managed to lose 5 lb of excess baby weight too – great motivation!