Love Jenuine

So my biggest social media weakness is probably Instagram. I can’t help myself, I love looking at other peoples pictures, and I can’t resist sharing photos of my adorable little man (follow me and Harry here), but I didn’t realise how beneficial Instagram could be.

I’m sick of trawling high street shops and online sites for something different and new, only to end up in the same outfit as everyone else. I keep seeing the same styles everywhere, and I’m so over worrying that I’ll find myself in the same dress or the same top as someone else at the office? Anyone else having this problem?

Fortunately, my social media vice has saved the day. Instagram is not only great for style inspiration, but I have found it is a great platform for brands. And I’m not talking about your go-to high-street brands, I’m talking about fabulous fresh designers. I recently came across a few brands that I had never heard of before; all reasonably priced, all different styles, and all a welcomed change from my usual Topshop or River Island hauls. I was delighted! And all thanks to Instagram.

So is Instagram the new window shopping? If it is, then no more afternoons being pushed and shoved in Westfield’s, you’ll find me curled up on my sofa scrolling my way through beautiful dresses, cute skirts and to-die-for shoes. Here are a few of my fave brands whom I recently started following

Novo-London
Instagram: @novo_london
I actually came across one of their dresses on Danielle Lloyd, I loved it and thought it would be way out my price range. When I visited the site I was pleasantly surprise and I loved the whole collection. Dresses range from £75 – £100 and are very much neutral colour, symmetrical and simple.Here are some of my favourite pieces

Novo(SOURCE)

Lavish Alice
Instagram: @lavishalice
I think someone regrammed their accessories, and a dress or two, and they really grabbed my attention. I started following them on Instagram and it never crossed my mind to actually look at their site. I adore the simplicity and neutral colours with the odd bit of print and pattern thrown in. I particularly like the print dresses. These clothes are ideal for a day in the office, slip on a pair of heels and drinks in the city. Again modest prices, a dress is between £40-£60. I particularly like the Oxblood Red and Monochrome looks.

Lavish Alice(SOURCE)

Lavish Alice also have a promotion on with Now Magazine. Receive 25% discount on all full priced items, all you need to do is sign-up and use the promo code NOW25 at the check-out.

Kirsty Doyle
Instagram: @kirstydoyle
I actually came across this designer via an old school friend tweeting about her wedding outfit. Kirsty Doyle is a fellow scouser, and her style is very similar to Victoria Beckham’s, but with a more affordable price-tag. A couple of her items are a little on the pricey side for me,  but out of all the new sites I have found her designs are by far the most interesting! Plus I don’t mind spending a little extra to support a fellow scousers. Kirsty also designers and makes great bridesmaids dresses, and i think i have already spotted the one I want for my lovely maids of honour. Below are some of my favourite pieces!

Kirsty Doyle(SOURCE)

There are plenty more out there, you just need to have a good search. A couple of others I also recommend are @Kandeeshoes  have fabulous shoes and bags, their instagram is better than their site, and @Baublebar do great accessories.

I would love to hear of any other brands / designers that people have found that I can add to my window shopping list.

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So I promised I would update on my fitness progress after my June update. So here I am!

We went on holiday at the beginning of July (see my post Our French Adventure) ,  and my first highlight came a few days before we went away and I did a last minute shop for some holiday clothes, and bought a SIZE 10 (!!!) H&M playsuit, I couldn’t believe it!
 
Since I returned from holiday, I decided to change my fitness plan on FitStar from ‘Get Lean’ to ‘Get Strong’. As I had lost most of my baby weight, and was pretty much down to my pre-baby size, I decided it was time to tone-up and this meant changing my routine. Now I only had to workout with Fitstar twice a week. This meant more time to do housework (or sleep!). So I decided to look in to a new running app. I picked up a Redrock app again, this time I chose a program that will help me build up to running 10K. This might then encourage me to actually enter in to some charity running events.
 
Exercise motivation
Thanks to Louise for her regular motivational pictures! 
 
I would definitely say my attitude towards my body has changed a lot through the whole process of being pregnant, giving birth, and trying to get back to a healthy size (i think i feel a blog post coming about this…).  I have stuck to running at least once a week, and doing my FitStar twice a week, so I still feel like I am training, but it isn’t taking over my life. Which works quite well as I am now back at work, so don’t have as much extra time.FitStar are brining out Yoga sessions soon, I am so excited a I have wanted to try Yoga for a while, so i might take up doing that once a week too.   
 
By doing regular training, I have allowed myself to have the little treats here and there, more so in the form of alcohol than sweets and chocolate. For example, I went out with my sister (allabouttink.com) a few weeks ago, and did a run the morning before, so when we went out I could drink whatever I wanted, and not feel too guilty.
 
Exercise motivation 2
Another of Louise’s fabulous motivational pieces!
 
I have still kept to a healthy diet. I have a green juice/smoothie for breakfast each morning, and either a salad or omelette for lunch, and then a main meal with rich when he is home, which we try to include a protein so fish, chicken etc. I have also cut-back on wheat.  My friend Jo recommended a book called Wheat-belly, it is quite a heavy read, but worthwhile. Its all about how wheat production has changed so much over the past 60 years, it has been crossbred, and tampered with during mass production, that it is actually really bad for your body, including whole-wheat. I haven’t gone drastic, and started cutting out everything containing wheat, just the worst types of wheat, such as bread, pasta and dare I say…..cake. I can say I have noticed a difference in my stomach, it is definitely flatter, and I generally feel better.
 
Now to the important bit, back in June I had got myself down to 10st 11lbs, the juice detox took me to 10st 7lbs, but this went back up to 10st 10lbs after overindulging in Paris and Newcastle. I am now down to 10st 6lbs, and seem to stay at this. Pre-baby I was 10st, but I was nowhere near as healthy or fit, so I do believe some of my fat has turned to muscle. The reason I suggest this, is some of my pre-baby clothes fit me much better now than previously, plus I feel a lot healthier and have lots more energy.
 
Now for my highlight, in my previous post I showed a photo, and promised I would compare a photo in August, this has certainly kept me motivated, at times I didn’t want to do my run, but thought about how I had to post a second photo. I am not convinced the photo looks too different, but if you read the measurements below, you will see combined I have lost myself 3.5 inches!!!
 
 before and after
 
                             Waist 30″/ Hips 36.5″                                                                    Waist 28″ / Hips 35″        
 

So my next target is to tone-up, and hopefully if i post in October, you may actually see the difference! I aim to carry on with my exercise and healthy eating best i can. My biggest challenge now, is going to be juggling a job, baby, and with winter coming, all i will want to eat it stodgy meals.
wish me good luck!
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A new baby can be so consuming, and it is easy to forget the relationship you had before they came along. We try our best to get time together, either a day out, or going for a meal, but it can be quite hard when you don’t have a long list of babysitters to call on.

Rich was given tickets for the Red Bull Air Race at Ascot Racecourse. We were invited as ‘Friends of Red Bull’ (FORBS), which included complimentary food and drink all day, the best view of the race course, and all day entertainment. We packed Harry off to his Grandad’s for the weekend, and managed to squeeze in a visit to the cinema on the friday, two lie-ins, and our day out to the air race.

FORBS TITLE
Red Bull, as usual put on a good show. The whole set-up was vintage / retro themed, with all the staff dressed up, the interior of the FORBS section was fantastic, the cocktails flowed (all Red Bull based of course),  the food was never ending and we had a front row seat to the air race.

FORBS
The whole day was great from start to finish, to relax with a morning cuppa in bed, take my time to wash and style my hair, do my make-up and have breakfast together. The day at Ascot was such a treat, and we managed to talk about a lot more than just Harry.  We finished the day off with a visit to the local Chinese, just like old times. However I do think I had a little too much Red Bull, as the insomnia kicked in soon as I leapt in my bed.

After a whole weekend without my baby, on Sunday I was like a kid waiting for father christmas, I sat looking out the window, waiting for him to come back! I was so excited to have him back in my arms. I thought him going away would get easier, but I think it is getting worse!

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17. 08. 2014

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” —Sophia Loren

Lots of people who have had children are so excited when you’re pregnant (Which I now understand, as I have pregnant friends, I am bursting with excitement for them), however no one ever tells you how hard the first weeks of having a baby really is. In prep for this post, I decided to speak with a few friends who have all recently given birth, and find out what they thought were the hardest things.

when the adrenaline runs out...

I had a natural birth, and felt fortunate to only needed gas and air, and came through it with one or two stitches, some cuts and bruises. It was only the next day that the adrenaline started to disappear, the painkillers wore off, and the tiredness kicked in. My whole body started to ache, it hit me like a brick wall.  I had pushed a baby out after being awake for over 36 hours, barely eating for 24 of that, and not had any solid sleep since Harry arrived. I just hadn’t expected to be in so much pain, you think you do the hard bit by giving birth, but oh no, there is more. I just kept taking the painkillers, and telling myself that in a week or so I would be healed, and i would be fine…but then came breast-feeding!

Breast is best
One of my biggest challenges, and I am sure many will agree was breast-feeding. I tried, it was hard, very painful, I got mastitus (breastfeeding infection), but I worked through it, and fed Harry for 16 weeks, but I did have cracked nippled for at least 8 weeks, and no one can explain how painful they are. However I do know many people who have wanted to stop, and were told by their health visitors not too, that it wasn’t healthy for their baby to be fed formula “breast was best” apparently.The pressure for women to breastfeed is completely unnecessary, I believe it should be up to the mother if they decide to breast-feed and their decision when to stop.

whens my day off

I recall a moment when Harry was about 2 weeks old, it was 2am, and I was up feeding him. I had gotten about half hours sleep. I was so tired I could barely hold my head up, and I remember thinking “I am never going to sleep properly again”, I felt overwhelmed by my emotions, so happy to be feeding my baby, but so desperate to sleep longer than an hour. It only dawns on you once your baby has arrived, that you may not get uninterrupted sleep again and you will never have a day off from being a mum….’weekend’ for mums don’t exist.

a hormonal roller coaster
I was warned a little about this by a one or two friends, they told me “five days in and you will cry, ALOT, for no reason”. Yes this happened, I would just burst in to tears, for no reason.  I think everything kicks in, the sleep deprivation, the breast-feeding struggles (buckets of tears over this), the enormity of the challenge you have taken on, the post-birth pain, no wonder your body doesn’t have a clue what to do. The crying did ease for me after about two weeks, and most of the time i cried, i would have no idea why, but knew it had to be my hormones as i certainly wasn’t sad.

When 2 becomes 3
A few of my friends mentioned in their responses how they struggled once their partners had gone back to work, and were alone with their baby most of the working week. One of my friends (who must be wonderwoman), had twins, and her husband worked away during the week, and that not only did she miss the support, but it was difficult for her partner to bond with their children. Luckily she had her family close by for solid support, and her partner has managed to changed jobs, so he is back living with his family.

What I really struggled with, was the fact our relationship was no longer just us, and we couldn’t  watch TV together in the evenings, go see a film etc, we had a third person, who seemed to be hogging all the couple time. I started to miss my boyfriend, even though we lived together, slept in the same bed, I missed having a conversation and staying up to watch tv with him in the evenings, but I was so tired, I would have to get some sleep before Harry woke again.

There are so many more that I want to write about in this post, but it is already getting far too long.

Even after all of the above and more, nothing can compare to the incredible love and affection you feel for your baby, and at least you can feel much more prepared for baby no.2.

Huge thank-you too Julia, Jane, Keri and Kate for your help!

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p.s. I love this quote!

“It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.” —Dorothy on The Golden Girls