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
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
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 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.
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!
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.
So I promised I would update on my fitness progress after my June update. So here I am!
A lot of people, admittedly me being one of those prior to having my own baby, thought mums who stayed at home had loads of time on their hands. How wrong was I!
I am sure all mums would agree, taking care of a baby 24/7 is a lot harder than it seems, and one thing you never catch, is a break. What I mean by a break is your little one being the responsibility of someone else, be that your partner, a family member, so that you can relax, and know they aren’t going to wake-up just as you sit-down.
Yes the baby will go down for naps, sometimes a few times a day, so why don’t you get a break whilst they’re napping? Perhaps because you always find a million and one things to do round the house. There are always bottles to wash and sterilise, if you’re weaning, there is pureeing and cooking to do, cleaning the house, which seems to get messier now your on maternity leave as you are there all day! If like me, my hair started dropping out 4 months after giving birth, i was hoovering and sweeping everyday. You now have twice the amount of washing and ironing…. the list is endless.
Yes there are the nice things you get to do, like coffee with other mums, shopping, walks in the park, but you’re not relaxing, as you still thinking about the next item on the schedule, well when will the little one need a feed, and do I need to change his nappy, do I want him to fall asleep in the pram or in the car…it is mentally draining.
I have come to realise (only taken me 7 months), that mums need time off too, the same as other people do from their jobs. Sometimes just an hour away from the house, away from other responsibilities, a couple of drinks with a friend, go for a swim, pop round your mums for a cuppa. These are such simple things, that can be overlooked, and I confess I took having ‘me-time’ for granted before having Harry.
I’ve found my blog has been a great escapism. For example today – Saturday, I have been with Harry all week, and unfortunately my partner had a super busy schedule, and so he has been away most of the week. I think this really took its toll on me, being responsible for Harry all week, alone, especially after a 10 day holiday and having support on a daily basis. So today I have been in a funny mood, I had a lie-in which was great and I woke up feeling positive and ready for the day, but as the day progressed, and Harry decided not to have his nap, I’ve become anxious, and snappy, unfortunately taking it out on my partner. Both my baby and his daddy have now gone for a nap, and I have been able to just chill-out (opting to do no cleaning, no cooking, no washing), just me, my blog, and I am about to treat myself to a fresh juice! I feel so much better for just having this past hour, to collect and download my thoughts.
Don’t misinterpret this for me being ungrateful, I love my baby more than anything in the world, but I need to be Jen as well as mummy.
I am going to try and make sure each weekend, I take myself out for a coffee, get my nails done or see some friends, letting the boys have some ‘father and son’ time, and allowing me to have a bit of time to be Jen and not mummy or wife (to be).
It would be great to hear anyones thoughts on how they relax, or have created their own time away from being a mum?
So, I thought I’d post an update of my June fitness progress, especially as I am having a total fat day so need to get motivated!!!!!!
Week 1: 2nd – 8th – disappointing!
Only did two Fitstar sessions and still no runs! Harry has cut down his morning naps to about 40 mins – 1 hour so I chose to do Fitstar, as these only take 30 mins and my run is at least 40 minutes, and I hate having to stop before my app program finishes. I was eating unhealthy but I did probably have a drink every night! I vowed the rolling week I would be better.
Week 2: 9th – 15th – an improvement
I did 3 Fitstar sessions this week, and three two mile walks with Harry, plus I cut down my alcohol consumption! I also started hula hooping. This was really hard, I did ten minutes, and in that only managed to continuously spin for 25 seconds! I have got a play hula hoop, after a quick Google I soon realised I needed a proper fitness hula hoop if I want to take this seriously. I read an article written by a mum vying to loose her baby weight through hula hooping. This has inspired me to continue, but not sure I want to invest in the real deal hoop until I know I will continually make use of it.
Week 3: 16th – 22nd – getting motivated
I am writing this on the 22nd, having been on holiday with my parents, Rich an Harry in Cornwall most of the week. I did my Fitstar, and a 4 mile hike on Monday and Fitstar again on Wednesday and Thursday and I did ten minutes of hula hooping too. I am really proud I still did my exercise whilst away, my healthy eating went a bit off track as mum only bought white bread (rich is in heaven as I only buy wholemeal) and we have had a couple of drinks each night. Today I am having a day off, mainly so I can get this blog post out!
As motivation to continue my exercise, I decided to take a picture and post it on here (feeling brave!!!!)
Waist: 30″ / Hips: 36.5″
In August I am going to post an update picture (gives me chance to recover and make up for holiday drinking in July). Fingers crossed I will have trimmed at least an inch.
I am also considering buying a FitBit Flex, my sister has one and loves it, and a couple of my friends have them. This is a wristband that records your daily movement and documents everything in an app. It also monitors your sleep (and I am not a great sleeper). Recording how long you slept for, how many times you woke up and also wakes you up silently so you don’t wake your partner up. This may help me find out why I don’t sleep great, whether it’s my diet, my exercise or lack of.
If anyone has used a Fitbit please let me know whether you would recommend one? They are fairly expensive so would be a big investment for me.
Hints and tips welcome for eating health eating as I really struggle for non-carb based breakfast and lunches. I am having a juice for either one at the moment.
Wish me luck!!
In school I was always a keen runner, I don’t think many would believe me now, but I actually ran cross country for my school. I gave it up at 16, as I wanted to be out with all my mates rather than training. Its one of those ‘told you so’ moments from your parents, when you look back, and think ‘what could of happened’ if I had stuck to what I was actually good at. Well I would be skinnier and toned for a start!
I have never struggled with my weight, and I took this for granted. I have (mostly) good skinny genes, but even they don’t keep you skinny forever. The usual happened, I got in to a relationship, settled (and my fiancé being a superb cook hasn’t helped), and put on a stone. This happened gradually over 5 years, so I only really noticed when looking back at Facebook photos for some ‘thinspiration’ to loose my baby weight, did I realise how much I had let myself go.
As mentioned in my earlier post No more (baby) weighting around, I bought a treadmill and downloaded a couple of new apps as a replacement for my gym membership. Between Rich and I, we were paying over £1,000 a year for our gym memberships, which neither of used since Harry arrived. Our Treadmill was a steal at £350, thats a saving of over £650 a year on our membership. Plus it folds-up, so doesn’t need much room.
The apps I found via Facebook were advertised on my feed, I never click those ads as I always think they are scams – I was pleasantly surprised. Running for Weight Loss is the first app, this does exactly as it says on the tin. You loose weight by following a ten-week running program. I have been using this app for 12 weeks, and I am still only up too week 6 (oops!). You have to do 3 runs a week. I always find it better to run first thing in the morning, before any breakfast, but this isn’t always easy with Harry. Each run is about 40 minutes, and I can’t always guarantee he is going to sleep for that long, or I sometimes have chores to do during his morning nap. Ideally I would like to do two a week, and if I can manage three then great.
Running for Weight loss App
I am not going to lie, the runs are not easy, and throughout each run I battle in my head ‘should I stop?’, ‘can I carry on?’. I know that my body shouldn’t be tired, that most of the battle when running is in my head. I try to motivate myself by thinking about why I am doing this, to be healthy for Harry, to feel confident in myself, and so I can get in to my Zara Skinny Jeans!!
I have been combining my running with a bit of core training, using Fitstar . This is a free app, but if you want a specific training program i.e. to loose weight you have to upgrade to the premium at £2.99 a month. I used the app a couple of times before signing up, and I loved it. It was really easy, each session was only 30 minutes, and wasn’t exhausting. The sessions are based on your fitness levels, and it continuously asks to asses your fitness through-out the programmes. I have never been one for doing push-ups, crunches etc but I knew I couldn’t tone my body by just running. I decided to upgrade to the ‘Get Lean’ program, and to alternate between this and running, for at least 4/5 days a week. I had been looking at ‘Results with Lucy’ by Lucy Meck, there was a lot of positive press and success stories flying about, and this uses the same format as Fitstar, but it was £12 a month! I think I got a better deal.
I used both of these apps through-out the whole of April, as planned doing 4-5 days of training a week, along with eating 1,500 calories a day, and even though I didn’t loose any weight, I could notice a huge difference in my body shape, especially towards the end, I was fitting in to my pre-pregnancy jeans with ease, I was starting to see some definition in my stomach, and my energy levels where through the roof. I didn’t DREAD each run like I did at the beginning and I looked forward to my Fitstar training, as it was fairly easy, and I was seeing results.
May, however was a busy month, we were away every weekend, and my exercise plan pretty much stopped, with the exception of a run and a couple of Fitstar sessions.
I decided to pick back up my training and healthy eating from June onwards. I am on day 5, and 2 Fitstar sessions done this week, but still to do that first run!! eek!
It shows you don’t have to spend a fortune, have a fully equipt home gym or a personal trainer to get fit. By cancelling my gym membership, buying the treadmill (shared with Rich), the two apps (£39 for the year) and a yoga mat (£8) I saved myself £294!!
Download the apps! They really work, and let me know how you get on, it would be great to hear someone else’s results and experiences.
As soon as I got up I ran to the scales! Excited to see if I had passed the 4lb point, I had lost another 0.5lbs, meaning I has lost 4lbs in 3 days!!
I had woken up feeling great, and full of energy! I am not sure if that is down to the juice or because I was off to visit my best friend in Paris for the weekend!
My skin was looking great, not that I had ever had awful skin, but sometimes I struggle with small breakouts, blocked pores or just generally looking dehydrated!
I decided to take Jason’s advice and make a juice (opposed to my fry-up idea), I made my favourite the Beyond Detox, refreshing and light. Perfect for for the morning.
I felt almost nervous about eating, not because I didn’t want to regain the weight, but listening to Jason had really made my question what I am putting in my body. Even though a reason I had done this challenge was so I could indulge in Paris, I hadn’t expected for my views of food to change.
I would definetly be thinking about the food I put in my body, not being so restrictive I don’t have treats, but maybe reducing the amount of refined carbs and sugary goodies I indulge in, and snacking on more ‘low intervention’ foods.
During my trip to Paris, I found my stomach had certainly shrunk, I was getting full extremely quickly! I was also missing my juices, luckily we managed to find a super healthy eatery, and I got my fresh juice (carrot, orange and ginger) and it certainly helped the hangover.
On landing in Paris, my stomach felt the flattest it had been since before bubba was born, this was a lovely, rewarding feeling! On flying back from Paris I can say it was not feeling so flat, and even though I didn’t indulge anywhere near as much as I thought I would, and we did a vast amount of walking, I can certainly feel I have probably put 1 or 2 of those lbs back on! But the main thing is I had a fabulous weekend, and didn’t once worry about the calories!
So would I do it again? For sure! It was a great way to cleanse, loose a few pounds and get a flatter stomach perhaps before a big night out or just to up your energy levels. I am not sure I could or would want to do any longer than the 3 days.
I will be trying to continue with a juice every morning to kick-start my day, and if possible make a batch or two a week of the H20 Detox for my daily exercise drink. Why not give it ago! If you do let me know how you get on, I love hearing other peoples success stories.
Update: 6 days post detox, I have continued to start each day with the Dreamy Detox juice, and when possible eat a light lunch and a main meal, and I have managed to maintain my weight-loss.
I was so happy to be over half way and when I woke up in 24 hours I would be able to eat! I rushed straight to the scales, after yesterday’s results I was excited to see if there had been anymore change, but also didn’t want to get my hopes up! I was so shocked to see I had lost another 1.5lbs! I had been training for 4 weeks and not shifted 1lb and in 2 days lost 3.5lbs (though I knew it would be short lived a I can’t survive on juice forever!).
Day 3 started off with my least favourite, Juice Master Super Detox, I reluctantly drank it all. In today’s schedule I was due to drink double the amount of H20 Detox. I knew I would never do this, so made-up just one batch, and used this during my morning training.
Thinking today would be the easiest as my body would be getting used to the diet, and I would of mentally got over the lack of eating, but actually I was finding it the hardest.
All I could think about was food, and by lunch I didn’t feel great, a little lightheaded. Perhaps I had overdone it with the exercise too, so I decided to eat a stick of celery. They say you burn more calories eating celery than the calories actually in a stick of celery!
I made up my lunch, which was the Beyond Detox, I knew this wasn’t too bad, and drank all of it before taking Bubba for a walk. We did 2 miles which isn’t unusual for us, but I was shattered, and just felt really hungry, I didn’t want to give in, and knew I only had hours left, but felt like today was really challenging me, and I was battling in my head whether to just eat something.
I decided to see how I felt after my last juice. This was the Dreamy Detox (the one I made on day 2 and didn’t end up drinking). This was LOVELY, so refreshing and light! You have it over ice, and it has no avocado or yoghurt to thicken it up! This was by far my favourite and I could of drank double the amount!
After this I was determined to make it to the end and just kept thinking how good it would feel to wake up tomorrow and of lost more weight!
I decided to watch the coaching video for day 3, it was worth it as Jason talks about how you make the transition back to eating, and recommended having a juice on day 4, then salad for lunch and protein based meal for dinner. This seemed sensible although all I could think about was a huge fry-up or pancakes and maple syrup!!
I started my day by seeing if I had lost any weight from day 1 and to my surprise I had lost 2lbs. As I am not really overweight, I just presumed I would loose the bare minimum, perhaps 1lb, but at least I would of cleansed my body. This spurred me on to complete day 2!
I knew this day would be a little harder as I was going out with my friend and her baby boy (Mason, he is 3 weeks younger than Harry). She was also doing the detox, but a 5-day (crazy lady), so at least I knew I wouldn’t be tempted to eat as neither of us would be able to stop for lunch.
I decided to make my morning juice and lunch juice so I could take this with me in a flask. They also recommend you make up another bottle of the H20 Detox, but I still had 500ml left from the day before so I didn’t bother.
Breakfast was Super Detox Smoothie, this included pineapple, blackberries, blueberries, bio-live yoghurt and ice. This was really thick due to the yoghurt, and in future I would only have half the amount of yoghurt as it was a little too much, and I ended up only drinking 3/4 of the pint.
Lunch was Dreamy Detox, at last a drink that didn’t include betroot or avocado, this included apples, lemon, ginger, celery, cucumber and ice. I made this up, and put in a flask to have whilst I was out.
In the rush of getting the kids ready and out the door, I left without my juice, and left it on the side. So whilst I was out, I just had a peppermint tea, which I think is allowed as it has no caffeine and is ‘low intervention’.
Jason Vale talks a lot about how your diet should consist of ‘low intervention’ foods, meaning foods that have had no or very little intervention from people. For example a ‘low intervention’ food would be fruit or veg as it is grown and sold without any intervention from people, unlike a supermarket fruit juice, that has been pasteurised, includes sweetners and has been processed to have a longer shelf-life.
Returning from my day out, I had my H20 Detox, and once the bubba was in bed, made my final drink of the day Beyond Detox.
Even though I had not had all my juices, I was feeling quite good. Jason mentions you would start to feel a ‘juice high’ once your body had got over the initial cravings. I think I had reached my ‘juice high’, and I was excited to see the results on the scales the next day!
Just Day 3 to go
So starting day 1 of my detox! Due to not finding my juicer till about midnight the day before starting, I only managed to do my shopping on the morning of day 1. So when bubba woke from his morning nap, I dashed out to ALDI and picked up my ingredients, by the time I made it back and got juicing I was having my ‘breakfast’ juice at 11.30am (only 4 hours after I would usually have my breakfast, so I was starving).
You have 4 juices in day 1, the first two being the same (JuiceMaster Super Detox), so I could of skipped a juice given it was almost lunch time, but I wanted to stick to the plan as much as I could. Therefore I just prepared and juiced enough for two batches and stuck one in the fridge.
The ingredients for the first juice included apples, cucumber, celery, carrot, lemon, yellow pepper, avocado and ice. You juice everything but the avocado and ice (obviously). Once everything is juiced you whack it in a blender with the avocado and ice. You need a really good blender, preferably one that is for using ice, which mine wasn’t, so I was a little limited to how much ice I could use, and I had to blend for about a minute to make sure the avocado was complexly liquified.
This resulted in a PINT of juice!!! It was not what I expected, the avocado had really thickened it up, so it was like drinking yoghurt. I could really taste the pepper, I think in the future I maybe not add this, as even a small piece seemed to overpower the other flavours. I managed the whole pint, and it was so filling, I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit 3 more of these bad boys in before the end of the day.
I decided to have my second, as an afternoon snack about 3.30pm. By now I was starting to miss my food, I wasn’t hungry, more so the physical action of eating, like a biscuit with a cuppa.
The third juice was actually more of an energy drink, so the consistency was similar to water and squash rather than a thick yogurt. This was a relief as after my second juice I was feeling really full. This drink was to be drunk throughout the day instead of water, or to help you along when exercising. Called H20 Detox, it was made up of apples, lemon, pineapple, betroot and water (water being 75% of the drink).
I decided to use this when I was doing my core strength training (post to come on this). It had a strong betroot taste and with the sweetness from the pineapple, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was, and was perfect for during and after my exercise. I would definetely make this if I was going on a long walk or doing a charity run! I felt it really made a difference to my energy levels.
I was starving after my training, my sister and boyfriend were both making their dinner, I was feeling really jealous, but not tempted, I wanted to stay on track. I made my final juice Beyond Detox, this included apples, baby spinach, betroot, parsley, cucumber, avocado and ice. Same as before you juice everything but the avocado and ice. I was really surprised you could juice spinach and parsley! This was probably my favourite of the day, still thick, but quite sweet.
I had made it through day, I felt really full, and very proud, only two more to go.
Juice detox: Day 2to follow soon…
As mentioned in my post No more (baby) weighting around , I am doing a 3-day juice detox in a last minute attempt to shed some lbs before a trip to Paris with my best friend . I have a wedding the week after my Paris trip, and can’t risk not fitting in to my dress! Therefore my plan is to loose at least 3lbs with this detox, then I can indulge when visiting Katy, as she is forever telling me about the delicious food and wine she has been consuming since her move to france, and still fit in my dress.
I originally heard about Jason Vale / Juice Master from a friend who is also trying to shed those post-baby pounds! She is doing the 5-day juice detox, at the same time as me. I think she is a little crazy going straight in at the 5-day but she has more will-power than me.
Detox in summary: I can only have juice and water for 3 days!!! You are meant to loose between 3-7lbs and cleanse your body.
I searched my loft for the juicer I bought about 6 years ago (if not longer), it had all the main components, few extras missing, but it would do! Dusted it off, now I just needed the app and my ingredients.
I downloaded the app (cost £2.99), and got my shopping list. You can buy a book for £9.99, but I thought I would try the app first and if it is something I want to continue with, I can buy the book. Even though they recommend buying the highest quality fruit and veg (they recommend organic), I knew this would cost a fortune, and I am on maternity leave so I dashed to my favourite supermarket – ALDI – got all my ingredients (bar the yoghurt and spinach) for £20! That’s less than £7 per day.
The app is great, it has videos, instructions and the reasons why you are consuming such foods. The videos I find very helpful, there is one each day to coach you through the day and also explain how you are likely to be feeling, and why.
I’ve completed my first day of my detox and will be writing up my experience in my next post.
Fingers crossed it works!