|BRAND NEW ME|getting back on track with your healthy lifestyle

 

I'm well and truly off the healthy lifestyle wagon at the moment, I can't quite pin-point when it happened but I think it was when The Hubs and T were poorly with norovirus, I was so obsessed with cleaning all I was doing was cleaning then crashing, no energy meant that I just headed for the ready meals and processed food. Completely the wrong thing to do, but I now realise I was in survival mode and paranoid I was going to get ill.

This has lead to massive anxiety attacks and feeling really low again as well as being bloated, putting on weight, having bad headaches and feeling irritable and emotional. It's also making me have insomnia really badly (hence I'm awake at 01:20 writing this!) 

 

We are still trying to get over the Easter holidays, we had a lovely couple of weeks off and have got lots done, however, we've both eaten and drank far too much and all the wrong things. Just this week I've thrown out a bag full of waste vegetables that hadn't been used and for dinner had a Chinese. We've spent a fortune on food too this week, simply ridiculous. The only saving grace is that T has eaten really well, not too much snacking and making sure he's getting his 5 a day. 

Anyway, today has definitely taught me that I need to get back on it and seriously, I keep saying that a little blip is good because it reminds you how good you actually felt when things were coming together, even if at the time it didn't feel like it!!! 

 

I drank the last of the open wine this evening and really want to stay off that and processed food and find the motivation and energy to get myself back to feeling healthy. 

It's a vicious circle that needs to be broken, eat processed foods and alcohol feel lethargic, anxious and  unmotivated, need to rest, do less and keep eating quick and unhealthy food.   So I need to break the habit (again) and find a way to stop it forming or at least spotting the early signs before it's too difficult to start again. 

I really never thought I was addicted to processed food but the truth is I really am, as a family we are!  It does make it harder that I have to also cater for T and The Hubs but I am determined to do this, we are lucky that T does have relatively healthy eating habits, except for his snacking but The Hubs eats very few vegetables, he has though decided that he too wants to become healthier, he wants to lose weight and so at least we are both in this together now. 

So where do I go from here? How do I get back to where I was?  This is my plan:

1. Cut out caffeine and alcohol 
2. Drink 2l filtered water a day
3. Eat at least 5 fruit and vegetables a day
4. Avoid process food and snacks 
5. Get back to loving cooking healthily
6. Stop thinking of food as 'treats'
7. Hit my exercise goals
8. Meal plan and prep

 

So, tomorrow is another day and all that!  I know what we're all having and we're off to forest school tomorrow morning so that's a ruddy good way to start. 

We will be #fitfam we're just going to need a bit more focus and jumping back on that wagon to get there 😊

Thanks for listening to my ramblings, have a lovely week, especially if you're children are back at school this week Lx 


|FAMILY|Brand new episodes of Kazoops

 

Do your children like Kazoops?  Thomas has watched it before, but it wasn't high up on his list of things to watch. 

However, after watching the first episode of the brand new series, he's hooked. T really enjoyed watching 'Daydreamer Monty' which premiered this afternoon. 

 

T really enjoyed this episode, particularly Monty's suggestion of using a Yeti to move the piano!! 

I love how Kazoops really sparks T's imagination and encourages him to daydream and play make believe. T loves how Monty has a pet pig and would like his own Jimmy Jones, although he might just have to make do with the cat πŸ˜‰
 
 

The latest series is being shown on CBeebies at 4.20pm, we've got record set to make sure we don't miss an episode. 

 

|BRAND NEW ME|Moringa Oil from Wikaniko

 

As I've been trying to improve my health I've also been trying to bring more natural products into routines, and none needed an overhaul more than my facial skincare. 

I used to be a religious user of natural, cruelty free products. 

I'm ashamed to say that a good few years back I stopped this and opted instead for high end, ridiculously expensive brands. I have no idea why I switched, looking back I honestly don't know when it happened, it just sort of did. 

Anyway, during my quest to become more natural (still a long way to go on hair and nails!!!) I made a decision to use natural products again, I've also realised that I need separate products for my aging skin (πŸ˜₯).

Literally within a week of doing this I was offered the opportunity to review some Moringa oil, so it seemed as though it was meant to be. I wanted to give it a good couple of months to make sure that it did indeed work on my skin, I didn't have a breakout and I was happy with the product. 

Wikaniko claim:

' Moringa - reputed to be the best natural nutritional supplement in the world, bar none!

Also known as the best anti-ageing oil in the world, bar none!'

 

I was sent some Moringa oil to try out as a moisturiser, after a bit of research on aging skin (πŸ˜₯) I found that it was nighttime when I needed that extra moisture and goodness that an oil would provide so have been using my Moringa oil as part of my evening routine. Never would I have bought an oil moisturiser for my 'Normal' combination skin. I'd have instantly thought it would make my skin too greasy, but my skin soaked it up! 

As you can see packaging is simple, which I must admit I liked, to me this added more emphasis to the product and allowed the product to do the taking for itself without being swayed by pretty packaging and a product with no substance. 

 

Sorry, this is brutally close, but this is my skin seconds after applying the oil liberally, as you can see not greasy at all and it could easily be used for a day moisturiser too. 

 

The oil comes in pump form and a couple of pumps easliy does my face, neck and dΓ©colletage. 

I apply after I've removed my make-up and cleansed with a muslin cloth. 

The oil has no additives, so there's no fancy smell which I admit, does take a little getting used to. I love my essential oils so would have preferred a little something to make it smell nicer. 

Moringa oil is produced by a Norfolk company πŸ‘πŸΌ to a 'local' and U.K. company, and grown in Spain and is £16.95 for 100ml. 

The oil is 100% organic and cruelty free which again is a big plus point in my book.  There are loads more health benefits of Moringa taken in other forms too, check out this video made by Wikaniko. 

 

I shall most definitely continue using this product. I can see my skin looks more nourished, I've had no spots since using it and I love how natural it is. 

Disclaimer: I was sent the product in return for my honest review. 


|ORGANISING|how your zodiac organises you



Have you seen this fun info graphic from Furniture at Work? If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you'll know I LOVE organising! I love seeing everything in its place, near, tidy and easy to find. 

Don't get me wrong, sadly not everywhere in my house is immaculately ordered... yet but I'm working on it. Sadly, work and blogging get in the way πŸ˜‰

At the moment I'm working on T's toys, it's easy to tidy them all away but I'm finding the key to permanent order is to make sure that he can put them back himself just as tidily and get things out by himself without making a huge mess. It really is challenge! 

So according to this info graphic I'm a 'show off' yes this is probably true!  I'm not one for hiding everything away, if it's to be used it should be out in my opinion and as for having lots of gadgets, yep that's me!!!! If there's a gadget to make life easier, I'm there at the front of the queue. Anything to cut down on time and make things easier is my motto πŸ˜‚

So do you live in organised mess or constructive chaos?  Do you like your house to be neat and ordered or do you have better things on your agenda? Me?  I'm somewhere in the middle, if I had the time yes, I'd be living in extreme organised bliss but I just don't value it quite enough to make it my number 1 priority so do what I can in the time I have.  

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.  

|FAMILY|jumping in the car and finding 'hidden drives'

 

Do you ever just get in the car and go for a drive?  When we were kids we used to do this all the time (well most Sundays!) it's not something we do at all though, only really using the car to get somewhere.   I'm sure I know all the words to practically every Motown song from listening to them on our weekend 'drives' in our old Range Rover. I'm sure with 5 children it was a cheap activity for my parents and my Dad doing what he loves best - driving!   

 

Jumping in the car and heading off to destinations unknown really appeals to me, and if there's a scenic route along the way, then all the better!  I really don't know why we've never done it. 

I must admit we live in a beautiful part of the country completely surrounded by countryside and with the Cotswolds, Chilterns and Peak District all within a relitively short distance away, however, looking at the eBook Irelands great hidden drives from Chill Insurance does make me long to go to Ireland, driving to the Cliffs of Moher is now firmly on my bucket list!!  It looks absolutely stunning, I'd love to pack up the car with a picnic and head out for an adventure, listening to Ed Sheeran with the windows down in the beautiful sunshine! 

 

It looks as though this weekend is going to be lovely so maybe we should head out for a drive, for no reason, just 'because'.

Where are your 'hidden drives'?

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post. 


|FAMILY|our family wild list



For the last couple of years we've had family seasonal bucket lists, these worked really well and made us 'focus' on seasonal things to do. We really liked this format at usually managed to achieve them, now T is getting older, I want him to be more involved in choosing our family activities.

Last year we joined in with the Wildlife Trusts, 30 Days Wild, I never got round to documenting what we did, which was a real shame, but T liked it so much, I thought we'd concentrate our family bucket list this year on more outdoors adventures, learning new skills and getting closer to wildlife. 

Back in February (yes, I was totally unprepared for this!) we all sat down and came up with a list of things we wanted to do this year. Some didn't make the cut, swimming with sharks (!?!) abseiling down a tree (!?!) and building a fire in the woods (!?!) to name a few of T's suggestions. We managed to whittle our list down to 52. 


Some of these we've already done now, some we have planned and some I have no idea if or when we'll achieve but you know what?  We'll have a blooming good go and lots of fun along the way!  If we don't tick off everything, then that's fine but if we do, that's amazing!!!

If you are looking for ideas to get out and about as a family our family wild list can be downloaded here.

I'll be using #lbukwildlist when I share photo's on social media and periodically I'll be writing the odd post to let you know how we're getting on. If you use our list, please do tag us in so we too can see what you are doing. 

What's on your wild list this year? 

|BRAND NEW ME|perfect self care, looking after your nails

 

I love having my nails done, it's 2 hours of relaxation, chatting and doing nothing, perfect for a couple of hours self care every few weeks. 

I've spent a lot of time trying to extend my manicure and make sure that my nails are on tip-top condition, I've realised that with having acrylic nails there are a few things you can do to really help your nails look their best in between appointments. 

 

1. Always use hand cream, making sure your hands are not dry will always make your mani look better. 

2. Use a cutical oil before bed and when you wake up, I've now made this part of my morning and evening beauty regime. I'm a real picker so if I start to pick around my nails, I damage them and my nails no longer look perfect. 

3. Always use a high quality nail varnish like those from professional nail polish from Ellisons cheap, low quality nail varnishes need more coats and chip easily (in general!) using nail varnish remover too often also drys your nails and can lead to you picking and damaging nails. A 'professional' varnish will not only look shinier and clearer, it will last a lot longer.  I go for shellac as it lasts longer. 

4. Don't chew or pick!!!! I am the worlds worst at this and I really struggle not to do it but if my nails are looking perfect, then I'm more likely to remember all the other care tips πŸ˜‰

5. Wear gloves when washing up and cleaning!! I really learned a lesson on this one recently, I've developed a bit of a cleaning habit and so I've had to have my nails a lot shorter than I usually would. Now, I'm protecting them when cleaning by wearing rubber gloves so no additional chemicals or water go onto them for a prelonged period of time. 

 

This time I've gone for super short apricot coloured nails, very different from my usual long and dark style.  I've been reading this Nail eBook which has some fab advice for 2017 style and colour trends, I think I'm going to be wearing more pastels this year and I love the idea of going 'au natural' with my colour. 

 

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.

|BRAND NEW ME|March favourites

 


This post is a couple of days later than I had planned, I hope you still enjoy it. 


In my bid to find happiness and positivity  in everyday things I thought I'd start thinking about my favourite things, this could contain any favourites, home, beauty, blogging, clothes etc 


 

Watching

The Blacklist, still loving it! Raymond Reddington  is one of the best characters ever created in my opinion. 


Cleaning videos on you tube πŸ˜‚ yes really I'm obsessed with cleaning at the moment so I'm watching videos for shortcuts and tips. My favourites have been from:

Vasseur Beauty

Emily Norris


 

Listening

There's only one thing I've been listening to this month and that's Ed Sheerans Divide album, it's absolutely amazing so I guess it's no wonder he is taking over the charts! I'm also really pleased to have discovered Amazon music  so we're both busy transferring our music onto there and creating playlists to free up space on our devices! 


Eating

Too much rubbish!   In January and February I was really disciplined with my eating but when I decided to go vegan for March I think mentally I rebelled and everything went off the rails again!   The good thing about this is that I feel absolutely awful so it has helped to prove that what I was doing before really works!


Smelling

Zoflora!!! As I said I'm obsessed with cleaning right now and I've discovered zoflora, oh my goodness it smells so good. And it's so nice to have a beautiful smell hit you when you come home or wake up!  


 


Unwinding

I'm still using my Calm app daily and find it really helps me switch off to go to sleep now. If I was up in the night I listen to a guided meditation and that really does help. 


Reading

Ive gone back to actually reading some blogs again!!! And it feels good to get back so seeing things on my feed that I really want to see and not because I feel obliged because they are friends or because I've joined a linky etc. I've created separate feeds in my bloglovin account so I can follow a feed for a particular subject I'm interested in. I like a lot of things, but I don't like seeing all those things jumbled up in amongst those things that I feel I should be reading rather than those which I want to read! This has helped me remain focused whilst reading and not just scroll mindlessly which I had a BAD habit of doing before. 


Recommending

  1. Flavoured oils, omg they transform everything! Salads, quinoa, pasta, cous cous etc I'm using ones from Aldi, they are usually £1.49 but are on offer at £1 at the moment (so I stocked up!)
  2. Zoflora, if you want your house to smell amazing, use this!!  I leave some in the sink whilst I'm at work and over night so when you walk in, it's lovely and fresh. 
  3. Moringa oil, I'm using this as a moisturiser before bed, it's completely natural and has anti-ageing properties it's made my skin feel amazing and is helping keep those wrinkles at bay!  Look out for a full review next week. 
  4. The Calm app, I really can't recommend this enough, if you're someone with a lot of plates spinning and feeling overwhelmed this is the app for you, it helps you to focus and relax and generally helps your anxiety and wellbeing, it's not cheap but for me it's so worth it. 
  5. Making your bed when you get up, we always do this and it honestly does make a difference! For me it mentally puts an end to sleep and bedtime and helps me to start my day with a more relaxed mind. 
  6. Using essential oils in my diffuser, I love how changing your senses can affect your mood, I find diffusing rose oil before bed so relaxing. 

 

'Gramming 

This month my absolute favourite Instagrammers are people I follow from my Home account :

@west_barn

@perfectlylovleyjen

@mrs_rackley.home


I've been on my @onehillcrestroad account most this month and am loving my feed so much, separating out my interests by using different accounts really was the best thing I've done for my personal Instagram use, it's lovely not thinking about followers or engagement, just being me!  Not so great blogging wise but hey-ho! 


 

Liking

At the moment I'm really enjoying just doing my own thing again, not following 'blogging or strategic' advice, just using social media for me, or god forbid not on social media at all, I was really enjoying cooking new healthier family meals (but I stopped last week and need to get back on it πŸ˜‰) I have been meal prepping our lunches and that has been a godsend!  We've managed to eat quite well at lunchtime because of doing that one thing!  I'm also loving having a clean and tidy home and everything in its place before bed, it's so great for the mind not be in chaos and disorder. 


We have also decided to change our home to how we want it rather than how it was when we moved in. This is going to take a bit of work and effort but we'll get there this year for sure. 


Feeling

I've not felt my best this month, Thomas has been ill, too many birthday meals out and falling off healthy eating have taken its toll. I've also been drinking too much this month. Because of this my anxiety levels have been really high, I've struggled with sleep and restless legs, which I've never really had a problem with in the past. I have exercised more though so that's been great, in April I'd like to aim for 3 times a week. I need to get back to eating well and generally improving my wellbeing. 


This was supposed to be a short post just detailing some of my favourite things this month but it's turned out rather long!  I hope you've liked it, if you'd like this to be a regular feature, let me know xx


What were your favourite things in March? 

|REVIEW|ChillFactor Frozen Brain Slushy Maker




 

T really liked the look of The ChillFactor Frozen Brain Slushy Maker when he saw the photo's, he thought it was just a pretty awesome drinks cup, so when it arrived and he realized that he could make delicious slushies' in seconds, he was pretty impressed!  He was a little disappointed to find that the freezer pack had to be frozen first, but we did this before school and by the time we came back it was nice and frozen and we could begin to make our slushy.

 


 
Chillfactor Frozen Brain Slushy Makers retail at £12.99 and can be purchased here.

 
The great thing about this product is that its really simple to use and you need nothing more than this cup, a freezer and whichever sort of drink you prefer like; chocolate milk, soda and natural fruit juices all of which make yummy slushies
 
T loved the fun and colourful monster design and watching the slushy swirl around the monsters brain!

 
 
So, let's briefly tell you what you need to do!  Once the frozen pack has been added back to the cup, it's so simple to turn a regular drink into a yummy slushy.
 
Simply pour your drink I and give the cup a big squish, T did find this a bit difficult as the quicker you squish it the faster and icier your slushy gets, in no time at all T had a lovely slushy which he really enjoyed.
 
 
Yep!  That's it!  So simple, and the cup comes with a long spoon/straw so you can use that to make sure you can get all of that slushy!
 
The slushy maker is marketed as 'transportable' but to be honest, I don't think they are stable enough to be transportable, I certainly wouldn't put one in my bag for the risk of it leaking.


 

Also available from www.character-online.co.uk are ChillFactor Pull Pops which retail at £4.99



 




|REVIEW|Talking Plush Bunga From The Lion Guard

 

It's pretty safe to say that The Lion Guard is pretty popular in our house, T absolutely loves it and we've enjoyed introducing him to the Disney© show that started it all The Lion King. 

T was super-excited when he opened his parcel containing Bunga, I tried to get a video but he was just too excited and quick! 

Bunga has now become T's favourite toy and he literally goes everywhere with him, I think it's mostly to do with the rude noises that Bunga makes more than anything but, he's gone down incredibly well here! 

 

Aimed at children 3-6 there are 2 characters in the range, Kion the Lion and Bunga the cheeky (and rude) honey badger. 

 

The toy is 30cm tall and has an on/off switch should you wish to mute them πŸ˜‰.  Each toy has a light up arm badge and says 4 unique phrases, they are high quality and easily recognisable as characters from the popular Lion Guard series. 

Each plush toy is £24.99 and are available from Flair.

Here's a little video so T can tell you what he like most about Bunga and you can hear him talk and ermmm fart! 



Disclaimer: we were sent this toy in exchange for our honest review. 

|REVIEW|Wild! Science Lava Lamp & Glitter Tube Factory



First let me tell you about an awesome competition that Wild! Science are currently running, it's absolutely terrific and such a great opportunity for young scientists, here are the details, find out how to apply here.

The Wild! Science Global Science Challenge is giving families (2 adults and 2 children) everywhere the chance to win:

A trip to Orlando Florida,
Entry to Disney World,
Accommodation t a 5-star resort for 7 days
Care hire for 7 days
A full set of Wild Science products
Entry to the Kennedy Space Centre to meet a real astronaut!

How to enter:

  1. Buy a Wild! Science Kit and send a receipt copy with your online application
  2. Design and create an awesome new Wild! Science Kit
  3. Write and illustrate a basic instruction book to show other kids how to use your awesome Wild! Science Kit.
OK, on to our review :)

Last week T was very poorly, however, he was missing school and really wanted to 'do' something, luckily we had been sent this fabulous Lava Lamp & Glitter Tube Factory from Wild! Science, which I thought we could try out as an educational and fun activity whilst he was missing school.

The set came with almost everything needed to create both a lava lamp and a glitter tube, all we need to add was water and oil and T added even more glitter!



T donned his gloves and set to work making his lava lamps!  We first made the glitter tube which is simply made from a bottle of glycerine and adding the special glitter.



T measured out all the relevant chemicals carefully and did a great job.  Here he was making the tablets to drop into the lava lamp to make a fizzy chemical reaction between the acid and base, this produces bubbles of carbon dioxide gas which break through the glitter and oil creating a spectacular effect that looks just like an underwater volcano!



We added lots of more glitter but each piece of the enclosed glitter is a tiny mirror that reflects light and with lots of tiny mirrors, the light is scattered in all directions to create a sparkling effect, ours we're *really* sparkly and shiny!

 

We took a little video of our lava lamp to show you just how great it is ;)



Wild! Science kits are aimed at ages 8+, T is 5 and had no problem at all making these items with help from me to read the instructions.  The Wild! Science kits are £14.99
 
Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post for Wild! Science.

|REVIEW|The Gazillion Giant Power Wand


Who doesn't love playing with bubbles?  We absolutely love them and LOVE bubble machines or toys which can make bubbles themselves!  We've been testing the Giant Gazillion giant power wand preparing for the spring days that are on the horizon!
 
The wand comes with a 4oz bottle of  'giant' bubble solution and a special tray to pour the solution in, once you've added batteries you have everything to need to start making huge bubble straight away.

 
We got out in the garden to give the giant power wand a try and made some lovely big bubbles!  T enjoyed bursting the large bubbles and seeing how far they traveled, although he did need a little help as the bubble mix kept bursting when he took it out of the special bubble tray, although it has been quite windy every time we've used it.
 
The bubble wand is aimed at children aged 3-7 and is a lightweight motorized wand which can be operated easily with a simple button, T managed to do this no problem at all with one hand, leaving his other free to pop the massive bubbles!

 
We really enjoyed playing with our bubble wand and can see lots of fun to be had in the summer, T even wants to take it camping with us!

The Gazillion Giant Power Wand is £12.99 and available from Argos Online
 
Also available from this range is The Gazillion Giant Bubble Mill.


|REVIEW|Interplay bug safari

 

We were sent the Nick Baker's Bug Safari Kit from Interplay to review recently, so on a day where spring finally started to show we got the kits out and started started on our big safari. 

 

The kit contained lots of equipment for studying bugs in a safe and professional manner. 

Including
- field lens
- guide book
- bug tongs
- magnifying pot
- tweezers
- graticule
- paintbrush!!!!

Yes, we wondered what the paintbrush was for too!  You use it to gently pick and move up bugs that are too small to safely pick up with your hands. The soft bristles do not hurt them. 

 

T loved learning about how to use the equipment and it's all small enough to fit into pockets or a bag. 

 

We went out in the garden looking for bugs to study, the first place we tried was the den, although we only found worms in there!


Following the instructions in the guide, we looked under some stones and found some wood lice, we gently used the brush to transfer one onto the bug tongs and studied it for a while, we measured it using the graticule and watched it curl up into a ball. 

 

 
 
The kit comes with a really useful guide which shows the child how to use the equipment, a little about the sort of bugs they may find, further resources and where to look for bugs.

 

It's a really handy little pocket book which I know for sure, we'll be using time and time again. 

 

This kit is aimed at children aged 5 and upwards and costs £12.99