My Review of joinflex.tv : Social Home Workouts for Mums

Flex social fitness for mums

Although my burgeoning pregnant belly precludes me from taking part in my usual HIIT style classes and weights based training, I’m keen to continue to exercise during this pregnancy and I’ve been taking a look at home workouts that are available. I’m less concerned about the old weight gain/body shape change as I’m resigned to the fact that I will become the size of a small detached house.

But I do want to keep a little more in touch with my body and do whatever I can to stave off the high blood pressure that was like a monkey on my back when I was ‘with child’ first time around.

I’m still going down to my local gym when I can and I’m also seeing an absolutely fantastic specialist Sports Coach (who I’ll tell you about another time). However, there are times when I fancy trying something a little bit different but either;

  1. Can’t face dragging myself down to the gym
  2. Can’t actually get down to the gym due to having a small person asleep upstairs
  3. Can’t quite muster up the motivation to peel myself off the sofa

I came across www.joinflex.tv via twitter @joinflextv. It’s an online platform where fitness instructors can upload their classes and you can participate on the social home workouts live in the privacy of your own living room.

Flex home Workouts

There’s a whole bunch of different classes you can have a go at including Cardio, Dance, HIIT, Pilates, Yoga. There’s even a specialist pre/post-natal section which has proved to be off particular interest. The signup process is extremely straightforward and takes no more than 2 minutes to enter your details and class preferences. Your personalised calendar is then automatically populated with classes that will suit your interests with the live times.

At first, I wasn’t too sure about the live classes – surely pre-recorded options i.e. youtube would make it much more convenient? But the uniqueness of the site is the focus on accountability – according to Flex, you’re 86% more likely to achieve health and fitness goals by involving someone for support and accountability. If you don’t check into a class, expect to receive a friendly little nudge from Flex prompting you to take action. There’s a link to Facebook so you can involve your network and there’s also a live chat functionality when the class is running – but I’m not too sure how well that bit really works when you’re a contorted sweaty mess, trying to keep up with your pilates move/focus on your breathing/work that pelvic floor but it’s a nice option to have.

I do think platforms like Flex and home workouts are fantastic for those who practically cannot get out of the house or arrange childcare to participate in a physical class. It’s also a fantastic resource for those who have never stepped foot in a gym before and think that everyone will look like those leotard clad dancers from the Eric Prydz Call On Me video. Believe me, they really don’t.

Also, the creators of the site seem to really embrace the concept of creating community. We all know that as fantastic as motherhood is, it can be a teeny bit isolating at times when you simply can’t nip out and about at the drop of a hat. So, having tried a couple of initial classes, I’m going to continue with the online exercise scene, keep a little bit in touch with my rollercoaster pregnant body and see who else I may meet along the way x

You can find out more about Flex here https://www.joinflex.tv/ There’s a free 30 day trial option and then it’s £9.99/month.

 

16 Weeks Pregnant – Riding Over the Bumps in the Road

Having been to see my midwife today for my 16 week check (well, 16 weeks 5 days to be exact) I must say the time is flying by.

The first 12 weeks were slow mainly due to the usual pregnancy symptoms – nausea, exhaustion and a general feeling of yuck. After the magic 12 week mark passed (and along with a good dose of iron supplements) normal service has almost resumed.

I say almost as I can’t imagine any pregnancy continues without some level of random symptoms as your body adjust to this invasion by what is now a 5inch growing machine. One of the slightly amusing ones is the dreams. Ah, the dreams. Psychedelic, random and more often then not slightly hilarious. One of the lesser amusing pregnancy side effects is that when I’m not dreaming away, I’m awake. Really awake. A lot. I suffered with pregnancy insomnia during my 1st pregnancy except that this time when I do manage to drop off, the familiar call of ‘Mummy, I need a wee wee’ rouses me from my dreams of candy floss caves……….someone tell me the hidden dream meaning in that one.

Another frustrating aspect is the mood swings. Not completely psychotic pregnant mad woman. Just a moderate feeling of flatness when anything moderately rubbish occurs. 80% of the time, completely usual glass half full kind of girl. 20% of the time, what would normally be a bump in the road becomes totally insurmountable. And then I have a ‘good nights sleep’ (ha, see aforementioned) and everything is once again ok.

What is also more than ok is that I heard the heartbeat today for the first time. It was a bit like listening to galloping horses I must admit and even though I’ve done this before, I find it really hard to comprehend that we are blessed to  have an actual little person tucked away in there. Just the focusing on that thought certainly helps to smooth the bumps in the road. That and a pack of Cadburys Cream Eggs x

Re-decorating – Boys Bedroom Ideas

Now our big boy is the grand old age of 3.5 years, and growing constantly it would seem, we’ve decided that now is the time to think about re-decorating his bedroom. I’m not going to lie, this decision has also been driven by the influx of additional toys since Christmas (cue a requirement for clever storage ideas) and the anticipated arrival in the summer of baby number 2 who will be commandeering the 3.5 year olds toddler cot bed.

Whilst I really like the idea of a mid rise sleeper such as this one, the big boy is still in fact a little bit too small so rather handily his cousins old bed frame from Next will see him through a little longer until we upgrade him to one like this from furniture123.

Mid Rise sleeper

Whilst one remains rather fickle regarding his pure love for Paw Patrol or Ben & Holly, I’m thinking a flexible decorating scheme could be advisable as something he can grow into and I can adapt without spending another fortune. I really like the idea of these stripes on a feature wall incorporating the navy blue without a solid block of colour which may close the room in a little. Also liking the idea of a splash of red.

As it would appear that the current obsession for this week is E.T (it is a classic I have to say!) I’m thinking that incorporating some stars into the space could create a little more interest without having too much of a fixed ‘theme’. I’m currently loving these curtains from John Lewis and the fact that the stars glow in the dark will surely be a winner with the judging panel.

I’m currently on the hunt for some space inspired wall stickers to ensure the room is in keeping with a 3.5 year olds imagination as I’m feeling that it could be a little too grown up for him. It must be a natural reaction to try and keep gawdy cartoon characters out of the way which is entirely impossible with a small person.

However, I have ordered this wardrobe and matching set of drawers from M&S which rather handily is currently in the sale.

And after all this, I’m still yet to solve the problem of toy storage which was the main catalyst for the re-decorating project. It seems there are a plethora of options available so that shall be my next step – toy storage, more research required! x

11 Weeks Pregnant – What’s Been Happening

So we’ve sped along from a 6 weeks pregnant blog post to an 11 week update. You may be wondering what’s been happening in between?

Well, it turns out that having a 3 year old in tow, working almost full time and preparing for Christmas doesn’t half create a tremendous distraction from the early pregnancy aches and pains that seemed to last forever during my first pregnancy.

The nausea has been something of a constant companion, coming and going over the last 6 weeks. I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security as its abated only to come back with an absolute vengeance. The initial belly bloat has subsided only to be replaced with that ‘I ate too many mince pies’ layer of Christmas blubber. Don’t think I can blame the pregnancy for that, I really have eaten too many mince pies!

Sharp tummy muscle pains have also been a favourite and every time a feel a sneeze coming on I’m never sure how long I’ll be clutching my tummy for. The best symptom though has to be the psychedelic dreams, which go some way to making up for the pregnancy insomnia. I never knew my imagination could be quite so wild and I can’t quite remember how long they lasted for in my 1st pregnancy but they generally cause me to wake with a chuckle.

I have felt pretty tired I guess but a more accurate description could be just a little bit ‘meh’. I usually love to fill every second of my time and am pretty productive on an evening but of late it comes to 8.30-9.00pm and I am completely done in. We have been extra busy on the run up to Christmas due to meals with friends, full days out and Father Christmas Fun Runs (don’t ask) but I’ve still felt much less motivated than I usually am. I had my first blood count taken the week before Christmas and had a call from the Doctor yesterday to confirm I’m anaemic. Already. Isn’t it a bit early for all that? I had a few health issues with my 1st pregnancy (preeclampsia and all that jazz) but that wasn’t until much later.

I was initially pretty disappointed to be told there would be a prescription waiting to be picked up but, on reflection, realise that it does answer the question as to why I haven’t been feeling myself.

We’ve got our 12 week scan next week which I can’t wait for. Although we had a 6 week scan and saw the heartbeat pumping away, I’m keen to ensure that everything has developed properly and we’re on the right track. I’ll let you know how we get on! x

 

Early Days – 6 Weeks Pregnant

6 weeks pregnant scan

6 long months after an ectopic pregnancy back in April, I’m happy to report that we are once again pregnant and keeping everything crossed that this little bean is in the right place and hangs in there for the next 8 months.

After the miscarriage, we were determined to immediately start trying again but unfortunately things took a little longer than we had anticipated to resolve. I was extremely fortunate not to require any surgery but the Methotrexate prescribed takes a full 3 months (some say 6 months) to work its way back out of your system. In hindsight, having this additional time enforced upon us enabled me to get back to fitness and feel back in control after what was something of a surreal experience.

The midwives at our local early pregnancy unit were superb and immediately had me in for blood tests to check my HCG levels were rising at an ‘acceptable’ rate. It transpired that they were at a high enough rate not to require a second blood test as they expected to be able to see something when they scanned me. Cue an anxious wait of several days to have the scan – not due to the hospital but due to my work commitments. Work doesn’t half get in the way of life sometimes doesn’t it.

Before we went to see the sonographer, one of the midwives sat us down to talk us through what to expect. She was great. Due to having had an ectopic previously, I was at a higher risk of having another. Whilst the experience for some will undoubtedly make them super fearful of it happening again, I have to say that, for me, the opposite has proved to be the case. Being pregnant is completely out of my control. Sure, I can avoid alcohol, eat sensibly take the vitamins etc etc but ultimately, I have no control as to whether we will take home a baby at the end of it all. The husband on the other hand, was a nervous wreck as we went into the room for the scan. Men bloody well need us ladies to hold their hands that’s for sure.

6 weeks pregnant scan

As the cold gel was squirted on my tummy, as soon as the sonographer pressed down I knew this time was different. But familiar. Like the first time I was pregnant with my son. And I immediately knew that, for now, everything was ok. x

 

Progress Not Perfection – My 2017 Goals, A Work in Progress (Part 1)

barefoot coaching cards

Whilst everywhere I turn, there are lots of new years resolutions and goals being published for the world to see, it’s safe to say I’m currently in something of a reflect and review phase.

I’m a busy working mummy of one and whilst I love the idea of setting stretching visions, all too often these can become another pressure to the daily grind. Rather than a transformational change, I see my 2017 as being a process of incremental habit changes. Progress not perfection. Quite often, the thought of any change can be pretty mind blowing when you have the nursery run/sales pitch/this evenings dinner to think about, but it can be made all the more possible with the help of an inspirational mentor or coach to help you on your way. In the absence of a personal one-to-one with your personal Mr Motivator, one of the daily affirmation/review cards that are widely available could be a good place to start to break down your whirring thought processes into manageable chunks of meaningful information.

I’ve decided to use the Kim Morgan Coaching Cards for Every Day to get me started. Not only is Kim one of the leading coaches in her profession along with being a regular contributor to Psychologies magazine but I’ve had the privilege of attending a Springboard Training programme with her a few years ago and I absolutely loved it.

This is the card that I’ve pulled out of the pack today;

I’m going to try and pull a card out of the pack each week and let you know how I get on – bear with me though, this is the year of creating new habits so give me time to settle into the rhythm!

So, back to this weeks question; “What are your top 5 experiences in life so far?”

  1. Having my son (everyday is a new experience, some better than others!)
  2. Taking the leap to go self-employed
  3. Completing my MBA
  4. Travelling to India alone
  5. Meeting my husband (cheesy but I’m feeling sentimental, it’s the new year ok!)

What are your top 5 experiences in life and how did they make you feel? x

 

Clingy Toddler Alert & The Three-nage Years – Lessons Learned

Dealing with a clingy toddler (he’s nearly 3, can I still class him as a toddler?) in my view challenges parents to the extreme.

At 3 years of age, my son is now old enough to declare (loudly) what he does and doesn’t like but the skill of rationalising opinions and decisions is still a rather complex matter for his little developing grey matter.

During mid August, I was very lucky to go away for 4 days with my friend for some husband and child free girly fun. We certainly explored the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and it’s array of street food and beverages to the full. This resulting in me returning with what I can only describe as man-flu – 3 days off work confined to bed with aches, pains and a miserable cold.

In true female form, I bounced back just in time to head off on another girls jolly to Ibiza with my sister. I’m not going to deny it was bliss – sunshine, uninterrupted beach time and the odd glass of rioja made for a fantastic break.

Having returned refreshed (well, as refreshed as anyone is after a 4 day break on the party island) I was completing final preparations for my sons 3rd birthday. However, my best laid plans for a kiddy-centric celebratory day were promptly thrown out of the window when he suddenly became very poorly and was diagnosed with pneumonia. Don’t worry, he’s recovered well and we’re returning to some semblance of normality. So why am I telling you all of this? Well it would appear that following my unusual absence on holibobs (I’m NEVER away from home overnight), a poorly episode and a birthday, we appear to have in our midst the dreaded Three-nager!

Now, my son has always been the fairly chilled cuddly but confident general picture of loveliness. We’ll gloss over the biting stage at 18 months, that’s for another post. However, since recent events he’s become an emotional and extremely clingy little terror. When I reflect It’s certainly been an unsettling time for him but when, on a Monday morning it takes a full hour to stop the tears and tantrums to get him in the car to nursery, the calm reflection goes out of the window. Whilst we’re certainly not out of the woods of this behavioural stage yet, I can share with you a few nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned along the way so far, for what they’re worth;

  1. Stay calm

If I get upset, he gets upset. I’ve I get angry he goes nuclear. Me having an extreme reaction doesn’t stop his frustration but staying calm definitely eases it

2. Offer comfort

Now, I tried the discipline bit to stop the tantrums but that didn’t work for us. Comfort and cuddles did work, but with a firm approach. I don’t want to be a walkover but when sometimes you just need to cry it out, a cuddle always helps to ease the sobs.

3. Distraction and reward

I’m not a reward chart kind of mum. Don’t get me wrong, they have their place and never say never, but it’s not an approach we currently use. What does seem to work is to distract to a positive event that’s coming up, be it a day out or meeting up with some friends to take the attention away from the current moment of angst.

4. Wine

Ah yes, the solution to most things of a parenting nature, after bedtime of course so you can drink uninterrupted! Seriously though, sometimes when you feel you’ve tried absolutely everything a break is what you need to re-group, gather your thoughts and be ready to face the next day. It may be wine, it may be a session at the gym but some unwind time seriously helps you to think of some more tactics to face the next day with!

Good luck parenting friends and if the UN ever have a vacancy for a negotiator, feel smug in the fact that you would nail the job description in spades!

Unexpected Get Aways – Ibiza 2016

ibiza sunset

I was recently very lucky to be invited by my sister to join her for an Ibiza great escape. Certainly an unexpected get away to the year having not expected to be flying in a plane at all this year! Don’t get me wrong, we had a lovely family week in Norfolk during the summer heatwave but there’s something special about airport departure lounges and aeroplane food that still has that same magic from my first childhood holiday to Majorca many years ago.

Now before we get started, the holiday was a competition win courtesy of my sisters mother-in-law. At almost 70, when she entered the competition on the side of a Pringles tube, she didn’t anticipate a 3 night stay at the Ibiza Rocks hotel with VIP entry to the closing party and free San Miguels all night. She had probably anticipated a more sedate holiday. Lucky for us.

Having visited Ibiza many times before, I was really looking forward to heading back to the White Isle after a 4 year hiatus. Even more excited that it would be a girls only holiday with no children in tow. I do love holidaying with my son (and the husband obvs!) but the thought of laying and reading a book on the beach instead of building sandcastles and relentless kiddy entertaining was pretty appealing!

Now, let’s get the accommodation part out of the way straight away. We were slightly dubious that we would be at the upper end of the average age scale (by approx. 20 years!) staying at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel but we needn’t have worried as it was a complete mixed bag of guests. But this is certainly a party hotel which our ‘Stage View Room’ confirmed as soon as we arrived.

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The accommodation is really very basic but the kind of hotel guest that this place attracts isn’t looking for luxury, they just want somewhere to lay their head in the early hours of the morning. However, the Ibiza Rocks brand does appear to have recognised that they would be wise to invest in something a little more upmarket for the returning Ibiza kid now in their 30’s like me and have created the Sol House Ibiza concept for the more discerning traveler who likes to believe they can still throw some shapes with the young ones.

Ses Salines beach

Whilst we had some relaxing beach days at Ses Salines (my favourite beach and home to The Jockey Club) and Cala Comte (beautiful but absolutely packed) we still partied like it was 2004. Our VIP entry to the Ibiza Rocks closing party meant we had a great view of Wolf Alice performing and the after party at Pikes Hotel certainly provided a little peek of the secret Ibiza we all hear about.

pikes

The famous Sunset Strip and home to Café Mambo and Café Del Mar is still ever popular thanks to the beautiful backdrop of the fantastic sunset. It’s certainly the coolest (and probably most expensive) place on the island but it has lost a little of it’s charm since the days of wonky tables on the rocks and clambering across uneven ground to get to it. However, way more comfortable and in line with health and safety standards I’m sure.

ibiza sunset

We stayed out until 6am, got ourselves a little sunburnt and I read a whole book whilst I was there. Although we had little sleep, I came back refreshed and revitalized. There’s something about the island that takes away all of your worries and, just for a short time, instead of being the mum/wife/worker you’re you again x

 

 

The Gloworm Family Festival – Our Big Day Out

gloworm

Our trip to the Gloworm festival yesterday was our first experience of a family centred festival so we were a little uncertain on quite what to expect. Rather than having a backpack laden with beer, waterproof mascara and wet wipes we (fortunately) had a pushchair loaded with a healthy picnic, raspberry lemonade and an emergency potty. How times have changed.

We were fortunate enough to know one of the performers scheduled to entertain on the day so we picked up our VIP lanyards and headed off to see what we could find. On arrival, our first thoughts were that the site didn’t appear that big. Now, this could mainly be due to many years of watching Glastonbury on the TV from the comfort (and dryness) of our living room. We needn’t have worried, the site was jam packed with activities for the little people and we actually ran out of time to explore everything.gloworm site view

First off was a quick visit to the vintage fun fair for a trip on the big wheel. There were no flashing lights, cheesy music or ‘scream if you want to go faster’ funfair cliches here. We found a lovely little tea cup ride, swing boats and a good old helter skelter.

A quick pit stop at the Pims shed followed (ahem, the kids didn’t have all the fun) and we then headed off to see the fantastic stand of White Post Farm where there were chicks hatching along with goats chickens and even a full size cow model that the kidlets could ‘milk’.

Our small person particularly loved the little balance bike assault course set up by Fox Cycling but it was so popular I haven’t been able to include any pics – I like to think there’s a bit of online etiquette in showing pics with other peoples little-ies.

Whilst there was face painting available, the queue was ridiculous but we occupied ourselves with a little musical interlude on the various random instruments that added a little colour (and a lot of noise!) on a cloudy day.

pink piano

As well as activities, there were plenty of ‘celebrities’ to meet such as Peppa Pig, Thomas the Tank Engine and a lady dressed as a mermaid on a trailer. Not sure who she was (look, I’m still relatively new to this parenting thing) but I reckon in the world of 4-7 year olds, she was probably a big deal.

The day was closed by the legendary Dick & Dom who gave much needed energy to a worn out crowd of mum and dads who had braved the rain to make the most of the family festival entrance fee and stay till the very end.

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Dick and Dom not only took us down memory lane with a classic rendition of ‘Bogeys’ and ‘2 word tango’ (remember those) but also pumped out some well known drum and base and Prodigy classics. Parents in the crowd, for a fleeting moment, took themselves back to their pre-children festival days before a small hand tugging their pac-a-mac and requesting a poo-poo took them out of their momentary nostalgic revelry.

Overall, we absolutely loved it and are definitely family festival converts. As for festival camping with kids in tow next year? Lets not get too carried away, the aforemention Pimms shed would need to be well and truly fully stocked for that to stand a chance of ever happening x

gloworm

*Please note, we were not paid to attend the Gloworm Festival and we received tickets only due to a personal connection with one of the performers. We just absolutely loved the day, hence the post!

Shed Makeover & Beach Hut Love

Beach Hut Shed

Following our recent holiday to Norfolk paired with a slight obsession with whole coastal decor look (I know I’m pretty late to the party on that one) we decided to give our little shed a little makeover. We’ve got a reasonably sized garden for a new build property, and wedged into a unused section is a shed containing numerous stylish garden accoutrements such as a childrens pop up tent (that does not bloody pop down), several broken garden chairs and the lawnmower.

Let’s face it, we all have a shed to hide the stuff we don’t want other people to see and whilst the shed is pretty much tucked away, it seemed a bit of a missed opportunity not to go a little more ‘out there’ to liven things up.

Keen gardeners that we are (ahem) we’re planning on making a better use of our outdoor space and this was the first baby step towards that. Let’s face it, as parents we know spend way more time in our home and garden than we ever used to so it makes complete sense to make it a pretty nice place to hang out.

Now, doing any kind of DIY is pretty tricky with an almost 3 year old, cue a little late night painting.

shed painting

So in case any of you were wondering, it gets dark pretty early already in August so crack on if you’re going to start an evening outdoor job! The blue shade is Cuprinol’s Forget-Me-Not and the white is Pale Jasmine. We touched up some areas once it had dried but we could really have gotten away with the one coat. We then went the whole hog with the life ring from Dorset Gifts…..well, it’s not worth being half hearted about these things is it!

Beach Hut Shed

We’re pretty pleased with the result and it certainly lifts the whole garden. We are looking to continue the theme with some kind of beach hut in which we can put some comfy seats and make the most of the English weather. What I mean is somewhere we can shelter from the rain, turn the music up a little and crack open the wine without disturbing the small person! x