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.

 

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

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

 

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.

img_9705

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

 

 

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

Summer Holidays & A Heatwave

Norfolk Holidays

How lucky were we to go on our summer holiday during the one week of summer in the UK? As we trundled across to a fairly overcast Norfolk, I was filled with some trepidation as to how exactly I was going to entertain an almost 3 year old (+ a husband) on the anticipated rainy days. Well, it turns out I didn’t need to worry at all!

Norfolk Holidays

I know for those of you that spent the hottest day of the year in an air conditioned (if you were lucky!) office, workplace or even if you were doing your regular routine at home, hearing a smug account of one of the few people who experienced Mediterranean weather on an English Costa is not going to float your boat. But don’t click away just yet, I’m not going to bore you with the tedium of our beach trips, kite flying and al fresco dining (I did give the smug-off warning!) I think this post is really a reflection on expectations versus reality.

Sandcastle

Don’t get me wrong, I was certainly looking forward to our summer holiday in terms of having a change of scene and getting a break from the routine, lord knows not everyone is lucky enough to even do that. But, well you know, holidaying in the UK just doesn’t hold the same coconut scented sun cream appeal of holidaying abroad. But, when on the Tuesday of our week away, I was watching my 3 year old create an elaborate seashell construction whilst the husband flew the aforementioned kite and I sizzled in the sunshine on the beach, I realised that it isn’t half bad when you give it a chance.

We stayed in a lovely cottage in a small village called Thornham (check out www.norfolkhideaways, the accommodation selection is excellent) and far from a regular early evening indoors in front of the TV whilst the small person slept upstairs, we had late night (by late night read 7.30pm – rock and roll!) trips to the local pub for dinner, always eaten outside. We all slept in a little later in the mornings (yay, he slept really well in the too-big double bed) and explored the local beaches, country houses and, mandatory with a small person, a wide selection of parks.

Sure, it was a little different from the pre-kiddy holidays in Ibiza and the like, but really, life’s a little different now. Now it’s full of ice cream, play tents and, more than anything, the happiest of times.

My Top 5 Productivity Tips

As a working mum, my time is extremely precious and I’m always looking for productivity tips to help me keep hold of my sanity. Well for most of the time anyway. There are a ton of productivity and efficiency gurus out there who are way better at this stuff than me, but I have found the following approach helps me to stay on track.

  1. Make Lists

When I have lots and lots of things going on, it can be difficult to keep track of what to do when. The result is that more often than not, nothing gets done at all and I feel super unproductive and overwhelmed. There are tons of productivity apps out there that come really highly recommended https://www.wunderlist.com being one of the most popular. However, I’m a pen and paper kind of gal and have therefore taken quite a liking to the Bullet Journalling approach. You can find out more about it here http://bulletjournal.com/

2. Save the best until last and do the worst first

Sometimes it’s not the array of tasks that suck up our time, it’s the extensive procrastination that we’re all guilty of at one time or another. When we put off something that we really don’t want to do, we dilly dally around (or as I like to call it, faff about) with really unimportant stuff, almost finding false reasons to delay doing the job we really need to do.

3. Don’t put things off

Similar to the previous point and we all do this one at one time or another. My favourite is the quarterly accounts in the office and my ironing at home. By the time I finally muster up the urge to do either (usually the threat of the taxman or having nothing to wear does the trick!) I have a huge backlog to get through that means other important tasks get left behind. And so the other backlogs build. And then the circle of not being able to plan your time effectively due to external pressures takes effect.

4. Work with your energy not against it 

I am not a morning person. Ever. It takes me a good 2 hours and several cups of coffee before I am all over getting things done. By 2pm, the post lunch snooze slump hits followed by the 8pm post dinner (and sometimes wine) energy boost. Some suggest that leaving complex tasks for when you have an energy low can revitalise you. That does NOT work for me. I’m all about getting things done when I feel I am fully functioning at my optimum. Just to re-iterate, never book a meeting with me at 2pm.

5. Tidy House/Desk = Tidy Mind

I know I know, such a cliché but so true. Although we live in a digital world, the nature of my business means that I am surrounded by paper constantly. And I can tell you, it’s sometimes a challenge to see over the top of it, never mind keep on top of it. However, when my workspace become smaller than a 15cm ruler squared, I know its time for a sort out. And it feels so good when my desk is clear again.

 What time saving and productivity tips help you keep on top of things? I’d love to hear from you! x

 

The New Tupperware Team Leaders – The Rise of the Mummy Blogger

When reading about the mummy blogger movement which has exploded in recent years, I have heard many references such as ‘the modern Tupperware team leaders’ and I can’t decide whether it amuses me or frustrates me.

Don’t get me wrong, having had past experiences in the world of party planning businesses back in the day, it’s not that I find the comparison derogatory in any way as in fact I earned a nice bit of cash from Virgin Vie (what did happen to them?) thank you very much. It just seems to be a lightly veiled pat on the head kind of comparison. You know ‘Awww, how nice she does that to earn a bit of spending money’. Hmmm, not sure many mummy bloggers start of in this time consuming world for a bit of spending money. Perhaps to pay for the swimming lessons, school trips, holidays etc. Spending money, what’s that??

For me, the rise of the blogging mummy appears to be a sign of something much more significant. That women are creative in stretching their own abilities and are capable of achieving great things. Back in the pre-internet era (anyone below the age of 20 may need to google this historic period in time) women used what resources where available to them to satisfy their entrepreneurial spirit and yes, that included the classic Tupperware parties, Virgin Vie (god bless all who sailed in her) and Anne Summers – is that one still going? The digital world has certainly created more opportunity to no longer be constrained by company structures and direct selling. The digital world is a little more subtle than that in terms of earnings and revenue. The digital world takes creativity, resilience, technical ability and, above all, the passion to create something unique.

I think women have always had a flair for maximising all of the resources available to them in order to create opportunities for ourselves and for our loved ones. But it has moved forward in terms of creating further intellectual challenge. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone can create a successful income earning blog. So perhaps the Tupperware comparison is a little tongue in cheek as we are no longer looked down upon and patted on the head. Instead we are looked up to as a force to be reckoned with.

Women everywhere who are burning the midnight oil tap tap tapping away, I salute you! x

 

Shiny Object Syndrome – 5 tips

I’ve seen the reference to ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ all over the place recently and it’s certainly something I suffer from. I don’t mean from an ‘I must buy that fancy new kitchen appliance that I shall use once” i.e. the breadmaker, nutribullet……who, me? But seriously, I think it’s more from an information overload perspective.

We now find ourselves surrounded by marketing and media at every turn thanks mainly to the power of the iphone. Anyone remember when mobiles first came out, we thought it was just wild to use it as a phone but also send a text message, like that was EVER going to catch on. Hmmmm.

Well, although this new media world brings a whole world of freedom and a sense of escapism, it isn’t half a ginormous distraction not only from a personal perspective but as a business owner.

Hours can be completely lost checking out twitter feeds or linked in profiles as you flit between emails and writing that proposal that needs to go out by Friday gets relegate to midnight on Thursday. The latest Google search news interrupts my document production time (I’m in legal services by day!) as I think that perhaps we too should write a blog post about that thing that I briefly saw on that Linked in post from someone – cue wasting 20 minutes finding something that is probably irrelevant and also just not that important. Do NOT even get me started on You Tube – that sucks up time into some crazy vortex of business motivational speakers and make up tutorials that I will never properly remember when attempting a ‘cat eye’ whilst having a toy car thrown at my head by my 2 year old.

I’ve had a think about the 5 things that I’m going to try and do to avoid this distraction cataclysm that eats into my productivity – you might want to give them a go and let me know how you get on;

  1. Mono-Task & Focus

Forget all this multi-tasking nonsense. Yes, as women we can naturally think about what’s for dinner tonight whilst conducting a client presentation and messaging your friend about the much needed Friday night out. Focus on what you’re doing and you’ll be more effective, finish to a higher standard and in less time

2. Be Present

Whilst I’m busy juggling multiple tasks, I often miss what’s right in front of my nose. Clients subtle cues about their concerns, my son slightly worried about where his favourite racing car has gone. Life in general.

3. Reflect

Review the day. Often we’re achieved more than we realise and by acknowledging this, we can create a sense of satisfaction that may limit the need to search for more.

4. Time Management

Ok, I’m not suggesting I can for one minute cure my you tube addiction over night and nor should I. Sometimes we use this information searching quest as wind down time which is great. Just time limit it so that it doesn’t take over

5. Complete a task in one session

Sounds simple? As we flit between medias, we take much longer to complete individual tasks and probably to a lesser standard. Have a go at completing a task from start to finish without interruption and see how it makes you feel. Even better, make it something that you’ve been putting off for ages and give yourself a well earned pat on the back when you get it done.

Will be great to hear how you avoid distractions and increase your productivity! x

 

 

You Baby Me Mummy

It’s All About You

Hello lovely people on the interweb. Its’s been a little while since I’ve posted on here but following on from a business networking event last night with lots of lovely women I thought I would share some musings that I gleaned from the evening.

We were fortunate enough at the event to have a guest speaker who’s subject matter was all about physical fitness. Or was it.

The lovely Lisa from OptiMum Health come along to chat to us about her experiences in the fitness sector. It’s fair to say, Lisa is not your average personal trainer by any stretch of the imagination. As someone who has had first hand experience of juggling work with children along with a whole host of other demands, she knows how difficult it is sometimes to see the big picture. She takes a holistic approach to health, recognising the importance of the wellness of the mind and the associated impact on the wellness of the body. Her passion about the subject shone through and what struck me is that she presented the whole of her self to us.

She clearly has a great knowledge about wellness but she has a great interest in people too. It felt like she was talking to each and everyone of us in the room. She shared her own vulnerabilities as well as her learning experiences and her successes. Essentially, she is a fantastic speaker, business woman and thoroughly lovely person. Like a said, definitely not your average personal trainer.

January seems to be awash with individuals, business and corporations promising to help you achieve your goals and change your life. Really?

For me, its refreshing to meet someone who is truly passionate about teaching people to see something oh-so-very simple. Its all about You.

 

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