GO on, I beg of you.
You’ll be in good company too I promise, because I’m just about to do exactly that.
I’ve been sitting here for a good couple of hours now working, but there’s nothing else left in the tank, so to speak. I’m supposed to be sat here writing blog posts and catching up with emails.
You know, all the kind of stuff, a busy freelancing blogger is supposed to do, but I can’t carry on today.
I’ve had enough.
WHY, hello there!
How the devil are you all? Are you all having a super Summer holiday?
I’m back from taking a little a break away from the blog to enjoy some special time with my family and I have to say getting back to work, isn’t as easy as I thought.
My body isn’t quite ready to get back into the swing of things (so to speak) as quickly as I imagined, so although I had planned on bringing you all a bit of a monster of a post today, I’ve decided to ease myself back in gently and give you all a little food for thought post instead.
So how was my break, I hear you ask?
Well, I’ll be honest it was pretty damn heavenly. I mean, just look at that photo of me above? Do I look happy or do I look happy?
Our week in Kefalonia was just what we all needed and the island was more beautiful than I’d dared hoped. I’ll be blogging about it shortly so if you love Greek Islands, stay tuned!
As promised, I wore not one but two bikinis with absolute pride and to prove that I stand by what I say, here’s me doing my posing thang in a little red two piece. (Oooh la la!)
I swam, I floated, I ate lots of delicious Greek food, I drank wine, I built sandcastles with Elsie and I watched the most beautiful sunsets and the stars come out at night.
And, for the first time in years, I read two books. TWO whole books! In a week! Such a treat, I tell you!
All in all, it was perfection.
Long gone are the heady, exciting days when my weekends were all about going out on ‘the razz’.
Now my idea of an exciting night is actually having a night in. (It’s the new ‘going out’ you know!)
Tonight I am looking forward to doing exactly that. Curling up on the sofa, with a glass of wine in hand (and the bottle nearby) and relaxing.
It’s true, I still do have occasions when I’m desperate to party with the best of ’em (and can) but now as a mum to a little one, I finally understand the simple beauty of less heady nights.
If, however, you’re sick and tired of seeing the same ol’ four walls on a weekend night, then here’s some inspiration for you.
20 things you can do with a ‘night in’ besides watching Googlebox.
1. Go to bed really early. To get some serious sleep. Tuck yourself in nice and early, as you would a small child and enjoy those zzzzz’s.
2. Go to bed, really early, for some hot lovin’! It’s good for you, you know. Fun too.
3. Throw a cocktail party. Get all your mates round, ask them to bring a bottle and create your own alcoholic concoctions. (Just make sure you don’t need to get up early in the morning. Cocktails and early morning wake up calls do not mix.)
4. Read a book. (Remember those days mums?!) Switch off the box, curl up and devour page after page after page.
5. Cook and enjoy a three course meal. Complete with candlelight, soft music, the works.
6. Or sod it and do what I do and order a takeaway! (Yay!) Serve with candlelight, soft music, the works.
7. Pamper yourself. Get out the foot spa you never use (just me?), pop a face mask on, slap on some hand cream and enjoy. Get hubby in on the action too. Men love this pampering stuff really.
8. Do a movie night. Pick a decent film, go wild with dips and crisps (like these #dipinfor5 beauties I was sent from Primula) and sit back and enjoy! (Can totally recommend Dallas Buyers Club and The Imitation Game)
9. Do a box set night. Pop on to Netflix and prepare to be blown away by House of Cards, Breaking Bad or Spartacus. (To name just a few).
10. Listen to music. Turn the lights down low, crack open the booze cabinet and let the ambient waves wash over you.
11. Make plans. Think big ideas. Grab a bottle of wine (it is the weekend) and brainstorm all the amazing ideas that come to mind. Who cares if you can’t tell what they are in the morning, your brain cells will love it.
12. Do something creative. Paint, make something, get crafty.
13. Do nothing. Put your feet up and relax. You’ve earned a break.
14. Devour some amazing blog posts. They are everywhere to be found (but if you need help, check out my recommended reading list for starters)
15. Create your dream life on Pinterest. Find the house you love, the clothes you want to wear, the cakes you want to bake. Admire, pin and dream.
16. Invite mates round for a meal. Cheaper than going out and much more intimate.
17. Have a PJ party because they’re not only for kids.
18. Throw an amazing party. Send the kids to the grandparents, whack up the volume, dance, drink, chat, flirt and party. (In no particular order).
19. Ring a mate you haven’t spoken to in ages or even better, write them a letter.
20. Errr… *runs out of ideas* watch Googlebox. It really is the best thing on TV.
Have an amazing weekend everyone!
Disclaimer – this is a collaborative post.
AS a Mum, a little spot of pampering is now a HUGE luxury these days.
(I know some of you will be nodding along in agreement to this!)
But with the weather turning warmer and sunnier (although admittedly not today) I decided I had to find the time to take my feet out of winter hibernation and treat them to a bit of tender loving care. Afterall, who wants ugly feet right?!
Here’s how to get pretty summer feet in five easy steps.
Step 1: A quick tidy up
Yep, before the pampering begins you need to take care of the basics. So remove any old nail varnish, trim and file your nails and show those cuticles a little love too.
Step 2: Enjoy the bubbles
Now the basics are all taken care of, it’s time to indulge and relax! Altogether now…aaaah.
I soaked, rested and massaged my feet using this divine Elle Macpherson Aromatherapy Foot Spa by HoMedics. With double the bubbles of other foot spas and a built in aromatic mister (swanky ey?) my feet really did feel reborn after. (Told you I don’t get much time for pampering these days).
The only thing missing was a glass of wine in my hand, but still it was a much needed treat. Haven’t got a foot spa? Fret not my lovelies, while this one is definitely worth splashing out on (get it?!) if you’d rather not, I reckon you could still get good results using just a bowl of warm water, some peppermint oil and a pumice stone.
Step 3: Get buffed!
Once your feet are soft, relaxed and feeling just damn right fabulous, now is the time to tackle those not so nice bits. You know, the bits we’d rather ignore. Areas of hardened skin etc. Gross I know.
I exfoliated and buffed my feet to baby softness with the brilliant Elle Macpherson Heel Smoother by HoMedics which at just under £20 is well worth the investment. But again if you haven’t got one to hand, a decent foot scrub or rub with a pumice stone will produce similar results.
Step 4: Add colour and polish
If naked toe nails are your thang then embrace them sister. But personally, I cannot stand unpainted toe nails! In fact whenever I remove polish from my nails, I’m always like “Wow, so that’s what you look like!”.
I used Babydoll Pink 08 from the COLLECTION Work The Colour Nail Polish range. And although normally I’d go much darker than this, I have to say I rather like it. Quite understated no?! Don’t forget to add a top coat to seal in that colour, add shine and help them stay chip free too.
Step 5: Moisturise
Some people may tell you to moisturise before you add your polish, but I like to do it afterwards as it feels like the icing on the cake to me!
After checking your nails are dry, completely dry (we don’t want any smudges!), rub in some cream – or better still get someone to rub it in for you – all over your footsies and treat them to a good ol’ dose of moisture!
My favourite cream at the moment is this Organic Manuka Honey Rescue Cream from Dr Organics. Besides the rather sickly honey smell (which is just not to my liking) you can’t go wrong with this pot of wonder stuff! It makes your skin super soft and has the most divine texture. (And if you fancy treating yourself to a pot, move quick! It’s currently on offer at Holland and Barrett, reduced from £8.89 to £6.67!)
And then voila! There you have it. Pretty, pampered feet ready for summer. As easy as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5! Now then, where are my flip flops?
Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Please do join me on Monday when I’ll be discussing how getting naked is helping to boost women’s confidence! (Ooo-er!)
*Disclaimer – HoMedics kindly sent me all the above goodies to try. (I know, I’m an incredibly lucky lady aren’t I?!)
ON FRIDAY, I was a little naughty as I decided to forego my usual busy blogging morning for a morning of total and utter pampering heaven instead.
It did mean not having a Friday Five post for you all (I wrote a one off Saturday Six post instead) but I hope and am pretty sure you’ll forgive me. After all, who doesn’t deserve some relaxation from time to time right?!
When I was pregnant I had a number of massage treatments to keep me and bump feeling happy and well, trying everything from reflexology to Ayurvedic pregnancy massage. I was determined to look after us both and for the first in my life, treated my body like a temple. Albeit an ever growing, blossoming one!
But since becoming a mum, in all honesty – and I know many of you will relate to this – looking after myself has fallen way down my list of priorities. Which is why when the lovely Rachael from Instinctive Health asked me if I’d like to try out a couple of new treatments, I could have wept with joy. An hour and a half of serious pampering and me time? What is NOT to love about that?!
So on Friday morning when most people were battling rush hour traffic and hot footing it to their desks, I was battling the traffic for a very different reason.
I arrived at my appointment with Clare Slack – one of the three Instinctive Health therapists – just in the nick of the time and was promptly whisked upstairs to Instinctive Health’s calming treatment room. After a brief chat with Clare about any health issues I was concerned about, it was time to begin.
And first up, was the hot stones massage.
I’ve never tried a hot stones massage before so was just expecting to have a number of warm stones placed on my back and kind of left there to do their magic! After all, that’s what you normally see in hot stones pictures right? (Or am I just a total idiot?!)
But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The hot basalt volcanic stones were never placed on my back, but instead held by Clare and incorporated into her various expert massage strokes to gently heat and warm up my tired, aching muscles. The massage also included the use of coconut oil which smelt heavenly and left my back silky soft. Always a rather lovely bonus!
The massage was truly relaxing, one of the most calming in fact that I’ve experienced to date and I imagine it would be of huge benefit to any mum whose muscles ache from carrying around their wee ones on their hips or backs all day, as well as those who sit at their desks hunched over a computer.
I also love the fact that Instinctive Health offers hot stones at no extra cost to all massages. Which means if you have a different massage booked in with them, all you need to do is request the addition of hot stones, if you’re feeling a little tense or achey.
After feeling truly zen-ed out, it was time for my next massage ( yes, I was thoroughly spoilt!) and the one I’d been most excited about trying. Mainly, because I’m just obsessed by anything to do with the Far East!
Unlike ‘hot stones’, I had never even heard of the TSUBOKI facial massage but I was certainly intrigued.
As explained by Clare, the TSUBOKI facial massage stems from the Japanese belief that true beauty comes through good health. It is a 45 minute facial massage which massages over 50 tsubos (energy points) and 8 meridians (channels) throughout the face, neck and shoulders and is designed to promote wellbeing throughout the entire body.
The facial massage is carried out in four stages and started with a massage to the neck and shoulders to increase circulation to my face and reduce muscular tension.
Next, Clare used the traditional Japanese oil camellia to do a detailed face massage which was followed by stimulation of tsubos points and meridians. And finally, the massage was finished with gentle lymphatic drainage to eliminate toxins.
I’m not going to lie, at times the massage felt a little weird, especially when there was some occasional tapping going on at various points on the face.
But. But. BUT!
I gotta tell you, the TSUBOKI facial massage was AMAZING. Pure and utter heaven in fact. Totally relaxing – much, much than I’d ever imagined – and oddly energising too. And whilst it is possible that I may have been imagining it, I swear my face looked more glowing, more refined and less puffy afterwards. I absolutely loved it and really how I could not? A treatment that combines beauty with well being can only ever be a win win situation.
HUGE thanks to the talented and lovely Clare who carried out my treatments and to Rachael for organising them. If you live in Sheffield or surrounding areas, please do check Instinctive Health out and their fabulous services. You won’t regret it.
(Just make sure you get in there before me, because you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be back for a TSUBOKI facial massage very soon!)
All of it! Having one treatment after the other was not only extra wonderful, but is also a great idea for those people (like me) who are strapped for time. I felt incredibly relaxed after the hot stones massage, whilst the TSUBOKI facial massage left me feeling calm but energised and ready to tackle the world!
Not really a worst bit as such but it’s worth bearing in mind that because both massages use oils, you will end up with some of it in your hair. So if you’ve got plans scheduled for after, it might be worth taking a hat or pinning it up, to avoid the ‘greasy locks’ look!
Thanks ever so much for stopping by. Make sure you tune in tomorrow when I’ll be announcing another very special giveaway! (If you love pretty things, you WON’T want to miss it!)
*Disclaimer – Both treatments were complimentary and kindly offered in exchange for my honest review.
P.S Many thanks to those of you who have kindly voted for me in the MAD Blog Awards. It really made my week to discover that I’ve been nominated for ‘Blog of the Year’! Mwah! :)
Following on from yesterday’s inspiring post, are some more words of wisdom from the courageous Emma Atack.
As a little follow up to every ‘your secrets’ story, I ask everyone who takes part to share a few tips with us all. After all, what better way is there to learn, than from someone who has already been there and got the T-shirt?!
I’d also like to take a wee moment to say a huge thank you to everyone who has got in touch about Emma’s story. The response, as always with this blog series, has been supportive, encouraging and positive and I’m not lying when I say that it really does warm my cockles. Especially when I receive tweets like the ones below. Lovely readers, you are awesome! x
From @mummymode: “as an endometriosis sufferer I feel your pain and am inspired by you! Wonderful read xx”
From @CoutureSoul: “Well done Emma – big move for you doing that! Always there when i need you – Friends for life xx”
From @raredisease001: “so inspirational! With an unstoppable child with a rare disease; I believe we are only given as much as we can cope with.”
Emma’s tips on dealing with illness and finding the sunshine through the rain!
- Be kind to yourself and take care of your body. Respect it – think nutrition and allow yourself to rest.
- Don’t judge others. Remember the majority of disabilities we are unable to see and it’s not a competition. I remember following surgery asking a woman working in a shop to pass me a newspaper from the bottom shelf. She tutted and I felt obliged to justify myself why I had asked. She responded ‘well you think you’ve got a bad back, mine is terrible’. I just burst into tears.
- Mental health is exactly that – mental health. If you are offered help it does not mean you are weak, it simply means that your mind is poorly, just like other parts of your body get ill. I regularly see a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist at the pain clinic and have learnt just how powerful the human mind is.
- Grief is not only when someone dies, it relates to ‘loss’. In my case the loss of my old life.
- Tablets have a time, a place and usually side-effects. Of course take them if you really need to, but for me I’ve had enough of taking pain killers. I’ve gone on to find that acupuncture works wonders for me, as does keeping stress at bay and moving around. Going for a walk is the best medicine.
- Remember you don’t see people on their worst days as they are usually unable to leave the house!
- Try not to moan about work. Trust me work gives a person a sense of purpose, something to get up for in the morning. It may sound good the thought of not working but the reality is very different.
- When the chips are down, remember you really learn who your true friends are. In my case I learnt that I have the most amazing husband. We really have tried and tested the vows ‘in sickness and in health’.
Again, I’d like to say a big thank you to Emma for sharing her story with us on Pouting In Heels. It’s certainly made me realise how lucky I am to be healthy and pain free and also how I really need to start valuing and looking after my body more, to help ensure I stay this way.
What have you learned from Emma? Have you got anything to share which could help Emma or others suffering from chronic pain?
Till the next time, always look for that glimmer of sunlight!
SOOO… I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog of late but for a very good reason.
I‘ve been fighting the lurgy. As too has my husband and little Elsie. Yep, for the past week or so, our precious household has been under attack from germs a plenty.
Thankfully, we all seem to now be coming out on the other side and today, for the first time in about a week, I’m finally beginning to feel like my old self again. Hoorah to that!
It is of course though THAT time of year, when bugs strike and we fall ill from time to time. But when sickness strikes and you feel rotten, take heart. For good things can come out of feeling ill.
Don’t believe me?
Here are five good things that can come from being poorly.
You get to rest
I’m always talking about how we all need to rest more and give ourselves a break, but I’m the first one to admit that this is also easier said than done.
However, when you’re ill, it becomes very hard to ignore the fact that every cell of your being is screaming at you to rest and so, most of us (the sensible ones at least) succumb to our weary bodies and take things much easier for a while.
It’s true that being forced to rest up because you’re ill can be incredibly annoying – especially when it ruins some amazing plans you may have – but it’s also our body’s way of telling us that enough is enough. So when your body just flat out refuses to get up and go, you my friends, should try and enjoy the rest.
It gives you precious thinking time
A pleasant knock on effect from being forced to rest, is that you also get to grab some ‘you’ time, to think and ponder. The key to using this thinking time productively, I find, is not to dwell on anything negative and to think positive instead.
Use your ‘poorly time’ to really think about your life, your relationships, your career or even make plans for the future. Is there a bad habit you know you need to break? Are you spending too much time with people who are emotionally draining and selfish? Have you been neglecting yourself?
Being ill is a great time to evaluate how you feel about all kind of things so use the time wisely to mull things over.
Instead of doing, you can enjoy just ‘being’
Rest and recuperation means just that, so if and when you do get ill, put your to-do list to the side and leave it there to gather dust for a while.
Let’s face it, when you’re sick, you just don’t feel up to doing the housework, writing that business proposal or putting up that shelf. So forget about them all for now. Stop doing and just be.
Now is the perfect time to curl up under a duvet with a giant stash of magazines, catch up on your favourite TV shows that you’ve missed or snooze the day away in a tub full of bubbles.
The world can wait for a day or two for your presence, so take the time to catch your breath, enjoy the moment and get better.
You can eat whatever you like
Ok, so admittedly when you’re ill, eating is often the last thing you feel like doing. However you will need to keep your energy levels up and to do this, you need to drink lots of fluids and eat.
I find, that when I’m not well, the trick to making myself eat is to eat whatever I fancy. So whilst usually I try really hard to eat a healthy diet, when I’m poorly and my stomach is begging for a greasy cheese burger and a gigantic bar of chocolate, then I happily give in and indulge.
If you do find yourself craving wholesome soup and fruit, then even better. But if you like me, you only want the naughty foods when you’re poorly, don’t kick yourself because you feel like eating junk for a day or two.
Getting through illness is about surviving, which means doing whatever it takes to get better as soon as possible. So eat as much as you can (within reason obviously) of whatever you fancy and don’t worry if your healthy eating goes to a pot for a while.
***This rule also applies to early pregnancy too. When the sickness and nausea strikes just eat what you can. (For me, crackers and Dairylea were the only food I could stomach!)
It’s a great eye-opener when it comes to who cares (and who doesn’t)
It’s easy to be surrounded by plenty of friends when life is treating you well and you’re on a high. But it’s only when your chips are down or you feel at rock bottom, that you realise who your true friends are.
Sickness – like with other miserable life events – is a brilliant opportunity to identify who in your life truly cares about you. If you’re unsure about someone in your life, don’t look at how they treat you when you’re happy and having a good time, look instead at how they treat you when you’re ill, sad, in pain or are suffering.
The people who really care, who really love you and have your best interests at heart will be there to support you through the dark times whilst the others will magically disappear and reappear when you’re back to normal and fighting fit.
When it comes to figuring out people in your life, sickness can really open your eyes to those who care and those who don’t, so use the opportunity to identify the people that don’t treat you as you deserve.
What do you think? Are there are any other positives to be gleamed from being ill? What other things can we learn about ourselves when sickness strikes?
Till the next time, have a wonderful (and germ free) weekend!
Hello! I'm Kate - an award winning family & lifestyle blogger, freelance writer & mum.
1st book & 2nd baby both due in 2017. (Yep, I'm a little excited.)
Here I share my tales of how I try to strut my way - but often find myself hobbling (don't we all?!) - through life & parenting.
I do hope you'll enjoy what you read. Thanks so much for popping by. x