Summer Is On It’s Way – Time To Buy A Bike…

Finally the warmer weather is on it’s way, the wellies and winter coats are in the back of the cupboard and the spring macs and denim jackets are making their first hopeful apprearances!

It’ time to consider making preparations for your long awaited sunny afternoons to come on the not too distant future – here are a few things to consider…

BUY A NEW BIKE

One of the best ways to get out and enjoy the sunshine, take in some fresh air and get some exercise while having great fun, is to get out on a bike – you can take them anywhere and travel as far as you like, go with as many people as you like and catch up with chit-chat along the way. Check out these deals on cheap bikes – great prices on bikes for him, for her and even the kids – you could get kitted out with your cycling helmets and a bike lock while you’re at it – and there’s a sale on right now – check out the bike racks too – this will give you loads more options if there’s a country park, reservoir, nature reserve local to you, you could sling the bikes on the back if the car and take your pic of destination.

INVEST IN A PICNIC KIT

There are a few options here but it’s an essential item for visits to the park with the kids (they always need a snack).

You could go for the super cute, vintage wicker basket, or a more practical backpack style – a better option if the kids are younger and want carried everywhere. These have cups, plates and cutlery all tidied away in their own little compartment – so all you need to do is pop some food and drinks in and you’re ready to go.

TIDY UP THE GARDEN

The weather we’ve had over the last few months has done the grass no favours so pick up some weed and feed, then have a look at treating yourself to some new garden furniture and maybe some garden storage – and brighten the place up with some plants.

IF YOU’RE CONSIDERING DIETING – BE REALISTIC!

The summer is just around the corner and you’re probably planning your summer holiday – if you want to shift a few pounds do it sensibly and be kind to yourself.

TREAT YOURSELF TO NEW SANDALS

Treat your feet! Buy some beautiful, bright sandals, get a few pairs and get a pedicure!

Bike for summer

Away you go and enjoy your summer – Don’t forget your shades and suncream!

*This is a collaborative post*

Continue Reading

My Shake That Weight Experience – Day 2

Today was good – I feel like I coped better than yesterday and am pleased to report that I wasn’t starving when I woke up, so that was a surprise. The only time I felt really hungry during the day was while I was preparing dinner – I.was.starving – but managed not to sneak anything I didn’t need.

Breakfast – I tried the Porridge Paradise, usually I love porridge, but this was far too sweet for me (probably how everyone else likes it – I’m more of a savoury girl in the mornings).

Shake That Weight – porridge for breakfast

I tried two small spoonfuls but couldn’t eat it, so I had a large banana instead and was comfortable until 12:00.

Lunch – Sweet and Sour Chicken – this is probably the first ready meal I’ve ever eaten and while it can’t compete with home cooking, I was once again pleasantly surprised! My only negative comment is that the serving suggestion was to add 150g of bok choy – which I think is just plain cruel when the packaging clearly shows it on a large bed of rice – so I had rice, but half the amount I’d usually have and it was plenty. I really enjoyed it – every last, non bok choy grain of it.

Shake That Weight – sweet and sour chicken for lunch

Afternoon – Milk Choc Joy – I loved both the texture and the taste – Shake That Weight have done well, it really satisfied my sweet tooth but wasn’t massively over powering. Gorgeous.

Shake That Weight – snack – milk choc bar

Dinner – Crunchy Garlic Chicken – this was so good that once again I forgot to take a photo so I’ve popped a screen shot from the site I found the recipe on – was over in calories but not by masses and still left a big deficit from what I’d usually have during the course of a day.

I was peckish at around 8:30pm so snacked on a handful of grapes and a big slice of honeydew melon – beautiful.

I’ve also drank FIVE pints of water today and wee’d appoximately 1,000,000 times – which is really convenient, but I’m feeling good so far.

Continue Reading

My Shake That Weight Experience – Day 3

So I know that absolutely none of you are completely bored to tears with me banging on about my diet – but I’ll track my progress here anyway as I’m expecting big things from this – I need decent results as I have precisely zero will power when left to my own devices – so posting here and sharing with you lovely lot keeps me accountable. Here’s what has passed my lips today…

Breakfast – Chocolate Heaven Shake – I really like these and could have one every day – so tasty and just enough to keep me going for most of the morning.

Shake That weight – Chocolate Heaven Shake

Mid Morning – Salt and Vinegar Crisps. These really hit the spot and kept me on track – great strong flavour and really crunchy.

Shake That Weight – Salt and vinegar crisps

Lunch – Cheeky Chicken Curry Flavoured Noodles – these were OK – Not the nicest thing I’ve tried so far but texture was good and it had plenty of flavour – I found it really filling too which is great.

Shake That Weight– cheeky chicken curry flavoured noodles

Dinner – Home Made Bolognaise – the kids we’e annoyed that I’d ran out of spaghetti #mumfail, but this was lovely – I know I went over on calories with this but it was so good and I will not snack later!

Shake That Weight dinner

I struggled more with drinking water today than yesterday, only managing three pints but still better than usual.

Not bad at all – I’d be lying if I said the beers in the fridge weren’t whispering ‘drink us….drink us…’ – but other than that, I don’t miss anything – although I’ve been cheekily snacking on fruit as I love the stuff- hopefully it won’t do too much damage!

Continue Reading

My Shake That Weight Experience – Day 4

Last night I went to bed hungry, stomach rumbling, slightly uncomfortable hungry – it’s probably not far off how we should feel going to bed – but it’s been a while since I’ve felt like that. This would have been fine if the two year old had decided to sleep, but there were intermittent wake ups all night – which is great – helped loads. This morning I feel like I’m starting to notice a difference – my dream target of a stone is probably not achievable, but I tink I can shake half a stone during the course of this two weeks. Here’s how I got on today…

Breakfast – Porridge – not a Shake That Weight one though, I tried theirs the other day and it was too sweet so I had to chose a supermarket alternative – the one I had was mixed with milk and although that’s not part of the plan I do worry with eating no cheese in the evenings (boo) and not really having milk in my diet (this is normal for me as I drink black coffee), a little calcium top up can’t hurt too much.Shake That weight – breakfast – porridge

Lunch – Creamy Chicken Soup – This was OK – sort of like a cuppa soup – the taste was good but it needed texture, not bad and I’ll have it again.

Shake That Weight- lunch – chicken soup

Afternoon – Maple and Almond Bliss bar – I took the girls to the farm for a bit and this stopped me from being tempted by the cake there – it was lovely.

Shake That Weight – snack

Dinner – Cracked Black Pepper and Beef Sausages, mashed potatoes, vegetables and gravy – yummers.

Shake That Weight– dinner – sausage and mash

Evening Snack – Crudites – I know I shouldn’t be having this, but I have a two year old who doesn’t sleep through the night and could be eating much, much worse right?

Shake That Weight– snack – croudites

I’m so pleasantly surprised at how little the struggle is with this, the only thing I’m finding really challenging is remembering to drink enough water! Onwards to tomorrow!

Continue Reading

My Shake That Weight Experience – Day 5

Yesterday I struggled – it was mental getting the girls ready to drop off in two separate places on opposite ends of town, before settling down to work, doing house work and running errands.

Breakfast – Chocolate Heaven Shake

Shake That weight – Chocolate Heaven Shake

Lovely as ever but I felt I needed more this morning – powered through though.

Lunch – Blazing Chilli Beef

Day 1 – Chilli Beef Noodles

This was so welcome – it was cold again today and this warmed me up as well as being surprisingly filling – I’m finding as the days go on that this good is doing more for me each time.

Dinner – Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Shake That Weight – dinner – curry

Ok, Ok- I know my dinners are over 400 calories – but my portions are way smaller than usual so that has to be making a difference right? I was so ready for this!

Illegal Wine

Shake That Weight– fail – illegal wine

Massive confession – I really, really enjoyed every- single – last – teeny- tiny – swig of this – totally illegal but I’d usually have a bottle on a Friday night – this wasn’t planned but I am weak – don’t look at me – DON’T LOOK AT ME!

Evening Snack – Dreamy Dark Chocolate Bar

Shake That Weight– snack – dreamy dark chocolate

These are so good! I actually enjoy the texture more than chocolate and they don’t make me feel queesie after eating them!

I wanted to weigh in this morning as we’re booked in at Zizzi’s for lunch – naughty I know, but I’m hoping I’ve been good enough this week to have at least a couple of pounds off – turns out I can’t weigh in today as we’ve been using the WII (remember them?) and Bobbi has been feeding it pennies – I’ll weigh in tomorrow.

Any kind of diet is always going to be harder over the weekend- I’m allowing myself a couple of little treats, but am sticking to this as much as I can without affecting my family – when the four year old asks to go for pizza at a restaurant- you go for pizza at a restaurant – I am Mother to two young girls and I don’t want them having the same body image issues as me.

Everything in moderation folks x

Continue Reading

My Shake That Weight Experience – Day 6

I’m not going to lie – today was a bit of a failure – we took the girls to Zizzi’s for lunch- as I mentioned yesterday, this was a planned betrayal I’m afraid.

I knew it was bad, so I resolved to behave myself for the rest of the day.

Breakfast – Supermark branded porridge – this just about did the job until we went put for lunch – because I was really, really looking forward to going out for lunch!

Shake That weight – breakfast – porridge

Lunch – Zizzi’s Pinoli – this.was.amazing – Goat’s cheese, mozzarella, caramalised balsamic onions, sunblush tomatoes, pine nuts, riserva cheese & basil. I’m frigging amazed that it’s only 783 calories! – I’m meant to be sticking to 800 (which I haven’t been – or I’m sure I’d be dead by now – so I’ve been trying to keep below 1200) – obviously I haven’t today, bit I chose this as it was reasonable and looked so good! I didn’t eat all of it – so that’s something.

Shake That Weight – lunch – Zizzi’s pinoli

Dessert – Yep – I went there – An Americano with florentines. We don’t eat out often so I decided to enjoy myself – I could have had a slab of cake #restrainedmyself.

Shake That Weight– lunch – dessert – Americano- florentines

Dinner – I had a small plate of left over curry from yesterday, but didn’t take a picture – If I hadn’t had it I’d’ve gone into full on Hoover mode later, so technically it was damage limitation.

Gin – this was not part of my plan – there are no pictures – and I had about five – I think. I’ve probably absolutely ruined my chances of getting a decent result as I’m weighing in tomorrow but I enjoyed them all. If I’d had wine it would have been much, much worse.

Continue Reading

How To Get Free Gym Passes

Do you want to join a gym, but have no idea where to start? You might not want the commitment of membership or the hefty price tag that comes with it. If this is the case, you should look at free gym memberships which are offered all around the country.

A free gym pass is a great place to start if you are looking to lose some weight, tone up or just become fitter. Gyms across the country offer these passes and it would be silly to not take advantage of them. We have teamed up with WOW Free Stuff and have come up with places where you can get free gym passes to kick off your healthy journey.

Why Are There Free Gym Passes?

There are a lot of benefits of free gym passes and there are many reasons why they are on offer. A free pass allows customers to get a feel for a gym before they have to commit to membership. The free pass offers customers the chance to check:

• How long it takes to get to the gym from work or home

• What facilities are on offer

Different gyms will also cater to the needs of different people so you need to check this before you sign up for a long membership plan. If you are a keen gym goer, you will have very different needs and expectations to someone who is just starting their gym journey. There are also many people who want some space to be able to exercise on their own and they need to find the right gym for this.

Free gym passes are available throughout the year. However, there is generally a spike in offerings around the start of summer and New Year. This is when you should keep your eyes peeled.

Where Can You Get A Free Gym Pass?

There are a lot of places that you can get a free gym pass from. The offerings will differ depending on the gym and you need to be aware of this.

Anytime Fitness

All new users at Any time Fitness will be able to get a 3-day free trial pass. The gym chain has locations across the country where you can use the trail and there is likely to be one close to you. You can use the website to find the most convenient location for you and then complete the online form with your contact information. Someone from the gym will then be in touch to organise your free trial.

Xercise4Less

You might not have heard of them before, but Xercise4Less is a new low-budget, high-quality gym. They mostly have locations in the north of the country and they offer a free day trial for all locations. Despite the low cost of their membership, they have top-quality equipment. They also have free classes and well as ladies-only areas for you to enjoy.

Nuffield Health

Not wanting to be left out, Nuffield Health has a free 1-day trial on offer for all of their gyms. You can easily locate the closest one on their website and someone will then be in touch to arrange the pass. This gym chain has around 111 locations and each will have an expert who is dedicated to helping you achieve your fitness goals. If you decide to stay with them after the trial, you also get a free health check every 3 weeks to help you set targets and achieve the level of fitness that you want.

Fitness First

Another gym that offers a 3-day pass is Fitness First. These are considered the best ones because they give you a real taster of what it is like to be a member. Over the 3 days, you can see how Fitness First suits your lifestyle. To get the free pass, you will need to choose a gym, fill in your details and someone will be in touch.

QHotels

If there is a QHotel close to you, you could get a 1-day gym pass for you and a friend. This pass will cost you, but it is definitely worth registering for it if you have one of these locations close to you. QHotels have 23 health clubs across the country and they all have amazing facilities as well as top of the range equipment. The health clubs are part of the hotel and will be in grand buildings across the country which makes the use of this pass a great day out with a friend as well.

Free Alternatives To Gym Passes

Going to the gym is not something that everyone enjoys, but there are still ways that you can get exercise in a communal setting if you want to. The big name gyms could charge you up to £1,000 for a yearly membership. Cutting this will save you a lot of money and there are a lot of ways that you can do this.

Parkrun Races

You could get involved in a local parkrun which is a 5km race that takes place on Saturday mornings across the country. They are open to everyone regardless of your running abilities. The races are hosted by parkrun locations across the country so you should look for one that is close to you. You will be able to run at your own pace and see the progress you make each week.

ParkLives

Another organisation which helps you make the most of the park is ParkLives. This is not just about running as there are many other activities on offer including badminton, tai-chi and football. All of the activities are free to take part in and all you need to do is sign up online, pick a location and choose the activity that works for you. ParkLives is also a great way to make friends while getting some exercise and enjoying the outdoor spaces in your area.

British Military Fitness Classes

If you are looking for an exercise group that will challenge you, inspire you and keep you on track, you should look at the British Military Fitness Class. While most people become nervous when faced with a military boot camp, these free classes are not something to fear.

The classes are split into 3 ability groups so there is a class for everyone even complete beginners. Your first session will be free and you will be placed in a group that best suits your abilities. This means that you can enjoy a workout with people in the same situation as you for nothing. If you enjoy this first session, you can sign up for a membership or pay for each session that you go to.

Sweaty Betty Workout Class

If you are looking for a free workout that is packed with fun, go no further than Sweaty Betty. You will be able to get a full body workout from the comfort of your home with them. All you need to do is make sure you have some space before you start.

This is an intense online class which combines shadow boxing with martial arts. You will target every muscle and get the serious workout that you want.

*This is a collaborative post*

Continue Reading

Three Times in My Life When I’ve Needed Money Fast

We’ve all been there – some more often than most, when you’re a week away from pay day and something (or in my case, everything electrical) decides to inconveniently stop functioning.

This happened to us while I was on maternity leave with our youngest daughter – I’m talking fridge, TV, washing machine and oven IN THE SAME WEEK.

I was naturally ever grateful for statutory maternity pay – we are much better provided for than some, I know – but unless you have actual, real-life savings to fall back on, this sort of thing can be a massive worry.

Being in the rubbish financial situation we were, we had to find cash fast, and in the absence of a money tree growing in the garden, we had to borrow it.

Our loan was a life line – with a young baby and a drastically reduced income, we couldn’t have survived without it!

Other situations that could be diffused by quick cash include…

Vet Bills

We have a Whippet Cross puppy – I have dubbed them ‘The kangaroo of the dog world’. As he’s still quite young, we still run the risk of him bolting and running blindly into an on-coming car – we have obviously insured him for this reason, but a loan would help in the interim – If I had to find the cash upfront, without the help of Quick loans online in the UK, we wouldn’t be able to manage!

Garage Bills

Again, with two young children and only one and a half incomes, we try to keep the costs down, so our cars are ancient and held together with string and pre-chewed gum – they could die at any time.

Redundancy

This could happen to any of us, at any time, these loans can telling help bridge a gap if the proverbial hits the fan!

Bad Credit

If you’re looking for a small, short term loan I can guarantee you’re not alone!

The first question you should ask when considering any form of bad credit loan is: “Can I afford to repay my borrowing in full and on time?”

If the answer is yes and you are looking for a bad credit payday loan today, you can apply now with CashLady.

Warning: Late repayment can cause you
serious money problems.

*This is a collaborative post*

Continue Reading

Why The School You Choose Is So Important

If your child is going from primary school to secondary school in September, then you’ll
probably be going through the sorting process at the minute. In your catchment area, there will probably be a few school that you are able to choose from, but not all of them will be the best for your child. If you have options, you really should consider where they’re going to flourish the most, rather than the one that’s right around the corner. As parents, we sometimes underestimate the value of education, because it just wasn’t as important to us with our futures. But now, everything pretty much relies on the education they’re going to get, so we want to point out a few reasons why the school that you choose is so important. Have a read on to find out more.

School

The Opportunities They’ll Have

School will bring so many opportunities, no matter which one you go to. From school
trips, to school clubs, to prestige events that many people wouldn’t dream of being able
to go to. It really is a great place for opportunity, but there are some schools out there that don’t put on as much of a display with their opportunities. You want to choose a school that has everything from art trips to skiing trips. The more they do at school, the
better of they’re going to be in the long run in terms of their own future. We know that a
lot of the school trips cost, but you shouldn’t be holding them back from the ones that
they want to go on. Not only does it enrich their minds, it also helps bring together solid friendship groups, and more excitement to school life. It’s not always so much fun going to school, sitting in a classroom, and doing the same again the next day.

The Standard Of Education

The standard of education is something you really need to be watching out for. In the
UK, it’s OFSTED that gives schools the official rating. However, it’s not when they’re
being watched that you want to know about, it’s what happens behind closed doors. You
can generally find out through word of mouth, and some will do better than others. For example, Leicester High in good school’s guide has a great record of teaching, whereas others in Leicester have a poor record of being able to keep a class under control. Whilst it might not be your child causing the disruption, it’ll still be a disruption to their learning that will be out of their control.

The Future They’ll Have

The school they go to really will influence their future. Some children don’t have the
best start in life, purely because their school hasn’t helped them. You want one that’s
going to push for further education, and push for better opportunities whilst they’re at school. The more they learn, and the more they take part in whilst at school, the better
off their future is going to be anyway!

Continue Reading

Skin Care Remedies for busy Mums

Looking after yourself becomes so much more difficult when you become a Mum for the first time, and the more children you have, the harder it gets.

In part this is because we have less time to spend on ourselves – but another main, contributing factor for me is that I forget – in between attempting to get the children ready for school, tidying up after them and repeating myself a million times of a morning, I forget to moisturise, use primer and straighten my hair.

The struggle is real and my skin suffers as a result.

Here’s a few things you can do to make it just a bit easier…

Baby Wipes

I don’t just use them to clean up my kids, my car and my entire house – I use them on my face twice a day too. I know, I know – but I’m a no-maintenance mum of two now. I use them to take my make up off – the shame!

Moisturiser with built in primer

This is a game changer. If you can’t fit in all the steps – lose one! No need to worry about waiting for it to dry as you’ll be chasing the kids around thrusting tooth brushes at them anyway.

BB Cream

I find foundation too heavy in hotter weather so during the summer months I opt for a BB Cream instead – use one with SPF to protect yourself from those long awaited rays.

Dealing With Acne

My skin is completely different since having children – I’m blaming all of the many, many sleepless night’s I now get to enjoy, my unhealthy need for caffeine and my new found love of wine. There are many products out there to help combat troublesome acne including Skinoren for acne – No one wants acne – I couldn’t be any further from my teenage self – I’m a mere shadow of that person – so I have no need for pesky acne.

Dry Shampoo

Buy it. Use it. Love it. If you’re not using it – HOW ARE YOU MANAGING? This stuff is a life saver in the morning!

*This is a collaborative post*

Continue Reading