My 5 Top Tips For A Sizzling Summer Body

Holiday in Dubai

Holiday in Dubai

April already, no idea how that happened but what i do know are the effects of Christmas and Easter are somewhat apparent…trousers a little tighter, tummy a little more wobbly and dreadful skin with enormous black circles under my eyes….ARGHHHHHHH

There’s nothing worse than that lethargic feeling, at the moment i’d much rather slum it in the house, search for any sugary goods and most probably have a glass of vino this evening whilst watching Sons of Anarchy, which by the way, myself and Mark are totally addicted too and have not watched anything else since we discovered these biker thugs.

It’s hard to believe but Summer is in touching distance and almost time to unleash that bikini!

2 or 3 months before my holidays each year i give myself a good hard shake, remind myself how good i actually feel when i eat healthy, exercise and make an effort.  It’s not that i am really unhealthy the rest of the year but, like i said, sugary treats and vino are hard for me to resist.  It’s just too easy to think ‘oh i’ll worry about it next week’ sound familiar??

Bikini Body

Bikini Body

These 5 tips, every time i follow them i lose weight, tone up and feel wide awake with lots more energy.  You won’t starve, you still get treats but i won’t lie, it’s not a simple solution and does take a little discipline and hard work.  You just have to remember that one bad meal won’t make you fat just like one good meal won’t make you skinny either.  It’s all a balance, what i will say is if you try and eat less and cut out lots, 9 times out of 10 you will end up binging on all the wrong things and wasting your hard work.

My 5 Top Tips

Planning Is Key

Work out every meal and snack needed for the next week and write it down.  Breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and tea. Weekend food too even if it includes a naughty day! Make yourself a little chart, stick it on the fridge for all to see, so there’s no surprises and no disappointments because everyone knows exactly what they are having.  I have found by doing this it actually reduces your shopping bill too, especially if you are doing it online.  Use the search function to search for each of the items, that way you won’t be lured in to any false economy deals or sugary treats.

IMG_1785

Snacking

I usually find it takes me around 3 days to wean off sugar and although it is quite hard, as long as i’ve got alternatives then i manage.  Plus, once those 3 days have gone i really don’t crave sugary snacks at all.  I’m not going to lie, i don’t give up wine, i just drink a lot less!

My fav snacks include homemade humus with carrot and cucumber sticks, you can take these to work with you too.  Just pop a little humus in the bottom of a beaker style container and make sure you have nice long cucumber sticks to stick in, pop the top on and take them with you, easy! Make a nice big pot for the fridge and it lasts all week.

Smoothies are another favourite, i did have a Nutribullet until it decided to give up on me.  I’m currently using an old school blender but it works so why go spend £100 unless you are a hardcore juicer! I take 7 freezer bags and in each one i throw in a handful of spinach or kale and then a couple handfuls of any fruit, frozen or fresh and pop them in the freezer. When you take the bag from the freezer each day, pop it in the blender with a couple of cups of water and give it a blitz.  Go one healthy step further and add in some chia or flax seeds or maybe a few nuts.  You can have lots of fun with these and even toddlers love them too.  Don’t worry, you really can’t taste the greens at all!

Be warned, daily smoothies will cause your hair and nails to grow at a ridiculous rate. Oh and yes, toddlers love them too and teenagers and grown men 🙂 Easiest way of feeding them greens and goodness.

There’s a few more examples over on my Pinterest board Healthy Food

If you aren’t already, make sure you become addicted to water and if you can start your day with some lemon and water, even better.  I started drinking lemon and water daily because i enjoyed it but a few weeks later noticed that actually, my skin looked nicer, i was a few pounds lighter, cellulite had reduced and i could only think that it was down to my new favourite drink.  I had heard it was great for weight loss and detoxing but never thought twice.  It’s now a staple in my diet. Fizzy drinks are bbbbbbbbad, so try and cut those out and maybe just that one cup of coffee in the morning 🙂

Meals

If you don’t already have them, check out The Body Coach and Jamie Oliver Superfoods books.  So many easy recipes and seriously tasty.  Friday nights i still have pizza and i promise, homemade one’s taste really good, you don’t feel like you are missing out.  Even Mark loves them, experimenting with different toppings, plus they take 10 minutes in the oven.

My Scrummy Prawn Pizza

My Scrummy Prawn Pizza

With our meals, i don’t miss out carbs but i won’t have them every day either, i have sweet potatoes instead of white and wholemeal products too. I fry food in coconut oil and exclude most dressings unless i’ve made them myself.  Get rid of cereal on a morning, go for homemade granola with fruit and yoghurt or poached eggs or even baked avocados which are delicious and keep you from feeling hungry for hours.  Breakfast time might be my favourite meal of the day.

Make sure if you are having salad for lunch you compliment it with an exciting filling not boring old ham or tuna.  Fry up some steak strips or chicken fillets or a little seafood, you need it to be appetising and something to look forward too or it will become a chore.

Prep

After the shopping has been delivered and your meals planned out, the next step which is so important for keeping on track, is the preparation.  Usually on a Sunday afternoon you will find me in the kitchen for a couple of hours.  The granola will be in the oven, the eggs boiling away, salad and fruit all chopped and boxed in the fridge and smoothie bags complete and in the freezer.  By doing this one simple task it gives me all of my snacks for the week, whether i am at home or at work, the salad i can quickly throw into a sandwich box along with some filling and my snacks are all prepared and ready to eat or take with me. If i don’t prepare on a Sunday my week is usually very different, missing meals, grabbing a mars bar at the garage because i’m so hungry, you get the picture…prep, prep, prep!

HIIT

You don’t need a gym membership but you do need to be exercising to lose the weight and to tone up.  For me HIIT (High intensity interval training) is perfect as it’s short but you get results.  I do go to the gym and take part in metafit classes but when i don’t have time i do 4 x 15min sessions at home during the week. Freya loves joining in too trying to perfect her burpees. The Body Coach has some great examples but if you have an internet TV or a laptop there are thousands of videos to follow on YouTube.

We all know what it feels like when we do make an effort, even if it’s sticking on some lippy and a pair of heels.  It can feel like a task at the time but is worth it when your confidence takes a major boost.  The time has come ladies to step it up, get focussed and make those Summer bodies sizzle.

Good luck xx

Holidaying with a Baby – How Too?

Happy holidays

Happy holidays

Blazing hot sunshine, the sound of the crisp ocean waves, ice cold drink in my hand and the dull beats of a little music playlist i created myself, we won’t go into what’s included on that playlist, let’s just say I’m an easy listener. When i close my eyes and think of these delightful thoughts i’m right back to my Summer holiday, total relaxation. One year on, add in a small baby to the mix and things are a little different. Don’t get me wrong, our Summer holiday may have been different but was i still relaxed, did i have a good time, would i go and do it all over again? Yes, yes and without a doubt is my answer.

Freya's first holiday

Freya’s first holiday

Freya was 6 months when we took her to the South of Spain in September along with her teenager brother. The difference being, he only needed an electronic device and wifi and he was happy. We opted for a place not too far to travel and where the temperatures would be milder than the likes of Egypt, little did we know they were going to reach the high 30’s. We had no idea what Freya was going to be like in warmer climates, luckily she’s like her mummy and loves the sunshine. Although she had set times for her bottle, extras were added in to make sure she was getting enough fluids, funnily, she didn’t seem to mind having those extra bottles.

The view from the balcony

The view from the balcony

Passport
First on the holiday to do list was Freya’s passport, let’s do it ourselves we said,how hard could it be? That was our first mistake, why did we think we would be able to lie Freya on a white sheet and it wouldn’t crinkle? Crinkling was a no no according to the government website which tried to guide us. Now i have no idea what we were thinking, but myself and Mark, Freya’s daddy, decided to try a photo booth next. How was that ever going to work you may ask, you are right to ask, it didn’t work. There was always a head or hands in the way and they weren’t Freya’s. So we did what we should have in the beginning and went to our local photographers studio, ten minutes it took, he took the photos, photoshopped my hands out and printed them straight off all for £5.

Lightweight colourful clothing

Lightweight colourful clothing

What to pack
Suncreams, make sure you take two different brands incase one doesn’t agree with baby skin, check out other mum’s reviews on the products you buy as we all know, mum’s know best. Take a well equipped first aid kit with ointments for burns (more likely to be used on our teenager) rehydration powders suitable for babies, paracetamol incase your little one develops a temperature, sterile wipes, teething gel, antiseptic cream. Be prepared!

Freya’s clothing consisted of lots of light cotton garments, water suits for the pool and sun hats, the majority of the time she was in her nappy, but at night times when temperatures were still late 20’s, light weight clothes were a must.

Don’t forget to pack your baby monitors too if your in a villa, just for peace of mind and sterilising tablets, much easier than taking an actual steriliser.

Hats, hats, hats

Hats, hats, hats

Before you go
Research, research, research! Whether you are staying in a villa or a hotel, whoever you are booking it with will be able to help. Questions you need to ask; Where is your closest GP/Pharmacy? If your baby falls ill you need to know how to get help and where to go. Is there a nearby supermarket? If you need to purchase nappies and formula milk instead of packing them in your case, you need a supermarket. Don’t just assume that one of the corner shops where you’ll be purchasing your rubber dinghy will have a stock of products such as Pampers and SMA.

Don’t forget to add to your insurance too and apply for your European Health Insurance card too, this will allow you to access state provided healthcare in European countries for free or a reduced cost, it’s not an alternative to travel insurance!

Have you booked a transfer, now this played on my mind, travelling for 40 minutes in a taxi with no carseat, i couldn’t relax. I’m not saying that Spanish drivers are bad drivers, but have you ever noticed how many cars are in need of a little bit of paint work? If they weren’t covered in dust it was fairly large dints in the side. So, after a little bit of googling i found a whole host of taxi transfers who offered safety seats and it only cost an extra £10…and relax.

Love my pushchair

Love my pushchair

The Journey
At 6 months Freya was drinking formula milk, taking a couple of sealed preprepared bottles and one ready made plus a few sterile bottles, we were good to go. Make sure you work out how many are needed for the journey and what to take in your carry on bag. Airport security may make you test your baby’s milk, although we didn’t have too. Airport security also make you put down your pushchair to go through the scanners, now this is a pain, especially when they are settled and sleeping and you have to take off clothing. My advice, wear slip on shoes, no belts or jewellery, it makes the process so much easier.

Airlines do allow pushchairs to be checked in free of charge providing they are under a certain weight. It’s great as they can stay in the pushchair right up until boarding. We decided to purchase a lightweight pushchair to take with us for ease and because our main pushchair was a little expensive and i’ve seen on TV how they handle baggage. If something does happen to your pushchair you may be entitled to compensation, contact the airline direct.

Now, if you’re anything like my other half, you will panic that you’re going to be that family with the screaming child, no one wants to be that family. Luckily we weren’t, in fact Freya actually fell asleep at take off, the plane had the same effect as the car journey, what a relief. She didn’t stay asleep for 3 hours but we were prepared with snacks and toys (including iPad with cartoons), she liked walking up and down the aisle with me too and people watching, i think she gets that from her mummy too. But seriously, the 3 hour flight was fine going out and returning provided she was entertained, different snacks to sample, able to sleep and able to move about. We did however play pass the parcel between us both and big brother, which helped enormously.

Aeroplane selfie

Aeroplane selfie

The Venue
We opted for a villa, a home away from home, our own pool to have fun or relax, peace and quiet (we’re talking other people’s kid’s) and the ability to pop in and out when we want and walk around in our pants should we choose too. No taking bags of products and essentials to the pool each day, we just nipped inside. A lovely balcony to sit and relax at night usually with a deck of cards and nibbles…oh and the baby monitor of course. We had a fully fitted kitchen to sterilise bottles and do any needed laundry, they may be tiny but they generate some washing. For us it was perfect and it was no more expensive than staying in a nice hotel. We use www.holidaylettings.co.uk and www.owndersdirect.co.uk, but make sure you read reviews before booking!

Both of my babies

Both of my babies

 

Day/Night

Now what? First things first, trip to the supermarket for the men, the traditional stock up of water, a few beers, sweet treats, ice cream treats, fresh fruit, supplies for the BBQ (always make sure your villa has a BBQ, there’s nothing better than a family BBQ in the warm dark nights) supplies for breakfast, lunch and coffee for the caffetiere, perfect for sitting on the balcony early morning watching the sun rise. This supermarket visit also included nappies and formula milk, which were so much cheaper than at home too but just as good (maybe even better). Mummy and Freya unpacked and explored what would be home for the next week.

Roll on Summer holiday 2015

Roll on Summer holiday 2015

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Family selfie…perfect

 

Days would consist of breakfast on the balcony, a wander to explore the area, mummy and daddy would take turns having an hour each on the morning or in the afternoon to lie in the sunshine and relax whilst little madam stayed indoors where it was cool. This part of the day for me was a very warm welcome, i enjoyed every minute of that relaxation in the sun and i would urge everyone to do the same. We still had lots of play time, Freya loved the pool and it was nice and cool for her too, another must for a villa.
Early evenings when the temperature started to dip, we would take a short taxi ride to the marina for a stroll and a bite to eat and end the night with Freya in bed and us three on the balcony competing for the crown of Jacks, Two’s and Eights, a very competitive card game. A one that i seem to be very bad at!
For me, that’s a pretty perfect holiday, the people love most together in the sunshine with no real stresses other than where to eat that evening. Roll on the next Summer holiday.

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Dressing for your body shape

How many of you have seen that perfect item of clothing in a glossy magazine, decided to treat yourself and buy it only for you to try it on and think ‘well that’s not how I thought it would look’.  That’s because so many of us purchase clothing without even thinking about our own body shape and how it might look when we try it on.  How we look tends to have an impact on how we feel, for me, if I think I look good my mood and confidence is boosted and I become some sort of powerful goddess (OK maybe not but I can dream can’t I) but all joking aside, it does improve my mood and I feel good which results in a happier me.  There is nothing worse than feeling a bit rubbish, it brings you down and those around you, so don’t let it.

So here is the low down of a few of the more common body shapes and a few sale items still up for grabs this January to accentuate your body shape and make you feel great!

Straight – Up and Down

If your bust and hips are roughly the same size and your waist isn’t well defined, then chances are you fit into this category.  It’s not a bad category to be in, some might say you look sporty, well that’s what i get anyway. Although slim(ish), i’ve never had that teeny tiny defined waist you see on the likes of Lucy Mecklenburgh, but I’ve accepted that, time to move on.  I do however wear clothes that accentuate my waist to give the illusion of curves. There is nothing really that you shouldn’t wear, but certain items will just suit your shape better.  For example, illusion dresses are great for us lot as they give the illusion of a little waist, you can find them all over the internet. A fitted top and A line skirt which slightly flares is also a good choice,t o help you look like you have hips and a smaller defined waist. A pair of skinny jeans with a tailored shirt, also a good look. Don’t get me wrong, i don’t always get it right and might have had the odd fashion blunder, but hey, who’s perfect? Here are a few items I found that will suit you ladies reading this.

If your looking for a knock out dress for a night out or even a wedding, this AQ/AQ dress will look great on you straight bodied ladies with the wide belt to accentuate the waist.  It was £110 and now only £44, I love it.  Shame I go nowhere to wear it or else it would be purchased!

Straight up and down

AQ/AQ

This dress from Oasis is perfect to brighten up your work wardrobe, the stitching detail and flare in the skirt will help accentuate your waist.  It was £50 and now only £12 direct from Oasis.

Straight up and down 2

Oasis

 

If you’re a bodycon lover, it’s hard to find one that doesn’t make you look straight up and down but if you stick to ones such as these which have a ‘V’ neck and show off a little cleavage as well as the banded waist to give you a waist line, I’m sure you will look hot hot hot.  This isn’t in the sale but is only £35 from Missguided.

Straight up and down 3

Missguided

 

 

Pear Shaped

For you lovely ladies who have hips that may be slightly bigger than your bust, you will probably fit into this category. Embrace those sexy curves and choose clothing that makes you feel good. Stay away from patterned trousers and stick to dark colours on the bottom, patterns and bright colours take the eyes straight to the hips as well as pockets with any detail.  What you need to do is show off that waist and balance the top and bottom.  Clothing such as wrap over shirts are great for this as well as slightly flared skirts which may offset the hips.  Tailored trousers which fall from the widest part of your hip together with a tailored shirt, very smart. The dress below by Amy Childs is great for pear shape, although it hugs the hips, the peplum bottom offsets the hips and balances the body out.  This dress is from Very and was £70 but now only £35.

Pear shaped

Amy Childs

For those of you who may be looking for something a little more covered up but still sassy, i love this Victoria Beckham dress.  I know some women hate their arms too, we are never happy are we?! But this dress has it all, it is tailored which accentuates the waist, covers the arms and has a slightly flared skirt which balance out the hips. It’s also very pretty! From online retailer MyTheresa it was £660 and now only £264 and goes up to size 14.

Pear shaped 2

MyTheresa

Hourglass

Ok so we won’t talk about you too much since you can wear pretty much everything, you lucky people!  If your bust and waist are pretty much the same size and you have a well defined waist then you fit into the hourglass category. Bodycon dresses, highwaisted pants, maxi dresses, tailored, you name it, chances are you’ll look good wearing it! Moving swiftly on…

Top Hourglass

So for you busty ladies, if your top half is bigger than your hips then welcome to the top hourglass category.  I have a lot of busty friends who feel big all over if they don’t get their outfits right.  Wrap tops, wrap dresses, tea dresses as well as dark coloured tops, these are all wardrobe staples for you.  Don’t go for bright colours and bold patterns on top as peoples eyes will be drawn straight to your assets, you can however do that on the bottom to balance out your figure.

This wrap dress is from designer DVF, the wrap helps cover the bust with the belt to accentuate the waist and a slight flare to balance out with the illusion of hips.  It also has arms which helps enormously when it’s still fairly cold outside. It was £480 but now down to £205, an item of clothing that will never go out of fashion and will see you through season after season.

Top Hourglass

DVF

For a cheaper alternative, what about this ASOS dress available in many colours.  It has the wrap over detail, it is gathered at the waist which will hide any lumps and bumps as well as defining the waist.  Plus it has arms too, this dress is only £12.50 down from £25, get it in a few different colours while prices are so low!!

Top Hourglass 2

Asos

So, i hope i may have helped some of you look at what you wear and figure out what will help make you look even better, here are a few tips just to maybe help that little bit further…

Top Tips

Shorter ladies, try and keep your hemline to the knee or above and wearing neutral coloured court shoes will help make your legs look that little bit longer.

Underwear, are you wearing a bodycon dress?  Then wear invisible pantyline underwear and make sure it fits.  If your pants are too tight chances are there will be lumps and bumps on show for all to see. Invest in some ‘fat pants’ to help flatten the tummy with tight dresses.

The only time to wear lacey shorts is underneath a flared dress or skirt where no panty lines can be seen.

If you don’t feel comfortable in your outfit, don’t wear it.  If you need a few wines to help you feel good about what you are wearing, you’re wearing the wrong outfit.

Cleavage or legs, don’t do both ladies, you’re better than that.

Invest in quality staple pieces such as neutral court shoes, a pair of really well fitting jeans, a tailored blazer, a black A line skirt, items which will not go out of fashion and make you feel good!

I know how busy mums can get but take some time when the kids are in bed to apply a facemask, paint your nails or add some tan, whatever makes you feel good.

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The Good Intentions of a New Mummy…hello reality!

How many of you pregnant ladies have walked past the shops with cute little dresses in the window and said ‘i cant wait to have this baby’ or tucked into chips and curry at lunch time and thought ‘i’ll worry about it after the baby’.  Who assumed that they would be totally motivated to get that lovely slim and toned body back within months of giving birth, joining the gym and cutting down on those pregnancy treats?  I think it’s safe to say the majority of us new mummies have all good intentions, until reality hits!

Don’t get me wrong, all of these things are achievable but drive, determination and discipline are a necessity (as well as a well behaved child and babysitters).  I have to admit, Freya used to just sleep for most of the day but because i had been up most of the night expressing milk and feeding, I needed sleep during the day too. I’m sure days used to be 24 hours long, when did they get cut short and why wasn’t i informed?

It seems like i had a few good intentions whilst being pregnant, they’re still a working progress, but here’s a few of the many…

 Exercise, exercise, exercise 

Morning exercise

Morning exercise

Big plans i had, boot camp, personal trainers, I was going to have a body better than before getting pregnant, i’m still waiting for these plans to take effect.  I don’t know about other mum’s but the day goes over so quickly and yet I feel like I haven’t done anything, so by the time night time hits and it’s time for Freya’s bed can I really be bothered for the gym, usually no! I do try and go to Metafit twice a week as they are high intensity classes which only last half an hour and my god do i sweat. I have the odd session in the gym too but i’ll be honest, i’m not the most disciplined person which is why i need a high intensity class and someone telling me what to do. If I don’t think about going to the gym or my class I am more likely to go, if I give it too much thought, I talk myself out of it.  I know, i’m terrible, bye bye toned tummy. I’m aiming for the New Year 🙂

Lose weight – healthy eating

Healthy food

Healthy food

I loved having my big bump, even though i only got to 29 weeks I still gained well over a stone in weight and when you take into account Freya was only 3lbs, that’s still some excess weight to lose. I’d love to know how these celebs add photos to Instagram almost minutes later with a tight toned tummy, did they get some work done straight after giving birth or have they had their head photoshopped onto a Victoria Secret model or maybe they are super human?! These are the only logical answers I can think of!

To be fair I do eat quite healthy Monday to Thursday with a typical day consisting of eggs for breakfast, some fruit mid morning, a couple of lattes (skinny of course) salad wrap for lunch and for tea maybe fish or meat with veg unless its cold outside and then it’s something like shepherds pie or mince and dumplings, I love traditional food and so do my boys (and now my girl too).

The problem hits on a Friday, in my head weekends are for eating junk and drinking wine.  Takeaways, chocolate, cookies, a couple of beers a few glasses of wine and this doesn’t just last Friday, this is Friday, Saturday and Sunday and guess what, i bloody well enjoy it, so do I really want to sacrifice that so my tummy can be a little flatter? I don’t think I do! How many people are really happy with their body and the way they look, everyone i talk to always want to change something, bigger bum, smaller waist, tighter tummy, bigger or smaller bust, more curvy, more skinny, it’s a vicious circle, so i’m learning to be happy with the way I am and enjoy my life. I’ll continue with eating healthy and going to the gym when I can, but more so because I want a healthier lifestyle and…I want to pig out at the weekend,life’s too short!!

Baby groups 

Swimming baby

Swimming baby

Oh i’ve seen some baby massage classes, some sing along classes, Waterbabies classes, we’ll have plenty of time to do them, it will be so much fun.  Bad parent alert! We attend one class, Waterbabies, if someone hadn’t cut the days down from 24 hours I would probably be able to fit more in, not my fault, blame the time changer!

In all honesty I love Waterbabies more than I thought, not only do I see Freya learn new skills that could potentially help her and save her life but it’s such a good bonding experience too, I love our time in the pool.  Maybe I should make the effort to go to other classes but when you throw having a teenager and the other half in the mix, cleaning, cooking and general dogsbody, there ain’t that much time to dedicate to much else and sometimes it’s just nice to sit and do nothing but play and have story time.

Date night 

Couple

Couple

Something i do feel quite strongly about, I know it’s hard leaving your little cherubs with that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach, worried something might happen, guilty for leaving them in the first place but you can forget what it was like when it was just the 2 of you.  You can very easily become ships that pass in the night, stop laughing together, those conversations about future goals and dreams or places you want to visit fade away. Now i’m not saying this will happen to you if you don’t have date night, i’m no relationship expert, but, when Mark and I have our monthly date night (intentions were to have it weekly), the grandparents come over to babysit, we go and eat nice food, have several drinks and just talk for hours and yes Freya and Liam are mentioned quite a lot as well as numerous texts to check they are OK.  But on that night we are Mark and Michelle, there is no TV or computer screen to distract us and it’s just us, laughing and talking and making plans together.  We go home feeling that little bit closer with a smile that little bit bigger and Freya and Liam wake up with a mummy and daddy that are that little bit happier!

Baby homemade food  

Food face

Food face

Does it make me a bad Mam buying jars of food as well as making homemade baby food? I wont lie, it makes me feel a little guilty but then I give my head a shake.  I very rarely give Freya sugary treats, other than milk she drinks cooled boiled water, she eats fruit and veg until it’s coming out of her ears, so a jar of Grandpas Sunday Lunch when mummy is having salad for tea, is probably the better option.  Why do us mummy’s give ourselves such a hard time.  As long as our babies are fed, well nourished, happy and healthy then I reckon we must be doing something right?!

Spontaneity  

Shopping bags

Shopping bags

Can’t wait for my maternity leave, I can go shopping when I want, lunch with my friends and family, take my little angel to the park, it’s going to be great, i’ll have so much time.  Reality…let’s stay home today, it’s easier and costs less.  It’s like a military operation; clean and appropriately dressed baby – check, bottle of milk and baby food – check, nappies, wipes and nappy sacks – check, clean change of clothing (for any mishaps) – check, bibs and muslin cloths – check, toy for entertainment – check, mummy’s purse, mobile and keys – check, clean and appropriately dressed mummy, whoops I knew there was something I forgot!

You do get used to it and learn to be more organised and have certain things already packed to take with you but simple tasks such as having a shower (not even including washing your hair) is now a challenge in itself.  I have stations around the house for this task, our bathroom has a chair and toys suitable for Freya to sit for 10 minutes max while I have a shower, then we move on to the dressing room, play mat with her dolly where she will lie for another 10 minutes max while mummy puts on her clothes, then move on to the dressing table to hopefully grab 5 minutes to hide those dark circles, Freya will now be in the ‘i’m bored now’ mode and have a certain pitch to her twist that pierces the centre of my brain.  Ok you win, lets go.

I do still like my lunches with my friends and trips out, but I really enjoy staying home too, playing with Freya and pottering around the house.

So, the purpose of todays blog…to let other mummy’s know that they aren’t alone and you are infact normal(well according to me anyway). Yes your tummy may still have a slight wobble, you may not have all that free time you hoped for, your poor baby may have to live with only one baby class per week and even eat baby food that’s not homemade, but, you have a tiny little person who you love so much you could just self combust, you feel it and they feel it, that’s what’s important.

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It’s a girl!

It's a girl

It’s a girl

Its a girl! Thats when my obsession into baby clothing started, the moment the sonographer said those 3 little words. I couldn’t wait to log online and see what gorgeous clothing i could find and hit all the shops, she was going to be dressed like a princess. I already had my son Liam, he was 13 when i found out i was pregnant, shopping for teenagers just isnt the same, especially when they have their own mind and hate everything you like, so i was super excited to start shopping for little baby clothing. My partner Mark knew he didnt really have much of a choice, but i know he secretly liked looking at the cute clothing and getting excited for her arrival.

Announcing on social media i was having a little girl i started to take notice of the numerous baby photos.  It seemed everyone had a baby or was about too.  Far too often i would be browsing my social media news feed and see at least 5 adorable babies knowing exactly where mummy had been shopping for that outfit. I wanted to give my own daughter when she arrived a little more individuality and variety, research further afield and to see what was out there. Thats when i had my light bulb moment! Lets bring all these great brands which are less known together under one roof and offer mums another choice.

Although some of our products can be found in stores such as Selfridges and Harrods, the aim was and still is, to try and stay away from mass produced high street clothing.  We know that most mums have purchased clothing from the high street stores (and theres certainly nothing wrong with that) but we wanted to offer a little variation,give mums a choice should they wish to take it

So my research started, i had lots of fun spending hours and days searching for clothing and i really enjoyed it, i knew there was going to be lots of work late into the evening and during baby naps but i was super excited and so very motivated. Id spent years lecturing Business, now was the time to practice what i preached.

Born prematurely at 29 weeks Freya was so small and delicate, we certainly werent expecting her arrival so soon, I’ve never seen so many wires and tubes hooked up to something so small. Freya spent 6 weeks in hospital and her days in intensive care were some of the worst of my life.  My googling global brands had turned into googling survival rates, complications with premature babies, there were a hundred questions i needed answering, it was non stop. However, as im writing this, shes now 7 months old and is most definitely a diva in the making, i have no one to blame but myself for that, but she is happy and healthy and makes me smile everyday. 

As Freya was so small and that little bit more precious, i found myself looking at labels and what chemicals were in her skincare and even clothing, i was quite shocked and never even thought to look before, thats when my business idea took a bit of a turn and i started researching organic products.  I wanted to use natural products on her delicate skin without the use of any pesticides or harsh chemicals. I found some lovely products, skincare in particularly was very important, all of which i have tried and tested and offer on the Freya Lillie website and i can testify that Freya has super soft skin.  Organics may not be for everyone but i wanted to give mums that choice should they wish to take it. I know some mums might not fully know what benefits there are to organics so we have dedicated a page on the website, just to try and explain a little further. It feels good to be helping the environment too, we also decided to use recycled packaging for our customers to go that one step further.

The day we were able to take Freya home, well i cant even describe what it felt like, but i know both myself and Mark felt it. We were very thankful to everyone who had helped us so Mark and I decided like so many other people in our situation, that we wanted to give something back to those all that helped us and were there for us, not just for the 6 weeks Freya was in hospital but who still support us now and check how our little dot is doing and developing.  Thats when we decided 5% of all profits would go to Tiny Lives charity who help sick and premature babies and carry out vital research. As well as this we are hoping to take part in events to raise money for local neonatal units and to put together little packs for parents who end up in the same situation as usunprepared with certainly no premature clothing and the last thing on your mind is shopping.  If we can help even just one person then we have made a difference and we will be happy. Our page Freyas Story is a detailed account of what it was like giving birth to a premature baby and we hope that some other parents out there who want to know what comes next, can read our story and feel some kind of comfort.

We really hope you like our products, i will continue researching and adding fresh new labels and products as much as possible. Feel free to ask any questions!