Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Getting Fit: Why I did it

Emily Skye Transformation
3 years ago I had reached a point where I hated the idea of shopping for myself. I didn't feel comfortable in any of the clothes I owned, and the idea of buying a new dress filled me with dread. I wanted to be able to treat myself and feel good about what I was wearing, but I was so aware of the spare tyre that had accumulated around my abdomen and how my thighs clapped together as though they were preparing to give me a standing ovation. 

I spent my time shopping for Leo, I didn't even feel the need to have a look in the shops that I used to love. I watched girls on the street walk past me looking absolutely beautiful, I saw how confident they looked and I felt green with envy. 

How these girls looked in their crop tops and hot pants over the summer months, how they pulled off the risque dress choice that I would have loved to have been able to wear. 2014 was the year that I finally got my bottom into gear, I did it for many reasons, but one of the biggest factors was so that I could wear whatever I wanted and feel comfortable and confident enough to do so (not to mention that I would have the pleasure of replacing my entire wardrobe at the end of it, I was shopping on Love the Sales most days!).

If there is one word that I would use to describe myself, I would have to go with 'Determined', a word that other people might use is 'Stubborn', but whichever way you look at it, whether it was sheer determination or the drive to prove people wrong... I achieved my goal.

Emily Skye Transformation

I have thoroughly enjoyed treating myself to new clothes, it has allowed me to be more daring than I have ever been in my life when it comes to fashion. If you are looking to make a change and apply a new lifestyle, there is no better way than setting yourself a shopping trip treat for once you have hit a certain milestone. This worked wonders for me, and actually pushed me to go further in the grand scheme of things! I still can't help checking out the dress sale on Love the Sales!

 I look at the photo on the left (top of this post) of me 3 years ago, and it's hard to remember a time that this was me. I remember how I felt taking that photo, I didn't like what I saw in the mirror, I was just starting to take those tentative baby steps to try and change my attitude towards food, and to try and take control back over my body and provide it with the TLC that it really needed.

Now I look at that photo and I see just how far I have come, I never expected to achieve everything that I have done, all I aimed to really do was lose a bit of weight and carry on with my life. I never expected to fall in love with fitness, and I never expected to be continuing it 3 years later!

This journey has been one hell of a learning curve, and even now I'm learning as I go. It's safe to say that it's not only a physical transformation that I have worked towards over the last couple of years, but it's also an emotional one that has helped me pick my confidence back up from around my ankles, where it had fallen and gathered dust and didn't have the momentum to propel itself back to life on it's own.

Emily Skye Transformation

I've shared my journey for many reasons, it's helped me motivate myself to keep going, it's allowed me to reach out to other ladies who feel like they are past helping themselves (I was one of them!), it's connected me with ladies all over the world and provided me with inspiration to keep going forward and it's helped me capture how much I have grown and learned.

I've realised that not everyone is going to like what I do, and that's fine. Although I share my journey, it's not for them, it's for me. If someone doesn't like my body or how I train then that's absolutely fine, because this is me, it's who I am, and I'm happy in the skin I'm in and you can bet your bottom dollar that I'm proud of my achievements!

You are always going to be too much for some people, you can't please everyone and you shouldn't attempt too, all you can do is keep moving forward and take strides towards your goals and smile at everyone who tells you 'you looked better before, but where are your boobs though? Too muscular, too skinny' because those kind of comments SHOULD not distract you from your hopes and dreams.

And if you are anything like me... It is those sorts of comments that will just keep you focused on the task at hand. who do you think will have the last laugh?

It won't be them. It will always be you.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Why Personalised Gifts Are Loved and Adored by Expectant Moms

baby gifts online
Everyone loves receiving personalised gifts, especially moms who are expecting. It makes them feel special, loved, and that they belong to a group that care about their baby, whether it’s during their happiest or toughest time in pregnancy.

That’s why personalised baby gifts online are becoming a trend. A mother receiving a unique gift for her baby makes her feel appreciated by people. Thus one of the reasons why personalised baby gifts are adored by most moms.

baby gifts online
Here are a few more reasons why it’s a great idea:

1. The Feeling of Being Loved

A personalised gift means the person knows the mom well and what they want for their baby. They think about what she had gone through her pregnancy as well as what she’ll probably go through when the little one is born.

Even a simple personalised gift can create the sense of love and belonging. Whether it’s a simple teething ring that she mentioned was “cute” or that pair of shoe she always looks up from her favourite baby gift store online. Having a loved one give you something personal will always convey love.

2. Personalised Baby Gifts Make Moms Feel Special Too

One of the many mistakes people make when buying presents for babies is the failure to communicate on what they’re getting because this makes it possible for two or more people buying the same gift. And when that happens, it’s hard for a person to assume that not much thought was given to buying these identical gifts.

The journey to having a baby is a special one because it’s a choice of two people bringing another life into this world. Thus, people bringing gifts for their loved ones who are expecting should invest some time in figuring out the perfect baby gift. And with personalised baby gifts nowadays, it’s not that hard to find one.

3. Being Personal Builds Trust

Being personal makes a mother feel that she is in a trusting and safe environment. That everyone around her thinks and cares about her and her child’s well-being. This feeling of security can lessen her anxiety and keeps her mood stable. Which overall, is good for both the baby and the mother.

4. It Helps Her Get Through The Hard Times

Before getting an expectant mom a baby gift, it may help to know what she needs first. Pregnancy has its toll to a woman’s body. It makes them weak, craving for various foods, and climbing up and down with mood swings. A personalised gift is not only used for showing affection but also to give a mom some well-deserved comfort.

A mother will do anything for her pregnancy to be more comfortable and less painful, not to mention that it also benefits the baby. So some massage oils and bath salts may not be a bad idea together with those baby body suits.

5. Immortalises The Moment

Baby gifts aren’t just shallow material things. They can also be a significant reminder of the special moments a mother has gone through while being pregnant. Also, your personalised gift can be something their child can cherish even when they grow old. Making that moment a permanent memory to reminisce about.

Being In Their Shoes

To further understand why an expectant mom will always choose a personalised gift over a typical one, it will help to experience being in their shoes. A mother only wants what is best for their young ones. And nothing says “best” like a carefully thought out baby gift given at the right time, and at the right moment.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Spring is coming!

I am so ready to wave goodbye to Winter now. As I type this the puppy is insisting on going out into the garden, leaving the door wide open behind him so that he has the freedom to come in and out, in and out, in and out. Don't get me wrong, when the sun is shining and it's warm outside I would love nothing more than to be able to give Lux this kind of freedom and let the warm breeze roll into the kitchen. As it happens though, It's February and it's cold, and that cold wind is not welcome in my cosy space while I work.

It won't be long until the days are warming up and we are finally able to get back outside again, I look forward to being able to take the laptop outside and work from the garden. April is perhaps one of my favourite months of the year, it's starting to warm up, the days are brighter and it makes me want to get outside the most. Last year I was getting up at 6am and heading out for a run, by the time I got home the sun was blaring and everything just looked beautiful. 

Now I have Lux we do spend a lot more time outside, rain or shine, but when the weather improves I will want to be outside as much as I can be. We spend quite a lot of time at my Parent's home while I am working because their garden is so big, it means the dog can burn a bundle of energy while I get on with my to do list. I keep thinking how lovely it would be to help my parent's do up their garden. I keep looking at the garden selection on Fishpools as they have some gorgeous pieces. I would love to surprise my Mum with one of these Rattan Sofa Sets, it would make the perfect place to sit in the garden with my laptop and watch the dog do laps of the garden. 

The garden is a area that has such huge potential, but no one has ever really had chance to do anything with. We all like to get out there, but I know that if we could get on top of it all, there would be even more reason to bring the BBQ out and make the most of that time in the year where we can sit outside and enjoy the great outdoors.

Keeping this puppy of mine entertained really will be so much easier once I can leave that back door open, or better yet go and sit outside with him. Currently he is in the process of taking whatever he can find out into the garden. He is like a magpie and gathers a collection of things he likes, underwear, bras, tea towels, paper that he shreds, plastic bottles that he likes to chew until they are ready to be recycled. 

That puppy certainly keeps us on our toes but we wouldn't be without him. 

My Top Tips on Flying with Children

Tips on Flying with Children

We have traveled with Leo since he was a baby in arms, and that is something that I would highly recommend families do with their little one's from a young age. I remember thinking how daunting it felt at the idea of flying with a baby, but the actual process and experience was so much easier than I could ever have dreamed it would be. 

I remember really working myself up about the whole milk situation, because these days you cannot take liquid through security into departures, and as I cast my mind back, this was actually my main concern. I was worried that the sterilised baby bottles with cooled boiled water would be confiscated and I would be without the means to feed my baby. I really stressed myself out of it, but when the time came to walk through security on Leo's maiden voyage out of the UK at a mere 5 months old, they literally just asked us to taste the water, so they could rule it out being something malicious disguised as baby essentials. 

That was literally it, we just needed to taste test each of the 4 bottles I had prepared to bring on our journey, and that was it. As we walked through the gates into the departure lounge to embark on our journey to Tenerife I couldn't understand why I had worked myself up so much for it to be such a simple demonstration. 

I actually found it easier to fly with a baby than I did when Leo had turned 2. Baby's don't talk, baby's don't get up and try to walk around, but 2 year old's certainly do. When we flew out to Cyprus it was a really early morning flight, so I had convinced myself that Leo would sleep most of the way there... Well I couldn't have been more wrong if I had tried. Leo was awake for the entire flight, well apart from when he fell asleep 5 minutes before the plane landed. I was exhausted as I couldn't even contemplate closing my eyes, because I had a 2 year old who would have been everywhere but in his seat. How I missed that 5 month old baby at that very moment in time, the baby who sat on my lap and slept the flight away, and when he woke up smiled and giggled and had everyone around him cooing.

Tips on Flying with Children

Tips on Flying with Children

Of course now that Leo is older, flying has got easier again. He will happily sit and watch a film on his iPad, or play some learning games as we fly away to warmer climates. There are companies that you can book family friendly holiday's through, Tots To Travel handpick family friendly villas and cottages all over the globe which really can help take the stress out of travelling.

My Top Tips on Flying with Children 

- Make sure you have plenty of drinks/snacks to keep them going.

- Pre-load the iPad with films/games/activities for the children to play while air born. I highly recommend the 'Teach Your Monster to Read' app, Leo loves it and it was a life saver on our flight to Crete last year.

- Bring colouring books/story books to complete together.

- Take a blanket so that they can have quiet time and go to sleep if they wish.

- Take a portable DVD player and a selection of DVDs.

- Take a Nintendo DS and game selection

This year we are flying to Crete in May, and Leo is already counting down the sleeps. At least now he is 5 I don't need to worry about him trying to escape the confines of his seat...

Monday, 13 February 2017

Enough with the Valentine's Hate

Valentines Day is tomorrow, I know that people say that we should show our affections each and every day of the year, and I have to say I agree, but I personally don't see the harm in having an excuse to spoil that special person in my life on Valentines Day. Yes it's a commercial holiday, yes it can be cheesy, but that's part of the fun right?

I remember on the very first Valentines Day Luke and I were together, I stood in the card shop looking for something that wasn't too 'in your face', I was there for ages. We had only been together a month, so I wanted to mark the day but not come on too strong, because that could have been a little bit too fast too soon!

As I was stood there looking for a card that had something a little lighter than 'love' emblazoned all over it, I got talking to a lady who was in a similar situation and eventually we both walked away with the same card, it was simple sweet and said just what I needed it to, but boy was it hard finding a card on that very first Valentines Day.

Luke and I do things throughout the year, we love a good date night, so for us Valentines Day is just another excuse to go out and do something just the two of us, We don't spend a fortune on gifts, this Card-Cutters Valentines round up for gift ideas under £30 has lot's of great ideas, we do love a good dose of cheese on the most romantic day of the year. We usually go out for a slap up meal and have a few bottles of wine, this year I really want to go and see 50 Shades Darker, so that might be an option for tomorrow night. We haven't made any real plans this year, which is a first. 

Everywhere I have looked this year I have seen people tearing Valentines Day down, it's why I don't understand? No one is saying that you should just show how you feel on this one day, it's just the perfect excuse to fit in a date night that you might not ordinarily have. Some couples don't get the opportunity to go out spontaneously because they don't have the childcare help that they need to do so. I am really lucky that my family are so close by and Leo loves to visit, it gives me flexibility to be able to go to the movies or out for a romantic dinner with the other half, but I know just how lucky I am on that front, and I know that not everybody get's to do it.

The lack of love radiating towards Valentines Day is hitting me like a brick wall, the anti-Cupid's we shall call them, just like Scrooge's at Christmas. The best advice I can give anyone is buy the card, organise a bouquet of flowers and just make an extra special effort, because it's just one day, but those little efforts might just put a big smile on your special ladies face.

Suck it up anti-Cupid's.

Freshening Your Home for the Arrival of Spring

There is no better way to say goodbye to the doom and gloom of winter and embrace the life and colour of spring than by freshening up your home. Spring is a much brighter, vibrant and happier time of the year and your home should reflect this.

Not only will this help you and your family to feel happier and more energised, but it will also impress any visitors and help them to feel comfortable. Revitalising through decorating can also be a fun activity to do with the kids.

Spring cleaning
Firstly, you should spring clean the entire home. This is a great way to reduce clutter and provide you the opportunity to get rid of items that you no longer need. Not only will this drastically improve the look and feel of your house, but it can also help to clear your head and reduce stress.

Next, you will want to make some decorative changes to reflect the change in season. This does not necessarily have to involve changing the colour of every single wall (although it certainly could); as there are many other smaller changes that you could make that will have a huge impact.

Replacing the rugs with lighter colours (think yellows, oranges, purples etc) can transform a room and requires little effort. Similarly, replacing the curtains with fresher and lighter colours can have a similar effect. Made to measure curtains look fantastic and provide much greater privacy and insulation (it can still be chilly in spring!) – These are best ordered from specialists, like Direct Blinds.

Other small ways to reinvigorate the home include buying new sheets for the bedroom, replacing current artwork and photos with livelier pieces and buying new cushions (or cushion covers).

Finishing Touches
Finally, a great way to embrace spring is to buy flowers or plant life for each room of the home. This really can bring the house to life and improve your mood, but remember to care for these plants by watering them regularly. You could also consider air fresheners, potpourri or simply open the windows for a fresh new fragrance in the home.

Winter can be a depressing and cold time of the year, so the arrival of spring should be embraced. This is a much lighter, colourful and happier season, so celebrate this by transforming your home with a few easy decorative changes. This does not have to break the bank, it can be done quickly and it can be a great activity to do with the little ones.

Getting Your Backyard Ready for Summer

Before long the cold and bleak winter will be a distant memory and everybody will be embracing the warmth and joy of summer. In order to fully maximise the summer and get the most out of the best season of the year, now is the time to start getting ready. This means getting your garden prepared so that you will be ready to get the BBQ out and invite you friends over as soon as the weather permits.

Clearing the Area
Winter can leave the garden looking not particularly inviting, so the first step to a summer-ready garden involves clearing the area. This includes picking up debris, weeding the garden, tidying flowerbeds and trimming back any hedges. This will immediately make a big impact on how the garden looks.

Tree Surgery
If you have large trees that create a lot of shade, you will want to thin the branches for a brighter and warmer garden. This should always be carried out by professional tree surgeons, such as UK Landscapes.

Mow the Lawn
Much like getting a fresh summer haircut, you will want to mow the lawn to a neat length to make it look much tidier and more inviting. You should also aerate the lawn and prepare the soil (if you plan on planting anything).

Fresh Paint
The harsh weather can take its toll on your perimeter fence and shed which can bring down the tone of the entire backyard, so correct this by revitalising these parts with a fresh lick of paint. Whilst you’re at it, you should also clear out the shed of items you don’t need, bring out the BBQ and garden furniture and put remaining items back in a neat fashion.

Cleaning Furniture
Next, you will want to clean the furniture and BBQ so that they will be ready for use on the first day of summer. If you have a patio area, this should also be cleaned thoroughly. You can then set up an area for socialising/relaxing.

Finishing Touches
Finally, you will want to bring the garden to life and add personality. This can be achieved through buying colourful flowers and plant life, decorating the social area, placing rugs and cushions on the lawn, buying garden lights and anything else to make this a calm, inviting and relaxing space. You may also want some garden games for the kids to enjoy.

There is no better time of the year than the summer when you can relax in your backyard or invite friends and family round for a BBQ. Now is the perfect time to get your garden ready for the summer months so follow these steps and you will be amazed at the difference that it makes.