Monday, September 25, 2017

My Weight Loss Journey Week #3 | Losing Pounds & Inches ♥

What a week it's been... I'm almost a month into this new weight loss journey of mine - I say 'new' as I've been on this wagon before, but I feel like this time I'm fully committed, even though sometimes it can be hard to resist all the yummy things.

The past few days I've been craving sugar like you wouldn't believe, but I've managed to stay away from the chocolate and sweet things, restricting myself to only two of the delicious and pretty cupcakes Tyler and I made last week.

Along with the pesky sugar cravings I've also been craving savoury. I miss sauces, I miss hearty meals filled with lots of carbohydrates and I'm feeling as though a strictly high-protein diet may not be for me on a full-time basis, even though I've not only had to make these changes for weight loss purposes, but to help keep my gallbladder problems at bay too.

I still have my protein shake every morning (I have the MaxiNutrition Lean Protein and I'll be on it for another few weeks as I picked up two tubs of it due to it having €11 off in Boots), between one and two tins of plain tuna daily too and I eat lots of chicken and vegetables. If I'm really craving something sweet I have one of the corner-style yogurts from Aldi - I love the banana flavoured one with the chocolate flakes. I'm not trying to restrict myself too fully, but I'm also trying to retrain myself to not want any of the junk anymore. Yes, it's nice for a treat, but my body doesn't need it and honestly, I'm the type of person who can't just stop at a few squares of chocolate (who actually is able to stop at a few squares by the way, because I've never met anyone who could!).

I went on four walks this past week - I even went out in the lashing rain, although I don't know how I'm going to keep doing that because Beau hates being under the rain cover. I'm going to get my five walks in this week though, I'm adamant about that. In just three short weeks my fitness level on my Fitbit has gone from poor to average and my resting heart rate has come down a lot. I'm delighted by this because not only do I want to lose weight, but I want to be healthy too.

I needed something to spur me on this week and when I wore my unicorn print dress at the weekend I remembered when I last wore it, at Britmums 2015. So I looked up a snap of myself to see how much I had changed and dear God, I was an absolute mess - not just my weight but my hair, eyebrows... what was I thinking?! I then snapped a selfie to see the difference side by side and I'm much preferring what I look like now and not only do I like the person looking back at me in the mirror a lot more, I'm also a lot happier too and I think that's the most important thing.

So how have I done this week?

I've lost another 2lbs, bringing my total weight loss since August 30th to 10lbs! I'm coming for that stone loss and really can't wait to get there!

I've also lost 8.5cm/3.3in this week too, which is great as sometimes I feel like the inches are a lot more important than what I'm seeing on the scales.

Neck: Same
Chest: Same
Bust: Same
Waist: -3
Hips: Same
Right Arm: -.5
Left Arm: +1
Right Leg: -3
Left Leg: -3

I have one week left of my Burn Bullet supplements and I'll be reviewing them once my month is up. I'm debating whether to purchase them again or to try another supplement - I think I'll make up my mind when I see the full month progress picture, which I probably won't be sharing online, I'm still not that brave!

I'm determined to lose that stone sooner rather than later so wish me luck!

If you'd like to follow along with my weight loss journey you can read about week #1 here and week #2 here

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Baking & Cupcake Decorating With Dr. Oetker ♥

This morning Tyler and I did some baking and made some delicious, pretty cupcakes - all of which are almost gone now as Tyler couldn't get enough and we gave some as a little gift to my grandparents too. There's nothing sweeter (excuse the pun) than being able to give someone a homemade gift and cupcakes always seem to be our homemade gift of choice.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ways To Make Small, Dark Rooms Look Brighter ♥

 *This is a guest post.

Anyone that is familiar with having extra living space built into their attic will understand the importance of maximizing space and light. A small room can feel even smaller if there is not enough light and no one wants to feel as though they're living in a cramped space. 

The same applies for choosing furniture and layouts: when you have a small space, such as an attic or a very dark room, it’s even more important to choose a suitable layout and colours which will maximise the space and light within the room. 

I remember studying in Edinburgh and living in a small student apartment with only one window, which was also very narrow - not the best for letting natural light into the room. The room was also painted in a dark orange colour and was filled dark brown furniture - again, not the best for giving a 'light and airy' feel. Even worse, the floor was made of a dark woody material and the whole place just felt extremely dark and not very pleasant.

The room had only a desk lamp and a very bright ceiling lamp, which I used to give the room some much needed brightness when I was in it, however, it's just not economical to have the lights turned on the whole time is it? 

I remember feeling almost claustrophobic while entering the room for the first time. It was so dark and horrible not a very nice living space at all. The small window did not provide enough light and it was almost impossible to open it, which made my feeling of claustrophobia even worse. 

The darkness was not the only problem: the ventilation in the room was awful as well. The first thing I did the day after moving in was to visit IKEA to get some mirrors and lamps for the room, all in an effort to try and brighten the place up.

I also bought a white carpet and some cushions to try give the room a feeling of having more space - white being a perfect colour to give the feeling of more space in a room. The soft furnishings contributed to brightening the room, but I remember thinking that it would be so much better if I just had a roof window. A roof window would not just improve the lighting, but also make the attic feel a lot more spacious - such an easy yet effective solution for an attic room.

There are lots of different kinds of windows for slopped ceilings on the market nowadays. The variety is so big now that it makes it even more difficult to choose, however VELUX is one of my favourites and they provide many different types of roof windows to suit all types of rooms, for example the VELUX Integra, which is automatic window offering easy ventilation, which can be integrated directly into your home´s electrical system.

I can only imagine what difference an electronic roof window would have done to my dark and small space in Edinburgh. Another important tip for making a small space more comfortable is to choose furniture and storages solutions with a double function. Using furniture that has a double function and made of materials and colours that reflect light gives an illusion of having more space. So if you have a small box room and you're trying to maximise space, having built in storage and wardrobes can really maximise the space and it's even better if they're painted or finished in white or have mirrors to reflect light too.

How have you maximised the light in your attic space or small rooms?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Healthy Snack Options For Babies From Organix ♥

 *This is a collaborative post.

Beau is 16 months now and is fully weaned. He's able to eat by himself and is mastering the art of feeding himself with a spoon, although most of the time he's just like his big brother and prefers to use his hands - this is all fine with me as long as he's actually eating.

With Beau I did a mixture of baby-led and spoon-fed weaning with him, although he made it pretty clear quite quickly that he much preferred feeding himself, grabbing the spoon out of my hand at every opportunity and refusing to accept food from me.

I began weaning him at six months, as this is now the recommend age for weaning as a baby's digestive system is more developed at this age (the recommended weaning age back in 2013 when Tyler was a baby was four months).

If you're looking for ways on how to get your baby started on weaning, Organix have a very helpful Getting Baby Started page on their website, which is full of helpful tips, timelines and healthy recipes too. It's such a great resource and it's so handy to have something like this on hand, as, if you're anything like me, you'll find the whole weaning thing to be quite daunting.

Along with all the typical healthy finger foods such as sliced fruits, finger sandwiches/slices of toast, chopped egg, cut up meat, pasta, etc. I went in search of some healthy snacks for Beau (and his big brother) to enjoy, whether it be on the go or at home and Organix was our brand of choice.

I've been buying Organix snacks ever since Tyler was a baby and they never fail to keep the kids satisfied and myself safe in the knowledge that they're not eating anything unnecessary - all thanks to Organix 'No Junk Promise'.

The boys favourite Organix snacks, and ones which I found were ideal for the weaning stage are:

Organix Carrot Sticks - these can be given from age 7 months and they never fail to bring a smile to Beau's face, he absolutely loves them. They're the perfect shape for babies to hold on their own and with their melt in the mouth texture, they're ideal for babies to get used to feeding themselves. I always have a bag of these in the changing bag for on the go snacking.

Organix Banana Puffcorn - these can be given from age 12 months and a lovely little treat type snack for older babies and kids alike. Like the carrot sticks, these puffcorn pieces melt in the mouth and are great for letting babies discover new textures in food.

Organix Gingerbread Men Biscuits - these are both my boys absolute favourite snack and are a cupboard staple in our house. Again these are suitable from age 12 months and they have a slightly harder texture than the carrot sticks and puffcorn, making them a great treat for babies to nibble on - they're perfect for teething babies to get their teeth into.

Organix Raisins Mini Boxes - these little boxes of raisins are so handy for packing in the changing bag (and the pre-school lunch box) and are great for helping babies to learn how to pick up smaller bits of food on their own. These are suitable from 12 months and each little box counts as one of a child's five a day.

Organix Berry Crispy Bars - out of all the Organix bar options these are my boys favourites. Again, these are suitable for babies 12 months plus and with their chewy and crispy texture, packed with juicy raisins and crispy puffs of rice, they give babies a taste and texture experience, as well as being a healthy treat.

Organix are my brand of choice and I'd highly recommend them to any parents who are looking for healthy snack options for their babies. As you can see, both of my boys enjoy the variety of snacks Organix have to offer and I'm happy to have the piece of mind that they're not eating any nasty stuff, yet still feel as though they're getting a treat.

Organix range of healthy snacks are available in all good supermarkets and in Boots stores. They regularly have offers on the range and this is when we stock up the snack cupboard, ready for the boys to enjoy on their outdoor teepee and wagon picnics, on the go, or in their lunch boxes.

My Weight Loss Journey Week #2 | 8lbs Down & Looser Clothes ♥

It's time for another weight loss update - to be honest, it's been the main thing on my mind the past few weeks. I actually can't believe that I've stuck to my high protein diet for so long and that I'm not yet bored with eating just tuna, eggs, chicken and vegetables on a daily basis.

I'm also sticking to my daily walks, walking myself through the shin splint pain - which I discussed last week and am coming to terms with the fact that I'll probably never be one of those super fit wans that you see jogging on the side of the road (lets take a moment to mourn the me who could have been...). Anyway, the pace of walking probably suits me better anyway and it's grand getting Beau out and about for a daily walk - you should see the look of disgust on his face on my rest days when we return home instead of heading off down the road for a trot. He's loving his buggy and all the fresh air.

The baby spurs me on to be honest, I feel as though I have to bring him for a walk and give him his daily dose of fresh country air. He's adorable, pointing out things as we're going along, chatting away to himself or having a snooze. I'm actually lucky to have him, because if I didn't, I'd probably just drop Tyler to school and go home.

The early morning sunshine is spurring me on too. I know the rain will return soon enough so I'm trying to get out as much as I can while it's dry. I snap a picture every morning once I get out of the car, above is this mornings one, and think to myself how great it is to be able to get out and walk in such a beautiful setting.

I've upped my daily walk from two miles to three miles and last week I even managed a four mile stretch too - I'll only do this again if Beau is asleep or if I'm on my own. I also went on a walk with both boys on the buggy and although this was challenging, I'm so glad I did it. It just proved to me that I have no excuses.

My clothes are feeling a lot looser and my jeans are far more comfortable now that they're not digging into me on the button. Jacek and I are going to Amsterdam again in November, so that's my goal date to get back into my other trousers and dresses which have sat in my wardrobe neglected because they don't fit, because I want to wear them on my trip.

I'm still taking two Grilla Fitness Burn Bullets twice a day, one when I wake up and one after my walk, although I have contemplated giving them up. Sometimes it's hard to get to sleep due to all the caffeine in them, even on days when I've just taken one, but I'm 12 days in and have decided to stick out the month. I'm not sure if they're helping me in any way, but every Thursday I take a before and after picture of my stomach area to see the progress and I could see a clear difference between last weeks and the week before pictures - I'm not yet ready to share pictures of my stomach with the world!

I've contemplated joining a gym, but with trying to save for a mortgage deposit the roads will have to be my gym for now. After all, they're free, I have my cardio on the steep hills and Beau in his buggy is acting as my weight as I push him along and up on the inclines.

I weighed myself this morning and I've lost 4lbs this past week, bringing my total lost since August 30th to 8lbs. I'm absolutely delighted with this and am determined to keep going. I'm now in the below stone bracket and have two stone to go before I've reached my goal.

I also took my measurements this morning and have had a few ups and downs in different areas, but overall, after adding and subtracting everything, I've lost another 2cms/0.7in off my body. Hopefully next weeks measurement results will be a bit more inspiring.

So that's it for this week. Lots of walking, lots of protein, more Burn Bullets and lots of determination are giving me the results that I want and I'm going to keep going. The hard work is paying off and I'm looking forward to shedding even more weight and becoming the fitter, stronger and healthier person I want to be.

Read about week #1 in my weight loss journey here.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Wild Ones ♥

The wild ones, they're always the most exciting aren't they? You never know what you're going to get or where they're going to spring up - a bit like my little Beau, that baby is such a character.

His little expressions remind me of the wildflowers, each one unique and interesting to look at and I can't help but want to capture them on camera. Is there anything sweeter or more adorable than a baby pout?

My pensive little baby, sitting beside the towering wildflowers on a sunny day - what could be quintessentially more summer-like? I have similar pictures of myself as a baby and to be able to photograph my own baby in the same kind of scenarios is quite a precious thing to me.

I was in love with the rows of wildflowers in the garden, wildflowers being my favourite type of flowers after all. The cornflowers, sprightly and colourful like little pom poms of confetti were the most pretty to me on this day. The hues of the pink and blues were just beautiful.

I'll always love the poppies too though, so delicate and a symbol of summer. I always remember poppies growing in the graveyard when I was a child. Something so beautiful blooming in a place of sadness, reminding me that even something good can come out of something so upsetting.

These pictures aren't perfect, but they're full of my favourite things - the beautiful flowers, my beautiful baby boy in his adorable little bloomers, playing with his toes and pouting away... I'll be lost when these precious childhood summers have passed us by and the boys won't want to be in the frame anymore.

Summer is now gone, but these wild ones are still holding strong.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Petal Game ♥

Since Beau was a little baby I've playing this game with him, the petal game. I don't know how it even came about, but one day I just looked at the wilting roses on the kitchen windowsill and thought they'd make a lovely photo prop, so I sprinkled them over the baby.

He instantly loved it.

He'd lay there each time and giggle wildly as the petals fell towards him like colourful drops of rain. He'd become even more excited each time I slowly said "one...two...three" and then let the petals cascade over him. I'm so glad this flinging petals over my baby idea came to me, as not only did they bring him great enjoyment, but they also made for beautiful keepsake photos for me too.

As a flower and nature lover, I always try to have a floral or outdoor element to my pictures and as a mama, I love to have my boys in the frame. Combining my two loves into one photographic capture is wonderful for me and this photo series of mine is one of my favourites ever. In fact, I'd possibly have more babies to just keep capturing these petal game shots!

Who knew that wilting flowers could make such beautiful expressions?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Tyler & Beau | Siblings {September 2017} ♥

Another month has passed us by and these past few weeks these little brothers of mine have had a lot of upheaval to contend with. We've moved from the house which we lived in for the past five years and have moved to a much bigger house - much to everyone's liking, the only problem being that we only have this one until next July.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Beaulieu House & Gardens, Co. Louth ♥

At the beginning of August we took a spur of the moment trip to Beaulieu House and Gardens, finding that it was only eight minutes away from the d Hotel Drogheda, where we went for a family night away. If you follow my blog and social media regularly then you'll know that I'm almost always outdoors photographing flowers, so I really couldn't resist a visit to this place to see what it had to offer.

Monday, September 11, 2017

5 Ways To Prepare For Your Family's Future ♥

 *This is a collaborative post.

Preparing for our future as a family is something I wish I had put a lot of thought into before we actually had our children. I was completely focused on the ideals and the amazing experiences and memories that becoming a parent would bring, that I think I neglected the serious side a little bit - hind sight is a wonderful thing, right?

Friday, September 08, 2017

My Weight Loss Journey Week #1 | Teaching Myself To Run, Protein & Burn Bullets ♥

Well, here I am, back on the weight loss wagon again. I was doing so well, losing 30lbs and 127cm off my body in 9 months, but then summer came and I just fell off the wagon completely. I didn't go hell for leather and eat a load of crap, but I also didn't eat overly healthily either and I gave up my daily exercising completely - oops!

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