So long Trolley-Dolly Big Kahunas! Gym-tastic #1

 

As those of you who have journeyed on my blog thus far will know one of my topics of discussion is to be my road to fitness heaven following the birth of our gorgeous third child – Bubs.

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Having hit the 12 week marker following my C-section I was given the all clear to start exercising again. I was so grateful to be told this having had a pretty tough time of it during the pregnancy (see post SPD).

We joined the gym literally just up the road from our house – so convenient, any further and I probably wouldn’t have bothered! We’ve plumped for Off Peak because in reality I’m not going to be getting there at the weekends especially when Hubs is working a shift and the Twins are about, also I can’t see either of us getting there before 8am or after 4pm…at the moment. The bonus of this off-peak membership too means that at the weekend when the children are all at home, I won’t be thinking ‘I should get to the gym today’ because ….I’m not allowed!!  Plus those rest days are always so well received!

 

14 Gym Tastic 4Our gym is part of the local Golf Club…not once has a golfer bid me ‘Good Morning’ as I park up and walk across the car park clad in leggings and work out top. Clearly, I am not in their league! I am not ‘one of them’. Ho Hum!!!! Not to worry! I know that I am going into my own zone; to blitz my body for the next 45mins to 1 hour. Maybe they are in their own zone too…about to woop the ass of their fellow golf ‘buddy’!

So my first day in the gym felt fantastic! Only 2 other people in there! Admittedly my performance wasn’t great but I used this first session as a ‘get the lay of the land’ job; suss out the machines and work out my own programme, also see how my body would respond. Tapping back into my skills as a gym and fitness instructor felt wonderful – I’d forgotten how much I missed this!

The gym is small and some of the machines are very close to each other. Just know that if you hop onto the treadmill next-door…

  1. We are now in a race situation (sorry – competitive stream and all that!)
  2. I will not be engaging in small talk, I am here to work my arse off; to sweat; to puff; to lift weights that are of benefit to my body. In my opinion, if you have the breath left to talk about last night’s EastEnders…you are not working hard enough!

It is safe to say that Hubs and I, in joining this gym have significantly lowered the average age of clientele by a substantial 40 years! There are quite an array of members who I have seen so far; all of retirement age, using minimal weight on for example, the Lat Pull Down. Wearing chinos on the bike. Chatting whilst doing sit ups and plank to their instructor, who bless him is fighting a losing battle of trying to get his client to shut up and concentrate!

Dear Lat Pull Down Man,

You are meant to put that little peg into the selected weight of your choice and then proceed to use the apparatus to work your Latissimus Dorsi. Higher Reps at lower weights will maintain toning of your muscles. Lower Reps at higher weights will help to build your muscles. Sitting there hogging the machine for 15 minutes whilst you do a mere 3 set of 10 reps with no weight really is not doing anything for you.

Please discuss your fitness programme with the Gym Staff (so that I may then be able to get on the flippin’ machine and be finished in 5 mins!)

Yours

Aloha Mummy

 

I jest but it does irk me! I have a limited window of time to get my workout done before Bubs needs feeding again – I need my work out to be as effective as possible. Plus when I return home I literally tag-team Hubs and then he can get to the gym!

One slight issue I have noted since returning to fitness post-Bubs is, what I like to call, The Kahuna Calamity. I have never been one to sport a chest. Size 8 all my life (apart from the post baby moments) and a dancer I have barely made it up to a 34B. Whilst producing milk for the 3 babies I have hit the dizzying heights of a 36C!!! So, so, so weird! My gorgeous friend Sparkle Mum even changed my name in her phone to ‘Trolley Dolly Big Kahuna’ after I joked about needing a hostess trolley to rest them on if they got any larger!_20160727_165941 I literally have to adjust my balance, and getting through a doorway is not without its hazards! Turn too quickly and that bad boy gets well and truly smacked into the door frame. Yowwwwch! I have now invested in the mother of all sports bars – extreme support! It feels so awful to me to be on the treadmill of the stair climber and have the extra one second behind time, bounce on my chest. Think of it if you will, as the Corporal Jones of the boobed lady. I step, boob bounce. I stop, boob bounce. It’s not nice and even though as a teenage I wished for a buxom chest…now, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s not for me and the sooner I shift this weight the better.

The other issue I have is the ‘empty bump’ I am still sporting since Bubs’ birth. It is reducing well – I’ve been taking weekly photographs to prove to myself that my shape is changing. It’s odd but this time around I am in no hurry for it to go. This is my last physical reference on my body to the fact that I grew a human. My baby bump has been through a lot and created something incredibly precious. I am more than thankful to my baby bump. However, when trying to outstrip the fellow treadmiller it feels rather unpleasant to have it wobbling about. I have therefore invested in some support underwear to combat this and it has boosted my confidence and I believe my performance too. It is actually the support wear I bought to help post C-section for JoJo Maman Bebe. It certainly helps me to remember to engage my core and on post work out stretching ( I long for my flexibility!) particularly my hamstring stretches as it helps contain the bump so I can actually reach my toes!!

I have now been back at the gym for 4 weeks. I am noticing a difference, not from weighing as I hate that, but from clothes and how they fit.  I am now back into pre-baby clothes and able to tighten my belt too!  It’s all small steps in the right direction.

On days when I can’t get to the gym I have invested in a skipping rope, been given a wonderful postnatal Yoga DVD and incredibly been donated an Out N About Nipper Sport Buggy so that Bubs and I can get out in the fresh air together! I love this buggy!

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Today I did my first Plank…not hugely successful compared to my previous records – 4 mins plank was my all-time best! Today I managed a mere 2 sets of 30 seconds. 10 years on my body is 10 years older (obvs!) than it was after the Twins were born…I must remember this!

But, as I say, it’s early days. Things will happen and by going slow and steady I will achieve my wishes, safely. I will embrace my empty bump for the time it remains with me and I will thank it daily for my beautiful children which it has housed. My mantra :-

‘This is Me.

This is Me, getting myself healthy. This is Me Being the best I can be for my children. This is me building myself for the future. This is Me creating a career to be around my children.

This is Me.’

Farewell Trolley Dolly Big Kahunas!

The Aloha Mummy 🌸

 

Diary of an imperfect mum

 

A Cornish Mum
R is for Hoppit
My Petit Canard

NoBoJacs Review

 

 

If you are looking for an imaginative and unique fabric themed gift then look no further than Jacqueline and her imaginatively titled business NoBoJacs (Note Book Jackets! Genius!).

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It all started out with her making lovely fabric covers for note books but has quickly escalated into a vision of bunting, aprons, peg bags, new baby gifts, wedding items and of course, birthday gifts! And to top it all off she even is a dab hand (in fact expert hand) at made to measure curtains, blinds and soft furnishings; measuring, creating and fitting.

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In her beautifully decorated Pop Up the High Street shop customers are busily looking at every piece she has made. The beauty of what Jacqueline makes is that each piece is individual and personal. All items are made to order so you are able to choose the colour, design and size of the item they are seeking.

I was particularly taken with her unique bunting design…I am such a one for bunting! In fact, my bunting obsession has become quite the running joke amongst my friends! Jacqueline creates her bunting so that it is interchangeable!!!!!!!!! Oh my!  Attaching each flag with her specialist Button technique means that you can swap and change your designs, add to them, reduced them , theme them to your heart’s content!  Unlike conventional bunting which is sewn to the ribbon or rope from which it hangs NoBoJacs Button Bunting hangs freely from its ribbon. They are so expertly created…I could have bought them all!!!  My favourite was the monochrome pink button design.

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Jacqueline says that her heart truly lies in the made to measure business and loves new orders which she creates with love and perfection. A wonderfully charismatic personality you cannot help but love her enthusiasm for all things fabric! With more than 25 years experience in fabrics and furnishings she really knows her craft.

She also sees her work as creating that calm, therapeutic atmosphere and even has ideas about starting a therapy group using her skills in fabric creations and her background as a mental health worker. The benefits would be endless with this wonderful idea and I could think of no one better to bring this to fruition than Jacqueline.

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NoBoJacs are going to be a Pop Up the High street for a limited time and I strongly urge you to pay Jacqueline a visit. Now is the time to update those curtains, re-design your bedroom with stunning handmade, made to measure blinds, plump up your sofa with divine cushions to suit your own individual style and decor and place your orders for one-off gifts for all those Sumer weddings you have coming up in your calendar! Ooh, I would also get a head start on your Christmas orders too….I can see Jacqueline getting extremely busy in the run up to the festive season! Don’t miss out!

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NoBoJacs shop was like a fabric Aladdin’s Cave, the more you look, the more you find…and the more you want to buy the lot! I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to NoBoJacs and meeting the lovely Jacqueline, you will too!

Have a look at the NoBoJacs website and you must, must follow on Twitter and Facebook too!!

www.nobojacs.co.uk

@nobojacs

 

Diary of an imperfect mum

 

19,240 Shrouds of the Somme

19240 Shrouds of the Somme

On July 1st 2016 we remembered those soldiers who, precisely 100 years ago, lost their lives in what has gone down in history as the bloodiest battle and the largest loss for the British Army. By the end of the first day there were 19,240 soldiers fallen; lives lost; families destroyed; futures changed forever. These 19,240 were only roughly one third of the 57,000 casualties.

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By the time the Battle ended on 18th November 1916 there were over 1 million loses. Around 480,000 for the Allies and around 630,000 for the Germans.

So many of these soldiers were young; barely even into their adult lives. Some even as young as 15 and 16. It seems unthinkable doesn’t it? Children going off to fight. Leaving behind Mothers, sisters, brothers, Aunties, Grandparents. For some villages, the lives lost at the Somme meant that an entire population of men never returned home. Entire villages whose future generations would be changed immeasurably.

Rightly so, there was a good deal of media coverage of the remembrance services in France. This is something that should never be forgotten. These are people who should never be forgotten. These are lessons that need to be learnt.

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In memory to these 19,240 soldiers of the first days battle Rob Heard has created this stunning visual exhibition 19240 Shrouds of the Somme.

‘Each 12 inch plastic figure in a hand-stitched shroud is liked to an Allied fatality on 1st July 1916.’

Heard had decided that he wanted to create something which would visualise the huge numbers of soldiers lost on the first day. He chose to ‘physicalise the number’.

With each figure he places in its shroud, using records from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, he crosses off a name. Each tiny, silent, figure is associated with the name of a soldier lost.

‘It’s vitally important that each is associated with a name, otherwise the individual gets lost in the numbers.’

And, getting lost within these vast numbers when you see the exhibition for yourself is quite what happens. A sea of white dots trails off into the distance. But you know that each dot is a life. Each dot, as you walk around the edge and see with your own eyes, is a life lost. The figures are in a number of different bodily positions but are all laid out side by side, line upon line upon line.

Upon line.

The number is incredibly hard to comprehend. All these lives lost. In one day.

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Rob is an artist from Somerset and as such has successfully involved Exeter City Council, Exeter Chiefs Foundation and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum with his project. The exhibition has opened at Northernhay Gardens in Exeter. The fact that something so important and so significant has been exhibited in the first instance within the West Country is something to be hugely grateful for. Very often creations of this scale are bound for the capital.

 

We have been honoured to attend a humbling, visual experience, an emotional connection and a poignant reflection of a major moment in history, right here on our doorstep.

 

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With my parents and Bubs, I took Twin 1 and Twin 2 to Exeter on Sunday 3rd – the exhibition is only here for 7 days – so that they could see for themselves. The gardens were peaceful, visitors courteous and the mood contemplative. With readings of the names of the fallen and with recordings of readings of famous poems gently drifting through our minds, the silent, still ghosts of those lost filled the air in the most serene way.

 

 

 

We made our way around the exhibition and when we arrived at the centre of the bridge, could look down and take in the full scene. I was unable to speak. That lump in my throat made it impossible. My twins are 10; I could not even imagine them in 5 years time heading off to this. I felt for all those Mothers. I felt for all those boys. I hugged my boys tight. They hugged me back.

We made our donations in the SSAFA (Soldiers Sailors Airmen and Families Association) collection  and picked up a leaflet about the event. Twin 1 was astounded at how young some of the boys looked from their pictures within the handout. And he was right. So young.

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We spoke of our family members who had been at the Somme during its 5 months. The Twins Great-Grandfather, on my side, had been there, not on the first day but went out in September. Their Great-Great-Grandfather, on Hubs’ side had also been there – he survived the Somme and even survived being run over by a tank there, as he was squashed into the sea of putrid mud which absorbed all the pressure. Their 3 Great-Great-Great Uncles also were sent to France to participate in this horrific battle. We are the lucky ones; our relatives survived.

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And that is a sobering thought; that if they had lost their lives, our lives would never even have been a glimmer of a possibility.

For more information on this exhibition you need to visit the website:

http://www.thesomme19240.co.uk/

There are more events planned to commemorate the fallen and if you get the chance to visit the Shrouds, I sincerely hope you take the opportunity to go.

 

 

 

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The Aloha Mummy 🌸

Mummuddlingthrough
Diary of an imperfect mum
A Cornish Mum

Spindle and Berry review

On Friday 1st July I was invited along to the Pop Up the high street shop in Torquay to visit the lovely Spindle and Berry.   If you are looking for that extra special gift, for a friend or a treat for yourself you would be wise to visit Spindle and Berry and spend some time indulging yourself in, and soaking up the beauty of these nature themed pieces of chic homeware!

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Making the most of the Popup shop to get her business known and her products seen, I met Catherine, the owner of Spindle and Berry. Her business focuses on creating beautiful sculptures using natural objects found along the coast or the field around Devon. She is excited about creating beautiful pieces from simple shapes and forms of nature. She has also rather brilliantly, linked up with Dartington crystal and creates drift wood pieces to surround glassware.  Her design on crisp clean glass paired with the beautiful dried lavender posy was simply stunning.

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Drift wood creations adorn the shelves – I am in heaven! Inspired by the time spent renovating her charming Devonshire cottage, Catherine has turned her hand to creating these tactile pieces of art which would look at home displayed on a dining table, making a feature of a fireplace, or hanging on a wall, you name it she has a product for every room in your house! Each item I looked at I was thinking ‘Oh that would look lovely on my landing wall! Oh that’s perfect for my mantle piece! This is just what my living rooms needs! That is made for my bedroom!!’

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On my visit I was delighted to meet her; her enthusiasm for what she does is clear to see and she is passionate about creating affordable luxury homeware. When I asked which beaches she sources her wood from I was told that this is her big secret!

Standing to the side of the shop was ‘The Old Admiral’; an incredible, huge piece of wood, formerly part of a ship. The rawness of this added to its beauty and I felt that it would look exquisite in a hallway or even a living room; Catherine had some pretty fairy lights draped across which really set it off. A real stand alone piece!

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There are creations for all tastes and purses. Larger pieces to smaller ones, intricate driftwood works to simplistic framed art. I was sold on the driftwood Hearts on a standing frame.

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Equally as pretty as the tactile driftwood pieces are the framed art works which can house lavender sprigs, ears of corn or pussy willow stems. All individually named, Catherine is keen to point out the uniqueness of each individual piece. She only creates things that she loves and wouldn’t have it any other way; unless it is perfect it won’t be for sale! She says that she is getting better at parting with her work now too, at the beginning the love and effort she put into her creations made it hard to let go. Thankfully for us, her perfectionism is spot on and all the products in her shop reflect her dedication to them. Prices are very reasonable, especially when you consider that everything is personally sourced, designed and created by Catherine.

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A giant driftwood sun on a stand, standing approximately 5ft tall is Spindle and Berry’s unique explosion into social media. Be part of the #SunSelfie crew and have your photo taken peeping through the middle of the sun, to be featured on the Spindle and Berry Facebook page. You cannot help but smile when you’re stood behind the sun and Catherine’s delight for what she does and warm personality, sparkle through into the photo.

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Spindle and Berry will be returning to the Popup shop at the top of Torquay in the near future – check out the Spindle and Berry website, twitter account and Facebook page, alongwith the Pop Up the high street twitter account, for more information on dates.  We all need some driftwood ornaments in our lives!

http://www.spindleandberry.co.uk

@spindleandberry

Facebook Spindle and Berry

Pintrest Spindle and Berry

Instagram Spindle and Berry

The Aloha Mummy 🌸

Mummuddlingthrough
Diary of an imperfect mum
A Cornish Mum
Petite Pudding
My Petit Canard

Can’t Contour, Will Wing!

I think I am growing up!?! I have reached that stage in my life where I am looking at labels on products that say, firming, age defence, (not too fussed about the wrinkle side of ageing but don’t want my skin to sag or look drab – still hankering after my youthful glow!) and wondering if that will be the product for me. I’m going to try to be true to one brand for a significant time to see if there are any benefits to be found.

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I’m at an age now, where make up is my friend! Since the age of 15 I have always worn my black eyeliner; I remember the day I first put it on! I felt awesome! Like Curt Cobain would defo pick me for a backing singer! My eyeliner is my absolute ‘go-to’ make up item, without it I think I look ill! You know the look, flu for a week, baggy eyes, and pasty skin – but as soon as I put my eyeliner on I feel awake and presentable! Now I have ‘grown up’ and I moisturise regularly, I can actually see a vast improvement when I put on my (actually very little) beauty products.

 

I’ve seen many a You Tube Make Up tutorial about Mums and their morning make up routine and to be honest it may seem simple and minimal to them but to me there is just not enough time for all that nonsense! One I saw was a quick make up application – the word quick was in the title. Now for her it may be quick and she did look utterly fab at the end of it, but to me that was about as much make up as I would wear for a performance on stage! Moisturiser, primer, concealer, foundation, powder, bronzer, dust the blusher, eyelid primer, eye shadow, eyebrow pencil, mascara, eyeliner, winged….(I’ll come to this beauty in a mo!), lip primer, lipstick, then all finished off with some little face spray thingy to make everything stick in place! There was even a bit of contouring in there too!

 

Right, so this is my daily make up routine:-

  • Moisturise
  • Powder (sticks to moisturiser – that’s my primer right there folks #lifehack!)
  • Bronzer (if I remember!)
  • Mascara
  • Eyeliner– always! If there is only time for one item of makeup then this is it!
  • Blush (if I remember!)
  • Bedtime – One make up remover wipe to clear off what little has managed to hang on in there after Bubs has vomited, sneezed, licked, wiped, snorted, huffed, rolled on and snuggled into, and the bottle steriliser has billowed its steam into my face! (Home Spa and bottle steriliser in one!

Contouring

I feel that maybe at this stage of my life I need to master this? But, hang on minot grigio! Do I really WANT to learn to do this, or am I being made to feel as though I SHOULD learn to do this; that it will in some bizarre way enhance my life and increase my self esteem; that if I don’t then I will stick out like a sore thumb whilst waiting in the queue at Sainsburys? Well if there is anything more likely to reduce my self esteem it is me trying and epically failing to, in anyway shape or form, master contouring. I ended up looking like one of those women on a Nip & Tuck programme all marked up with thick marker pen lines. I stood back from the mirror. What a laugh! What a joke!

Conclusion – I cannot contour and I’m ok with it! I really do not want to look like a wannabe Kardashian.

 

Last week whilst mooching about Youtube I stumbled across a new technique craze in make-up application!…

Strobing

If you are anything like me this word immediately conjured up images of the annual pantomime and the scene where there is a car chase, policeman brandishing a truncheon and the loveable underdog character Buttons or suchlike, running about the stage with the strobe lighting making it all feel a bit surreal, whacky and robotic stop-starty! Turns out that in actual fact this Strobing technique is what we used to call highlighting.  Not so scary after all and something that I can handle without too much hilarity (or irritation!)

 

Winged Eyeliner

Right. The nemesis of my make up application. I am determined to crack this bad boy! Up until now I have tried every eyeliner and technique out there, felt tip ended, chisel ended, fat, thin, cat eye, liquid, gel, dot method, credit card method…blah de blah de BLAH!

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I love my eyeliner and I love Audrey Hepburn and I would love for my eyeliner to mirror her iconic look. I am driven, I am motivated, and I am full of perseverance!  I have now found a magnificent eyeliner to achieve this exact look… It still takes me a few go’s but I get there!

 

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Moisturising

I have recently decided that my skin would benefit from some regular skincare routine and have invested in a Serum from No7. This is lush! I shall also be branching out into the rest of the range of moisturiser for day and night. The main reason I plumped for this product?…the TV advert with the ballerina; a dancer in the present dancing with a projection of her much younger self. I’m sold!!! Just add pointe shoes to any advertising campaign and I’m there!! It’s the most I have ever paid for a moisturiser but I am at an age where I think that I am allowed to indulge myself in this way!

 

 

I have an epic Girl’s Night Out coming up in August – Bean has landed an a-ma-zing new job and it will mean that she will have to relocate. I am keen to display my new found/old fashioned strobing/highlighting technique, winged eyeliner look and serumed-up dewy faced look on this night

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….although I’m not sure why because after Bean has insisted that we do tequilas…

  1. a) it will be smudged into sexy (HA! Yeah right!) panda look
  2. b) I will be so squiffy that I won’t be able to see it let alone attempt a re-application!
  3. c) Bean, Charlie’s Mum, Sparkle Mum and Peace Mama will also be so sozzled that they won’t be able to focus on it and appreciate the effort I have gone to – there’s a chance that Bean will be sloshed before we even go out! (Love. Her!)
  4. d) my pores will be cleansed with alcohol but it will still take a pack of cleansing wipes to remove that amount of product at the end of the night!
  5. e) we will be in a dimly lit (atmospherically lit) cocktail bar so really who’s to know?!

So in conclusion, I may venture down the foundation route, I will wear my Smokey eye look and I shall Wing away!

But I’d like to make it clear that this is only for very special occasions! I am more than happy to maintain my ‘stick powder on top of moisturiser look’, and eyeliner routine! It’s working just fine for me….and I got ID’d for my lottery ticket the other week too so I can’t be ageing too badly!!!

GET IN!

So, like me with my one item of ‘Can’t live without’ makeup…..what’s yours?! Remember, only one item!

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Or, maybe we don’t need any at all?

The Aloha Mummy 🌸

Mummuddlingthrough

 

Diary of an imperfect mum