Heating Style, helping to make our house a home – AD

I’m  Buying our own home wasn’t really top of our list of priorities, it was just something that we did after getting married right?  It was just one of those milestones in life that came naturally like a tickbox that needed filling.  We met, fell in love, got married and bought a house right? But finding out we were pregnant just as our offer for a house went through?! And moving in when almost 7 months pregnant?! None of it went quite to plan, we’d have liked some time make our new house a home before having a baby but sometimes life doesn’t go to plan…

I’ve always felt like this house doesn’t fit what I’d always dreamt of my house being like but it’s taken some time for me to learn to cherish this home, we’ve never had the time or money to make it look perfect but it’s precious because every outdated corner and chipped doorframe holds a memory of our little boy.  After all we bought him from the hospital into this house and this is where his every ‘first’ has been. First time sitting, standing and walking. He took his first steps in our dreary old kitchen and the outdated second hand sofa is where I sat when I watched him first roll over. This room is where we spent most of our days, feeding and napping when he was a newborn and now it’s where we have daily dance parties.

Our home isn’t perfect but it’s slowly getting there and with the help of amazing brands like @heatingstyle1 who chose to collaborate with us through @influens.t.a.r, this home is very quickly filling up with lots of warmth and love! They very kindly sent us their Korlea radiator to help us in our aim to make our house a home and we couldn’t be more pleased with it.

From the second we began talks with the brand through to organising delivery in horrible winter weather, their service has been incredible and their products are not only luxurious and very well made but built to last and reasonably priced.  We couldn’t be happier with out little touch of luxury in our home and will definitely be coming back to Heating style when we plan on doing more work to the house.  If you’re looking to make your home extra special I highly recommend taking a look at Heating Style’s website where from stunning vertical designer radiators to stylish bathroom towel rails, Heating Style have it all.

 

 

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This is me…

Since having Adam I’ve done a lot of losing and finding myself.  It’s funny how becoming a parent can do that to you isn’t it?!  I started this blog when I found out I was pregnant and instantly felt very alone in the things I was experiencing and the way I was feeling. The parenting blogger market is so heavily saturated but the real, shitty gritty stuff is still buried deep down below all the perfection of parenting and I wanted the shitty stuff. I wanted someone else to tell me that what I was feeling wasn’t strange, or wrong or unheard of! I wanted someone else to write about what I was writing about. And then I started believing those to be my weaknesses and I hid them from the world (those posts are set to private).

Those feelings haven’t really changed very much since having Adam, they’ve actually grown and evolved.  Feelings of losing myself as a person, losing my independence, suddenly being thrown into this huge amass of responsibility.  Since falling pregnant and becoming a parent all I’ve wanted was to shake those feelings!  I didn’t want those feelings anymore but I’m learning to embrace them.  I went from being an independent working professional, showered and dressed every morning and not smelling of congealed breast milk to barely getting a second to breathe, let alone eat or sleep and constantly rocking the messy bun with added grease and it was a shock to the system to say the least.

So naturally I’ve gone on a very long soul searching journey whilst riding the motherhood train and I seem to finally be finding my feet.  Being on maternity leave meant I had lots of free time on my hands (in between the sleepless nights and cluster feeds) to work on finding me again.  It took a while but I realised I could be me whilst still being Mum.  I rekindled my love for writing but also found a new passion for photography and with Instagram being a visual platform, that is naturally where all of my efforts have been spent recently.  If you haven’t found me on my blog, it’s most likely I’ve been on Instagram, Liking, Commenting and creating a bit of magic for my feed but I’ve also been creating lots of useful Instagram related content for my wonderful friend Jodine and her new venture Brand Influencers UK.

Instagram has fast become my little obsession but I am by no means an expert.  I do enjoy learning the inner workings of Instagram and as well as following the works of Sara Tasker, I am partial to spending my spare time learning about what works for Instagram and what doesn’t and I love shouting about it from the rooftops but for some reason I just don’t put my own knowledge into practice.

My downfall when it comes to Instagram or anything for that matter, is that I fail to practice what I preach.  I know what works and what gains traction but I rarely find the time or energy to put those things in to practice. 2019 is the year I stop making those excuses and practice what I teach!

I have had a fair bit of time to soul search these last few weeks (that’s what being admitted to hospital twice in the space of a week does to you!) and I’ve realised that my whole purpose for blogging or Instagram blogging hasn’t changed. I still very much see it as an outlet for my mental health journey and a way of communicating feelings that I otherwise may not be able to express. But the way I convey my message has changed, I use photography and editing as a form of therapy and what better platform to do that on than Instagram right?!

So there is a little insight for you about my journey and how it has evolved over the past year or so for all the new followers who have found their way to me through Instagram and for those that have been there from the start. I’m still learning and growing, and I don’t claim to be an expert but I now where my passions lie, I know what makes me ME again.

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The frazzled Mother

I’ve had a little bit of a hiatus from writing on my blog recently and although it wasn’t planned I just haven’t felt like sitting down and writing.

The main reason for that is because I use writing as an outlet for all the frustration of day to day life.  I like being able to sit down and pen my worries and just leave them there for a while because it not only frees up my mind from all the clutter but it also brings me closer to a whole community of people out there who may be feeling the same way as me and a problem shared is a problem halved.

But recently I’ve found other creative outlets for reconnecting with myself and de-cluttering my frazzled mummy brain, mainly Instagram!

Some of you may not know but when my maternity leave ended I felt so overwhelmed with life with a baby, and the added everyday pressures of being a wife, a woman, a human being, that going back to work almost broke me.  I can talk about it now because I’m in a much better place personally, psychologically, physically and emotionally but at the time I just wanted to run away!

For quite some time I lied to everybody that asked and just said ‘yes, work is fine’ but my reality was I was barely half the person I was before getting pregnant and I was trying to spread that half person so thinly over my husband, my son, the house, my blog, life in general and it just wasn’t working.  I was granted a 6 month career break which suddenly freed my mind of so much emotional distress and all the stresses that came with being away from my boy.  I gave myself those 6 months to grow as a person so that when the time came to going back to work I’d be in the best position I could be to juggle motherhood and having a life.

Well that time has actually come! In three weeks time I shall be hanging up my mummy cape and heading off to work for 2 days a week and this time I feel ready for it.  We’ve found a nursery that is a bit further away but I feel Adam with thoroughly enjoy and I have had the last 6 months to free my mind of all the negativity I was harboring, surrounding motherhood in general and am in a much better place.

What has helped me the most is keeping myself busy, focusing my mind on more taxing and creative tasks so that I just haven’t had the time to obsess and fester on negative things.  I became obsessed about many things when I first my son like breastfeeding (I had to get it right and when it wasn’t I blamed myself for being a useless mother), Separation anxiety (I couldn’t manage even an hour or two without my baby) and lots more including his weight gain and his health in general (I worried about every little ailment and it made me an anxious mess!).

If you’ve followed me on Instagram for a while you’ll notice a bit of an evolution in my photography recently, I’m enjoying putting my focus on editing and taking beautiful photos instead of worrying but I’m not going to lie it’s worked brilliantly until now…

I’m back to being a nervous wreck and an anxious crazy loon but I think with enough planning, the transition into nursery life has been a bit easier this time.  I’ll be writing a post about what we changed and how we’ve made the whole process of enrolling him back into nursery much easier for him and for me so keep your eyes peeled for that.

 


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My favourite literature for anxiety…

If you know me well you’ll know that my most favourite platform at the moment is Instagram and recently I put up some polls asking my followers which posts they wanted to see next.  I asked about whether I should write about what literature I’ve found to help with anxiety or what supplements I take and the results were pretty 50-50 so I’m going to write both.

If you’re like me and have suffered with anxiety for a while, or it’s been heightened since becoming a parent then this post may be of some help to you.  Below are some of the books/literature I’ve accumulated in my search for a calmer, more level headed me and they’ve helped me so much I’m keen to share in the hopes that they will help someone else too!

The Anxiety Solution – Chloe Brotheridge. I found this book when searching for books to help with Anxiety and it had amazing reviews on Amazon.  It’s an easy read and takes a few hours to complete cover to cover with nappy breaks and toddler tantrum intervals but it’s a real eye opener.  I would say though that it’s written from the point of view of a woman and therefore is more biased to female experiences but that’s not to say a man can’t read it.  If you’re going to read this book then I’d advise committing to it, complete the tasks, take notes and be honest with yourself.  It’s not going to delve too deep into your soul but I found it helped me to understand my anxiety a lot more and now that I understand it I can manage it much better.

Just Breathe Magazine – I found these through Instagram but they’re actually stocked in all major supermarkets and I usually pick mine up from Sainsburys but you can also order online here.  If you substitute your fancy barista coffee from starbucks you can pick up one of these instead and you wont regret it.  I’m going to be very honest, I have 2 copies so far and I still haven’t read them all completely because their images are enough to make you feel calm and zen.  sounds kinda stupid but I can very happily just flick through these over and over and not get bored.  They are stunning, their illustrations are mind blowing and the articles are great for promoting mindfulness and positivity.

Breathe journals – If like me you love the magazines, the journals will literally blow your mind!  I have the Nature Journal and its so beautifully put together and illustrated that I almost don’t want to use it but I am, slowly.  I may also have just made a sneaky little order of the other journals in their range and I can’t wait to get stuck in.  You can even find some of them on Amazon like the list journal, perfect if you love a good list like me.  If like me you find that mindfulness and putting your mind to more creative outlets really helps chill out your anxiety then these are a must for you.

Calm – This book coincides with the Calm app which I also love but if like me you’d rather practice your mindfulness, away from your phone and all other technology then the book is brilliant.  It gives guidance to how you can practice mindfulness and meditation everyday along with short mindful activities that you can complete in minutes and they instantly bring a bit of calm to your life.  This book gives you everything from physical exercises to help wind down, to proverbs and anecdotes from other cultures and famous people.  Some of my favourite activities are the imaginative ones like design your calm island and go cloud gazing.  I’m not sure where you can pick this up as I found mine in my local Homesense stationary section but I did find it on good old Amazon here.

Start where you are – This was another Homesense find that can be found on Amazon here.  It’s called a journal for self exploration and it ‘pairs insightful quotes with prompts that spark reflection through writing, drawing, list making, and more.’  I bet you’re seeing a theme now with the sort of literature that has helped and it’s definitely ones that make you pause and reflect on your worries with actual mindful activities to help you conquer your fears.  I found this one to be the easiest to do, simply because the tasks aren’t too taxing.  They just simple, quick tasks like write three things that made you smile today and describe one thing about yourself that pushes people away.  It’s very easy on the eye with lots of typography.

If you’re looking for something that’s going to really get you thinking and working on your anxiety then The Anxiety Solution is by far the best one for you but if you’re looking for more thought provoking simple activities that you can incorporate into your everyday life for little snippets of calm in your day then any of the others are great!

I’d love to hear if any of you have any suggestions for books or magazines that you find great for anxiety then I’d love to hear them in the comments or if you try any of my suggestions do let me know! I’d love to know how you get on.

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Protein ball recipe…

A few weeks ago I posted an Instagram story talking about these protein balls that I made when I was pregnant and how I swore by them for an extra energy boost when I was feeling drained.  I then got an influx of messages from lovely followers asking for the recipe so here it is.

If you want to see a step by step then head over to my Instagram and check out my highlights to see how I made them.

Ingredients

  • Your choice of nuts – I used a mix of almonds, cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, a mix of seeds and whatever else I could find in my cupboards.
  • Dates – mine were a bit dry so I soaked them in some water.
  • Semolina – Used as a bit of a filler and binder for the balls but you can use gluten free options like coconut flour
  • Coconut butter – to help bind the ingredients but not a necessity.
  • Honey to taste (optional)

Method

  • Grind the nuts and seeds to a course powder.
  • Add the soaked dates and blend.
  • Meanwhile, in a pan, melt the coconut butter (can use any butter or oil) and toast the semolina until it turns a light golden brown colour.  Add some water slowly, to the semolina/butter mix until it forms a soft doughy paste and then add this to the nut/date mixture.
  • Roll in to balls while the mixture is still warm and let them set before storing them in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.

I haven’t really included any specific measurements because I don’t weight the ingredients, I just adjust the recipe according to the texture of the mixture on the day.  If it’s too dry or powdery I add a few extra dates and maybe a bit more melted butter or honey to help it bind or even a spoon or two of any nut butter and if it’s too sticky I may add a few extra nuts or a couple of spoons of desiccated coconut/spices such as cinnamon/coconut flour/oats/cocoa powder.  Anything that takes your fancy really.

Have fun giving this a go and don’t forget to head to my Instagram account and tag me in your creations. I’d love to see where you take this recipe.

 

 

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