5 Positive ways to be happy in 2019



Well what a year, full of ups and downs and everything thrown in-between. 2018 saw a real movement to normalising things like Mental Health issues and getting more people sharing and talking about their own experiences, also the huge shift to Body positivity, owning your body and feeling less guilting about being a bit more selfish and making time for self care. Woman in general have also taken somewhat of a centre stage in standing up for our rights and using more platforms to have a voice and be heard. Diversity has also been key, what makes one person happy doesn't apply to others and that needs to be respected, health and fitness means different things to different people but doing what feels good is key and that is something that should follow through into 2019. With the world seeming more manic it's important to not get overwhelmed and to be easier on ourselves and not be too many things at once, which in turn can cause stress and a sense of failure. Here are a few positive ways to move forward with into 2019

1. Ditch the Diets, Nourish yourself & throw away the scales

Diets are fads! That is a fact! Any eating plan that means you are having to restrict what you eat or calories is not sustainable, meaning when you inevitably fall of the wagon you are destined to feel guilty and like a failure which frankly sucks and is no good for your wellbeing. If you are looking to overhaul your meals or simply improve your eating plan just making healthier choices, it's that simple. Add some more fruit and veg to your diet and make more homemade meals, drink more water and still enjoy the things you love. Drastic changes never work, simply be more kind and nourishing to yourself when your able too. Another thing we need to stop doing is daily weighing! Weight can fluctuate between 4-6lbs in 24hrs for all variety of reason that has nothing to do with health! Could be down to clothes your wearing, time of the day, how much water you have drunk etc and allowing your mood to be affected by weighing yourself just isn't good. Pack them away and out of sight!

2.  Celebrate your Unique quirks

What makes the world such a fantastic place is that we are all different! Differences can often be the focus of negativity but shouldn't be! They are what make us unique and we need to start owning that and cherishing our flaws and eccentricities. Once we learn to do this we start to developed a deeper love for ourselves and therefore value our own needs more. There are however some things that may need to be worked on, such as negative tendencies such as jealously or meanness and usually those who are closest to you can help you distinguish between flaws that need acceptance and flaws you need to work on as accepting ourselves shouldn't come at the cost of someone else's wellbeing. At the end of the day we need to be start looking in the mirror and feeling positive about ourselves and view ourselves with love not dislike and that takes effort and is something worth working towards in 2019

detox from social media

3.  Cut down on social media

I think deep down we all know that social media isn't always good for us. Yes there is so much positivity to be found in social media with so many empowering woman sharing their stories but there is also so much space for comparison and comparison is the thief of joy as they say. Social media also needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as so many people are simply sharing the best bits of their life, not the boring or mundane of when their kids are lying in the middle of a supermarket screaming or the bad skin days they are having or even the not so perfect moments of their picture perfect relationships. When we are feeling insecure we actively look for flaws and ways to back-up our views about ourselves and with so many people sharing Pinterest-perfect lives, even when you are aware that it's not always what it seems, it's time to step away from the phone, tablet or laptop and enjoy simple pleasures such as writing, reading, getting outdoors or being creative. Making sure you have a social media free day once a week can be hugely positive for your wellbeing. Here are 10 ways to help you wean off social media.

4. Learn something new or find a hobby that makes you happy

After a 10yr hiatus about 5 months ago I picked up my skateboard again and it's hands down the most positive thing I've done in the past decade. Through skateboarding I have met so many new people, woman of all ages, some just starting out and others having done it for years and it's been so supportive and enjoyable. Rediscovering something that makes me so happy, gets me out and being active and offers an array of social opportunities has really transformed my mental wellbeing and how I feel about myself and I truly feel everyone needs something like this. Something that offers a break from the daily grind, that has nothing to do with your work or relationship, something just for you. Whether that be taking up a language class, learning how to do printmaking, surf, cook or whatever takes your fancy and making it a priority.

girls skate

5. Treat yourself

Everyones entitled to spend a little bit of time and money on themselves in whatever what they choose. Like I said what works for some won't for others. If getting your eyebrows done or shopping for makeup will give you a massive boost then go ahead, if spending the day paddle-boarding does it for you then get out on the water. I do however feel with the whole body positivity movement that we feel bad in someway treating those areas that get us down. I remember being a little shocked when one of my friends said she occasionally gets botox, she explained that she naturally frowns a lot and it's the one thing that got her down and by getting botox is made her feel better and that is what it's all about. I mean I use cellulite cream not because I'm embarrassed about my cellulite but I like taking time out to try improve the circulation and skin tone in my legs and I'd be open to having some CoolSculpting treatment in London done for me and no one else.

As we move into 2019 I think making more time for the things that make you happy is key, cutting out what doesn't is also vert important. Not being to restrictive with yourself, dropping the guilt and simply looking after yourself better whether that means being a little bit more active or eating well  balance meals that will improve your mood are all positive.


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5 Travel Friendly Ethical Beauty Must-haves + Giveaway



Can you believe how fast this year has flown by and here we are in the festive season looking forward to a New Year. Many things have happened over 2018 but one of the biggest and most positive movements has been towards a more ethical and sustainable lifestyle wether that has meant moving towards a more minimalist home with lower waste and less plastic to including more vegan dishes and products into your life it's all positive in my books.

I thought I would share a 4 things I have tried and tested and give the thumbs up too with the aim of reducing waste as well as using more natural based products in your home and health and beauty routine.

ethical beauty

1. Intimina Lily Cup - More woman than ever are moving towards reusable menstrual cups as they are an eco friendly alternative to tampons and sanitary pads. Intimina's Lily Cup is really easy and comfortable to use and is spill-free and designed to fit your body's natural shape. These are also great when your on the go and can be used during activities such as swimming and running. These retail at around £24.95 and save you lots in the long-run

2. Vegan by Dr Botanicals Coconut Oil Exfoliating Bar - firstly this is bar is packaging in a cardboard which is ace uses natural, vegan and cruelty ingredients. I love this bar as it doubles up as a soap and cleanser when traveling as well as gently exfoliating. The uplifting coconut aroma is also perfection after a long day. These bars retail at around £18 and a little goes a long way.

3. Humble Brush - based in Sweden the Humble Brush is such an easy way to replace plastic toothbrushes with a more sustainable option made from biodegradable sustainably-grown bamboo, plus it's travel friendly too. Another massive positive is that each purchase goes towards funding projects for the benefit of children in need. They also make children's brushes making this a great family friendly option too. The brushes retail at around £4

4. Green People - Forest & Fruit Body Collection - whether at home or on the road it's easier than ever to make more ethical choices when it comes to skincare and I just love Green People and have been using their products for years. This fairly traded pack comes with Shower Gel & Body Lotion and are made with 83% organic ingredients and is vegan and cruelty-free. Plus a donation from the sale of each Modern Botanical gifts goes to Plantlife - a British conservation charity that works to save threatened wild flowers, plants and fungi, so not only will your skin feel great but you will too.

Green People

5. Organic Children - Fruity Favourites Collection - Made by Green People, again we use a lot of this in our house what I really like about this collection is that it comes with organic Hand Sanitiser which is made from 96% organic ingredients and is ideal for travelling. The Shampoo, conditioner and shower berry smoothie are all vegan, cruelty free, fairly traded and are also gentle on the skin and suitable for sensitive skin types and 10% of profits are donate to charity. This pack retails at around £35.

Ethical skincare

Best of all is I am running a giveaway for one lucky reader to win a little ethical New Years beauty hamper including a Intimina Lily Cup, A Vegan by Dr Botanicals Bar, 1 Adult and 1 Child Humble Brush and a Green People Fruit and Forest Gift pack worth around £58 . The giveaway ends on the 7th January 2019 and is open to UK residents.

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Why Car maintenance is so important over the festive season


winter roadtrip

Around this time last year my car broke down which is no fun when you have two small kids with you, in fact it's not the first time we had broken down during Winter and it was snowing so as you can image it was freezing. We were lucky that we didn't have to wait too long for the breakdown driver to reach us although saying that half an hour in a freezing car still isn't pleasant and could of easily been
avoided (well in the one case, the other was due to a faulty alternator that couldn't of been foreseen) as it was my car battery that had been long overdue a replacement. 

It's often the simple things that catch us out and with so much going on around this time of the year it's easy to forget basic maintenance BUT with more people around the festive holidays to visit family and friends the more vigilant we need to be with car maintenance as no one wants to miss out on a Christmas dinner because they are waiting in a lay-by for a rescue truck. 

Here are a few things you should really consider getting checked out it your planning on a little road trip this Christmas and New Year, or even if you’re not planning on going far the extreme weather and build-up of traffic on the roads means that now is the time to have your car running at its best. 


1. Have your tyres checked as well as the balance - not only is this important from a legal stand point as having worn tyres below the legal limit can mean the risk of a £2500 fine and three penalty points, plus it's very unsafe especially in icy weather. I recently had my tyres checked as the car balance felt really off, while my tyres were fine they rebalanced the car and it felt so much safer and made a huge difference. You can read more about tyre safety and requirements on the RAC website.

2. Have your car battery checked regularly in fact most manufactures recommend you should have it tested twice a year and by doing this you can avoid break down and also extreme weather are among the common things that can wear your battery down so popping down to places like Halfords which offer a free battery check it key, especially during winter.

3. Getting your car serviced at least once a year is really key to making sure that running efficiently and also gives you an idea of if there are any major issues you need to watch out for. Servicing isn't always that cheap but can save you money in the long-run and there are also different options, if you’re on a budget just opting for the interim 49-point check service is better than nothing as it checks for body damage, tyres, brakes, lights and things like the clutch and gearbox checks which are not cover in MOT's

4. Stay on top of your MOT - the most ideal thing is to have your MOT and then 6 months later a service, this way your car is being checked every 6 months. An MOT is all about being roadworthy and isn't as comprehensive as a full service but is absolutely essential and a legal requirement. There are loads of different MOT centres but it's really worth doing your research beforehand and knowing roughly how long it's going to take and places like Ossett Tyres house has state of the art MOT test centres and an excellent customer service, based in Wakefield and worth check out somewhere like that that has positive reviews.  

winter roadtrip

The thing with cars is they cost money, to run and maintain so it's always worth having a little savings pot put aside so you’re not caught out. Also it's always best to get things looked at straight away rather than ignoring a small problem that then turns into a big problem. If your heading off this season it should be a priority to get your car looked over and at a minimum the tyres, battery, oil and water checked.

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Tips for moving on from the baby to toddler stage with Little Freddie



As you may already know I am working with the awesome organic food company that is Little Freddie this year and recently told you all about the steps they are taking to be more sustainable by launching the UK first pouch recycling scheme, do read more about this positive initiative. Being a busy mum on the go I can say first hand how important it is for me to make sure I have some healthy snacks on me at all times to avoid those hangry moments but also so I know they are getting all their nutritional needs met.

Having successful weaned two children know I feel like I have something to offer in ways of practical advice for those parents out there who are juggling it all, working, parenting, school runs, play dates, weekend adventures, family trips and everything else life throws at you and at those times if often when we let things slip such as well balanced family eating. Little Freddie have recently launched their new range of healthy smoothies and finger food to help make sure no matter how busy you are you don't have to compromise on healthy eating. 


Here are a few foodie tips on moving on from the baby to toddler stage for busy parents

1. Don't get too caught up in what everyone else is doing and do what is best for you - With my eldest we weaned using mainly homemade purees & did struggle to move onto more solid food but with my second we did baby-led weaning from the get-go because it's what worked best for us at the time so just do what works best for your family dynamic.

2. Take your time it's a long process - Rome wasn't built in a day and children don't always move onto solids as quickly as you think they will. You will have up's and downs in your journey and even now my toddler refuses things he used to love, it really is all about trial and error.

3. Try avoid negative remarks about food - snack and meals times should be a fun and happy experience. Yes it's hard when your facing a very fussy eater or you have just made a lovely meal and most of it has been spat out or thrown on the floor but it's really important to make sure healthy food is encouraged and celebrated in a positive way.

4. Batch good and bake - if you are doing purees then batch make a whole lot of freeze them in ice cube moulds, or if your doing baby-led weaning then freeze small batches of your family meal so you have some on hand for quick lunches.

5. Pack the snacks! Organic brands like Little Freddie offer such well balanced and nutritious smoothies and finger food I don't feel at all bad about offering them to my children (as appose to home made snacks) especially when time short as they use such a great variety of ingredients. The smoothies for example which are 30% lower in sugar than similar products, contain things like coconut water, flaxseed flour, passion fruit while their finger food puffs are multigrain based, with wheatgerm and quinoa. All of their products having have no added sugar, additives or preservatives.

6. Avoid added sugar - it's just so easy for kids to acquire a sweet tooth very early on. We all know the fantastic benefits of having enough fruit and veg daily and while fruit is naturally sweet we really don't need any more than that. There are plenty of ways to cook and back without additional sugar and I have shared one of my favourite quick naturally sweetened Wholemeal Spelt banana muffins below which are great for on the go.

If your looking for very quick, easy and no added sugar muffins that are toddler friendly, here is my go-to recipe

Banana and raisin muffins

55g melted coconut oil ( you can also use unsalted butter)
1 free-range egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
125g Wholemeal spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 bicarbonate soda
55g chopped raisins or apricots

This recipe makes for a very mild and mellow tasting muffin, if you are looking to sweeten it a little bit more but without using cane sugar then you can add 40ml Agave or Maple Syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees or gas mark 4. Line a muffin tin - this recipe makes around 8/9 standard muffins or around 20 mini muffins.

2. Peel and mash the bananas and add the egg and vanilla and beat for 30 seconds before adding the melted coconut oil plus the agave if using.

3. Add the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and beat until all combined. Lastly stir in the chopped raisins/apricots

4. Full each muffin case with the mixture and pop into the oven. They should take around 12-14 minutes although do check and take out once golden, risen and firm to touch. Once cooled these can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days or freeze for a quick snack on the go. 


With a little bit of preparation and organisation you can move from that baby stage to toddler foods with ease even when your really busy and remember just have fun with it.

In collaboration with Little Freddie 
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5 things to do in Cheltenham with Kids



We recently jumped in the car for a little road trip to the regency town of Cheltenham. I have done a few day trips here many years ago, all sans kids so I was keen to see what this beautiful town had on offer for families. En route we stopped off at Chepstow Castle before heading up the Wye Valley (a more scenic route) before arriving into Cheltenham and checking into the Cotswolds Grange Hotel which has family rooms and were extremely accommodating so do check out my review. While Cheltenham isn't the biggest town it's fairly easy to navigate and explore on foot for both adults and kids, there is also plenty to do in the surrounding areas but I wanted to focus on what there is to do within walking distance of the town centre for those who are visiting by train or are short on time. 

1. Find Neptune's Fountain

It is said that Neptune's fountain was modelled on the Trevi Fountain in Rome and while this isn't Rome this fountain is still very impressive and captivating and can be found on Royal Well Rd which is lined with pretty boutique stores and quaint coffee shops and also just a short walk to the Imperial Gardens which is cute little green space and perfect for kids to have a little run around. The fountain itself is a very impressive piece of art with the Greek God Neptune being drawn by four sea-horses on his shell chariot while clasping a Trident. 

2. Ride the Regency Cheltenham Cycle Trail

The boys and I love heading out on our bikes as it's a great way to explore somewhere new and also means you get to cover more ground while enjoying the outdoors. We headed over to The Bicycle Hub which is only a few minutes away from both the train station and traffic-free cycle paths. The owner Steve couldn't be more helpful and sized up the right bikes for every member of the family before showing us how to use the Compass Holidays App. The Regency Trail is a circular route and you can do as much or as little of it as you want. We rode to Pittville park and back which is around half of the trail as 95% traffic free and perfect for families. I highly recommend doing this if your in Cheltenham. 

3. Pittville Park

Pittville Park has to be one of the highlights when visiting Cheltenham as this large ornamental park really offers everything you want for a fun few hours outdoors with kids. Besides historical gardens beautiful lakes, including one you can hire rowing boats there is also a skatepark, a large and fairly new children play area where you will also find the aviaries and small cafe. There is also a pitch and putt course, tennis courts and another nature based park in the western side of Pittville. You could literally spend hours here just enjoying all that is on offer, taking it easy with a cup of coffee watching the swans on the lake or working up a sweat in the skate park. We were also really impressed with how clean and well maintain Pittville is and has excellent facilities.

4. The Wilson - Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

This free museum is small but perfectly formed and a great spot if you are feeling the cold or it's raining (although worthwhile visiting anytime) and after a recent boost in funding they now have a new family friendly gallery space called The Wow Gallery that encourages visitors to touch, play, sing and dance. There is a small buggy park for those with very young children as well as The Wilson Cafe which serves up some delicious cakes and light meals using locally sourced ingredients.

5. Paint it yourself Pottery

If you and your kids are into crafting or getting creative then it's well worth a visit to the Paint It Yourself Pottery Co on Winchcombe Street. You can choose an item of pottery that catches your eye from over 200 choices and have fun decorating, painting and getting creative with that piece using non-toxic ceramic paints. They then glaze and fire your piece and even though it usually takes around three to five days for your work t be ready for pick up they do offer an overnight service which is great for those who are only in Cheltenham for a weekend or overnight break with kids.

No matter if you are looking for an action packed break or just simply want to stroll around the town taking the atmosphere in you won't be disappointed, especially if your a lover of buildings and interiors as Cheltenham is well know for being the most complete regency town in England and is famous for it's Regency architecture. We had a fantastic time and thumbs up all round.

* We were kindly invited to explore Cheltenham with Visit Cheltenham, words and views 100% our own
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Losing friends to Cancer, New Alternatives & Immunotherapy




Cancer. The word no one wants to hear but will at some point impact our lives in one way or another.

My first realisation of the devastation that cancer can cause was when I was a teenager and a family friend, whose daughter was in school with me, fought hard against a brain tumour. She lost her fight. My mother and I visited her while she was ill, it was the first time I had seen what cancer does to a person and to a mother, and the effect cancer has on a family. When I was in my early twenties, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. Again she fought hard, had endless bouts of chemo which made her incredibly ill from which she had very little rest. She unfortunately passed away.

With both of these there was a level of acceptance, they were adults in their 50's and 60's which, of course, is still very young but was slightly easier to understand. What really stopped me in my tracks was what happened last year, I lost my two longest friends to cancer within 10 months of each other. Two people who had always been there for me, who I have known from the age of 7 - both healthy, both active, and both taken way too young and, to be completely honest, I am still in disbelief they are no longer here.

Having two friends, both near to my age go through something like this was an emotional rollercoaster as well as an eye-opener into the reality of what cancer and going through gruelling treatment is like. They both passed around 18 months post diagnosis and had very different journeys. One tried everything from rounds of chemo and radiation to trial drugs, while my other friend didn't have any treatment at all except for some medication to manage pain - his peace and acceptance is something I will forever be in awe of.

Alternative cancer treatment

Of course, during this time I did a lot of research because when you’re in this type of position, you feel like you have to do something no matter how small that may be. It also made me reflect a lot on my own situation and what I would do if I was diagnosed with cancer. To be completely honest, I think this is something that has crossed most parents minds at some point or another. With anything in life I have always been a strong believer in a more natural approach while still remaining open minded in regards to medication as modern medicine is so innovative and advancements are being made all the time.

What I also learnt (and witnessed firsthand) was how destructive chemo and radiation can be as they are toxic for the body. Chemotherapy and radiation do not discriminate between healthy cells and cancerous cells, while reducing and killing the cancer, it also kills the immune system so while you have an initial reduction in cancer it often can come back and far worse, this is what happened to my best friend (of course this isn't always the case, I am only talking from my experience).

I would like to point out these are personal views, each person’s approach would be different and with anything in life, you have to go with what feels right with you and get as much advice as possible before making any decisions. If you read the news, however, you probably have come across the breakthroughs that are being made with Immunotherapy which is a treatment that uses certain parts of the person’s immune system to fight and attack cancer cells and according to the Cancer Research Institute it's already proven successful in treating some previously incurable cancers as well as being the first line of treatment for many others.

Wellbeing for cancer

I do, however, feel that when it comes to something like this, multiple approaches need to be taken which is what Akesis Life, an integrative oncology centre in Bangkok Thailand does, as they step away from the use of high-dose chemo and radiation, and offer Immunotherapy alongside other integrative cutting-edge science-based treatments. They design individualised wellbeing integrative cancer programmes that focus on being kind and restorative to the body while targeting and getting rid of the cancer cells.

When it comes to cancer and having witnessed friends endure horrible treatments which only offered small benefits (in their case's) I think as a society we really need to be more forward thinking. Chemo and radiation are often offered first even when the effectiveness is known to be low with certain cancers. But there are places like Akesis Life that rely on science, not chemo, to help patients enhance their immune system in a healthy and kind way.

cancer alternatives

This integrative cancer treatment centre is headed by Dr Thomas Lodi who is part of the American College for the Advancement in Medicine. Dr. Lodi s a true believer in integrative medicine and has helped educate thousands of doctors worldwide, especially those who are unsatisfied with the current cancer treatment system in hospitals today. You can see why people travel from around the world to Akesis Life and #SayNoToChemo. The integrative healing approach is the path I would aim to follow should it be a direction my life takes one day and I was in the position and had the opportunity to do so.

*Sponsored post. I was asked by Akesis Life to talk honestly about this topic and the words and views expressed in this post are my own.
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Gratitude and the Balancing Act


family adventures

So I've been a little quieter over on my blog for the past fortnight or so, there have been a few reasons for that, mainly I've been working on some great posts and projects coupled with the kids catching that awful stomach virus going around and also changing my youngest childcare, which in hindsight was not the best idea just before Christmas, my busiest time, as he is really struggling to settle, so much so that it's massively reduced my childcare at present.

Working from home as a freelancer as well as being the main carer to my two active boys it's an easy task and occasionally the routine does go a little haywire and with the additional stress and chaos of Christmas it's been a balancing act to keep all the balls in the air thats for sure (I've dropped a fair few too lately). So I think it times like these when it's been less than smooth sailing, it's really important to practice some gratitude especially when I am aware how lucky I am to be able to travel a lot with the kids.

Here are a few things I've been really grateful for the past two months

1. I've paired up with the fantastic JD Williams in the run up to Christmas, picking out my favourite pieces to make you look and feel good this festive season.

2. I've been making sure to have some individual time with my children, as much as we love being together as a group it's also really special to find an hour or so once a week to have some one to one time.

3. We headed off to Windsor and Lapland UK a few weeks back for a little mini break which was really refreshing and we enjoyed the beautiful Christmas lights as well as visiting the Castle.

4. I've also been making sure to find quiet moments just for myself and to recollect my thoughts especially in the run up to Christmas when my stress levels start to raise more than normal.

 5. The boys and I had a fantastic Glamping break away in Cwmcarn Forest on what happened to be the coldest night of Autumn. We managed to stay nice and toasty so do read my review of our little trip.

6. This past year I have been working with Little Freddie, a small organic food brand who have just released the UK first pouch recycling scheme, read more about it here.

7. We also where lucky enough to spend a weekend in Cheltenham at the end of half term and stayed at the gorgeous Cotswolds Grange Hotel.

8. I have also been getting back into Skateboarding, something I've done since my teens but due to having knee surgery twice and then kids it meant I had a 11yr hiatus so really happy to be back on my board.

9. Have been making sure to have my Keep Cup on hand at all times, not only does it mean one less single use coffee cup but at most coffee shops they also give you a discount for bring your own cup - win!
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