26.2.15

The Baths of Aphrodite | Visiting Cyprus

In Primary School we learnt all about Greek Mythology. I still remember being fascinated by the myths and legends and stories we were told.
My favourite being Medusa, closely followed by Aphrodite.
Aphrodite, if you are not aware, is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. There are various different versions of how she came to be.  I personally like the idea of her arising from the sea foam (after Cronus castrated Uranus and tossed his severed genitals into the sea. Nice hey?!)

I was really excited when I saw that a couple of excursions on our holiday to Cyprus included a visit to the Baths of Aphrodite and to Aphrodite's Rock.

We booked ourselves on a Land Rover Adventure day, basically getting a tour of particular places on the island in a 4x4 rather than on a coach. We were lucky in that we were the only people booked in our Land Rover so we had our very own VIP treatment almost and had the driver all to ourselves.

We visited so many wonderful, beautiful places, one of which was the Baths of Aphrodite. Having read that the water can make you more youthful and beautiful if you bathe in it (which isn't actually possible) or splash it on your face.
Our guide, Akis, was so informative about the stories involving Aphrodite and answered my questions and talked about the area and the site.
He informed me that the water doesn't necessarily make you more beautiful on the outside, but more so on the inside.

I felt oddly emotional as we walked towards the pool, and felt my eyes well up with tears...which was strange as our tour guide then told us, without turning round to see me, that it is said that the water here is Aphrodite's tears for her lover Adonis.

As we walked back to the Land Rover I made sure I was at the back of our walking convoy, and took some of the water in my hands and lightly soaked some into my face. I can't say it's made me look or feel more beautiful, but it felt like it was the right thing to do due to tradition and myth. And it was really quite refreshing.

As we got back to the car I looked over at the views of coastline and at the landscape surrounding us and just felt so at peace and so relaxed. I also felt like a dream of mine had come true.
As a little girl, being so into Greek Mythology and still harbouring some of that excitement, this really was a dream excursion for me.
Which the next day was set to be even better.




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24.2.15

Me Time and Pakefield Beach #betterplaces

This year I really want to make more time for myself. I constantly put other people above me, and I am never really a priority. And that needs to change.
This week I decided to visit the beach once I had dropped Harry off at preschool. This is such a lovely beach and I have so many happy memories here.
I got engaged in the house my now-husband lived in, which was pretty much on the beach, and I had my wedding photos taken on there.
We would watch out of his bedroom window at thunderstorms over the horizon, seeing the fishermen getting their boats ready or bringing their boats in.


Pakefield Beach is situated close to Lowestoft, Suffolk. A dog friendly beach, popular with working fishermen, anglers and horse riders, it is ideal for a walk all year round.
 A beautiful mix of both sand and pebbles, hearing them crunch beneath your feet as you walk between the boats, being careful to step over lengths of thick rope and chain leading down to the sea from the fishing boats.


Walking one way down the beach, a walk we used to do every Sunday when we lived almost on the beach, you join Lowestoft Beach. A place with various ice cream shops, donut stands, chips, battered sausage or fish if you prefer. Or a lunch at one of the hotels on the promenade.
Walking the opposite direction, is Kessingland. Again with another beautiful stony beach with room to fly a kite, play a game of rounders, or simply sitting by the waters edge just looking out to sea.


There is something about this beach, I can't quite put my finger on what it is exactly, that makes me feel so at ease, and so relaxed.
Maybe it's the memories that bring me the comfort.
Or is it the fresh air? And the sound of the sea crashing against the shore?
It's almost like as the sea crashes in it brings you calm, and takes away your problems or stresses, even if just for a short time.

Visiting this beach, or any beach, doesn't have to involve food, sandcastles and fighting with a windbreaker. It doesn't have to be really hot, or even a little bit warm. You don't even have to be surrounded by family or walking a dog (although these are nice things too, of course).
You can be alone. With your thoughts. And relieve the stress of everyday life. You can sit and watch the world go by. And let your worries wash away.


Disclosure: This #BetterPlaces post is in support of the Syndol Find Your Better Place campaign with BritMums. Syndol Headache Relief is now formulated for headaches. Visit www.syndol.co.uk for online resources with information about headaches and how to restore calm in your life.
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A Week Without the Internet

On Sunday, the 15th, we set off for Gatwick airport. My phone was on 15% battery and I decided not to charge it. I had already planned to not take it on holiday as I wanted to be free from the temptation of Instagram, Twitter, Bloglovin and my blog.
And it was lovely.
I had to take my phone with me in the end as we didn't want to leave it in the car but I put it in the suitcase with no power at all, and didn't charge it until the Friday night. With a couple of text messages exchanged between me and my mum and me and a friend the phone went back off, ready for when we got back to the UK on the Sunday.  


I spent the time I would have been on my phone writing a holiday diary and reading a proper book. It has been so lovely and refreshing, and holding my phone in my hand to write this (I was bored on the plane so got my phone out to draft some posts) seems quite bizarre. After just a week I seem to have forgotten how to use it. The keyboard seems foreign and my phone feels so thin.

We sit in buses, we sit in the airport and I realise how unsociable we are now. We can't sit and have a conversation with strangers because we are too busy on Facebook or Candy Crush. We lose the ability to have a proper conversation. To talk about anything other than the weather.
We stumble and hesitate when it comes to finding out someones name simply because we don't know how to ask, at least not without getting our phones out and asking if they have Facebook.

People just want to exchange email addresses now and don't want to be old skool and send a letter and become pen pals. This is something I'm encouraging with the boys and I want them to learn the importance of writing letters and how exciting it is to recieve a hand written letter in the post. This holiday we bought a postcard, Charles wrote his friends a note asking if they would like to become pen pals, and we gave them our address. 5 minutes letter, we had their address too, as well as email and Facebook because it is acceptable to communicate in the modern way as well as the traditional way so I'm definitely not contradicting myself for gladly accepting those details (and I have photos that they need to be tagged in, obviously).

On the plane there are few people reading a proper book. Instead there are ipads and Kindles with games and catch up tv, the odd person reading a book on theirs. The younger of the passengers are not looking out of the window, unless being forced to by their parents. They don't seem at all interested in the world below them, the land and water we are flying above.
And it makes me sad because, without wanting to sound old, these are the next generation, and if they don't appreciate what it out of the window then how will their children?


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12.2.15

Bella and Bear 'Brush on You' and 'The Bear Brush' | Review

After reviewing Bella and Bear products 'Eye and Mighty Eyelash Curler' and 'Hair She Goes Spring Facial Hair Remover Kit
I was excited to discover more in their beauty range.
I was sent three products.
Two of these are hairbrush packs. I was first aware of how pretty the packaging is, as well as the products. These are really feminine and have a classic/vintage feel to them.
The paddle brush has soft flexible air cushioned natural rubber pad and ball ended nylon pins and glides through hair getting rid of any knots and to keep your hair looking healthy.
The handle is easy to grip and the brush isn't heavy, which I have found other paddle brushes can be. It is great quality and due to the packaging and design makes either a great gift for someone else, or for yourself.

The 'Brush on You' detangling brush and comb set has the same design and packaging as the paddle brush. 
The detangling brush is great on wet or dry hair, although personally I kept it for wet hair as I found the paddle brush worked a lot better and was easier to use.
The comb is wonderful. I find this ideal for when I am styling my hair and need to section it.
Again, because of the packaging and design these are perfect for gifts.

The paddle brush costs £12.99 and the 'Brush on You' brush and comb set costs £14.99 and, along with the rest of the Bella and Bear range is available to buy on Amazon.


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3.2.15

2015: The Lifestyle and Weightloss Update

I'm not sure what it was last year that gave me the kick to change my lifestyle, and subsequently lose weight. A whole 3 stone of weight. It all happened quite quickly too, and I was really lucky to have found it so easy. It was a mix of reducing milk intake, bread, takeaways, smaller portion sizes and exercising.
I would go for regular walks, everyday. Fast pace walking, the occasional jog and brief run. I enjoyed it. It felt good. I felt I could do anything.

I signed up to a challenge with some other bloggers, called Challenge 10. The notion being 10 Bloggers, running 10 miles, in 10 months. I was really excited and when it came round to the Challenge starting in September I was ready for it.
But pretty much straight away my body shut down. I found excuses not to run or to go out at all, and started eating takeaways and generally just not being a good girl.
My expectations of the Challenge were probably too high and in October I decided it was best to give up my place in the group. I wasn't putting the effort in, I was feeling deflated, and I had little motivation. The summer holidays had also got me out of the loop and my usual routine was gone.
I didn't know how to get back into it and worried that I would end up undoing all of the work I had done. And would end up bigger again.
So, Christmas came and thankfully I didn't do too bad. I put on a few pounds (6) and crept over 12 stone and that gave me enough of a kick to sort my eating out and to give me the push to get back into some kind of healthy routine again. Thankfully I was able to shift those extra pounds in a week so I felt better about myself quite soon.

I was sent some Emergen-C drink sachets to help me on my way. Each sachet has 1000mg of Vitamin C for immunity support and 6 B Vitamins for energy release, making these the perfect addition to morning or post work out smoothies or juices. As someone who isn't into smoothies and juices I have simply added a sachet to a glass of water.
These have given me the much needed energy boost I need in the mornings and also encourage me to drink more water. 

History of Emergen-C
Emergen-C was created in California, and began retailing in Health Food stores on the West Coast of America in the early 90's. In the mid 2000's, it spread across the USA and is now the bestselling effervescent vitamin drink in the USA, and the No. 1 immunity support Vitamin brand* with over 24 different flavours and variations.  The UK will be the first country to launch Emergen-C outside of North America.

I've also been eating a lot better and find I work best when I fast until midday and have my first meal then. If I have breakfast then I just want to eat all day long as I feel constantly hungry. 
I've increased my intake of vegetables, and have eaten a lot of coated chicken which is low in calories, as well as Crayfish. 
I am allowing myself the odd takeaway as long as it is limited and that I am aware of what I am eating that week, taking those massive calories into account. 
I've realised how much I enjoy putting together these meals and how something as simple and tasty as chopped tomatoes, sweetcorn and tuna can be. 

I also now have a Jawbone fitness band to track exercise, sleep and food intake. This has so many different features and I love how it simply links up to the app via Bluetooth, and can transfer data to the app via a cable that links into the headphone jack. So far exercise and sleep haven't been a priority of mine so I haven't got the most out of the Jawbone, however once the weather gets better and the evenings get lighter I will be able to start walking and mild jogging again and I think this is the point when the Jawbone will really benefit me. I am also going to be setting up a regular "walking date" with a friend one or two afternoons a week when Harry is in preschool.

This year is a big one for me in so many ways. Not only is it my 10 year wedding anniversary, but I am also going on holiday and I want to look and feel good for that, I am going to London in June and want to feel confident and happy there, I want to feel healthy and energised for Sailing this year....oh....and I am turning 30 in September and want to be down to 10 and a half stone for that.

With a month already gone (how on earth is it February already?!) my targets are getting ever closer and knowing what I achieved last year, and spurred me on to get my bottom in gear and reach those goals.

Emergen-C has three fruity flavours which contain real fruit extracts: Super Orange, Zingy Lemon and Juicy Strawberry. Emergen-C doesn't just promise great taste with every sip but also has an impressive mix of 15 key nutrients: Vitamins C, B1, B2, B6, B12 and D, Folic Acid, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese,  Chromium and Zinc.   

 

Find your favourite fizz at Boots and major retailers! Emergen-C costs £4.99 for a pack of 8, £13.99 for a pack of 24 and 99p for a single sachet.  Adults should take up to one sachet per day.

 

Recipes are available at www.emergenc.co.uk. Visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EmergenCUK and share your fruity creations.

I was sent a box of Emergen-C and the Jawbone UP for the purpose of this post.
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2.2.15

Living Arrows 2015 | 5/52

It was Charles' turn to take home the class mascot this week. Having Kevin and Keith with us midweek meant I felt kind of under pressure to do something exciting and other than Charles going to his friends for a playdate we had nothing else happen.....until it snowed on Thursday! Wooohooo! Although I hate the snow I was quite glad that it meant we could put something exciting in the diary.
We didn't take Kevin and Keith outside to play as we thought that maybe Kangaroos wouldn't like the cold.



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Vertbaudet Knitted Penguin Jumper | Review

Sometimes I feel quite bad for Harry. Being a younger brother, and having an older brother, has meant his wardrobe is mostly full of hand me downs.
This isn't a problem of course as it means Charles' nice clothes, or the clothes he didn't wear much the first time round, get a second chance but I feel quite mean to not let Harry have his own style. The boys both have different builds and certain colours and styles that suit Harry don't suit Charles, and vice versa.

When we were recently asked to review something from the new Vertbaudet range I let Harry have a look and choose something for himself. He was really excited but my goodness is he indecisive!
We eventually worked out it was easier to send over a list of things he liked and then let the choice be up to Vertbaudet. And we weren't disappointed.

Last week a beautiful bright orange knitted jumper arrived. It is so soft, which Harry really likes and says it "makes me feels nice and snuggly".
He also added that "Me like the penguin and the penguin zip".
What we like in particular is that it features a penguin and isn't at all Christmassy, which it feels like most tops with arctic animals are so this was a nice change.

Vertbaudet is one of our favourite places to shop for the boys now, mainly because of the designs and quality, but also because everything is reasonably priced.
One thing we have found with Vertbaudet clothes is that we have to go up a size, so Harry has a size 4. This fits him perfectly and even gives him room to grow, whereas I think the size 3 would be limiting.
The knitted penguin top is £11.90, is available in a range of colours and is available from 2 years old to 8 years old.
If only they did this in my size!


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1.2.15

This Week in 5 | 25.1-31.1

Last year I started a little project called 'Happy Sunday'. Every Sunday I wrote about things that had made me happy that week.
This year I wanted to try something different and just basically want to look back at 5 things in the week that meant something to me, that happened, that I want to remember.


Last Sunday my brother was due to go back to Reading in the evening and we'd had plans to go bowling. My husband was poorly and my mum and brother were tired so that plan was scrapped. I needed to pop to Matalan to get some new bowls so asked my mum if she wanted to come too. Harry came with us and my brother asked if he could look after Charles. Harry was so well behaved which was wonderful and of course meant we got to shop stress free.
I've wanted to buy some flat black boots for a while as the only ones I have are quite high. I especially wanted these for our holiday in April so thought it would be worth looking at the sales in Outfit. I saw some boots I liked but nothing I LOVED, although I did spot a beautiful oversized scarf which I couldn't resist, and was something else I really wanted for my holiday.
We then went into TKMaxx and I found the most beautiful boots. They were slightly out of my strict low £20 budget but thanks to a loan from the bank of mum I was able to get them.

I had to go and see my doctor again this week, as a follow on to the appointment I had with him a couple of weeks ago. I always feel nervous before I go in but there really is no need to be. My doctor is so incredibly supportive and I can tell him anything. We decided that I don't need to increase my anti-depressants further, however last time I was given some beta blockers for panic attacks and he has told me to increase these and to take 2 a day, rather than 1 when I feel a bit panicky. I didn't realise that these are only effective for 6-8 hours so it explains why I have felt so on edge recently.

For so long I have wanted a Breton stripe top. I know Joules sell them of course but I am tight and I just couldn't justify spending over £20 on a top I may not wear much. I then went on the George website and found this top for £3!! Bargain hey?! I think this will be perfect for the boat in the Summer, worn with some shorts.


On Friday afternoon once Harry and I had got back from collecting Charles from school my husband suggested we go to Pizza Hut for dinner. Not good for the diet but the boys were so excited and I thought it would be a nice treat.
We were amazed at how well behaved they both were. Charles amazed us even more by ordering ham on his pizza and eating it!! He has never eaten ham before or when he has tried it has spat it out.
It was such a lovely time, made even better by Harry showing off what a big fan of Sam Smith he is by randomly singing "I Know I'm not The Only One". Harry has this wonderful way of just picking up songs immediately and he has such a lovely singing voice.

And lastly, I am super excited that I'm going to Britmums Live this year. I sold my ticket recently and the reason for that was because I wanted to be behind the scenes and to be part of the team at the conference rather than as a blogger attending. On Tuesday I had confirmation that I will be a room moderator this year. I really cannot wait, and have been envious of the moderators the last two years so it is a dream come true to be able to do it myself!
I definitely have not already thought about my outfits....nope, not at all. (Ok, I have!)

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