I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award!
I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award – This is a peer recognition award, where bloggers are recognised by other bloggers and are nominated for spreading joy and love in the blogging community.
I am honoured to have been nominated by the lovely Mummy Overload and I thank her for recognising me!
Rules For The Sunshine Blogger Award
- Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging site.
- List the sunshine blogger award rules and display their logo on your site
- Answer the sunshine blogger award questions given by the other person who nominated you.
- Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions
- Notify the nominees about there nominations
Here are the 11 questions I have been asked:
- Why did you start your blog?
- What’s your biggest dream?
- What was your favourite book as a child?
- Have you ever travelled? If so where?
- Best TV programme you have ever watched? Why do you like it?
- The last programme you binged watched? Was it good?
- Do you subscribe to any beauty boxes? If you what one and why?
- What’s your favourite colour?
- If you could do any job you wanted what would it be and why?
- What’s your favourite blog post and why?
- What’s the best part of the year for you and why?
So lovelies, here are my answers!
Why Did You Start Your Blog?
I started blogging as a way of expressing myself. I have always loved writing and needed an outlet. I decided it was a good way to have my voice heard and I am hooked! I absolutely love blogging and the blogging community.
What Is Your Biggest Dream?
I already have my dream career, so for now my biggest dream would be to have a well established blog and to be a published author. One day, let’s hope!
What Was Your Favourite Book As A Child?
I absolutely loved the Chronicles Of Narnia and Black Beauty. As well as the Goosebumps series.
Have You Ever Travelled? If So, Where?
I have travelled to England and Ireland many years ago. I have also travelled to Bali and most recently Fiji. My favourite places by far were Ireland (where my family are from) and Fiji.
Best TV Programme You Have Watched And Why Did You Like It?
Hmm, this is tricky, I have been hooked on a few! I absolutely loved “Offspring” – an Australian TV series, it was so quirky and the lead male was, let’s just say, very easy on the eye!! Recently I was hooked on a Netflix series called “The Fall” but I also love doco’s like “Making A Murderer.”
Last TV Programme You Binged Watched? Was It Good?
Bates Motel – I loved it!
Do You Subscribe To Any Beauty Boxes, If So What One And Why?
Short answer, no not beauty boxes. I have some favourite beauty products I have tried and tested, read my article here —-> “Beauty Products You Can’t Live Without“
What Is Your Favourite Colour?
Purple for me.
If You Could Do Any Job You Wanted What Would It Be And Why?
I already have my dream job, so I don’t think there is any other job I’d want.
What Is Your Favourite Blog Post And Why?
Probably my most personal one – “PMDD – The Silent Life Destroyer” as it is a very raw subject for me and hard to write. There is a lot of freedom though in telling the world “this is me.”
What Is The Best Part Of The Year For You And Why?
Summer! Summer, summer, summer. I love the sunshine, the beach, holidaying etc. I am not a winter person or a cold person at all!!
So, My Turn To Nominate! Here Are My Nominees:
- Maya Nirvana
- Beauty Bliss & Chaos
- Wacky Vanilla
- The Nurturing Parent
- Mimi Prentice
- Casestreetx Blogger
- Chocoviv’s Lifestyle Blog
- Boss Babe Chronicles
- Forever My Little Moon
- Functional Randi
- Another Bipolar Blogger
Please go to their blogs and show them some love!!
Here Are My 11 Questions For These Lovely Bloggers:
- What year did you start blogging and why?
- Describe your blogging journey in 3 words
- What was the most defining moment in your life and why?
- Who do you admire the most in the world and why?
- What is something your readers don’t know about you?
- What is your favourite animal? Why?
- Which blogger influenced you the most when you first started?
- Favourite country you have travelled to?
- What is your greatest achievement in life?
- What is something you wished you had more time for?
- What are your goals for the next two years?
Thanks so much! I look forward to reading your answers soon xx
My vision of having children when I was a lot younger was one filled with family moments, big Christmas dinners and trips to the grandparent’s house where the kids would be utterly spoilt. Fast forward to my mid-thirties and two children and these visions couldn’t be further from the truth. My reality, along with many others, is no grandparents and little to no family help at all.
When my mother suddenly passed away when I was only 28 years old, I was devastated that she would never get to meet her future grand children. When I unexpectedly fell pregnant around 6 months later, the reality of her not being there to meet my son hit home pretty hard. What I never could have anticipated was just how difficult it can be to sustain a loving, healthy marriage when you never get time alone without the kids.
My husband and I both work very hard. We are both career driven people who want to balance good family life by providing a good life for our two children. What makes it exceptionally difficult is having little to no family help around to assist with childcare or after school pick up or drops offs on days when our work rosters clash, which unfortunately happens a lot. Lucky for both of us our work rosters can be somewhat flexible, but sometimes this isn’t always the case and ultimately one of us will have to let our workplace down. On top of this, trying to get
My Facebook news feed is constantly littered with friends going out with their significant other child free, spending weekends away or sprouting about how the kids are with the grandparents for the weekend or even the week…I wish. This sounds like heaven to me, but when all of your parents are either calling heaven home or not around, well a fantasy it has to remain.
Until you are in this situation, you cannot comprehend just how incredibly hard it is. How incredibly taxing it is on your mind, body and soul to never get a proper break from your kids. As I’ve said many many times before, I adore my kids. I cherish my time with them and know I am so blessed to have them however I also unapologetically crave alone time away from them.
Recently, we spent some time away at a lovely secluded holiday house. We have family from my hubby’s side – cousins and their parents/step parents – parents who are not at all biologically related to my children. But still, very loving and acting very much like grandparents to my kids and my two adored it, lapped up all the attention and even started calling them ‘Nani’ and ‘Pa’. How adorable. But as much as it makes my heart melt at times like this, a heaviness weighs on me that they don’t get this regular “grandparent” treatment. Yes, I have grandparents still, however they are my grandparents and therefore my children’s great grandparents. They are aged 92 and 88 and live 900kms away from us. While it is fantastic for the kids to see them, they spoil them rotten call or Skype them whenever they can, that regular “let’s go to Nana’s house” is not a sentence uttered in our house. My grandparents just aren’t near us and visits are so infrequent I can’t help but feel my kids are missing out.
Most people with large families just don’t understand how lucky they are, to be able to drop their kids off at their grandparents and have the day to themselves. Having to organise a night out months in advance, factoring in rosters and availability of the one person you can rely who works and has a life of their own is incredibly hard. Sometimes too hard, so hard I don’t even bother. I am rarely envious of anyone, if ever. I’m not the type of person who wishes I had someone else’s life. I love who I am, I love my life. However, seeing people having a massive amount of family support does cause me to feel pangs of jealousy. I wish I had that, not only for my sanity but for the sake of my marriage and my kids.
The key though is to recognise how hard you have it. Give yourself a break and realise that these are the hardest years of your life. They will come to an end, it isn’t forever. Take time for yourself whenever you can. Learn to be apart from your significant other and do things by yourself. Spilt the parenting, as in you take the kids for 2 hours today and I’ll take them for 2 hours tomorrow. Don’t feel guilty If you have childcare and all of a sudden you have the day off. Don’t keep the kids home, they’ll have a blast anyway. Take the time doing something for you.
Most of all, make time for your partner. This is something my husband and I learnt the hard way. We dedicated so much time to work and to our kids, we neglected ourselves as a couple. We drifted apart and it almost broke us. We clawed our relationship back and have managed to find somewhat of a balance between spending time with the kids and spending time together without kids. We don’t have the luxury of dropping the kids to their grandparents overnight and going to the movies or to dinner and drinks. So, we make do. We put the kids to bed early some nights and schedule movie night. We have a theatre room, we buy cheese, chocolate, salami and have a wine and a beer whilst watching a movie. This is time together, to connect. While it may not be as fun as heading to the cinemas, it’s enough for us to reconnect. We go for walks together, plan days when the kids are in school or child care to go to lunch together get a coffee.
On Sunday’s, if we aren’t working, we lie in bed together for as long as we want. We tell the kids to go and watch TV or entertain themselves. The washing and chores can wait, the kids can wait. In turn, we have developed a much closer and more respectful relationship. We have also created healthier and happier children who see happy parents totally in love with each other.
It isn’t always ideal but we make it work. It isn’t forever and
There probably isn’t a parent out there with a son aged between aged 5 upwards who hasn’t heard of the online game Fortnite. To me, I have to say it’s the most boring game in history. Like, you run around wearing strange costumes with a hamburger for a head…right. But, my son like all his mates at school is obsessed with it. And when I say obsessed, I mean like uber obsessed. It’s all he talks about, thinks about and all he wants to do. So, his dad and I limit play time. We thought that was the best way to head off the obsession. I’m not a huge fan of online games anyway, for one I think they’re mind numbing. Secondly, they are dangerous. The idea that my 6 year old can chat to absolute strangers of all ages from all around the world through his headpiece is down right terrifying, am I right? So when the game first came out and Master L begged to play it, I followed a couple of simple steps in order to keep him safe:
- I logged on and played the game myself first. Seems bizarre I know, but it allows me to understand the game, how it works and all its features.
- I changed the privacy settings. Master L plays on Playstation, so his dad was better at this than me as I’m a Playstation/gaming tragic. I literally have no idea how to even drive the things. The last time I played a video game was Super Mario Bros back on Super Nintendo…yikes. However, we changed the settings so that when he was playing with “randoms” the voice function was muted, so he could not hear them nor talk to them. So if some creepy man from the other side of the world wanted to talk to him, he couldn’t hear them.
- Educate your child. Right, so we all know stranger danger right? Well in this modern era, stranger danger doesn’t just take the form of people children meet face to face. More likely, stranger danger will come in the form of online danger. So, teach your child. Educate them that there are no so nice people out there who should be avoided. This worked well in our house. My son has always been super trusting of people, he loves people. While this is a great trait in certain ways, it is also very bad in others. I weighed it up, should I allow him to keep seeing the world as a beautiful rosey place where nothing bad ever happens? Or should I teach him that hey, there is evil in the world that should be avoided at all costs? Well, the answer is rather simple. I sat him down and explained to him that there are nasty people out there who try to talk to young children on the internet. I didn’t need to go into great detail about why they do it, what their motive or end game is because this is just too much for him to digest. I explained instead that some people are rude to little kids or teach them bad words and that was enough for him to understand why I wanted him to steer clear of them.
- Monitor your child’s friends list. Do you know who these people are? Obviously each child has a “username” which makes it impossible to identify them. So I spoke to the mothers of the friends my son said he wanted to play with and I got all of their usernames, that way I could identify each child and approve the friend requests that were coming through.
- Check the profiles of unknown users who are trying to befriend your child. I’ll admit a few came through that my son just accepted without telling me so I viewed their profiles. Turns out because my son was logged into his dads account using his username, some of his dads friends added him. I confirmed that we knew each person there and if we didn’t, that person was immediately blocked. In my opinion any adult who wants to befriend a child they don’t know online has sinister motives. This might be a doom and gloom way of looking at the world but hey, if it keeps my child safe them so be it.
- As mentioned, Master L plays on the Playstation. That Playstation is in the main lounge room of the house. It will remain that way so that I can sit next to him and watch what he is doing. The idea of him sitting on his iPad in his bedroom without any form of monitoring is just plain silly. Be involved in what your child is doing. If they know you are monitoring their every move, they are more likely to play by your rules.
- Set clear rules. No adding random strangers without my permission. Play with mates in “parties” only. Tell me if someone you don’t know tries to talk to you. Have consequences should these rules be broken. Banning the game is like telling my son I’m going to take him right arm away, so that being said he will play by the rules or suffer the consequences.
- Limit the time they are allowed to play. With our busy lives, it is easy to just let them play their Playstation or iPad that little bit longer just to get some work done or a moments peace, you have to think what are the consequences in the long run? We are all guilty of it, I will be the first to admit I have done it. However, I absolutely notice a change in my son’s behaviour when he plays the game too much as opposed to times when I refuse to allow him to play it. Studies have shown that screen time does alter the chemistry in a child’s brain, so try at all costs to limit game time.
Despite all this, to say it has been a smooth run would be a lie. Currently, Fortnite is banned in our house. Why? Because Master L’s behaviour was gradually getting worse and worse. He was falling asleep in class and having random unexplained meltdowns. When we discovered he was waking up at midnight, sneaking into the lounge room to play Fornite for 5 hours before being told to go back to bed, the game was immediately banned. Despite daily protests, it remains that way. Gaming addiction is absolutely real, like any addiction it rules my son’s mind. It is something that we as parents need to be acutely aware of and to manage as best we can as we all know these games aren’t going away in a hurry.
Sometimes I use this time quite productively. Cleaning the house, washing, taking the dogs for a walk. Other times, so exhausted from my busy life, I nap. Yes, I drop the kids off at school and Kinder, I come back home and I climb back into bed for an hour or two. Crazy huh?
To think I used to be ‘bored.’ When now, peeing alone seems like a distant memory. I usually use the powder room toilet because it has a lock on it. But it seems almost instant before the kids are attempting to smash through the door, little fingers are appearing under gap and dogs are sniffing and snorting on the other side. I open the door to two kids, two dogs and sometimes a husband all staring at me like I’ve been lost at sea for years. Oh to be bored once more.
When raising children, you give up so much of yourself. Your life is no longer yours. Your life now belongs to these little beings, tiny little humans who depend on you for absolutely everything. Going to the gym, doing your makeup, getting your hair and nails done, having a coffee or a brunch with a friend takes so much planning its like you’re planning a 6 month tour around Europe.
I have had to book in coffee dates with friends a month or more in advance, save the date in my calendar and set a reminder for myself the day before so I wouldn’t forget. Gone are the days when a quick text to catch up could mean coffee, lunch, dinner and drinks until 3 am without a second thought about school pick up, after-school activities or looking after screaming kids with the worlds worst hangover. Even drinks after work require careful planning, checking hubby’s roster, making sure he does pick up, organising dinner and packing lunches all come into the fray. Life is no longer simple.
FINDING WAYS TO DE-STRESS
Okay, so this sentence seems rather simple but in all honesty, it took me years to realise I needed to take time to myself to cope and to retain my sanity. It took nearly falling apart in order to realise that sometimes I just needed to put myself first.
So, do something for YOU. You give up so much time doing things for others, you totally neglect yourself. Here are some simple tips to de-stress:
Exercise: Whatever form it takes, do it. For me, I love the gym and have taken up running. I have always loved physical exercise and found that it is great for my mental health. After having children and the busy lifestyle that comes with it, I lost this passion. It was too hard, I was too tired or I just didn’t have the time. However, after a scare with my health, I was advised to do cardio exercise at least 3 times a week. I was forced to find time to do it and low and behold, I felt less stressed, felt accomplished and felt like I was doing something for ME.
Being forced to find the time made me realise that I deserved this time and most of all my kids would survive the hour I needed to exercise. For you, it might be taking the dogs for a walk, swimming, walks along the beach, yoga. Whatever form it takes – do it.
New mom? Join a Facebook group and find local walking groups or mothers exercise groups where you can bring bubs along. You’ll be surprised at how many places accommodate new moms.
Park run is also a great initiative and it is located all around Australia. Don’t be fooled by the name, you can also walk it and bring the kiddies along too.
Find something you like doing: For me, I have always loved writing. I started when I was 14 years old and always used it as a form of expression, to find the words when I didn’t know how to verbalise it or simply just to vent on paper. Again, after having children it’s a hobby I stopped. I just didn’t have the time and my brain was so scrambled I just couldn’t.
ecently I’ve started it up again and have re-discovered just how much I love to write. You might enjoy gardening, renovating, reading, arts and crafts. Whatever your passion, find time to do it. Give the kids a hobby or a chore and set aside an hour for yourself. You’ll be surprised just how good it feels to do something you love.
Be more like your husband: You know how they have boys days, pub trips, footy trips, nights away with mates without a glimmer of guilt or worry? Be more like that and do the same. Go for after work drinks with the girls, organise a dinner date childfree, go on a shopping trip or beach day with just your friends. Forget the kids. Hubby might
Do a girls weekend away: Whether you go to the city and stay in a fancy hotel and eat take away, chocolate and drink wine, have a big night on the town drinking and dancing like you’re 20 again or spend the day getting massages and facials at a day spa, enjoy it.
Take this time for yourself, guilt free and do not think about the chaos you’ll walk back into at home when you return. Try not and stress when you get the text message from hubby saying the kids skipped their bath tonight and are eating McDonald’s for dinner, they will survive.
The best gift you can give your kids is a revitalised, relaxed momma whose batteries are fully recharged, so dump the guilt and just do it.
Find time to just be: This is probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Walking away from the housework, the bickering and fighting and the chaos and taking a cuppa tea outside to sit in the sunshine is easier said than done. But I do it. I need it and I own it. Take a book, catch up on your Facebook news feed or just sit and bask in the sunshine.
Whatever it is just relax and breathe. Yes, I have locked the door on my kids and told them to go away and give mommy some time when they come scratching down the door (which they will I promise!). Does this make me a bad mother? Hell no, it makes me a mother aware that I need some me time sometimes and that is okay.
Staying sane whilst raising children is hard. I work in a high-pressure job yet after having children I can safely say that my job is a breeze compared to being at home raising my kids. But one “I love you mommy” or squishy cuddle (as we call them) from my munchkins makes it all worthwhile. After all, we need to make sure we have someone around to look after us when we’re old and wrinkly, god knows we probably won’t be able to do it on our own.
While a lot of the older generation, such as my grandparents scoff at the idea that a child can suffer with anxiety, it is sadly something I have a lot of experience in given my oldest son started showing signs around the age of four.
I myself suffer from anxiety. It is inevitable then that Master L would end up with it also. It still doesn’t stop you feeling saddened and somewhat guilty when your child starts displaying the symptoms of it. It is a condition that is hard to understand, but far more common than you may realise. According to YouthBeyondBlue.com 1 in 14 children aged 4 – 17 experienced anxiety disorder in 2015.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
For Master L, it manifests itself as tantrums, fits of crying and hissy fits when he doesn’t get his own way, negative thoughts and fear of trying something new in case he fails. It has taken me a long time to learn how to deal with it, I googled the shit out childhood anxiety to find out causes (aside from genetics), treatments, supplements…anything that might help alleviate his suffering. Having suffered from anxiety my whole life and only getting a handle on it over the last 5 or so years, I know all too well the fear, confusion and crippling negative thoughts that come with the condition. A constant internal dialogue and uncontrollable bodily reactions such as a raised heartbeat, feeling ill in the stomach and sweating to name a few of the wonderful symptoms that are a daily norm for someone with anxiety.
At one stage Master L’s anxiety was so bad, he cried and told me that he wanted to die. I was heart-broken and at a loss, I never in a million years thought that I would be dealing with this so young. So, I did what I always do and researched, researched and researched. Through my research I discovered that responding to these negative comments “I’m not good enough” “I’m so dumb” “I can’t do anything right” “I’m such a bad kid” and the like actually makes it worse, feeding into the child’s attempts to get attention. The best way to tackle it is to ignore it completely. Easier said than done when your
FINDING SOMETHING TO HELP
So, more research on the google machine and I found a supplement, L-Theanine. Even better, I found it in a relatively inexpensive and nicely flavoured tablet dinosaur tablet making it easy for kids to think it was nothing more than a lolly. Although, I explained it to Master L that it wasn’t a lolly, but a multi-vitamin to help his brain. No need to make the kid feel like something was wrong with him, he has teenage and adult years ahead of him for that.
My ever sceptical hubby said I was insane, that something so cheap and inexpensive wouldn’t work. I doubted it too but had to try. I was in tears at work, losing sleep at night feeling like a was a failure and constantly feeling the overwhelming burden of guilt that I had caused my son to be like this purely through genetics and/or my behaviour.
However, I felt like after a month or so Master L improved. It could’ve been a coincidence, yes. But after running out of the product and waiting for the next shipment to arrive, I noticed Master L regress somewhat. I pointed it out to my hubby who agreed they must be having some effect. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a miracle cure but it’s definitely tamed the tiger to a degree. So, I ordered buckets of it. I would’ve cleared the shelf of their product to ensure we didn’t run out. And things seemed better. The negative thoughts almost disappeared. His anxiety was ever present but at bay and he seemed happier within himself, happier at school and a more well-balanced kid. Yay. A win to mom.
Fast forward six or so months and life being life, I began to slip. Being incredibly busy at work, having a friend stay with us who was going through relationship troubles and the general business that come with being a working mom with two kids, I became very slack at giving Master L these tablets. And it started to show. He started to act out and become aggressive. He was easily annoyed and clearly unable to handle his emotions. I didn’t twig, instead thinking it was just his age or a phase.
Then one weekend, one of Master L’s best mates wanted a play-date. We owed them one, it was our turn. With hubby
Back home and everything seemed to be travelling along nicely, barring the usual bickering about not sharing and not playing the way the other wanted to. So they head outside to the trampoline (thank christ I think, peace at last!) But soon after the boys end up in a bit of a scuffle and Master L punches his mate in the arm. I witnessed the whole thing and therefore dished out appropriate punishment, put Master L in the shower and sent his mate home.
About ten minutes later, Master L comes out of the shower and tells me he’s a “bad kid and doesn’t want to be alive anymore.” As shocking as this sounds coming from the mouth of a six-year-old, I’ve heard these words before. In my research, I learned that this can be an attention seeking mechanism. It can also be overwhelming anxiety, so much that Master L’s young brain cannot comprehend how he is feeling and doesn’t know how to express it.
At that point, I chose to ignore it, but once he had calmed down I sat down and had a heart to heart with him. I asked him what it meant to die to him. His response was “you become a person who floats in the sky and does nothing” I explained in terms of my mother’s death what it actually meant. I knew, at 6 years old, he could not possibly understand the finality of death nor the impact it has on those left behind.
As I explained to him how much I loved him and how much it broke my heart hearing him say he no longer wanted to be alive, I burst into tears. His little face twisted in shock as he asked me if I was crying because of him. His deeper level of thinking and understanding was so evident, it is no surprise the little bugger suffers from anxiety.
WAYS TO MANAGE IT
- Ignore the negative talk, you are only feeding into it if you give it any attention. As hard as it may seem, the more you acknowledge it the more your child will do it and the negative talk cycle will continue.
- Let the moment pass then sit down and talk to your child, ask them why they are so upset. This shows them you care and allows them to vent. We, as adults do it all the time right? So why can’t our kids? The issues might seem trivial to you, but they could be a massive deal for your child.
- Try supplements, they worked for me so they may work for you too! It’s worth a shot. There are plenty of natural remedies out there to try, as for my child a simple L-Theanine tablet for my son helped settle his out of control emotions. It may or may not work for your child but there are plenty of other options available.
- Research. Read. Understand the condition, especially if you have never experienced it yourself, trust me it’s terrifying at times and I’m an adult. It would be 100 times scarier for a child to try to comprehend.
Researchhelped me to understand behavioursin my son which were frightening and confronting, it gave me a lot of comfortto understand that it was all part of the condition.
- Talk to your doctor, tell them your concerns. They may think that seeing a child psychologist would be beneficial. We are in that process now, to address it further before habits become ingrained.
- DON’T bury your head in the sand. Do not think if you ignore it, it will just go away. It won’t. If you leave it until your child is a teenager to address, it may be too late. Patterns and
behaviourscan already be ingrained by this age, so the earlier you address it the better.
Most of all know you are not alone. Be there for your child and be the best mother you can be, having a mother who is their rock is the best therapy a child could ask for.
Blog Like A Pro With These Simple Tips
You’ve decided to start a blog, how exciting! But, it’s a minefield out there! Where do you start? What tools do you need? Which domain hosting site should you use? Well, fear not. I have compiled a list of the best resources for new bloggers – Here are some simple tips to blogging like the pros!
This article contains affiliate links, meaning if you choose to purchase any of the products mentioned, I will receive a small commission of that sale at no cost to you.
WHERE DO I START?
When I first started, I read a lot on this topic. It’s something I knew nothing about so I figured knowledge is power. I read a bunch of articles, but the best ones I found were written by Elna Cain of “Twinsmommy” fame. I took a lot of her advice and it hasn’t lead me astray.
She recommended creating a website on WordPress, so I decided to sign up. I set up my blog and practised posting blog posts, placed pictures and experimented with design. The interface is fairly easy to use for beginners also.
This is a great tool for you to get your grounding in websites and blogging. If you don’t ever really intend on massive website traffic or monetising your blog, then you can stay using WordPress for free.
The real downside is that it is quite slow to load, so if you ever intend on really marketing your site and want a lot of traffic to come along, then you’ll need to upgrade.
My recommendation if you want to upgrade is below.
Siteground is a domain hosting server, which you’ll need if you ever choose to monetise your blog or want large volumes of traffic reading your content. You simply just can’t do it if you remain on a free server like WordPress, due to the limitations as well as the slow load speed. This is a sure fire way to lose readers if the website takes too long to load.
I personally have visited some blogs where the page takes over a minute to load and honestly, I’ve lost interest before it finishes loading and I
So, the package I chose was the “GrowBig” package – it cost just $7.45 per month. For the year but it is 100% worth it. You can also choose from the cheaper package of $4.95 per month or the premium “GoGeek” package for $14.95 per month, dependant on your needs.
The load speeds are super quick, the interface is user-friendly and “uptime” for the site is 99.9% – wow. You simply cannot beat those stats. But, best of all the support team are second to none. They are extremely helpful, friendly and knowledgable.
Starting my blog on “Wordpress”, I had to migrate it over. Siteground accommodates this by having a WordPress migrator. It was seamless and so simple to use, even for a novice like me. They also have migrators for Joomla! Wix and more so you can move your site over with ease.
Admittedly I wasn’t very savvy at building a website and had some teething problems. I changed my theme also and had a few issues with this. Each time though I requested help through their support page, they were super efficient and thorough in their response, including with follow up enquiries. I never had to wait long for help and they always solved my issue. As such, I couldn’t recommend them enough!
Want to sign up to Siteground now and start building your brand? Click here to sign up ——-> Siteground Signup
Choosing Your Theme
To me, choosing the right theme is vital to the overall feel of your blog. It is an entirely personal choice depending on your niche and your preference.
There are plenty of free themes available on WordPress. I tried and tested a fair few different ones, but nothing really took
I wanted a soft, feminine feel and came across one I loved on another blog site. So I scrolled the bottom and had a look at the details which brought me to “Code & Coconut.” They have stunning themes, the one I chose for my site is called “Adelle.”
I think it works perfectly for my niche and is exactly what I was looking for. It was only $35 and I think it was money very well spent.
Secondly, when I had some issues with my theme settings not working correctly I contacted their support and honestly, they couldn’t have been more helpful.
Would you like a gorgeous Code & Coconut theme like mine? Get it here —-> Code & Coconut Signup
After a lot of research, I realised pretty quickly that if I wanted to get my content out there that Pinterest was a must have. I had dabbled in Pinterest myself when planning my wedding but aside from that had never really used it. Once I understood what Pinterest really was, I realised that I simply had to use it.
Think of Pinterest like this – it is a search engine, much like Google, but uses images or “Pins” to display content. It is also a hybrid in the sense that it is a social media website, allowing users to connect and share content to widen their reach. Once you grasp the concept that Pinterest is a search engine, with 250 million users per month, you will also understand why it is a
Follow these simple steps to use Pinterest to your advantage:
Sign up for a business account – You can also covert your personal account over to a business account if you have good boards or already have a tonne of followers. Getting a business account is essential as it allows you access Pinterest Analytics, which shows your audience reach, engagements etc so you know where you can improve or what is working.
Join group boards – There are boards out there which display a heap of pins, with one contributor to that board. Then there are group boards, ones that allow multiple contributors. Essentially, you find the board you want to join and either email or DM the board creator to join. Generally, they will also request you follow them on Pinterest or another platform in order to be accepted. Once you have been accepted, you can start pinning your content to these boards, allowing them to be seen by all the followers of that board.
Tribes – This is something that took me a while to master. Once you do master it though, you definitely start seeing the benefits. Tribes work by having a ‘tribe’ of users join the one tribe focusing on their niche of choice. You then pin your content and re-share the content of the other tribe members, allowing a far greater reach of your pins. Remember though, you must follow the rules of the tribe or you will be kicked out. Don’t be selfish here, bloggers need to help other bloggers. Re-share the content as specified and you will be considered a good tribe member.
Pinterest works by consistency, this is the key. You should be pinning content daily. The trick is though, not to just pin a bunch of content all at once. Pinterest likes it to be spread out over the day. Unless you are a night owl who likes staying up at all hours pinning content, this simply isn’t achievable without a bit of help, which leads me into the next must-have tool.
Tailwind is a scheduling tool which automatically pins your content in selected time slots, during the day and while you sleep. This allows you to walk away from the computer knowing your content is still getting out there.
Admittedly, I wasn’t sure at first if I would like this tool or if it was even worth it, so I signed up for a free trial to test it out. The free trial is quite generous and definitely allows you to get a good feel for whether it is worth it for you or not. After my free trial, I signed up because this tool is fantastic. I spend an hour or two scheduling all my pins for the week so when life gets busy, I know my content is still getting out there.
Pinterest also prefers that you pin over a period of time, instead of all at once so Tailwind can assist in doing this as well as saving you time having to manually pin all the time.
Tailwind also works with Instagram, so you can be scheduling your content and growing your followers while you sleep! Perfect right?
Want Tailwind? Sign up here ——> Tailwind Signup
Another neat little tool I use is one called “Grammarly” this skims across all your posts and corrects any grammatical errors or spelling errors it finds. While I have never been horrible with grammar, inevitably everyone makes mistakes but this tool ensures I can press publish with confidence. Best of all it is a free download, installs onto your web browser and skims across your work as you type.
Interested in Grammarly? Sign up here —-> Grammarly Signup
Images To Illustrate Your Site
Blog posts and websites always look better and do better if they have images on them. But where do you get these images from?
Unless you are an extremely talented photographer, chances are you won’t have beautiful images to place on your site. So, what do you do? Well, there are plenty of free stock images available out there where you can get thousands of gorgeous images to use on your site.
One I found that I absolutely love is Dreamstime.com. They have literally thousands of images for all different subjects, niches and topics to help illustrate your site.
On top of this, I was looking for a place where I could create a blog header, something unique and recognisable and I found Dreamstime is where I could get them from. I downloaded this gorgeous background and placed my header over the top and bingo! A beautiful looking blog header!
Want to sign up to Dreamtime? Do so here —–> Dreamstime Signup
So go ahead and make that beautiful blog and get your content out there!
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My Struggles With Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
While everyone has heard of Prementrual Syndrome (PMS) and either experienced it or witnessed it first hand, many do not know of a more severe form of PMS known as PMDD. I am one of the unlucky 3 % – 8% of women who suffer from this silent life destroyer.
For many years, I was told I suffered bad PMS. Statistics say 75% of women have experienced the symptoms of PMS at some point in their life; the cramps, the mood swings, the tender breasts and so forth. This is unfortunate, but a normal part of a woman’s life during her child-bearing years.
I knew, however, that something was different about me and soon came to be diagnosed with “severe PMS” or PMDD. PMDD means that for at least 2 weeks out of every month, I suffer agonising cramps, acne breakouts, horrible and uncontrollable mood swings, severe anxiety, extremely tender breasts, bloating, weight gain, irritability, sleep disturbances, headaches and/or migraines, chronic IBS, depression, increased anxiety and the list goes on and on.
In recent years, my PMDD has become so bad that I am now permanently on anti-anxiety medication, simply to control my mood swings for the second half of my cycle. If I am not on this medication, I am literally out of control.
For women who have never experienced PMDD, it is simply put like this: once the second half of my cycle hits, anything and everything is like waving a red flag to a bull. The slightest thing can send me into an uncontrollable rage. One minute I can be laughing and joking, the next I am crying or yelling, for no good reason at all and it is usually the ones we love the most that cop the brunt of these unpredictable mood swings.
I know now the day the switch is flicked and my hormones start to drop, that is the day I struggle to keep it together during the day, I am extremely irritable and impatient and usually either in the car on the way home from work, or just as I walk in the door, I break down and cry uncontrollably. Every day after this day is a slippery slope, where I feel worse and worse with more and more symptoms piling on daily.
I suffer debilitating cramps, extreme fatigue, insomnia and iron deficiency due to heavy menstruation. I am forgetful and find it extremely difficult to concentrate, making simple tasks very frustrating. The side effects are so severe that they interfere with my day to day life, making being a good wife and mother very difficult.
This is perhaps the hardest side of the condition. My tolerance level for my children is at an all-time low during these times, I have no energy to play with them, I cringe when they come running up for a hug knowing my stomach and breasts are so tender that any form of contact from them is going to hurt. I am so easily irritated that I generally avoid activities with them as I know I’ll lose my temper.
Lately, the break in symptoms that I get after my period ends and I am completely symptom-free has dwindled from 2 weeks down to just 2 – 3 days. My ever-suffering husband has to tolerate my moods now for most of the month and while I try my best to control them, there are often times that they get the better of me.
And herein lies one of the biggest hurdles with PMDD. Being overly hormonal and moody means the sufferer needs to have a heightened sense of self-awareness. At times, it is hard to determine if you really are irritated at events that are occurring or are just currently being overly sensitive. Doubt begins to creep in when people say “seriously you are over-reacting.” Your mind truly does deceive you and you find that those around you will use the hormonal/overly emotional line often, making it very difficult to ever justify being truly upset again.
There are times when I do realise that I am being overly-sensitive. At these times, the only way to describe it is like an out of body experience. I know that I am over-reacting. I know I need to calm down. I have an internal dialogue reminding me that I am in my PMDD sphere and I should just keep quiet: but I can’t. The compulsion to keep going is uncontrollable.
But perhaps the most frustrating thing about PMDD is that doctors do not know how to fix it. There are band-aid fixes, such as anti-anxiety medication however these, to me, are just temporary solutions. There is no real fix, everything is an experiment to see if it works and unfortunately for me, not much has.
IS IT PMS OR DO I HAVE PMDD?
If you are feeling like your symptoms are perhaps more severe than regular PMS, it might be worth heading to the doctor.
The following symptoms are characteristic of PMDD:
- Lasting irritability or anger that may affect other people
- Feelings of sadness or despair, or even thoughts of suicide
- Feelings of tension or anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings or crying often
- Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
- Trouble thinking or focusing
- Tiredness, low energy or severe fatigue
- Food cravings or binge eating
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling out of control
- Decreased libido
- Painful menses
- Dizziness and/or fainting
- Paranoia and issues with self-image
- Hot flashes
- Physical symptoms, such as cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
I can safely say that I have experienced every symptom from the above list, most I suffer with now for the best part of the month – whether it be one or two symptoms in a day or a large combination, making my day fairly miserable at times.
TREATMENT FOR PMDD
The first choice of doctors in treating this condition is the birth control pill. Yaz is said to be one of the most effective in helping relieve symptoms by stopping mestration. Unfortunately for me, Yaz only made my symptoms worse along with every other pill I tried.
While doctors will go straight to the pill as a means of controlling the symptoms of PMDD, the feelings behind whether this actually works are very mixed. As it is a case of trial and error to see what helps, the pill is worth trying but shouldn’t be continued if it is exacerbating your symptoms as it did in my case.
Another treatment used is anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication. This medication has helped me in managing my irritability and anger but doesn’t work to help anything else, leaving a large number of symptoms untreated.
While I am yet to find the best solution, I am hopeful that one day something will work and I can finally be symptom free.
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When A Woman Simply Cannot Choose What Happens With Her Body
While I would never label myself a feminist, I would say I am very much for women’s rights. So, it is only natural that when being faced with an issue relating to my body, I felt it was my decision to make. This is where I am apparently dead wrong.
I have suffered from endometriosis since I was 14 years old. I was told at 17 years old I would never fall pregnant naturally. I have endured 7 keyhole surgeries, endless hormone treatments and had an ovary removed along with a cyst the size of an orange. I now have nerve damage which causes almost daily pain and I am still suffering horribly with pre
So, after having two beautiful children (naturally I might add, guess those doctors were wrong…) I decided the use for my uterus and ovaries had come to an end.
I decided, at 36 years old that I wanted a hysterectomy. I feel I cannot endure any more pain and it’s high time my pesky woman parts got the flick. This was until I came to learn that this decision, to free myself from pain, is not my decision to make at all.
I have had male doctors, of all people, tell me that no one will touch me until I’m 45. I’m told I’m “too young” to have it all out. So this begs the questions, whose decision is it anyway? And should a doctor have the right to dictate to a patient what should occur with her body?
While I understand that doctors have a duty of care to do the best for their patients, to simply put an age limit on a woman’s ability to get a hysterectomy is frankly narrow-minded. While woman obviously can and have had surgery prior to this age, it is when the risk outweighs the benefits regarding the woman’s health.
But, for a woman like me, who suffers pain, crippling emotional issues and hormonal side effects, it apparently isn’t enough. Despite my quality of life having been severely impacted, the need for these doctors to maintain their blanket ban on anyone under the age of 45 remains.
These discussions, with a female doctor friend, brought up her own issue. After giving birth to her second healthy child, she decided that was enough children. She is a GP and her husband a specialist doctor. She asked her Gynaecologist to tie her tubes as she was finished having children. Despite being a doctor herself and understanding the risks, he refused – citing that she was “too young and healthy” to have the procedure.
So, when is it the patients right to choose what happens with their bodies? What God-like powers do these, notably male, doctors think they have? Should she fall pregnant again now, does that doctor bare some responsibility given his refusal to enact her wishes?
I am now in a battle with the Gynaecologists. I am seeking out a female doctor in the hopes she may understand my predicament a little better. If she refuses to help, I will simply move on to one who will.
We live in an age where everyone is terrified of being sued. We are all too scared to do anything, say anything that may cause a lawsuit. Is this what prevents women such as myself from choosing what happens with my body? Or are doctors simply bound to an “ethical” code whereby they won’t entertain a hysterectomy on a woman younger than 45 unless it is life threatening?
In the meantime, I continue to suffer. Unsure as to my fate. Unsure as to whether I’ll have to endure another 7 – 8 years of crippling pain whilst I wait to hit that magic number.
Do you have an experience similar to mine? I’d love to hear from you!
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This Evil Takes More Forms Than Many Realise – How You Can Recognise The Signs
We have all heard of domestic violence, but do we really understand how many different forms it can take?
Speaking the words “domestic violence” for most elicits images of battered and bruised women, subjected to unspeakable physical violence by their abusive partners. While this is certainly domestic violence, it also takes many other forms that go unrecognised. Here are some of the many forms it takes.
When talking about domestic violence, this is the main one that comes to mind. While it is clearly the most deadly form of abuse, many would argue that emotional abuse is equally as destructive.
Any man who is willing to put his hands on a woman in order to gain control or assert authority over them is a weak and gutless individual.
Similarly, any woman who abuses her male partner is equally as despicable. It is not acceptable for anyone, regardless of sex to use physical violence towards their partner.
Using violence of any kind against someone close to you is not love, it is to control pure and simple and it is wrong.
This form of domestic violence may not be as easily recognised as physical violence but it can be extremely damaging.
A perpetrator will subject the victim to emotional abuse in the form of “put down’s” — name-calling, pointing out a victim’s flaws, humiliating the victim. These are all acts the perpetrator will use on an abuse victim. The aim of this is to make the victim feel worthless, with the intention of keeping the victim beaten down so that the perpetrator can maintain power and control in the relationship.
In essence, it is the perpetrator who is the one with the insecurity. They are so fearful of losing their partner that they feel they need to destroy their partner’s self
According to Whiteribbon.org, examples of emotional abuse include:
- Blaming the victim for all the problems in the relationship
- Constantly comparing the victim to others in order to undermine their self-esteem or self-worth
- Yelling, insulting or swearing at the victim
- Intentionally embarrassing the victim in public
- Making the victim fee guilty if they refuse sex
- Threatening suicide
We all have fought in relationships and things can be said in the heat of the moment that we may regret later. However, if your partner is consistently putting you down, making you feel unloved and worthless then it is time to face the music.
Depriving a partner of money, withholding access to bank accounts or threatening to cease making payments on the mortgage are all examples of financial abuse.
Another such example is preventing a partner from joining or re-joining the workforce in order to prevent any type of financial security. This is sadly something I know all too well. My mother, I loved dearly. She was an angel on earth. She was, however, financially (as well as emotionally & socially) abused by her husband. She may not have recognised it, I certainly didn’t at a young age, but it was debilitating for her. Even in death, my step-father attempted to control my mother’s money.
Do not be fooled by this type of behaviour. These traits are considered domestic violence and should be taken seriously. People who possess these traits are not simply mean or frugal with money. They are abusers plain and simple.
This is another form of domestic violence that is not as easily recognised as physical abuse. Social abuse is when a perpetrator isolates their victim, keeping them from their friends and family, preventing them from making or maintaining friendships and preventing the victim from speaking with neighbours or others within their community.
Taking away a person’s family and friend network can make it extremely difficult for a victim to then leave their abusive relationship. Making a person wholly dependent on the perpetrator is a way to manipulate that victim into staying when ordinarily they wouldn’t.
Some examples of social abuse include:
- Monitoring someone’s phone calls, texts or emails
- Deciding which family members or friends the victim can spend time with
- Continuously criticising the victim’s friends and family
- Moving the victim far away so they cannot reach their friends or family
- Verbally and/or physically abusing the victim in public or in front of other people
It is not the trait of a decent individual to elicit control over someone they love. Monitoring their every move, controlling where they go, who they associate with, what time they get home. Checking social media accounts, messages, phone records and the like is not them being protective nor is it this person
These are the traits of a perpetrator and should not be ignored nor tolerated and should be addressed.
Blaming The Victim
“It is your fault I did this, you make me so angry, you made me act that way.” These are the manipulative words that a perpetrator will use to absolve themselves of blame. Making the victim feel as though they caused the perpetrators actions
Similarly, blaming certain factors like a woman’s hormones, emotional state or telling them they are psycho, crazy, that no one else would love them as they are all fall under two categories. One, blaming the victim – to absolve themselves of any blame and two, controlling behaviour. Making the victim feel worthless is a way to keep the victim under their control.
Any form of domestic violence is never the victim’s fault. Their actions did not cause any of the perpetrator’s behaviour, that is entirely their own responsibility. It is a responsibility that is rarely taken however because then perpetrator would have to admit they are the problem, something they are rarely able to do.
Shame is one of the biggest reasons why victims continue to endure domestic violence. Feelings of embarrassment and of being a failure mean women and men stay in relationships when they ought to leave.
If you are in a situation where you are suffering from domestic violence, a code of silence is not helpful. While seeking out help is hard, staying is more detrimental in the long run. Admitting you are a victim is
Many women choose to stay believing that the perpetrator will change. Believing the lies that they can somehow, overnight, change who they are is quite simply put, naive. A tiger never changes its stripes. This is also true for someone who has it within them to hurt the one they allegedly love.
Making The Decision To Leave
Children play an enormous role in a mother’s or indeed a father’s reasons for staying in an abusive relationship. Not wanting to uproot your child’s life and believing that keeping the family unit together is best for your children are considerations you will obviously make.
On the flip side, raising children in a home where, for instance, a father abuses their mother either physically, emotionally, mentally or financially or a combination of all of the above is far more detrimental to their wellbeing than their parents separating.
Your children will survive. They will forgive you. They will come to learn the truth, should you make the choice to tell them. If they are old enough to know what has been happening before you separate, they will respect you more if you choose to leave.
There Is Help Available
Speak to your GP should you wish to seek counselling in relation to the abuse, the separation or both. Crisis accommodation is available to get women away from domestic violence if they have nowhere else to go.
Confide in someone, be it family members or a close friend. Don’t go it alone. Find and join support groups for women who have been through the same situation. Find strength in others.
Most of all, forgive yourself. It isn’t your fault. You did not cause this behaviour. Men who commit domestic violence are inadequate in some part of their lives. They are the ones with issues, they are the ones who are wrong. Be kind to yourself. Regain your self-esteem and your self-worth and know that despite all that you have been through, you have survived.
Do you or someone you know need help regarding domestic violence? Visit www.whiteribbon.org for more information.
Tips, tricks & tools to help you get fit faster!
Are you wanting to get fit but struggling with motivation? Unsure where to start or what the best exercise regime is?
We’ve all been there, trust me. I know I have. However, after years of trials, struggles and fails, I am finally
RUNNING & CARDIO
Do you want to start running but are unsure how to go about it? I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a natural
I also have a bucket list and one of the things on my list is to run a half marathon, so this year I ramped up my running. So, here are some simple tips to get you running and keep you running!
- Start slowly. Don’t think you’re going to start running a half marathon or at a super-fast pace when you first start. Truth is, it will hurt at first and will take time to build up fitness. Aim for distance over
paceat first, but set small goals – such as 1 km today, 2 km by the end of the week etc.
- Stretch, stretch and stretch! I learnt this the hard way. I was always hopeless at stretching but when I was told my Achilles tendon was so tight it was about to snap, I started forcing myself to be better. Ensure you stretch before and after your workout to avoid injury.
- Don’t just run at the same pace. Change it up. Do a 30-second sprint, followed by a 1-minute jog, 1-minute sprint, 30-second jog and the like. This will improve your cardio fitness quicker than just plodding along at the same old
- Heard of the Beep Test? I’ll honest here and say I HATE the Beep Test. I once had a personal trainer who made me do it and I would tell him I hated him every time he made me do it. But, my cardio fitness was through the roof doing it. Short, sharp sprints that slowly increase in speed will get you fitter faster than just jogging, so give it a try!
- Don’t compare your progress with others. While it is great to be a little competitive and indeed, this can get you motivated, it is unhealthy and detrimental to your progress to compare yourself to others. Some people are much fitter than others, some people are natural runners. Go at your own pace and focus on your own goals, rather than feeling down if you aren’t running as fast or as far as your friends.
Want a beginner’s half marathon training guide? Get the one I have used here!
CHANGE IT UP
Don’t do the same exercise all the time. Ever heard of the saying “he skips leg day?” Some people do just focus on certain parts of their bodies, but this will not improve your overall fitness.
When I first starting really focusing on training, I learnt pretty quickly that despite just wanting to focus on my problem areas – my tummy and my legs and butt, I needed to change it up and work out areas I never even thought that I needed to gain overall fitness.
So, don’t skip exercises that focus on your back, shoulders, chest etc. You need to do all of these to get overall fitness. Plus, you cannot “spot” train – that is, you cannot get fit just by working out one or two parts of your body.
DO HIIT TRAINING
HIIT stands for “High-Intensity Interval Training.” Sounds hard right? Well, it is. But it is also the best way to gain fitness, especially if you are short on time.
The aim is to work out hard and fast, not allowing too much rest in between sets. It challenges your body, gets you fit faster and is great for those who are really short on spare time (let’s be honest, that is most of us these days!).
I am not going to lie, it’s going to hurt. A lot. Generally, I think to myself while in the middle of one of these workouts “What the hell am I doing?” But knowing it is only a 28-minute workout can help keep you going and get to the end. Whats 28 minutes out of your day anyway? And a bonus, at the end of it, you will feel absolutely great!
GET A WORKOUT PLAN
Join your local gym and ask for a workout plan. This will keep you on track and show you different exercises for different parts of the body.
If you can afford it and have the time, get a personal trainer. I did once and it was the fittest I have ever been in my life. Granted, this was pre-kids and I had a lot more spare time. But it is a great way of getting fit without having to think about your workout plan at all and they can be a great source of motivation for you also.
Alternatively, you can google a fitness plan and follow that. There are heaps of them online, focusing on gym workouts or at-home workouts to suit your needs.
Another great way of getting ideas on different types of exercises is to jump onto Instagram. There are literally thousands of workout videos on there and best of all they are free. If you are really serious about getting super fit, you can sign up to some of the apps they promote or you can just save their videos and use them as inspiration.
As mentioned in my other article “The Best At-Home Exercises For Busy Moms” – my two favourites are Krissy Cela —-> find her on Instagram here and Kayla
KNOW YOUR BODY
This is one tip I am still learning. As we get older, our body and our bodies needs change. I have learnt slowly that I need to listen to my body and adapt my workout depending on how I feel.
For women, where you are in your cycle is crucial to how you feel. I really struggle to get motivated and indeed workout during the last week or so of my cycle, so in this time I either do yoga or I give myself a break.
It isn’t ideal when you are training for something, such as a half marathon like I am, however I know if I try and force myself to train I will fail miserably and then be upset with myself, which sets me further back.
So, to combat this lack of motivation and fatigue, what can you do? Well, it’s simple. I workout hard (and a lot) in the first two weeks of my cycle (that being the first two weeks after my period) because this is when my energy levels are highest and I most motivated.
In the second two weeks of my cycle, I slow down. I focus less on running and more on weights because I find this easier than running during this time.
If I want to work out but I’m feeling really unmotivated for anything strenuous, I do yoga. This way, you are still working on muscle tone and are increasing flexibility also.
Trying to exercise while starving yourself won’t work, your body needs fuel for energy much the same as a car needs petrol to go.
Similarly, eating crappy junk food and trying to exercise won’t work either. This is because there is little to no nutritional value in these foods and your body will not have enough energy to output for your workout and you will wind up feeling really flat afterwards.
Eating fresh fruit, vegetables, protein, fish, lean red meats and carbs will all help give your body the fuel it needs for
If you struggle with what to eat, get a healthy eating food guide or subscribe to something like “You Foodz”, “Lite N Easy”, “Marley Spoon” or something similar to keep you on track.
ALLOW YOURSELF A BREAK
If you aren’t feeling up to exercising DON’T. If you are tired, unwell, run down etc, just don’t do it. It is counter-productive exercising when you feel like this. You simply will not be able to do it and you will feel miserable afterwards.
I remember seeing a post on Instagram that Krissy Cela put up. She drove to the gym and sat in the car crying because she didn’t have the motivation to go into the gym that day. Even super
This is, of course a lot different to the “I’m just being lazy” vibes. Then, you totally should get off the couch and get out there! You’ll know the difference, so don’t make excuses!
This is something I highly recommend but admittedly they aren’t for everyone. I use a Thermogenic supplement to give me the energy
I use one called “Body Effects” – it has more natural ingredients and I find it helps me a lot with my running. There are plenty on the market, so do your research and find one that is best for you.
What else do Thermogenics do? They suppress appetite, enhance mood, and help to burn fat. Read and research the ingredients before taking any of these supplements as they are all vary in ingredients.
Here are a few to choose from:
- Body Effects
- Shredz Protein Thermogenic Made For Women
- Thermal Switch
- NLA For Her – Her Amino Burner
Get yourself a fitness watch. They are the best at helping you keep track of how you are improving. They can also be a great motivator, with a setting that basically tells you to get up and start moving so you can reach your step goal for the day.
I personally use the “Fitbit Ionic” and I love it. It has an inbuilt GPS so it is super accurate and is very simple and easy to use.
Other options include the Apple Watch, Garmin and others.
Download Apps that will help you keep track of your runs, set goals and compete with friends. I use the Fitbit app to sync with my watch but I also have an
Another great app is called “MapMyRun” – This is a
Type in your address, create a route along your choosen streets and know exactly where you have to run to reach your desired distance.
SET A GOAL
This is a big one. What are you aiming for? Fitness, overall well-being, running a marathon?
Have a goal in mind, write it down if you have to. Mine is to run a half marathon, but yours might be as simple as “to lose my mommy pouch” or “be able to run 5 km.”
Whatever your goal is, know it and aim for it. If you have a target, you are more likely to stick to exercising than if you just do it for no reason.
DITCH THE SCALES
Oh wow, I cannot stress this enough. Ditch them, ignore them, put them in your cupboard.
After months and months and months of weighing myself whilst training and feeling like a failure with my weight going up and down, I decided enough was enough. I don’t even step on the scales now and I couldn’t tell you what I weigh today.
I did this for one reason – it is NOT a reliable indicator of how you are tracking on your fitness journey. During a woman’s cycle, her weight can fluctuate dramatically. I, for instance, can put on up to 1.5kgs with my period – and no, it isn’t from the chocolate I ate, it is all fluid. I know this because once my cycle ends, this “weight” disappears.
Second to this, the more I ran, the more my weight went up. I was baffled. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. But, truth is, is that muscle weighs more than fat. This is not a myth, it is the truth. The more I ran, the more I worked out on my legs, arms, back, shoulders, the heavier I became. So, I ditched the scales.
The best indicator for how your tracking is a measuring tape. Measure around your waist and keep track of that if you prefer.
What I prefer now is looking in the mirror. If I’m happy with what I see, then I am going well. If my clothes are fitting nicely, then I am also happy. I couldn’t care less what I weigh on the scales, this is just a number. It’s how I feel about myself that matters the most.
AFTER YOUR WORKOUT
As mentioned before, stretch. This is SUPER important.
But, what I have also found important is replacing electrolytes I have lost during my run. I sweat when I run, a fair bit. So replacing electrolytes is key to me feeling better after a big run.
Most of all enjoy yourself. Get out there and give it a try. You will be amazed at how good you feel and how much your overall health and mood improve once you start regularly exercising!!
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When I was 14 years old, my mother was diagnosed with Oesophageal cancer. It was a horrible time for all of us and I was forced to grow up very quickly.
Around this time, I started to become unwell. Everyone thought it was the
I started having issues with my bowel, I was told I had IBS. I was losing weight which wasn’t great as I was already quite skinny. I had horrible pain in my stomach that would bring me to my knees. My period became erratic, heavy, painful. It was torture.
My mother came out of the hospital several months after her initial diagnosis and was on the road to recovery. She was in remission and everything seemed to be going back to normal with our family life. But my issues continued.
My mother took me to a multitude of different doctors, specialists. Everyone and anyone. They kept focusing on my bowel but it wasn’t until a Gastroenterologist told her that it wasn’t my bowel that she forced doctors to start focusing on something else.
She was getting desperate. By 17 years old I weighed 40kg. I was pale, dizzy all the time, fainting. I had no energy and was in constant pain. I had endured too many blood tests to count. They checked me for diabetes, crohn’s disease, thyroid issues all to no avail.
Mom took me to herbalists, iridologists, chiropractors, Chinese herbalists, naturopaths. You name it, we tried it.
One doctor told me I needed counselling because I was having these issues because my parents divorced when I was four, a divorce I couldn’t even remember. We walked out mid-appointment.
Eventually, she took me to our local doctor. He had a chat to me and told me that “sometimes we feel pressure from our peers to look a certain way.” Yes, he believed I was anorexic. This is despite the fact my mother told him I ate like a horse. Mom was at breaking point.
A few weeks later, after another bout of lying on the couch crying in pain, having a heat bag on my stomach and an ice pack on my face to cool the burning of my cheeks, she took me to another doctor. She begged him to help me. I distinctly remember her words “I’m losing her.” I was so skinny and so unwell. She was desperate. He asked whether I had been tested for Endometriosis. She said no. This was the first we had heard of it. He referred me to a Gynaecologist.
A few weeks later and I was seeing the Gynaecologist. He performed an ultrasound and booked me into hospital for a laparoscopy. He put me in as an ‘urgent’ case. I was in within a week.
I recall him telling my mother I would be in and out in 45 minutes max. Over 2 hours into the surgery, my mother called
After returning to the Gynaecologist for a followup appointment, he informed me that my insides were a mess. My endo was classed in his words as “moderately severe.” I had answers, kind of. No one knows how it started, why it started, why I have it and my sister doesn’t. I had an infection in my uterus, again no one knows how.
22 years on and I have endured 7 laparoscopies, countless medical treatments, chronic pain, hormonal issues, irregular and erratic periods and more. It dictates my life and still no answers.
I was told having babies would solve all my issues. While my endo has actually decreased significantly since having children, my pain and period issues have not. This is because after so many invasive surgeries, I have been left with scar tissue and possible nerve damage that causes daily pain.
Endometriosis and the associated complications are a pain in the proverbial. In modern
If you have never heard of affiliate marketing, let me enlighten you. This is a very clever way lots of bloggers are earning a side income (or even a full-time income) online. Essentially, you write a blog post about a product you love, you insert an affiliate link into the post, the reader clicks the link and makes a purchase and the author gets a commission of the sale. Wow, right?
This article contains affiliate links, meaning if you choose to purchase any of the products mentioned, I will receive a small commission of that sale at no cost to you.
However, what I have come to realise is that a lot of the affiliate programs advertised are either from the USA or the UK. Not great if you’re an Aussie blogger like me. But, don’t despair. There are a bunch of great affiliate marketing programs that Australian bloggers can get access to and to make it easier for you, I have compiled a list of the best ones to try!
Commission Factory: This is one of the largest affiliate networks that focus on affiliates for all different niches. It has a simple sign up procedure however once you are accepted by Commission Factory, you then have to apply for individual retailers. This could mean you are not approved for certain retailers, depending on their criteria. The dashboard is fairly easy to use and has a wide range of brands to choose from, including the following:
- Boden Clothing
- Nourished Life
- Valley Girl
- Harris Scarfe
- Bing Lee & More
Best of all they accept startup bloggers so they are a great starting point if you want to look to monetise your blog.
Viglinks: is similar to SkimLinks in that you don’t have to input your affiliate links yourself as you do with other websites. After applying and of course being approved, you will receive a code that you place into your website. This code automatically “read” your content and apply any affiliate links that are applicable.
If you prefer not to have ads on your blog, this is one is the way to go.
Clickbank: This is an affiliate marketing network for digital products such as software and eBooks, so if this is your niche, these guys are well worth considering. Registration is super easy and great for those start up bloggers. If you want to get a start with affiliate marketing and you have a niche involving digital goods, eBooks and the like then head to their site and sign up.
Skimlinks: This technology is different to the ones above. Instead of embedding the affiliate links into your blog posts, this technology ‘skims’ your content then applies any merchant codes you have been approved for automatically. This is perfect for those who are not so tech savvy and aren’t quite sure how to apply affiliate links to their sites.
Want to give them a try? Sign up below.
ShareASale: This one crops up quite often in the affiliate marketing world. It has been around for quite come time and although
- Modcloth & More
So, go apply and happy marketing!
We live in a new era, a social media era. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,
This is the single most terrifying aspect of social media for parents with children coming to the age of wanting social media accounts. Children, so blissfully unaware of the dangers lurking out there on the internet, share intimate details publicly online can leave them vulnerable to predators who have honed their “skills” over time and know exactly what to look for. But, rather than denying our children the chance to interact with friends over social media outside of school, there are ways to keep them safe. Here, I will discuss some simple ways to ensure your children remain safe in this new and complex world.
MAKING THE RULES
Firstly, the biggest thing parents need to understand and to stress upon their children is that having social media accounts is a privilege, not a right. Remember, YOU are the parent.
PASSWORDS: This is the most important rule. You set the password with your child and inform them that the password is not to be changed under any circumstance by them. Set up a recovery email and/or phone number that belongs to YOU so that you will receive notification if the password has been reset.
If you find yourself locked out of the account due to a password change, request a password reset to the email you have access to and lock them out of the account.
PROFILE PICTURE: It is best that the profile picture (which is public) be a generic picture, such as of a pet or a favourite image. This is the picture that is visible to everyone, including predators, so best not to show an image of child.
IMAGES UPLOADED: While teenagers may think that a mirror selfie in a bikini or posing with friends in micro shorts and bikini tops
Similarly, images of school uniforms can lead to a predator knowing where they attend school and can be very dangerous. Review every photo your child uploads and if you don’t approve of it, remove it.
PRIVACY SETTINGS: Facebook and Instagram have a whole bunch of privacy settings that need to be reviewed regularly to ensure your child is safe. On Facebook, features may default to the “public” setting after updates, so you need to make sure you review each aspect of the privacy settings and timeline and tagging settings to see who can see your child’s site, posts
Instagram is much the same, ensure that your child’s account is set to a “private” account and educate them in relation to unsolicited emails they may receive. The best rule to apply here is if you don’t know them, delete the message.
HASHTAGS: While most of us think
FACEBOOK/INSTAGRAM “TAGGING”: Another feature you want to be careful about is “Tagging.” This is when friends ‘tag’ someone they know in an image on their page. Seems innocent enough, however, if that friend has 1500 people on their Facebook friends list, this is 1500 people you don’t know who can see the image of your child. Facebook does have a feature in which you have to approve tags before they appear on your timeline, which is a feature you should enable.
ACCEPTING FRIENDS ONLY: Many teenagers who use social media think that having a large friends list makes them appear popular, so the more people who add them the better. When in reality, your child cannot personally be friends with 1500 or 2000 people, so they accept requests from people unknown to them or you. A simple rule to apply here is if your child does not personally know them, do not add them.
If you have Facebook set to allow friend requests from “friends of friends” you can imagine how many people your child can suddenly have on their Facebook page, seeing their every move and every photo. This opens the door to people you just don’t want speaking to your child. Would you allow your daughter or son to speak to random adults at all hours of the day or night without your supervision? Then why would you allow it online?
LOCATION SETTINGS: This is a big one. Facebook has a feature called “checking in” where you can tag yourself at your favourite location and share it on your page. While this is fine if you are out in a public space, many teenagers and indeed adults use this feature to tag themselves at home. What this does is pinpoints them on a map and advertises their home address for everyone and anyone to see. It is fairly self-explanatory why this is extremely dangerous and something you should educate your child on.
Similarly, applications such as Snapchat have a location feature, where you can accurately locate the other person ‘snapping’ you through the app. However, the location settings default to ‘Ghosting’ meaning your location is not automatically displayed. It is best to check to see if your child has turned this feature on and if so, turn it off and educate them to the dangers of sharing your location online.
Lastly, teach your children about stranger danger. Tell them that there are people out there who target children and it’s best to not speak to anyone unless you know them. While you don’t need to be specific about why predators are targeting children, if they know these people are bad they will be less inclined to want to speak to them.
Most of all, stay involved. While it may seem like a lot of effort, constantly checking your child’s social media accounts, privacy settings, messages and friends list is the best way to ensure their safety and security online.
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What I’ve come to realise of late is that my son, who is rapidly approaching 7 years old, is far more emotionally intelligent than those of his peers – who are in fact older than him. While this sounds like the typical parent-like “oh my kid is just so awesome” it’s actually not. My kid has flaws, he is a handful and he is far from perfect. I don’t believe in the perfect child. He is
I have begun to notice this a lot lately when watching him around his friends. I am a people watcher, I like to sit back and analyse and in doing so have discovered a difference in my child. While his friends seem to process things as a child of 7, my son appears to have a deeper understanding of life, death, consequences, friendships, relationships and the like. Whether it is because both his father and I are very realistic parents, choosing to teach our kids about topics most parents shy away from or whether it is just his brain is more developed, I can’t say. But it is something that comes with a small price, my son has anxiety and I put this down to his brain processing emotions far deeper than those around him, leaving him confused and sometimes angry and frustrated.
What I have learnt over time though, is to not dismiss him in times when he is curious about life and death. To not dismiss his feelings when he is frustrated or angry. To talk to him, explain things to him and help him understand. My hubby and I have always spoken to our children as though they are adults, not children. We teach them things despite knowing it is complicated, beyond their years and in turn we have discovered that our children have a more developed language and understanding.
Children are far smarter than what we give them credit for. We often laugh at some of the ridiculously complicated words that come out of our kids mouths and their explanations of things are sometimes better than what I could explain them. At 5 my son explained a combustion engine and at 4 my daughter explained photosynthesis better than most adults.
Recently, I took my children to visit their nana at her resting place. The kids asked if we could go for a walk around to look at all the people. We set off, the kids asking me questions about all the trinkets on the people’s graves or their photos on their plaques. They asked how they died, what their names were and how old they were. I fed their curiosity as much as I could.
Then we came upon “the garden of angels.” This garden was dedicated to children and babies who had grown their wings. I didn’t want to continue but the kids did. They asked just as many questions, about their toys, their lives, their names. Some of the plaques had photographs on them, the kids were genuinely interested and not at all upset. In fact, I was the one with tears in my eyes. The fact is, the children were perfectly at ease with the acceptance of death, comprehending how lucky they were to not be like these children and understanding the gravity of the loss these families had experienced.
My point is, don’t shield children from things you think are beyond their years – to a degree of course. We don’t allow our children to see all the horrors of the world but when they see a natural disaster on the news and they ask about it, we explain it. We watch nature documentaries on tornadoes and the deep sea to expand their minds. Explain life after death, trust me they can take it. It not only feeds their natural curiosity, it expands their mind, but creates emotionally intelligent children.