Category: Health

Can I be a beauty blogger too?

3953904690_da6fc340f5_zWhen I started this blog, I thought it would just be a way to keep track of what’s going on with the family, write a few updates on my life every now and again, a few complaints here and there, and just anything that came into my head. Before I set it up, I knew about the other “Mummy Bloggers” out there as some friends had been talking about them and introduced me to some that are now my favourite daily reads (or weekly, depending on my time!). What I didn’t realise though was that there are thousands, probably millions, of blogs out there, and all in different sectors and writing about different things.

I wasn’t trying to stick to any particular genre when I started out. I guess I’m more in the mummy blogger section as I occasionally write about my family, but I’m reluctant to share too many photos of them for the sake of privacy and safety on the internet. I do also venture into other things though – I’ve written about my love of fashion and travel (such as this trip to Madrid), as well as recipes, my attempts at exercising, book reviews and current news stories.

One genre of blogs I’ve recently fallen for though is beauty blogging, and I realised I’ve barely mentioned any of my beauty routines aside from the organic products I like to treat myself to. To be completely honest though, beauty and make-up aren’t something I have a lot of time for with the family being my first priority, despite the fact that I love to read blogs about how to apply the perfect face and get the perfect hairstyle. I have a simple make-up routine that I use every day that consists of a bit of foundation and concealer, followed up with blusher or bronzer depending on my mood and a quick swipe of mascara. I’ll occasionally apply a bit of beige or brown eyeshadow if I get the time, but that’s not often!

I do however love lipsticks but tend to steer away from them in the day time as I feel they can be a bit too attention-drawing on your face for every day wear, and I tend to get little hands all over my face smearing it everywhere if I’m taking the little ones anywhere. So I generally only wear lipstick if it’s a special occasion like a meal with the hubby or a girls’ night out. I do have a surprisingly big collection of lipsticks though, some only swiped on the lips once to check whether they suit me or not before being resigned to the depths of my drawer. So I decided to make a bit of a resolution to start wearing my lipsticks more often. Of course, I’ll have to try and keep the boys away from my face while I’m wearing it, but I do have a couple of those lip stains which I think will work well for every day. So here’s a list of some of the ones I have right now, and what I think of them:

MAC Vegas Volt: this is pretty bright and is fairly matte on the lips. It’s sort of between an orangey red and coral, but it suits my skin tone nicely, mostly good for meals out with hubby as it stands out but isn’t over the top.

Rimmel Apocalips Lacquer Stellar: this is new, and this is bright! I liked the look of the tube, and the colour on the stick looked pretty so I bought it, but it’s very bold and pigmented, more of a hot pink than a red. It’s a bit messy to apply, you have to be really careful not to go outside the lip line, and is perfect to make a BIG statement on a night out.

Barry M Magic Lipstick: this one will have you intrigued if you clicked the link – no, it’s not green, I promise! That’s why it’s called magic lipstick – it turns pink when you apply it, according to your skin tone and the pH level of your lips. It comes out well on me and is smooth to apply.

Gosh Lip Stain Berry Red: I think this might be my new everyday lipstick (or lip stain). It’s got a felt tip-like pen to apply it and stays on really well. It’s a pretty average red and isn’t too bright.

Do you have any recommendations for lipsticks? I’d like to try another coral coloured one, or maybe one with more orange in because I think these suit my skin tone best, whereas blue toned pinks don’t. I think I’ll need to try another lip stain, so let me know your favourites.

Image courtesy of pomo mama.

Starting the Couch to 5K

1030466666_32da2c87b5_oLast month, I decided to take up Pilates, and I’ve been very pleased that I’ve managed to stick with it so far. I’ve done another 4 or 5 classes since I last talked about it and have continued to enjoy it, although there have been a couple of moves which have been fairly difficult and have had me a bit confused, including the “Seal”, which includes a fairly comical rocking motion with clapping feet (no one outside the room will ever see me doing it, but see this video for an example!) and the “Swan Dive” which was really hard (again, watch the video rather than see my poor attempts).

So I’ve been talking to a few of my friends about my new found love for pilates, and they agreed with me that it is a great way to get into exercise, but I should try to include some cardio too. I’ve never been one for getting really hot and sweaty, and just throwing myself into these cardio exercises tends to that. But one lady recommended the Couch to 5K to me – it’s an NHS programme that builds you up slowly towards running 5km, which is about 3.1 miles. It’s supposed to take 9 weeks to get you to the level of being able to run the full distance without stopping, but I think it might take me a little bit longer as I’m planning to repeat some of the runs until I’m completely comfortable doing them.

So far, I’ve only completed Week 1 and just started on Week 2, which means moving from doing 60 seconds of running followed by 90 seconds of walking and repeating it for 20 minutes with a warm up and cool down 5 minute walk, up to 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes walking for 20 minutes, still with the warm up and cool down. I had to get myself some better trainers and a pair of shorts to wear outside since it’s fairly warm at the moment, but it hasn’t actually been too bad and I’ve actually looked forward to getting out for the runs a couple of times! It’s difficult to arrange a time sometimes as the boys are usually around and need me there, so I have to wait for an evening when hubby’s back or at the weekend. You’re supposed to do it 3 times a week with at least one rest day in between, but sometimes I’ve taken 2 or 3 just to fit it in.

I’ve tried a couple of different ways of doing it – the first is the app which allows you to play your own music and get prompts from “Laura” who tells you when to walk and run and encourages you along the way; the other is just to download it from the NHS website and play it on your player. This is still Laura and the same prompts, but includes music chosen by the makers. I find I prefer the last one as the music speeds up when running to keep you motivated, so it’s a bit easier.

I’m looking forward to finishing this week now and starting Week 3, although I’m a bit worried about the 3 minute long sections of running. I may repeat a Week 2 run once though, just to make sure I can do it.

Image courtesy of reb.

Labour wards

pregnancyEvery morning I wake up to the sound of the radio playing. My husband always has it on as an alarm clock to get him up for work every day, and I usually lounge around for an extra 10 minutes after he’s got up to listen to the news before going to check on the kids. Today a news story peaked my interest in particular: it was to do with healthy pregnant women to be encouraged to use midwife-led units to give birth rather than traditional labour wards with doctors.

This is something I have fairly strong opinions on since, as you might remember from when I mentioned it, I had a rather difficult pregnancy and birth with my first. I suffered terribly with morning sickness (although it was rarely just confined to the mornings!) through the first few months, and even though it improved later in the pregnancy, I still had issues with it right up until the little one arrived. There was one occasion where it got close to me being admitted to hospital because I was dehydrated and actually losing weight rather than gaining it.

The birth itself started off fairly well – I went into labour only a day after my due date and seemed to be running smoothly through each of the stages with not too much pain. But things began to slow down, and I ended up being in the throes of labour for about 23 hours. It was a close call to me having an emergency caesarean because the baby’s heart rate was racing and I was exhausted, but he was finally born naturally. I dread to think what would have happened if I had been in only a midwife-led unit rather than a labour ward and had needed to have that emergency caesarean.

But then again, perhaps I would have been advised to go to a hospital rather than a midwife unit because I’d had a more difficult pregnancy than most. Apparently only straightforward pregnancies and women at low risk are being advised to attend the midwife units. According to the statistics that have come out, the care from these midwife-led units is just as safe as hospital care with doctors if you’re at low risk, particularly for women who have already had one child. What do you think? Have any of you mothers experienced the care of a midwife-led unit?

Trying out some exercise: Pilates

pilates

A couple of months ago, I realised recently that I haven’t done any exercise for ages, not since my eldest was born before I got pregnant with the second. Now that I’ve got one of them at nursery most of the time and the other doing a day here and there, my time is getting freed up a bit more, so I’m managing to fit in a bit more freelance work, so I thought I should probably take advantage of the spare time a bit more and squeeze in some exercise.

I joined a gym when I was a teenager, paid the 6 month fee up front, did the induction and never went again, so I knew straight away that wasn’t going to be an option for me. I would never get my money’s worth or be bothered to go. I was thinking about starting running, but I’m not one for getting too out of breath.

So I decided to have a look at what classes are running in my local area and was surprised to find there’s actually loads to do. I skipped straight past all the hard ones like spin classes and boot camp after hearing of the torture some of my friends have been through when attempting them and singled it down to a few different classes to try: Zumba, Pilates and aquarobics. I decided to do one class each week and see what I liked best, then make a commitment to sticking with one.

aquarobics

The first class I tried was aquarobics, and it took me all of ten minutes to realise that this was going to be a disaster. While I don’t mind swimming, there was quite a bit of splashing going on and my hair and face kept getting wet, which I really don’t like. I finished up the class, then packed my swimming costume away only to see the light of day when we finally get a holiday somewhere hot booked.

I went for Zumba next and actually quite enjoyed that. It was pretty fast moving and I had some difficulties in keeping up despite half the class being the same as me or older. I enjoyed getting moving to the music a bit, although my muscles ached like crazy the next day and I bet I looked like a tomato when I came out!

Zumba

And finally I found Pilates was the one for me. I turned up to a morning class that was run by a lovely lady who welcomed me in straight away, asking if I was a beginner (yes!), and got me set up with a mat and set of weights. There were only 9 of us altogether in the class, and there was quiet music playing throughout. It was relaxing and yet we did plenty of hard work too. I felt like all my muscles had been stretched and strengthened, but wasn’t uncomfortable at all. So I’ve been going back every week to the same morning class, and I can already feel myself getting stronger and more flexible, as well as making friends with the other ladies who go.

Images courtesy of U.S. Army, Scott Ableman and Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto.

Food feeding Food

As a avid opponent to GM food and agribuisness and very much pro organic and natural this video hits home with me. I just want to share it with everyone so people can understand our food stystem. Michael Pollan (who wrote “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”) is a great writer and in the video he sets the record straight in regards to many of the food myths.

The Food we feed our pets is killing them

When I started to look at the food I was eating a few years ago, I pulled all processed foods from our diet and swapped to organic products, however at the time I never thought about doing the same for our dog. I thought that food being sold to feed our pets quite naively was fit for their consumption and tested by vets. But how wrong I was. Just last month the Daily Mail had two news pieces on the dangers of pet food: Cancerous tissue, pus-filled sores, beak and eyeball: Is commercial pet food making your dog sick? And what SHOULD you feed him? And How pet food is killing your dog – and why you should be feeding it parsnips and yoghurt. Yes I know they are a bit sensationalist, but the information they were acting on was correct and should be taken notice of.

You may think it focuses on people neuroses about their pets and maybe some scaremongering however if you look at the way processed foods have affected our general health over the decades, there is no reason that the same can’t be said about the processed pet foods we feed our pets. The news stories were compounded by an interesting programme on Channel Five; The Truth About Your Dogs Food which I watched and it really hit home. I put in a lot of effort with my families diet ensuring it’s as healthy as possible as well as not being processed however I don’t do the same for the dog, even though he is an important member of the family.

Although dog food manufacturers state their food is safe, many other experts don’t think that they are. That being said processed food manufacturers state that their foods are safe, but we know they can’t be believed (horse meat scandal anyone). One thing I looked at when looking at our diets was who owned most food brands, and unsurprisingly only a few companies own a good chunk of the brands out there. And now, the same is happening with the pet food. What once were independent pet food businesses now are owned by a large few companies and corporations after being taken over.

Anyway I have now completely changed our dog’s diet, no more big branded pet food, ours now mainly gets leftovers and some raw foods and he seems a lot happier and all that he gets is organic like us. His poop hasn’t been as smelly nor his breath and he seems to be eating less. And I have found it is not more expensive, since abandoning processed pet food we have actually saved money.

How to Beat a Cold

One of my friends, who came round for a cuppa the other day was bemoaning that she had, had this cold since Christmas and couldn’t shift it. She does normally get quite a lot of colds and finds it frustrating.

This Christmas seemed quite bad for a number of our friends. Whilst family was around over the festive period my husband and I took the chance of free babysitting to go out with friends. However at least half of them didn’t make it to the pub, due to being ill. There was just a small group of us that hadn’t caught anything.

I can attest that my diet plays a fair part in me not catching colds or other viruses and exercising regularly. But that doesn’t mean I’m not prone, there is normally a day or so I where I feel like I am possible coming down with something. But I take evasive action as it were to avoid a full blown cold:

  • Take an ‘extra-large dose’ of Vitamin C this will shorten the length of your cold
  • Keep hydrated as this will help your body keep fighting and help if you have a cough or sore throat
  • Get a good night’s sleep so you can let your body rest and rebuild and fight the cold

If I have what feels like a phlegmy cold coming on:

  • Take a long hot bath or shower the steam will help decongest and allow you to breathe better
  • Keep my head elevated in bed to help your nasal passages stay open and make breathing easier
  • Use Vapour rub the good old fashioned aid, helps keep your nose decongested

When there are a number of colds doing the rounds, I tend to stick to eating immunity boosting foods which normally stop colds before they start. Try these out in meals for added health benefits:

  • Garlic is an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant vegetable
  • Ginger has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Dark leafy vegetables such as; Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and spinach
  • Carrots and sweet potatoes are beta carotene-rich
  • Mushrooms promote white blood cell production
  • Tomatoes are full of antioxidants
  • Dark chocolate is a great source of zinc
  • Strawberries are packed with vitamin C
  • Lemon is packed full of vitamin C
  • Honey has anti-bacterial properties and full of antioxidants

The kids pick up colds quite often, I would be worried if they didn’t at this age and don’t worry too much when they get them. It’s best to let your kids colds take its course as it helps build up immunity. I just try and make their suffering a bit easier, following the steps above. I never use Calpol or the like for colds, only use pain killers if there is no alternative to my kids ailments, you don’t want to be building up resistance to drugs at a young age!

The hubby like most men, when sick, only get ‘man flu’ he normally gets sick when he has been working too much and not looking after himself properly.

Working out Keeping it Mixed and Balanced

I tend to mix up my work out routines, for cardio vascular I opt for running or time on my exercise bike. However it’s important to exercise and move all of your body. Something I started last year was yoga. There are some courses near me, however with children, fitting them in was a problem. I learnt a few basics, however I started to use online video tutorials to keep up doing them from home.

This one is pretty helpful.

You do need space and no distractions, I normally enjoy yoga when the hubby takes the kids out on a weekend. This one is good for loosening up your muscles it helps flexibility and range of motion. However there are plenty available, oh and they are free!