More than a Mum

More than a mum is the place I save everything that doesn’t fall into the Travel, Food and Lifestyle buckets. It’s all those little things that go into my life and make me the person I am. Expect to find, fashion, beauty, photography, hobbies and anything else that is another part of me that I thought you might be interested in.

fashion world

There’s nothing like a few new additions to the wardrobe to put that spring into your summer step is there? I love that word ‘capsule’ it makes me think of jetting off somewhere for the weekend with a bag containing every item I could possibly need to make my trip perfect.

Fashion World invited me to take a look at their website and choose some items I loved. It wasn’t difficult and within minutes I had a lovely long list which I then had to work my way through, eliminating as I went, to cut it down to a respectable list. Grown-up echoes of the catalogue challenge my brothers and I played as kids on the run up to Christmas – ‘Choose your favourite item on this page.’ for Every. Single. Page.

Weekend capsule wardrobe

If I were to jet off on a weekend to France say, I would certainly consider carefully the clothes I travel in as they would be part of my capsule wardrobe (there, I got to use it again). Most likely I would opt for a comfortable pair of jeans, a brightly coloured t-shirt, a cardigan or hoodie and a fancy scarf that will go with other outfits I plan to wear. On my feet some converse or trainers – comfort all the way for travelling.

fashion world

I would definitely pack a dress. I love dresses and the summer is the perfect time to wear one; legs out and feeling fresh. Fashion World had this beauty that I couldn’t resist and I am so glad I got it as I have worn it a couple of times on very different occasions and had some excellent remarks on it.

I might also pop a swimsuit in if we’re going to stay in a hotel with a pool or maybe somewhere hot. Swimming costumes are a bone of contention for me. I am conscious about my body and want to look my best at the same time. This fabulous Figleaves one piece is bright and cheerful, it also holds me in in all the right places. I’m in love with it and can’t wait to wear it over the summer.

fashion world

One other item to think of is the bag of course and Fashion World came up trumps with this oversize holdall that will hold everything I need. Neatly packed, my silver bag will not only carry all my gear but will look very smart as well.

If you’d like to take a look at Fashion World click here and work out your summer capsule wardrobe.

Disclosure: Fashion World sent me the items mentioned for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.

SIlk'n Lipo

Is it possible to blast fat away from problem areas from the comfort of your home with today’s technology? Apparently, it is!

A while back I received an invitation from Silk’n to review their new product Silk’n Lipo, an innovative fat reducer which uses proven technologies that deliver visible long lasting results in 8 – 10 weeks.

I was immediately intrigued. I have been moaning about the fat around my middle since my twin pregnancy and it has never gone away. Yes, I do like a glass of wine and yes, I do like chocolate – two commodities that also love turning into fat. So being caught in this vicious circle and adding the peri-menopause into the mix, my middle hasn’t budged one bit – not even with my recent running programme. I figured that my tummy fat needed something much more serious to deal with the situation and a fat buster seemed the perfect route.

What is Silk’n Lipo?

The gadget combines two sources of energy for targeted fat reduction: Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) to shrink fat cells and Electric Muscle Stimulation (EMS) that removes the extracted fatty acids from the body and tones the underlying muscle. Using a belt, you strap the machine around the target area and turn it on. It blasts for 15 minutes and turns off automatically at the end. You can then put it away for the next treatment or continue to another area you wish to treat.

Does it hurt?

NOT AT ALL! This was one of my first questions, will it hurt? I was assured it wasn’t and can confirm that to be true. It would feel like one of the twins was pressing my tummy with a Tangle Teezer. You have complete control of the intensity and since my first use on the set level, I have upped it to the max every time.

Silk'n lipo trial

Can I move around during the treatment?

Absolutely. I have had it strapped on and typed or marked homework, even prepared food in the kitchen.

What’s in the box?

The box comes with the two units, two electrode pads, a docking station, a couple of connectors and belts in various sizes for different parts of the body.

Is it easy to set up?

A piece of cake.

The docking unit is small and neat, and it takes about 3 hours to charge each time for use. Although the first time will need a longer 6 hour charge. The docking station turns from orange lights to green lights once ready.

Silk'n lipo electrode pad

You then fix the electrode pads to the units and wet them before applying to the treatment area. (I use my fingers in a glass of water.)

Place the units with the connectors and attach to the belt, then wrap around and press the on buttons on each device.

Silk'n lipo belt

The start is a prolonged press and the units will vibrate so you know they are switched on. Every couple of minutes there is a vibration to reassure you that the device is on and working.

Any warnings or contraindications?

Not for me. I have looked out for redness and have seen none. After my first go, I noticed an aching area in the treated area, as if I’d done a lot of situps. It disappeared and hasn’t returned since.

Starting measurements

The idea is I take measurements at the start and again every two weeks, I’ll be updating my two weekly measurements on my Instagram feed and coming back halfway through the 10 week trial with an update plus a final update at the end.

Silk'n lipo fat buster

Starting measurements – waist 33″ or 84cms.

Expected results

Silk’n Lipo say…

Lipo + current diet and exercise routine = you can expect to see a 2-4cm reduction in girth within 8-10 weeks.

Lipo + enhanced diet and exercise routine = whilst it will vary from user to user, you can expect even better results.

My goal

To wear a skirt I bought two years ago, a River Island size 12 which has always been too tight. If I lose 4 cms around the middle, I’ll be able to wear it.

Week One

This week has been the perfect example of how life can sometimes get in the way of the best laid plans. My darling nana has been rushed into hospital with bleeds on the brain. Twice. So this week has been a full on rush to school, rush home, rush to the hospital and include various after-school clubs, rush to put dinner on and then fall into a coma on the sofa. The beauty of the SIlk’n Lipo is, I’ve managed to fit it into all of that! Admittedly, only three times and for the area I am treating I should probably blast it every day and possibly on more than one section (next week!) but at least I made a start.

I am very impressed with how easy it is to fit into a busy schedule and I am really looking forward to seeing some results soon. I would like to point out it was my birthday and then my husband’s birthday this past week so I probably overdid the cake and wine. there’s always next week to improve on that right?

Cost of a Silk’n Lipo

The Silk’n Lipo costs £449.

winter sun

This month has flown by, I am surprised by how one week rolls into the next and before I know it, the month of January is on it’s way out!

Last time I wrote, I spoke about my choice of word to guide me through 2018, Willpower. This post is a catch up to see how far I have got and what changes, if any, to make.

My biggest achievement to date is my Couch to 5K efforts. I am so surprised at myself – pleasantly surprised. Let me explain …

I have always been one of those people who sniggered when they saw runners struggling up hills – why would you do that when you can sit comfortably at home? Who raised eyebrows at the sight of runners out in the rain and I have always declared – I am not a runner. I don’t like running. I will never run.

Fast forward to January 2018 and I have had to eat my words – every single one of them.

Oast house Ifield

I have joined our local SLGR (So Let’s Go Running) group who meet on a Tuesday evening, which conveniently ties in with the twin’s Brownie session, and I take part in the C25K training (Couch to 5k). This is all part of my Willpower challenge with myself. I have notoriously, all my life, started activities and then religiously dropped them a few weeks in for all manner of ridiculous reasons. I am determined to change this even and complete the C25K even if I don’t know what will happen once I reach the 5k (if I reach the 5k).

To give you a better insight into what the C25K challenge is I have copied the program below, I have completed two weeks and on Tuesday will be tackling Week 3 – a two minute run with 90-second walk intervals.

Weeks 1-6 start with 5 mins walking warm-up

Weeks 1-5 = 4k
Weeks 6+ = 5k

Week 1 – 30 sec run/90 sec walk
Week 2 – 60 sec run/90 sec walk
Week 3 – 2 mins run/90 sec walk
Week 4 – 2 mins run/1 min walk
Week 5 – 4 mins run/1 min walk
Week 6 – 5 mins run/1 min walk
Week 7 – 7 mins run/1 min walk
Week 8 – 10 mins run/1 min walk
Week 9 – 15 mins run/1 min walk
Week 10 – 5k run

It’s advisable to repeat the run at least once every week, so last week I took part in my first Park Run and this morning, Sunday, I went out on my first solo run and re-ran the course we complete on a Tuesday. I was amazed that I did it and I had a better time too. I am incredibly proud of myself as I have always been so anti-running and yet, here I am doing exactly that.

I am using the Strava app to record all of my runs, connect with me if you’re on there too.

my strava runs

For now, I can safely say I am on track with this aspect of my Willpower challenge. Other areas included

Writing – and on this, I am slacking but for all good reasons that, if they come to fruition, I shall be more than happy to share with you.

Reading – I am on my third book this year, a good Patricia Cornwell. I used to read her books when I lived in Italy and discuss them in minute detail with my friend Nicoletta so reading this book takes me back to those times too.

Getting fit and losing my baby weight (yes I know it’s been 9 years!) – There hasn’t been much movement on the scales to date but I have been trying to work my way through all of the Christmas chocolate. I am nearly done with it and so hopefully this will start to improve too. Half a stone off and a tighter tummy by June – here I come.

Let it be said I am happy with my willpower progress, it might not be 100% but so far so good. Well done me!

The photos above were taken on a recent family walk ;)

Marianne Weekes

marianne weekes

Willpower.

That is the word I have chosen to take me through 2018. I have a feeling I’m going to need a lot of it as I have set myself some high goals to attain and, knowing myself well, I will need constant pushing, coercing and chivvying along until I reach where I want to be.

2017 has been a year of enormous unforeseeable change for me, I went from a part-time job to a full-time role in January and discovered it was increasingly difficult for me to juggle the work-life balance. When school kids have 13 weeks holiday, the 21 days I had this year went nowhere. I am all too aware that this moment in the twins life will flash by in front of my eyes so I’m determined to make the most of it and get to spend some quality time with them that, they can learn from and carry through in life.

I changed job in November. I started as a TA in our local primary school, a job I have never previously considered. I quickly discovered that I loved it and recognised so many possibilities to make this role work even better for me. Studying will most definitely be a part of my 2018, I’m not sure which course or direction but anything from a 1-year course to a full-blown degree. More on that news to follow.

A second idea I have been toying with is a Couch to 5k running class, I know – ludicrous. Me, who HATES running. But, I’m unhappy with my figure, I’m unhappy with my fitness levels and my general health so I need to do something about it whilst I am still able to. My only concern is for my knees which I can only assess once I start running.

I have found a local running group and should start my first lesson in January, plus it’s free!

I want to start practising yoga, I want a stronger core and a clearer mind. I’m searching for a Saturday morning class to attend.

Finally, I’ve convinced myself to pick up a project I started with great enthusiasm a couple of years ago and then left to one side for lack of time available. I believe this project still has legs so I’m determined to complete the first stage in 2018. Then I will be able to see if it has legs to go further or not. I hope it does. I have spent many hours dreaming of how far this could go and I will only know if I set the wheels in motion. Wish me luck!

I am very aware that I will need great discipline to achieve the above. I am also conscious that this is the area I let myself down in most, therefore I call upon my chosen word WILLPOWER to be my guide this year.

And you? Do you have plans for 2018? Have you a chosen word to accompany you?

Maybe Willpower isn’t the word for you; take a look at what some of my friends have chosen as their word of the year for further inspiration…

Tanya  chose Enough

Michelle went for Believe

Becky seleted Choice

Kate has settled for Mind

sorry you're leaving

Just over two years ago I stepped into James Villas HQ as a social media executive and set to work on helping to develop the brand’s social channels. I was so excited to have been given the opportunity and I embraced it with open arms ready to get stuck into any task that was thrown my way.

It has been the most incredible journey where I have learnt so much!

Working as part of a team and having my copy proofed and checked has been a good wake up call, who knew I was so keen on long sentences? I have learnt to slow down, take my time and re-read my work. I hope you are starting to see these small changes coming through.

I have learnt to think more closely about images – do they reflect what I am saying?

I have learnt that social channels are fickle, we don’t own them ‘they’ do. Facebook might only show a tiny percentage of your followers your hard work, it’s incredibly frustrating and I can often be found ranting about Facebook…

I have also learnt that working full time alongside running a home, family and life outside of the office doors is a real struggle. My main challenge came with trying to cover the school holidays. The girls get 13 weeks off and I had 21 days. It was this, that led me to hand in my notice – something I never believed I would do. I had imagined working until my retirement at James.

When I was reflecting on my life and how to make it better I started to search for jobs that would compliment being a mum.

I needed a job that fits in with school holidays and school hours. That would allow me to take the girls to after school clubs without skidding out of one door and screeching into the next, red-faced and often having forgotten something or even worse – arriving at the wrong time.

I had always pushed teaching to one side as I didn’t think I’d be good at it but as I started to look more closely at the opportunities in local schools, I saw our local primary was looking for a TA. The more I thought about the job, read the role description, the more it became a very exciting prospect.

I applied for the job and was successful – I start work on Monday morning!

I am swapping the weekly business meetings for a classroom of 8 year olds.

I am exchanging my snatched half hour lunch to who knows? Playground duty, lunchtime clubs or getting to know the teachers in the staff room?

I shall be helping out with reading and maths, chatting about geography and science. I shall be doing all manner of tasks to assist the teacher and doing my bit to help these young fresh minds find their way.

I shall also be grabbing back a bit of time for me. I want to pick up my blogging, tidy my house, read a book, help Alice learn to sew, help Bessie learn to play the piano. I want to get back into cooking again, not just quickly pulling a meal together to feed the family.

I am also going to start the 0 – 5k challenge as I have managed to put a stone since working full time.

So many things to do but my heart is lighter and I think I’m on to something good here … what do you think?