Are you a store shopper? Do you love the buzz? Or do you prefer to online shop in the comfort of your own home? For me it's the latter, usually with a glass of wine beside me.
I recently thought I'd try the store shop and headed out, embracing the Christmas madness. Well, I can honestly say that it won't be happening again! I hated the stores, the people, the madness and I felt awful. Nothing I would normally go for existed. Instead, there was velour and outfits that resembled something you'd see after being attacked by wolves perhaps. Needless to say I could not find what I had in mind. But, rather than doing my usual - getting upset and feeling like I would never have a fashionable wardrobe again (I'm talking pre baby, obviously), I decided to put the negative thoughts to the back of my head, shut them out and move along. If it's not actually important, why let it get you down?
Whatever you enjoy doing I applaud you all. This mum bod styling is a tough game for those of us who are not so approving of our extra lumps and bumps. And just remember to be nice to others- you never know how long it took someone to feel comfortable and to leave the safety of their home.
Being able to gain enough courage to go out and face the world takes some of us just that little bit longer than before.
I love a box of chocolates and a toiletry gift set as much as the next girl, but if you're wondering what mums really want for Christmas, look no further. Here are 10 things on my mama wish list...
That means no tiny humans in there with me. And none in the room. And none stood behind the locked door asking every thirty seconds if I'm finished yet.
A hair cut. Some mums keep themselves looking polished regardless, but if you're like me any kind of self maintenance takes a back seat. I've not been to an actual hairdresser since my kids were born (if I'm sat in a chair for more than 10 seconds who's going to stop the kids from killing themselves on something or other) so to have a real life professional person cut, style and maybe even colour my hair (instead of me hacking at it every six months) would be super luxurious
Someone else to cook Christmas dinner. And buy/wrap all the gifts. And sort out sleeping arrangements. Just general events management for the big day - any takers?
A fully organised, printed baby photo album. I have approximately 15 billion photos of my children on around 10 different devices - so if someone could sort through them all and organise them into a coherent photo album that would be great, because it's not gonna happen otherwise.
A full twelve hours of sleep. A dark, silent room for twelve blissful hours - I can't even think of anything more desirable right now. I'd use 9-10 of them to sleep and the other two to just lie there and enjoy the silence.
An all weather coat that doesn't make me look like a complete frump. Pushing a double buggy leaves no hands for an umbrella, so the coat has to do the work. Sadly a coat that is waterproof, warm, hooded enough to keep the blizzard out of my face, and doesn't make me look like Hagrid hasn't materialised yet.
Wine. Gin. Prosecco. Choose your poison but make sure there's lots of it.
A family picture. Because I'm the only one who ever takes any pictures around here so our family album is devoid of me and my children will probably question if I was even around when they're older. But make sure you don't get my four chins in it! And my hair isn't over my face. Make it a good one because let's face it that'll be it for the rest of the year.
A fancy scented candle. To cover up the smell of poop that's still lingering from your last nappy. And the baby sick on my pyjama bottoms.
Happy children. This is the reason for and aim of everything we do as mums, so cut the whining and moaning and tantrums for one day and soak up the magic we've created for you...that's what we really want at Christmas...smiling, excited, happy children.
With full social and work calendars this festive season, as well as the daily motherhood juggle, it is so important to take some time out for ourselves to de-stress and relax. Sleep and relaxation are so vital for our wellbeing.
The January mamaME Box includes the Feather and Down pillow spray - an infusion of lavender and chamomile essential oils. All of Feather & Down's bath, body and home fragrance products are designed to promote a good night's sleep, and they have teamed up with sleep expert, Dr Nerina, to share some simple tips on how to do just this.
Find out more about Feather & Down's full range of products HERE.
The January mamaME Box is available to buy until December 31st.
Rather than just the things we hated? Imagine if we embraced what we deemed as our flaws as instead our individuality? The ‘quirks’ that make us unique and stand out from the person next to us. Imagine if our mindset did a 360, think of what we could achieve if we were just a bit kinder to ourselves? Think how much happier we would be?
is so natural and gave me a miracle. And along this journey I have met so many other women who like me have obsessed about all the things they have hated about themselves, whether they are pregnant or not. The funny thing is when you look at these women they are beautiful, intelligent and inspiring women so why then can they not see these qualities in themselves? Why is it we can always see the best in others but never ourselves? That needs to change, we need to show ourselves the same respect and courtesy that we show the women around us.
We are bombarded with images of air-brushed, picture perfect women on the TV and Social Media, its no wonder that little girls from as young as 10 are already commenting on what surgery they need to conform to these beauty standards. And as Mothers to these young women are we setting a good example of being happy with how we look and embracing our bodies? Shouldn’t we be teaching them to use their mental energy on far more important things?
That’s why I am making it my mission to stop obsessing about the things I don’t like about myself and encourage others to do the same. We would all be so much happier if instead we focused on the things we love about ourselves. We all possess unique and beautiful qualities and features so lets celebrate these. And lets stop allowing what we deem as our flaws to define us.
Just Another Mum Blogger
Today we meet Charlotte from Lottie's Lifestyle & Fitness, founder of Strong Mama Cards - featured in the January mamaME Box.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
Hi, i'm Charlotte (or 'Lottie') of Lottie's Lifestyle and Fitness. I am 32, a wife and mum of two boys aged 6 and 4, who definitely keep me on my toes. We live in the West Midlands. I studied History at university and then trained to become a teacher. However after the birth of my first I decided to leave the profession. I'm now a personal trainer specialising in pre and post natal and child fitness.
I'm a real foodie and can often be found in the kitchen - I love cooking for others. I feel happiest with a houseful of people and so enjoy hosting parties!
How do you find juggling mama hood and running your own business?
It's tough! I timed the launch of my business with my youngest starting school so I'm finding that the time commitment to getting my name out there and grow the business means i'm often sat at the computer (or phone in hand) during time I feel I should be focussed on them. I know in the long run it's to benefit them but that doesn't stop me feeling that typical mama guilt! However they loved getting involved in helping me plan sessions when I was on my childrens' fitness course and had a starring role in my assessment. Its great watching them enthuse about exercise and how to make it enjoyable for others.
Tell us about your business?
Lottie's Lifestyle and Fitness is designed to be a hub of information, guidance and support to help mamas and their families in a quest for a healthy life. It is underpinned by the idea that a healthy lifestyle is not simply about exercise and fitness, but also having a good understanding of nutrition and being aware of, and promoting, wellbeing too. Self care for mamas is hugely important in their mental wealth.
Strong Mama is the branch of Lottie's Lifestyle and Fitness that focusses on mamas and mamas to be. I offer courses, classes, workshops, personal training and the Strong Mama Cards all designed to help mamas 'Believe', 'Be Active' and 'Achieve' a healthy lifestyle. I am passionate about educating mamas on what constitutes safe pre and post natal exercise and the importance of restoring your core (including your pelvic floor) prior to undertaking any high impact high intensity exercise - I've recently written a blog on this. A perfect example of this is the 6 week Strong Mama FIT course I deliver. It combines core restore and mama strengthening moves with a 'topic' of the week designed to provoke thought and raise discussion about aspects of post natal recovery. This class based content is supported by weekly homework and a Facebook group.
What inspired you to develop the Strong Mama Cards?
I felt there was a gap in the market for supporting mamas in achieving a healthy lifestyle. I wanted to promote the fact its not all about exercise and that they need to take a holistic approach, considering their daily lifestyle, nutrition and mental wealth too.
I wanted a set of cards that could be used as a reference point and thought that separating them into Strong Mama Daily, Strong Mama Body and Strong Mama Mental Wealth would ensure all aspects of a healthy lifestyle were incorporated. Strong Mama Daily cards are reminders of tasks that should be completed every day such as drinking enough water, Strong Mama Body include core restore, cardio and strengthening exercises while Strong Mama Mental Wealth addresses prioritising wellbeing. By colour coding the sections I hoped that it would make it easier for busy mamas to navigate.
I worked with the amazing Louise, from Louise Russell Designs. She is a graphic designer (and mama) who has a real talent for taking my ideas and making them come to life. She designed the logo and cards as well as illustrating them for me! I would most definitely recommend her to anyone looking for any design work.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
I love that I am able to do something I love and support ladies at such an exciting time in their life. From helping them negotiate pregnancy and being 'fit' for birth to empowering them to be the 'strongest' mama possible both physically, through mama strengthening moves, and emotionally by reminding them that they matter too and self care is vital.
The flexibility that comes with running my own business is also great. I can be a hands on mama - no missed school nativities, achievers assemblies or sports days yet - while also working and finding time to spend time with friends and family.
Do you have any other exciting news or upcoming events?
Strong Family is set to be launched in 2018 with one off family fitness sessions, Strong Family packages and an exciting new product promoting family fitness to be revealed too - watch this space!
Thanks so much for chatting to us Charlotte. We think the Strong Mama cards are brilliant- wishing you lots of luck with your business in 2018!
Last month was exceptionally manic. Without the internet I had time to step back, to do some brainstorming and re-evaluate how I wanted 'Nicole Francesca' to move forward. I began asking myself simple questions: What I am doing? Why am I doing it? How could I be doing it better? Being able to express myself in new ways has been liberating. It has helped me to overcome some dark demons and now I'm thinking about how I can help others more.
The years that followed were extremely difficult mentally for me and physically for Olivia. Eventually, I didn't even feel like a mother and that broke my heart. I desperately needed a release. I found myself wanting to speak up about things that I had long kept locked inside. I wanted to write about the days spent behind fake smiles, behind closed doors of illnesses. Here I found my passion, a passion for mental health awareness, Disability Equality, Activism and everything that has come with sharing our life.
I want to give people a helping hand, something I struggled to find in the online community. For those who are struggling, the internet is sometimes the only place we feel comfortable to turn; we do not have to face looks of pain and judgement. It's a place to log our thoughts and write something publicly in the hope that it helps another.
I blog because for so long I didn't have a voice, I couldn't voice my feelings. For so long I fell deeper and deeper into despair. Some days I don't have anybody to speak to, No-one tells you how lonely motherhood can be, but through writing, I can communicate.
I want to become a voice of support, of honesty. If I have to live with mental illness then I want to use it for good. If I have to live with disability being a part of my motherhood journey, then I want to raise awareness. I want to turn something that hurts me everyday into something that may just save someone else’s life. For me, my blog has become a safe place, and I hope that by writing it, that I can extend this feeling to others, no matter how far away they may be.
That is me and why I share our lives online.
House of Blossom