Health

Drop a Pumpkin in 4 weeks

So me and the mister are celebrating our year anniversary this weekend… and what a year it has been. We have slept in over 20 different beds in over 10 different cities and we have had the best time!

But like in all great relationships, the waistline can begin to grow as you become more and more comfortable with one another. That’s where I was at. I have never been able to put on weight, I have a super metabolism and can literally eat what every I want. But… a year of this meant I gained a muffin top! Nowhere else… just on my stomach, the last place you want it to go!

Regardless of the muffin top, I still had a slim figure but i felt lethargic, sluggish and quite frankly a bit crap. I have had some crazy symptoms that have resembled fibromyalgia with pains going down one side of my face, arm and leg. I had no energy and was tired after a 8 hour working day in the office. My mood had times of being so low and my anxiety sometimes sky high. I knew something wasn’t right but no amount of medication, trips to the doctor, blood tests seemed to figure out what an earth was up with me.

It wasn’t until I was two weeks into Clean Eating that I had a lightblub moment. The rubbish I had been feeding myself was having such an effect on my physical health.

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So what have I been doing?

Me and the mister took on a four week clean eating plan that is supported by safe supplements. Eating clean means…

No gluten, no dairy, no caffeine, no sugar, no processed food, no alcohol.

I replaced my non-existent breakfasts with a meal replacement shake, had two healthy meals and supplements that supported digestion, fibre levels, energy and brain function.

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Our bodies knew exactly what to do with all the goodness we gave it. In total we lost 10lbs … the exact weight of this pumpkin! I must admit we did look rather strange in Sainsburys weighing all these pumpkins to find the right one!

I lost 19 cm from my waist and hip measurements and 4lbs. The mister lost 16 cm from his chest, waist and hip measurements too and 6lbs.

You can find our before and after pictures here, on our Healthy and Happy support group. Whoever said that the last place it comes off is your stomach was wrong. That’s where all of our weight came off. I was rather pleased that none came off my boobs I must admit!

But it was a challenge… I had the funniest cravings for the strangest of things for a good two weeks. Anything I wasn’t allowed I craved for and the tuck shop at work was a reminder every day! I was grumpy for the first week and felt hungry even though I was eating more than ever.

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However, everyday I looked forward to my herbal tea instead of a cuppa with two sugars and I even looked forward to my breakfast shake.

Being accountable to the Mister definitely helped. I genuinely don’t think i would have stuck to it without him. He has amazing determination and sticks to things by the letter and I do love him for that.

The social support I feel is the most important part of taking on a clean eating challenge. If you, your partner and family are doing it together it will integrate into your lifestyle much easier. It will become a way of living and will be sustainable for the future, as you live by the 80/20 rule. This is why we have created a support group for all those people wanting to create healthy habits.

We welcome people from all over the world who have a desire to become Healthy and Happy (click the banner to find our group).

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Go the Distance for your Health

 

Personal Development

Unplugging from the world with a Digital Detox

Recently I have had an increased awareness of the reliance I have on the Internet, in so many parts of my life. Now… as an online entrepreneur I recognise the huge benefit’s of the information era. Without it this blog wouldn’t reach a global audience, nor could I run a part-time online business around my full-time job, and I wouldn’t be able to connect with my international friends … the list can continue on and on.

However, I have a feeling that the technology revolution is being abused by using it for literally everything! Let’s think… how many times have you said or done the following in the last two weeks.

  • ‘Oh I don’t know… I’ll just Google it’
  • Scrolling mindlessly through Facebook
  • Watching cat videos for a quick giggle
  • ‘I wonder how many likes I’ve got’
  • Spying on celebrities lives
  • Pinning every home DIY idea on Pinterest
  • The list of unhealthy habits can continue

So the first step is awareness, the second is doing something about it! As we had a holiday to Fuerteventura booked I thought this would be the perfect time to do a digital detox, escape from being constantly connected in order to break the habit and create a healthy relationship to WiFi.

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As I arrived at Manchester airport, the aeroplane mode was switched on and stayed on for a whole 7 days. I guess I best tell you what I found.

The time. How many of us go to look at our phone purely for the time? But then get distracted by the numerous notifications on our home screen, which you just ‘have’ to read. To then 10 minutes later forget you only actually meant to check the time. The old school invention of the watch… literally is timeless. Putting my beautiful Olivia Burton watch on this holiday (a gift from my best friend Hannah) helped me not reach for my smart phone when all I needed was the time.

Often there are times on holiday when you simply are doing nothing. This is a rarity in our hectic corporate lives where there is a need to be doing something every second of every day in order to get everything done, in the limited 24 hours a day we have. So I found the time I was most likely to pick up my phone was in times of nothing-ness (I don’t want to use the word boredom as that word has negative connotations which are holiday was not). My replacement for surfing the internet was reading. I took away with me two books The Compassionate Mind and Personality Plus which I thoroughly enjoyed. Sometimes I chose not to read and instead engaged in simple deep breathing mindfulness exercises to appreciate my surroundings.

With tired eyes on the plane journeys the mister leant me his Beatz headphones to listen to the audio books I had downloaded on my iPod (and to drown out the sound of screaming children). In 8 hours of travelling I listened to ‘How to stop worrying and start living‘ by Dale Carnegie and an inspiration talk by Nick Vujicic named ‘No arms no legs’ all without opening my eyes. Great time leverage there!

I was listening to a Ted Talk by Tania Mulry named ‘Need a digital detox?‘ who said it’s been discovered that the feeling you get when you feel your phone vibrating in your pocket and it’s not even there is the same feeling amputee’s get when they lose a limb. The Phantom Limb Syndrome we experience shows how we see our phones as an extension to our body!

Since returning the UK and plugging back into the world, I have questioned myself much more and noticed the technology addiction all around me. There is genuinely nothing worse than looking around in a restaurant to see a family of four at the table with children being kept quiet with over stimulating iPad apps and the parents sat staring mindlessly at the phone probably posting about the ‘incredible time’ there having not talking to one another.

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I have always been known as the ‘difficult to get hold of’ person with phrases such as ‘what’s the point in having a phone if you don’t answer it’ being thrown at me. But I like it that way… I tend not to drop everything in that instant moment to pick up a call as I value the task I’m doing more. If it’s an emergency a text will follow to say ‘ring me asap’ to which I can prioritise that over my task. Often people are offended if you don’t reply instantly when you are ‘Online’ or ‘Active’ however, these streams are used for my business and I’m technically working.

I worry about people behind closed doors. Your own lives and your 800 Facebook ‘friends’ lives look so perfect only highlighting the best bits. However, this gives a distorted view of what life is like, after all without the occasional low you wouldn’t notice the highs. Although I definitely do not want to be exposed to negative moaning status’ I just worry about those who are having a rainy day when everyone else is enjoying the sunshine. We can often feel so alone, like digital hermits, holding out for so many ‘Likes’ to increase your confidence and self-esteem – it can be so dangerous to our mental health. I find it interesting that even Steve Jobs set strict limits on his children’s gadget time. The creator himself obviously see’s the hidden dangers too.

So what can you do to get the most out of technology without it taking over your life:

  • Use social media to organise seeing your friends and family in person – embrace face to face, belly to belly connections
  • Take the time to appreciate the small moments around you
  • Turn off your notifications so you’re not constantly interrupted – Multi-tasking is a myth!
  • Have a purpose for your phone visit – get in and get out!
  • Set limits for checking in with your social media streams so you don’t get trapped scrolling for hours.
  • Leave your phone in your handbag, another room or leave it behind – give it a go!
  • Wear your watch so you don’t have extra temptations when looking at your phone purely for the time.
  • Try a filter free one shot only instagram picture
  • Unplug an hour before bedtime to help you get a better nights sleep
  • Use aeroplane mode when you need time to focus
  • Create a self-care ideas list to work your way through when your bored
  • When you are posting and commenting add value to people’s lives

‘Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you’ – Anne Lamott

Go the Distance

Chloe

travel

Escape to the Country: Brecon Beacons

In the wake of the atrocity in Manchester last week, it seemed like the best thing to do was to escape to the countryside. As the mister lives in the vicinity of the terrorist attacks, it all of a sudden felt so close to home. Before I continue I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims and to the emergency services for sheer bravery in the face of danger. Sadly, I’m writing this blog as the news of yet another attack on our country has arose, this time at the London Bridge.  There are no words that anyone can say to take the sadness away or turn back time but I hope the stories of kindness, bravery and humanity from the majority of the United Kingdom will shed some light in the darkness we are currently faced with.

So we escaped to the country, another country in fact, South Wales in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Seen as the mister, is currently working on a placement in Caerleon (near Newport) I thought I would ‘go the distance’ four and a half hours to visit him on the bank holiday weekend. Of course I don’t travel light with a car full of camping gear for a 3 night stay at the Cwmdu campsite. Note: This campsite had great facilities, remarkable views and was a reasonable price! I was proud of our set up featuring the Outwell Carolina tent, matching carpet, electric hook up, table, deck chairs, gas stove, and a George Foreman grill for good measure. We had glorious sunshine and unbearable heat on our first evening while we made Chicken Kebabs overlooking the incredible views.

 

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We had planned to tackle Pen-y-fan Mountain which has the highest peak in South Wales. We parked up at Pont-ar-daf car park and set off in the bleak weather with the knowledge that it would ‘brighten up’ as 3 weather forecasts promised. Unfortunately this was not the case, the rain did not stop and the winds picked up. We saw people under-dressed for hiking turn round and head back as they realised it was not going to be a leisurely stroll – but we ploughed on. We intended to do the circular route or Corn Du then Pen-y-fan. We reached the peak of Corn-du then scrambled up  a rock face to the top of Pen-y-fan. I would love to say it was incredible views from the top but we couldn’t see a thing – just grey clouds.

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We headed off the side of the mountain after a brief photoshoot to prove we got there! We just wanted to get back and eat our pack up in dryness. It was slippy all the way down but we were just happy we were getting down until we hit a very steep UP! This wasn’t what we anticipated but we went with it and headed UP thinking it will be a little UP and down then we will be back. The moral of the story is never trust women (or just a Chloe) with directions. I was so wrong it was unbelievable. We ended up on the top of what we think was Craig Cwm Sere, with little to no path, following some kind of foot prints while the wind literally was sweeping us off our feet. For a good hour we didn’t see one person up there and we both began to panic in silence. We both were having crazy thoughts. The mister later told me he was thinking about what he would say to my Mother to explain why I hadn’t made it off the mountain, I was worrying about either or us getting injured and having to call out the air ambulance. We held each others hands, communicating by hand squeezes, helping each other across the terrain until we found a cross roads of walkers!

Walkers, hikers, ramblers – whatever you want to call them are honestly great people to chat too. The morale was great even though these people were in the same position as us. They went out with the hope that it would ‘brighten up’ and were soaked through to the core. They were happy to help and try and figure out where we were in relation to where we needed to be… we headed further down with the promise of civilisation. Finally off the mountain side we found ourselves on a farm track with a small shelter – this was the first time we had stopped on our walk and we demolished our emergency Jamaica Ginger Cake (a must have in any rucksack!). At this point, I realised how much I was aching, my knees felt swollen, we were wet through and beginning to get colder and colder as the adrenaline dissipated. The mister sparked up a conversation with a small group nearby – who like us were hoping to enjoy the bank holiday sun. While looking at their map, there advice was to head-back over the mountains as the only way back to our car park – I won’t repeat what the mister said but we decided against that. We told them we were going to head towards the village and get a taxi as they told us we were on the complete wrong side of the mountain.

We set off for the next part of the journey and thought someone in the town will get us back. It was if the group had heard my thoughts when the young lad ran after us and said ‘Can we offer you a lift back to your car?’ Usually people, in particular Brits are too polite/proud to accept help from a stranger but our immediate response was ‘Yes Please!’ We couldn’t have been more grateful for these walkers coming to our rescue and saving us that afternoon. Chris, his father and friend gave us and our dirty boots a lift well out of their way in their awesome VW van because in their words they would ‘hope someone else would do the same for them’. To go back to what I mentioned at the beginning, these kinds of stories genuinely restore your faith in humanity. The mass majority of people on this earth are here to do good, to care and to give-back. Unfortunately, the minority gets the lime light but I believe the light should be shining on these kind souls to drive out their darkness.

We ended our time in the Brecon Beacons exploring the four waterfalls near Ystradfellte on a 5.5 mile energetic walk. Good footwear is a must especially when walking across slippy rocks for the perfect picture – you might go with a thud! The last waterfall was definitely worth the wait as you can actually walk behind the waterfall. This place definitely deserves the ‘hidden gems’ title.

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I have often said there are so many beautiful places on our door steps to take advantage of and the Brecon Beacons is a place of true natural beauty. Another eventful and adventurous weekend away with the mister – making the most of every last second of the Bank Holiday weekend.

Go the distance in the Country!
Chloe

Health

The Basics of Yoga

Getting to this time of year, I do wonder how many people are still using there gym membership they bought in January. A new years resolution that stuck until February… March? Well I was one of them… I even had a personal trainer but without accountability I didn’t continue to use the gym after my 10 sessions.

So I have been a loyal investor of £10 a month to Exercise4Less until now… when I quit officially. I find home exercise much more appealing, especially in the winter months. In my opinion its too cold and dark to venture out. Sometimes even a home HIIT session is too much for me but Yoga… I always have time for yoga.

I wonder if anyone else has a favourite fitness… for some its running, gym, HIIT but ofr me it’s definitely yoga!

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So what is Yoga?

 

Yoga is a mind and body practice that combines poses, controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation. It was developed in India over 5000 years ago!

  • The poses or postures are a series of movements that increase strength and flexibilty
  • Controlling your breathing helps control your body and quietens your mind
  • Meditation is where you learn to be more mindful and be present in the moment

A number of studies have found that Yoga…

  • reduces stress and anxiety
  • enhances your mood
  • creates a sense of well-being
  • improves your balance, flexibility and strength
  • reduces risk factors for chronic disease like heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Helps alleviate conditions such as depression, pain and insomnia.

Plus…it’s an exercise that almost anyone can do too!

In my Healthy and Happy with Chloe group we took a yoga pose each day to master and I invite you to take a look too.

 

 

Foundations of Yoga

The foundation to yoga is simply breathing. This connects your mind and body

Let’s say your at work and your boss critics your work, your not meeting deadline or don’t have the right equipment to do your job. You tense up, you feel your head pounding, your jaw tighten… this is a perfect moment to practice by just breathing.

  • Take a few moments
  • Sit in your chair, feet flat on the floor and observe your breathing.
  • Don’t change it just observe it. Your heart might be racing or you may be holding your breath.
  • Then try to gently lengthen each breathe on each inhale and exhale.
  • Count silently to three… then four… then five.
  • Your heart rate will slow
  • Your neck, shoulder and jaw will loosen
  • You may even say your relaxed

This frame of mind will be able to handle the situation much better. May be worth a try the next time life pushes your buttons.

Childs

 

Let’s start with Childs Pose…

  1. Kneel on the floor… touch your big toes together and sit on your heels
  2. Separate your knees about as wide as your hips
  3. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs
  4. Lay your hand on the floor alongside your torso, palms up

This is a resting pose that you can stay in from 30 seconds to a few minutes

Why do Childs Pose?

  • It stretches the hips and thighs
  • It calms the brain and relives stress and fatigue
  • Relieves back and neck pain
  • Stimulates your digestion

Step further?

  1. T o increase the length in your torso, stretch your arms forward
  2. Lift your bum slightly away from your heels
  3. Reach the arms longer while you draw your shoulders back
  4. Without moving your hand, sit your bum back on the heels

Cat Cow

 

Cat-Cow Pose

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists in line with your shoulders and knees in line with your hips
  2. Point your finger tips forward
  3. Centre your head and look downwards
  4. Cow Pose – Inhale as you drop your belly, lift your chin and chest and gaze upwards
  5. Cat Pose – Exhale as you draw your belly up and round your back towards the ceiling (like a stretching cat)
  6. Release your head looking towards the floor but don’t put your chin yo your chest
  7. Repeat 5-20 times and then rest by sitting back on your heels and moving into Child pose for a few minutes

Troubleshooting

  • If your wrists hurt, place your forearms on the floor
  • If your knees hurt double over your mat or put a blanket under your knees

Benefits of acting like a cow?

  • Strengthens your abdominal muscles
  • Stimulates the kidneys
  • Calms the mind
  • Develops postural awareness and can reduce back pain when practised regularly

Warrior

Are you a fierce warrior?

  1. Begin in a tall strong posture (Mountain Pose)
  2. Step or lightly jump your feet apart
  3. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and out to the sides
  4. Turn your right foot to the right slightly and left foot the left 90 degrees
  5. Turn your left thigh outward
  6. Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle
  7. Stretch your arms
  8. Pull your tailbone in
  9. Turn your head to the left and look over your fingers
  10. Stay for 30 seconds to a minute
  11. Reverse the feet and repeat on the right side

Apart from feeling super powerful the warrior pose is great for

  • Strengthening your legs
  • Increases stamina
  • Relieves backache
  • Improves circulation

 

Tree

Want to improve your sense of balance… tree pose is for you!

  1. Start in your mountain pose and focus on your breathe
  2. Once settled, shift your weight slightly onto the left foot and bend your right knee
  3. Reach down with your right hand and clasp your right ankle
  4. Draw your right foot up onto your inner left thigh
  5. If you can press the right heel into your inner left groin with toes pointing down
  6. Rest your hands on your hips
  7. Then slowly press your hands together and faze at a fixed point in front of you
  8. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute
  9. Step back into mountain pose and do the same on the other leg

Troubleshooting

  • If you feel really unsteady and wobbly, stand with your back against a wall

This pose it great for improving your balance!

Take it a step further…

  • Practice with your eyes closed
  • Stretch your arms straight up
  • or form a V with your arms

Within the Healthy and Happy with Chloe group we shared our poses to build up a sense of accountability to practising daily! I hope these poses have given you a taster into the world of yoga. A rug is all you need to do yoga from home.

I personally love Yoga with Adriene’s you tube channel, I regularly see her in my morning’s and I have continued to increase my flexibility, core strength and balance as well as peace of mind throughout her sessions.

Go the Distance for your Health and Wellbeing

travel

My gnarly surf experience

Years ago I wrote a list of 30 things I want to do before I turn 30! Seen as I have just turned 25 it hit me that I best start making my way through the 17 things left on the list. With an upcoming family holiday to Newgale approaching, with three surfers I knew I had to literally jump in the deep end and learn to surf.

Newgale beach is on the Pembrokeshire Coast and is one of the Welsh ‘Blue Flag’ beaches meaning is is extremely clean. The beach has a bank of pebbles that form a kind of sea defence, before you meet the sand then sea.  It’s a very popular place for windsurfers, canoeists and surfers (like us).  We stayed up at the top of a hill in the wonderful ‘Curlew Cottage’ that had stunning views over the bay. The highlight was definitely the hot hub that we retreated to most nights with a glass of wine… or two!

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For the first weekend we were joined by the misters good friend who was very keen to learn to surf.  As the first day was ‘flat’ we were keen to get out no matter what the following day, so it wasn’t a waste for his friend. White Sands was the place to be that day so I rented a ‘foamy’ board and a 5mm thick wetsuit. I was convinced I was going to be cold but the surfer dude at ‘Ma Simes Surf Hut‘ in St David’s reassured me that this was thick and as long as my core was warm I would be fine – needless to say he was right! I was very toasty! A big concern was getting in the actual wetsuit. This has been traumatic in the past and the mister was determined to get me in it as quickly and painlessly as possible so I wouldn’t have my first tantrum before even getting in the water. By the side of the car, he forced me into it, nipping my skin and lifting me into air multiple times until I was zipped in. Tantrum averted!
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I must admit I had been torturing myself with all the possible things that could go wrong! I may nose dive, the waves might sweep me away, I might get concussion, drown or even get my hair wet! The latter definitely happened haha! Although, my fellow surfer family thought it was ‘flat’ I thought I was walking into a tsunami. Luckily, my adrenaline kicked in and I unexpectedly just went for it. However, I then realised I didn’t actually know what I was meant to do. The waves were hitting me and with a surf board in hand I had no idea how to tackle the waves. The mister began to explain how you need to tilt the board and jump over in a seamless fashion so you don’t just keep going back to square one on the beach. This required some strength but I got the hang of it.

My goal of the day was to essentially body board and ride wave that way. However, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and managed to ride it on my knees. I would wait until the wave had crashed and turned white and foamy before jumping on and paddling (I realised my paddling is pretty weak) and wait to be lifted by the wave and ride it in. Its fascinating how something as small as having your feet off the board at the end, being too far forward, your legs not staying closed together can literally end up with you nose diving, surf board flying in the air and tumbling through the water. It happened a fair few times but it was enjoyable and a great rush! I was so pleased that the mister had the patience to talk me through every step, laugh at me when I fell off and inform me where I may have gone wrong! Two hours in unfortunately, pro surfer girl had mild concussion after pro surfer boyfriends board hit her on the head… This was a few hours in and felt like the right time to go back to the cottage and enjoy a cuppa and cake. It cures everything, apart from aching muscles!

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I was hooked and ready to give surfing another go, despite how much I ached. After a very early dog walk to check out the surf we went for it. This time just me and the mister. Day 2 actually had more fear for me. I knew what it felt like to swallow half of the sea water, tumble and fall and I knew it could happen again. This time we stayed on Newgale beach and it was very foamy which was good for me. However, there wasn’t much time in between waves so I did feel like I was getting a little bit battered. Nevertheless, I persisted with the goal of standing up. It was ambitious but I was so proud when I managed to get one leg in position and was half stood half knelt. Progress! However, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t ‘pop up’!

My final day of ‘learning to surf’ we took to Newgale Beach where it was rather choppy and not ideal for surfing. However, we were keen to get our hair wet seen as it was the last day of my board rental. I think I had built up a bit too much confidence and wasn’t paying as much attention as I had in previous days. I genuinely have no idea what I did to send my board flying in the air and me under the water. But I soon knew about it when the finns clipped my ear! In true Chloe Style, I thought my ear had been cut off! Luckily it hadn’t and I just felt a tad dizzy. I took some time out on the sand but it definitely knocked my confidence so I just ‘played’ in the shallow end till the mister came in.

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I realised that learning to surf doesn’t come naturally to me. However, I have had a good taster experience and I’m keen to give it another go! So although I didn’t successfully stand up, it was definitely a success for me.

We had the most relaxing week away in Newgale with the mister’s family, exploring nearby quaint towns like St Davids, Solva and Broad Haven, many games of Monopoly, retreats in the Hot Tub and beautiful meals. Well deserved break in beautiful Wales.

Go the Distance in your Country

Chloe

Personal Development, Uncategorized

30 Self Care Ideas

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Here you will find 30 self care ideas. Now the reason I have wrote these is because we rarely tale the time to look after ourselves. I am surrounded by the most amazing people that focus on helping, supporting, caring and even attempting to rescue people around them. However, we often neglect to look after ourselves. Its often the case that the advice we give other people we don’t actually I pelmet for ourselves. The phrase ‘practice what you preach’ comes to mind. Sometimes, I sit back and think ‘that was bloody good advice’ why don’t I listen to it, I know I would feel great if I listened to myself!
So this list is for YOU. When you read it your not allowed to think about other people and what they could benefit from. Focus on you!
When was the last time you actually had a bath, lit your candles and used your best spa range?
When was the last time you went for a walk without the distractions of your phone?
When  was the last time you sat down and read a book with a herbal tea in hand?
When did you last take time for you?
Our lives are so hectic in this day and age, that time for yourself gets put to the bottom of the priority list. But I always say you have to look after yourself first before you can be any use to anyone else. If your running around, like a headless chicken and not giving yourself time to recoop you will end up crashing or at ‘burn out’ walking through life like a zombie! At that point you are no use to anyone, yourself, your children, partner, friends or family!
I recommend taking one thing from this list a week to start with. Schedule it in your diary as a ‘self care hour’ then it’s booked and everything else can work around it. You will thank your self so much and when you establish a routine you will be surprised about how great you will feel and want to do more and more. You can build up to a daily self care activity as part of your morning routine to set yourself up for the day (blog coming soon on this). This ‘power hour’ will honestly cha be your life as you see it now. Start small, at once a week and see for yourself the difference it can make.
Last week I really enjoyed my walk in the woods with no distractions. This was an idea from Robin Sharma’s podcast which is a great listen. This coming week I will be re establishing my yoga routine as I am all out of sync from my recent house move!
I would love to hear what one thing your going to do for you next week!
Go the distance for you, your future self will thank you!
Chloe.
Relationships

How to thrive in a Long Distance Relationship

Since September 2016, long distance dating which then led to a long distance relationship, became a huge part of my life. When the mister turned up on my doorstep to surprise me on my 24th birthday my world completely changed… for the better! The whole dynamics of my days, weeks and months shifted and I would like to share my experiences and advice along the way to making a long distance relationship work.

I feel that the most important thing is mindset (for all aspects of life in fact). If you think it will work, or you think it won’t,  you’re probably right! With respect to long distance relationships, if you think ‘this is so hard, I miss him so much, I have to travel sooo far’ you are going to see your relationship as a sacrifice. A relationship should enhance your life not be a hindrance. Quite often in the ‘honeymoon’ stage of the relationship the distance is novel, new and exciting and therefore, can be tolerated. For many this feeling can wear off but you can maintain this honeymoon experience purely with a positive mindset.

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For example…
The travel time, for me personally its a two hour journey without traffic and up to four when they decide to close the motorway on a Sunday night! For the mister, he has a four to six hour journey now his work placement is technically in a different country…. Wales! I make the most out of these journeys with podcasts, audio books and my favourite music playlist blasting out for a good old sing song. In our busy busy lives driving can actually become a therapeutic place to relax, enjoy the ride and have time to be alone with your own thoughts (positive ones only!). I have listened to numerous self care, personal development and business focused audios and even started to learn Spanish! Without the travel time I wouldn’t make the time for these activities that will make a difference to our lives now and in the future.

The working week can be hectic especially when you need to cram everything in including washing, ironing, and cleaning before you disappear for the weekend. Even though your long distance relationship is based on a weekend, you still need to make a commitment to time on a daily basis to catch up with one another. The beauty of a mobile phone ey! Even though we both have busy lives we know each others schedule to find the best times to catch one another. We used to have the same travel to work times so a morning hands-free call on the way to work was the best way to start my day. Even with a change in working hours, he now rings me during my morning self-care routine (blog coming soon on this). This again is a great way to start my day hearing him sing down the phone at 7.00 am.

Technology offers so many ways to feel closer no matter how distant you are. WhatsApp voice notes I particularly like as it gives a personal touch that a text message and emoji often cant portray. Video calls, again through WhatsApp are perfect for bed time. Balancing your phone on your bed side cabinet, in the perfect angle to make you feel like you are side by side is as close as it gets to the real thing. I have also noticed the quality of the conversation is much better too… as you can tell if their not listening, scrolling on Facebook or checking the football score as you speak…so it tends not to happen. I don’t believe in multi tasking … our brains can’t handle it and I much prefer to be in the present moment but I too am guilty of being distracted during these calls. Don’t do it …be present!

videocall

Skype dates are a new thing for us too… a great idea that we still haven’t tried. The mister had this great idea to get dressed up for our virtual dinner date, cook our own meals but sit at the table with the video call set up for a virtual date. I loved this idea and even poured some Schloer (it was a school night) and candle lit the table. Ready and waiting… he surprised me at my door step, it was Valentines day after all.  As amazing as this surprise was I’m still waiting for our virtual date.

The relationship review… a concept a friend of mine introduced to me too at the time made me giggle. Sitting in the bath with no distractions while you talk through the positives and the room for improvement elements of your relationship was an interesting idea that we have adapted. When life gets stressful and too much we often sit back reflect and try find solutions to move forward. It may be that your finding that you never see your close friends for guys or girly nights out, or that the quality shopping time with your mum has disappeared and this is playing on your mind. Whatever it is, discuss it when together in the bath or on a long drive I think are the best places. Express how you feel and open the question up to your partner to suggest solutions… you will find that they are more than happy to support you and may be experiencing similar things.

A balanced life is important and often other aspects of your life will fall on a weekend. Instead of moaning and groaning at one another find a way for it to work for both of you. If I have to work on a weekend for a few hours, the mister will sign himself up for a free trial of a local gym and use their facilities for hours on end. We both make the most of this time. The mister also volunteers at a local community garden centre as a way to escape the corporate world which is extremely important to him. So what do I do… I come down to watch him at work, chill in the sun, with a cuppa and a brownie and  actually write this blog!

There are many perks to having a long distance relationship. The majority of long distance relationships work on a ‘get your shit done working-week’ and ‘weekend romance’ schedule. It is amazing with a bit of organisation how much you can get done after your working day in preparation for a free weekend. This gives you quality time together, something that is often missed in the ‘normal’ relationship. You find yourself, dressing up and looking your best, soaking up each others presence and appreciating every small gesture in a compressed amount of time. You savour these moments, that can often go unnoticed, until the next weekend. Wherever you see a potential negative to a long distance relationship, turn it in a positive. Be grateful for the tough times that come your way as they will only make your relationship stronger. The patience, commitment and appreciation for one another that you will find in a long distance relationship will prepare you for the future when you eventually live under the same roof.

Go the distance in your relationships,
Chloe