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Zen;WHEN?!

Today marks International Yoga Day and I am giddy with excitement because this evening, my gorgeous friend Clare and I will be hosting our first ever event together; A Summer Solstice Supper down at Church Farm, Wirral. The aim of the evening is to gather people together to welcome in a new season, set new intentions and let go of any regrets and things that you no longer need bogging you down or holding you back. We’ve got candles and affirmations and new bolsters and food and fizz basically; the works. We can not wait!  It has come about a bit by accident- as the best things often do; Clare is a brilliant yoga teacher and I am half way through my yoga foundation training which takes place at Clare’s studio, we are mum mates from the school run and it just sort of evolved.

summer solstice

But, what is the course like I hear you cry well- let me tell you; Since January, on the first Sunday of the month I head out first thing for a full on day of yoga- or so I thought! Far from it being a chilled out day of backbends and yoga nidra (code for a delicious slice of sleep!) it has challenged me way beyond anything I expected. Yes, the days do include the physical practise and the relaxation as well as tea and cake and chats and yes; I have learnt more about the postures and poses, about the muscles we use and the benefits of the stretches but, in many ways that has been coincidental in comparison to the deeper learning and, fundamental ‘meaning’ of yoga- from my learning anyway…A part of the course involves keeping a journal- I am not 100% sure that this is what my gorgeous yoga teacher had in mind but- yoga calls for you to be your authentic self so, I’ve embraced that;  for me, at the half way point, these are my take aways.

The pose is not the point

Yoga is not about the perfect pose, about nailing the headstand or managing to hold boat for any period without capsizing! It is about being kind and gentle to yourself and others. It is about trying and not worrying about the outcome. It is about listening to your heart and to your body- doing things that feel right for you in that moment, not being driven by your ego because the person in front of you has her knees behind her head! It is doing things without expectation or hope of reward, which, to my mind, is just basic humanity and at should be the foundation of any religion or belief system or lifestyle choice. Don’t do 50 hail Marys every morning and then ignore the lonely mum in the playground. Don’t perfect your downward dog but park in the disabled bays at Tesco. In short;

dont-be-a-twat-off-the-mat.-1.png

 

It’s about the journey, not the final destination

Generally speaking, in the West, we have a penchant for instant gratification. Credit cards and fast forwarding adverts and Deliveroo and Amazon and 24 supermarkets mean we want everything NOW and, I think that yoga can be viewed in that way also. Simplified, dumbed down, reduced to an exercise class- something that will get you slim and tone you up so you are “beach ready” and “fit for summer”. Hot yoga…so your muscles warm up faster so you can stretch further so… Not really the point (in my humble opinion and, baring in mind that I am only just dipping my toe into my yoga education) clearly I have a loooong way to go with the whole letting go element! Yes; yoga can give you an amazing body but- what it should do is remind you that you already HAVE an amazing body. YOU’RE ALREADY THERE. You might get stronger, you might become more toned, you might become more flexible but hopefully along the way, those things will become less significant to you and the more important aspect will be how you listen to your inner voice, how you accept yourself as you are and how you quieten down your inner critic.

you are a child of the universe

 

We are all teachers; we are all students. 

There are 12 of us on my course, each of us different. We have all arrived here from different starting points, are looking to take different things from the sessions (which for me is a really evolving) and, as such we are all seeing things in our own ways. This is one of the elements that I am enjoying the most- getting to know new people and see things from another point of view (plus; there are some excellent bakers in the gang!) Signing up for something new, stepping out of your comfort zone and opening yourself up to learning again is as exciting as it is scary but it is always worth the risk. The course is helping understand myself better and be more accepting of other peoples views and ideas.

Share the journey

I am loving yoga with my girls and, given the massive mess that we are in as a planet, anything that we can do to teach a bit of mindfulness, compassion and ways to understand ourselves is really valuable. Depending on you and your child and your mood and the weather and basically LIFE- the sessions might be magical, they might feel a little like herding cats. Honestly; sometimes this has been utter bliss and sometimes it has left me feeling fraught because they are not where I want them to be in terms of their patience or concentration or their mood again…not very yogic…there’s the journey analogy again! I am learning to go with the flow and to be more understanding of where they are at and some tools have been really helpful with this;

Mindful Kids cards from Barefoot Books are great for giving you options so you can work with the emotions in front of you.

Cosmic Kids on YouTube is a winner with loads of sessions which you can select based on what you need to get out of it in that moment.

There are also more and more yoga sessions for children and families setting up across the country. Schools are beginning to include it in their days or offer it as before or after school sessions so…we are moving in the right direction but, doing it as a unit, when it works is just pure joy and, the more you practise…the more you all know how to relate to it and each other. WINNER!

Bethan 2

 

Do what you can when you can. That is enough.
This is as true of life as it is of yoga but bloody hell it is tough to remember that isn’t it. Slowing down, taking a break, saying no, we don’t do it enough. Hold your space, let others hold theirs and don’t feel bad about it. Do what you can and don’t feel guilty about the stuff that you can’t and…when you’ve mastered this come back and tell me how!

 

Speaking Sanskrit is hard

Nothing to add here; it just is!!!

 

Yoga is just one piece of the puzzle; 

I am not yet the person to wax lyrical on the 8 limbs of yoga, the mantras, the chakras and the deep teachings of the gurus- there is just so much to take in and digest. The history of yoga is MASSIVE and it absolutely blows my mind. The understanding that people had of the mind, body and soul connection all those thousands of years ago totally and utterly BLOWS MY MIND. I can not believe that so many of the human race managed to get so far away from the original teachings and mess things up so badly for their health and that of the planet in their striving for more more more but, I guess that is human nature, we have to try things hey?! As always for me, it is the reflection, the opportunity to digest stuff and write down my take on things that gives me real peace and, as I continue to develop my own toolkit for selfcare I am allowing myself more time to do the stuff that fills my jug and makes my heart happy which, as it turns out is exactly what we’re all meant to be doing.

Let me leave you with this- a truly beautiful quote which gives us all permission to be that little bit more epic than we might otherwise have dared. I love it.

 

our deepest fear

 

Happy Summer Solstice all.
Wishing you love, light and a little bit of fizz!
Namaste!

Tanya

XxxX

 

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A body shaming babygro…ENOUGH!

Last night, when scrolling through Facebook pre bed (as you do) I saw something so screwed up and grotesque that I did a double take.

You might have seen it yourself by now, if not, check out the picture below.

FB_IMG_1459979926803

What the actual Fuck?! I am sorry to swear but seriously, Seriously, WTAF.

What has happened within society to make putting this on a babygro even remotely acceptable? I DON’T GET IT.

As I said on my Facebook page, the worst thing is the number of people that that got past to physically be stocked in a shop.

1) The sad mind that has clearly heard or felt this way so many times they thought it was the norm

2) Their boss or whoever okay’s designs before they’re made up into a sample

3) A buyer for at least one store (I’m saying store because it was in America)

Did anyone stop and question what they were making? What message this would send out? Just to clarify quickly here, I’m talking about the thigh one…The one pretty clearly aimed at the female side of the market.

The owner of the Wry Baby brand that created the babygro in question has been quoted as saying that “they want to make the whole parenting journey as fun as is humanly possible”.

Well slap my thigh and call me Jessy, haven’t you just brightened my whole trek through motherhood by selling this absolute piece of crap.

Just for the record, that isn’t what I think of as fun. I like a giggle- I can even retell my whole hideous birth story for comedic effect now. I regularly make light of my non exisistant bladder contol, the fact that the bulk of my wardrobe is now from Tu at Sainsbury and all manner of crazy shit the kids get up to but (and call me crazy here) body shaming and being so blatantly gender stereotyping is sad, not funny.

 

It is sad because other kids will see that, they’ll ask what it says and then they’ll wonder what it means and who knows how deep that seed will be planted. I don’t want my gorgeous, sensitive, growing girls pondering who hates their thighs and whether they should too. It is hard enough to keep that rubbish out of my own head let alone theirs.

Being a girl, being a woman today is hard. It’s a damn sight easier than it was by all accounts but it’s still no walk in the park. So much gravitas is still placed on how you look as oposed to who you are, what you enjoy, what you’re interests are and what you stand for.

 

As I walked to the doctors the other day I absentmindedly looked down and thought woah, those legs could do with trimming down a bit- a thigh wobble ain’t a great look in a threadbare legging but actually, those very same legs ran a half marathon a few weeks back and they reguarly walk my girls to pre school as well as strutting their stuff down a catwalk last month if you please. And, they can still, on a good day and after a couple of shandys, get behind my head…Lucky old Mr L hey… (this is starting to sound a little weird- almost as if the legs do these little jobs independent of me- which they don’t!)

What I am saying is I am more than the sum of my parts. I am more than my thigh wobble. I am more than a pair of droopy boobs, described by our youngest recently as “very sad and empty” I am way, way more than an out of control pelvic floor.

I am an intelligent, loving, grafting mother who is raising her daughters to be all that and more and the mums that I know are doing the same with their girls AND BOYS. So I will carry on with my running and exercising- to keep my body and mind happy and healthy not narrow and thin which seems to be the way Wry Baby rolls.

Happily, through the day the number of people that have commented on this image makes me think that the pendulum might just be starting to swing the other way again with women appreciating their bodies for their strengths and treating themselves with more love and kindness. If we treat ourselves and talk to ourselves with the same compassion that we do to our children that can only be a good thing- for them and for us.

Night night all.

Sweet Dreams.

 

XxxX

 

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How I got #ProudinmyBikini

Since I posted my #proudinmybikini post earlier this week I have had so many nice comments on Facebook and Twitter and on the post itself. It has been really touching to read friends and strangers saying that kind things and they are sticking.

Looking at the pictures which incidentally, were taken after a long day at work whilst the girls jumped on my sisters sofa shouting ‘why are you nudey rudey Muma?!’ I genuinely don’t mind them.

MY FAVE!! Maryan Mehlhorn Nautical Bikini

MY FAVE!!
Maryan Mehlhorn Nautical Bikini

Obviously my sister isn’t challenging David Bailey for a job (sorry sis!) but I am no longer upset by what I see before me- WOO HOO!! Progress.

Clearly I am no longer my 17 year old self with a pair of boobs to die for and a pretty cute little figure if I do say so myself (hindsight is 20/20 hey!!! Youth is absolutely wasted on the young!)

I’m not even my 27 year old, stretch mark free self.

Nope, I am a 34 year old mum of 2 toddlers that is frequently shattered and struggling to work a 3 day week, plan an incredible Christmas event, remember the shopping and the washing and the cleaning and so on and so on.
Obviously in the main I don’t manage, my to do list never ends, I am constantly apologising for the state of the house and I have no clue how we would manage without my mum doing our ironing (amazing!) and having the girls from time to time.

But everything is a choice and a trade off- I have yet to meet the woman that has it all. The things that I am choosing to spend my time and energy on are the things that I know make a difference to my mind and body so, here’s what helped me reclaim my Mojo…

1) Diet
Not dieting- In January I started a 12 week Fit ‘n’ Slim programme with Melissa from Fresh Start Health and Jonathan from JGF Fitness.
It was a brilliant programme that helped me to become more mindful about what I eat and why and 3 months after finishing I am still having lemon and ginger and against all the odds my juicer is still getting used daily for my super green smoothie.
1/2 Cucumber
2 sticks celery
2 handfuls spinach
juice of one lime
1/2 an avocado

Juice the cucumber, celery and spinach, add in the juice of the lime and then chop up the avocado and blend together (over ice if you’re posh!)

Genuinely delicious

Genuinely delicious

2) Exercise
My brilliant and very clever friend Jo invited me to try some crazy outdoor circuits class. OUTSIDE. IN FEBRUARY…First class was free plus it was a week after I’d asked her to come running with me so I couldn’t say no!
I LOVE IT. Best fitness class ever! It is hard, it is sometimes wet and cold and it is 100% guaranteed to get me out of any mood I am in.
I feel healthier, I am definitely fitter and it is certainly good for the serotonin levels.

One day I'll get to the top of the bar!!

One day I’ll get to the top of the bar!!

3) Me Time
Me time means different things to different people but for me it usually involves a seriously deep bath, a stretch mark smoothing wrap and a copy of RED Magazine or Good Housekeeping (which is ironic to say the least!)
I know that some people are going to think that using the wraps is not in keeping with the #proudinmybikini idea but that’s ok because it’s my body and my choice. I’m not using these #crazywraps because anyone else has made me feel bad about the way I look, I am using them because they compliment what I am doing already and have seriously helped me feel happier with the skin look and tone of my ‘mum tum’.
wrap right image

4) Mindset
I have written so many times before that I am an all or nothing character. I tend to really go for something, fall by the way side, thing I’m a failure and knock it on the head but I decided this year (and last) that I was going to try to be kinder to myself, to do what I could ad not beat myself up about the rest. Seven months in and I think that I can, more often than not, tick that box. I am caring less about what others, aside from those that really matter, think and am just trying to be OK.
choose happiness

5) Support
The #proudinmybikini campaign started by Honest Mum, the support of Tommy Tight Pants (yep, that’s what he calls himself!!) of Melissa and Jon and of my friends and family and the lovely Wrap Right Girls has kept me on the straight and narrow.
I am doing this for me and for my girls and, in the words of the song…It’s feeling Good!

Have a Seriously Souper Douper Weekend!

Loads of Love,

Muma.

XxxX

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This Summer I will mainly be #ProudinmyBikini

Last month a hashtag was doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter set up by the blogging beauty that is Vicki from Honest Mum.

Now, I had always considered her type of honest and mine to be poles apart, her children are immaculate, her hair is frankly immense  (in the best possible way) and her writing, blogging and film making experience are the stuff my dreams are made of.
In short, if this were school she would definitely have rolled with the cool kids. I felt- through absolutely no fault of hers, that she was out of my league- a genuine successful grown up whilst I, approaching 35, am still struggling to figure most of this stuff out.

One evening, home alone, I was scanning my twitter feed and came across Vicki’s original #proudinmybikini post.
She was literally laying herself bare (short of a gorgeous red bikini) and saying this is me, I’m a mum of 2 and I’m proud to be me in my bikini.

#proudinmybikini

Look at that hair!!!
Gorgeous.

In the post (which as now been seen by over 70,000) Vicki was asking for other mums to share their bikini pics.

Wow- didn’t that redress the balance.

Isn’t it ridiculous that it should even be a big deal…but it was and it is because it seems that we women are always so keen to imagine that other people are doing so much better than we are…

Better mums- because they’re working or not working or combining the two.
Better wives- because they don’t burn water or whatever
Better species because…We imagine…that beneath their jeans they don’t have the bit of belly that gets tucked into their knickers (which no doubt match with their bra- which they no doubt peel off each night before a mammoth session with the husband!)

It is a fantasy fed by stupid magazines and also by social media.

Women are too fat or too thin, too vain or too unkempt.

We’ve lost our sense of perspective and also of giving ourselves and others a break.

This week The Sun posted what I’ll loosely refer to as ‘an article’ on their social media entitled “17 people that look worse in a bikini than you do.”
How cruel- who made them or indeed any of us judge and jury?

I love #proudinmybikini. It is an amazing look behind the curtain into the fact that we are all normal people.
No one is perfect and no one is without their own hang ups and flaws and, by sharing them we become a little bit more real and help everyone else breathe a little easier.

Prior to this campaign the last time I’d properly worn a bikini was over  years ago on our fabulous baby moon in Marrakesh. Pregnant bikini
I absolutely love the picture- check out how happy I am- over the moon to be carrying our precious daughter (didn’t know that she was a she at the time) and loving the relaxing sunny break with my husband.

Since then I’ve had 2 beautiful baby girls and the boobs and bump have headed somewhat south.
I’d like to say that the change in my body didn’t affect me but, in the spirit of being honest I’ve got to say that after a particularly nasty labour and a tricky recovery my confidence was well knocked, the stomach stretched and sagged and my fitness and body confidence plummeted. It has  taken quite a lot for me not to well up when I saw myself undressed. Incredibly self indulgent I know- but there it is.
Lots of little things have helped me get my mojo back but one of the most significant has definitely been this campaign.
Following on from the tweets UKSwimwear sent me a couple of the mums who took part in the campaign some bikinis to review and I was lucky enough to be one of them. They are absolutely gorgeous- I LOVE THEM.
I can not wait to wear them in the paddling pool, at the swimming pool and finally, on our holiday in Tuscany.
They are my way of sending a messsage to my girls that say:

We are more than the way we look
Be kind to your body- it is the only place you have to live.
Your spirit and kindness are visible whatever you are wearing and whatever your size
Don’t judge other people (at least not on appearances)
Don’t waste your energy on people that are judging you and…importantly
Nautical is always, always on trend!

I’ve written plenty of times about promoting a positive body image for my daughters but actions speak louder than words so here goes…

Channelling the 1950's vibe.

Channelling the 1950’s vibe.

MY FAVE!! Maryan Mehlhorn Nautical Bikini

MY FAVE!!
Maryan Mehlhorn Nautical Bikini

To me, bring Proud in your Bikini this summer is more than the act of wearing a bikini it is the decision to like yourself a bit more whatever you are wearing and to embrace the idea of kindness and support for yourself and others.

I hope that this post makes you breath a little easier.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Loads of love,

Muma.

XxxX

love-your-body-and-be-healthy

I am linking up with Honest Mums #BrilliantBlogPosts you can click the link to see what other bloggers have been up to this week!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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