Drink. More. Water.

A month ago today I decided to drink more water. Since then I have tried really hard to drink at least 2 litres of water per day and only have 2 cups of caffeinated drinks. And have I noticed a difference?? Absolutely!! Honestly, even I am shocked. I have to admit to be a little sceptical at first, but I can honestly say that I notice a big difference.

Now, I did take a shocker of a picture at the beginning, and I did take another one today before I got my make up on and my hair did!!

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I know, I know – not really a fair test – the lighting is completely different!

Now. Is there a – wow, girl hold the phone (!) – you look shamazing moment?? I’ll let you decided ;) I do notice that my skin doesn’t feel as tight and dry as it did. I also still weigh the exact same, I didn’t find drinking more water curbed my hunger pangs or love of snacking. Rage! Ha!

For me the biggest difference was – in my head. Oh, I know, the irony! Seriously though. My head. It is really hard to describe. It is less fuzzy or something. It feels clearer, I don’t have those annoying floaters anymore – you know what I mean the wee floaty black dots! I don’t feel as groggy. I’m sorry, this probably doesn’t make very much sense, it is so hard to put into words. But, my head just feels so much better. Less clogged. Just a whole lot clearer.

I also seem to be a little more evenly balanced – less highs and lows. I no longer have that 4pm slump – that, get me to a horizontal position now please, slump. My heart isn’t racing like it did and the palpitations have definitely eased off.

So, I honestly feel great, So much better. I have found in the last few days, now that the kids are back to school that I am reaching for the kettle more…maybe it’s the weather too. So, I need to watch – old habits could slip in so easily. But I am determined not to. I know a few of you had got in touch too, to say that you were interested to hear how I would get on. Well, all I will say is – DRINK. MORE. WATER.

Things I’m loving lately (August)

August is practically over AND Emma’s linky is nearly finished, but I’m hoping I will make it by just the skin of my teeth!! Emma, over at Life At The Little Wood is hosting a lovely little link up about things that you’ve been loving in the past month. I really love the idea behind it, in one of her posts I remember she described it as a catch up with the girls or reading one of your favourite magazines…that sounds like fun, right? So I am excited to join in.

Without further ado, here’s what we’ve been loving in August.

Beauty

A few little new things for me on this front this month. First up, a new doo! Now, ok, so I did get it cut at the end of July, but it has been the month of August really that I’ve got into the swing of having it a good 6 inches shorter. It’s so much easier to wash and dry and make look semi decent in the mornings. I’m hoping there’ll be a few less ‘hair scraped back in a messy bun/ponytail moments’ this year on the school run!

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I’ve also been trying out a new tanning product this month too. I do love a bit of fake tan it has to be said – takes away a little of the ‘blue’ tinge of my very Irish skin. I think it was Emma (LATLW!) herself who recommended this, so when I saw it on offer in Sainsbury the other week, I thought I’d give it a whirl. First impressions are good, nice colour and no streaks. Will see how we go as the weeks go on, could be a new fav!

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Fashion.

I thought here I would share some of my favourite outfits that I’ve worn this month. Cue embarrassing poses!! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!

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These are L’s new boots for Autumn! We really wanted the pink patent ones, but they were completely sold out in her size. We got her convinced that these were just as fabulous and she hasn’t had them off since!

Home

Mmmmmmm home….this one I don’t really have very much to say on this one! Can I loosely mention my rekindled love for reading this month?? I do that in my home mostly!! As a child and teenager and indeed a student I was a real bookworm. Once the little ones came along, it seemed I just couldn’t find the time. When I went to bed at night I was fast asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. This summer however, I have changed that and am carving out some time in my day to do some reading. This month I have read

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I feel I need to tell you that a couple of paragraphs has TMI for me!! Just incase one of you read it and are shocked!! Lol. It is a great, easy read though, kept me interested and eager to find out what happened! I think I’m a little naïve / innocent at times!!

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Haven’t started this just yet, am reading another book at the moment. My sister picked this up for me as a wee surprise, am excited to get stuck in though have heard good reports!

 Food

Now food I can do. This month, (this summer, really!) we have been all about picnics and grabbing something quick when we come back in after a long day out on day trips. I have been drinking my 2-3 litres of water every day….I set myself a challenge at the beginning of the month……and drinking only 1 – 2 cups of coffee. It has been going well and I will update you on that soon.

There have been a lot of cuppa’s in bed, just one of the perks of a wonderful husband, who is a teacher!

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Cuppa’s outside at sunrise on our garden bench

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And cuppa’s on the run, when we wanted to get somewhere early!

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There has been these AMAZING cupcakes! It was our Holiday Bible Club this month and we had a Frozen theme. I had asked some of the ladies to bake me a few top hats / rice crispie buns for the kids….1 lady showed up with these!!!!

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There has been a lovely ‘last day of the holidays’ morning tea with Granny and Auntie Laura

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And farrrrrrrrrrrrrr too many of these

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YUM!

And that’s been the things we’ve been loving in August!

How has your August been? I’m looking forward to September now. I’m ready to light candles and snuggle under blankets, bring on boots and jumpers and less of a need to shave the old pins!! Autumn is definitely up there as my favourite season – it’s a tough call between it and Winter.

#mysundayphoto – Back to school

Jonah and Seth

I have decided to join in with one of those blogland linky’s! I always love to see how others have selected their favourite picture of the week. This is mine! It’s not the best photo ever I know, but it is a very special one to me. While I look completely in control and happy and relaxed inside I was a wreck. I had hardly slept the night before, I spent the morning feeling all jittery and on the verge of tears and snapping at my husband (sorry honey xx).

On Thursday J started back to school – a big P2. He was so excited to be going back to see all his wee friends. He was excited to be a P2, to him it meant he could go on the ‘bigger bars’ in the playground, he was allowed to go on the swings. He was going to look after his little brother, show him the ropes. He was delighted at being a big P2 now. I was a little devastated!! I know as parents one of the best things we can do for our children is to let them go, encourage independence, but it’s tough, right?

That same morning S was starting P1. He was bouncing with joy, he couldn’t wait. He was going to big school with his big brother. He was going to learn to read books and play outside. He couldn’t get the time in quick enough. But this little boy of mine was only 4 in June – he is still my baby boy. Will he be ok? Will he have someone to play with? Surely I could just keep him at home a little while longer, no?

This photo will be one that I will always treasure, for I know it marks the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new ‘way’. I now have 2 children at Primary School….how did that happen? Oh time, could you please slow down, even a little…..

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Farewell Summer….

Wow! Can you believe it? The schools are almost all back this week. My husband was back today, J will start P2 on Thursday and my little S will start P1 on Thursday also. I really can’t believe it. The summer holidays always go quickly, but for some reason this year they have completely flown!

How have they been for you?

I have been reflecting on ours today – I think when something finishes it always forces a little time of reflection, don’t you. I really feel like we have had a ‘holiday’ in the truest sense of the word – “an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling” (Oxford English definition). We haven’t done anything particularly fancy, but I feel refreshed, replenished and ready for a new ‘year’, (it’s funny I’ve always thought of years as September to June, with 2 months of nothing at the end!!) We didn’t get anywhere near even half the amount of places on our Summer Bucket List ticked. I had great plans of suitably preparing S for school, recapping all of J’s Read, Write Inc work and number skills and doing all sorts of arts and crafts with L, but truth be told we have had a pretty lazy summer. We’ve dozed in bed until after 9am every morning,  had PJ days, stayed at home and read books, watched dvds, played in the garden. And had lots of very simple, family days out consisting of picnics and play parks. And, it has to be said. It has been great!

I think J, S and L have really enjoyed it too. They have been playing together, making memories, never far from one and others side…nor ours. I hope that they will look back on this summer fondly in years to come – not for it’s excitement or grandeur, but instead for it’s simplicity. A summer of great, family times, decorated with a whole lot of love and relationship strengthening and the odd 99 poke to keep it real ;)

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Saving a few pennies with Legal and General.

When Legal and General recently got in touch with an article providing tips on how to save on water, electricity and heat bills, I have to admit to being a little intrigued. As a stay at home mum I am always interested in ways of saving a few penny’s here and there, every little helps and all that ;)

Now, I have to admit to being a little clueless as to any green technology that could help you save energy and also reduce your carbon footprint. It would definitely be hubster who would be much more interested and up to date on that sort of thing. But, the article really made me think and explained it in such a way that even I could understand! (and that is something!!)

There are 4 main areas in your home that they address – *insulating your home, *heat from unlikely sources, *making the most of your water supply, and *solar power that really is free.

Below are 3 little tips that I hope to implement around our home to help us achieve a greener future:

  1. While my linen curtains from Next are indeed very pretty, they do not provide much in the way of insulation. Perhaps I could get them lined, to help us stay extra cosy in the winter months?
  2. I will be checking out The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund which currently offers cash back for making improvements to your home.
  3. One for my hub – I know he and the boys would really enjoy setting something like this up in the garden – a homemade rain harvester! (more details can be found over here)
Are you guys energy-efficient in your homes? Are you trying to reduce your carbon footprint? I have to admit I am very bad at this kind of thing! I just about manage to sort my rubbish for recycling! Please do, pop over and have a read at the article yourself – you might find something of interest for your family.
This is a sponsored post, and while I have received a ‘thank you’ gift, I genuinely found the article interesting and informative.

A day at Tayto Park.

Hi there! I have been a bit rubbish at keeping up to date on the blog with our days out this summer. We have been busy going here and there and come the evenings when the kids are in bed, I’m just too tired to think about writing up a wee post on here. We have made lots of memories though and have taken many photos so I know we won’t forget the Summer of 2015. Can you believe it is nearly over?! This time 2 weeks I will be thinking about what I’m going to give J and S for their break tomorrow for school. I could weep even thinking about it!

That being said, I do want to share with you all about our recent weekend away to Dublin. My hub’s grandparents live over in England, we would all have really loved to get over to visit them this summer, but alas finances just couldn’t stretch that far, so just he and J were able to make the trip this year.  Not wanting S and L to feel too hard done by, me and my sisters decided to take them down to Dublin for a couple of nights and go to Tayto Park. I had heard mixed reports about the park, but wanted to try it out none the less and we were not disappointed. We had a really great time.

We stayed in The Clarion Hotel, Liffey Valley which was about a 25-30minute drive from Tayto Park. We have stayed here previously and enjoy the family feel to the hotel – i.e it is perfectly acceptable for your child to have a melt down when their scrambled eggs won’t stay on their piece of toast!!

Tayto Park itself, is a great day out for the family. Truthfully, S and L were probably still a little too young to fully appreciate the whole park, but there was still plenty for them to do and enjoy. I’d highly recommend it. There really is something for all the family, from face painting to rollercoasters, to gentle train rides to high ropes and crazy zip lines. We had been warned that you have to pay extra for some things on top of your park entry fee, but this really wasn’t much of an issue for us. Due to their height they were limited on what rides they could go on anyway, and most of the activities that they could participate in were included in the entrance fee. With the small zoo and dinosaur exhibition and factory tour all included, we didn’t feel robbed in anyway. We were also pleasantly surprised at the cost of snacks and drinks and souvenirs.

Here are a few snaps from our trip, if you’d like to see…..and yes, my 3 and 4 year olds are in a buggy….1 isn’t too fond of walking too far and the other would definitely have been exhausted and in need of a rest on such a long, busy day! Trust me, I was glad we brought the buggies –  it was totally worth any judgemental comment or stare ;)

So. Meet my sisters….Jill and Laura!

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L was in the back beside Laura too…there’s only so much a selfie stick can do!

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Tayto Park here we come!

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We really had a fun filled day at Tayto Park and will definitely be going back again soon!

I, Karen B, promise to…..

….drink more water! Yes, I know, not exactly big news, or anything terribly exciting, but something that I NEED to share on here as that somehow makes me more accountable!

It is no secret amongst my friends and family that I have a bit of a problem with Diet Coke. And when I say a bit of a problem, I mean, if I don’t drink some every day I crave it! Really crave it…have withdrawal symptoms. When you combine this with my love for coffee, you have one girl who drinks nothing else except caffeine all day ever day. No other liquid really passes my lips, bar the odd smoothie here and there and a glass of pure orange / apple juice every morning. I know, I know, that really isn’t good and for a long while I have been wanting to do something about it.

Well, yesterday I did. After a number of weeks of just not feeling great, ‘fuzzy’ heads, heart palpitations, and constant ‘highs and lows’ throughout the day, I knew enough was enough. So, as I type this, this evening, I have drank 4 litres of water since yesterday morning. And, do you know something? I feel great. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I honestly do think I feel better already. I have been peeing ALL DAY, but I’m reassured that, that will get less frequent as my body gets used to it’s new hydration.

So, for the next 4 weeks, I, Karen B promise to drink at least 2 litres of water per day and have only 1 cup of coffee / diet coke. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m hoping to see all the changes, health gurus and google tells me that I will. I hope my skin will be brighter, my head clearer, my heart more steady (!), maybe I’ll even lose a few pounds, be less bloated, who knows?! So. If you are eating your dinner or anything right now, I’d advise you to look away now. Here’s a (gross!) photo of me completely bare faced at the start of the challenge. I weigh 9lbs 4oz. My skin is dry and dull. I’ve already told you about the heart palpitations and highs and lows. Here’s hoping in 4 weeks time, I’ll be sharing some different stats!

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Oh wow! Close up! Do you like the leopard print and just out of the shower look? Nice eh?! ;)