When the budgets tighter then a fish’s bum hole…

I was never really given a choice, my fatigue leaves me unable to work an 8 hour day. I thought there is no way I’m just going to sit all day and do nothing, so I decided to have kids. We always knew either way, that we would both have to do our part to survive on one wage.

In today’s economy, living off on wage is hard. Scratch that, it’s fucking hard with a capital F! I can’t remember the last time I bought myself anything! – wait, yes I do, three weeks ago I had to buy a new pair of sandshoes while I was walking because mine fell apart mid-walk – that was definitely not in the budget and I’m still feeling it three weeks later, things are VERY tight. I’ve considered putting both boys in daycare and work but there’s a shortage of home daycares in Ingham. My husband reassures me that we will be ok but because of the way I grew up (with money), I’m scared. If anything happens I want to be able to support my boys, in any case. If it was just me I wouldn’t care but they’re my babies! I want the best for them.

These days, my shopping activity is considerably different to what it has been in the past. I’ve embraced the art of budgeting. Any purchases that don’t involve food or other necessities are carefully considered – and usually pushed as far back as possible.

There is always a way of being able to reduce your bills so that you have a bigger bank balance. It’s all about changing your habbits to create a better life for you and your family.

Things like taking a water bottle from home when your going on a trip rather than buying drinks from the servo (service station) etc. Make lunch at home rather than buying lunch – Say you spend $15 a day on lunch, if you made lunch at home it would save you $65 a week! If you have a credit card, don’t carry it on your person at all times, leave it at home so that you either use cash, or you go without. Set a limit for birthday, Easter, Christmas presents or make homemade gifts.

When I need to go shopping, I do a few hours of planning beforehand so I’m able to save as much money as I possibly can. I understand this is far from possible for some, but it really does save you money. A shop that I’ve planned will come to somewhere around $120.00 where as a shop I haven’t planned for can cost anywhere in excess of $200.00.

When I say I plan a shop I don’t just mean groceries, I mean the works! So for anything I need in the kitchen I order from Kitchen Warehouse. There products are always exactly what I ordered and they have some awesome discounts – at the time of writing this they had 40% off rrp as well as if you spend $200.00 get $50.00 off your purchase. BUT – you need to be careful with any deals that say if you spend so much you will get so much off. You need to work out exactly how much you will save.

With two babies, it’s hard to go buy a birthday present. I love Ebay! I can sit on the couch and shop from the comfort of my home and the bonus is if you learn how to use Ebay to your advantage it can be a wonderful tool to hide up your sleeve!

Here we come to my favourite, if I won the lotto i’d still buy everything and anything from Kmart! There is honestly nothing better than losing yourself in the mist of….yeah sex is pretty good, but sometimes, for a mum of 2 boys under 2 Kmart is so much better! You know the old saying? My wife hates snakes, but if Kmart sold snakes, we’d probably have a few.

Don’t get caught out thinking you are actually saving money at places like Prices Plus, Solly’s, The Reject Shop etc. Sometimes your brain will tell you your saving money because it’s a cheap shop but I went in for fabric softener, it was the same brand that I get from woolworths, Solly’s had the item listed for $5.00 and Woolworths had the exact same product listed for $2.25 so just be aware that some items are definitely cheaper at these shops whereas others are not.

Here are some tips to really squeeze out every cent you can:-

Track your expenditure. Use a diary or if you have a smartphone find an app that best suits you that can do this for you.

Use tax returns to pay off debt such as credit cards and minimise the interest you have to pay.

Make your own cleaning products, vinegar and eucalyptus are great household cleaners.

Cook and freeze your own biscuits, slices and cakes. Not only is it cheaper – it tastes way better!

Never shop hungry, this prevents impulse buying.

Switch to generic brands. They are often made from the same ingredients in the same factory, with a different label.

Buy in bulk and save. Cook larger portions and freeze for later.

Try cheaper nappy brands or if that doesn’t work for you (like me), find sites like the House of Nappies and buy in bulk when their on sale.

Make homemade baby food. Buying two jars a day can cost in excess of $1000 per year.

Put all your $2 coins into a coin tin or a 2 litre empty coke bottle and use the money as a school holiday fund or save for a family holiday – use your imagination.

Shop at clearance centres and factory outlets. Also don’t forget discount stores like The Reject Shop and Dimmies – they often have discount dishwasher tablets and spaghetti sauces at cheaper prices than the supermarket – But as discussed above, BE CAREFUL.

Plan to shop during sale periods. Most supermarkets have a ‘8 Week Sale Cycle’ – so buy the more expensive products like bottled coffee during the sale period, and try and make it last until the next cycle – if you can!

Swap to energy efficient globes and water saving showerheads.

Consider purchasing second-hand white goods or display models which come with a discount if you need to purchase white goods. Also consider getting rid of old whitegoods, often they are energy in-efficient – so they cost you more in electricity than they would to replace (over the course of a year). Ditch the old chest freezer and grab a new upright instead!

Wash in cold water and dry clothes on the clothes line rather than in the dryer.

Wash your own car – let the kids help, it can be fun – This is an extremely hard task when you have a car wash 500m up the road!

During the School Holidays – consider a ‘Staycation’ rather than a holiday. Sleep in your own bed every night, but still go out and do something fun during the day! Also jump on your towns events page on facebook, usually there will be activities you didn’t even know about happening.

Join a local playgroup (or host your own!) – a fun and inexpensive way to entertain your toddler. Also check out what programs you local library has for the little ones – they often have a free baby and toddler activity group during the week.

Establish a babysitting circle and trade services with trusted friends.

Organise a toy exchange. Swap toys your children no longer use.

Barter with friends and family e.g. a basket of ironing for some home cooking.

Save on Christmas wrap, use brown paper and dress with ribbon or let the kids decorate it. Also make homemade christmas gifts, jump on pinterest for inspiration and set a spend limit. Secret Santa is a good option for large families.

– easier said than done right?

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Every once in a while, I look back on my carefree (and budget-free) days of spending, and you know what? I don’t miss it. All I have to show for it is a closet full of shoes that have barely been worn. It’s not as if I never buy anything for myself anymore; I just give it more thought, and I end up appreciating it more.

So now I want to know – what tips and tricks for saving money do you have to share? I’d love to hear them!

Aquo Xx

Self care will save you $$$…

Here’s a crazy thought – making time for self care in your routine will save you money, not in the short term – but in the long term. Putting off self care will cost you more for the simple fact that something small that is wrong with your body may turn into something big down the track – meaning you will have to fork out hard earned cash for treatment for something that could have been prevented by spending now to save later. Example – While you put off that skin check appointment, that slow growing superficial spreading melanoma that you have had since your younger days, decides to turn nasty. Something that could have been prevented by not putting the appointment off.

Some simple ways to become frugal when it comes to money include:-

Getting enough rest -Not just at night time, but on your days off as well. Especially in your younger days, there is NO need to apologize for not jam packing your time off work for functions or recreational activities. Watch the following video, it is crawling with ways that sleep helps you prevent any of the ailments shown:

Meal planning and budgeted shopping – If you meal plan before you go shopping there’s more chance you won’t pick up all the extra things you don’t really need as you are strolling along up and down all the aisles.

Exercise – Exercising regularly does more than just make you look good, it helps you look after your health, money, etc. It may save you from having to spend lots of money paying a shrink or having an operation for a knee replacement because you let yourself become obese. I’m not talking about joining a gym, I’m talking about old school get moving outside, go for a walk, a run, use that home gym you haven’t touched in five years. The secret is to find the motivation within yourself.

Having set goals – Making plans now for the future means that you have direction and will stress less as you know what you have to do to achieve said goal/s. In this world, people can’t focus properly living in complete chaos. This means they are less productive than what they possibly could be. Set your goals, create a plan and work towards them – Every. Single. Day.  Even if it’s just a small step. Keeping them visible at all times, being consistent and tracking your progress will help you stay focused on your goals!

Living within your means – I make spending the least amount of money an achievement rather than the other way around. This comes into all components of self care because everything costs money – in some shape or form. The following video is about how you can reduce your stress over money:

body care – Having a regular skin care routine, exercise routine, hair care routine are all good habits to get into to possibly save money down the track on cosmetic surgery because you are unhappy with your appearance.

You should never be spending outside of your means. Taking care of yourself should be a priority. To live a life of full worth means to live abundantly in all aspects of your life – mentally, physically, spiritually and financially. You must value your worth and make time for yourself. Your best life is just around the corner and you don’t have to spend a hell of a lot of money to get it.

Aquo Xx

Legalisation of marijuana – why won’t the rest of the world follow suit?

“Oh no! she said the ‘M’ word.” The crowd gasps as she sits back and researches the plant as a whole – not just reaping it’s benefits.

Something quite amazing to us North Queenslanders is how over in California – over in ‘the states’ they have restaurants where the key ingredient is marijuana. There are people walking down the street smoking a joint, and it’s completely normal! What about how there are less people addicted to prescription painkillers because they smoke weed. Let’s use a different word to ‘people’, say ‘patients’ would the government see it differently then?

It is estimated that 20% of adult Australians suffer from some form of chronic pain. Why is it that the Australian Government, or any Government for that matter, can dictate what you do to your ‘own’ body after you turn 18 years of age? And i’m not talking about those other heavy drugs that have absolutely no medicinal properties what so ever. I’m talking about marijuana, the plant that holds 8+ medicinal properties and so many health benefits!

It shouldn’t be up to any other person regardless of their rank or training what you ingest or inhale. As kids were taught “your body, your rules.” but, is that really the case?

Last year, a large review from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine assessed more than 10,000 scientific studies on the medical benefits and adverse effects of marijuana. One area that the report looked closely at was the use of medical marijuana to treat chronic pain.

Marijuana, or products containing cannabinoids — which are the active ingredients in marijuana, or other compounds that act on the same receptors in the brain as marijuana — are effective at relieving chronic pain.

In 2016, 85% of Australians favoured the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, rising from 69% in 2013. Which brings me to the question – why are pharmaceutical companies being able to bribe Australian Politicians? Prescription pain killers are becoming an increased cause of death by overdose. Whether people take prescription pain killers for recreation or because the pills have been prescribed to them – PEOPLE ARE DYING HERE!!!

People say the Government is making too much money off marijuana so they won’t legalise it, yesterday I was reading a blog piece from the Cannabis Executive on how California has the biggest legal marijuana market in the world, despite the black market. It got me thinking about our laws here in Queensland, but also in Australia as a whole. This is what I found:-

My views as a whole are pretty simple… don’t just legalise ‘medical marijuana’ because recreationally, there will still be abuse because as a whole, it’s still illegal. Legalise marijuana and build super dispensaries like they have in different states in ‘the states’. I found out they also have dispensaries with drive thru’s now! A major issue with marijuana is there isn’t enough education on the plant. The views in Australia also need to change, marijuana needs to stop being seen as a harmful illegal drug and it needs to start being seen as a plant with different medicinal properties.

That is not to say there shouldn’t be any criminalization surrounding the plant what so ever. Teenage/childhood marijuana use can affect learning ability, attention, memory, coordination, balance, judgment, and decision-making. While it may not be as problematic for adult use as once believed, there are still plenty of good reasons to discourage weed smoking in teenagers (other than the fact that in most states, it’s still illegal).

Speaking with a person currently in that industry recently, we got to talking about how there needs to be a scale similar to that of measuring alcohol consumption (breathalyzer) for measuring THC consumption. I know they have the swabbing technique in affect but that only tells you weather the person tested has THC in their system, not the level of THC in their system. Simple – Make it 0.05 as well. I’m sure somebody can invent something that measures THC if there isn’t something already out there…

I believe the world would benefit so much from microdosing with cannabis!

Practitioners of microdosing are taking small amounts of cannabis in order to reap the medical benefits of THC while avoiding its psychoactive effects that can interfere with the demands of daily life.“Microdosing is something that is very personal. There is no magic bullet for all patients; it is different for each one.”Michelle Ross, Founder of IMPACT Network

“Most people don’t know about microdosing,” says Michelle Ross, founder of IMPACT network, a nonprofit organization that uses empirical medical research to find new cannabis-related treatments for patients. “They just blast their system with cannabis or high amounts of THC, and that is not always the best approach for whatever condition they have.”

While microdosing has typically been associated with hallucinogens like LSD, many experts now believe that the threshold for the medical benefits of THC is far lower than many people think.

www.leafly.com – microdosing guide

I also believe EDUCATION is key! And this is what Australia is missing – studies of the science behind marijuana similar to that of the states, but Australia is much smaller than the states and reality is we are so far behind with our knowledge and views – that all needs to change.

Aquo Xx

Sleep trackers – good or bad?…

The other morning I was watching Sunrise, one of the very few times I get to because in our house, Blippi is life… Long story, hopefully you NEVER have to find out! They were talking about the different sleep trackers out there and when I first started my fitness journey I thought the Fitbit Charge and Charge 2 were the bee’s knees… how wrong I was. This segment caught my attention because sleep has become very important to me! And I will do everything in my power to protect it!

High tech wrist watches and smartphone apps have been developed to help monitor our sleep patterns. These trackers promise a lot, with some saying they measure the time you spend in each stage of sleep. Although, it might be fun to pore over data you have collected about yourself, it is important to keep the pros and cons in mind when using these new sleep tracker technologies.

Most sleep tracker apps and watches use a device built into most smartphones that senses movement. This device measures how much movement you make during your sleep and this data is then used in an ‘algorithm’ to estimate sleep time and quality. How sensitive each device is to movement and the algorithm used varies between products. This can greatly affect their accuracy.

Popular trackers, such as the Fitbit Charge, include a sleep mode that aims to provide sleep time and restlessness.

Some wrist sleep trackers claim to also estimate sleep stages – the Jawbone UP breaks down sleep time into deep and light stages. The new Jawbone UP3 has added sensors for measuring skin and room temperature to help indicate deep and REM sleep. The Basis B1 estimates REM sleep in addition to deep and light sleep stages by measuring heart rate.

Sleep trackers that only use an accelerometer (such as smartphone apps) cannot accurately measure sleep stages. That’s because an accelerometer only monitors movement, and there is little difference in movement between the sleep stages. You move a similar amount in deep sleep and lighter stages of sleep.

While most trackers can estimate fairly well when a person is awake -v- asleep, they are not very accurate and most likely, something will go wrong. For example, you could be lying still but be awake. In the case of the phone apps Sleep Cycle or Sleep As AnDroid, your partner, child or even your dog could impact the amount of movement and noise detected by the device, changing the sleep data.
Research on some of these sleep trackers suggests that they provide a general estimate of sleep but that they can give misleading information.


A 2012 study data with adults who wore an older version of the Fitbit tracker found that it overestimated sleep time by an average of 67 minutes. Another study in 2014 found the opposite effect in children. The Fitbit One underestimated the children’s sleep by 105 minutes.

Users should not expect these devices to recognise change between sleep stages. This is because they rely on movements, whereas sleep stages are defined by brain wave activity and other body indicators (eye movements etc.) measured in a laboratory sleep test.

The Basis B1 is one of the few trackers on the market that says it can track REM sleep in addition to light and deep sleep. The device claims it can do this because it includes a heart rate monitor in addition to an accelerometer. However the research on what this claim is based has not been published yet and so cannot be properly assessed.

For most people, using a monitor to track sleep isn’t going to be a problem. In fact, it might help some people understand and review their sleep and wake patterns, and this may ultimately improve their sleep. For example, noticing a pattern of repeatedly going to bed late and sleeping less than required may help the user adjust their sleep habits to allow for longer sleep.

In general the sleep tracker apps and devices will give you a good overview of how long you sleep but they can only tell you so much. You have to use the data to figure out what’s working for you and what isn’t. If you think there is a problem, regardless of what the sleep tracker data is telling you, talk to your GP.

These devices raise awareness of sleep health and sleep issues. Over time they could show if you are getting less or more disturbed sleep that you might expect. This might lead you to seek treatment or change lifestyle habits. See Understanding and Helping Poor Sleep as a good starting point.

Ok, so summing up, always remember the following… These are consumer products, and most have not undergone scientific evaluation. Don’t put too much trust in these devices to accurately monitor sleep. A single night is not always a very accurate reflection of your general sleep; one night’s “data” shouldn’t be cause for alarm. If you tend to worry about your sleep then it might be best for you to avoid sleep trackers, or only look at the data occasionally. Have fun! Collecting data about yourself can be very interesting. But just remember sleep trackers tend to point to general trends in your sleep as a whole.

Aquo Xx

A stay-at-home mum’s guide to stretching every $$$

It’s no secret how money just doesn’t seem to go as far these days. We are all having to learn how to shop smarter and try and get every bang for buck we possibly can. Being a stay at home mum, we may have a spare second or two to do our research to find any deal we possibly can so as to save that little extra. Below I have listed out ways you too can do this:-

There are so many household products where somebody has formulated a way you can make them yourself, costing you much less. I have just started making my own baby wipes, they don’t have anything in them that can irritate your child’s skin. There is also ways to make laundry detergent, baby wipes, granola, lunchbox fillers, kitchen extras, personal care products, different home & garden products, cleaning products- the list is endless!

Research best deal I research almost every product I’m looking at buying by reading reviews and searching where I can get the best value for money. If It’s cheaper to buy larger quantities I tend to do that.

Shop online – For things you can get at the bigger stores – Woolies/Coles, Bunnings etc I like to shop online as It’s much quicker for me with my limitations. When it comes to things like clothes etc. where sizes can be tricky, I like to buy local, it may cost a few extra dollars, but you can physically assess the items before you buy them – than It’s done! No wasting your time, No sending back and forth taking weeks, no dealing with all the frustration… So at the end of the day is it really saving you money?

Check your pantry before deciding on a meal plan – While I plan the following week’s meal plan and writing the grocery list I go through the pantry so I don’t double up on things, and will possibly save a few $$$ for the week. Sometimes I start in the pantry and choose meals where I only need a few more ingredients, some weeks I spend less than $50.00 on groceries.

Cut down on the extras – I think there has only been a few times in my life where I have only bought the items I need, not want. Click and collect is a great tool to start becoming the master of if you need to stick to a tight budget. Click and collect can save a significant amount of time when a customer is purchasing a lot of items. The model is becoming increasingly available, and popular – in supermarkets. Typically, the shopper selects the items online and specifies a convenient pick-up time slot. A personal shopper selects the items at an appropriate time and the customer picks them up curbside.

Buy in bulk if It’s a smart buy – read tags to work out. add video & pics

Meats, ready-to-eat meals, canned items, and any non-perishable, shelf-stable items are a good bulk buy. Paper products like toilet paper, paper towels, and paper plates are also smart purchases.

If you’re a parent, buying diapers and wipes online are seen to be the cheapest option for the quality nappies. The Nappy Shop, House Of Nappies, Go Toddler, or other bulk stores will also save you big. When we had our son, we did the calculations on diapers and worked out on average, we save a few hundred dollars every year.

Other items to buy in bulk include: candy, laundry, and dish detergent, garbage bags, coffee (if you drink a lot), even dog food or treats. Toothbrushes, cereal, and even jewelry can also be great buys.

Unless you have a massive wog family (like my family) and cook for a dozen people everyday, if you buy things like fresh food or anything you won’t use before the expiration date in bulk you are actually LOOSING money!

Buy generic brands – Most times you will find that brands like Coles, Woolies, homebrand etc. have certain products that are just as good (if not better) than the big brand names. For example, I have found that the Coles Ultra Brand are just as good as the big brands but is only $4 a pack. Also Coles Brand Laundry Soak is better than Vanish and is only $2.

Reuse left overs – With left overs, I like to change it up so it’s not the same boring thing. If we have pasta for dinner and there’s heaps of left overs, the next night I’ll make pasta toasties or pasta bake & salad etc. I use the internet heaps to find new things to make out of what we already have, walah! a whole new meal.

Know how to Use your rewards cards – These days there are rewards cards for every single store in the universe, or so it seems. Visit Point Hacks – they have heaps of different guides on how to use each of your rewards cards effectively. They will tell you how to buy and use your points for cheaper flights, how to use specific rewards programs more effectively and guides on how to earn more rewards points.

Stick to a meal plan – There is one sure-fire way to save money on the groceries week after week and that is meal planning. All the other grocery savings tips fall second to planning meals in advance. In fact, without the foundation of a good meal plan, you won’t get the full benefit of other tips like eating in season or shopping at Woolies/Coles.

These days, I get all excited when I save money, especially if it’s unexpected. If you put any of the tips I have given here, in place, I guarantee you will cut your current spendings. You can’t half ass it though, and if you do there’s not really any point. Be like me – go in full bull and don’t look back!

Aquo Xx

Bamboo nappies are life!

When our first son was born, we started using huggies nappies – because you know… So many people rave about how good they are…. WRONG! I could seriously sue them for what wearing their nappies did to my poor little boys bum! For ages we couldn’t figure out what was wrong (It took like a year!) Until I started buying different brand of nappies for during the day and slowly slowly his bum started to clear up. I’m only guessing – but that’s the only reason that could be.

Now I know some of you are probably thinking “but how often were you changing him?!” With a whole heap of attitude attached… Now, I can’t stress enough that wherever he went, whoever he was with, they were always very vigilant with changing him. I mean my mother and mother-in-law have always been that bit more proactive that me!

So before bub #2 arrived I started to research things like most eco friendly nappies, world’s best disposable nappies, healthiest nappies and started to educate myself on all things nappies.

Research

Choice Australia – https://www.choice.com.au/babies-and-kids/baby-clothes-and-nappies/nappies/buying-guides/disposable-and-cloth-nappies

Healthy Mummy – https://www.healthymummy.com/choice-best-disposable-nappies/

Good baby diapers – https://goodbabydiapers.com/bambo-nature-diaper-revie

These are just some of the sites that helped make up my mind on the direction I was going to take in regards to nappies. When my second bub was a new born I used pampers premi nappies but now I use bambo nature, they are so absorbent its not funny! I forgot to change my toddler before he was put to bed, he was in the same nappy for 13 hours and his nappy was full like it was going to explode! There’s full – then there’s omg so full! I am so in love with bamboo nappies now, there is no way I will ever go back to using any other disposable nappies!

I eventually found sites like House of Nappies and The Nappy Shop and I started ordering my nappies in bulk and worked out the cost of buying bamboo nappies in bulk compared to buying Huggies from woolies. Now, I wish I could say that they cost relatively the same cost – yeah, no… Bamboo nappies DO NOT COME CHEAP! However – they are the best thing on earth!

So it turns out… Bambo nature nappies (the head honcho of bambo nappies), are $201.85 for a month of nappies, I can’t just run down to the shops and buy them, but the nappy shop has AFTERPAY! –

BrandBambo NatureHuggies
Pants size 50.77c ea0.40c ea
Nappies size 5$1.09 ea0.46c ea
Newborn size 1$2.02 ea0.31c ea

So before you all have a fit, like my husband did – think of it like this – it has solved a problem that has been present on and off for over a year, I have tried EVERY. SINGLE. BRAND. OF. NAPPIES. OUT. THERE! My poor little boy says as he holds his bits “Sore, change, cream, goo.” – Translation: “Mummy, I’m sore af! I need to be changed, I need cream, and I think nappy goo will suffice.” It is the cutest thing ever.

I also decided to make my own wipes because nappies are expensive af! And because then we know what’s in them. So I buy Viva paper towels (don’t buy cheap, I did, they aren’t strong enough) and a jar of coconut oil (whatever is on special). I fold the paper towel in half (I fold two rolls at a time), boil the jug, mix 1 heaped tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 cup of boiling water and let the coconut oil dissolve. I use the huggies containers to put them in because I had them already, but while writing this article I decided to see what’s out there – and I didn’t find anything of interest, the huggies containers seem to be the most convenient.

EDIT:- So as I was writing this I discovered another – much more time saving – way to use the wipes. All those hours wasted folding the paper towel! What I found was if you run one end of the roll under the tap for a second and then turn the roll up the other way and set aside – the water will transfer throughout the roll making it easy to slide the cardboard cylinder out of the middle. Then squash the roll into the container, add the mixture, then just roll the sheets out and break off as needed – OMG SO MUCH EASIER!

It was now been an entire week where the only nappy that is used on both my boys is bambo nature and I have noticed a significant change. I no longer hear “mummy sore sore!” There is a massive cost difference to those brands you can but at Woolies or Coles, but you do what you have to do for your kids. The element of afterpay makes it a bit easier as well and I have become quite frugal with all my other expenses. Follow some of my other blogs to see how you can also reduce your spendings.

Aquo Xx

The day your walk turns into a run…

So today, 06/08/2019 – After telling myself this morning I was going to have a lazy day after my night last night… and the few before that. I’ve had to share my bed with not one, but two little germ infested poo poo platters that are my sons. The big one has been running scary temperatures and has a cold and the baby is so congested! Poor thing – I’ll say that because he’s currently asleep, haha!

OK SQUIRREL

So today, my walk, turned into a run! OMG! Even if it was just three 100mish bursts on my 3kmish walk around town pushing a pram. People are still unsure about my dedication to my healthy lifestyle, even though I’m now a size 14 from a size 18/20. After my first child i weighed 102kg. 102kg! I will never forget that number as it’s the same weight as the biggest barramundi I caught. I slip up every so often and have something naughty.

I vow to never, ever, ever return to looking like this again!

Me in the 80kg category. (don’t have any pics of me at 102kg)

I was once told “It is ok for you to stray from the path of a healthy lifestyle, but you can’t loose site of your goals and you have to be able to return to a healthy lifestyle.” For me – I WANT IT SO BAD! I want to transform into a sexy, tight assed, fitness model to prove to the world that it is possible to look like that, it just takes a magnitude of self-motivation and dedication. You have to be extremely disciplined! And more – you have to want to do it for yourself rather than your husband, boyfriend etc. My husband constantly tells me that I don’t have to do it for him, he loves me the way I am. I reply – “Pfft I’m not doing it for you, i’m doing it for myself, to better me.

And with that – people will be waiting for you to fail, so they can say I told you so in a snide way. You need to lose that want for acceptance of others, you don’t need it. I’m on my way there and it feels great!

I would like to aim to create something like the following. These are just a few ideas that come to mind.

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 21: Model Bridget Malcolm attends call backs for the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Midtown on August 21, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
Kayla Itsines – top Australian fitness model
An advocate for something i’m passionate about = I just haven’t put my finger on it yet.

Anywho – Just a quick little blurb about my exciting experience today, I’m off to start baking lunch snacks.

Aquo Xx

None of us have it together mama – so stop comparing yourself!

This is another write up that hits pretty close to home… for all of us. Every mum these days is trying to be a super mum, trying to make sure your kids are getting enough stimulation – but not too much, making sure they’re eating healthy and are always well, and are well behaved when we go out. But come on, lets face it, all of our beautiful little munchkins are at times are all little assholes that have been sent to test us, to show every other person out there what we’re made of.

That perfect mum, yeah… she’s a myth! I had my first son in 2017 and did everything from making all of his baby food, didn’t allow him to eat anything processed, bathed him everyday from a new born, would clean my floors everyday, took him to playgroup every week, stuck our routine like glue – you name it. I honestly thought “what is everyone winging about? This is easy!” Fuck I was naive!

But seriously, none of us really know what we’re made of until we have two, and I mean go through two separate pregnancies, none of this “oh I have twins, this is so hard, I’m not going back and having anymore” BULLSHIT. You realise it’s going to be so much harder when you have to chase after a toddler, you have to get up every… single… day… because you don’t have a choice. It’s not your child’s fault you can’t keep your legs shut. Haha – You don’t get a chance to rest when you want or need to for that matter.

So… my second bub is 11 weeks old now, I still have a clean house – put bub in baby carrier and off I go – but I don’t look after myself as well. My nails are currently an embarrassment and my hair is so oily we could deep fry chips in it. Yes I do get help because of my disability, but no where as much as I used to so now I’ve adapted to push through and get shit done. Even on my worst days, I make myself get at least one chore and make sure the boy’s bottles are made up.

When it comes to looking after myself, I will always put my health and fitness before anything else. Getting fat again is my ultimate fear! Exercising makes me function so much more efficiently. I don’t get much time to go to the gym at the moment, so I force myself to go walking – even if I have both boys with me. My plan at the moment is get down to a size 10-12 then tone the shit out of my body! #mommystrong

I was searching the net one night – aimlessly and found a site for Mumcations… I thought that would be so awesome! I can see me and my friend now (she has ffff five kids!) It could get rather messy! I would so much rather that than going with my husband. A kidless vacation means no kids… Even the big ones – “Babe I can’t find this” – ummm it’s right in front of you (hits myself in the head).

I have always tried to portray myself as strong, emotionally and physically. I guess that comes with a brain injury – at times you feel people think your “different”. Even though I come across as a cold hard bitch at times, I still have feelings but.

Now, after my second kid I don’t give two shits about any criticism that comes my way, I’ll be over here… doing my own thing. If you don’t like it… well, anyone who knows me well enough knows what comes next. 🙂

Aquo Xx

Organised Mumma…

So today is Saturday and today I have a mega velcro baby. I was planning on having a pretty laxed day, because I woke up feeling like crap! WRONG! I saw things needed to be done so I pulled up my big girl pants, had my banoffee smoothie (recipe will follow), a berocca and started smashing out jobs. The baby is 10 + 1 days old and last night slept from 7pmish to just after 3am this morning so I woke up feeling like a new person (until now, he’s has slept 4hrs max). Edit:- Now he sleeps from 8pm till 5am! yay!

I decided that today was going to be the day I start working out again… IT WAS POSSIBLY THE BEST DECISION I HAVE MADE IN MY LIFE…. EVERRR! I am feeling so energised, dealing with two screaming kids is so much easier, dealing with people in general is so much easier! I decided to do a bit of cardio and some weights for 20 minutes and I did it with the baby in the carrier and a toddler jumping on me. It was awesome. I’m going to start turning back to the Fitmom program that Sharny & Julius Keiser started in 2012 and has since become a very successful platform for those wanting to get healthy.

Mums – How good would it be if we could have the same set routine everyday! But I’m a realist and I know that that will never happen! it would be good right?? NO, it would be amazing! I find that getting up even half an hour before the boys get up and have my breaky smoothie and my morning coffee in peace watching the sunrise and process my day, check the calendar and both my electronic diary (phone) and my paper based diary.

If a load of washing has to be put on I will go do that, make sure dinner has been taken out of the freezer, make sure there are enough baby wipes – if not,make more, make sure my toddler has a lunchbox packed for the day (even if we’re at home, Mr independence likes to go to the fridge and get what he wants… AT 2!), put a loaf of bread on (I love my bread maker), and make sure both boy’s bottles are ready in the fridge. It doesn’t happen like that everyday, but I like my Mondays to start of like that, it helps the rest of the week to go a little smoother.

For a snack I like to make my own nut mix:

  • A block of 95% coco Lindt chocolate (you can use any)
  • A handful of dried fruit (Today, I used apples)
  • A handful of Goji berries
  • A handful of peanuts
  • A handful of cashews
  • A handful of walnuts
  • A handful of pumpkin seeds
  • A handful of pine nuts

I don’t measure ANYTHING! I use any nuts, seeds & fruit I have around the house so it works with anything… BE CREATIVE!

For lunchbox fillers I buy a block of cheese that I cut in little squares and put in snack bags (I wash and reuse them as I go through so many). I also buy 2 or 3 boxes of crackers and divide them up into snack bags, and I make sure there are yoghurts (kid ones & adult ones).

This recipe is out of “The healthy mix” by Nikalene Riddle formulated for use with a thermomix

I have learnt the art of speed cleaning – which is all about getting the essentials done without taking up too much of your precious time. During the week, I make sure the essentials get done and on Fridays I get in and do everything I can’t do myself with the help of a support worker. The following blog is all about speed cleaning:-

Speed cleaning – https://www.kidspot.com.au/lifestyle/home/home-solutions/how-to-speed-clean-your-entire-house-in-under-an-hour/news-story/233482497e6b5b63aca995365314e592

Since I have lost over 20kg since the operation to have a plate put in to hold my shoulder in place (as I had a severe brachial plexus injury from my accident), the plate is now sticking out of my arm and causing so much pain – it’s epic! With two kids it is a massive hinderance! Most days, I just have to push through and get shit done – mums out there, can you relate?

I never want to be seen as a failure as a mother first then a friend. My friends mean the world to me – as after my accident I lost many of my so called friends. However, my kids come before anything! my husband, and even my dad – my dad and I are so close. I weanted to see what other mums out there have to say, I found the following blog and much of what is written hits home – BIG TIME.

10 Truths you need to hear when you feel like a failure as a mum – https://keeperofthehome.org/10-truths-you-need-to-hear-when-you-feel-like-a-failure-as-a-mom/

It is so true that you believe the lies you tell yourself when your tired, stressed, run down. Our failures, weaknesses and sins are NOT who we are! The fact that you even care means that there is always room for improvement, growth and adversity. You have to take life in, make the best decisions for yourself (even though we all struggle with that at times) and your kids. When I became a parent I realised that I was in charge of keeping a small human alive and I needed to have more structure in my life.

So yeah – when I became a parent I realised that I was in charge of keeping a small human alive and I needed to have more structure in my life to make sure things ran as smoothly as humanly possible to make living with my disabilities and two little boys as easy as it can be. I still struggle, don’t get me wrong…. I have my blowouts to blow off some steam but then I return to be the best mum I can be for my boys – that means being organised.

Aquo Xx

Raise your kids on a healthy diet…

I believe that the best thing you can do for your babies is to introduce a healthy diet from when they begin to eat solids as recommended by the healthy eating pyramid. Statistics show that if parents maintain a healthy diet, their children are 75% more likely to follow same.

But… I’ve gone all next level healthy mummy. I try my hardest to check the nutritional labels on everything and stick to the one serving size – it would be awesome if I was able to do this with everything in the kitchen…. But – I’m a realist…. Andddd I know with 2 boys under 2 that ain’t gonna happen!

My eldest son was 2 before he ate anything that was even a little bit processed, and I’m not even sorry – not even a little bit! I have a well behaved toddler. Well – As much as possible for a toddler. Once we started to introduce processed foods, we noticed his behavior receded and took a week or so to readjust.

Benefits of raising your children to be healthy include:

  • strong bones and muscles
  • healthy heart, lungs and arteries
  • improved coordination, balance, posture and flexibility
  • reduced risk of becoming overweight or obese
  • reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes later in life

All vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, some stand out for their exceptional health benefits. Some individuals benefit more from certain vegetables than others, depending on their diet, overall health, and nutritional needs.

Healthy eating can help children maintain a healthy weight, avoid certain health problems, stabilize their energy, and sharpen their minds. A healthy diet can also have a positive effect on a child’s mental and emotional health, helping to prevent conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and ADHD.

Eating well can support a child’s healthy growth and development into adulthood and may even play a role in lowering the risk of suicide in young people. If your child/children has already been diagnosed with a mental health problem, a healthy diet can help your child to manage the symptoms and help control their health.

It’s important to remember that your kids aren’t born with a craving for French fries and pizza and an aversion to broccoli and carrots. This conditioning happens over time as kids are exposed to more and more unhealthy food choices. However, it is possible to reprogram your children’s food cravings so that they crave healthier foods instead. My two year old son loves fresh fruit & vegetables. His lunchbox for daycare includes:- Carrot & Hummus, A Vegemite sandwich on homemade bread, Sultanas, Strawberries or a piece of fruit & a sometimes snack (weetbix slice or any kids snacks down the health-food isle at Woolies. Most days, he comes home with an empty lunchbox.

We have started toilet training and the other day I hear “Mum I want hummus!” while he was sitting on the toilet – to get him to stay there he got it!

The sooner you introduce wholesome, nutritious foods into your kids’ diets, the easier they’ll be able to develop a healthy relationship with food that can last them a lifetime.

Since having my first child in 2017 I have developed a much healthier relationship with food. What motivated me to become healthy in the first place was how fat I became! I reached the larger size of 18 and not quite size 20. I completely lost my sex drive and was so unhappy in my overall self. I worked away at it everyday, I learnt so much about nutrition, fitness, mental & physical health and all the information that comes with it.

Whether your children are toddlers or in their teens, children develop a natural want for the foods they enjoy the most. To encourage healthy eating habits, the challenge is to make healthy choices appealing and fun. Using fun names for fruit and veg is an awesome trick! Broccoli in our house is called baby trees, mix different colours together to make a rainbow, incorporate their current favourite thing into it by using the same colours, etc. Be creative!

Here’s a list of helpful links to get you started:

Make healthy options available by keeping plenty of fruit, vegetables, and healthy beverages (water, milk, pure fruit juice) on hand – I don’t actually keep unhealthy snacks in my house unless it’s a special occasion. Don’t force your kids to clean their plates, and never use food as a reward or bribe.

Aquo Xx