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

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

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

My love of cooking

Since I was a little girl, I have loved being in the kitchen cooking up a storm. I loved going to cooking bees with mum or being involved in a big cook up at home. At nine years of age, I could prep and cook dinner for our family (6 of us). Still to this day, there’s nothing I love more than planning a cooking day at home, especially now I have a Thermomix AND a Bread Maker!

I love planning a cook up – planning what I’m going to make, in what order, what ingredients I already have at home and the ingredients I have to buy. I love grocery shopping these days, all hail click & collect! – Find a park, go in, walk to the front desk, sign and collect your trolley full of your shop, push trolley out, pack groceries into car – Done! In record breaking time!

Before I start, I get out every kitchen tool out and I wash up as I go. Having a clean work space makes you so much more productive! I find being as organised lets you fit more in to your day. I recently went and had a cook-up day at my mother-in-law’s and because I didn’t know were anything was, I only had time to make 3 of the six dishes (in 8 hours!)

I love how still to this day, mum and dad praise my cooking. I have never been afraid of experimenting with different flavours and I’m always looking at how I can improve my favourites, or anything I cook really.

Once I had my first child, I was always looking at what baby food I could make him. He ate from three months, and I mean he ate anything and everything! Pea & pear, pumpkin & sweet potato, apple & raspberry – just to name a few. I always said “your not going to be as fussy as your father!” Still to this day, he eats very minimal processed anything, I make him different snacks and he LOVES his veggies & fruit – at 2 years of age!

About 6 months ago my husband and I got a Thermomix, it legit changed my life! It’s worth every penny. It saves me up to $70 a fortnight shopping as I make most of the basics myself. Things like like bread, rice flour, pizza dough, spaghetti, you name it!

I make a mean spaghetti sauce, curried sausages, greek style baked fish (omfg!!!), banana bread, salmon, dill & caper pasta, quiche (which I make & freeze for my boys’ lunch), weetbix slice, choc chip muffin’s chocolate cookies and rocky road – just to name a few. My newest craze is Woolworths mudcake hacks! A cake that tastes amazing, chop the top off, add some prities & call it your own! win win!

I’ve started to pass my recipe book around to family members for them to write their winning recipes in, that way once their gone I will still be able to have my favourite foods.

If you enjoy an activity, make time in this busy world to do it! There is nothing I love more than a big cooking day! To make lunch snacks, dinners, the basics

Aquo Xx

Mummies – looking after yourself easier said than done…

Since becoming a mum in June 2017, I have tried my hardest to be fit, healthy and well because my son needs me. But in all reality, some days it’s just too bloody hard! But that’s just it! – Give yourself a day to feel like crap, eat chocolate but then the next morning when you wake up, go for a walk in your back yard, do a Pilates class (youtube is free, so there’s not really any excuse), or hook in and do an abt class at home. There are so many different things you can do at home regarding your fitness, and there are heaps you can do with the kids!

One thing I found with myself is that my head needed to be in a good place before I would even consider working out at home. I started following a heap of health & wellness blogs and over time, condensed my list to the ones I felt related to me the most. Below is a list of the ones I have stuck with through my journey:-

The Fit Busy Mum

As a mum of three kids, a physiotherapist and fitness and health author, Rosemary Marchese completely lives and breathes the pressures faced by mums every day. But she also knows that busy mums can also be fit mums. We are busy and she doesn’t set out to change that.

On this website they consider ‘busy’ to be positive – they say that by being busy we are ‘fully engaged’ in life. Instead, this website has been designed to empower and inspire you to get active and lead a healthy lifestyle that suits you, at whatever time period you are at in YOUR life.

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Rosemary Marchese founder of F.B.M with her three kids

Healthy Mummy

Firstly Healthy Mummy is about healthy and REALISTIC weight loss and healthy living. It is not about trying to achieve a 6 pack – but about empowering mums to learn about healthy food, healthy living and doing it in a supportive environment.

Being a mum is HARD WORK and the team at Healthy Mummy totally GET IT! And this understanding and empathy shines through in the recipes, the exercises, the products and the amount of budget and family friendly products available. The two biggest products are the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge and the Healthy Mummy Smoothies.

There are also LOTS of other products – over 52 books, supplements, singlets, active range, snack bars and lots more which cover Healthy Kids products and Healthy Pregnancy products. Plus they have over 130 Healthy Mummy Consultants who are working mums themselves. At Healthy Mummy, they are passionate about ensuring that The Healthy Mummy network offers 24/7 support in a safe, non judgemental and supportive environment.

The aim of the The Healthy Mummy focus is to educate mums how they can make small changes to their life to become healthier and also show them how they can change their life to a healthy one for them and their family

Rhain the founder and CEO of Healthy Mummy with some of the healthy mummies

Honest Mum

Honest mum was founded in 2010 and became a multi-award winning parenting and lifestyle blog, Honest Mum®, a space where Vicki Psarias shares her passions: family life, food, fashion, film, tech, business and travel.

As a former director, Vicki set up her blog while on maternity leave as way to help her rediscover her voice and regain confidence after suffering a traumatic birth. Blogging and vlogging soon became her full-time career taking her work from mostly behind the camera to firmly in front. You might have seen Vicki on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Lorraine, Channel 5 News or SKY News.

Vicki Psarias founder of Honest Mum and her two sons

Mommypotamus

Heather Dessinger started Mommypotamus, she has three children that she birthed in water in her living room, she’s not a doctor or certified nutritionist. There are no special letters behind her name. She’s just a mom that’s passionate about nourishing her family in every way possible.

Heather wasn’t always this way, though. Her along with husband Daniel were junk food fiends when they got married. Part of every dinner came from a box or takeout, and they were fine with that. But years of eating MSG, genetically modified foods, and hormone “enhanced” meat took its toll. About two years after they said their vows – just when they were thinking about starting a family – Heather developed a debilitating autoimmune disorder.

Blood tests also revealed that years of low-fat dieting had lowered her cholesterol to nearly undetectable levels – lower than those long distance runners who don’t get periods. Cholesterol is necessary for producing the hormones that sustain a pregnancy, Heather was told. “Don’t get pregnant, you’re not strong enough to carry a baby to term” were her exact words. Fine, then. She went home and drank 8 oz of oil straight up. (Do not ever do this! You will puke for 10 hours.)

She wanted cholesterol. She wanted a baby. She wanted my horrible acne, acid reflux, anxiety and chronic exhaustion to just GO AWAY. She wanted all of those things and more, but what she really NEEDED was real food.

So, with Nourishing Traditions in hand, Heather hacked away at her old food habits until every single one was gone. No one else she knew was eating this way and she kind of felt like the unabomber while concocting ferments in her kitchen. Heather said “it was frustrating, but oh-so-worth-it.”

Through nutrition and laser therapy she recovered my health, got pregnant, carried her baby not only to term but to the very last day of the forty second week, nursed for two years, got pregnant AGAIN, continued to nurse through her pregnancy, had another baby at 41 weeks. Heather now had a three year old and a one year old and had been continually nursing for 46 months straight. That’s a far cry from not being able to carry a baby to term!

Of course, that was just the beginning of the journey! The best part has been figuring out how to nourish her vibrantly healthy, energetic children and writing about it on her blog.

Heather Dessinger founder of Mommypotamus with the three children

Fit Bottomed Girls

It began as a single blog with a tongue-in-cheek play on a Queen song. Today, the Fit Bottomed World, run by Jennipher Walters and Kristen Seymour (who are certified fitness professionals but also just everyday regular women), is an online phenomenon reaching millions of women (and men!) each month. And, of course, the focus is always on the idea that fit bottoms come in all shapes and sizes — and that you’re more than the number on the scale.

True pioneers of the body-positive movement, Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead began Fit Bottomed Girls in 2008 as friends looking for a fun, fresh and no-diet approach to being healthy. Months after the site launched, it took off — readers were clearly hungry for something other than “how to lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes and get the perfect man.” Infusing their own experiences (both failures and successes) they created a community of “FBGs” — welcoming everyone in, including writer Kristen Seymour, who would later become a business partner.

From there, the Fit Bottomed Girls expanded into new verticals and products to serve its growing readership, including Fit Bottomed Mamas, Fit Bottomed Eats, a book, Fit Bottomed Zen, a podcast and the online course Love Your Body. Love Your Life.In 2017, Erin left the company to pursue other interests and focus on her family, while the Fit Bottomed World expanded into more speaking engagements, retreats, and brand consulting.

Jenn and Erin also continue to work with major brands such as Brooks Running, Marshall’s and Pure Protein on campaigns and other influencer projects that are fully aligned with the Fit Bottomed Girls’ mission. In fact, Jenn and Kristen were named as one of The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness by Greatist in 2016 and 2017, and were listed as one of the best healthy living bloggers of 2018 and 2019 by Healthline. And the one thing that will never, ever change is the company’s mission to continue to let women (and men!) know that you simply can’t hate yourself healthy.

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True pioneers of the body-positive movement, Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead

We’re All Mad Here

Claire Eastham has been writing her blog, We’re All Mad Here, for five years in an attempt to help people realize that social anxiety is more common than many believe. The name of the blog was also used as the title for her book, published in 2016, that acts as a “no nonsense guide to living with social anxiety.”

Both her blog and book provide a thoroughly well-written and personal account of life with social anxiety and panic attacks, doing so with liberal smatterings of humor and wit.

The success of her blog has resulted not only in a best-selling book, but it has been a launchpad for Claire’s work as a public speaker and mental health advocate. Aside from her blog, Claire’s writing can be found across the web, while she has made plenty of appearances on TV and radio.

Claire Eastham founder of We’re all mad here blog

No, I’m not one of those mother’s that just sit on social media all day neglecting my kid, I will jump on during nap time, as of late it has been to grow my knowledge of blogging as well as still researching the above sites as they all have useful info that I can use to create the lifestyle I want for my family.
 
I hope other mummies out there struggling find some light with the list of blogs I follow, they have all helped me in one way or another, whether it be physically, mentally, spiritually, or just life in general. I used to portray myself as a hard ass so that people couldn’t see me struggling or think that ‘I’m weak’, but now I understand I’m not the only mother out there who has bad days.
 
I’m at the stage now (probablely because I have 5 weeks to go before kid # 2 is here), that if you were to say anything to me in a negative way, I may just stab you in the eye with a fork, think about it, how much pressure you would have to use to actually stab someone through the eyeball! Yeah, I’m that pregnant!
 
I hope that over time, one day my blog will become as successful as some of the ones I follow, I know it’s a working progress, and with a new bub here soon, I know it’s going to be hard to keep my blog active. But – as I said in my Organisation blog, I am always thinking ahead, I will have 7-10 blogs ready waiting, just in case I am completly off my head like I anticipate.
 
Aquo Xx
Louise Hay – Positive affirmations to change your attitude