Just like that, the Summer holidays of 2018 are a distant memory and it’s time to get back into a routine. I don’t know about you, but I need one badly now and so do the kids. We had a lot of fun, we travelled to new places, had a photo shoot in a poppy field, sang, danced, explored and of course had our rocky moments too. The noise levels were bonkers and sibling rows frustrate the life out of me.
I ALWAYS put on weight over the summer holidays. We eat out more and sunshine and shandy go together like cheese and crackers. It’s fun but there comes a point when it’s time to get focused again. I like to know the nights/mornings I can fit exercise in because it always makes me feel better. I like to have some sort of plan in terms of what we are eating each week. We are extremely lucky that my Father in Law cooks our meals every Tuesday and Friday night to take the pressure off a bit. My dream is to be able to do this for Bonnie and Charlie one day, as they try and balance work and family life. Let’s just say, Grandad Dave has been amazing for our mental health.
What we eat impacts our mental health, however, I do make a joke in Chapter 3 of my book, all about these stupid voices in our heads. Voices of guilt. I fully accept that for surrival, some nights it will be a pizza thrown in the oven or pesto from the jar. But I do feel much better when we eat more vegetables. It’s the taking time to chop them that is the hard part. My Mum is amazing at sticking to a routine, and as we grew up there was ALWAYS a pot of homemade soup crammed with vegetables on the go. She always managed to get vegetables into our meals too. I love vegetables. Lots of vegetables and water ALWAYS make me feel good. My issue is time and lack of routine and lack of planning.
Top tip number 1
Get the kids to help! Bonnie loves chopping peppers and tomatoes. She doesn’t get a super sharp knife to do it, but she manages fine.
Top tip number 2
Find healthy places to eat out too. Our health club, David Llloyd, have a menu that is crammed with healthy and tasty options. For the past few years, the kids have been obsessed with their mac cheese (see movie below). It comes with carrots and broccoli on the side, which they always eat. It’s something about the full combination of it all, they can’t get enough of it. We are also a big fan of Wagamama and they always have loads of veggie options.
Top tip number 3
Try and get into batch cooking. Where possible, I do this on a Sunday or Monday morning and take a couple of hours to make some dishes such as a soup, vegetable chilli, a curry or casserole. You may have seen some of the videos I have made with The Batch Lady, she is fantastic. She has helped me to get my kitchen more organised. Although I am super high energy when I am at work (and I think a lot of creative types can be chaotic), I crave order and calm at home. Sometimes I batch cook on the go, for example tonight I was making chicken and bean enchiladas. I had a few wraps left so filled them with cheese and ham, made them into parcels and stuck them in the freezer. On a super hectic day, all I need to do is grab them, stick them in the microwave for a minute and put some hummus and carrots, cucumber or peppers on the side.
Top tip number 4
Don’t book in too much. Prioritise classes and schedule them in. I have booked the kids back up for swimming lessons because to me, this skill will actually save their lives so it is a priority and the team at David Lloyd have been amazing in terms of getting their confidence and skills up. I have also been putting them into arts and crafts and activity classes, that come as part of the membership, to give them time to make new friends and also, time for me to fit in some exercise.
Top tip number 5
Many of you will know that I am an ambassador for The Scottish Half Marathon this year. An exercise routine has been really important for me and I have made myself diary in my runs, Blaze sessions and other training. This way, if I diary in the training like I would a client meeting, I ensure I stick to it.
Top tip number 6
Get something relaxing in the diary too – perhaps a self-care night where you can put on a nice facemask, light a candle (perhaps my limited edition mojo candle with funds going to Mind), have a nice bath and read a good book.
I also love Yoga and Body Balance classes and as a runner, it is so important to stretch. As I mentioned on my podcast last week – my favourite part is the meditation at the end in a dark, chilled room. Self care all the way.
Top tip number 7
Sleep. Make sleep part of your routine – think about when you get in an early night or a long lie. This may mean putting your phone out of sight a couple of nights a week. I know this can be SO hard, but getting enough sleep is essential for our mental health.
Top tip number 8
Find your support network. Surround yourself with those who encourage you. Sometimes I tell myself ‘there is no way I can do this’. Listen to those who tell you that you can. You can learn new recipes, you can run that distance that scares you, you can try that Blaze or yoga class, you can get into a routine that makes you feel amazing. Good luck. Tune into my Insta stories as always to see new recipes, get some fitness motivation and watch me dancing around like a loon to get the mojo back.
A huge thank you …..
When I joined David Lloyd a few years ago, Michelle Cran, the GM at the time, could see how much I loved my health club. She was an amazing support of my blog and I am so grateful. I have been an ambassador for the club ever since. You see, David Lloyd isn’t just a place I go to take exercise. It’s a 2nd home. It has soft play, an office space, an outdoor pool that I love all year round. It has amazing fitness classes (Blaze is my current favourite). It has childcare, free activities for the kids, family entertainment, a support network. It’s a place I am proud to sign in clients and friends. It’s a place the kids feel truly at home. They often say in the car ‘Mummy, can we go to David?’. I am proud to say I wrote a lot of my book in the club whilst kiddie free and now it’s a bestseller getting amazing reviews. It was amazing to have Michelle with me at the book launch to celebrate. I’m just gutted I forgot to get a selfie with her but here is a side shot of her singing in the beautiful Borthwick castle, captured by the lovely Rachael Lynch.