Mama OWL Blog: June 2015

Meal Plan Monday 290615

Monday, 29 June 2015

The meal plan is - there is no plan!

We are lucky enough to be enjoying a week at the beautiful San Lucianu Resort in Corsica with Mark Warner Holidays - a week off of cooking, hooray! If you would like, you can follow our adventures in Corsica on IG and Twitter, using my hashtag #SanLuSheps or checking out #MarkWarnerMum and/or #MWMoment.

Have a wonderful week - see you next Monday!

#MumBod Confidence | Week 24 Weight & Inch Loss Update

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

I remember sitting in front of my computer less than six months ago and staring at an empty page, thinking about the blog post that I wanted to write. Sharing my biggest insecurities and fears with the world, laying myself bare to criticism and the chance of public failure. Telling everyone how unhappy I was with my weight and health, and that I was going to take steps to change that... Or at least, that I was going to give it a try.

Was I going to succeed? Or was I going to look like a fool when a few weeks down the line I had given up and the improvements I had planned to make had come to nothing?

It has been 24 weeks since that day. In that time there have been 4 rounds of Project 6 Pack, a Race for Life 5k, and a trip of a lifetime to Australia celebrating a friend's wedding. It has been a whirlwind. I don't really know where the time has gone. But 24 weeks on, I could be sitting here thinking "I wish..." having given up, or I could be sat here looking at progress pics of 24 weeks worth of hard work & thinking "I've done".

Since January, I have now lost 23.9kg (52.6lb) and 35 inches all over.

That's another 6kg and 10" (27cm) in just the last six weeks. I look at these photos and can't really believe that it is me. Amirah & Hayley handed me 23kg worth of dumbbells at the studio on weigh in day & I struggled to hold them - I can't believe that I used to carry that extra weight around daily. I've gone from a UK size 16/18 down to an 8/10.

I am so grateful for the amazing support I have had throughout. Changing your lifestyle isn't easy, sticking to it isn't easy, but it is worth it. I feel amazing & am in the best shape of my life at 32 years old, after 5 babies. I am walking, talking proof that it is possible.

There are a lot of contributing factors to the success that I am enjoying. Sensible meal planning and preparation, a whole list of ways to improve your chances of sticking to your goals, the health and fitness apps & devices that I use to optimise my weight loss, building up a bank of meal & snack inspiration to refer back to when I need it as well as attending classes at Project 6 Pack. But mostly - it's taking some responsibility for what I put in my body, and getting off my ass and exercising even when I really don't want to. I have never gone to a class or gone for a run and thought "I wish I hadn't bothered" afterwards. I always, without fail, feel good after a workout.

I had a huge sort out of my wardrobe the other day and have treated myself to some pretty new undies that actually fit me (it comes to something when you 'treat' yourself to underwear...). I'm looking forward to replacing it all with some lovely new bits and pieces for the Summer, and for our Mark Warner holiday in October when I can play on the beach and swim with my children and feel confident doing so without wanting to cover up - and every bead of sweat and aching muscle will be worth it just for that.

Meal Plan Monday 220615

Monday, 22 June 2015

Meal Plan 220615
Monday 22nd June
Steak & chips (sweet potato chips for me) with salad
Tuesday 23rd June
Macaroni Cheese with bacon & broccoli, veggie & bacon stir fry for me
Wednesday 24th June Chicken Fajitas (with brown rice, no wrap for me)
Thursday 25th
We're off to visit the wizarding World of Harry Potter at WB Studios London today to preview their upcoming feature, Sweets and Treats
Friday 26th
Spaghetti & home-made meatballs with tomato, garlic & herb sauce
Saturday 27th June
Sunday 28th June

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.
{*Brinner = breakfast for dinner}

Father's Day Fashion from Repertoire

Friday, 19 June 2015

In case it has somehow escaped your notice, it's Father's Day this Sunday 21st June and Dads up and down the country will soon be receiving the annual slew of socks, pants and amusingly captioned mugs. If they're lucky, they might get breakfast in bed or at the very least, a cuppa. This year, we were delighted to be asked by Repertoire Fashion if we would like to treat the Mister to something extra special and so the children and I chose an outfit for him from Repertoire's extensive range of designer menswear.

The Mister enjoys the odd night out with football buddies and old school chums, but as is the case with most Dads (and Mums of course) by the time we have replaced shoes, bags, clothes, sports equipment etc for five children throughout the year, what parents need often ends up at the bottom of the pile. So - the kids and I picked out a smart new designer shirt and a pair of jeans for him to wear on his well earned evenings out.

There is a huge range to choose from, from designers such as Armani, True Religion, Hugo Boss, For All Mankind, Original Penguin, Nudie Jeans, and Vivienne Westwood. We chose an Original Penguin Oxford long sleeved woven shirt in grey, with Nudie Jeans in a light wash Indigo - ideal for a smart/casual look on an evening out.

These high quality designer clothes are beautifully made and have a classic look that won't date, they can be dressed up or down using other wardrobe staples to create any look, from a night down the pub or at a gig, to an evening out at a restaurant or theatre.

Repertoire offer an extensive range of accessories to complement Dad's new outfit too, from belts & wallets to the traditional socks & ties, with something to suit every budget.

Take a look at Repertoire's website for details of their latest news, offers and sales or follow them on Twitter @Repertoire_Uk and Facebook.

Family Fever

We received press samples for the purpose of this review.
All views and opinions shared are my own and written in my own words.

The Race for Life Bath 5K

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Anyone that knows me well knows what I think about running. As in, I don't do it unless I am being chased by zombies. However since joining Project 6 Pack and losing the weight & improving my fitness I have found that actually I quite enjoy it and so at the weekend I took part in my very first 5k with some of my friends from P6P - the Race for Life 5k in Bath to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I say this like I joined willingly, I did have to be coerced into it by the girls but now I am so glad that I did.

Sunday morning I got up and got myself ready, having a good breakfast and a bottle of water along with my coffee to set me up for the event. Kim picked up Ellie & Poppy and then me on our way into Bath, and we then met up with Kirsty and Carla at The Royal Victoria Park where the event was taking place. The 10k started at 9am and was well underway by the time we arrived around 9:30. The 5k wasn't due to start until 11am so we had a mill around and got our bearings, enjoying the pre-event 'warm up' and having our faces painted by a couple of ladies from Heart FM who were dotted around the park cheering everyone on (literally - with pompoms). We pinned on our race numbers and signs for who we were running for and got ready to get going.

 It was a wonderful atmosphere and as we were following the course I was reading the signs and messages on everyone's backs, and feeling very proud to be taking part in such a special event and helping raise money to fight a terrible disease that sadly touches so many people. I did it for Max, the gorgeous son of my very best friend in the world, who started his battle with AML Leukaemia when he was just a few months old and underwent intensive treatment and then a bone marrow transplant on Christmas Eve 2013 - he will be two years old next month and I am in complete awe of him. He is the toughest little chap I know and I am blown away by his strength and resilience (and that of his amazing mum & dad) and watching him grow up into this fantastic ball of energy is wonderful. He is incredible. The work that charities like CRUK do is vital and these fundraising events are so important and make such a massive difference to the lives of so many. If you can't take part or donate money, please do consider joining the Bone Marrow Registry - you could, literally, save someone's life.

Someone like Max.

I jogged and walked the 5k to the best of my ability finishing in around 40 minutes (the timer from the 10k was still running so I don't have an accurate time) and I absolutely loved every minute of it, I will be signing up again next year - maybe even for the 10k. I am so proud of myself, of my friends, and of every single person who ran, jogged, and walked alongside me and in races up and down the country. There is still time to sponsor me for the event, you can do so at

Thank you so much to everyone who has sponsored and supported me. It means a lot.

Photo property of C. Burrows

#BloggingToJogging Mama Owl

Meal Plan Monday 150615

Monday, 15 June 2015

Meal Plan 150615
Monday 15th
Cottage Pie
Tuesday 16th
Ham, Egg & Chips (Sweet Potato Chips for me)
Wednesday 17th
Lasagne with garlic bread (made with sliced aubergine for me)
Thursday 18th
BBQ to welcome H home from his school residential
Friday 19th
Spaghetti Bolognese
Saturday 20th
Chicken Fajitas (with brown rice, no wrap for me)
Sunday 21st

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.
{*Brinner = breakfast for dinner}

Me Time | #LoudnProud

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Nearly six months ago I stepped completely out of my comfort zone and made some big changes to my diet and lifestyle. I had gained a lot of weight without really realising or paying much attention to it, and I wasn't taking care of myself - not just in the physical sense but mentally as well.

I am a mum of five, and trying to share myself between them is a challenge on its own, so remembering that I am a person who needs time and space for myself often gets lost in the chaos of everyday life. The children are constantly busy with school, work, after school clubs and sport & leisure activities and I am running around with them getting them from A-B, making sure they have everything they need for a particular activity on a particular day.

I then realised that actually I didn't have everything that I needed.

Joining Project 6 Pack and going to classes has not only helped me lose weight and tone up like I wanted and needed to do, it has given me back a bit of my head space, too. Just 30-45 minutes or so a day to get my blood pumping and spend some time with actual grown ups, who are there for some of the same reasons that I am. Health and fitness is great, but it has done wonders for my mental health too. It has improved my moods and general well being and in all honesty this is the best I think I have ever felt.

Joining a group on my own where I didn't really know anyone and making myself go has been a huge step for me and I am really proud of myself for sticking with it and making the progress that I have in such a short space of time. It's not all about what it says on the scale, it goes so far beyond that. I love how exercise and the classes make me feel and it is absolutely the best thing I have ever done for myself.

My motivation is feeling as well as seeing the results of my hard work, but my latest victory has been the purchase of some new jeans - in a very comfortable size 10.

I'm this week's #LoudnProud host, and we would love to hear all about your special moments and achievements so please do share your posts below. Feel free to grab the badge, we'd love it if you could visit others & share the linky love - thanks! The linky closes at Midnight on Sunday, & next week will be hosted by the lovely NotMyYearOff.

Mama Owl

Beau Twins

Meal Plan Monday 080615

Monday, 8 June 2015

Meal Plan 080615
Monday 8th
Toad in the hole with vegetables & chips (sweet potato chips & D&A sausages, no batter for me)
Tuesday 9th June
Lasagne (made with sliced aubergine for me)
Wednesday 10th June Brinner*
Thursday 11th June
Cottage Pie topped with root veg mash
Friday 12th
Ham, egg & chips (with spinach, no chips for me)
Saturday 13th June
Fajita chicken salad for me, the Mr is away for the weekend and the kids are going to the in-laws for the night because tomorrow morning...
Sunday 14th June
Roast Chicken - after I complete the Race For Life 5K!

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.
{*Brinner = breakfast for dinner}

BMW PGA Championship Golf at Wentworth Club | #BMWPGA The European Tour

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The BMW PGA Championship European tour came to Wentworth Club in Surrey in May 2015, one of the highlights of the sporting year. My husband is a keen golfer although unfortunately for him, our weekends are usually pretty jammed with the kids sports so he doesn't get to play as often as he would like. My 10-year-old nephew Seb is also a promising young golfer and recently took part in the Wessex Junior Masters in Bath - be sure to keep an eye out for him in the future!

We were invited to attend the prestigious event and my husband was more than happy to take advantage of the opportunity. He along with a friend of his attended on 24th May and thoroughly enjoyed their experience at the European Tour's flagship event.

Wentworth is one of the finest courses in the world and the European Tour attracts a world class field, with many of the 2014 Ryder Cup team in attendance. Off the golf course there was also the Championship Village to enjoy, with a large selection of food and beverages to choose from in addition to some retail therapy opportunities at the BMW Lifestyle store or one of the other 20+ exhibitor units including Hugo Boss, and Lindt chocolate - there is even childcare available on site at the BMW Crèche.

An unmissable experience is the 61-ft Mega Putt Challenge for the official Charity of the 2015 BMW PGA Championship, Teenage Cancer Trust. The charity relies on donations to fund its vital work improving the quality of life and chances of survival for young people with cancer aged 13 to 24. Teenage Cancer Trust funds and builds specialist units in NHS hospitals, bringing young people together to enable them to be treated by teenage cancer specialists in the best place for them, and the charity benefited exclusively from fundraising at Wentworth during the week, including donations from Official Programme sales. To find out more or get involved visit

The Mister & his friend followed Justin Rose's progress around the course, on what was fortunately a beautifully sunny day which meant they could fully appreciate the Wentworth course and grounds. My husband came home with aching feet and a touch of sunburn, but he had enjoyed an exciting day of world class championship golf.

We were given complimentary passes to attend this event. All views and opinions are my own.

My Favourite Health, Fitness & Weightloss Apps

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

As well as attending classes at Project 6 Pack and following their diet & nutrition advice, I also use apps on my iPhone to help me track my weight loss and fitness progress. I keep a food diary for class which I show to my PT, Laura, once a week so we can manage any difficulties or find where to make improvements, and so she can be sure that I am eating enough of everything I need to sustain myself during training.

In addition to my written food diary I also use myfitnesspal where I am able to scan the barcodes of all my meal ingredients & snacks and to store recipes to allow me to track calories too. I am still actively trying to lose weight (although I am now not far from my original target) so while I am continuing to eat well I currently still need to monitor how much I am eating because after all, a calorie is still a calorie.

I find that using myfitnesspal is helping maintain a good balance of what I'm consuming vs how active I am, to ensure I am not over or under eating. If you'd like to add me, my username is jooleroo.

Mapmywalk is another handy app as it doesn't just measure walking, but also running, stairs, treadmill etc as long as you're carrying or wearing your phone. It tracks routes, measures distance and suggests challenges and local routes for jogs or walks, you can create playlists from your phone to work out to, and it can also be sync'd with myfitnesspal and with an external activity tracker such as a fitbit.

I have a fitbit zip that I use in conjunction with their iPhone app, it is the most basic of their activity tracking devices but I find that it is perfect for my needs, just to use as a step counter so I can monitor my daily activity.

It's a small device that just clips on to my bra strap and I sync it with the app a couple of times a day. It also works with myfitnesspal to track calories, water intake and active minutes in addition to steps.

You can add friends, take part in challenges, or like I do - just use it to monitor your own progress.

If like me you are keen to give running a try, then I highly recommend the C25k app. Running is something that is very new to me (as in - I avoided it unless I was being chased by zombies, so...) and not something I had considered doing before, C25k helps you to pace yourself and literally takes you step by step from the couch to being able to run 5k.

I'm not 'there' yet but it has been invaluable in coaching me along in preparation for my first Race For Life in a couple of weeks' time. I may not be able to run the whole course, but I will give it a good go.

In the last 5 months I have turned my life around in terms of health and fitness, and as of this week I have dropped 21kg and 4 dress sizes since January. I feel like a different person & seeing the results motivates me to keep going. Once I have reached my desired weight/size I'm keen to continue to improve my strength & muscle tone, so the next challenge will be to learn to balance eating well & training without losing more weight!

Beau Twins Sim's Life #BloggingToJogging

On the Trail of Heroes & Villains in Westwood

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Last year we had so much fun taking part in the Westwood village scarecrow trail that we did it twice, & so this year we absolutely had to go again. The theme for 2015 was Heroes & Villains and the village residents came up with some brilliant designs once again. We went early on in half term week on a beautiful sunny day, & had a great day out for the cost of a trail map (£3) and a couple of ice creams at the end as a treat. Lots of fun, & raising money for a local nursery school at the same time - win/win I think!

We started off in the village shop, where we bought our trail map and found the first scarecrow outside the door, and from there we headed off in search of some heroes & villains. How many can you identify? I thought that #19 & #2 were particularly clever!

We remembered to take a picnic this year, and had plenty of rest stops along the way to enjoy our food and snacks. The nursery was open between 12-2 on two days during the trail selling tea & coffee, squash and home-made cakes to raise extra money for their school and I think that next year they hope to be able to offer refreshments every day of the trail if they have enough help. H & E thoroughly enjoyed their fairy cakes and I bought myself a black coffee while they were munching their way through them.

Half term doesn't have to be expensive if you check around for activities, fun days and parks & playgrounds locally. The scarecrow trail was only £3 as I said, & we also had a lovely day out at the park with a group of friends & mums from school as well as my sister, niece and nephew which we enjoyed with a picnic. Another day we went to the garden centre and the children helped choose new plants to go in our pots and borders, so money that would have still been spent but we made it into a fun activity for all of us. With that said, if the weather had not been so fair, it could have been a different story! Although locally our pools offer free swimming for U16s so all would not have been lost.

I do wish that my older three would have joined us if only to keep the younger two happy but they are far too grown up and cool for scarecrow hunts, sadly (or at least so they wish to believe!). I will however, ask them to come with us again next year but if they don't want to then oh well - more ice cream for us!

Follow @WwoodScarecrow on Twitter for news & updates of next year's trail and to find out whether or not they reached their £3000 target, and check out their website at Westwood Nursery. Which scarecrow was your favourite?

 photo 4d06e438-4e6a-4f3b-88b2-0c1093350397_zps361ad0e9.jpg  Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 

Meal Plan Monday 010615

Monday, 1 June 2015

Meal Plan 010615
Monday 1st
Fish & chips with mushy peas for the Mister & kids, ham and egg with spinach & tomato for me
Tuesday 2nd
Cottage Pie topped with root veg mash
Wednesday 3rd June Sausages, mash and baked beans (cauli mash & veg for me)
Thursday 4th June
Spaghetti (courgetti) Bolognese
Friday 5th
Honey & mustard chicken salad (with chips for Mister & kids)
Saturday 6th
Sunday 7th

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.
{*Brinner = breakfast for dinner}
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