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Here is all of my posts aimed at helping you make life easier and tackle everyday life challenges as a Mother, Daughter, Wife and Human Being. It is basically the “Lifestyle” section of the blog.

Morning Habits For A Productive Day

Ugh…The dreaded mornings. I was never a morning person. I was and still am one of those people who loves their sleep. The one who hits the snooze button over a million times. Just to catch another minute or two of shut eye. When I was single and childless it wasn’t so bad. Getting ready in 20 minutes was easy if you knew what you were doing. But then I became a mum. Morning lie ins were no longer possible and I quickly found that if I wasn’t productive and organised in the mornings. Then my days were gone before I knew it and I felt like I had lost the day.

When you are a busy mum like myself, the morning routine can sometimes take its toll. Especially if your little ones were up during the night. However having good morning habits can not only boost your motivation. It can also set a positive pace for the rest of the day and help to reduce any stress or anxiety you may be feeling. So after 2 years of struggling to juggle everything. Here are my Morning Habits For A Productive Day.

Morning Habits For A Productive Day

Be the first to Wake Up

I admit this is something I still struggle with. Especially when my husband is home from offshore and when the weather is a bit drizzly. However as hard as it can be, waking up before my son and getting a few things done in the morning has been a life saver. The initial feeling of getting out of bed is the worst. However once you are out and dressed it actually feels somewhat therapeutic to have some quiet time to yourself. I use this time to get a workout done, reply to emails and drink my morning smoothie in peace. This calm start to the day puts me in a instant good mood and sets the precedent for the day.

Exercise in the morning

If you read my post on my belly donut dilemma then you know I am trying to get back into shape. But how do I find the time when my husband is offshore, I have a house to run, I am studying and I run a blog?! The only time and best time for me is in the mornings! I wake up and go down stairs to get a 30 min workout and shower before getting my son up and tackling the day. That way the workout and shower is done and I don’t have any excuses during the day to not workout. It has been proven that exercise can help to lift your mood and reduce stress. The rush of feel good endorphins just makes me ready to take on anything and there is no better time to feel motivated than in the morning.

Make the Bed & Get Dressed

This might sound daft but making the bed and getting dressed first thing in the morning can make a huge difference. For me it is like closure. I am dressed and my bed is made. So that means I am definitely not getting back in it and the day has officially begun. Getting dressed is especially important for me. Being a stay at home / work from home mum, it is super easy for me to laze around in my pj’s until late morning. However when I do this I find my motivation levels decrease and I feel more anxious and lazy with my appearance.

So now my outfit is prepared the night before ( which is usually my gym gear) and I get dressed as soon as I wake or have my shower. That not only prepares me for the day but also boosts my self confidence. Even if i am just staying in the house I will layout nice loungewear for the day ahead.

 

Healthy Breakfast

I love a fry up just like the next person. However I feel that when I eat a big unhealthy meal at breakfast it leaves me feeling sluggish and bloated. And can at times make me feel tired and lethargic. So I try and start my day with something light and healthy and leave the heavier things for a bit later. Especially now that I am working towards getting rid of the spare tyre, a healthy breakfast is a must. I love drinking my super green smoothie first thing in the morning and then follow it up about an hours later ( usually after my workout) with a bowl of fruit, gluten free granola and kefir or a veggie omelette. I find a breakfast that is full of healthy fibre and fruit aids my digestion and makes me feel more healthy and energised. Get my green smoothie recipe here

Make a Plan

Last but not least make a plan or list of all the things that you must do that day. When you have loads of things to do during your day like me it can feel overwhelming. Trying to wing it and not having some kind of structure to the day usually sets me up for failure. I end up being behind on my blog, study or feeling like I haven’t given my son enough quality time. It really helps to make a plan and compartmentalise the day by setting time for each task. That way you know first hand roughly how your day is going to be and can make sure that you have the right balance.<

Getting the right balance in life can be hard. But if you use your time effectively and incorporate some of these morning habits. Then you should be able to tackle each day productively!

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Our 4-Day West Scotland Family Staycation

When my husband asked me where I would like to go this summer I was conflicted. Usually I love the idea of exploring a new country. Especially if it meant beautiful sunshine and sandy beaches. However this year my feelings were different. So many times I have neglected to take advantage of the country I lived in and properly get to know them. I have lived in Australia, Switzerland, and France and failed to explore any of them.  So I decided that it was about time I look at what was on my doorstep and discover Scotland. This is our beautiful 4-Day West Scotland Family Staycation.

Killin

West Scotland Family Staycation

After a weekend in Glasgow we headed to a small town not far from Loch Lomond called Killin. It is a town rich in history, beautiful scenery and friendly down to earth people. Being a big fan of the series Outlander, what attracted me to Killin was the prospect of seeing an ancient stone circle ( while taking pictures pretending to travel through them much to my husbands dismay) as well as visiting a clan burial site. However when we arrived we were both pleasantly surprised despite the fact that my husband doesn’t care much about history nor Outlander.

The scenery was beautiful with the Falls of Dochart running through the town and the hospitality we received was very warming. This was our first little holiday with our son Gabriel and the staff at The Courie Inn made us all feel very welcome. Not to mention the food in their restaurant was delicious!

West Scotland Family Staycation

Confidently Kylie’s Top Things to do

  • Visit the Stone Circle
  • Enjoy the peaceful views of the Falls of Dochart
  • Visit the Clan burial ground
  • Climb up the small hill near the city centre for spectacular views.
  • Stay at the Courie Inn and have dinner in their lovely restaurant.

Isle of Mull

West Scotland Family Staycation

We arrived in Tobermory after a quick overnight stop in Oban and it felt like we were on a Mediterranean Island. The weather was perfect and the colourful seaside buildings and calm ocean painted a beautiful picture.  We spent our day hunting for otters and enjoying a wild life boat trip in the sun. The boat ride was nice but not really great for a 2 year old. He quickly got bored and I was thanking my lucky stars that we had packed his kindle. Be aware though that at night a lot of the restaurants do not accommodate children. We tried a few and were turned away. Luckily we found Macgochan’s pub with good priced food and a good kids menu.

Top things to do

  • Stroll around the beautiful city centre of Tobermory and look at all the small boutiques
  • Go Otter hunting
  • Take a boat ride to see the wild life

Glencoe

We set off in the direction of Glencoe and stopped off at the famous Sanna Beach. As beautiful as the beach was unfortunately for us the weather turned and it was raining heavily. This kinda ruined the experience a little nevertheless we took Gabriel along the rock pools to look for crabs which ended up being one of his highlights of the whole trip.

West Scotland Family Staycation

My highlight of the trip however was visiting the Glenfinnan Viaduct also known as the Hogwarts Train. Being a huge Harry Potter fan it was great to see the famous bridge and we were lucky enough to see the steam train travel on it. The hike up was lovely despite the rain however the only downside was the midgies! The Glenfinnan Dining Car, which is an old train car turned café is perfect for lunch before the hike and Gabriel loved sitting in the train.

West Scotland Family Staycation

Unfortunately the rain in Glencoe thwarted ours plans of going on long nature walks so we decided to visit Fort William instead and have a little city break. We took Gabriel to a great soft play at the Nevis Centre to let him burn off some energy as well as visited the West Highland Museum. The Museum is great if you love history and love stories about Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.

However one major issue we had while staying in Glencoe was finding places to eat in the evenings. We were staying in a small B&B in the middle of a residential area where restaurants were scarce. The first night we arrived it took us 3 failed attempts while driving for miles before we found a restaurant that had places available. Luckily the place we found was one of the best fish restaurants we have ever been to. The food and views of the lake were amazing and we all thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

Things to do

  • Fort William – Visit The Soft play at the Nevis Centre or learn about Scottish History at the West Highland Museum
  • Glenfinnan Viaduct : Start by having lunch at The Glenfinnan Dining Car, before hiking up to see the viaduct. Don’t forget the midge spray.
  • Lochleven Seafood Cafe : This is a must! Have the langoustines as a starter!

We had a great little family staycation in the West of Scotland. I cannot wait to explore this beautiful country some more in the future.

Want more travel posts? Check out my post on our Barbados and St Lucia holiday.

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My Battle With My Mummy Tummy & Body Image

As women I think we all have bad days when we don’t like what we see in the mirror. There are days when you feel good and are oozing confidence and then there are days when…well you are not. I seem to be having the NOT oozing confidence day every day now. I’m a lot heavier than I would like to be and I just don’t feel good in my body. I look and feel like a completely different person than I did 3 years ago and it makes me feel like I am completely losing myself. My battle with my mummy tummy is consuming me and it is affecting my life and happiness.

Belly Donut

The day I realised I could grab the fat from my belly and make a belly donut was both a depressing yet strangely amusing day. Grabbing my belly donut has become a daily ritual. It is now my own built in stress ball. I cannot seem to walk past a mirror without doing it and it makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Talk about losing your identity. What is worse is that my mind still hasn’t really caught up with the idea that I am no longer a size 6/8. It still pictures itself as the Pre-gabriel confident and thin Kylie. Then gets shocked when it sees a picture of my arms side on and how they seem to engulf and eat my whole body. Wtf? I can picture and plan out outfits that i am convinced will make me look like a bombshell only to put it on and look like a walking potato.  Who am I?

Homebakes and Belly Shakes

It doesn’t help that since having Gabriel I have developed an unhealthy attachment to sugar & food. That my desire to be the modern day Martha Stewart has got me baking every week. Then stuffing my face with said bakes. Being an at home mum means that I have access to food at all times and the stress of daily battles with a toddler, while studying makes me want to eat the whole pantry. People come up to me and they don’t get it. They say “oh you are not fat, You look great” and I cant help but sigh. Yes i may not be rolling when walking but you have not seen me in my underwear. Plus I am sure that they HAVE noticed that I am 10kgs heavier and that they are just too polite to say otherwise or they are in the same boat and feel secretly relieved that they are not the only one. (don’t worry, I get it)

#BellyDonut?

So what do I do? Do I accept that this is my fate, that I gave birth (2 years ago), that I am getting older and this is part of the territory? That curvy is “in” right now and I should make the #BellyDonut Movement to encourage everyone to embrace their bodies no matter what it looks (or feels) like? Or do I get up and throw belly donut into boot camp. Tell him he is no longer welcome and get myself back to a place where I feel happy in my body? Where the picture of my self in my mind is actually aligned with reality?

Though I do believe that we should love our bodies the way they are. I also believe you should look after them and do what it takes to feel confident.  For me it is an on going battle. It’s not just about weight and the number on the scale, nor it is about trying to meet societal expectations that women face these days. It is about feeling good in your body and skin, about feeling good about being you. It is easy to make excuses. Lets face it motherhood is hard especially when you are working or studying as well as raising kids and keeping house. However we can’t lose ourselves and who we are because of the kids. We should set an example for our kids that looking after ourselves is essential to living a happy and fulfilling life and also for everyone around us.

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How To Make Overnight Oats

By Posted on 14 2 m read

I have been obsessed with creating new healthy breakfasts lately. If you follow me on Instagram then you would have seen a few of the photos. I have always been an advocate for a green smoothie in the mornings. However lately I have been needing something more substantial to curb my hunger. Poached eggs on toast started to become the norm for me, but since I am trying to improve my digestion and lose weight. I felt that this was not a great choice. It left me feeling a bit heavy and stodgy. So I set out to find some fresh and healthy breakfast ideas that would fill me up until lunch time, yet not feel so heavy in the morning. That was when I came across overnight oats.

 

Overnight oats have been a popular trend on Pinterest, and when you see all the different variations and beautiful pictures. It is hard not to understand why. They are quick and easy to make, yet packed full of fibre and nutrients ( depending on what you put in it). Even though there are heaps of variations the base ingredients are rolled oats and milk.

So I thought I would share with you all the recipe that I have been using that is packed full of superfoods and tastes delicious!

Overnight oats

OVERNIGHT OATS

Ingredients

1/2 cup of Rolled Oats

3/4 Cup of Milk (I use Almond Milk )

1 tsp of Cinnamon

1 tsp of Chia seeds

1/2 Banana

Handful of Strawberries

Handful of Blueberries

Drizzle of honey.

NOTE: The amount of milk you use depends on how you like your oats. Some people prefer them thicker while others like them a bit watery. I do not like my oats too thick so 3/4 of a cup of milk is good for me. However if you prefer a thicker consistency try using only 1/2 a cup.

Method 

Mix the Oats, Milk, Cinnamon and Chia seeds together in a bowl until combined. Tip the mixture into a small air tight container and pop it in the fridge. Leave it overnight for at least 10 hours so that the oats and chia seeds absorb the milk.

When you are ready to eat, cut up the banana and strawberries. Add the fruit to the oats and drizzle with some honey. Overnight oats are best served chilled.

Some people like to add a nut butter to the oat mixture before chilling in the fridge, however I find this to make them a little too rich for my liking.

Please note that the chia seeds and cinnamon are optional. If these are not your cup of tea then please omit them. However I add them for the additional nutritional punch, plus the chia seeds add a bit of sweetness.

Overnight oats

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Is It Ever Ok To Tell Off Someone Else’s Child?

After a series of events and discussions I have had with other mums this week. It got me thinking. Is it ok to tell off someone else’s child?

I was at our weekly toddler group the other day where I was confronted with a situation that made me feel conflicted. My son was playing with one of his play mates whom he knows fairly well. I was sitting nearby when all of a sudden Gabriel started screaming. This was not a usual scream. I rushed over to see what had happened and found my child sobbing and holding his arm. He had been bitten.

I didn’t know what to do, I had never been confronted with this situation before. I’d dealt with the usual pushing and shoving from other kids ( and from Gabriel). But biting? My usual reaction would be to fob it off and comfort Gabriel until he had calmed down. However this was different. It was physical and I didn’t want Gabriel thinking that biting was an acceptable way to express himself. How do you teach your child that a certain behaviour is wrong without telling the other kid off? Or coming across as passive aggressive to the other parent?

There are times when I feel like a hypocrite when discipling Gabriel. He is often scolded for pushing or snatching from another child. However when another kid does it to him he often looks at me as if to say ‘ Why aren’t you scolding them too’? He is too young to understand the explanation.

So after a long conversation with my fellow mums. I have collected some tips on what is the most acceptable practises when faced with a playground dilemma.

Speak to the parent first

Most parents agree that they prefer you to come and speak to them first before speaking to their child. To be completely honest I get that. It is a natural reaction to stand up for your little ones. That said it should be within reason. There is often times when another kid will snatch a toy from Gabriel or visa versa. And I find myself asking the child if we can share the toys and not snatch. In the same way I would not be bothered at all if another parent said the same to Gabriel.

Know the circumstances

This is a big one. I think too many parents are quick to judge without knowing the circumstances. A prime example is from a friend of mine. Her child looks a lot older than he actually is. While playing at a playgroup amongst some older children he struggled with sharing and had a few temper tantrums. His behaviour was quickly judged by other parents. They had assumed he was a lot older than he was. Had the have known his age they would have realised that his behaviour was very normal for his actual age. Same goes for children who may have certain disabilities that cannot be seen, such as Autism or Aspergers. Know the facts before you jump in and find yourself in a difficult situation.

Remove your child from the situation

The easiest thing to do when a playground battle starts is to remove your child from the situation and explain or discipline them in private. This is my go to move and I find it effective and respectful to other parents and their children.

In the case of the biting incident, my only concern was that I didn’t want Gabriel to start biting other children because he was bitten. In no way was i angry or judgemental. I knew that the other child had learnt this behaviour because he had been bitten himself on numerous occasions. It is a learning process and I try to remember that kids will be kids. It is inevitable that there will be power struggles and upsets as they try to figure out their emotions and stance in this big world. Remember that we are all parents in the same boat.

Looking for more posts?  Check out my post on what it is really like living with a 2 year old

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How To Boost Confidence When You Feel Like A Failure

I always believed that self esteem issues were a phase of adolescence. A phase of finding yourself as you grow from a child to an adult. However looking at myself now at the age of 31 I feel that I still struggle with feelings of inadequacy like I did when I was a teenager. I have always struggled with my self-esteem. The fear of not being good enough, of not fitting in. Being too scared to take that first step forward for the fear of failure or ridicule. Though I have grown and learnt lot through the years, there is always a step in life that makes me question myself. That can shatter all the hard work I have done in one single sweep. But I have found that i can always get back up again by addressing a few simple things. Below I share my strategies on How To Boost Confidence When You Feel Like A Failure.

 

Boost Confidence

 

Stop comparing yourself to others

 

Comparing yourself to others is the root cause of low self-esteem and confidence issues, and yet we all  do it. In this day where Instagram has created a widespread epidemic of FOMO it is hard not to get caught up in it. If everyone lived the exact same lives and looked exactly the same way then I doubt inadequacy issues would exist . But how boring would life be? There would be nothing to dream about or to strive for.

As easy as it is to compare yourself to Jenny down the block, try to remember that even Jenny has her imperfections and is probably comparing herself to someone else too. Instead of beating yourself up because someone seems to have a better life / boy / job than you. Change your mindset and channel those feelings into something more positive. Use someone else’s success to inspire and motivate you to create your own.

 

Stock up on your fruit and veg

 

As daft as this sounds this is a huge one! Have you ever gone on a junk food eating spree and then come back feeling the worst about yourself. You feel unhealthy, fat and ugly all because you fed your body food you knew you probably shouldn’t have. However when you eat super healthy the opposite happens. You feel motivated, full of energy and better in your skin.

That is because your body needs a whole array of vitamins and minerals to function and when it is deficit it can play a major role on your mood and mental health. So imagine how you would feel if you ate junk all the time. Not to mention that your appearance will start to show signs of wear and tear if you are lacking in nutrients for a long period of time. Your skin is the first to suffer if you are not getting the right hydration or vitamins. So get those blenders out and start packing in the greens.

 

Boost Confidence

Look After Your Appearance

 

Being well groomed and dressed play a huge part in your confidence levels. It is amazing what a good blow out and outfit can do! I have found that the days where I couldn’t be bothered to look after my appearance were often days where I felt the worst about myself. I am sure you all know that feeling when you get a new outfit and you wear it out for the first time. You always feel amazing because you feel good about how you look. Take a look at all of the women who exuberate confidence. They all take a lot of pride in their appearance. And for good reason.

I am not saying that you need to dress up to the nines with a thick face of make up everyday. Or that you need to constantly splash the cash on new outfits. However taking little steps to make yourself feel pretty everyday will help you to feel more confident and sure of yourself. Check out my post on my easy no makeup makeup look if you are looking for some inspiration.

 

Let go of the Negative

 

I am a perfectionist at heart and I often put unnecessary pressure on myself to be the most perfect housekeeper, mother, wife, everything on the planet. But these expectations often lead to me ripping myself to shreds when i struggle to achieve them. Your inner voice is a powerful one. It is the voice you hear the most often and so it is important to keep it in check. When the negative thoughts start to flood in, don’t allow them to fool you into believing they are right. Instead fob them off. I learnt some great ways to quieten my mind during my struggles as a teen. Check my post here for more details.

Good ways to boost positive thinking is to practice affirmations and keep a vision board. I love a vision board as it keeps me focussed and motivated on the things I want to achieve instead of dwelling on the things I don’t have. Encourage yourself to think more positively about your life and yourself as a person. You will be surprised at how lucky you actually are when you pay attention.

Secondly sometimes we have people in our lives who truly do not bring the best out of us. If you are surrounded my people who feed your negativity then it may be time to ask if you really need these people in your life. Surrounding yourself with positive like minded people is better for your progress and mental health.

 

We all have momentary lapses of confidence in ourselves from time to time. I hope these tactics can help you in the future to work your way to being the confident person you want to be. It is a work in progress. No one is 100% confident in themselves in all aspects of their lives. Just know that small progress is better than none.

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