My Word for 2020

My word that I have chosen for 2020 is a purposeful and meaningful one for me and I intend to carry it further through the new decade. Keep reading to see what word I’ve chosen!

Word of the Year 2020
Word of the Year 2020

Happy 2020!

Here it is, January. Another new year and the same old question… “What are you going to do differently in 2020?”

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions, I mean yeah I’ve set them plenty of times – although not in stone and possibly under the influence of alcohol most likely on a new years eve night out!

And as with most peoples New Years resolutions, they end up out the window by mid-February or in some cases – mine – even sooner.

Turns out that I’m a rebel by nature, and also by personality type according to Gretchen Rubens Four Tendencies Quiz, so as you can imagine, New Year’s resolutions or any expectations at all really, I have the tendency to resist them all, inside and out. They just haven’t worked for me.

I decided for 2020 I wanted to swap out my half-arsed resolutions and replace them with a theme that I could focus on for the whole year.

It took me a while to think of something that would resonate with myself, something that was purposeful and had meaning and that will take me in the right direction of the life I want to live!

So without further ado, my word for 2020 is: Intentional

What Does It Mean To Be Intentional?

Within the definition of intentional, you’ll find a variety of words such as planned and deliberate, but the description I was looking for and defines it perfectly for me I found over at liveandlovework.com

This is how Chrysta defines it:

“It means you are purposeful in word and action. You live a life that is meaningful and fulfilling to you. It means you make thoughtful choices in your life. Being intentional means you actively interact and engage with your life”.

Why Did I Choose This Word For 2020?

Firstly because there are many areas of my life that I am not happy with and if I don’t start with being intentional about my own life then things are not going to change by themselves.

I have dreams for my life and so far they’ve been put on the back burner for other people, too many times over the years I’ve put my life on hold for others – opportunities, friendships, even my children – and it’s time that I took back control of MY life and be more engaging, purposeful and intentional with it.

My Word For 2020
Make This Day Great!

The Ways I’m Planning On Being Intentional In 2020

These are just some of the ways I’m putting being intentional into practice this year, you may even find some ideas in here for yourself to try!

  • Family – As a single mother of five children under 10 years old I have found it hard to try and just focus on one child at a time, what I mean by this is we never really get any one-on-one time. There is always something or someone grabbing my attention away from the child that I’m currently with. – This year I’m setting time aside to focus on just the one child at a time, whether that’s sitting and reading, playing a game they chose or just sitting to listen to them talk, they will each have a dedicated time where the other children will know that it isn’t their time at that moment and that they will have their own time with me that won’t be disturbed by the rest.
  • Declutter – Not only our living spaces – which DO need a lot of work – but I’m intentionally decluttering habits, attitudes and people that no longer serve me, what this means is – When something no longer serves you, it no longer helps you move forward in the direction you (currently) want to go – and this space is in need of a serious bout of decluttering!
  • Finances – In 2019 my finances had some good times and some bad times, it turns out the bad times were the ones where I never actually set my budget, in turn, this made me lose track of where my money was actually being spent, who was being paid etc. So this year I’m setting my budget and not taking my eye off the ball this time around! (A bonus to 2019 was that I did manage to get rid of £7651.72 debt)
  • Myself – It turns out I don’t put myself first – EVER – so this year I’m focusing my attention to my own self-care and planning to take some time out for myself, this will include things like having a relaxing bath (2 baths in a year and a half isn’t good for anyone – I will add that I do shower! haha), spending time with friends, buying myself clothes – I mean there’s only so many times in a week you can wear the same outfits right?

I’m looking forward to 2020 now with my word of the year set in place and with my goals to work on.

Until next time,

Much Love

Laura xx

Did you choose a word for 2020? If so, I’d love to hear what it is and why you chose it!

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[AD] Sleep Habits and How to wake up ready for the day ahead

[AD] Sleep Habits and How to wake up ready for the day ahead

[AD] Sleep Habits and How to wake up ready for the day ahead

Sleep Habits

Everyone knows that having a good nights sleep impacts how we feel the next day. If you do manage a good nights sleep you’ll notice the fantastic feeling the next day, how productive you are and how refreshed you’ve become.

Having poor sleep will leave you feeling sluggish and tired, you may even have a few aches & pains here and there. Slowed thinking, trouble paying attention, heavy eyelids, and feeling irritable are other warning signs.

There are many causes of sleep deprivation, here are a few examples: work, chores, babies, worrying, parties or a late night Netflix session.

If you’re feeling sleepy frequently during the day, you might simply need to make more time to sleep.

It’s said that most adults need at least eight hours of sleep every night to be well rested, but this varies from person to person.

The bottom line is you should sleep for however many hours it takes for you to feel rested, refreshed, and fully alert the next day. If you’ve had a good sleep, you shouldn’t feel drowsy during the day.

Sleep Habits and How to wake up ready for the day ahead

Sleep Habits and How to wake up ready for the day ahead

My Sleepless Nightmare…

Around 10 years ago (Yes I’m this old), I was a contract worker in a factory, I was working twelve-hour night shifts, six days a week for most weeks and for the other weeks I was working five days a week for twelve hours… I liked the money of course.

because I worked the night shifts it was really difficult to get my mind to switch off for sleep. what made it more difficult was that it was now daylight when I finished my shifts and my mind and body just weren’t ready for the conversion of daytime sleeping!

I would get home around 7.30am, and after work I just wanted to chill out for a bit, take off the heavy boots and uniform and have a nice hot bath to soak off all the dust and dirt that comes with working in a warehouse for twelve hours. For the first couple of weeks working here, I was having no trouble at all falling asleep. I wasn’t used to working so many hours for so many days! Sleep was the easy part.

Or so I thought…

Roughly into the third or fourth week of working the long shifts, I was getting home roughly the same time, 7.30am, doing my usual chill out with some Tv for half an hour, get stripped off and have a nice soak in the bath to get rid of the muck then get ready for bed for 9.30- 10am, except now the sleep took longer to take hold and I was awake for another 3-4hrs meaning I wasn’t getting to sleep until 1-2pm!

This was never good, as I was only getting four hours of sleep a day, I resorted to drinking energy drinks and taking Pro-plus throughout the day. These things did the job for staying awake (although I wouldn’t recommend using this method) but they also impeded my sleep when I got home even more than before.

I was struggling with sleep, I was restless, irritable and just plain and simply knackered!

My mum had some herbal tablets called Kalms Night and suggested I try them out, at first I was apprehensive of taking some herbal “witch doctor” remedy but at this point I would try anything.

So I started taking the recommended dose each day (I worked the nights), at first they didn’t help so for three or four days I was still awake for hours after work, still a moody cow and still not getting a good sleep.

However after the fourth or fifth day, I’d noticed that I was getting drowsy quicker, usually around the time I wanted to be asleep which was after my bath so if got into bed with a book, after a few minutes reading I was totally blasting out the Z’s!

The next day I felt amazing, a lot more energetic and I wasn’t the moody bitch I’d become and the days went by so wonderfully. It took around a week for the Kalms to do a proper job with me and get me totally back on track but it was worth waiting it out for after so many weeks of not being able to sleep.

Sleep Habits and How to wake up ready for the day ahead

Sleep Habits and How to wake up ready for the day ahead

I highly recommend Kalms to anyone who is not sleeping well enough and feel they need a little help. when I had the opportunity to work with the company I was more than happy to write-up my own experience.

Most people experience short-term insomnia at some point. Insomnia includes having trouble falling asleep, having trouble getting back to sleep, and waking up too early.

Short-term insomnia will last only a few days and is usually not a cause for concern. Your internal body clock will readjust itself within several days.

Insomnia is considered chronic when it lasts most nights for a few weeks or more. If it goes on day after day, and nothing you do seems to help, you should see a health care professional, particularly if you cannot find a cause.

Whatever the reason for your sleep loss, it takes a toll on us both mentally and physically. While we sleep, our bodies secrete hormones that affect our mood, energy, memory, and concentration.


How To Wake Up Ready For The Day Ahead

Sleep Habits and How to wake up ready for the day ahead

One in three people suffer from poor sleep – as many as 21 million individuals – and it’s often identified by feelings of tiredness, low energy and irritability. However, worryingly, it can also lead to impaired judgement, reduced memory, and even a reduction in life expectancy.
It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation can have a considerable negative impact on quality of life and a good night’s sleep is essential to allow us to feel refreshed and ready to perform at our best every day.

Herbal remedies prove immensely popular with those struggling to sleep and Valerian root extract is a traditional herbal remedy used for centuries due to its sedative effect.

Kalms Night tablets offer a helping hand for those experiencing poor sleep as they contain this soothing ingredient to encourage a refreshing, restful night’s slumber, allowing you to #wakeupready for the day ahead.

Unlike some sleep remedies, Kalms Night won’t leave you feeling drowsy the next day.
Kalms Night tablets are available to purchase online at www.kalmsrange.com and supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.
Kalms Night RRP: £5.17 for 50 tablets, Kalms One-A-Night RRP £5.49 for 21 tablets.


6 tips to help you create the perfect sleep retreat

Here are six simple tips to help create the perfect sleeping sanctuary and ensure you have a restful night’s sleep:

  1. Make sure your bedroom is clean and tidy – Piles of dirty washing and unwashed dishes can make your bedroom a messy, unhygienic and an unrelaxing environment. Keeping a clean bedroom can help declutter your mind and help you drift off peacefully
  2. Try a traditional herbal remedy – Valerian root found in Kalms Night has been used for centuries due to its herbal sedative effect (www.kalmsrange.com). Drift off to sleep peacefully and #WakeUpReady to face the day
  3. Think green – Research suggests that certain colours can have an impact on our mood. Green and blues are great for bedrooms as they promote nature and tranquillity
  4. Cut the caffeine – It’s no surprise that caffeine can have a negative impact on the way we sleep. As a general rule, it is best to not consume any caffeine after 3pm
  5. Clear your busy schedule – Stop working an hour before you go bed and allow yourself some downtime, which will help your mind to relax. Instead of scrolling through Instagram, pick up an interesting book or magazine
  6. Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine – Sticking to a regular nightly routine can aid a refreshing night’s sleep. Try having a shower or bath before going to bed. The warm water can relax your muscles and help you to drift off peacefully when going to sleep

If you try to address your sleeping problems but your symptoms persist beyond 3-4 weeks, you should consult a doctor to check whether there may be an underlying cause for your sleep problems. You should also review the medications you are taking to make sure that they are not causing your sleep problems.

Sleep habits and how to wake up ready for the day ahead

Kalms Giveaway

Time for giveaway!

I’ve teamed up with Kalms to giveaway a Kalms Journal, pen and sleep mask. It’s super simple to enter, simply head over to my Facebook page here on how to enter.


Have you suffered from sleep problems? Have you ever tried the Kalms Range?

Let me know in the comments! and don’t forget to enter the Giveaway

Much Love,

Laura xx

Free Things To Do With Kids in Leeds

Looking for some free activities for you and your kids around Leeds?

 

Here are some free days out I’ve found that won’t cost you a penny (Food & Travel being the exception of course).

February Half Term is almost upon us and even though it’s going to be a cold one, (free) days out still need to be planned.

Being a mother of five, Days out with the kids can seriously damage the bank balance. Doesn’t it seem like the kids have forever off with school holidays throughout the year and then weekends too!

Pin Free Days Out in Leeds

 

Finding days to entertain them all at once hasn’t been an easy or cheap task. Especially with their different personalities and interests.

We moved back to Leeds in 2014 after my 3rd Child was born and after a few months of settling back over in the West of Yorkshire I wanted to get the kids out and about in Leeds.

We went to a few places that I’d been to growing up to find that quite a lot are now charging for admission. Although at the time I was only paying for one adult and one child. The first park was £9.30, the second £14.50 this isn’t really a lot for a day out, but it’s a shock to the system when it has been FREE for 25 years of your life! haha.

We did go in and have fun but the only thing is, these places were not worth the money!

They hadn’t changed from when I was younger and our day lasted a couple of hours before we were back out of there and heading home again, not exactly what I’d call a day out!

Over the past couple of years, with the children getting bigger, and the days out cost increasing each time one of them hits five-year old, I’ve managed to find a few favourites of ours that we have all enjoyed a good couple of times over the years.

*Disclaimer – This post may contain affiliate links & as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases*

Here are some of our favourite free places in Leeds:

 

1. Roundhay Park

Free Days Out with Kids

Roundhay Park is one of our favourites all year round, it covers a 700-acre nature park. We like to take a picnic, scooters, bikes and a football here because there is plenty of space for them all to just be wild.

We like to have a walk around the big lake and head up to the castle ruins that overlook the lake, the views are lovely!

You can have a walk through the wooded gorge where the kids like to try spot the squirrels, birds and other wildlife in the area.

At the bottom end of the park there is a Lakeside Café, and this is where you will find the ice-cream van too to keep you cool on those hot days! There’s also a couple of adventure playgrounds the kids love too.

All sorts of events are on here throughout the year too. Check the website when planning a trip, Ed Sheeran is making an appearance in August!

 

2. Royal Armouries museum

Autumn Leaves

This is one of the best free things to do in Leeds for the kids and adults too. It has five floors of displays from hunting to self-defence and oriental galleries, a war and a tournament gallery.

They also do themed weeks so be sure to check out there “what’s on” before you plan your visits, it is certainly worth coming back to again and again.

For this years February Half Term they are hosting “War Games” activities from Wed 13th – Sun 24th Feb. Check out the PROGRAMME for the week.

We will be visiting in April too for the Medieval Easter activities and the International Jousting Horse Show.

Whenever we are visiting Royal Armouries we usually have a walk around the Leeds Docks, Leeds City Centre is only 10-15 minutes walk too, or they offer a free water-taxi depending on the weather.

 

3. Leeds City Museum

Tiger's Face

 

Although we haven’t been here in a couple of years, this is definitely on the favourites list of free things to do in Leeds!

Leeds City Museum is situated in the City Centre, in Millennium Square. There are always different things going on throughout the year.

The kids love it at Christmas when the Traditional German Markets arrives with all the cosy looking wooden chalets, all the beautiful lights and the kids love to ride the Carousel…

but anyhow, Christmas is a long way away so we’ll get back on track!

The part the kids and I like most in the museum (activity days exempt) is the “Life on Earth Gallery”. It is filled with displays of animals, butterflies and also have interactive screens and even a craft area for the kids to do some colouring.

I’m looking forward to Michael Morpurgo: A Lifetime in stories coming to the Leeds City Museum from this weekend 8th February right up until 16th June!

Here’s a little about it :

Michael Morpurgo is one of Britain’s best-loved story makers. This unique exhibition showcases, for the first time, the notebooks and manuscripts that have become the classics we know today, including:

War Horse is a film I love but I’m yet to read the book, it is on my TBR list of course!

There is going to be an original handwritten draft of War Horse, along with props from the stage show and film. I will definitely be looking forward to giving that a visit.

Pin Free Days Out with kids in Leeds

The best thing about these places is that they offer so many different variations of events. The fact that most of these events are free for families makes it that more budget friendly.

Have you visited any of these places in Leeds?

If you have let me know what you enjoyed about them in the comments. If not, would they be places that interest you?

Until next time,

Much Love

Laura xx

25 Ways to Practice Self Care to Become Your Best Self

25 Ways to Practice Self Care to Become Your Best Self

 

The best way to be able to care for others is to start with caring for yourself.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the busy day-to-day hustle and bustle of life’s responsibilities. It sometimes feels like life is flying by way too quickly and we don’t seem to have any time to enjoy it!

Ways to Practice Self Care for Best self
 
 

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

 
  1. Take a long hot bath
  2. Listen to music that makes you feel good
  3. Re-read one of your favourite books
  4. Do some Excercise
  5. Take time for yourself, away from others
  6. Burn your favourite smelling candle
  7. Buy yourself some fresh flowers
  8. Read Inspirational Quotes
  9. Unplug from Social Media
  10. Take a nap
  11. Make a gratitude list and jot down everything you are thankful for
  12. Avoid toxic people
  13. Try some Yoga
  14. Watch some funny Youtube Videos
  15. Get out in the sunshine and fresh air
  16. Meditate for 5 – 10 minutes
  17. Clear your desk
  18. Take a short walk
  19. Call a friend
  20. Look through photos
  21. Check in with yourself regularly
  22. Make a hot Cuppa
  23. Dance
  24. Do something creative, write a poem or doodle
  25. Turn off your phone for a day

 

What is your favourite way to practice Self Care, do you have a routine in place to care for yourself?

Comment down below!

My Weekend Reads

My Weekend Reads

Hey all, Happy weekend!

I did a blog post at the beginning of the year on a reading challenge I was going to take part in with Popsugar.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve gone off track, mainly due to not finding myself anytime to just chill out, relax and read!

So far this year I’ve managed to read 11 books which is actually a massive improvement over the past few years.

The challenge has 40 prompts so I currently have a long way to go yet, luckily there are still seven months left in the year and I’m challenging myself with my weekend reads!

During the Easter holidays, I managed to do a lot of my reading due to not having to do school runs – this takes up 2 hours of my day, I know, crazy right!

I’ve set myself a new goal of reading a minimum of two books on the weekend, no school runs means I have those two hours a day spare and whatever other time I can find. If we have a weekend of adventure & fun planned I still intend to get my weekend reads in as I can chill on a night once the kids are in bed and just enjoy my book!

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My Weekend Reads

 

The first book I want to read is:

The image of youAdele Parks

My Weekend Reads - The Image of you Book Cover

This one falls into one of my reading challenge categories so I chose this one for that factor mainly – the category is – a book with characters who are twins.

I already started this book last week (exactly why I need a better plan for my reading) and I’m currently up to chapter 4, so far this is looking like a great book and one I can stick with.

 

Here’s what the back of the book says:

Can you ever trust someone

You meet online?

Anna and Zoe are twins. Identical in appearance, utterly different in personality, they share a bond so close that nothing – or no one – can rip them apart.

Until Anna meets charismatic Nick.

Anna is trusting, romantic and hopeful; she thinks Nick is perfect. Zoe is daring, dangerous and extreme; she thinks Nick is a liar.

Zoe has seen Anna betrayed by men before. She’ll stop at nothing to discover if Nick is as good as he seems.

Lies may hurt. But honesty can kill.

I’m hoping it keeps me wanting to read more of the book, I love a good book that pulls you in!

 

The second book I want to read this weekend is:

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

My Weekend Reads - The Fault in our Stars Book Cover

I’ve chosen this one mainly because I’ve heard so many good reviews on this book. I’m not sure if it fits into any of the categories for my reading challenge just yet but I’m sure I’ll figure that one out soon enough – I hope it does!

 

Here’s what the back of the book says:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw,

The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

It sounds like a great book and I look forward to opening it up and reading away!

Let me know in the comments if:

You have read any of these books and if they Were they worth the read for you?

Until next time!

Much Love

Laura xx

 

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