What We’ve Been Doing Lately

Hey Friends,

Who decides to go away in a caravan in October?? That would be us!

We were on hols last week in a slightly chilly Cornwall.  It really doesn’t matter what time of year you go to Cornwall, the rugged beauty of the North Coast is stunning all year round.

Our trip this time seemed to be more about what we didn’t do, about having quality family time with less.  Less stress, less internet, less work, less of taking photographs for absolutely everything we did like we usually do!

It wasn’t until we  got to our static van that we realised we had to pay for wifi! No & no thank you.

Thankfully we didn’t care & this set the scene for our blissful week away from social media.  I did feel a bit cut off, but in a really good way.  (Can I be honest though & say when we came across free wifi I hopped on immediately?? I’m only human! Owning it)

So the photo’s are not really blog worthy, but it’s our life & our holiday, just as it is.

Sweet Bea Rick Steins

Sweet Bea looking like an angel at Rick Stein’s in Padstow

I have to admit when you have two young kids it’s comforting going somewhere you know where all the kiddy friendly places are.

We went back to Rick Stein’s in Padstow, so kid friendly with highchairs & baby changing facilities.  You have to leave your buggy outside which is fine if it isn’t raining which thankfully it wasn’t while we were there.  I had grilled salmon & chips.

Sweet Couple Rick Stein Sweet family Rick Stein

My Favourites enjoying fish & chips at Rick Stein’s famous restaurant in Padstow.

My Dad took the picture of my & Jon, he thought it was pretty good! Bless him!!

Sweet Harry Proper Pic

Here is the best photo I could get with Sweet Harry who is never happy to pose for pictures! I quite like it, it’s the real us that’s for sure, always goofing around!

Sweet Harry the Knight Trerice Fire Great Hall

Sweet Harry the Knight enjoying a snack at Trerice Manor near Newquay & the fire in the Great Hall.

SH enjoyed doing the trail looking for pumpkins, skeletons & bats.  We were also given a booklet with 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 and 3/4 & got a sticker!

There was chain armour & old toys to touch.  We couldn’t resist the play armour in the gift shop!!  Plus it’s the first time SH has ever shown as interest in dressing up.

I treated myself to a facial at the Watergate Bay Hotel which was bliss, followed by a latte while Jon took the sweet kids to soft play.  I so needed it (&there was free wifi! & THIS VIEW!

You can’t see here but loads of people on the beach being blown along & flying kites!

Watergate Bay Hotel Latte View

We also went back to Truro to the Waterstones to chose books which we always do with the kids.

Whatever you’re doing, have a great week!

Lizzie XO

 

 

 

Five on Friday – 17th October 2014

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Hey friends,

Cheers to the weekend!

I’ve been a bit absent with the old blog again, soz about that! This year has been so horrendous sleep wise, other things have just had to take priority; like getting up & getting dressed etc!  Ya know, functioning.

I love my kids but man, if only they would sleep.  4 years ago I had my first babe & 19 months ago our second joined us.  I have a hazy memory of sleep sometime in the middle of that, but in a season of becoming dry at night x nightmares x fudging off Mum & Dad (SH) & teething x colds x whatever else she thinks of (SB), consistent sleep has alluded us so far in 2014.

I had a thought (dangerous) about the things I’ve brought since before I even had the kids, pregnancy turned me into a crazy woman, I prowled the aisles of Mothercare immediately I saw the line on the test (& possibly a bit before) & have every ‘must have’ under the sun.

I reckon we have spent a fortune on stuff for them; buggies, blankets, playmats, garden toys, indoor toys, highchairs (one for our house + one for Mum & Dad’s?!?), muslins, bottles, teats, formula, dummies, swingy chairs, chairs that don’t swing, bath seats, electric sterilisers (+ a microwave one yanno, just in case) plus the essentials nappies, clothes, shoes etc etc etc.  This does not even begin to cover the list of things we have actually bought over the last 4 years, NO. WHERE. NEAR.

Now that I’ve had two babies I look back & have regretted some of the things I bought or thought I needed.  True story, most Mum’s in the dark ages managed with a boob, a dummy made of glass & a drawer.  Most of it isn’t ‘must have’ at all, but I still found myself eyeing up the cute Bugaboo in Costa earlier (seriously I have 4 buggies!)

I thought it would be good to share the things I haven’t regretted buying, the items that have been truly useful & helpful.

O N E – Fisher Price Nature’s Touch Cradle (Swinging Chair)

Second hand & well loved this swing chair came from a friend & immediately changed our lives with our newborn. Up to that point we had a very whingey & hard to get to nap baby boy.  This swing not only put him to sleep in minutes, it also saved my sanity.

T W O - Aden & Anais Muslins

The other brand mussies I tried just weren’t as good, they are soft & wash well & don’t come out of the wash all wrinkled up like the others.

The large one’s are also good as a swaddle & a sunshade over the pram.  If it’s good enough for Prince George…..

T H R E E – Dummies

No particular brand!

My parents hated the idea of using dummies, we never had them as kids but I swear by them.  SH never took to them but SB loves hers.

Good for babies to soothe themselves to sleep & even keep them mildly quiet during the sermon at Church, shame you have to take them away really, but the dummy fairy needs them.. grrrr.

F O U R – IKEA Highchair

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I think SH is comfy in his IKEA highchair

I have tried a lot of highchairs in my time, in coffee shops & restaurants & I am always pleased to see an IKEA highchair.

They’re simple, they’re cheap (£13!!!), my children can actually sit up straight in them, the buckle is easy to adjust & they’re easy to clean.  I started off with another brand & switched to IKEA & have been happy ever since.

F I V E – Maclaren XT + Buggy Snuggle

I know technically that’s two things, but this is my blog & in my eyes it’s a winning combo.

The Maclaren XT is as close as I could get to buggy perfection, there is no perfect buggy out there, contrary to what the brands tell you.  This one just worked for me.

It’s pretty telling that for SH I had a whole travel system & for SB I went straight to the Maclaren.  Suitable from birth it doesn’t wow you like a full on travel system does, it’s certainly not keeping up with the Jones’s, but years of engineering goodness has gone into this buggy.  Personally as a short arse I could do with the handles a little lower but you can’t have everything.

Paired with a cow patterned Buggy Snuggle & Sweet Bea is snug as a bug.  We also took this on hols with us when SB was 11 weeks old, so easy on the plane.  Also easy to bung in the wash.

So that’s my five! If I could have six I’d add in calpol, what would we do without the pink stuff?!  What things did/do you find useful for the sweet kids? What do you regret buying?

Until the next time friends, don’t get sucked into the ‘must have’s.  Your babies need love, nurturing, attention, food, drink & clothes, & not much else really.

Sorry about the lack of photo’s.  I’ll add them in another day & reblog!  Cheers to April, Christina, Darci & Natasha for having me along.

Have a great week you lot!

Lizzie XO

Tommy & Lottie – a Review

Hey friends,

I saw an opportunityto do a review for a new brand &  I must admit I’d never heard of Tommy & Lottie before, that’s because they’re really new set up in 2014!  A quick search to their website & afew e-mails back & forth from the owner & I very quickly got a feeling for what they’re all about.

The owner Katie offered me a choice of any of the t-shirts on the website (how lovely is it to have a choice!) I very quickly fell in love with the fairground range.

I liked all of the designs & really liked that they’re all really simple white background but with a striking Scandinavian inspired design on the front!

I asked for the dodgem t-shirt in Sweet Harry’s age since I haven’t done a review with him before, but unfortunately they don’t do it in his size yet (he’s now 4).  So I opted for the helter skelter design for 18-24 months & you’ve got Sweet Bea instead!

Helter-Short-Sleeve-Front-220x220

I was impressed that the t-shirt came wrapped in tissue paper & with the cutest little badger sticker on the envelope.  It really is the small things that add to a buying experience.

Secondly, I was happy to see poppers on the shoulders, it’s not always easy to get a wriggly toddler in their clothes so anything that helps is a win.

I did have to think about what I would team the tee with as SB is quite a girly girl & this tee felt more rock star babe.  I popped her in jeans & put a tutu on top! But SB didn’t mind rocking the fairground design & was quite happy running around in it.

helter tutu

I did find the tee slightly too long for her, but I just tucked it in & I know it will fit her for ages.

Here she is running around with her tee, topknot & jeans, I loved putting her in something I wouldn’t otherwise of thought of, I also turned up the sleeves for a bit of a girly ‘Grease’ style twist, I think she looks great!

Helter side

helter front

I’m always up for shouting about brands who have an ethical background.  Tommmy & Lottie are passionate about how they produce their product “ethically and sustainably produced by using only the best quality and the softest 100% cotton and are designed and screen printed in Britain.” Made in GB always gets my vote too!

After reading more of the website I was really happy to see that Katie had set up her business after staying home with her kids, it really gave me hope for my future after I’m done with staying home with my own sweet kids.  I’m happy to support Mum’s who have started their own business.  I really like the warm but current feel of this new hot brand.

If you’re on the market for a really soft, beautifully designed tee this might be what you’re looking for & they would make a great gift too!  My only negative is that they don’t make them bigger so my boy could have had one too!

Have a look at the Tommy & Lottie Website or go & say hai on Twitter // Facebook.

Lizzie XO

 

 I was given a t-shirt to keep & review.  All links are no follow & all words & opinions are my own.

 

Five on Friday – 3rd October 2014

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Hey sweet friends,

It’s great to be back with the old skool Five on Friday link up which is back up & running after a break.

Say HAI to my hostesses April, Christina, Darci & Natasha.

For my five this week I thought I’d share my five favourites from our photoshoot with Helen James Studio earlier in the year.

O N E – OUR FAMILY

We do have a more composed shot with all of us looking the right way & smiling but I just love this photo, this just shows us to a tee!  It captures our family perfectly & how we are always goofing around with each other!! Look at Sweet Bea, totally nonplussed.

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I’m wearing a top & black jeans from the Petite range at Topshop.

TWO – THE MONEY SHOT

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I have no words, he’s just SO FLIPPING CUTE! SH wore togs from Next Kids.

THREE – SWEET BEA HOLDING COURT

Do we see a future judge here? I can just see her saying ‘you are in contempt of court, take them away’! HA!!!

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I picked up this really pretty dress from TK Maxx & the bow is from Next Kids

F O U R - DAD & SON

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Both boys are in Ralph Lauren polo shirts, I think they look so sweet together in this photo.

FIVE – THE SWEET KIDS 

I really liked all of the props Helen had in her studio. I especially loved these fabric castles & the sweet kids really enjoyed playing in them.  IMG_6329

This shot will be going up in our new playroom, post about that to come soon. 

You can find Helen at Poundbury in Dorchester, Dorset.

See her website here or Like her page on FACEBOOK.

Until the next time friends have a great day!

Lizzie XO

nb This is not a sponsored post & all links are no follow.

 

Take a Moment – Joy the Baker

Hey friends,

Beer-Brownies

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I’ve been following Joy the Baker on Bloglovin’ for quite awhile.  Every post is jam packed full of mouth watering goodness & makes me (yes me!) WANT to bake; or at least eat some really yummy food.

I don’t think I’ll ever be at the stage that Joy is at.  But the beautiful photography at every single stage of baking & Joy’s warm running commentary makes you feel like you’re getting a step by step tutorial by a friend & having fun at the same time.

Joy lives in New Orleans & her blog is interspersed with colourful & whimsical tales of her life there, blogging, eating, drinking & generally living life to the full.

Joy the Baker has many published books & another is on it’s way out called Homemade Decadence.  Do you think I can hint to my husband for one for our anniversary in a couple of weeks?

Homemade Decadence Cookbook

DID YOU KNOW???? There are blogs on every single subject in the world out there! If you love sewing then search for a sewing blog, if you love cars there’ll be sure to be a blog on it.  The blogs I follow are generally written by women as I’m interested in lifestyle, food, kids fashion & beauty & general chit chat blogs too, full to the brim of inspiration & tales of life.

Have a look on Bloglovin’ or Google & see what will spark your interest today. Joy the Baker always sparks my inspiration, &/or my appetite!

Follow JOY THE BAKER on Bloglovin

FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST

Until the next time friends, have a great day!

Lizzie XO

Five on Friday – 26th September 2014

Hey friends,

How’s your week been?  It’s been a happy & emotional time in the Somerset ranch as our little boy turned 4!!

Here’s my 5 favourite things this week!

O N E – This Guy

Harry 4

Can you believe Sweet Harry is 4! Maybe you can, but this Mama can’t.  They always say it flies by, but the days are so long sometimes that it’s hard to think like that.  But now the day has come SH is school age, I must admit IT HAS FLOWN BY!

We’re so proud of our sweet, confident, chatty, kind & caring boy!  Reach for the Sky!!

Happy birthday little dude!

T W O – This Guy

JON ON RALLY

 Waving Daddy off on the Screwball Rally 2014

The Screwball rally is underway & as I type hubby is hot-tailing it from Switzerland to Austria on a charity rally with his mate Tom.

You can still sponsor them but I am delighted to say they have now exceeded their target of £3,500!!

jon rally

Here’s the link if you’d like to support them. HERE

T H R E E – Sweet Gifts

I’ve been praying for quite some time for something to do as well as be able to stay at home with the sweet kids.  It’s been a real answer to prayer that Church has asked me on board with their social media team!!  I love blogging & when I started I had no idea where it would lead me.  I just asked that God would guide me & that I would be an encouragement to others, in whatever form that might take.

It’s great for me to feel useful & to have a creative outlet.  Thanking God for this opportunity to serve Him.

F O U R – Pumpkin Spice in back in Starbucks

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Yeeps, the PSL is back in Starbucks! It must official be AUTUMN!!!

I’m not a huge fan of latte though (too milky) I much prefer a cappuccino so I’m changing the PSL to the PSC!!!

Always one to be difficult HUH. But on a serious note, people!! you can ask to have your pumpkin spice in whatever coffee you want! You don’t always have to go with the crowd! PSC all the way!!!!

F I V E – Sweet Friends

Since hubs is living it up in Europe I’m here with the kids solitaire & I’m missing him of course!  But with this time comes an opportunity to spend time with others & ask for help (something I’m working on).

I’ve already had a lovely eve with the sweet girls from church & will see more people over the weekend which is usually family time.  It’s good to do things differently every now & again & this trip is our excuse to tip our routine on it’s head for afew days & try new things!

Until the next time friends, have a great day!

Lizzie XO

Five on Friday – 19th September 2014

FridayFavorites3_zpsea6fc451hi guyyys! How was your week?

Did I tell ya I have a new link up? I’m really excited about this one.  Firstly say hello to my Hostesses….

Andrea blogs at Momfessionals

Erika is over at A little Bit of Everything blog

Narci can be found at Grace & Love blog

Here’s my Five on Friday!

O N E – A lady who has become a truly good friend in a relatively short space of time has moved areas (boo)  & I miss her loads, SH also misses Miss LC!  In this case it’s good to acknowledge that we miss them because they have become good friends & focus on the fact the move is so great for them.  Plus we have a new place to visit!!

T W O -  Our decking has been finished in our back garden.  I have flaffed about for ages deciding what to do our our space & now we finally have it we have used it non-stop ever since.  I’m determined to have friends & family over more & we have started off well with a family birthday gathering for my hubby!

To support our more sociable selves, I went on Pinterest & pinned these signs, we’d love these on our fence.  It would show our guests the kind of warm welcome we hope to pass around a little.

marshmallows

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A kind soul also gave us their firepit! So excited to get some marshmallows toasted come those cold Autumn evenings!

T H R E E - Reading More Blogs

I’ve been reading more blogs than writing them recently & I enjoy the chance to really look at the blogs I want to follow to inspire me.

Some blogs I find a little too ‘show reel’ & not enough ‘real’ for me.  Now don’t get me wrong I don’t want to read a list of woes either but I would like to know when I connect with a writer that what I’m reading is their best bits & inspiring but also they’re going to be letting us in a little of the not so great too & how they deal with that.

How can we encourage each other if we’re always down or always up! It’s just not real.  Real is where it’s at, actually real + balance is where it’s at.

F O U R -  Sweet Harry’s 4th Birthday

SH CUPPA

Such a dude.  I can’t quite believe my Sweet Harry is going to be 4 next week! SH is the baby who made me a mama, a truth I’ll always be grateful for.

We’re having a small party at a soft play area over the weekend as his Daddy is away on the Screwball Rally for charity through Europe next week.

SH has grown (see him at his party last year) into a really smart, chatty, confident, & may I say, absolutely gorgeous boy & we couldn’t be prouder to call him our Son.  He’s my favourite boy in the whole wide world that’s for sure.

My favourite time with him is at bedtime.  We go through a routine of reading stories, praying together & building him up & telling him that no matter what’s happened in a day that he is awesome, he’s loved, he’s handsome, he’s clever & funny & so on. His face just lights up.

True story – Ages ago while trying to teach him his full name & age I said, ‘what’s your name’ & he said his name, & then I asked ‘& you are…?’ & instead of saying his age he answered…’AWESOME’!!

We fell about laughing for ages but it’s totally stuck.  We say it every night now.  It’s amazing what it does to him! I can’t think of a better way to round out each day.

F I V E – Our Family Photoshoot

I’ll be doing a separate post on our photoshoot but I just had to share our favourite photo with you all.  The photographer completely captured our little family to a tee.

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You’ll have to come back around next week to see if we got a photo with SH in it.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend friends I hope it’s a blessed & fulfilled one.

Until the next time have a great day!

Lizzie XO

 

 

 

 

A New Term & A New Season

Hey friends,

Firstly apologies for the leave of absence, Summer Hols were LOOONNNG & getting SH back in the swing of things at Pre-School & starting our Primary School search for him has taken up all of my headspace recently.

So here we are, September! Yay!! My most favourite time of year.  A new term & with a sense of new things & new exciting things to come.

SH is really enjoying being back at pre-school especially since it’s a bit quieter this term with the amount of children.  I’m enjoying a new sense of calm & expectation of God to bring about good things.  It might be something to do with Harvest coming up, I just love concentrating on all that God has provided & celebrating how He provides for my little family & for us all.

As we approach this new week head on, I give thanks for the hard times as well as the good, as His faithfulness never fails.

We’re so excited for the new decking in our garden, we’ve already had a barbecue & look forward to many times out in our little space enjoying friends, family & fun!

Also exciting is a new link up I’ve found.  The Five on Friday girls have stopped doing the link up so I have found a new one to link up with so I can still bring you the things I love, the positives, the good things. It’s also great to find new blogs, new people to inspire & connect with.  I still follow the girls’ blogs & you can too;  April, Christina & Natasha.

See you on Friday with all new Five on Friday!!!!!

Have a great day guys!!!

Lizzie XO

Let me stand up for the Stay At Home Mum

I remember the moment I sent the letter handing in my notice for AgustaWestand. I’d been with the company for 14 years total. Even though it was what I’d always wanted; to leave, have babies & stay home, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do (bar raise these children, but let’s park that for a moment).

It was a shock to me how much identity I’d tied up with work, since it was a career I fell into.

My town is built up on aerospace, so it wasn’t a surprise that I ended up in the industry. I liked my job & the people I worked with, but I didn’t love it. It didn’t spark my passion.

When I left to go on maternity leave I was excited to start what I felt I’d been born to do, the job of being the best Mum this baby could have.

For as long as I can remember I’d wanted to be a Mum, first & foremost that was my ambition. If you’d asked me as a little girl what I wanted to be when I grew up, in my heart I always wanted to be a Mum. Out loud (even back then) I knew to say a career. If I’d said a Mother they would have looked at me in that patronising way. So I said Nurse instead.

So I had my career, I’d gotten married & had my first baby Harry at 33 & here I was giving it all up to raise him. I find it hard to admit my hand was shaking when I posted that letter. Surely this is what I’d always wanted?

Personnel rang me to say that they’d received it, I tried to negotiate pulling my letter back, just to buy abit more time to think, I asked if I could have a sabbatical. There was an awkward moment as the Personnel Officer apologised & said no they couldn’t leave the post open & the letter had been processed already. I put the phone down. It was too late to go back. I was shocked at the depth of feeling I had against staying home. (Read my post a The Outsider HERE)

So I threw myself into being a SAHM. Ran a baby group for awhile, met with other Mum’s & babies. One by one all of the friends I’d made during maternity leave started going back to work. I was (& still am on occasion) quite isolated.

Antonia Hoyle in talking about the modern working Mother in Stella Magazine, notes the almost unspoken perception in society that woman who decide to stay at home & raise their children over keeping & advancing their career are not driven or ambitious.

I’m a SAHM with huge ambition & drive, I always want to strive forwards however I must admit it’s taken all the time I’ve stopped working to realise just how ambitious I am. With that being said, I can’t imagine how exhausting it must be to raise children & work.

I have realised in the (nearly) 4 years since becoming a Mum that identity is so important. It’s also important as a woman not to be labelled. Reading another article by Kiran Chug it struck me just how much we as women put down other women, Mothers putting down other Mother’s when their choices are not what ours would be. We assume things we should not assume. We cannot see the bigger picture. This brings about a gross misunderstanding of us as individuals, women & Mum’s.

I’ve also realised I need more than looking after my children to satisfy me. These beautiful children will one day grow & spread their wings, that’s natural, normal & right. It’s also right that my own life is not neglected in the years of bringing them up. I need people around me, I need friendship, I need community, time for myself, time to pray & yes I need to work. We are born to work & get satisfaction from doing it well.

So I’ve thought long & hard about what my passions are.  This gap in my career has actually done me a massive favour. It’s given me the opportunity to step back & reassess my life, passions & what I want to work hard for.

These beautiful children are well worth giving up my career for. I am fortunate enough to say I haven’t missed a thing of their early years. I hope & pray staying home was the right decision for them & for me.

I still have guilt I’m not doing this ‘Mum’ job right! I do worry what people think of me if I have a bad day with them. But as Kiran points out, we’re individuals just trying our best. Through exhaustion, through frustration, through the guilt we’re not doing it right & through the joys of motherhood. We need to support each other.

We are all women, all Mother’s here. If you’re a working Mum it’s hard work, if you’re a stay at home Mum it’s hard work. I must also mention the carer who gave up their career to look after a loved one, you’re a Mother too, let’s not forget you.

Our careers are not our defining identity! Thank goodness we are about so much more than that.

Lizzie XO

Complaining & The Pity Party

Hey friends,

I hope you’re all having an amazing week!!

To be honest I’ve struggled the last couple of weeks, can I be real with you about that? Sometimes even the most positive of people have some downer days.  I’m owning that & sharing it!

For some reason I don’t enjoy the long Summer break.  Nothing is the same.  And it’s just so LOOOOONNNNGGG, am I right?!

I think it goes back to the school holidays as a kid, I didn’t like being out of routine & no one was around to play with & even if they were they didn’t seem to think to include me, boo hoo right!?

Anyway, pop on top a sick child & I’ve really been showing up a lot at my very own pity party lately.

Sick Sweet Bea

Sweet Bea was so sick with an ear infection, her Daddy is so sweet to hold her like this as she wouldn't settle in her cot.

 

I started following Zig Ziglar on Facebook & some quotes he put on just made me laugh at myself a little (a lot). I laughed because I’ve already forgotten the things I need to do to help myself through the low times which we all have sometimes.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
- Zig Ziglar
“The more you complain about your problems, the more problems you will have to complain about.”
-Zig Ziglar

Can I have an AMEN to that?!  Soooo true.

Last year I went through a hard time with PNA (you can read my guest post about it HERE), & during that time I was taught some tools for dealing with stress, anxiety & panic.  I know I need daily reminders of motivation to help me through.

Did life suddenly get easier? No, of course not! So when did I decide to stop motivating myself & being positive? I don’t have an answer friends except I guess old habits die hard!

Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated when we’re out of our normal routine, it takes practice & dedication to stay positive.

Thankfully I’ve been reminded today by that still small voice to think about the tools I learnt when I was working my way through PNA last year.  Motivational quotes helped me a lot!  Whenever I feel myself starting to go back downhill again I need to look up these quotes that help me focus on bringing gratitude to God for how far I’ve come & where I’m going.

“You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive, life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.”
-Zig Ziglar

If I put as much energy into praying for others & reading hope filled blogs, articles & scripture as I do into complaining in my head I think I’d get a lot more accomplished.

Whatever you’re doing over this Summer hols have a great time, because you deserve it! You really, really do.

Enjoy the sunshine

Lizzie XO