Hands up if Bank Holiday sent the healthy eating plan awry!

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We’re with you – hands up. Saturday night curry (and Prosecco) followed by Sunday picnic (and cake) and Monday (cookies). Whatever the slip, it leaves us all feeling like we need to remake that decision on a Monday (or Tuesday!) – do we want to get back on the healthy eating wagon? YES!

Now let’s get something straight – we LOVE food, we LOVE a glass or two and we want to eat the cake sometimes. Here’s the thing though, we need to get over ourselves (all of us) and move on. Having a bar of chocolate on a Friday needn’t mean spending the whole weekend eating badly. In fact, we need to get over this crazy idea that weekends don’t count. WEEKENDS DO COUNT!!

We’re all about balance at Mums in Real Life, so have come up with a few ideas to help limit the damage we so often do at the weekend:

  • Plan your food for the weekend. By knowing you’re going to eat pizza on Friday night, then you can save your calories during the day.
  • Make healthy choices. Want a curry? Go for it, but make your own (see our recipes for ideas). That way you can ensure they’re not laden with fat, sugar and salt and tuck in to a guilt-free curry.
  • Alcohol calories count too! Perhaps save your ‘wine’ calories for the weekend and stick to soft drinks and fruit tea during the week (your liver will thank you for it, too). If you know you’ll be drinking at the weekend, adjust your calories to allow for the extra from your wine. A good swap is to try clear spirits too with a low calorie mixer – we love a gin and Fever Tree tonic!
  • Feel like a bacon sandwich for Sunday brunch? Go for it – grill your bacon, remove the fat if you want to, and opt for malted or wholegrain bread. You can also buy ‘zero sugar/salt’ ketchup if you like your bacon butty with tomato sauce. Remember these calories during the day – it will mean your other meals should be lighter on the carbs and fat.
  • Got a hangover? Avoid greasy hangover foods and make yourself a pick me up smoothie, full of antioxidants and vitamins. Your stomach (and skin will thank you for it later).
  • Remember to reset the next day – draw a line, and get back on the wagon! Don’t let a bad day sabotage your eating for the entire week.

Just tried a new smoothie recipe which was absolutely the pick-me-up I needed, so will share it with you later today along with Tuesday’s exercise card. Don’t forget it’s bootcamp day today!

Happy Tuesday lovely people. x

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Focus Friday: Introducing Lydia Havers-Allan

We’ve had so much fun talking about all the brilliant women in our lives, there are so many fabulous role models, we are swamped with ideas about who to showcase. With that, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Lyds Havers-Allan, PT and fitness expert, mum of two and all round inspirational woman.

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About Lydia

Lydia is a mum of two who launched her PT business, LA Personal Fitness in January of this year. She runs classes locally to Maidstone in Ditton, Aylesford, Pegasus Fitness, Maidstone and Marden. Lydia runs Kettle Bells and Circuit Classes for everyone – whatever age or fitness level. When we were chatting about her classes, she said to me “Fitness shouldn’t be exclusive. It’s for everyone.”

This ethos underpins her approach to fitness, that it’s not about having a lot of money, or being a certain age or sex. Everyone can get fit. Everyone!

Lydia decided to train as a PT back in 2016. She was planning her wedding, working as a teacher, and getting into shape for the big day when shockingly, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. Although the wedding was put on hold, Lydia was determined to stay fit and healthy through her chemotherapy and maintained her PT sessions throughout her chemo (this must have been so tough!).

Lydia’s PT asked her what she’d do when she finished her Chemo, and said she’d make at good PT. That was the point when she decided that’s exactly what she’d do. Fast forward three years, and that’s exactly what she did!

Lydia studied during her chemo, and used the time to focus on her studies. She smashed her exams, and became a qualified PT in October 2018.

Lydia is an advocate for healthy living, clean eating and a sensible approach to diet and exercise. She’s a refreshing antidote to the vanity surrounding fad diets, sugar-laden diet supplements and the ‘hip-dip’ and ‘thigh gap’.

We’re hoping to collaborate with Lydia to bring some fitness inspo to our Mums in Real Life, so watch this space! You can find out more about Lydia on Facebook or Insta

She’s also got together a team ‘Lyd’s Luscious Ladies’ (I’ll be running) to run Race for Life Pretty Muddy on Sunday 7th July, and we have a fundraising page here:

Got an inspirational person you’d like the world to know about? Please share with us anybody in mind who’s an inspiration to you! Tag us on Insta using #mumsinreallife #everydaybrilliance #focusfriday or send us an email to hello@mumsinreallife.co.uk 

We’d love to hear from you!

Happy Friday lovely people. X

I ran an actual Marathon yesterday!!

So, I only went and did it! I ran a Marathon! 26.2 agonising, exhilarating miles. The last two days have been hard work emotionally too- a rollercoaster of huge overwhelm, a massive sense of pride and accomplishment (and rather achy knees – I’m writing this with an ice pack on each one).

YESTERDAY WAS A BLUR

After a pretty rubbish night’s sleep (cue dreams about being locked in a cupboard/not being able to make the start line/Paul Weller?!) we awoke at 6.40am. In a bit of a haze we walked the 25 minutes to the start line and found a lovely lady, who was also running her first Marathon. I must check her race number to see how she did (I think she was ready to smash it).

We put our bags in and joined the everlasting line for one last wee before the race started. It was a bit nippy (about 8 degrees and quite cloudy) so we ambled over to the start in a bit of a trance and waited for the start.

We got off to a great start. Keeping pace well and we navigated the hills and ran well against the almighty wind coming off the sea. We kept it up until mile 13, where we found our lovely families cheering us on (seeing my littles faces was such an emotional experience, I will never forget it.)

The next few miles towards and round Hove were ok – we slowed our pace slightly and kept plodding. At this point, my running buddy had a wobble. My stoic, inspirational, fit as anything, amazonian of a running buddy. I was a bit floored. I ran and then found myself losing her, so waited and ran until we were side by side, and continued to do so for the next few miles around Hove.

Then came the dreaded ‘Power Station’ run. I stopped to wait for my running bud, but she just wasn’t there – she had literally been swallowed in a sea of runners (which is hard given that she is 6ft!). At that point, the reality hit me that I was alone.

With about 10 miles to go, it hit me like a brick in the face. 10 solitary miles. And I’m not going to lie – it was awful. Really tough. I had to dig deep. Running up to Shoreham Power Station is actually soul-destroying. It was grey, and the wind was bitter. And to add to things, I just never seemed to get there. Forever.

At this point, something a friend had sent me that morning came to my mind. She’d said “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. A lot.” So that’s exactly what I did. I ran, counting one – two, one-two, one-two. I’m not sure how many miles it was for, but I’d guess about 3.

Running back along the same stretch after looping the power station wasn’t much better, I’ll be honest. But at the bottom of the hill, where the road meets the coastal path I saw something which gave me hope. It read “20 miles”. 20 miles!! I’d just run 20 bloody miles – I was so bolstered by this fact that I shouted to a couple running past “We’ve done 20, we can do f*ing 26!!” And it turns out we could.

The lovely pair I’d shouted a profanity at then took me under their wings, talking to me, and looking over their shoulders every now and again to make sure I was there. I honestly was (and still am) so touched by this act of kindness. Kind man, and Mel from South Kent Harriers, you got me to 26 miles. THANK YOU.

At that point, I spotted my running buddy’s lovely hubby and son and shouted “I’ve lost her. Is she ok?” and he smiled and said “She’s fine, she’s behind you.” The sense of relief I felt that she was ok was overwhelming – as overwhelming as dealing with the fact we weren’t running our last miles together. Honestly, I will always feel terrible that I lost her. I didn’t want her to feel I’d abandoned her, left her behind. She’s an incredible friend, partner and running bud who means the world to me.

I ran on feeling energised for the last mile or so, and then, at mile 26, I saw that face in the crowd. My girl, my beautiful sunshine girl, the recognition on her face, turning to absolute joy when she realised it was me. And then my gorgeous boys – all lined up smiling and waiting for a kiss. It honestly was one of the most brilliant moments in my life. Writing it down makes me emotional beyond words. Best. Moment. Ever

That was it, I could see the finish line – I was ready to do this. To finish what I’d set out to do. A familiar face in the crowd caught my attention, and it was my beautiful sister. Then my Niece, Nephew and Brother-in-Law (I wasn’t expecting them to come). At this point I was an emotional wreck but it was the home stretch. I actually said to myself “Sod it. Let’s do this, Tahlia” and that’s what I did. I sailed down the last 0.2 miles, I posed for the cameras, smiled, laughed and let myself enjoy the final rush of what I was about to achieve. I’d just run 26.2 miles. Done.

After then, it was a bit of a blur – collecting my medal and bag. I do remember wincing as I bent down to put my bag on the floor and then just chucking myself down beside it whilst I pulled it together a bit.

What did I learn on Sunday? That I CAN run a Marathon. That people can be so kind, and the smallest kindnesses mean the most. That I’m tough, both mentally and physically. And that my knees don’t like running 26.2 miles. Pass the ice…

Happy Monday lovely people.

Tahlia x


Marathon Countdown: Day 6

The day is almost here!! This afternoon my running buddy and I will be jumping in her Mini and making our way to Brighton to pick up our race packs.

We’re staying in a hotel tonight, which means we can be up early and focussed for our big run. It also means we get a peaceful evening to contemplate what’s coming and to have a wonder around Brighton sans children!!

As I write, me and the hubby are sitting in bed figuring out the best route for them to spectate. Our dear hubbies are coming up en masse tomorrow in our car (affectionately known as the tank) with the 5 children in tow. (That’ll be interesting!!)

My lovely mum and sister are also coming to cheer us on, so we’ll have a gang of supporters (note to self: must not cry when I see my children/family).

I’ll send you an update when we’ve arrived (and will share my race number with you too).

One more sleep (or maybe not so much sleep – more lying in bed watching the ceiling, waiting for it to be morning).

Saturday’s carb loading menu looks like this:

  • Breakfast: Wholegrain toast with peanut butter and banana
  • Lunch: Leftover Quorn bolognaise and pasta
  • Dinner: Open sandwich on Rye bread with avocado, smoked salmon and egg
  • Snacks: sure I’ll squeeze in a Turkish Delight!!

Have a fab Saturday lovely people.

Tahlia x

Marathon Countdown: Day 3

Today has been a sunny day, so we’ve been out and about in the fresh air, making the most of the opportunity. That has meant that my marathon food plan has gone slightly astray at lunchtime, but otherwise has been ok. (although my running buddy turned up with a Turkish Delight today – I am fast becoming a chocolate fiend – have to curb that after the Marathon!)

Today’s menu

  • Breakfast: Porridge with oat milk, cacao and mixed dried fruit
  • Lunch: Homemade sausage roll, soup and Blueberry & Lemon cake (told you it went a bit wonky at this point!)
  • Dinner: Sausage Casserole with chick peas (will get the recipe up, it’s a good one)
  • Snack: erm, Turkish Delight

Off for a little run later, and then last one tomorrow – only three days to go!

Tahlia x

Marathon Countdown: Day 2

It’s been a warm and fuzzy kind of Tuesday

Well, what a day it’s been today. I plucked my sleeping beauties out of bed this morning at 7.45am to plop them in the car and drive to the Chiropractor, where the lovely Charlotte clicked, manipulated and stretched my poor body back in to some recognisable form. Note> Charlotte is the most amazing Chiropractor and also the loveliest. She happily welcomes my three into the treatment room (and has done since they were teeny – and actually since there was only one of them, my big little). Today was no exception – Charlotte welcomed Stitch, Pikachu and Poppy from Trolls in with her usual beaming smile and disarming manner. Pretty great start to the day.

We arrived home to get stuck in to breakfast (oh – that reminds me, I’m meant to be talking about Marathon nutrition here. Have you realised yet that my mind is some kind of pinball game. Will get on to that in a bit – promise!).

Here’s what popped through the door next…these incredible flowers from Bloom & Wild.

I was so thrilled to get these from a lovely friend who has a lot more on her mind than sending me flowers. If you’re reading, thank you – you made my day.

Then I popped on over to Mum’s and dropped the Littles off and scooted over to see another lovely lady who does sports massage & remedial therapy for an hour of Neal’s Yard scented bliss – my aching muscles were rubbed and stretched and massaged until I felt almost normal. In fact, I left feeling a million dollars and all psyched up for the Marathon on Sunday. Looks like we will be smashing it, after all!

Right, sorry. Will stop blathering now (nearly). To top the day off, we also reached the milestone of 500 fab followers on Instagram, and launched our Facebook page, which is growing as we speak. I just wanted to say thank you to all the lovely people who are in my life – you make each day so much brighter.

Right – here’s today’s Marathon fodder!

  • Breakfast: Porridge with grated apple, mixed seeds and almond milk
  • Lunch: Wholegrain toast with poached eggs, topped with mixed rocket/watercress
  • Afternoon snack: Bakewell tart Naked Bar
  • Dinner: Salmon & Mediterranean Veggies
  • Evening snack: Creme Egg (result – found one I’d hidden that nobody scavenged!! I’m going to miss my extra Marathon chocolate next week!)

Happy Tuesday, lovely people.

Tahlia x

Marathon Training: FINAL Week!

Wow, the last 16 weeks has been a blur of running, running and more running (with a lot of stretching, aches and very tight muscles).

I think it’s fair to say that the last week has been disastrous. On Tuesday, the class germs finally got the better of me, Friday saw the sick bug arriving and Saturday a seized vertebrae and trapped nerve in my back. Cue stretching, rolling and plenty of icing (not the fun type) and a shed load of Ibuprofen.

In desperation, my dear hubby agreed to pick me up and gently sway back and forward to help the aforementioned bone back into place – success! it worked, but am still a bit hobbly with just 6 days to go until I face the biggest challenge yet.

My amazing Chiropractor is going to sort everything out tomorrow, followed with a Sports Massage to help these aching muscles. Will it be enough? I can only keep everything crossed. Am going to try a very gentle run out tonight with my running buddies to test the water.

In the meantime, I’m not going to dwell. I’m going to keep myself busy with thoughts of food and hydration for the week.

Pre-marathon nutrition

Well, Carb-loading here we come…

I’ve done lots of reading up on the subject and advice seems to vary. From carb loading the whole week, to two three days prior to the big day. I think I’m going to go for the first three days of the week high in protein and fibre (and shed load of vitamins to help bolster my poor battered immune system) and then focus on higher card meals on Thursday/Friday/Saturday.

I’m going to plan out my meals every day to ensure I’m hitting the right Macros, and also monitoring my fluid intake more closely to ensure I remain hydrated all week. I’m feeling adventurous this week, so am going to try a few new recipes to help me stay on track.

One of the most interesting pieces of advice I came across was to eat a small meal on Saturday evening, like a sandwich or similar, to give my body time to digest the meal properly and to avoid being bloated and stuffed on Sunday morning. Breakfast will be 6am porridge, peanut butter and banana and I’m aiming to have an energy bar at about 8.

Monday

  • Breakfast: Protein Pancakes with Banana, Strawberry and Peanut Butter
  • Lunch: Open Malt Sandwich with Tuna and Olives
  • Dinner: Salmon with Ratatouille
  • Snacks: Fresh Smoothie with Almond Milk, Homemade Energy Bar

I’ll post the recipes and Macros a little later today. It’s day 1 of the Easter Hols, so the children are getting fed up of me being at the laptop.

Have a fab Monday, lovely people.

Tahlia x

Exercise cards are coming soon!

So, I’ve been busy working with our mate Craig at Keeling Fitness to bring you some beginners workout cards, to help you get started with circuits, and help with technique (and to make sure you’re using the right muscles!).

I’ve been a bit hampered by the sick bug from school this week, but wanted to share with you the pics we’ve been taking of the workouts ready to create the cards for you. I’m excited!

Carly and I are talking about a six week challenge to kickstart our summer bodies and to reset some of the naughty habits that have set in over the Winter (goodbye 4 o’clock Mars Bars, it’s been fun.)

Keep watching for more news, and I’ll post the cards as soon as they’re ready!

Hope your Wednesday has been a good one lovely people.

Tahlia x

Monday Motivation! Here’s your beginners circuits card…

Happy Monday lovely people. The sun is shining, time to get your gear on and work out! (Actually, it’s Monday, I needed a caffeine injection to get my butt out of bed, and I have a cold.) Luckily my gorgeous running buddy is feeling more motivated and is dragging me out to get the miles in tonight (its’ 13 days until the M word). So, for the sake of putting my money where my mouth is, I’m going out in the garden to have a quick circuit.

As promised, our mate Craig from Keeling Fitness has put together a simple beginners circuit for you lovely people, so now’s the time to get the lycra out and the trainers on…

This is a beginners circuit and is designed to ease you in to circuit training/bootcamp type activities. You can do it at home, ideally with a mat and a small weight but similarly a towel and a can of beans will do for starters! Try doing 4/5 repetitions, work through the list three/four times to start with – see how you get on!

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Press Ups (on your knees)
  • Side Steps
  • Leg Raises (try one leg at a time if both together is too much)
  • Mountain Climbers (Hands on a box)
  • Shoulder Press with weight (or beans!)
  • Plank (on knees) for 15 seconds

For more detailed instructions, you can download the workout card here. I’ll also be creating some cards to demo the moves for you – so keep an eye out!

Who’s in? Have fun and keep fit. See you tomorrow lovely people.

Tahlia x

Want to get fit? Today is the day!

I’ve spoken to a few lovely friends over the last couple of weeks, who have been following the blog (hello, and thank you!). They’ve spoken to me about wanting to get back in to fitness, but perhaps they’re are a bit rusty when it comes to exercise, have had an injury, or just want to work on their fitness levels a little before they launch themselves wholeheartedly into Bootcamp or other associated group exercise sessions.

Thinking back on what got my fitness mojo going, there is a combination of things that have helped me to get fit (fitter at 39 than at 19!) and to remain motivated to keep pushing myself. I actually think that when you can find the right exercise, the right crew and the right attitude then you can be fit for life.

My top tips to start your fitness journey

Turn up – commit yourself to every session. Turn up consistently and keep going. The results will happen, but don’t expect them to be overnight. It’s taken me nearly 5 years of regular training and exercise to get to the fitness level I’m at now, and I’m not about to stop!

Change your mindset. “I just can’t lose weight”, “I’m not fit enough to try this”, “I am too old/unhealthy/my knees are weak”. Basically, you’re just setting yourself up to fail. To get fit for life you have to shift your negative mindset and focus on what you can achieve. You’ll be amazed.

On the “I can’t lose weight” front, do not confuse exercise and weight loss. To lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit (which you can contribute to with exercise) but simply relying on exercise alone will not show you results if you’re looking to lose a few pounds or so. My favourite PT statement on this matter is “It’s what you put in your mouth that counts”

Cut out the crap. If you eat processed foods you will feel bloated and even if you are slim you could still be “Skinny Fat”. Stick to natural and unprocessed foods and ditch the carb-heavy alternatives like bread, pasta, biscuits etc. I’m not saying you have to deny yourself but be honest about your eating and track your calories using an app like My Fitness Pal daily – you might be surprised about what you’re eating on a daily basis.

Keep pushing yourself to achieve – set clear and realistic goals for your training e.g “I want to run 10k” or “I want to strengthen my arms”. Then WORK towards these goals. It is hard work, but it’s worth it!

Find your crew. I always bang on about this, but my fitness family are the best. They pick me up when I fall down (literally) and motivate me to train on days I’m just not feeling it. On other days I help to motivate them. We genuinely look out for each other and keep each other going. (Seriously, I love you all.)

In conclusion, I really hope this doesn’t sound sanctimonious – I’m sharing the honest conversations I have in my head every day (particularly when it comes to diet). If you are really committed to getting fit and staying fit then today is the day, let’s go!

After the Brighton Marathon I’m going to refocus on strength training, and am going to build myself a 6 week plan which I hope you’ll follow along with me. We’ll create recipes, training plans and help to motivate each other to succeed in our goals. We’re in this together!

I’ve also spoken to our mate Craig the PT, and he’s come up with a simple circuit for you to follow at home. It takes 10 minutes, needs only an exercise mat and some weights.

We’ll be taking some pics at training on Monday to help you with the moves and I will post the training card then too. Watch this space.

Work hard, have fun and let’s do this! Happy Friday lovely people.

Tahlia x