Thursday, May 24, 2012

Healthy Eating

So I was approached by the gorgeous Adoreabubbles to share this blog with you, after posting a photo of my lunch on Twitter.

I work in a pretty demanding environment, physically and mentally. Working in a warehouse requires a lot of lifting and concentration. Looking at the lunches I used to eat; crisps, chocolate, fizzy drinks, it was no wonder I was starting to feel tired and drained. I decided to change my diet, and so far, it has done wonders! I feel more awake, energised and have a considerable amount of energy left at the end of the day!

So what did I change? Embarrassingly, my typical daily lunch used to look like this;
1 cheese and ham sandwich (which I put in the toaster)
1 bag of crisps
1 bar of chocolate
1 can of fizzy pop
1 chocolate covered cereal bar

Not good! Not only am I feeling drained and tired, my skin doesnt like it either!

My lunch now?
Salad – lettuce, cucumber, tomato, a little cheese, cous cous and low fat mayonnaise
2 portions of fruit
1 glass of water
1 low fat yogurt.

I have been on this diet for 2 weeks now, and I love it!
I havent yet been on the scales to see of it is doing anything for my weight, but I feel a lot healthier, and the beauty of salads, is variety!

I decided to take a few random photos of the groceries I have been buying lately, and decided to share them with you!

Shape Yoghurts, not only are fat free, but fill you up for longer.
I have one of these with my lunch, and it sees me through until I come home. This is obviously amazing for reducing those urges to snack!

I have turned to smoothies in the mornings with my cereal.
Did you know that a 250ml serving of smoothie counts towards 2 of your 5 a day? Beautiful!

One of the above cereals for breakfast, is an amazing way to start the day! They contain nothing but good stuff, and slow release energy throughout the day! Before, I didn't have breakfast, and by the time it hit 10am, I was starving and found myself reaching for that biscuit barrel. Now, I don't feel the urge to eat anything until lunchtime!

As crazy as it sounds, if you are on a diet, but still need something sweet, keep a constant collection of sugar free jelly in your cupboards. It contains no sugar, no fat, no calories. So the perfect sweet snack, with no guilt!

However, if jelly isn't quite your thing, keep something reduced fat to snack on instead. I have found these shop own digestives to taste exactly the same as the real deal, with less fat! Perfect for tea dunking!

I think its safe to say, that we love beans! I am yet to come across someone who doesnt like these little guys!
Did you know that 2 slices of wholemeal toast and half a can of beans contains more protein than a steak!? Crazy, but I assure you true!
PLUS, beans also count as one of those 5 a day!

Remember those lunches I mentioned?
This is a classic example of my work lunch salad. This really does keep me going, and the only real thing containing any calories is the pasta, which is full of carbohydrates, needed for a balanced diet. So not all bad!
And yes, a fat free yogurt!
I also enjoy wholemeal pitta breads with humous, which is super tasty and I had 3 different portions of fruit!

I have also converted to decaf tea and coffee, which has lowered blood pressure and I have found it tastes just as good!

My husband and I have found that we now have enough energy in the evenings, we can go for a walk, swimming and have started looking into a evening sport.
I am also not falling asleep in front of the evening tele, which is a bonus, as I have been missing out on some great entertainment!

So to finish, I leave you with the 10 things I have changed within in my diet, which has ultimately resulted in me feeling great!

  1. I have purchased a daily pill box from the pound shop, meaning I can take all my daily vitamins in the mornings. I take daily Vitamin C, Iron and Green Tea. A green tea capsule contains all the goodness of the real thing, without needing to make 4 or 5 cups of tea a day!
  2. I start my day with a high energy, wholemeal cereal. I tend to eat porridge at weekends, as I find them to be more physically demanding! More energy means I can carry more shopping bags!
  3. Baked beans are my secret weapon – remember what I said about the protein levels?! Nice!
  4. I like to keep a cereal bar in my handbag, which I usually have as my mid afternoon snack! I am not eating chocolate or biscuits, and my hunger is suppressed for a few hours.
  5. I am now starting to drink a lot more water. My husband got me a BPA free bottle, which I continue to refill throughout my day. I have also found that drinking water could be the real reason behind any hunger.
  6. One pot wonders! My husband really enjoys being in the kitchen (I know, Im lucky right?) and he enjoys cooking casseroles, stews and hot pots. The beauty of these, not only the amount of vegetables that go into it, but also the ability to chill and re heat the next day! This ultimately means money is saved, and 2 or more healthy meals can be enjoyed!
  7. I do enjoy chocolate – so I like to occasionally have a bowl of chocolate cereal. This not only satisfies my chocolate cravings, but I am also getting a large glass of milk!
  8. My sugar free jelly is my evening lifeline!
  9. We have started to steam cook the vegetables in the microwave in steaming bags. This is such a healthier way of cooking veg, and helps to keep those nutrients in!
  10. I love my morning smoothie. And to fill 2 of the 5 a day, is such a weight lifted.

If you want to achieve your 5 a day, try my easy and wonderfully tasty menu!

Breakfast – 250ml of Smoothie
Lunch – Soup (Heinz tomato soups are amazing!)
Dinner – Meat and 2 different types of vegetables (I love broccoli, carrots and cauliflower)
Snack – 2 portions of fruit (Strawberries and grapes! Yum!)

I really hope you have found this blog useful. I am honoured to have been asked to write this blog!

Happy munching!!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Domestic Violence....My Story

WARNING: Contains graphic details which some may find disturbing and upsetting.

Hey Ladies,

My name is Aundrea, I’m going to talk to you about a bit of a taboo subject today... Domestic violence. Not a pretty subject but it’s one that is very close to my heart and I think that the more we know, the more we are equipped to deal with it, should it ever affect you.

I'm going to tell you my story. Before I start just let me say that I was one of those girls that used to say ‘I would never stay with someone who hit me, it would be the first time and the last time’. It’s not as black and white when you are in that situation, at least it wasn't for me... OK, here goes.

I was 20 when i met him, we’ll just call him ‘E’ for this. We met in a pub where my friends and i used to hang out 2 or 3 nights a week. He was sitting in the corner alone. I thought he was a really great looking guy and I never really liked seeing anyone on their own in our pub, we were all like one big family in there.  I turned to my friend Steve to ask him if we should invite him over, and he told me he knew him from a few house parties. He called him over and introduced himself to us. We talked for most of the night and a few friends ended up coming back to mine including him. 3 days later he was still there, we were getting on so well and seemed to have a lot in common.

About 3 weeks later the cracks started to appear, I was always a fun loving, out going, friendly type of girl. That was all about to change. He didn't want me talking to any guys, I wasn't even allowed to look at them. I told him I had had enough, that I wasn't going to let anyone control me. He broke down and told me he had lost his job and couldn't afford his apartment anymore, he didn't mean to take it out on me. My heart melted and i offered to let him move in with me on a temporary basis, until he got himself sorted.

Things went well for 3 months, the jealousy was still there but not as bad as before. Things were OK until i started to feel ill, really ill. I went to the doctor and found out i was pregnant. That was the day my life changed forever. I had just turned 21, I wasn't equipped to deal with a baby... I was terrified. The thing that terrified me more was having to tell my parents. I went home and told E. He was delighted. I explained my fears of telling my parents, and he said that we would tell the together. I knew how this was going to go before I even got there. My father went crazy, he told me that i had to have this child aborted, that it was a sin for me to even think about going through with this pregnancy. I found that rich coming from a man who had never been to church in his life. I'm going to be honest, I did think about it. I don't have anything against abortion, I’m pro choice, a women s body is her own business. I decided against it, I knew I would never forgive myself for doing it, and it wasn't the child's fault. My father then told me to get out of his house, that i was never to come back, I would never see any of my family again, that I would be cut out of his will and that he would leave a stipulation in his will that should he die, i was not to attend his funeral. All my mother had to say was ‘I’ll pray for you’ my family are in no way religious by the way.

That's when the violence with ‘E’ started, he knew i had nowhere to go and that i would have to take whatever he threw at me. I was devastated over my parents. I felt very much alone in the world, I really felt he was all I had and the little one in my tummy of course. They were my family now, they were all I had. It started over the little thing, for example we were watching hostel one night  and when it came to the scene where the girl threw herself in front of a train because she caught a glimpse of  her reflection. I laughed and said ‘ She could have got that fixed’ I got a plate broken  across the back of my head. The cat was thrown against the wall and I received a punch in the face. Then i was locked in a tiny bathroom for about 3 hours.
Seem a bit extreme? It gets worse. I went to my friends 21st one night and had to tell him I was going to dinner with a girlfriend. He went to the pub and someone told him where I was. He rang my phone and told me he knew where I was. When I got home that night I thought there was no one there, when I walked in  to turn on the light he jumped out and wrapped a scarf lead around my neck and tried to strangle me. He told me if i ever lied to him like that again he would kill me. I had had enough, I was nearly 9 months pregnant and i hadn't lost everything and  everyone so that i could lose this child because of his violence i had to be strong for it. I went to give him a hug, and kicked him full force into his privates, pushed him into the bathroom, locked the latch and rang the police. They took an hour to come, this was at 3 in the morning. They came and took him away, and brought me to my maternity hospital to get checked out.

He showed up the next day  to collect his things, all he asked was if he could be there for the birth, I told him when they were inducing me and said he could take the morning part and my friend Charlene was going to take over at 2 o’clock. The morning of the induction came on the 21st of December 2007. He arrived at the hospital to meet me and i was taken up to the ward to get the ball rolling.By 11am i was in agony, the midwife suggested I take a bath first but she said my doctor needed to do an internal exam first. He followed me into the bathroom and locked the door, he helped me into the bath and then tried to drown me because i had let a male doctor do my internal. The only thing that stopped him was the midwife coming in to check on me. After she left he said id i tried to leave him with his child he would kill it, and then me.

This had to stop, how much was i going to take? How far did it have to go?! Char came in to take over at 2 and she saw the new bruises, she didn't lecture me but i knew what she was thinking. My daughter Addison was born into this world at 9.09pm on December 21st. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life, I knew I had to be strong for her. I had to stay in hospital over Christmas as I had a C section Stephens day was the 26th and that was the day I was allowed home. To my utter shock my father showed up with my brother, he told to get my stuff together and he was taking me home to my family house to visit. I told him i had to go back to the apartment to collect my things and he said he had everything we need at home.

When I got home he told me one of my friends had contacted him to say what was happening and that my life, and the life of my daughter was in danger. The following day he brought me to his solicitor to file for a restraining order. A week later it was granted, I changed my phone number and cut any ties that might link me to him. He never showed at court to defend himself... but really how could he justify what he had done? The only time I went back to that apartment was to collect my things, under Garda escort. When i left that apartment I never looked back.

Its been 4 years, and here I am. I am stronger. I am happy. My daughter is safe and happy, and I have a man that loves me and treats me right. He adores Addison.

The reason I wanted to tell my story is because if it reaches even one person and gives them the courage to say enough is enough, then it’s all been worth it. Violence in any shape or form in NOT OK. I don't care how they try to justify it, and believe me they will try. And let me tell you something else, once they hit you once, they will do it again. If you think you are not strong enough, that you love this person and they don't mean what they do, you are wrong. These situations are never accidents, the more you try to look the other way the more it will happen.  You might think who am I to say this after sticking with it for so long? When you remove yourself from the situation and get over the ‘seperation anxiety’ you will see where i am coming from.  Surround yourself with positive people, friends, family, councillors. Never ever be afraid to speak up. You wont know how strong you actually are until you walk away. And ladies, once you walk away, never look back.

If you are wondering how I plan on coping when the restraining order is up next year, I’ll tell you. I'm not who I was back then, that time of my life is over and I am so much stronger because of it. If he comes looking for us, it’s him that needs to be afraid of me, I'm not afraid of him anymore.

I’ll leave it there, and if you need anyone one to talk to or have any questions or comments please leave them below or feel free to contact me.

Lots of Love and stay strong,
Aundrea x                       

Do you need help?
Ireland Women's Aid         
UK Women's Aid     

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Losing The Baby Weight

Losing The Baby Weight

Being pregnant was one of the most exciting times in my life. I loved it, except for the morning sickness. I was slightly overweight when I fell pregnant and I was prepared for some weight gain. I was careful with what I ate, but genetics kicked in and I gained 3 stone and went up 3 dress sizes to a size 20.

I’ll never forget my six week check-up, my doctor was less than nice about my weight gain and I left her office feeling well and truly crappy. I decided something needed to be done but recovery and lack of motivation meant I really didn’t try until my son was 5 months.

I didn’t really try very hard in the beginning so I started using a well-known weight loss supplement. I have never been one for this sort of diets but I felt I needed something to give me a kick and too be honest I was looking for an easy way out.  Luckily the diet doesn’t just focus on weight loss but it also focusses on eating healthy. Something I’ve never been very good at.  After having my son, it was even harder to eat healthy, your day goes by so fast and I’d often find at 8 in the evening, I would be saying to hubby I hadn’t ate all day and the takeaway menus would come out.

With the diet I lost 2 of the 3 stone I gained while pregnant and now I’m weaning myself off it and doing it on my own by cutting out bad carbs and going for walks with the little man. And you know what, I am doing just as good without it but it definitely re-educated my brain. I stick to the good carb bad carb mentality but treat myself once a week to something with bad carbs.

 I try get out for an hour walk but I usually get to 40 minutes and I head home and then when little man goes down for his afternoon nap, I try do an exercise dvd if I’m not wrecked myself.

Although I have lost most of the baby weight, I would like to lose another 2 stone. The pressure to lose weight after having a baby can be very stressful. I had several people tell me when my little man was 4 weeks old; I should be out pounding the pavements to lose the weight. Even my best friend was told this by some of our friends. The last thing you feel like doing after having a baby is go out pounding the pavements. It is very frustrating when people tell you what you ought to do.

If you’ve just had a baby or are pregnant and are worried about post baby weight, don’t put pressure on yourself. Just after the baby arrives is time for bonding and cuddles with your little one. If you get comments like the ones I got, try ignore them. Easier said than done right? Just focus on your little bundle and keep smiling.

Anita xxx

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I started walking today

Hello all,

I am delighted with myself today. I went for a walk for just under an hour. Before I even left the house I broke into a sweat which showed me how unfit I really am. I was also slightly nervous. Why couldn't I just pop my walking clothes on and head out the door with not a worry in the world? No idea why I was feeling nervous. As soon as I got down the road with the ABBA tunes pumping (don't laugh!) I felt great.

Iv'e already added the walk to today's achievements as part of my weekly diary. Hopefully this afternoon Shane will join me for a gentle walk after dinner.

Too see what I bought and how I got on watch the video above. Here are some photos. I really didn't have a stitch of clothing suitable so a trip to Penneys was needed.

Bottoms from left to right: Aerobic crop leg €9, Cotton stretch jogging €9, Capri Leggings €4.

Tops: Stripes €3.50, Teal €2.50 Tank €2.50, White €5.

Socks €3.00, Seamless underwear €6, Bra's 2 pack €10. I bought the maternity pack, opps!

When I got home from the walk, apart from feeling dehydrated and delighted with myself I noticed my toes where sore from rubbing off my runners so I will have to start saving for a new pair. Iv'e started now so there is no going back. Some of you have been in touch on twitter to let me know you have already started and I am absolutely over the moon for you all. One day at a time is what I say. WE CAN DO IT!

Myself and Shane went for a quick walk this evening around 19:30, it took me twenty minutes to drag him out of the house but it was nice to have someone with me. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A new beginning.

First of all I just want to say how thrilled I am at the wonderful responses I have been getting over the last 24 hours. I have been overwhelmed with the number of women willing to help support this group. Already we have a handful of excited bloggers planning their future posts. We are going to make a big difference, all of us working together.

Your goals can be as big or as little as you want them to be. I already mentioned participating in the Women's mini marathon in September. It may be a mini marathon but to me that is still a big goal. As for little goals, well I  already started one two days ago.

For the past two days I have been drinking my tea WITH NO SUGAR. *pats oneself on the back*
The first cup was a bit touch and go. I usually have one teaspoon of sugar at home and two sachets if having tea out in a cafe. After the first few sips I nearly gave in and my hand did waver over the sugar bowl for a few moments. I drank half the cup and the rest went down the sink. The second cup I drank 3/4 and the rest went down the sink. This happened for a few cups, a waste of tea I know! But I can safely tell you now as I sit here typing this post with Mr Smiley above sitting beside me that there is no sugar in my tea and I like it!

My plans

This week I plan on keeping a daily diary. I plan on making notes under the following headings, Meals, achievements, 10 minute activity and 30 minute activity. I want to keep note of my meals so at the end of the week I can see where I can make improvements on my dietary requirements. I want to make note of my achievements so I can pat myself on the back and say good job. I might not notice any weight loss but at least I can look at my diary and say I cut down on my sugar intake etc. Ten and thirty minute activities are an incentive for me to get active. I also want to point out that 10 minutes of being active doesn't have to mean leaving the house. Hoovering the house can burn calories just as good as running around your neighbourhood looking like Phoebe from friends. 

Would you like me to share my weekly diary with you at the end of the week? Let me know in the comments below if you would be interested in me sharing them with you. Would you like to start a weekly Diary and share them with the group too?

Another thing I plan on doing is getting a calender so I can mark each day I go without having a takeaway. I am sure this year there have been more days I have eaten out and ordered takeaway than days I have cooked a home meal. How embarrassing is that. I want this to change RIGHT NOW! I think I need to see results for me to remind me how well I am doing which is why I am going to get a calender. I can keep it in the kitchen and mark everyday I go without ordering a takeaway. At the end of the month If I see a full page of X's I will treat myself to a night out with the other half.

I will leave you with that girls. I am just so excited about us all coming together. It's going to be a great week. Wish me luck. Mission getting off my arse has begun.


Saturday, May 12, 2012


Hello all, 

My name is Sarah, I am known as Adoreabubbles on YouTube. I don't consider myself 'famous' or a 'celebrity' I just think of myself as an average woman from Ireland who likes making videos for the beauty community. My favourite aspect of YouTube is that I am making friends with women who have the same interests as me. 

Meeting those women is how I came up with the idea for S.H.E (Support, Health & Encouragement). We can support each other, we can make each other stronger with encouragement and kind words. I have met so many wonderful women over the last year. Some of them have spoken to me about things they wouldn't speak to their partners or family members about. It may have been a lack of confidence or a feeling of embarrassment but for some reason these ladies felt they could talk to me and I was only too happy to give my opinion or advice. 

How does it work. 
You can follow this blog and like our FACEBOOK page. I am hoping other bloggers will get involved and volunteer to do guest post on topics relating to healthy living and women's health. Some of the post will not be written by bloggers but by women without blogs who want to share their experiences with you so I invite you to comment and give feedback. Some of these post will be very personal and in some cases the identity of the person will not be published. Nasty comments will not be tolerated on here or the facebook page, anyone seen to be behaving rudely will be removed.
Over on our facebook page I invite you to keep in touch with the other members of the group. You can ask for advice or share your achievements whatever they might be.

If you would like to guest post on this blog please contact me or on TWITTER and we can go from their. If their is any topics you would like me or another bloggers to address the Facebook page would be a great place to let us know.

One of the main reasons I wanted to make this group was because I have heard so many women tell me how unhappy they are with their weight. I have always struggled to get to a place where I felt happy in my body. Going shopping for clothes is sometimes a nightmare for me. Recently I did lose some weight and my confidence levels have shot through the roof and I don't want it to stop.

I have set a goal for myself and I want you all to join me. I want to lead a healthy lifestyle but at the moment I am doing the opposite. I order take-away more nights a week than I care to admit. I drink far too many fizzy drinks and I don't do any physical activities (apart from one but if my mam is reading this I don't do that). 
This year on the 8th of September there is a women's mini marathon in Killarney. I want you all to do it with me! I am not joking! I want us all to encourage each other to get off the sofas and out into the fresh air and do what ever it takes to prepare ourselves for that marathon. 

All Marathon details can be found HERE

That gives us 16 weeks and six days to prove to ourselves that we can do it. I would like to add that this marathon can be walked, before any of you keel over at the thought of running 6.2 miles. I nearly did!

If you are not a resident of Ireland you can come up with your own goal. Share it with us on Facebook, it might give us some inspirations because after this marathon I'll be looking for another goal to achieve. 

I will be talking about this more very soon. For now, I want you to follow this blog and head on over to facebook to stay up to date with all topics and events.

A few things to be noted before I go:
  • This is a female only group. I want women to feel comfortable in talking and sharing. I will be removing any males that like the facebook page.
  • As I said before this is all about encouragement and positivity if anyone is being rude towards another member they will be removed. You are entitled to your own opinion but please put yourself in the other person shoes before you make any comments. 
  • Have fun and make new friends!