Thursday, 28 April 2011

The easy way to tone?

If there is one thing I don't fall prey for with over the top advertising is believe it. I particularly hate it when celebrities are used because they wouldn't use that product ever. All they see are £ signs. So a couple of months ago I saw this advert.



In the USA and Australia they are known 'Shape Ups' and my response was "what a load of rubbish!." There are some adverts that make me angry and this was one. I am one of these girls that would love to have more toned legs and a tighter butt but seriously these magic trainers were going to give me it?  Also at a cost of £90/$150 might I add.

I go to the gym a few times a week for classes and workouts. In February I noticed my trainers were falling to bits. They were becoming uncomfortable to wear and I could not wait to get them off again. Then my friend mentioned about the Reebok Easytones and I hampered on about how I refused to give into that hoo-ha! Then my Mum said if I go to the gym regularly I might as well pay a decent price for a pair. She's always right. I was searching the internet one night for some and low and behold the 'Easy Tone' advert appeared on my telly. So I thought what the heck? I'll check them out. They had nice colours *check*. They had a really nice style *check*. The price was ridiculous! *uncheck* so I headed over to eBay. They had the Easy Tones for half the price in my size. I acted on impulse and bought them.



I have to say they are magic shoes. I wish I did not believe the advertising but these shoes do give you toner calves. I am not sure about the tighter butt element yet. My friend bought a pair as well and she disagrees but she uses them once a week. You have to wear these for more than a couple of hours a week to see their benefit. The Easy Tone company state that each pair has "exclusive air moving technology with balance ball inspired pods. This creates micro-instability and softness with every step" a load of mumbo jumbo? I think so.

Basically on the bottom of each shoe there is what I can only explain as an air ball. The actual sole of the shoes do not flatly touch the floor. So as you walk you almost feel like your walking on bubble wrap. This is what creates the 'instability'. Naturally your muscles want to be stable so it makes them work harder to get a balance as you walk. I particularly find them really good when running! As my feet do not feel they are touching the treadmill/ground properly so I work faster to make it feel like I am running. If that makes sense? My calves do look more toned but I think I need to work harder on the butt part.

So for someone who turns her nose up at OTT advertising I have to say I like these shoes. I would not buy them at their retail price, so shop around. However, I do recommend them!

Do you give into advertising? Have you used these shoes?

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend and day today. Unfortunately I'm working whilst my family have an Easter meal. Even though I am not a Christian, a lot of my family are so I do join in their celebration with them. 



I had a pretty heavy night of drinking until the early hours last night. It is pretty safe to say I feel a little worse for wear along with these guys. Oh yeah and doing oops upside your head with these bunch of strangers was pretty fun too.




But this morning I woke up begrudgingly as I had to work and miss out on some family time. Yet, something prompted me to look at blogger. This may sound silly but I felt a real need to check out my feed for some reason.


I came across Patrice's blog post. It's not your typical Easter post you read either. It was exactly what I needed to read today. Patrice had a really 'lucky' day on Friday with her travels home. Plus her sister Anna is fighting bone cancer. Her recent PET scan showed new growth and they are currently reviewing her chemotherapy regime. I cannot say this enough. I think Patrice rocks! She could so easily wallow in pity and say "why me? why my sister? why my family?" but instead she is thankful for the countless blessings she has at this moment in time.



Amidst any horrid storm we are always lucky and blessed in some way.

So today I am heading to work and missing out on family time. Instead, of feeling that it is unfair. I count myself lucky that today I am caring for people who are missing out on Easter with their families too. I'm spending time with them instead. I could not be any luckier to be doing the best job in the world this Easter Sunday.

If you do pray or have hope. Please keep Patrice and her family in your thoughts. They're an awesome family!

Have a wonderful Easter.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A Very Muckle Wedding!

Last week we had just finished celebrating the fact that my amazing friend Sacha was about to get married.


Well yesterday she said I do. Sacha and Kevin are now husband and wife!

It was an incredible wedding. I have been to many weddings but I have not been to a wedding where I am really close to either the bride or groom. I adore Sacha and I could not be more thrilled. I found myself welling up when she had her first dance to Bruno Mars - Amazing.

 I still find it hard to believe that she is my age, married and has a baby on the way. It just shows how people achieve different things at different times in life.


They both looked beautiful and the fact that in less than 10 weeks they will be parents. 2011 is shaping to be a busy year for them! Great wedding. Great couple and such a great time!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Baby/Bridal Shower

Thank you all so much for your ideas on the Baby Shower SOS post I did earlier in the month. I had it last night and it was a HUGE success! My friend Becca and I who hosted it were really nervous but it could not have gone better! I could not post a lot about our plans because Sacha reads this blog so here's a run down of what happened. Expect picture overload!


Location:


I had it at my house. We had a tight budget so could not afford a venue. It worked out really well and it was a place all guests could get to.


The Hen/ Mum-to-be:


Sacha was our Hen who we pampered and surprised. She gets married next week. When Sacha announced she had booked her wedding for July I thought I had ample time to sort out a Hen do. Sacha is (or was!) a bit of a party animal when she could be. Then she announced her pregnancy last December and the wedding had moved forward to April. Panic set in. What I had planned would not work for a pregnant woman so I had to go back to the drawing board.


Decorations:


I LOVE decorating but due to money we could not go over board. We had balloons we found for 50p a pack in Hobbycraft. We decorated the tables with confetti, dummies and bottles.We bought some banners and helium balloons as well.


The best decoration was the easiest and suggested by a blog reader Kristen (thank you!). Everybody loved how simple and effective it was!

A baby line and we made two. One for inside and one for outside in the gazibo. We bought the clothes for a good price which Sacha kept. We simply tied the string to my lights and pegged them on. The whole thing cost about £10! It was decoration and presents for Caleb rolled into one!

Food:

I'm a firm believer that it's not what you know it's who you know. I used to work as a waitress in a private hospital at the weekends. It is where I met Sacha who was a chef there. I asked Mark my old manager if he could make a big curry for everyone. So I didn't have to do any cooking! It was all in it's pans ready to heat up. I bought some naans and poppudums. It was a hit and so easy to sort out!

My friend Theresa (whose American and an AMAZING baker) made cupcakes! They tasted so good and we have none left. 


Entertainment:

We got pampered! I searched around for a local company that could come to my house and do manicures, pedicures, facials etc. My only worry was that a lot were expensive, had to put down deposits for everyone (and not everyone could come in the end) and if I read the small print I had to pay for their petrol as well. Eventually I found a business (Girlie Night In) that come to your house but you just pay per treatment. It cost £10 (around $15) for each treatment. It was a steal and the girls who came, Jo and Amanda, were just incredible! Thank you girls!!!





Games:

This is where you guys really stepped up. I used many ideas. We played the nappy game where you melt chocolate into a nappy. The mum-to-be has to open up the nappy and eat the chocolate to guess what it is. Sacha was hilarious! We also played a drinking (no alcohol) game but with bottles. We sat in a circle and the bottles had to go round and when the music stopped the two that had the bottle had to down the drink as quickly as they could. Again this was really well received! We also had people guess the weight of Caleb and we also set up two books. A blue book for the baby shower where people could write their motherly advice to Sacha. We also had a pink book where people could write messages to Sacha about her wedding coming up. It just added a really sentimental touch to it all!



Favours:

We wanted Sacha to feel like a princess so that was the theme we kind of went with. We found some really cheap tiaras on eBay and the guests all wore them.


We dressed Sacha in a tiara with a veil attached, she wore a flashing garter around her arm and we bought a sash that said "Future Mrs Muckle" on it to wear. This cost £3 (around $6 on eBay as well).

For the game prizes I bought some blue lollies (in keeping with the baby blue theme). I had some blue ribbon so I just wrapped a bow around each one. I think it was one of my favourite things to do. 


Gifts:

Everyone brought their own individual gifts. Caleb got a lot of clothes! He will be a very well dressed baby. As a joint present 3 of my friends and I bought Sacha a baby bouncer which she loved. Even though Sacha will be get weddings gifts next week we bought her a photo frame as a little gift as well for a keepsake of the evening.


Guests:

There were 10 of us which was a really nice number. I panic easily when organising things. I love doing it when it goes right but having loads of people would have stressed me out (my job does that enough anyway!). It was a good number to work with. Sacha enjoyed every second of it. We blindfolded her on the way to mine so she knew nothing!!!! She thought we were taking her to a restaurant for a meal so she was very surprised when she took the blindfold off. Everyone said how much they enjoyed it and that's the main thing. I had one very HAPPY bride and mummy to be.


Thank you so much to everyone who came and to everyone who helped with suggestions.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Share the love {deals}

I know a few people have mentioned this site but I have to praise it on my blog too. Have you guys heard of Groupon? They have one in the US and here in the UK too. I am not sure about other countries. If they don't then they're missing out!


I love groupon! It is a daily deal site where local business can share deals. But these deals are seriously discounted. They make awesome presents for people or really nice evenings out. All you have to do is choose your state/county, sign up to their daily email (which at first I hated but it helps out loads) and then they send out the deals. On some of the deals they are limited as to how much they can sell but it is DEFINITELY worth signing up to and checking out.



One of my friends last month was saying how she could never get her eyelashes long enough with mascara. Then London posted this deal to get eyelash extensions for £25 ($40) reduced from £80 ($130). I bought it for her as a present and she LOVED it! My friend Katie did not know what to get her boyfriend for his graduation present. Then Surrey (my county) posted this deal for a 2 night stay in a castle for £170 ($265) reduced from £400 ($650). It's a massive saving.


I have already bought some really good meal deals, mani/pedis and executive hair cuts. There are some days where the deals don't excite me but then on other days they are too hard not to miss. If you do one thing this weekend then sign up to Groupon...you can thank me later.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Baby Shower SOS

Last year I announced that one of my closest friends is having a baby. Sacha is due in July but we are throwing her a baby shower. I know she reads this from time to time so I cannot reveal location or what we have planned so far.




Sacha is also getting married later this month. So we are throwing her a Hen/Baby shower! All she knows is that it is Friday 15th April. It starts at 6pm and we are taking her somewhere blindfolded. 


However, I do need your help. I have never organised anything like this (I organised her engagement BBQ but that was with 5 other people!). I really want it to be special because Sacha is moving up north soon after her baby is born. I am going to miss her TONNES but her fiancĂ© has a good job opportunity he cannot afford to pass up. 


So far we have decided it is Blue and Red colour themed. Blue because she is having a baby boy - we are welcoming a baby Caleb Luke Muckle in July - and Red for the hen party theme (also Sacha's favourite colour).


I need ideas for games, food and decorations for both baby and bridal shower. Can you help? I know your're very good! I am also on a tight budget. Argh! I only have 11 days left to do this all in. I always leave things to the last minute. All I have set up is location, guests and balloons. 


SOS!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Dear Mum...



Dear Mum,
Having a mother like you has been the greatest gift and biggest advantage anyone could ever have given me. It is because of the confidence and values that you have instilled in Nicola, Rach, Phil and I that makes us who we are today. Thank you for shaping me into a person who I like and am proud to be. Thank you letting us believe that we can be whoever we want to be, do whatever we want to do, there are no limitations except our drive, ambition and creativity. It goes without saying your are my favourite person! I have the longest list of thank you's to you. 
Thank you for giving up your job when I was 6 months old. I was so poorly and in/out of hospital that holding down a job for you as well was hard. Thank you for all the days and nights you were at my bedside. You never left me and I know you never will.
Me and my Mum at 6 months before I became ill with a massive bowel infection due to undiagnosed lactose intolerance.
I remember when I was 5 and Rachael and I came down with food poisoning whilst on holiday in Spain. You slept in a chair and stayed at the (un air conditioned) hospital in 40 degree weather for 5 days straight. Thank you for staying with us and missing out on your holiday also.
Thank for being at our sports days, swimming galas, parents evenings and dance lessons. It is memories like these that make up my childhood and I remember you in all of them. Thank you for showing you cared and wanted to be there!
Thank you for being our voice and sticking up for us. I remember when Granddad passed away Gran did not want us at the funeral because she thought we were too young. Thank you for letting us be there despite family protests. Mum, thank you so much for letting me say goodbye to one of my heroes. It will always mean the world to me.
Thank you for your complete patience with me as a teenager. I know my attitude stunk most of the time and I was hard to deal with when life was "so unfair!" all the time. It wasn't. I just liked to exaggerate a little that's all :)
Thank you for understanding me when it felt like no-one else did. I remember when I developed OCD at 16 due to sheer fear of vomiting. Instead of asking me "why?" I was acting like a freak (as most people did) washing my hands consistently, switching off the lights repeatedly and making everything look neat and tidy. You just sat there when I broke down in tears and said "we'll get through this don't worry." Just simply thank you for helping me in my dark times.
Thank you for always having belief in me. There were so many times during my nurse training I wanted to give up. You were my gentle persuasion to just keep ploughing through. Do you remember that call I made you last year when I squealed that I was officially qualified as a NURSE?! I kept repeating "can you believe I did it" and you simply said "I can and I always did Rebecca." It made every sleepless night and tear shed worth it to hear you say that. Thank you :)
Oh and thanks for reading my 14,000 worded dissertation and finding any spelling mistakes etc. Your're a saint for doing that!
Most of all thank you for being proud of us!!! You have always said the hardest thing about raising 4 kids is trying to bring them up as 4 individuals. I think it is safe to say you have 4 kids that are very different and all love you for very different reasons. But Nicola, Rachael, Philip and I all agree on one thing. We think your the best. We think your wonderful and we think you deserve so much more. You have put up with a lot and we know we have not always been easy. But your our Mum and we think your invincible so please stay that way hehe. 
Thank you thank you thank you. For a million things, for everything. I don’t know what I would do without you. There are so many many more things, small things, big things.
I love you very very much, if I could be half as good a mother to my children as you are to your children. I will have done exceptionally well. Thank you Mum! I love you, more than words can ever express.
Today we are celebrating Mother's Day!!!
 Happy Mothers Day from these fine specimens you gave birth to!!!
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