Feb 5, 2016

Coffee, Joy and Mindfulness

Before I get started, I'm super excited to announce the winner of the Leonisa giveaway, congratulations Matilda Iglesias, you've got yourself a $75 gift voucher! 

As I've already mentioned a few times, my new years resolution is to be more mindful.  Last year felt like a whirlwind while I got used to being a school mum and all the new routines that come with that.  I got swept up in the busyness and I felt like I was chasing my tail most of the time.  So as 2016 rolled around, I knew that I wanted to find a way to be more mindful and intentional with my time.  I wanted to find a way to feel calm in the midst of tight schedules, and I wanted to find ways to centre myself and to look after me so that I didn't feel like I was just surviving the day.

Today's post was made possible thanks to  Di Bella Coffee, coffee that is blended, roasted and distributed fresh daily from a roasting warehouse in Brisbane.

Whilst on this journey to mindfulness, the thing that I am currently working on is seeking out and  allowing myself moments during the day where I stop and take care of me.  It is about recognising when I need a quick break, taking it and doing something that makes me happy, something that helps me recharge and having a little moment that I can just rest and be grateful for.

It is so important that we take these moments for ourselves.  I have been out of the habit and caught up being busy for so long that it was hard to imagine what I would do to help bring myself back and re-focus, but after thinking about it for a little while I realised that there are a few moments during my day that are incredibly important to me and if I allow myself to stop and take the time to enjoy those moments and be present in them, it helps me continue on through the day more mindfully.

It can be really helpful to understand what those moments are for you, what helps you re-energise?  For me it's little things like a nice relaxed morning coffee that I can relax and enjoy before the rush of the day..  I look forward to it from the moment that my eyes open - the smell, the flavour and let's be real, the caffeine.   Another is unscheduled cuddle time with my kids.   I love to pull up some cushions, get comfy, read them a story or just laze around and shower them with love and affection (the cuddles do me the world of good too).  I also have a few other things that I now recognise to be little joy moments, moments that I can relax for a few minutes, stop, reflect and be grateful for so I try to make sure I include them all in my day when possible.

It's so important for busy mamas to have a few of those moments throughout the day, so have a little think about what those mindful joy moments look like for you.  I might be stopping for an energising hot cup of coffee or a relaxing cup of herbal tea or it might be putting the kids in the pram and walking around the block in the fresh air.  Figure out what your moments are and make an effort to not only take them, but to be mindful and present in the moment while enjoying them.  Good luck mamas!

Jan 25, 2016

Leonisa $75 Lingerie Giveaway

Leonisa Sports Bra
I have to admit, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone a little here - I'm not usually one to talk about underwear, but hey, 2016 is a all about personal growth for me so why not just jump straight out of my comfort zone (and into the underwear drawer).  It's totally worth it in order to be able to offer you guys a chance to win an awesome $75 voucher to www.leonisa.com.

Although I absolutely love online shopping, I have always hesitated buying bras online.  As you might have noticed,  I'm not an incredibly busty girl so I've always been afraid that if I buy lingerie online it simply won't fit.   However, when I was contacted by Leonisa to see if I'd like to try a few of their bras, I decided it would be a great opportunity to overcome my fear.

As always, although I received products to review for this post, my suppliers are aware that I will only ever write about products that I truly love.. 

It was easy enough to measure myself following the size-guide on the website (and it turned out to be the same size I usually buy so they seem true to size).  The only problem you may have is deciding what lingerie to buy as there are so many nice styles to choose from.

Leonisa Bras

I decided to go with a sports bra (of course) a strapless and a push-up style and I was more than pleasantly surprised that when they arrived, all three styles fit beautifully, were super comfortable and really excellent quality.

I particularly love that the sports bra has a cute lace detail in the back, giving it a very feminine touch - something that is sometimes hard to capture in workout gear.

And now to the best bit, the very kind people at Leonisa have offered one of you lucky people a $75 shopping spree!!!

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is to complete A-D below:

A) Subscribe to The Active Mum via email or Bloglovin' (links to both are on sidebar) and

B) Follow The Active Mum via social media - either Twitter, Instagram or Facebook (links at top of page) and

C) Comment below telling us in 25 words or less what your favourite time-saving fashion tip for busy mothers is.  (Great entries may be compiled and featured in an upcoming blog post).

D) Share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook, or tag a friend on Instagram

Competition open to USA and Australian residents only.  View general giveaway terms and conditions here.  This giveaway will begin 25/01/2016 2pm Sydney time and finish on 3/02/2016 11.59pm Sydney time.  The prize is a $75 voucher for www.leonisa.com   Winner will be contacted by email and Leonisa.com will be responsible for supplying the prize to the winner.   

Jan 20, 2016

Boxing Fitness - The Ultimate Challenge

Over the last few years, boxing has become increasingly popular for those wanting to increase their fitness, achieve a strong body composition, burn fat and keep it off for the long term. So why are so many women turning to boxing to get fit and lose weight? Today we are going to take a look at the key benefits that separate boxing fitness from some other styles of workouts.

The key difference is the intensity of a session compared to your average aerobic treadmill workout. These high-intensity, anaerobic boxing workouts push the body to the point of whole-body energy expenditure. Another big difference between anaerobic and aerobic workouts is that anaerobic continues to work your body and burn calories for much longer after each session due the sustained metabolic rate. The variety of cardio exercise and resistance training included in a boxing session provides the perfect combination for toning and strengthening muscles, and strengthening bones which has been proven to increase bone density and help prevent diseases like osteoporosis later in life.

Boxing for fitness not only provides real health and fitness results, it's also quite fun to do. Gone are the days of boring, stale treadmill workouts while watching TV or listening to the same old 'workout' tunes. If you're looking for the ultimate fitness challenge, then boxing fitness is for you. You'll leave every session with your head held high - knowing you've given it all you had - pushing your body to new limits and improving your self-esteem along the way.

Another fantastic reason to try boxing is that it is a great way to relieve stress. Exercise, in general, has fantastic mental health benefits, but with boxing you can unleash all of your daily frustrations onto that bag. This tangible outlet lets you sweat out those negative emotions, and at the same time replaces them with your brain's natural 'feel-good' endorphins, putting your mind, body and soul in a better state.

Boxing fitness provides a dynamic workout that combines resistance training with cardio exercise. This perfect match puts your body in a higher metabolic state that lets you burn fat for longer even after your workout is done, and will leave you feeling like you've actually achieved something. So, if you're looking for a fun new fitness challenge, or if you're just wanting to tone up and increase your strength, then boxing fitness might just be for you!

Today's post was brought to you by Damien Kicic, a contributor to The Active Mum.  Image is courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dec 21, 2015

Wanderlust: Why we love to travel

Wanderlust and travel
It’s Summer, school is out and holidays are about to begin. I love summer holidays not only because of the sunshine, warm weather and beach days but because it’s the time of year that we get to spend some quality time together as a family, and a little added bonus is that the quality time sometimes involves a nice holiday somewhere.

I find getting away on holidays to be so good for the soul. As mothers, we don’t really ever get a day off, we have a 24/7 job and while we are at home, there is always something on the to-do list so it’s hard to switch off. Getting away on holidays allows you to forget the to-do list, to really relax and to unwind. It’s the best stress relief and you can come back feeling revitalized with new energy for whatever your responsibilities are – your career or caring for your home and family.

I often hear people say that they need a holiday to recover from their holiday, and we’ve made this mistake ourselves in the past but here are 3 quick tips that can help you avoid this:

1. Throw out the schedule

Don’t overschedule your holiday. It can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting to do/see everything but try and remember that your main priority is to relax and unwind. It’s okay to have a list of things you would like to do, but try and keep it as a general list – don’t schedule specific activities, let your spontaneity guide you and if you don’t feel like doing something on your list, then don’t.

wanderlust and travel

2. Eat out

I like to make sure we don’t spend all of our money on the accommodation/trip itself and that we save some money for eating out so I can have a little break from the meal prep/cooking. Letting someone else do the cooking (and cleaning up) makes a huge difference and is a real treat for me.

wanderlust and travel

3. Don’t overpack

Having to drag extra bags/luggage everywhere you go become tiresome and stressful. Keep it simple – no matter how well we think we have packed, we always find that we use less than what we take, especially during summer when we mostly live in our swimwear.

If you have young children and the thought of hours of travel is daunting, just remember that a holiday doesn’t have to be far from home. I have friends that go and stay in a caravan park in our own local area and I think it’s a great idea for families that need to be close to home but would still like a little break from the norm.

I hope that you are getting a little break over summer, and if not these holidays, why not treat yourself to a vacation sometime in the near future? It’s a wonderful reward for all your day to day hard work and it’s amazing how having something to look forward to makes the hard work just that little bit easier. There are adventures out there just waiting to be had, and new parts of the world to explore so make it one of your New Year’s goals – I know I will be.

wanderlust travel

Today’s post was written by Aanika and sponsored by Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific. Wyndham’s WorldMark South Pacific Club gives you the opportunity to use holiday credits which will force you to go on holidays, year after year. Whether it a long breaks or short weekends away, you can choose from 26 resorts and hotels throughout Australia, New Zealand & Fiji.

Dec 10, 2015

What are your goals for the New Year? 5 achievable New Year's resolutions

New Year's resolutions
With Christmas and holidays fast approaching, I have been having a little think about what I'd like my New Year's resolutions to be.  I know it might feel a little early to start thinking about New Year's resolutions, but if you want to make resolutions that you will actually keep, then making them on a whim isn't the best way to go about it.  I am putting some thought into making one or two resolutions this year that I will be able to see through, so my advice for you is to do the same so that once January 1st comes around, you are prepared and motivated to reach that goal.

One of the most important things to remember when goal setting, is to make sure that your goals are very specific and are scaffolded (broken down into achievable steps) in a way that helps you achieve them.  This is especially true for New Year's resolutions as they are usually related to some important aspect of our life that we want to change.  To help you get thinking about your resolutions, I've made a little list of 5 categories of goals/resolutions that might help you set some of your own realistic goals for the New Year.

1.  Dietary goals:

A lot of people make the mistake of saying "I'm going to eat healthier" this year.  The idea behind this statement is great, but it is really too broad of a goal and that makes it difficult to keep.  It is more realistic to look at your current diet and decide one area that you can change.  Do you eat too many processed carbs?  Then make your resolution that you will replace one of those carb meals every day (i.e. breakfast) with a healthy/natural option.  This is a specific and realistic dietary goal, and once this change has become a natural part of your life, you can work on extending the goal to another meal.  Likewise, instead of saying "I eat too much sugar, I am not going to eat any sugar this year", try working on one area, for instance, cutting out soft-drink.

2.  Fitness goals:

If getting fitter is one of your priorities, start thinking about what type of workout will easily fit into your lifestyle.  Walking or running are great places to start, or perhaps HIIT workouts that you can do at home with your children are more practical?  If you are going to keep your fitness resolution then you will need to find a practical, achievable style or workout that suits you and your family.

If you are already working out regularly then the best way to stay on track is to work towards a goal.  Is there a competition or race you could aim for?  Be a little daring, you never know what you can achieve when you set your mind to it.

3.  Household goals:

I really love this quote:

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" - William Morris

It's personally what I am working towards but I know firsthand how hard it can be to make that a reality when you live with other people (especially children who love to collect odds and ends and random papers, and bits of rubbish and the list goes on), but I think by keeping this quote in mind, it really helps us to declutter our homes by being mindful of the things we bring into (or keep) in our homes.  It can be hard to overhaul our whole home in one small period of time, (and it can be daunting to set the task even for the whole year), so try breaking down your goal into decluttering and organising specific areas of your home in smaller time frames.  Perhaps aim to organise your children's wardrobes or your linen cupboard over a few weekends within one month, or even just do one shelf per weekend if you are really time poor.   If you simply do not have enough room in your home, then perhaps take a look at storage solutions like Fort Knox Storage for those things that you don't need on a regular basis.  Little by little you can make some fantastic changes to your home.

4.  Education goals:

I really believe that we should never stop learning, and this can be an area that really gets pushed aside when we are busy mamas.  These days though, learning is becoming more accessible to us thanks to the internet, online courses and downloadable books.  Try and include one learning goal in your resolutions this year, even if it's just to read a new book on a topic you find interesting.

5.  Personal goals:

This category is more to do with personal growth.  We all have one of these personal goals that we know we should work on and I'll let you fill in this space with whatever goal it might be.  I know my goal for this category will be something to do with mindfulness and staying in the moment rather than allowing myself to get too caught up with being busy and in turn becoming stressed.  Personal goals are just that, personal.  It's something you may not want to share with anyone else so it can be hard to keep as you aren't accountable to anyone.  One tip for keeping these goals is to keep them realistic, break them down into smaller steps if you are able to and don't be too hard on yourself if you slip up. There is always tomorrow, just remember why you made the goal in the first place and get back on track as soon as you can.

So hopefully this gives you something to think about before the New Year rolls around.  Let's all make the goal to set some realistic goals this year.  I'd love to see you reach your potential and achieve your dreams..