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Meal Planning for busy mums – How to get the most out of it.

Kids in clubs most days, so much on your daily to-do list and everyone wants dinner. Life can sure get busy with more kids than hands can’t it? That busy season can make meal times super stressful. Trying to get one kid to Karate, one to ballet and one in an after-school club that’s a lot of juggling on top of trying to make sure everyone gets a meal down them in-between. Meal planning can really help with cutting some of the chaos out of the hangry hours. Read on for Meal planning for busy mums – How to get the most out of it!

Meal planning for busy mums

When you have mouths to feed in between the juggle of after-school activities a meal plan can take the stress off meal times. Back in the day when I started blogging, I would join in with “Meal Plan Mondays” this was fantastic accountability. Sitting down to think about what I would cook for the week ahead. Then our whirlwind Christmas Twins arrived and it was so hard to think that far in advance. Meal planning slipped, as well as a lot of other stuff and we ate adhock meals, turning to junk food, “ping meals” or ready meals as normal people might call them. and take outs. This not only costs so much more, its not healthy way to eat and its super stressful standing in the shop thinking about what to make for dinner each and every day.

Meal Planning

Meal planning now for me is done a month in advance. Now before you take a huge intake of breath, hear me out. We have theme days each week which alleviates the stress that comes along with planning for a whole month. Along with theme days I always hold on to the fact that plans can change. A mentor of mine (Dani Wallace _ The queen bee ) talks about “structures from which to deviate”. If you read any of my other posts you will see that this is a huge game changer. Life often has hiccups that knock us off course. I digress – Thats for another post.

Meal planning – How to get the most out of it!

Before we dive into planning, Is a month-long plan just too much right now? Just plan for the week, or plan a few meals in advance.

  • First up you need a plan of action. What events are happening in the month/ week? Make sure you have these written on a calendar.
  • Print off a calendar page for the month you are planning for or a 4-weekly planner page. Or if you are planning just for a week you could use a notepad if that’s easier.
  • Set your theme days – We have Pizza Fridays, which can be takeout, shop-bought, or we make our own from scratch. Thursdays are fish nights, this could be salmon & potatoes, take out from the chippy, or good old fish fingers. Mondays are pasta nights ….. you get the gist. Have a look at what your family dinner habits are already and create theme nights around what you already eat.
  • Then its time to fill in the blanks – talk to your family, ask the kids what they would like for dinner, get them to help out on the days they choose the dinner.
  • Don’t over complicate. If you know you have after school activities and kids eating at different times dont plan a sit down meal where you cant really heat up for one. Save the new complicated recipes for when you feel less overwhelmed.
  • One last one – If you are already in a busy season this is not the time to be trialling new foods with the kids, trying to get the to eat all the veggies if they don’t like them. It’s a time to offer veg as a side but not stress over them not eating. (There is a great interview about this with children’s nutritionist over in the group)

As with any structures you put in place keeping consistent is the key. Make meal planning and checking your meal plans weekly and daily part of your habits and don’t be afraid if the current way of doing something isn’t working anymore allow yourself some time to look at why and change to suit the season you are in right now.

I really hope this helps you with what tends to be one of the most stressful areas of motherhood. Getting those kids fed!

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I’m proud of you mama, You have got this you know, but remember you don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do it alone. I’m here if you need me.

Nina x

If you want to feel more calm among the chaos of motherhood I am running a free CHAOS Masterclass on Thursday 9th February. To find out more and to book your space click here.

The information in my blog posts are to be used with your own research. I do not guarantee this will change your life with any of the information I give you alone. To do this you have to put in the work too. I mentor with tools that have helped me and my family and share these tools to hopefully offer you the reader or client ways of helping you along your motherhood journey. Sometimes within blog post, there may be links to products with an affiliate nature - I will only link to item that truly fit my with my ethos and my familys

5 Weekend Wellness Tips

Ahhh It’s Friday. Those chaotic school mornings are over for a couple of days, work stress is gone until Monday morning and it’s time to chill with the family again. Though you sit down on Friday Night with your chilled glass of pinot and your dominos pizza and see them. Those chores you have skimped on all week because it’s just been too hectic with karate runs, scout, ballet and football practice and that bit of work you brought home from the office because you just didn’t have time in the week. Before you get bogged down with those tasks take a moment or three to de-stress, top up your wellness and let go of the past week. Here are 5 Weekend wellness tips to help you find calm among the chaos this weekend.

5 Weekend Wellness Tips

Wellness can be achieved in many ways but de-stressing your system after a hectic week is a great way to start.

1. Morning Moments

Take a moment before the rest of the house wake to just be you, I love my morning moments every day but especially on the weekends when I know the kids are home. Your morning moments can be time to sip your coffee in peace. It could be getting started with meditation, journaling or simple yoga practice. But taking the time to ease into your day I have found so beneficial to the rest of my day.

2. Smoothies for all

my kids love a smoothie and it’s a great way to get extra fruit and veg into them and me. There is a whole encyclopedia of recipes online that are nutritious and delicious for you and the kids. Get that goodness in by adding green leaves such as spinach, with flax seeds, and greek yoghurt then add fruit to your taste and there you have it. some goodness in before the day has truly began.

3. Get Outside

Getting outside during sunlight hours isn’t just beneficial its a necessity. We need sunlight to boost our mood, and give us vitamin D and at this time of year (Winter) its super important as we don’t get much during the day. It doesn’t have to be complicated day out at the beach to enjoy the benefits of being outdoors It could be a walk to the park, taking the dog to the woods for a run, kicking a ball around the garden or just taking a walk around the block. But getting outside especially earlier in the day is a great wellbeing boost.

4. Declutter

Clutter can be a huge source of stress and the more stuff we have the more jobs it creates for us. More clothes mean more to put away. More toys mean more strewn across the floor, and more ornaments mean more to move before you can clean a surface. etc. Having a good declutter can improve our mode, give us a sense of accomplishment and mean we have more time in our days to do other things that light us up.

5. Family Digital Detox

Our devices nowadays are attached to us most of the day. From being on the beck and call of family members to scrolling news and social media just to find the latest gossip. While I am a huge advocate for social media and online life I also know that being attached a lot of our days is a huge cause of stress. So setting out a day or if that’s too hard a few hours to consciously put down tech can be a huge benefit to our stress levels, our relationships ( as we can then be more present) and our wellbeing.

Sometimes our weekends have gone in the blink of an eye but the stress of last week and all the chores we think we need to do is still on top of us. We don’t give ourselves time to relax and recoup. so we take it in to the next week which then get piled higher before you know it we are heading to burnout.

Take some time this weekend to follow one or two of these tips and see what difference it makes to the week ahead. Let me know if it helps.

If you are struggling with getting it all done I can help. as a mum to two sets of twins who had the mother of all breakdowns when I just had one set I know how to come back from the brink of crisis mode. I am an expert in productivity, logistics and planning. If you wan to know more about how I could help find me over on Instagram most days Send me a DM and ill get back to you Alternatively you can book in for a power hour with me and we can go through as much stuff as we can to help get you back on the right track. More info here

A bonus tip from me is to use Sundays to reset and prep for the week ahead. I love my Sunday prep days. Getting my plans for the week ahead on paper in my planner. working out what I need for meals that week. Sorting out uniforms and clothing and anything else that may need to get done for the following week. It’s a great way to end the week and it has certainly limited the Chaos of the school weeks following.

Love ya x

Nina

Exam Stress – How to help reduce the stress.

It’s coming up to that time of year. SATS, GCSEs, A Levels, etc Exam season can be such a stressful time for all involved. The kids are tired, they come home stressed, sleep is disrupted, they get moody and anxious. Exam Stress – How to help your kids cope.

Before we get into how to help reduce the stress a little story time.

I came downstairs the other morning and the bigger twins were feeling stressed, they hadn’t slept properly they were feeling stressed about the upcoming Pre SATS tests, so not even the actual SATS but the test to prepare for the real thing.

There is no wonder our teens have a high rate of mental health they seem to have so much pressure set upon them now a days.

anyway back to the kids. They were stressing and I told them that while its good to have a little bit of stress to push us to do our best hanging on to that stress, being overly anxious about them is not only not good for them but it really is unnecessary.

I told them that when I was at school I didn’t do well in my GCSEs yet I am a best-selling published author, public speaker and I own my own business. Their dad didn’t go to university, wasn’t amazing in school yet he is a Dr of science. Grandad – He owned his own business yet finished school early. Sats weren’t even a thing when we were all at school. Even their big brother while he’s gone through the system and gained his degree – He’s now doing a job that isn’t related to his degree one bit in-fact he didn’t even need qualifications to start.

I told them it does not matter – try your best, do your best but ultimately these tests do not matter.

Now how to help reduce the stress in exam season.

Exam Stress – How to help reduce the stress.

1: Long periods of revision are not good for anyone and actually, after so long, they won’t retain any more information anyway. So encourage regular breaks and fill those breaks with something they love doing. A craft project, some Minecraft or Fortnite or better still get outside.

2: Get outside, fresh air really boosts our mood and can improve cognitive function too. So take the long way to school, and add some fresh air activities into their downtime or take regular breaks for a breath of fresh air.

3: Nutrition is important. At stressful times eating can be the last thing on their mind but it’s important to eat some nutritious food regularly. Smoothies, soups, or home-cooked dinners for example. and snacks of fruit and nuts.

4: Give them time and space for them to chat with you about how they are feeling. Chats over dinner or on the way to clubs are a great way of opening the conversation. but its important our children know they have time and space away from siblings to talk too.

5: Letting our children know that we are proud of them and love them whatever happens, however, they do in their tests or exams. I reiterate my story time earlier in this post.

6: Work with the school to find out how best to support revision with your child(ren) and ask what the best way to revise is for your children.

7: Keep positive, showing our children a positive mindset is infectious and if we feel positive they are likely to feel more positive too.

8: Create a toolbox of well-being with them. Ask what they would like to do to relax. It could be fidget toys, yoga, a teen mindfulness practice, a little art or colouring in. It could even be some essential oils that they could use on their body or in a diffuser.

9: Talk to the school if your child has a subject that struggles with in particular. They may be able to provide extra help for that subject.

10: Have a fun plan for after exams. A day out at the beach, a favourite meal, A few friends around for pizza. Ask what they would like to do.

Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid

Albert Einstein

If stress is too much or your child is struggling with anxiety and it impacting their day-to-day then talk to your Dr.

I really hope this helps you and your children go through exam season with less stress.

Nina x

Consistency is my word of the year but how do you be more consistent?

I have struggled throughout my life to be consistent. Never sticking at a job very long, getting bored and getting shiny object syndrome. Often running out of time and then failing to get all the jobs done. That’s why if you are on my mailing list they are at best sporadic. But this Year 2023 I am making it my mission to get better at consistency. So this year to try and keep me on track my word of the Year is Consistency! But how do you be more consistent?

What are the benefits of being consistent?

Most people find being consistent difficult and everyone loses their way from time to time but there are so many benefits to staying on track.

If you are trying to be consistent with your daily routine for instance this can help you feel calmer about the day as you know what’s coming.

Working on your goals day by day you will achieve them faster than someone who doesn’t stay on track. If they even achieve them at all.

If your goal is to pay off debt or become more financially sound then keeping on budget will mean you achieve this quicker. If you don’t keep on top of this you can end up losing out on experiences, and items you really want or worse end up further in debt

As human beings, we generally thrive on routine whether we like it or not. Think of the circadian rhythm this in itself is a routine of sorts and in our ancestors, it determined their whole day. Getting into and staying in some kind of routine really helps get things done. That could mean our wider golas or just our daily to do list.

But how do you be more Consistent?

  • To start with you have to know your end goal. So, if you want to get more consistent with your to-do list, consider why these jobs are important and relevant to your end goal. Is that end goal truly one that is fulfilling to you?
  • Next make sure that goal is realistic. There is an acronym that helps you with goal setting Called SMART – SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound There is more on this in a later blog post.
  • F.O.C.U.S. – Follow one course until success. Meaning don’t try to achieve nto many things all at once.
  • Time block your days. Split your days up into blocks and pick one block to work on your goal. Making sure that all other distractions are kept out of that block.
  • Give yourself small rewards for achieving the goals you set out. If you manage to get your kitchen cleaned each week reward yourself with a bunch of flowers or light a candle. or simply make a cuppa, sit back and enjoy the hard work.
  • Say No! Take your time when agreeing to commitments. Think about the consequences. Is this going to help you achieve your goal or is this procrastination going to stop you from being consistent with those steps towards your goal?
  • Progress over Perfection. You should know me by now I’m an advocate for embracing the imperfectly Chaotic moments in life. Most of the time though done is better than perfect. so forget those spelling mistakes, don’t worry about the handwriting and just get that thing done.
  • Track your achievements. Grab a habit tracker or make one and track the progress you are making.
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Ultimately staying consistent is something we should all be striving for even though sometimes we struggle. The one most important thing its to take things slow and steady.

Good luck lovely, I’m here to hold your hand!

Nina x

Teapot Of Wellbeing

I am such a tea’a’holic and as such I love a tea analogy for that I won’t be apologising. I mean I love coffee too but I am more into tea! So what is the Teapot of wellbeing? Well, read on to find out.

Tea Ceremony – Japanology and me!

It has become apparent in the last couple of years or so that I have formed a little obsession with Japanese concepts. Wabi-Sabi being one of them, ikigai being another, There are many many cultures and concepts that my life falls into and many activities I had practiced without realising it was related to the Japanese way! One ancient Japanese culture is their tea ceremony. Tea Time is a serious activity in Japan and Taking time out to really mindfully prepare the tea and then savour the tea with friends is thought to represent purity, tranquillity, harmony & respect. It really is an activity to boost wellbeing. So it makes sense to me that as part of my message I use the Teapot of wellbeing to show the importance of self-care.

TeaPot Of wellbeing

Throughout our life, we pour out so much of our energy into different areas of our life. We pour and pour until we have nothing left sometimes.

When I talk about energy I’m talking about moments of stress, anything that takes your emotions, your brainpower, things that shorten your tether!

In effect we pour into others mugs before we pour our own cuppa!

Think of the different areas of life you have!

  • Work
  • Kids
  • Grandparents
  • Neighbours
  • Owing a business

Each of these areas are zappers of our energy, there may be more or less depending on how you spend your days.

But think of these things as mugs that you are pouring into from your teapot of wellbeing.

We pour and pour throughout our days, our lives. If we continue pouring without topping up we end up in burnout, which can manifest in so many different ways! For me, it was a breakdown, which is now why I am so passionate about building this foundational stage of life!!

So have a little think about how you can top up your teapot of wellbeing, not just today but every day!

Nina x

If you want to build your toolbox of well-being more get in contact with me. My foundation self-led course Let’s get selfish is currently being updated but will be available soon. Join the wait list now!

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