Self Confidence

Yesterday’s photo a day prompt was mirror, and all day I was thinking about what kind of shot I could take – preferably one that doesn’t have me in it! You see the thing is I’m not super happy with the way I look at the moment.  I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my body shape/size, and long ago I accepted that I am one of those people who has to watch what they eat and exercise regularly to maintain a ‘healthy’ weight.  I’ve also come to terms  with the fact that I’m also not someone whose weight just ‘falls off’ while they breast feed, in fact for me it is the opposite…. damn you hormones!

The thing is that I enjoy exercising, and I feel great about myself whilst I’m doing it, and afterwards as well… it’s just getting and perhaps more importantly keeping the motivation to do it.  I’ve recently switched to a gym that is much closer to home and has more ‘friendly’ class times and this seems to be helping.

I know that I am lacking a bit of self confidence. We can put so much pressure on ourselves to live up to unrealistic expectations (my due date was around the same as Princess Kate & Kim Kardashian and look at them now….), that we unfairingly (that is so a word!) compare ourselves to others.

A few weeks ago I spent a few self indulgent hours at the hairdresser, and whilst reading the November issue of Marie Claire I came across the article ‘Instant Confidence’. It outlined some simple strategies which researchers believe will improve your self belief/self confidence and let’s be honest, we could all do with a bit more self belief I think.

* Coffee!!!  YAY!!  I’m happy to go along with any research that supports drinking coffee!  Admittedly, I do really enjoy my early morning coffee before the chaos of the day starts, and I do miss it when I skip it (I’m so not addicted).

* Sit up straight – hmmm.. I do agree, I’m trying to sit up as straight as I can now and admittedly I feel a bit more important!!

* Change your hair colour – sorted, appointment in two weeks!

* Clean out your wallet- with the theory being by managing this everyday area of your life, it will help you feel more in control in other aspects of your life. I took this challenge and also included cleaning out my handbag.  Considering I found sultanas that I believe started off as grapes in a container down the bottom of my bag, I’m feeling much more in control!

* Exercise!  Well this one is a bit of a no brainer, and I totally agree with it.  The research they quote is exercising for at lease 20 minutes at the gym will improve your mood for up to 12 hours.  I totally agree with this, I feel so much better about myself (and others!!) after exercising.

I know that I am being tough on myself, and realistically I know that I probably won’t ever be completely happy with the way I look.  It seems as though we are hardwired to always have one aspect of ourselves that we think needs improvement.

In the meantime, I’m trying to work on improving my self confidence and be proud of the way I look – this body of mine has spent the majority of the past three years either pregnant, or being pumped full of hormones for IVF, and has produced four children – so I probably should cut it some slack!

In the end I compromised and included a head shot in my photo, and with the magic of filters, I was pretty happy with how the shot turned out.

So I’m putting it out there – what strategies/tips do you have to help improve self confidence?

mirror

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

Throwback Thursday – Wholemeal Mocha Cake

I’m still enjoying making the old recipes from my Nan’s McAlpins cookbook.  The recipes are pretty basic, and they stick to tried and true flavours and techniques.  When I saw this recipe, I thought it was a winner before I had even tasted it!  It goes without saying that a coffee and a piece of cake go together – so why not combine the two?  The addition of chocolate icing literally tops off the flavour of the cake, and I love the walnuts too.  Before I started making the recipes from this book, I’d never used coffee essence before in my baking.  Whilst it did give this cake a good flavour, next time I think I will substitute the essence for an espresso shot…  or maybe two!

chocolate + coffee = winning combination

chocolate + coffee = winning combination

 

6oz Wholemeal self raising flour

pinch of salt

3oz butter

4oz caster sugar

2 eggs

4 tablespoons milk

1 dessert spoon coffee essence

walnuts to decorate

* Sift flour & salt

* Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs gradually

* Mix in sifted ingredients alternatively with milk and coffee essence

* Pour into a greased and lined 20cm tin and bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees)  for 20 – 25 minutes.

* When cake has cooled, top with a simple chocolate icing and decorate with walnuts if you wish.

My Happy Place

Sometimes just thinking about your ‘happy place’ isn’t enough – you need to take action and go there.  This week I’ve felt myself getting frustrated quite a few times, and my usual technique of thinking about what makes me happy has just not cut it – mainly when I’ve been dealing with a tired cranky toddler who refuses to sleep…  oh yes, it’s been fun times at our house this week!

Although I’ve felt selfish and guilty for doing a few of these things (especially when I was upstairs in the bath and could hear both the boys crying with Scott) – they have certainly helped turn my mood around quickly and bring me back to a better place where I appreciate what I have and the challenges associated with it.

This week I’ve gone to my happy place when:

* Sitting down with Aiden for smiles and giggles – this always perks me up!

* Going to the gym for time by myself – I always feel so energised afterwards

* Treating myself to a bubble bath last night – it was bliss!

* Baking (what a surprise!)

* Catching up with friends for Coffee (another huge surprise there)

* Going on ‘dates’ with just Aiden… we have lots of smiles and giggles

What do you do when you need to go to your happy place?

This ALWAYS makes me happy!

This ALWAYS makes me happy!

This week….

It’s a gorgeous Sunday morning, I’ve been for a run, had breakfast, and whilst everyone is occupied, it’s given me the chance to enjoy a HOT cup of coffee and reflect on what I have been grateful for this week:

– Having my whole family back together again, the boys just love spending time with their dad

Sleepy time with Dad x

Sleepy time with Dad x

– Our evening family walks, even if it’s just around the block, it’s still nice to get out all together

The last hill is a killer

The last hill is a killer

– Getting back into our meal planning and exercise, I need to lose the couple of extra kilos I gained whilst away (plus the excess ‘baby’ weight)!

– Savouring the baby smiles and chuckles I am getting from Aiden at the moment

 

– In other Aiden news, he has put on 100g in 3 days! This is a big deal for us – we are slowly closing into the 5kg milestone!

Why don’t you take the time on this Sunday morning to reflect on your week…

xx

Throwback Thursday – Coffee Milk Cookies

One of the main things I am enjoying as I work through the McAlpins Recipe book, is the memories a lot of the recipes are bringing back.  Whilst I didn’t know the names of a lot of the treats my Nan used to bake, when I bite into some of the biscuits and cakes I have been making from her book, they take me straight back 20+ years ago to when we would spend every weekend at her place.

Honestly, I only made this recipe because I had a half full tin of condensed milk that I wanted to use up!

These cookies bought back a lot of memories which I loved, but I thought they needed a stronger coffee flavour – this may have something to do with my slight coffee addiction though.

Do you have any family recipes that bring back memories of your childhood?

Click here for metric conversion table

4 oz (1 teacup) self raising flour

pinch of salt

2 oz butter

1 oz castor sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

1 oz walnuts

1 dessertspoon coffee essence

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees

* Sift flour and salt

* Grind or chop walnuts finely.

* Melt butter, sugar and condensed milk, add coffee and vanilla essence.

* Mix in sifted ingredients and walnuts.

* Roll mixture into small balls, place on greased tray, allowing space for spreading

* Mark the top of each cookie with a knife

* Bake for 15 – 20 minutes

Coffee Milk Cookies