Laughter…good for the soul!

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Our world we live in is so serious. It’s so busy and repetitive. Respect is something that fades more and more each year and words such a bullying, cyber trolls, depression, anxiety and the like are frequently thrown round like a rag doll. How did we get to this point?

In my opinion, good old-fashioned laughter isn’t used enough anymore. Life is so busy now (which is hard to avoid) but due to all the hustle and bustle we all live each day, people forget to stop breathe, smile and LOL! Shop assistants aren’t as friendly or helpful as they use to be and when I go for a run in the morning I always lift my head to say good morning to people just to be faced with them eyeballing the ground. If you ask my mother, she would say – “but you’re to the other extreme love….you’d talk to anyone and laugh at anything!

All I know is for me, laughter is a good dose of medicine. It’s great for the soul. It can turn a mood right around. It can turn a bad day into a good one. It can get your mind in gear to tackle the harder obstacles in life. I still remember the week we painfully sat with my precious nana, while she was slowly drifting away, we still had moments of laughter in the room. It wasn’t disrespecting the moment at all. We knew that nana could hear us and she would have wanted that as nana loved to laugh. She battled Parkinson’s for many years before she passed away and I think her ability to laugh right to the end contributed to her long jevity.

I’m so lucky that I am surrounded by many people who I can have a good laugh with. My husband and I after 17 years still laugh together every day. When we have getĀ togethers with my family, there is always fun and laughter echoing through the house. I particularly laugh with my mum and sisters and I have many friends who I share laughter with as well. I love that my kids make me laugh every day. They all have such funny little characters and a child’s laughter is like music to my ears.

I find myself laughing wherever I go….I laugh at work, in the school yard, at the grocery store, at the television, at things on Facebook and Instagram, with my specialists and doctors – most importantly I can laugh at myself! My life is far from perfect and I face some hard days, this is when I draw on laughter the most and watch an episode of Friends or look at photos that make me laugh. I always say if I didn’t laugh I’d cry!

Today’s catch up with my two oldest dear school friends was a classic example of how laughter is good for the soul. A common denominator of our friendship is laughter. We use to laugh so loud and hard at school people would think we were nutters. I still vividly remember a trip we took to Sydney we spent the week laughing so much our stomach muscles were sore. But whenever I walk away from my gals, I always feel happy and uplifted. We don’t get to catch up as often as we’d like, but when we do we have a lot of laughing to catch up on and that we do!

I’ve been through and watched a lot of people in my life go through heartache. Life is too short not to laugh. Life is too precious not to enjoy it. If people would relax just a little, not be so serious and laugh more often, maybe just maybe our world wouldn’t be filled with so much crime and hatred, instead more love and happiness!

Really – laugh….it’s good for the soul!

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That’s Life….’real IS perfect’!

I still can’t believe it!!! Me in a magazine!!! Who would have ever thought when I started writing my blog two and a half years ago, I’d feature in a magazine along with my beautiful family, all thanks to this little website I created -‘My Party of 5’! Everything I stand for and my blog stands for, is represented from being in this magazine feature and it makes me very proud to be sharing it with the people (you) who have supported me by reading my blog posts!

Last month I received an email asking if I would be interested in being apart of a campaign that That’s Life magazine was running. Two things came to mind straightaway….1. How bizarre – that was nana’s favourite magazine and 2. surely this is some sort of gee up!! Well it turns out it was no gee up and it makes me even more chuffed that my first (and probably only) magazine appearance is in the magazine my dear nana loved to enjoy every week for many many years!

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I expected the article would require a photo that I sent in along with a few lines by myself, but it’s been so much more than that! I still remember the phone call that was made to me asking when I would be available for a photo shoot!!! My excitement was controlled during the conversation, but once I hung up the phone my little OCD brain became over stimulated with thoughts about, clothes, hair, jewellery!!!! The photo shoot went really well. The kids were so excited that they were going to be in a magazine and we had the best photographer who worked so hard to get some great shots! After 5 outfit changes and two hours of posing and smiling I was exhausted lol – it really isn’t as easy as it looks lol!

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The blog post that was discovered by That’s Life, which prompted them to contact me, was the one I wrote about how I’ve ‘earnt my tiger stripes’! It was agreed by That’s Life and myself to include a section of that blog to accompany my photos! From that final phone call that basically sealed the deal, it would be two weeks until the article came out in the 43rd edition of That’s Life magazine! What a long two weeks to wait. I was excited and slightly nervous as to how the article would feature as it bared the part of my body that I never show – my belly!!

The suspense was killing me yesterday. I was hoping I’d find a newsagency that got their shipment of copies in early so I could buy it late yesterday. No such luck lol, but thankfully Kenny our newsagent man had his ready and waiting at 6.30am this morning. As the kids and I turned each page of the magazine we waited in anticipation. My heart was beating faster than normal and then there, right before our eyes was me (OMG) and me and my family (OMG) – we were really in a magazine!!! I’m so happy with the article – I’ve had a smile on my face all day – even when the car broke down, nothing was taking me down today lol!!!

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I feel so privileged to be apart of an amazing campaign that That’s Life magazine has put together. I’m a huge advocate for women feeling good about themselves. Society puts so much pressure on women now to look a certain way, but if we all had a good hard look at ourselves, we are fabulous just the way we are! The ‘realvolution’ campaign is so inspiring which is why I agreed to be apart of such a campaign, in the hope that I inspire other women to feel good about themselves!

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Being happy with yourself is not about having the perfect body, it’s about being happy in your own skin with the ‘real’ you – that is perfect! I encourage all my women followers to jump on the ‘realvolution’ bandwagon and shout to the world why you are awesome! What’s perfectly real about you? Find a photo of yourself that depicts this and celebrate ‘real is perfect’! And don’t forget to grab yourself a copy of this week’s That’s Life edition, as you could be in the running to win numerous amounts of awesome prizes!

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Never in a million years did I ever think my blog would lead me to this day. I’m so glad I decided to write a blog. Not only does it help me to debrief with myself, if each blog teaches or inspires just one person at a time, then my job is being served! Thank you to everyone who has helped me to get to this point, because without people reading what I write, it would just be a personal diary of my thoughts…My Party of 5 is so much more than that….who knows where it could take me from here!

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This one’s for you nana xoxoxo!

2 Years On…Bigger and Better!

It’s been two years now since I started my journey of discovering the ‘old’ me. The fitter me, the healthier me and the lighter me! I’m happy to say that two years on, I feel the best I’ve ever felt, both physically and mentally. I feel fit and strong enough to cope with life’s challenges in a far better manner than the past. I’m simply just happier in myself, therefore I’m more in love with life and the beautiful people and things that fill it. It was the best thing I could have ever done – taking the plunge to put on my runners has changed my life forever!!!

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My journey started with the want to lose my ‘baby bearing’ weight. I was the heaviest I’d ever been without being pregnant and with a diagnosed heart condition, the lights were flashing to do something about it. Originally I changed my eating habits by simply ‘cutting out the crap’ and reducing my meal size. Thankfully for me, I’ve always loved eating fruit and veggies so doing those two simple things with my diet helped me immensely!! After a couple of weeks of eating well, I lost a couple of kilos really easily, but I felt I needed more and it was after a long hectic day at home, with three kids under 5, made me come to the realisation of needing some time to myself. With that I put on my runners and the rest is history.

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It took me 6 months to lose the 13 kilos of weight that I had gained since getting married and having three babies and since the very first day I started running until now, I’ve worked consistently week in and week out, building on the distance and speed of my running. Bit by bit I pushed myself to run further and faster and to date, my longest run is 10km (pb 48.52mins) and my fastest run is 4km (pb 18.47 mins). It’s been an awesome two years and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every step my foot has run on the pavement.

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It hasn’t been easy though. There have been days where I’ve had to force myself to go. Winter mornings are a killer, it’s been challenging fitting exercise in while juggling work, 3 kids, a house and a husband who works really long hours and the pain from my ‘netball’ knees has at times been unbearable! But none of this
has ever allowed me to lose focus on what I want to achieve. Running is one of those exercises where your competitor is yourself, so the only person you’re letting down by not going, is yourself! That’s what I love about running though, the challenge to better me and the feeling of a pb never ever gets old…this week’s pb was my 4km hill run 19.21mins – makes you feel so pumped!!!

As I reflect over the past two years, one of the things that’s has assisted me in not giving up, is to constantly set goals. Running especially, can be an exercise where it becomes boring very quickly and because my lifestyle and my heart condition doesn’t allow me to go to gyms or bootcamps, I’ve had to choose an exercise that is convenient and non competitive. When I do feel like I’m getting bored, I know that I’m ready for a change. In the past most of my changes were an increase to distance and then I would spend several weeks or months improving on the speed of that distance. I’ve hit a safe limit for distance for my heart now, so a change now is either in routes or routines.

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My mantra:)

In the past couple of weeks I’ve started a new routine and I’m LOVING it!!!! Now that it’s light at 5am, I have more time in the mornings to exercise. So I’ve decided, instead of my two work days being my rest days, I now exercise every day Monday-Friday and have my rest days over the weekend. Last weekend was the first weekend in two years I didn’t go for a run…it was lovely not having to fit it in over an extremely busy weekend, but by Monday I was chaffing at the bit to run lol! This routine also allows me time to catch up over the weekend if I’ve missed a day through the week for some unforeseen reason…meaning children lol!

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My new routine:
Monday – 5k run
Tuesday – 15min power walk, 10mins of planks, squats, leg raises and lunges using my tiny pink weights, finished with 5 min power walk.
Wednesday – sprint/ short distance 3 or 4k
or 1k sprints with a minute rest between for 4km.
Thursday – same as tues
Friday – 10k run hill run 3 weeks in a row and in the 4th week a flat run
Saturday & Sunday – family fun!!

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The lifestyle I lead now isn’t something I have to force myself to do. Now that I’ve been exercising and eating well for so long, it comes naturally to me each and every day. I love nothing more than to start my day with exercise. It allows me to achieve so much more in my day. I crave salads and veggies (especially if we’ve had a big weekend of get togethers) but I never deprive myself of my favourite treats…all in moderation!! The energy I have now is so fantastic and when faced with a stressful situation or a crazy busy period, I feel so much more in control rather than throwing in the towel and feeling overwhelmed by it all! I feel I’m a better mum and wife where my limits stretched now far our do my limits of the past! I encourage anyone who wants to become the best ‘you’ you can be, to start with something that makes you happy….for me that’s running:)

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When I was diagnosed with a dilated aorta of the heart 2 and half years ago, I was so scared and so overwhelmed with what was inside my body. My first thought was I can’t not be here for my babies!! Now that I’m at my perfect weight for my height and I’m as fit as I’ve ever been, I’m giving myself the best chance for my heart to not get any worse. I will spend the rest of my days continuing to work to help my heart, so I can live a long and happy life with my beautiful party of 5 and inspire my children to be the best they can be!

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Establishing a Happier You!

Life is so much more enjoyable when you are happy! To me things flow better, chores get done more efficiently, decisions are made more easily and when life throws a curve ball at you, instead of resisting it and curling up in the fetal position, you have enough mental strength to face it head on! For almost two years now, I’ve been working on a new me – a happier me! Finding out about my heart condition really put things into perspective for me…the mantra I live by now is ‘we only have one chance at life, so it’s up to us to make a good go of it!’

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I’ve always been a happy person who loves to laugh and have a good time, but over the years, I would let things get to me and get me down. I would stress over the smallest of things and crack up at the kids and lose my patients at very little. For a long time there while I was pregnant and breastfeeding one baby after the other, I was running on empty. Lack of sleep, teaching two days a week, raising three children and running a house became overwhelming! For me the turning point was finding out about my heart. Although not a ‘happy’ situation to be faced with, once I got my head around what I was living with, it changed the way I started looking at life! Instead of wrapping myself up in cotton wool, I’m grateful and happy that I know about my heart and I work hard everyday to keep myself fit and healthy to help my condition!

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I believe I’ve evolved over time. I’ve grown to appreciate the small things in life. As normal human behaviour has it, we always want what we can’t or don’t have, when really we should be happy with what we’ve got! These days I purely focus on that. I may not have a huge fancy house, drive a BMW or wear designer clothes…I have so much more to be happy about! I have a loving husband, three beautiful children, a devoted family and a number of fabulous friends…not an ounce of money could buy me that!

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At the end of the day, like anything, being happy is a choice! The first step to being happy is wanting to be. From there it’s up to the individual to do things that make them happy. For me that involves lots of things….
*spending time with my party of 5
*cuddles with my babies
*laughing with my husband and children
*dinner date with my husband
*seeing my babies happy
*spending time with my family
*date with my mum and sisters
*chatting to my mum
*time with my friends and their babies
*running
*keeping fit and eating healthy
*baking and cake decorating
*my nana’s beautiful face
*playing around on instagram apps
*having a tidy house
*getting my hair done
*shopping
*painting my nails
*writing blogs
*knowing I’ve helped someone
*being organised
*the sunshine
*going on holidays…just to name a few:)

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I feel very blessed everyday for what my life holds. And although we’ve been through some terribly sad times this year and throughout my life, I still try so hard everyday to focus on being happy and appreciating what I have. For me positive thinking and patience comes so much more naturally now and I believe my happiness has contributed to this! I also believe that when you are happy, everyone seems happier around you. When I wake up every morning I’m happy, because I feel blessed that I’ve been granted another day with the beautiful people that I love…and then I go like a crazy women to fill my day with as much as I can….and this makes me happy!

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Smile and be happy…we have so much to be happy about!

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Happiness breeds happiness….

Health is Wealth!

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This past week has taught me a lot. Sometimes we get caught up in our busy lives and forget what really is important….

On Thursday my beautiful nana was rushed to hospital after becoming very ill with vomiting from an obstruction in her tummy. It’s just another hurdle my dear grandmother of 80 years, who lives with Parkinson’s Disease has had to endure, after having several ups and downs with her health for many years now. Watching my nana lying in her hospital bed not being able to do anything for herself, makes me feel terribly sad for the once vibrant and independent women she has always been. Nana has wealth and an abundance of people who love and care for her, but in the end no matter what, life really is nothing if we don’t have our health!

I appreciate everyday of my life that I am able to get up out of bed and carry on with my day doing the things that I love the most, without needing help or supervision! I really dislike getting the flu or gastro let alone being struck down with a long-term illness or disease. I remember so vividly lying in my bed 3 years ago, when recovering from my semi-thyroidectomy, how frustrating it was not to be able to care for my children or enjoy running around with them. I use to lie there and think when I’m better I’ll never complain again that I’m playing hide-and-go-seek for the 20th time!!! We are all guilty of forgetting just how important life is when it comes to our health and it’s only once jeopardised it allows us to have a better perspective…for me watching my nana and being diagnosed with a heart condition was a huge kick in the butt!

What is health?

My definition of being healthy involves good mental and physically health. Mental – having the ability to use our minds wisely in a strong and positive manner and physically – having the ability to complete physical tasks and maintain a good fitness level! Both go hand in hand with a maintained well-balanced diet! The cycle I follow is I eat a well-balanced diet and exercise at least four/five days a week as well as drink at least 2 litres of water per day, take a women’s multivitamin and get out in the sunshine at least 4/5 times per week!

Other things I believe that are important to maintaining good health is obviously no smoking, limited alcohol consumption, getting at least 7-8 hours sleep per night, regular health check ups, seeking medical advice if you are not feeling 100%. I also believe that maintaining a healthy weight for height range is important but done wisely through good eating habits and exercise. I saw an advertisement on Facebook the other night…’lose weight in no time without dieting or exercise!’ what the? How is that healthy?? Our bodies should be treated like gold…we have one shot at life and it’s up to us to give it our best!

Plenty of things go wrong in our lives from day-to-day, week to week, but if our health is great we have the strength to get through anything! I look at my nana and am so inspired by her strength and how after everything she has been through can still smile. Her eyes still light up when someone comes to visit her and her voice still communicates with so much love and honesty. From here on in, I declare that I will continue to promote a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family – anything to give us the best chance of living a long and healthy life is certainly worth working hard for! All the money in the world could never make me happy if I didn’t have my health and as the saying goes…health is wealth!!

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