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Secrets of Happy Mums

Have you ever noticed how some mums seem to be very contented in their role as mothers, and others seem chronically stressed? Why is that some mums can keep their sense of humour, while others overreact to the slightest stressors in their day?

We all have bad days, one moment we are feeling on top of the world, other we are crying our eyes out with powerlessness. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it.

There are mums, who just seem to be happy regardless of how many challenges they must face daily. How do they do that? After spending time in their company, you will notice those little things that are making a BIG difference. All happy mums seem to have few things in common.

Let’s dive in and join the club of Happy Mums:

  1. Happy mum doesn’t mean perfect mum

You can be happy, or you can be perfect, you can’t have both…Are you a control freak, perfectionist? Great, but when you have a child your very well organized world turns upside down. Either you accept it and let it go, or you will constantly be sweating over anything, and you will drive yourself crazy …the choice is yours.

  1. Happy mum cherishes the moment

Most people, in general, don’t live in the moment, they either live in the past, or they worry about their future. Why, what for? Mark Twain said:’ I’ve had many worries in my life, most of which never happened”. As a mum, you can witness all the wonderful moments of your baby’s development, cherish those moments as they will pass and never come back. Time flies. Days are long but the years short. Learning how to live in a moment, especially when things get difficult, is a mandatory skill for a new mum. When your baby is not well, you may forget about that trip you planned for a long time.

  1. Happy mum takes care of herself

Being a mum doesn’t let you stop looking after yourself and taking care of yourself. Now it’s even more important as you can’t pour from an empty bucket. Take responsibility for yourself, don’t blame the baby for that extra weight or your bad eating habits. Dress nicely, buy sexy underwear, put a mask on your face, have your hair or nails done. Focus on good nutrition, exercises, rest, positive mindset. Keep doing the things for your body and mind that you enjoyed doing before the baby was born.

  1. Happy mum doesn’t care what others think

When you have your child, you are exposed to be given THE BEST advice from everybody. They know better what is best for your child as you have no experience whatsoever. Whether it is your mum in law who is convinced that what worked for her 30 years ago, will be the best option for you now or a stranger who gives you disapproving glare when you let your child explore the world… it doesn’t matter. You can’t please everybody. Do not give too much attention to the opinions of people who don’t live in your home and don’t spend 24/7 with your baby. Trust your instincts, this is your child after all, and you know best what’s good for him or her.

  1. Happy mum has “something else.”

It may be a hobby like running, dancing, photography or part time home based business. Being able to escape to your world from time to time, having that “ME Time” is not only healthy for you, but it is also healthy for the relationship with your child. Enjoy the things you loved doing before you had a baby, make time for it, you will come back as a better mum, a better partner, and a better person.

  1. Happy mum asks for help

Showing off how much of a superwoman you are as you can do it ALL ON YOUR OWN doesn’t serve you, doesn’t serve your child and doesn’t serve your family. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of courage. There are many people around you that would love to be of help; you just need to ask for it. Give yourself a break and be grateful for the ones around you.

  1. Happy mum does exercise and provide her body with healthy and nutritious food

Again, being a mum doesn’t let you stop looking after yourself. If you don’t take care of your body, you will have nowhere to live. Now you are not only responsible for yourself but this little angel as well. To cope with the ups and downs of motherhood, you need to be in good form physically. Plus carrying your baby around when she/he gets heavier requires you to be strong. Also, when you

  1. Happy mum spends quality time with her partner

Being a mum doesn’t let you stop being a partner/wife. Giving all the attention to the baby and neglecting your partner won’t do any good to your relationship. Taking time during the week to have “quality time” with your spouse is crucial if you want your relationship to grow. During this quality timeshare and discuss your feelings, worries, anxieties, hopes…open your heart to your partner and let him open his to you. You child will be happy if he/she has happy parents.

 

  1. Happy mum has positive attitude to life

Each moment you have a choice whether you want to blame, complain, moan, criticize, or you want to be responsible for your own happiness. You are the one who creates your life; it’s like a blank canvas, you can paint it in whatever colours you want. Do you wish other people well? Are you happy when people around you succeed? Do you smile often? How do people feel around you? Is it better to be positive or negative? It’s all karma, whatever you give, will come back to you.

  1. Happy mum spends time with her girlfriends

Spending time with your girlfriends doesn’t mean talking about nappies, teething or potty training. Going out with your girlfriends means time off from being a mummy, whether it’s just for a couple of hours, for a night out or a weekend away. Being surrounded by wise women who know you like no one else is a gift. Talking about your feelings (yes, we ladies like to talk about feelings :)) without being judged, asking for advice, singing, dancing or hiking together or just spending time in bed in your pyjamas laughing out loud. Being together, understanding each other, having fun together. It’s unbelievable how much you can recharge your batteries.

 

  1. Happy mum is grateful

We tend to take many things for granted. There are people out there who can’t see or hear or talk, have no legs, no arms…there are people out there who live on $1 a day, there are people out there who can’t have children…Appreciation for everything you have in your life is essential if you want to feel happy. Life won’t give you more until you are grateful for what you already have. Do this simple exercise – make a list of all the things you are grateful in life and read it daily, it will change your life…guaranteed.

I suggest you read this post, again and again, check out what you can do to implement some of those tips. After all every singe one of us wants to be happy. Our kids want to have happy mummies too.

If you liked this posts share it with other mums, they may benefit from it too. You can also find Active Happy Mama on Facebook or follow me on Instagram.

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Running – The Best Little Escape For a New Mummy

Being a mum is magical. But it’s exhausting as well. New mum suddenly has her life upside down, where everything is around the baby. There is no time for routines that existed before, for the things that we loved doing. It seems impossible to have even few minutes just for yourself, not to mention an hour when you can head to the gym or even sit on the sofa with your favourite book. You love your little angel to bits but sometimes you feel that you need to be out of here otherwise you would start crying or screaming or both. We’ve all been there…

As a new mummy, something I call my “Little (BIG !!!) Escape” is RUNNING.

It gives me so many benefits and no side effects. I got back to running when my baby was 3 months old and for the first 3 months, I was running on my own. Even though we got a running stroller it was advised to wait until the baby is at least 6 months old and comfortable in the sitting position. When Kuba turned 6 months, we started running together, however, every now and then I was still running on my own. I can say that running has saved me during the most demanding moments of early motherhood.

Check out what I believe RUNNING can do for a new mummy, it certainly did for me:

“ME” TIME

As a new mum, I was 24/7 involved in everything related to my baby, making sure that he is fed, dry, warm and content. My needs and feelings were forgotten, there was no time to think about myself, well sometimes there was no time to think at all… But when I went for a run I could escape…escape to a different world and have some ‘ME’ time – I could reset my mind, listen to my thoughts and what was important to me. I could focus, I could plan, I could create, and the best ideas came to my mind when I was running.

And other times I just switched off and let my thoughts flow.

I loved this “ME” time; it gave me freedom, I could clear my head, completely de-stress and look at things under a different light. After each run, I was coming back as a better mum, better wife, and a better person.

ACTIVE ‘READING TIME’ – THE VALUE OF AUDIOBOOKS

I love reading, and I used to read a lot. Since Kuba was born my reading went out of the window, well I still did read but mostly baby stuff and not even enough of those. Every minute was so important during the day, so if I got a chance to use a net time I did. When I ran, I could put my headphones on and listen to an audiobook, course, or a seminar and feed my mind with anything I wanted. Most of the time I was going through personal development books or programs which put me in such a good state that I felt that I was flying rather than running. I was doing great stuff for my body and mind at the same time. This was so important, especially when I was tired and overwhelmed with all the mummy’s tasks.

ENDORPHINS RELEASE

As a new mummy, I was tired, especially because I was not sleeping during the night… I was breastfeeding, and my little one was awake few times at night. Anyone with sleeping problems would agree that sleep deprivation is nothing you want to wish for. I did sometimes feel exhausted and wanted to cry. But running benefits our mood too. It causes our brain to release endorphins – a “feel good” hormone that can mask pain and create a sense of well-being. Numerous studies have found running can reduce symptoms of depression and increase self-esteem. When I ran, my body was moving and all those amazing endorphins released into the bloodstream. I suddenly didn’t feel as tired as before; I could smile and felt that I had much more energy, actually I felt on top of the world and capable of doing anything.

THE FEELING OF ACCOMPLISHMENT

Sometimes looking after the baby feels like doing same things over and over again, can you relate? When I finished my run, I felt so proud of myself. So proud that in spite of many excuses why I couldn’t go for a run today (most of them well justified), I made it.

Regardless of how much I was struggling to get out there, I always felt much better after a run both physically and mentally, and I mean ALWAYS. I don’t know anyone who’s ever felt worse after a run.

WEIGHT LOSS

Yes, losing weight and staying in shape goes hand in hand with running. As my body was moving and I was burning calories, I could get rid of those pregnancy kilograms much faster and get my figure back. Not only I could look better; I would feel better too. Plus, as my endurance went up, I was going to be a fit mummy.

FRESH AIR

Each mummy dreams about getting out of the house. Running was perfect for this. Being outside, breathing fresh air, feeling the wind in my hair. It was so good for my body, my lungs, my heart, improving my cardiovascular system and helping me get fit.

EXPLORING THE AREA

Running gave me an opportunity to explore new places in my neighbourhood. I found out areas I didn’t know existed like hidden playground, beautiful park and even a lake. It was amazing.

RUNNING COMMUNITY

There are more and more people running, so there is a chance to meet some other runners in your local area. It’s great to find a running buddy, join a running club or just pop into local Parkrun (organised every Saturday at 9am). Meeting so many wonderful people sharing the same passion, training together, helping and motivating each other, preparing and participating in races. Plus it’s so good to have conversation not related to nappies or weaning

Running has such a positive effect on body and mind with all the health benefits.

I really believe running is a perfect little (BIG !!!) escape for a new mum where she can spend some time with herself, recharge the batteries and come back calmer, happier and ready to face new challenges.

Happy Mama = Happy Child.

Check it out, get yourself out there, go for a run and tell me how that was.

If you liked this post, please share it with other mums, they may need it and like it as much as you do. You can find Active Happy Mama on Facebook or follow me on Instagram.

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Why “Wings for Life World Run” Should Be on Your Bucket List

Last Sunday on 7th May I took part in Wings for Life World Run for the very first time. It was the 4th edition of this amazing event, and I feel so grateful for being there. Why? As this is not a type of running event you know or hear about – the idea is so brilliant that I’m giving a standing ovation to the organizers who came up with it. I highly recommend it to everyone. Whether you are at the beginning of your running adventure or you are already an experienced runner, put this event on your Bucket list, the next one is in May 2018.

What is so unique about it? And why was it so special for me?

1. It’s happening simultaneously all over the world

Everybody starts at the same moment, 11am UTC. Whether it’s day or night, bright sun or pouring rain at your location – you’re running together with the world and sharing an amazing experience. Anywhere between USA, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, most European countries, Russia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan and Australia. So you can run with your family or friends even though you are living in different countries. Your name shows up on a Global Result List, too.

2. The finish line is completely different to all the other races

In this race everyone goes through the finish line. A half hour after the race starts, a moving finish line, the “Catcher Car” chases runners along the course. The car speeds up at steady increments until they have caught up with every single competitor and knocked them out of the race. So the distance you end up running with depends on how fast you run. These vehicles are what make Wings for Life World Run unique, so it’s only right to sit some special faces behind the wheel. Local heroes and international stars are taking the control at every event, so in UK – Formula One driver – David Coulthard,  in Poland – former ski jumper and current rally driver Adam Małysz and in Mexico football captain Rafa Marquez, to name a few.

 

3. 100% of all entry fees and donations are going to a good cause

All entry fees and all donations raised through fundraising campaigns goes directly to life-changing spinal cord research projects and clinical trials at renowned universities and institutes worldwide. The nonprofit Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation is a driving force behind the mission, so we are all running for those who can’t.

4. The event so far attracted over 430 000 people from around the globe

So far Wings for Life World Run attracted more than 430,000. In the first 3 editions people from 193 nationalities ran more than 38 countries across six continents. They raised 13.8 million euros while covering more than 2.8 million kilometers

5. We took part in this race as a family

In Cambridge/UK I was running with my mum-in-law, my bro-in law, his girlfriend Ewelina and couple of friends. We were supported by my hubby, dearest son Kuba and my parents who came over to visit. My sister Gosia was running with our friends Magda and Robert in Poland, so even though we are living in different countries, we could take part in the same event, sharing the same experience and sending all positive thoughts towards each other.

6. It was my longest run since September 2016

After completing half-marathon in September in Poland and 10k in Olympic Stadium in London in November with my sister, I wasn’t training for any particular event.  I was running here and there in preparation for Wings for Life but not really following any plan and no more than 10k. However based on my current form and speed I was aiming to do 18k.

7. A bit of My Personal Story about this race

The day didn’t start well for me. After spending the day before in freezing cold supporting my hubby, bro-in-law and a friend in Rat Race (13 miles and 150 crazy obstacles) I woke up with really sore throat. On top of that something was wrong with my knee and even walking was quite painful. Anyway, we got to Cambridge, picked up our numbers, and after kissing hubby, parents and my little son Kuba, we all got to the start line. I was in the second wave with my bro-in-law and a friend (yes, the ones who just done Rat Race the day before…they are my heroes…). My mum-in-law and Ewelina were in the third wave.

When we started, the guys went off and I was running on my own. I wanted to keep the speed around 5:30/km. That was my first time in Cambridge, and after getting a feeling of this beautiful city, I know that we will be back to spend some more time there.

Quite demanding uphill welcomed us at the second kilometer. It was still crowded and narrow, so I couldn’t really pass other runners. I was feeling well; my time was good, even better than I thought. I felt my throat, swallowing was painful, but surprisingly I didn’t feel any discomfort in my knee. After 8k my friend Marta caught me and we’ve done over 1.5k together. She is a faster runner to me, so I wasn’t keen to continue running at her speed for any longer; otherwise I might not be able to cover the whole 18k.

It was sunny, it was warm and I was wearing long sleeves, T-shirt on top and a little scarf around the neck to protect my throat… After about 11k we were on the countryside road, in an open field with the sun and wind in the face. I don’t like running with head wind as you feel that you are not moving forward. On top of the above, at 15k, it was uphill again and I was struggling, that was my longest kilometer there.

I still had my goal to accomplish 18k, and with my current speed I knew I could do it. 18k and I was still running. I was impressed, but at the same time I was hoping for the catcher car to save me here and there. It’s funny how much of mixed emotions and contradictory thoughts go through your head at any one time of running 🙂 I’m sure all runners can relate to that. 19k passed and still running, started hearing motorbikes with people saying that the catcher car will be there any minute. So, exhausted at that stage, waiting to finish, I felt so close to 20k that I decided to push myself and speed up. Many runners have done the same while others had no power and slowed down even more. It was quite narrow again with those motorbikes on the right hand side, so it was impossible to pass anyone at that stage.

Still pushing myself forward I could hear the car approaching…come one, few more steps, few more steps…”I caught you”…NOOOOOOOO… The guy behind the catcher car was saying through the microphone: “Congratulations, you’ve made 19.5k”. I was proud as I didn’t expect to cover such a long distance but a little disappointed with that final 500 metres to get to 20k – for sure that was due to that massive hill at the 15k…and wind in the face…

Anyway, the race was over for me and I was happy. My form was better than I thought but there is still much more to improve on before Berlin marathon in September.

Fortunately, the drink/food station and bus stop was just around the corner…I was hungry and thirsty. My legs were shaking. The buses brought us back to the start line where we all met again. My mum-in-law managed to do 9.3k, Ewelina with injured knee over 12k, my friend Marta over 21k and the guys went really far with over 31.5k. My sister in Poland was caught after 13k. Big congratulations to everyone.

 

8. Everyone all over the world is getting the same T-shirt

You are getting a medal and a beautiful bright colour T-shirt. If you ever see anyone wearing it, once you are on holidays, or up for a run in your local park or anywhere in the world – you know that you’ve done this race together.

9. After completion, we were still following the race on the big screen at the start line

The buses brought us back to the start line, where on the big screen we were watching what’s happening in the event all over the world. We could see and support the winners still going through regardless of the heat, cold, rain, wind, sun, day or night as well and overcoming their cramps and tiredness. Well, some of them looked like they’ve just started…

Global winner – Swedish Aron Anderson in Dubai has done 92.14k. I’m so proud of Polish people who really smashed it this year. The runner with the further running distnce of 88.24k was Polish Bartosz Olszewski in Milan. Polish Dominika Stelmach made a female world record with over 68.21k in Chile. In Poland we had 2 other male winners – Tomasz Walerowicz with 85.14k and Dariusz Nożyński with 68.74k. Polish Jacek Cieluszewski with 68.80k won the race in UK as well. Honestly WOW. Congratulations to everyone involved all over the world. You freaking rock.

10. Getting personal certificate with the number in the global ranking

Once the race is finished, you can check your name on a global results list online. It gives you your number in the global female or male ranking as well as your number in the country ranking. You are also getting personal Wings for Life certificate that you can print out and stick on the wall 🙂

To sum up – I loved this race – the idea, the catcher car finish line, the atmosphere before, during and after the race. I loved being a part of the global race and the feeling of accomplishment when I put the medal around my neck.

Next edition – May 2018 – make sure you reserve your place. I will see you there 🙂

If you liked this post please also share this post with others, they may like it as much as you do. You can find Active Happy Mama on Facebook or follow me on Instagram.

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7 Reasons Why Women Have To Train With Weights To Get The Body They Want

You know that to stay in shape and be healthy we need to exercise. Increasing and maintaining muscle mass is the best way to keep a low percentage of body fat and to improve metabolism, particularly as we age. To build this muscle mass, weightlifting will be the most effective way.

However, most women in the gym spend their time only on the cardio equipment, staying far away from weights. Why? There are several myths why ladies shouldn’t train with weights, with one more absurd than another.

 

Let me present you the most common misconceptions:

  1. Weight training will make women bulky and masculine

This is the biggest fear for women to grab weights. Let me explain you this – men produces much more testosterone that women and they still work extremely hard for building up their muscles. Women cannot and will not produce as much testosterone as men, which means that it is impossible for them to gain huge muscle mass. Ladies are genetically not prepared for bulking up. When you are thinking about women bodybuilders – that’s extensive long-term training, strict diet, and supplementation, extremely low body fat and dehydration to look like that.

The average woman does not gain size from weight training and definitely cannot achieve the monster look. Strength training will increase lean muscle tissues, work on muscle definition and tones up your body.

 

  1. I am a woman, to stay in shape I only need to do cardio workout

I do not neglect the importance of cardio workout, we all need to keep that in our training routine, but I do not agree that it needs to be one or another, you can have both; actually, you need both.

If you only do cardio, energy is used from fat and muscles. To reduce the loss of muscle tissue and to get your muscle building machine going, you need to grab weights. Your body will only change when your muscles respond to resistance if there is no resistance or it is too light – there is no way to get the look you want. Even better, once you start working with weights, you will notice changes in your body, more significant than you see with cardio, which ok, helps you burn calories but doesn’t help you build muscles.

 

  1. I do not need weights to lose fat

Studies show that women who train with weights 2-3 times per week gain nearly 2 pounds of muscles and lose 3.5 pounds of fat. We are talking about lean muscle definition, not bulking up. Each pound of muscle burns 35-50 more calories per day. The more muscles we have in comparison to body fat – the faster the metabolism is, as, in order to maintain muscles, your body requires more energy than to maintain fat. It means that 24 hours per day (whether you sleep, work in front of the computer or driving) you burn even 30% more calories.

Also – metabolism slows down with age. When we were younger, we could eat whatever we wanted at whatever time we wanted without consequences. The older we get, the more we need to watch out what we put in our mouth. However – there is good news in here – strength training may reverse the tendency of metabolism slowing down.

 

  1. Women should not work their legs with weights as they will get too big

Again, working with weights helps you build muscle definition which results in speeding up your metabolism. The higher the metabolism, the more calories you burn on a daily basis including fat, which finally leads to fat reduction. And the biggest muscle groups in woman’s body are actually legs and butts, so do not neglect them in your training. Besides ladies have a higher percentage of body fat, and it is mainly accumulated around their legs, butts, and waist (preparation for future pregnancy and to underline typical lady’s curves), so working on the tones of these muscles is

  1. If I do weights, they should be very light, and I need to do many repetitions

This is another big misconception. Lifting light weights for a hundred repetitions is a waste of your time and energy as it won’t challenge your muscles enough to make them stronger. Results – none. Working with weights helps you gain muscle mass, strength, and reduce fat. You notice a significant difference in definition, and you can proudly present you leaner and stronger body.

  1. When you work with weights, fat will be turned into muscles

I wish… Muscle and fat are two different types of tissue, so one cannot turn into another… You need to lose fat and build your muscles, and that requires completely different things. You are losing fat through aerobic exercises/interval training and well-balanced diet and gaining muscle through weight training.

  1. When I stop training my muscles will turn into fat

Again – muscles and fat are two completely different types of tissues. One cannot turn into the other. Often when people stop doing weight training, they start losing muscles which slow down metabolism. At the same time, they neglect well-balanced diet and coming back to bad eating habits. The wrong diet combined with a slow metabolism is the easiest way to put on weight. It is not that muscles turn into fat – it is losing muscles and gaining fat. Two different processes.

So, let’s sum up – weight training is essential to stay in shape, have leaner and stronger body. Give it a try and notice how your body changes.

When you see the results from weight training, there is no way you are coming back to your cardio-only workout. Guaranteed.

 

If you liked this post, please share it with other mums, they may need it and like it as much as you do. You can find Active Happy Mama on Facebook or follow me on Instagram.

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How To Keep Your Relationship on Track After Having a Baby?

 

With a new baby on board life changes for both parents but let’s be honest – in most cases, it’s mummy’s life which turns completely upside down. Being with your baby 24/7 doing all the necessary stuff to keep him or her alive and not getting crazy at the same time is an art to say the least. Daddy is going back to work whether it’s his job or his business and at least his professional day time life stays the same.

I’m lucky, my husband is an amazing dad and he’s been amazing from the moment our boy was born. I could not ask for a better daddy for Kuba and partner for myself. From the very first day, he’s been helping with everything, and I’m sure he would breastfeed for me as well if he could 🙂 But after spending first few days together, hubby got back to work. I had my parents and my mum in law to help, but after the first month they were all gone. During the day, I was on my own.

I was shocked – me, normally very organized and perfect with planning – I couldn’t plan anything as EVERYTHING was around the baby. No more doing things when and how I wanted as my little “managing director” was the one in charge…

My life was all around constant breastfeeding, constant nappy changing, constant washing up (as something exploded in a nappy), constant ironing, and did I mention constant breastfeeding? Somewhere in between, we managed to go for a walk when my little Prince was having his nap, and I was trying to put myself together. Later when Kuba was getting bigger, we started going to Children Centres for various activities like baby joga, baby massage, baby swimming to name a few.

And somehow in there, I needed to do shopping, cooking, cleaning, and what else?…off course eating myself as well…

At the same time, my dear husband was in his job, got promoted, had new things to learn, different projects to manage, new people, to hire, various meetings to attend. Apart from this, he’s been focusing on setting up his business and working with a professional coach.

So we’ve been living in 2 completely different worlds, speaking different language.

I was in MAMA Zone and my husband was in BUSINESS Zone.

Sometimes we had no time to catch up with ins and outs of the day as when Kuba finally fell asleep I was exhausted and ready to bed.

How was it possible for us to still communicate and got into each other’s world? Our friends often ask us what is our secret to have such a happy and fulfilling relationship even with baby on board?

The answer is:

Quality Time Together

What is quality time? It’s time we spend only with each other. No phones, no media, no interruptions. It’s time when we are with each other and for each other – we talk, we share, we listen. Even before Kuba was born, we had our quality time once a week, but now, with the baby on board, we can see how crucial it is…We still have our quality time once a week – over the weekend we take Kuba for a walk, and while he is having his nap, we talk.

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This is the most valuable time we have for each other during the week

and we are always looking forward to it.

When we need to make some decisions, we specify what we want to discuss earlier in a week, so we can think about it and prepare beforehand.
Whether you have kids or not, I highly recommend to implement quality time with your partner regularly; it will take your relationship to the next level, guaranteed!!!

There are certain rules to apply for this quality time to work:

1. Schedule

Planning is essential – plan your quality time together as you plan other things in your week. Make it important, make time for it. Stick it in your calendar. WHAT GETS SCHEDULED GETS DONE.

2. Talk

Talk to each other; this is Your Time, share what’s going on in your life. I know it must sound absurd as you see each other every day but really – your day life may be completely different, and you may not have time to catch up. What seems insignificant for you may be important for your partner and vice versa. And for mums, it is soooooo important to have an ADULT CONVERSATION.

3. Listen

This one is VERY IMPORTANT. Talking is easy, you immerse into your world, and you can talk about it all day long. But listening to your partner is what gets you into his or her world. We have 2 ears and 1 mouth, use them accordingly. Pay attention, ask questions, be interested in what he or she is sharing with you.

4. Ask “How do you feel.”

This one is what got us even closer together. Sharing information, facts about what’s up in your lives is necessary but talking about your feelings is what takes your relationship to the next level. Most men don’t understand how we can TALK ABOUT FEELINGS but for mums spending all day with the kids, this is crucial. Especially when our post-pregnancy hormones are driving us crazy.

Getting off the chest how you feel physically and emotionally, sharing with your partner all about your fatigue, worries, frustrations, insecurities that come with motherhood, will clear your head and make you feel better. And your partner, not run by sleepless nights and those hormones, he may be able to help you with showing you things in a different light. He may even get more involved in looking after the baby so that you can have a nap. Or you can brainstorm some other ideas that will work well for both of you. Remember – MEN DON’T KNOW WHAT WOMEN WANT UNTIL WE TELL THEM.

And vice versa – you may be able to help your partner with those business decisions he’s been struggling with. Your female instinct may work wonders. When you look from the outside, you are more capable of seeing things differently.

Ask for help and be willing to accept it. Not only you can help each other, but by understanding your emotions, you are getting much closer together. You will be surprised how effective it is.

 5. Be present

This is your time to be 100% present. Switch off those mobiles, computers, TV and other media devices. And focus on listening, do not start thinking about your stuff, do not interrupt, do not propose your brilliant solutions when your partner is talking. Let him or her finish. If you are sitting, looking into each other’s eyes. You will be surprised how different the person who is talking would feel. And guys – your woman feels when you drift away!!!

6. Be close

Hold your hands, look into your eyes, hug each other, kiss, be close. When you have so little time for each other, cherish every moment <3

 

Trust me and Make Time for this Quality Time in Your Relationship. It Works, and It Is Powerful.

 

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How a New Mummy Completed Her First London Marathon

So the big day was here…

In order for me to have a good night sleep before marathon, we moved cot bed to another bedroom. Hubby was about to sleep with Kuba and feed him overnight. I was about to sleep in our bedroom with my sister. Milk was ready and the plan was tested before. All set. But…during the night I heard Kuba crying, I knew he was in good hands, so I wanted to fall asleep again. The crying got louder and louder minute after minute, so I got up to check what was going on. I saw my husband carrying our son, trying to feed him with the bottle but he wasn’t taking it. I thought “are you kidding me”? You’ve got the milk, we tested feeding from the bottle, I’m running a marathon in few hours and you just wouldn’t let me sleep? I ended up feeding him myself. Couple of hours later same story…and then once again…I wanted to cry…I couldn’t believe that… Why, why today? I could remember how I felt during my training with that kind of sleep, especially my long runs…

And here I was on marathon morning feeling exhausted already… just great…

This is part 2 of my memories from running my first marathon, to read part 1 please click HERE

Anyway, I got dressed, got my power porridge for breakfast, drank my special isotonic drinks and fed my boy again (to keep him full plus to take the ballast off my chest:)). Breastfeeding marathon mama…

We decided that I would go to the start on my own. Later I was told that Lucas with Kuba were looking through the window for me all the way down to DLR station. They were sending me powerful vibes, Lucas had tears in his eyes. On the way I got so many messages from family and friends, I knew they all will be thinking about me and I needed that.

I must admit I was tired.

Going to the start was ok until together with some other runners we got stuck on the train. What seemed to be forever, after 20 mins, we got to the final station (great I planned to be there much earlier) and were heading to the start line. I could already feel the adrenaline – excitement mixed with nerves.

The part that needs to be written about is ladies toilet point…after a looooong queue there were some paper cups to take on, I was wondering what for…it turned out that there were no toilets as such but some urinals where we were supposed to do our business while standing. Those paper cups were to be placed down there to help making it an easy flow…what???? I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire life nor I knew how to use it. All I could see was plenty of female rears trying to somehow do their business and… plenty of other ladies just making wee in a traditional way all over the place. I decided to join the second group 🙂

After dropping my bag, I got to the start line. It was quite cold, so I was wearing plastic trash bag to keep the wind off. Many others were leaving their jumpers and jackets over there, probably donating them to charity or so. I really admired runners wearing just tops and shorts – brave ones.

Hubby, sis and bro-in-law were supposed to cheer me up on the way, they got the map, planned where to go and first time I was supposed to meet them at 15k.

Finally, we began. The support started from very beginning and it turned out to never stop.  All way long there were people cheering, clapping, giving jellies, fruits, high-fives. I decided to run slower, to keep my energy up for the whole 42k. I felt very good, grateful for being a part of this amazing race and enjoying the atmosphere. After about 10k, I felt I needed a wee but I was not keen on queuing for the loo. So I continued to run for as long as I could and finally needed to jump into the bushes to do my business. I was waiting for this 15k mark to see my family but when we got there, I couldn’t find them. I was still hoping to see them until 18k but my hopes were never met.

Passing the Tower Bridge was phenomenal, this is my favorite place in London and I felt awesome being a part of that running wave there.

After 20km it started getting hotter but I was still feeling good. I was running at 5.45 peace hoping to be able to go under later on. Every 30 min I was taking an energy gel.

When we were approaching Canary Wharf I started feeling tired and slowed down. At 30k it was the biggest hill ever, I remember saying “who the fu*.. put this hill in there?”. But then I heard my name – in the front line it was my hubby with Kuba . He stretched his arms, so I could kiss our baby very quickly. That gave me power. Another turn and I could see them all – my sister Gosia, Matt, Lucas and Kuba again, they were all waving, so I started jumping and sending them kisses, so grateful for having them there.

Running through Canary Wharf was amazing, the crowd was bigger, all clapping, singing, orchestra playing music, it was loud and it was powerful. That, together with seeing my loved ones was what I needed, I got a kick in my butt and felt much better.

Not for long though…after about 32k I felt worse, I got a stitch and felt I needed to stop. I really didn’t want to do this but after few more steps I had to. But then I felt even worse, I knew that if I stay still I would not be able to start running again. So, slowly I got back to the race but for the next 1k I needed to stop few more times. I was forcing myself to move, even if that needed to be a slow jog, otherwise I knew that I would not be able to continue at all.

9k to go and I’m feeling that my power is drifting away…

I could see a time pacer for 4h finish time passing me by and I tried to speed up but I just couldn’t. My breathing was fine, my mind was fine, upper part of my body was fine but my legs…I felt like they couldn’t move any more. I was not even lifting them up that much, there were just going forward one step at a time. I literally felt that my legs were separate to the rest of my body.

Last 5km, we were running by the Thames river, I could see London Eye but I had an impression that the closer I was getting, the further and further away it was. The finish line was next to Buckingham Palace, so when I saw Westminster, it was not long to go. But again…the closer I was getting the further away it seemed to be.

That was it, I felt no more energy, the sleepless night wasn’t helping and I couldn’t do this any longer…Dragging myself down, we turned next to Westminster bridge and then I saw them again – my amazing trio – Lucas, Gosia and Matt cheering for me again. My face told them all, I was almost crying. However I could still hear them with their encouragement that I could do it, that it’s almost finish and that they would wait for me in there.

During this last 2km I was wondering what was worse – going through the labour or running a marathon and to be honest I could not find the answer. Labour was freaking painful but so this was.

Last 1.5km and I was pissed off, really. I didn’t want to do this anymore, so I decided to finish it all as soon as possible. I don’t know how but I managed to speed up. When I saw Buckingham Palace and then turned to see a finish line in front of me, I had tears in my eyes.

When I crossed that finish line I was crying. When I got my medal I was still crying, so the lady hugged me tight.

After few moments my hubby gave me the biggest hug ever and we both were sobbing. He knew what it meant for me. He knew how difficult it was for me. And he stood by my side from the very beginning.

Gosia and Matt – they’ve been there for me too. All of them have been there for me during training preparation, to cheer me up on the way and to hug me at the finish line. They really helped me at that 30k and later on that 40k. I’m forever grateful for their support.

And my little man Kuba – he’s been waiting for his mummy too, he’s been proud of his mummy, who got safely through the finish line even though he didn’t let her sleep the night before. His cheeky smile and happy face was the biggest joy for me.

My finish time was 4:25:22, I was aiming to complete it in 4 hours but taking into account everything I’ve been through, I’m proud of myself.

Especially in the light of what happened to one of the participants…young man…he was not so lucky to finish that marathon…and he would never make any of the other marathons as he is no longer with us.

So here I was…

I’ve just completed my first marathon.

I’ve just completed London Marathon which is one of the Worlds Marathon Majors, where I got accepted first time round.

I’ve completed my first marathon when my baby boy turned 7 months.

I could not believe it…

For me it was not only about the last 42k. My marathon lasted four long months, my marathon was a combination of demanding training, dedication, discipline and persistence. But my marathon was also my biggest joy, my amazing achievement, my moment of glory.

During that last km I said “That’s my first and my last marathon ever. Never Again” …but, as you probably know, that’s not going to end there.

This September I’m running another one of World Marathon Majors.

See you in Berlin 🙂

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New Mummy’s Journey To Run Her First Marathon Ever

If you think that I have always been into running, that’s far from the truth. However, when I was doing my Bucket list in 2013 – ‘To run a marathon’ was in the first 15. They say “watch out what you wish for” as shortly after I went for my first run, which ended up running first half-marathon 5 weeks after. I was hooked, enjoying 10k and half-marathon distance and wasn’t really keen on taking on marathon as of yet.

My dear friend Marta, mother of two, is a marathon runner, so far she’s completed 4 out of 6 World Marathon Majors (some of which few times) and she will be running her 5th one in Boston in 2018. She’s been telling me all about it and pissing me off with the question: “How long are you going to run half-marathons for?”

She got me…

I signed up for a ballot to London marathon in May 2015 when I was 5 months pregnant.

I didn’t really think about it too much as the chances for getting a place were pretty low anyway. 2 weeks after giving birth to my baby boy Kuba, I got a letter in the post saying: “Congratulations, you are in”. I was shocked, how come? People trying to get in for years and I applied for the very first time and got accepted. I have always been a lucky girl and here it was. I was excited and terrified at the same time. I could still feel the labour pain…and very soon I needed to start training…and for a marathon!!!

Anyway, from January 2016 my training calendar was full of running and strength training at the gym (as on top of marathon, I signed up to do tough mudder with my family…don’t ask me what I was thinking, as I probably wasn’t…I put it all on baby brain…).

The beginning was fine, I could feel that I was much weaker and my form definitely needed to be improved, however it was better than I expected. After 2 weeks’ things got worse…I could not run at all, my hips were killing me, I could not lift my legs, even walking was painful. That was pretty scary. I didn’t know what to do. I spoke to some people who were much more experienced in running and one lady helped me immensely. During pregnancy, growing belly is putting so much pressure on hip flexors, making them tighter and weaker. When I started exercising with high intensity – the body responded with pain. First I needed to stretch my hip flexors like crazy in order to be able to get to the starting point from before pregnancy. Later I could add my training and continue to stretch a lot. With persistence and patience, I was about to get better. So, I stopped doing hill runs, no incline treadmill workout, just flat, slow runs, hoping to fix the problem. Thankfully it got better.

Even though I had a running stroller, I could not take my baby for a run until he was 6 months (that’s what they advised). My family was on board and helped me enormously. Each Sunday, together with my husband Lucas and brother-in-law Matt, we were planning who is looking after Kuba, so I could train. We were all preparing for tough mudder, so we had a family calendar of who is doing what and when. I started buggy running 4 weeks before the big day. It took me a while to get used to it but I loved my BOB stroller which was so easy to push.

My training was demanding. I was breastfeeding, my baby was not sleeping through the night and I was tired. Often I was exhausted but still needed to be persistent. Preparation for spring marathon takes place in the winter, so through the rain, through the wind, in the dark, whether I felt like it or not, I had to be disciplined. I believe that having a set date of the race made the training possible, if I was running just for the sake of running, most likely I wouldn’t do it.

Training to run 42.195km itself is demanding, training for tough mudder itself is hard, doing both is a killer and doing both with a small baby while breastfeeding and enduring sleepless nights is crazy…It was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life.

But I paradoxically feel that all these crazy challenges have saved me – both as a woman and as a person. I know that I would go crazy if I spent my whole time with my child, even though I love him so much. Doing the necessary training was my little escape, some precious time only for myself – time when I could recharge my batteries.

Off course there were times when I wanted to give up, however always after training, and I mean ALWAYS, I felt much better, looking at mummy’s challenges under a different light. I was coming back as a better mother and as a better wife.

My run was important to me for another reason as well. I’m fortunate enough to be healthy, having food on the table, loving and supportive family but many people don’t have that. I feel that’s my obligation to help the ones in need and for the last few years, together with my family, we’ve been doing that through the initiative called Basket Brigade, where we prepare food hampers for families in need over Christmas. We started small, with 10 hampers in 2011 and last year alone we fed over 300 families in my home town. We combine healthy lifestyle with the idea of helping others, so each race and fitness challenge is for a good cause. I believe that secret to living is giving and we’ve already experience magic many times.

Final week before the marathon – my parents came over for a week which was a true blessing. I was tired as I was still feeding Kuba at night, so my mum was taking him over in the morning and I could have a non-interrupted sleep. That made wonders. I feel like a completely different person when I sleep and right before marathon, I needed that the most.

2 days before the big day we went to Marathon Expo taking place in London Excel which for me was an extraordinary event itself. I loved everything in there.

When I was picking my number up I felt quite emotional. Just 2 days to go…I was so grateful for getting a chance to run that iconic London marathon and so blessed that I’ve done my training in spite of all the challenges.

People who were giving the numbers couldn’t believe that my baby was just 7 months old and that I was still breastfeeding. I put my number on Kuba’s chest when he was sleeping in a buggy and everyone passing by was saying that he would run a marathon one day as well. Off course he will 🙂

On Saturday my parents got back to Poland and my sister came over to support me – it was quite crazy day as she almost missed her flight…

During the day we took a moment with my husband, talking about my feelings before the race. I was nervous but my hubby, as ALWAYS, was able to calm me down by asking quality questions like: ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen?’. What I realized back then was that my race time was not so important anymore.

Whether I run or walk I just wanted to get safely through the finish line. I already felt like a hero for taking on such a demanding training while nursing my baby.

In the evening I was shown a special video made by my family and friends. All of them were sending their positive vibrations and wishing me luck for my race, which brought tears into my eyes.

Final family meal loaded with those necessary carbs – pasta with quorn and veggies, preparation of clothes, shoes, other accessories, gels, number with pins and bag that I was taking with me and I was ready to go…

If you want to know what happened on the big day click HERE

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Easter Holiday Eating Survival Guide

We’ve been good – drinking water, following the diet, exercising regularly. All is great; the body is changing, looking pretty and healthy. But now with Easter just around the corner, there is this fear around holiday eating.

Do I really need to skip my favourite meals?

Or can I persuade my family to try all completely new dishes this time with broccoli quinoa salad as the main threat?

Can I have at least a tiny bite of that chocolate egg and feel like a kid again?

Or will that ruin everything I’ve been working on so far?

I’m all about healthy food choices and active lifestyle, and I will recommend this to you and your family all the time.

And what I tell you now may surprise you…

I do believe that there is absolutely no need to stress about eating over Easter holidays.

Why? Because it’s just a few days.

Even if you go for a few cheat meals, it won’t make any difference to you.

If for most of the year (let’s say 80% of your time) you chose good food combined with physical activity, you will be fine. What you are doing most of the time, your daily habits, daily choices – that’s what matters.

With the tips listed below, you have a Green Light from me to enjoy amazing food this Easter:

  1. Do Not Starve Yourself Before Easter

You decided to eat almost nothing before Easter to be able to eat it ALL during Easter, huh? Don’t do that; it’s silly, not healthy and even dangerous. You will feel sluggish, hungry and you will want to eat everything that’s on the Easter table, as you deserved it, right? No. Eat as healthy as usual and don’t panic. You will have that favourite treat over the weekend.

  1. Do Not Plan To Go On a Diet After Easter

If you do, you may feel that you need to eat it all now because after holidays you will just sip a veggie juice. So, you may choose rubbish food, consume tons of calories with zero nutritional value and that is another recipe for a disaster. Even if you have some less healthy choices over Easter, just come back to your normal routine afterwards and stick to it.

  1. Do Not Prepare The Food For The Whole Army

I don’t know about you, but in my family, we always have so much food that we could feed the whole village, easily…I’m not sure where it’s coming from, but it has to be a lot. So the Easter is gone, and we are still eating that food afterwards. There is no need to do that. Prepare only as much as you need to for Easter and in the amount you would normally eat. In your standard week, you don’t eat 3-course meals few times a day, so your consumption doesn’t need to increase for holidays.

  1. Enjoyyyy Your Favourite Food, And Yes, Eat That Chocolate Egg

Come on; you can taste that Easter egg, it’s only once a year. Don’t eat the biggest one and not every day though. You don’t need to eat all the food that’s on the Easter table, skip the ones you were always eating only because your grandma wanted you to. However, if you have your favourite Easter food, something you most likely eat once or twice a year, have it, enjoy and indulge in it.

  1. Drink That Wine If You Want To

Even though alcohol is a drink, not a real food, the amount of calories it has is quite astonishing. However, if you really feel like it, yes, you can have that glass of wine or two. Remember to drink plenty of water too. Your head will thank you for the following morning.

  1. Do Not Punish Yourself

When Easter is over, there is no need to punish yourself for all the amazing food you just ate. Your body really wasn’t ruined over the last few days especially when you were mindful of portion sizes. Don’t think about it, go back to your daily healthy habits and carry on as usual. Be good to yourself.

  1. Do Not Sit By The Table Day In Day Out

In our culture, it’s quite common to be sitting by the table for the whole party. The food is within arm’s reach, so we are likely to eat more. Change this. Eat that main meal and stand up, go to the garden, have a conversation with other family members, play with kids. Your digestive system will be grateful.

  1. Stop When You Are Full

Eat whatever you feel like eating but stop when you feel full. Even if someone else is taking another piece of cake, you don’t need to do that. Eat slowly, take breaks, drink water. Food needs to be enjoyable, not giving you discomfort and inability to walk.

  1. Move As Often As You Can

Move at the party, go for a family walk after dinner. Run in the morning, do some exercises in the evening. You will feel much better with more energy and more room for some other great food the following day.

  1. Have Fun With Your Loved Ones

Easter is time to be with your family, your friends, your loved ones. Very often it’s time when you see people who you haven’t seen for a long time. Spend some quality time with them. Paint eggs together, prepare some decorations with the kids, do eggs hunting in the garden. Listen, talk, share your dreams and plans, inspire each other, be there for each other. And have fun – it’s festive celebration for all of you.

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10 Reasons Why I Feel So Grateful For Having a Sister

Sisters can be the best friends or the best foes. She is your soulmate and your partner in crime. You may love her to bits, but there have been times you wanted to kill her (especially when you were growing up…). Anyone who has a sister knows that whatever you do, having a sister to do it with makes it much more fun.

My mum lost her parents in her early 20’s. She was the youngest out of their 3 children. Both – my auntie and uncle had 1 child each, so as I was the only child to my mum when that happened. From early childhood, I remember my mum saying that when she lost her parents, she’s decided to have a second baby. She wanted me to have a sister or a brother by my side and never experience the loss of the parents on my own. It was a long time ago when I heard it for the very first time but that really stuck in my head ever since.

So therefore, when I was 6 years old, my little sister was born. Her name is Gosia. I’m forever grateful to my parents for bringing her into this world; I can’t imagine growing up on my own and not having her in my life.

Today Gosia is celebrating her 30th birthday, and this post is written especially for her.

And at the same time, I want to share with you why I feel that having a sister is such a precious gift:

1. She knows me like no one else

True. She knows everything I’ve ever been through — the good, the bad and the ugly. She’s seen me at my weirdest. We spent the whole childhood and teenage years together, sharing the same room, going to family parties and vacations together. She was that naughty little sneak I wanted to kill sometimes but also my partner in crime. Over the years, we got to know each other quite well, sharing our little secrets, biggest joys, and disappointments, wildest dreams and aspirations, fears and insecurities. She is the only one to know all my friends, teachers, bosses, first boyfriends and details about first dates with my husband.

2. She knows what I mean with a blink of an eye

No words necessary, we have the same thought process and understand each other immediately. WE SHARE BEST INSIDE JOKES EVER. She is the only person I don’t need to explain our crazy family to; she’s lived it.

3. She is my best girlfriend

Our parents consider family as one of the top values in life, and we were brought up with respect and love towards each other. They’ve done a great job as we are close, indeed. We trust each other, we help and support each other. She’s witnessed my biggest successes, and she’s been there for me when I needed her the most. She’s the only person I can have a fight with and never even doubt for a second whether she’ll still be there for me at the end of the day.

4. She says it as it is

No messing about, no bullshiting, no trying to find out how to start a conversation… She is honest with me, if I mess up, she will tell me, if I need to get a kick in my butt, she will do it.  She will always tell me when I look like sh*t and of course when I look beautiful as well.

5. She shares her wardrobe with me 🙂

I really think that she has a better taste in choosing and combining clothes. She is also better in doing hair and makeup. That’s just the way it is. So, I really enjoy borrowing her clothes and going for a shopping with her – each time I get back with the clothes that turn out to be my favourites. When I do the shopping on my own, I kind of worry what her reaction would be 😉 recently she didn’t like few of my choices and was concerned whether I’m getting older or what…;)

6. She shares my passion for fitness, sport and active lifestyle

It’s wonderful; we can train together, take part in races together, learn from each other, inspire and motivate one another. We’ve done so many amazing thigs together that we probably wouldn’t do on our own – she ran her first half marathon with me, even though she said she would never run more than 10k. I’ve done a tough mudder with her even though being covered in a mud or jumping into icy water is not really my thing. So, we challenge each other to go outside our comfort zones all the time as that’s where the magic happens, right?

7. She is generous; she is loving and caring

She has a huuuuuuge heart. She is always there for me; she is always there for her family, she is always there for her friends. Even if it’s in the middle of the night, she would come running. She always finds a way how to cheer someone up, to show them the light at the end of the tunnel and to help them look at things from a different perspective.

She is also there for strangers, for the last few years we’ve been organizing special charity event for families in need during Christmas time called Basket Brigade Polska. Last year alone we fed over 300 families in our city. She puts her heart and soul into this project, and with her help, we could take this event to the next level and growing year after year.

8. She was my Maid of Honor, and she is a Godmother to my son

It was clear from the very beginning that she will be the one. I have many girlfriends, but my sister is my top one. She’s organised me the best hen party ever and helped me immensely before and during the wedding. When I was pregnant, she planned a wonderful baby shower for me, and once my baby was born, she was the only one to be asked for a being his godmother. Kuba loves his auntie dearly and vice versa.

9. She is my Hero

Although she is my younger sister, I do admire her for what she’s achieved in her life so far. I’m very proud of her successes both in her professional and personal life. She is an amazing manager, fitness instructor, colleague, friend, daughter, auntie.

10. She is Simply The Best

To me, she is just the best sister ever. People say that you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. Well, if I could I would still choose her for my sister. I love her deeply, and I feel so blessed of having her in my life.

Gosia, I want to say a BIG THANK YOU for all the years together, for good times, for bad times, for ups and downs. I want to wish you all the best on your birthday, have an amazing day and best party ever. Dream BIG and Go For Your Dreams.

I love you xxx

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Red Power Smoothie

This is one of my top smoothies. I love the colour, the texture, the flavour, yummy 🙂

The recipe is for a large amount, so if you can’t drink it all at once, you can use the rest for your mid morning snack or share with your partner.

1 beetroot
1 carrot
2 sticks celery
1 apple
½ pineapple
¼ lemon
1 banana
½ avocado
Hemp protein (optional)

Juice beetroot, carrot, celery, apple, pineapple and lemon. Put banana and avocado into a blender and mix with the juice. Add hemp protein if you wish.