Achievements and Resolutions 2016/17

So here it is, a brand new fresh year to start again. New ideas, new focus but also a good time to reflect on all the fantastic achievements from the last year. I always take a day between Christmas and New Year to do this. I usually head out of the house (most likely to my local Starbucks) grab myself a mocha and write two lists. I start by writing all of my achievements for the year, using social media and my blog I start at January and work my way through the year, noting key highlights and achievements along the way.

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This is such a feel good exercise and truly makes you focus on all the positive aspects from the year, opposed to the negative which is often what we tend to do without really meaning to.

The next list I create is my resolutions list. It’s worth noting that both of these lists that I write are kept in my notebook that I carry everywhere with me. It helps me keep track that I am actually on course to achieving my goals for the year. I look back at my resolutions twice in the year. The first is at 6 months – usually when I am on holiday in the Summer. I look at what I have achieved so far and make notes on how I can keep on track to achieve the others going forward. I then look at it again in December when it comes to making a new list to find those resolutions I can carry over into the new year and to produce new ideas for future resolutions.

My Highlights and Achievements of 2016

Passing my driving test – It took a couple of attempts but I’m finally out on the road! Hooray!

Getting a new car – My dream first car, a Ford Fiesta, 5 door in red.

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Moving into a new job – I now am in a brand new college, meeting new people and getting involved in new challenges (which involves learning about a whole new range of careers!)

Visiting beautiful Lake Garda in Italy – On my wish list for a few years now and I finally was able to go and visit this beautiful lake.

Started Hula Hooping – Through attending HulaFit classes.

My Resolutions for 2017

These are a few of my top resolutions for 2017! Hopefully they give you some ideas for your New Year’s resolutions too!

To find a new hobby – I am such a creative person and I think this is something that has truly been lacking in my life. I’m setting out to find a new creative hobby and hopefully I’ll post some of my makes up on this blog!

To go on more day trips – I have made a list of days out in the UK and plan to visit at least one per month.

To walk more – I have set myself the challenge of completing one long walk a month and entering myself into a walking challenge. I am due to have another foot operation so we’ll see how we get on with this one! In some ways in may aid my recovery!

To read more – I have set myself a target of 2 books a month minimum.\

To have a Sunday night movie – I find this is the best way to help me relax for the week ahead. I’m planning to make a record of all the movies I watch throughout the year.

To be more creative – I feel so much better when I have spent a few hours being creative. I would like to draw at least once image per month and also create one collage a month. I’ll be posting these on my Instagram too to prove it!

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What are your new year resolutions? I’d love to hear what you have planned for 2017!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

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A Dream to Dance

When I was at secondary school, I absolutely loved to dance. It was one of the first extra curricular activities I joined, alongside studying music, it was my passion.

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Along with my friends at school, we attended early morning dance classes and practiced through our lunchtimes for annual dance performances and took part in once in a lifetime opportunities. Part of this was encouraged by our wonderful dance teacher, a woman so passionate about her dancing that it was inspirational and motivational to watch her perform – it made us want to have that same passion and she was why I think we were all so committed to attending those classes.

Along with school classes, I also attended a theatre school every Saturday called Theatre Train. I had trouble with my confidence so not only did this assist with this issue through drama, but we also enjoyed an hour of singing and an hour of dance. In 2006 I had the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall as part of a celebration called ‘Songs of the Century’, an incredible experience and certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity! To find your local Theatre Train group make sure you check out their website by clicking here.

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It wasn’t until my third year of University that I started to notice pain in my feet. There were days that I would struggle to walk to the main University building, less than a mile from where we lived. I took tablets to cope with the pain, but it got to the point where I just could not cope anymore. I visited my GP, who suggested I keep an eye on it and if the pain worsened to return but ultimately that I may need surgery. It was at this time that I started to use a splint on my big toe of my right foot, which I realise now has hindered my progress and caused more damage than good. Throughout this time, as I had been diagnosed with bunions I researched further into what they are. I always thought they were some sort of gross fungal infection!! Never realising they are actually to do with the main bones of your foot. As shown by the diagram below it is basically to do with the joint where your big toe joins the main part of your foot. Sometimes, due to bad footwear or other genetic problems, the joint ends up jutting out at an angle. This often is pain free and many go throughout their lifetime without experiencing any pain at all on the joint. In some cases however, it can cause significant pain similar to the feeling of arthritis where the joint becomes stiff and achy. This was how my feet ended up.

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In Summer 2012, I noticed the pain at this point was getting excruciating so headed back to the doctor. He put me on a course of Ibruprofen to ease the pain and referred me to my local hospital for xrays. I saw a surgeon who said they would need to operate and insert metalwork to straighten out the bones in my right foot. In November 2012, 3 years ago, I had my first (and what I thought at the time, my only) operation on my right foot. It was a day surgery which meant I could arrive in the morning, have the operation and be sent home the same day. It was a quick procedure performed under general anaesethic and I was on my way home by 5pm that day. As it was a simple procedure the healing time was fairly quick and 6 weeks later I was back at work.

Over the next year or so and despite the surgery, the pain lingered and on some days it was even worse than before. I went to my new GP based in London who referred me back to hospital. In March 2014 I had my appointment at Charing Cross Hospital, London. Whilst initially I had been referred for my left foot the surgeon took a look at my right foot and ultimately told me that it needed to redone as the initial procedure had not worked. They carried out some X rays and had found that the main bone of my foot was actually splitting due to the pressure of the bunion. It was at this time that they gave me crutches and I spent that March through to December 2014 using them. In July 2014 I had my operation and spent the summer recovering. It took a long time to heal. I had a cast on my leg and was in a wheelchair for 6 weeks. I promised myself I would never take walking for granted after experiencing this.

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I am currently awaiting hospital treatment to begin on my left foot which will again involve surgery and two months waiting for it to heal but this time I feel ready. I feel like I know what to expect now and I do feel some comfort in that. I do feel pain every day. It’s uncomfortable and frustrating but something I have learned to live with. Some days are better than others and I notice it is at its worse when it is cold and raining outside (which I can often tell before even opening the curtains some days!)

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As for my dancing? I would absolutely love to be able to dance again. Contemporary dance was my absolute favourite and I am starting to slowly work on my core strength to be able to attempt to dance in this way again one day. I definitely still dream of it. I have got to the point where I am visiting the gym on a weekly basis with the hope to join a dance class once my feet feel strong enough. Fingers (and toes!) crossed!

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This post has been submitted as an entry into the Dancewear Central competition. Dancewear Central is the UK’s number 1 dancewear specialist and provides a fantastic range of dancewear for all ages! There are lots of amazing deals on the site, perfect for dancers including up to 50% off 1000s of products on the site and free delivery on orders over £60! Make sure you check it out by clicking here.

Becky at Pretty & Petit

Slim Fast Challenge Review

A few months ago Slim Fast sent me a diet plan to review as part of their Slim Fast Challenge. I’m sorry it has taken me so long to write it – partly due to not having the time but also being indecisive over whether I would write it at all.

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I have only ever dieted in the last couple of years. I don’t have a problem with dieting but I just don’t want to be an advocate for dieting and I don’t feel like I want to diet. I would much rather be happier, healthier and exercise more in order to lose weight rather than be restricted to certain amounts of food, points systems and fasting methods. I’m not saying those are bad options, many people I know have trialled these various ways to lose weight and they have been successful. They’re just not for me.

As to why I was indecisive over writing this review was contributed to by a number of factors. Before experiencing the Slim Fast diet I admit that I purely thought it was a fad; a money maker and I did question as to whether I should take part in the challenge at all. I do not regret my decision at all, I’m glad I tried it! It was fantastic to find that there was such a huge range available and I didn’t have to stick to just milkshakes all the time (which I wouldn’t have necessarily minded as I am a huge milkshake fan!) The challenge was easy to follow with the 3 snacks, 2 replacement meals and 1 balanced meal and meant I was able to plan each day in advance with the numbered products on offer. I did find a lot of the products were very sweet. I absolutely love sweet things so I did enjoy them but it could get a bit tedious for someone who is not keen on sweet tasting products.

I decided to complete the challenge two weeks prior to going on holiday to Mykonos for a girls holiday aiming to lose a little bit more weight before a week in the sun and I found that this was perfect timing for me. I took delivery of a huge parcel filled with Slim Fast goodies. From milkshakes to milkshake powder, chocolate bars to tortilla chips and pretzels. I was pleasantly surprised by the range of products available and regularly see these on offer in stores such as Boots and Superdrug so are easy to stock up on. It was interesting to see how the products that regularly I would have eaten as a treat every so often, were now products that I had to eat on a daily basis as part of the plan. Products designed to keep energy levels up throughout the day.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t manage the whole two weeks of the challenge. I did try and religiously stuck to the diet for a week, however it just wasn’t for me. I suffer from IBS causing painful cramps, which for the past few years by being more careful with what I eat, has calmed down significantly. I found sticking to the Slim Fast products for that first week quite painful. I either felt full or extremely hungry with no in between and constantly bloated with a nagging pain. So this was one of the couple of negative things I found about it and it was the sole reason I was unable to continue for the whole two weeks – my body just did not suit it. Believe me, this isn’t the same for everyone. Slim Fast is a global phenomenon so it must be working for some people and not all body types are the same!

Despite this uncomfortable feeling I did enjoy taking part in the Slim Fast Challenge and yes I did lose weight! To be honest, I couldn’t specifically tell you how much, it was enough to notice a difference although I have been also exercising quite a bit more so that may have contributed also. Looking at images of me in May and July to compare I can certainly tell a difference.

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I am sharing this review as honestly as I can so please do not let my experience put you off entirely! If you are looking for a new diet plan to try then yes, certainly give Slim Fast a go! It is always worth trialling these things as the thing you are least expecting to suit your body (and your bank account) might actually be a solution! Although definitely stay away from those dangerous diet pills you find online – they are definitely not the answer!!!

Have you tried Slim Fast? I’d love to hear what you thought of the plan.

Becky at Pretty & Petit

A two week plan of products for this review were provided by Slim Fast.

Pretty & Petit visits The London Bike Show – Feb 2015

On Saturday 14th February with love in the air (a belated Happy Valentine’s Day to all!) we travelled to ExCeL in London to visit the annual London Bike Show!

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This show, perfect for cycling enthusiasts, also including entrance into other shows including the Outdoor and Adventure Show, Triathlon Show and the Dive Show which meant there was something for all fitness fanatics!

We started off the day trialling a few different bikes. The Boxer bikes were fab and great for parents with children.

We then took a walk round the exhibition which was huge and including so many different bike brands. We even spotted Chris Hoy and the Pinarello that Bradley Wiggins rode to victory!

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I am currently researching Dutch bikes as it will be my major Summer 2015 purchase and was so pleased to see a Bobbins stand at the event. I absolutely love all the different pastel colours available and they are so affordable.

20150214_115844IMG_20150214_16013720150214_115829 20150214_115815Over the day I was also converted into wanting a road bike, especially when I found the Cannondale Synapse bikes (one of which had pink stripes and the other silver glitter!) Despite the colour, the technical aspects of Cannondales are fantastic and definitely something I’m looking to get once my confidence in cycling improves! We also spent a lot of time at the Canyon and Pinarello stands – both amazing bike brands!

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Of course, if you are thinking of buying a new bike, like me, you will need the accessories to go with it! For the girls I found two amazing stands – Velo Vixen, which I have come across before at previous events and Bike Belle, Boutique Cycling Accessories – both of which I am planning to feature soon so keep an eye out for more information about these cute brands.

20150214_12155620150214_121810 20150214_121815Overall, The London Bike Show was a fab day out and something that the whole family can enjoy. From trialling new bikes, to watching thrilling BMX demonstrations to visiting the many different stands available – a great day out!

Becky at Pretty & Petit