Exercise Strategies for Busy Mum’s

Anyone who knows me knows that I am the LAST person to give any advice about fitness. However, as it’s a new year (how can we already be two weeks through 2012!?!?!) I thought I’d do a quick post on the strategies I’m trying to use. I’m having a bit of trouble making time to do exercise in an already packed schedule, but I am desperate to lose the extra baby weight because I can’t afford a brand new wardrobe!

Often I find it’s really difficult to carve out a dedicated hour to do some exercise. I’m trying to combine it with doing other things like going for a walk with friends instead of sitting in a coffee shop eating cake and drinking calorie rich drinks! I’m also trying to change my mindset to think that actually, exercise is really important for me because without it I’m not going to be as fit and healthy as I need to be to look after my family.

I use all the classic tips like, walking whenever I can, taking the stairs and not the lifts, etc. I’m also trying to do 10-20 minutes of yoga every evening. I don’t need to leave the house for this and I can fit this in at the end of the day. I have a yoga DVD (in fact I have a few fitness DVD’s, but this is the only one I can cope with at the moment!) which has exercise sessions that are all 10 minutes long. Doing small bite sized chunks means I’m more likely to do it.

I have a pedometer which I bought from Amazon. It cost me a tenner and it’s been an enlightening experience. I try to walk during lunchtime, even if its just for 15 minutes. I can average about 8,000 steps a day if I make a concerted effort but it’s normally between 5000 and 6000. You are supposed to do 10,000 steps to be healthy and 15,000 steps to lose any weight. Unfortunately I just don’t have two hours a day to dedicate to walking but I figure that something is better than nothing.

I have signed up to a dancing class. I have negotiated with my husband that when our little one is in bed I can have an hour on a Tuesday evening to go to a dance class. It starts at 8pm and finishes at 9pm, so by the end I am practically crawling out of the door, but without doing the class I feel sluggish all week. Initially I felt guilty about going out for an hour, but I’ve learnt that this class makes me a better Mum because I need this time to make this investment in myself.

We have also tried a few times for my husband to take my little one to the “Dad’s time” class that is on a Saturday morning in our local Children’s centre. It only costs £1 and he gets a bacon sandwhich for his trouble and the opportunity to talk to other Dad’s about the joys of parenting. I get a whole hour to myself which I use to dash out on my bike for 30 mins and then come home to relax in a bath. I have to admit that this one only happens once a month if I’m lucky, but I’m realising that once a month is better than never!

Having said all this, I do know the statistic that says that to lose weight it’s 40% exercise and 60% diet. I am trying my best to focus on my diet, but as a busy working Mum, sometimes the best laid plans fly out the window. I’m learning not to be so hard on myself though, sometimes I have to recognise that I’m only human and to be human means to make mistakes. Although, next time you see me happily munching on a cake, feel free to poke me in the ribs and remind me it all goes straight to my thighs :-D!

I’ve included a link below for exercise classes and events that happen in and around Basingstoke. If you have any strategies for exercise or know of any other classes, please add in the comments. Good luck with your fitness strategies for 2012!

Exercise for Mum’s

Other Relevant Blog Posts


My Meal Planning in 2012

Following on from yesterdays post about the joy of Slow cookers, I thought I’d follow up with a post about meal planning.

Meal planning is one of the things that helps our family keep on track and stops us from reaching into the cupboard and eating the quickest, easiest and normally most unhealthy, food we can find. I’ve been meal planning for several years but it was more a case of buying in food for the week and choosing which meal we wanted as and when. Now I’m back at work, we have less money and we have a baby, things have needed to be planned better. We’ve started to use the concept of having a certain type of meal each evening. Ours is:

  • Monday – Vegetarian
  • Tuesday – Slow Cooker (We have activities on Tues evening so we need something very quick)
  • Wednesday – Fish
  • Thursday – Pasta with homemade pasta sauce (we have more activities on Thurs evening so need something very quick here too)
  • Friday – Takeout/Dineout/Homemade Pizza/whatever we can find in the freezer
  • Saturday – I normally put in a fancy dish that takes a bit more time if we aren’t out and about
  • Sunday – Roast

This means that I no longer need to think about meals nor do I have to constantly answer my husband’s questions asking what we are having for dinner that evening. He knows that if it’s Monday, its vegetarian (his particular pet hate, but I think we are getting there slowly! What is it about some men and vegetables? lol). If it’s Wednesday it’s fish. Sometimes we chop and change Tues and Thurs so have a slow cooker meal on a Thurs instead of Tues. He knows that if he comes home on a Tues and the house doesn’t smell of slow cooked food, we are having pasta.

We use the MealBoard Application on iTunes as we both have iPAD’s (the iPADS’s have been our one indulgence in the past couple of years!). It allows me to add breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for each day. I love this because it ensures that we don’t waste that much food and reminds me to ensure that we have healthy snacks available. It also allows me to create templates based on one or two week’s existing meal plans, so I can just copy in a template for future weeks and move things around as I like. I don’t use the templates as often as I could because I like to keep as much variety in our meals as possible. You can sync the application to other Apple products which means that my husband can immediately check what we are having for dinner on any given day, and often he will start the cooking if I’m not back in time.

The MealBoard Application works for us but there are many other types of meal planning tools that you could use.

Using Meal Board and shopping online means that I can plan our meals and shopping in about 5 minutes now. I estimate that this planning gives me about an hour to two hours a week back with my family. Meal planning also helps me to ensure that we have at least one portion of fish a week, at least one vegetarian meal a week and that we are eating as much variety as we can.

I’ve enclosed a few links below that you might find interesting reading…

Sainsburys Meal Planning and Meal Ideas (I really like this site. They have some great recipes that are quick, cheap and easy to make).

Back to the Basics: Meal Planning I love Simple Mom’s website. It’s an American site but she has some great ideas and really appeals to my planning and organising nature.

Imperfect, Flexible, Doable Meal Blueprint

The six meal shuffle: extremely simple meal planning This is also an American website but Megan has some great tips and ideas.

3 Fail proof ways to stick to meal planning An American website but still some great ideas.


I love my Slow Cooker!!!

I realize how tragic that statement is, but at the moment, I really do love it. It’s helping my family eat healthy, nutritious meals that I haven’t had to slave over in the kitchen for hours. I believe that one of the most important things as a Mum is to ensure that your family are eating and exercising well. Both of these set your loved ones up in good stead for the future.

My Slow Cooker enables me to spend more time with my family doing fun things or going for walks and still enables me to feed them well. We had a small slow cooker that was suitable for two people but it never seemed to create enough food for a whole meal. Now that there are three of us I’ve upgraded to a much bigger slow cooker so that I can cook two meals at the same time, saving time, money and energy! We often have one half of the cooked meal for dinner and then I split the rest of the meal and freeze it to use for dinner another day or for lunch at work. We’ve also found that in the colder weather the slow cooker cooks the right kind of meals, warm and nourishing whilst being healthy and nutritious. It’s wonderful to come home to a kitchen that smells of yummy dinner.

I’ve done a lot of research over the past few months since falling in love with my slow cooker.  It’s amazing how many recipies can be adapted for the slow cooker.

  •  If you are cooking your meat for long enough, you don’t even need to brown it off first, just chuck it all into the pot.
  • I’ve read somewhere that in order for your slow cooker to be most cost effective you should use it on the low setting the majority of the time.

I know this sounds very organized but I think you need to be when you have children. A little bit of planning goes an awfully long way and anything that helps to decrease my stress levels is worth it!

Check out the following links which show the best slow cooker’s on the UK market and some easy slow cooker recipes to get you started…

Related Posts

It’s Slow Cooker Season, Yay!

Review: NorthDown Orchard Deliveries

Online Food Shopping

Changes coming to NorthHantsMum in 2012

I’ve been a busy bee during the Christmas period and have sorted a few changes to the blog. Hope they aren’t too confusing!

Facebook Page

I have set up a new NHM Facebook Page which will be where all future NorthHantsMum posts will be published.

  1. If you click HERE you will be taken to the new NorthHantsMum FB page.
  2. Click on the “LIKE” button.
  3. Any posts added will then show up in your newsfeed, like they do if you are a friend of NHM.

The NHM Friend will still be available but I will only share information on here. The blog posts ONLY be on the NHM Page from today.


I’m putting together a survey to understand what you lovely readers would like me to focus on. If you would like to complete the survey, please let me know via Facebook or NorthHantsMum@gmail.com. If I don’t get much response I may randomly pick readers so I apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.

NorthHantsMum Scouts

This is a plea for help…I’m finding it quite difficult to keep on top of what’s going on in and near Basingstoke. I know that lots of you have great knowledge of what’s going on in the area (that’s relevant for parents) and was wondering if you could let me know when you find something that might be useful for other Parents in the area? If you have any events that you would like to publicise then please also let me know.

NorthHantsMum merchandising

My husband is very supportive of NorthHantsMum and as a surprise over Christmas he organised NHM business cards and keyrings for me. Look out for these very “coveted” items (when I manage to give them out to friends who can “distribute” them for me at appropriate places!). If you would like a keyring, let me know your details and I will post you one!


I’m hoping to start building closer relationships with local businesses and would like to really get this off the ground early this year. If you are a local business and would like some free advertising and increased interest in your business, please let me know. There are over 500 parents on NHM and the number is growing every day!

Thank you

Finally, I would like to thank you all of you lovely readers (again!) for all of your support on NHM. I’m so delighted that my hobby is becoming so successful and that’s thanks to YOU!

Happy New Year from NorthHantsMum!

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and marvellous New Year.I thoroughly enjoyed my two weeks off. We had a lovely first Christmas with our little one and it was so nice to connect with family and friends and not do any work or blogging! I need to get back into the swing of things though so normal service should resume this week. I’m working on moving all posts from NHM Facebook Friend (that’s NorthHantsMum ;-)) to the NHM Facebook Page. There will be more about this hopefully this week…

So, to start 2012 on NHM this post is a summary of the most popular posts that featured in 2011. (Yes, I’m being very lazy and not doing a new original post, but I’m trying to ease back in gently! lol)






Happy Christmas!!!!!!

Hi Everyone,

NorthHantsMum won’t be posting anything for the next two weeks as I’m on my Christmas holidays. YAY! I’m going to use some of the time to plan and prepare the blog for next year – lots of exciting things coming up.

It’s been such an awesome 6 months since I started NorthHantsMum. Thank you all so much for reading, for your comments and for all of your support, online and offline.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas (your first “Christmas with babies” for lots of you!!!!) and a fabulous New Year and look forward to connecting with you again in 2012!

Happy Christmas!!!

Loux aka. NorthHantsMum

The NorthPole!

Ok, I tried to hold out but I think you can probably tell from the recent Christmas themed blogs that I’m starting to get quite excited!!!

I found this website when I was looking for Norad Santa Tracking and I was really impressed with the content, specifically the activities for little ones.

You can:

Chat with Santa’s elves, Bonnie and Bif, through ElfChat

Send Santa a letter and he’ll write you back

Print a Good Deeds Calendar

and there are loads of other things to check out. Worth a look if you would like some good Christmas activities to share with your little ones. http://www.northpole.com/


Want to know exactly how long it is until Santa arrives?

Norad Santa tracking is a brilliant website. The site officially opens on Christmas Eve and you can then track exactly where Santa is at any time whilst he is delivering Christmas presents across the world.

If you want to see how long it is until Santa starts his present delivery the Norad Santa tracking site will tell you. You can also purchase App or Android App to mirror the website. Very cool.


What do Welly Boots, Icing Sugar and Father Christmas have in common?

You can using the Icing Sugar and Welly Boots to make Father Christmas’ footprints!!!

When you put your mince pie and glass of sherry out for Father Christmas on the mantle piece, and the water and carrots for Rudolph and the rest of the reindeers outside the back door, you can make it even more convincing for your little ones by re-creating Father Christmas’ snowy footprints!

Very cool and very convincing if done well. Oh and easy to hoover up afterwards when the footsteps “magically” disappear 😉

14 Things you don’t want to forget for Christmas

I’ve been thinking of all those things you don’t want to run out of at Christmas. You might want to double up on these items beforehand so you don’t have to make a special trip to the shops during Christmas with little ones in tow.

This is what I’ve come up with so far:

  1. Tin Foil
  2. Batteries for all of those new Toys
  3. Greaseproof paper
  4. Toilet Rolls
  5. Dishwasher Tablets (if you are blessed to have a dishwasher) or washing up liquid
  6. Bin liners
  7. Lightbulbs
  8. Nappies (if your children are using them still)
  9. Wetwipes and Nappy Sacks (If your children are using them still)
  10. Pet Food
  11. Matches (you never know when you will need them!)
  12. Formula (if using)
  13. Washing powder
  14. Alcohol 😀

PS: Have I missed anything?