A Quick Cuppa With… Just Average Jen

Hi all, I hope you’re having a good weekend! Today, I have a wonderfully inspirational lady ‘over here’ for a cuppa. She writes a lifestyle and food blog after going on an immense weight loss journey. You should see her before and after pants! (Check out her IG for that!) But before I pass you over to Just Average Jen for our Q&A, I just want to take a mo to say a few things before I forget lol… 

Firstly, I hope you are all enjoying the guest series! Do leave them a little love if you get a mo and/ or hop over to find them on their own sites too. And thank you to everyone who has taken part so far, I love reading about different people!

Secondly, the next cuppa will be this Wednesday rather than Tuesday. Myself and Hansla will be doing a little interview swap too, so my own answers to this Q&A will be published over on her blog then – so fun!

Lastly, please drop me a line if you want to take part in this series; artists, authors, musicians, bloggers, charities, self- employed/ independents… you are all very welcome to take part! I would love for you to get involved!!! Drop me an email on livinglifeourway@outlook.com Thank you πŸ™‚ x

Right, over to the interview…

A Quick Cuppa With, Just Average Jen, weight loss, dieting, fitness, blogger, guest post, interview, Q and A, lifestyle, inspiration

Introduction

I’m Jen, I’m in my 30’s (and even when I am not I will stay that way forever, I really do not want to be 40!!). I live with my partner Stuart and my 11 year old son Ben. We are an average kind of family. My son has special needs which of course does add an extra dimension to life. I am a quite self conscious person and have depression.

Tell me about your blog/ business. What is it, what inspired you etc…

Just Average Jen is a lifestyle and food blog. I started my blog in 2015 after people kept telling me I should write a book or write a blog to share my story. The idea of writing a book scares me a little so I decided to start a blog!

I lost over 10 stone in weight dropping from a whopping size 30 to a size 6-8 by healthy eating since I joined Slimming World. I didn’t do any exercise and lost the first 8 stone of my weight in just 37 weeks. This weight loss has completely changed my life as I am sure you can imagine. So many people say that I am inspiring and look to me for tips and recipes to help with their own weight loss journeys so this is one aspect of my blog. I also talk about running as since I lost my weight I have started running and completed a half marathon and I am planning more races this year too.


My blog doesn’t just cover weight loss and running, it also looks at improving confidence and as such clothes, make up and other ways to become the “real” you. I review items linked to the subjects of my blog, so pretty much anything from food, to household items and clothes to make up with the odd other random item thrown in there too. I am just an average person and my blog aims to come across as that, the girl next door kind of blog about things that affect average women like me!

How do you relax/ spend your ‘free time’?

I love to run when the weather is reasonable, I don’t mind when it is a bit chilly or a little wet but I do draw the line and do pick and chose a little when I can! My blog is also something I enjoy doing for me and spend a lot of free time doing.

What is your favourite family activity?

I love playing board games with Stuart and Ben, not because I like board games because to be honest I am not a big fan of them but I love the way they bring our little family together away from electronics for an hour or so just having fun together!

We love outdoors and nature here at Living Life Our Way… What’s your favourite outdoor activity?

On my own I love to run, but as a family my favourite outdoor activity has to be when Stuart and I take Ben to the airport to watch planes taking off and landing. We love walking around there, Ben loves watching the aeroplanes and getting all excited about our next holiday or remembering the previous holiday.

Where is your favourite outdoor place to visit?

I love the River Trent at Gunthorpe bridge not far from me. It is a beautiful place to walk and so very relaxing. I also love going on holiday to Majorca but I guess that doesn’t really count as a place to visit as such.

What’s your favourite animal and why?

I love hedgehogs, they are cute but spikey and I find them intriguing in the way they curl up to protect themselves.

And finally…


Tell me one random fact about yourself.

My waist now measures less than one thigh did when I was at my biggest!

Lastly, is there anything else you are bursting to share with us all?

No, but thank you for letting me share my blog with your readers.

Find out more about Jen and her amazing journey here…

Blog: www.justaveragejen.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com

Facebook: facebook.com/justaveragejen

Twitter: @justaveragejen


Instagram: justaveragejen

New Year Resolutions

I don’t usually make any New Year Resolutions, I prefer to generally set myself goals throughout the year. I do get it; new year, new start. But do you know what? Every single day can be a fresh start. Heck… any given hour, or any single minute in fact, we can choose to change our lives in some way. Vowing to make a new start, take on new challenges and aim for new goals is something any of us can do any time we want. New year resolutions, I feel, mean we kind of put undue pressure on ourselves and build it up too much. I think that level of hype works for some but yet can be the downfall for others. 

So my own new year resolution is very simple; to build on what I started in the past year. For me personally, 2016 was a time of change and inner growth, the year I begun to rediscover me and who I really am, and to find my direction again. So this year, I aim to keep growing, developing and moving forward. 

New year resolutions, 2017, keep moving forward, goals, motivational quotes, inspiration, about me

Everyday, whatever the challenges, I remind myself of the ideas that inspire and motivate me. The things that really resonate, and help to lift me higher and to do better. Some of you might relate, whereas I suspect a few of you actually probably hate this kind of stuff! But that’s ok, we are all different. I need them, so I am sharing here as a reminder to myself as much as anything else. Here are some of the inspirational and motivational quotes/ ideas that I live by:

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. I used to think this was utter nonsense! The original quote I saw mentioned Beyonce, and I just thought “yeah right, she has a tonne of help and support around her to get things done. Everyone can achieve more with so many extra hands on deck, it’s like the equivalent of having a spare week available everyday!” But now I see I was missing the point. Maybe we can’t all be Beyonce (obviously, unfortunately!) But everybody can stay focussed, work hard, use their time effectively, do their best to overcome barriers and achieve (great) things. And as for her entourage, that brings me onto the next thing…

We can achieve more when we work together. When we collaborate with others and team up, we can achieve more and achieve it faster. Network, seek out others who share similar goals, build up a support system, ask for help, and find your tribe. And on that note, my door is always open (well my inbox is anyway!) if anyone would like us to work together on anything. I am hoping to connect with others who share similar values and collaborate more this year! 

It’s never too late to start. Alan Rickman got his first major TV part at the age of 36. Fashion designer Vera Wang didn’t design her first dress until the age of 39. At age 39, Stan Lee created his first comic. Henry Ford found success at age 40. Morgan Freeman got to 52 before he became an international star. Nelson Mandela made history when he became president of South Africa, he was aged almost 76 by that time. It is not too late. Repeat. It is never ever too late to start over, to try again, to begin something new. 

Keep moving forward. Set goals, achieve them. If it is a difficult patch, remind yourself that it doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you keep going. In a year or two time, you will be glad you kept at it, even if it feels like tiny baby steps that won’t get you very far at the time. Progress is progress. Keep going. If you need to rest, then pause. But don’t give up.

See the opportunity in everything. Look for solutions, not problems. Don’t be afraid to fail. Mistakes are an opportunity to develop. Failure teaches how to do things better/ differently next time. Challenges can be overcome. Don’t let obstacles stand in your way. Attitude makes all the difference! Don’t stand in your own way.

Richard Branson ~ If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”


Balance. Know when to keep fighting, but also know when to let go. Prioritise. Word hard but take time to take care of yourself too. Life is a constant juggle, so figure out how to keep up!

………………………………………………..

So those are the philosophies that motivate me, and have helped me through 2016. There have also been a number of charities and non- profit organisations that have been truly inspirational and changed my life. 

Thank you to the following in particular: 

Turning Green 

The Wildlife Trusts 

Lonely Whale 

WhaleFest 

Ocean Unite 

Surfers Against Sewage

If any of your New Year Resolutions include green living, protecting the environment or conservation, then be sure to check them out!

What are your new years resolutions? I’d love to hear them, let me know in the comments!

30 Days Wild – Day 30: 7 Reasons To Love Nature

Wow, we have come to the final day of 30 Days Wild! So to mark the end, today I thought I would write about why it is great to spend so much time outdoors in nature.

There are so many reasons to love nature! Here are my top 7…

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1. Good for the mind: Being outdoors in a natural environment helps our mental health. It reduces anxiety and depression, and generally decreases our stress levels (which brings me nicely onto reason two…)

2. Good for the body: Being outside has physical health benefits. The fresh air is great for our bodies, being outside helps us dose up on much needed vitamin D, walking boosts fitness levels, outdoor activities builds our immune system whilst also improving our sleep, and even our eyesight!

3. Good for the soul: Being in nature encourages organic mindfulness and meditation, which helps us to feel calm, relaxed and happy. Feeling connected to nature and the earth increases empathy for others and helps us to gain inner peace.

4. Sensory activities: Our natural environment offers great sensory input that helps to intergrate our senses and align our central nervous system. This helps us feel more balanced.

5. Helps to develop essential skills needed to learn: Time spent outdoors helps with cognitive thinking, problem solving, attention span and focus.

6. Provides learning opportunities: Being in nature means exploration and real-life firsthand experiences! It leads to many discussions about nature, our environment, the world around us, sustainability, and being a responsible global citizen.

7. Last but not least, nature inspires us and sparks creativity!

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And here are some examples of such inspiration and creativity from Squiggle today…

Squiggle designed a nature game. Take it in turns to roll the dice and move around the board. First to get all the way round is the winner. If someone lands on a challenge square and completes it, that person gets another turn.

These are the player pieces to move around the board…

She also made up a song about nature (I put together the video quickly to match the lyrics, just so I could share the voice recording)…

Stay wild, everyone! πŸ’š

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Dog Shows, Fetes and Fun Days

We have been to various fetes, fun days and dog shows this year. We really enjoy going to these events, not only as a fun family day out, but because they are educational and excellent social opportunities too.

For example, dog shows might seem like an odd place to hang out if (like us) you are not a dog owner but we find they are a brilliant way for Squiggle to initiate social interactions in a relaxed, spontaneous situation. She loves dogs but she knows not to stroke them without first checking with the owner, so she has been learning to judge the situation to decide if it seems a sensible time, then asks the owner’s permission before petting the dog. She sometimes then chats to the owner further, asking questions such as the name of the dog, breed, age etc… Great for building her confidence!

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Oaklands Doggy Day
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Dog event in Hemel Hempstead- June
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Donkey sanctuary fun day (dogs, horse grooming and inflatables)
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Dog show at a local school (play area, dog competitions, dog agility, games)
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Highfield Charity Dog Show- Sept
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Highfield fete (dog agility, assault course, inflatables)

Oaklands Summer Fete in July had a huge range of activities and events going on. This one was a big hit!

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Oaklands Summer Fete (morris dancing, funfair, inflatables, coordination/ fine motor skill games, bricklaying demonstration, birds of prey, chainsaw sculpture demonstration and loads more...)
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At Oaklands Summer Fete we also watched a horseball game, which was very unusual!

St Albans Country Show relocated at the last minute from Aldenham to Highfield Park. This was another lovely event with plenty to do.

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St Albans Country Show (animals)
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St Albans County Show (dog competitions)
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St Albans County Show (circus skills- Squiggle was SO excited!!!)
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St Albans Country Show (Squiggle LOVED this inflatable slide because there was a choice of which slide to go down!)

These events also inspire her, capture her imagination, bring out her creativeness and motivate her to write. Her are some of the activities she has chosen to do at home after our days out…

Squiggle designed her own dog activity worksheets.

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The first picture says 'Which dog do you think has the waggiest tail? Colours Dog or Circus Dog.' The second picture is a colouring in that says 'eyes red, nose yellow, ears pink, smile biro.'

She made herself an animal colouring in book.

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Title page 'Colour in the animals' Page 1 'golden retreiver...Cute' Page 2 'dalmation.... Milu Cute Littlesea' Page 3 'poodle...Oodle the Poodle' Page 4 'harbour seals' Page 5 'cat...Littlesea' Page 6 'tigre tiger...Rory' Page 7 'walrus (on ice)' Page 8 'bunny'

She acted out the dog agility.

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Dog agility

Squiggle’s book of dog breeds.

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Dog Breed Book. Page 1 'Dalmations' Page 2 'Poodles' Page 3 'Bull dogs. Playing games- lick bone, chase, fetch' Page 4 'Golden Retrievers' Page 5 'Huskies' Page 6 'Spaniels' (Below most dogs she has written 'with a tickly tummy' plus their name and/ or a description by them too).

Stanborough Lakes, Hertfordshire

We had an interesting and peaceful walk around Stanborough lakes, inspired by Squiggle’s current boat interest…

Squiggle enjoyed seeing and discussing the different types of boats.
Squiggle enjoyed seeing and discussing the different types of boats.
Bridges and waterfalls.
Bridges and waterfalls.
We had a relaxing walk around the lake.
We had a relaxing walk around the lake.
The wildlife.
The wildlife.
The south lake. Various watersports are held here.
The south lake. Various watersports are held here.
The North lake. This is one of my favourite photographs from this visit. The way the water came out in the photo is so interesting, it reminds me of a painting.
The north lake. This is one of my favourite photographs from the visit. I love how the photo has captured the beauty of the water, it reminds me of a painting.
My other favourite photo of the day.
My other favourite photo of the day.