Don’t ask for more perfume this Christmas.  Ask for more time.

It’s December and a time of year when Mums make even less time for themselves (if that’s even possible). So this month we are sharing a series of tips to help you survive the Christmas craziness. 

This week’s post is from new team member, Shona Mitchell Beat. As former COO of meditation App Headspace it’s fair to say she knows a thing or two about mindfulness. As a new Mum she also knows just how hard it is to make time for herself. Here are her tips for how to squeeze in a few minutes that are just for you…

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Before I got pregnant, I was in a blissful place.  Having gone through a debilitating period of anxiety and panic attacks at 30, I discovered meditation, and it was a game changer.

As soon as I realised the immediate benefits and positive impact on my health and wellbeing, I got stuck right in!   I sat for 40 minutes in the morning, (yep, that’s 40, not 4), and 40 minutes in the evening.  That’s 1 hour and 20 minutes to myself a day meditating, finding peace, clarity and calm.  The kind of calm that followed me around all day like a waft of beautiful incense or the light of 100 candles.  Life felt totally doable.

As I said, that was before I got pregnant.

Morning sickness, (which is a stupid name – it’s 24 hours a day), hit me hard.  No one, and I mean no one can meditate when they are vomiting in the toilet for hours a day.  How can you meditate for even 10 minutes when you only just managed to get to work and back before your head hit the pillow (or floor, if the bed was too far away), and you were out like a light until the following day, by which point the toilet once again became your best friend for a few hours?

Getting pregnant was my first experience into the world of motherhood.  And the lesson was hard and fast – your life will never be your own again, and from now on, a magical little being(s) will be the boss of your time.

So us Mums have to dig deep.  There is no question that we have to put our own oxygen mask on first.  Motherhood pulls on your energy sources in so many ways, so you have to top them up each week as best you can.  It’s vital.  Do not underestimate the impact on your nervous system and stability of nightly wake up calls, chaotic birthday parties, and drawn out negotiations to get a coat on little arms whilst stood in the pouring rain.

No I don’t meditate for 40 minutes a time now.  I do 10 minutes a few times a week when my daughter naps, or I’m on the bus, or I’m walking with the pushchair, (yes, walking meditation is a thing).  I run (proudly sporting my #Fearless TMR jumper!), for 20 minutes when I can, to feel the rain, to get some peace.  And when I can’t meditate in the day, I do it lying down as I fall to sleep, (try Yoga Nidra – it’s the ultimate meditation for the woman with no time).

So in the lead up to Christmas, don’t ask for more perfume.  Ask your loved ones for more time.  Just 10 minutes of it.  Plug in your earphones, sit back, and let someone guide you through a meditation. Prefer to meditate on the go?  Add a meditation practice to your run.  There’s a whole series of running meditations on the Headspace app.

However you chose to take your ‘me time’, just make sure you take it. I promise you, it’ll be the best gift you get.

London’s Calling

This Mum Runs launched in London in late 2017 and since then has built a team of 30 Run Angels offering free social runs from 11 locations across the capital (London locations)

This is just the start though and we have BIG plans for 2019, which we will share with you in the coming weeks. 

Hiring Run Angel Emma Devasker as our first ever paid Community Leader was the such an exciting milestone for us and she will be spearheading our city wide expansion plans . 

here’s a chance to get to know Emma – how running  with TMR saved her from anxiety and gave her the confidence to try open water swimming and about her plans to bring free runs and coaching to women across London. 

Meet Emma

emma at work

I’m a mum of two who, like I think many of us in TMR, was not at all active prior to having kids. If anyone had suggested to me pre-kids that I would move to London with an 11 month old, start running, lead groups of women on runs around the city – as well as swim in cold lakes and take up a completely new team sport – I really would have thought they were absolutely crazy!

I started running shortly after emigrating here, using one of the Couch to 5km plans, to help with my post-natal depression and also just for a way to have some ‘me’ time. I remember every one of those runs on the plan seemed impossible but then once each of them was completed it was such a great feeling to know that your body is capable of so much more than you think – I was hooked!

How did you get involved with TMR

I got involved with This Mum Runs after seeing Mel on the cover of a women’s running magazine and contacting her to see when TMR would come to London. I had been running for a while by then and was training for my first ever half – but had only been running solo as I was too scared to join any of the local running groups. I certainly didn’t consider myself to a proper runner.

The TMR community that was in Bristol just sounded so awesome and luckily for me it was decided to set up a group in my local area. Having TMR locally meant so much more than just running. It very quickly become a real community, a support network and a bunch of awesome women who I now call friends.

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How does it feel to be working for TMR now?

My youngest just started in Reception this year and as I had been a stay at home Mum since coming to England I started to think about what I could do now. Prior to kids I worked in fashion production but as with many other industries it is not one which offers much flexibility and part-time roles are virtually non-existent. So just when I was pondering all this the TMR role popped up and I very quickly applied. It is so amazing and almost unbelievable to have found not just a flexible role but one that I am passionate about and doesn’t even feel like work.

How has working for and being involved with TMR changed your life?

Being involved with TMR both socially, and now as an employee, has been such a huge confidence boost. Without wanting to sound cliché it really has made me healthier and happier.

I still sometimes struggle with anxiety but having TMR there means even on days when I struggle to get out for a solo run I know I can get out for some headspace with the group run or with a running buddy.  Even when I got injured and couldn’t run last year – the TMR community were still there supporting, and even more than that some of them joined me on my open-water swim challenge that I took on.

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So thanks to This Mum Runs I am now a runner and a swimmer and just a better person and a better Mum.

emma and kids

What are your plans in London for the next year?

I have exciting plans to grow the community, the number of runs and other TMR programmes in London. I hope to see the This Mum Runs London community double in size and help start our free weekly runs in even more locations around the capital.

I will be supporting our existing Run Angels who so generously volunteer their time and will be working closely with them to keep up the great momentum they have all built up in their own areas.

I am very excited to find more great fun running events in which London TMR can take part as a big group (and celebrate together afterwards!) and I cannot wait to launch the hugely successful Run30 and Run60 courses here in London, which will be so great for both total beginners and runners hoping to improve!

Ultimately though my aim is to help build an amazing community of women who support each other and make more time for themselves through running.

 

Skincare Survival tips for winter running

Corinne Thomas is a This Mum Runs Runner, Mum of two, Founder of Rare Beauty and natural skincare expert shares her Top Five Winter Skin Tips for us this week.

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As a busy mum myself I know how hard it is to look after your skin at the best of times. Winter can be a tough time for skin, as dehydration, lack of natural sunlight and possibly the odd over-indulgence starts to take its toll.

So here are my Top Five Skincare Survival Tips to get you through Winter Running, Christmas Indulgence and New Year’s Resolutions looking glowing and feeling positive!

1. PROTECT Before Long Runs

After a long training run on a cold Winter’s day, cheeks are burning, knuckles feel raw, lips are sore and chapped. So protect hands, lips and cheeks with a 100% plant-based natural balm or salve before going out on a run. The balm will act as a barrier, helping to protect skin from the elements. It will perform a similar action to petroleum-based barrier ointments but it also allows skin to breathe. Afterwards, skin feels
refreshed, nourished and less stingy.

Skin-soothing & protecting ingredients to look out for: Calendula; Chickweed;
Beeswax; Shea or Avocado Butter.

2. SCRUB UP Once a Week

This time of year our skin can get very dry. It stays under clothes a lot so pores can get more easily blocked leading to spots and things like central heating plays havoc with our already reptilian-looking legs!

A once weekly proper scrub down, either with scrub packed full of enlivening natural ingredients such as salt, sugar, coffee OR a dry body brush pre-shower will really help.

For the face, use a warm, wet exfoliating face cloth or muslin (an old baby one will do) to gently buff skin after cleansing. The old dry skin will be sloughed off and ingrown hairs or blocked pores will be dealt with.

Foaming scrubs can contain a foaming agent like SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulphate) which tends to strip the skin of it’s natural oils leaving it much drier than before and more prone to irritation. A plant-based oil blend or butter based scrub will properly moisturise dry, sensitive or even oily skin.

For a nourishing scrub look for: Coconut Oil; Cocoa Butter; Sea Salt; Coffee
Grains; Sugar Granules (great for the face); Oats.

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3. TAKE OFF Makeup Properly!

We’ve all been there, reaching for the face wipes (baby wipes?!) or just not bothering to take off make up before bed, especially after a night out. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most ageing things you can do to your skin which will really start to show in the long run.

One of the best cleansers for all skin types is a plant-based oil cleanser or balm. It’s a fact – oil dissolves oil – and it also does a wonderful job of removing all make up including waterproof mascara. Natural cleansers work with the skin’s natural oils, helping to re-balance and restore without stripping.

With a regular cleansing regime skin will visibly change for the better in just a few days – please, please step away from the dreaded face wipes!

Fabulous natural cleansing ingredients: Jojoba Oil; Shea Butter; Apricot Kernel Oil; Cucumber Seed Oil; Camellia Oil; Eucalyptus Essential Oil; Safflower Seed Oil; Vitamin E oil; Castor Oil.

4. RE-HYDRATE SKIN After Drinking Alcohol

You know that recommendation to drink a pint of water before bed if you’ve been drinking? Well, the same applies to skin. Alcohol is very dehydrating and skin will reflect this the next morning with dry patches, fine lines and dull skin tone.

An intensive facial oil or serum applied before bed will give skin a chance to re-hydrate, ensuring that it looks dewy rather than dry in the morning. Don’t forget to cleanse beforehand though!

Some of the best ingredients for overnight skin restoration are: Rosehip Oil, Cacay Oil, Carrot Tissue Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Argan Oil and Hyaluronic Acid.    

5. DE-CLUTTER for a New Skincare Regime

According to our recent natural skincare survey, 8 out of 10 women want to reduce their use of plastic when buying skincare products. In addition, 72% intend to check the ethics and responsible business practices of the skincare businesses they buy from in the coming year.

corinne

Like we do when we run, taking a mindful approach to self-care can really boost skin and spirit – perfect for a feel good December activity. Consider a bathroom de clutter: switch to soap instead of bottled shower gel; seek out plastic-free skincare options and create a capsule skincare collection that really works – recycle the rest that doesn’t. Your skin, body and mind will thank you for it!

This week we are running a competition on Instagram with the chance to win a The Post-Workout Bliss Out Beauty Box from Rare Beauty.

Flatlay Giveaway Beauty Box

To enter:

Follow @thismumruns and @rarebeautyco

Comment on any of the competition posts using #blissmeoutTMR and give us your best reason why YOU are in need of some pamper time right now! You are very welcome to Tag a Friend who would love to know about this giveaway too. The winner will be picked at random on Friday 7th December.

This Mum Runs changed my life…and now I want to pay it forward!

Until 2016, I had never done any running in my life. That all changed when I completed a Run 30 course with TMR – little did I know that course would be the beginning of a new love affair with running.

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I had never run and never thought that it was something that I could do, let alone ever want to do! On a whim I signed up to the TMR Run 30 course after seeing it advertised on a local Facebook group, I still to this day have no idea what made me do it. I thought I would do the 8 week course, hate it but a least I would have done some exercise.

Read More

I Ran to Meet New Friends & Found Myself

As part of our birthday celebrations this month, we are taking a moment. To reflect and think about all that the amazing This Mum Runs community has achieved over the past 4 years.

As part of this moment of reflection, of course we wanted to tell your stories too. To shine a light on stories of brilliant transformation for women in the This Mum Runs community. To showcase how running has given them new found confidence in other areas of their lives too.

Meet Stacey.

How did you find out about TMR?

I remember hearing about This Mum Runs quite a few years ago when Mel set it up. Back, what feels like eons ago, in my pre-Mum life Mel had done some consultancy work for the company I worked for and we always got on well, so when I saw she had set up the community I was intrigued and wanted to support her. I didn’t think I would ever really have the confidence to get involved with the running or the social media myself though!

What do you love about running with TMR?

I completed the RUN30 course this year and I really enjoyed it. Initially I was really nervous but I decided to push through myself to start it and I loved meeting new people! My Run Maker (Sam) was amazingly kind and supportive and made me feel like I would be able to do it! I loved it so much I cried when the course was over!

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Because of where I live and the hours my husband works I don’t get to go to any social runs so I’m a bit of a lone wolf when it come to TMR runs, but I get so much support through the TMR Bristol Facebook page that I feel like I carry the support of the TMR ladies with me when I pop out for a trundle across the fields or around the village!

Has running with TMR helped you in other ways?

Before joining in with TMR I hadn’t run for years. After doing the Bath Half in 2008 I never really got back into it, then I had my daughter in 2010 followed by my son in 2012 and exercise really took a backseat.

I struggled with post natal depression after having my daughter, who cried all the time, and was very isolated so I would walk for miles. After I had my son I couldn’t do that and I started to struggle with my health generally. I found a class I loved but that stopped and nothing else would stick. I became  anxious and depressed and after finding myself crying for ‘no reason’ a lot decided to go on antidepressants.

After stalking the TMR Facebook page for a long time I decided I needed to start somewhere with exercise again, and that a 10 min walk/run with my daughter was better than nothing!

Running over the past year to 18 months has become a really positive way to support myself mentally and physically. After completing the RUN30 course I kept up my running and at the same time was helping a very small team of runners with moral support to train for the Bath Half 2018. When it was cancelled everyone was gutted. I sat in the bath and cried (no pun intended), but a few days later and a new Half Marathon booked in for the team I decided that I might as well give it a go myself!!

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I posted my runs and my progress in the TMR Facebook group and people gave me the thumbs up, I asked for advice and I got support, I even took pictures involving my bare arms and legs (#freeyourarms) and journey to complete a Half Marathon and to recovery began!! Without the TMR Community I don’t think I could’ve done it! The TMR ladies have me the confidence to carry on!

How your life is now and how you manage your mental health?

I have managed to come off the antidepressants now and when I feel the anxiety rising and the fog of depression re-emerging I know a run will help, either with a friend or on my own. Running has really helped increase both my mental and physical resilience.

When I went to the doctor to ask her if I could come off the medication she asked my what coping mechanisms I have and I said “I run now” and she agreed that running can do wonders for you and as as long as I could keep that up I could give it a go. 

I still have the odd panic attack and my down days but I know there is a way out and that going for a run will help me clear my head and find the solution. Plus I feel like a positive role model for my kids which is worth it’s weight in gold … (or even running medals!!)

This weekend is commonly known as Black Friday. At This Mum Runs we are actively encouraging you to switch off the laptop and the tech this weekend, to get outdoors for a run! Share your pics, tag them #blackfriday #thismumruns and you could be in with a chance of winning a whole load of exciting spot prizes!

Flexible work with This Mum Runs means more time to build my own business

In a month where we are celebrating This Mum Runs and all the many ways we have empowered women to lead bigger, bolder, healthier, happier lives, we wanted to take the opportunity to shine a light a bit closer to home too.

The This Mum Runs HQ team is made up of a team of kick ass women who wanted more from their lives. To give something back, yes. But also more for themselves – more balance, the opportunity to work on something meaningful, the flexibility to follow the multitude of paths that lead to their dreams.

I am proud to be building a business that makes this possible – for myself and for others.

So in a week that sees the world celebrating Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, it felt appropriate to tell the stories of women in my team who are building blended careers, including their own businesses alongside their role with us, with the support of This Mum Runs.

Next up, Jo Sacher – TMR Customer Champion Read More

I quit corporate life for TMR and found me again

In a month where we are celebrating This Mum Runs and all the many ways we have empowered women to lead bigger, bolder, healthier, happier lives, we wanted to take the opportunity to shine a light a bit closer to home too.

The This Mum Runs HQ team is made up of a team of kick ass women who wanted more from their lives. To give something back, yes. But also more for themselves – more balance, the opportunity to work on something meaningful, the flexibility to follow the multitude of paths that lead to their dreams.

I am proud to be building a business that makes this possible – for myself and for others.

So on the day that sees the world celebrating Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, it felt appropriate to tell the stories of two women in the team who are building blended careers with the support of This Mum Runs.

First up, Jo Lee, TMR Head of People. Read More

From running with TMR to running my own business

As we continue our 4th birthday celebrations this month, we are taking a moment to reflect on the things that are most important to us a community driven organisation.

Right at the top of the list is our mission to empower other women to be healthier and happier. This goes way beyond going out for a run every week. And is as much about empowering women to lead their best and happiest lives, as well as making exercise a regular part of it.

Introducing Corinne. A Mum of two, TMR runner, and founder of online organic beauty retailer, Rare Beauty. We caught up with her last week to find out how she’s juggling life as a Mum and entrepreneur, and how running with TMR has helped her on this journey.

corinne

Tell us about your business, it sounds brilliant!

I launched the Rare Beauty online store (www.rare-beauty.co.uk) six months ago to showcase natural & organic skincare brands founded by female entrepreneurs. For about six years I had been making my own natural skincare as a hobby. During research I discovered many beautiful, ethical brands created by women skincare experts. I felt compelled to create a women-led natural skincare platform for these brands. Rare Beauty now showcases twelve brands and over 70 products ranging from face creams to body washes with lots more to launch next year.

 

I had a very varied career in partnership building, marketing and sales roles. My last employed role was with Common Purpose, a global leadership charity as a Regional Sales Director. There were aspects of the role that I very much enjoyed but I have always struggled to ‘settle’ in jobs. A few years ago I set up a consultancy business with a friend and I really enjoyed the process but the solitary consultancy work was not for me. When I hit upon what I felt was a viable idea that could grow into a business I could not let the opportunity pass me by. So here I am, at the start of my entrepreneur journey as an online retailer!

corinneatwork

 When I discovered natural, plant-based skincare about six years ago I also trained in herbal medicine practices. There is so much intuitive, powerful female knowledge that has been lost with the takeover of Western medicine. As a result, I try to respect my mind-body connection and take a more holistic approach to wellbeing whenever I can. I really believe in the power of self-care, whether that be a weekly beauty treatment, a regular yoga practice or a run, to help us re-set our bodies and restore our minds.

What gave you the courage to make such huge changes to your career and your life?

Some serendipity and some craziness! I think I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset, if there is such a thing, and the stars aligned at just the right time to allow me to set up Rare Beauty during maternity leave for my second baby. A hugely supportive family and network of friends is essential. Rare Beauty is like my third child: it is a 24/7 calling. So it is really important that as a family unit we are all in it together. My eldest daughter loves helping me ‘in my shop’ and I feel very proud that she is seeing me doing meaningful work that I love. It also means I can juggle my hours around school/childcare which I find very empowering as a mother.

How did you get involved with This Mum Runs?

I think it was through Facebook, quite a long time ago and I remember saying to my husband ‘Wow, this Mel Bound has a fabulous business idea, this is going to go global!’ However, it was a year or so later after my second child that I found that I was in actually badly in need of TMR myself. Having been a runner for ten years before I had children, I totally lost my mojo after the birth of my first child and never really got back into running again. I experienced a brief period of post-natal depression after the birth of my second child which compelled me to look into TMR again and sign up to their Run 60 course in January this year.

corinne running

Has being part of This Mum Runs helped you with your start up journey?

I can honestly, hand on heart say that without TMR I would not be celebrating six months in business right now! I started the Run 60 course in dark and cold January with a huge task ahead of me to launch Rare Beauty. I got my resilience back, my fitness returned and I discovered that I actually love running with other women (I was always a solitary runner before TMR). The TMR course got me into a mindset that meant I was able to set myself goals for my running and my business launch with confidence.

I launched Rare Beauty and ran the Bristol 10k in the same week in May. It was emotional!

Six months on, I still run three times a week and join the free Social Runs every Wednesday. It is a very important part of my work/life balance. The TMR community is so incredibly supportive and accepting, I love everything about it and I feel very proud to be a part of such a fabulous women-led community. Thank you TMR and Mel for being such an inspirational mumpreneur to us all!

Emma finds her wings with TMR

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Wow, we are 4! And this month we are taking a moment to shine a light on stories of brilliant transformation for women in the This Mum Runs community – showcasing how running has given them new found confidence in other areas of their lives too.

Meet Emma.

Emma is mum to strong-willed little boy (her words, not ours!), she’s an architect and until recently joining the TMR Run30 programme, had barely done any exercise since cross country days at school. Read More

Talking Running, Mumhood and Cake with Bake Off’s Briony.

When we first discovered that TMR Mama, Briony had won a coveted place on the line up of this year’s Great British Bake Off, you can imagine our excitement. Yes, there was happy dancing in a proud Mum kind of way. We are never prouder when we see one of our own following her passion, so this really was the *ahem* icing on the cake.

Imagine my delight when I met with her on a sunny autumn morning in Bristol – following her (let’s face it untimely) departure from the semi finals of the Channel 4 show – for a run and a chat about all things running, mumhood and baking.

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Read More