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The BEST of 2013

With 2 weeks remaining of the year it made me think of all the new brands, businesses and concepts I tried in 2013. Below are some of my favourite picks and by sharing these with you I hope you see how amazing and beneficial they can be to your world. There are such successful and innovative companies out there, its so lovely to freely share them without them being endorsed or paid for. I simply want to share with you how talented they are!
 
FITNESS:
If you're a mum on the go with toddlers, pre or post pregnancy and still want a workout you cannot beat Centennial Health Club
http://www.centennialhealthclub.com.au
This gym caters for you. Its half indoor/outdoor, rock climbing and the worlds best trainers. I indulge in a body sculpt class twice a week for 30min with my little 2yr old Edison besides me and its so much fun. This is one gym where walking in with your bubs is not frowned upon.
FASHION:
To keep up with latest trends and not pay through the roof check out Threads and Styles
http://www.threadsandstyle.com.au
I've enjoyed working with them through TV appearances this year and love their individual touch and outfits they choose. They cater for shapes and sizes and are growing on social media. For any woman of any age, no matter what you do its a great company and takes the fuss out of you choosing.
SKIN:
ThrivePR
http://thrivepr.com.au
gifted me the amazing facial and body products called Bio Elixia and I've never looked back, my skin has never felt so amazing plus they have amazing creams for your body, and scrubs for in the shower.
https://www.bioelixia.com/au/our-products.
Great present to indulge in or gift.
FOOD:
On 2 different scales, my husband and I fell in love with Guzman and Gomez http://www.guzmanygomez.com
Delicious made to order mexican food. I've smashed plenty of vegetarian mini burritos and their amazing nachos. Also I fell in love with All About Life, fresh organic food and juices and I feel so cleansed walking out of their shops.
 http://aboutlife.com.au/store/
RELAXATION:
I recently had the best pregnancy massage at Endota Spa in Paddington, Carman is the wonderful lady you want for your treatment. Wow I've had plenty of massages in my professional career and she topped them all. http://www.endotadayspa.com.au/paddington.
FAVOURITE BRAND:
I fell in love with 2 clothing brands this year JORGE
http://www.jorgeclothing.com
for their easy going, flowly tops and printed pants and also black milk clothing http://blackmilkclothing.com
they make the best printed and outrageous, one off tight leggings that expand to fit any size.
BABY CLOTHING:
You cannot go past SaatchiMia,
 https://www.facebook.com/saatchi.mia
An extremely talented girlfriend of mine makes one off hand made baby clothes that are adorable and super reasonable and cute. Lots of my friends with bubs and expecting have received goodies off me that I've bought from her. If you're after that unique touch and soft appeal SaatchiMia is your brand for baby clothes.
Wishing everyone a bright and joyful Christmas and festive season. May whats left of 2013 be filled with choosing to always see your glass as half full.
Remember your attitude opens the door to your thinking!
Encourage. Inspire, Lift Up. xx

READY
Twitter:elkawhalan

Posted in Diet

ITS NOT OVER YET

We have 8 weeks remaining of 2013 yet I hear so many people talk about their year of hopes,disappointments and goals not made. They have already written off the year instead of realising the potential still left in it. There are 62 days left of the year and that is a lot. That's 1,334 hours left to achieve a goal, fulfil commitments and encourage others.   We place such importance of time when in fact we should be placing more importance on the quality of life we spend rather than the seconds that tick by. Don't look back on this year just yet. It's not over and there is much more left of it. You still have time to make a difference to your life and others. So here's your challenge: Ask yourself are you fit enough? Healthy enough? Happy in your relationships around you?. Let this be your aim for the remainder of the 2 months. If you can conquer them then you will already start 2014 with an advantage. Elka

Posted in Uncategorized

SO DIFFERENT FOR US ALL

Its only in my 3rd pregnancy that I'm actually realising what works best for me. Simple things like limiting my carbohydrate intake and nearly wiping out my dairy intake seems to help me feel lighter and go through the journey of an ever growing stomach more comfortably. I'm careful to substitute these two very important food groups in different areas but I know it works for me.
 Being 6months pregnant now you watch, hear and see so many women have all unique pregnancy experiences. Like the hilarious and true movie of "What to Expect When Expecting" each of these six women are at the same stage of delivery and all have very different responses.
You will never receive so much advice in your life journeying into motherhood. Women will throw advice to you without you even asking for it.
I'm always respectful and polite to listen and hear their experiences but I also know that every baby and every woman each have their own way of what works for them. No babies are text book. As I often say there are far too many books on the market for how to prepare but nothing to say "Ok you've arrived home with your new born...what next?".
I find it so ironic in a country of ours that is becoming so regulated with rules, we can birth a  human and don't need to show our passport, licence, pass a drug test, or any indication we can care for the child. We simply have our few days in hospital and off the nurses let us go. No wonder so many women feel overwhelmed!
The simple tips I'm telling myself and sharing with you mummies, expectant and hopeful mums to be is this:
 March to your beat through motherhood, never compare yourself or your belly with any one else. If you're exercising and watching what you eat don't let the scales affect you. Instead have fun with it. I often joke that I hit the gym every second day but I'm the one who keeps putting on weight each time ha!
Don't search the internet, it only clouds your mind with way too much information and some crazy stories on it. Finally know this. You've been blessed with a  gift, a miracle, a human being, baby girl or boy awaits to come into your world. No matter how much you love or hate pregnancy remember after the 9 months you can never re-live it again. Enjoy the process, the good, the bad bits, the changing body bits and above all know your baby will love you more than anyone else. xx
Twitter:elkawhalan

Posted in Uncategorized

Beautiful Motherhood Mania

Leaving the house at 5.50am I embraced an hour to myself and was alive after conquering the Bondi to Bronte power walk. I made a killer protein smoothie and was ready for a day with three amazing children. My two toddlers and my near nine year old niece.
With only 17wks left until our number three baby enters the world it was almost a test to myself to see If I could fit in as many activities as possible and tick each individual child's needs.
We hit the park first and had it all all to ourselves. We swung, we slipped, slid and we played hide and seek. Everyone became hungry quickly, but with a grin on my face I knew I had packed enough for an entire girls brigade. Only problem was everyone wasn't really hungry; they were ravenous. So whilst listening to disney tunes in the car stationary, they all devoured their morning tea and lunch I made. It was 9.30am.
Agenda two: The beach. Sun screen was applied, and holding hands was the name of the game to get across the lights, down the busy footpath and conquer the steep stairs. We made it.
Towels were laid, check. Costumes, put on, rash vest applied, slip, slop ,slap. I had a brief moment where I actually had the chance to think "I wonder if my hair is frizzy or " Will I still be able to fit into this costume now the small bowl of pasta in my tummy is starting to protrude?".
Oh the beach was bliss I was quietly saying "Elka you've done well". We danced, swam, drew in the sand and loved the sunshine. We hit the cafe where I showered them, ordered some lunch and changed them all. Gee I was impressed with myself. I was calm,and in control. I could do 10 children I was thinking to myself. My bubble of confidence was overflowing.
 
Then the fun part of motherhood arose from no where. As I went to pay, I discovered it was cash only. I am a card carrying wallet lady only. CRUNCH. The lady behind the counter had no sympathy. In the split second I was realising this error of mine I heard a loud crash and scream. Our 20month son Edison had decided after his banana bread was finished he would smash the plate down like the greeks do after finishing a meal. It shattered everywhere and in the process scared him out of his wits. With tears streaming down his chubby cheeks as fast as high tide was rising I scrambled to clean up and in the process cut my finger. What could I do? Nothing I had a bag of wet towels, costumes to carry,blood dripping and I had no where to hide.
In my moment of knowing every person who was at the cafe was watching me, an amazing lady came up to me to not only pay the outstanding amount of $10 but encourage me in the moment where I was outnumbered by 3 excitable children. I did not know her and she didn't even have children herself but that gesture of not only encouraging my day but actually paying for me made my day feel higher than I already felt it was.
You see I truly love being a mother more than anything (well wife #1). This lady showed grace and compassion, She could see me clutching and she broke my ego barrier down to offer me help.
Her gesture never left me even when we arrived home. With all three children happily jumping on the trampoline  I put 3 loads of washing on. Emailed my husband the weeks diary. Hung all 3 loads out. Put one baby down, then twenty minutes later the other.
I baked a cake, made a lasagne form scratch, watched my niece paint, as I cleaned the kitchen from the mornings eatings and played her game of "Lets ask a thousand questions" which is truly wonderful as children have the most beautiful imaginations. Madison then asked for her nails to be painted, followed by a foot scrub and massage on each other, and then 3 games of UNO.
The time was 2.30pm I had successfully ticked all their needs.
The day was a success. Back aching and ligaments stretching I stole 60 seconds upstairs in our bedroom couch when my husband walked into the door and all that kept coming into my head was that amazing lady that took the time to offer such a  generous gift of encouragement when I needed it most.
There are so many wonderful and loving people in the world. We read the front page of papers or see top news stories on TV of the tragedies of life but this woman showed there is still so much light left even in our own suburbs.
As for the beach, it was a blast and I did it, but next time I'll be sure to have my husband journey it with me.

Posted in Uncategorized

Parenthood is ALWAYS NEW. Everyday.

In the last year she has become one of my closest friends, but the date was an absolute disaster. Todays play date made Jerry Springers shouting matches look as soft as Sesame St.
The aim: For our four combined toddlers to play together in the park and for us both to enjoy a much needed caffeine boost. The result ended in shouting matches between the two year olds and a joint decision for us to call it quits. Our mighty young warriors, the future generation of the world had won.
Their tiredness was evident and they had worn each other down. One thing you learn as a parent is you can not choose the moods your young toddlers will take on.
Within the first ten minutes of meeting up at lovely Centennial park all our children had demolished their packed lunches we had made and still insisted they were hungry. We had four toddlers under four, totally gorgeous yet strong in their own personalities. No one wanted to share today, and so there were tears, tantrums along with the typical toddler expressions " You're not my best friend anymore", "Go away" and the icing on the cake; spitting in each other faces. There were pushes, shoves and even the duck feeding was a big flop. The geese came a little too close so their fears were heightened, and our security tightened. What should of been an exciting exercise ended up in a chorus of whimpering and frightening cries.
The irony was both my girlfriend and I were still peaceful in the chaos of it all. This is why I love Emma Mullings (www.emmamullings.com) We share similar parenting philosophies, we choose to ACT instead of REACT to situations. We know that toddlers will be toddlers and all we can do is repeat discipline and follow through.
As we both drove home we spoke to our husbands and told them of the epic fail. Yet through it all two stunning photos were taken of the horrendous ordeal and resulted in these.
[gallery]
 Sometimes photos will show you a glimpse of a spectacular moment. We happened to capture it. I've decided I'm really a mother now that I've finally had my first official disatorous play date.
Thanks Em, it was a blast sharing it with you!

Posted in Uncategorized

NECESSITY of a HOLIDAY

One of our nearest and dearest friends who speaks such words of wisdom recently told us to never skip or skimp on a holiday. Its the only time to switch off and engage with each other. I couldn't agree more.
We have just returned home from a truly wondrous vacation in Fiji.  To have dinner every night under the stars with my husband, to talk about life, dreams and aspirations in actual depth with no watch, no agenda and no finish time, was priceless. We indulged in day siestas, swung on hammocks and saw every sunrise and sunset (thanks to early waking toddlers).
I read books, took long lunches and all around me was quietness. No 'Sydney pace' and most of all no phone. Complete disengagement.
Social media did not matter, I had no urge to check twitter, facebook, instagram or the latest news. No desire to share our perfect pictures with the world either. What matter was on the island, my family and our time.
You know a holiday is a holiday when you feel no pressure or commitment to anything or anyone. You take notice of small things even more. You engage with your waiter and find out about their world. You don't make your bed, and you go makeup free.Thats a holiday to me.
Regardless of your income, budget or financial position don't wait until you're about to burn out for a break. Whether its a quick get away or a long planned holiday, make sure you invest time, space and money into your lives by stopping the noise in the everyday grind and going away!

READY
Twitter:elkawhalan

Posted in Uncategorized

START

START means to begin or set out, as on a journey or activity. It's a movement and conscious mental decision to 'get going'. I've recently become involved with Rexona and Healthy bones for the City To Surf which takes place on 11th August this Sunday. Over 85,000 entrants will compete and whether walk, jog or absolutely pound the pavement everyone will have a different reason for participating.
Starting something can be daunting and challenging. Often you think of how to begin, and whats your first step. The internet has so much information that its impossible for you to say 'I don't know' regardless of what new journey you are about to embark on. 
Fight the fear of delving into a new journey by being a person who puts one foot in front of the other and, instead of talks about it, acts on it. Whether its exercise, facing a tough relationship or job decision remember that any moment you choose, you can simply START.

Posted in Exercise

THROUGH HIS EYES

Chattering away is how he starts his day. He talks to himself, does a few bed tumbles, a few star jumps holding onto the railings and likes to listen to his voice. Seeing our faces gives him great joy and breakfast time, even though its often the same meal he still finds so exciting. It's like he has never been fed before.
He runs around, open and closes doors, asks for more food, loves hide and seek and finds such amusement in watching a  washing machine spin around. Hearing his favourite song come on is like watching the effects of someone who has had 3 shots of espressos, he is a jumping bean.
Through the eyes of our twenty month old son these are the simple and free pleasures he has day over and over again. He worries not for his next meal, or what the time is, when he is tired or what the daily plans are. He simply lives in the time frame he has and finds happiness in all is does.
Somewhere as we grow up we forget this and instead of thinking 'Now' we are taught to think of 'Tomorrow'.
Instead of splashing with bubbles in a bath we prefer not to as otherwise it would cause a lot of mess. At what point did we actually lose our ability to be totally free and have a  heart full of happiness in now matter what the day brought us? I'm not sure of the answer but I certainly plan on living through the eyes of my toddler more often. A girlfriend once told me to get down to their eye level, if they lay on the ground lay with them and see the world how they see it. Its truly a lot simpler isn't it?

Posted in Lifestyle

ENJOY or ENDURE?

Here's a deep but short thought for you this week; Are the friends you have in your world truly your friends? Do you ENDURE them or ENJOY them? And if you're enduring them, what value is there in that relationship if its not enjoyable?
Our time becomes more precious as we mature and you quickly find out what works and doesn't work for you in your relationships. I can leave social catch-ups with girlfriends and feel totally renewed and energised whilst for other gatherings it's like the electricity cord has been yanked and I question 'Was that just a bad catch up'? or 'maybe I was off my game'.
The real truth is that maybe we could be forcing something that might have slowly dwindled due to life's circumstances and priorities. Nothing is wrong with you or them but the enjoyable friendship has turned into the endurable.
Friendships should be light, fun and above all caring enough to tell the truth in good and bad times. Friends don't always agree on everything but respect each others differences. One definition of the word friendship says "A friendship is a relationship where one knows, likes and trusts"; another notes friendship translated through Latin is 'love'. Every time you leave seeing your friends I hope you're feeling better off and uplifted; that's a real friendship in my eyes.

Posted in Lifestyle

JUST FIVE MINUTES

FIVE MINUTES
'Five minutes more' is heard a lot from young toddlers to delay going to bed. Its also heard from adults when we are running late, expressing that we are 'just around the corner'. And often when your spouse has the annoying illuminating iPad light on, in bed reading late at night.
Its a term thats seen as a justification of your current status. BUT recently when my husband walks inside our house in the evenings, the four of us have gathered around the living room and we spend FIVE MINUTES together. Talking, or dancing or just being. We ask each other questions, have a  dance but mainly lots of cuddles with the cubs. Its only about five minutes but those five minutes are priceless and the best end to the day.
Like many females out there, I'm a woman wearing three hats; Wife, Mother and my identity. A quiet cafe on a busy street at the right time in the mornings, I sit and put my phone away. I soak that sunshine in. I really enjoy the silence of not being needed or wanted. Not missing anything or anyone. Having five minutes to me.
Can you find just five minutes in a day to do something special? Whether its family time, or for yourself. Make sure you find 'that' moment.

Posted in Lifestyle