Building yourself up after leaving an abusive marriage can be hugely challenging particularly if you also have health issues. Be  inspired by Zoe’s story of how she turned her life around and become a strong woman in more ways than one!

Strong Woman

Please tell us a little about your childhood and teenage years

I grew up with my Mum, Dad and younger sister.  I loved school and in particular school sports and social activities.  We grew up going to church and I went to a church school.  My parents divorced when I started secondary school,  For the most part of my secondary school years I lived with my mum stepdad and sister.

Please tell us about any relationship difficulties you have encountered

At 21 I got married after a whirlwind romance.  We had our son just under 18 month later.   The relationship wasn’t healthy, as often happens I through it could be resolved and fixed but it didn’t.  We separated in 2006.

What advice would you give to a woman in a violent or abusive relationship?

I don’t think any general advice can be given as these situations are very much down to the individuals.  What I would say is that you will learn a huge amount of strength and resilience as a result that you can use to build a bright and stronger future

Please describe any physical health issues you have found challenging

I gained a lot of weight whilst I was married.  I was able to lose the weight but didn’t do this in the healthiest way and as a result had my gall bladder removed.  After years of digestive issues that followed I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (Inflammatory Bowel Disease).  I manage this through nutrition and keeping my stress levels down as much as possible.  Being physically active also helps with this.

What encouraged you to take action to change your life for the better?

We lost a family friend in 2015 in unexpected and sudden circumstances.  It was my catalyst for change.  I knew I had to change my circumstances and get my life back on track.

What tips would you give to someone trying to lose weight?

Think long term lifestyle change and your relationship with food.  Diets with end dates don’t work, and neither does excluding foods or food groups unless you have an allergy or intolerance.  You need to create a new way of eating and new behaviours.

Please tell us about your sporting achievements.

I started training in Strongwoman events in September 2015 after someone persuaded me to sign up for the first local strongwoman competition

Trojans Strongest Woman 2015 – 5th  (first ever competition) Nailsworth Strongest Woman 2015 – 3rd Southern England Qualifier 2016 – 5th England’s Strongest Woman Championship 2016 – 4th Britain’s Strongest Woman 2016 – 2nd  (Highest placing!) Europe’s Strongest Woman 2016 – 9th  Southern England Qualifier 2017 – 3rd England’s Strongest Woman 2017 – 7th

If you could encourage a woman to read just one book, what would it be and why?

Chimp Paradox, Dr Steve Peters.  It is in my top 3 books I recommend as it helps understand how our brains work.

If you could refer a woman to one website apart from yours, what would it be and why?   Lots of positive blogs to read

What does your life look like now?

Happy fulfilled and busy .. just how I like it.  My son is now 15 and off to college next year.  He is also thriving!

Who supported you as you made positive life changes?

I have been very fortunate to have had some amazing friends, some closer than others but all who have been behind me all the way.  Sometimes just hearing someone say ‘you’ve got this’ is all you need to move forward.

What would you say to a woman who feels it is impossible to change her life for the better?

When you are caught up in it everything seems impossible.  Just keep moving forward, one small step at a time and it will slowly get better.  Always forward, never back, small achievable steps.

Check out Zoe’s website for details of life and wellbeing coaching.

Sharing so openly takes a huge amount of courage so please do consider sharing this post by clicking one or more of the buttons below.

If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

Overcoming An Abusive Marriage


The Pramshed
Post Comment Love
3 Little Buttons

Mummy in a Tutu

When Simply Be get in touch  to ask if you would like to take a look at their collections for Spring, you jump at the chance. It’s a well-known and trusted brand.

I do have one little complaint though and that is that I spent literally hours browsing their site as there are so many great choices. Set some time aside and take a look – you will not be disappointed.

I was delighted to see Simply Be stock Sloggi knickers because frankly these are my go-to pants as they are good quality underwear and hold in that mum tum nicely. I feel secure when I am wearing them. I chose black ones and was so pleased with them.

I have never worn a dress with a peplum before but the reviews were so good for this dress with a lace top and black skirt with a belt included that I had to have it. This dress is lovely, a nice length and shows off curves in the most beautiful way.

Simply Be Review

Now I have to confess I can find jeans a little boring but no longer. Check out these beauties with pearl and jewel embellishment detail. I have had so many compliments about these and they really do turn heads. In my case, they distract the eye neatly from my tummy.They fit so comfortably too and are a really good fit which cannot be claimed for all jeans as every woman knows. They come with extra jewels and pearls too just in case.


Everything I have mentioned was of fantastic quality and if anything better than expected and at reasonable price points too.

In fact, just writing this post made me revisit Simply Be where I have my idea on a printed maxi skirt from Joanna Hope one of my favourite designers featured on the site.

Simply style it up with Simply Be for the season ahead.

Let me know what you would order?

Simply Be Review









Family Fever

Losing weight is an ongoing battle which can be extremely challenging for a lot of people. Of course, everyone’s body is different and what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to be the best weight-loss solution for another. If you have been trying and trying to shed the pounds for some time now but find that you are not getting anywhere, it could be that you are committing one or more of the common mistakes that we are about to discuss in this article.

Photo Credit

Mistake One: Only Focusing on the Scale Weight

Despite sticking closely to your carefully planned regime or alternative diet, you may still find yourself in a position of not losing weight as fast as you would like. But if you are only measuring your success or failure by the scale weight, you are likely not to be getting the full picture. Your weight is affected on an ongoing basis by factors like fluid fluctuations and how much food you are retaining in your system, meaning that your scale weight can do up or down by as much as 4 lbs over the course of a day. Hormonal changes in women can also lead to greater fluid retention. And if you have been working out regularly, you are likely to find yourself gaining muscle and losing fat. Try some alternative methods of monitoring your progress such as using a tape measure around your waist or taking regular pictures of yourself which will show you if you are losing weight despite the scale number not really changing.

Mistake Two: Only Eating Low-Fat or ‘Diet’ Foods

When you are trying to lose weight, you obviously need to monitor what you eat closely. However, if you are only eating food that is labelled low-fat or diet, they may not be helping you out in the way that you would think. A big proportion of these products contain high amounts of sugar to improve their taste. And rather than keeping you full, they are likely to make you even hungrier, meaning that you end up eating more. You are generally better off switching from ‘diet’ food to products which are both nutritious and minimally processed.

Mistake Three: Not Eating Enough Protein and Fibre

Weight Loss

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There are certain food groups which are more beneficial than others when you are trying to lose weight. Let’s start off with protein. Some of the main advantages include reducing your appetite, increasing your metabolic rate and protecting muscle mass during weight loss. If you are not getting enough fibre in your diet, this can also cause an issue when it comes to shedding pounds. A high-fibre diet can help to reduce your appetite by filling you up so you eat less. Not only this, it may also help in ensuring that you absorb fewer calories from other food.

Mistake Four: Having Unrealistic Expectations

Of course, it is great to have goals that you are striving to achieve, but it can have an adverse impact on your weight-loss efforts if you have unrealistic expectations. The road to weight loss can be a long and difficult one for many people, so you need to be prepared for bumps along the way. If you find that your goals are unattainable, reset your expectations and celebrate your smaller achievements.

Mistake Five: Not Reading Labels

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If you are not in the habit of reading labels whenever you go to the supermarket, now is the time to start. Otherwise, you are likely to find yourself consuming unwanted calories and unhealthy ingredients. Don’t be fooled by the healthy marketing language that they use on the front; it is the actual contents that you need to be checking. Of course, the first thing that you need to do is learn to read labels in a way that you easily pick out the most pertinent information.

Mistake Six: Getting the Wrong Amount of Exercise

Weight loss tends to involve a reduction in your muscle mass at the same time. Exercising helps to minimise the lean mass that you are losing, increases fat loss and prevents your metabolism from slowing down. However, exercising too much can also end up being problematic. Trying to force your body into burning more calories is neither an effective nor a healthy way of losing weight. You could even end up piling stress on your body, which in turn impairs the production of adrenal hormones.

So, if you recognise that you are committing any of these six common mistakes, now is the time to reassess you weight-loss techniques. 

6 Common Weight-Loss Mistakes   

Mum Muddling Through
Hot Pink Wellingtons

Emma contacted me as she felt that stories of women struggling to conceive are still a little taboo and she wants to break the silence about an issue that is actually quite common. As always, I like to get a rounded view of a woman so I asked Emma questions about her life generally as well as her journey whilst struggling to conceive.

Struggling To Conceive

Please tell us a little about your childhood and teenage years.

I had a great childhood! I have two younger sisters and I grew up in a tiny village in Fife in the East of Scotland. I spent most of my younger years outdoors, either playing hide and seek in the woods or going for cycles runs around the local countryside. It was the kind of place where everyone knew each other and families got together for bbqs and parties. As a teenager, I had a big group of friends and we spent a lot of our time going swimming in our nearest town and our summers where spent camping in each other’s back gardens. Sadly, when I was 16 I lost my best friend in an accident. She was the heart of our group and we all started to drift apart. That’s when I left school and went to college and started my first job.

What was your first job/career?

My first job was in my local hospital. Everyone in my village had a relative or a friend who worked there as it was just a couple miles away. My neighbour had always told me as soon as I was 16 she would help me get a job and sure enough just a couple of months after my 16th birthday I started my first job as a General Assistant. I was basically just a cleaner, but I was so happy to be earning some money and felt so grown up. The hospital is primarily for people with mental illness so it was daunting for a young girl who knew nothing about this subject at all. However after just my first day there I loved it. I ended up spending just over four years in the post and I sometimes wish I could go back and work there.

Please tell us a little about your relationship.

I met Dougie nearly 3 years ago, through ice hockey which is a sport that we both love to watch. We met on the supporters’ bus to Nottingham, where our team was heading to play in the Playoff Finals and because he was friends with my younger sister we spent a lot of time with each other over the weekend. I had not long gotten out of a long relationship and he sat and spoke to me about it over a cup of tea in McDonald’s at 2am. Once we got home he texted me to say he had a great weekend and to ask if he could take me out for tea. Two days later he picked me up and we have been together ever since.

When did you decide, you wanted to be a mum and what appealed to you about that?

I think I always wanted to be mum. At parties and family gatherings I was always the one crawling around on the floor, playing and entertaining the children. I’ve always been very maternal. Even as a child I was always carrying around a doll and looking after people. I spent a year and half as a nanny and knew then that being a mum was what I was supposed to do. When I met Dougie I knew he really wanted children someday and we decided about a year ago that we wanted to try properly.

Please tell us a little about your issues with fertility and the treatment you have received.

I had always had problems with my period from when I was younger but never really thought much of it and went on the pill. I had to come off it around April 2016 and my cycle never came back. When we decided last year that we wanted to have a baby I made an appointment with my GP and they referred me to the Gynaecologist. I was told by my GP that most likely I would have to be trying properly for a year before I got any treatment. However I was referred straight away as they saw no point in me trying if I hadn’t had a cycle in over a year. On my first appointment, last year I was prescribed a pill called Provera which is a form of progesterone that will cause you to have a period. Once we knew that this would work I had a Laparoscopy and Dye Test to check for Polycystic Ovaries or endometriosis and to ensure my fallopian tubes where clear. Although I had been told a couple of times that I had PCOS they confirmed that there was no sign of this and that there was no sign of any problems so I have been given the green light to start Clomid, which is a drug used to stimulate ovulation. I have my next appointment in March to hopefully get this started.

Who is supporting you at this challenging time?

I have a lot of people supporting me through this. Both mine and Dougie’s family both know as well as some of our friends. I have also told my work collagues as I often leave work for appointments and I hate having to lie about where I am going and I just like having someone to talk to about things. I have felt it is very important to be transparent about my fertility issues as it is such taboo subject and I feel it shouldn’t be. I want to be able to help others and raise awareness so I don’t want to keep it a secret. Social media has also been very helpful. I got a lot of information from people online for example when I had my laparoscopy I got a lot of information and advice. It is great knowing there is others going through the same as me at the same time.

Do you have any tips/wise words for someone struggling to conceive?

My most helpful advice would be to just stay positive or it will be a lot harder and put stress on your body when trying to conceive. I struggled a lot with the initial fact I was having to be referred to the fertility clinic. I had always just thought I would get pregnant quickly so I spent countless times asking myself, why me? The best piece of advice I saw was from Izzy Judd who went through IVF to have her daughter. I seem to be more aware now of people posting pregnancy announcements or noticing someone with their newborn. Izzy’s advice is to always be happy for them as we don’t know their journey. They may have waited years for that baby and here we are being jealous of them. I know see it in a positive light and when I see a new baby or an announcement I smile and think that will be me soon.

If you could recommend one book to a woman what would it be and why?

It wasn’t until I started reading about infertility that I came across Izzy Judd, the wife of Mcfly drummer Harry Judd. She had written a book all about her struggle to get pregnant and how she had her baby girl through IVF. This book is so helpful. It is full of advice about dealing with the emotions of fertility issues and how to remain positive. I have this book by my bedside and whenever I feel a little down about things I pick it up and read a little bit.

If you could recommend one website to a woman what would it be and why?

Fertility Network UK has been a website I’ve used a lot. They’re a charity organisation that works to raise awareness and provides support for the 3.5 million people affected by fertility issues. There is lots of interesting information on their website from the latest news in research to sharing other people’s journeys to become parents.

Have you considered other ways to become a mum such as fostering, adoption or something else?

This is something me and Dougie have yet to discuss. I think we want to wait and see what happens and will think about these things when we need to. I would consider adopting if I could not have my own child and I have always like the idea of being a foster parent when I am a little older.

Do you feel fertility issues should be spoken about more?

I 100% think that fertility issues should be spoken about more in society, especially in high schools. I went on the pill at around 18 and spent my early 20s desperately trying to not get pregnant. I didn’t know any better and never in a million years thought that I would be going through a struggle to have a baby. Until my first appointment I never knew what treatments were available, how common fertility issues really are or knew of anyone who had been through it. I see so many young girls on social media or in public complaining about having a period or messing around with their pill so they stop periods. It’s not until you go through something like this that you release how important all these things are.

Do you have experience of struggling to conceive? Do you have any advice for Emma and women like her?

Sharing so openly takes a huge amount of courage so please do consider sharing this post by clicking one or more of the buttons below.

If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

Twin Mummy and Daddy

Mummy in a Tutu


Great dresses for Spring are on my mind for two reasons. Firstly, we are getting occasional sunny days with blue skies so I do feel the new season might be here soon. It is long overdue if you ask me after cold and rainy days for months. Secondly, I have more of a social life this year and want to look good when out and about.

Dresses For Spring


So if it is time to get the legs out, what are the best dresses for a curvy woman like me.

Maxi dress

I am a big fan of the maxi dress as I think these dresses are always head-turners and by using different prints, you can really express your personality in a big way. I like to pair a maxi dress with a short denim jacket.

Knitted dress

At the start of the Spring, cold days still happen so a lovely compromise is to wear a knitted dress perhaps in a bright colour or with a fun slogan. Knitted dresses come in a variety of lengths depending on how much of those legs you want to show. If you don’t want your flesh on show, you can always team with some colourful opaque tights.

Skater dress

I am always tempted by skater dresses as they do seem to skim the tummy area and this may be the year I try one. After all, it would be a fashion statement about my blog! My issue is that they often are very short-skirted so I think it is about doing research and finding exactly the right one for me.

Wrap dress

Wrap dresses are so clever and suit just about any body shape whilst showing off your bust to great effect. If you are pregnant go for a wrap dress as it will adapt as your bump grows and also be practical for breast-feeding after your baby one is born.

Party dress

Now as I am invited out more these days, what type of dress should I choose for a party or even a wedding? There are so many choices but I think I might try something that has a vintage feel as I always think they look so good on other women and often have really colourful and exciting prints.

So tell me! When it comes to dresses for Spring, what do you choose?

Great Dresses For Spring


My Random Musings