Beaus & Belles Baby Massage

Thursday morning is one of my favourite days of the week and this is because for the past 5 years, I have got to spend it with new mammies and their little toots at my baby massage class.  Everything goes down at baby massage from the tales of our labours, the newest baby product out(god bless the dummy stuff, thanks Sabrina lol, )teething tricks to christening outfits. Its not just a baby massage class, this is where I guarantee you will meet mammy friends for life.

 

A few weeks ago, I took my little boy to Century Play and left that afternoon with the biggest smile.  I met so many of my mammies who went to baby massage and have all stayed in contact and regularly meet up.  This is the exact reason I will ALWAYS do my baby massage class here in Letterkenny.

As a first time mum/new mum, its so so important to get out of the house.  I remember when I had Noah, I loved having somewhere to have to get up and go to every week.  I always tell my mammies to make Thursday their day because after baby massage class, the babies are all massaged, changed and fed and will sleep soundly for a few hours, allowing you a wee browse around the shops or get those “wee jobs” done around town.

 

Classes are designed to be small, usually 6/8 mammies/daddies  and their babies.  You are provided with organic baby massage oil and your very own massage book, which allows you to practice your massage at home and work into your baby’s routine.  Classes are totally baby led, you are free to feed your baby, change your baby or just to give them a wee cuddle if needed.  The only baby that doesn’t have a wee cry throughout the course is my wee Alfie lol.

Each week, I demonstrate the massage strokes on Alfie, while you work on your little one and once the babies are all massaged its time for me to stick the kettle on and its the mammies turn to enjoy a “HOT” cuppa with one of Carmels Cakes yummy cupcakes. Week 3 is my FAV yet, the carrot cake cupcakes!!!!!

 

 

Ive asked some of my lovely mammies what they thought about baby massage class:

“We looked forward to baby massage with Joanne every week.  My baby absolutely loved it, it really relaxed him and he always slept great afterwards.  As a first time mum I also really enjoyed meeting other mammies and and having the time to relax and chat.  Joanne has a lovely personality and makes you feel at ease straight away.  I would 100% recommend it, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and our groups are still in touch a t=year later. Thanks Joanne!”

“Thoroughly enjoyed every week of baby massage class with Joanne and all the other mammies and babies.  Was a lovely treat every week to get out to meet people and my wee man really enjoyed all the relaxing massages.  Joanne was so lovely and spoilt us every week with the loveliest cup cakes. Definitely a lovely experience for mammy and baby”

“I started baby massage in 2016 with my wee boy.  From the moment we arrived we were made feel so welcome.  My little one had reflux and lactose intolerant undiagnosed at the time and he cried and cried. I was delighted as after the class he was relaxed and always produced a dirty nappy.  A happy wee boy.  The massage was great for colic and constipation and made an angry baby relaxed.  I also loved the cupcakes, such a treat.  But the best thing was the friends that I made.  The group of girls I met were a great help to me down the line.  We are still in a viber group together still called baby massage.  We went walking together and had meet ups.  I also went to baby massage with my next little girl and it was nice to spend time with her on her own without a busy toddler.  I would highly recommend Joanne and her class.”

The next set of baby massage classes begins Thursday March 5th

Joanne

 

Newborn Shoot With Beaus & Belles Photography

From the first moment the you see, hold and smell your new born child, your whole world changes instantly.  You will be overcome with love that you never knew possible.   These Precious moments are wonderful to capture in your own home and will leave you with images to treasure forever.

As a mum myself, I know how fast this time goes by and I assure you, you will not regret in investing in beautiful portraits of your newborn baby.

My style is quite natural, I only use subtle colour combinations as my props and I like to keep these simple for a timeless look and keep the focus on your precious baby, those little toes, button nose and tiny fingers.

I only do ONE newborn shoot a day and I like to schedule my newborn sessions for first thing in the morning.  This is a time when most babies sleep more soundly.

 

My Top Tips For Parents For A Newborn Shoot.

  1. I would recommend that you send me a message as soon as you can after your baby is born and we can set up your date.
  2. To achieve those really cute poses , the baby needs to be sleeping soundly and should be photographed ideally within the first 14 days and the only reason for this is that after 2 weeks old, they tend to be disturbed more easily while sleeping.
  3. Stimulating the baby with a bath is a good trick maybe an hour beforehand and will help make them sleepy for their shoot.
  4.  Crank up the heat for an hour before I arrive for the newborn shoot. Newborns can’t regulate their body temperature so it is important that the room where the pics will be shoot is nice and warm so your baby can be comfortable when I remove their clothing.
  5. A full belly = a happy baby, so you can feed baby just before I am due to arrive.
  6. Dressing your newborn for the shoot.  Comfort first, keep it simple, avoid bold prints and stick with neutral tones, such as whites creams and greys.


Parent Portraits

I always encourage parents to have a portrait taken with their new baby . These can make for some tender images and as a parent myself, these moments you will treasure forever. I know us mammies don’t feel particularly photogenic after giving birth BUT I will photograph you in flattering angles so please don’t worry.

 

Sibling Portraits

If you have older siblings that you want photographed with your newborn, I tend to do these shoots first. I would recommend sticking with neutral colours, white, ivory or greys.

 

“Do What Makes You Happy”

Grab a cuppa; this is a long one…….

Let’s go back to 2015, I was working as a secondary school teacher in a local secondary school and LOVING my job. The staff and students were the best I ever worked with and I loved going to work every day….oh and that everyday being whenever the phone would ring  and ask if was available to cover classes.  I loved the days my phone would ring, but it became very disheartening on the days/ weeks the phone didn’t ring. 

I needed a CHANGE…….

Around Easter time while researching for something totally different, I came across a baby massage training course in Kildare.  I will never forget that day, something in my gut told me to go for this. That evening I told my husband, I’m sure he thought I was bloody bonkers, BUT again he supported me 100% and I had the course booked by the following morning.

And so Beaus & Belles was born.  I remember my case study babies Ryan, Finn, Joel, Caitlin & Tilly Mae, who have all started school this year.  September 2015 saw my first ever baby massage class in Letterkenny.  FOUR years later, I still love meeting all you fabulous mammies and babies on a Thursday morning. 

October 2016, I began my training for the kids yoga in Dublin and in January 2017 I brought my first ever kids yoga class to Letterkenny. Oh what fun those Saturday mornings where, with lots of double dogs and lizards on rocks.

I saw a huge gap in the market for kid’s yoga in primary schools and began rolling out “Wellness Workshops” throughout schools in Donegal.  These were hugely successful and I loved being back in the school environment working with students again.

So WHERE did the photography come from.  Well the answer is RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL OF THE ABOVE….  I have always had an eye for photography and with every compliment I got from friends and family about my photos, the confidence grew, and I began to post more of my pictures online.   When I really sat down and thought about it, I thought wedding photography was what I would love.  Imagine getting to photograph all those pretty dresses, flowers and diamonds, so I booked myself into a wedding workshop in Belfast and off I went.  I had the best time and met so many FAB photographers but I knew driving home that day, that wedding photography wasn’t for me.  So I just continued photographing the lovely places I would visit (I’m sure you are all fed up seeing my many pics of my favourite place in Donegal, Glenveagh) my beautiful Noah, my nephews and nieces.  I remember my friend Marie asking me to do her son Andrew’s confirmation photos.  The excitement in my belly and that was it my first ever photo-shoot outside family, and I never looked back.  Thank you Marie and Andrew x

I LOVE meeting people and capturing special moments.  I still get nervous every time I send a gallery to a client BUT I LOVE the lovely responses back….time seems to stand still until I get a message back lol.

The confidence was certainly growing behind the lens and Christmas was coming and a few people had enquired was I doing any Christmas themed shoots.  NEVER did I imagine the response I got to last year’s Christmas Minis, which sold out in less than half an hour, along with my Easter Mini and Toy Story Pop UP.

So I think I have 100% found my niche in photography, New Born and Children Photography.

And this is why I have decided rebrand Beaus and Belles to include my photography.

For a while now I have felt a bit lost.  I have been dividing myself between baby massage, wellness workshops and photography and I’ve now decided that I really want to invest more time into my photography.

Beaus & Belles by Joanne Gallinagh will now cover Baby Massage classes only in Letterkenny on a Thursday morning and my photography. I am going to park my wellness workshops in schools for now and spend more time developing my photography skills and get back to writing my blogs for my website which have been non-existent in the last year.

“If you were meant to be further along in life with your goals then you would be.  You’re exactly where you need to be to learn the lessons, meet the people and have the experiences you need to have”

Joanne x

Christmas at Castle Adventure Open Farm

This place had been recommended to me by so many people so as soon as the bookings opened this year in September, I booked us in and oh my goodness, it was thee most magical experience.

This is a little photo blog of our very magical day yesterday.

Everything is indoors here for the experience, much to our delight, as we travelled to Ballyshannon yesterday in that shocking weather, we were only delighted to leave the wind and rain on the other side of the door.  As you arrive everyone was given a token for a complimentary tea/coffee and mince pie, which you could have before or after your Santa visit while the children have full use of the soft play area.

Our FAB elf came to collect us all and our first stop was Mrs Claus kitchen where she had the table set for hot chocolates and cookies all round.  This Mrs Claus was AMAZING, she sat and spoke to every single Child, there were only 10 children in each party which made it so personal, it was just magical. The upside down Christmas Tree was a big hit in her cosy kitchen and of course Santa’s suit was hanging up to dry for Christmas Eve on the clothes line.

After their wee bellies were filled it was off into the Post office, where Noah got to draw a picture or a letter to Santa and they got to post these in the big red letterbox. There was a HUGE naughty and nice list on the wall, where the kids checked it very carefully lol.

The Reindeers

There was a table set up where we could all make a little bag of reindeer dust and take it home with us to sprinkle in our gardens and Christmas Eve and we got to meet one of Santa’s very friendly reindeers and his buddy wanted to say hello too. Again there was plenty of time for anyone who wanted to give the reindeer a pet.

 

Next stop was Elf School, here they found out about all the things that the elf’s needed to learn , like how to wrap gifts, how to get the sleigh ready for Christmas Eve and the favourite one was how to check the chimney is clean for Santa.

Off to the elf’s bedroom now, where with a little bit of magic they found the secret door which led into Santa’s worskshop. They all got to help with stuffing some teddies and leaving them over in the wrapping station which would then drop them onto Santa’s sleigh which was just magnificent.  There was loads of time here foe everyone to get family photos in the sleigh and the lovely elf took our family photo for us.

And now it was  time, time to meet the main man, Santa. What a magical Santa….Noah’s wee face just made the whole experience for me.

We got back to the tea room where we availed of our gorgeous mince pie and cup fo tea and Noah raced off to the soft play area. This is the most magical Santa trip that we have done and I will be DEF coming back again next year. The detail that went into the all the different rooms….just FAB.  Huge well done to everyone at Castle Adventure Farm, you really have made the place into a very magical winter wonderland.

  1. The friendliest staff EVER, Special shout out to the most amazing Mrs Claus and the Elf, you both were so fab.
  2. Lovely and warm, I must of actually thought I was going to the North Pole, I had so many layers on, which thankfully were not needed.
  3. No pressure to buy the photograph.
  4. Lovely small groups, which makes it very personal.
  5. Never felt rushed at any part of the experience.
  6. The complimentary cuppa and warm mince pie WITH cream.
  7. The Kids being able to have full use of the soft play area and outdoor area where the animals where too.

Noah’s smile says it all…we’ll see you all next year

Merry Christmas

Your Christmas Mini Shoot ’19

So here’s what to expect for your Christmas Mini Shoot 2019. The shoots take place in the Heaney Suite in the Radisson Hotel here in Letterkenny. Each shoot is 20 minutes and suitable for children ONLY. One family per shoot please. I have gone for an outdoor theme this year, and the colour scheme is Maroon/Red/Snowy White and Wood. Get planning them outfits mammy’s!!!!!! Hats/Scarfs would be good to wear for the shoot this year too. So when will your photos be ready for collection? I start the edits straight away on the Monday morning after the weekend shoot, so your digital images will be available and your prints the following weekend, ideal for getting those Christmas Cards ordered. Collection can be arranged with myself on the day of the shoot. So so excited for you all to see this years set, its pretty cute. Any other questions you have, send me a mail [email protected]

Joanne’s 7 Wonders Of Donegal

  1. There are NO words for this little treasure.  Hidden just outside Killybegs at the bottom of the Largy View Point. This little adventure is not suitable for young children, there is a lot of jumping up and off rocks, good walking shoes are essential for grip as the rocks are extremely slippy. Huge thank you to one of my mammies Elaine Melly who got me in contact with a local coast guard Shane Mc Crudden who was SPOT on with the tide times. It took about 30 mins to get to the caves from the top and oh my god, I was speechless, never in my life have I saw anything as spectacular as this waterfall.  The trek back up to the car was made easier as I remembered the little tea van at the top, The Pod….lovely wee cuppa and a peanut cluster at the picnic area.

 

2. Murder Hole Beach, tucked away in the heart of Downings.

3. Assaranca Waterfall in Ardara.

4. Glenveagh

5. Slibah League

6. Hornhead

7. Gibbons Loop, Sliabh Sneacht

.

I fell in love again, his name is New York

FRIDAY

Its Friday 8th December…..NO MORE SLEEPS!!!!! It was finally our turn.  We arrived at Dublin airport, and already had our boarding cards printed so it was straight to the bag drop and then straight for two glasses of bubbly, who cares its was just 7am, the butterflies were doing somersaults in my tummy and sure I needed something to settle them lol.

We proceeded then through immigration, where the Police officer announced in his lovely American accent “Your gonna freeze your little butt off in that dress in New York City ” Jeepers I didn’t know where to look. I nervously replied “Its just for the flight” 

We flew with Aer Lingus, Dublin direct to JFK  and cant recommend this airline enough.  The service was first class, food was gorgeous, plenty wine to get us on our merry way, while we watched The Polar Express and Elf.  I actually didn’t find the 7.5 hours, I was that flipping excited, the flight could of been 24 hours to get there and I wouldn’t of cared.

We arrived in NYC at 2pm, grabbed a yellow taxi from JFK airport to our hotel, The New Yorker. Fab hotel located on 8th Avenue. This hotel was so central, room was perfect, comfy bed, clean bathroom, a full length mirror, tv and a lovely surprise waited for us in the room from our lovely friends, a gorgeous hamper with a bottle of bubbly and 2 champagne flutes.  

We checked in and literally threw the cases in the room and out we went to explore “The City That Never Sleeps”

As soon as we stepped out of the hotel I fell in love with New York, the horns blasting, the chitter chatter of  people as they made their way through the streets of NYC,  it was exactly what its like in the movies.

Everyone had told us that when we got to Times Square to head straight to the “Red Steps” and soak in the atmosphere and that is exactly what we did. Electric is how I would describe everything about Times Square, the lights, the noise, the atmosphere. We stood for ages just watching the world go by and I remember repeating over and over again to Kevin, ” I cant believe we’re actually here, we are in New York City”   My neck was sore from looking up at all the high buildings.  I was mesmorised.

 

And here SHE IS…..The Most AMAZING Christmas Tree in the world at Rockefeller, it was even more spectacular in real life. 

SATURDAY

Jet Lag is a bummer….. I was awake from 2.30am most nights.  I eventually gave in at 4am and got up and showered.  The Tick Tock Diner was located beside our hotel and was open 24/7 so we went for breakfast here.  Pancakes, pancakes and more pancakes oh and maple syrup.

First stop today with Top Of  Rock.  The plan was that we would do this during the day, One World Observatory during the day and the Empire State Building at night. 

We just arrived as the doors opened at 8am and there was just 5 people in front of us. I def would recommend to get up and at it early, the ques were very minimal. This was very special, my first view of  the NYC skyline. I don’t think I spoke for 10 minutes, I was just memorized with this magical city, and then…….it started to snow.  I kid you not, on Top of the Rock, it had started to snow, there were tears I can tell you.

Central Park was next on today’s itinerary. We grabbed two coffees and off we went for a stroll around the most famous park in the world, with the snow falling, it was quite magical.  

With Tiffanys just around the corner from Central Park, we had to have a wee look inside and sure then I could’nt leave empty handed lol.  The little blue box and that bow, I remember my hubby muttering while the sales assistant tied that ribbon so elegantly that “she had too much time on her hands” But ladies I could of watched her tying those bows all day.

SUNDAY

This was the BEST day and the pic below is one of my favorites. We again were out of the hotel at silly o clock and off we set with two coffees on the go from the Tick Tock Diner.  We walked through the snowy streets of NYC, my cheeks was sore from smiling….I just couldn’t believe that we were here in New York and that it snowed.  

When I think of Brooklyn Bridge I think of Kevin Mc Allister in Home Alone in the yellow taxi going over the bridge with his wee head out the window…..I’m the BIGGEST Home Alone fan ever and going to  Brooklyn Bridge brought the big kid out on me. It didn’t disappoint and was so magical with the snow. 

Brooklyn Bridge

After Brooklyn Bridge, we headed to the One World Obsevatory. Again early morning meant no big ques.  When we got to the top, the blinds were all down and a short video was played and THEN I got the BIGGEST LUMP in my throat and cried….the blinds came up and there it was, New York City like I’ve never seen it before. I was so emotional and didn’t want to leave, the views were just breath taking and I’m so glad that we decided to do this during daylight. I will NEVER forget these views, it was so clear. 

As if it couldnt get any better, there he was waiting on me at the top, Santa himself and what a magical Santa he was.  There is a fab restaurant and coffee shop at top, we sat for ages having a coffee and just soaking it all up.  This place was DEF the highlight of our trip.

 

 

On Sunday night we headed to Bar 230 5th and met up with friends who were in NYC too.  We headed around 6pm and there were no ques to get in, no ques at the bar and plenty room in the Igloos for a few Irish. The view of the Empire State Building at nigh from here was gorgeous. We were snug as bugs in the igloos where there were heaters and fleecy red blankets.

Monday

On Monday, we got the bus to Woodbury Common and shopped till we dropped. Would definitely recommend a trip here.  Only takes and hour to get there and the bus drops you off at the door and picks you up just outside too.

Our final night in NYC, we went to the Empire State Building, to see the most amazing city at night. Our pass included this, so there was no queuing and we were at the top within 15 minutes.

Tuesday 

Our last few hours in New York and there was only one place I wanted to go to and it was The Christmas Cottage.  This shop is the only one in NYC that sells the Turtle Doves ( Any Home Alone fans will know what I mean) This shop was AMAZING….every inch of the shop is covered in Christmas decorations, and there they were my turtle doves.

 

Here are a few more pics from our trip.

 

My Top Tips

  1. Before you go PLAN PLAN PLAN, there is soooooooooooooooooo much to see in New York and you wont want to waste a second.  
  2. Buy a pass, we bought ours from Attractions Tickets Direct, it cost us 109 euros each and included 5 attractions.
  3. Get up and get out early, dont waste that jet lag. I found the morning so much quiter to get pics of my fav spots, for example our first stop on the first night was the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller but it was CRAZY busy, we went back the next morning first thing and got all the fab photos youve seen above.
  4. If your thinking about going to the outlets shopping, book before you go to New York, those buses get booked up very fast.
  5. Previous tip I got was to make up little bags and leave for the housekeeping staff, with dollars and some Irish cadburys chocolate.
  6. Forget about the stylish shoes when in NYC, i ditched the fancy boots after day one and spent the rest of my days in my trainers, honest to God my legs were sooooooooooooooooo sore from all the walking.
  7. Don’t pretend its Spring when its Winter. Bring your thermals, hats, scarfs, gloves. I hate the cold but I was so well prepared I never felt it at all.

Huge thank you to Emmet Rushe from Rushe fitness for the AMAZING prize & to Atlantic travel for all your wonderful  help booking our holiday of a lifetime.  I’ve been asked so many times since we have come back would I go back and people are surprised when I say no.  I say no because I don’t think anything could live up to the holiday we just had and seeing everything for real for the first time and we couldn’t have been there at a more magical time. I have memories that will last a lifetime.

“Dream It, Wish It, Do It”

Joanne x.

Christmas Crackers In Crafty Kids

I’m always in http://www.babyzone.ie looking for the newest baby gadget for Noah and its only recently, I’ve discovered the AMAZING bits and bobs that Crafty Kids have. To be honest when I have himself with me in the buggy I never really get a chance to look around properly, but today I did and here are my top buys for Christmas. 

1.These magnetic strips will provide hours of fun, offering children the opportunity to use and develop a whole range of skills. Aged 3-6 Years

2. Tray Puzzles,these will be going on Noah’s Santa list.  Includes a set of five, 3 pieces tray puzzles to encourage early sorting and matching skills as the inner pieces are sorted by shape, colour and size to fit into each animal face tray.

3. Classic wooden train set comes complete with 35 or 60 pieces for little ones to put together.  Hours of fun for little engineers.

4. This art jar would be perfect for those rainy afternoons.  Complete with ideas sheet and an exciting selection of art and craft materials.

5. Who doesn’t love a good board game with all the family over Christmas.  I have to admit I got very excited when I saw these were in store.  I have two nephews that will LOVE these, especially the snakes and ladders. 

6. Double the value with these double sided 12 piece puzzle.  On one side in the red bus the passengers are all people, while on the other side in the yellow bus passengers are all animals.

7. The EXTREMELY  popular Dino Hatch Egg.  Have fun watching a growing baby dinosaur  break out of its own egg.

8. There is nothing more magical at this time of the year than a good Christmas book. We have already started our Christmas stories before bed in our house. Have you picked up your Christmas books yet? Wide variety of books in store for all ages.

9. Noah wasn’t in the door 10 seconds and he spied the Happy Hopperz.  Great range available in store.

10. Thought these were very cute. Bring the story to life with fairy/princess accessories along with the book.

11. Golden Oldie……BUT I loved it so much.  The Rubiks Cube, 3D combination puzzle.

12. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some play-doh.  Large variety of sets available in store.

13. Last but not least, The Fairy Doors and all the accessories to go with them.

Joanne x.

Micro Needling with Beauty by Grainne

Couldn’t believe my luck when my name was chosen from a competition with Beauty by Grainne for a free micro needling procedure. Decided not to watch any videos on micro needling after seeing a few photos of the procedure itself in progress. I was reminded time and time again how good it is for the skin and how fabulous my skin would be for my trip to New York.

Micro needling involves using fine needles to create hundreds of tiny invisible puncture wounds in the top layer of the skin. The micro injuries created stimulate the body’s natural wound healing processes. resulting in cell turnover and increased collagen and elastin production, therefore reversing as well as preventing signs of aging.

 Grainne applies numbing cream to the whole face and allows 30 mins for the cream to work its magic. I was so chilled out snuggled up with the fluffly blankets and the relaxing music I found myself drifting in and out of sleep.The 30 mins passed and the procedure began. The only way I can describe the feeling is crunching into the skin as the micro needle roller rolled over my skin. There were about three times when I thought, oh God this is stingy.

Then Grainne starting applying something cold on my face and I kind of freaked out a little bit, I dreaded what was to come and asked Grainne what was coming next and to my surprise, the procedure was finished and she was applying a mask which would soak the skin for 20 mins and help cool the skin.

From start to finish the procedure took 1 hour and 15 mins. Grainne went through the after care with me and gave me an Image after care set, which included, cleanser, serum,day cream, vital c mask and night cream. My face wasnt overly red, it looked flushed more than anything and felt a little warm.

 

DAY 2
Skin looked a little irritated today. Didn’t train today or go swimming as per guidelines.

DAY 3
Lovely glow from my skin today. Continued with the morning and evening care.

DAY 4
My skin, particularly my forehead was very itchy today.I put makeup on today for the first time since the treatment. It didnt sit on my skin very well.

DAY 5
FAB glow from my skin today.

DAY 6
Really really notice how fresh my skin looks today, still havent applied any makeup. The dryness has disappeared also.

DAY 7
One week on, the pic of my skin speaks for itself. LOVE LOVE LOVE

The photos look horrific and and when I saw Grainne’s pictures during her training days I thought “Why would anyone do this to their skin” Well I did and Im so glad I did it. I dont have problem skin but this was such a lovely treat and Im loving this fresh glow from the procedure itself. My face is DEF ready for my trip to New York in 2 weeks.

Cant recommend Grainne enough, I was extremely nervous and she put me to ease straight away and spoke to me throughout the treatment taking my mind of it.  

Beauty by Grainne has a FAB Black Friday deal offering 6 Micro Needling sessions  for 5oo euros  which is a saving of 300 euors.

I cant wait to get booked in again for another treatment, definitely  5 out 5 from me.

Thank you Grainne

Joanne x.

#SummerShapeup

What a SUMMER….I have never laughed so much and saw so much of Donegal in 8 weeks.  Thank you Emmet Rushe for your FAB #SummerShapeUp.

And so it began……

Week 1 – The Plank

Now where could I do a plank where nobody else would do one. I went up to my hubby to see if he could think of any ideas.  No sooner had I said it to, himself and the boys pulled out two tractor lawnmowers and the first challenge was complete. 

Week 2 – The Handstand Challenge. 

I awaited eagerly to hear on this weeks challenge and once I knew it was a handstand, there was only one door way I wanted to do my handstand in. Off we went on a Sunday morning to  Dunlewy to the Poison Glen. I hadn’t done a handstand since my “Hail Stone Thunder & Lightening Days” but hey I still got it 25 years later give it 10 or 20 takes lol.

The Poison Glen

Week 3 – Hang Tough Challenge

We were blessed with the weather EVERY Sunday during the Summer Shapeup. This just made me want to visit a different part of Donegal for the challenges. This week Inishowen was on our hit list. 

Banba’s Crown

Week 4 – Shoulder Press Challenge

Poor Noah was the subject for my shoulder press challenge. Wee dote giggled away, he knew how much mammy wanted to go to New York so he did whatever mammy asked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He even let mammy shoulder press him twice that day. 

Killybegs

 

Slieve League

The Aug Bank Holiday was all about  Summer Shapeup extra activities with my husband Kevin, friends and with my Rushe Fitness family.  Saturday August 5th Kevin and I completed The Gibbons Loop, up Sliabh Sneacht. This took us 4.5 hours, the views were out of this world from the top. The Gibbons family organise this hike every year in memory of their late father John who farmed on  these hills. EVERYONE should do this, views are AMAZING and the BBQ when you reach the bottom is FAB.

Sliabh Sneacht

 

Cuilcagh Steps has been on my to do list for a while now, so was delighted when Emmet organised a Rushe Fitness  trip there on Aug 6th. Again the weather conditions were perfect and the craic was 90 with this crew.  Lovely wee stop in Biddys on the way home (sure its bad luck to pass)

Cuilcagh  Steps


 

Week 5- The Fan Challenge

My alarm went off at 5.15am……up I jumped and headed down to the Polestar roundabout to do our fan challenge with some of my Rushe Fitness buddies, Gary, Martina, Carmel, Angela & Michelle and our wonderful photographer Anna.  Poor Gary and Michelle pulled the short straws on this one. 

Polestar Roundabout

Week 6 – The Bike Challenge

This was my FAV challenge of them all.  So we decided we would do our bike challenge after our 6am class. The teacher mode soon came back to me and we had a 1….2….3 rhythm going and had it sorted “on paper”. THEN….when we went to do it the giggles took over and it took us a while to get going but we got there, I’m crying laughing watching this back…..POOR GARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Week 7 – The Final Challenge – ” Sum Up What Summer Shapeup meant to you”

For me the first word that came into my head was LOVEI LOVED the challenges every week.

I LOVED the buzz in the gym and the online group, everyone kept everyone so motivated.

I LOVED on a Sunday visiting all the different parts of Donegal for the challenges while getting to spend time with Kevin & Noah.

I LOVED how confident I was becoming inside and out.

So it came down to posting our before and after pics in the private group page. I weighed myself before and after and not one pound had shifted off the scales and for the first in a LONG time, this was ok.  Summer Shapeup wasn’t about loosing weight for me. When Emmet told us about the challenge in my head I thought, great, this will motivate me now during the summer, were its easy to go off track and if I win GREAT and if not at least I knew I was going on our first family holiday in the best shape I could be in. Posting my food everyday was a great way for making myself accountable for keeping on track. This photo below is me happy and confident in myself inside and out.  I love training at Rushe Fitness, my alarm goes off 3 mornings a week at 5.40am, I wouldnt miss it for the world.  For me its the BEST way to start the day off and is the BEST lifestyle change I ever made.

I will never forget that evening, we just got home from our holiday at 8pm, I jumped into the shower, threw on an outfit and my lovely sister Mari-Claire did my makeup. I ran across the carpark at Backstage with one shoe on and one half on and bust in the doors with ” Did I Miss It?” I was so glad I hadn’t missed the announcement as I really wanted to see the winners face………………..

 

I WON!!!!!

I will NEVER forget it, the butterflies in my tummy when Emmet said I was the winner.  The first thing I thought was I’M GOING TO NEW YORK to see the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller.   I was, and still am on cloud 9. New York at Christmas is my dream and on the 8th December myself  and Kevin are flying out for 5 days to the most magical city in the world. 

 

 

Thank you Emmet, Maria and every single one of the Rushe Fitness members especially my 6am buddies, you all made this Summer one to remember. 

Joanne x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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