A Mum I Admire: Anna aka Bubs 2 Bikinis

I started following Anna on Instagram after she commented on one of my posts, her handle is @bubs2bikinis and she was posting at home workout videos while her newborn babies chilled out watching her. She had a much smaller following then, a few thousand and now it's over 71 thousand! I obviously wasn't the only person to admire her tenacity and strength. Now she is pregnant with number 3 and still gets up and does her thing daily to help keep her body and MIND strong. Which is something she talks about often, this isn't just about being fit and toned but the exercise helps keep her mind fit and healthy, which is needed when you have twins to run around after! I have never featured another mum on the blog and I'm not sure if this will be a regular thing, but I just have so much admiration for Anna that I wanted to ask her some questions about health, family and pregnancy. Enjoy.


How far along were you when you found out you were having twins and what were your initial reactions?

My initial reaction to finding out I was pregnant, honestly was - SHIT! Rhett (now husband) and I were holidaying in Bali, we’d only been together 3 months and while we knew each other were ‘the one’ we hadn't planned on adding babies to the picture so soon. After about 18 cheap Bali tests which I wasn’t sure I could ‘trust’ I finally accepted that my contestant vomiting, needing the toilet every 30 seconds and appetite for a never-ending supply of pizza was probably due to the fact that I was growing BABIES. Yep, I knew it straight away, something told me from those very first moments that it was TWINS!

What was your twin pregnancy like?

HARD, so bloody HARD! I never expected that growing babies could actually be so incredibly painful on my body. The first 16 weeks I spent with my head in the toilet bowl and when that ended I thought it was time to enjoy the pregnancy but alas the aches set in - agonising pains through my ribs, back, hips and sternum. I was ridiculously uncomfortable and would place heat packs all over my body to ease the pains. With Rhett being 6”4, I was baking some pretty big babies and my small 5”3 frame really struggled with that. I remember thinking being pregnant with twins was the HARDEST thing I would ever have to go through, looking back - that’s the most naive thought ever, we were in for a big shock for how hard things would get when the actually arrived!


Did your relationship with your body change during preagnancy?

YES, most certainly! I’d love to be able to say that I really embrace pregnancy and enjoy watching my body grow… But, I do find it difficult. I think it might be that little perfectionist in my brain picking away at me, but if I could tell my negative mind one thing it would be that ‘growing babies sure IS PERFECTIONISM.’ To be honest though, I think the hardest part is the sense of loss of control. You feel like you’re still staying active and nourishing your body with healthy foods but the weight still packs on anyway! Don’t get me wrong, my children are my greatest gift but I do struggle with the changes my body makes as part of pregnancy.

You’re pregnant for the second time, how are you finding a singleton pregnancy over a twin one? 

Funny you should ask, I think I may have jinxed myself with this! I expected a singleton pregnancy to be a walk in the park. I imagined no sickness, no aches and pains and enough energy to see me through the days without a nap! I was certainly VERY wrong! With this pregnancy I was just as sick as what I was with the twins, only this time I had to actually LOOK AFTER TWINS while spending days upon weeks with my head in the toilet. I must admit, the aches and pains are back but aren't near as bad and I’m tired, but hey - every mum is tired aren’t they!?


What has been the most surprising thing about having twins?

How damn strong I am!!! I’ve failed to believe in myself in the past - I’ve struggled with those thoughts that I’ve never been good enough and many times, felt very let down by myself. When you survive just one day as a twin mama, you honestly realise you must be stronger than you’d ever imagined!

What has been the biggest battle for you with being a twin mama?

100% the hardest thing has been learning to go with the flow. Understanding that EVERY day is going to be different and especially when the boys were babies - there was NO consistency! I suffered awful anxiety around their sleep and routine, those first 12 months when you just had NO IDEA what the day or night was going to bring really challenged me. Before becoming a mama I was a very organised type… I liked to plan my week out, have a list each day and tick off jobs as I achieved things. So shock horror set in when the boys arrived and I literally had NO control over my life anymore. But my biggest battle has also been exactly what I needed to embrace and that is - chilling the hell out a little more and just going with the flow.


What do you love most about being a twin mama?

EVERYTHING!!!!!!!! I love it so much I want 5 more sets of TWINS hehe, well maybe not 5 but I would still LOVE another set! Watching Lachie and Sammy grow into the best of friends everyday is something so amazing that you just can’t put into words. That connection they share that I get to be a witness to, seriously the most beautiful, special and heart warming joinery I could ever have the pleasure of being part of. Being a twin mama has certainly been the HARDEST thing I’ve ever done, but without a doubt - it’s the BEST thing that’s ever happened to me.

How has your relationship changed with your partner since becoming parents?

Rhett and I have blossomed as parents. We were thrown into this whole ‘mum and dad’ thing pretty early on in our relationship, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lachie and Sammy are such a huge part of our lives I’m so glad they’ve been part of the ride for nearly as long as we’ve been on the ride too!

In saying that, relationships aren’t easy though - they do take work. Like any couple we have arguments and moments when I get REALLLYYYYY pissed at him - lucky I can blame the ‘pregnany hormones’ at the moment.  The best asset we have though, is we make a great TEAM! We are both committed to our family 100% and our foundations are rock solid because we are not only husband and wife but also the best of friends.


What was your exercise regime like before your first pregnancy? 

I have always enjoyed keeping active. Before having children I used the gym as an outlet to help manage stress and anxiety. I have always been drawn to that post workout feeling where you feel as though you can take on the world! The gym was a place I could go to a few times a week to help me feel like I had accomplished something for myself between all the hours spent living the corporate life and socialising - life was tough hey ;)

How has it differed between your last and current pregnancy? 

I’m 20 weeks into this pregnancy and so far, so good. At this stage with the twins I was unable to exercise. This time around, I’m still exercising around 5 times per week for 30 minutes or so. I plan to keep it up for as long as possible and I’m REALLY hoping that means I’ll still be squating and lunging my way around the house with my boys in tow right before I pop at 40 weeks!

How do you find the motivation to work out?

Since becoming a mama, working out has reality become a ‘non negotiable’ for me. It’s not about the body or motivating myself so I look good - I NEED exercise to survive the demands of motherhood. It gives me the energy to face each day with positivity and it makes me believe in myself, it honestly is the cure to all things shit for me! I can be feeling as flat as a tat, but if I just encourage myself to get a workout in, no matter how short or how interrupted by the boys - my day really shines so much brighter.


What was the motivation behind stating Bubs2Bikinis?

When the boys were first-born I had two problems - 1. I felt incredibly isolated as a new mama. 2. I’d hit 6 weeks postpartum I wanted to get my exercise back on track. I decided to document my journey in the hope that it would keep me motivated and also connect me with other like-minded mamas so I didn’t feel so alone. I was unable to leave the house to exercise and leaving the house to meet friends with two babies was enough to give me an anxiety attack, so working out from home and connecting with other mamas online seemed like the perfect fit! It changed my life - I all of a sudden felt part of something really special - it was motivating me to achieve my goals and I was surrounded by other mums that understood me! And that’s what it still is for me today - a safe and supportive community that I really am thankful for.

What are your plans for the future with Bubs2Bikinis?

So many plans - so little time! I’d love to venture more into the world of blogging and get my own website set up, but I need to get pen to paper first. At the moment, I’m just enjoying sharing my journey on Instagram and connecting with amazing mamas all over the world!


I imagine the coverage surrounding you was something you wouldn’t have expected, has it changed your life in any way since then? 

I definitely didn’t expect so many people to tune into our journey but it’s been such a pleasure having everyone along for the ride. I really do feel like I’ve gained thousands of friends from this. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s changed me in any way - I get quite embarrassed when someone stops me in a cafe or down the street, I’m still just the same old Anna Strode that likes to jump around with her kiddies in tow :)

Whats your day on a plate look like? E.G what do you typically eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and any snacks?

I try not to get too hung up on foods. I don’t believe in restrictive eating or fad diets. I’m all about listening to your body, eating mind fully and having a flexible approach to food. Since having the boys I seem to snack A LOT. Some days lunch is the food they’ve thrown on the floor (all mums do that right?!) or a bite to eat while folding piles of washing. A day on my plate might look like; yogurt and muesli for breakfast, rice cakes and fruit for a snack, salad for lunch, banana smoothie for afternoon tea, a stir fry for dinner and yogurt for desert - or, an ice cream if I feel like it. Because, life is ALL about balance!


What do you feed the boys?

Lachie and Sammy eat mostly what we eat. They’re all time favourite food would have to be yogurt and blueberries though!

Three things that have changed for the better since becoming a mama?

  • I feel like I’ve found the real me - I feel like this is what I was meant to do all my life, be a mama.
  • I live a much healthier and balanced lifestyle, I have the confidence to believe in myself and I look at life as a real gift
  • I have a much better understanding of what is truly important in life - FAMILY.

Fly-Tot Review

If I were to tell you there was an easy way to get your kids to sleep COMFORTABLY in economy on a commercial flight would you believe me? Well I found it, Fly-Tot, and it is genius. So much so every flight attendant on both our fights to and from LA were amazed with it and couldn't believe they hadn't seen more people using them. 

The idea has been taken from the Sky Couch concept, except it's not the $800 upgrade it would have cost us on our flights, or in our case with two toddlers and two adults, double that. Sky Couch closes the gap between the seat in front of you leaving you a small single bed to lie flat on. Very cool  from Air New Zealand and something I would definitely opt for first if we had the cash for the upgrade for two rows (we wouldn't fit in one)...but we don't, so I searched to find my next best option and up it popped on Facebook. 1438497424426

Once I found Fly-Tot I got my google on and a few other brands that had similar devices, but I settled on Fly Tot for a few reasons; the design looked good, it was compact and light. In its simplest form it's basically a durable blow up cushion, that you put on the ground behind the seat in front of you to close that gap just like Sky Couch.

How does it work?


You use a small foot pump to blow up two chambers, one that's slimmer to fit where you feet go, and the top one which is slightly larger to fill the space and create a "bed" between your seat and that in front.



Once inflated, which took only a few minutes, the seat becomes a tiny mini single "bed" where my rather tall almost 3 year olds could comfortably curl up and lay flat to go to sleep. Even better having two side to side, so they could kind of share the space, and even Jay and I could tuck our legs up to rest on the edge of them. Dreamy, literally. The boys were out like lights, which was perfect as Jay and I were left to eat dinner and down a few wines in peace in quiet, without heads or legs on our laps. I don't know about you but I love a few red wines and a movie or two on night flights, I'm one of those people that really enjoy flying and find it relaxing. Which is why I was dreading having the boys all up in my business when we booked the trip. I hadn't found these bad boys yet and I'd heard the horror stories of not being able to eat or sleep, due to wriggling toddlers sleeping/climbing all over you. On a over night 13 hour flight that is my idea of hell.


A few key points, questions I had when I first received the Fly-Tot and general guidelines on use:

  • The pump made a reasonably loud whistle when you pushed on it to blow up the Fly-Tot, I wondered if it would disrupt other passengers and make me look crazy standing up pumping my leg up and down? Basically didn't want to draw attention to myself and stand their with a red face whilst doing a leg jig with a whistling sounds coming from my seat.
    • The white noise the plane makes completely drowned the noise out, and I could sit in my seat and pump my leg up and down to inflate it. Which meant no one around me was wondering what the heck I was doing and didn't even notice it happening. Win.
  • How easy was it to deflate?
    • There are two massive valves that open up so you can deflate it in seconds.
  • Would the crew tell me it wasn't safe and we weren't to use it?
    • None of the crew on our flight had a problem with it. As long as it isn't used during taxi, take off or landing and the boys had their belts on they were fine with it. Plus if, god forbid, anything bad were to happen it wasn't blocking the access to the aisle and I would be picking my kids up quick smart and carrying them off the plane. Fly-Tot say they have talked to regulators and they believe it does not violate FAA regulations. *EDIT Singapore Airlines have officially approved them. Apparently Emirates won't let you use them - you will have to double check that though as I can't find any info anywhere and on certain airlines depending on the crew they may not want you to use it. As I said, we didn't come across any problems but look into it with your airline before purchasing.
  • Would it be useful when they weren't sleeping?
    • Yes, their little legs aren't quite long enough to bend over the seat so it made their time awake watching movies etc so much more comfy as their legs were supposed rather than half dangling off the edge.
  • How much space would it take in my carry on?
    • It folded down pretty  small and we just took one foot pump to do both. I really didn't feel like it was cutting into our carry on allowance weight and size wise too much. But Jay and I both use a carry on bag, we had Trunkis for the boys and I had my baby bag.
  • Would the boys be able to sleep with their seat belts on?
    • Yes, they turned the opposite way so their heads were on the Fly-Tot and the belt easily went around their middle.
  • Would their heads get squashed when the person in front moved their seat back?
    • They slept the whole time with the people's seat reclined and it only moved the seat back slightly at that point, it moves the furthest at the top of the seat not the base. Their heads fit easily under the angle of the seat and didn't bother them whatsoever. The photos above have the seats in front all reclined. But of course you can put your children the other way around, this is just what worked for us.
  • Why did I choose for their heads to be that way round?
    • Air NZ seats are kind of on an angle, so if they slept the other way round they were tilted downwards with their feet above their head. They tried both ways and seemed  the most comfortable with their head on the Fly-Tot. Also this way the seat belt sa across their hips versus chest.
  • Is it worth the $?
    • YES! When you are already paying thousands to fly, the extra few hundred is so worth it to make the journey more comfortable for all involved.
  • Would it work for older kids?
    • I think it would still be useful. They can stretch their legs flat out in front of them, way better than dangling legs and have more space to cur up into a ball to sleep.  Fly-Tot have pictures of older kids on their gram and site with reviews from parents saying it still made their trip that much more comfortable.
    • The boys turned in their seats and slept leaving against the seat with their legs stretched out, they were happy that way too and I think thats how bigger kids would sleep using it.   IMG_0961.JPG

Cons, if you can really call them that:

  • The rubber band they provide you with to keep the foot pump closed when not in use broke pretty fast. Not a massive deal but meant it couldn't be folded smaller and took up more space in my bag. I would recommend taking a piece of string to wrap around the hooks at the end of the pump to keep it closed.
  • It deflated every so slightly throughout the trip, but nothing major and didn't affect how they slept. I would say less than 5% of air came out over 12 hours. Apparently this is normal during descent though.

So basically I'm scrapping the barrel to pick any major faults with it.

So to sum it all up, if you are flying with your kids and they need to sleep, get this! It seriously made our flights so much more enjoyable, the boys slept 9-10 hours and we didn't have to compromise our sleep to get them to do that. Boom.

Check Fly-Tot out here if you are from NZ or AUS, rest of the world visit here. Please check with your airline before purchasing though.


The article that left me in tears

I came across this article today and everything in it rung so true to my first year with my boys, except I felt it times two.  As I was nearing the end of the article I had tears streaming down my face. I had kind of forgotten/locked away in the depths of my memory the images of babies constantly screaming, as those memories are so painful to think about.  They were my darkest days, long never-ending days of sorrow, pain, confusion and guilt. Guilt that our experiences with the boys, the IVF, constantly vomiting with Hyperemesis, pre term labour, NICU and then the collic & reflux that made my bonding experience with the boys a really long and tough road. 

Reading this brought it all up, but it hit me I had never articulated my pain over that time like this, in anger. It was always sadness, PND was just filled with sadness.  But I am mad, still. My boys were my first and instant last in everything as they will be our only kiddies, so damn that reflux and collic for taking away my sweet baby moments! I will never get them back or have the chance to have a different experience and that's just fucking shit. I feel cheated.  I had dreamt of becoming a mother, those tender moments with my newborns, falling in love with them the moment I saw them and deeper every day there after, napping on the couch with my loves asleep on my chest, strolls around the neighbourhood while they napped, but instead all of these scenarios were filled with screams, projectile spews, arched backs and red faces full of tears - the boys and mine.

I don't want this to come across as woe is me, I'm not looking for sympathy. I was just so surprised by my reaction and how strong it was whilst reading that article, and the surprise that I had never been able to properly articulate how mad I was about it all. I was just going to share the article on Facebook for any other Mamma going through the same experience, but as I started to write the status that went with it, all these emotions and thoughts started spewing out. So that brought us here, this blog post. With no other point than to vent really, get it all out. Since it happened 2-3 years ago it's hard to bring it up again to friends and family and have a vent/cry about it as it was "so long ago".  So thanks team, for reading my blog posts, which gives me a platform to vent occasionally when needed. And if you are going through this right now, virtual hug, it fucking sucks but some day that fog will lift and it does get better. Lots of love!

NOTE: I don't mean to write this stuff to scare people or expectant mothers. I had a spell of bad luck, I just feel passionate talking about it so others in the same boat don't feel aone like I did,

Kids Calcium Booster Smoothie Recipes

Calcium, one of those things I have always thought about since becoming a mother. We aren’t cereal eaters so the boys would have two daily bottles of milk as toddlers – sometimes three when it was a bad day and a ‘bot bot would chill them out - was something I was glad they drank to help them get enough calcium for their growing bones. I was surprised though when I was recently introduced by Fonterra to the concept of calcium banking. I didn’t even realise – stupidly as it is so simple. In childhood and adolescence we need to deposit more calcium into our bones each day because this is when our bones are getting bigger and stronger. It is the biggest window of opportunity to build those bones up, so it’s something to concentrate on. Read on for some of the Nuggets favourite smoothie recipes.  fullsizerenderI have written a few blogs (hyperlink) about the Nuggets bottle drinking, but of course just before we head away to America they decide to ditch a bot bot, meaning they were down to one a day or 200-400ml of milk. I instantly thought about how that was affecting their diet, as they had been heavy dairy consumers before. The boys had always enjoyed smoothies so I figured we would just up the dairy content in them and continue that habit in America at breakfast or snack time. I Snapchat our smoothies often and always get asked what’s in them. So here I pulled together our top 4 favourite dairy smoothies for the little ones.

TIP:  We often make double of these smoothies and freeze them for ice blocks - perfect on a hot day!

Almost Green Smoothie:

  •  2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
  •  2 cups frozen mixed berries
  •  1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
  •  1 cup milk
  •  1 tablespoon honey

Date and banana smoothie:

  •  1 frozen banana
  •   1 cup milk
  •  1/2 cup crushed ice
  •  ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  •   5 halved or pitted dates


Avocado smoothie:

  •  1 fronzen banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 cup milk
  •  1/2 cup yoghurt
  •  1 teaspoon honey 
  • 3 pitted dates
  • Vanilla extract for taste

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie:

  •  2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • Vanilla extract for taste
  •  1 cup of frozen raspberries
  •  1 frozen banana
  •  2 tablespoons honey
  •  ½ cup of ice
  • Vanilla extract for taste


To celebrate the start of a new year of health and wellness, I have a Prezzy card valued at $150 to giveaway! To be in the draw to win, simply comment and let me know how you get calcium into your kids.

Thanks to Fonterra for making this post possible