Build confidence and unleash your inner power

Build confidence and unleash your inner power

My name is Dionne I’m a Confidence Coach and I’m known as the Confidence Queen which I love! I’m also a proud mummy of two beautiful girls. My passion is teaching individuals how to elevate their confidence and unleash their inner power.

My name is Dionne I’m a Confidence Coach and I’m known as the Confidence Queen which I love! I’m also a proud mummy of two beautiful girls. My passion is teaching individuals how to elevate their confidence and unleash their inner power. My confidence wasn’t always high. In fact, rewind 5 years and I was a completely different woman. I was pregnant with my second child and found myself single at 5 months pregnant. Shortly after the birth of my second child my dad passed away. My Dad was my rock and devastated was an understatement. My fiancé had already moved on and was expecting a child with another woman. I had two businesses to run, two children to look after and my world literally started to crumble. Although each day I got up, did the school run, paid wages to staff and smiled inside I was dying. It was the darkest time of my life. My confidence was a 2. I felt a failure, I didn’t love myself, I felt like I had no strength and completely lost my identity. I had no inner belief in my capabilities at all. It took me 3 years to truly find myself and turn my life around to the point where I am now. I learned how to elevate my confidence and my self-esteem. I understand how hard it is to navigate the high’s and low’s life throws at us and being a parent only naturally adds to anxiety, it comes with stresses and sometimes we forget to take time or don’t have the time for our own self-care.

If right now your confidence is low and you’re struggling to find yourself let me give you some little tips to kick start your confidence. Confidence doesn’t disappear, it’s a muscle that needs to be worked. To create an impact these tips are best practiced regularly.

  1. Stop the comparison – You are beautiful, and you are enough! You are perfectly imperfect. From today stop comparing yourself, your life, your parenting skills, your body etc with others. Somebody else’s beauty, success, life doesn’t detract from yours. Focus on you, your journey, your goals and watch your confidence increase.
  2. You create your own happiness – Your happiness doesn’t depend on anybody else or anything. Think bout what makes you happy that you have full control over, now how can you incorporate more of that in your day-to-day life?
  3. Destroy the negative thoughts – Negative thoughts are like weeds. They don’t need sunshine or TLC to thrive and grow. They grow and multiply and take over. If you want a beautiful garden, you have to destroy the weeds. Think of your mind as that beautiful garden. Negative thoughts suppress confidence and self-esteem. Get tough with yourself, look at the positive in every situation.
  4. Do one thing each week that scares you. Take yourself out of your comfort zone. There’s nothing better to improve your confidence than doing something you thought you couldn’t or that scared you. Now I’m not saying to go paragliding, it could be something really small but significant to you.
  5. Try to get enough sleep. Getting too little or too much sleep can have a big impact on how you feel.
  6. Set small goals, such as trying a recipe, learning the days of the week in a new language or simply looking for information on something you’d like to do.

I don’t believe anybody should have to wait so long to find themselves again. I teach individuals how to intensify and strengthen confidence in all areas of their lives, elevate their self-esteem to a higher level, learn to unconditionally love themselves, and unleash the inner power that propels them into living a life of abundance. I’m obsessed with teaching people how to master their mindset which lies at the core of their success.

Start with the tips I have given you and feel the difference. You are amazing and you have everything required within you to live the life of your dreams. Believe and have faith in you. You haven’t come this far to just come this far.

Credit – Dionne Ruddock, Coaching with Dionne,

Confidence Queen

Adoption & Parenthood

Adoption & Parenthood

Hello Huddl community!

We are Andi and Darren, a same sex parent family via route of adoption.  We are so happy to be working with Huddl to share our story directly to parents from all walks of life.  

Parents who may be considering the adoption route to extend their family, those who are interested in hearing an alternative route to parenthood to their ‘birth route, or adopters/ fosters carers who are looking for support and to make links with other adoptive families.  We are also hoping to ‘myth bust’ some of the untruths about adopting.  Whatever your reason for choosing to read our blog, you are most welcome!

We are happy to support people going through the process by answering any questions that you may have, no topic is off limits.  Honesty is always the best policy in our book.

To begin, we are going to provide you with an overview of our journey thus far, written by Andi.  We hope you enjoy our story.

Darren and I had been married for three years when we felt it was the right time to start a family. We had different options available to us but as we both work in schools and I had previously worked within children’s social care, we were aware of the increasing number of children in the care system and we felt we were able to offer a child a stable loving family,  so we chose to adopt.

Our daughter Lucy, was only a few months old when we found out that we were a perfect match for her.  Although the profile we were sent was only a few lines long due to her young age, we felt there was something special about her. Lucy was in the care of foster carers who were amazing while we were introduced to her, letting us take a lead in caring for her in their home, under their supervision and guidance. This was really helpful in getting to know her routines/ likes and dislikes and preparing us for parenthood.   

Unfortunately there was a hold up which meant there was a six week delay in Lucy moving to us, therefore our Social Worker, Foster Carer and Local Authority Senior Management agreed that it was in the best interest of Lucy to get to spend as much time with us as possible during this time. This included opportunities to bring Lucy to our home and get her used to her new surroundings and introduce her to our cat Mollie, which actually worked well as they got used to each other very quickly…and are now best mates!

Although we both have experience of working with children in a professional capacity and baby sitting for friends with young children, the responsibility and realisation of having your own child to care for was a very steep learning curve. During our adoption training sessions much of the material is around dealing with trauma and potential issues that may affect the child, often slightly older children, such as past neglect, and not so much about caring for a baby.  Fortunately, we pulled on experiences of friends with young children and the foster carers were a fountain of knowledge and also continue to be a great source of support. We were extremely blessed with such wonderful carers to learn from.  

When an adopted child moves in with you, social care recommend that families go into a ‘mini lockdown’ so that attachments start to form between you and the child/ren and that they feel safe and secure in their new home.  As Lucy had spent such a long time with us prior to her moving in with us, attachments came very quick and we felt a bond very early on.  For the first few weeks of Lucy living with us, we only introduced her to very immediate family and close friends who would be on our ‘on call list’ should we need emergency childcare. Once the initial settling in period had been completed and she was no longer considered to be under fostering arrangements, we were then able to widen our support network and ask other friends and family to support.

Life for us is very different as parents but in such a positive way. It has been so rewarding watching her develop and grow into a lovely little girl. She was welcomed into both sides of the family instantly and is totally adored.  She has brought out the best in so many of our family members and friends and nobody has treated her any differently to other children in the family.

Since adopting we have had many opportunities to help other people either going through the adoption process or who are considering adoption as an option, by speaking at events, training sessions and even some media campaigns.  We have found it very rewarding being able to provide some peer support which we know first hand how invaluable advice, support, guidance and friendship can be.  We have also now started an Instagram page which is growing quite quickly come and find us and say hello ‘dadda_n_daddy’. 

The advice we would give to potential adopters is be realistic in terms of what needs you can and cannot meet of a child. It is so important to be 100% open and honest with your social worker and family finders.   We are now going through the process again to adopt a second child and we are even more aware of our limitations as we have Lucy to take into account this time. Therefore that match needs to be absolutely perfect for all of us.

Prospective adopters need to have a solid support network of people who can help out when needed.  Meeting up and/or making contact with other adopters is a must, we have made some great life long friends through adoption and it is heart warming watching our children play together.

Most of all, make sure you are in a position in your life where you are able to give 100% of your time to the adoption process. 

The process can be emotional, intrusive, and at times frustrating but once you have been matched with your child and they are home with you, you will realise it is the best thing you have ever done!

For further information on adoption email your anonymous questions to and Andi & Darren will offer the support and answers to your questions in our monthly BablMag.

Andi & Darren,

Benefits of staying in shape during pregnancy

Benefits of staying in shape during pregnancy

Benefits of staying in shape during pregnancy:  maintain physical fitness


When it comes to pregnancy and training there are usually two main questions that we as trainers are asked, can I continue training whilst pregnant and can it be beneficial to start some form of training or exercise? The short answers would be yes you absolutely can continue training, maybe not at the velocity and intensity that you originally were training at but you most definitely will benefit from keeping an active routine, secondly for those who aren’t regularly active it would be a great idea to prepare your bodies for the changes that your body is going to be doing over the next few months. Experts agree when you’re expecting, it’s important to keep moving: Pregnant women who exercise have less back pain, more energy, a better body image and, post-delivery a faster return to their pre-pregnancy shape.

  • reduce lower back pain (hello, growing tummy!)
  • manage symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • reduce stress
  • improve postpartum recovery

As stated by the NHS, “The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labour and get back into shape after the birth.” “Exercise is not dangerous for your baby. There is some evidence that active women are less likely to experience problems in later pregnancy and labour.” I have put together some exercises that will help you along the way of each trimester, 3 days a week as a minimum will help prepare your to body cope with the extra strain throughout each trimester. Be sure to warm up and cool down for at least 5 minutes before and after every exercise as well as frequent stretching.

Safety tips for exercising whilst pregnant

  • Get clearance from your doctor if you’re new to exercise or you have any health conditions that may contraindicate exercise 
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise
  • Wear supportive clothing such as a supportive sports bra or belly band
  • Don’t become overheated, especially during the first trimester
  • Avoid lying flat on your back for too long, especially during the third trimester
  • Avoid contact sports and hot yoga

Exercises to focus on in the first trimester of pregnancy

The first three months of pregnancy can be a wild ride of emotions. From elation and pure joy to concern, worry, and even fear as you begin to realise that you’re responsible for nourishing, growing, and keeping this tiny soon-to-be human being safe and healthy. As long as you’re not considered a high-risk pregnancy, a well-rounded prenatal fitness routine that includes at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity each week and 2 to 3 days of strength training exercises that target the major muscle groups is a healthy regime. Focus on specific exercises to help make pregnancy easier and prepare you for labour and childbirth. (although it seems an age away it is key to start preparing the body for the extra strain!)  One key area to focus on is body awareness, preparing for changes in your posture. Exercises like pelvic tilt will help with the mobility in the spinal area and help strengthen the abdominal area


Squats strengthen all the muscles in your lower body — including the quads, glutes, and hamstrings —having strong leg muscles is a great way to protect your back, so you use your legs instead of your back when lifting.

  • Stand in front of a couch, with your back facing. Begin with feet just wider than hip-width apart. Use the couch as a guide to ensure proper form 
  • Squat down like you’re about to sit down on the couch, but come back up just as your thighs start to touch it 
  • Make sure you take 5 seconds to go down 3 seconds to come back up 
  • Exhale as you squat; inhale as you stand 
  • Do 2 sets of 15 to 20 reps

Pelvic tilt 

  • Stand with your shoulders and bottom against a wall
  • Keep your knees relaxed
  • Pull your tummy button towards your spine, so that your back flattens against the wall: hold for 4 seconds then release
  • Repeat up to 10 times

Pelvic tilt exercises can also be performed laying on the floor flat on your back.

Kneeling push-ups

This move targets core and upper body strengthening together.

  • Place your knees and hands onto the ground, once you are ready to start you should engage the core and have knees, hips and shoulders all in a straight line maintaining good posture in this exercise, push up onto your hands and knees, keeping your knees behind your hips
  • Pull in your abs (the pelvic brace), and then slowly lower your chest toward the floor as you inhale 
  • Exhale as you press back up 
  • Start with 6 to 10 and gradually work up to 20 to 24 reps

Bicep curls 

This simple, yet effective move is another excellent exercise to perform throughout pregnancy. Bicep curls are a key move to add to your workouts since you need to prep your arms for lifting and holding your baby. 

  • Grab 5 to 10 pound dumbbells and stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and your knees slightly bent
  • Exhale as you slowly bend your elbows, bringing the dumbbells toward your shoulders 
  • Inhale and slowly lower the weights back down 
  • Take 3 seconds to lift the dumbbells and 5 seconds to lower 
  • Do 2 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions

Exercises to do in the second trimester of pregnancy

Once the reality sets in that you’re in this for the long haul, you may notice a feeling of calmness and even an increase in energy over the next several weeks. Many women say this is the trimester where they feel their best, which is why it’s an excellent time to focus on your fitness routine. On the other hand since the uterus is getting bigger, you do need to be a bit more careful with physical activity. During the second trimester, you want to avoid any activities that involve high impact exercise that involves jumping, running, balance, or exhaustion. You also want to avoid any exercise that has you lying on your back for extended periods of time so exercise like pelvic tilts may have to be amended a little or mixing between standing and laying. In addition to the exercises in the first trimester, consider adding some variations to your squat such as narrow squats and wide stance squats. Triceps and shoulders during this trimester. 

Incline pushups

  • Stand facing a ledge or railing and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the surface 
  • Step your body back into a standing plank position with your back in a straight line 
  • Bend your arms and slowly lower your chest toward the railing or ledge 
  • Straighten your arms to return to the starting position

Hip flexor and quadriceps stretch

Due to postural changes, the second trimester is the ideal time to develop a stretching routine that focuses on the hip flexors, quadriceps, low back, glutes, and calves. Because of your changing centre of gravity, the belly tends to fall forward, creating shortened hip flexor muscles. This exercise allows you to safely stretch during pregnancy. 

  • Go into a half-kneeling position on the floor. Place your right knee on the floor and your left foot in front of you, left foot flat on the floor 
  • Keeping your posture nice and tall, lunge toward your left foot until you feel a stretch in the front of your right hip and thigh 
  • Hold for 30 seconds, ease off, and then repeat 2 more times 
  • Switch sides and repeat

Exercises to do in the third trimester of pregnancy

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Prenatal yoga
  • Pilates
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Bodyweight moves

These help to keep your upper and lower body muscles strong. It is important to avoid any exercise that places you at a risk for falls. Your centre of gravity is now going to be constantly changing, it’s smart to avoid exercises that could lead to a loss of balance, resulting in a fall. Exercises to target during the third trimester include:

  • Bodyweight squats or sumo squats with a wider stance for an increased base of support (only if you’re not experiencing pelvic pain)
  • Bicep curls with light weights
  • Push ups against a wall
  • Tricep kickbacks with light weight 
  • Standing shoulder press with light weights

Staying physically active during pregnancy is beneficial for both mum and baby.  Including some form of exercise most days of the week will maintain a strong core always as improving it, keeping your muscles, and your cardiovascular system in good shape. Plus it can do wonders for your mental health. Please listen to your body and stop if you feel any discomfort or pain. You should always talk with your doctor if you have any concerns or questions regarding wanting to try new things in your workout or about how your body is responding to an exercise.

Credit – James Comley – Personal trainer & Sport coach