Pancakes, Frozen and Trains

As usual this morning, I reluctantly got out of bed. As soon as I was downstairs my daughter announced that it was pancake day and ‘where are the pancakes?’ I groaned and mumbled about doing it later but then decided I had no excuse and pancake were best eaten at breakfast, so, fuelled by a cup of tea,I set to work mixing and flipping. The children were happy pouring copious amounts of maple syrup on their pancakes and waaaay too much sugar. I later did the same for hubby and I for tea. The first course was bacon and maple syrup toppings and the second sounds vile, but was actually a scrummy combination of rhubarb, plain yoghurt and maple syrup. There is something about pancakes that leave your tummy very satisfied. I like them infused with things like berries and alternative toppings, such is there versatility. However, I estimate I have consumed at least 10 pancakes today so I am now very happy to give the a rest fro my diet for a while.

Another thing we have overdosed on recently is the film Frozen. We were invited to a ‘sing-a-long-a’ Frozen film party at a ocal cinema, complete with actors on stage, special effects and props. I have never seen so many Anna and Elsas in one small area and I was thankful my two children were not dressed up as I could easily spot them. Despite my 9 year old thinking it was a bit ‘uncool’, this didnt stop her joining in with all the dance routines and singing. My son was on the edge of his seat chanting ‘Run Sven RUN’ at the appropriate moments in the film.

But, for my daughter, the most exciting part of the day was when we stood on a railway bridge and waved at a train and she saw the driver wave back and then he sounded the trains horn – she was soo excited and said ‘its just like the railway children!’. It just goes to show the old stories are still the best.

This blog is for Unicef.

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Trees, bears and boys

Despite weather reports of rain, myself, baby boy and my daughter brandished our gold and silver paint pots and got to work on turning our little Hazel sapling plucked from the middle of the woods to a glammed up Christmas tree – yes we ‘upcycled’ a tree.

The trunk was painted gold and the branches silver then we left it to ‘dry’ while we set off to our nearest Cinema to watch Paddington Bear. It turned put to be quite a long film and I was very impressed how long baby boy remained in the booster seat contentedly munching on popcorn and slurping water. We all enjoyed the film and didnt feel so worried about spending the money to see it as the children went free thanks to a Warburtons promotion (where I became momentarily obsessed with purchasing Warburtons half and half bread to claim the promotional codes for tickets. I found the film all the more endearing as Paddington’s face reminded me of my dog.

There was also a teenage girl in the film who reminded me of my daughter except my daughter is nearly 9 and already developing ‘a thing’ for boys. When I mention this to other Mothers they talk as if my daughter is unusually young. I actually had my first crush when I was 8 so maybe its in the genes. He was a boy called Delwyn from Wales. You never forget a name like that.

This blog is for Unicef.

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Flcking the V sign to all things ‘vintage’

Since when did everything previously described as ‘retro’ or ‘had it’ or ‘one-way ticket to the dump’ become labelled with the rather glamorous term of ‘vintage’?

Vintage should be reserved for the best old champagnes, the best old cars and anything that comes under ‘luxurious but old’. But suddenly any old tat has become vintage in an effort to ‘upscale its worth.

This observation came after watching the Irish property developers programme ‘amazing spaces’, during which he described a delapidated old camper van and caravan as a genius conversion to a mobile ‘vintage tea room’. There seems to be a proliferation of businesses starting up mobile catering in ‘vintage’ modes of transport that are cramped and frankly toxic for the environment. Pizza, cakes, coffee, pies and even cheese on toast can now be served out of the back of an old VW or Citroen at a premium price across Summer fetes this year. No doubt I will lose count of how many variations of this ‘vintage catering’ trend i see at Camp Bestival later this year.

I say bring back the good old fashioned Transit van, but with maybe slightly better options than burgers and hotdogs. I dont care how it got to the venue, as long as the food tastes good and the best before date isnt ‘vintage’, its all good in my present day hood.

Vintage is so last season darling…..

I am blogging for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Testy tummies

Having quit sugar now for 8 weeks, i am starting to notice there are severe consequences if i deviate.

The other night i mentioned i had invited some friends round and ate more than i should in crisps and dips. While i didnt eat anything sweet, i probably ate more than my usual intake in sugar – I was as sick as a dog later.

My baby boy was then ill a few days later, so then i thought it must have been a bug.

Not so.

Yesterday I succumbed to  a small slice of my brother-in-laws cake. I felt so bloated afterwards i wanted my stomach to be pumped. This feeling continued through the night, into this morning and hampered my appetite for the rest of the day, making me feel slightly nauseous…….and that was one slice of cake.

After these two major occurrences, i then thought back to other occasions recently when my stomach felt uncomfortable and i have felt nauseous – like the time i sucked on some dark chocolate when it was time of the month.

This quit extreme reaction to sugary foods, after having cut it out for a while, surprises me. But when you think about how careful you have to be to alter the diets of horses and dogs (to avoid problems such as colic), it is no wonder that i have been feeling iffy.

Just like the IQS diet, i read an article in RED Magazine about Ella Woodward, whose reaction to drinking alcohol and consuming copious amounts of sugar while a university student, led to her being diagnosed with PoTS – postural tachycardia syndrome – a rare condition that affects the nervous system, causing nausea, exhaustion, dizziness and weakness. Now, like IQS, she has a diet of raw vegetables and unprocessed food and lots of green smoothies. Interesting recipes include sweet potato brownies and courgette noodles using a spiraliser gadget that you can pick up for £30 on amazon. For inspiration check out deliciouslyella.co.uk.

I’m feeling better already.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

 

Let’s hear it for the girls

Sorry I was absent last night. I hit my Thursday night wall again for the second time. I have this wonderful boss who is very charming and this helps in his powers of delegation. He askes me to focus on one project and then keeps adding to my task list, forgetting that I work 22 hours a week. I’m not the modern day Cinderella, my work more resembles the ugly stepsister trying to squeeze work into the petite shoe that is my part-time hours. I’m sure part-timers the world over are nodding their heads in sage agreement.  I also got a dose of what it is like to be a single working-mum, as hubby was away. Hence me hitting the deck as soon as possible. Single working mothers I bow down to you all in awe – hats off girls and keep up the good work!

Of course I also took advantage of hubby being away by organising a girls night in. I also gave myself a night-off from checking the nutritional info o the back of pre-prepared food, so just chucked some dips on the table and breadsticks and let the girls let rip. I had my fair share too plus a couple of glasses of wine. So I was incredibly puzzled when I found myself upchucking over the toilet bowl in the small hours – has my diet made my tummy completely intolerant of anything mildly rubbish? I don’t know, needless to say I haven’t touched the dips since, I am also a bit scared of the crisps …and rose wine.

In my bid  for the bed and rest, I missed the England Men’s football, what a shame….lost again.

But on the flip side, look how well the women are doing:

England’s Women are just one point away from next summer’s World Cup after a narrow 2-1 win in Ukraine.

Mark Sampson’s side have won all eight qualifiers to date and are five points clear of second-placed Wales with two Group 6 matches remaining. A draw in Wales in August will seal a place at Canada 2015. (source: thefa.com)

Read more here

I am already looking forward to next year when I am hopeful the women can show the guys how it is done….and on (shock horror) less than £300k a week (or whatever Rooney earns).

I shall tell that to my daughter when I pick her up from football after school today, she is gradually receiving more passes from the boys having inspired the girls to get involved, come on we are in 2014 people!

As I missed last night’s post another £1 to Unicef. If you can donate to the campaign – great!

Thanks for reading.

A bottomless pit

I have put on 5 pounds on the IQS diet. Dont blame the diet though. Before I reach for a spoon of sugar in my coffee again, it has dawned on me that i may have been eating more than the rda on peanut butter, which has an effect, even the reduced sugar and salt version. So over the next month peanut butter has been put on the naughty list and i will continue my mission to be sugar free in a bid to be healthier.

A magazine article on body shape featured a comment from a woman that struck a chord with me.  She said her focus wasn’t on her lumps and bumps but on healthy eating. So, i figured if i focus on health, the lumps and bumps will follow (or rather drop off). In the meantime i continue to be repellent to sugar, in the same way that a ex-smoker dismisses offers of a cigarette, today i declined chocolate muffins and mr whippy ice-cream.

However, it is hard to focus on health when all you really want to do is decrease the land mass of your rear-end. My baby boy has discovered it as a new form of entertainment to spank it so it wobbles, a habit inspired by the actions of both my daughter and husband. I am now wondering whether it is impossible to get rid of extra bum – if your born with it you have just got to sit on it – like Kim Kardashian.

Or is it years of bouncing up and down on horses’ backs. Maybe my body’s reaction was to create a buffer, hence the big butt.

Of course there are many more things to be worrying about than the size of bottoms. Us women have to shoulder the burden of achieving the ‘ideal’ figure but ‘ideal’ for whom?

Now my husband has started to comment that my daughter’s bottom is ‘filling out’ and i instantly retaliate with an exclamation of what a beautiful butt it is.

I wonder if there will ever be a time when women are more relaxed about their body shape? Or is it a culture that will continue in perpetuity?

Maybe the way to address it is through a process of elimination, a bit like weeding out an allergy. For example what would happen if high-fashion was excluded from the public conscience for a year, or it was insisted that only plus size models (aka normal size) were used for all advertising campaigns?

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Duracell no added sugar

I am almost a month in to my ‘i quit sugar’ diet and i have found one benefit that i wasnt expecting. It is not to do with weight loss (although thankfully i havent put on any weight), it is actually energy levels.

Today I was like one of those Duracell bunnies. I kept waiting for a wall of tiredness to hit me so i just kept going and going. In fact now (21.23 pm) is the first time i have actually sat down. Every time i thought i had a chance to momentarily put my feet up, i kept saying, ‘i will just do the washing/ washing-up/ prepare dinner/ water plants/feed horses / dogs/ clean bathroom while washing kids in bath……and this is after power-hooping in the morning and walking round the countryside with the kids and dogs all day…..and while feeling below par with a grotty cold. Its not bad this cutting out sugar lark.

It makes you wonder what it is about sugar that zaps your energy long-term? A friend of mine said she couldnt quit sugar because she would feel too lethargic. When in fact cutting it out would be the best thing for her. I find my energy levels are consistent, i dont have the peaks and troughs in energy levels like i used to. So, where in the past i would turn towards something sugary mid afternoon and later in the evening, i dont feel the need for it.

Coconut is also my new best friend and the children both enjoy drinking coconut water, it is amazingly refreshing and more hydrating than water. I am looking forward to having a go at a sugar free bounty bar recipe as they were one of my favourite sweets.

A few times my husband has complained that there is not enough ‘unhealthy’ stuff in the cupboards and the children seem to have re-discovered fruit.

Not that we exclude treats, we went to the chocolate cafe yesterday and all three of them had chocolate (apart from me with my glowing halo). My husband couldnt finish off his brownie and i declined it so my daughter wrapped it up in a napkin and put it in my bag for later.

Later on that evening, i found an empty slightly chewed up napkin next to my rather sheepish looking dog, she is becoming a dab hand (or should i say paw) at rifling through my bag. Last time she did that she finished off a bag of maltesers.

I wonder if they do a ‘quit sugar for dogs’?

I am blogging every say for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.