hair, happiness, health.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Weight Loss and on-the-go Meal Planning

Free stock photo of food, salad, dinner, eating

Preparation is something I do a lot of...birth preparation for my doula clients that is.  I know the value of being prepared, and of going into a situation armed and ready when it comes to the time to welcome a baby earth side.   What I've never done much of though, is thinking about and preparing my meals for days when I'm out working.  Oh I might sling an apple in my bag, but will I ever get around to eating it? (I always change the handbag apples when they start to look too sad) Far more likely that I'll eat the crisps that I also take, aiming to buy a sandwich at the hospital to eat with them







.

In my head, I've got enough to be thinking about, and I'm a busy person, so that rich and tantalising chocolate sponge cake that the hospital League of Friends coffee shop sells by the slice looks homemade (and therefore must be healthy) and will be a great lunchtime energy boost after a morning on the wards, readying me to meet breastfeeding mums at the drop-in in the afternoon.  The volunteers at the shop even save me the last slice on the days that I'm working.

I have combined my preparation with some hypnosis to help me to obsess less about those unhealthy choices that I so want to make!  I have been really impressed with Hypnosis Ninja AKA Rafe and Liz, who have developed digital downloads of sessions combining classic hypnosis with NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) in a vast array of subjects, not just dieting. I find the downloads very simple to use, and at under £10 amazing value for a 17 minute session that you keep for ever.  It's like having my very own hypnotherapist at my fingertips whenever I feel in need!  If you're struggling with any kind of behaviour from phobias to obsessive behaviour to just wanting to stop smoking, sleep better, deal with waking at night or change your relationship to food, there is a download for you. I used Change Your Relationship To Food and have found it an absolute pleasure to use and very effective in controlling my snacking on chocolate crisps and ice cream.

On a busy day at work, I know that I'm going to get hungry and time will be short, so the last thing I want to do is grab something easy but loaded with calories and chemicals. Out comes my little insulated lunch bag, several ice packs and sandwich box, and in goes any number of delicious salads with leaves including spinach and watercress. You can add sliced tomatoes, peppers cucumber, celery, nuts, avocado, hard boiled eggs, toasted fennel seeds, toasted cumin seeds, toasted any sort of seeds and nuts. In the picture above I've toasted some black kale in coconut oil to make it crispy and added smoked salmon and a tiny splash of home made vinaigrette.  Slices of chicken, quorn, tofu, beans and pulses are a great way to bulk out the salad and make it a filling, satisfying lunch.

For the vinaigrette:

  • 3 bsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • A garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • Pinch of Maldon Salt
  • Some crushed black pepper
  • A teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • A teaspoon of honey
When my salad contains apple or avocado chunks I give a good spritz of lemon juice to keep them from going brown, and for adding a nice fresh flavour, especially nice with smoked salmon too.

It takes me the whole lunch break to crunch through this lot.  It tastes divine.  I wouldn't normally take time to really taste what I'm eating, I'd be reading or scrolling whilst eating my sandwich, but this kind of meal is so flavourful, and doesn't take your energy to digest.  I notice that I don't get hit by that typical 2pm wave of tiredness as my body copes with digesting bread and other complex carbohydrates, and of course I don't get that sugar crash later on in the day either!

Ernie and I have just done 5000 of my 10000 a day steps! Time for a cup of tea x
Ernie and I are not used to 10000 steps for sure!
This blog post contains an affiliate link which means that I get a tiny payment from any purchases made through the link. This does not affect the purchase price, but it does help me to keep on blogging!

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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Easy Ways To Fully Clean Your Make-up Equipment

Free stock photo of fashion, person, people, woman

This article was sent to me by Demi Giles. The picture above is sadly not one of mine as my brushes are all a bit of a mess, but I'm going to find some time over the next few days to follow Demi's advice and give them not only a good clean but also disinfect them. All the products Demi mentions are things that you'll easily find in your cupboard too. There are a few links in the article to which will take you to Demi's website.

If you're are a make up lover then you most probably have a kit full of brushes, different in size or type. This is actually great but do you take the necessary care of them? Not cleaning your brushes every once in a while has some down sides. Every time when you put make up on your face, you add dust particles, dirt and make up from your previous use straight back on your face as well. Sounds unhygienic, doesn’t it? Actually, there is something more disturbing. Tons of bacteria and dead skin cells accumulate in your make up brushes, forcing their way to your face too.

I provide you with all this information to convince you that in order to protect your skin from break outs and more, you’d better apply proper and regular cleaning treatments on your brushes. You only need to wash them at least once or twice a week. It is even better if you try to clean eye brushes after each use in order not to get possible eye infection. However, if you have too many make up brushes, all these procedures can get very time consuming. So now I will reveal you some of the most efficient and quickest ways to keep your beauty equipment clean, including not only make up brushes but make up sponges as well.

Rinse the make up brushes with warm water. It is important to do it with the bristles pointing down because you do not want to wet the base of the brush. You may ask why? Because if you do, you risk to weaken the glue which will surely make the life of the brush shorter. Only few people know that this is the main reason because of which the bristles start to fall out.

Something simple to do which you can fully trust to work is to pour few drops of shampoo or liquid soap onto the brush and then lather gently. Rinse it with warm water again and repeat this procedures as many times as necessary till the water eventually runs clear. If you find it hard to remove completely some stubborn debris, work some coconut oil into it. This should loosen the stuffed particles and make the cleaning way much easier.

Now that the brushes must be already perfectly clean, lets do some disinfection. Mix two cups of water and add one cup of white vinegar in a bowl or a bigger glass. Dip the brushes into the solution and let them stay for a minute or more (remember not to wet the base!). Rinse one more time and let them dry overnight on a microfibre cloth or a towel. See that it is not that hard to keep your brushes clean? Have in mind that it is advisable to do it every week in order to keep dirt away from your face.

I promised you to tell you how to clean your make up sponge as well. Actually, the process is almost the same as the already mentioned one. Rinse, lather, rinse, dry. Except for the absence of bristles, there is one more essential difference. If your sponge never seem to dry off, most probably it might have started to grow mould. If you have such suspicions, cut it open to see if there are any mould traces. If you do, throw it away right away. If you do not, you can keep on using the pieces.

So now it’s time to be frank. Ask yourself how often you clean your make up brushes and sponges? If you do to less than once per month, lets say, then you should definitely take my advice into consideration
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Monday, 18 September 2017

My Top 5 Products For Enhancing Natural Curls


These are what I'm currently loving for coping with my naturally curly/frizzy/wavy hair.  Without products, my hair tends towards frizz, so I've always got something in the drawer for making sure that my hair is veering more towards curl.  My hair is as changeable and moody as our British weather, and what I use depends on what my hair is like at the time. This in itself, depends on various factors.  If I've just washed it, it can be soft and curly and I want to maximise that, retaining the softness but making sure there's still some curl.  The day after washing it will feel dry and coarse and the curls might need something a bit stronger to make them behave.  Some mornings I spray my hair with water and add products to enable me to comb it through and allow the curl to spring back as it dries...high maintenance or what?!  A couple of these are my staple go-tos, and the others I'm trying out, and finding that they will fit nicely into my curly life.



Aveda is my absolute favourite hair products brand as you know...but I'm not a huge fan of all the products in the 'Be Curly' range however.  Maybe because my hair already has the coarse texture, so I don't need any more of that, and some of those products really give a lot of texture, which is fine if that's what you need.  The Curl Enhancer is a bit different though, it seems to give me a smooth and soft finish whilst amping up the curl as it dries.  I use this on my hair after washing, and although you can blow dry, with diffuser of course, it's not dependent on heat, so I let it dry naturally.  If I know that I want to be super curly I will use this, and not often need very much else once I'm dry and good to go.  It's available online, or in your local Aveda salons. It's around £21 for 200ml...check it out here: Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer 

I'm just getting into this range, and will be reviewing the Pool Proof leave in hair protection cream later on this month.  If you're a swimmer, and blonde, you might be interested in products that stop you being a green-blonde.  The Umberto Giannini Curl Friends scrunching jelly is so aptly named...if you're not careful, you do end up with that 'crunchy curl' look.  This stuff was a real lesson in 'less is more' for me, and I'm usually a bit heavy handed with products, either that or I don't use enough.  The Curl Friends claims to create shiny defined curls, and it does give a really nice shine.  I use this on my most stubborn frizz which exists on one side of my head, at the back.  This stuff sorts it out, if I use it on my hair when its really quite wet, and either leave it to dry naturally, or gently blow dry with a diffuser.  I also use this on up do's to control straggly bits that have escaped.  Its not sticky, it's great for rescuing curls that have been trapped under a motorcycle helmet and are looking a bit the worse for wear...hence I always buy the little 50ml size to slot into my bike jacket pocket or rucksack.  I honestly can't remember theexact price, but I know its nowhere near the Aveda price range, its much cheaper and available in boots.



Aveda again...this post isn't sponsored, honestly, I just love this stuff so much. It's their humectant pomade this time, from their 'Brilliant' range and yes I also have the anti-humectant pomade for straight hair days and for finishing as well.  This stuff is amazing, and I love the way it kind of vibrates in the tub if you tap it.  It smells absolutely beautiful, like all Aveda hair products. It defines and adds shine to coarse hair, and enhances natural waves and curl.  Aveda suggest blending it with any of their styling products to give extra moisture and condition in dry climates...I've never tried that but then I live in Britain so we don't often do dry.  I completely adore this stuff, and I use it on damp and dry hair.  Honestly I would use it every day but its £22 for 75ml.  Don't get me wrong...it lasts and is totally worth the money, but I am on a budget so this is a bit of a treat or something I use when everything else is going wrong and I need the reassurance of a product that will deliver perfect results and smell amazing and last for the whole day.  It's also another one for taming the frizzy escapees on up-do days.  I can't believe I've left it to the end to mention one of the most amazing properties of this...the shine.  Again, it's non sticky, not tested on animals, does what it says, and it lasts.


ORS Curls Unleashed...what a product! The smell is totally insane, unless you don't like almond essence. It's described as shea butter and honey curl defining crème, and claims to 'moisturize, define and enlongates natural hair' and I think it does all three.  This brand is especially for coarse afro hair, and I've used some of their olive oil based products which are incredibly moisturizing and curl friendly. This is my go to product for after a workout.  I slather this on my wet hair and leave it to dry, and it gives me the most amazing curls, no stickiness, no dryness, no extra weight...and the SMELL!!!  It gives a really fierce, firm, bouncy curl to my hair, and is great if I haven't got time in the morning to wash my hair, just wet spray, slather in this product, comb through with a wide tooth comb and go.  I got mine for a very reasonable price,  under £10 in Boots, and there is a lot of product.



The Palmers Cream Pudding Curl Styler is similar to the last product in a that its in a big tub and smells like sweet food, but the similarity ends there. Honestly could you resist a product called Cream Pudding?  I purchased this in Sainsbury's whilst searching for the Palmers lanolin and coconut hair conditioner with vitamin E.  This is a really ancient product in my draw that is super useful but I can't seem to find it now.  Anyway, back to the Curl Styler Cream Pudding.  It's got that chocolatey coconut smell going on, but is a much lighter product than the Ors. It has an impressive list of oils in the ingredients: coconut, monoi, avocado, jojoba, and sweet almond, but curiously it doesn't feel oily at all.  It is for use on damp hair, which you can blow dry or leave to dry, but I don't find so much curl control in this, its just a really nice softener that doesn't feel as oily as its ingredient list suggests it should be. Typically of me I also use it on my dry hair if its looking dry and straw like, because I can't overdo it, and it seems to calm my hair down. Its totally light and non-sticky.  It's also impressively free of sufates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, gluten or dye, and is ingredients are ethically and sustainably sourced.

What do you use to keep your curls curly? let me know!
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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Changing My Relationship With Food (2 Week UPDATE)

Free stock photo of food, plate, dinner, meal

This post follows on from this one where I tried out Hypnosis Ninja's digital download hypnosis session on changing my relationship with food. You can try it too, here and if you are struggling with food in any way, I can thoroughly recommend that you do!. Two weeks on and I am so impressed with my results; it's astonishing that this resource is available to you for under a tenner, and you get to listen to it whenever you feel that you might need to.  Well done Hypnosis Ninja for a top quality product.  I really like the fact that the sessions combine classic hypnosis with NLP (neuro linguistic programming) Unlike other hypnosis tapes for eating more healthily, the download doesn't encourage you to make associations with certain foods, it uses the fact that we all know how to make healthy choices, and harnesses the unconscious mind which actually drives so much of what we do and choices we make, without any conscious awareness.

I have used my download a further 3 times, because I have had a couple big meals out over the last fortnight as well as the turning of the season back to darker evenings, which often results in earlier nights reading or watching TV in bed, and the snacking that goes along with that.  Having said that, I saw fantastic results right from the start after listening to the download for the very first time.  I relaxed on the bed listening to my download just before settling down for the evening to a evening of reading and watching YouTube which is a classic time for me to reach for the chocolate, crisps, and ice cream.  I have tried just not giving in, distracting myself with cups of tea etc, but thinking about my snacks becomes an obsession, and even though I'm not hungry, I still find myself craving naughty food.  However this time, after listening to my download, I just carried on with my evening's activity, and DID NOT think of food at all. Even when my stomach rumbled with hunger, I was able to just notice the sensation, but then simply continue with what I was doing.

I find that I am naturally eating less, and making healthier meal choices when I do.  So far, the weight loss is 4lb, which is great. I have been combining this work with tackling a related issue for me, using the download Drink Less Alcohol I don't know if Hypnosis Ninja recommend tackling one problem at a time, but for me wanting to lose weight I need to deal with food and alcohol together. To be honest, it took me ages to realise that my love for a glass or three of wine over the weekend was impacting my efforts to lose the extra stone...I simply didn't associate it with calories, or food, or excess weight.  I don't drink at home and I don't buy bottles of wine in the supermarket as part of my weekly shop like I used to. I do all my drinking socially, at the weekend...a proper binge drinker I suppose, the worst kind of intake for health. The trouble is, my social activities of bonfire and seeing live bands in pubs tend to be in places where alcohol is served and others are drinking.  I sometimes feel a little anxious socially, so tend to drink partly to cover this up, almost like a displacement activity.  It's all very well coming up with a plan before I go to alternate wine with lemonade, drink slower etc, but so far the results have been limited to say the least!!  

I listened to my download before going out at the weekend, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I felt able to stick to just one glass of wine, two pints of lemonade. My head felt so much clearer the following day. It's early days for this one, so you know me, I'll be reporting back in a couple of weeks! Do have a look at Hypnosis Ninja's downloads and see if there's one for you.  Next week I have the dentist, and I will be listening to Dealing With A Fear Of Dental Work and of course I will let you know how it goes.

This post contains affiliate links which means that I get a tiny proportion of any sales made, but it doesn't cost you a penny more to purchase this way.

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Monday, 11 September 2017

Long Lost Families

Free stock photo of city, fashion, man, people    Whenever I find myself walking along a crowded street, particularly in London, where I was born, I can't help wondering if any of the people I'm walking past are related to me.  This is probably a common theme among adopted people, or those who don't know their dads for instance, or siblings.  I know there must be someone out there other than my children and grandchildren with whom I share DNA, but will we ever be introduced?

This usually bubbles closer to the surface of my brain when ITV's Long Lost Families comes back on TV.

I love how an enormous range of different people from all walks of life, with the huge variety in the details of their stories are all drawn together by a similar thread.  The simple but fathomless need to connect with people of their blood, to know that they were loved and wanted despite impossible circumstances.  Its the similarity of people's reactions across all the episodes in every series when they are told that their mother/child has been found, that really gets to me.  The way they sit with that new reality for a moment before asking the same questions, in the same order, as everybody else does, whether child, parent or sibling.

"You've really found her?" Disbelief, surprise, excitement, elation. An almost instantaneous change in facial tone, body aura. If you watch carefully, you can see that heavy lifetime's weight rolling away from burdened shoulders. Faces become finer, brighter, and eyes full of sorrow and pain actually truly smile again....incredibly this change is visible from those first moments onwards.

"Is she alright?" The joy and relief of a reply in the affirmative.

"Does she want to see me?" Genuine questioning and vulnerability in the eyes...will there will be a rejection? Again replaced by elation when its confirmed that she does.

Long Lost Families came into my life maybe 3 or 4 years ago.  Up until then, I had experienced my feelings internally, unconsciously, and in solitary.  Whatever happens to me in my journey through life as an adoptee, knowing that this universal similarity of experience exists is such a deep comfort to me.  Will I ever know the joy of finding, or being found?  Will that weight of unknowing and loss and disconnection ever roll away from my shoulders?  I don't know, and more than that, I can not live my life pinning all my hopes on the slim chance that it will.  I take comfort in the other joys my life has given me, and accept that perhaps that weight is my cross to bear.  Somewhere out there my dear mother bears her cross too. I remain open as ever to the possibilities and allow myself to feel more at ease, knowing that my feelings and reactions are normal, and shared by so many others.

And searching, finding and meeting...an energy in itself...conveys no guarantees that going forward, the person will remain in your life in the way of a lifetime's fantasies.  My life is a balance of longing and acceptance, of fantasy, and reality, and loving what is.


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Saturday, 9 September 2017

I need a pair of silver DMs


Yet another in my 'in the toilet' photographs,
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Monday, 4 September 2017

Aveda Damage Remedy Range, Product Review.


Aveda products are plant-based, cruelty-free, a joy to use, and they really work!

This product review  is my honest opinion, not paid or sponsored, and I purchased these products myself.  Right, we are talking about three products
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Thursday, 31 August 2017

Changing My Relationship With Food



Time to get real. You may remember (I kind of hope you've forgotten) that
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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

My top 5 Products for Banishing Bleached Blonde Brassiness


My natural hair is a combination of dark brown and pure white, distributed
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Friday, 18 August 2017

Aveda Blue Malva Colour Conditioner - Product Review


Aveda's deep conditioning colour conditioners and colour shampoos are made with pure flower and plant essences.

This is a product I've been using for years.  I purchased it myself, and this review
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Monday, 14 August 2017

Juicing for Health




I came to the awareness of juicing gradually, as I became aware of peri-menopausal symptoms and the need to care for my health and nutrition more.
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Saturday, 12 August 2017

Pixie growth, 20 months!




Today is August 12th 2017, 20 months to the day that I last cut my hair, on 12th December 2015!


What a journey its been to grow back into myself. Although I really enjoyed my pixie crop,
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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Wheat Grass Juice, History and Evidence for Health in a Shot Glass

Scenic View of Wheat Field Against Sky

Wheat grass is the early growth of the common wheat plant, sprouted, then grown on for a week before being juiced, or dried and
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Friday, 4 August 2017

Menopause and Me


This is my personal story.  I totally get that it may not be like this for other women.  I believe in the power of stories, which is why I want to tell this one.
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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

5 things to consider before a drastic hair cut


Will short hair suit your face, body and style?  How can you know in advance if having a drastic hair cut is a good idea for you? 
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Thursday, 27 July 2017

On Being Adopted

Baby Holding Human Finger

Acknowledging the profound affect that being separated from birth mother and family has into adulthood. Why am I sharing this with you?
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How I go from Dark Brown to Platinum Blonde.

Closeup Photo of Woman on Blue Textile


How I reach a very light result from box-dyed dark brown base, along with some of the science behind why I use the products I do, and why they work.
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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

My sweet ones #dailygratitude


The special magic of this place!
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Saturday, 22 July 2017

June hair update (18 months Pixie growth!)



This was June...realising that I have spent most of this month wearing my hair straight.  This does make sense as during the wetter months there isn't any point in straightening it.  There's really no point if there's even a drop of moisture in the air, because it just frizzes up.

Is it really strange to say that I am absolutely loving the way the colour looks here....but
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A little peek at my Hair Horrors, & 8 Ways to Cope with Overbleached Hair.



Woman Using Hair Brush



How to cope if this happens to you. It happened to me....
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Saturday, 1 April 2017

March hair update



This picture isn't very clear but I think it's quite atmospheric!  Anyway, this is my March hair growth update, and I have straightened it for my night out.
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Sunday, 26 February 2017

Out out



First proper out outing of 2017.  Sussex Bonfire ensures a ferocious social whirl from September through December, so
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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Bloodline


A sunny day in my parents' garden, so long ago.  Love and warmth radiates from this photograph, and I wish my own children could have known these two.  Dad died
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Monday, 20 February 2017

Not to be sneezed at


This shelf in my kitchen holds some of the stuff I use in my doula business, for preparing placentas for mummas.  I process placentas into capsules, as well as making creams and tinctures.   Up there also is a little pile of napkins printed like £50 notes.  I have sometimes  struggled with my own concepts about money; that you should only have as much as you need and no more, that I wasn't worth the money I could earn and a host of others that I am working on eliminating as I discover them.  This pile of printed tissues cost me £1.99, but they look like hundreds of pounds in a pile.  They make a very interesting prop, and tool for manifesting more money.  They also serve to show me (as if my bank statement doesn't!) that there's still more work to be done.

Even taking a picture of this pile of tissues made me uncomfortable...like I was showing off, or posting a nude photo or something.  Meanwhile I will leave you with this thought...I love money, and money loves me.

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

#Gratitude for sunshine and tax returns

Those rays of sunshine!

Yesterday was so called 'Blue Monday', that second Monday in January where everyone is supposed to be at their lowest ebb.  I want to say what a load of codswallop, but I have to admit that yesterday was challenging for me and not just because of the cold and wet weather which caused everything to look grey rather than blue.  I had that dragging feeling that everything I did that day wasn't good enough, was never going to be enough, that I was running out of time to get it right, that I had wasted so much time already, not achieving the things that everyone else around me seems to get right easily.  Yep, I know, we all get this at some time and it did seem via social media and people in my personal life, as though yesterday did have some kind of magical power to depress and dishearten everyone!

Instead of trying to fight this inner feeling, I just went with it, observing it in a mindful way, also remaining mindful that I am not my feelings.  It came, it went.  And I woke up this morning to the sunshine.  Today is a fast day, so cups of tea in abundance, and also the day that I have set aside to complete my self-assessment tax return.  Given my usual attitude of fear towards any paperwork, the fact that setting up a small business can be more about loss than profit at first, and also that I do actually owe the taxman some money,this day should be as unpleasant as yesterday, but I have a new affirmation that 'I love money, and money loves me' and being scared of delving into my profit and loss accounts doesn't resonate with loving my money.  I'm sucking it up and getting over that one, and enjoying the sunshine that's coming through the window and shining on my accounts!
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Thursday, 12 January 2017

A page from my memoirs



Forgive the poor quality photograph, I took it this Christmas Eve just gone, when I was blessed to be surrounded for one day by all my children, their partners and children.  These two scallywags are my older sons, born 16 months apart in the late 80's. 

They say that every baby brings in his or her own energies with them, and that is so true for all my children.  My oldest bought the energy of change, as my life was to be almost unrecognisable from the one I was living when he was conceived.  I left my job, my home, the town I was living in, all my friends, and moved to this house that we are still in.  My dear dad died just before my boy was born.  This loss was sudden and completely unexpected.  Although, or maybe because they never met in this physical life, there is such a connection apparent between my son and his grandfather, in my eyes.  My dad loved mountains, meadows and clear alpine air, and his dream holidays were always spent walking among alpine flowers and marvelling at beautiful Swiss, German and Austrian landscapes.  My oldest son has travelled, toured alone on his motorbike to these regions, and lived and worked in the mountains.  He sent pictures of himself mountaineering with friends that he'd made on the trip.  It took my breath away to see these pictures, because the morning after my dad's death, I woke up in bed and just thought, well where is my dad?  I know he's dead, but what does that mean?   Where is he and what is he doing right now?  Well instantly I got my answer.  I saw him laying on a couch, on the balcony of a huge Swiss chalet, overlooking the mountains and lakes.  He was recouperating in the hereafter following his fatal heart attack, in the fresh mountain air that he loved.

My second son came only 16 months after my first, before he had been properly cooked in my belly, so he was rather ill and in hospital for the first weeks of life.  He recovered well, and the pair of them and the brother and two sisters who followed made my life rich and blessed with fun and love, although my life was rarely quiet!  That's why it was so good when they came home to fill my place with music and singing and laughter and fun again!
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Volunteering...is it crazy to volunteer when you're borassic?



Borassic Lint = skint...showing my London roots today!  Anyway, yes, am I mad for volunteering an afternoon a week and sometimes more in my local hospital when I need to earn money?  Sort of.  I do feel that charity begins at home, and it's my job to provide as best as I can for my family, putting food on the table at the end of the month when things get tight. 

I've always been lucky in that respect, because even when things have been pretty dire, I've always been able to rustle a meal up from somewhere, and there's always been a roof over my head, for which I have much gratitude, and also is a tangible display of the rightness of my faith that the universe is supporting and looking after us.

I do my very best to bring in money for us, doing the things I love to do, and some things I'm less keen on, like cleaning.  But there's one thing that I love to do, but don't get paid for in money, but receive riches beyond what I could describe.  Supporting women and their babies to breastfeed is one of the most rewarding parts of my life, which is funny when I think about how much I dreaded working in the clinics after my peer support training four years ago.  I did the 16 week course by the La Leche League with my local community NHS trust in order to improve my confidence in supporting my postnatal clients in my doula practice.  The course was free, but the obligation was to volunteer in the community clinics for six months afterwards, and I dreaded this part. 

The reason I dreaded it was that my experiences of breastfeeding as a mum were ones of pain, lack of support and frustration, so I associated supporting women to breastfeed with these negative feelings.  Actually what I found was women who were brave, persistent, determined to feed their babies in the way that they wanted to , even when it was challenging, painful and hard going.  These women inspired me, and so did some of the healthcare professionals I worked with.  I continued with volunteering way beyond my six months, and four years on, I'm working at my local hospital drop-in clinic.

It's sometimes challenging, but always rewarding.  things don't always go well for the women, but we get the opportunity to offer our support, whatever happens.  It is such a gift to have time to listen to someone, properly listen.  I couldn't buy that.
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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Brunch after my fasting day



This is my yummy brunch before heading out to work following my fast day on the 5:2 intermittent fasting.  I don't find that I'm absolutely starving like you might expect following a fast, and I do like to make sure that the first food I eat is clean and healthy, and isn't going to send me off into a sugar high to be followed by the insulin crash later on.  The nuts and halloumi in this will sustain me throughout the afternoon at work, and the sundried tomatoes, olives and splash of vinaigrette make this a super tasty meal which is still low in calories and really healthy.
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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Fast day 5:2



This is what dinner time looks like for me on a fasting day...a big pot of green tea.  I have been using Dr Michael Mosely's intermittent fasting for a few years now when I want to shed a few pounds and it really works and I find it easier than changing my every day diet or obsessively counting calories.  I eat a Mediterranean style diet usually, so pretty healthy with lots of green leafy veg, raw veg, leaves, fruit, nuts, seeds, pulses, fish, eggs and yoghurt.  However I do struggle with a sugar addiction that involves craving chocolate and cakes, especially late at night.

Intermittent fasting, whether it be fasting for 16 hours a day and having an 8 hour window where you eat freely, or fasting for two days out of every seven, taking a maximum of 600 calories on those two fast days and eating freely on the remaining five.  I like this way of eating as it has other benefits alongside weight-loss.  Being hungry for a period of time triggers some physiological changes in the body which include improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity.  It triggers the activity of cancer-busting cells too.  You can find out more about it Here

I find that fasting helps to clear my mind and speed up my thinking, almost as though an excess of food for the body to process clogs up the system which is reflected in how I feel, if this makes sense!

I like to eat with my family in the evenings as this is our time to catch up, and I have usually cooked the meal anyway, so its no hardship to sit there with my pot of tea with them, and for the person on a shoestring, well, fasting costs nothing!
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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Happy New Year!







Ernie and I go out twice a day usually, and we go up to the windmill near my house, Oldland Mill, which leads to some woods and fields. 
Through the trees the Sussex Downs can be seen to the south, and looking north, the Weald and Ashdown Forest.  Despite all this beauty on our doorstep, Ernie and I do like to get out now and then, and when these beauties asked us to accompany them on an afternoon walk through Nymans Gardens in Staplefield, Handcross in West Sussex, we jumped at the opportunity!

I was a Nymans virgin, having always assumed that it was a National Trust property and would charge entry fee.  I was mistaken, because parking and entry to these lovely woods was free, and they are absolutely stunning even at this time of year.  There was a steep path leading down to some impressive Scots pines, with other paths branching off left and right for further exploration another time!  I am really excited to return here and see this lovely forest wearing it's spring clothes, and my personal favourite flowers are the woodland flowers of early spring; primrose, wood anemone, and bluebells.  Summer should be cool, dark and mysterious in these woods, and autumn will be just breath-taking, judging by the c
arpet of russet leaves still evident on this January woodland floor.

Ernie loved it too...another favourite to add to our list of walks!  You can find out more about Nymans on their website here



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