Small things towards a minimalist life

January 20th 2017
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Starting a new journey into minimalism

So, minimalism? What’s all the fuss and nonsense about? Well it’s about freeing yourself of the fuss and the nonsense. With today’s social media and being able to look into other people lives via instagram and blogs etc we seem to all want to have a consumer led lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong I like pretty and lovely things as much as the next person but I’m starting to question more whether it brings me any happiness to have these things. I can desperately want something for months and then as soon as I have it I move on to the next thing pretty quickly.

TTT blog - minimalism cupboards

The joy in empty spaces
TTT blog - minimalism vetibule Keeping only what gives you absolute pleasure

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Letting go and being free

Now only just really getting to grips with the idea of minimalism, instead of decluttering, I started by doing the simple things first. I have a lot of online shops emailing me and sending me newsletters, half of which I don’t actually recall subscribing to. As each one comes through I’m slowly unsubscribing and deleting them without clicking through to see what goodies they have to offer. This has done two things. First up I get less junk to scroll through in my inbox and can see clearly all the important emails and work stuff I need to do. Secondly I don’t waste valuable time clicking through to images of stuff I don’t really ‘need’ to buy. Once upon a time we had to make the effort to go shopping when we needed something now it’s right in front of us all day every day and we can buy something just because we’ve seen it. I used to feel like I needed to sign up to certain newsletters so that I didn’t miss out on anything.

Already I’m quickly gaining some important quality me time… the time I would take to look at the pretty products on offer I’m able to write this blog post. I literally wasted far too much of my life already and I will now only subscribe to those things that give me happiness and not bother with the rest. I have a couple of email addresses that I use and I now keep my work email address for a ll work related and other important emails. My secondary email, which is for this blog are now used to subscribe only to things that are of interest to me but that I don’t desperately need to see in my main email. I have both accessible on my computers at work and at home and via my phone. However I have to physically select my second email inbox to see what is there. I choose to only do this once a day usually in the morning, sometimes I’m forgetting to do it until lunch time!

The other thing I’ve done as of the beginning of this week is to turn off my social media notifications. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how attached to our mobile devices we are and I’m trying to find ways to reduce this. How many of us post to instagram and then spend the next 10, 20, 60 minutes constantly seeing all the notifications pop up on our phones? It’s stopped me from being in the here and now and I’m too distracted when my beautiful boy tries to talk to me or asks me a question. What I’ve noticed, even in the few days since I’ve turned them off is that I post and I put my phone away. It may take me 30 minutes or a couple of hours to remember to have a look and see if anyone has left me a comment. I’m trying to check my emails less on my phone and pinpoint pockets of time that I can concentrate on responding to messages so that I can then spend quality time being in the present moment with my son. I’ve even started to say to him, if he’s constantly chattering to me whilst I have a moment, to give me 1, 5, 10 minutes to complete my task and then I’m all his. I’ve noticed a change in how we interact and it feels better for us that we have those pockets of checking mail, social media etc and then those pockets of just chatting and me putting my phone out of sight and usually reach. Lucas will be 10 this year and he’s very savvy to our using our phones and he makes comments. Those comments really make me realise that our phones have become glued to our palms. Social media is great for meeting like minded people across the globe but it needs it’s own time and place. We need to spend more time focusing on the people right in front of us who can talk and laugh with and tickle and touch and kiss. Isn’t that what’s important?

TTT blog - minimalism Lucas

my little milk guzzler and the most important person in my life

I will continue to share my journey as when I feel it’s important or if someone asks me a question that I feel is relevant and worthy of a reply through a blog post. I don’t have all the answers but I’m going to enjoy learning and sharing my journey along the way.

If you have any fab tips to share or questions to ask please leave a comment below and I’ll reply as soon as I can.

Big Love, Cat x

New Year, New me New mindset

January 13th 2017
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this is me surrounded by new love of plants
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.40.45these two are my most favourite people on the planet

My god how are we already in 2017! Can someone please tell me where 2016 went as I seemed to have missed it.

Well I guess there’s no better time than now to say ‘Happy New Year’ and what a year I’m hoping it will be. So I’m going to try not to ramble on and on… hello, have you met me before? It’s safe to say that it’s pretty unlikely I won’t be bending your ear and boring you silly by the end of stupendously long, sorry short, post..

Where to start? At the beginning I guess, never could do the whole long story short thing. I noticed changes in me when I was about 15 years old. Silly things like a constant grumbling tum, dust floating in my eyes and super itchy inner ears and a serious bout of thrush (down below, which I didn’t get looked at till I was 30! I presumed everyone just itched). I ate badly, although I didn’t really see it back then, I got asthma and I smoked. Age 14/15 I started my period and it was pretty painful. Some days I couldn’t move or walk through the pain and when it went away it was common for them not to show for three maybe four months. I don’t know about you that’s not very normal when I look back on it now and obviously I listened when my doctor suggested going on the pill. Then when I was about 22 I was diagnosed with IBS and started getting migraines. Fast forward to 11 years ago, aged about 33, after seeing someone about my back and shoulder pains, from a car accident 9 years previous, she suggested I look at candida. Actually that was a relatively shortened version of the very long story! I’ve impressed myself

So that’s kind of when this journey and realisation that I had ill health for many years since, if not way before, my teens. Being young my body was able to cope much better with my appalling lifestyle and lack of fresh food. All the things I loved where the things my body and the candida craved to keep it thriving inside me. I was a sucker for neat, yes undiluted, vimto… that now makes me cringe so much you wouldn’t believe. Vinegar on everything, I kid you not, fishfingers, mash, beans, sausages, chips. OMG pickled silverskin onions… I hid jars in my wardrobe for gods sake! Sweets… I ate so many and I couldn’t stop, whole boxes of jaffa cakes, handfuls of sweets, fizzy drinks, vimto, tea with 2 sugars… and that was just in a day! I kid you not I ate all that and more and I was stick thin. My dentist always praised me on my teeth. So clearly I was ok! Wasn’t I? I look back on the telling little things I did as a child of 6 or 7 like sneaking things out of the fridge such as mini bounty bars (I liked and still like hard, cold chocolate) and trying to make it look like everything was still there so I was being sneaky about it. Now if my son started to do that alarm bells would be ringing in my head that he’s a sugar addict! I would do practically anything to get a fix when I was a child and into my twenties.

So at 30 I met my husband. He was a fab cook and introduced me to much more interesting food. Although it was better it was still the wrong foods but it steered me on a path of getting a different enjoyment of food. I enjoyed watching him and helping him prep the food and then obviously the eating it bit was the best. It wasn’t long after we married that I was told about the candida and as soon as I got home from the back appointment I researched it on the internet. Now there was no instagram or social media and I had no idea about blogging or anything so I bought a book. It was basic to say the least and the food was initially bland but after about 4 weeks I could really taste the natural flavour in ALL the fresh ingredients I used. It was also at this point that I totally stopped using vinegar and any malt products, I managed to reduce my sugar in tea from 2 teaspoons to 1/2 by using stevia as an initial substitute. This was way back before you could buy stevia in the UK so I had to import it from the USA in a fine granulated form. It was expensive and I hated the aftertaste but it helped me still enjoy some of the things I was used to. I’m trying to remember the food I was eating as it was rather different to what I eat now. It was still milk and cereal but it was shredded wheat and soya milk, quiche with soya milk and veg and cottage cheese, omlettes, salads, meat and veg, no fruit for the first three months. It was a total struggle but it was so worth it. My brain function was clear, my tummy stopped grumbling at me, I had energy like never before and I didn’t get depressed. Sadly it all went to shit when we went to Australia a few months after I started the change. In three weeks I undid all the good work… actually it probably only took 3 days but we were away for three weeks so I didn’t have the opportunity to get back on the wagon quickly enough. A year later we had our son and who has time to look at their own health when you have a small baby. When he was about 3 and at nursery I tried again and did brillaintly… AGAIN! Then I started a college course… the cafeteria sold hot chocomilk…damn that stuff is addictive! Oh and I had a flu jab and felt so crap that I couldn’t do anything for a week so I gave up on my diet! It might sound silly but I gave up easily back then.

28 months ago I decided to seek the help of a professional nutritionist and health coach. Since then my life and food habits have changed again. This time I discovered a totally new set of foods and then happened across Sarah Wilson and her I Quit Sugar book and website. With her help I realised there were other foods I was completely ignoring such a coconut and quinoa, chia seeds and cacao powder. My breakfast has never quite been the same since. Now don’t assume that I don’t eat chocolate or have sweeties occasionally because I would be lying. Remember that I’m a sugar addict and sugar is everywhere and it’s difficult to avoid and takes a great deal of willpower, which I don’t always have. Christmas is the worst for me and this year was the first time I kinda let go and embraced all the goodies that I really shouldn’t be eating… help!!! after eight mints and matchmakers and fruit pies and custard! Yes I could make all of these at home with better ingredients and a lot less sugar but I truly had a crappy end of year and I seriously couldn’t be bothered. Now to be fair I ate far worse on a normal day many years ago so this little bout of not eating what was good for me wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it could’ve been. I still made relatively healthy choices through most of the days and just over indulged a little. I can tell you though that I’m now struggling to get back to what made me feel good. The sugar cravings are back as are some of the aches and pains I had in my arm, neck & shoulder and leg but they are nothing compared to what they were.

After the photos is a little more to explain what our 2017 plans are beyond getting back on the good healthy food wagon.

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.44.39 breakfast – quinoa, chia and almond milk pudding, natural yoghurt, berries and granola
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.41.22 breakfast ingredients
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.41.59 natural deodrant, toothpaste/polish and face cream
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.42.25 matcha tea
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.42.36 buckwheat pancakes, natural yoghurt and berries
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.43.01 homemade chocolate with raspberries
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.43.29 avocado, banana, cacao mousse
Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 13.43.59coconut balls
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yoga and new mat

Zero Waste

The whole point of this was to share where I am now and the journey I want to take to get to where I want to be. The food and health part co exists with these other ‘radical, ‘crazy’ ideas. Having come across a few articles on zero or minimal waste I’ve looked into this concept and really wanted to start doing my bit. It will be a very slow process and will take time and lots of tricks to help me achieve reducing our household waste from a full size bin bag a week into at least a carrier bag size by the end of 2017. Well that’s my aim anyway. Shopping for fruit and vegetables in a supermarket without any packaging on them is actually more difficult than I first anticipated. Buying produce out of packaging is a sure fire way to make sure you are also eating the right foods for your health and wellbeing too. No more frozen chips or ready meals! I posted this idea to my Instagram account and got a huge and positive reaction to it. It’s really encouraging to hear other people attempting this and sharing their ideas as well as offering their support. I will write mini updates over there as well as sharing the bigger picture of how we are doing here on the blog.

 

Minimalism

The  next thing I want to look at is minimalism. I started decluttering years ago but it’s a difficult process, well it was until I came across the documentary ‘Minimalism’. I’m inspired by these boys, The Minimalists, to just start ridding myself f all the visual clutter and noise that means absolutely nothing to me and gives me no real pleasure. It’s spurred me on to sell, donate and organise far more than I could have ever thought possible. That’s a definite watch this space as I will share with you how I’ve pared back my belonging and wardrobe and how I’ve managed to make money and make more time for myself.

 

Mindfulness

Together with health this is the last item on my list and I think anyone can see how this links up to better diet and lifestyle as well as minimalism and zero waste. I don’t feel like I could do any one of these now without the others because they all impact on one another. Having had low moods and light depression for much of my adult life and anger issues for most of my life I think food has had the biggest impact on changing that for me. I have down days occasionally but nothing like the spirals and mood swings I used to experience. Oh and my period? Yeah, you could set your monthly clock by it now and the pain is just a regular ache like most women would experience. My asthma is controlled less by drugs and I don’t get any migraines and funnily enough I take less painkillers or cold and flu tablets than I’ve taken before. In fact I think I’ve taken maybe 6 nurofen in the last 12 months and that’s it. I’m spending more time reading, relaxing, doing yoga, being mindful and being calm.

All together this is looking like a pretty radical new me but I don’t think the old me really was me. I just struggled to fight against ‘the system’ and ‘the norm’ and maybe that’s because I never felt supported nor strong enough to do it on my own. The realisation that the only person who will and can do the right thing by me and my family is me. It’s not the government, nor the food giants, nor scientists. I have to question more and I have to take my own stance on things if I believe it’s a better choice for my family and not trust that someone else will do this for me. I really want to fight back and I’m choosing to do this my own way so if you feel like following along then welcome aboard. If you’ve managed to read this ramble all the way to the end then I applaud you and thank you immensely for taking some extra time today to listen to my values and ideas to make mine and my families a better future.

Have you made any plans for change this year?

 

Cat x

 

Successful Failure

October 28th 2016
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Hello to anyone who may still be out there who might just happen across this little ole blog of mine.

I’ll be honest and say that I’ve possibly had a mini crisis of belief in myself and what I want from life. Blogging, social media and my favourite of all online platforms, instagram, have taken their toll on me the last few months… who am I kidding… probably the best part of 2 years!! I started to doubt myself a little and put waaaay too much pressure on little me to run this blog a bit like a business. I want to post regularly and I have certain plans for series in my head but I’ve just been struggling to find the time to get things done on the same day/date each week/month. I let it all get to me and I was wondering how I would come back from it.

I went to blogtacular in June 2015, which I absolutely loved. I came home with a head full of ideas and motivation and was keen to push myself. In hindsight, what I didn’t factor in was the fact that I am a mum and I run a business (together with my Mr). I was already doing full time hours just doing those two aspects of my life… seriously how the hell did I think I could run a blog as a business too?! After all I’m not getting any younger, my health is a bit shot and I want a life. It’s taken some time for me to have that lightbulb moment and take a HUGE step back and to try and remember what my motivation was to start a blog way back in 2009 as well as why I loved Instagram.

I discovered the wonderful world of blogs over 8 years ago when I was embarking on our kitchen reno and starting an interior spatial design course. I think we tend to derail slightly once we’ve had kids and start things that set us on a new and exciting path, like having kids isn’t enough of a detour! I wanted to just share photographs (helllloooo instagram anyone?) and my crazy chair obsession as well as my skills at picking up those car boot bargains. Over the years my ideas and blog have taken me in new directions and I love everything I achieved, yes it’s small fry when you consider what’s out there but I guess my downfall was not totally staying focused and trying to do too much at once without the breathing space to sit and think about where I wanted to end up.

Fast forward to now and I’m building myself back up slowly. I have things I want to share and write about but I want to be careful that I don’t push myself too hard and undo all the good work I’ve moved towards with regards to my family, business and health these past 2 years. I want this blog to reflect me and my life so I shall be posting pictures of those homes and designs that I love. It will become a place to photodump all my photography which will mainly be events and weekend outings with my family. It will also become a place to share my journey with health and wellbeing. Basically I just want this blog to be a place where I share ME! I’m not looking for this blog to make me money. I’ve realised I don’t need that and I was getting caught up in the idea that to be successful that is what I had to do. I make a good living and this was meant to be my creative outlet and a bit of fun. I’d be very pleased if you would join me on that journey bit please don’t feel obliged… we all lead busy lives and I respect that.

So I guess this is me saying HELLO I’M BACK! Grab a cuppa of your choosing, take the weight off your feet once in a while and let’s take this journey called life a little slower x

Anniversary | 11 years

August 17th 2015
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Last year we celebrated 10 years together from our wedding day. To celebrate we threw a big party. Our wedding was a very small, private affair and the photos we have don’t do it any justice. For our 10 years together we knew we wanted it documented. I sadly never actually got around to sharing those photographs on here. Today we have been married for 11 years. They say time flies when you’re having fun and in all seriousness it feels like only yesterday that we got married. I was lucky to marry my best friend, soul mate and lover, and each year just brings us closer. Growing old and grey has never been on my priority list but if it’s with this man I’ll take it as it comes. We’ve come a long way together and have had a roller coaster journey but we are on a good road at the moment. Life couldn’t really get much better and I love everything that this life throws at us as it just makes us grow stronger together.

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It was so heart warming flicking back through the photos that the absolutely lovely, very heavily pregnant at the time and super talented Anna Hardy took on the day of our 10 year anniversary party last year. She took gazillions and stayed way over the time she’d allocate and she delivered more than I could I have hoped for. It was so easy having her around. Thank you again Anna for just being so darn lovely and capturing our day so well for us to remember forever. I shall post more of the day later in the week.

To my darling, kind, caring, considerate Stephen, I love you more each day. Happy Anniversary! x

a year older | my baby

June 9th 2015
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Taken in 2009

I can’t quite get my head around the fact that my son is 8 today! It feels like only yesterday since we struggled to conceive and went through the tests, tears & trauma of trying to start our own little family.

He’s such a sensitive little soul and a joy to be around. I couldn’t imagine our life without him and that so very nearly happened.

My husband and I met when we were 30 and started trying for a family when we were 33 but it was a struggle for a year. I won’t bore you with those details but I do remember the day so clearly when I saw those little lines. Actually I remember it well as we’d been to visit a friend in Sweden and the Mr told me I was acting weird so I did a test. I came down stairs and just cried in his arms as it was negative… no line. The Mr, being the wonderful man he is, went to clear it all away and re read the instructions. It was the faintest line ever. I rushed to the chemist for another test and the lady behind the counter said even the faintest line is absolutely positive. Happiest day of our lives… well until 9 months later at least.

We’ve been very lucky to have our wonderful boy and I’ll be ever thankful for him because he was pretty much a miracle. It should have been an IVF journey for us but we were fortunate. We’ll never have any more but he’s enough. It’s taken a lot of getting used to but we settled as a family of three.

He brings sunshine and light to dull grey days. His sweet voice is like an angel (with exception to his singing!) His little nose and beautiful mouth and those piercing blue eyes always melt my heart. I didn’t realise I could love another human being quite so much. He means the absolute world to me and as frustrating as some of his little quirks are I love them all the same. I see myself in him, his words and his actions. His frustrations and temper, his smile and love of life. I see his dad in him through his actions and easy going-ness, he never wants to upset or disappoint, he’s kind and gentle. He’s clever (not sure where that’s come from?!) considered and wary. Most of all he is my love and I truly don’t want him to grow up. I want cuddles ad kisses forever but some day, and probably some day soon he will recoil at the thought of kissing his mama. I’m hoping that day will be far away.

TTT blog _ Lucas babe 1TTT Lucas babe 2 TTT Lucas babe 3

 

To my darling pickle… I love you more than fish fingers and jaffa cakes (not that I’m allowed either anymore). You are my shining star in a sometimes dark sky and you are my bubbles in the bath. Keep being you for every little quirky and unique bit that your are. Happy 8th birthday sweetie, you’ll always be my baby. Thank you for choosing us to be your mama and dada. x

 

 

A week of eats | rubbish free

February 15th 2015
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TTT blog - sweet poato base quiche

sweet potato base quiche

So over on Instagram I’ve been posting a few photos of the sugar free, grain free, gluten free, yeast free recipes we’ve been cooking up over the last few weeks. I’m changing the foods I eat not because I need to lose weight, although it’s definitely an added bonus, but because of lifelong health issues. I don’t want to go too deep into that just yet, only to say I have something called candida which I’m trying to deal with. You can read more on that here and there are some of the recipes I found here too.

I’ve promised for a couple of weeks to put together a list of the foods and links to recipes for some of my followers I’ve been chatting with.

I don’t pretend to be an expert in health and wellbeing matters but I’m learning as I go along and I have the help of a fantastic nutritionist that I skype with from the USA. She has been mentored by Chris Kresser who is the guy to know when it comes to a Paleo lifestyle. That isn’t what I’m trying to do but I certainly use the tips and recipes as the basic clean eating principles are the same.

All content of this post is just what works for me and won’t work for everyone. I don’t eat lots of meats so I struggle to find things I want to eat and we find recipes and adjust them for what I am allowed. Please just use this as a guide and I will write more posts relating to food/recipes and my experiences later on.

I’ve learnt so much in the last few months about sugars, protein, carbs and fats. I’ve been advised to avoid grains, dairy and gluten as well as follow a candida diet. Protein rich food 3 meals a day will help stabilise your blood sugar levels and stop the sugar slumps that I faced on a daily basis. Protein for breakfast was the biggest change for me. I used to eat porridge, weetabix and shredded wheat for breakfast as it was quick and easy. Not anymore. Below is a guide to what I choose to eat and some of the recipes I have found on candida or paleo sites and others where I’ve just substituted the flours and sugars for alternatives that are better for me. I like to use Xylitol in sweet recipes but I only use half the recommended sugar amount of any recipe as I think foods can actually be too sweet when they really don’t need to be. Avoid artificial sweeteners as much as possible. These are usually hidden in ‘low fat’ items. If you can’t understand an ingredient on the back of a packet or jar don’t buy it!

 

BREAKAST:

 

TTT blog - scrambled eggs on paleo breadscrambled egg in unsalted butter with a natural yeast free loaf from our local supermarket
TTT blog - gluten free sausage and scrambled egggluten free sausage and scrambled egg

So what do I eat for breakfast now? Eggs… pretty much every day. Boiled, scrambled, poached, with coconut/almond bread, spinach, gluten free sausages, bacon. There are so many ways of doing eggs and they only take a few minutes. I used to cook porridge on the hob for 4 minutes and that’s just the same amount of time it takes to boil an egg. Bacon is quick to grill whist the eggs are on and sausages we cook the night before or a few days before and warm up when needed. Remember you only need a palm sized amount of protein. I may have one sausage and poached egg, couple of eggs scrambled with a slice or two of bacon, but not smoked bacon. Some people prefer to stay away from pork as they are usually not as good quality meat as some but that’s personal choice. I use a tiny spot of ketchup if I feel the need as ok’d by my nutritionist.

 

DINNER & TEA:

We make these recipes at the weekend and double the amount of any recipe so we make more than enough for 2 or even 3 or 4 meals for the week.

I’ve been making a pretty easy chicken korma for a few years that I got off bbcgoodfood.com. I remove the onion as my son doesn’t like it. I change the stock to bouillon, which you can get in most supermarkets, and the creme fraiche to full fat natural yoghurt. I also use quite a large nob of ginger and add medium curry powder for the extra kick and use about a tablespoon of garam masala. I can make this easy within 30 mins and I always make double or more so I can have the rest either for a dinner later in the week or for a quick warm up tea. I have less than 1/2 cup of rice with this each time and I always have white rice as there is less arsnic in white than brown. It’s up to you what you choose.

TTT blog - chicken korma

Chicken Korma

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Meatballs, ratatouille and courgette linguine // chicken burger and yam chips

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Roasted squash, quinoa & chicken //  quiche

Beef Burger and sweet potato wedges (no bun) We use Jamie Olivers Ultimate burger and chips recipe. We just leave out the mustard & parmesan and use flaxseed instead of breadcrumbs. Add a little paprika instead of the mustard if you like a little kick. If you can’t find the recipe as i don’t think it’s online you could try this one. I’d use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil but that’s just me.

Meatballs (use the same recipe  for burgers but form them into meatballs), courgette linguine & ratatouille.

Chicken and courgette burgers with yam chips (no bun). You can peel and chop the yam well in advance and  just keep them in a bowl of water until you are ready to use them.

Beef stew (substitute the flour for almond flour), veggies and sweet potato wedges (peel, chop and chuck in oven with melted lard)

Sprout and sweet potato hash with poached eggs

Baked butternut squash (we miss out the feta, pine nuts and olives (I don’t like Olives!)

Swede & Quinoa patties

TTT blog - paleo breadTTT blog - cauli base pizza

Paleo bread // Cauliflower base pizza
TTT blog - tuna mix on paleo breadtuna mix with avocado and paleo bread

Tuna mix (tin tuna or fresh, chopped cherry toms, cucumber, sweet bell peppers, few twist of the pepper mill and mix it all together with cottage cheese) squished ripe avocado on paleo bread, salad leaves optional.

Stuffed sweet bell peppers with tuna mix

Sweet potato base quiche

Coconut and apple chicken liver pate (personally I struggle to eat chicken livers but if you like it it’s worth a go.)

Lemon cod with basil bean mash

Cauliflower base pizza, for the sauce mix with passata a good amount of tom puree, crush garlic, fresh chopped basil S&P. We cut strips of yellow pepper, courgette, halve the baby plum toms and instead of mozarella we use cottage cheese… yum!

 

PUDDINGS:

Blueberry cake

blueberry cake
TTT blog - blueberry cakeblueberry cake
TTT blog - pancakespancakes

TTT blog - sugar free cookiesTTT blog - plantain nat yog & berries

sugar free cookies // fried ripe plantain

Lemon and blueberry cake, have a small slice with full fat natural yoghurt and a couple of berries or a sprinkle of mixed spice. Try not to do it every day or every meal

Fluffy pancakes there are loads of recipes but I like to use these. Again add full fat natural yoghurt and a couple of berries or a sprinkle of mixed spice

Full fat natural yoghurt and a couple of berries or a sprinkle of mixed spice

Ripe plantain fried in mixed spice and cinnamon

Cookies I use xylitol instead of sugar and I half the amount in the recipe. These are actually made for my son but I may have one occasionally and by occasionally I mean 2 in the week if I’m desperate :)

 

SNACKS:

Almonds

1/2 banana

 

DRINKS:

Water (plenty of it!)

Decaf tea and coffee

Rooibos (redbush)

Fruit teas, just make sure they are  good quality

Cold fruit tea, if you have a sodastream then cold fizzy fruit tea

Almond and coconut milk check they are unsweetened (I also use almond or coconut in my decaf tea and coffee)

Oh yeah I’m still allowed to drink my alcohol drink of choice which is a whiskey but instead of the coke I have it with soda water. I do occasionally drink it with the soda water and a splash of coke but I can happily drink it without. I had to slowly reduce the amount of coke which took a few weeks but now I don’t mind it.

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Jim Bean with soda water and a dash of coke // fruit tea

Depending on how you feel and your reasons for changing your diet then you can still have little treats but it’s a case of thinking differently about treats. I don’t see that big bag of sweets any more as being a treat! I just know it will put me right back where I don’t want to be. Instead we keep a bar of 85% dark chocolate in the fridge and just have couple of blocks when I’m in desperate need or have had a hard day.

The hardest thing is the going out to restaurants. The easiest thing is to completely avoid it but that isn’t us. Instead we only eat out no more than once every two weeks, unless absolutely necessary. We don’t have a starter and we don’t have a desert. We make the better choices when it comes to the meal. We like Pizza Express and we used to all have three courses and I would drink freshly squeezes orange juice by the bucket load. Now I have a pizza or salad and look for a protein rich one and just ask them to remove stuff I shouldn’t eat with some exceptions, one tiny bit isn’t going to hurt right? I have now started carrying with me a tub of almonds, fruit tea bags and a small flask of almond milk. People are very accepting of this behaviour, or maybe its just my cheek?! Either way it’s your health and well being. If restaurants want my family’s business then they will have to accept my terms providing they are reasonable requests of course. This was always a stumbling block for me in the past but now it seems second nature to me. If you go somewhere regularly you get to the know the staff and they you so you can switch things up a bit and ask them to alter the meal slightly, most restaurants are very accommodating these days.

I realise I haven’t explained much about my reasons for this lifestyle, diet change but it was more about helping give others the ideas of what they can eat without changing too much. The biggest change is not using ANY pre packaged food with the exception of ketchup but we are also going to make our own soon. There are recipes for everything but I also realise it’s a big lifestyle change to cook all your food from scratch but once you start it’s difficult to stop.

If I buy anything for our family that isn’t home-made I always check the sugar content. 4g sugar = 1 teaspoon. This for me is the most evil of all substances and it is the one I loved the most but starting eating this way has reduced my sugar intake by approx 98% and I feel better for it.

I’ve suffered from depression, albeit a mild depression, for a long time and that heaviness and darkness has lifted. I’ve noticed that I’m smiling more, jumping about like a kid again, wanting to go out on adventures and I’m stressing the small stuff a lot less. On top of that I’ve lost 10lbs without doing too much exercise. Next on my list is a proper exercise regime but that’s another post.

Just one thing to remember – any change however small, is the start. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day or have a naughty snack or just completely indulge. Tomorrow is a new day. It’s taken me 10 years from learning about candida and 3 previous attempts to get to the place I’m in now. I needed help! I’ve learnt more about food and sugars in the last 6 months than I ever understood before and the small, slow changes I made over the years like reducing sugar in my tea and coffee and choosing some healthier options, like 1 digestive over a packet of jaffa cakes and the like are what have helped change my way of thinking. Changing the bread from soft and fluffy white to more dense, yeast free breads, not eating take away so often or eating out less. It’s these changes that have put me in a good place and now that I’m able to prepare my own food, believe me I know how difficult it is when you are tired and have zero energy, well I now have that energy and willingness. We’ve built up a stock pile in our freezer and fridge and sometimes when we are feeling lazy or we arrive home late we sometimes get the frozen chips out for ease but it’s fairly quick to put some sweet potato wedges in the oven too. The better I feel, the better I eat and the better I feel! (no that’s not a typo). It just keeps on going. I allow myself one of my son’s smarties or one of the biscuits I made now as I’m more able to not need (ok want!) the whole tube or box! I’m no longer hungry every 5 minutes. I eat my 3 meals a day and rarely want anything in-between.

The biggest difference in me? I have energy and life back.

I’d love to know if you have tried this kind of lifestyle before or currently making the change and how its making you feel.

If anyone has any specific questions either email me or leave a comment below. I will reply to them all. If I can affect one person’s life then I’ve done my job.

 

Health and happiness to you all x

 

Note: You can follow my food board BITE:me over on pinterest for more ideas.

 

 

A brand new year | 2015 Goals

January 6th 2015
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My desk at the studio

I’ve been meaning to write a post or two over Christmas but you know what, I happily had a break from everything instead! Naughty I know but that leads me nicely on to the fact that I have a few goals for 2015. I don’t like the term resolutions because it usually implies ridiculous things that I can never stick to :)

Family & Travel // One of my aims is to take more outdoor and travel adventures, both on my own and together with my family. We try and get out of the house on weekends and look for interesting places to go but usually end up in the same places! I want to research and make a list of all the local places to visit and some much further afield. I’d really like to visit Stockholm or New York this year but not sure New York is the right place to go with a 7/8 year old. Might be better waiting until he’s 9 or 10.

Home // Clutter drives me mad… I know I’m not the only one! I’ve already started working on this but I want to get my home sorted, decluttered and organised by the end of this year. I have an attic that was full of stuff that is slowly depleting. I’m giving stuff away to friends and family or putting bits on eBay, hell I’m even just putting stuff in the bin, you know the sorts of things… those things that could come in useful someday that have been sat up there since the day we moved in just gathering dust! Well it’s all got to go! There are a few exceptions like my sons cot and some bits from when he was tiny. I’m keeping special toys so we can get them out when he’s older or if he has children of his own.

I have a couple of homey projects I want to work on like our bathroom and the garden room and now my boy has decided he wants a grown up bed?! I WILL get this done as a tidy uncluttered house means a tidy uncluttered mind… supposedly?!

Work // I love and feel very privileged that I get to work for myself and with my husband. I’m my own boss but in some ways that just makes things harder. Self discipline to get things done can be quite tricky. I wear many hats at work and I know I need to plan my time and days better. I get side tracked by phone calls and clients requests and I just need to get stuff done! My least favourite part of my job is the bookkeeping so I want to relinquish this to a trusty person who can just concentrate on this. The hard part is finding and training somebody… who am I kidding, the hardest part is letting it go! That is something I’m going to work on this year.

Blogging // I absolutely LOVE blogging and the community and although I mainly do it for me it’s nice to have connections with other people. I would love to be able to have more time (read commitment) to blogging and again it’s something I really want to grow and the only I can do that is to blog more frequently, which in turn means needing to plan and be more organised. I have myself a little notebook and I need to figure a couple of days where I can dedicate some time to planning and doing. I also need to limit the amount of time I spend on others blogs and stop comparing myself to them. Sometimes that can be a real downer and it just makes it harder to post a blog as I’m never sure I’m saying or writing about the right things. I need my confidence to grow!

Health // I’ve been addicted to sugar since I can remember ( although I didn’t know it back then). I’m changing my lifestyle to represent a more healthy one that isn’t filled with sugary food and drink. This is quite a big topic for me right now and I don’t want to go into too much detail in this post but my sanity, connection with the two men in my life and my friends and general well being are all connected to my unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle. This is something I started to change 10 years ago but my most recent changes are the ones that I’m praying will be successful. I’ll write more about this in further posts. I want to bake more healthy goodies and find more interesting and different foods to experiment with.

Fitness // Exercise is the key to this one. I started running 18 months ago and had to stop due to a bloody nasty chest infection which rendered me breathless just walking, let alone running! The healthy eating has helped my breathing and I feel able to run again but I have lost the stamina I built up and know it will take me some time before I’m running 5k again but I’m determined to be a great role model for my son who currently prefers to stay at home tinkering with computers. Once we manage to get him out of the house he really enjoys it but it’s just such a struggle to get him there. As my energy levels have dwindled I have become complacent and so instead of going for long family walks we end up just popping to the park. That is all going to change… right here, right now! Going on my first run of 2015 tonight!

Happy New Year to you all and I’d love to hear your goals for 2015.

Life lately…

November 26th 2014
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‘Scuse the low res photos as I had to take them with my phone. Not really the sort of place I thought to take a camera.

There’s been lots of ups and downs lately. Some downs with my health issues and winter setting in. Ups with Lucas doing well at school and Christmas coming. I’m not normally big on Christmas but since my wee man has come along I find myself really looking forward to Christmas day. Yes, I think I’m reliving my childhood through him… This year I’m going to attempt to make him an advent calendar. Yeah, I know, I’ve only got 4 days so better get my backside into gear!

However I’m digressing somewhat…

We can spend far too much time worrying about the small things and not sleeping or waking in the middle of the night through sheer panic thinking about the what if’s. Life can be a struggle no matter who you are or what kind of life you lead. Small things can seem like the hugest of things and others may not see your struggles but no matter how big or small it can make you feel like everything is lost.

A week ago I received a phone call from my mum to tell me that my son’s Pops had been in hospital since the early hours of the morning. They were home but both were worried and tired. My mum remarried a few years ago to a lovely man who absolutely adores my son as though he was his own flesh and blood. He’s not normally the type of chap who goes to hospital, he’s quite old fashioned in that sense. He was suffering from debilitating headaches for about a week which started at around 4 in the morning. I can only imagine how scary and distressing this must have been for both of them. After some tests they think it may be cholesterol headaches. It can build up overnight and can cause severe pains that will happen around the same time every morning. This, thankfully, can be controlled my medication and diet.

Yesterday at work we heard our colleagues’ dad was sent to hospital from his doctor. We have two brothers work with us at our studio. That could be a tricky situation. Their dad was kept in overnight. When I got home from work on Monday I received a call from my father-in-law. My mother-in-law has been struggling for breath for the last couple of days and thinking she had a chest infection she waited over the weekend to go and see her doctor on Monday morning. She was checked and told her chest was clear so they did an ECG and found her heart was racing and it’s this that was causing her breathlessness. She was struggling to talk and walk more than a couple of yards, she was constantly having to stop to try and catch herself. Being asthmatic I know how this can feel and I’ve been through this with similar scenario with Lucas when he was less than 6 months old. She was supposed to be home yesterday but she’s still there. This has truly made us realise that we all really are getting older. It has been a proper kick in the face realisation but a realisation all the same. None of us are immortal but I like to think we have a good 40 years left in us yet!

I’m scared of getting old but at the same time I feel that life has never been more positive and full of amazing opportunities and that I really need to grab them by the balls!

Thankfully, this time, everything will be alright. My husbands mum will be home tomorrow and with new medication she’ll be able to get her heart back under control. Life will still carry on and we’ll fall into our old ways but this time we will make that little extra effort it takes to tell our parents that we love them a little more often and to do a little more with them and for them. After all no one is around forever.

Next time you see someone you truly care about be sure to let them know how you feel. x

 

 

Anniversary photos

November 6th 2014
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I have the photographs now, from the lovely and talented Anna Hardy, of our 10 year wedding anniversary mini festival celebrations.

I’m so excited to share them with you. It was a fantastic day and one we will never forget.

Here are just a few of the images but I will share more when I have gone through them. I wish you could have all been there.

xxx

Yurt

October 23rd 2014
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I made pinwheels for the tree to make it look pretty
TTT blog - 10 yr prep 25 TTT blog - 10 yr prep 26 We borrowed lots  of furniture from family and friends
TTT blog - 10 yr prep 27 TTT blog - 10 yr prep 28 TTT blog - 10 yr prep 29 TTT blog - 10 yr prep 30TTT blog - 10 yr prep 31 TTT blog - 10 yr prep 32 TTT blog - 10 yr prep 33 Family shot and feeling a little worse for wear
TTT blog - 10 yr prep 34 Realising it smelt of alcohol
TTT blog - 10 yr prep 35 TTT blog - 10 yr prep 37Flowers from my bestie
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As promised a few images of the yurt the day after the party. At this point we’d taken everything down as they were collecting it on the Monday and we had packing to do on that day so with the help of plenty of friends who stayed over after the party it was a much more efficient clean up. I really meant to get lots of images before with the little touches of decoration we had made but you can see some of that when I finally get to sort through Anna’s photos. I’ll try to post them next week.

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Hi there!

Photographer :: designer :: blogger :: vintage hunter :: wife to @stecaton :: mama to a funny boy ::

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