Taking The Girl Out of The Countryside

So this weekend I was set free to the big city London for a fabulous lady’s hen do! I’m not sure whether it’s my rather embarrassing love of Made In Chelsea or a fascination with anything polar opposite to my Norfolk life but it was exciting! I must admit I’m pretty naive and innocent (read: not at all street wise) and the news has probably made me fairly cautious/negative (one of the reasons I stopped watching it). Got to say though I spoke to loads of people!  I’m generally happy to chat to absolutely anyone about anything, striking up a conversation is not something that frightens me although I can’t guarantee I’ll talk about things that’ll interest you! (A smile and nod is lovely though, thanks!)

The train ride down allowed me the time to read a book (and who knew there are now electrical sockets on trains?!) a few magazines and sort my thoughts.

I must admit I did walk quickly when I got off the train, was pretty terrified of getting lost on the way there…but then I slowed down. I saw the enormous amount of coffee shops (heaven), huge variety of people and languages surrounding me, the warmth and wind of the tube, the colours and sights. And I loved it. One of my favourite pastimes is people watching and I had plenty of opportunity. I’m hoping this will inspire my photography work too.

And if you’re thinking of stopping for afternoon tea somewhere we had a beautiful spread at Drink Shop Do (www.drinkshopdo.com) near Kings Cross station and made necklaces too as part of the hen do fun! Lovely staff, great food and drink, welcoming atmosphere and loads of crafts – they have an amazing timetable of events, take a look at their website for more info.

I’d love to take the kids one day but I’m not sure London or the tube could handle the monster truck double buggy and all the stuff I carry with me just yet! I’d love to hear if you’ve been to London with children and how you kept it safe?

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September Cider Home Brew!

Every year we gather up all the apples from our tree in the garden to make cider (and a freezer full of apple pies and crumbles!). This year we were blessed with the warmest September day and our little three year old to help out whilst the twins napped. This is the first year he’s been interested in what we were up to so it was an extra special day.

Cider 2015We sent some apples off to be identified as the tree is very mature and has obviously been there a long time! It came back as Laxton’s Fortune, a Cox hybrid, so I think we’ll call the cider Nurse’s Fortune this time as we’ve been incredibly blessed these last few years! We were even joined by a beautiful butterfly who thoroughly enjoyed the spoils! It’ll soon be ready for bottling so now looking forward to the tasting!

The Supermarket Sugar Take Over

As you all know I’ve been eliminating refined sugar from my diet for a while now and it seems Jamie Oliver has been inspired too so it was great to see his Sugar Rush programme on Channel 4 last week about the dangers of hidden sugar. I’m at high risk of getting type 2 diabetes and was on the verge of gestational diabetes throughout both my pregnancies which is one of the main reasons I’ve decided to ditch bad sugars for the main part of my diet.

I personally don’t usually do the weekly food shop as the trolleys just aren’t big enough for my brood and the food but this week we only needed a few bits so me and the small ones decided to take it on.

My husband has a normal kind of pack up for lunch at work so I thought I’d see if I could get some healthier cereal bar type snacks and yoghurts which had a bit less sugar and weren’t classed as ‘low fat’. There were hardly any! In the ‘grown up’ yoghurt section all the six packs were low fat and unfortunately I don’t have the biggest budget to splurge on the premium brands so this week he has Munch Bunch (which reports to have 30% less sugar)! I have full fat greek style or whole milk yoghurt generally on my cereal but I don’t think he’d appreciate taking an enormous pot to work every day! (And I’m not sure it’d survive the backpack!)

The same goes for cereal bars – the so called diet ranges are ridiculously high in sugar. It seems you can’t avoid it if you want the ease of pre-made bars. I guess the key is to make your own so at least you know what’s in them. All comes back to time and the lack of it as a busy mum! I’ll let you know if I find a good recipe though.

As promised I said I’d go through some of the books I’ve been reading. Here’s a few things to keep in mind about sugar …

  1. Can make you overweight
  2. Can affect the nutrient absorption of other food and masks the taste
  3. Upsets your hormones, especially insulin
  4. Empty calories – there’s really no point in eating it from a nutritional point of view
  5. Even healthy forms of sugar such as honey and fruit are simply registered as ‘sugar’ by our bodies so it’ll still be processed the same way – any excess is stored around your organs and waist (argh!)
  6. So really low fat options which are high in sugar (to give it flavour) will still cause weight gain

What can you do?

  1. Eat one or two portions of fruit a day, the rest should be veg
  2. Use coconut sugar, honey, dates or stevia if you need an alternative to the refined stuff
  3. Make meals from scratch
  4. Increase your protein intake (will help with the sugar cravings)
  5. Keep an eye out for hidden sugars, such as in breakfast cereals, bread, diet/low fat foods, drinks and of course the obvious biscuits, etc! My kids now have porridge instead of the Weetabix type cereals for this reason.

All this info has been taken from Madeleine Shaw’s book Get The Glow and Amelia Freer’s book Eat. Nourish. Glow. if you feel inspired to read up on it! I don’t get much time to read but I have a little look every morning at breakfast to inspire me for the day! And I’ve managed to lose 5 lb of excess baby weight too – great motivation!

 

Getting Back On Track

I’ve officially been useless lately. For the last couple of months we’ve been through teething and multiple colds which has pretty much sapped all my will power and energy. All this means maybe 2-3 hours sleep each night so my immune system is suffering and my head hasn’t had the fight.

I’m now recovering from my third cold in as many months, which is totally unlike me. I’m not one to take days off sick as thankfully bugs aren’t something I pick up often. As I mentioned in my previous posts my quick fix solve everything is food. I have an emotional attachment to it – it makes me happy, I look forward to it and I see it as a treat for working hard. However this relationship with food means I choose the most ‘rewarding’ and fast options, such as toast, biscuits and ice cream, etc, especially in the evenings. I’ve found I have a mindless snacking attitude as well – if I see food I eat it without even thinking about what it is or whether I need it, all day long, especially if the kids don’t finish their meal.

So with September around the corner and back to school germs coming into the house for the first time I’ve sorted myself out! I’ve been reading some really good books when I can find 5 minutes – usually at breakfast when the little people are napping, and they’ve encouraged me to ditch the junk. In case you’d like to read them too, which I definitely recommend, they are Get The Glow by Madeleine Shaw and the second is Eat. Nourish. Glow. by Amelia Freer. I purchased both from my local supermarket (one of the few places I can get to easily with the brood!)

I thought a good way to keep me going and to maybe motivate you is to go through the books and fill you in on what I think is really handy information and tips so if you’re keen to get your diet and lifestyle in general back on track then hopefully it may inspire you!

The one point I really want to make though is although I need to lose my baby weight (there’s a lingering stone and a very round tummy there!) this is not about dieting. It’s about having a better relationship with food so I can feel healthier, have more energy and see food as nourishment rather than continually ‘rewarding’ it with junk food which in turn does me no favours!

Everyone has different areas that need looking at and my first place to start has been to get rid of refined sugar from my diet. I honestly feel better already but more on that later.

I’m also about to set up a Facebook group for support and inspiration where anyone can share recipes and ask questions to other members so hopefully see you there!

Sibling Love

When we found out we were expecting twins last Spring, although feeling incredibly excited, there was a large weight on my mind that I just couldn’t shift. It stayed with me the through my pregnancy and peaked when I was in hospital after the twins’ birth. It’s still there even today but to a lesser degree.

I was worried about my little boy and how these two little needy babies would take me away from him at times. I felt guilty.

Thankfully he’s the most loving little boy and absolutely adores his little brother and sister so I really needn’t have worried so much. His life has been enriched having them around. And yes, he does have to share Mummy and there are times when he has to wait for me to finish feeding/changing etc but he never seems to mind. Okay so we sometimes experience a little attention seeking behaviour but he’s only 2 so that’s going to be expected anyway. It’s generally only an urgent request for the potty or a rather scary dinosaur roar so I think I can cope with that!

And they love him too. Their little smiling animated faces when he’s with them are beautiful.

We had a free afternoon this week so Dave had the twins and I took Thomas out for a coffee (for me) and some cake (for him I promise!). I was so excited to share this little one on one time with him but as soon as I popped him into the car all he wanted to do was go back to Rosie and Oscar! He talked about them constantly.

Although I was a little disappointed that Mummy didn’t seem to be as exciting I was secretly pleased. I want him to love them. And I know there’ll be times ahead when they argue but I hope they’ll always be there for each other.

I just hope he remembers this when they start stealing his toys!

Energy Please!

These past few weeks being Mummy has been tiring. The twins have decided that sleep is an unnecessary part of life, especially during the night and they require feeding at least hourly. Growth spurt? Teething? Perhaps.

And to top it all off I’m now full of cold. Bleurgh.

My diet has been rubbish too, I’ve succumbed to the fast sugar fixes of chocolate and biscuits so today it needs to change. I need to feel better!

The fridge and pantry has been filled with good stuff so the best way to get going today has been with a smoothie. This is a pretty gentle one but I’ll be adding some more unusual ingredients in the coming weeks, which I’ll share with you!

There’s some pretty amazing super foods in here, most found in the majority of weekly food shops, others you made need to buy specially.

Ingredients:

  • Berries – one cup (high nutritional value and antioxidants, low in calories. I like frozen mixed berries for smoothies as I save my fresh berries to go on top of cereal. Mine includes red currants, blueberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and strawberries)
  • Avocado – half (healthy fat, high in fibre and potassium)
  • Banana – one whole (high in fibre, great for energy)
  • Chia seeds – one tablespoon (high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fibre)
  • Oats – 1/2 cup (high in fibre and antioxidants, keeps hunger at bay)
  • Fruit juice – 200ml (I like orange usually but today I’ve used Innocent Apple and Elderflower juice)

I hate being exact with measurements so feel free to change it up as you like. This is a really thick and filling smoothie so is also great for breakfast. Chia seeds will also soak up a lot of fluid so drink it fresh! Enjoy!

The Start Of The Weaning Journey

My twins are nearly six months now and so it’s time to think about starting solids. With Thomas, a couple of years ago now, we started off on the traditional parent led route – purees and baby rice, selecting individual fruit and veg at first then combining, keeping a special watch out for intolerances and then introducing meat, fish and textures.

Then one month later he decided being spoon fed was not what he wanted. So baby led weaning it was! Cue self feeding, finger foods, enormous portions (his choice!) and a huge mess! But you know what, he absolutely loved it! Breakfast was weetabix and toast, lunch and tea was whatever we were having as long as the salt levels were minimal. Thankfully I love cooking so preparing no added salt meals was no trouble and also meant I didn’t have to cook twice. It also meant I could eat my own meal at the same time.

Finding low salt snacks and bread was actually pretty hard, so it was definitely easier to cook from scratch at home.

So, here are my top weaning tips from my own personal experience:

1) Expect mess! And a lot more mess. Babies love the feel of food in their fingers…and also what happens when they throw it on the floor! I remember taking Thomas out for lunch to a local pub with some tasty quinoa and apple bites – the mess we made was ridiculous but I did clean it up myself – I don’t expect the staff to clean that level of food destruction! Note to self-don’t take crumbly food out this time!

2) Keep a wipe clean or machine washable tablecloth on the floor beneath the high chair for easy clean ups

3) Avoid high chairs that have lots of absorbable material or whose covers cannot be machine washed – Ikea do a brilliant Antilop highchair that is easy to clean. I’m personally using Fisher Price Space Saving high chairs for the twins so they can be attached to the dining chairs. They also have high backs and are great for support at the six month period (the covers are wipe clean and machine washable too). I find some highchairs have really wide legs so having two in the kitchen as well as the table would be a bit tight!

4) Bibs with full arms are a godsend, especially if they are machine washable – stock up so you have enough for every mealtime. It will save you washing masses of clothes. Alternatively, remove top layers of clothing prior to eating

5) Putting a tea towel on their lap will also catch a lot of crumbs

6) Keep finger food big enough so they can’t swallow it whole and choke, but is easy to pick up and munch on – think chip or finger sized

7) Don’t worry about plates and bowls with finger food-most will end up in the highchair tray anyway and it’ll save your washing up pile

8) We used to squish harder berries such as blueberries under a finger and slice grapes lengthways so they were less of a choking hazard

9) Remember safety is paramount! Never leave your little one unattended whilst eating, they have a very efficient gag reflex but know your first aid and what to do if the worst should happen. I can recommend some great local Norfolk courses – let me know if you’d like details.

10) Don’t worry about the volume of food consumed – babies will still get the nutrients they need from milk, whether breast or bottle feeding. This stage is all about experimenting with textures and tastes and promoting a varied palate. Some will be ready sooner than others

11) Still offer the same number of milk feeds when starting out, they may not decrease for a while yet

12) Make sure you enjoy it too! It’s a fun time and will hopefully encourage you to keep an eye on your own diet and salt intake if your little people are eating the same meals as you

We’ll be trying each method again this time around – parent and baby led feeding – to hopefully find a way that works for all. Spoons are also great fun as I remember – especially the loaded ones! Babies are all different and will have varying preferences and I’m fully expecting this will happen with the twins too. Having a flexible approach to starting solids is best as the journey will probably change along the way!

What are your experiences of starting solids with your little ones and do you have any tips to add? I’d love to hear all about it to help with my own preparation!

The Healthy Eating Begins!

I admit it…I’m a total sugar monster. If it’s not chocolate I can usually be found snacking on ice-cream, sugary cereals, biscuits or my main nemesis – crisps. They are quick, easy, take no preparation and are pretty enjoyable! However…they make me feel rotten.

At the moment I’m still breastfeeding my twins about three times every night and it’s during these awakenings that I tend to feel the worst. It’s probably because I’ve spent all evening whilst they’ve been blissfully dreaming scoffing my face with whatever the pantry offers – I could class it as an evening hobby.

I’ve recently been inspired by a few people who seem to have changed their lives for the better by radically changing their diet. I was shown a book by a relative called Deliciously Ella, by Ella Woodward. Having been diagnosed with a horrible illness she managed to turn her life around and come off all medication by following a strict vegan gluten free diet. I’ve always been sceptical as to whether or not this diet is as healthy as everyone says (and tasty?!) but my husband, having recovered from testicular cancer had researched and had also found similar stories.  Eat better = feel better it seems.

So, I thought, why not give it a go? And to my relief it’s actually pretty good! At the moment I’ve made small changes here and there towards a healthier lifestyle and I’m quite excited about feeling healthier and being more energetic for my kids’ sake too!

So, for your inspiration and hopefully to tempt those taste buds, here’s our week’s fruit and veg shop above! I don’t know about you but I think that looks pretty delicious! What do you reckon?

Welcome!

Hi! My name is Eloise and I’m a very blessed Mummy to three beautiful children – a sensitive and thoughtful little 3 year old and fearless 17 month old boy/girl twins.

I never thought I’d get to be a Mum but now I am I feel a great responsibility to these kids to raise them well, to nourish them and provide a wealth of happy memories. Parenting is not easy. It’s an enormous learning curve – for the kids and us parents but we hope one day they’ll look back and say we did a good job.

I honestly believe one of the most important things you can do for your kids is to look after yourself. A healthy and happy mum, inside and out, physically and mentally can only be a good thing.

Follow me on my journey, the ups and downs, adventures and missions as I aim to bring you my own experiences of becoming that healthy mum I strive daily to be – the good days, bad days and all the crazy in between!