Blooming Delicious by Sophie Wright - Book Review

Blooming deliciousDelicious, Beautifully Photographed Recipes for Glowing Health, From Pre-Conception to Post-Baby

When professional chef and highly successful catering business owner Sophie Wright discovered she was pregnant, like many-mums-to-be, she decided to take a closer look at her diet. However, instead of keeping all her wonderful recipes to herself, she made the decision to publish them to help others also improve their diets from pre-pregnancy right up until post-baby.

Blooming Delicious is just that - a beautiful book bursting full of tasty, nutritionally balanced recipes, which, with the help of top nutritional therapist Henrietta Norton, ensure that both mother and baby will be carefully nourished. Alongside each section of the book Sophie has included lots of interesting information about what is happening developmentally to both mother and baby, before introducing many relevant recipes for the stage at which the mother to be has reached.

Continue reading "Blooming Delicious by Sophie Wright - Book Review" »


A Little More... Vitamin-Enriched, Naturally Flavoured Fruit Drinks! Perfect for Little Top-Ups

 

A Little More... Vitamin C
Sophia enjoying A Little More... Vitamin C

It's that time of the year again when all the dreaded bugs and colds begin to re-surface... and with 4 children of my own, I always dread the inevitable spread from one child to the next!

Like many parents, I do my best to ensure they eat a good range of healthy food with a plentiful supply of fresh fruit and vegetables. However, I do often struggle to remember to get them to take a daily multi-vitamin as backup. Therefore, I was interested in the a new range of vitamin-enriched, naturally fruit flavoured, sugar-free drinks by A Little More which I came across recently.

Although I am fortunate in that my children love our tap water (and in Northern Ireland we are lucky that our tap water tastes good), I am very aware that this is not always the case and know lots of people buy bottled water instead.

I also know many parents who tell me how lucky I am that my kids drink tap water as theirs won't touch it! On a typical day, my children fill their water bottles and bring them to school to have with their lunches but I'll happily admit there are times when I feel a bit bad that whilst many of their friends are sipping on fruit juice, mine aren't. The reason - I worry about them rotting their teeth with all the excess sugar that is often added to so-called fruit drinks.

Continue reading "A Little More... Vitamin-Enriched, Naturally Flavoured Fruit Drinks! Perfect for Little Top-Ups" »


Sound Medicine by Anime: Using Ancient Solfeggio Frequencies to Destress and Transform Your Daily Life

In recent and even not so recent years I've often found it difficult to relax. Most likely, the sole reason for this is simply that I lead a busy life, caring for our four children and my husband. It doesn't leave a lot of time for me to focus just on me and that means I often end up feeling stressed. It's not like I want or even need a lot of time to myself, but like most mothers, just a half hour here or there is all I desire!

I've often found that in those occasional half hours that I do manage to grab for myself that deep relaxation recordings help me cope with the daily stress in my life and I suppose I first started reaching for them when I was a student. Studying for what seemd to be never-ending exams in the hope of achieving my dream of becoming an English teacher, it was often difficult to wind down at the end of the day.

As the years have gone by, many things have changed. I achieved my dream but found that full-time motherhood became more important to me and that's why I made the almost overwhelmingly difficult choice to stay at home full-time. Not that I made that choice deliberately I might add. When I went on maternity leave just before my second daughter was born, I fully intended on returning to the workplace. However, it just never happened. I briefly thought about how childcare would work out and couldn't bring myself to leave the children with strangers. My parents and my husband's parents had been more than eager to look after their first grandchild but with a second it was more difficult for them and I didn't even ask as I knew it would be too much.

It wasn't an easy decision to stay at home as I had always loved my work and got a great feeling of excitement from helping young people to learn, but it had physically pained me when I had initially left my first baby behind with one set of grandparents whilst I left to educate other children. Somehow, the decision to become a fulltime mother was made for me without me even realising it - it was only as the weeks at home became years at home that at some point I actually thought to myself how did that happen?

These days, with four children who demand my almost every moment, I often look back on what could have been had I managed to secure a permanent job in teaching as soon as I'd qualified. I probably wouldn't have found it just so easy to walk away, and in fact probably wouldn't have done so, but since my early teaching positions were always temporary I just never went back after the birth of my second daughter.

Looking back into my own past always causes me mixed feelings. I know in my heart I've often made what were difficult but ultimately the best choices I could have made at the time, yet I still wonder incessantly about how I could be more productive in society. My husband tells me what I do is enormously important - as a full-time mother, I'm the one who takes the children on medical appointments, nurses them if they're ill and I do most of the school work, all the school runs and house-keeping. But my mind often refuses to quieten, questioning many of the decisions I have made and continue to make. 

Every day I look at working mothers and wonder how they manage and how I would have managed had that been the path I had ended up taking. I have many regrets but also many moments of clarity and when it all starts to become overwhelming help is never far away in the form of one of the many mp3 relaxation cds I have on my ipod. At the moment I'm enjoying some of my many Glenn Harrold recordings, in particular his solfeggio meditations series of which I have three. The recordings are based on an ancient sound system using certain frequencies which correspond to specific worries, stresses, hopes and dreams and I have found them remarkably effective and rather inspirational. Like many similar hypnotherapy/relaxation recordings, they start off helping you focus on breathing techniques which help you drift into a lovely deeply relaxed state before suggestions which help focus on problems or desires in your life. I usuallly fall into a deep sleep fairly quickly and usually awaken with a loud snore just as the recording ends!

What I really love about these recordings though is the background sounds and music, so much so that I actually bought myself a copy of just the background music which is composed and arranged by spiritual musician and healer Ali Calderwood, the man behind Anima.

Continue reading "Sound Medicine by Anime: Using Ancient Solfeggio Frequencies to Destress and Transform Your Daily Life" »


New Annabel Karmel Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes - Tasty Food for the Whole Family!

Annabel karmel quick and easy toddler recipesI've been testing out a lovely book this week, Annabel Karmel Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes, the first in her Quick and Easy series.

The book is a 144-page, 100 recipe full colour book teeming full of healthy, balanced meals aiming to make mealtimes easier for hard-working families.

With a great choice of breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner recipes, many focusing on key food groups such as fish, pasta, poultry, meat, vegetables and fruit, as well as time saving tips and tricks to encourage children to eat well and experiment with different sweet and savoury flavours, this book is definitely one for the kitchen book shelf!

Having bought another of her recipe books in the past when my other children were younger, I was keen to try this new one to see if my latest addition would enjoy the meals I'd be preparing. And I'm pleased to report, so far so good.

With a family of four children and two adults, it can be difficult to keep everyone happy at times. My husband and I like lots of spicy foods like curries and noodle dishes, but as any parent can understand, the children aren't always so keen. I'm almost always presented with the dilemma of who to please at mealtimes and preferring for everyone to eat the same meal, rather than having to prepare two completely different meals, I tend to cook meals which everyone will eat rather than meals that everyone loves!

However, this week, with Annabel's guidance, we've all been happily sampling many new and interesting meals and with those I've prepared I'm thrilled to report so far everyone has been pretty happy.

The book, like others Annabel Karmel has written, has a huge array of meals ranging from snacks to main meals and desserts and is certainly a lovely looking book with lots of very appetising photos of meals within. To be honest, my main problem was actually deciding what to prepare from it as there is just so much choice. However, below are photos and rundowns of how I got on with several meals I cooked.

Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber
Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber Sandwiches
Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber Sandwiches

The first snack I chose to prepare was for the children coming in from school and feeling peckish. Normally, I'd make a few ham or cheese sandwichs or toasties, perhaps a shop bought pancake or scone but on this occasion I chose Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber sandwiches. Usually, I'd only serve hummus as a dip at parties so it was a novel and unusual combination which the children weren't too sure about at first glance.

Continue reading "New Annabel Karmel Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes - Tasty Food for the Whole Family!" »


Eat Well for Less - Saving Money on Food Bills

Since we're currently going through a pretty tough time financially in the UK, more and more people are trying to think of ways to reduce the cost of living. One area where it is often fairly easy to reduce costs is in the weekly food bill.

Now, like many people, years ago when I was a student I had a very limited supply of money and my diet was dire. It's still a family joke that I existed on dried supermarket noodles for four years and actually it's not that far from the truth! Noodle sandwiches, noodles on toast and noodles with beans were a common enough meal in those far away days!

Then, as a young working woman, my diet improved although at one point I confess it even became rather extravagant with my husband and I, then unmarried, eating out two or three times a week... and yes we both put on some weight then!

However, eventually we grew up and got some sense realising that eating out instead of cooking home meals was a ridiculous waste of money and not the healthiest of lifestyles and these days we have home-cooked meals every day and only eat out on special occasions or as a real treat.

I would never suggest going back to the frugal eating of student life, especially when you have a growing family, but there are lessons to be learnt from the budget constraints of those days.

Continue reading "Eat Well for Less - Saving Money on Food Bills" »


Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is Pregnant!

It's just been revealed today that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant. Congratulations to her and her husband, William :) I feel really sorry for them though that they had to reveal the pregnancy before they were ready. One of the loveliest things about any pregnancy is keeping the little secret to yourself until you are ready to reveal all. However, the reason for the royal revelation  is that poor Kate is suffering from severe morning sickness, medically known as hyperemis gravidarium. Most women fortunately only suffer mild to moderate morning sickness, but for those who do suffer even from the milder forms, it's a plight with which many of us who have been pregnant can empathise.

Continue reading "Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is Pregnant!" »


Peace at Last - Let the Home Baking Fun Commence!

This morning, after yet another bad night's sleep, I decided on the spur of the moment to make some scones and right now the house smells yummy. It's brought me right back to my childhood where I recall regularly returning home from school to the smell of apple tarts cooking and my mum standing in her apron, rolling pin in hand! Of course she always left a little dough behind for my sister and me so we could make jam pies but since there was only one rolling pin, one of us had to make do with a milk bottle!

My first port of call these days when looking for recipes is usually Google and most times I find great recipes. Today's was no exception with the good old BBC coming to my aid. If you'd like to try the recipe I used, here it is! I had to alter it ever so slightly as I had no sultanas and used raisins instead. Raisins are clearly inferior though as the mix is quite dry and juicy sultanas would have worked much better. However, aside from that minor niggle, this is a recipe for my keepers list and I'll definitely use it again... with sultanas next time!

Continue reading "Peace at Last - Let the Home Baking Fun Commence!" »


Family Battle Skin Allergy with 100% Natural Discovery

JooMo Face WashAfter developing a skin allergy in 2008 mum of two Linda Russell, set out on a journey that would lead her and her partner Nick to develop the very first 100% natural face wash. Although an avid user of various skin lotions and creams, in 2008 she developed a distressing skin allergy which seemed untreatable.

Although the allergy started off as a fairly innocuous looking red patch on her chin, it spread alarmingly with groups of red spots and parts of her face becoming inflamed around her mouth and chin. It was sometimes so sore it hurt to smile. Horrified by the appearance of her skin, Linda began a desperate period of hunting for a cure.

Linda, co-founder of JooMo, said: “My existing skin care products seemed to hurt my face when applied, so I stopped using them. I went to the doctor’s and was prescribed steroid cream – after a temporary improvement, my skin was worse than ever. I remember going to Canada  on business, and my face ached the whole time – I also felt horribly self-conscious meeting people, much the same dimly remembered feeling I had had as a teenager with an outbreak of spots.”

Continue reading "Family Battle Skin Allergy with 100% Natural Discovery" »


Getting Your Mind and Body Back Post Baby - Guest Post

Whether you’ve just had your first or your fifth baby, you want to get your pre-pregnancy body back as quickly as possible. Staying fit is one way you can lose baby fat, increase your energy and boost your mental attitude. Start today by implementing several post-baby workout tips.

Fitness is important

Every mom wants to look good. After nine months of wearing elastic-waist pants and maternity shirts, you’re ready to wear those cute pre-pregnancy clothes again. When you make an effort to stay fit, not only will your regular clothes fit again, but also you’ll feel better. Women who exercise receive a mental boost and gain confidence.

Continue reading "Getting Your Mind and Body Back Post Baby - Guest Post" »


What foods have been proven to help you lose weight, even when you’re suffering from PCOS?

Food is like a double edged sword. On one hand, poor food habits can cause or exacerbate your PCOS. On the other hand, correct food choices can heal your body, mind, soul… and your PCOS. Food is absolutely among the best medicine. ………………

Modifying your eating habits helps to empower your thyroid, normalize your gut, detoxify your liver, and balance your mood and energy levels. Each of these is critical for you to lose weight, and keep it off! The right food choices set the foundations for success in optimal health, not just in weight loss.

Strengthening your body is THE best way to help yourself. Far more powerful than the toxic hormonal treatments traditionally given to women with PCOS, which not only treat one symptom and may leave behind a legion of side effects, but also increase insulin resistance and inflammation – the drivers of PCOS. [1,2,3]

The ‘RIGHT’ food for your PCOS-

Low Glycaemic Load (GL)

You need to look to food to overcome the metabolic mess that is PCOS. Diets may make tall claims about their miraculous successes, however, few will optimize your health or fix your PCOS. Do not consider yourself to be on ‘a diet’. All the word diet really means is ‘the usual food and drink a person consumes’. Think of your new food habits as your life giving, optimal, healing, food-plan. [4,5]

What food plan will help you to lose weight?

Look to nature!

Nature provides the right mix of nutrients. It also provides low Glycaemic Load (GL). The food plan proven to deal with PCOS and obesity is the ‘Low Glycaemic Load (Low GL) food plan’.

Continue reading "What foods have been proven to help you lose weight, even when you’re suffering from PCOS?" »