Kind and gentle | Simply Marcia


Shortcuts and top tips to a more healthy, mindful, positive and energised you!

Kind and gentle

Nope, I’m not talking about the latest must-have moisturiser, I’m talking attitude. Yes, sometimes we need to be assertive and ‘on it’ and yes, we’re all frightfully busy, far too busy to take a breather, a step down as it were, but for me, it’s really important to let the other side of me out more often: kindness, generousity of spirit, gentleness.

Today whilst I was waiting for my train, a middle-aged man approached me. He was completely dishevelled looking and I’m not sure if he was quite aware of exactly where he was. He could have seemed quite frightening, in fact every other person he approached immediately ignored him finding their newspaper or phone suddenly super-interesting, or walked away. We only had a brief conversation but actually, what came across to me was that this man was lonely and probably a bit afraid himelf. I gave him approximately a minute and a half of my time before he decided he’d had enough of me, and shuffled off with a (very loud) ‘good day to you’…

Showing another human being genuine compassion and kindness and giving them a bit of your time (even if that’s only 90 seconds on a train platform) isn’t a form of weakness (as Rihanna would lead us to believe ‘all of my kindness is taken for weakness’ – no Rihanna!) instead, it’s no different to the old fashioned ‘doing a good deed’ for someone else kind of thing. By being kind, gentle, compassionate it actually has a positive effect on all concerned and (without wanting to sound all pious and a bit umm ‘my halo is shining brighter than yours’) really can make you feel a little bit sparklier about yourself 🙂


Super food and clean eating confusion

Is it me? I mean, I want to be healthy and really would love to adopt this new ‘clean eating’ thing that seems to be everywhere right now (MANY celebs are jumping on the ‘no-sugar-no-added-stuff’ band-wagon and publishing clean eating cookbooks with the promise that you too, can be more like them) but, I’m not sure if you can teach an old dog new tricks? Or at least, not too many new tricks?

I LOVE my food. I’m a little truffle-pig if left too long (who am I kidding – length of time is irrelevent) on my own near edible stuff. I really can’t be trusted and think Will Power is an actual person (rather than a form of personal restraint – what’s that anyway?). But, I recognise as I get a bit (ahem) older, that my metabolism is definitely not what it was – it really needs a good kick up the (too large) bottom.

I’ve done the whole Slimming World thing (which does work actually), I’ve just kind of been there, done that, and now want to eat well with no naughty, secret and scarily huge amounts of sugar in fat free stuff. I’ve managed to get my head around overnight fat-free natural (no added nasties) yoghurty-oaty-fruity breakfasts (I can do recipies with three ingedients). I literally bung in to a container a handful of fruit (whatever’s to hand and about to walk itself out of our fruit bowl), a handful of plain porridge oats and a few dollops of fat-free plain yoghurt. Chuck it in the fridge overnight and hey presto – an amazingly simple but super delish and super satisfying breakfast. You can find some other recipe ideas here 🙂

Having got to grips with this easy-peasy breakfast changer, and on a bit of a ‘get me’ high, thought I ought to continue my pursuit of super-food clean eating … Including more (lots more) green stuff in your diet is relatively easy to do (think kale, spinach and watercress) – I just bung it in a bowl ‘on the side’, however, some clean living superfoods, much as I’d love to include them in my diet, will cripple your weekly food shop finances; for one recipe I loved the sound of I needed (amongst others) the following 5 ingredients (that sadly I don’t have lurking in my (not) beautifully stocked pantry): medjool dates, cacao, chia, coconut oil, maple syrup – at Mr Sainsburys, I would have had less than 50p change from a ÂŁ20 note.

Eeeek. I’m thinking there must be simpler (and cheaper) alternatives? Our grandparents ate smaller and quite simple meals but they were very balanced – lots of veg, some carb and some protein. The term super food has become a bit of a buzz word and is so confusing – aren’t all pure, natural and unadulterated foods a bit super?

So if, like me, you’re a bit dazed and confused by the whole super food thing, then then article from the Independent might help 🙂

Happy super-fooding!

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A ripe old age …

There’s a cute little village (Acciaroli if you’re interested) in Southern Italy with more centenarians than anywhere else in the world! Lots of healthy old folk living a lovely long time and generally not suffereing many of the ills that befall the rest of us (think heart diesase and Alzheimer’s).

Apparently, these guys and gals put their longevity down to a mash-up of the following:

  • keeping active – walking is best for longevity according to these wise old birds – no gym bunnies here
  • physical pleasures – sex – and lots of it!
  • good sleep – but set that alarm early – this lot properly get up and go!
  • being sociable
  • fruit, veggies, fish, olive oil – think Mediterranean diet but no loading up your plate – these guys eat small portions
  • occasional fasting – apparently cutting back can help you live longer, and reduce the chances of developing nasties like heart disease and cancer
  • very little added salt and sugar in their diet – ditto processed foods – these guys and girls like to make their own – even in their 90’s!
  • red wine (no Friday night binge-drinking though) – think balance and moderation
  • simplify your life to reduce stress – no mod-cons or high-tech stuff for this lot – they like it pure and simple – and sloooooow – and it clearly works!
  • regular health-checks – think occasional check-ins with your GP.

I guess the message to take away from this is that we don’t have to be pounding away on the treadmill at every given opportunity, that fad diets may come and go and that actually, the key to a good, happy, healthy and (possibly) long life is probably about simplicity. Stripping back and cutting out (some of) the crap. Giving ourselves a bit of a break. Stepping away from the rat-race (when we can).

Instead, taking pleasure from life’s simple pleasures … and in the process, finding contentment (and good health!).

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Caio! x


I think I’m an addict …

to tech. Think: smartphone, laptop, iPad, emails, texts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al.

I mean, I need these techy things in my life: they keep me organised and in contact with everyone and everything, and quite frankly, as I freelance, they’re my lifeline to work, networking etc. I totally, absolutely, completely, without question need these things in my life …

However, these brilliant techy aids come as a double-edged sword. When you have 24 hour access to all these sources of information (and things to keep up with), there’s quite literally no end in sight. It can be exhausting and stressy trying to keep up with everything and these techy bad boys love to lie around, tempting us to do yet another (little) ‘check in’. Which for me, usually equates to yet another half an hour wasted by pretty much just re-checking updates and statuses, scrolling through junk texts … whilst explaining to my eight-year old (tugging at me to sit with her on the sofa), that mummy is actually really very busy with work stuff (such a fibber!).

A recent week away (Scotland) in a lovely house with no wifi or TV (sounds very eeeeek – but actually was bloody great) has taught me that it is possible (yes, possible) to spend chunks of time without endless techy and social media check-ins. The world won’t have moved on too much and to be honest, a load of the stuff we spend scrolling through is a bit like wading through other people’s crap.

In terms of my addiction, I’m getting there, however it’s a bit like being in some kind of recovery; if I’m not actually ‘checking in’ or being tempted by Mr Google to look something up, then quite often I’m thinking about it (umm wtf?!). A bit like a big, fat slice of chocolate cake, I do find it totally hard to resist these terrible tempters but, a good compromise, I’ve found, is to leave my phone, laptop, iPad et all in a different room to me when in non-worky mode. However, it’s not easy and to be honest, a lot of the time, these techy tempatations prove, well, just too tempting (and of course, sometimes I do actually have real and proper work to do) – but baby steps I say!

Live by example is a great motto to apply here I think; if we want the young people in our lives to step away from their own techy addictions, then we have to make ourselves available to them by stepping away from our own 🙂

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Furniture revitaliser :)

It’s not only our faces we can transform with a spot of makey-upy ‘painting’, but our sad or drab or child(pet)-wrecked furniture too.

I admit it; I’m a late convert to the whole upcycling, repainting and resusing or reimagining-of-furiture-movement. I’d never really understood the whole second-hand thing (eughh!) and charity shop browsing (what?!) until divorce sent my budget spiralling in the wrong direction … I am now a fully paid-up-member of second-hand furniture and bric-a-brac purchasing. In part, due to said spiralling-out-of-control-in-a-downward-fashion-budget but also because it’s very ‘of the moment’ – antiques and arts and crafts markets are springing up everywhere and are big business (my fave is the monthly bohemian and brilliant people-spotting Frome Independent Market ) – and I love them. I now totally get a buzz from a second-hand (ahem vintage!) bargain and owning something a bit different and unique and (sometimes) a bit battered (pre-loved!).

Some things however cannot be easily replaced when budgets are squeezed (think kitchen cupboards and built-in wardrobes – unless you’re a bit handy with a sledgehammer and your carpentry skills are top notch). This is where a spot of easy(‘ish) DIY but super-impressive repainting comes in (hooray). All hail then, Annie Sloane – the queen bee of repaint jobs 🙂 This great woman knows a thing or two about breathing new life in to old stuff. She is the furniture revitaliser! If anything (that doesn’t move) in your home is looking a bit tired, despondent, boring, grubby, non-sparkly … then consider a lick of furniture ‘make up’. Head over to Annie’s site for loads of inspiration, top tips, video ‘how to’s’ and stockists, and get creative. 

The thing I love most about the whole process of (re)painting is that for me, the rythmical and repeated actions have an almost calming effect (as long as a) there are no children or pets close by and b) I have sensibly covered stuff that’s most definitely not to be painted). My focus is purely on the action of painting, therefore temporarily parking all the day-to-day stuff whirring around my brain. Brilliant. And, at the end of the process I have a beautiful and bespoke piece of furniture (plus the ‘I did that’ satisfaction).

My project this weekend – to breathe new life in to two pine bedside chest of drawers (picked up at Bath artisan market for ÂŁ25) … Happy repainting!

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Sunny side up!

I don’t care too much about the age-old conundrum ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg?’ – I just know that I love both! We have 6 cluckety and happy free-roaming rescue hens and they are super-good girls, laying us beautiful (and THE most tasty) eggs every day; the yolks are almost neon-yellow and make shop-bought eggs look a bit sad and pale in comparison. The simple pleasure of collecting freshly laid eggs in a little hay nest never leaves you (no matter what age you are!) and nothing beats the joy of tucking in to these perfectly formed little protein and engery-packed free-rangers!

As well as being one of the best forms of complete protein (which is a really good thing – esp. for vegetarians), eggs are full of other super-good things: essential amino acids, heart-healthy fat, vitamin D (keeps bones healthy and helps your body absorb calcium), vitamin B12 (for your metabolic and nervous systems) and iodine (for your thyroid and metabolism).

Not only that, but the humble egg is sooooo versatile to cook with, either on it’s own (scrambled, boiled, poached, baked or fried) but it works so well with, and in, tonnes of other foods 🙂

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One thing; please, please try to buy free rangers or organic – they really are the best and we all want happy hens that definitely give back!


Nail it!

If like me, the concept of ‘spare time’ is completely lost on you then this is for you. I love a glossy, neat and shiny red or coral nail however, in my case, mine are more likely to look like either a) my eight year old daughter has ‘delicately’ applied the nail varnish for me or b) they’ve chipped so much I can almost get away with rocking a weird ‘style statement’ nail … Umm I think? Most of the time I simply hope to god that no-one can actually see my nails (in a burying-my-head-in-the-sand kind of way).

The thing is, I’m always in a rush, speed-hurtling from one thing to the next and so on (note to self to address my time management issues). So this is pretty much what happens EVERY time I apply a luscious new coating of nail varnish: I forget. Immediately. My brain has already moved on to the next task (think: loading the washing machine; loading the kids in to the car; getting dressed/undressed … blah, blah …).  And without fail, the result is always smudged nails. Brilliant. Btw, this doesn’t just happen in a DIY situation, I’ve paid good money for a manicure and for a brief few seconds my nails will look absolutely fabulously perfect … and then I’ll have to pay – I reach into my bag (scrabbling around with all the crap I fill it with), pull out my purse and ta dah! At least one sacrificial nail : ( As Homer would say “doh!”.

Anyway, I think I’ve sort of found a solution 🙂 Rimmel (I know I don’t exactly fall in to their target market however my budget means I’ve elbowed my way in to it) have a new’ish range of 60 Seconds Super Shine by Rita Ora (who?!) nail varnishes and they are PERFECT! The colours are super-lovely, the brush is wide giving great and even application (one stroke is enough!) and, most importantly, it dries super-quick – so even the most easily distracted can enjoy super-glossy non-smudgy nails. Hooray – think Rimmel have nailed it 🙂

My fave is Glaston Berry 🙂 a super-sunshiney-bright colour – buy it on offer at Boots now!

nail it