My vegan, dairy & sugar free flapjacks | Simply Marcia


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My vegan, dairy & sugar free flapjacks

I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen! Our supply of delicious Deliciously Ella sweet potato brownies (for my sugar free February challenge) are no more, so I thought I’d have a go at making some sugar-free* flapjacks.

*Technically, these flapjacks aren’t completely sugar free as they contain 1) maple syrup and 2) squished banana and a few blueberries so I’m not sure how truly healthy-healthy they are? But, whilst sugar-free February is going well, I do need some kind of sweet hit once a day – so, ta dah! This is it:

VEGAN, DAIRY & (REFINED) SUGAR-FREE FLAPJACKS

INGREDIENTS

180g oats
3 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large mashed banana
1/4 punnet blueberries

METHOD

Thankfully, no special skills are required when it comes to the method – simply:

– mash the banana
– add the olive oil, maple syrup & vanilla extract & give it all a bit of a stir
– stir in the oats
– gently stir in the blueberries
– grease a small’ish cooking tin/tray with a little olive oil
– tumble the flapjack mix in to the tray and gently flatten
– chuck in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 180C

Allow to cool a bit before cutting in to little squares (I go as small as possible!) and enjoy with a cuppa!

Do you have a favourite, tried & tested sugar-free recipe? Please let me know – I’m in need of more inspiration! x


Going sugar free this February?

WHY AM I DOING SUGAR FREE FEBRUARY?

As I bathe in the smug glow of having successfully achieved Dry January, and having found I do actually have some kind of restraint and willpower, I’ve decided to throw myself in to Sugar Free February. I don’t think I have a massive sweet tooth (I do love cheese however!) or consume a huge amount of sugar but I’m guessing the truth is that I probably do. It’s hidden in some of the unlikeliest foods …

So, to help boost my health, discover new recipes and hopefully help me make some longer-term sugar-free changes, I’m going to give it a go!

WHAT ARE MY SUGAR FREE RULES?

– no added sugar
– no ready-made or processed foods
– homemade meals and snacks only
– fruit, dried fruit, maple syrup, honey and cacao powder are allowed*

*I want to be realistic and find natural and healthier alternatives to refined sugar on a long-term basis. Plus these ingredients have many health benefits in themselves.

MY GOALS FOR SUGAR FREE FEB

– to experiment with and create some new family-friendly sweet treats – both The Body Coach and Deliciously Ella have some yummy-sounding and easy-to-make sugar free recipes (they will be my lifeline I suspect)
– to make healthy choices and food swaps – so nibbling on nuts and seeds rather than biscuits and the like
– to create sugar free versions of sauces that normally have loads of hidden sugar – things like sweet chilli sauce, tomato ketchup – and baked beans!

CHALLENGES I CAN FORSEE

– two birthdays in our family this month (eek, that will mean the temptations of birthday cake and meals out!)
– having 3 children means there will be sweet treats in our house as usual (I’d love to be able to say the whole family will be going sugar-free but it’s a definite no ha! I will however, be secretly trying to reduce their sugar intake via homemade cookies and fruit crumbles – shhhhh)
– February half term means the kids will be around (needing food – constantly!) and, combined with planned days out will mean lots of food related potential temptations
– Pancake Day and Valentines day also fall within half term
– alcohol – I don’t want to undo all the good work and health benefits from having completed Dry January, however, I do want to enjoy the odd drink – so it’ll be clear spirits – gin! (the alcohol containing the least amount of sugar) with soda water for me this month (I had no idea tonic water has so much sugar in it!)

Wish me luck! During Sugar Free February I’m planning on sharing a couple of sugar-free recipes that I enjoy and have helped me achieve my sugar-free goal!

Are you taking part in Sugar Free February? Let me know if you have any tips!


Environmentally friendly cleaning brands

Inspired by many recent campaigns and programmes highlighting environmental and ecological issues, it’s time for me to properly ditch all harmful cleaning products in our home. Instead, I’m now switching to natural and environmentally friendly ones. However (ashamedly), I’m a bit new to this world so I’ve done a little research to find brands that have no impact on aquatic life, are chemical free, cruelty free and are plant based (perfect for vegans). The good news, is that there are actually loads of brilliant, environmentally-friendly brands available (some of which are stocked in major supermarkets), but these are the ones I’ve personally come across and like:

Method offer a massive range of vegan and cruelty free cleaning products for cleaning your home, doing the laundry and washing up! Think antibacterial bathroom, floor and kitchen cleaners as well as gorgeous smelling hand washes. Basically, the entire range smells as though you should be bathing or showering in it! And the great thing, is that you can buy Method products in a huge range of places: all the major supermarkets as well as stores like B&Q, John Lewis and Boots.

Faith in Nature pretty much says it all really. Have faith in nature – this range of cleaning products covers everything from household cleaners, to laundry to washing up and their refills come in 5L sizes (and are brilliantly wallet-friendly!). They also offer environmentally friendly beauty, skincare, baby and pet product ranges.

Humblestuff is a range of environmentally friendly cleaning products I found on Twitter. This is a small business, based in Scotland, creating hand-made and amazingly-scented products (thanks to the addition of essential oils). At the moment they only offer 3 products in their range – but that’s all you need right?: a multi-surface spray, a toilet freshener and a soft-cleaning paste. All their products are vegan, paraben and cruelty free.

Holland and Barrett‘s ‘Earth Friendly’ washing and laundry cleaning products range is perfect to get hold of if you’re out and about as there’s a store in most high streets – think washing up liquid, laundry tablets and eco eggs.

If you like to mix and match your cleaning products, one of the best UK sites that stocks almost every environmentally friendly cleaning brand you can think of, is Ethical Superstore. They also sell groceries, vegan skincare and other ethically sourced and fair trade products for your home and family.

Finally, there’s also the option to do-it-yourself and have a go at making some of your own cleaning products. Ok, I haven’t actually done this myself (yet!) but maybe one day! In the meantime, The Green Parent and Vegan Food and Living offers some brilliant DIY tips as well as guidelines on what to look out for if you’re more interested in ethical cleaning products.

Is there an environmentally friendly cleaning brand you use and would recommend?

Happy, ethical cleaning!


2018: 12 months, 12 challenges

Having made it to mid-January without a drop of alcohol (the longest I’ve gone without a G&T for years – literally), and determined to see Dry January through until the bitter end (16 days and counting …), I’ve decided to create 11 further month-long challenges.

Why? Well a) because having an end in sight is motivation in itself, b) around 4 weeks for a challenge is doable as far as I’m concerned (and before the novelty value wears off) and c) past experience has shown me that grand sweeping, generic resolutions along the lines of ‘I’m going to get fit’ or ‘I’m going to lose weight’ just never, ever work for me.

But, short-term commitments or challenges are good for me. I’m not always very good at trying new things – it’s the scared-of-failure thing I think! So anyway, I’m hoping that one of the outcomes of my challenges is that I learn to enjoy new habits – so most of my monthly challenges are based around nutrition, health, fitness and good mental health practices.

So this is my plan of monthly challenges:

January
I’m already half-way through dry January and to be honest, it’s going ok actually. I’ve had the odd moment where I’ve really fancied a cheeky little G&T but I’m determined to get to 1st Feb without alcohol – I think I might be finally discovering the will power I never thought I had.

February
Sugar free February. Supported by Cancer Research UK, this is another higher-profile monthly challenge. Their site has loads of tips and advice. I’ve also found some great recipes on The Body Coach site as well as individuals on Twitter to follow including London Health Mum for sugar free tips.

March
30 minutes of blogilates every day. Ok, so 30 minutes a day might not sound like much of a commitment but, this will be on top of my 45 minute daily uphill dog walk (and work, children, etc) – so for me, this IS a commitment.

April
3 vegan days per week. I try to have around 3 completely meat free days per week and have vaguely dabbled with vegan meals but want to do it properly a few days a week. A great site for tracking down ready-made vegan meals, snacks etc is My Vegan Supermarket and for vegan recipes and a 30 day Vegan Pledge you can take, to go vegan for 30 days, The Vegan Society will be my go-to.

May
The Body Coach’s 2 week (x 2 workout plan to lose weight and tone up fast! I’m anticipating this one being tough – we’ll see how it goes!

June
No dairy. I’ve more time to research this monthly challenge but found Healthy Magazine is a useful starting point.

July
Meditation and month of calm! In preparation for the kids breaking up from school, I thought this might be apt – I’ve done a bit of research and loads of people swear by the Calm app so I’m going to be downloading this and

August
I’ve always fancied having a go at making some of my own skincare, so with that in mind, James Wong’s book ‘Grow your own drugs‘ in hand and Lucy Bee’s website on stand-by, that’s my plan (though if it doesn’t quite work out I will might treat myself to a VeganKind beauty box).

September
Like January, September is a month of new starts and good habits, so am planning on doing the squat & plank challenge (eeek, do I know what I’m letting myself in for?!)

October
Surf school. I’ve always wanted to learn how to surf properly – or at least have a go! I’ve chosen October as it’s out of season but the sea is still a good temperature. There are some brilliant surf schools here in Cornwall – the one I’m thinking about learning with is Surf’s Up in Polzeath.

November
Walking to running. I remember running as a child ha! But am keen to see if I can still run so will be downloading the 30 minute run plan from Women’s Running to get me motivated and started!

December
Green Christmas. I’m pretty sure that as per all previous years, December will be busy and pressured enough as it is, so no fitness or health challenge here except to have as green a Christmas as possible.

Have you ever set yourself a month long challenge? How did it work out for you? Or maybe you’re feeling inspired to try a challenge or two this year?

Wish me luck! x


My 2017 round up – some of what I’ve learnt!

As 2017 draws to a close, I find myself making final Christmassy plans, catching up with family and friends, and pondering a little on what this last year as brought me. So I thought a little round up to remind myself of some of the positive things that have made 2017, for me:

Moving to Cornwall

The biggest decision made this year. My partner and I have five children between us: he has two older boys, I have three younger ones who live with us. Uprooting my three and moving us all 2 1/2 hours drive from Bath to south-east Cornwall might have seemed a little crazy but you know, sometimes, when the opportunity strikes, you have to grab it and just do it. There was a lot of soul-searching, head-scratching, umm-ing and ahh-ing of course – the biggest worry I had was how this move would affect my children. But kids are resilient; there have been tough times of course, but, they’ve started new schools and made new friends. They still see and stay with their dad once a fortnight in Bath so those ties are still strong – and thanks to social media, they now have the best of both worlds with friends both here in Cornwall and back in Bath.

What I’ve learnt: The move has highlighted the fact that I’m a hoarder- I had too much ‘stuff’. Thankfully, the move meant scaling back and giving back to charities. I’ve also learnt that I really, really like to be away from the crazy rat-race. And that this part of Cornwall is not that far from Bath (hooray!). The novelty of doing up a new (but very old) house wears off once the Cornish sun shines and the beach calls – it’s a tough call – beach or DIY? That kids are hard work no matter where you live. And that I really, really, really love living in Cornwall – but equally, being so close to Dartmoor (my spiritual home I think).

Freelancing

I wasn’t sure how the big move would affect my freelance marketing. All my strong, client links and networks were back in Bath and Bristol. This is where most of my freelance work came from until our move. Thankfully, proving true that location is (mostly!) irrelevant when it comes to working as a freelancer I’ve a) managed to keep hold of projects and clients I was working on back in Bath and b) I’ve built up some lovely, new contacts here in Cornwall and have new clients and exciting projects taking me in to 2018.

What I’ve learnt: Communication is key. Whether that’s keeping conversations running with existing clients or networking and meeting new potential ones. And that you can’t rush or force these things – I’m all for natural chemistry! Oh, and sometimes heading to the beach to clear the cobwebs away and work stuff out! Keeping my LinkedIn profile updated and fresh has helped too.

Health

I’m very lucky; I’m not someone who thankfully suffers from illness very often. However, this move has made me recognise that as I get older, I want to become stronger and do what I can to live a happy and healthy life for as long as possible – it must be the sea air! This year I’ve upped my exercise game. Not quite a runner, I would class myself as someone on the cusp of super-fast walking/jogging – is that a thing? Point is, come rain or shine, uphill and down dell, I’ve been out there – my heart rate has been seriously pumping and working hard this year, and as a result I’m more toned and without a shadow of a doubt, so much fitter. I’m also a fan of kayaking – it’s perfect for all the family, it brings you so much closer to nature, it’s great for your core muscles and it’s easy! It’s also been a year of ‘in with the veg’ and ‘out with the meat’. I’m not quite ready to go full vegetarian (pescatarian is more likely!) but we’ve certainly had far more meat-free days than carnivorous ones. If you fancy joining me, Meat Free Mondays have some brilliant advice and recipes.

What I’ve learnt:
I’m really, really not a naturally sporty kind of person and didn’t think I could move as fast as I can – but with support and encouragement (and gentle nagging from other half when all I really want to do is slouch on the sofa with a bar of galaxy and a good box set, rather than head out in the torrential rain and fast walk up that bloody hill again) – I’ve made massive progress . I’ve also discovered a genuine love of lentils and legumes – my meat free substitutes.

Environment

Coming from a family of small holders and grow-your-own’ers, nature and the environment is a massive part of my life. Living in this part of the world, close to both the glorious beaches and breathtaking moors has brought us even closer to nature. Being able to spend so much time this summer literally touring the Cornish coastline, swimming, rock pooling and kayaking has been wonderful. And which is why, watching the recent Blue Planet 2 series has had a massive impact on me. We’re a family of re-users and recycle’ers but had no idea the scale of the plastics pollution of our oceans. It’s such a huge and dreadful problem but there are loads of brilliant initiatives we can all be a part of such as Surfers Against Sewage and One Less Bottle. Also this year we acquired a new allotment which a) I love, b) don’t quite know where to start with, but c) am determined to fill with edible plants for us, a wildlife haven for insects and small creatures and a penned off space for our lovely rescue hens!

What I’ve learnt
Ok, this is blindingly obvious I know, but we really do only have one planet. One environment. If a species becomes extinct, that’s it – game over for that species. It’s surely our duty to look after all creatures and all environments on this amazing planet. More than anything, it’s left me feeling passionate about doing my bit. That means buying locally, massively reducing our plastic consumption in this family, joining petitions and lobby’s, joining in with local beach cleans. That also means looking after and nurturing our small patch of land to help preserve it and the insects and creatures that visit it for future generations.

Food (and more importantly, gin!)

I’ve always loved ‘growing my own’ and having grown up in the era of ‘The Good Life’ and with parents who ran a small holding, it can come as no surprise to learn that food is a genuine source of joy for me. From keeping bees and hens to growing window sill herbs or hours spent on my allotment, I’m still a massive fan of the GYO movement. Life though, has been pretty hectic since our move to Cornwall – so we’ve kid of cheated and our GYO produce has come in the guise of Tamar Valley Grow Local whose philosophy is ‘Grow, Share, Cook’- if you can’t grow your own then buy and support local businesses who do! We like think we’re also doing our bit for local gin distilleries here in Cornwall too! It’s my tipple of choice and thankfully we’re lucky that there are some brilliant independent distilleries here which we’re gradually working our way around …

What I’ve learnt
Beside the fact that gin is my thing (nothing new!), supporting local farmers, small holders and independent producers via local schemes such as Tamar Grow Local is the next best thing to growing your own. It’s also great for the local economy and the environment. My intention next year is to combine a bit of home growing with local produce purchasing … first things first though – I need to get my house (allotment!) in order …


My 10 Commandments for Lent!

So, the frying pan is back in its rack (ours literally gets used once a year for pancake day – I’m not a natural cook sadly – what can I say – and flipping pancakes is not a skill that comes naturally to me …). Anyway, as today marks the first day of spring and the first day of Lent*, when we traditionally give something up (typically food or bad habits) to improve our health or demonstrate self-restraint, it’s made me think about what I might give up (chocolate, gin, shouting at the kids?) or whether, rather than give stuff up (I have little in the way of self-restraint, instead favouring (too much sometimes) the ‘life’s too short’ mantra (aka permission to over-indulge in everything …), I could take something up?

I’m not talking about taking up anything too physical (obvs) and much as I love popping over to Instagram every once-in-a-while to watch yet another motivational Body Coach ‘live’ workout, it’s not really for me. I consider my once a week yoga and constantly running around after my masters (the kids) is enough for me – thanks all the same.

I’m thinking more about how I can take up a better attitude to life in general; taking up a priority for my wellbeing. When things are a bit tough it can be so hard to see the wood for the trees and all that and sometimes I really need to ‘have a word’ with myself – easier said than done – though I’m not about to get all deep and meaningful!

So, keeping with the (sort of) spiritual train of thought, I’ve come up with my ten commandments for taking up a bit more balance in my life, a greater sense of wellbeing, and a spring in my step 🙂

1. Smile – just more often really. I will embrace my inner ‘Elf’ mantra: ‘Smiling’s my favourite’.
2. Be grateful – every day I will remind myself of the things that day, that I can be grateful and thankful for.
3. Share the load – I must, I must, I must … get my kids doing more. They’re not babies any more (eldest is 14 and possibly cannot operate a tin opener yet) – things need to change. I need to stop doing everything then moaning that I can’t do everything (wtf ha!).
4. Hydrate – simple one this – drink more water. This is one Body Coach tip I can do – yay!
5. Do one thing at a time. Think like a man – do one task at a time. Sod the multi-tasking, it just gets my knickers in a twist. Every day I’m now writing a short and achievable to-do list in my diary and getting proper and real satisfaction from actually ticking stuff off!
6. Walk more. I love walking, getting fresh air, seeing nature and taking photos. More of this please.
7. No dieting. Healthy, simple foods only. Chocolate when needed. I’m thinking a more holistic approach in listening to my body and what it needs. Recognising that my fuel needs can change day-to-day (some days I’m literally ravenous regardless of how much I’ve scoffed and others I’m just not …).
8. Banish negative thoughts (at least try to). Embrace positive mantra’s and words: I can, I do, I will, I am … ok.
9. Breathe. Slooooowly. I’ve recently discovered yoga so every day, I spend 15 mins doing some simple but calming yoga stretch and balance moves. And even though my stress levels are quite high’ish right now, I swear my asthma is so much better – I’m sure it’s down to the yoga and considered breathing. Downward-facing dog anyone (this is a great stretch!)?
10. Sleep. I think I need more of this stuff. I love my bed but not necessarily going to bed early (there are too many box-sets to be viewed and indulged in, right?). However, life is super-busy right now and I’m super-yawny so even I’m starting to recognise that I need to take up regular early nights of shut-eye. I’m thinking weekend box-set binges instead?! Happy!

Umm, one sneaky extra commandment – more flowers. I love them. A simple, budget-friendly and super-cheery ‘must’ for me and very spring-like!

So, I now command you go forth and create your own ten commandments to help you take a step in the direction of balance and wellbeing 🙂

*A super-quick history/theological lesson: Lent is a 40-day fast and this year will run up until the Thursday before Easter Sunday (April 13). Christians believe the Lent period reflects when Jesus fasted and suffered in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights during which time he was tempted by Satan, but each time he managed to refuse his temptations.

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New Year, new you?

Not that I’m suggesting there’s anything wrong with the current you, it’s just that 2016 is almost over, the clock is ticking down to the New Year and it’s around about now that we traditionally reflect on what’s been and gone and all our achievements to date, and consider all our goals, hopes and aspirations for the coming year … what awaits you?

It can be easy to roll out those generic New Year resolutions, like: I’ll lose weight, get fit, get a new job, earn more money … but maybe it’s about the small steps we can all take – and setting small but achievable goals which in turn lead to small but brilliant successes, satisfying senses of achievement and the motivation and inspiration to keep going.

Instead of thinking then in generic big-change terms, maybe we ought to think about the smaller steps we can take to achieve some of our bigger goals. So, if for example, your bigger goal is to get fit this year, break this down in to smaller achievable and realistic goals such as joining a yoga class once a week, walking to work once a week and maybe finding out about something completely different to really challenge yourself – rock climbing anyone?!

Now is a great time to find out about new and different things to try and do – you’re never too old to try new stuff. I know it’s a cliché but it’s so true – sometimes you need to step outside your comfort zone – nothing crazy but maybe something a bit different.

This happened to me recently – I was offered a super last-minute opportunity to work as a body-double and extra for two overnight shoots on a film set – something I’ve never done before and was potentially going to turn down but instead, supported my lovely partner, I threw caution to the wind and (in the words of Nike) just did it! And wow, what a fun and brilliant and creative experience. I met some lovely, inspirational people – people I’d never normally work with or meet and they were fab – a breath of fresh air – and it gave me an ‘accidental’ confidence boost – my advice, just do it!

Whatever your ‘thing’ is for this year, some top tips I’m going to try and keep hold of myself to take me through 2017:

• Think positive and smile – make it a habit
• Set achievable and realistic goals
• Get back up if you have a setback (don’t berate yourself, ever if you ‘fall off your wagon’)
• Surround yourself with positive, inspirational people
• Stop occasionally. Breathe and take stock
• Have belief in yourself
• Don’t compare yourself to others
• Recognise the joy and pleasure in small and simple things
• Take care of yourself – that means mental and physical health
• Be kind and grateful
• Say ‘thank you’

I’m sure there are others, but for me, these are the important things to try and remember as we head in to 2017 and all it brings …

Happy New Year all – may it bring you happiness, health, peace and joy 🙂 x

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Brilliant packing-a-punch bargain moisturisers :)

Much as I love this time of year for all it’s sparkliness and glitter and the whole excitement of the entire December lead-up to the big Xmassy day; the beautifully wintry days we (sometimes!) get and the cosying-up opportunities it brings, it does however, come at a price: dehydrated skin – boo hiss 🙁

At this time of year, good skincare is essential so a moisturiser that offers a great big hydration and plumping hit is a must! Sadly, most of the face creams out there that promise miraclulous transformations of your tired and parched skin are super-expensive – so I’ve done a spot of skin-soothing research and am armed with a few bargain-priced (all cost around £10 or less – yay!) but brilliantly effective skin saviours 🙂

1. Weleda Calendula Cream (Facial)
£10.76, Amazon – this cult skincare range was originally designed for baby skincare, so it has a super-gentle formula, is enriched with lanolin and organic almond oil to soothe the skin and maintain the moisture balance to banish wind-whipped and under-hydrated skin – hooray!

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2. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Deep Moisture Comfort Balm – 300 ml

£3.60 (yup!) – ok so technically this is a balm rather than a moisturiser but either way, it delivers a massive hit of moisture and locks it in – these Norwegian’s know a thing or two about riding out their harsh winters so it makes sense that this skincare range is going to offer a max hydration boost too 🙂

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3. Purity Facial moisturiser £6.29 – if you love all things organic and are a fan of (one of my fave organic skincare brands) Neals Yard, but are looking for an ‘easier-on-the-pursestrings’ option, then this is it: a light whipped-mousse moisturiser with a blend of moisturising, softening and moisture-retaining Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, and antioxidant Vitamin E which helps condition, soften and balance the skin – perfect!

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4. L’Oreal Paris Extraordinary Oils Nourishing Oil-Cream 50ml
£9.99 – this fab moisturiser is packed with anti-aging essential oils renowned for their anti-oxidant and soothing properties. It packs a massive hydration punch, plumping and soothing your winter-bashed skin, giving you a healthy glow!

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100 calories is what?!

I’m not quite sure how I’ve managed to get to the age I have without knowing what 100 calories actually looks like … possibly becuase I’ve tried to mostly embrace the concept of healthy living (along with regular and large doses of g&t or wine ‘mummy medicine’ and regular falling-off-of-wagons on the side) as opposed to proper dieting and (boring!) calorie counting.

However,something isn’t quite right. I’m eating, drinking and falling off the wagon no differently right now to how I was even 2 or 3 years ago, yet my body is having none of it and there’s sadly no denying the fact that I appear to be slooooowly stagnating 🙁 And actually, even maintaining the status quo has suddenly become A. BIT. MORE. DIFFICULT. (gulp).

Something needs to change. So it’s in with yoga (for de-stressing body and soul and helping claim some kind of good posture back from a very slouchy one) and facing facts – my calorie intake needs a proper look-in.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure if it’s fact or fiction, that as one approaches a middley-type age, the dreaded middle-age-spread and weight struggle is true or not, but for me, there’s definietly (sadly/annoyingly/frustratingly) a hint of it 🙁 boo hiss …

As I love my food way too much and am not prepared to give too much of it up, I decided to carry out a spot of proper scientific research; in other words – I consulted Mr Google to find out how many calories are actually in stuff and, more specifically, to find out what 100 calories actually equals (though I’ve only looked at the foods I tend to eat regularly).

For me, my healthy 100-cal foods (easy snacks – think ‘grab and go’) list includes: a small baked potato, 2 small cubes cheese, 8 cashews (8?!!), 33 seedless grapes, punnet of berries (yay! think raspberries, strawberries, blueberries …), a boiled egg, an apple, an orange, couple of carrots with (teeny bit of) hummus, a thick slice of wholemeal bread/toast (hooray!), three large slices of roast chicken or lean ham 🙂 Lovely.

But there are times when a big old sugar hit is needed. And for these occasions, even they can include ‘better choices’. For me, these include: 2 x jaffa cakes (50 cals each), Freddo frog (95 cals) or a small treat size bag of chocolate buttons (76 cals) – a naughty but not-so-bad hit in the grand scheme of things …

To feel balanced and healthy, not deprived, is what we’re striving for here.

The NHS has a brilliant calorie checker tool – you can input pretty much any food item you like and it’ll tell you all the nitty gritty need-to-know stuff.

So for me, my plan of action going forward is to try to be a bit more aware of snack-attack moments and have healthy but satisfying nibbles on hand to save the day (and hopefully my weight! Over time …) x

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Are you getting enough VD?!

Now the buzz words this week are VD!! … Umm, stop! No need to head to the clinic I’m talking about Vitamin D and we need to be ready for the cold.

Yes I know we’ve just had the hottest day of the year but if you’re like me and like to indulge in a little bit of John Snow role play from Game of Thrones… then you will know the phrase ‘Winters Coming’, and that preparation is key.

As well as needing a heavy woolly coat to keep out the draughts in the coming cold months you will need to up your intake of vitamin D ie sunshine, fish and eggs! That doesn’t sound so bad 🙂

If you don’t want to simply pop a pill, then check out these recipes to get that healthy sunshine feeling all year long… 🙂

x

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