Just four short weeks ago, I told you about my plans for 2018, and more specifically my plans for January. Over this month, using the super useful Drinkaware app, I’ve set goals, logged every glass of wine (and every gin), noted every unit and every calorie, every drink-free day and lot of other associated stuff. And now, as we’re finally saying goodbye to January (or should I say good riddance?), there’s time to reflect upon how it’s gone, the lessons I’ve learned, the bits I’ll take with me into the rest of the year, and the bits I’ll leave behind. And so, in no particular order, here are my thoughts:
Are we allowed to talk about spring yet? I’m SO ready. I’m one of those people who loves to have something to look forward to, and at the moment, it’s new buds on the trees, longer days, beams of sunlight shining through the window, and maybe even a little bit of spring cleaning. To inspire us, I’ve chosen a few fresh new interior pieces from M&S in a pretty palette of blue and white, which should help to cheer up even the most miserable of January mornings!
One of the challenges that many students seem to face when they first move away from home is finding inspiration for decent, cheap meals. It’s not just inspiration that’s the problem either: obviously they’ve got a limited budget and they’re probably not used to supermarket shopping either (let alone on a budget), so they’re overwhelmed with the price and choice of food and end up sticking to the same two or three things that they know how to cook (or blowing a week’s budget on Domino’s then eating beans on toast at the end of the month). I promised Charlie I’d start to write up a few simple, quick and – most importantly – healthy recipes that he can refer to, so I came up this easy veggie lentil chilli for him, but honestly, we liked this one so much I’ve been making it about once a week. I serve it with brown rice and top with a handful of salad, sour cream or avocado. It’s also delicious served with sausages (veggie or otherwise). Read more
How’s your January going? If you read my healthy plan for 2018, you’ll know that I’m determined to be more healthy this month (and hopefully carrying on for the entire year), to foster a healthier respect for alcohol, break the habit of my after dinner glass or two of wine and eat a much healthier diet, with a lot less meat and sweet treats. How am I getting on? Well, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, but I think I’m on the right track. Read on for my thoughts so far on my Drinkaware month – an update on my mission to break bad habits and foster new, healthy ones.
Grief is a funny thing. Initially after losing my Dad (what a silly term – we didn’t mislay him, like a missing phone or a set of keys), we were all in shock. I’m a terrible cryer at the best of times (RSPCA adverts, Cinderella Castle, fireworks, Disney songs, people singing in choirs, people singing Disney songs in choirs, puppies, sad films, stubbed toes…) so the first few days were just basically spent surrounded by a sea of soggy tissues. We would all be okay then one of us would start and set all the others off again. After a while, though, I kind of felt like I was all cried out, and we could think and talk and reminisce about him without as many tears. And then the weirdness set in. I’ve found myself obsessing about teeny, tiny details: exactly what flowers and foliage are going to be in our wreath (pale yellow roses – he loved a bit of yellow – lots of eucalyptus, please, and absolutely none of that frondy asparagus stuff) and – here’s the big one: what do you wear to a funeral? If you follow my Facebook page, you’ll know that we’ve been having chats about it online, and people have been so kind and helpful, giving me all sorts of suggestions (which of course set me off crying again), but I still can’t make my mind up.
If you’ve ever looked at recipes on Pinterest, you’re bound to have seen those ‘three ingredient brownies’ recipes that use just chocolate spread, eggs and flour, right? I keep meaning to have a go at cooking them, I mean they look like they work, don’t they? And then a lovely friend of mine gave me the heads up about Jim Jams – a chocolate spread with 83% less sugar than Nutella, and I thought – wait, then that would be three ingredient brownies with a fraction of the sugar, and well, being January and all about the healthier choices, I gave them a go.
I’ve been so excited about pressing publish on this. January isn’t the kindest of months, and a little web-browsing of beautiful new clothes is exactly what we need to get us through to the finish. With impeccable timing, the new hush pre-spring collection is live from today, featuring an ever-stylish mix of laid back luxe: easy shapes, gorgeous new prints, some updated old favourites and of course, their customary pop of colour. Here are a few of my favourites:
One of my biggest commitments for 2018 is to eat healthily: to nourish my body and fill it full of good stuff. But let’s be sensible: we’re never going to eat healthily 100% of the time. I think I’m aiming for around 80%, with a bit of cake and the odd glass of wine thrown in as a treat (note to self: that’s a treat, not every day – catch up on my Drinkaware month here). Diets are one of my biggest bugbears. I don’t want to count calories, or cut out carbs. I like carbs. Carbs give us energy and are a great source of fibre*, but we need to choose the right carbs for our body, not depressing, flabby white bread, mass produced, sugary biscuits, or – sadly – doughnuts (mmmm, doughnuts). One of the greatest things I feel I do for our family is take the time to bake really delicious, home made bread. Rye is less refined and much more nutritious than some other grains but I’m not really a huge fan of 100% rye, so I mix it roughly half and half with normal white bread flour. These easy, no knead rye bread rolls are so easy to make and this dough will probably make 10-12, depending on how big you make them.
Yes, I know I usually do a weekend wishlist, but I’ve got a lovely bit of baking for you this weekend, so I thought I’d mix things up a bit and bring you a weekday wishlist instead. If you’ve read my last couple of posts about my plans for 2018, you’ll know that I’m trying hard to look after and nourish my body, cut down on alcohol, eat healthily and get back into my running. On Monday, I deleted my Couch to 5k app details and then started it again from the beginning. I quickly realised, though, that I had actually made some progress and didn’t need to stop and walk. I ended up running the whole week 1 run 1 and although I ached the next day, I felt a huge sense of achievement. I’m going to carry it on, but one thing I really need is some decent new running gear. Happily, there’s a great selection of gorgeous M&S activewear, so I’m going to treat myself to some lovely new stuff. Here are a few bits that caught my eye:
How’s your January going? We’re just hoovering up the last of the Christmas goodies, but we’re also eating much more healthily (lots of healthy food inspo to come) and I’m back running again, so I feel I can forgive the odd Cadbury’s Hero (or three!). I mentioned in my plans for 2018 post that I’m really going to start concentrating on my health and wellbeing this year: looking after my body and my mind, and a big part of this for me is cutting down on my drinking, staying within the recommended guidelines and getting lots of alcohol free days. We’ve spend an enjoyable few days researching some healthier substitutes our usual drinks, and while lots are just hideously sweet and horrid, there are a few really good non-alcoholic alternatives:
Welcome to the first weekend wishlist of 2018! I’m in a positive frame of mind at the moment, and I have loads of plans for updating our home. I want to create a cosy, calm home that’s a retreat for us all – first order of the day will be a massive declutter (that goes for my wardrobe too – more of this later), and then maybe a fresh coat of paint (I’m thinking about saying goodbye to the blue wall in the kitchen and replacing it with a more stylish Scandi-inspired grey), as well as repainting the chairs in more muted tones. I want our home to be enhanced with fresh greenery, pale wood, clean lines, soft textures and elegant functional furniture (I’m after a perfect, mid-century inspired chair for an empty corner in the lounge at the moment). Here are a few of the Scandi inspired home updates that I’ve got in mind:
So you’ll probably have seen that Erica and I have updated the positive life plan for 2018. I do hope you’ve decided to join in, whether throwing yourself in wholeheartedly, or just jotting down a few things that you want to change this year or some goals that you might have. It did make me smile that after promising myself a healthy, alcohol free New Year, my Dad went and tested me by popping his clogs on New Year’s Day. Many of you knew what he was like and will know that he’d have laughed heartily to himself about that. So, on to my plans for 2018, then.
Have you seen Trainwreck? There’s a scene in the film where Amy Schumer’s character is giving a eulogy to her father at his funeral. I watched it on a plane and laughed so hard when she said ‘raise your hand if our Dad ever offended you’ and everyone put their hand up. This would literally be me at my Dad’s funeral, I thought. Haha. You never imagine it actually happening though, do you? But then yesterday, at 10.30 am on New Year’s Day 2018, he died, peacefully, with his wife Allison holding his hand. This huge, larger than life character, such a force in my life, is no more. Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone…
I adore Christmas. I’m a planner and a note-maker, and always need to have something to look forward to, so for me, the build up is one of my favourite parts: choosing and wrapping special gifts, planning and buying all the food, decorating the house with scented candles and twinkling lights… it all makes me really happy . We had a gorgeous Christmas this year, and rounded off the season with a small New Year’s Eve gathering with some of our favourite people. Now, though, I’m already wanting the decorations down, the house clean and tidy again, and I’ll be raring to dive headfirst into this squeaky clean, fresh and sparkly New Year. One of the first things I’ll be doing is opening a lovely new notebook and creating my positive life plan for 2018.
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