Monday, 29 September 2014

And so it begins...

And so here goes. Day 1 of the "I Quit Sugar" program. 
I' call him baby~ he calls me sugar
I received my shopping list on Thursday, leaving me with plenty of time to order all the required ingredients, including the slightly unusual one (still not quite sure what arrowroot flour is.... *searches Bing..... answer: gluten-free, powdery starch that comes from a root and it is often used in Caribbean cooking". Aaah.

Following the detailed weekly menu plan, I prepared some paleo veggie bread last night, and froze it in slices so as to eat as and when required throughout the week. I also precooked lots of beetroot in order to save time later on. This is also now waiting in the freezer in wedges, ready to be used in recipes.
Paleo Zucchini and Carrot Inside Out Bread | I Quit Sugar
I made my own muesli this morning and tried the veggie bread with ham (which had added sugar to it... first fail!), feta cheese and cucumber for lunch. So far so good. I am discovering new recipes, which have been very tasty so I am feeling happy.
Measurements of various body parts have been taken for future reference. Weight-loss is to be expected to some extent with this program, but this is not the main reason I am following it. By reducing sugar intake in your diet, your energy levels are supposed to increase. You may also have clearer skin and just feel better generally. These are the reasons which are currently motivating me. Having also been recently diagnosed with IBS, I am hoping that by eating clean for 8 weeks, it will help me feel better, and set the path into a new way of life: enjoying my food and feeling much better on a daily basis!
As a way of monitoring my progress,  I also thought I would keep you updated on a weekly basis as to the progress I am making and whether I am noticing any changes. So here are a few things I will monitor specifically:
Start of Program {first day of Week 1}:
  • centimeters lost - N/A
  • Energy levels - Somewhere in between. I am struggling to get up in the mornings but ok once I get going with my day.
  • Hair - My hair is currently really quite horrible. The day after I wash it it goes all limp. It can't seem to decide whether it wants to be greasy, or really dry, or both. I love my hair. It always used to be silky smooth despite being curly. So I am hoping that a better diet will help to restore it to health!
  • Skin - My skin is generally quite good. It has however been looking a little tired and lined lately, with some spots.
  • Mood - I am feeling positive and motivated. But then it is day 1....

If I think of any others I will let you know.

Limiting your sugar intake is beneficial for you it can help improve you oral and overall health! #DeltaDental

How about you? Have you followed a similar program before? If so was it for health reasons or purely for weight-loss? I would love to hear from you!
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Thursday, 25 September 2014

Why I blog...

Some days, I feel as though as I could easily write ten articles. When time allows it, i do just that and schedule them throughout the week. It feels great and really motivating to continue. It also allows me to then focus on other things knowing I have Green Loving Girl taken care of. Some other days, I feel like I should write, but sometimes, either because I have so many other things on the go, or the kids are playing up, or simply because I am tired following another sleepless night due to Hugo teething, I struggle writing anything at all. I don't beat myself up for not writing a post every day. But sometimes it gets me thinking why do I blog? Why do I go through with it? This happened to me yesterday. I nevertheless sat down and actually managed to write two posts, both on important issues: gender equality and my children, and healthy eating. I then felt much better for it.

I therefore thought I would remind myself why I started blogging ago in the first place. And while I''m at it, I would let you in on this too.

I LOVE this .. a bit too feminine but if I could have a similar whismy air with succulents!! :0)

My first post, concerned my decision to stop breastfeeding Hugo at just five weeks. It felt a little scary putting it out there. Especially when people can get so opinionated when it comes to breastfeeding. But after reading numerous blogs during my pregnancy, I realised that I wanted to share my views, hoping that I might be able to reach out to some people, in way that some of the blogs I read had reached me.

If I was to make a list, I guess it would go a little like this:

  1. I have always enjoyed reading, and always wished I could write. In the old days, I wanted to write a book. But moving on with the times, blogging seems to suit me better, allowing me to write small articles at a time about various interests of mine.
  2. Motherhood can be lonely. I also often find myself wondering whether I am doing the right thing or whether I am messing up my children. Most of my close friends also do not have children, and so I do not want to go on and on about this with them. Being able to communicate various elements of parenting on the blog and meeting like minded people online does offer a good form of relief.
  3. I am very good at bottling everything up and carrying on as normal. I don't believe this is healthy however. And so I make sure I write from the heart, which allows me to open up and let go of anything worrying me or holding me back. I have generally received great feedback and support from doing so, which helps even more.
  4. I have all the best intentions when it comes to making scrapbooks for the kids, but in reality, as much as I collect various bit of memorabilia, I never have time to do so. I am also running out of room space to hang any more photos in the house! I am however able to include the best photos on the blog, paired with funny things that Siena did, when Hugo took his first steps, etc. It is therefore a true life diary of all the little day to day things that would otherwise get forgotten, and I love my blog for this.
  5. It allows me to be me. On a day to day basis, I am now formally known as Siena and Hugo's mum. I haven't yet quite come to grips with the fact that I am no longer a working mum. I loved being a working mum. I am overall happy with my decision, but do occasionally worry whether I have damaged my career in law by taking time out. I worry about what skills I can pursue in my own time. Whether they will be transferable. Blogging is therefore an opportunity to calm my mind down, and help develop my creative side.
  6. Most of all, blogging makes me happy. I love reading beautiful blogs with great content. I love finding out more about social media and how to use it in a professional capacity. I get really excited finding out about new  I get excited thinking of how to improve Green Loving Girl. I get really so happy every time someone new likes my blog or comments on a post. It never gets old :)
Forest Dreams: A few words about keeping optimistic

Do you have a blog? What made you start it in the first place? Have those reasons changed with time? I would love to hear why other people blog, and also, what keeps them blogging.
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*All images are from Pinterest*

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Why I am going to quit sugar for eight weeks...

I have always loved my food. I am definitely my father's daughter when it comes to that. Barry often jokes that I have food flowing through my veins rather than food (clearly my brain is thinking about food... meant blood!). I am constantly thinking of my next meal. Usually as soon as I finished the one I am eating, I am asking Barry what we are going to have next. Siena is the same too in that respect. Just love food!

People Who Love To Eat Are The Best People #JuliaChild #Quote #etsy

Additionally, I am mostly lazy. As much as I love the benefits of exercise, it can be really hard work kicking myself out of the door to get on with it! Probably as a result of the two, I was a little chubby as a child. As a teenager, I really got into exercising. I was training in athletics several times a week, snowboarding at least once a week with school, rock climbing with the boys when skiing season was finished as well as the odd aerobics class with my mum. Not bad really. I also ate the French way, namely at very set times, small portions and even my snacks were at set times everyday. Looking at photos, although not stick thin like many of my French friends, there still wasn't much to me.

Then came the uni days. The "freedom" of being able to eat whenever we wanted and whatever we wanted. We thought it was amazing! Needless to say, I put on two stone in my first year and my mum said I looked pregnant. Since then, my weight has gone up and down a little. I am currently fairly happy with my weight considering I have had two giant babies, and I just know that I am always meant to have a curvy bum and athletic legs. I am still closer to my weight post-uni rather than pre-uni, but that's ok. However my health has never quite been the same since putting on the weight. I have also recently been diagnosed with IBS. I have finally decided that I have had enough.

I have been thinking for some time about consulting a nutritionist. I don't believe in calorie talking as such, so please do not talk to me about calories or I am likely to switch off immediately! I believe in eating good food, which is colourful, varied and nourishing. I love my food, and so don't want to follow fad diets. But I also believe that eating plays a vital role in your wellbeing so needed to find a balance. I am also keen to encourage healthy eating habits for my children from now on, so that hopefully it will give them a healthy relationship with food as well as good health.

Image 1

Recently, I bought Sarah Wilson's book "I Quit Sugar". You can read more about Sarah and her food journey here. When reading, I found myself more and more drawn into what Sarah was saying about food and the effects it can have on you. I wanted to know more and saw that you can sign up to a eight week program. The idea is to go on a sort of sugar detox, banning it from your diet, before recalibrating your intake. By then, you should find that you only eat it when you need to, rather than as comfort food. This to me is my big downfall. Feeling tired? I add sugar to my tea for "energy", or have a small chocolate bar. I try not to snack, but when I do, I usually go straight for sugary treats. Sarah really writes clearly on how the program has benefited her and also sets out the result of her research on the matter, making it really thorough.

I am now all signed up and waiting for my shopping list which I should get tomorrow! From past experience, I know I am good at starting new projects, but can sometimes struggle to complete them. I have therefore decided to share my progression of the program with you, and hope for your support towards a clean eating, healthier me! (the book has recipes for cakes, so I should still be able to watch the GBBO fairly easily! ;)

Have you tried clean eating before? If so, what made you start? and did you notice any benefits? I would love to hear your views!

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*All images unless otherwise noted are my own, so please do not use them without my permission.*

Gender equality... and how it affects your children

Here in the UK, Emma Watson has made headline news this week. Not for anything acting related, but for her powerful speech at the UN. Have you read it?

This really got me thinking. 

I was brought up to be independent and strong, and to believe that anything was possible if you worked hard at it. That was the key point. Do not expect anything to land on your lap. But if you work your hardest, then you will get to where you want to be. This was the case for grand-parents. My godmother. And also my parents. I also believe that this power then trickles its way through the family lines. It definitely did to my siblings and me. I think we are all three far more ambitious than we would ever realise, as we are continually questioning ourselves and wondering if there is anything else we could do to improve further. But ultimately, I would say we are all successful in our various fields of work and that is something. 

I now work towards making sure these values are passed on to my children.

Very early on after I found out I was expecting Siena, I started thinking about the person she might become, and how I could help her. I know Barry felt the same. She wasn't even born yet and already we were wondering how best to protect her from the big ol' world. Needless to say this feeling is still very much present, both towards her and her brother.

My brother is really popular, and always was growing up. He has always had a lot of friends being boys, but also a lot of girls. As in actual friends. I think part of this was because he grew up surrounded by girls and women at home, and with my dad often away with work, he was the only man in the house. He therefore got to know all about women and their day-to-day habits/issues/etc. But also, my mum always said to him to treat any girl the way he would want someone to treat his mother and sisters. And I believe that he has pretty much done this.

This phrase has also always stayed in my mind. I find myself now using it with Siena and Hugo. Teaching them that they should only treat their brother/sister in a way that they are happy to be personally treated. Obviously at this point, it is mostly in the sense of "don't push your brother, you don't like when he pushes you", or "don't make that high pitch shrieking sound as you don't like it when he does it". But I do believe that by teaching them this at a young age, it will then hopefully reflect in their further actions as they grow up.

I also try to avoid placing the children in stereotypical boxes. And I think this is also important, even if not always easy, for their development. I try to describe Siena as determined and strong minded, rather than bossy. I try to avoid calling Hugo a wuss because he cries really easily at things compared to his sister. I let Hugo play Siena's dolls, and let Siena put hair clips in his hair, and necklaces round his neck. I let Siena play with his cars. I dress Hugo in leggings because he looks amazingly cute in them, and don't believe leggings are just for girls. I do not worry about dressing Siena in pink and Hugo in blue, as I really don't see a problem with that. Again, I know these are fairly insignificant matters in the grand scheme of themes and the larger problems of gender equality.

I want them both to believe that the same opportunities are open to them, and they can both achieve success in their lives, no matter what their gender is. I want them to grow up confident to follow their dream jobs, no matter what these might be and whether they are usually reserved for men or women.  

But most of all, I want them to respect themselves, and those around them.

As a parent, educations starts at home. And I hope that this will encourage my children to grow up and flourish, whilst respecting the other gender as well as their own.
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*All images unless otherwise noted are my own, so please do not use them without my permission.*

Monday, 22 September 2014

Just to say...

My gorgeous little sister posted today on Facebook that it's been six months since her and her fiance left the UK to live and work in Australia, stating :

Can't quite believe that it's already been 6months since we moved to the other side of the world! It has been a whirlwind of loveliness, and with the countdown to our wedding(s) well and truly on life keeps getting more exciting

Are they not absolutely stunning!
They had been looking to progress with their careers in the UK but kept coming up to various hurdles, and so one day thought about perhaps going to Australia. And so within a few months, they were gone! Just like that! They have since settled into Aussie life, finding really good jobs which are amazing for their career progression, and they are embracing life by the beach, healthy eating and running in gorgeous places. 

I know it has not been an easy process for them. They are both extremely family orientated and it is not easy being away from home at the best of times, let along at the other end of the planet. They are also trying to organise their weddings in Australia and in the UK for the upcoming months (SO.EX.CI.TED!), which is not without its stress. However, seeing this picture above, there is no doubt that their new life truly suits them. They are positively glowing!

I also have a little brother (yes they are both way taller than me but will nevertheless always be my little brother and little sister!). He is professional footballer. And yes, it is as cool as it sounds. He has played for France. He has been playing since he was really young and knows famous footballers. His name has appeared on various football computer games. He has been earning money since a young age from his career, yet he has always managed to keep his feet rooted firm onto the ground. He has made sacrifices in order to follow his passion, his dream job, and that can't have been easy at times. He has nevertheless remained true to himself. He is funny, easy going, and everybody knows his name! (seriously, wherever you go people always remember him no matter how long ago it was they met him).

I miss them both so, so much. But we have always had an incredibly close bond. And I feel as though it gets stronger as years go on. I am truly blessed to have them in my life and don't know what I would do without either one of them.

I know they have both expressed doubts at time. They question what they have accomplished. Whether they should have completed more by now. Whether they could have given anything more to the paths they have taken. Amongst other things...

So I just wanted to say that I think you are both truly awesome people, and I could not be any prouder to be your sister. You inspire me on a daily basis, in every possible way. You are my soulmates and my best friends. You have both accomplished so much and you have proved that if you work hard enough, dreams truly do come true. I love you both more than green. I just wanted to let you know.
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*All images unless otherwise noted are my own, so please do not use them without my permission.*

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Current Loves - Amy & Ivor's mocs // Tobias and Bear leggings

There is no doubt about it, the kids are far better dressed than I am! There are so amazing brands out there... Beau Loves, Mini Rodini, House of Mia, Love is Free, Little Bird, as well as the great selection in supermarkets these days, it is no surprise really! I love experimenting with bright colours and cool prints, and also, well, the kids simply look great in whatever they wear!

My current favourite items of Hugo's closet are these fabulous soft leather moccasins, in cinnamon. They look great with absolutely everything and they are so soft Hugo doesn't seem to mind at all, even taking his first steps with them! I also recently got these leggings from Tobias & Bear (you find them on Not On the Highstreet). I had seen similar mocs on an american website, but was keen to find a British supplier. Fritha from, recommended Amy & Ivor when I asked for recommendations over twitter, and they were exactly what I wanted! I did order them slightly too big so I have had to wait a few months before Hugo could wear them, but they fit great now!

I have my eye on this arrow jumper for Hugo too but he's growing so quick at the moment not sure he'd actually wear it much!

What are your favourite brands for kids? Please do share as I am always on the look out for new brands! 
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*All images unless otherwise noted are my own, so please do not use them without my permission.*

Friday, 19 September 2014