Author: thethingsnotsaid

Dear Joe Wicks (again)

I am very pleased to report that I graduated from Cycle Two last week and today is my first day on Cycle Three of your 90 Day SSS Plan. I have to say, it does feel good to be over halfway. It’s been such a positive experience for me. I guess it’s a good sign then, that I am beginning to feel like I have learnt enough and it would be quite nice to test my wings, and see if I can fly this balanced-diet-with-focussed-exercise journey alone. That said, I do like to finish things that I start and after a weekend of letting myself off the hook a little, I am ready to be a good student and work to plan for a final 30 days.  This takes me, rather inconveniently, to the 2nd January. Nothing like increasing the challenge tenfold by doing the final cycle through the Christmas season eh! It’s OK though. Don’t panic, I have a plan. One thing I have learnt so far is that calculated “blow outs” are no …

Oaty Millionnaire’s Slice

At the moment, I am not getting much opportunity to bake. I miss it. I need a school fundraiser or something!! Once a week, I bake something sweet for the children to have in their packed lunches or as a yummy treat when they come in from school.  I always want to have something in the house that I can offer to anyone who pops in. To have a tin with something in is what makes a kitchen homely I think. Normally I love experimenting with dairy free baking, but as I’m on the SSS 90 Day Plan at the moment (you can read about what I am up to here and here) I am going all out on baking with butter, cream and milk, so I can’t be tempted. This one is full of it! I LOVE caramel and I am of the opinion that Millionnaire’s Shortbread is just one of the best slices ever. This recipe adds some extra goodness with oats and coconut getting in the mix.  My theory is that although the …

Lessons from the Body Coach

One of my main motivations for challenging myself to do Joe Wicks’ 90 Day SSS Plan was to learn some new habits. I’ve always loved sport and exercise, but after having a bulging disc and then the operation to sort it, my fitness routine had taken a bit of a battering. Selling our house and moving back to the UK had played havoc with my diet too.  Normally a healthy eater, who likes treats on the weekend and special occasions, I had got into the habit of eating a 100g bar of chocolate before 5pm every day. Apart from anything else, it was getting expensive! You may be the same as me, busy and distracted by being as good a mum as you can? Doing something that is good for your well-being often comes second to putting the needs of your children and husband first. You know you need to look after yourself so you’re in a good place to look after your loved ones, but it takes discipline to actually do it. Simple truth …

Freelance Re-visited

I first became a freelancer when I was 30.  After graduating with a languages degree in 1999, I had spent the rest of my twenties working for various companies and charities in Liverpool. It was a considered career move, something I wanted to do and I took my time to be ready to take the leap. At the time, it felt really scary, almost reckless. With hindsight, I can see that it was the best time to go for it.  My husband had just been employed by a big, global company, which gave us at least one secure income.  We didn’t have any children, so I could pour my all into the work and my availability to clients was 24/7. Having worked in Liverpool for almost a decade, I had contacts to approach for possible work. It was a great experience for me.  To begin with, I had lots of little pieces of work.  A fundraising job from an old employer, book keeping for a friend’s business, a monthly event to manage through another friend …

Rice Krispie Treats

At the moment I am on the Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, 90 Day SSS Plan.  I fancied a challenge and my body needs some care after all the neglect of repatriation and back surgery. The rest of my family are not on the programme so they still get treats. The trick for me is to make them with dairy. That way I won’t be tempted. Take these Rice Krispie bars for instance.  Made with a large Galaxy milk chocolate bar I had hanging around. Once that is in, there is no way I am going anywhere near them, even though they smell so pretty. That said, I have some ideas of what I am going to do when I finish the SSS Plan (Joe is an advocate of occasional treats, I’ve seen the cheesecakes his brother makes!) which I will share with you at the end. Ingredients 50g coconut oil (could be butter but this probably makes them a little healthier) 200g milk chocolate 100ml golden syrup 150g Rice Krispies A handful of …

Would I have been a better mother in the 70’s?

Our children are six and seven years old. Both are at school. They can use forks. Conversation with them is coherent and interesting, sometimes illuminating and educational. One of them can wipe their bum, the other still prefers to let others take care of that.  Our family can walk 5km in about an hour. At least once a week, they make their breakfast without setting off the smoke alarm. OK, that’s cereal day. We are officially parents of children: no babies, no toddlers. Quite often, either Gareth or I will turn to the other and say these words; “I would never have talked to my parents like our children do to us.” This is often followed by a frustrated debate about why our children can be so disrespectful. Gareth leans towards our children being punks, I lean towards our skills being deficient. We settle on, maybe we’re being punk’d? I could be paranoid but I get the feeling that our parent’s generation are quietly wondering what all the fuss is about. Why do mum’s get …

Old fashioned slice of sweetness

The Louise Cake is a classic Kiwi tea time slice. I imagine that it’s been around for decades, because first of all it’s called Louise so it must date back to the Seventies at least. It doesn’t have any fancy ingredients, a simple treat that goes very well with a cup of tea and a yarn. It’s made up of three layers; “cakey” biscuit bottom, jam and coconut meringue topping. What I love about this, is that you can easily make it gluten and/or dairy free, it’s nut free too so you can pack it off in the children’s lunch boxes or donate it to a school cake sale.  Plus you can have fun with the middle layer; it could be any flavour jam, or lemon curd, caramel or if you can eat nuts, you could spread Nutella in there. Oh my gosh, I want to do that right now! Despite having three layers, it is quick and easy to make and it looks really pretty. I’ve used the recipe given by Natalie Oldfield in …

We’ll always have ice cream – Part Two.

Our family have worked through some major life changes in the last few months.  Moved country, sold our home, given up our dog, new job, new schools, new friends and I’ve (temporarily) given up sweets.  These are all major changes. All. Of. Them. I’m not an expert in child psychology or parenting, but I generally fulfil the role of Change Management Co-ordinator in our family, so I thought I would share some things I’ve learnt along the way. As I said in Part One, children do adapt to change but it takes time and they need help to navigate through the choppy waters of change.  As their parents, we are in the best position (frankly it’s our responsibility) to help them along the way.  And at the same time, parents can make things harder if they’re not switched on to the version of events as experienced by the little people. Something I realise now I have hindsight on the first half of this year. It’s not surprising, given I blog, that I believe when you know …

We’ll always have ice cream – Part One.

There are many observations and pearls of wisdom that I have heard over my time as a parent: “It gets better” “Try not to be anxious about it, they smell your fear.” “Oh I breastfed my children until they were one and they never get colds.” “You can’t give in to them or they will just keep doing it.” “I’m sure that’s perfectly normal but perhaps just go to the doctors to check it out.” “My my, what spirited children you have.” In relation to all this moving around the world business we keep subjecting them to (OK it’s only been twice in five years but it feels pretty regular from where I’m sitting), you often get one of the most popular phrases about children said to you: “Children are really resilient, they will adapt to the changes.” And it’s true.  Children are resilient and they do adapt. However, that 10-word sentence does not tell you how they will adapt, or what you should do to help them through change, or at what point you …