When Life Gives You Lemons (A Lesson in Thankfulness)

Since I can remember my life has been a series of deliveries of lemons. Particularly my adult life, I have always been a silver lining kinda gal and so I did as I always have done, when life sent its frequent deliveries of lemons,  I made lemonade to ensure life at least felt sweeter than the reality I was living.

Now something has happened that has thrown me for a loop. Life appeared to be sending me lemons once again at the end of last year but instead of me making the lemonade and trying to work towards a happier life I sat back, relaxed and trusted. This isn’t an easy thing for me to do.  I have a deep felt need to be in control of all aspects of my life. For example I hate other people driving whilst I’m a passenger I need the accelerator and the brakes please, not that I don’t trust you but I trust me more.

As I sat back, relaxed and trusted my life began to flow again. I rediscovered the love of my family who I moved away from 26 years ago. I realised how much I had missed them and recognised all the amazing qualities they possess that wow me everyday. I managed to get back in touch with old school and college friends who were friends because we made each other laugh, held each other when we cried and we friends for friends sake not because we could advance each other’s careers or fulfil any other function than just being together.

Now these things were a bonus they made relaxing and going with the flow seem worth it, but the thing that has really thrown me for a loop is meeting someone who at first glance looked as if we would just be good friends. We could make each other laugh, we had so much history in common it seemed funnier than the jokes we shared. Our paths have crossed so much in the past 45 years it almost seemed like the Universe was playing a game seeing if we could spot one another before It instigated our meeting.

I am a big believer in soul mates, but I have never been a believer that I needed someone to complete me or that I have a missing part that needs to be filled by someone else.  I have always believed that soul mates should make you better by inspiring you and supporting you, as you do for them. They are an amazing addition to the whole you that makes you shine, makes your heart sing and makes you see why all the lemons delivered so far have been there to pave the way to how life is supposed to be.

I am so grateful for the loop I have been sent. He is what people call a “Good Man” but that does not even come close to describing him. He is an Amazing Man, a Generous Man and someone I feel so at peace with everyday feels bright and full of possibilities. So Universe Thank You for all the lemons, Thank You for all my lessons, and Thank You for my Amazing Man I love getting to smile everyday and  that I am sharing my life with him.

 

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Passion, When Did You Discover It?

Passion, When Did You Discover It?

When you think of passion what do you think of? Do you imagine lovers entwined, or excitement at your team winning, or just the plain old feeling of being thrilled?

Passion to me does not mean just in the sexual passion, it means heart soaring, euphoric light headedness, the “where has this been all of my life?” feeling. I knew from the moment I discovered it that if I read, or wrote or did something that made me feel this way it was one of the things that I needed in my life.

I can remember exactly when I first discovered passion I was one of the lucky ones I discovered passion at the age of 16. I was sat in an English Literature class and studying Metaphysical Poets…wow I can hear you say, how on earth did that make you realise what passion was about?

Well you see I discovered John Donne, a man whose life was as varied as it was full. He was a womaniser, a soldier, a priest and he wrote the most amazing poetry based upon all of these things. His poem The Good Morrow was the catalyst for me recognising the passion in my life.

I can remember the first time I taught a yoga class to class of 30 2 year olds at a nursery school. Whilst the class progressed I was completely absorbed in the centre of our little universe where we travelled on our adventure and the children used their imaginations to make our journey alive and vibrant. I soared on the smiles and thanks of the teacher and children as they put aside real life for just 45 minutes and focused completely on breath and joy. As I left the Nursery I felt as if I walked on air and floated to my car with a huge grin on my face and my heart singing.

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That day I realised that the activities I should be doing in life should always make me feel this way. When you discover what makes you feel like this you have found one of your purposes in life. It may be that you go to the gym and after every session where you have pushed yourself a little further you feel that soaring. Or maybe you find that when you draw a picture the world outside melts away and you feel peace inside. It could be the sales job you do that even the prep for your sale feels like it makes life worthwhile.

SO what has made you feel this way recently? When you find it you will ask why it has taken you so long to discover this one thing. Don’t ponder too long, don’t question why or where or how, dive in enjoy and accept. And never settle for one passionate heart soaring moment we are multifaceted beings, discovering all our shining sides is part of our purpose.

The Good-Morrow

BY JOHN DONNE

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I

Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?

But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?

Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?

’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.

If ever any beauty I did see,

Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

 

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,

Which watch not one another out of fear;

For love, all love of other sights controls,

And makes one little room an everywhere.

Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,

Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,

Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

 

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,

And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;

Where can we find two better hemispheres,

Without sharp north, without declining west?

Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;

If our two loves be one, or, thou and I

Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

Source: The Norton Anthology of Poetry Third Edition (1983)

Slow Down You’re Going Too Fast

I woke up with the realisation this morning that the sense of anxiety I am feeling is not just to do with my life turning upside down, it is to do with my need to have everything sorted immediately.
You know that feeling you get when you start a job and the day dream turns to the promotion or company car when in reality you have only just set foot in the door. Or when you book your holiday and you are already running through scenarios in your head of what each place will feel or smell like and how you will be happy then.
I know I need to let go and all will turn out ok. I also know I need to be kinder to myself and let myself mourn the loss of previous hopes and dreams whilst making baby steps towards my new life. But it is hard, I want to be loved, have my own home, be running a successful business, all whilst being an amazing Mum. What my ego doesn’t want to accept is that this will take time.
I am a very feet first sort of gal, to the point where I rush head long into situation and only realise how miserable I am after it is impossible to back pedal. But this morning I awoke knowing that this time I have been given an amazing opportunity. I have been given a roof over my head, food in my belly and the love of my amazing family so that I can this time look and see what I really want and really need. I have the time to build my business, look for a little extra part time work in a field I love and take the time to gentle build up friendship and love with new people in my life.
SO today I will take baby steps as the gorgeous Heather Bestel advised in her video blog this week. I will set up my business systems, call my inspirational coach, Jo, and start creating slowly a new fantastic life.
Time to slow down, breathe and let go.

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A Lesson Learned..Hello 2014

Well 2014 arrived, and I was still trying to sort out the mess from 2013. I don’t think I’m the only one, I think lots of people want a fresh start as a New Year is welcomed in with alcohol and singing and most likely a stonker of a hangover, but they also find that bits of the messy thing we call life are carried into the New Year.

2013 was a really difficult year for me. It started with the collapse of a relationship, homelessness, no job, no money and a child that needed support as the rug was pulled from under us.

Gradually as the year progressed I started to rebuild a life. I got a good job, my son was happier and then as it always does the pull of my old life appeared. A very close friend of mine wisely said, don’t go back, leave the past in the past, keep moving forward. But you know how it is, the remnants of love, the want to be back and stable and happy in the home you thought you would be in for a very long time.

So I stepped back. Now this was not easy, there was hurt and distrust to overcome but you know what, if  you cover your ears and lalala instead of listen to your instinct then guess what? Yep thats right you just do it.

I cut myself off from the nay sayers, I decided if they couldn’t support me I would do this alone. I wanted to be 100% present and positive in my choice.

So the end of 2013 arrived. All the stress I had buried, all the worry I had ignored, all those voices from my instinct decided it was time to burst out. I started to get panic attacks, I felt sick, I cried all, and I mean ALL the time. The doctor offered counselling, I went to one session and decided I didn’t want to dig any deeper, I didn’t want to find what was buried in the true reality.

The end of 2013 was a big bad wake up call. All the worries and fears were realised, once again I was on the verge of losing my home, and I had no-one to blame. You see I ignored my instinct throughout 2013, I knew that something was up. I had avoided people I knew would support me but only after saying “we told you so”.

SO  the decision has been made, I am moving home to my parents. 46 years old and living at home, hhhmmm that wasn’t really in my life plan. But you know what was in my life plan, working for a company whose ideals I love, writing more and more and being surrounded by people I love and who care for me no matter what.

Life, The Universe, “God”…however you view it just had to wait for me to stop being so stubborn and turn up for my life, for me to take responsibility for the part I have played, to release the blame and anger for others parts in my poor choices, then and only then can I move forward and thrive.

SO HELLO 2014, I’m ready for my life now

Magic and Alchemy in the Kitchen

Magic and Alchemy in the Kitchen

I am an avid reader, fiction, non-fiction, magazines, leaflets even labels…if there’s writing on it I read it. One of the habits I have noticed recently in my reading is being drawn towards food writing. Not so strange you may say considering that is what you write about and work with, but you see it’s more than that.

The fiction I have been drawn to recently has been about the alchemy and magic of food preparation. Now this isn’t a new thing, hearth magic is something that fascinates me, I’m not talking witch stirring a cauldron type magic, or making food appear out of thin air whilst your broom sweeps the kitchen on it’s own. I’m talking about the magic that happens when you prepare food.

If you’re like me you love having the time to make a meal from scratch, you plan your meal, collect your ingredients and chop, sauté, roast, baste, boil and prepare them with a love of what you do and a vision of what the final dish will look like. My Mum always claims you can taste the love in anything prepared for you by another be it a sandwich or a cup of tea, I think she is right.

Food since ancient times has had a magical connection.  People left food as offerings to Gods, used food as protection for a new home or feasted to celebrate the changing seasons. Some of these traditions have continued today, how many of us have baked a Birthday cake to bring luck and love to the Birthday Guy or Gal?

It struck me that my bedtime reading Chocolat by Joanne Harris is openly about alchemy and magic in chocolate, it links Easter with earlier pagan rites and the heroine of the tale Vianne is very aware of the effect her food has on her customers.

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One of my other casual reads at the moment is Wicca in the Kitchen by Scott Cunningham, ooo Wicca isn’t that woowoo. Well it depends on your point of view, for me the fascination is learning about the ancient lore and rites surrounding certain food and also thinking more about the foods I choose to put in my body, if eating more wheat can attract more money I don’t mind giving it a whirl.

I am a great believer that our bodies tell us what we should be eating. That if we eat a healthy diet and listen to our bodies when we feel a little off balance, we can be lead to the mineral or vitamin we are lacking by our desire for certain foods. I say if you eat a healthy diet because believe me if you live on a diet of high fat high salt food that will be all your body will crave and you will be a long way from your body being able to tell you what you need to eat.

So before you dismiss the alchemy and magic of food just take a little time today to listen to what your body is saying, if you’re feeling a little low try a meal with bright colours tomatoes, sweet peppers, carrots, avocado I bet you have at least a little lift in spirits.

Another way food can lift the spirits or evoke vivid memories is through scent. This week I have been doing my training with Weleda and one of the important points raised was if someone dislikes the smell of a product, be the lead plant rose, almond, iris or pomegranate, then that product is not right for the person at this precise time. It is the same with food. Here’s a little test…Walk into your kitchen and open either the ground ginger or cinnamon jar, now what does that make you think of…I bet it’s Christmas and I bet a memory that makes you smile just popped into your head, that my dear is part of the alchemy and magic of food.

So just for today follow what your body tells you, what do you feel you need to eat? You may need to sit quietly away from the hustle and bustle of a busy work day but I bet you find something that scratches your itch, and just before you eat your chosen food take a deep breath and breathe in it’s scent, how does it make you feel? It’s worth a try, you never know you may learn something new about yourself.

Padstow, Cornwall…A Food and Doggy Lovers Heaven

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I have to say I have been amazed by Cornwall. Almost every shop, pub and restaurant is dog friendly. Most menus have a vegetarian, gluten free or dairy free option, not extensive choices but choices none the less.

Our first night we decided on typical pub grub, I opted for a burger but requested no dairy and the barman went to great lengths to check out what else I should not eat. I was a little disappointed though that I could not have the coleslaw and no alternative was offered.

Well it’s not called Rick Steins Padstow for nothing. Every street you turn down in this tiny village has a shop, a deli, a restaurant, a takeaway or even a statue to his beloved Chalky.

So far we have sampled the Rick Stein Fish and chip shop and the Rick Stein Pub, a little way out of Padstow where we had a very nice Sunday lunch.

The pub. The Cornish Arms, is a short drive out of Padstow and in a very lovely country setting. All the tables had benches, not usually my thing, I find that they are either or too high or too low to be comfortable and you end up hunched over your food. We had to book to get a table and saw lots of people in a holding bar waiting for a table to become free.

The good thing was we did not have to wait long for our food, we all said how nice it was to order Sunday lunch and not have to wait forever for it to be bought to the table, surely Sunday lunch is one of those meals you get ready and keep warm until it is served. I was the only one out of our table of 6 not to have the beef I always feel hard done by when I can’t have the Yorkshire pudding, and these were huge, I’ve seen smaller newborns heads.  I opted for pork which came with crackling and gorgeous apple sauce. The veg was extensive including kale, sampire, broccoli, and the dreaded cauliflower cheese, luckily I manage to avoid this which although on the same plate left plenty of other uncontaminated veg, I did take the precaution of an antihistamine afterwards to ensure I was not ill though as cheese fats do tend to stray.

Midweek we travelled to Boscastle so we could look at the Witchcraft Museum. Once again we found a doggy friendly cafe called Sails. They have gluten free and dairy free options on the menu and the owner was really friendly. It was a very welcome break from a wet and windy October day with tea and baked spuds for most of us, oh and a doggy treat for our friends dog Pepper.

When it was suggested we went for fish and chips my heart sank, I never like the batter as I am always unsure what is in it and I find if I do eat it I end up bloated and uncomfortable. However The Rick Stein Fish and Chip shop gave a choice of fried or grilled fish. I had the lemon sole and it was delicious and perfectly cooked.  It was expensive for takeaway fish and chips at over £9 for my meal but well worth it as a treat.

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We travelled on the ferry a short 8 minute trip across the bay to a place called Rock. Our choice for a snack was a lovely cafe called the Blue Tomato. Once again they had benches and as you can see from the picture 5 ft 3 me had trouble reaching the floor.

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They had cream teas on offer and they even had a doggy menu. We had a snack of olives, oil and bread. Unfortunately the olives came mixed with feta so I wasn’t able to have any but the bread was seedy and herby and perfect with the olive and rapeseed oil with balsamic.  My drink was called pink lemonade it was apple juice, lemon juice, fresh raspberries and lemongrass, really refreshing.

Our night before last we are ate in the London Inn. This looks like a real spit and sawdust pub, but it is warm and welcoming, the staff are really friendly and they have a lovely seafood menu. As you can see from the picture the seafood platter for two was enormous.

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Our last night in Padstow we ate at Rick Steins Seafood Restaurant. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have seen Rick Stein on the telly, most recently in India, and he seems friendly and chatty if a little shy. There were some amazing offerings on the menu and hubby and I chose to share a starter of line caught squid with chilli and lime.  It had a good bite to it and was delicious. For my main course I thought I’d test the Fish Madras, this came with naan bread, which I couldn’t eat, rice, and dhal. It was a very substantial meal and I can truly say I now understand what all the fuss is about, it was more than delicious and I will be raving about it for years to come.

If you get the chance I would definitely book a table and go, you do need to  book and you do need to make sure you have an expanding wallet and waistband.

All in all I found Cornwall and particularly Padstow a foodie heaven. It is family and dog orientated and  you really are spoilt for choice with amazing cafes, restaurants and takeaways.

So What Should You Avoid…A Positive Spin

So I’ve talked about what I can eat because knowing what you can eat is half the battle. But I suppose if you have a newly acquired or diagnosed allergy or you just want to drop dairy from your diet you may find a list of what to avoid helpful. ..the list seems long but believe me there is more you can eat than can’t.

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So what should you be looking for on labels of prepared foods? By prepared I do not just mean ready meals but something as simple as a sausage or a sandwich.

To be honest the list is extensive and I am sure to have missed some here but this will give you a good starting point if you are avoiding dairy.

You will be amazed at the foods that you think are safe but when you dig a little deeper into the ingredients list they are definitely to be avoided.

Butter

Butter Oil

Butter Milk

Vegetable Fat

Margarine

Casein

Caseinates

Hydrolysed Casein

Evaporated Milk

Condensed Milk

Cheese

Dried Milk

Cream Curd

Ghee

Lactoglobulin

Lactose

Milk Solids

Whey

Hydrolysed Whey

Whey Syrup Sweetener

Yoghurt

Lactoalbumin

Hydrolysed whey protein

Whey protein

Hydrolysed caseinate

Sodium caseinate

Calcium caseinate

Milk sugar

Butter [artificial butter, artificial butter flavour, butter, butter extract, butter fat, butter flavoured oil, butter solids, dairy butter, natural butter, natural butter flavour, whipped butter]

Casein & caseinates [ammonium caseinate, calcium caseinate, magnesium caseinate, potassium caseinate, sodium caseinate, hydrolyzed casein, iron caseinate, zinc caseinate]

Cheese [cheese (all types), cheese flavour (artificial and natural), cheese food, cottage cheese, cream cheese, imitation cheese, vegetarian cheeses with casein]

Cream, whipped cream
Curds
Custard
Dairy product solids
Galactose
Ghee
Half & Half

Hydrolysates [casein hydrolysate, milk protein hydrolysate, protein hydrolysate, whey hydrolysate, whey protein hydrolysate]

Ice cream, ice milk, sherbet
Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
Lactate solids
Lactyc yeast
Lactitol monohydrate
Lactoglobulin
Lactose
Lactulose

Milk [acidophilus milk, buttermilk, buttermilk blend, buttermilk solids, cultured milk, condensed milk, dried milk, dry milk solids (DMS), evaporated milk, fat‐free milk, fully cream milk powder, goat’s milk, Lactaid® milk, lactose-free milk, low‐fat milk, malted milk, milk derivative, milk powder, milk protein, milk solids, milk solid pastes, non‐fat dry milk, non‐fat milk, non‐fat milk solids, pasteurized milk, powdered milk, sheep’s milk, skim milk, skim milk powder, sour milk, sour milk solids, sweet cream buttermilk powder, sweetened condensed milk, sweetened condensed skim milk, whole milk, 1% milk, 2% milk]

Milk fat, anhydrous milk fat
Nisin preparation
Nougat
Pudding
Quark
Recaldent
Rennet, rennet casein
Simplesse (fat replacer)
Sour cream, sour cream solids, imitation sour cream

Whey  [acid whey, cured whey, delactosed whey, demineralised whey, hydrolyzed whey, powdered whey, reduced mineral whey, sweet dairy whey, whey, whey protein, whey protein concentrate, whey powder, whey solids]

Yogurt (regular or frozen), yogurt powder

May Contain Milk:

Natural flavouring
Flavouring
Caramel flavouring
High protein flour
Lactic acid (usually not a problem)
Lactic acid starter culture
“Non-dairy” products may contain casein
Rice cheese
Soy cheese

Avoid any substance beginning with “Lac” or “Lacto” as apparently the chances are that it contains milk.

The thing to remember is there are far more foods you can eat. Initially you will find that you are having to forgo the ready made stuff, but this actually means that your health in the long run will improve because you will choose the fresh, additive free stuff. After a while you will even find that you can tell what is in something by the taste or texture.

So start looking for healthy allergy free stuff and enjoy learning about what alternatives are out there.

So What DO You Eat? Part Two

The idea for my blog and soon to be blossoming catering business is due to an allergy I developed after the birth of my first child.

If your experience has been like mine the general conversation with people about food goes like this…

THEM: “Would you like to come to dinner?”

ME: “That would be lovely”

THEM: “Is there anything you don’t eat or like?”

ME: “I’m allergic to dairy but otherwise I eat pretty much anything”

THEM: “Does that mean you don’t eat eggs?”

ME: “Do eggs come from cows?”

THEM: “No”

ME: “ As long as it isn’t cheese, milk, butter, yogurt or cream I can usually eat it but if its pre-packaged you may need to check the label”

THEM: “So what DO you eat then?”

ME:sigh

As you can imagine we don’t get invited to dinner at someone’s house very often anymore, we tend to eat out either at trusted restaurants or with me having had an antihistamine before hand,  just to ensure nothing has been accidentally added to my food, like the swirl of cream or yogurt on a soup or the shavings of Parmesan, “well can’t you just pick them out”…ERR NO!!

Recipe books are also a bit of a minefield, I have found in recent years that my best option is a vegan cookbook or one leaning towards veg. However I still tend to find in the veg ones that 90% of the recipes have butter, cheese or cream in them.  I would have become vegan years ago but I live with 2 carnivores and cooking 2 separate meals although fun some nights can get to be a chore when you are trying to tweak a family meal.

So over the years I have learned to adapt. I scan read recipes in magazines and decide on the ones I can adapt, I skip the starter and dessert menu in most restaurants as 99% of the time I can have nothing listed, and the few restaurants that offer me a dessert it will, let me assure you, turn out to be a fruit salad. Luckily for me my husband isn’t a sweet toothed person so he doesn’t mind missing out on dessert to keep me company.

Know logically I know it isn’t just me that can’t eat dairy, I know that there are other people out there who also scan recipes and menus with sinking hearts and rumbling bellies. And having spoken to a few people I have discovered that unlike many people I actually enjoy adapting and cooking meals from scratch. I do not like pre-packaged “convenience” food but I know some people rely on them just to ensure they get a meal that does not make them ill. So Mrs Gracey Dairy Free was born.

Not only am I happy to adapt the recipes for you and create lovely e-recipe-books just for you, but I am going to offer a unique service of dinner which has been home-cooked delivered to your door. None of that high fat, sugar, dairy, mass produced stuff that other people deliver to you, this is freshly prepared, home-cooked guaranteed non-dairy and ready at your door when you get home, what could be better than that?

So tell me if you could have a non-dairy meal delivered to your desk at work or your home what would you choose?

Diet, and the Health of a Nation

I read a heart rending story yesterday about a mother who has just discovered that the second of her twin boys is suffering from cancer. It made me ponder a lot of the things I have been reading recently and also made me a more than a little mad.

It may sound harsh but the News Reporters idea that this is an awful blow of fate got me thinking “Is it really Fate?”

We know that when we are born we all have genes some of which give us blue eyes or brown hair and some of which have the capability of giving us awful life threatening diseases. We also know that we must, in order to live a long and healthy life, eat well, live in a healthy environment and exercise at least moderately to make sure we keep our joints and muscles strong. So is this really “fate” that twins living in the same environment, eating the same foods and with the same genes both have developed the same cancer?

If you read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell

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you learn that some of these genes are not triggered unless the right environment has been provided to stimulate them ie diet and environment. Have you ever thought about how our governments influence us to ensure that the economy is protected just a little more than the health of society? This has been shown in times of war when we were encouraged to grow our own food, fats and sugars were rationed and as a result our nation, in Britain were a little healthier.

Now look again at history when we have had surplus milk in the food supply, all of a sudden we have mass marketing campaigns showing us that milk is the only way to have strong bones and teeth. In times of surplus you can almost set your watch by the government research or report that tells us how good this food is for us and how we should be eating more. Our governments have subsidised farming for years so they get to influence what is grown, how much it costs and eventually what we are told is good for us.

Now the sad thing about the twins being so sick is that it is not their fault or their mothers fault. It isn’t even the governments fault for misinformation, it really boils down to years of misdirection, half learned truths and the lack of unbiased nutritional information taught to us through schools. The whole area of nutrition is filled with complicated skewed views on what is healthy. You only have to look at the masses of new diets published every day, most of them written by people who have a view to making money.

Whilst we as a nation focus on body image, skinniness and beauty over health we play right into their hands. We all know fast food is unhealthy but still we happily tuck into food full of fat because we are told we are deprived if we do not, these food are a sign of our affluence. I have come across too many young men who will go to the gym religiously whilst eat junk food until it comes out of their ears because they have been sold on the image that a healthy male has muscles and can bench press more than anyone else. I have also seen the young men who find that eating none stop does not bulk them up enough so drink protein shakes and end up resorting to injecting steroids into their bodies.

So is it fate that these teenage twin brothers have the same cancer? I think no. I think if you look at the factors environment, diet, genes then the chances of them not developing cancer were slim at best. When I read stories like this one my heart bleeds for the family but I also want to point them in the direction of people like Kris Carr who when diagnosed with a rare form of cancer did all the research she could, changed her lifestyle and diet and turned a negative on its head.

So instead of being lead by the glossy magazines and the terrifying news stories which are influenced by who is paying whom take your health by the horns, read about what is healthy, listen to your body when it tells you it really can’t handle that amount of fat and be the most informed you can about something that will determine how enjoyable, active and fulfilling your life is.

Domestic Goddesses Remember You Just Have to be Good Not Perfect

Cambridge Dictionary online Domestic Goddess  ” a woman who is very good at cooking and keeping her house clean and organized“. Well my house is clean when I am not working and slowly descends into chaos when I am at work. I can cook but I do tend to wear most of my ingredients on my t-shirts or dresses because I forget to put an apron on, so maybe I can be classified as one as it doesn’t say I have to be perfect just good at what I do and love.

When I watch those lovely household goddesses on t.v. or see them in the glossy magazines and they say how they would never buy stock as making it is far superior, and that they use whole not tinned tomatoes because who wants tinned food… WELL… I am here to tell you there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a tin of tomatoes or beans, frozen veg can save a tonne of cash if you find you run out of time before your veg has gone mouldy , and stock cubes are quick and easy and occasionally really tasty, so don’t feel bad if you are tired or time starved…remember you just have to be good not perfect.

But if like me a way to relax is cooking then here are a few tips and basic to help you make your own stock, or peel tomatoes or make the perfect rice

Vegetable Stock

Peel Tomatoes

Perfect Rice

Be sure to check back as this post will have more tips over the next few weeks