What we read in August #CoffeeWorkRead

I’m a bit disappointed that I’ve only managed to read two books this month. Normally we go on holiday and I get to storm my way through a whole pile but as we’ve not had a family holiday I’ve had to fit my reading in in the evenings or snatched moments here and there.

 

Our Endless Numbered Days 

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Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

It felt like this book took me at eternity to read. It was rather heavy going for a summer read and by the end of it I felt a bit depressed and a little disturbed if I’m being truly honest. We follow the story of Peggy, with her German piano playing mother and rather unconventional father who seems to be fixated with planning for the end of the world. Peggy is abducted by her father and they end up living in a remote woodland somewhere in Europe and this is where the majority of the book is set. We are voyeurs into their bizarre way of life and watch on as it unravels. It is beautifully written and I think it would suit a book club or even studying at A Level or beyond. There’s a lot of detail and depth to the plot that would be interesting to unpick with others but I found it hard to persevere with and without giving anything a way I found the ending rather haunting and disturbing. Not one I’d rush to recommend!

 

Before We Met 

before we met - lucie whitehouse

Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse

This, on the other hand, was such an easy read. It’s my first Lucie Whitehouse book and I found her writing style engaging and it definitely drew me in and kept my attention. It still felt rather light as a story in spite of it’s rather dark psychological plot, I think this was due to the writing style. Whitehouse weaves the story of married couple Mark and Hannah as Hannah comes to realise that she might not know her husband quite as well as she thought she did.

Unfortunately, about half way through this book I guessed where the plot was was leading and figured out the twist. Of course I kept reading to make sure I was right and to see how she would reveal it. Even though I guessed the plot I still found it an enjoyable book to read and I would read more by the author. It wouldn’t make it on a list of favourites but I’d recommend it if you like thrillers and are looking for a decent psychological thriller that it also an easy read.

 

What my girls have been reading

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My two have devoured books this summer, and I’ve had a ball reading to them both at bedtime. E is getting more and more confident with her reading and I love hearing her read aloud to herself in bed. 

The Fairytale Hairdresser- The Princess and the Pea

 kittie lacey princess pea fairytale hairdresser book review

The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Pea by Abi Longstaff and Lauren Beard

We all LOVE The Fairytale Hairdresser book series and you can read more of what we thought of it and be in with the chance of winning a copy by clicking here – Kittie Lacey, the best Fairytale Hairdresser in all the land

 

Double Act

double actDouble Act by Jacqueline Wilson

 Now, I remember reading this when I was younger, like N I was a huge Jacqueline Wilson fan. Unlike me, N read loads over the summer, from David Walliams books, to Enid Blyton, to Jacqueline Wilson. I love that she reads so much, but I can’t keep up! We need to put up more shelves in her room to accommodate them all. This particular book follow the lives of twins Ruby and Garnet, they are identical and do everything together but couldn’t be more different. They navigate the changes that being ten can bring along with the upheaval of their Dad getting a new girlfriend. I particularly love how Wilson tackles important issues for children in a fun yet hugely responsible way. There’s loads of scope for discussion with your children off the back of her books.

 

Have you or your children read any of these books?

What did you think of them? I’d love to know!

(this post contains affiliate links. See here for more info)

 

 

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morganaWhat we read in August #CoffeeWorkRead
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Simple crumble recipe – Blackberry and Apple

Firstly I have to say that if you’re looking for a I Quit Sugar recipe for crumble then I suggest you look else where, my  sugar ban just had to be suspended for this beaut of a simple crumble recipe!

We went blackberry picking in the woods just the other day and had so much fun spotting the ripest berries, reaching high to grab the best ones while being careful not to get caught on the brambles. My two girls had proud beams on their faces as we walked home with full tubs of these black jewelled berries in our hands. I’ve got so many wonderful memories of blackberry picking with my parents when we lived in Cornwall. We could spend the whole day walking and foraging for berries at this time of year then heading home with berry stained hands and over flowing tubs. It’s lovely to get the chance to share this with my girls, even though we don’t live in the countryside it’s still something we can join in with when walking in the little woodlands near our house here in the North West.

Of course when we got home we dived straight into making crumble! Here’s my go to simple crumble recipe –

 

Blackberry and Apple Crumble
Serves 4
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
441 calories
71 g
40 g
17 g
5 g
10 g
218 g
5 g
39 g
1 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
218g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 441
Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
25%
Saturated Fat 10g
49%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 40mg
13%
Sodium 5mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 71g
24%
Dietary Fiber 5g
21%
Sugars 39g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
11%
Vitamin C
10%
Calcium
2%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the filling
  1. A tub of handpicked blackberries
  2. 3 cooking apples
  3. Pinch of sugar to taste
For the crumble
  1. 100g plain flour
  2. 75g butter
  3. 50g rolled oats
  4. 100g demerara sugar
Instructions
  1. Pre heat the oven to 200C
  2. Peel, quarter and core the apples and then chop the quarters again in half or large chucky bite size pieces.
  3. Add the chopped apple into a pan with the blackberries and sprinkling of sugar
  4. Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes, stir occasionally
  5. Transfer the apple and blackberry mixture to a shallow oven proof pie dish
For the crumble topping
  1. Blend the butter and flour in a food processor for a few minutes until it looks like bread crumbs, you can do this by hand instead, just make sure the butter is at room temp to make it easier.
  2. Add the oats and sugar and stir
  3. Sprinkle the crumble mixture to cover the blackberries and apples in the pie dish
  4. Bake the crumble for approx 30 minutes until crisp and golden brown on the top.
  5. Serve with custard or vanilla ice cream
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calories
441
fat
17g
protein
5g
carbs
71g
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What do you reckon, do you think you’ll be giving my simple crumble recipe a try?

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morganaSimple crumble recipe – Blackberry and Apple
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Interview with Victoria Vida of Netflix’s Project MC2

I’ve blogged about Project MC2 a few times now, you can take a look here for those posts. It is my 8 year old daughter’s absolute favourite programme and one that I am more than happy for her to obsess over. It’s based around a group of four super smart, science skilled American teenage girls that are recruited to join a secret spy organisation. What I particularly love about the series is that each girl has a particular style and smashes through that lie told over girls that because they are interested in science and technology they must be dull and boring and can’t be interested in fashion and style too. 

project mc2 victoria vida

Being part of Netflix Stream Team I’ve been able to chat with Netflix and tell them how much of a fan N is. The first season is only three episodes long and poor N has been desperate for more, so when I got the chance I asked when we’d see more and we were excited to find out that a new season was about to launch! In knowing she was a HUGE fan Netflix made it possible for N to interview two Project MC2 cast members, Victoria Vida who plays Adrienne Attoms, a culinary chemist and Ysa Penarejo who plays the intelligent, analytical Camryn Coyle. Of course N was over the moon about this opportunity and spent a long time squealing and jumping up and down in that girly pre-teen way, hey who I am kidding, I joined in too!

Project MC2 interview victoria vida

Victoria Vida is on the right and plays Adrienne Attoms in the hit show Project MC2

Just last week N was able to video chat with Victoria and despite her nerves she did a wonderful job. It helped that Victoria was lovely and so kind to N throughout the chat, even asking N about her own life, which of course made her feel ten feet tall.

I got to watch and listen in to the video chat from the door way I might add (!) and even though we can’t share the actual chat with you here are some of our highlights.

When asked what she loved most about Project MC2 Victoria lit up and answered that it was the message of the show, that we girls can be anything we want, doctors, scientists, and all while keeping our ‘feminine touch’. This of course refers to the fact that while the girls in the show are super smart they aren’t portrayed as the stereotype of ‘boring’ and ‘bland’ like so many smart girls in TV are. Each girl has their own personality and sense of style, N thinks it’s so fun and I find it really refreshing.

“You can be smart and cool, smart and funny, smart and be a fashionista, you can be smart and be you!”

 

While chatting with N, Victoria drew parallels between herself and her character Adrienne Attoms. Not only do they both love to wear heels, more importantly they are both very strong, very feminist and very proud of their Latino backgrounds. She’s quick to point out they that both value friendship and kindness too. 

While filming the show Victoria feels she’s learnt a lot, “We chicas are very powerful and we are capable of many things. It’s important to own that power that we girls can have and to show the world that we’re more than a pretty face and we can also do great things. Like Adrienne Adams, she’s very smart and always true to herself. Always be yourself, it’s what makes you different, unique and beautiful, and you shouldn’t be afraid of being different, you shouldn’t erase yourself, you should embrace yourself.”

“Being smart and intelligent will take you places”

 

When asked what we need to be successful Victoria reminds N of the importance of believing in your dream and working hard for it. So many girls underestimate themselves when they really shouldn’t, they need to be themselves no matter what. I nodded rather vehemently in the background while she was saying this. I was so impressed with how articulate she was and the way she communicated with N throughout the interview.

 

I think you’ll agree that Victoria Vida’s words are pretty inspiring for not only pre-teen girls but a good reminder for all of us. Check out Victoria and the rest of the Project MC2 girls over on Netflix.

project-mc2-cast-interviews

morganaInterview with Victoria Vida of Netflix’s Project MC2
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Exploring the new Tate Modern

Do you have places that when you visit them you just feel inexplicably happy? When just taking a walk there is blissful? One of those places for me is the Tate Modern, more specifically the new Tate Modern. I didn’t think I could love it anymore but then I visited on Friday and I ended up spending the whole day there, yep, the whole day.

Basically what they’ve done is built on the former power station’s subterranean oil tanks. This new extension is called the Switch House and is home to an even more interactive display of art. From performance pieces, to video, to larger installation work. From the outside is resembles a large pyramid style structure and on the inside you cross between old and new via bridges or the iconic Turbine Hall. You can see a video and stills of the new building project here, on the Tate website.

The children were with their grandparents and husband in meetings all day across London so the day was mine. I spend most of it exploring the Switch House floor by floor and wandering around the bottom floor known as The Tanks.

 

new tate modern

turbine hall - new tate modern

turbine hall - new tate moden

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switch house - new tate modern

I particularly enjoyed the larger installations in the Switch House, especially the ‘Between Object and Architecture’ collection.

switch house - new tate modern

switch house - new tate modern

switch house - new tate modern

john cage quote - new tate modern

Living Cities – The Switch House

switch house - new tate modern

switch house - new tate modern

living cities - new tate modern

the whole world + the work = the whole world quote new tate modern

 

When coming to the end of my visit I had one last wander with my headphones in and Wolf Alice on loud. Art and music are so special to me and almost interconnected so while walking around people watching and smiling I must have looked like a bit of a loon. It was a special little moment for me, one that recharged me and will treasure for a long time.

 

 

What’s your ‘happy place’?

Will you be giving the new Tate Modern a visit this summer?

morganaExploring the new Tate Modern
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What we’ve been reading in July #CoffeeWorkRead

This month has been a much better month reading wise. Having lots of park and beach days has meant I’ve been able to read while the girls have been playing. I’ve also been enjoying curling up with a book in the evenings rather than watching television, or if I’ve drawn the short straw and had to take N to her evening swim training sessions at least I’ve got an hours worth of reading time! I must mention that Amazon have an offer on at the moment, which I of course took advantage of, they are doing 3 for ¬£10 on selected paperbacks! Definitely worth checking out to make sure you’re stocked up on summer reads.

Strictly Between Us

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Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon

If you’re looking for an easy summer read then this is a good shout. I’d not read any Jane Fallon books before but I wasn’t surprised when I read that she did the screen play for the hit 90s TV show Teachers. The way she writes the dialogue and creates characters lends itself so well to television. The premise is simple two best friends, one cheating husband and many plots to catch him out. Of course there are intricacies to the story line and a few cheeky twists, so it makes an easy but fun read.

 

While My Eyes Were Closed

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While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green 

I devoured this book in two days, it had me completely gripped! Despite the fairly grim subject of child abduction it isn’t a heavy or dark book. While playing hide and seek in the park Lisa’s daughter disappears without a trace – every parents nightmare. Such a page turner that’s full of suspense. It’s very character driven with little twists and turns in the plot development. I definitely recommend it!

The Girls

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The Girls by Lisa Jewell

Aimee of Pass the Gin mentioned this book a while ago in one of her blog posts so when I spotted it on Amazon I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve not read any Lisa Jewell books before and I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It kept me guessing all the way through and I was really surprised at the ending, though I can imagine it being disappointing for some. Set in London we get to know families and teenagers that live around a large communal garden, the perfect summer hang out for kids and teens. Things take a dark turn when 13 year old Grace is found by her younger sister, unconscious and partly undressed one night after a party. We follow the events leading up to that night giving clues about what could have happened.

What my girls have been reading

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My two have definitely read less recently, first crashing out early because of school and now going to bed late without reading due to the holidays! I’m trying to get them to have quiet time in the afternoons for puzzles, games or reading so we’ll see how successful I am at convincing them it’s a good idea!

 

The Dumb Bunnies Go To The Zoo

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The Dumb Bunnies Go To The Zoo by Dav Pilkey

Oh man, this book had both my girls in giggling fits. E chose it on a recent library trip and she’s requested it a whole lot since then! It is a very, very silly book and one that all kids will love.

Famous Five On A Treasure Island

20160729_150000462_iOSFamous Five On A Treasure Island by Enid Blyton

What a classic, eh? This is the old school version so all the children have their original names ūüėČ I’ve been pestering N to read Famous Five books for ages, I just knew she’d love them as much as I did at her age. She finally relented a couple of weeks ago and thankfully she loved it. The first of the Famous Five books it introduces the characters and you follow them on their first adventure together.

They’ve got a few more on the go from our recent library trip, but I’ll save them for next month.

Have you or your children read any of these books?

What did you think of them? I’d love to know!

 

 

 

 

(this post contains affiliate links. See here for more info)

morganaWhat we’ve been reading in July #CoffeeWorkRead
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Setting fitness goals and sticking to them

I am the worst. The absolute worst at setting fitness goals and sticking to them. You only need to have a scroll through my archives to see for yourself the heady sweeping promises¬†full of hope and excitement only to be followed with radio silence or embarrassed confessions of failure. I hang my head in shame. Sometimes I set the bar too high promising to go running every night or workout for 30 minutes for 30 days and then either give up when it’s tough or when the 30 days are up.

I’ve realised that I need to make my fitness goals part of my everyday life, not an attempt to lose x amount of weight or drop a dress size or two, but just part of what I normally do like drinking coffee or taking the kids to school. You’ll know that we’ve recently joined our local David Lloyd and as part of that I worked with one of their trainers and he put together a work out for me. I’ve found this so helpful and made my trips to the gym much easier and more focused – I also now know how to work some of the weight machines and no longer find them intimidating – whoop!

25.6.15 - Nottingham. The David Lloyd Leisure Nottingham West Bridgford Club. Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

The David Lloyd Leisure Nottingham West BridgfordClub. Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

Every Sunday we’ve been heading over to David Lloyd and while the kids enjoy a session in Kids Club (where they do sports, dance or crafts), the mister and I get to hit the gym for an hour.¬†When we’re done¬†we’ve been having¬†fun in the pool as a¬†family. My family are such fish compared to me but I know how much my girls love it when I come in the pool with them so I made the decision to just get over myself and jump in with them. It’s all part of my ‘wellness journey’, to make exercise part of our lifestyle to model it to my girls as just an ordinary part of life, not something you do to lose weight or begrudgingly.

setting fitness goals - family swimming

I’m pushing my comfort zone though and trying things that I normally would shy away from and during the week I’ve been trying out a few classes and particularly love Body Balance which is a mix of yoga and pilates. I’ve discovered that I really dislike early morning, full of people, sweaty, shouty classes. They make me want to run and hide! Who knew Legs Bums and Tums would be so tough?! I’m going to go back though, it won’t beat me (even if I could hardly walk for like a week afterwards…) Of course getting fitter and more toned are great bi-products in all of this. I’d be lying if I said dropping a jeans size isn’t a confidence booster BUT I don’t want it to be my sole motivator. Going on the BodiTrax machine is a great way to monitor my progress without just relying on the numbers on our dodgy scales at home. It gives you everything you could possibly want to know, from your fat distribution, muscle¬†percentage, and your metabolic age, and so much more -there’s a great video here explaining it.

So in summary here are my less prescriptive and much more achievable ‘fitness goals’

Have fun and try new things

To do more sport as a family

Make exercise part of my life

Be more determined!

 

SETTING FITNESS GOALS STICKING TO THEM

What do you think of my fitness goals?

Do you set goals, and most importantly do you stick to them?

 

 

 

(We are partnering with David Lloyd for six months, we have a complimentary membership during this time and will be blogging about how we find it. As always all views are our own)

morganaSetting fitness goals and sticking to them
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What we’ve been reading in June #CoffeeWorkRead

June was¬†a rather quiet month for me book reading wise. I just haven’t been finding the time, or indeed been making the time, to sit down and read. I’ve missed it though and in the midst of all this turmoil a bit of escapism is so very welcome. Here are the books we’ve been reading this month.

Carol

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Carol by Patricia Highsmith

It sounds silly but I think I picked the wrong season to read this in. It’s much more of a ‘curled up under a blanket on the sofa on a winter’s evening’ kind of book. Or am I being weird assigning seasons to books? Either way I struggled with this particular book. It centres around two women, one a naive young artistic shop worker and the rather more glamourous and worldly upper class Carol. It tells of their love story and journey they go through in 1950s New York. I really wanted to like this at it’s time groundbreaking book, but found the characters rather irritating. I know, not a very highbrow critique, but I just found it hard to warm to them. Feelings aside it is beautifully written and the adventure they go on is intriguing and kept me reading until the end. I know that this is now a film with Cate Blanchett playing Carol, a perfect casting in my opinion, and I think I’ll give it a try, though I might wait until a cosy Autumn evening.

 

The Gracekeepers

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The Gracekeepers, by Kirsty Logan

I’ve mentioned this book in a previous post being the perfect chance for escapism. Set in, what we come to deduce is a post-apocalyptic dystopian future two very different women are searching for a home, and within that love. I was completely swept up into the story and felt disappointed when it ended, there seemed so much more story left to tell. The whole book leads you to that final chapter, but it in itself feels like a beginning for both characters. If you’ve read the Night Circus and enjoyed it I suggest trying this book out. It’s not as complex and mystical as the Night Circus, but a much lighter read though still magical.

What my girls have been reading

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My five year old enjoys a wide range of books and the worst punishment is no bedtime story. We’ve even started doing two when we have time, one that she reads to me and then one that I read to her. I was even read to while I was in the bath the other day, rather reminiscent of poor Mrs Large in the classic Five Minutes Peace!

reading june coffeeworksleeprepeat

You Choose

You Choose, by Pippa Goodheart, Nick Sharratt

This is such a fun book that keeps both my girls happy for hours, well maybe not quite hours, but you get the idea. It’s great for things like car journeys, as the reader gets to make the story. Each double page ask the reader a question and they get to choose from lots of pictures. It really encourages make believe and is perfect for imaginative children.

As for my 8 year old, N has been ploughing her way through a number of books, here are just a few of her favourites. I honestly can’t keep up with her, she reads so many! You can see who are favourite authors are..

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Candyfloss by Jaqueline Wilson

Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

 

Have you or your children read any of these books?

What did you think of them?

 

 

 

 

(this post contains affiliate links. See here for more info)

morganaWhat we’ve been reading in June #CoffeeWorkRead
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No more sugar, ever?

8 weeks ago I made the rather drastic decision to quit sugar. If you’ve not read my blog post explaining why¬†you might want to jump over here and have a read.

Done? OK, now let me tell you how I’m feeling about the whole thing now that the 8 week detox is over. Will I be sticking to no more sugar.. ever?

The first few weeks were tough, really tough. I just wanted to reach for a pack of biscuits or get someone to cook for me. I was fed up of the faff and missed the convenience of easy pre-made food. I dug my heels in though and kept going with it – I don’t like failing at stuff! The second half of the 8 weeks felt easier, like I’d found a rhythm to it. It was while staring at a muffin in Costa that it really hit me how much I’d changed since starting this process. As much as I fancied it I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. Don’t get me wrong I still really wanted that muffin, but I thought about all the crap that’s in it and just couldn’t do it. I felt jointly proud of myself for my self restraint and yet also angry as I really wanted to eat it – guilt free! My mind set has really changed and as frustrating as that is when I want to binge, it was one of my main goals when starting the process.

I wanted¬†to think more about the kind of foods I was eating and why. Like I mentioned in my previous no sugar post I am someone that totally eats their feelings, and from what I read in the comments I’m not alone in this. Now that I’ve completed the 8 weeks I definitely feel like there has been a shift, like with the muffin example, I feel like I don’t want put rubbish food in my body anymore.

I know lots of you will want to know if I’ve lost weight and I have. I didn’t want losing weight to be my main motivator for this process. In fact I hardly weighed myself. When I’ve dieted or upped my workouts in the past and not seen a positive result when standing on the scales I end up feeling dishearted and just giving up. I didn’t want that to happen this time. I had my David Lloyd gym induction on my 8th week and had to do a Boditrax analysis (more on that in my next David Lloyd post) and I realised that I’d lost 10 pounds. I was really pleased (and relieved) that I’d lost weight, I’d felt like I had so it was good to actually see a number that reflected that! I’m the lightest I’ve been since having children and feel so much better for it. Ideally I’d like to lose a little more but I want to keep the focus on what I’m eating and my fitness rather than just a number.

I found I had a love-hate relationship with Sarah Wilson’s book- I Quit Sugar. It was great having a little structure and something to refer to when I wasn’t sure what I could eat and when. The recipes however drove me crazy!¬†You only have to google some of her recipes and then scroll down to the comments section to see what I mean. I was not alone in having each recipe I tried fail miserably. Not only was it disheartening and disappointing (I wanted something sweet, dammit!) it was also a colossal waste of money. The substitutes for sugar and other health foods¬†are eye wateringly expensive, which is fine… if they don’t end up feeding my kitchen bin rather than I very hungry me. I gave up on her recipes in the end and adapted meals I already cooked.

Talking of food a few people have asked what an average day looks like for me food wise while cutting out sugar. I found breakfast difficult as she recommends a lot of egg based meals or ones with lots of nuts or porridge and I don’t like any of those things. I stuck to wholemeal toast (making sure there was no added sugar -steer clear of Hovis!) with butter and Marmite.

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Here are a few examples of meals I’ve been having, I’ll admit they are rather similar!

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Salad with chicken sausages (check out Muscle Food for these)

 

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Homemade spicy chicken noodle soup (recipe will be up in the next couple of days ūüėČ )

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Oh man, I could totally eat that right now. A huge salad with chicken, halloumi, bacon, avocado, chia seeds and activated pumpkin seeds.

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Top Tips

Preparation is key – my husband cooks loads of chicken on a Monday morning and then uses them for his meals with salad, beans, etc. I found doing this, especially when we were on holiday, stopped me from reaching for an easy (and less healthy) option.

Have chopped up veg in the fridge – carrots, cucumber, celery

Keep¬†super dark chocolate for emergencies – you can make your own or if you’re lazy like me go for 85% Green and Blacks -BUT this one does contain sugar.

Switch to full fat everything. Honestly chuck out all low fat and half fat stuff – especially margarine. Stick to whole foods. In cutting out sugar your body needs things like good fats.

When I was allowed to reintroduce some fruit back in it coincided with that warm summer weather we had so I decided to get back on to the green juices. Here’s my go to recipe..

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Handful of spinach (preferably frozen)

Handful of kale (preferably frozen)

A few cubes of mango (preferably frozen)

Half an avocado (you guessed it.. preferably frozen)

A teaspoon of chia seeds

A teaspoon of Spirulina powder

Top up with coconut water

I then blitz the lot in my nutribullet. As most of it is frozen it makes it more of a slushie, which I love!

 

So the million dollar question…

Will I be carrying on with no sugar?

I don’t think I’ll be as militant as Sarah Wilson when it comes to fructose.There’s no way I’m cutting fruit and all things fruit based from my diet forever. I’m definitely more mindful about counting fruit as sugar and won’t be overloading on fruit smoothies and fresh fruit in one go. I now look at the nutrition information on everything, Sarah Wilson recommends checking the sugar per 100g and making sure it’s less then 3g, so I think I’m going to try and stick with that going forward.

As for refined sugar I’m inclined to continue with forgoing it, for the most part anyway. Of course a piece of cake or a biscuit here and there but just not everyday!

I feel so much better for making this choice and change to my lifestyle. So much so that now that I feel in a much better place to work on on upping my exercise. Seeing food as fuel rather than just as a treat or indulgence means that I feel like I’m making more progress. No more using a work out as an excuse to eat cake and get takeaway!

Would you give up sugar?

morganaNo more sugar, ever?
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Can David Lloyd provide fun and fitness for our family?

As a family we really focus on trying to make healthy choices and have prioritised things like swimming lessons and healthy eating. The mister does triathlons, (even N has done one!), N is part of our city’s swim club and is trying out to be part of the squad, E has her swimming lessons and is generally a bouncy child that never sits still! It’s me that’s the odd one out really. I used to be really sporty as a child and even as a young teen but somewhere along the line this changed.¬†I’m keen to rectify this though and I know that our new David Lloyd family membership will help me lots. I’m excited to share with you that we are working with David Lloyd over the next six months and will be blogging about all their facilities and of course my fitness goals and progress, eek! It’s not just about me though, there’s so many activities for the children, not to mention the indoor and outdoor pool that my mermaid girls will love taking advantage of.

My husband has great memories of being a David Lloyd member as a teen, he and his friends would practically live in their local one in the summer holidays. I’ve never been a member so I was keen to get a better idea of what David Lloyd is all about. We were invited down to their club in Nottingham with my girls, but unfortunately E was unable to come along as she had two important hospital appointments so she stayed at home with daddy. N and I travelled down with Jenny (Let’s Talk Mommy) and her two little ones. We both had a fantastic day and¬†N even made a new ‘best friend’ in A, Amanda’s (The Ana Mum Diary) daughter! She loved the kids club and all the activities such as crafting, tennis, and of course lots of games. While N was having fun I was put through my paces in the gym and a yoga class before jumping in the pool with N at the end of the day.

25.6.15 - Nottingham. The David Lloyd Leisure Nottingham West Bridgford Club. Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

(25.6.15 РNottingham. The David Lloyd Leisure Nottingham West Bridgford Club. Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages)

I was so impressed with the look and feel of the club, as someone used to their local council gym it was quite a culture shock! This gorgeous cafe bar was a great place to start our day.

25.6.15 - Nottingham. The David Lloyd Leisure Nottingham West Bridgford Club. Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

25.6.15 РNottingham. The David Lloyd Leisure Nottingham West Bridgford Club. Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

There was even a soft play for younger kids, N preferred playing on the iPads! If E had been there with us though she’d have been straight in there!

25.6.15 - Nottingham. The David Lloyd Leisure Nottingham West Bridgford Club. Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

25.6.15 РNottingham. The David Lloyd Leisure Nottingham West Bridgford Club. Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

While N had tonnes of fun in DL Kids we were introduced to the Synrgy360. Now if I’d just popped into the gym by myself I would have been way to intimidated by this beast to give it a go. I just know I would end up using it wrong and making a fool of myself, so it was so useful to be properly shown how to use each section and give it all a go, I definitely think I’ll be booking in for a class on it soon.

david lloyd Collage
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Recognise any of these lovely ladies? We’ve got Emily from A Mummy Too, Jenny from Let’s Talk Mommy, Penny from Parent Shaped, Alice from More Than Toast and Amanda from Ana Mum Diary and her eldest daughter Nia.

I think the aspect of David Lloyd I love the most is just how family friendly it is, something that really shone through on the day we had in Nottingham. You can see that both time and attention have been put into making sure that children are looked after and entertained, from the mini soft play to the outdoor play area and of course the DH Kids club.

After seeing Nottingham I was keen to check out our local club so at the weekend we went to our local David Lloyd and were given a full tour of it, I would say it’s similar to the one in Nottingham though sadly no outdoor grown ups area like this one. Sad times!

25.6.15 - Nottingham. The David Lloyd Leisure Nottingham West Bridgford Club. Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

25.6.15 РNottingham. The David Lloyd Leisure Nottingham West Bridgford Club. Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

Our club has recently renovated, however, and it looks fantastic. The cafe area is similar to the Nottingham club, and the soft play area is even bigger. While we were there we all made full use of the indoor pool and had some chill out time in the cafe area while the girls played in the soft play and on the iPads. It’s a shame the weather was bad, we’re desperate to spend time in the outdoor pool, or more specifically for me, by the outdoor pool! I can definitely see us coming most weekends. As well as a weekly family swim, I’m going to book the girls into some sessions in the DH Kids club. There’s lots to choose from, though my two have got their eyes on street dance and the creative craft sessions as well as the multi sport class. This means the mister and I can use the gym or book onto a class knowing that the girls are being well looked after and having lots of fun.

With the six week holiday looming I’m already thinking about the DH Kids club¬†sessions that N and E¬†can be doing while I get some work done! I definitely think this membership is going to come in very handy! ¬†There’s even a holiday club running that non members can book onto, perfect for families where both parents work. You can find out more info on Holiday Active here.

 

(We are partnering with David Lloyd for the next six months, we have a complimentary membership during this time and will be blogging about how we find it. As always all views are our own)

morganaCan David Lloyd provide fun and fitness for our family?
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What we’ve been reading in May #CoffeeWorkRead

This is a rather short post as I’ve only managed two books this month and one of them is left over from last month! I’ve just been so busy with work that I haven’t been making the time to read. Thankfully I managed to snatch a few moments to read on¬†the beach over this Bank Holiday weekend.

Three Wishes

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Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

It’s felt like I took ages to finish this book, I hate to say it but I found it really dull. I’ve enjoyed the other books that I’ve read by the same author but this one seemed to drag and not much actually happened. It centres around three sister, or more precisely a set of triplets and their lives. There’s no major plot to it, but I guess if you’re looking for a light summer holiday read it would be great for that. I felt like I was waiting for the book to get going and kick in but for me it never seemed to take off, however I know that Sarah over at Mostly Yummy read this one this month too and had a differing opinion so swing by and see what she thought.

Elizabeth is Missing

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Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

This book had me right from the first page. I love the style of writing and the story line is just so intriguing. The main character is an elderly lady with dementia who is convinced that her best friend is missing, however struggling to remember things and often feeling confused means that as much as she tries to hold on to clues as to where her friend is she often goes round in circles. Parallel to this story we also follow her as a teen when her sister goes missing. The way the story is woven together is simply remarkable and had me turning page after page well after I should be fast asleep. I would definitely recommend it.

Have you read either of these books?

What did you think of them?

morganaWhat we’ve been reading in May #CoffeeWorkRead
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