Monday, 14 September 2015

Food For Thought



This weekend I watched a documentary on Netflix called 'Living on One'. I found it interesting, inspiring, eye opening and humbling all at the same time. To briefly outline - The documentary follows four American students who travel to rural Guatemala to experience poverty by living on a dollar a day. Two of the students Chris Temple and Zac Ingrasci studied Economics at University, and to help them gain an understanding of extreme poverty, they decided to live for two months like the 1.1 billion people in the world who live on under $1 a day. Sharing their experiences as they battle hunger, parasites and extreme financial stress in this award winning documentary.

I found the documentary really thought provoking...

  • It is true - that if all the people in the world with some money/possessions  - shared what they have, we could all end extreme poverty.


  • People are truly inspirational, if you are a kind person it does not matter what possessions/money you have  - you will share your last dollar/grain of rice to help others in need. This was certainly true of a young family in the documentary.


  • There is poverty and then there is extreme poverty (to not have access to the basic necessities of life). To not know when or if you will get any work. To not have enough food. To not have clean water to drink. To not have any money or means to get it. To watch your child just sit still from hunger or to have to send your child to work because you cannot afford for them to go to or be at school. To not have any government backing or benefits to fall back on.


Image from


What Can I Do to Help?

The answer is I do not truly know... but some of the answer lies with helping people help themselves out of poverty. By supporting charities that help people to do this such as   

                  Kiva     lendwithcare     worldvision     givedirect     givewell 

These Charities enable people to start small business, repair their homes and help people take control of their lives in a positive way.

You can also take action by influencing public policy's with your support to help reduce hunger and poverty.

WorldHunger                     Savethechildren              TheGlobalPovertyProject


Whether you sign a petition, join a campaign, donate to a food bank, make a financial donation... let's all do something!


Saturday, 18 July 2015




Thoughts about confidence have touched my life this week, and on my own journey of self progression I thought I would research how to be more confident. Not just for myself but to filter down through to my children.


Definition of Confidence

Confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy as those without it may fail or not try because they lack it and those with it may succeed because they have it rather than because of an innate ability. (Quote from Wikipedia.)


My own personal views on confidence are; I do not admire (at all) over confident people. I admire kind, positive people (with action), and I aspire to be quietly confident.

Becoming Quietly Confident

To me being quietly confident means having an inner belief in yourself... Now how to get that belief...

  • Except you are who you are. Differing personalities are what make up the spice to life, think about yours... except it and celebrate the qualities. Don't try to change... just be yourself.


  • It is ok to fail. Failure enables us to grow as a person, by failing we are at our most susceptible moment to learn. Learn from them mistakes.


  • Try. This is one of my favourite words. Keep trying, without a starting point to anything we go nowhere.



  • Talk less and listen more. By doing this you will realise that people around you all have their own issues and problems. We all have our own hang up's, imperfections and different ways of working or doing things.  Realise nobody is perfect, everybody has good and bad days, and we all make mistakes because we are human. 


  • Know yourself, know your value and know your skills. If you want to up your game, then gain education, ask for help; Increase your own knowledge - ask and learn.


  • Fake it... if you have to. If you are not feeling confident... pretend. Nobody knows your feelings, unless you outwardly show it (body language) or speak it. Walk tall, sit up straight, dress in your favourite (appropriate for the situation) clothes, be prepared as you can be, on time, and do what you say. Don't tell people your weaknesses.









For more tips on increasing confidence I came across this little freebie kindle download from Amazon.

Self Confidence - 52 Proven Ways to Gain Self Confidence by Andy C.E. Brown.



Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Women's Sport Week


Image's Sport England 'This Girl Can'


'Women's Sport Week' 1st - 7th June here in the UK. Women in Sport have been raising awareness and campaigning to address the fact that men play more sport than women - 31% of women take part in sports verses 40% of men - stats from Sport England.

I love Sport England's campaign title - 'This Girl Can' This sums up the feeling's you need to get started. I also love their advertising that shows women of differing ages, body shapes and abilities taking part in sport - I think sometimes it puts women off taking the steps to try a new activity because they think everybody is going to be super fit, super slim and brilliant at it. Let's help break these barriers as everybody starts somewhere!

I am an advocate of supporting more sport and exercise for all! Starting my own journey of increasing exercise last year. My motto is 'Move if you can!'



Image from

Steps to Get Women into Sport


  • Let's get our children into sports. Children model our behaviour if you are a couch potato, chances are your children will follow suit. Especially when they hit their early teens, when it's easy to drop out of participation because friends are not doing it or because it's not cool.

  • Sometimes we are so busy as women, running around after our children's after school clubs/social lives that with all our different commitments we do not make time for ourselves. If this is you - try doing activities with your family (it does get easier as children get a little older) - swimming, ice skating/roller blading, badminton, tennis, walks/hikes, rounder's, swing ball, cycling.

  • Complete a charity event, I have blogged about my 'Shine Night Walk' for Cancer Research and 'Swim 22' for DiabetesUK, and my next challenge is 'Race for Life' for Cancer Research. These events are a great motivator to get you started or to increase your fitness at the same time as raising money. Get your friends to sign up with you, believe me I really thought when I signed up for 13.1mile half walking marathon that everybody was going to be athlete standard and that I would stand out like a sore thumb, but there was a complete mix of abilities.

  • Let's spread the word - The benefits of sports and exercise are truly underutilised. The massive feel good factor, the health benefits, social aspects and the belief in your self that comes with accomplishing goals - we should be shouting it from the roof tops!

    For more information check out Women in Sport


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Put the Well into your Well-Being



  • Keep positive - A positive outlook brightens the day, if things are bad for you at the moment believe they will change (if they are not going to change - your strength in dealing with them will get better). Keep putting the emphasis on all the good in your life (dig deep if you have to) - focusing on the good really helps give you balance to negative situations.


  • Laugh - A good laugh relieves tension and stress, it increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Laughter can protect the heart; it improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. It helps boost your mood, laugh your way out of a bad mood. Laughter can strengthen relationships it helps defuse arguments - get your giggle on!

  • Start your day the right way - With a nutritious boosting breakfast. I like to eat either loaded porridge or breakfast fruit bowls. It helps put you on the right path for the rest of the day.


  • Pro-active - Taking steps to make your life the way you want it. Live without excuses... should of/could of. Reflect on how your life is, then take steps if you want to change it.

  • Speed up - Walk faster, put an extra spring into your step, put a little extra effort into everything that you do.



  • Love - 'Find Me Somebody to Love' by Queen, one of my favourite songs. If you are lucky enough to have someone special in your life, then enjoy them! I have been with my hubbie 24 years and we still very much enjoy the love we have for each other (making love boosts your happiness hormones!). If you are looking for love, start with loving yourself as when we are feeling strong in ourselves that's when we attract other people to us. Finding Lasting Love


  • Mix it up - Meeting new people of differing ages/different social circles can add variety to your life. Hearing differing opinions and seeing other people's life circumstances and people's take on things is interesting. I have gained so much from my young adult children and their friends, stories that have made my hair curl (lol)... their fresh upbeat approach to life and abundance of energy is truly refreshing. 

  • My Favourite - Learn to live in the moment. Savour life's joys appreciate what truly matters to you.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

What is Healthy Living?

The General Good Condition of the Body And Mind


I was thinking about defining healthy living, the more thought I have given it - the more I have come to the conclusion that what one person might define as healthy someone else might not. So healthy living is personal, it does depend on where your starting point is, what your beliefs are and where you want to be. 

Ideally to live healthy...

  • Weight - The ideal is to be in a healthy weight range (weight chart), but if you are slightly overweight, or very fit and overweight, it has been debated that you are just as healthy.


  • Exercise - NHS recommend 5 x 30 minutes of moderate intensive activity each week - walking fast/cycling on flat ground/hiking/water aerobics. Or 2 x 40 minutes of intensive activity - running/swimming fast/hill walking/cycling up hill/aerobics. As well as muscle strengthening activities at least x 2 each week - yoga/lifting weights/push ups/sit ups.


  • Sleep - Getting enough sleep helps you stay alert, reduces stress, bolsters your memory and helps your body repair its self. The amount of sleep needed for adults is between 6 and 9 hours per night. If you need some help on getting to sleep - Sleep better


  • Relax your mind and body - Spending time allowing your whole self to recharge, digest, absorb and release the stresses of daily life.  Meditating, finding your fun, managing time can all help.


These both cost the same to buy £1.00 - One takes more effort, what do you choose?


  • Change bad habits - We all have our own journeys, but changing habits can be hard, but it's not impossible.  Believe in yourself, set yourself small achievable goals and get support from others. Small steps, small changes and being consistent is the key to change. Being kind to yourself for any slip ups, and trying again the next day. Just keep trying!


  • Socialise - Connecting with others helps us reduce isolation, and through sharing our experiences with others it can help us reduce stress in our lives. 'People Need People' - Social studies have shown that our overall health and wellbeing is increased if we have loved ones, family and/or friends to care for us or for us to care for. Loving relationships and having strong emotional connections can increase life expectancy. Check out - Benefits of Social Interactions.


  • Learning - Helps satisfy a hungry mind. Develops new skills which can help improve future prospects, can help with self fulfilment and personal development.   



    Eat well - Exercise - Love - Learn - Socialise - Sleep - Relax - Find Joy 


Take control and live the life you want to lead.

Reduce health problems.

Look and feel great.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Protein... keeping your food cravings under control.


After watching 'Britain's Favourite Food' last week, I was reminded of the benefits of lean protein and how it keeps you fuller for longer. (Protein is very slow to digest and provides a sense of satisfaction to a meal or a snack.) They also discussed on the programme how scientists are looking at reactions in the brain when we eat protein, and studies suggest that eating protein can help control food cravings, therefore helping to control your appetite. So if you are an overeater, it may be worth looking at the amount of protein you are eating, and tweaking your diet so it is more balanced. I for one am guilty of a more carb heavy diet, so I am working towards adding more lean protein into my breakfast for a more overall balanced diet. It's quite hard to be exact on how much protein you should eat per day, as it varies depending on your weight, gender and activity level. On average men need 55 grams and women 45 grams a day Protein Calculator. As with a lot of things it is the quality of the protein over the quantity you are eating, too much processed meat has been associated with bowel cancer so when looking for lean protein look for...

  • Lentils

  • Seeds

  • Nuts

  • Beans

  • Quinoa

  • Eggs

  • Lean red meat

  • Poultry (no skin)

  • Fish

  • Diary products


Including Protein at Breakfast Time


Chopped fruit and low fat Greek yogurt - to increase protein add in 2 tablespoons of nutty granola (see recipe below).

Wholegrain toast spread with natural nut butter. (I have just brought a natural one by Meridan - Nature's Energy crunchy peanut butter - its contains 100% nuts (nothing else).)

Scrambled eggs.

Boiled egg sliced on a muffin.

Protein smoothies (recipe below).

Porridge oats - increase protein by making with milk instead of water. Depending on what I fancy I add fresh fruit, dried fruit, dark chocolate, and to increase protein a sprinkling of chopped nuts and seeds.

Breakfast muffins - recipe for sweet and nutty raisin breakfast muffins.

Oat squares - recipe for oatmeal breakfast bars.

Nutty Granola


  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil

  • 125ml maple syrup

  • 2 tbsp. honey

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 300g rolled oats

  • 100g chopped nuts

  • 50g sunflower seeds

  • 50g pumpkin seeds

  • 100g dried fruit


1. Preheat oven 150C/gas mark 2 - Mix the vegetable oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Add in all the remaining ingredients except the dried fruit.

2. Spread the mixture evenly over baking trays and bake for 15 minutes. Then add in the dried fruit and bake for a further 10 minutes.

3. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then store in an air tight container. (It will last for a month).

A quick version I make is to add 1 tbsp. chopped nuts - 1 tbsp. seeds - 1 tbsp. dried fruit - 3 tbsp. of oats and 1 tsp. sugar. Toast in the oven 150C for 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle on yogurt and fruit or porridge oats.


Natural Protein Smoothie


  • 1 banana

  • 1/2 cup of yogurt

  • 2 tbsp. of natural nut butter

  • 1 cup of cold milk

  • Flavour with 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg

1. Blend all the ingredients until smooth.

image -

Friday, 17 April 2015

Beta-Carotene - Get Your Glow On


I watched a really interesting food programme on Tuesday night 'Britain's Favourite Foods - Are They Good For You' on BBC2 It was packed with information on the different health benefits of Britain's favourite foods. Two part's that interested me the most, were one... the study into the benefit's of eating protein (which I shall blog about next week), and two... the experiment they did on eating beta-carotene. Just recently I don't know if it's because it's been winter or because turning 40 has put growing older on my mind, but seriously I have felt like I could do with a bit of brightening up. So I was intrigue to watch, when they set up an experiment on a group of volunteers to increase their consumption of beta-carotene to give their skin a healthier glow. They ate one red pepper and one glass of carrot juice per day (extra to their normal diets) for 6 weeks, they took before and after photographs and all of them had an improved noticeable glow about them. So yesterday I set myself the challenge of 6 weeks to a healthier glow via extra red peppers and carrots! (Living in Essex if it works, I will be one of the few with a glow that's from carrot's not fake tan!)

Image -

What is Beta-Carotene?

Beta-Carotene is a strongly coloured red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits. The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision. The advantage of dietary beta-carotene is that the body only converts as much as it needs. (Excess vitamin A is toxic. Toxic vitamin A levels can occur if you consume too many supplements). This information is from (also check out the link for additional information especially if you are a smoker).

Beta-Carotene is an antioxidant. Studies have shown that antioxidants help people's immune system; they protect against free radicals, and can help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. (Free radicals damage cells through oxidation and this can eventually lead to chronic illnesses).

Good Sources of Beta-Carotene

  • Yellow and green (leafy) vegetables such as spinach, carrots and red peppers.

  • Yellow fruit such as mango, melon and apricots.


I always think of myself as eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, but I never actually count. So I think this increasing my consumptions of beta-carotene I am going to be more mindful and actually look at how many overall portions I am eating. I am also going to up my fluid intake as not drinking enough can dull your complexion. I have just purchased a juicer, as I have always preferred to eat my five a day and not waste the skins and pulp, but adding to my diet some juices as well can't be bad!

Apple, Banana and Carrot Juice

1 Apple

1 Banana

2 Large Carrots


1. Juice the carrots and apple, then blend in a banana.

2. Enjoy!





 Just quick update on my swimming challenge for Diabetes Uk


Louise lengths
Rachael lengths
Starting Lengths
1056 – 22miles
64 = 124
36 = 70
64 = 188
37 = 107
64 = 252
36 = 143
64 = 316
38 = 181
70 = 386
40 = 221
66 = 452
36 = 257