The yin and yang of meal planning.

This morning I had the luxury of dropping Charlotte off at school and having a day free. This must be what those mums feel like!

Normally I run home, hop in the car and pelt it to work but I have another couple of days off so thought I would use them wisely by meal planning and doing a mindful big shop, rather than a ‘throw it all in, I probably, maybe need another pineapple for my compost heap anyway’ type way. 

Ok, so let’s get this straight, as I’ve said before I don’t start diets at New Years because life is too crazy for that, but, planning my meals may just make my life easier and anything that does that I need to give a go. So off I trotted, with my new ‘Lean in 15‘ cookbook I got for Christmas, a fresh shiny notebook and pen to…wait for it…McDonalds for a coffee and a cheeky breakfast whilst planning. 

My balanced breakfast.

Yes, I looked like the biggest hypocrite ever staring at Joe Wicks‘ beautiful, ripped body and all the lean meat and veg whilst scoffing a deep fried hash brown but I believe life is all about balance and this, was indeed the yin and yang of culinary goodness. 

And d’ya know what, I did it. I planned my main meals, bought most of the food from Aldi for a lot less that my usual food shop was and I even cooked my own healthy chicken tikka masala this evening. Made my own paste and everything and Charlotte bloody ate it! Yes, she picked out two bits of red onion that hadn’t been whizzed properly but my daughter ate a meal I cooked! Pigs are currently flying around my house! 

It didn’t come from the freezer, it had flavour and maybe even some vitamins and nutrients and the recipe was naturally gluten free so I didn’t have to work out what substitutes would work! That is a massive win in my book! 

If you haven’t seen the series of Lean in 15 books yet, I would thoroughly recommend them. Not only is Joe Wicks easy on the eye but the meals are delicious and usually take hardly any time to prep and cook. Perfect for busy parents and not as pretentious as Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. The portions are massive though which is ideal when cooking for one and a half like me. You can choose to ignore the exercise section at the back if you wish, but don’t tell him I told you that! 

Tomorrow night Smoky Joe burgers with sweet potato wedges…can’t go wrong there can I?!

What are your tried and tested recipes for getting good food in your children? Let me know in the comments! 

10 reasons why having a messy car is a good thing.

A few weeks ago Charlotte and I went on a trip down to Devon to visit some friends. She said she had a tummy ache the night before but, unfortunately, because of her Coeliac Disease this can be a common occurrence so I have to say I kissed her goodnight and hoped it would go away by the morning.

 

It didn’t, she woke saying she was feeling sick, but, yet again I dismissed it especially as she ate a tub of yoghurt! So I gave her some calpol and packed her in the car along with our luggage.

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It started so well…

25 miles from home on a bypass with no lay-bys she began complaining of feeling sick again so I just said we’d stop for some food soon and she was probably hungry. Turns out she wasn’t hungry, she was actually sick and proceeded to vomit over herself and my car.

 

After driving another 4 miles before finding a lay-by, I pulled in and ran around to her side of the car. It was a massacre, she’d covered everything so I looked around for anything that could help me and, because I’m a lazy, messy mum and my car is an outpost of my kitchen, bathroom cabinet, wardrobe and toy cupboard combined I found everything I needed.

 

Multi suface cleaner wipes for the chair and car seat. Check.

 

Half a bottle of water for Charlotte to wash her mouth out with. Check.

 

Tesco carrier bag to put all contaminated items in. Check.

 

Change of clothes for her. Check.

 

Raincoat for me as it was also pissing it down. Check.

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My ingenious homemade sick bucket…craft bloggers will be quaking in their boots! 
This life event made me realise that actually a messy car isn’t so bad.  Yes, it can be embarrassing when you get tricked into having to give a non-parent a lift somewhere but I also came up with 10 reasons it’s actually essential that your car is messy.

 

  1. You will always have baby wipes somewhere in the car. This can clean sticky fingers, sticky faces, sticky dashboards, sticky steering wheels (hey, I’m not one to judge!)
  2. You can fashion a miniature sick bucket for a miniature human being because once bitten, twice shy.
  3. You will always have reading material. That time when you’re stuck on the M5, everyone’s turned their engines off and your phone battery dies. What’s better than Biff and Chips ‘Sit me up’ or an old cereal box that was an art project from nursery.
  4. You will also always have something to eat. Granted it may have been on the floor under the seat for an undetermined amount of time but, if it ever gets to the point where you’re contemplating a Bear Grylls type survival technique, fear not. That half pack of Wotsits will keep you alive for at least another half hour.
  5. You will always have a coat. It may not be for the right season or go with what you’re wearing but it’s another layer so stop whinging.
  6. Your child will also have a spare set of clothes should you need them. Maybe a ‘hold on, we’re just near the services’ accident, or a ‘just take a little sip and then put the lid back on’ accident…whichever you will definitely be able to change them. Ok, the tights might be a bit small but no one will know under the Tangled fancy dress outfit.
  7. And speaking of fancy dress outfits you will never be caught short at nursery’s Pirates and Princesses days that you heard nothing about until that morning. That blunt eyeliner rolling around your footwell is perfect to draw a couple of scars and an eyepatch! Voila!
  8. About to send your car for an MOT and realise you don’t have any windscreen wash? Rather than being charged £5 for them to fill it up for you so it passes just empty all the half drunk bottles of Evian into the water tank in the lay-by before you get to the garage (and then use a baby wipe to clean your hands).
  9. If you can’t stand to hear ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ one more time then have a feel down the side of your seat and you will definitely be able to find a CBeebies CD or a Greatest Hits of Bonnie Tyler CD there. Pick whichever will make your ears bleed least.
  10. Hair not quite sitting the way you want this morning? Dig down the back of the passenger seat and there will definitely be two Peppa Pig hair clips and, if you’re lucky, a headband with fluorescent pigtails protruding from the top. New look, sorted.

 

You’re welcome people!

Have I missed anything off? Let me know what you have found in your footwell recently in the comments below!

Tipping the scales.

What a difference a year makes. The cardigan can only hide so much!

I’ve joined Weight Watchers…again. I know, I know, I said I’d never do it, but the scales had ticked over to my dreaded number and I had to take action. 

It was the number that makes me say “No more”. 

The number that makes me say “Katie, what the hell are you playing at?”. 

The number that makes me run to the nearest Weight Watchers meeting to declare allegiance to the points system and swear never to eat peanut butter again. 

So back I am, handing money over to a not particularly slim woman to tell me how much I weigh on her scales, which seem to be completely different to those I have at home. 

Talk about a way to boost self esteem on a Wednesday lunch time. 

Back I go to trying really hard until about 3pm when my brain says “but chocolate would taste soooo good right now”. 

Back I go, four weeks in wondering whether I should just stay the slightly frumpy size I am because being on a diet is, let’s face it, boring and hard. 

I must admit though I’m having some difficulty with getting into the swing of it this time. 

I have realised since my last stint, thanks to the joy of articles posted on Facebook (that’s how everyone does their research right??) that most fat isn’t actually bad for you and low fat products are probably worse.  

I’ve realised that ‘diet’ drinks generally contain some rubbish sweeteners which, let’s face it, aren’t great for you and don’t taste good. (The research on how bad they actually are for you differs greatly however). 

I’ve realised that I have no time for cooking lovely meals when I get home because if I don’t get Charlotte in bed by 7.15 bedtime is fucked until about 11pm and I’m ready to kill. 

I’ve also realised that trying to loose weight on a diet whilst also trying to get my head around a gluten free diet is pretty impossible. 

I’ve also realised (although I did know this before) that cooking for one is utterly shit and generally ends in loads of food waste, a fairly dull meal and usually a way too late dinner time so I don’t enjoy it anyway. 

So I have to find away to get through the next two months (it was a three month pass) and lose weight without following the plan at all. Easy huh!

The reason for this particular blog post with added awful photos is so I have some accountability, other than lying to the woman who asks me how my weeks been every week. 
I will get back to feeling happy and healthy in my own skin and now is the time to do it…just maybe not how the slimming clubs would want me to do it. 

Still not perfect but way less lumps and bumps than now!

Can it be done? Share your hints and tips in the comments please! You’re all in the circle of trust now  (mines quite a round circle at the mo!), I need your help! 

30 things I’ve learnt since being 30.

It was my birthday last week and I’m now the ripe old age of 32.  A huge amount seems to have happened over these past two years, some of which is documented on this very blog as I started writing just after my 30th birthday.  I feel like I have learnt a lot, sometimes the hard way and some I have just happened upon through pure fluke so I’ve jotted them down to remind me.  Some are a bit deep, others entirely the opposite but all are true to me.

  1. Having children doesn’t mean you must cut your hair shorter. I for one look awful with shorter hair.
  2. I can, pretty much, make it through any challenging situation…just.
  3. You only live once. A cliché but a damn true one so make the most of it!
  4. Your health matters, so pay attention to it.
  5. Experimenting is a good idea in all areas of your life…food, fashion, f…(you get the idea).
  6. Making a mistake is not the end of the world.
  7. Tell your real friends you love them.
  8. Unfollow or unfriend people off Facebook or Instagram whose posts irritate you.
  9. I still don’t like goats cheese no matter how many times I try it.
  10. If I stop moving I seize up and it’s a lot more difficult to get going again.
  11. You will meet amazing friends in the strangest places if you are willing and open to find them.
  12. I wear my heart on my sleeve which can sometimes means it gets bruised more easily..
  13. Earl Grey tea is actually very nice.
  14. My wardrobe now has less clothes that are better quality, rather than the other way around.
  15. Same with my make up.
  16. Bright lipstick isn’t actually that scary.
  17. Sometimes I would rather eat an amazing salad that something deep fried.
  18. Saying ‘No’ and standing your ground is amazingly empowering.
  19. You are allowed to aspire to be in a job which you love…goals are good.
  20. Dresses actually suit me much better than trousers.
  21. Being selfish isn’t always a bad thing.
  22. Doing something good for someone (even if very small) is one of the best ways to boost your mood.
  23. I now ‘mum dance’ but I still do it anyway.
  24. All parents are winging it.  They are lying if they tell you other wise.
  25. Despite all my body hang ups people still seem to find me attractive, therefore I shouldn’t worry about them so much.
  26. I’m now much less tolerant of just smiling and nodding.
  27. My eyes are my best feature. (Sorry boobs)
  28. Netflix is definitely worth the membership fee.
  29. Being a single mum means my daughter is my best friend and my enemy number 1 all at the same time.
  30. Being a single mum is incredibly hard work but incredibly rewarding.

Seperating the wheat from…well everything!!

One of the things that has been going on in my world that I am yet to mention on here is that my daughter has recently been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease

This seems to be a more common illness than I thought but I am still really nervous about how this will change both our lives. We are yet to remove gluten from her diet as she has an endoscopy booked in for Friday and we need to keep eating it in order to see the damage it is causing. So essentially, since the first blood test results in early December I have been knowlingly poisoning my daughter with bread, pasta, doughnuts, biscuits etc. This has not helped with my wellbeing over the past months alongside everything else.

 My best friend has Coeliac Disease and has been diagnosed for a while now so when I got told by the consultant that the blood tests showed she had this I felt like I knew more than most about it. But adapting this to a four year olds diet scares the shit (pardon the pun) out of me. I also found out that my ex was diagnosed with borderline Coeliac Disease after we had split but I had no idea that it could be hereditary so didn’t even think about it!

I also had no idea that the symptoms she was showing could have any correlation with Coeliac Disease. I actually took her to the doctors as she seemed to be having persistent, reoccurring pins and needles in her arms and legs. It was one of those times when the mummy bear instinct kicked in and said ‘somethings not quite right here’. Luckily, or unluckily, I was right but it’s still taken a long time to get to this point. 

Doesnt look poorly at all hey?
 So on Friday I have to try and explain why she needs to be put to sleep in a big, new hospital without crying (her and me!) and then I have the even more difficult time of making awkward conversation with my ex and whilst trying to suppress the urge to kill him at any point! 

I’d love to hear from any other parents who’ve been through this process so please leave a message in the comments below. I’ll keep you posted on how we get on. 

Freedom.

My ex had Charlotte for five days this week so it was a weird way to start the year, he even had the dog so I had no alarm clock other than my actual alarm clock to wake up to!! No sodden sheets to change from our ‘dry at night’ attempts and complete and utter freedom (apart from having to go to work). No chocolate spread on toast to spread and cut exactly correctly. I could eat what I wanted and, as I had promised to eat better it was lovely to eat all the things Charlotte won’t. Prawns, salmon, steak…huge amounts of vegetables and I even had the chance to make lunches for the next day. It took me about two days to miss her more than the normal amount. Things just didn’t seem right without my little sidekick!
I also had plans of the romantic kind for a couple of nights whilst I had my freedom but, as usual they disappeared along with the romantic interest. I haven’t spoken about dating much as I haven’t really been dating much. Everything else in my life had been so busy and stressful that men just seemed to be adding to this so I swore them off for a bit…and then a blast from the past turned up and I decided to give him another chance. Why, I have no idea. I can only blame the fact that we have history and he had a hold on me so I believed his bullshit yet again…however it was officially the last chance he got. I am so done and this time I felt strong enough and angry rather than upset so I made sure I told him so. I said no. I don’t deserve to be treated like that, so no more. So it was nice to be able to mope for that evening but he definitely won’t be getting any more tears from me. I did, however, get this amazing belated Christmas present from a friend. I couldn’t possibly comment as to whether I had a go or not.* 

Another Tiger store amazing item!
 
I’ve also been waiting for some results back from the hospital as late last year I had an abnormal result from a smear test and had to go in for a colposcopy. This is when someone looks up your lady parts with, what looks like, a pair of binoculars on a stand. They also have a live feed so I was lucky enough to see my cervix up close and personal. Not something many people can say I’m sure. They took a biopsy the week before Christmas and to say it put a dampener on Christmas celebrations was an understatement. I also felt like I’d been punched hard in the vagina for a couple of days which was less than ideal. I had previously been told that what they had found seemed low risk, but I couldn’t help but worry. On Friday I had a letter saying that I didn’t need any further treatment at this time which can only be good thing. I also found out that January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month so if you have hidden or ripped up the letter saying you’re due for your smear test please book it and go. It’s such a small amount of your time and could save your life. 

Get your appointment booked!!
 
So a positive and negative which evens out I guess. Let’s see what this week brings! 

*i did.

All shapes and sizes! 

My new job, although in the same office as my last, seems to have a much smarter dress code than before and I was starting to feel a bit of a scruffy arse. I used to be able to rock in in my ‘skinny’ jeans and a smartish top with flats and no one would bat an eyelid but now I am surrounded by suits, ties, smart dresses, cigarette pants and pencil skirts. So, with my new pay cheque I thought I should upgrade my currently very downgrade work wardrobe, however after a demoralising second weekend spent shopping for suitable work trousers, I have come to the conclusion that my bottom half is (at the moment) a size 15 and my top is a size 13 (despite being an hourglass shape) and that skirts and dresses are the only way forward. 

 

The one and only day i wore Spanx to work. Never again.
 
I have now tried all the shops in our local retail park and can no longer blame that one shop that has entirely different sizing to the rest of the word *cough, H&M, cough*. The size 14 trousers will go on and fit perfectly round my bottom (snug yet not showing all crevices, ouch!) but the hook and/or button will just not reach together and if it just does it creates the evil spill over, otherwise known as every mums enemy…The Muffin Top. But the size 16 left me with a saggy arse and lots of material in the thigh/crotch region. This, I have found, is not a good look.  

So the dreaded summer diet is now in effect. It is not, however a diet in the normal terms of the word, as I don’t believe in them. It’s back to the meal plans, fruit and veg lifestyle that I once had sorted. It’s about taking lunches into work rather than eating canteen food which seems to only have a ‘with cheese’ option. It’s about cutting down on the crappy carbs and substituting for ‘slow release’ whole foods. It’s mainly about organising myself so I’m not grabbing the takeaway menu or the frozen pizza out of the freezer.  

Probably shouldnt follow the wise words of my pjs either.
 
So watch this space…this time last year I was a size 13 bottom though so it would seem I’m never going to win…unless I open an odd sizing shop…maybe call it OddBods or something. Any takers?? 

Food for thought…

On New Year’s Eve 2013/14 I decided to make a resolution. Something I always half heartedly do because everyone else is, but this time it was going to be the opposite of what most people were probably promising to themselves. Mine was to stop worrying about my weight.

I had finally come to the conclusion that I would have enough to deal with in the coming year and the last thing I needed was more time in my life being taken over by thinking about food and what I could and couldn’t have and all the guilt and stress that goes along with it. I also couldn’t afford to keep paying the monthly Weight Watchers subscription, especially as it only seemed to produce me putting the same pound on and taking it off over and over again and demoralising me on a weekly basis when I stepped on the scales!!

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So since then I have eaten when I want and generally what I want. I have never just eaten junk food and I do love cooking when I have the time but I am also partial to a (big) piece of cake and a glass of wine as often as possible.

Since January I have lost 10lbs.

This may not seem like much or anything worthy of a picture of me with massive trousers on and holding the waistband, showing how much I’ve lost. Hell, I haven’t even gone down a trouser size! But it has brought me back into a weight I feel happy and comfortable in. Rather than bursting at the seams I am comfortably wearing a size 14 pair of jeans, and look pretty good in them, if I do say so!

I have realised that this change is just me getting – naturally – back to me. Not the depressed, sad, comfort eating Katie but the happy (ish), confident, fun Katie. (A bit of stress never hurts either I suppose!) I am starting to look and feel like a person I am happy with and other people are starting to notice it too. I am never going to be skinny, nor would I want to be as I love my curves, but if you are struggling to take control of your weight at a stressful time then sometimes I would suggest that less is more and don’t be hard on yourself!