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We are what we eat…

Getting older sucks… I have gained weight and I haven’t changed the way I eat, your metabolism slows down and the middle age spread begins… are you kidding me? Really?

Ok, so I admit I really do need to excercise more, but I’m a busy Mom of 8 children, I include my older ones too, from first thing in the morning until I sit down with that much needed glass of wine I’m on my feet rushing from here to there, but according to my OBGYN that’s not the type of excercise that is going to burn off those calories at my ripe old age, well he didn’t mention the ripe old part, I’ve just added it in so you get the picture… he says I need at least a 20 minute cardio routine per day that will get my heart racing, so even my gentle morning yoga routine does not fit the bill for getting my heart racing I’m afraid. Food is also important and consistency, 4-6 healthy small meals a day, well the small portions are not a problem for me as I’ve never eaten large meals, but 4-6 is a huge problem, I can go hours and sometimes forget to eat… ok so here we go, new me, I am determined to beat this middle age spread.

I love healthy foods, I love salads, I love soups, I love fish, I love veggies, I even love radishes too, so how hard can this be? 4 to 6 small portion meals/snacks a day together with a low impact cardio workout, just to start me off and some yoga to keep my joints supple. The hardest part of a carefully thought through menu plan is the prepping, to have a healthy menu for Paul to go to work with is the planning a prepping the day before… this week we are keeping it simple and doing a ‘let’s see what we can make with what we have in’ using up supplies in our refrigerator, freezer and pantry… so next week we can start a fresh in an organized way… does anyone else do this once a month, to clear out the old ready for the new?

Let’s start with Breakfasts that I can easily prepare in advance… healthy banana, oats and honey waffles, perfectly preprepared and easily transported if you have to go out…

Serves 2
One cup of gluten free oats
I cup of dairy free milk, almond or coconut (if using coconut I suggest 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water)
1 egg
1/2 a banana
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of raw honey
1 egg
1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon of extra virgin oil

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend for about 1 minute… add 1/4 cup of the batter to a lightly oiled waffle maker and let it cook for 2-3 minute.
Serve with fresh fruit, Greek yoghurt or for a dairy free option a tablespoon of almond butter 😋

My next easy to prepare breakfast is raspberry, coconut chia pudding…

Serves 2
1/2 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries
1 cup of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of raw honey
2 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds

Take the first three ingredients place them in a blender and let them blend for 45 seconds, divide the blended fruit milk into two mason jars then add 2 1/4 tablespoons of chia seeds, place the lid onto the jar and shake to mix the chia seeds, place in the refrigerator over night… top with a few raspberries and a tablespoon of sliced almonds 😋

Now if I’m staying in I love a slice of whole grain gluten free bread with avocado and grape tomatoes drizzled with balsamic glaze and if Paul is going to work I make him a super healthy veggie omelette ready to cook in the microwave for a couple of minutes and a piece of fruit. Another healthy on the go breakfast is a smoothie served with a hard boiled egg for protein.

Lunches are much easier when you are at home, your choice is endless, I love salad, cheese, eggs, veggies, homemade hummus and steamed veggies, but planning a healthy portioned out work lunch takes a lot of prep… 5 meals, 5 healthy carbs, 5 healthy lean proteins and plenty of veggies ready for a busy week of working… quinoa, brown sprouted rice, sweet potatoes, ground turkey meatballs, oregano chicken and Cajun pork, all leftovers from a past week dinners and lots of veggies, but when you are home you can quickly bake some sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper, add in a little arugula and a lightly fried egg, finally whip up a Harrissa dressing… so good 😃

Heathy fish and chicken tacos are my favorite dinner option, polenta crisped salmon and chicken tenders served with warm corn tortillas, salad and a healthy mango salsa, easy healthy and filling. Dinners are always a challenge in my house, some of us need GF carb options, some of us don’t like veggies, some of us are mainly vegetarian, except for a little fish and some of us are such basic eaters that meat and plain pasta is all they will eat. Salad is my friend, I can add a protein and then a healthy carb and it covers most diets in my house… but soup season is on it’s way, although I love Summer, I personally love soups they are so versatile, healthy and can stretch your budget sideways.

Snacks are my biggest challenge for planning ahead, each time we eat we are meant to have a complex carbohydrate, a protein and a fat, so getting that right in a snack is a huge headache for me… protein bites were simple and nutritional for a snack, gf oats, almond butter, honey and then I added chopped nuts dried fruits and seeds. Another idea is brown rice cakes, and almond butter, or fruit and a handful of nuts… but with all the planning snacks still remain something I think about last and quite often forget to eat myself… I am working at it though… slowly 🙃

… and then we always need an occasional treat, I try my hardest to make these treats as healthy as possible, like lemon muffins made with yogurt and honey… light and delicious 😋

Whatever you eat, try to make it nutritional, delicious and make sure you drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated throughout the day.

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Kitchen renovation

IKEA kitchen fun… Part 1


It’s been a few years since I started my quest for a new kitchen, it’s been a whole year in the planning phase and now it’s finally here, the cabinets, appliances, sink and faucets are ordered and arriving next week… Onto phase two, installation.
I have changed my mind several times along the way, don’t get me wrong my kitchen style has never changed, farmhouse kitchens have gained popularity in the last few years, farmhouse sinks, simple shaker cupboards and subway tiles are all the vogue, but these were all things I chose for my kitchen 14 years ago back in England and they are all things I still love to this day, so my obvious choices were always going to go back to my roots despite its popularity these days. The things that have changed are how and where I would get my cabinets, we plan to be in our house for a relatively short amount of time, now things could change but I’m hoping when Mabel is out of High School we will be moving, so in all honesty it seemed crazy to spend a huge amount of money on a big fancy kitchen, also if anyone knows me I’m not a big fancy person, I like thrifting, mismatched shabby chic and pure and simple country style. If I had my way I would have a kitchen made up of all old free standing cabinets, an old farmhouse sink with a curtain underneath for a door, an old work table as an island and reclaimed floorboards for the counter tops, unfortunately this is not only impractical with living in a house in a field and mice, but also I think Paul and Mabel would freak out too.

We have looked around at high end kitchen showrooms, middle of the range cabinets and IKEA… Well guess what IKEA won, their cabinets get good reviews, have a good warranty and are reasonably priced, they are very customizable so you can really mix and match to get the configuration you want, they are not as cheap as I was led to believe though. I have waited for their annual kitchen offer to come into play, I also used their kitchen planning service $199, a bargain, as an IKEA family member I get a full refund when I ordered my kitchen, they also have an installation service that includes as much of the work you want done or as little. The 15% back from the purchase price of your kitchen comes in the form of an IKEA gift card but was well worth doing as it means when all is said and done I will have saved $2000, as I plan to use the gift card on some of the kitchen not yet ordered.
All in all so far I’m excited… The ordering process in the store was extremely slow and took a lot longer than I had planned for, F and T were starting to bounce off the walls we were confined in the store for so long, now don’t get me wrong I love a shopping trip to Ikea usually but this was just long boring and seemed so unnecessary as I had the documentation from the planning service. I’m hoping to farmhouse chic my new kitchen with a few new thrifting pieces once it’s installed, but for now it will be arriving next week and the hard work has to begin… Where do I put all the stuff in my existing kitchen cupboards ready for Demo Day.

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Sharing a room…

After the announcement of our new little boy this week my focus has been on decorating a mixed gender bedroom for two tiny people… Some people do not agree with the idea that a boy and girl should share a bedroom at all, but others like myself do not see a problem with it all… Well there is one problem… How do I decorate a room for a little girly girl and a tiny new blue bundle of joy? My first thoughts when decorating a room for my Florrie was pink, pink and flowery, but this is not going to work when I add a little boy to the room, so after some research, Google, Pinterest and whatever else I could find I am very keen on a gender neutral off white room, with off white slatted wooden blinds from Ikea, oh how I love these blinds then off white ruffle drapes/ curtains… The perfect palette for one little girl and an added baby boy.

I love, love, love flowers, I am a huge Cath Kidston fan, I love Cabbages and Roses and I absolutely adore the English shabby chic country garden look… With this in mind, Florrie my very girly pink girl is having a very feminine flower pink, Blue and green bedding, pottery barn style, they actually have pink cabbage rose bedding, so perfect. Then at the other end I am going to take the blue and green from Florrie’s bedding and create a classic baby boy area. I am not a fan of the generic boys apparel, bed linen or really anything boyish really, so having a baby boy is a challenge, I really don’t like clothes with animals, cars and trucks all over them, I dislike the primary colors on boys and I really dislike baby boys in jeans, khakis and sweat pants… So as you can see having a baby boy is a big challenge for me to be different in all aspects of baby boys… I am loving Etsy, the baby boy items are so different, cute little long johns, onesies, baby legs and crochet hats, my creative juices are ebbing and flowing with boy ideas.

At each end above my two baby beds I am going to create their names using the wooden letters from Michaels and AC Moore, an idea from Pinterest is to cover each letter with different scrap booking paper giving it a very Anthropologie style, again another absolute favorite of mine! I am going to put a canopy over Florrie’s new toddler bed and then everything else I will just see how it goes from there… this is my plan, I think keeping it neutral will also help with selling our house next spring so hopefully we can move onto a new town and new lives… It is time, so fingers crossed our house will sell quickly as we have other places to be eventually and new friends to meet!

Now all I need is the paint, a paint brush, a trip to ikea and my Mum… Why my Mum I hear you say, well she is a whiz on the sewing machine and I have bed linen I need making and perhaps a few other items to make this room look perfect!

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My shop is now open…come on in and take a look around!

After months of thinking, saying and procrastinating over opening an Etsy online shop, I have finally taken one giant leap for this craft loving mommy and actually opened, announced and advertised my shop, I’ve created a page linked to this blog and another one on Facebook… Florrie’s Attic is now open… It may work, or it may not, who knows but it is officially open selling sun hats at the moment!
Please take a look and see what you think, say hi, or stay a while and browse around, everyone is welcome at Florrie’s Attic

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If you also have time come along and join me at my new Florrie’s Attic facebook page and if you love my page please click like and join me along on my new adventures!

My plan is to follow Gordon Ramsey’s advice, I know he is a chef, but his theory for a menu in a restaurant, is to keep it simple, I am thinking this applies to opening a shop too, a few key products to sell in different designs, simple and fun! I have opened my doors with my beloved sun hats, I love creating them and hope that all though there seems to be a lot of competition out there, my hats will stand out for design and quality among others!

My doors are always open… So come on in!

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When life gets tough get your crochet hook out…

Well life has certainly been crazy for the last few weeks, crazy in a weird, not so good way really, but we are working our way though the craziness… I think when life throws you a curve ball it makes you realize we cannot take this life for granted, it makes us stop and take stock of the things that are important to us and then move forward… Well that’s what has happened to me!

Back to life as we know it… Well life as I know it anyway… the sun has been shining and spring has finally arrived here in our little corner of New Jersey, yesterday saw the temperature rising to 79f, I don’t care what anyone says, the feeling of spring and the thoughts of long summer days makes everything feel so much better, no matter what is going on in your life!

Healthy eating is back on the agenda in our house, after a few weeks of eating, well all I will say on this subject is JUNK food, and sitting around like fat cat couch potatoes… It’s time to break out the salad leaves and chop some tomatoes… My grocery shopping this week was so healthy, fruit, grains, vegetables and beans, it has freaked out my older children and now stop and shop is their hang out place for their addiction to all things unhealthy!

Weekly Menu plan

1). Broccoli rice bowl

2). Chicken … white bean ragout on toast

3). Chicken …Pasta salad with grilled vegetables and mozzarella – whole foods app

4). Grilled steak with Thai summer salad – whole foods app

5). Sausage. .. Red potato and asparagus salad – whole foods app

6). Kale, carrot and avacado salad – whole foods app

7). Lentil and cous cous salad with arugula – whole foods app

I have also picked up my crochet hook again, I love to crochet, it is very therapeutic… I love to knit also but there is just something about that hook compared to a pair of needles, it really helps to organize my thoughts and just chill out… I am making a blanket from last months Mollie Makes Magazine… Oh how I love that magazine… The blanket is super easy and my little granny squares are fun in different colors!

I am also in super organizing mode, my whole house has been a disaster zone, with all the craziness I have been very uninspired really, but the sun has inspired me to go crazy and get my house sorted out… For anyone that knows me really well, I am a huge shabby chic fan, I love distressed mismatched style and after living in this house for 4 years I really want to make it my own, pale colors, shabby chic, shaker style, stripes, checks (plaids) and faded florals, are all in the future of this old, newish house! Flea Markets are on the horizon for weekend outings this summer, also pots of beautiful geraniums out on my deck… Time for this one time decorating freak to get her long lost mojo back!

With thoughts of spring gardening, and pots of pale paint ready to adorn my walls… I will wish you all warm sunny thoughts and get on with my day!

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