Everyday Small Things

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Everyday Small Things: Best Friend Gifts & Happy Tears


Look what came in the post today… a belated birthday present from one of my oldest and bestest friends in the world, Kate, from back home in Tasmania, Australia!


I’m actually crying!  Happy tears of course!  Kate was always renowned for taking photos, covering her entire bedroom walls with photos (that’s right floor to ceiling on all four walls) and making the best cards with these photos.  And that is what she made me!  We’ve known each other for over 20 years, having lived across the road from each other until we finished school.

The photos and her words reminded  me of so many happy days growing up.  On the weekends we used to get up at the crack of dawn to produce and rehearse a show on our bikes for our families!!!  We learned to row together, made tree houses and did all the cheeky things you do as teenagers for the first time together!

I moved around a lot as a child so forming solid, long-lasting friendships was sooooo important for the development of my own identity and sense of worth!  Since living on the other side of the world I’ve relied on Kate’s friendship through some really tough times and for that I can never repay her!

Kate thank you so very much for our wonderful 20 years together!  Your present was such a beautiful gift from your heart!  Hand-made gifts are the best.  I feel very loved.  Thank you for giving me this moment today to remember lots of good times forgotten and how much my friendships mean to me!  Thank you for re-motivating me to foster my friendships daily – today I will get in touch with those people I have been meaning to for months!  Thank you for just being you!

Do you work daily on your friendships?   What do you do to foster friendships?  What magic things have your friends done to make you feel loved?  Do you make presents as gifts?


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Weekly goal setting & Reflections


Last week I got food poisoning! Ugh!  So most of my goals went down the drain.  I also did not do my Pilates every morning for my Pilates course, but my inner core muscles were certainly getting a workout (need I say more – not nice).

On a positive note I didn’t stress about not getting them done.  I also got to watch a lot of Wimbledon, so really I couldn’t have picked a better week!  I also reflected on recent goals I had set myself, such as the mile a day month I started in Australia, but had to stop two weeks in because of my knee!  I wrote here about my fear it would not hold up when I set myself some new FitnessFreak goals!

This week’s goals

This week I am hoping to get organised to start a 30 day Elimination Diet.  I am still deciding which to follow.  If you have any suggestions, recommendations or advice I would love to hear from you!  I am nervous writing this up because it is going to make me accountable.  I am not good at following tough dietary regimes.  In Australia however I spoke with a nutritionist who gave me some really good reading around the links between diet, inflammed joints and migraines.  So I am going to give this a go.  I am very fed up with falling of the Fitness wheel too often because of a joint-issue that just doesn’t go away.

I will do my daily Pilates as the second half of my Pilates Instructor Course continues on Saturday,.

Next week I will revisit my fitness goals.  But I must remember one thing at a time – I think I will make this my motto this week:

Do everything really well – just do them one at a time!

Can you recommend any sites or resources or programs or experiences of Elimination Diets?  I would love to hear from you!

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Everyday Small Things: Beach day!!! Weston-Super-Mare




We got fresh donuts!  Yum!! And the seagulls wanted them!


Grand Pier – I’ve learned to love the British seaside for its attractions and bunting!

Weston super mareYesterday we were visiting friends in Bristol. The sun was shining so we bundled their kids and our sore heads (from the previous night) into the car and headed off down to Weston-Super-Mare.  What a great name!  I wanted to make a short home movie of the trip, so mostly took short videos but ran out of storage (mental note for the future to be more prepared!).  So these are a few of the pictures I took.  And I got sunburnt!!!!  I thought I had enough sun cream on for the soft British sun, but apparently I have been living in Europe (out of the strong Australian sun) for six years!

I thought the name might mean something to do with it being a brilliant seaside… but it actually means ‘Settlement on the Sea” according to Wikipedia.  I think I like my version more!

Here are five fascinating facts about Weston:

  • There is one of the largest tidal ranges in the world here, so when the tide goes out… out it goes for a whole mile!image
  • The locals therefore lovingly called it:  Weston Super Mud!  🙂
  • During the 19th Century it became very popular with the Victorians.  Here is a photo I took off the wall in the restaurant from 1897:
  • Grand Pier apparently ‘accidentally’ burned down in 2008.
  • There is a huge gaming archade at the end of Grand Pier.  We went twice because we got to play some wicked ‘modern’ games, but also some really traditional British archade games.  In particular I had always wanted to tick of a Coin Pusher machine.  If you don’t know what I mean Click here.  We just used 2 pence coins and ended up winning quite a bit twice (and then losing it all….).  Bucket list item #52:  tick.  Done.
  • There are donkey’s you can ride on the beach!  Gotta love a donkey!
  • You can get fresh donuts everywhere!!!  And ice cream!!  And lovely fish and chips!

I think Weston-Super-Mare might be my favourite beach in the UK (not quite the world).  That title would have to be held by my local beaches at home in Tasmania, Australia!!!!  If you are ever in this corner of the world I definatley recommend a trip here for a great day out!  Could be a romantic destination or ultra-kid-friendly!!!!

Where is your favourite beach in the World?

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(Cook) Book Review: Gweneth Paltrow’s “It’s all good” is really ALL GOOD

imageCookbook Gweneth Paltrow 3

Eight reasons why I would recommend this book:

1.  Healthy & Clean food

All the food in this book is exactly the type that I like to eat.  Clean.  Fresh.  Seasonal.  Low GI.  High Protein.  Not highly processed.  Lots of low-gluten options.  And most of all really tasty!!!  Gwyneth and her friend/co-author Julia Turshen must have really tried and tested these recipes-Thanks G & J.

2.  Normal, easy to find ingredients

So far I have known every ingredient and can also buy them all in my local supermarket!  Necessity!
3.  Never-fail basic recipes 

I’ve found as I have been introducing new ingredients such as quinoa into my diet I have had a lot of mishaps.  Lets just say there has been a lot of uneaten quinoa that has landed in the bin!  But they have included detailed recipes to make ‘perfect’ versions.  Simple and easy to follow too.  The most useful to me, in case you hadn’t guessed, is the Quinoa recipe.  I actually like the stuff now 😉

Other basic recipes include:  Stocks, Go-to recipes like tomato sauce, Soaking almonds and goji berries, pickles, sauces and cooking eggs three ways – among a few other recipes.

4.  Covers everything

There is a recipe for almost every occasion.  Dinners during the week.  Celebrations.  Food for kids.  Drinks.

The chapters are well organised into morning time, salads, soups, birds and meat, fish, vegetables, grains, drinks, kids’, sweets.  And as you’ll see below these fit well into the weekly menu plans!

There are comments and explanations on how to convert to metric too!

5.  Foreword by an actual expert

Sometimes in these celebrity cookbooks, the foreword is by another celebrity friend about how great they all are.  But alongside the forewords by Gweneth and Julia there is one by Dr Habib Sadeghi and Osteopathic physician.  OK so that doesn’t necessarily make him the most expert of dietary experts but he does provide a clear and useful explanation as to the benefits of this type of diet.  He links the scientific medical understanding of modern diets with different religious views of food.  Personally my views of food  have been changing from a love/hate relationship with this stuff that can make me fat/skinny to a more holistic view of food fuelling and empowering my body to be happy, healthy and strong.  This links in with the spiritual idea the doctor discusses.  So I learned a few new things and appreciated having some background information from a real scientific expert.


6.  Weekly Menu Plans

There are four weekly menu plans linked to recipes in the book.  They include a body-builder, detox, family-friendly and a vegan week.  I love a menu plan I must admit.  I really search for inspiration during the week.  Also I try to get my food organised on a weekend and these plans can just save so much time.  Additionally for some reason I find I am more likely to try cooking something I wouldn’t otherwise… and this is the best way to find new favourite meals!  Yay and we all love a favourite meal!

7.  Suitable for different dietary needs

If you have specific dietary needs then they have tried to help by clearly labelling each recipe with little icons to identify each recipe as suitable for an elimination diet, vegan diet or as a protein-packed meal.
8.  Looks great!

The book has a really great feel.  Some funny, random photos of Gwyneth don’t seem to stick out like a sore thumb somehow.  The food looks delicious and inviting and the recipes are easy to follow!

Overall I really recommend this read.  I didn’t really want to like the book as much as I did,  but it is getting a lot of cooktop time at the moment so it really is all good!

What is your favourite cookbook?  Why?

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Everyday Small Things: Kids forever


Today I randomly did a day of cover (or supply or emergency depending on where you live) teaching in a primary school!  Now I have been a secondary teacher for years so I must admit I was a little apprehensive to be in front of a group of 10 year olds all day.  What would they be like?  How mature would they be?  Could I reason with them?

But I had a lovely day.  I had nothing to worry about.  So much more relaxed than secondary school!  So much!!!!!  And the students were so grateful and happy to have me.  I just had to share this little thank you one of the girls made me.  Really sweet and too cute!!!

Young kids are just so happy and willing to learn and do the right thing!  They are so generous with their love and patience.  What makes them temporarily ‘lose’ these traits?  I left so chilled and happy.  One of our girls had to get up and speak in front of assembly at the end of the day and my heart just swelled with pride… and I’d only met the class today.  It was just a really nice reminder of how important it is to foster our youth forever….

What are your favourite kids traits?


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Everyday Small Things – Wisdoms

You are today where your thoughts have brought you.

You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.

– James Lane Allen

I think of this quote as the adult version of “The World is your Oyster..” quote which just added to my anger as a teenager because I couldn’t be a rocket scientist if I wanted.  I just wasn’t smart enough.  That was cool with me.  But the fact that everyone says this just frustrates me.

Whereas the quote above is more realistic to me.  It reminds me that it is only I who sets the limits to my life.  Now I know you are probably thinking this is pretty similar thinking to the oyster quote, but this is more about the choices, decisions and mindsets that I choose each day.

Sometimes in your life (like being a little isolated and lonely overseas) you need a little reminder that it is only you who chooses to be happy.  No one else.  The choice doesn’t just find you.  You are the choice.  I’ve found this outlook so helpful when facing food demons, and enjoying my exercise (rather than feeling guilty when not doing it), and just appreciating the everyday small things!!!!

Are there any quotes that really annoy you?  Don’t speak to you?

What quotes really do speak to you?


Foodelicous: Chicken & Mango Salad

Paleo Mango Salad 3Paleo mango salad 1Paleo cashew nut Paleo mango salad 2

This is a variation of a salad I found in the recipe book from this Paleo blog.  It’s delicious, so thought I’d share it with you.


  • Chicken breast – poach in water for 20 mins.  Let it rest before pulling apart.
  • Handful of salad leaves (I love rocket, watercress & spinach)
  • Fresh herbs x lots.  I’ve used flat leaf parsely and coriander
  • Cashew nuts – small handful.  Toast in a frying pan if you like until they just go golden brown.
  • Mangetout (snowpeas)
  • Avocado x half
  • Mango x half

Dressing – Play around with this but I used:

  • 1 tbspn olive oil
  • 1 tspn Walnut oil
  • 1 tspn Sesame oil
  • Good squeeze of lemon or lime or better both
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Chop it all up.  Eat it all up!  Yum yum yummy!!!!  Let me know what you think! xo

P.S. Do you love my awesome retro brown kitchen bench!  Oh yeah hot dig!